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1001. 2016 Challenges: Paris in July

Paris in July
Host: Thyme for Tea (sign up)
Duration: July 2016
My goal: 5 posts

What I Watch:

What I Listen To:

What I Read:



© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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1002. Crafting Characters: Stress Points Part 2

We continue our evaluation of character reactions to stress. The higher the stress level, the more extreme their position becomes on the behvioral spectrum. You can give them a problem where their approach works and they gain ground, or they fail utterly which causes them to lose ground.


#writingfiction, #writingtips, #fiction, #critiquegroup, #genre, #novel, #storybuildingblocks, #screenplay, @Diana_Hurwitz,  #temperament, #storybuildingblocks

9. Joss

Joss is a man of action and few words. He may never talk about the problem or what needs to be done about it. Stress can make him impulsive. He may attempt things that were better left alone. He may drag in a few other maverick loners like himself. They may drive each other to ridiculous lengths.


10. Kelly

Kelly is a one-man show. He’s wild and crazy. Stress makes him more impulsive than usual. He has no trouble confronting people or tasks. His efforts won’t be focused and the results are iffy. He will probably charm someone else into taking a hit for him.

11. Greer

Greer is a quiet, elusive kind of guy. He isn’t very social to begin with. As long as people leave him alone, he really doesn’t care what they do. When they dump problems in his lap, he becomes resentful and withdraws. He may be forced to tackle the problem in his careful, logical way, but whoever caused it will pay the price for disturbing his peace.

12. Taylor

Taylor thrives on being social and gaining cooperation. He becomes rigid and irritable when stressed. If someone provokes him, he will hold tight to his goal and snap at everyone he dragoons into helping him. He is good at getting people to do what he wants them to. His opponent will feel the sting.

13. Cam

Cam isn’t terribly social. As long as people leave his lofty logical fortress alone, he ignores them. Attack him and he freezes in amazement. He leaves other people alone. Why would they go after him? He calmly sets about destroying his attacker in his creative, methodical way. He won’t broadcast his success or ask for help. He’ll just take quiet satisfaction in his work. 
14. Morgan

Morgan is erratic in nature. He’s a rolling stone that gathers no moss. He isn’t interested in fighting unless someone brings the fight to him. When stressed, he becomes scattered. He’ll find it hard to focus, but his scattershot approach may have many undesirable consequences for his enemy.
15. Lee

Lee is lethal. He is used to getting his way and cuts down anyone brave enough to confront him. He isn’t a touchy-feely, let’s be a team kind of guy. He is good at dragooning others into carrying out his wishes. He becomes hypercritical when stressed and snipes and cracks the whip. His enemies should just move out of the way. 

16. River

River is a pacifist. He wants what is best for everyone. He isn’t interested in fighting unless someone brings the war to him. He becomes critical and self-absorbed when stressed. His strength lies in his uncanny intuition. He will figure out his opponent’s weakness in a heartbeat and use it to his advantage.



The more stressed your character feels, the more anxious your reader feels in response. Turning up the heat on your characters makes the reader eager to see the stress relieved. That keeps them turning pages.



For more about how to craft characters, pick up a copy of Story Building Blocks II: Crafting Believable Conflict, available in paperback and E-book and Story Building Blocks: Build A Cast Workbook, available in paperback and E-book.

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1003. Crafting Characters: Stress Points Part 2

We continue our evaluation of character reactions to stress. The higher the stress level, the more extreme their position becomes on the behvioral spectrum. You can give them a problem where their approach works and they gain ground, or they fail utterly which causes them to lose ground.

#writingfiction, #writingtips, #fiction, #critiquegroup, #genre, #novel, #storybuildingblocks, #screenplay, @Diana_Hurwitz,  #temperament, #storybuildingblocks

9. Joss

Joss is a man of action and few words. He may never talk about the problem or what needs to be done about it. Stress can make him impulsive. He may attempt things that were better left alone. He may drag in a few other maverick loners like himself. They may drive each other to ridiculous lengths.


10. Kelly

Kelly is a one-man show. He’s wild and crazy. Stress makes him more impulsive than usual. He has no trouble confronting people or tasks. His efforts won’t be focused and the results are iffy. He will probably charm someone else into taking a hit for him.

11. Greer

Greer is a quiet, elusive kind of guy. He isn’t very social to begin with. As long as people leave him alone, he really doesn’t care what they do. When they dump problems in his lap, he becomes resentful and withdraws. He may be forced to tackle the problem in his careful, logical way, but whoever caused it will pay the price for disturbing his peace.

12. Taylor

Taylor thrives on being social and gaining cooperation. He becomes rigid and irritable when stressed. If someone provokes him, he will hold tight to his goal and snap at everyone he dragoons into helping him. He is good at getting people to do what he wants them to. His opponent will feel the sting.

13. Cam

Cam isn’t terribly social. As long as people leave his lofty logical fortress alone, he ignores them. Attack him and he freezes in amazement. He leaves other people alone. Why would they go after him? He calmly sets about destroying his attacker in his creative, methodical way. He won’t broadcast his success or ask for help. He’ll just take quiet satisfaction in his work. 
14. Morgan

Morgan is erratic in nature. He’s a rolling stone that gathers no moss. He isn’t interested in fighting unless someone brings the fight to him. When stressed, he becomes scattered. He’ll find it hard to focus, but his scattershot approach may have many undesirable consequences for his enemy.
15. Lee

Lee is lethal. He is used to getting his way and cuts down anyone brave enough to confront him. He isn’t a touchy-feely, let’s be a team kind of guy. He is good at dragooning others into carrying out his wishes. He becomes hypercritical when stressed and snipes and cracks the whip. His enemies should just move out of the way. 

16. River

River is a pacifist. He wants what is best for everyone. He isn’t interested in fighting unless someone brings the war to him. He becomes critical and self-absorbed when stressed. His strength lies in his uncanny intuition. He will figure out his opponent’s weakness in a heartbeat and use it to his advantage.



