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<<August 2015>>
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1. A Place for Quiet

How do you structure your workshop to work for all personalities?

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2. Leo Hunt, author of THIRTEEN DAYS OF MIDNIGHT, on pretending to adapt a draft into a film script

We're thrilled to have Leo Hunt stop by to tell us more about his debut novel THIRTEEN DAYS OF MIDNIGHT.

Leo, what was your inspiration for writing THIRTEEN DAYS OF MIDNIGHT?

Various sources. When I was a teenager I was very taken with 20th Century horror like Stephen King, HP Lovecraft, that sort of thing. I adore horror as a genre, especially occult horror, so I wanted to write a story that would have some of that atmosphere and imagery: moonlit rituals, stone circles, forbidden books that contain knowledge man was not meant to have, etc. I was also interested in YA at the time as a way of exploring the way family relationships change as you grow older, how you deal with the realisation that your parents are fallible human beings (or maybe even evil), so the idea of a father who had made a Faustian deal which ended up having an impact on his son was immediately interesting to me. I was working on this thing at the time about a failed stage magician who had a ghost butler, and that sad washed-up magician character ended up becoming Luke’s father Horatio in the final novel. The story was the focal point of a few different things I’d been thinking about for a while.
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3. Perhaps More Later But For Now Google+

I just went on Google+ for the first time in a week.  Views stand at just under 2 million.  What surprised me was the fact that the only comic related posts on there were from....me.

Normally, the site was chocked full of comic book or comic book related movie news and I'd wade through them all. As I pointed out a week or two ago, things had gotten quiet.  But this!

People on comic forums are talking about the lack of activity, too.

Meanwhile, Star Wars and even Jurassic Park are big topics.  Interesting to see how figures go for the next super hero movie.

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4. Free 1st 5 Pages Workshop opens in 1 week!

Our September workshop will open for entries on Saturday September 5, 2015, at noon, EST. We'll take the first five Middle Grade, Young Adult, or New Adult entries that meet all guidelines and formatting requirements. Click here to get the rules. I will post when it opens and closes on Adventures in YA Publishing and on twitter (@etcashman), with the hashtag #1st5pages. In addition to our permanent mentors, we have author JJ Howard and agent Danielle Burby!

And we have a new format! The workshop runs three weeks, but the third week will now include a pitch. And Danielle will select one participant as the “workshop winner”- and the prize is that she will review and comment on the first chapter of the manuscript! So get those pages ready!

September Guest Mentor – JJ Howard

If you’re looking for J. J. Howard, you’ll probably find her in Central Florida, but she wishes you’d find her in New York City. NYC, along with books, TV, music, coffee, and her mini-dachshund Willow are on top of her list of favorite things. By day she teaches English and Humanities at a small private high school, and by night she writes, edits, or Netflixes.

Howard’s debut YA, That Time I Joined the Circus, tells the story of Lexi, who accidentally joins the circus (and falls in love) while searching for her missing mother. Her second YA, Tracers, follows Cam, a NYC bike messenger who meets a beautiful stranger named Nikki who pulls him into the world of parkour. Her debut Middle grade, Sit, Stay, Love is coming from Scholastic this January.


Cam is a New York City bike messenger with no family and some dangerous debts. While on his route one day, he runs into a beautiful stranger named Nikki—but she quickly disappears. When he sees her again around town, he realizes that she lives within the intense world of parkour: an underground group of teens who have turned New York City into their own personal playground—running, jumping, seemingly flying through the city like an urban obstacle course.

Cam becomes fascinated with Nikki and falls in with the group, who offer him the chance to make some extra money. But Nikki is dating their brazen leader, and when the stakes become life-or-death, Cam is torn between following his heart and sacrificing everything to pay off his debts.

In the vein of great box-office blockbusters, the high-stakes romance here sizzles within this page-turning thriller that will leave readers feeling like they are flying through the streets of New York.

Purchase it at your local bookstore, or online at Amazon or Barnes and Noble

September Guest Agent – Danielle Burby

Danielle graduated from Hamilton College with honors and a double major in Creative Writing and Women’s Studies. Before finding her home at HSG, she interned at Writers House, Clarion Books, Faye Bender Literary Agency, Dunow Carlson and Lerner, John Wiley and Sons, and SquareOne Publishers (along with stints as a waitress and a farmers’ market vendor).

