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1. Travel Madness

It has been a CRAZY summer! I am REALLY behind on posting here.

I went to Portland in July for ICON the illustration conference and just got back from 2 weeks in Romania. I am now digging out from under a TON of work.

So, enjoy these ICON and Portland sketches.

ICON was a great time. I met a lot of cool artists and got to visit LAIKA studios.

I do wish they had a set up that involved smaller groups rather than a lecture hall for all the presentations one after the other. I know there are a lot of challenges putting up an event like this, but there was an impersonal, lecture hall freshmen 101 feeling to it that would have probably been helped by everyone picking 3 or 4 smaller sessions a day to see.

It would have also been less overwhelming.

The speakers were very good for the most part; there was just a fatigue that set in when you watched so many in a day.

The workshops were set up more in that way and were excellent.

More soon!





Chinese Gardens









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2. Matt Smith Cast in ‘Pride & Prejudice & Zombies’ Adaptation

ppzActor Matt Smith has been cast in the Pride & Prejudice & Zombies film adaptation. Smith is best known for playing the Eleventh Doctor on the Dr. Who TV series.

The book was originally envisioned by author Seth Grahame-Smith who transformed Jane Austen’s beloved novel into a mash-up story. Quirk Books released the book back in January 2008.

Here’s more from The Hollywood Reporter: “The long-in-the-works, on-and-off again project is finally going before cameras Sept. 24 with a cast that includes Lily James, Sam Riley, Jack Huston, Bella Heathcote, and Douglas Booth. Burr Steers is behind the camera.”

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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3. The Family Tree: Talks with Writers on Ancestry, for Tin House

 

The Family Tree at Tin House

 

I’ve always been interested in the ways writers think about family history—and especially about echoes, or the lack thereof, through the generations—if they do, as they work. I’m grateful to Tin House for allowing me to indulge this curiosity in a new series of brief but wide-ranging interviews with authors about ancestry. First up, Christopher Beha:

Maud Newton: When we first met to talk about the essay I eventually ended up writing for Harper’s, you mentioned an ancestral house upstate where your family spends time every summer. Do you think visiting that old homestead has influenced your thinking about ancestry?

 

Christopher Beha: Without a doubt. The house was built by the first Behas of my line to come to America from Germany in the second half of the nineteenth century. They farmed for a couple of generations on land my family still owns, and members of the family continued to spend a lot of time there after my great-great grandmother moved the family down to New York City. So there’s a lot of family history there. There are still some Behas living in the area (though they pronounce the name differently than my family does), and there is a Beha Road not far from the house. I can walk a mile down the road to the churchyard and see the graves of Matthias and Theresa Beha, my great-great-great grandparents, who brought their family over 150 years ago. All of this has influenced my sense of ancestry as something that is still present in my world, even if it is often invisible.

The rest is here. Future interview subjects will include Laila Lalami, Emily Mandel, Celeste Ng, Saeed Jones, and Katherine Faw Morris.

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4. Short Story Competition: InkTears

INKTEARS SHORT STORY COMPETITION 2014

Now open for entries.
Deadline: 30 November 2014
Type: Short story (UK + International)

Prizes:
Winner: £1,000
Runner-up: £100
4 x Highly Commended £25


All prizewinners will have their story published to the InkTears Readers and their Bio published on the InkTears website. Full results will be announced by 30 March 2015.

Fee: £6.00.

Length:1000-3500 words, any theme and open to age 18+.

NB: stories may have been previously published or unpublished – see website Rules 2 and 3 on our website for full details and how to enter.

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5. Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Michael Del Mundo

 

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Michael Del Mundo is an artist who’s responsible for so many great comic book covers of late, but I didn’t realize, until recently, who he was. The new Marvel Now Elektra series features both cover art, and interiors by Del Mundo, and it’s received a ton of well deserved critical acclaim. In fact, he, and writer William H. Blackman have impressed Marvel so much with their work that they’ve been promised another project once Elektra ends.

