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<<August 2015>>
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Results 1 - 25 of 2,000
1. Agents Panel: Barry Goldblatt and Brenda Bowen

Barry Goldblatt is an agent with Barry Goldblatt Literary.

He's been an agent for 15 years, representing everything but nonfiction (although he's sold it). His client list includes Holly Black, Libba Bray, Lauren Myracle, Jo Knowles. He also represents writers of adult work (mostly science fiction), and this is evolving.

He recently signed a historical fiction graphic novel hybrid. "It was really cool and really exciting."

Brenda Bowen is an agent with Greenburger Associates, one of the oldest agencies in America. Her list has everything from PBs to YA, poetry, and some adult books (largely illustrated ones). Her clients included Rosemary Wells, Chris Raschka, Mike Curato, Hilary Knight, Samantha Berger, Jo Napoli, Julianne Moore and Nathan Lane (when they write for kids).

She used to be a children's book editor for more than 25 years, and writes books of her own as well—she's written 40 books for kids, and her first adult novel, Enchanted August, came out in June.

What kind of agent are you? 

Barry Goldblatt: Becoming an editorial agent has become part of the territory. Shining something up for editors is part of the job, but he doesn't try to get things perfect because it wants editors to be able to "get their hands dirty." He considers his clients friends, he offers counseling, and he wants to be able to celebrate with his clients.

Brenda Bowen: She's also an editorial agent and does like to do therapy and handholding for clients. The Greenburger agency has lots of support for writers from rights specialists too.

What kind of editorial work do you do? 

Barry Goldblatt: He isn't doing line edits and grammar. He knows every editor he works with is getting 30 more manuscripts that day. The competition is immense. He wants to make sure what he's sending is the best-looking thing it can be—and then they'll want to work on it and make it even better.

Brenda Bowen: An artist often comes to an agent and says, "I'm thinking of doing this style for the book." She talks to the artist about those choices. She also helps, when there are 20 manuscripts to consider, which one to pursue first.

What's a realistic expectation for a client, in terms of time and energy from an agent? 

Brenda Bowen: She'll take a 10 PM call at home from a client. "Not that you should call them from home, but if it truly is a crisis ... I want to talk to them." The expectation is that your agent is really there for you.

Barry Goldblatt: Agenting isn't a 9 to 5 job. He works all the time on behalf of his clients.

What do you look for in a client?

Barry Goldblatt: New writers often misunderstand the power balance in the equation. "When you sign with an agent, they work for you." They give advice and you're free not to take it (but if you don't often, maybe it's not a good match). He gives his clients advice about their career—they get to choose.

Barry's clients once had a mini revolt. By offering them representation, in his head, he was telling them they were the best people. But when he gave feedback early on, he had to learn to reassure his clients. "They need to hear that!" He assumed his clients knew he loved them, but they didn't.

Brenda Bowen: It's a matter of taste. When she opens a query letter, she asks herself if she wants to have lunch with that person. She's a good agent for people she clicks with.

What's the climate in the industry at the moment? What is changing? 

Brenda Bowen: There are a lot of consolidations, but there are still publishers, and publishers have adjusted to the ebook crisis. "We know that an adult ebook is taking over the space that the mass market paperback took." Since 2009-2010, a new normal has been established, so publishing has loosened the reins. They're still selective and want big books, but everyone wants to find that wonderful new thing and take risks. There is also more space for YA crossover. Things are unpredictable, but everyone still wants to capitalize on new opportunities.

Barry Goldblatt: The one negative he's seen that isn't quite receding is the focus in-house on deciding books they can get for $25,000 aren't worth publishing. He wishes editors had the space to buy special books that aren't as obvious of money-makers. "A lot of books are not six figure deals. It doesn't mean they're not fantastic books."

What's your dream manuscript? 

Barry Goldblatt: Once he participated in #MSWL (manuscript wish list chat on Twitter). He regretted it. His most recent sale wasn't something he was looking for, but it was so fantastic. "I couldn't have described this book before I got it if I tried."

The hardest thing is that you can get jaded and think nothing will knock you off your seat. But that's what he hopes for every day.

Brenda Bowen: She fell in love with Laurent Linn's illustrated novel, and even though she was too busy to take anything new on, she couldn't not take it on. She wants a book that "slaps you in the face."

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2. Jenny Bent: The Agents' Panel

Jenny Bent founded The Bent Agency in 2009; the agency now has nine agents, offices in New York City and London, and a strong focus on international rights. Her authors include SE Green, Tera Lynn Childs, AG Howard, and Lynn Weingarten. She is actively looking for new clients across all categories of middle grade and young adult. Her website is www.thebentagency.com and you can find her on Twitter @jennybent.

