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1. Great News from the NCBLA!



NCBLA Planning 
In Search of Wonder:
Common Core and More
Professional Development Day
October 17th, 2014 in Perry, Ohio

The National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance is launching a new education initiative—In Search of Wonder: Common Core and More—in  Northern Ohio this fall! This inspiring professional development day is designed for teachers, librarians, and caretakers—any and all adults who live with and work for young people!

In Search of Wonder: Common Core and More” will take place on NEOEA Day, October 17th, at the Goodwin Theatre in Perry, Ohio and will feature authors Katherine Paterson, Nikki Grimes, Tanya Lee Stone, Steven Kellogg, and a soon-to-be named YA author! 

For more information and registration details, click here

We are working with Perry, Ohio School’s chief media specialist Jodi Rzeszotarski and the Cleveland Public Library’s Director of Children’s Services Annisha Jeffries to plan the day’s schedule so we ensure In Search of Wonder addresses the Common Core needs of all teachers and librarians.


Recently, I spent time with Jodi at the Perry Schools touring their beautiful facilities and had an inspiring afternoon working with Annisha and her talented and energetic staff at the Cleveland Public Library (CPL). 

As a teen working in downtown Cleveland, I spent most of my lunch hours at the CPL, so it was with special joy that I saw all the remarkable changes Annisha and her staff have created—a new teen room, the only safe harbor for teens downtown, a beautiful arts center for creative activities, and the huge reading rooms overflowing with books, looking out onto the city and the lake. Annisha and her staff have accomplished so much in two short years! 

Mary Brigid Barrett
President and Executive Director
The National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance

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2. We Were Liars: E. Lockhart

Book: We Were Liars
Author: E. Lockhart
Pages: 240
Age Range: 12 and up

We Were Liars, e. lockhart's upcoming young adult novel, is fabulous. I couldn't put it down, particularly the last third. On finishing it, I had to go back and immediately re-read large chunks of the book. This is something I never do. Yes, it is that good.

Really, if you are an e. lockhart fan, or a fan of suspenseful young adult fiction of any stripe, that should be enough. You should stop reading here. Because this is NOT a book that you want spoiled. You want to go into it knowing as little about it as possible.

The protagonist isn't wholly likable. She's wealthy, beautiful and spoiled (with heavy parallels to the Kennedy family). She doesn't even know the names of the people who work for her extended family every summer. But it doesn't matter. She is compelling anyway - I promise.

The primary setting, a private island near Martha's Vineyard, isn't one that will resonate with most readers' personal experience. But that doesn't matter, either. Lockhart draws the island so clearly, and the characters so sharply (for good and ill) that you feel like you're there with them. 

In terms of mature content, there is some kissing, and some drinking, and some talk of (but no action regarding) sex. But this is a powerful book, and I would not give it to kids under 12. 

And honestly, that's all I have to say. Pre-order it, read it when it's available, and try not to read any detailed reviews in the meantime. Highly recommended for teen and adult readers, male or female. I won't stop thinking about We Were Liars for a while. 

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (@RandomHouseKids)  
Publication Date: May 13, 2014
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher

FTC Required Disclosure:

This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

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3.






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4. A Video Essay on Jim Jarmusch: "Dead Men & Ghosts, Limited"


As the silence around here indicates, I've been tremendously busy the past few weeks. One project I managed to complete was a new video essay, this one about Jim Jarmusch's films Dead Man, Ghost Dog, and The Limits of Control. It's now available at Press Play, along with a brief introduction.

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5. Setting the Scene for My Next “Scary Tales”: The Importance of Place

I’ve had a semi-solid idea for the next “Scary Tales” book (number 6, untitled), for a while.

But nothing real specific.

I’ve been fleshing out characters, still debating the introduction of a third character, wondering if she’s necessary or not. Definitely going with twin boys.

As for place, I always thought — without giving it much thought — some kind of swamp. Down south, I assumed. Had to be, right?