Her passion lies in YA, Women’s Fiction, and mysteries. She gravitates toward stories with a strong voice and particularly enjoys complex female characters, narratives that explore social issues, and coming-of-age stories. Genres that appeal to her include contemporary YA, medieval fantasy, historical fiction, cozy mysteries, and upmarket Women’s Fiction. She finds it hard to resist gorgeous writing and is a sucker for romantic plotlines that are an element of the narrative, but don’t dominate it. You can follow her on twitter at @danielleburby.

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5. Pixar's Free Online Tutorials

Pixar has released a free online course to explain the science and technology behind its approach to making computer-generated animated films. The interactive course covers most of the math-based aspects of the production pipeline, such as character modeling, environment modeling, combinatorics, animation physics, and surface rendering.

Here's the intro video (link to YouTube), which amusingly shows a lot of handmade skills (such as sculpting clay and drawing with markers—and relatively primitive technology, such as an Ektagraphic slide projector.

This video, for example, takes a look at the lighting factors and surface qualities that contribute to the color of an object. (Link to YouTube) The presentation seems intended for school-age learners rather than fellow professionals or mega-geeks. Each segment is presented by someone from the department in question.

Missing from the presentation is the softer science of Pixar's process, such as how they approach story development, character design, and acting for animation. I hope they include those topics in future teaching modules.

Via Design Taxi

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6. Hey everybody! Meet Elizabeth!

Please welcome another newbie to the Social Media team at Oxford University Press, Elizabeth Furey, who joined the gang in August 2015, just two weeks ago, as an OUPblog Deputy Editor and Social Media Manager! You can learn more about Elizabeth below.

The post Hey everybody! Meet Elizabeth! appeared first on OUPblog.

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7. Moods review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Yoel Hoffmann's Moods, recently published in translation by New Directions.

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8. Alan Gratz, author of CODE OF HONOR, on dangling your main characters into the fire

CODE OF HONOR is the latest novel by Alan Gratz, and we're excited to have him here to share more about it.

Alan, what was your inspiration for writing CODE OF HONOR?

The idea for CODE OF HONOR was originally, "How do I write a YA version of the TV show Homeland?" The book is very different than the show Homeland, of course, but that's where it began. How could I write a thriller about Middle Eastern terrorists in America that kept you guessing all the way to the end?

What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?

I learned that I love writing thrillers! This won't be the last one I write, for sure. I also began to understand how thrillers work--whether they're novels, TV shows, or movies. It's all about dangling your main characters into the fire and then yanking them out again at the last second. (While always turning up the heat each time, of course!)

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9. प्रतीत हो

चमकती सी है कभी,
कभी तन्हाई सी प्रतीत हो,
दहकती सी है कभी,
कभी पराई सी प्रतीत हो,   
ललचाती सी है कभी,
कभी इनाम सी प्रतीत हो,
रूलाती सी है कभी,
कभी ईमान सी प्रतीत हो,
निगल जाती है कभी,
कभी हैवान सी प्रतीत हो,
सुझाए सौ रास्ते कभी,
कभी भगवान सी प्रतीत हो,
गिराए ये मुझको कभी,
कभी दुश्मन सी प्रतीत हो,
उठाए जब भी कभी,
कभी उपवन सी प्रतीत हो,            
जलाए ये मुझको कभी,
कभी सौतन सी प्रतीत हो,
लगाए आग मुझमे कभी,
कभी यौवन सी प्रतीत हो,  
अनेक रंगो से भरी है ये,
बेरंग मगर प्रतीत हो,
है ज़िंदगी की ये साथी,
परंतु रात सी प्रतीत हो |

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10. Pirate libraries

       At Eurozine they reprint Bodó Balázs' piece (originally in Visegrad Insight), offering 'A central and eastern European perspective' on Pirate libraries.
       He reports that:

Today's pirate libraries were born to address political, economic and social issues specific to Soviet and post-Soviet times, but they quickly became vital beyond their original context.
       Of course, the legal morass remains ... a morass.