Highlights of Jenny's comments:

She starts out with mentioning some of her recent debut author sales, saying she has a lot of debut authors.

For YA she's looking for edgy, different, manuscripts that could almost be adult books, that push the envelope.

Calling herself "highly editorial," Jenny speaks of working with her clients on "at least two or three drafts before sending everything out."

As publishers are consolidating, she sees herself as "ever more of a protector," holding onto rights for her authors, and then being active about selling them. (Rights outside the primary U.S. deal like audio, foreign and film.)

"My big thing as an agent is honesty." Jenny explains her clients know when she praises their work that she's being real about it because when things aren't working she tells them about it. "What I'm looking for in a client is someone who will be honest back with me... Respect and honesty on both sides."

There's lots more discussion, about consolidation, social media, and even how her agency posts what they're looking for, once a month on their blog.

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3. A Tourist in Chicago by Margot Justes

My recent trip to Chicago was to a wedding at the historical Warwick Allerton Hotel.
It reminded me of the rich and wondrous architectural history in Chicago.

Not only is the hotel an historical treasure, but the management took great care in providing an elegant venue, delicious food and wonderful service. The wedding was truly a memorable occasion.

The hotel was designated “an official Chicago Landmark” by Mayor Richard Daley in June 1998. Built in 1922, and opened in 1924, it is a Northern Italian Renaissance Revival design and it is opulent and rich with wonderful windows, marble floors, and with incredible views of the city from the reception ballroom.  It was the first 25-story skyscraper built on North Michigan Avenue.

The Tip-Top-Tap lounge that served as host to Don McNeill’s nationally broadcast “Breakfast Club” was closed in 1961, but the neon sign remains and is an iconic reminder of the rich history of the building.

If your taste runs to architecture, you won’t be disappointed, there are many more fantastic buildings. A simple walk along Michigan Avenue, will get you the Wrigley Building, and the Chicago Tribune; if you look closely at the Tribune building, you’ll see stones imbedded from many of the world’s greatest treasures, all are labeled from point of origin.  Even out latest mega Trump Tower, has the perfect location, overlooking the Chicago River, and can be clearly seen from the corner of Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive, and from the Allerton Hotel.

This is the city where Mies van der Rohe, Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wight to name just a few built a few treasures.

The city has been called the windy city most probably because Chicago was trying to get the 1893 World Exposition, and as an ad campaign, the lake breeze was heralded as a city wonder. The more popular version is due to the politicians, and the hot air that continuously blows from City Hall. Either way, the name stuck. I personally prefer the more recent political version.

Chicago is multi cultural, vibrant, and has stunning architecture. Not a bad start to a city that is filled to the brim with world renown museums, an abundance of fine dining establishments, local eateries, a world renown orchestra, and theater productions that rival New York. I love this city, and play tourist whenever time allows.

My favorite museum is the Art Institute, beautifully situated on Michigan Ave-the Grand Avenue-that gives Fifth Avenue, and the Champs Elysees, a run for their money. The wide sidewalks are lined with pots of flowers, trees and miniature gardens, decorated for every season. Along with occasional sculptures, from cows to couches. Sometimes whimsical, sometimes serious, but always fun to see.

There are many museums, but only a few have the envied lake shore location; the Field Museum, the Planetarium and the Shedd Aquarium are aligned in the ‘museum complex’ in close proximity, and are a must see. All this can be yours, within walking distance , if you really like to walk, or a short bus, taxi, car, or trolley ride.

If your taste runs to modern art, just a bit off Michigan Avenue is the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Don’t forget State Street, and the loop area that has been greatly revitalized, visit the Macy’s store, that once was the great Marshall Field’s, and to me always will be.

There is the Buckingham Fountain, Millennium Park, an architectural gem, and the over used word  world renowned. The building costs of Millennium Park went way over budget, but the park has become a main tourist attraction. We have Grant Park, and an amazing lakefront, and bicycle paths everywhere you turn. Not to mention ethnic food galore; I don’t think there is an ethnic food you can think of that you won’t find in Chicago.

On the south side of the city we have the Oriental Museum, and the interactive Science and Industry Museum. This city has it all, and at a slower, more relaxed pace than New York.

I listed just a few of the main central tourist attractions, that by no means limits the rich cultural history that abounds in many neighborhoods in this city. This is just a brief glimpse of what Chicago has to offer.

I haven’t even mentioned the fantastic food choices.