Lately that notion of place has gotten more specific. I’m zeroing in on Southeast Texas somewhere. Still have more research to do, more looking at maps, more figuring and fact-checking. And, of course, all that in turn effects my characters. How they talk, how they live.

I recently spent time on Google, looking at images, checking maps, gaining inspiration. It seems to be something I’ve been doing of late, part of my writing process.

Here’s a few you might enjoy . . .

And last but not least . . .

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6. a couple more for my “ani-mask” series and a baby...







a couple more for my “ani-mask” series and a baby cafe.







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7. Review: Some Picks from the Spring Oily Bundle

Print by Antoine Cosse

Print by Antoine Cosse

It’s hard to convince me to not contribute to the growing number of small press comic subscriptions–every season there seems to be even more great material I want to get my hands onto, and it’s a rather addicting cycle of excitement whenever there’s a new package at my door. Oily has proven to be an exceptionally versatile publisher with their subscriptions—the form of their pocket-size, digestible mini-comics has parlayed a habit-forming nature in their readership that stays true to the internal logic of comics. Series like Melissa Mendes’s Lou and Charles Forsman’s TEOTFW have hooked many a fan in, including myself, allowing a sense of gratification and appreciation that hasn’t always been as accessible in indie comics. There is something quite rewarding about receiving an Oily bundle; the mini-comics are neighborly crafted and packaged to make you feel welcome from the outset.

oilyspring

This season’s Spring Oily Bundle, a limited 200 count batch, featured 9 different mini-comics along with additional prints and art from the stylish roster of Oily cartoonists. Mixing a touch of the familiar and the new, this was an impressionably refreshing stack of work, demonstrating the inarguable benefits of reading comics in their printed format.

Noah Van Sciver's The Lizard Laughed

Noah Van Sciver’s The Lizard Laughed

The first of the loot is Noah Van Sciver’s new minicomic, The Lizard Laughed. Beginning with a quote from Martin Sheen’s 2012 shared memoir with son Emilio Estevez, Along the Way, Sciver sets up this father-and-son narrative, contorted through his trademark doom-and-gloom thematic craftship. While the recognizable tropes of bleakness and brooding malaise are definitely present, Sciver is able to input some very quiet and reflective moments within this short piece that make it surprisingly satisfying.

Harvey is the deadbeat, stoner dad who gets an unexpected visit from the son he abandoned so many years ago. Although supposedly complacent with his role as an absent father, Harvey endeavors to enact what he believes is fatherly action to Nathan, offering affection through engaging in conversation and artistic similarity, and even planning a joint rendezvous, the time-honored tradition of a father-and-son hike. Harvey’s tragic, cumbersome attempt to fill in a paternal guise is apparent at every moment of the two’s interaction, and the emotional machismo on display is unwieldy.

The ending is no surprise, and there’s a sense of crushing disappointment for both father and son. While Harvey is sure to continue in his cyclical inability to truly connect with another person, Nathan walks away from revenge, and in a way comes to grips with understanding, even in disconnect, why Harvey is the way he is. It would be flawed to associate this comic as another father-and-son narrative, the cringe-worthy air between Harvey and Nathan actually sheds light on Sciver’s creative ability to ride that line between empathy and ridicule. There’s not a lot of people, let alone cartoonists, who can exhibit the gnarled grace that Sciver does with a character like Harvey, someone who is incredulously unlikeable and irrationally mulish to boot.

Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 11.49.10 AM

Sciver pacifies the overarching tension with Harvey’s meandering tales of playful, fantastical adventures with dangerous historic sites and imaginative recounts of mystical creatures. It’s in these stories that Harvey seems the most in touch with life, his childish sensibility drawn with a touch of humor. He is swallowed by the fantasy of his surroundings, and it’s never more clear how misguided and detached from reality he genuinely is, a palpable actuality that Nathan plainly sees.

Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 11.59

I’m unsure if Sciver meant to comment on or parody the Sheen memoir Along the Way (something tells me neither Sheen nor Estevez wouldn’t be able to connect that sad, self-deprecating psyche in quite the same way), and The Lizard Laugh is anything but a Hollywood memoir. Sciver succeeds yet again in creating a narrative that turns the focus inward; to our own shortcomings that we reject by fluffing up our own perception of wisdom, and the choice Nathan makes that allows Harvey to retain some dignity, to not be small and nothing.

oilycomics2

Crash Trash, an uber little comic from French cartoonist Olive Booger, is a streamlined reworking of his style’s drippy, color-saturated, hysteric scratchiness as seen in Kuš! And his graphic novel, I Like Short Songs. While superficially shrunken down to a 4” by 2.25” mini-mini-comic, Crash Trash packs a whole lot of trippy detail in the comic’s anthropologic recounting of the rise and fall of a fictional 1980s gang called the Trash Boys, along with the antics and lawlessness of their home base, the district of Crashtown.

Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 11.59.11 AM

It’s at first a little jarring to see such a small comic flushed with a heavy hand of text—almost every panel is scrawled with as much space filled with script as it is image. There is no dialogue, only narration and a smattering of effects, thereby pacing the comic quite cinematically, as panel transitions move from pull back shots of the Trash Boys to close-ups of a fallen comb or cross-cutting to a colossal punt by enemy gang, the Mega Dogs. At first glance, it may seem Olive was restricted by size in the type of details he could use to fill in details, yet his histrionic prose amplifies the limited visual space, resisting an urge to rapidly read the comic. There’s a rhythmic cleverness in the way the comic moves, an ebbing and tiding in the momentum as well as in the elevation of dramatic moments. The story is neither bounded with innovation, so when particular key words are bolded, it aids in setting the scene because you’re most likely able to attribute certain visual cues.

What I’ve said so far shouldn’t discount Oliver’s artistic aspiration; his style is still largely tangible even when stripped down to its red and black risographed print. His previous work harkens a definite Charles Burns influence with the thick, oil paint execution and thematics resonating with the sordid darkness of a city’s underbelly. Crash Trash is situated with the aesthetics of raw, punk desperation of his preceding I Like Short Songs but the simplicity in his line work has taken a new mode, less garish and more nuanced. It’s very impressive to see his art pulsate even with the oppressively tight margins of space.

oilycomics4

A lot has been said about Melissa Mendes’s Lou, the seventeen issue long pillar amongst the Oily lineup. This newest addition, titled A Very Special Lou, marks a revisiting to the series which ended in August 2013, and a warm return it proves to be. Like a childhood friend or long unseen family member, A Very Special Lou is an entirely new narrative that retains its delightful, underlying spirit of kindred nostalgia.

DSC_1236

One of the reasons I really took to this particular issue was how it gently touched on the omnipresence of fandom for professional wrestling. I’ve always been comfortable broadcasting myself as a fan of comics, and more recently I’ve come clean as a fan of professional wrestling. Fans of comics and professional wrestling share a long, complex history of facing ridicule for following such a denigrated form of entertainment—wrestlers and superheroes are arguably a form of con-job, deemed “fake” by those who choose to stand by higher media forms, be it athletics or literary elitists. However, criticisms aside, fans of wrestling and comics share a distinctly unique concept of play, where we consume media in a way that extends the narrative fluidly, defying rigid roles between the identities of producers and consumers.

A Very Special Lou functions both as a piece about being an admirer of comics as well as wrestling through the domestic lens of childhood imagination. Referencing wrestlers like King Kong Bundy and Hulk Hogan through 6-year-old John’s fannish fascination and how it’s lived through his family, Mendes yet again accesses the real emotions that we feel as charismatic kids and continue to feel today. Through the entire Lou serialization, Mendes almost effortlessly lets the reader dip into points of their own life, spurring even the most dormant, forgotten affections.

oilycomics3

The Lou Series all laid out

Stay up to date with all the Oily greatness by browsing the Oily Comics website.

