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1. Secret Garden Wednesday: Celebrating Spring with Robin Cake

Every Wednesday you can drop by here and find new and special happenings in the Secret Garden. There will be crafts, great food, fun and laughter. So please be sure to come by and see us in our Secret Garden created just for you.

Happy Spring to You !!!! Today on Secret Garden Wednesday I’m giving a public service announcement to buy those Cadbury Eggs while they’re here. This weekend is Easter weekend and the stores are loaded with those delectable creamy eggs.

I’m not giving this egg advisory for eggs sake oh no, I have other motives in mind.

While creating A Year in the Secret Garden one of the activities we had the most fun with was our Robin Cakes. Robin Cakes are creamy cupcakes with a cadbury egg in the center, an egg which is whole and does not melt. It’s so magical !!! On top of the robin cake we spread a creamy vanilla frosting and then create the cutest little robin to go on top. These cakes are hit at any party.

A Year in the Secret Garden Robin Cakes

 

I buy those cute little cadbury eggs during Easter time and put them in my freezer so I can make Robin Cakes all spring and summer long. So take heed and go get yourself some Cadbury Eggs, the small ones so you can have this delectable and adorable treat all Spring and Summer long.

secret garden wednesday

Have you missed the last few Secret Garden Wednesdays? These are too much fun not to read!

Want to enjoy more month-by-month activities based on the classic children’s tale, The Secret Garden? A Year in the Secret Garden is over 120 pages, with 150 original color illustrations and 48 activities for your family and friends to enjoy, learn, discover and play with together. A Year In the Secret Garden is our opportunity to introduce new generations of families to the magic of this classic tale in a modern and innovative way that creates special learning and play times outside in nature. This book encourages families to step away from technology and into the kitchen, garden, reading nook and craft room. Learn more, or grab your copy HERE.

A Year in the Secret garden

The post Secret Garden Wednesday: Celebrating Spring with Robin Cake appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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2. Links for National Poetry Month

DSC_0883

Writing the Young Adult Verse Novel :: Axon Journal

Concerning Craft: Poetry as Practice, Poetry as Life :: Little Patuxent Review

The Art of Writing and Reading the Verse Novel :: The Children’s Book Review

Top Ten Poetry Videos for National Poetry Month :: Booksource Banter

30 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month :: National Poetry Month

Young Readers and the Magic of the Verse Novel :: Clear Eyes Full Shelves

Field Notes: “This is Too Much!” Why Verse Novels Work for Reluctant Readers :: The Horn Book

The post Links for National Poetry Month appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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3. Way Back Wednesday Essential Classic: Easter Edition

The Easter Bunny That Overslept

By Priscilla Friedrich, Otto Friedrich; illustrations by Donald Save

 

 

Imagine a story of how a rabbit named Peter came to be called the original Easter Bunny of a place called April Valley. Filmed in what was billed as “Animagic,” a stop motion animation project using figurines, Animagic’s original claim to fame came in 1964 for the mother lode of Christmas animation specials, second only to “A Charlie Brown Christmas”. It was called “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Sound familiar now?

 

 

But for this particular 1971 hour-long, made for TV special that the team of Rankin/Bass also put together, it was titled “Here Comes Peter Cottontail.”  It featured an all-star voice cast heralded by such notables as Danny Kaye, Vincent Price and Casey Kasem as the voice of Peter.

 

From numbers topping five hundred thousand hits on the YouTube space where it appears, as well as purchase on DVD, many enjoyed this made for TV special as children. Now, they revisit it with their own children. I remember seeing it for the first time in the 1970’s with my own kids. By my calculations, that’s more than 44 years ago. Yikes!!!

 

Then, imagine in 2015, you discover the original story, probably began from a picture book from 1957, called “The Easter Bunny That Overslept.” Why is it so hard to fathom that many of these animation ideas always begin with the written word? Liz, you’re a goose!

 

Nine times out of ten, the movie starts with the book!! I guess what I’m getting at is: “Always go back to the source material and give it a read.” Witness the current hit movie, “Cinderella.”  Please have children read The Brothers Grimm version, plus Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen” that generated the movie “Frozen” and also his story of “The Little Mermaid.” Did you think that the story of Ariel just popped from the sea? Nope.The original story was a creation of Hans Christian Andersen that morphed into the movie for modern audiences. Please don’t let your young readers miss out on the original stories! 

 

It’s only, oh about 40 years from the TV debut of “Here Comes Peter Cottontail”, that I discovered a copy of the original story from whence, I believe, rose the TV tale. The picture book tells the tale of the Easter Bunny that arises from a snooze on Mother’s Day to discover he’s missed Easter entirely! It’s called “The Easter Bunny That Overslept” by Priscilla and Otto Friedrich with illustrations by Adrienne Adams although other editions have illustrations by Donald Saaf.