The more stressed your character feels, the more anxious your reader feels in response. Turning up the heat on your characters makes the reader eager to see the stress relieved. That keeps them turning pages.


For more about how to craft characters, pick up a copy of Story Building Blocks II: Crafting Believable Conflict, available in paperback and E-book and Story Building Blocks: Build A Cast Workbook, available in paperback and E-book.

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1004. My thoughts on Call the Midwife, season 1

Call the Midwife (2012)
Series 1 = 6 episodes

Jenny Lee = Jessica Raine
Trixie Franklin = Helen George
Cynthia Miller = Bryony Hannah
Chummy (Camilla Fortescue-Cholmondeley-Browne) = Miranda Hart
Sister Julienne = Jenny Agutter
Sister Monica Joan = Judy Parfitt
Sister Evangelina = Pam Ferris
Sister Bernadette (aka Shelagh) = Laura Main
Dr. Patrick Turner = Stephen McGann
Timothy Turner = Max Macmillan
PC Peter Noakes = Ben Caplan
Fred Buckle = Cliff Parisi

I love, love, love Call the Midwife. The way some people gush on and on about Downton Abbey is how I feel about this show. I just truly LOVE and ADORE it. The first series opens in 1957.

Episode one introduces us to Jenny Lee a nurse and midwife newly assigned to Nonnatus House, a nursing convent in East London. The first person she meets is Sister Monica Joan, the eldest and most eccentric resident at Nonnatus House. She's no longer an active midwife. But she has plenty of stories to tell. And some of them even make sense. Jenny meets most of the others as well: Trixie, Cynthia, Sister Julienne, Sister Evangelina, Sister Bernadette. Viewers meet Conchita Warren and her family. She is about to have her twenty-fifth child!!! She doesn't speak a word of English, her husband doesn't speak a word of Spanish.

Episode two introduces us to Chummy. Chummy just may be one of my FAVORITE, FAVORITE characters. When she arrives, she has some difficulties to say the least. She "barely" passed her test and still has some studying to do before feeling confident to work (deliver) on her own. She does NOT know how to ride a bicycle, and bicycles are how all the midwives get around the district. It's a must, but, it won't come easy! Also she has to sew her own uniforms since the largest size doesn't fit her. (She's VERY tall.) On one of her learning to ride excursions she literally runs into PC Peter Noakes, and, with a little help from Sister Evangelina (either in this episode or the next?) she finds herself with a boyfriend! Meanwhile, Jenny's case has her involved with a teen prostitute who desperately wants to keep her baby.

Episode three, Jenny's case is a NURSING one. She tends the leg wounds of an elderly soldier named Joe. This is another eye-opener for Jenny who still knows so little about poverty. Meanwhile, Trixie and Cynthia have a very interesting midwife case! I love the husband in this one. His reaction to the 'surprise' is so sweet.

Episode four, this episode may be the most DRAMATIC so far. A newborn baby--that Jenny delivered--is KIDNAPPED. Cynthia's case is equally dramatic in many ways. I think it provides a real clue into her character as well....

Episode five is a good, strong episode. Chummy and Peter's romance continues. He wants her to meet his mother. And she, I believe, sews a special dress for the occasion. But Fred's big scheme to get rich from raising a pig for bacon may just interfere. His pig is pregnant... And the midwives may just have to get involved. I just realized I haven't mentioned Fred yet. He's a HOOT and then some. He always has one scheme or another--whether raising pigs or quail or selling toffee apples--but technically he is the convent's handyman. Peggy is the cleaning woman at the convent. Her brother has cancer...and in seeking to nurse him, Jenny realizes that Peggy and her brother are more than brother and sister.

Episode six focuses on Sister Monica Joan...and her mental health. (She ends up on trial for theft). But Chummy also gets a lot of time in this episode. Her MOTHER comes to visit. And her mother is a CHARACTER and then some. Peter does not meet her mother's approval, and, so her romance is threatened. But Chummy's case may just inspire her to BE REALLY, REALLY, REALLY brave. This episode ends the season really WELL. (Chummy's case is super-super-dramatic. Delivering a set of triplets (when only one was expected!!!) in an apartment with no electricity at the moment.)


© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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1005. Writing Links

DSC_0783

July is my blogging sabbath, a time for me to step away and recharge. Usually during this season I re-run popular posts once a week. This year I’ve come across a number of great writing articles, so many that I realized July would work perfectly for sharing them.

I hope you enjoy what you find here. Join me next week for more.

 

Creating Compelling character descriptions :: Ingrid Sundberg

A Prayer for the Writer :: Emily P. Freeman

The Power of the Long Walk :: 99u
(This one reminded me so much of the book Daily Rituals)

On Creating :: Lisa Schroeder

Breaking Down Scene Structure into Three Parts :: Live Write Thrive

 

The post Writing Links originally appeared on Caroline Starr Rose

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1006. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 7/1/16: The Phial of Galadriel vs Dumpster Fires

§ Nice statue: I’m not a big fan of The Darkness, but this statue by XM Studios is pretty cool. Via FB. § Yesterday we introduced our new, fresh burning dumpster scale for kerfuffles, but on reflection we decided that a counterbalance for justice and mercy was needed, and we were inspired by the thoughts […]

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1007. Today The Beat is 12!

We celebrate the Beat’s anniversary on July 1st every year, and guess what? We’re 12! I don’t have too much to say this year, because I’ve been saying it all for a while. These are tough days for tough people but we made it this far and had a blast doing it. But the Beat […]

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1008. T is for Constellation


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1009. Daniel Radcliffe & What It Would Take For Him To Return To His Iconic Role

Radio Times writes that Daniel Radcliffe has not completely ruled out the possibility of returning to his iconic role as Harry Potter.