Del Mundo has brought the same unconventional, and dynamic style to his interior artwork, that has made his covers so memorable. I’m looking forward to see what comes next for this exciting, young artist!

Michael Del Mundo is from the Philippines, and currently lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. You can follow his blog here.

For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com - Andy Yates

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6. Machinima Lands Exclusive Animated ‘Justice League’ Series





Marc Graser
Senior Editor @marcgraser
 
Machinima, an online network that mostly targets younger males, has secured the exclusive rights to a three-part animated “Justice League” series from Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment.

“Justice League: Gods and Monsters Chronicles” will launch in the spring of 2015.
“Chronicles” is said to revolve around a newly conceived reality in the DC universe where Justice League members Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are much darker versions of the superheroes that people know.

The digital series is based on “Justice League: Gods & Monsters,” an original animated film executive produced by Bruce Timm and co-produced by Alan Burnett that will be released by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment later in 2015. Timm and Burnett both collaborated on “Batman: The Animated Series.”

The “Chronicles” episodes will debut weeks before the launch of the film on home entertainment platforms.

The property is the first program the companies have collaborated on since Warner Bros. invested $18 million in Machinima in March.

It’s also the first project from Warner Bros.’ newly formed digital content production unit, headed up by Sam Register, president, Warner Bros. Animation and Warner Digital Series — and, of course, comes as the film studio is filming “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” for 2016, followed by a “Justice League” movie in 2018.

“Ever since we announced the Warner Bros. strategic investment, we have been looking for a new and exciting way to tap into the company’s unmatched content,” said Chad Gutstein, Machinma’s CEO.

Announcement comes just days after Machinima announced Daniel Tibbets as the first chief content officer of the online channel.

Added DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson: “We are committed to delivering DC Entertainment’s extensive line-up of world-class characters and stories to audiences across all platforms and formats. ‘Justice League: Gods and Monsters’ is an exciting opportunity to bring alternate versions of DC Comics’ iconic Justice League characters to Machinima, and we look forward to bringing this new animated shortform series to life with our partners across Warner Bros.”

Machinima is looking to bolster its original programming offerings for its core 18-34-year-old demo after scoring with scripted series like “Mortal Kombat: Legacy,” “Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist,” “Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn” and “Battlestar Galactica Blood & Chrome.”

Now come on –DC is killing itself with all this “darker” crap!  Can it get any “darker” at DC? Yes: the JLA go out murdering nurses, nuns, tramps and school kids “for the greater good”.

DC needs to wake up and I really do not give a feck if Bruce Timm is behind it: he’s doing this for the DC pay-cheque!

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7. Call for Submissions: Fine Linen

Fine Linen is receiving fiction and art submissions for their quarterly print journal.

We pay professional scale for accepted flash fiction and small-format art. We have an open twelve-month reading window.

Currently, we are reading for inclusion in our winter issue.

See our guidelines and submission links tabbed to our home page.

Fine Linen is the print journal imprint of Postcard Poems and Prose Magazine.

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8. College Student Writer Scholarships: SCBWI Summer and Winter Conferences

Each year the SCBWI sponsors two student writer scholarships to the Summer and Winter Conferences for full-time university students in an English or Creative Writing program.

This is an invaluable opportunity for young writers! We are now accepting applications for the 2015 SCBWI Winter Conference in New York, February 6-8.

Award:

–Full tuition to main conference events including keynotes and breakout sessions. (Award does not include travel or hotel expenses.)

–Exclusive exposure to industry professionals at the conference.

–An SCBWI Conference advisor to help navigate the jammed-packed weekend.

PLUS:

NY Conference: Admission to the Writers’ Plot Intensive or Writers' Roundtables event.

Deadline: December 8, 2014

Eligibility:

1. You must be at least eighteen years old to apply.

2. All full-time students enrolled in an accredited educational institution are eligible to apply.

Guidelines:

One winner will be chosen from a graduate or doctoral program and one winner will be chosen from an undergraduate program.