(Image Credits: http://melissammmendes.tumblr.com, http://snakeoily.tumblr.com)

1 Comments on Review: Some Picks from the Spring Oily Bundle, last added: 4/17/2014
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8. big headed

Some more great work by these kids, way to go!

age 11
age 10


age 6
age 8


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9. Interview at All Creativelike

I was so happy to be interviewed by Leigh Medeiros at All Creativelike. I have worked with Leigh as a consultant and she is fantastic. I highly recommend that you check out All Creativelike and the many ways that Leigh works with artists. Coaching, products for artists, Retreats & Workshops, Classes, Research/Story Notes-she does it all. Subscribe to her blog to see the many way that she works with creative people and be sure to read the testimonials-she is the real deal.



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10. Shattering the Multicultural Myth of the Market. Let's go.

"A young adult book featuring a protagonist who isn't of European descent will never become a bestseller."

"The majority of readers won't read a young adult novel featuring a protagonist who isn't of European descent."

We imagine these kinds of comments, spoken or unspoken, governing the publishing industry. In our guts, we know they're not true. We gripe about this issue. We try to disprove such claims through social media and conferences, panels and articles, speeches and radio shows. Unfortunately, nothing so far has resulted in such a young adult novel breaking through into widespread success.

The truth is that, for all of our good intentions, publishing is a for-profit industry.

Money changes minds.

"Adults don't read books for young readers." Harry Potter shattered that one, didn't it?

"Boys don't read girl books." Along came Suzanne Collins with Katniss, and middle-aged men were tearing through The Hunger Games trilogy.

Yesterday I tweeted this:

I got several suggestions including books like Joseph Bruchac's Killer of Enemies, The Living by Matt De La Peña, Fake ID by Lamar Giles, and Prophecy by Ellen Oh.

But Ellen raised a good question:
I do think that film can take a book to the next level, but it must achieve some widespread market success before moviemakers begin to pay attention. There are two necessities to achieve this kind of success.

First, storytellers — RISE UP! Write a great story that rings with authenticity featuring a protagonist we love who is not of European descent (I know the label stinks, but you get my drift.) It must be a page-turner. It must knock our story-hungry socks off.  By the last page, not only are we are ready to read it again,  we are reaching into our wallets to pre-order the sequel. We are tweeting, texting, status-ing, and insta-ing that book until our friends are convinced they must buy it right now or their quality of life will diminish.

I may complain about the market and choose to blame my lack of breakthrough success on the r-word, but let's get real—I need to write an AMAZING STORY. Once I've achieved this (and the veracity of such a claim has been thoroughly verified by countless words and reviews of readers who don't know me), I might be able to question why it didn't become a blockbuster.

I know that one part of us believes our mothers and thinks our books are beyond incredible, but another part says, "Maybe it was good, but get better, get better." Let's listen to that—time is short.

Second, readers, be on the hunt for such a story. In the old days, we relied solely on publishing houses to put publicity and marketing big bucks behind fiction. These days, social media and virality are increasingly key to launching a novel into bestseller status, which feels like the collective "we" have a bit more power.  How can we use that power to get behind a title? Maybe we can add our small voice of influence to help it sell like crazy.

Who is likely to discover a young adult novel with blockbuster potential featuring culturally marginalized protagonists (gosh, I hate race labels—what do you think of that one)? I trust indie booksellers and librarians. That's why I tune into their voices on twitter (feel free to follow my lists of 197 booksellers and 359 librarians.) If booksellers like Elizabeth Bluemle and librarians like Betsy Bird, champions of "add-your-own-label-here" books for years, don't discover this myth-shattering story, nobody will.

I believe that changing the market can and will happen. And when it does, I promise you I'll say I told you so.