In light of the expansion of the wizarding world via Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Radio Times asked Radcliffe whether he would consider the possibility of playing Harry Potter as an adult, to which Radcliffe responded:

“It would depend on the script,” he said. “The circumstances would have to be pretty extraordinary. But then I am sure Harrison Ford said that with Han Solo and look what happened there! So I am saying, ‘No,’ for now but leaving room to backtrack in the future.”

Radcliffe definitely has his hands full at the moment, with the press of his new releases Now You See Me 2 and Swiss Army Man. He is also the star of Imperium, an upcoming thriller that is scheduled to be release on August 19, 2016 in limited release and through VOD. In 2017 Radcliffe can be seen in Greg McLean’s thriller Jungle which started production in April 2016 in Australia.

While we might not see Daniel back in the wizarding world for a good while, it is good to know he is still keeping that option open for the future.

 

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1010. Presidential Polar Bear Post Card Project No. 184 - 6.30.16


I'm a little early with the theme... but it's virtual fireworks only here in eastern WA (which is totally fine and appropriate given our sage brush summer climes) so the colorful spirit of both independence, tolerance, and acceptance that actually DO make our country so great can lead you preemptively into a happy July 4th weekend! 

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1011. When something unexpected happens...


I'm back from my blogging break and happy to be here. Revising my verse novel took up more than half my time (I'll be back to talk about my novel and the Highlights Foundation workshop on Monday, July 11th). The rest of my blogging break was spent on a river cruise with my husband in Europe.

Yes, I know, we're very lucky. Actually, you have no idea how lucky we are!

This photo pretty much sums it up (yes, that's our ship in the background, which we had to evacuate):

That's my husband with some very nice ladies from Texas
at about 6:30 am local time on Father's Day, June 19, 2016.
We all managed to keep our sense of humor about the situation.

You may have seen the commercials. ("Unpack once and spend more time being there.") An idyllic river cruise through Germany, Austria, and Hungary to see Europe's greatest treasures. Well, two nights out of a planned seven were actually spent cruising. Then we were awakened at 3:30 am on the second night by a loud bang, the ship shuddered several times and eventually started listing to one side. My husband said, "I think we're in trouble." I said, "Relax, they know what they're doing. We're probably in a lock. Go back to sleep."


Taken from our sliding glass door on the 2nd level at 3:54 am local time.
We are parallel to the bridge and not going anywhere.


But we never did go back to sleep.

And we weren't in a lock.

My husband understood right away that we were actually stuck next to a bridge. The muddy, churning water of the Danube River was rushing under the boat but we weren't moving.

By 4:30 am, we'd been officially informed that the ship had run aground. By 5:30 we'd packed our luggage but left it in our stateroom as ordered, and even had time for a quick buffet breakfast on board the ship (I miss you, Chef Solomon!). By 6:30, we were taken off the vessel in small rescue boats by a local German fire rescue crew and taken to a small dock, then by bus to the fire hall, where the equivalent of the Red Cross handed out coffee, tea, and water.

I can honestly say it's the first time I've ever had to be rescued from a ship that ran aground and the first time I've ever been taken to a fire hall for disaster relief. It was truly an adventure. I think having a sense of humor and a sense of adventure is the key here. More importantly, no one was hurt, everyone on the ship stayed safe, and the volunteers of the Kelheim-Stadt Fire Rescue company were all very calm and thorough and professional. They did a fantastic job of getting 186 passengers and 50 crew members safely off the ship.




Another view from our stateroom, around 6 am, just before we left it for good.




The volunteer fire rescue crew wrote numbers on our hands as we prepared to step into the rescue boat.
It was a little disconcerting, but led to a lot of jokes (and took three days to wash off),
Those are German 1's, so I was number 141




There goes our rescue boat, off to retrieve more passengers



More pics of our intrepid rescuers:









It certainly was not what we expected to happen. We expected, instead, plenty of this:




Half-timbered house near Nuremberg Castle, Germany





Our tour guide called this "Medieval color TV" --
clock tower in Nuremberg, Germany
with figures that appeared at noon, danced and played instruments


Worlds Oldest Sausage Kitchen, Regensburg, Germany.
The sausages were delicious and I don't even like sausage!





Thirteenth-century Patrician tower with Italian influence,
Regensburg, Germany




St. Stephen's cathedral in Passau, Germany.
We were treated to a magnificent organ concert.



Near Krems, Austria, looking down at the valley from Gottweig Abbey,
a 900-year-old working Benedictine abbey where they make a delightful apricot wine!

The church at Gottweig Abbey

Maria Theresa, Queen and Empress, who reigned in the 18th century,
also wife of Holy Roman Emperor Francis I,
Vienna, Austria

Hofburg Palace in Vienna, the former imperial palace,
and still the seat of government


This may look like a palace or cathedral but it's actually Parliament in Budapest.
And Viking gave us a one-hour river cruise to see the lights come on Thursday evening.
So we still got our Budapest river cruise. Thank you, Viking!


We were most impressed with how well Viking handled the entire situation. They tried very hard to get us another vessel, but it didn't work out. So our vacation turned into a bus tour. Not the worst thing that could happen! (And other ships were affected by the flooding that same week.) Everyone from the company was calm, professional, and hardworking and did everything in their power to keep us happy. Nikki, Ivan, and especially Daniel, my hat is off to you. (I don't think those three young people ever slept.)

Imagine finding hotel rooms for 190 people at short notice! And having to feed all those people. And bus them all to the next included excursion. How they managed, I'll never know. But we never missed a single city tour. So we still saw everything we were supposed to see, including an optional tour my husband and I had signed up for, to the Bavarian Village museum, also known as the Museumsdorf Bayerischer Wald, near Passau. A delightful journey into Bavaria's past, with over 100 authentic buildings brought in from all over Bavaria and preserved.

Chapel in the Bavarian Village museum

The geese at the Bavarian Village were excited to see us,
as our group of 15 seemed to be the only people there that day!


The accident was certainly not the worst thing that ever happened to us on vacation. Curious about the worst? See my "About Me" page.