 

The Easter Bunny post nap goes through the holiday themed calendar with his egg basket. Imagine trying to palm off eggs on July 4th? Halloween? Pretty tough sell for this bunny, no? It takes a gift from Santa himself to prevent a repeat of the napping lepus the next year. 

 

Here’s a link to the original Rankin/Bass special, plus another that features three songs from the special that are, well, endearingly comforting and sweet.

 

My absolute favorite is “In The Puzzle of Life.” Great philosophy behind its lyrics for young readers today! Enjoy!

 

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2_ZdknLMIo

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Zpu_eSmY28

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4. Congratulations, Dan Santat!

This is such HUGE news! I hope I get to make a cameo when I visit you in your studio!



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5. Kris Fletcher's Cozy Reading Corner

April Fools!!!!




--Kris Fletcher

http://krisfletcher.com/
https://twitter.com/krisfletcher
https://www.facebook.com/KrisFletcherWrites

Titles: 
Dating a Single Dad - available now
Call of the Wilder - available now
A Family Come True - coming in June



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6. Popcorn Astronauts and Other Biteable Rhymes, by Deborah Ruddell (ages 4-10)

It's fitting that National Poetry Month kicks off each year on April Fool's Day. Modern children's poetry has a strong tradition of delightful mischief and playful humor -- whether it's Dr. Seuss, Shel Silverstein or Jack Prelutsky. Share poetry for the sheer pleasure, but also share it because of its rich language, as it layers so many ideas in short spaces.
The Popcorn Astronauts and Other Biteable Rhymesby Deborah Ruddell
illustrated by Joan Rankin
Margaret K. McElderry Books / Simon & Schuster, 2015
Your local libraryAmazonages 4-10
My students (and teachers!) are going to love this assortment of delicious, mischievous, amusing poems all about food. The topic is immediately appealing and approachable, making it easy to hook kids. Some evoke delicious food or happy memories, like "The Cocoa Cabana" serving hot chocolate at the edge of a skating pond. Others spice it up with humor, like the smoothie surprise with "a whisper of pickle" and "the slime from a snail."

Ruddell mixes it up with different poetic forms, and every poem is rich with imagery that will help young students explore the power of similes and metaphors. Because the topics are so fun, these comparisons will get kids actively involved in creating their own figures of speech. Just thinking about guacamole as porridge for a troll makes me smile!
"Even though it's lumpy and it's avocado green,
like the porridge for an ogre or a troll,
nothing on the table makes my eyes light up
like a little guacamole in a bowl!"
The illustrations are equally delightful, helping young readers visualize the poetic imagery and adding their own humor in the process. In "Welcome to Watermelon Lake", Ruddell playfully imagines that a slice of watermelon is a giant lake to some little critters. Young children will love Rankin's illustrations that show just how silly this might be.
"It's icy cold, so our advice
is take a breath and don't think twice.
Just jump right in--you'll never sink--
and did we mention that it's PINK?"
My all-time favorite poem is "How a Poet Orders a Shake" -- both for the imagery and for the way students could come up with their own "how to" poems.
How a Poet Orders a Shake

"A frosty cup of moonlight, please,"
the poet murmurs, low.
"As mush as a mittenful
of slightly melted snow...

And softer than a summer cloud
and paler than a swan
and pearlier than polar bears,"
the poet rambles on...

"And let it be at least as sweet
as icing on a cake.
In other words,
my usual:
a small vanilla shake."

-- by Deborah Ruddell
Do you have a favorite line in this poem? An image that really sticks with you? If you imagine a vanilla shake, what does comparing it to a "frosty cup of moonlight" make you feel like?

I'm looking forward to sharing more favorite poetry books for children all month long as we celebrate National Poetry Month.
Illustrations ©2015 by Joan Rankin; used with permission from Simon & Schuster. The review copy was kindly sent by the publisher, Simon & Schuster. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2015 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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7. Library Programs: Fairy Tale Bash

Over Spring Break, we had a full week of programming ranging from storytime to a Lego-Build-Along. Since Ms. A was hosting a Cinderella programming for the tweens the week after Spring Break, I wanted to make sure I had something fairy tale themed for the younger kids who might have wanted to attend the tween program but couldn't because they were too young. I've also been wanting to do a big fairy tale party for a long time, so I thought this would be perfect timing.