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11. The Secret World of Dr. Seuss

The touring "Hats Off to Dr. Seuss" exhibit  is on display at 
The Art Shop in Greensboro through tomorrow, April 19th.


Slideshow via http://wunc.org/


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12. Great Presentations



Last Saturday, I attended a terrific conference put on by the Foundation of Children’s Books (FCB) at Lesley University.  It’s a regular event and this year it concentrated upon nonfiction.  The speakers were nonfiction all-stars including Michael Tougias talking about adapting to write for middle grade after being an adult nonfiction author, Kathy Lasky reflecting upon the evolution of the nonfiction part of her career, Jason Chin finding the narrative arc of science through words and illustrations, and Steve Sheinkin being wildly entertaining while discussing books about very serious subjects.

I was especially pleased, however, to listen to fellow I.N.K. contributor Melissa Stewart.  She appeared in the middle of the lineup, and that’s when you could hear pens scratching on notebooks.  Melissa was there to discuss “Nonfiction Books You’ll Love” from 2013 and 2014.

The way that she presented them would do any nonfiction writer proud.  She organized her info into topics that provided context to her audience.  She gave just enough description about each book to inform and create the desire for further research.  Her enthusiasm for her subject/s was infectious.  She even supplied back matter: a takeaway list of 30 books arranged in alphabetical order by title and by year.

I guess what impressed me most besides Melissa’s careful curation was the generosity of her presentation--praise, yes, but also ways we could appreciate and use the books she mentioned.  That’s why authors in the audience were writing down titles as potential mentor texts while teachers and librarians were listing books to add to their collections.  

I remember a post Melissa did a while ago, saying that Common Core is here to stay and one of the best things writers can do (if they have the time and interest) is to give teachers easy ways to use their books to teach these standards.  Then she helped us further by providing 10 ways to help educators, complete with with examples of these ideas.

During her presentation at the FCB, Melissa showed us a new idea she is using, a multimedia revision timeline that chronicles the very long road she took to finally publish her book, No Monkeys, No Chocolate.  It was a fabulous way to show students and beginning authors that effortless writing takes an enormous amount of steps and work.


Now, she has given us 11 ways to help educators.

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13. Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken is Being Adapted as a YA Novel

unbrokenLaura Hillenbrand’s bestseller Unbroken: An Olympian’s Journey from Airman to Castaway to Captive will be adapted as young adult novel. Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, will publish the work on Veteran’s Day 2014.

Hillenbrand adapted the work for young readers. “The saga of a man’s bravery, ingenuity, and unwavering will in the face of almost unimaginable challenges, Louie Zamperini’s story is spellbinding to people of every age,” explained Hillenbrand in a statement. “At the urging of librarians, teachers, and parents, I’ve created this edition specifically for younger readers. I’m delighted to bring Louie’s inspiring, exhilarating story to a new generation.”

The first printing of the YA adaptation will be a 200,000 copy run. The original book has sold almost 4 million copies and has been on the bestseller list for more than 160 weeks, with 14 weeks at No. 1. The book has also been adapted as a film starring Angelina Jolie, which is slated for release on Christmas Day 2014.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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14. Mark your calendars: Unstoppable - June 3rd!

The release date for Unstoppable is June 3rd!

At that time it will only be available in print and at Amazon. 

To catch up on the series - Untraceable is currently free and Uncontrollable is $3.99.

You can add Unstoppable to your Goodreads 

If you would like to be a part of the summer blog tour - sign up here.




After everything that has happened, Grace goes to the Everglades to live with her grandmother, Birdee. Even though she is now home-schooled by her bird-obsessed grandmother, the move gives Grace time to relax. She learns to scuba dive and starts boating with old man Rex, Birdee's casual friend/boyfriend. 