When something unexpected happens on vacation, how do you handle it? Do you keep your sense of humor?

I'd like to wish all my American friends a very happy (and safe) Independence Day weekend. And to everyone, whether you're heading off to the beach or the mountains or to somewhere farther away for vacation, may all your travels be safe and uneventful!


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1012. देशभक्ति नारे और बदलता समाज

देशभक्ति नारे और बदलता समाज मेरा देश बदल रहा है … आगे बढ रहा है .. एक समय था जब हमारे कर्तव्य कुछ और थे हमारा प्यार सिर्फ देश भक्ति पर ही केंद्रित  था . देश  को अंग्रेजो से स्वतंत्र करना ही एक मात्र लक्ष्य़ था  पर आज मायने बदल चुके है… आज सोशल मीडिया […]

The post देशभक्ति नारे और बदलता समाज appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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1013. David Yates Talks About ‘Tarzan’ and ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ with USA Today

David Yates, the director of The Legend of Tarzan and the upcoming Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them did a Q&A with USA Today and told how he pulled off two massive blockbuster releases in one year.

When asked about what exactly attracted him in the script for The Legend of Tarzan, Yates responded that the screenplay, written by Adam Cozad and Craig Bewer, caught his attention due to its “fun elements that you would enjoy when you went into the movie theater” – elements like action, great landscapes and amazing animals. Yates mentions also being excited about the prospect of working in Africa and producing a type of action/adventure/romance film that he hadn’t seen for a while.

The Legend of Tarzan relies heavily on the use of CGI and according to Yates the biggest challenge he faced was creating the world of the movie and making it feel romantic and heightened, yet believable.

Yates was still in the process of filming The Legend of Tarzan when he got the script for Beasts sent for him. Once the filming of Tarzan ended, Yates moved directly to working with Beasts. He gives special credit to his editor Mark Day, who according to Yates, had one machine that had Tarzan on it and one machine that has Beasts on it, which allowed Yates to switch between the two all the time. While the work load seems heavy, Yates says that working on the two films was:

“All doable, all perfectly fine, but literally there wasn’t a single day when I was working Beasts that I didn’t at least peek at Tarzan in some shape or form.”

While to some extent working on the Fantastic Beasts felt like a homecoming to the Harry Potter world familiar to Yates, he says that the experience felt different, because this time around it is not Hogwarts and it is not about kids, but rather about grown-ups, as a result of which the film deals with “very adult themes”.

The Legend of Tarzan premieres in United States on Friday July 1, 2016. The Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will hit theaters later this year on November 18th.

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1014. Poetry Friday: Youth and Age by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Flowers are lovely;
Love is flower-like;
Friendship is a sheltering tree

- from Youth and Age by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Read the full poem here.

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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1015. back in the saddle and living a lie

File under Silver Linings:  last week's episode with the unwelcome visitors (which seems to be concluded by the application of a fierce indoor heat treatment) required a kamikaze decluttering effort which laid bare the deeper strata of stuff in our house.  In the aftermath, we find ourselves putting back the essentials and opening up boxes like the very heavy one, taped shut since 1998, that has stood in our bedroom draped with a cloth and pretending to be a coffee table.

Lo, it contained notebooks!  My notebooks and journals from the very early years--high school, college, my 6 months in Germany after college.  Amid the excruciating details of my forever overlapping love interests-- (how the world has changed! My own 17-year-old, nor most of her friends, does not concern herself with boys or girls or any love interests but with her own mighty path of becomingness.  Is this true in other parts of the world, or is this specific to her and her microcosm?)--there are POEMS to discover, including this one, typed on an actual typewriter and then marked up and down.  It was folded into my journal from 1984-85, my senior year in college.







Careful readers of  Squeeze may recognize a precursor to my poem "The Moon Moves," which in more than one place I claim to have written first as a 2nd-grader.  Apparently I have been living that lie for all it's worth!  The original version above is clearly based on bike trips I took in the dark during my summer at home in Richmond in 1984, where I visited childhood stomping grounds and viewed them with all the wisdom and perspective of a 20-year-old--"old rounds, new."


Of course, nothing is exactly proven except the fact that I have a a really faulty memory.  It is still possible that somewhere I might turn up an original first poem about riding my bike in the dark at age 7 or 8 (mothers let their kids do that back in 1972).  But I think, in trawling my mind for material for Squeeze, that I neatly bypassed the memory of this composed college version of my kid experience and recreated it as a directly experienced episode of my childhood.

But wait!  There's more!  Looking yet more closely at my 1985 draft, I also see elements of another Squeeze poem, "Singing the Swing:" 

old rounds,                                                                  new

Now I swing and point my toes                                   reach out with your toes
straight into the mottled sky.                                        kick at the clouds

I, the chains and the earth,                                           hold safe to the chains
we swing a scalene explosion                                      you're rooted in earth but you're singing the swing


However it has all developed, the Silver Linings file is getting fat, because THIS is why I keep stuff!  Too much stuff, to be sure, but I keep it because

1) the proven fact that I have a really faulty memory
2) writers should never erase or trash anything--
    you never know when or why it may come in interesting, if not actually handy, and
3) "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," and I prefer to repeat my past with a sense of awareness.

I look forward to a steadier, more reciprocal participation in Poetry Friday for the rest of the summer.  Thanks to Tabatha for hosting today at The Opposite of Indifference, where her theme of mistakes offers ample room for my lie the size of the moon!

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1016. #picturesmeanbusiness: the bookseller rising stars 2016



I was chuffed to get a call from journalist Tom Tivnan, that The Bookseller had put me up for their Rising Stars gallery, for my work on the #PicturesMeanBusiness campaign. It's nice to be recognised, but even better, it's great to see The Bookseller championing a campaign that was initially critical of them. They took the criticism in a thoughtful, professional way, made changes to the way they credited illustrators, and they're now real champions of the cause. Thank you, Tom, Fiona Noble, Philip Jones, Charlotte Eyre, Sarah Shaffi, Natasha Onwuemezi, Kiera O'Brien, FutureBook's Porter Anderson and everyone who have been working hard to credit illustrators and encouraging other people to do so, too. We're definitely making progress and seeing more illustrator names on front book covers and illustrators mentions in the media (including in The Bookseller).