I hosted the Fairy Tale Bash on Friday night at 7pm. It was a busy day and the weather was rainy and yucky, so combined with the theme, I thought I'd get a large turnout. Surprisingly, I only ended up with six kids, so I ended up not using the songs I had planned because they were content to read all the books-yay! But even with the low turnout, we still had a blast and I have plenty of stuff to recycle for next time!

I sadly didn't remember to take many pictures until the room was getting taken down. I only have a few to share-sorry!

Here's what I did:

For books, I pulled a variety and since I had a small group, I let the kids choose which books they wanted to read. I used fractured tales and retellings since I wanted something the kids most likely hadn't read before, they entertain the parents as well, and they're fun!


I actually had more books than I needed, but the kids picked everything but The Sunflower Sword to read, so having a small crowd meant for more reading time!

I had planned on singing The Grand Old Duke of York and using the Five Knights in Shining Armor rhyme from Storytime Katie (without the flannel board, because I am not the flannel queen like Katie!) and the song Curtsy Like a Princess from Storytime Katie,  but I ended up forgetting about these when we ended up having an extended storytime and conversation about fairy tales!

After the books, I let the kids loose at all the stations I had planned (which again, was plenty and way more than I really needed!)


-Princess and the Pea-I had the kids hide the pea under a mattress and then try and guess where it was hiding. They had lots of fun hiding the pea from their parents!

-Jack and the Beanstalk Counting Game-I made beanstalks out of paper plates and paper towel tubes. I added a paper castle and some cotton balls on the plates to create a castle in the sky. I got the idea from several things I found on Pintrest, but modeled my beantalks after the ones on Fantastic Fun and Learning. I then put out bowls of beans and some dice and had the kids roll the dice, then place that number of beans on the plate. They quickly learned to set the beans on the plates gently and ended up balancing a bunch of beans on the beanstalk (I think the highest count was around 80!) They had a blast with this one and it was easy to make.

-Three Little Pigs House Building-I used cotton balls as the straw, Popsicle sticks as the sticks, and legos as the bricks. The kids built houses and then tried to blow them down and see which one was the strongest. Another very popular activity!

-Goldilocks and the Three Bears Opposites-I created a chart in Word and printed it out for the kids. It had six boxes and each box contained a word-hot, cold, big, small, hard, soft. I put out various magazines and had the kids find items in the magazines that matched the words to fill in their opposite charts. I also put out crayons in case they wanted to draw their own items in, but I think everyone took the magazine route-cutting and gluing was too much fun.

-Fairy Tale Maps-Since I wasn't sure what age I'd end up with, I wanted something that was easy for the younger kids but that could be more detailed for the older kids. I provided paper and crayons and invited the kids to draw a map of a fairy tale world. They drew maps of how to get through the forest to granny's house and how to help Goldilocks out of the bear's house. It wasn't very popular with the young crowd I had.

-Fairy Tale Matching Game-I printed of pictures of various items and the names of fairy tales and fairy tale characters. I then cut them out and scrambled them up. The kids had to match things like Jack to the Beanstalk, Goldilocks to Porridge, Cinderella to the Glass Slipper, Hansel and Gretel to Candy, Snow White to an Apple, Sleeping Beauty to a Spinning Wheel, Rapunzel to a Tower, Little Red Riding Hood to a Basket. The kids knew most of the matches but they did get stumped on a few. The parents commented on how much they loved this activity because it asked the kids to remember details from the stories and it gave them a chance to talk about the fairy tales and recap the stories with their kids.

-Photo Ops-We have some large painted cardboard face cutouts that we've had forever. One is Little Red Riding Hood, one is Rapunzel, one is Humpty Dumpty and one is Yoda. I used everything except Yoda, although I did debate bringing Yoda out just for fun! Humpty Dumpty is a nursery rhyme, but since I only had princess-types, I wanted something else. I also was lucky enough to borrow these awesome My Little Pony foam noodle horses from another branch:


I used these in the photo op section as well. The best part was when the kids started posing the ponies into the face cutouts and the ponies became Rapunzel! I thought about using the ponies with some sort of jousting something, but I had so much already, I opted not to do that.

At each station I included some basic instructions for each activity as well as some talking points for parents. I saw the parents actually read the suggestions for what to talk about at each station and then talk to the kids, so I think it went over pretty well.

I also had a huge book display of various fairy tale books and many of the books checked out. 

The program was open for grades pre-K-grade 5, but I had mostly pre-K-Kindergarten. 

What I learned:  I will for sure repeat this program because it was so much fun, the activities were easy to put together, and the kids loved it. They stuck around until 8:30 playing with everything and making sure they visited every station. I would change the time though and make it a bit earlier. I think 7 was just too late and the following week we hosted another evening program at 6:30 which had a much larger turnout. I avoided using any specific theme other than fairy tales, but I think catchy names and characters are an initial draw, so maybe I would add something to appeal to that (although I really wanted to not focus on anything Disney!) I would also like to come up with a big dance or movement activity to go along with the fairy tale theme and I would encourage the kids to come in costume as well. Overall it was a lot of fun and I can't wait to do it again!