One day while out in the marshes of the Everglades, Grace rescues an abused Florida panther, currently on the endangered list. The more she dives into the animal’s horrific condition, the more she ventures into the underground world of the roadside zoos that run rampant in Florida with a total disregard for the law. Eventually, she stumbles upon one large roadside zoo filled with a variety of endangered and illegal animals. 

Before she can gather evidence and report her findings to the authorities, she is kidnapped by the ruthless owner and dragged deep into the Everglades for a hunting challenge. Only this time, Grace is the prey. 

During a sick game of cat and mouse, Grace is offered one chance at survival. With a one-hour head start and very little supplies, time and skill are now all that stands between the hunter and the hunted.



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15. DC Confirms Earth 2 Weekly comic to launch in October

apokolipsnew11.jpg

At the ComicsPRO meeting DC announced they would be launching three weekly comics this year. Batman Eternal just debuted last week, and The New 52 Future’s End is coming on Free Comic Book Day. And now Nerdist has revealed that as expected, the third weekly will be set on Earth 2. Creators include writers Daniel H. Wilson, Tom Taylor, Paul Levitz, Marguerite Bennet, and Mike Johnson; among the artists: Eddy Barrows, Jorge Jimenez, Stephen Segovia, Paulo Siqeira, and Tyler Kirkham. DC released a promo (above) by Ben Oliver which indicated this will be another feel good, upbeat story.

Apparently Wilson, author of How to Survive a Robot Uprising and other robot bestsellers, will be the “Showrunnrer” for this particular weekly, stating “This has been a charmed opportunity to jump straight into the deep end of a gritty, complex DC Comics series. I feel incredibly lucky to work with Mike Cotton and the rest of the legendary DC team, figuring out the ultimate fates (and sometimes origins) of so many compelling Earth 2 characters in crisis. I’m having the time of my life.”

Earth-2 is a long running alternate Earth featured prominently in DC comics and as you can see from the above, it has a black Superman who is on good terms with Power Girl and a Batman with a funny looking logo that has not impeded his ability to mourn. Although many attempts have been made over the years to simplify DC continuity by nuking variant earths, the truth is, you can’t keep a good alternate world down.

The book comes out in October.

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16. Riccardo Guasco

Riccardo Guasco via grainedit.com

Meet Riccardo Guasco, aka ”Rik”, a cartoonist, illustrator and painter based in Alessandria, Italy. Influenced by movements such as Cubism and Futurism he crafts rich compositions brimming with warm muted tones.

 

 

 

Riccardo Guasco via grainedit.com

 

Riccardo Guasco via grainedit.com

Riccardo Guasco via grainedit.com

Selected works are available for sale at his Society6 shop.

 

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Also worth viewing:
Timo Meyer
Josh Emrich
Javier Garcia Interview

Not signed up for the Grain Edit RSS Feed yet? Give it a try. Its free and yummy.
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Sponsor // Wallpapered Maps






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17. ‘To the Boys Who May One Day Date My Daughter’ Poem Goes Viral

How would you treat the people who may become a love interest for your children? Jesse Parent penned a cautionary spoken-word poem entitled “To the Boys Who May One Day Date My Daughter.”

The video embedded above features Parent performing his piece at the 2014 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational. The Button Poetry YouTube channel posted it earlier this month and it has since attracted more than 840,000 views.

continued…

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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18. Prose and Poetry Competitions for Women: A Room of Her Own

$1000 Poetry and Prose Publication Prizes for women
 

A Room of Her Own Foundation (AROHO), a transformational community for women writers and artists, is seeking submissions from women writers for the $1,000 To the Lighthouse Poetry Publication Prize (previously unpublished collection of poetry 48 to 96 pages in length) and $1000 Clarissa Dalloway “everything but poetry” Book Prize (previously unpublished, 50,000 to 150,000 words)

There is a $20 submission fee for each manuscript. Our 2014 deadline has been extended to July 31st. Winning manuscripts will be published by Red Hen Press.

Read more here on how to apply.