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11. Melinda Braun, author of STRANDED, on continuing to try and improve

We're delighted to have Melinda Braun join us to chat about her debut novel STRANDED.

Melinda, what was your inspiration for writing STRANDED?

My inspiration for Stranded came from a few different things:
I grew up in Wisconsin but now have lived in Minnesota for more than half my life, and one thing Minnesotans really love to do in the summer is "go up north" and "go to the cabin". I've been up in the north woods area several times, but had never done serious camping. I had heard about a Boy Scout troop who got lost out on a lake in the BWCA, but they were rescued very quickly. I also heard a few other stories (short news articles) about other campers having to be rescued for various reasons. The BWCA has also had several large forest fires over the years, and I decided to take all that information and roll it up into a camping trip that goes horribly wrong for a small group of teenagers.

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12. Sketchbook Saturday

Midday sketch.
Frankie's first portrait.

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13. The New Flat

We're finally in to our home for the foreseeable future! We're exhausted from days and days of walking marathons all over the city, so we're tucking in and enjoying our new pad. Stan made us our first meal (lentil and spinach soup - to die for) and we sat and sat while enjoying it. Neither one of us wanted to get up, we were so happy right there.

And the light was amazing. Watching it climb up the sides of the buildings was a spectacular show. And the windows are so tall, we see so much sky! One of the views we're most excited about is our long view towards Broughton Street.
We slept like coma patients on our first night. Here is the morning view (taken later in the day).
Any my new office. (Don't expect it to look this neat for long.)
And Stan's new office with the 'welcome to your new home' bouquet we purchased at the most picturesque florist in the world - which happens to be at the end of our street, Narcissus.
But back to the views and the light... Because truly, watching the light do it's tricks in Edinburgh is absolutely stunning. Here's some eye-candy from the other evening, walking home from the Book Festival where we had drinks with David Almond and his family. This is Calton Hill, which is near our new flat, but which we have yet to explore.
What I love about this city is nobody takes it for granted, even the locals. This will be one of the main bridges I cross everyday to get to class.
When we got to the other side after taking this picture, a group of people had stopped, tourists and locals alike, all with their cameras raised. Why? This is why.
The sun had turned the city and the sky to gold. My photo doesn't do it justice. And no, we haven't tried the Ferris Wheel yet, but we will!
     Back to the flat... We're going through those little things you do when you're settling into a new home. Buying essentials, finding homes for things, writing lists of what we need, and trying to figure stuff out. Like this, for instance.
I couldn't for the life of me figure out what it was for, I just knew it had something to do with the clothes drying rack. After much debate on Facebook, it has been determined to be a stockings dryer - tuck the toes/legs through the holes and let the panty side hang down to dry. (Thanks, Lisa Jacobi!) So there!
     More soon!

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14. Harry Potter Lipsticks cast Makeup Magic

LA Splash, a cosmetic company in Los Angeles, has created a line of Harry Potter inspired liquid lipsticks. The vibrant colors of the lipsticks are named after many of our favorite characters in Harry Potter, as well as shades for Nagini and “Spellbound.”

The collection is composed of the most wild colors, as well as some classic deep reds and nudes. Since introducing the collection through their Instagram, LA Splash has been filling up their Gringotts vaults. Huffington Post reported:

The collection includes deep reds and nudes, but in true Potter fashion, also boasts some wild colors, like a sky blue and lavender (appropriately named, well, Lavender).

As with anything the HP series touches, the lipsticks have turned to gold, selling out on the brand’s website and prompting it to “frantically increase capacity.” 

And at $14 each, they won’t break the Gringotts Wizarding Bank, either. 

Screen Shot 2015-08-29 at 10.19.58 AM


From the LA Splash Instagram and website, here is a look at this magical makeup.

Screen Shot 2015-08-29 at 10.23.54 AM

Screen Shot 2015-08-29 at 10.18.21 AM


These lipsticks are selling out rather quickly, but LA Splash is doing their best to meet the high demand. Bellatrix seems to be a particularly colorful shade, and is currently sold out. We have no doubt more Bellatrix will be available soon. If you wish to purchase these lipsticks you can find them on the LA Splash website, here.