Margot  Justes
A Hotel in Paris
A Hotel in Bath
A Hotel in Venice
Blood Art
Hearts and Daggers

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4. Alexandra Penfold: Agents' Panel

Alexandra Penfold is an agent with Upstart Crow Literary and is building her list, representing very young picture books up to YA (some select adult).  She is also the author a cookbook NEW YORK a la CART: Recipes and Stories from the Big Apple's Best Food Trucks as well as three forthcoming pictures books.

In terms of Alexandra's client list, different clients have different needs so what she does depends on those needs. When she takes on a client, she thinks of it as taking on a life: in good times and bad.

When Alexandra is looking to take on a client it's important to her to have a conversation with them about their career and what they want. It's a relationship and there is a certain chemistry involved, and there must be trust.

There are different paths to sales for authors. Some who have made the right connections with the school and library market might see their sales grow over time. One example is POP by Meghan McCarthy. It didn't explode out of the gate but it keeps being added to state lists and purchased again and again by libraries. It had a slower build and is still doing well.

This is a great community. On social media be authentic and talk about the things you love, including books. Don't use it to only say, "Buy my book!"

When Alexandra reads something and there is an emotional response to it, that's what she is looking for. That is what she wants to open. One example is when she wrote Jessixa Bagley's submitted manuscript BOATS FOR PAPA, she cried.

A brief piece of career advice:
Be a reader. If you have a rich reading life, you will have a rich writing life.

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5. Screened-In

From gnats and moths and things unseen,

I am protected by a screen.
Mosquitoes land and flit away,
Defeated for another day.

Where once a citronella torch
Repelled some pests, my screened-in porch
Works better for, as you'd surmise,
It's quite a lovely compromise...

I'm not indoors nor am I out.
The breeze dispels each shred of doubt;
Yet insects cannot reach my skin
Or that of others, safe within.

They fling themselves against the mesh
In search of juicy human flesh,
But I'm untouched inside my lair
Unless the screen sustains a tear!

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6. Printable: Change Your World



"Change Your Thoughts and you'll Change Your World" -- Buddha

I've always believed that it's we decide our own futures. Our thoughts dictate our attitudes, choices, interests, and that in turn decides our lives and the paths we choose to take upon our journeys through it. It just makes complete sense to me.

In the last couple of years I've been reading books and watching videos by certain spiritually and/or positively motivated individuals, some of whom have become my mentors as far as this approach to life is concerned. I'm going to share a few of these in case anyone else out there is interested, so just click on the links below ...

Apart from all this refreshing philosophising and thought meandering, I've been at work on my new project whenever I have the time, and will be launching a new blog all about it soon. Meanwhile, have been sketching more elephants, and here they are:





If you've been following me on my facebook page you'll have seen some of these already, and I'll keep posting more there as soon as they sneak themselves into the sketchbook.



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7. जानवर और हम

जानवर और हम

घर के सामने से एक महिला बच्चों के साथ जा रही थी. बच्चे आपस मे लड रहे थे और महिला बोल रही थी क्या कुत्ते बिल्ली की तरह लडते रहते हो…मैं सोचने लगी कि हम लोग जानवरों  का नाम हम कितनी सहजता से ले लेते हैं.

कुछ दिन पहले एक जानकार बता रही थी कि उसकी बेटी तो एकदम गाय है गाय.  वो तो उसकी सास ही नागिन की तरह फुंकारती रह्ती है. वही मेघा अपने छोटे भाई को बंदर की उपाधि दे रखी है. मनुज ने बताया  जब वो  बाल कटवाने गया तो नाई ने कहा कि क्या रीछ की तरह बाल बढा रखे हैं. अक्सर सुनने में यह भी आता है कि फलां आदमी तो बैल की तरह  सारा दिन चरता ही रहता है या क्या खा खा कर हाथी बने जा रहा है.

विजय का कहना है कि उसका मालिक खुद तो सारा दिन भौकते रहता है और उससे गधे की तरह काम करवाता रहता है. आफिस मे कुछ लोग तो गिरगिट की तरह रंग बदलने मे माहिर होते हैं तो वही  कुछ लोग किसी के आगे शेर बन जाते हैं तो कोई किसी के सामने भीगी बिल्ली. मिताली भी किसी से पीछे नही है उसका मानना है कि उसकी आखे हिरणी की तरह है. निशा अपनी जेठानी के लिए कहती है कि वो तो लोमडी की तरह चालाक है और जेठ बिच्छु जैसा !!! इतना ही नही. किसी को किसी की नजर  चील जैसी  लगती है तो यह कहने से भी कोई पीछे नही हटता कि  तुम्हारी अक्ल घास चरने गई है क्या?? बात बात पर कछुए और खरगोश का उदाहरण देना आम बात है!! इसके इलावा सुअर, उल्लू, मुर्गा आदि नाम का इस्तेमाल भी अक्सर हमारे द्वारा होता रहता है.