While I don't think it's really a one-person campaign - it takes lots of people to make a difference - The Bookseller are leading the way and I'm very grateful to them for that. Article by Tom Tivnan ('cos #JournalismMeanBusiness):



I've highlighted the bits I think are the most important, and I can only do this campaigning because of the support I've had from my co-author Philip Reeve, Liz Cross and our publisher OUP, my agent Jodie Hodges, Joy Court of the Carnegie-Greenaway committee, the Society of Authors (Nicola Solomon, Niall Slater, Jo McCrum), Andre Breedt and the data team at Nielsen, Kellie Barnfield and Helen Graham at Little Brown for their help with data, Kate Wilson for starting up the Illustrator Salons, and all the writers, illustrators, bloggers, reviewers, booksellers and people in publishing who have been looking out to see illustrators credited properly and professionally.

A lot of illustrators are still frightened of looking like 'trouble' to speak out, but from what they say to me in private, I know your help will be hugely appreciated. Working as a freelance illustrator is a scary job, especially if you don't have a working partner or family who can look after you when your pay is uneven. I've been lucky that my partner works and it's given me some more freedom to trying to make the profession a bit more accessible to single people and people from poorer backgrounds. #PicturesMeanBusiness won't solve all the problems facing illustrators, but we need to fix the industry one step at a time: if illustrators don't have to lose brand-name recognition and the resulting loss of business because the industry, media and society at large are crediting them properly, we can focus our energies elsewhere, trying to make a living and making better books. And publishers will win in so many ways, including better searchability for their books in metadata, being able to grow their illustrators as brands that people want to search out and buy, and by gaining illustrator loyalty.

You can read more in this article by Tom Tivnan and Tom Holman, and find out about the other Rising Stars here. And, of course, find out about Pictures Mean Business at PicturesMeanBusiness.com. Do spread the word about the campaign!

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1017. Blitzed by Robert Swindells

This post was originally posted in 2012, but something odd happened on Blogger and it had to be reposted.

It is 2002 and Georgie Wetherall loves two things - knowing all about England in World War II and creeping. Creeping?  That is when you “streak across a row of back gardens, over fences, through hedges, across veg patches...without getting caught or recognized.” (pg13)  And he especially likes leaving Miss Coverley’s garden is shambles.  Georgie knows she doesn’t like him - she's always watching him.  So when he has to repair her fence post as punishment for his last creeping adventure, Georgie discoveres she watches him - it seems he reminds her of someone, but who?

All this is forgotten, however, when Georgie’s class goes on a trip to Eden Camp, a former POW camp turned into a WW 2 museum of 29 huts each dedicated to one aspect of the war.  Hut 5 is a realistic replica of a bombed street in London during the Blitz.  The sounds and smells add to the realistic atmosphere - but wait, it is perhaps a little too realistic.  In fact, Georgie suddenly finds himself transported back to wartime London.

Finding himself faced with the real deal, cold, hungry, lost and scared, Georgie wanders around until he finds a friendly searchlight crew who give him something to eat.  After living through a night of bombing in a public shelter, Georgie notices four kids emerging from a bombed out pub.  He and the kids start talking and they tell him he can stay with them as long as Ma approves.  Ma turns out to be a 14 year-old girl who watches over orphaned kids in the pub's basement.

Ma has a job in a second hand shop owned by what she believes to be is a Jewish refugee from Germany called Rags.  But when Georgie discovers a radio transmitter locked in one of the shops upstairs rooms, the kids begin to suspect that maybe Rags isn't who they think he is.  And they decide to find out exactly what he is up to with that radio transmitter.  Trouble is, Rags begins to suspect Ma of snooping in his stuff and decides to find out what she is up to.  So, Georgie, along with Ma and the other orphans, is on a wartime adventure he never dreamt possible.

I liked this coming of age time travel story.  It is told in the first person, and the author maintains the voice of a 12 year-old boy throughout, giving it an authentic quality - quick, witty, full of colloquialisms from 2002 that are questioned by the folks from 1940.  I also found Georgie's reaction to his predicament refreshing.  In most time travel stories, kids end up in a different time and place and seem to assimilate so easily.  But for Georgie, it isn't just a jolly adventure.  He worries throughout about not getting home, not seeing his parents again.  As wartime London loses its romanticized aura and becomes reality, it causes Georgie to experience real reactions like throwing up more than once and even wetting himself at one point.

But it is also a story of survival, complete with a cast of orphan characters right out of Charles Dicken's London, who become Georgie's family away from family, helping him adjust and carry on. And most importantly, helping him see the reality of war.

Blitzed is a fast paced but wonderful book.  The chapters are only a few pages long, but the events are exciting, making it an ideal book for a reluctant readers and certainly one that would appeal to boys as well as girls.

This book is recommended for readers age 10+
This book was purchased for my personal library

You can hear Robert Swindells speaking about Blitzed here.  It is on YouTube but the embed function is disengaged.

And there really is an Eden Camp in Yorkshire, so if you happen to be in England and would have an interest in visiting (you might want to go to Yorkshire anyway, it is a wonderful place to see.)  Information about visiting can be found here

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1018. Umm, Well, Now this is Uncomfortable

talese

Less than two weeks prior to publication, an attention grabbing account of a motel voyeur is being abandoned by the author.

Gay Talese is a journalism giant. But evidently he overlooked a key detail of property ownership when documenting the story of Gerald Foos, a motel owner who spied on his guests. When the Washington Post pointed out a gap in property records, Talese responded “I should not have believed a word he said… I’m not going to promote this book…How dare I promote it when its credibility is down the toilet?”