Applicants are required to submit:

–Short cover letter stating why you want to attend the conference and a synopsis of your work.

–Five-page sample of a manuscript

–Copy of your student ID

–Letter of recommendation sent directly from a professor at your university.

Applications MUST BE electronically submitted as ONE PDF to:

kaylaDOTheinenATscbwiDOTorg (Change AT to @ and DOT to . )

Letters of recommendation can be sent separately as a Word document.

Applications will be judged by a panel decided by SCBWI.

In the event that a recipient cannot attend for any reason, the grant committee should be notified as soon as possible. The scholarship may, in that event, be awarded to another applicant. The grant is not transferrable and cannot be postponed. SCBWI reserves the right not to award the scholarship in any given year.

Questions? Contact the Grant Coordinator, Kayla Heinen

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9. Maggie Vaults to “Battle of the Books” List!

Maggie Vaults Over the Moon is listed among the great reads on the 2014-15 Battle of the Books list in the Wichita Diocese Catholic Schools. The Battle of the Books is a popular reading contest for 5th and 6th graders … Continue reading

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10. Life (A kerf)


That scent of truth and tear,
Crafting numerous fires,
Freely nurturing seed of blazing thought,

A matter so unclear,
Dove is flying for desires   
Trees are viciously protecting that clot,

Who understands the life?
Mysterious agony, 
Wrapped inside all those flawless unknown scars,

A synonym of strife,
A deep bitter symphony,
People call it as “life” away from stars. 

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11. A Tough Little Squirrel by Beth Lauzier

bethWho knew being brave would be so hard.
That’s a lesson Zippy learns when challenged by his older brother.
So he sets out to prove just how courageous he is.
Join Zippy on a nighttime adventure as he discovers not everyone in the forest is friendly.

Paperback: 50 pages
Publisher: White Bird Publications (September 2, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1937690970
ISBN-13: 978-1937690977

Hardcover: 50 pages
Publisher: White Bird Publications (September 2, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1937690962
ISBN-13: 978-1937690960

File Size: 24689 KB
Print Length: 50 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: White Bird Publications, LLC; 1 edition (September 2, 2014)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
ASIN: B00MTACKIO

PURCHASE HERE!


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12. Interviewing Poets: Why and How

Please welcome Glenda Council Beall to the blog. She was inspired to write a guest post after reading Jeannine Hall Gailey’s post on poetry book reviews last month.

I really enjoy the guest posts on this blog, but they can only happen with your participation. If you have an idea, send it my way at robert.brewer@fwcommunity.com, and we’ll work to flesh it out. No idea is too big, too small, or too “out there.” Okay, maybe some are, but I won’t judge–and I’ll help you get it under control.

******

I enjoyed the recent post by Jeannine Hall Gailey about reviewing poetry books. Instead of reviewing poetry books, I like to interview the poet by e-mail. I write up the interview for our NCWN West blog or my own personal blog.

Readers get a more personal view of the poet, and I’ve found that today’s readers like to feel they know a writer or poet–know more than just what the blurbs on the book tell them. With social media, readers follow their favorite authors and become friends online.

Requesting an Interview

Karen Paul Holmes’ poetry book, Untying the Knot, reads almost like a memoir about the breakup of a thirty-year marriage. The honesty in the poems lends such depth that I wanted to know more and knew my readers would enjoy knowing more about this writer who openly conveyed her pain, her grief and sadness over the loss of her husband, loss of a family, and loss of three decades of what had seemed to be a good marriage.

I asked Karen for an e-mail interview and she was pleased to answer my questions. I believe that good writers must be willing to bleed on the page and that is why I was intrigued with this poet’s story. She held nothing back in her book and I knew she would do the same in an interview.

Conducting the Interview

I like to send the questions to the writer and let her answer when she has had time to think carefully about what she wants to say. If she chooses not to answer a question, that is fine. I am not an investigative reporter. My purpose is to recommend a book and an author to my readers, the same thing I would do if I were to write a review.

