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1. Rebel Light Canadian Publisher

REBELIGHT_LOGO_4C

Submission Guidelines

What we want:

  • Manuscripts for middle grade, young adult and new adult novels
  • Well written and edited stories of any genre with riveting plots, dynamic and developing protagonists and antagonists we love to hate.
  • Work from Canadian writers that appeals to a worldwide market.

 Emerging writers and experienced authors welcome! Published authors, feeling stuck writing in one genre for your publisher and want to try something new? We are all ears.

What we don’t want:

Holiday stories • Graphic novels • Poetry • Short stories • Illustrations • Picture books • Non-fiction • Erotica • Previously published work (including self-published works)

Some helpful hints:

  • Have your manuscript edited by a third party who has a strong understanding of writing for young people. Your mother does not count, unless her name is J.K. Rowling.
  • A couple helpful reads: Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View by Jill Elizabeth Nelson and  Writing Great Books For Young Adults by Regina L. Brooks.
  • Your work has a better chance of serious consideration if it is presented in a professional manner, so please follow our submission guidelines below.

Submission Guidelines:

  • Rebelight Publishing Inc. is environmentally friendly and accepts emailed submissions only. Mailed submissions will be shredded and not responded to, a waste of your money (& trees).

In the body of the email (for security reasons attachments will not be opened), your submission should include:

  1. A one-page query letter
  2. Your author CV
  3. A one-page synopsis
  4. The first three chapters of your manuscript.
  • The email subject line should read as follows: “Submission – Your First Name Your Last Name, Manuscript Title.”
  • Do not send more than one manuscript at a time.
  • Address all emails, “Dear Editor:” (Yes, this goes against most advice given to writers… it’s OK. If your manuscript is accepted you’ll be introduced to your editor.)
  • We accept simultaneous submissions, however, as a courtesy, please let us know if your manuscript has been accepted elsewhere.
  • Should we request a full manuscript, it must be submitted in standard 8.5 x 11” format, typed in Times Roman 12 pt font and double-spaced. Submit as a Microsoft Word file.

Submissions are usually processed within three (3) months. Please do not contact us any sooner about your submission. Due to the volume of submissions, we cannot provide editorial comments on manuscripts. Email submissions to: editor@rebelight.com You’ve worked hard and shown perseverance to get a manuscript ready for submission. We look forward to hearing from you.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: authors and illustrators, Middle Grade Novels, opportunity, Places to sumit, publishers, Young Adult Novel Tagged: Canadian writers, email sumissions, Rebel Light, submission guidelines

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2. A LITTLE SOMETHING DIFFERENT by Sandy Hall

"Review My Books" Review by Ryann Dannelly  A LITTLE SOMETHING DIFFERENT by Sandy Hall Genre: YA Contemporary, NA, Romance My Rating: 5/5 stars Goodreads | Amazon The creative writing teacher, the delivery guy, the local Starbucks baristas, his best friend, her roommate, and the squirrel in the park all have one thing in common—they believe that Gabe and Lea should get together.Lea and

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3.


Okay, I'm told firm pub date is now Sept. 11. Not an auspicious day, but exciting nonetheless!

Dictionaries Out of Order defies simple description. Its stories, which intersect at Portland's "City of Books," range from the silly to the sublime, veering expertly from philosophy to farce. At its heart, the book is a love letter to the awesome and mysterious power of words. As comical as it is profound, this unique and unforgettable collection confirms that David Michael Slater is one of the most versatile authors writing today.

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4. Guest Post: Writing books or working pub?

Industry Life

by

Kerrie Byrne McCreadie

Kerrie McCreadie“But what are you going to do?”

Majoring in English always seemed to be a very puzzling thing for those around me. It took me five and a half years to finish my undergraduate degree, and I probably couldn’t count the number of times this question came up. I also couldn’t count the number of ways I’ve responded. Writer. Editor. Book publicist. Agent. Designer. All noble causes, all professions inhabited by creative and brilliant people. But somewhere, in answering that penetrating question—with all its strength of will in making me feel like my degree would be ultimately useless—I got lost in the possible options and forgot to think about the most important thing: what did I want to do in the first place?

You learn early that being a writer isn’t considered a “realistic” career. Going into editing, that can work. But writing, being an author, not so much. I’m still fairly certain that the Grade 11 Careers class I was forced to take (a Canadian rite of passage) existed just to tell me that my dream jobs (at the time: writer, musical theatre performer, etc.) were impractical, and that I was unreasonable.