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8. Poetry Performances to Kick Off National Poetry Month 2015

NPM15_ForSite_FINAL_FINALHappy National Poetry Month! To kick-off the celebration, we’ve compiled a list of five videos with poetry performances from Sarah Kay, Priyam Redican, Megan Falley, Doc Luben, and Jesse Parent.

We’ve embedded an image of the Academy of American Poets’ official poster to the side. It was designed by author and artist Roz Chast.

To listen to even more pieces, check out the Button Poetry YouTube channel’s “Best of Button” playlist. Who are your favorite poets?

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9. Number the Stars (1989)

Number the Stars. Lois Lowry. 1989. (Won Newbery in 1990) 137 pages. [Source: Bought]

Number the Stars was probably one of the first fiction books I read about the Holocaust and World War II. (I know I also read The Hiding Place and The Diary of Anne Frank, but both of those are nonfiction.) What did I remember about Number the Stars after all these years? Well, I remembered that it was about a young girl who had a Jewish best friend. I remembered that the girl's family helped the friend and her family get out of Denmark. I remembered the intense scene where German soldiers come to her house looking for hidden Jews. But most of the details had faded away. So it was definitely time for me to reread.

Annemarie is the heroine of Number the Stars. I loved her. I loved her courage and loyalty. Ellen is Annemarie's best friend. I love that readers get an opportunity to see these two be friends before it gets INTENSE. I also love Annemarie's family. I do. I don't think I properly appreciated them as a child reader. One thing that resonated with me this time around was Annemarie's older sister, her place in the story. The setting. I think the book did a great job at showing what it could have been like to grow up in wartime with enemy soldiers all around. In some ways it was the little things that I loved best. For example, how Annemarie, Ellen, and Kirsti (Annemarie's little sister) play paper dolls together, how they act out stories, in this case they are acting out scenes from Gone with The Wind. I think all the little things help bring the story to life and make it feel authentic.

For a young audience, Number the Stars has a just-right approach. It is realistic enough to be fair to history. It is certainly sad in places. But it isn't dark and heavy and unbearable. The focus is on hope: there are men and women, boys and girls, who live by their beliefs and will do what is right at great risk even. Yes, there is evil in the world, but, there is also good.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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10. Social Media Etiquette

What not to do when using social media.


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11. We’re Bugging Out!

beecover

Super excited to announce that our Bee Bully is being featured in Bookbub today and is only $.99 for a limited time.  To celebrate we have some free gifts to tell you about.  From April 1st – April 5th you can download our latest release, Caterpillar Shoes, absolutely free from Amazon.  Check out what’s troubling Patches the caterpillar and the silly decision she makes to live her life to the full.  There are some interesting caterpillar facts in the back of this book.

 

Caterpiller-cover_AM

I’ve also got more surprises to share.  My friend, Laura Yirak, is also giving away a copy of her delightful bee book, Bumble Babees during this same period.

 

bee_0J

 

Scott Gordon has another treat for you. His book, The Most Beautiful Flower will be FREE April 2-April 6.  This book is only $.99 on April 1st.  Don’t you just love spring!  Enjoy these goodies while they last.

the-most-beautiful-flower


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12. Nevada Mentor Program

I am thrilled to have been asked to mentor on the celebrated Nevada SCBWI Mentor Program this year. I was part of the program as a mentee back in 2010/2011. It's pretty special to be asked back and to work with 2-3 mentees myself. The program was probably the one thing I did that really set my career on it's way. The friends and contacts I made are still strong and very much part of my life. Ellen Hopkins and Suzanne Morgan Williams did a marvellous job starting this program and it's as great as ever! Check out the line up of mentors for yourself. Maybe I will see you there? Applications are open ... spaces are limited. What are you waiting for?
http://nevada.scbwi.org/nevada-scbwi-mentor-program/



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13. Query Question: Reliability of Publishers Marketplace deal announcements



Thank your for posting about auctions and pre-empts on your blog  - it seems to be a less-often talked about issue (as far as I can tell when I researched all that stuff in the past). It brought to mind a post that Kristin Nelson had a week or so ago about how some agents exaggerate their reporting in the Publisher's Marketplace venue. 
 It also reminded me of seeing a post by another agency that said they don't post in PM because it feels like bragging. (This one made me both laugh and also think, "hmm" about their success rate, neither of which I believe they were going for as they are a Christian-based agency.) They then asked about how much querying writers rely on PM.