I post the interview with my questions and direct quotes from the poet. That way there is very little editing involved. It is raw and innocent of speculation as to what the writer wants us to know.

Here is an example of a candid response from my interview with Karen Holmes:

I didn’t set out to write those poems, nor most of the ones in Untying the Knot; they just happened. One of my friends said, “Oh now that you’ve had a tragedy, your poetry will get better.” I wince at that, but it’s probably true. My poems definitely got deeper emotionally and darker in tone. However, I also believe in trying to stay positive, so many poems have a positive spin. Some are even funny. Like I said, poetry was therapy.

In her own words, Holmes tells us more about her book and why we should read it than I could tell in a review. How can we find humor in this sad theme? The poet did use irony in a few poems, and, like the comedic actor in a drama, it helps move us along without breaking the spell created in this book.

Gracious Poets

For the past eight years, I’ve done e-mail interviews with a number of writers and poets, and I found them to be gracious and appreciative. Only one writer, Ron Rash, told me he would rather have a telephone interview than an e-mail interview and that was because he had trouble with his hands and limited his use of the keyboard.

You can read some of my interviews online. http://netwestwriters.blogspot.com/2010/01/writers-on-radio-with-joan-hetzler-host.html

http://netwestwriters.blogspot.com/2013/03/glenda-c-beall-interviews-robert-s-king.html

http://netwestwriters.blogspot.com/2013/09/author-interview-by-glenda-beall.html

 

*****

glenda_council_beallGlenda Council Beall lives in Hayesville, NC. She is owner/director of Writers Circle Around the Table. She teaches writing in the community enrichment department at Tri-County Community College and began publishing poetry in 1996. Her poems have appeared in numerous print and online journals including Wild Goose Poetry Review, Appalachian Heritage, Main Street Rag, Journal of Kentucky Studies, Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, and plenty of other fine publications. Now Might as Well be Then, her poetry chapbook from Finishing Line Press is available on Amazon.com and from City Lights Books in Sylva, NC.

Find her online at www.profilesandpedigrees.blogspot.com and www.glendacouncilbeall.blogspot.com.

Read some of her interviews here:

*****

Find more poetic goodies here:

 

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13. Here's the Lineup for Warrior Week!

Check out the Warrior playlist over at Spotify and let me know what you think !

Here's the entire lineup for this week! Giveaways, manicures, and more!


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14. The Science of Poetry @ #ALSC14

I love science, and I love poetry, so attending this session was a slam-dunk decision for me! This program was hosted by Sylvia Vardell and featured the poets Alma Flor Ada, Susan Blackaby, F. Isabel Campoy, & Janet Wong

Sylvia Vardell started us off by reading a poem call ed “Recycling” by Susan Blackaby, then walked us through the steps of “Take 5 with Poetry & Science:”
1. Read the poem aloud
2. Read again, inviting kids to participate in the reading
3. Discuss and research the poem and its topic
4. Connect the poem to a specific science topic with a demonstration or hands-on activity
5. Share more, related poems & other readings

Susan Blackaby shared some of her lovely poems and discussed the connections and similarities between poetry and science. Both science and poetry require precision, careful use of language, trying and trying again, and making revisions. Both use observation and description. Both are beautiful.
She also told us how, when her book Nest, Nook, & Cranny was reviewed by a biologist to make sure she had all the science right in her animal poems, there were no problems with the simple poems… but she had a wrong fact about beavers that forced her to make a change to her villanelle, a poetry form so complicated that “it can just reduce a poet to tears.”

Alma Flor Ada talked about the importance of children seeing “people like them” reflected in the people and subjects they read and study about. She said, “I think every child needs to know the richness and diversity of everyone who contributes to culture and science.” Ms. Ada read us a lovely essay from her and Isabel Campoy’s book Yes! We Are Latinos. Isabel Campoy followed with another moving essay from the book.