I can still see my teacher rolling her eyes.

What they don’t tell you in Careers class is that it’s probably not that much more impossible to become a writer than it is to become an editor in this economic climate. Becoming a writer who creates a six-figure novel? Not so likely. But becoming a writer at all? It’s hard, it takes passion and dedication—but it does happen. And it isn’t really less possible than being an editor. But we’re told it is. We’re told as young writers that the publishing industry is the smarter, easier choice. Not only is that not necessarily true, but it also belittles the work done by the incredible, driven people in the industry. There are publishers who spend their entire lives making sure other peoples’ books do well. People who work in the industry are often ambitious and passionate and…well. Practically superhuman, in some cases.

But still, I really wanted to be an editor; and, admittedly, it wasn’t just because of Careers. I love editing, I love being the person who gets to polish something beautiful into something perfect. At this point I have a little more than year of experience in the Toronto publishing world. Not a lot. I’m a baby, and I know it—but it’s enough to get a peek. I worked as an intern at a small publisher, sorting through submissions and slush. At the same small publisher, I worked as a typesetter and graphic designer. This past summer I have been working as an assistant for the president of a literary agency. These have all been really rewarding experiences and I’ve learned a lot. Publishing is hard. There’s a lot on the line for everyone emotionally, mentally, and financially. Doing design on a fast-paced publishing schedule is one of the most challenging jobs I’ve had so far, and seeing how agents function while they work is awe-inspiring. So many people in this industry work 17-18 hour days with hardly any weekends, just because they love it so much.

As I’m starting to grow into a publishing toddler, this experience has given me a pretty startling realization. I knew going into these internships that I wanted to write, that I always have wanted to write. But somewhere along the way I started letting my Careers teacher’s voice whisper in my ear. I am dedicated to continuing to educate myself on how to edit more thoroughly and how to design more beautifully. I’m just starting to get good enough to freelance reliably. But what I really want to focus on  at the moment is my writing.

It’s not to say that some people can’t balance both. I know some wonderful ladies and gents who pull off doing both with style. There is definitely value in being both a writer and involved in the industry, whether it gives you a greater understanding of what’s required of you to get yourself published or whether it lends you empathy towards your clients. But that life is only suited to some very specific people. I’ve met some ex-agents-turned-writers who realized that they loved their own work more than working on other peoples’, even if they ultimately loved doing both. And I know plenty of once-writers who seem to be leaning towards becoming editors.

Me? Somehow, coming out of all of this has ended a five-year novel writing block, and I’m happily typing away at a new project every spare moment I have. My industry experience helped me make some major life decisions, like moving on to grad school instead of going on to a publishing certificate without a single doubt. Doing this work now means I got the experience while I had as many doors open as possible. I’m able to acknowledge that just because I’m interested in industry work doesn’t mean I have to commit to it 100% now when I’m only 23. Even if my career advisor told me I should.

Besides, there are so many other things I can do with my English degree.

(Like getting a PhD!)

Kerrie Byrne McCreadie has dipped her toes/feet/shins/waist into the publishing world in various ways over the past few years, and thinks the whole industry is pretty fascinating. You can follow her on twitter, or find her on her brand new blog. She is currently writing a rather depressing fairy tale contemporary, and will thank anyone for holding her hand as she starts her PhD applications this fall.

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5. Sneak peek, progress shot. #sketch

via Instagram http://ift.tt/1pc33Tu



via Studio Bowes Art Blog at http://ift.tt/1obLUEt

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6. Time Management Tuesday: Your Mindset Can Impact Procrastination

Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson wrote a post at her website last winter on procrastination called How to Make Yourself Work When You Just Don't Want To. Among her suggestions and my take on how they apply to writers:

Promotion vs. Prevention Focuses


A promotion focus encourages someone to work to better themselves. Will working today mean meeting a deadline or enable you to make a submission? Will studying today enhance the quality of your writing? Will just putting in time writing enhance the quality of your writing? That's all about promotion.

A prevention focus encourages someone to work to maintain what they have and prevent loss. Will working today help me to maintain my tenuous place on the writing career ladder? Will it help me to stay published? That's about prevention.

Halvorson argues that choosing a focus can keep you working.

Do You Have To Feel Like Working In Order To Work?