For my part, I liked PM to help me with kinds of sales and frequency (and not necessarily about the $ end of it, which is where I feel like the agency worrying about bragging is actually considering). I know not all agents or editors report sales, but it gave me an extra piece of information to work with. I also just enjoy seeing what's coming down the pike in various genres. 

My question (finally): If a querying writer is to spend the money on PM, do you believe that is a valuable asset for him/her? How reliable is the information?

 


I think it's an amazing trove of information, but mostly about what's NOT there.  If you are considering an agent who has ZERO sales posted at Publishers Marketplace, you'll want to ask some pretty precise questions:

1. What have you sold this year?
2. What books are being published this year that you sold?
3. How do you handle foreign rights?
4. How do you handle film rights?


The answers you're looking for here are:

1. List of books with author names and publishing houses.  Preferably houses you've heard of. If you haven't heard of the publisher, fire up the google machine.

2. List of titles that you can look up on Amazon, or B&N.

3. A specific answer. It's perfectly fine if an agency lets the publisher retain translation rights. If the agency tries to retain those rights, who handles foreign rights at the agency? What kind of track record do they have. (See #1 and #2 above)

4. Just make sure they don't leave your film and performance rights with the publisher.



If you find an agent with just a few deals posted, ASK why that is.  I'm woefully behind on posting deals on a bunch of books for a lot of reasons that I won't go in to in public, but will mention to a prospective client [under the cone of silence of course.]


If you find an agent with a lot of deals, I think you're able to trust the reporting. Sure a few agents bump up their sale to the next category, but really who cares.

The purpose of making a book sound enticing on PubMkt is to attract foreign, audio, and film deals. It's not to hoodwink authors.

If a book sells in a "pre-empt" an agent thinks it's more likely to get noticed. I don't particularly care if an agent is  fast and loose with terms in order to attract attention for his/her clients. 

I will say that I insist on accurate reporting here at The Reef.  It's always easier to report correctly, so you don't have to remember what you said.



You should be MUCH more interested in the agents who have clients on the lists of books that sell well. That's where you see the folks who know how to sell books to the right editor at the right publisher and get sales and marketing excited.

 



 

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14. A to Z Challenge - A is for Alice

Alice

No, not Alice in Wonderland, although I am using the challenge this year to mention characters, themes, in my children's books, rather than use other authors'  books as I've done previously.

So A is for Alice in my children's fantasy Thin Time, the first in a series of children's books that will be followed by the second in the Task Bearer series called Fymm. 

Here you will meet a snake-dragon, a squirrel who can't be trusted, three witches who knit frog skins into garments, a dangerous quest that must succeed if the world is to survive, and a five hundred year old dog with a very bad temper.

Why Alice, because many girls at my book signings ask, 'Why do you always have a boy for hero? Why not a girl?' So here she is, armed only with a gargoyles shield and a stone to fight the evil Snake-Dragon.

ps. I included her brother for boy readers! 

pps. My Easter Newsletter includes a very cheap offer - my eBook version of Thin Time. If you would like to sign up for my monthly newsletter, please let me know, it would be great to see you join in. You can contact me as always at http://caroleannecarr.co.uk

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15. Wilson e Renato


Assista o vídeo da Thelma Lucas que usei como referência para este desenho.
Foi a Festa Folk!


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16. New Voice: Trina St. Jean on Blank

Read an excerpt.
By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Trina St. Jean is the first-time author of Blank (Orca, 2015). From the promotional copy:

All Jessica knows is what the Man and Woman in the hospital room tell her:

She’s fifteen.

Thanks to a bison bull in a rage one Very Bad Day on the family ranch, she was in a coma for weeks.

The Man and Woman are her parents.

The rest of her life is a long blank that her damaged mind refuses to fill in for her. The doctors say that brain injury is to blame for the explosive temper she can’t control. What scares her most is the coldness she feels towards though she’s supposed to care about, including the Girl staring back at her from the mirror.

When the doctors say they can’t do anything more for her, it’s time for her to go home and rebuild her shattered life. But no matter how hard she tries, she can’t be the old Jessica that everyone misses so much. And the memories of who she used to be, and what exactly happened on that Very Bad Day, stay stubbornly hidden in the shadows of her mind. Everything she does ends in disaster: returning to school, trying to reconnect with friends, struggling to fit into a world where she no longer belongs.

Just when Jessica is losing hope that things will ever be normal, a new friend offers an alternative to staying in her old life. 

Jessica must confront the reality of what it means to truly leave the past behind.

Could you describe both your pre-and-post contract revision process? What did you learn along the way? How did you feel at each stage? What advice do you have for other writers on the subject of revision?