The Washington Post article further stated:

In a series of interviews, he expressed surprise, disappointment and anger to learn about the transactions. He said he had not been aware of them until a reporter asked him about it on Wednesday.

“The source of my book, Gerald Foos, is certifiably unreliable,” Talese said. “He’s a dishonorable man, totally dishonorable. . . . I know that. . . . I did the best I could on this book, but maybe it wasn’t good enough.”

I wonder how this will play out in regards to Talese’s book advance?

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1019. Crafting Characters: Stress Points Part 2

We continue our evaluation of character reactions to stress. The higher the stress level, the more extreme their position becomes on the behvioral spectrum. You can give them a problem where their approach works and they gain ground, or they fail utterly which causes them to lose ground.


#writingfiction, #writingtips, #fiction, #critiquegroup, #genre, #novel, #storybuildingblocks, #screenplay, @Diana_Hurwitz,  #temperament, #storybuildingblocks

9. Joss


Joss is a man of action and few words. He may never talk about the problem or what needs to be done about it. Stress can make him impulsive. He may attempt things that were better left alone. He may drag in a few other maverick loners like himself. They may drive each other to ridiculous lengths.


10. Kelly

Kelly is a one-man show. He’s wild and crazy. Stress makes him more impulsive than usual. He has no trouble confronting people or tasks. His efforts won’t be focused and the results are iffy. He will probably charm someone else into taking a hit for him.

11. Greer

Greer is a quiet, elusive kind of guy. He isn’t very social to begin with. As long as people leave him alone, he really doesn’t care what they do. When they dump problems in his lap, he becomes resentful and withdraws. He may be forced to tackle the problem in his careful, logical way, but whoever caused it will pay the price for disturbing his peace.

12. Taylor

Taylor thrives on being social and gaining cooperation. He becomes rigid and irritable when stressed. If someone provokes him, he will hold tight to his goal and snap at everyone he dragoons into helping him. He is good at getting people to do what he wants them to. His opponent will feel the sting.

13. Cam

Cam isn’t terribly social. As long as people leave his lofty logical fortress alone, he ignores them. Attack him and he freezes in amazement. He leaves other people alone. Why would they go after him? He calmly sets about destroying his attacker in his creative, methodical way. He won’t broadcast his success or ask for help. He’ll just take quiet satisfaction in his work. 
14. Morgan

Morgan is erratic in nature. He’s a rolling stone that gathers no moss. He isn’t interested in fighting unless someone brings the fight to him. When stressed, he becomes scattered. He’ll find it hard to focus, but his scattershot approach may have many undesirable consequences for his enemy.
15. Lee

Lee is lethal. He is used to getting his way and cuts down anyone brave enough to confront him. He isn’t a touchy-feely, let’s be a team kind of guy. He is good at dragooning others into carrying out his wishes. He becomes hypercritical when stressed and snipes and cracks the whip. His enemies should just move out of the way. 

16. River

River is a pacifist. He wants what is best for everyone. He isn’t interested in fighting unless someone brings the war to him. He becomes critical and self-absorbed when stressed. His strength lies in his uncanny intuition. He will figure out his opponent’s weakness in a heartbeat and use it to his advantage.



The more stressed your character feels, the more anxious your reader feels in response. Turning up the heat on your characters makes the reader eager to see the stress relieved. That keeps them turning pages.



For more about how to craft characters, pick up a copy of Story Building Blocks II: Crafting Believable Conflict, available in paperback and E-book and Story Building Blocks: Build A Cast Workbook, available in paperback and E-book.

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1020. Crafting Characters: Stress Points Part 2

We continue our evaluation of character reactions to stress. The higher the stress level, the more extreme their position becomes on the behvioral spectrum. You can give them a problem where their approach works and they gain ground, or they fail utterly which causes them to lose ground.

#writingfiction, #writingtips, #fiction, #critiquegroup, #genre, #novel, #storybuildingblocks, #screenplay, @Diana_Hurwitz,  #temperament, #storybuildingblocks
9. Joss

Joss is a man of action and few words. He may never talk about the problem or what needs to be done about it. Stress can make him impulsive. He may attempt things that were better left alone. He may drag in a few other maverick loners like himself. They may drive each other to ridiculous lengths.

10. Kelly

Kelly is a one-man show. He’s wild and crazy. Stress makes him more impulsive than usual. He has no trouble confronting people or tasks. His efforts won’t be focused and the results are iffy. He will probably charm someone else into taking a hit for him.

11. Greer

Greer is a quiet, elusive kind of guy. He isn’t very social to begin with. As long as people leave him alone, he really doesn’t care what they do. When they dump problems in his lap, he becomes resentful and withdraws. He may be forced to tackle the problem in his careful, logical way, but whoever caused it will pay the price for disturbing his peace.

12. Taylor

Taylor thrives on being social and gaining cooperation. He becomes rigid and irritable when stressed. If someone provokes him, he will hold tight to his goal and snap at everyone he dragoons into helping him. He is good at getting people to do what he wants them to. His opponent will feel the sting.

13. Cam

Cam isn’t terribly social. As long as people leave his lofty logical fortress alone, he ignores them. Attack him and he freezes in amazement. He leaves other people alone. Why would they go after him? He calmly sets about destroying his attacker in his creative, methodical way. He won’t broadcast his success or ask for help. He’ll just take quiet satisfaction in his work. 
14. Morgan

Morgan is erratic in nature. He’s a rolling stone that gathers no moss. He isn’t interested in fighting unless someone brings the fight to him. When stressed, he becomes scattered. He’ll find it hard to focus, but his scattershot approach may have many undesirable consequences for his enemy.
15. Lee

Lee is lethal. He is used to getting his way and cuts down anyone brave enough to confront him. He isn’t a touchy-feely, let’s be a team kind of guy. He is good at dragooning others into carrying out his wishes. He becomes hypercritical when stressed and snipes and cracks the whip. His enemies should just move out of the way. 