Please address all inquiries to:


infoATaroomofherownfoundationDOTorg (Change AT to @ and DOT to . )


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19. sketch dailies "lady of the lake"


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20. From the short story: The Boy In The Leaves by J.D. Holiday

The Boy In The Leaves


from Short Stories and Other Imaginings for The Reading Spot


by J.D. Holiday


All Rights Reserved


Copyright 2014 by J.D. Holiday
The Boy  In The Leaves B&W FINISHEDFinal 3-25-13  JDHOLIDAY


A small boy laid there, motionless. Unlike the leaves around him he lay undisturbed by the wind gust.


Max stepped away. It was just a little kid. He looked asleep, his dark skinwas a shade of blue and purple, almost translucent. Thin parchment spanning a fragile frame.


The boy wore black jeans and an orange T-shirt with a ‘Save The Oceans’ logo across his chest. A crusted gash was on his forehead. Any time now he’d move, open his eyes and jump up, laughing.


“He’s dead,” Tony said again, this time contemptuously, his eyes wells of tears.


Max’s chest felt crushed like the time he’d fallen on his back from the school yardjungle gym and he couldn’t pull air in. He managed to say, “Maybe he’s not.”


Tony shook his head. “The little piss head. Dumb shit! He didn’t do whathe should have and now he’s dead. Stupid kid!”


Max stared at the kid. For a moment he sawTonylying in the boy’s place.Max choked. “He’s sick or something.” He hedged closer and squatted down, hesitantly touching the boy’s face. The skin was unusually cold, and the cheek dented in easily, like clay. Max jumped back falling on his backside.


“He’s dead. Can’t you see that cut on his head? They smashed him with something.Hard!” Richie loudly told him, his hands clutched at his side.


“No. Maybe it was an accident. Or a car hit him.”


“Grow up, Max. It happens,”Tony said softly now, grabbing Max’s sleeveand jerking him to his feet. “We have to tell.”


On his feet again, Max let Tony continue pulling him toward his own house. At the front door Tony using his key, lead Max inside.


They softly moved through the silent house to the kitchen in back, bright light from the many windows illuminating their way. Nothing was ever out of place there. Alwaysa bleachy smell in the air as if someone wiped off everything to disinfect and kill all the germs before they contaminated the inhabitants of the house. This house gave Max the creeps. There was something missing from it. What it was Max knew well, though things have changed since his stepfather now sucks it all up in their family. There was no love and what was there, felt like old toast taste; brittle, crackly and harsh. Most times Max could get Tony to come over to his house and hang out.When Max was here though, at Tony‘s, he felt it. Something always spooked him, only worse this time. Finding the boy did it, never having seen someone dead before.


He could almost see Tony getting beaten up here. Marus broke Tony‘s leg with thebaseball bat Tony usually kept leaning inside the garage door. Tony said he was batted to short stop, the patio doors calling him out. His parents told people he’d fallen from a backyard tree. Afterwards, Tony put the bat through the lattice work decorating the front porch, out of sight under the stairs so Maris couldn’t use it again.


Copyright by J.D. Holiday 2014

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21. Essay Competition: Wielding Power

Essay Contest: Is Secession Legitimate?

Wielding Power is a new online magazine that's reviving the political essay, that classic mix of rigorous argument and vigorous prose.

Each issue poses a single question and offers a $1000 reward for the best answer received. Entry is free and open to any resident of the U.S. or Canada (ex. Quebec), 18 and older. Each entry should be between 500 and 2000 words.

The last day to submit an answer to 'Is Secession Legitimate?' is June 1, 2014.
For more information on how to submit and to read the Official Rules, please visit our website.

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22. MTV Unleashes ‘If I Stay’ Movie Trailer

MTV has unleashed a new trailer for the If I Stay film adaptation. The video embedded above offers glimpses of actress Chloe Grace Moretz playing the lead role Mia and actor Jamie Blackley as her love interest Adam.