Before I describe the long (years!) process of revision I went through with my YA novel Blank, I should tell you a little about the approach I took when writing it.

One word sumps it up: random.

Really, really, as-random-as-you-can-get random.

Essentially, I wrote little snippets of scenes, in no particular order, whenever they came to me, with no thought to plot development or story arcs or any kind of structure.

A few years later, when I had hundreds of pages of these snapshots, I entered into an exhausting, extended wrestling match in which I tried to force those scenes into some kind of logical order.

During this wrestling match, which I often felt I was losing, I berated myself: why, why, why had I done this to myself? Once I had it in an order that made sense, I spent another stretch of years trying to make the prose tighter, develop characters more fully and tweak subplots.

I should mention, though, that there were many distractions during this process. Specifically, two cute little distractions with diapers and chubby cheeks.

Some strategies I used for revision had me feeling a bit like Russell Crowe’s character in the movie "A Beautiful Mind." One spring break from my day teaching job, I sent my daughters (now well out of diapers) to visit Grandma and Grandpa’s farm and I covered the living room wall in sticky notes representing scenes, playing around with the plot. I created giant mind maps using a wonderful free program, called MindNode, to visualize the connections between themes and characters and symbols. I’m also a huge fan of Scrivener, a writing software made for Macs with a nice cork board you can move scene cards around on.

Once I had the novel structure down, I hid myself away in my bedroom, door locked, and read the manuscript aloud and recorded myself. Then I hid away again and played it back, pausing and replaying and fixing more things. On the next round, I printed the manuscript off in a different font to trick my mind into seeing it with “fresh” eyes and read through it again, and then again.

All of these things eventually got me to the place where I felt Blank was the best I could make it.

As long and arduous as revision was, I learned a lot about writing, about structure, about polishing and cutting and getting to the heart of a character. And maybe the biggest lesson of all: For my next novel, I will avoid the random approach to novel writing, taking the time to think at least a little about the “big picture.” Hopefully this will shave a few years off the process.

Once the novel was accepted, I used my editor’s comments to do one overall revision, with some plot changes and enhancement to character motivation, then several revisions for smaller details like language choice and dealing with inconsistencies.

I remember the moment on my final go through, while gazing out at the water on vacation on a houseboat, when it hit me that people were actually going to read this thing I had been obsessing over all these years (or hopefully, at least).

Photo of Trina by Eileen Abad
Panic set in. I think I could have gone on editing forever, but luckily, I had a deadline to put a stop to my fanaticism.

How did I feel during the stages of revision?

There were times when I was extremely frustrated, especially when nailing down the plot. I am an indecisive person – I can change my mind several times just picking yogurt at the grocery store – so the limitless number of choices when writing can be overwhelming.

I went for long, brooding walks. I talked to myself. I scribbled endless notes on scraps of paper, and talked through ideas with my husband and my daughters.

During other parts of editing, I felt more exhilarated, especially when polishing the language. There were fewer decisions to make, but it was easy to see the immediate result of changes.

Overall, the journey of novel revision was challenging beyond anything I could have imagined but also extremely rewarding and satisfying. I survived the wrestling match, and developed some muscles and better techniques that should help me now that I am back in the ring working on book number two.

I've recently created a new home office space for myself, with folding screens that I am using as giant bulletin boards for my mind maps and sticky notes.

Trina's writing space
As a contemporary fiction writer, how did you deal with the pervasiveness of rapidly changing technologies? Did you worry about dating your manuscript? Did you worry about it seeming inauthentic if you didn't address these factors? Why or why not?

When I started Blank, there was no such thing as texting. Cell phones were around, of course, but they were more of a tool for working adults rather than a teen must-have/extension of self, and social media was only just beginning to pop up.

Jessie, the main character, struggles desperately to put together the puzzle of who she was before a brain injury and memory loss. In my first draft, she studied photo albums, read her old journal and checked her email from time to time in search of clues of her past.

During revision process, I knew I had to add texting and social media and all the other ways a teenager now would go about tracing her past and reconnecting with her life. Including the technology ended up bringing some fun and meaningful elements to the story, too, which was a nice surprise.

Without the changes, for example, I wouldn’t have created The Hedgegod, a wise creature Jessie follows on Twitter who dispels quills and inspiring quotes. He's based on my daughters' real pet hedgehog, Velcro, who we all think is pretty wise himself.

Velcro
In the very near future, I know facebook might be passé (some argue it already is) and teens will be onto something completely different. Having it play a key role in Blank may date the novel, but it’s so prevalent it couldn’t be ignored.