16. River

River is a pacifist. He wants what is best for everyone. He isn’t interested in fighting unless someone brings the war to him. He becomes critical and self-absorbed when stressed. His strength lies in his uncanny intuition. He will figure out his opponent’s weakness in a heartbeat and use it to his advantage.



The more stressed your character feels, the more anxious your reader feels in response. Turning up the heat on your characters makes the reader eager to see the stress relieved. That keeps them turning pages.

For more about how to craft characters, pick up a copy of Story Building Blocks II: Crafting Believable Conflict, available in paperback and E-book and Story Building Blocks: Build A Cast Workbook, available in paperback and E-book.

0 Comments on Crafting Characters: Stress Points Part 2 as of 7/5/2016 6:55:00 AM
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1021. Crafting Characters: Stress Points Part 2

We continue our evaluation of character reactions to stress. The higher the stress level, the more extreme their position becomes on the behvioral spectrum. You can give them a problem where their approach works and they gain ground, or they fail utterly which causes them to lose ground.




9. Joss


Joss is a man of action and few words. He may never talk about the problem or what needs to be done about it. Stress can make him impulsive. He may attempt things that were better left alone. He may drag in a few other maverick loners like himself. They may drive each other to ridiculous lengths.


10. Kelly

Kelly is a one-man show. He’s wild and crazy. Stress makes him more impulsive than usual. He has no trouble confronting people or tasks. His efforts won’t be focused and the results are iffy. He will probably charm someone else into taking a hit for him.

11. Greer

Greer is a quiet, elusive kind of guy. He isn’t very social to begin with. As long as people leave him alone, he really doesn’t care what they do. When they dump problems in his lap, he becomes resentful and withdraws. He may be forced to tackle the problem in his careful, logical way, but whoever caused it will pay the price for disturbing his peace.

12. Taylor

Taylor thrives on being social and gaining cooperation. He becomes rigid and irritable when stressed. If someone provokes him, he will hold tight to his goal and snap at everyone he dragoons into helping him. He is good at getting people to do what he wants them to. His opponent will feel the sting.

13. Cam

Cam isn’t terribly social. As long as people leave his lofty logical fortress alone, he ignores them. Attack him and he freezes in amazement. He leaves other people alone. Why would they go after him? He calmly sets about destroying his attacker in his creative, methodical way. He won’t broadcast his success or ask for help. He’ll just take quiet satisfaction in his work. 
14. Morgan

Morgan is erratic in nature. He’s a rolling stone that gathers no moss. He isn’t interested in fighting unless someone brings the fight to him. When stressed, he becomes scattered. He’ll find it hard to focus, but his scattershot approach may have many undesirable consequences for his enemy.
15. Lee

Lee is lethal. He is used to getting his way and cuts down anyone brave enough to confront him. He isn’t a touchy-feely, let’s be a team kind of guy. He is good at dragooning others into carrying out his wishes. He becomes hypercritical when stressed and snipes and cracks the whip. His enemies should just move out of the way. 

16. River

River is a pacifist. He wants what is best for everyone. He isn’t interested in fighting unless someone brings the war to him. He becomes critical and self-absorbed when stressed. His strength lies in his uncanny intuition. He will figure out his opponent’s weakness in a heartbeat and use it to his advantage.



The more stressed your character feels, the more anxious your reader feels in response. Turning up the heat on your characters makes the reader eager to see the stress relieved. That keeps them turning pages.



For more about how to craft characters, pick up a copy of Story Building Blocks II: Crafting Believable Conflict, available in paperback and E-book and Story Building Blocks: Build A Cast Workbook, available in paperback and E-book.

0 Comments on Crafting Characters: Stress Points Part 2 as of 7/5/2016 6:57:00 AM
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1022. Poetry Friday with a review of Amber was Brave, Essie was Smart

When I was a child I lived in a country that was being torn apart by a civil war. Often my parents were busy trying to work, trying to find supplies, trying to figure out what to do next, and I had to spend a lot of time alone. I think those times would have been easier to bear if there had been another child around to share my fears with.

In today's poetry title we see how two sisters lean on each other during hard times. They squabble of course, but mostly they help and support one another. Together they are better able to face an uncertain future and loneliness.

Amber was Brave, Essie was SmartAmber was Brave, Essie was Smart
Vera B. Williams
Poetry
For ages 8 to 10
HarperCollins, 2004, 978-0060294601
Amber and Essie are sisters, and though they have their differences they are very close. Their mother works long hours, and so they only really spend time with her on Sundays, which is her full day off each week. On the other days, after school, they go to a neighbor’s house for two days and a cousin’s house for two days. On Saturdays they are mostly take care of each other, which they are pretty good at doing.
   Some time ago Amber and Essie’s father was arrested for forging a check and now he is in prison. Times have been hard ever since. Sometimes the phone bill doesn’t get paid, and often there really isn’t a lot to eat in the apartment. The girls do the best they can, taking refuge in their bed when it is cold or when they are sad, curled up against each other so that they are like a “Best sandwich” with Wilson their teddy bear between them.
   Using a series of poems, Vera B. Williams take us into the lives of two little girls. We see the good times and the painful ones, and it isn’t long before we start hoping that Amber, who isn’t afraid of the rat that lives behind the wall, and Essie, who can cook toasted cheese sandwiches, will get the happiness and security that they deserve. This special book serves as a powerful celebration of siblinghood.

0 Comments on Poetry Friday with a review of Amber was Brave, Essie was Smart as of 7/5/2016 3:53:00 AM
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1023. Crafting Characters: Stress Points Part 2

We continue our evaluation of character reactions to stress. The higher the stress level, the more extreme their position becomes on the behvioral spectrum. You can give them a problem where their approach works and they gain ground, or they fail utterly which causes them to lose ground.