तो देखा आपने जानवरो की आड मे हम लोग क्या क्या नही बोल जाते.  इतना ही नही अब बात को ज्यादा क्या बढाना  वैसे आप खुद ही समझदार हैं कुछ लोग तो बात बात में जानवरो के बच्चो को भी बीच मे ले आते हैं. हे भगवान !!! … कैसी भेडचाल है ये !!! वैसे आप तो ऐसे नही होंगें है  ना !!!

जानवर और हम

The post जानवर और हम appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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8. 1st 5 Pages Workshop is Now Closed

Hi Everyone,

Sorry but the 1st 5 Pages Workshop is now closed. Once again, we filled up in a minute! I will email the participants that made it into the workshop today. If you don't hear from me, I'm sorry but you didn't get in this month. Please try again next month! We open the first Saturday in September.


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9. All Time Highest CBO Views By Country

All time CBO hits are interesting!

United States
United Kingdom

Even if you are in a country that does not appear on this list -it's merely the highest number of views as it does not include many other countries CBO gets daily views from -including our Two Friends in Antarctica- I still write THANK YOU.

Apart from the UK, for obvious reasons, most of these countries I'm gladly work for in comics!

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10. Seuss on Saturday #31

Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now! Dr. Seuss. 1971. Random House. 36 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: The time has come. The time has come. The time is now. Just go. Go. GO! I don't care how. You can go by foot. You can go by cow. Marvin K. Mooney, will you please go now!

Premise/plot: The narrator REALLY, REALLY, wants Marvin K. Mooney to GO. But will Marvin K. Mooney be so obliging?

My thoughts: I liked it. It is definitely one of the catchier Seuss books. (Though not as fun or as silly as say Fox in Socks or Green Eggs and Ham. Still. There's something pleasant about it.) It's just FUN to say phrases like "You can go by foot. You can go by cow. Marvin K. Mooney, will you please go now!" It just is.

Have you read Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now! Did you like it? love it? hate it? I'd love to know what you thought of it!

If you'd like to join me in reading or rereading Dr. Seuss (chronologically) I'd love to have you join me! The next book I'll be reviewing is In A People House. 

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Dan as Daenerys Targaryen, he is a fan of GoT
Lin says it is a wonderfully satisfying and emotional moment to introduce Dan Santat and I agree, he's the super best.

Dan came here in 2001, this Summer Conference is the first SCBWI conference he ever attended. He worried it was too expensive, but that worry was soon put to rest when his portfolio got noticed by editor Arthur Levine, and because of attending the conference,Dan got his first book contract.

In the many years of attending SCBWI events and conferences, Dan's noticed success stories of authors and illustrators, and some stories of people who are still finding there way. Dan says:

Your time will come, it's not a race to the top of the mountain, everyone finds their time. 

One way to ease your trek on the road to publication is to improve your taste: Do you know if you have good taste? Do you know if what you're writing is good? Dan reads us this Ira Glass quote:

Dan lists some of the stories and genres he likes, and thinks improving your work and taste is due to understanding why you like things, don't censor or bias yourself. Dan likes:

Batman and Akira comics. Movies and TV shows like Moneyball, Game of Thrones, Lost, and Breaking Bad. Podcasts like This American Life and Serial. From all of these he is learning story style and technique, observing different points of view. Immerse yourself in life and culture, take these references, says Dan, and come up with a unique spin on things.

You must do a critical review of your work. Dan reads us some 1 star and 5 star Goodreads reviews for Where the Wild Things Are (which has an overall rating of 4.2, by the way). Compare your opinions with others, there are crazy reviewers and there are good reviewers, the good reviews are useful pieces of critical information that can make your work better.

Study the fundamentals, but don't be rigid.

Learn by imitation, but don't become a clone. In art school, Dan copied Wyeth paintings in class because when you paint the strokes a master painter painted, your hands learn what your head doesn't quite understand yet. But be sure to make your art your own, Dan says, try to make work that is original to yourself once you begin to trust your inner instincts.

The exploration comes by doing: You have to make a lot of lousy paintings before you find one you want to put in your portfolio. Dan was working a full-time job when he decided he wanted to be published, so he started working from 10 pm to 3 am on his illustration work and after weeks and weeks of working like this and honing his craft, he'd made himself an illustration portfolio he could be proud of.

Form follows function. Dan shows us how good stories have things happening for a reason, you see it in everything from Back to the Future to his very own Beekle.