The story, based on Gayle Foreman’s popular young adult novel, follows Mia when her “world is turned upside down during a horrific car accident that kills her parents, and leaves Mia in a coma.” This movie is scheduled to hit theaters on August 22nd.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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23. Calling the Cops on Conventions

Donna Barr has posted an item on her blog that I think is very important.  Why? Because more and more I hear female cosplayers and women attending US conventions report sexual harassment.  The organisers of events rarely even act when perpetrators are reported.

A woman wearing a comic or fantasy related costume to an event is NOT shouting out -"Hey, I'm a slu come and abuse me!"  I've heard of no incidents in the UK but cosplayers and fan boy geeks ought to read Donna's posting!

http://donnabarr.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/calling-cops-on-conventions.html

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24. Call for Submissions: The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts

The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts is looking for, as you might guess, "compressed creative arts." We accept fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, mixed media, visual arts, and even kitchen sinks, if they are compressed in some way. Work is published weekly, without labels, and the labels here only exist to help us determine its best readers. We also have a brand new category: triptychs!

Our response time is generally 1-3 days. Also, our acceptance rate is currently about 1% of submissions. We pay writers $50 per accepted piece and signed contract.

We are currently open for compressed poetry, compressed prose fiction (including prose poetry), and compressed creative nonfiction. We will close submissions on June 15, 2014.

The reader for your submission is, during this round of spring submissions, the managing editor.

Please be sure to submit in the correct category; we've been receiving several fiction submissions in the creative nonfiction category. Word count alone doesn't create compression, so we ask that you also consider why this piece works for a journal obsessed with what's compressed.

For all submitters, we aren't as concerned with labels—hint fiction, prose poetry, micro fiction, flash fiction, and so on—as we are with what compression means to you. In other words, what form "compression" takes in each artist's work will be up to each individual. However, we don't publish erotica or work with strong, graphic sexual content.

In short, we want to fall in love with your work. That might happen in the way we've fallen in love with work we've previously published, or it might happen in a way we have yet to experience. Maybe reading that other work will help in knowing whether you should send your work to us, but in truth, such a thing might not be discoverable.

Submit your work here.

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25. O is for Overtaken--and a Free Giveaway

My recent novel, Overtaken, is a keeper because--I wrote it! Better yet, I want you to have a copy too! 

From now until the end of the 2014 A-Z Challenge on April 30, all you have to do is leave a comment on any of my posts and you'll be entered into a random drawing on May 1, 2014 to win your very own copy. This goes for everyone who's already commented on earlier posts as well. And if you're a follower of my blog who leaves a comment, it gets even better--I'll throw in a bonus prize! This is to thank all of you wonderful people for taking the time to visit, comment, and join. "O" is for overjoyed to meet you!

In the meantime, here's a little more about the book: Published in 2012, Overtaken is a literary Gothic fairy tale centering on Sara Elliott Bergsen, a portrait artist living in London. You can watch the book trailer here, and get some idea of the story settings from my Pinterest board here. 

I started writing the book as part of an exercise in a workshop I took at the International Women's Writing Guild Summer Conference at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY. We were meant to try a visualization process to invite a story in that we could write about. We closed our eyes, sat in deep silence and meditation, and asked a character to visit us. That's when Sara appeared, climbing the stone steps to a mysterious mansion, on her way to being . . . Overtaken. I was equally overtaken, and for the next several years I wrote every day in my spare time to find out what happened to Sara and why she was at the mansion in the first place. I was as surprised at what I found as she was.

Now Sara and her story are so much a part of my life I can't think of what my world would be without her. One of the strangest things about writing, to me, is how our characters become real--imaginary friends that change our lives as much as we create theirs. What is real, what is illusion?, the exact dilemma Sara faces throughout the book, and questions I still love to explore.

How about you? Looking forward to hearing from you so we can discuss these questions together! See you tomorrow with the letter "P."





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