This is a question of particular interest to writers and other creatives because there is a stereotype that we have to be inspired in order to work. There are muses that are supposed to visit us. Personally, I think this is a very old-fashioned attitude, at least as far as creative people are concerned. I never hear it from published writers or anyone serious about publishing. Actually, I only hear it from people who don't do creative work, and even then rarely. I don't hear about writer's block, either. The realities of publishing have moved most of us past that.

If-Then Planning

Timothy Pychyl also talks about if-then statements, calling them implementation intentions.  You plan ahead to deal with problem situations--form an intention and plan how you'll implement it. I, for instance, plan to keep working until a timer goes off. Halvorsan says, "...if-then plans dramatically reduce the demands placed on your willpower... In fact,  if-then planning has been shown in over "200 studies to increase rates of goal attainment and productivity by 200%-300% on average."

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7. Simin Behbahani (1927-2014)

       I last mentioned leading Iranian poet Simin Behbahani less than a year ago, on the occasion of her being awarded the Janus Pannonius Poetry Prize. Now she has passed away -- see, for eample, the IBNA report
       Some of her work has been translated into English -- your best bet is still A Cup of Sin: Selected Poems; get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk See also her official site.

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8. The Polite Writer

                                                                        Artwork by Melva Medina
                                                            found on the blog The Education Labyrinth

In the wake of a conversation about, well, just about everything, a son flagged up an article to me called "How to be Polite".  It was excellent and funny and true.  As I read, I thought "Yes!  This is such good advice!" and then also "Yes!  Politeness is the writer's friend!"

Listen, if you will, to this -

My ability to go to a party and speak to anyone about anything, to natter and ask questions, to turn the conversation relentlessly towards the speaker, meant that I was gathering huge amounts of information about other people.

Here’s a polite person’s trick, one that has never failed me. I will share it with you because I like and respect you, and it is clear to me that you’ll know how to apply it wisely: When you are at a party and are thrust into conversation with someone, see how long you can hold off before talking about what they do for a living. And when that painful lull arrives, be the master of it. I have come to revel in that agonizing first pause, because I know that I can push a conversation through. Just ask the other person what they do, and right after they tell you, say: “Wow. That sounds hard.”

Because nearly everyone in the world believes their job to be difficult. I once went to a party and met a very beautiful woman whose job was to help celebrities wear Harry Winston jewelry. I could tell that she was disappointed to be introduced to this rumpled giant in an off-brand shirt, but when I told her that her job sounded difficult to me she brightened and spoke for 30 straight minutes about sapphires and Jessica Simpson. She kept touching me as she talked. I forgave her for that. I didn’t reveal a single detail about myself, including my name. Eventually someone pulled me back into the party. The celebrity jewelry coordinator smiled and grabbed my hand and said, “I like you!” She seemed so relieved to have unburdened herself. I counted it as a great accomplishment. Maybe a hundred times since I’ve said, “wow, that sounds hard” to a stranger, always to great effect. I stay home with my kids and have no life left to me, so take this party trick, my gift to you.

A friend and I came up with a game called Raconteur. You pair up with another Raconteur at a party and talk to everyone you can. You score points by getting people to disclose something about their lives. If you dominate the conversation, you lose a point. 

And you lose a chance.  As a person and as a writer.

The next time you're asked where you get your ideas, try answering, "By being polite."  

P.S.  Please don't jump on me because you think I'm implying politeness is nothing more than a cynical tool for doing your job.  I'm not.  And really, I'd much rather hear about you ...

Joan Lennon's website.
Joan Lennon's blog.


                                                                                                

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9. PEN/Heim Translation Fund grants

       They've announced the 2014 PEN/Heim Translation Fund grant winners:

From a field of 120 applicants, the Fund's Advisory Board -- Esther Allen, Barbara Epler, Sara Khalili, Michael F. Moore, Lauren Wein, and Lorin Stein -- has selected fifteen projects for funding.
       (That's a pretty impressive advisory board, by the way.)
       Some great-sounding projects, including work by some pretty big names -- Johannes Urzidil, Arseny Tarkovsky, Romain Gary, and Per Aage Brandt -- as well as a Richard Weiner, forthcoming from Two Lines Press (alas, too many of these other projects are still listed as: 'Available for publication' -- so check them out, publishers, some great things still up for grabs !).
       Among the intriguing projects: Sholeh Wolpé's translation of Farid ud-Din Attar's The Conference of Birds -- somewhat misleadingly presented as: "This artful and exquisite modern translation brings one of the definitive masterpieces of Persian literature to the English-speaking world". 'Definitive masterpieces' is right -- but of course it's hardly new to English-speaking audiences -- hey, there's a Penguin Classic's edition (Afkham Darbandi and Dick Davis' 1984 translation; get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk; my own dates to 1991, when I paid the then-list price of $6.95 for it at my local Barnes & Noble-- and even then I was reluctant to pay list, so a pretty significant book if I was willing to shell out that kind of money ...). Peter Avery's 1998 translation, published as The Speech of the Birds (see the Islamic Texts Society publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk), has long seemed the most definitive version, but after more than fifteen years perhaps the time is ripe for a new version.