Janet Wong shared her insight on the value of reading poetry aloud with children, not just studying poems on the page. Reading aloud together, discussing poems, joining in and making connections with the poetry are much more engaging then dissecting them as a written assignment. She also talked about something that disturbs Janet Wong: at teacher conferences, her general poetry anthology sells out quickly, & some teachers say “Oh, you only have the science book left? I don’t do science.” That’s not responsible, Janet says, because teachers model their attitudes towards science to their students.

All of the poets talked about the ways that science poetry can be both a way into science for kids who think science isn’t for them… and a way into poetry for kids who think they aren’t poets.

The excellent handout from this session lists the books these poets have written, lots more books of science poetry, and a long list of websites to suppor science learning (and link to science poetry):

http://www.ala.org/alsc/sites/ala.org.alsc/files/content/NI14Handouts/ALSCHandoutScienceofPoetry.pdf

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15. Shattered Assassin by Wendy Knight Review

Book Description

September 17, 2014
When the royal family is brutally murdered, Princess Kazia alone is left to rule the kingdom. But how can she rule when her home has burned to the ground and at any moment the assassin may return to finish the job?

Under the protection of the Captain of the Royal Guard — her late brother’s childhood best friend — the princess must flee to protect herself and what is left of the royal line until the assassin can be found and brought to justice. First to her uncle’s estate and then to her betrothed’s kingdom, but the assassin seems to be one step ahead of them all along the way.

And then there is the captain. With every mile they travel together, Princess Kazia must fight the feelings for him that she thought she had left behind long ago.

Surviving until her coronation seems like an impossible task. But survive she must…

With both her life and her heart at stake, the weak and seemingly helpless Princess Kazia still bears a secret. One that can either save her and her kingdom or take everything she has left.

My thoughts: This is a brand spanking new release from Wendy Knight. I have to say, I’m a huge fan of hers. After getting sucked into her Feudling books, and then her Riders of Paradesos, I jumped at the chance to read this one. She doesn’t disappoint! With an interesting world, and great characters (loved the wolf too!) you’ll get pulled right in. If you love fantasy romance spiced up with action don’t miss Wendy Knight’s  Shattered Assassin!
Grab a copy on Amazon!

Biography

Wendy Knight was born and raised in Utah by a wonderful family who spoiled her rotten because she was the baby. Now she spends her time driving her husband crazy with her many eccentricities (no water after five, terror when faced with a live phone call, etcetera, etcetera). She also enjoys chasing her three adorable kids, playing tennis, watching football, reading, and hiking. Camping is also big: her family is slowly working toward a goal of seeing all the National Parks in the U.S.
You can usually find her with at least one Pepsi nearby, wearing ridiculously high heels for whatever the occasion may be. And if everything works out just right, she will also be writing.

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16. 2015 Summer Poetry Residency: Poetry Center, University of Arizona

2015 Summer Residency Contest

Judge: Eduardo C. Corral

Since 1994, the Poetry Center’s Residency Program has offered writers an opportunity to develop their work. Beginning in Summer 2014, the Poetry Center will award one residency each summer for one poet to spend two weeks in Tucson, Arizona developing his/her work. The residency includes a $500 stipend and a two week stay in a studio apartment located within steps of the Center’s renowned library of contemporary poetry. The residency is offered between June 1 and August 31.


Deadline: December 15, 2015

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17. U – The Cheesebridge Look