A few of Dan's final thoughts: Do what you love, and the work will find you. Don't think about the money, think about the craft, and working on your craft is the only way to improve. And don't give up!

Thanks, Danders!!!

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12. Michelle Knudsen: Other Words Than These - Building Your Fantasy Universe

Michelle Knudsen is the New York Times bestselling author of more than 40 books for young readers. She won the 2015 Sid Fleischman Award for Humor for her YA novel Evil Librarian, and she talked to us about world building.

She started with a definition: World building is the physical world and the cultural world your characters inhabit.

All kinds of novels require world building. Fantasy and speculative fiction have other kinds of requirements, because you can't pre-suppose knowledge on the part of your reader. "Nothing can be taken for granted. You need to tell your readers everything they need to know about the world in which it takes place."

"The world of your fantasy story is just as important as your characters are."

As a young reader, she loved the Xanth books by Piers Anthony. In this world, everyone was born with a magical talent—it could range from a tiny skill like projecting a color on a wall to the ability to transform people, animals, and plants into other things. "As a young reader, I wanted desperately to go there. Everything about the world was literally magical."

World building also helps readers believe the things that happen in your world. The belief in the viability of the plot if affected by the viability of the setting (an idea she learned from the poet Julie Larios). Here's a sampling of the craft tips she shared with us.

Effective world building requires consideration of these five interconnected areas:

  1. Physical environment
  2. Inhabitants
  3. Social structure
  4. History
  5. Beliefs
Physical environment: Patricia Wrede has a huge list of world-building questions (available online). A few of them: 
  • Are the laws of nature and physics the same in this world? 
  • How does magic fit in?
  • How do magic beasts fit in? 
  • Is it like an alternate earth? 
These elements affect the way your characters live, what they wear, and how they travel. 

Inhabitants: This includes main characters and all types of people and creatures who live in your world. 

Social structure: This includes governments, relationships between individuals, neighboring discussions, languages. Who makes the laws? Can they move about freely? 

History: The recent and long-term history of the world that may be relevant to your story. Michelle starts thinking about this once she knows her characters and what's going to happen, and she asks what happened in the past that might have made a character do something. It's possible that little of this history will appear in the story, but having the knowledge in the back of your head will enrich the story. 

Beliefs: These include religious and supernatural (and possibly magic). Some decisions in this section depend on decisions made in other areas. So, if a religious figure rules, you need to know what the beliefs are and what happens to people who don't believe. 

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13. SCENES FROM LIFE - A SHORT PLAYETTE. At the coffee shop

SCENE: Coffee shop
AT RISE: Two friends discuss a theatre performance they have just seen
(perusing menu)
Decisions…decisions… I just started seeing a dietician but I absolutely adore their chocolate-chocolate-and-more-chocolate molten lava cake… One more time couldn’t hurt.
Given that it’s past eight o’clock and the worst time for weight gain, I, on the other hand, will stick to my usual expresso
You’re so holy-holy, perfect, human being
Jealousy is futile. It’s my genes. Everyone in my family is thin, going back generations
You do realize I could eat whatever I wanted without guilt but I don’t, because I respect my body
Hey! Me too! My body tells me regularly, “feed me chocolate-chocolate-and-more-chocolate molten lava cake’ and I’ll make you feel real good!”
Anywaaay…So what did you think of the show?
Well…it had its moments
You didn’t like it, I take it?
I never said that
What are you saying?
It had its moments

Which means?
Kind of dragged in parts
I dunno. Made me laugh – a lot
That’s ‘cause you’re easily amused
Is it necessary to insult me, just because you consider yourself (makes quotation marks with her fingers) “a playwright”?
It’s the words and how they’re put together that interest me
Seemed like one great show, overall, in my eyes
You didn’t find that the first act seemed to never end?
I go to the theatre to be entertained. Period. I don’t agonize over whether the first act is better than the second because really, I don’t care! If the actors can provide a couple of hours of escapism, then they’ve done their job
We obviously view the entertainment through different eyes. I’m interested in the flow of the dialogue…the inter-action of the performers…things of interest to a person who writes plays -
- remind me how many of your plays have been produced –
So? What does that have to do with anything? It’s not for lack of trying. Have you any idea how many playwrights are out there all over the planet, hoping that someone will share them with the world? Gazillions I can tell you – including me! I mean, well known one’s, too! One day – one sweet day – someone, somewhere will read one of my plays and say, “this is the winner we’ve been waiting for!” One day, you and I, will sit here as we do after a night at the theatre, and discuss the merits of one of my plays. You’ll tell me how witty the dialogue was and how it made you laugh and how lucky that our friendship has maintained over the years…
So, are we ordering or what?
I’m thinking here perhaps it is too late for something heavy like the chocolate-chocolate-and-more-chocolate molten lava cake
Good idea - think healthy
(waitress approaches to take order)
 (cont’d.)We’ll have two expresso coffees, please…
…hang on…
I thought you decided against the cake
The cake is on the heavy side but a small butter pecan muffin wouldn’t even register on the scale.  Now about the play…the acting was adequate but then they didn't have much to work with...