#writingfiction, #writingtips, #fiction, #critiquegroup, #genre, #novel, #storybuildingblocks, #screenplay, @Diana_Hurwitz,  #temperament, #storybuildingblocks

9. Joss

Joss is a man of action and few words. He may never talk about the problem or what needs to be done about it. Stress can make him impulsive. He may attempt things that were better left alone. He may drag in a few other maverick loners like himself. They may drive each other to ridiculous lengths.

10. Kelly

Kelly is a one-man show. He’s wild and crazy. Stress makes him more impulsive than usual. He has no trouble confronting people or tasks. His efforts won’t be focused and the results are iffy. He will probably charm someone else into taking a hit for him.

11. Greer

Greer is a quiet, elusive kind of guy. He isn’t very social to begin with. As long as people leave him alone, he really doesn’t care what they do. When they dump problems in his lap, he becomes resentful and withdraws. He may be forced to tackle the problem in his careful, logical way, but whoever caused it will pay the price for disturbing his peace.

12. Taylor

Taylor thrives on being social and gaining cooperation. He becomes rigid and irritable when stressed. If someone provokes him, he will hold tight to his goal and snap at everyone he dragoons into helping him. He is good at getting people to do what he wants them to. His opponent will feel the sting.

13. Cam

Cam isn’t terribly social. As long as people leave his lofty logical fortress alone, he ignores them. Attack him and he freezes in amazement. He leaves other people alone. Why would they go after him? He calmly sets about destroying his attacker in his creative, methodical way. He won’t broadcast his success or ask for help. He’ll just take quiet satisfaction in his work. 

14. Morgan

Morgan is erratic in nature. He’s a rolling stone that gathers no moss. He isn’t interested in fighting unless someone brings the fight to him. When stressed, he becomes scattered. He’ll find it hard to focus, but his scattershot approach may have many undesirable consequences for his enemy.

15. Lee

Lee is lethal. He is used to getting his way and cuts down anyone brave enough to confront him. He isn’t a touchy-feely, let’s be a team kind of guy. He is good at dragooning others into carrying out his wishes. He becomes hypercritical when stressed and snipes and cracks the whip. His enemies should just move out of the way. 

16. River

River is a pacifist. He wants what is best for everyone. He isn’t interested in fighting unless someone brings the war to him. He becomes critical and self-absorbed when stressed. His strength lies in his uncanny intuition. He will figure out his opponent’s weakness in a heartbeat and use it to his advantage.


The more stressed your character feels, the more anxious your reader feels in response. Turning up the heat on your characters makes the reader eager to see the stress relieved. That keeps them turning pages.

For more about how to craft characters, pick up a copy of Story Building Blocks II: Crafting Believable Conflict, available in paperback and E-book and Story Building Blocks: Build A Cast Workbook, available in paperback and E-book.

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1024. You Have The Power to Change a Child’s Life

Campaign announcement hearder

You have the power to change a child’s life by doing what you love.

By hosting First Book campaigns, hundreds of people have provided books and resources to children in need.

They’ve asked friend and family to make donations to their campaign instead of purchasing  birthday gifts. Others have thrown block parties or hosted reading celebrations in their local libraries to raise funds. Two mighty champions are tackling over 2,000 miles of hiking trails, hoping to put a book in a child’s hand for each mile they complete.

And when they reach their fundraising goals, great things happen. Schools are able to stock their libraries. Summer programs have books for their students to read while school is out. Kids are introduced to stories that will stay with them for a lifetime.

When you start a campaign with First Book you can raise money to provide books for your school or program, for kids in your community or anywhere in the country. Become a champion for kids in need today.

The post You Have The Power to Change a Child’s Life appeared first on First Book Blog.

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1025. Viking Attack, Part 3 (Almost the Finale)

The Shiloh: the Attacker (37 feel long)
OK, OK, I know I fell down on the job and left readers of this blog waiting to hear what happened when we finally set off to attack some Vikings on our stretch of the Illinois River in early September, 1966. I just keep getting sidetracked by such things as book signings, tv broadcasts (will post video soon) and technical problems. (I won't even go there.)

I believe the final bit I posted before was this:

Just before we left for the boat, however, both Dad and Mom got back to the house and donned pirate garb - Dad painting a really effective scar on his chest, as I remember.  We went down to The Shiloh, hoisted the Jolly Roger, and were off to defend Chillicothe against the Viking menace!


***
Having assembled our crew (the local mortician who was a skilled sailor; a couple of friends of my mom, my mom herself, my sister, our dog, my dad, and me) we went out into the river channel. Then we waited. And waited. And waited.

For our prey.

There were no other boats on the river except for us, and no houses were visible. All we saw were trees along the river bank on one side, and trees on the long island on the opposite side.  It was enough like a "forest primeval" that we suddenly felt as if it could be hundreds and hundreds of years ago, and that the Viking threat could be real.

My father and sister decided to kill a little time by staging a sword fight on board the Shiloh. while they were doing this, a Viking ship (smallish) careered around the far end of the island into view. We all leaped to our feet and started screaming.

The Viking Hoard, spotting our Pirate ship, became as excited as we were. They shouted back in assorted Scandinavian languages. It was clear that capturing maidens and mayors in a P.R. manner was getting a bit old and they were delighted to see what was lying in wait for them.

As they pulled up to us, the screaming and shouting became earsplitting.

At that point, my mustachio'd sister and I couldn't help but notice that the Hoard included some REALLY good looking young men, wearing horned helmets, furry vests, leather pants, etc.

And the two of us had our front teeth blacked out. Not good.

We still managed to pull out our two major weapons: a ping pong ball gun and an m-80 firecracker on the end of a fishing pole - but these didn't seem to faze those Vikings.  Finally, we unrolled a bed sheet on which we had written "Do You Surrender" in large letters.

"Never!" was the response. Those Vikings were tough cookies.

They all laughed, then turned their boat downstream and motored away. Just like that.

 They hadn't even tried to capture us Maidens.

And they called themselves Vikings. Humph.

The Scandia: the Attackee (35 feet long)



(To be continued.)












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