The setting for Laika’s upcoming stop motion film The Boxtrolls takes place in in Cheesebridge, a fictional faux-18th century city that houses the underground dwelling Boxtrolls and everyone else, who live above ground under the political lead of the Lord Portley-Rind and his upper crust council The White Hats. To help visualize the world of The Boxtrolls, which is a mélange of German Expressionism, steampunk and tktktkt, they enlisted the aid of concept illustrator Michel Breton. Breton’s work possesses a nervous line quality that was kept in the final designs for not only the props and sets but also the costumes. “A lot of the linework in these costumes is slightly crooked which fits in perfectly with the sets,” said Deborah Cook, who designed the costumes for the film. “It comes from the original concept illustrations for the film, the line work is kind of wiggly and we just brought that through to combine everything into our own unique look for Cheesebridge. The Cheesebridge look.” Cook, who also designed the costumes for ParaNorman, Fantastic Mr. Fox and Corpse Bride, does technical fabric testing and character studies as well as working with the project designer, directors and character designer to help develop the film’s visual language and the color script. Eugène Delacroix’s “Liberty Leading the People”, 1830 To get a vibe for the colors used in an era, Cook begins by looking at art from the time period. The color palette for the costumes came from Delacroix’s “Liberty Leading the People”. “It’s just got little bits of turquoise and ochre and different shades of yellow and the browns and the touches of token red is where the Red Hats came in.” “We wanted some authenticity to the era so we’ve used some velvets and chiffons and things, but we back them in something [else]. We use the properties of two fabrics, for example, Eggs’ pants has got a non-stretch suiting on the top, but it’s backed with lycra.” In terms of construction, some of the sewing on the surface is done with machines, but the costumes are always fitted onto the puppets by hand. “All of the puppets are hand made so they’ve got a certain difference in them, so even though there might be duplicate [puppets] of Eggs, each one has got it’s own little idiosyncratic shape. It might only be a few millimeters out here or there but it’s a big difference [in stop motion]. If you did that all by machine and tried to fit it, each puppet would look so different, so you really have to line it up by eye and fit it by hand. (Costume Image #2) When with such small subjects, scale is always a concern. If a character is supposed to be wearing denim, you cannot use the actual fabric, because once it’s blown up to full size on the screen, it will no longer look like denim. Laika uses laser etching to create everything from pressed velvets, to lace, to cutting elaborate patterns into materials. Cook also did intensive research on military and gang clothing. This was particularly a great deal of inspiration for Cheesebridge’s high society TKTKT, The White Hats and Snatcher’s exterminator crew The Red Hats. “For the white hats, it’s kind of a distilled [military] presence; lot of medals and sashes. Lord Portley-Rind looks militaristic, he’s got his plate on the front, he’s got his tails and his top hat and his feather plume. As far as gangs, [it was] to try and get a feel for how people customized their own clothing and how much of it came from or are influenced by more sort of upper class clothing. [So] when it comes to the Red Hats, [the mark making is] done in a very different way, it still denotes them as a kind of gang or a team or as a recruited party of some kind but they’ve sort of customized their own jackets.” To compliment the contorted lines of the sets, crooked line work was implemented into the designs of the costumes. TKTKTKT still functional… “We put [the lines] in places where the pants needed to stretch so that when he’s not moving those lines are closer together and when he moves it gives him the stretch that he needs. It really helps the animators if he needs to kneel down so he’s got a lot of lines around his knees and up around his butt. Another thing we do in the costume [is] we line the seams up so everything’s got several purposes, they also need to pass over the puppet’s access points so they’re not twisting the costumes around or impairing movement.”

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18. Middle Grade Novel Fellowship: Eldin Memorial Fellowship

Eldin Memorial Fellowship

Christine Elizabeth Eldin (1966-2012) was an aspiring middle grade author. Her passion for learning, and for sharing her knowledge with young people, inspired her to earn a master's degree in education and dedicate her life to writing young adult literature. She co-founded "Book Roast," an online book promotion site that spotlighted the recent releases of dozens of authors. She also maintained a popular blog and actively supported her community of fellow writers. She was a loving mother, sister, and daughter, and a dear friend to many.

Chris left this world too soon when her life took a tragic turn. Her gentle soul, creative spirit, and generous heart will forever be remembered by the many people whose lives she touched and inspired. *

The Christine Eldin Memorial Fellowship ("Eldin Fellowship") has two purposes:
1. Honor the memory of Chris Eldin.
2. Provide recognition and financial assistance to an unpublished middle grade fiction writer whose work-in-progress reveals potential for a successful writing career.