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10. Inside the Bus

Inside the bus, I just got beat
By someone for an empty seat;
But as she sat, a voice rang out,
A beat too late, this warning shout –

That seat is wet so don’t sit down!
The sitter jumped up with a frown
And sure enough, the seat was soaked.
What is it? Miss Wet-Bottom croaked.

The one who knew said something spilled.
Miss Wet was not exactly thrilled
But seemed relieved it wasn’t pee;
I’m glad she got that seat, not me!

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11. (African) literary prize debate

       In The Herald (Zimbabwe) Beaven Tapureta takes on the Caine Prize -- the leading (no doubt about that, for the time being) African short-story prize -- and literary prizes as a way of fostering (African) literature, asking What is an African story ?
       So they're wondering:

Are the Commonwealth Prize for Africa, Caine, Booker, and NOMA prizes doing more harm than good to the telling of a true African story ? On what basis are the works by African writers being judged at these prizes which in some cases have part of the juries coming from the continent ?
       And:
Zimbabwe's multi-award winning writer Shimmer Chinodya, who was shortlisted for the Caine Prize in 2000, its inaugural year, was bitter about the Prize for it has become.

One of the biggest crimes the Prize has committed is the way it has degenerated into gender and geographical issues. It has masqueraded as the prize 'for African writing', that's nonsense. We have had the NOMA Award for Publishing in Africa, the Commonwealth Prize for Africa although it has been downplayed by the Caine Prize which has made the short story look an easier genre to write than a novel. African tradition is not a minimalist tradition. I think the Prize should grow out of the ten-page stories and do something," he said.
       I've long argued that the Caine Prize -- estimable though it is -- shouldn't be considered the 'Man Booker' of African writing because, after all it is 'just' a short story prize. Nothing wrong with that -- but still, something different from novels (and, as you know, I'm a novel-man, through and through and through ...). Nevertheless, I must point out that the repeatedly mentioned "Commonwealth Prize for Africa" (meaning, surely, the Commonwealth Writers' Prize-African region) and the Noma Award for Publishing in Africa both ... no longer exist, having given up their respective ghosts in 2011 and 2009. Other pan-African (sort of ... northern Africa always seem to get rather left out of these, as does non-English-writing ...) prizes have sprung up, but nothing has established itself as near-convincingly pan-African as the Caine Prize.
       (As always, I note that the bizarre policy of announcing the winner of the Caine Prize in Oxford is perhaps not the best way to sell yourself as an 'African' prize; it's a big continent and there are lots of nice places you could hold an awards ceremony .....)

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12. Yawn

I recently began reading Far from the Madding Crowd on my Kindle. I am so glad I am finally getting around to reading Hardy. Why did I wait so long? Please don’t answer that.

Anyway, after work today on the train I was reading and Oak, the main character thus far, was playing Peeping Tom, watching an older woman and a young lady he had just seen for the first time earlier that day feed a cow and take care of her new calf. The hour was late, somewhere around 1 a.m. by the stars Hardy tells us. The young lady yawns (but not in an inappropriately large way, she does have manners) and Oak, peeping through the gap in the barn boards is overwhelmed and suddenly yawns too. And I, reading the book, found myself attacked by a yawn.

Has this ever happened to you before? You are made to yawn by a character in the book yawning?

Or what about when a character is really thirsty, have you ever suddenly found yourself thirsty too? Of hungry? Books make me hungry all the time and there doesn’t even have to be a description of a great meal that makes my mouth water. I am currently reading The Memory Garden and there is an amazing dinner scene. I was doing fine, until they had blueberry sorbet. Oh that sounded good, give me a some please! I could even taste it and feel the cold in mouth even though the author didn’t spend any time actually describing it. But what has really gotten me is the chocolate cake that was mentioned a couple times. I was struck by a sudden craving. I came really close to asking Bookman if he would make one.