To see more photos of real models wearing the lipsticks, please visit the LA Splash Instagram page.

Screen Shot 2015-08-29 at 10.30.58 AM


Model sporting the “Alastor” lipstick shade.

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15. House of the Moon

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16. Taiwan is full of lines

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17. {Indie Spotlight Review} A GIFT OF POISON by Kate Avery Ellison

Review by Elisa A GIFT OF POISON by Kate Avery Ellison Paperback: 286 pagesPublisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (October 24, 2014)Language: English FREE WITH KINDLE UNLIMITED Goodreads | Amazon As the orphaned niece of a cruel lord, Briand is the scapegoat of the castle. She has few friends and even fewer options, and every day is a struggle to stay ahead of

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18. Pigtastic! - a bookwrap

Quotes about being yourself...


Unwrapping some adorable illustrations to peek at...

About the book...

I loved the message of this book.  Piggy let's his emotions get him down when he hears things about himself, tries to change himself and then suddenly comes to realization that he is great...just the way he is!  

He discovers that life is not about what other people say about him or how he looks on the outside but it's the inside that counts...

"inside I have a heart of gold,
and that's all that matters!"

He surrounds himself with friends that he can have super times with, like travelling abroad, having fun with his image, and trying new adventures like skateboarding and drama play.  

He discovers it's not about what others say or how they perceive you but true friends who love you give you wings to fly and permission to accept yourself for who you truly are....unique and amazing YOU!

About the author...

Scott Gordon is the author of over 100 children's books, including My Little Pet Dragon, My Crazy Pet Frog, Pigtastic, A Little Book About You, A Pocketful of Dinosaurs, Ninja Robot Repairmen and If I Were A Robot. Currently he is hard at work on multiple projects: Secret Agent Disco Dancer, Braedyn Bunny and the Missing Eggs, Baby Bee, Aveline & the Great Pumpkin Patch and more!


Books are available in English, Spanish, Italian, French, German, Dutch, Portuguese and Indonesian. Croatian, Bosnian, Serbian, Polish, Hindi, Russian, Arabic, Japanese and Madarin Chinese versions will appear in the future.

Scott Gordon also writes science fiction, fantasy and horror novels under the name S.E. Gordon. His latest release is Netherstream Episode 1: Jane Doe.

Read on and read always!

It's a wrap.

Contact me at storywrapsblog@gmail.com

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19. Fiction from ... Central Europe

       Checking out Visegrad Insight (re. above), I find this useful Translators' guide to new fiction from the Visegrad Group countries (the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Poland) -- a nice overview of notable recent fiction from Central Europe.
       None of these titles are available in English yet, as best I can tell (and I can tell pretty well -- and it's hardly surprising: fiction from these nations usually does not get translated with ... alacrity), but a lot of these names are familiar -- indeed, almost all of them have had works published in English.
       Among the less well-known (but already translated) is Martin Reiner -- though I have to say I'm not so sure about his (600-page) "biographical novel in the form of literary collage", about Ivan Blatný; see the Torst publicity page.
       Among the better-known: books by Esterházy Péter, Kertész Imre, and Olga Tokarczuk. And Rivers of Babylon-author Peter Pišťánek's last work.

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20. Blessings by Margot Justes Redux

How often do we take the time to just whisper thank you to one in particular. Just a whispered thank you. How often do we count our blessings? How often do we take the time to just relax?  How often do we smile for no reason at all? I think we should, on a daily basis. If we did that, we’d see how lucky we are, because there are always others that are worse off.

We get on with our daily lives, but most of us are blessed, sure enough we have problems, various ills, issues at work, with friends, all the daily stuff that I call drudge stuff, but it is in fact life. It is what makes most of us who we are, weak or strong, or somewhere in between. We deal with what life throws at us to the best of our ability without hurting others.

With age comes wisdom, or at least that is what everyone says. Wisdom to take a breath and say thanks, wisdom to know the difference between what is important, and what is superfluous.