The Lascaux Review will host an annual contest to choose a "best" middle grade novel work-in-progress, along with a short list of finalists, among entries submitted. The contest will be conducted initially in 2014 (for award of the 2015 fellowship) and scheduled annually thereafter. A middle grade novel is understood to mean a work of fiction, typically a chapter book, for readers between the ages of eight and twelve.

Any unpublished middle grade manuscript, in whole or part, for which no publication contract exists at the time of submission, is eligible. Only English language submissions will be considered.

Contestants cannot be previously published in middle grade book-length fiction. Other types of previous publications are allowed. Previously self-published works are allowed. Contestants may be of any nationality and reside anywhere.

Judging takes place in two stages. In the first stage contestants submit the first 5000 words of their manuscripts, along with a synopsis. The synopsis may be of any length not exceeding 2000 words, and it should describe the entire story, including how it ends. Contestants submit digital files (doc, docx, pdf, rtf, etc.) via Submittable. The entry fee is $10. Readers selected by the Eldin Fellowship committee will choose the finalists.

In the second stage, a judge selected by the Eldin Fellowship committee selects a winner.

The first year's fellowship is $1000 and a trophy. The first year's judge is Louise Hawes.

Deadline for submissions is 31 December.
For more information contact:

lascauxreviewATgmailDOTcom (Change AT to @ and DOT to . )

To submit to the contest, click on the following link.

To contribute to a fundraiser presently underway, visit Indiegogo.

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19.

Our parents beautiful Log Home is for sale. On a hilltop in Southern Vermont it is both a hideaway, a peaceful retreat, and a place where the family and extended family can enjoy 67 acres of beauty, sports, and fun year round.

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20. Riley Mae and the Sole Fire Safari

Hi All!  "Riley Mae and the Sole Fire Safari", has been released!  I've done the book covers for this new Christian series for tween-age girls.  Hope you enjoy!

http://www.amazon.com/Riley-Sole-Safari-Faithgirlz-Shoes/dp/0310742838/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1411072525&sr=8-1&keywords=riley+mae+sole+fire+safari

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21. Writing Competition for Anthology: Stories of Resilience

Family Shelter Service Writing Contest: "Stories of Resilience"

Wheaton, IL -- Family Shelter Service recently published a new book entitled Hope Grows Here, a compilation of stories and artwork by survivors of domestic abuse, available online through Amazon and CreateSpace.

In recognition of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the greater community is invited to add their voices to this exploration through the "Stories of Resilience" contest. Submissions are being sought that reflect the broad impact of abuse — through stories, personal essays or poems. Submissions will be considered for Volume II of Hope Grows Here.

Bestselling author Adriana Trigiani, whose best-known books include The Shoemaker's Wife and Big Stone Gap, will judge the contest submissions.

The "Stories of Resilience" contest will offer a first prize of $500 and two second prizes of $100. Entries will be accepted through October 20th, 2014 and winners will be announced at an event on November 6th, 2014. For submissions and contest details, please visit our website.

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22. Blog Tour: Scar of the Bamboo Leaf

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Scar of the Bamboo Leaf by Sieni A.M.

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Genre: Young Adult fiction, Contemporary Romance

“Her heart wept when she realized that the hardest part about loving him was the idea that his love was never meant for her.”

Walking with a pronounced limp all her life has never stopped fifteen-year-old Kiva Mau from doing what she loves. While most girls her age are playing sports and perfecting their traditional Samoan dance, Kiva finds serenity in her sketchbook and volunteering at the run-down art center her extended family owns.

When seventeen-year-old Ryler Cade steps into the art center for the first time, Kiva is drawn to the angry and misguided student sent from abroad to reform his violent ways. Scarred and tattooed, an unlikely friendship is formed when the gentle Kiva shows him kindness and beauty through art.
After a tragic accident leaves Kiva severely disfigured, she struggles to see the beauty she has been brought up to believe. Just when she thinks she’s found her place, Ryler begins to pull away, leaving her heartbroken and confused. The patriarch of the family then takes a turn for the worse and Kiva is forced to give up her dreams to help with familial obligations, until an old family secret surfaces that makes her question everything.