Other times while reading I have felt hot or cold or found myself squinting along with the character in an imagined bright sun. And of course tears. There have also been tears springing to my eyes as quickly as they spring to the eyes of the character in the book.

Being so affected probably has something to do with an active imagination and mirror neurons. When you see someone pick up a cup, for instance, mirror neurons supposedly fire in your brain in the same areas that would go to work if you were actually picking up the cup yourself. I’m wondering if I start reading books in which people get lots of exercise whether that means I am exercising too? Wouldn’t that be nice? Reading about someone running a marathon does not equal me actually running one. Very much wishful thinking but you can’t blame a girl for trying.


Filed under: Books, Reading

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13. alexanderchee: One thing I’ve always wondered—why the fox never...





alexanderchee:

One thing I’ve always wondered—why the fox never got a card in the Tarot.

There should be a fox card.





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14. A Better Life for Yourself is Tangible and Within Your Reach

IMG_4926.JPG

I went into my first foster home when I was fifteen years old. Back then I knew a better life for myself was tangible and within my reach, I just had to reach out and grab it. Books taught me that. Books and teachers saved me.

~Tonia Allen Gould
the Finding Corte Magore project


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15. Powell’s Q&A: Richard Kadrey

Describe your latest book. The Getaway God is the sixth book in the Sandman Slim series. In it, the very unholy nephilim, James Stark, aka Sandman Slim, has made a few enemies. None, though, are as fearsome as the vindictive Angra Om Ya — the insatiable, destructive old gods. But their imminent invasion is just [...]

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16. Poetry Friday - A review of On the Wing

Douglas Florian is a poet and artist who has created poetry picture books that explore a wide variety of subjects. Over the years I have greatly enjoyed reading these books, and it is interesting to see how he applies his considerable talent to take on a new topic that interests him.

Douglas Florian
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Harcourt, 1996, 978-0152023669
Birds truly are remarkable animals. They come in a dazzling array of colors, live on every continent, and make their homes in all kinds of places. In this wonderful picture book Douglas Florian pairs short poems with his artwork to give readers a true celebration of birds.
   Over the millennia birds have evolved to suit many kinds of environments. Some birds, like the egret, sail on water and then rest on the beach making it seem as if there is a “feathered hat” lying on the sand. Dippers love to dip and dive in waterfalls. They are so aquatic that one wonders if they would be happy to “trade / Their oily wings for flippers.” They are such good swimmers that it is possible that the little birds might “think that they are fish.”
   Birds come in all shapes and sizes. The spoonbill is tall and thin with a beak that does indeed look like a long-handled spoon. In his poem about this rather odd looking species, Douglas Florian wonders if the spoonbill uses its bill “for stirring tea” or does it “use it as a scoop / For eating peas and drinking soup.”
   The stork has a bill that is perfectly suited for the environment it lives in. Wading through shallow water, the bird uses it rapier like bill to stab frogs and other creatures. Woodpeckers also have beaks that are perfectly adapted so that they can get to their chosen food - insects that live in wood and sap that runs through wood. Not only are these beaks perfect for creating holes, but woodpeckers also use them to communicate.
   With clever touches of humor and insightful descriptions, this collection of poems will give young readers a colorful picture of twenty-one bird speci

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17. Ways to help Ferguson: Campaigns for Mike Brown

Ways to help Ferguson: Campaigns for Mike Brown:

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18. Writer Wednesday: Deal Announcement


I had an exciting start to my week. Not only did I finally get to move back home, but I also got this picture from my amazing agent Sarah Negovetich.
If you're having trouble reading that, it's the deal announcement for Fading Into the Shadows, which will be published by Spencer Hill Press in 2016!

I love my editor at SHP. Trisha just gets me and the way my mind works, so I'm thrilled to work on another book with her. And this book was one that grabbed my attention from the start. It's actually the book that gave me the idea for the Touch of Death series. Yes, I drafted it before Touch of Death. I revised it after I completed the series though.

I can't wait to share more info with you, but for now I'll say it's fantasy and it involves a girl who will do anything to save her best friend after he goes missing. Of course she didn't realize "anything" involved another world of shadows and real life constellations trying to kill her.

Anyone else have good writing news to share this week? Tackle a difficult chapter, finish a revision, get a new book idea? Let's celebrate together.