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14. Christian Fiction Book Release


An exciting new book release!

Nine historical romance novellas celebrate triumphing over hardships. 

In my story, Edie helps a ranger track bandits while working as a Harvey Girl at the Grand Canyon. 

Read more and order here:  http://www.diannechristner.net

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15. Creating Classroom Environments: Making Space for Partnerships

Our blog series kicks off with a post on creating space in your classroom to get writing partnerships up and running right away.

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16. Homeschooling: Answering Your Questions (Part Two)

by Sally Matheny

Homeschooling: Answering Your Questions
Almost 2 million students were homeschooled in the United States during 2002-2003.*

Home education has constantly grown over the last two decades. The growth rate is 7% to 15% per year, according to Dr. Brian Ray, president of the National Home Education Research Institute (Worldwide Guide to Homeschooling).

Are you considering homeschooling?

After sixteen years of homeschooling, I meet a great deal of people who have concerns. Many people long to teach their children (and even grandchildren) at home but they have fears of inadequacy.

 I want to encourage you today by answering more of your questions and providing you with a list of helpful resources.
Read more »

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17. Jordan Brown: What We Mean When We Talk About "Voice"

Jordan Brown is an executive editor with the imprints Walden Pond Press and Balzer + Bray at HarperCollins Children’s Books. In the ten years he has been in children's editorial, he has been fortunate enough to work with such esteemed authors and illustrators as Jon Scieszka, Anne Ursu, Gris Grimly, Steve Brezenoff, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Chris Rylander, Erin McGuire, Laura Ruby, Kevin Emerson, Christopher Healy, Greg Ruth, Dan Wells, Lois Metzger, M. Sindy Felin, and many others. Amongst the books he’s edited are New York Times bestsellers, ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults, an NPR Backseat Book Club Selection, and a National Book Award finalist, in addition to other accolades. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Your voice is the way you distinguish yourself as a writer.

With everyone hanging onto every word, Jordan defines voice as what comes between the objective facts of your novel and your readers. He leads us in exploring

what voice does,

the elements of narration that define voice,

tasks and challenges to help our voice stand out,

and some examples that do voice well.

Three highlights:

1. Readers want to feel the character they're reading is emotionally real. And the way to get that authenticity is by being specific.

Authenticity = Specificity
2. Think of voice as a camera in a movie that chooses certain things to focus on over others, like leaving the room with one character while leaving the others behind.

3. The idea of psychic distance. Using five sentences from "The Art of Fiction" by John Gardner, Jordan walks us through the different distances of voice, from the helicopter view that's the most remote and objective to as close as it gets, no outside world at all. Each distance has its own feel and strengths and things to be aware of. And the point isn't to choose one level and stay there the whole book.

"The key is to know when to make moves between levels within your manuscript."

The session is packed with information and tips, covering first versus third limited points of view, how knowing something your character doesn't can disconnect readers from your story, the benefits and retraints of present versus past tense, and much, much more.

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18. The Agents' Panel Gets Underway!

Lin Oliver moderates the agents' panel, with (from left), Jodi Reamer of Writers House, Alexandra Penfold of Upstart Crow Literary, Kristin Nelson of Nelson Literary Agency, Barry Goldblatt of Barry Goldblatt Literary, Brenda Bowen of Greenburger Associates and Jenny Bent of The Bent Agency.

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19. Our latest crisis is over, Channing Tatum will be Gambit after all

Just like Alexander posited a few days ago, it turns out that Channing Tatum was indeed undergoing a bit of public negotiating regarding his upcoming role in the X-Men spin-off, Gambit. Today, THR reports that the Magic Mike star has signed on the dotted line to play the kinetic card-wielding Cajun mutant. According to their […]

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20. Jack Thorne talks of working on “Cursed Child”

Playwright Jack Thorne has found himself thrust into the Harry Potter universe. Not only is he new to the insider world of of Harry Potter, but Thorne landed one of it’s most important roles, second to J.K. Rowling.