Immersed in the world of traditional art and culture, this is the story of self-sacrifice and discovery, of acceptance and forbearance, of overcoming adversity and finding one’s purpose. Spanning years, it is a story about an intuitive girl and a misunderstood boy and love that becomes real when tested.

Available on Amazon

About the Author:

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Sieni A.M. is a coffee addict, Instagram enthusiast, world traveler, and avid reader turned writer. She graduated as an English and History high school teacher from the University of Canterbury and is currently living in Israel with her husband and two daughters. “Scar of the Bamboo Leaf” is her second novel.

Website: http://sieniam.blogspot.co.il/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/illumineher

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/illumineher/

Enter to win one of five copies of Scar of the Bamboo Leaf via Amazon.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Filed under: New Books

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23. Children’s Writing Workshop at Fairway Park a Big Success!

Today I conducted a simple writing workshop at Fairway Park in Miramar, FL. This was my fifth visit to the park’s after care program as a teaching artist. With the first group of 30 kids, ages 5-8, the children wrote 1-3 sentence stories entitled, “My Best Day Ever” and drew pictures to go along with their stories. Then they read them out loud to their peers. There were lots of spelling questions, and one impressive six-year-old boy seemed to know how to spell just about every word. Stories included themes about Disney trips, Christmas day presents, birthdays, family outings and getting good grades at school.

Kindergarten through second graders

This adorable five-year-old’s handwriting was perfect, as was his grammar and spelling for his birthday party Best Day Ever story.

 Sharing his artwork of a bus with superpowers with the group

Time to show off their hard work!

With the older group of 35 children, ages 9-13, the assignment was to write a letter to someone they know who has had a positive influence on them. First I read to the group a personal letter of thanks I wrote to my late grandfather as an example and so they were not the only ones pouring their hearts out.

I am happy to report that overwhelmingly the children wrote thank you letters to their parents and a few to teachers,- a few with impressive detail. Some were so incredibly thoughtful, I’m sure it will bring tears to the recipients’ eyes. It takes courage to stand up and read a personal letter to a large group of peers – especially at this age – and I’m proud of all who did!

Concentration!

Some lucky people will be receiving this kind, thoughtful letters!

A letter from a nine-year-old boy to his dad

What I learned today is that children want to be good writers. Some decided not to read their work out loud, and some others wanted me to read for them. All the children listened to the stories being read by their peers with respect. What surprised me most is that the children were excited to write by hand, although all printed and none used cursive.

The message I left with the children is, “Reading is the number one factor in determining your financial success in the future. The only way to become a good writer is to read a lot and practice writing a lot. Any worthwhile writing requires numerous revisions. No matter what career you choose down the road you’ll be a lot more successful if you are a good writer. Read what others have written and decide what you like – or don’t like – about it Then get inspired to write something amazing yourself.”

What a rewarding and fun day we all had. A big thank to Site Supervisor Randy Kaiser for inviting me back to visit today and to the dedicated teachers there who keep the children focused and learning. I look forward to another visit with Fairway kids!

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24. Harts Pass No. 218

Yes. Wolverines DO eat marmots!

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25. Poetry Competition: Gemini Magazine

Gemini Magazine is now accepting entries for its fifth annual Poetry Open competition.

Details at our website.

The grand prize is $1,000. Second place wins $100 and four honorable mentions will each receive $25. All six finalists will be published online in the March 2015 issue of Gemini.


The entry fee is $5 for each batch of three poems. 


Email and postmark deadline: January 2, 2015.

We are open to any type of poetry, any subject matter, any length. Scroll down the Poetry Open page to see the broad range of work from previous winners and finalists.

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