Even further down the road, when my grandchildren read Blank, it’ll seem completely old-fashioned. Texting? What’s that? By then, teens might have implanted devices that allow them to share even a smell or thought with others.

Cynsational Notes

Like Trina St. Jean on Facebook, and follow @thehedgedog on Twitter. 

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17. Illustrator Interview – Mika Song

I have interviewed several winners and runners-up of the SCBWI winter conference portfolio competition and it is my pleasure to welcome this year’s winner to the blog today, MIKA SONG. Congratulations on your win! And we have promised each other to … Continue reading

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18. “The Haunting of Sunshine Girl” Goes From Screen to Page

Paige McKenzie’s \"The Haunting of Sunshine Girl\" YouTube series has more than 130 million views, her @hauntedsunshine page has 10.7k followers, and her book just pubbed. She’s 20.

Alexandra Alter in the New York Times described how McKenzie, a business partner at 16 with film producer Nick Hagen and her actress/voice-over artist mother, Mercedes Rose, launched the mockumentary web series almost five years ago. In about a year, the \"Haunting\" videos had more than five million views.

Shot, starring, and edited by McKenzie, the story features teenager Sunshine Griffiths, who captures on film the ghost that haunts her home and then struggles to save her mother from being possessed by dark forces. Weinstein Books has brought \"The Haunting of Sunshine Girl\" brand to print in a YA novel series, slated to include three books so far, with screen rights optioned, as well.

Here’s the book trailer posted yesterday by McKenzie and Weinstein:

Alter describes how literary agent Mollie Glick spotted a piece on McKenzie in Seventeen magazine. She introduced McKenzie to YA writer Alyssa B. Sheinmel, who drafted a few chapters and an outline. A book deal quickly followed, and McKenzie is quick to credit Sheinmel:

\"I can’t do this by myself, are you crazy?\" Ms. McKenzie said. \"I’ve never written a book. I don’t know how to do that.\"

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19. Character Files: THE APPLE HAG

NAME: The Apple HagApple Hag

HOME: The Forest of Death

BACKGROUND:  She was once known as the Maiden of the Forest, but after an evil wizard cursed her, she became known as the Apple Hag. She hates kids, hates most adults, and seems to hate just about everything in the world except for apples. Is she evil or just cranky? No one knows for sure, and everyone’s too scared to ask her.

SPECIAL POWERS: The Apple Hag wields powerful, earthy magic. She controls the Forest of Death and the mighty Chomp Trees. She also has dominion over apples. Apples are totally her thing.


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20. New Adult Fiction Genre - Contemporary Romance - #WriteTip



There is a new genre emerging..."New Adult" fiction for older teens aka college-aged readers. You never stop growing up, but little in the market seems to address the coming-of-age that also happens between the ages of Nineteen to Twenty-six. Life changes drastically once high school is over, you have college, first jobs, first internships, first adult relationships…

Part of the appeal of NA is that the storylines are about characters who are taking on adult responsibilities for the first time without guidance from their parents. And the storylines generally have a heavy romance element. 

Keep this in mind as you revise your wonderful story, New Adult books are mostly about that specific time in every person's life—the time when the apron strings are cut from your parents, you no longer have a curfew, you're experiencing the world for the very first time, in most cases, with innocent eyes. New Adult is this section of your life where you discover who you want to be, what you want to be, and what type of person you will become. This time defines you. This is the time of firsts, the time where you can't blame your parents for your own bad choices. 


An NA character has to take responsibility for their own choices and live with the consequences. Most storylines are about twenty-something (18 to 26) characters living their own lives without any parents breathing down their necks, and learning to solve things on their own as they would in real life. New Adult fiction focuses on switching gears, from depending on our parents to becoming full-fledged, independent adults.

I am a firm believer that if you’re going to write a certain genre that you should read it, too. So I’m going to recommend that you start devouring NA novels to get a real sense and understanding of the genre before you write one.

Here are some great recommendations: https://www.goodreads.com/genres/new-adult-romance and http://www.goodreads.com/genres/new-adult and https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/new-adult-romance
 

Just as YA is fiction about teens discovering who they are as a person, New Adult (NA) is fiction about building your own life as an actual adult. As older teen readers discover the joy of the Young Adult genres, the New Adult—demand may increase. This, in turn, would give writers the chance to explore the freedom of a slightly older protagonist (over the age of 18 and out of high school, like the brilliant novel, "BEAUTIFUL DISASTER" by the amazing talents of author, Jamie McGuire) while addressing more adult issues that early 20-year-olds must face.

Older protagonists (basically, college students) are surprisingly rare; in a panel on YA literature at Harvard’s 2008 Vericon, City of Bones author talked about pitching her novel, then about twenty-somethings, as adult fiction. After several conversations, Clare realized she had to choose between adults and teens. She went with teens.