Jack Thorne wrote the script for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, in collaboration with J.K. Rowling and director, John Tiffany. He described his job to the Times as having “to crawl inside J.K. Rowling’s head,” something all serious Potter-heads dream of doing. The article talks of Thorne’s process in creating the story and working with Jo Rowling. If you have a subscription to the Times, the whole article will make a good read. Luckily, MuggleNet was able to access the article and offers a good preview:

When asked if he was ready for his life to change, pretty much a guarantee for any artist involved in bringing a Harry Potter project to the world, Thorne responded that he hasn’t experienced much of that – yet.

Everyone said that [it’s going to make me famous]. Everyone said: ‘Wait for the announcement. It’s going to change everything.’ Then I sent out a tweet on the morning, just going: ‘I can’t talk about it, but I’m so proud to be part of it,’ sort of thing and phoned up Rach [his wife] about an hour and a half later because I was in town, and I couldn’t see my computer, and I was like: ‘How many retweets has it got?’ Sort of: ‘Am I now famous?’ And she went: ‘It’s got six.’ So OK, fame hasn’t visited me yet.

A bit later on, the article reveals how Thorne came to be involved with the project.

The Harry Potter play’s producer, Sonia Friedman, saw Let the Right One In, about a boy befriended by a vampire, which Thorne had adapted for the stage from the hit Swedish movie. She approached its director, John Tiffany, who recommended Thorne. He worked with JK Rowling on the story and wrote the script, now safely encrypted in his computer. All anyone will say is that it is not a prequel. Thorne was fully conversant with the Potter universe having read all the novels and sneaked into the films wearing his Ghostbusters T[-]­shirt to show the families he was ‘here for the genre’.

And finally, although Thorne doesn’t divulge any plot elements of Cursed Child, he does reveal a bit about his process of working on the play and what collaborating with J.K. Rowling is really like:

I’ve now had to read every book again and work out what spells do what. The detail that she produced is absolutely sensational. Looking back at The Fades I kind of go: ‘I wish I’d sketched the world even larger, the way that she did with Harry Potter.’ I just didn’t want to challenge the audience too much with too much stuff, so I was: ‘Always keep it simple.’ And actually, Jo doesn’t, and that’s what makes her so special. That’s the great thing about doing adaptations: you just learn so much. My job is to crawl inside her head.

Pottermore retweeted Harry Potter Play’s ticket announcement yesterday. It has bee confirmed that tickets for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will go on sale this fall. Those who have signed up for the Cursed Child email alerts are considered “priority members.” Tickets will be available to “priority members” before being released to the general public. Registration for priority booking is available on the play’s website.

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21. My mom’s letters

My mom's letters about me

My mom was something like a mommy-blogger, in 1973. From the time I was two to two-and-a-half, she wrote these astoundingly detailed letters about our lives and me and Miami, typed them up in quintuplicate, and mailed them to the whole family. I have multiple copies of some of them.

They’re an amazing resource for my book, and they prove, as she’s always claimed and I’ve doubted, that I was talking in complete sentences when I turned two. Apparently I was also always concerned with remembering everything that happened.

On the one hand the letters make me happy, because I can verrrry hazily remember some of what she describes, and because they’re so full of pride and love, but they also make me sad, because I can see how lonely she was.

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22. Coloring isn't just for kids! Adult coloring books are the newest way to relax.

I am so excited to share my newest product just added to the store! My new coloring book for adults and children - illustrating the heART of Childhood. I released it a month ago and have already ordered a second printing! Hooray!!

Coloring isn't just for kids anymore. This coloring book features the timeless art of Phyllis Harris with inspirational quotes and scriptures and is wonderful for adults and children alike. Great for stress relief and it would be a wonderful tool for therapy as well.
It's a great coloring book for adults and children alike!

NOTE: FREE U.S. SHIPPING BUT YOU MUST USE USShipFree AT CHECKOUT to receive the discount. U.S., only. So it doesn't matter if you order 10 books or 1 book...it is still FREE shipping! Hurry while the supply lasts!

Product description:

• 40 pages of inspirational images with encouraging quotes and scriptures

• Gloss card stock cover and back cover

• Interior Heavy bright white 60# paper

• 8.5 x 11"

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23. Instagram

Vintage sewing table makeover
So as you know I haven't been posting as often lately, and I have missed it. From time to time people mention they miss my posts at craft shows and I'm always very appreciative that people are interested in what I'm up to when there's just so much out there these days.
Mini deer - pattern from Tilda's Fairytale Wonderland by Tone Finnanger  
So lately I've been posting on Instagram as "needlebook" and I'm really enjoying it. This post is a peek at what I've been posting there. I find it makes a journal of my projects and gives me a sense of what I've accomplished which I really like.
"Cradle Me" blanket - on Ravelry
I always have a giant "to do" list of craft and decor-type projects and knowing I'm going to post it once it's done also motivates me to stop leaving projects half-finished. I really thought that blanket (above) was never going to get done...
Clover Make Up bag - pattern by Michelle Patterns
I also find it's easier to keep up with what everyone else is up to as well, and it's very inspiring to see what people are up to. So many new craft projects are on my list now!
Did you miss Francis?
If you're not into Instagram, I do post most of the same pics on Flickr, and I'm certainly not saying good-bye to my blog or anything like that. Anyway, back to that list...