I’ve always had the philosophy that you should do what you can now, tomorrow is not guaranteed. Don’t wait to call family and friends. Don’t wait to do what makes you happy; take that road trip, read that book, visit that family member or friend. Stay connected whatever way possible to the people important in your life, and don’t let minor disagreements destroy those human connections.

We’re so hooked on those electronic connections and gadgets that we lose sight of what matters. You go to lunch with friends, sit down and check your phone, start texting, or worse, make a phone call.  Wasn’t it the idea to go to lunch with friends-sans the electronic equipage-is it really that important to check that phone? Don’t we get a break, maybe more to the point do we want that break? I know I do. Am I missing something, or is it just the age difference. You know, the with age comes wisdom adage.

Last week, I was walking out of Macy’s and a young thing bumped into me at the door, she didn’t even know I was there, didn’t look up, just plowed ahead. She was busy texting, and what was more telling, she didn’t even apologize. Must be the age thing.

On that note, we should smile, take a breath, and be thankful for what we have, and the things that matter. Others are not so lucky.

Margot  Justes
A Hotel in Paris
A Hotel in Bath
A Hotel in Venice
Blood Art
A Fire Within

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21. How well do you know Lao Tzu? [quiz]

This August we are featuring Lao Tzu, the legendary Chinese thinker and founder of Taoism, as Philosopher of the Month. He is best known as the author of the classic ‘Tao Te Ching’ (‘The Book of the Way and its Power’). Take our quiz to see how much you know about the life and studies of Lao Tzu!

The post How well do you know Lao Tzu? [quiz] appeared first on OUPblog.

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23. dartmoor pegasus in print!

Dartmoor Pegasus started as a little 'artifact' created by Philip Reeve at least a decade ago, before I knew him.

And today it's printed in story form in the Telegraph! (Thanks, illustrator Cathy Brett, for alerting us!)

Photo by Cathy Brett

We originally created the story for my blog, day by day. Philip adapted the story slightly when the newspaper asked us if they could print it, so it would work with less images, and you can read the whole fully illustrated version here on my blog.

I love drawing the Dartmoor Pegasus so much! And he so came to symbolise fun, supportive co-authorship to me that we ended up making him the logo for our #PicturesMeanBusiness campaign to get illustrators credited properly for their work. Making stories with a friend is the best thing EVER.


PS Funnily enough, our story's across from an article about Doctor Who, and Philip wrote a Doctor Who story! You can see my fan art for it here.

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24. My tweets

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25. Resources for Youth Services

Summer Reading is over! Many schools have already cranked up, and more will be getting going in the next couple of weeks. Fall, to me, means planning. I love doing long-term planning and reading materials that inspire me.  I’ve compiled a list here of a few more non-traditional resources that we could all benefit from. I hope one or all of these sparks your creative ideas for the fall!

Think Outside the Stacks – This is a TinyLetter newsletter written by Beth Saxon, also known as BethReads. Beth uses this newsletter to compile information that is relevant is YS librarians from outside the usual library sources–family blogs, news sources, museums, craft sites, educators. The title is apt. We have a lot to learn from people who aren’t librarians that also have interest in serving children and family, and Beth beautifully curates current, pertinent information.

Fairy Dust Teaching Blog – Fairy Dust Teaching is a resource site for teachers that actually offers online courses. But the blog is free to browse and is chock-full of classroom fun that can easily be adapted to library programming. She also highlights what educators all over the country are doing.

Planet Esmé – You might know Esmé Raji Codell from her book, Educating Esme, and her site is a wonderful resource for books, teaching, and other fun. You could get lost in those archives.

Podcasts are having their moment in the sun and I, for one, love them! Here are some great resources for podcasts that can help you be a better librarian:

Podcasts to Help Build Your Teen Collection: a post by Anna Dalin over at the Hub about great podcasts for collection development!

Secret Stacks – a podcast about comics in libraries by Kristin Lalonde and Thomas Maluck.

I hope this gets you started. Happy planning!


Our guest blogger from YALSA today is Ally Watkins (@aswatki1). Ally is a Library Consultant at the Mississippi Library Commission.

The post Resources for Youth Services appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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