Quote from the publisher, St. Martin’s Press: We are actively looking for great, new, cutting edge fiction with protagonists who are slightly older than YA and can appeal to an adult audience. Since twenty-somethings are devouring YA, St. Martin’s Press is seeking fiction similar to YA that can be published and marketed as adult—a sort of an “older YA” or “new adult.” In this category, they are looking for spunky but not stupid, serious but not dull, cutting-edge, supernatural stories.

Quote from Georgia McBride, author (Praefatio) and founder of #YALitChat and publisher at Month9Books: "New Adult is a fabulous idea in theory, and authors seem to be excited about it. But in a world where bookstores shelf by category, to them, it is either  Adult or Young Adult. Some booksellers even call their YA section “teen.” And when you have a character who is over a certain age (19 seems to be the age most consider the start of New Adult), it is received as Adult. In some cases, the designation by publishers causes more confusion than not.
Let’s face it, YA is associated with teens, and at 19, most no longer consider themselves teens. So, it would support the theory of placing these “New Adult” titles in the Adult section. However, with the prevalence of eBook content, it would seem that the powers that be could easily create a New Adult category if they really wanted to...."

There’s also a list on goodreads of New Adult book titles. These books focus on college age characters, late teens to early twenties, transitioning into the adult world.

Some popular authors of the NA category include:
  • Jamie McGuire
  • Jessica Park
  • Tammara Webber
  • Steph Campbell
  • Liz Reinhardt
  • Abbi Glines
  • Colleen Hoover 
  • Sherry Soule
http://www.wattpad.com/story/29486760-irresistible-mistake-new-adult-romantic-suspense


Would you buy New Adult books? 
Does the genre appeal to you? 

Does it sound better than YA (teen novels)? 
 
Or are you happy with YA as it stands?

Do you consider YA to include characters that are over the age of eighteen? 
 

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21. Celebrating National Poetry Month in April AND December

April is National Poetry Month and I have big plans for daily posts for you! This year, I'm featuring short videos that my students created of children reading poems (and posted with their permission). All of these poems come from my new book with Janet Wong and 100+ other poets: The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations: Holiday Poems for the Whole Year in English & Spanish. Many of the poems and videos feature holidays from April and I'll post those examples on the actual dates during April. But some of these poems showcase holidays from other days and months of the year (like this one from December) and I'll include many of those too-- and make it clear which poem is for which holiday on which date. 

First up, is this poem for December 10: Dewey Decimal Day!

Elizabeth Steinglass wrote the poem, "Looking for a Book" to celebrate Dewey Decimal Day (and books and libraries year-round) and Donna W. created this video featuring two adorable girls acting out and reciting the poem. Here it is:


For this poem and 155 more, order your own copy of The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations HERE and for more Poetry Celebrations fun, click HEREAnd for more on National Poetry Month, click HERE.

Share a poem, read a book, and visit the library-- with kids you care about!



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22. Rabbit Rabbit: April

Gray skies are gonna clear up...

Firke-grayskiescalendar.jpg

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23. Cartoon … Missed call

आजकल अलग अलग दल सदस्यता अभियान चलाए हुए हैं. कार्टून का ये पात्र तीन दलो की तो सदस्यता लिए हुए है और एक मिस्ड काल फिर आ रही है … इन्हे इसी बात पर सम्मानित भी किया जा चुका है !!!

The post Cartoon … Missed call appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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24. A Dispute May Erupt Between HarperCollins & Amazon

harpercollins200Rumors have been swirling that HarperCollins may enter into a dispute with Amazon.

Here’s more from BusinessInsider: “The contract presented to HarperCollins was the same contract recently signed by Simon & Schuster, Hachette, and Macmillan, our source says. If HarperCollins and Amazon don’t come to an agreement, no print or digital HarperCollins books will be available on Amazon once its current contract runs out ‘very soon,’ our source says.”

Last year, Hachette Book Group USA had to deal with a similar issue. The publisher was locked in battle with the internet retail giant due to disagreements over eBook pricing. Several authors spoke out about the situation including Trigger Warning author Neil Gaiman, The Fault in Our Stars author John Green, and David & Goliath author Malcolm Gladwell. (via GeekWire.com)

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25. Thoughts on I Refuse (Per Petterson) in today's New York Journal of Books

Readers of this blog know just how much I love Per Petterson. Indeed, having read all of his books I can say with some assurance that I Refuse, his newest, is his most technically astonishing and emotionally devastating.

My thoughts can be found here, in the New York Journal of Books.

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