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24. 1st 5 Pages Workshop is Now Open!

Our August workshop is now open! 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 closes here, on Adventures in YA Publishing, and on twitter (@etcashman), with the hashtag #1st5pages. In addition to our permanent mentors, we have Lori Goldstein  as our author mentor, and in addition to being a talented writer and a very nice person, Lori is an alum of the workshop! Our agent mentor is the fabulous Caitie Flum.

And remember, we have a new format! The workshop is now four weeks, so the participants have the opportunity to get feedback on a pitch, and Caitie 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!

August Guest Mentor – Lori Goldstein 

Lori was born into an Italian-Irish family and raised in a small town on the New Jersey shore. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Lehigh University and worked as a writer, editor, and graphic designer before becoming a full-time author. She currently lives and writes outside of Boston. Lori is the author of the young adult contemporary fantasy series Becoming Jinn (Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan, April 21, 2015, Spring 2016). You can visit her online at www.lorigoldsteinbooks.com.


Azra has just turned sixteen, and overnight her body lengthens, her olive skin deepens, and her eyes glisten gold thanks to the brand-new silver bangle that locks around her wrist. As she always knew it would, her Jinn ancestry brings not just magical powers but the reality of a life of servitude, as her wish granting is controlled by a remote ruling class of Jinn known as the Afrit. To the humans she lives among, she's just the girl working at the snack bar at the beach, navigating the fryer and her first crush. But behind closed doors, she's learning how to harness her powers and fulfill the obligations of her destiny. Mentored by her mother and her Zar "sisters," Azra discovers she may not be quite like the rest of her circle of female Jinn...and that her powers could endanger them all.

Purchase it at your local bookstore, or online at Indie BoundAmazonBarnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf on Goodreads!

August Guest Agent – Caitie Flum

Caitie joined Liza Dawson Associates in July 2014 as assistant and audio rights manager. She graduated from Hofstra University in 2009 with a BA in English with a concentration in publishing studies. Caitie interned at Hachette Book Group and Writers House. She was an Editorial Assistant then Coordinator for Bookspan, where she worked on several clubs including the Book-of-the-Month Club, The Good Cook, and the Children's Book-of-the-Month Club. Caitie is looking for commercial and upmarket fiction with great characters and superb writing, especially historical fiction, mysteries/thrillers of all kinds, magical realism, and book club fiction. Caitie is also looking for Young Adult and New Adult projects, particularly romance, historical fiction, mysteries and thrillers, and contemporary books with diverse characters. In nonfiction, she is looking for memoirs that make people look at the world differently, narrative nonfiction that's impossible to put down, books on pop culture, theater, current events, women's issues, and humor.

So what are you waiting for? Send those pages!


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25. The LGBTQ Q&A

Joining me and legendary editor Emma Dryden, best-Selling author Ellen Hopkins, art director and debut YA author Laurent Linn, and agent Danielle Smith, about 30 writers and illustrators (including conference attendee and Sid Fleischman and Lambda Literary Award-winning author Bill Konigsberg!) gathered in a large circle to share our questions about and discuss our projects that include Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning characters and themes.

We started out in a circle

As always, it was a safe space with lots of shared encouragement and mutual support.

Some highlights:

"Write bravely because it's going to matter to somebody. ...We have kids who need these books. Still!"
- Ellen Hopkins

"There is a need and a want" for these books with LGBTQ characters and themes, in publishing houses, "and readers who need these books."
- Laurent Linn

"The biggest tool against generalization is characterization. ...We are all more than our gender identification... Gender is not enough. Sexuality is not enough. Go deeper..."
- Arthur A. Levine

on why Ellen's books are successful... "These books are dealing with how kids would really feel in these situations. But if it's not on the page, kids are going to think you're lying to them."

"The question is not what hasn't been done, but what haven't I done?"
- Bill Konigsberg

Both Arthur and Danielle spoke of how in today's publishing environment, having LGBTQ characters and themes are something they cite as a positive about a project, something that helps them in selling/publishing a project.

And spent time meeting and greeting each other

And we'll let Arthur have the final word for this post:

"There's never been a more receptive environment for publishing LGBTQ characters and issues."
- Arthur A. Levine

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