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19. Watch Out, Hollywood!: More Confessions of a So-called Middle Child | Book Giveaway

Enter to win copies of both CONFESSIONS OF A SO-CALLED MIDDLE CHILD and WATCH OUT, HOLLYWOOD! MORE CONFESSIONS OF A SO-CALLED MIDDLE CHILD, by Maria T. Lennon. Giveaway begins August 20, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends September 19, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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20. Connecticut Children's Literature Calendar Update

Author Lynda Mullaly Hunt will be making an appearance at the Barnes and Noble Bookstore in Glastonbury on Sunday, August 31st at 2:00 PM.

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21. Colores de la Vida



Review by Ariadna Sánchez

A vast variety of colors cover the universe. Their presence in the environment provides human beings with the inspiration necessary to create exquisite art pieces. Colors can cheer the spirit up in only seconds. They transform a lonely soul into a cheerful one by giving hope and serenity to it.
Colores de la Vida by Cynthia Weill has fabulous folk art by Artisans from Oaxaca, Mexico.  Weill’s perfect combination of art and colors results in a boost of power of the immense world of colors in English and Spanish. Page by page, Colores de la Vida is an open invitation to admire the beauty in our surroundings.
Visit your local library to check out other great books written by Cynthia Weill. Reading gives you wings!
For additional information regarding Weill’s work click the following link:
Listen in Spanish Cynthia Weill Interview

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22. CONSTRUCTION by Sally Sutton Illustrated by Brain Lovelock


Construction by Sally Sutton and illustrated by Brain Lovelock.   This is the third book by these creators following Demolition and Road Work.  There are millions of books about building and children seem to love them all.  Children love seeing a tall crane at work or a hole being dug in the street.   Everytime I read a construction book I think of this catchy tune When I Build My House.  This book is not just about building a house.  There is a very special place built at the end(I will let it be a surpise).  This author uses lots of action words like Thonk, Clonk and Clap that kids will love acting out.  Plus a full follow-up page at the end on machine facts.  Children who are building fans will enjoy this title and they will love the place that is build at the end of the story.  

Get your copy September 9.  In the meantime enjoy the following tune -

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23. Moving


I'm moving my blog over to my
 website...check it out here

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24. The Realities of Writing by Michaelbrent Collings

Okay, I’m going to be up front about a few things: this article is divided into two parts. The first part is helpful, will give you burgeoning professionals some realistic ideas about the hellhole you’re about to dive into, and (maybe most important) this is probably the only time you’ll ever hear something like this. It’s also very depressing. So if you’re the type who gets all panicky wondering whether Captain America is going to make it through the movie, or who stresses over Family Feud reruns, skip to part two. Also, please consider a new career choice because you are probably going to blow your brains out at some point.

I told you this was going to be depressing.

But if you’ll stick with it, I promise there’s a silver lining. Or at least a less-black lining. Sometimes that’s enough.

Here goes…

Part One: The Suck

First, to establish my bona fides: I’m a full-time writer. I’ve written movies, and as of now I’m a #1 bestselling novelist, one of Amazon’s top selling horror writers, and have been a bestseller in something like forty countries. I’m “successful.” And so part of my job is to travel around to cons and symposia talking about what it is to be “successful” with other folks who somehow make a living writing down our dreams (or nightmares).

Inevitably one of us writerly types makes an offhand comment about the bad-ol’ days, the days of starving, of choosing between buying a word processing program and, you know, eating. Or some comment about how many writers die of drug overdoses.

Cue laughter. And the laughter from the audience is real.

But here’s the thing: the laughter from the folks behind the table, from the speakers, the panelists, the writers…well, it’s laughter of a different sort. Laughter that’s a socially acceptable alternative to running out of the room screaming.

We make jokes about it, about the suffering. Because otherwise we’d just curl up in little balls and cry. No one wants to see that. So we laugh, and the “newbies” and “wannabes” get the wrong idea. “Ain’t it funny,” they say. “Ain’t it grand,” they muse. “Ain’t it all so terribly romantic?”

Well here’s a bit of the romantic life of a writer: me, rolling over and bumping into my wife for the umpteenth time because we’re both crammed into a full bed. We used to have a king, but couldn’t take it with us when we moved. We moved because after the first big chunk of writing money ran dry, no more came, and for some reason the people in charge of our house kept expecting money. And our kids kept wanting to eat (lousy, greedy kids!). So we packed up and moved in with my parents. Four people in two rooms downstairs. Then a new baby came. So my wife and I are still in the full, plus a screaming newborn two feet away in a room that measures maybe twelve feet by twelve feet. We made sure the kids ate well, and both the wife and I lost weight.

Hahahaha…cue laughter. So funny.

We finally got out of my parents’ place, and moved into a nice house in a beautiful neighborhood. We have a king-size bed again, and we don’t worry about eating regularly. Another kid is on the way, and this one will have his own room. But I often work sixty hours or more a week, and I just had my first vacation in four years – a whopping four days in a row!

Welcome to the life of a “successful” writer.

And most of the ones who have made it have stories like this. Look at the bios of a lot of pro writers. They’ve been short order cooks, mail carriers, teachers (and that’s all one writer, mind you). Sounds like someone’s bopping around, doing research, but really that’s just a person whose royalties didn’t cover living expenses, so he or she took what was necessary to eat.

Not many of us talk about this. Partly it’s because we want to sound like we are King Crap of Turd Mountain, like our mommies shot us out knowing how to Write Good Books and we were bestsellers from day one. But partly – maybe mostly – it’s just too painful. We write books that we love…and no one else does. Or at least not enough people do. And we and our loved ones suffer for it.

No one should have to go through that. But if you choose this life, you will.

I’ll say it again: you. WILL.

Part Two: The Silver Lining

Why do I want to hurt you? Do I want to keep you out? To eliminate the competition?

Absolutely not. I want you to write. I want you to try, and to make it!

I think everyone’s got a story to tell – a good one – and I hope you tell yours. But going in without knowing the above is a recipe for (more) heartbreak. Be prepared, and you’ll last longer.

And there’s one more thing you can do. One more thing I’ve found that reminds me on the down days, the days I feel worthless and crappy and talentless (and this from a guy who’s making steady money on a level that most people only dream of).

This is what I try to remember: writing, at its core, is an exercise in love and community.

Let me explain.

We write first for ourselves. Someone hands us a pen and paper and we disappear into the magic of the written word. We take ourselves to places that seem unique to our own minds, no matter how derivative those early stories really are.

Eventually we branch out. We get better. We show our work to friends, to family. To a cherished circle of people whom we trust to be gentle, to care for our work and our hearts – for they are one and the same. And in so doing, we bring those people closer to us, closer to each other. We extend to them our trust, and they cannot help but trust us a bit more in return. A new community springs into being, a community centered around the lie of a fiction, the Truth of a story.

Hopefully at some point that community grows beyond the people we know. People who are strangers to us – strange in custom, in background, in beliefs and culture – come to read what we create. And suddenly they are strange no more, for they have understood what we communicated. They are friends. A bigger community, a greater tribe.

We are all at different places on this spectrum. Perhaps you have barely begun to share your work with others. Perhaps you are still laboring in secretive silence, afraid to show your words to any but yourself. Possibly you have a nationwide following, but hope to move across the oceans to Europe, to Asia, to other lands farther away than most of us will ever really know.

But no matter where we are, we can all move forward. We can all continue the labor of love, continue to build those communities. The money is nice when it comes, but it is – like all material items – a temporal, transient thing that comes and goes at the whim of too many factors for anyone to really control. No man is captain of his ship, and no person is even midshipman of his bank account. Not really.

But the love we carry for our writing…that is ours to provide, and ours alone. The care we give it… that is in our control. The communities we build…those are the real purpose of the writing.

So on the nights when we roll over slowly, oh-so-carefully so as not to bump a spouse out of bed or wake a sleeping infant in a room too small for either, we remember the love we share for both, the love we share for the work we have chosen, the love we both give to and receive from those lucky enough to enjoy our work…and we somehow sleep, and dream good dreams.

The writer’s life is not easy. It is, in fact, terribly hard. Bone-crushingly stressful, and wearying to body and soul.

But it is at the same time lovely, and good, and well worth it.

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Michaelbrent

Michaelbrent Collings is a #1 bestselling novelist and screenwriter, one of the top selling horror novelists on Amazon for over two years straight, and has been a bestselling novelist in over forty countries. His newest novel is This Darkness Light.

You can join his mailing list at http://eepurl.com/VHuvX to be notified of his new releases, sales, and freebies; and find more writing advice at http://michaelbrentcollings.com/writingadvice.html.

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We’ve included Apple’s entire list after the jump. (more…)

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