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1. My tweets

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2. FOODFIC: Iqbal - Francesco D'Adamo

13-year-old Fatima works in a carpet factory, bonded to master Hussain Khan to pay off her family’s debt. Khan keeps the total amount owed on a slate beside each child worker's loom, lightening the debts by one rupee for each full day of satisfactory work. When all the debt lines have been erased, the children will be free to go home. Fatima, who’s been indentured to Khan for 3 years (and to 2 other masters before him), doesn’t know which chalk marks represent her running tally and which spell out her name because she never learned to read.

Her entire young life consists of carpet-weaving: a work day that runs from sunrise to sunset, opening with chapatti and dal half an hour before dawn, served by the master’s wife in one large bowl to be shared amongst the 14 child laborers. They do break for a lunch of chapatti and vegetables, but, as Fatima relates, break lasted an hour…hunger a good deal longer.

And in the early days, she dreamed of home, including the sweet laddu my mother made with chickpea flour, the desserts and almonds that we ate on feast days. But those memories have faded over the years, and the hopes the children now share with one another are not for sweeter food, but for sweeter dreams. Or even any dreams at all. Fatima’s grandmother once told her that to have no dreams is the worst fate of all, and so the children compete every morning by making up fantastical sleep adventures from the night before.

Those false dreams were truly all they had to live on until Iqbal arrived. Iqbal, who was two years older than Fatima with eyes sweet and deep and [that] weren’t afraid.

It is Iqbal who crushes those pretend dreams as well as the children’s hopes that their debts will indeed someday be erased. But he replaces those fantasies with a real hope – that one day they will run away from the factory. A dream that Iqbal swears he will bring to fruition. And that may actually sustain them far better than that forgotten sweet laddu.

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3. Audio – Short Story- Dard by Monica Gupta

Audio – Short Story- Dard by Monica Gupta पति पत्नी के खूबसूरत रिश्तों को दर्शाती कहानी है दर्द …   हमे किसी की कीमत का तभी अहसास होता है जब वो हमारी जिंदगी से हमेशा हमेशा के लिए चला जाता है … !! आईए सुनिए मेरी ही लिखी एक और कहानी  दर्द और बताईए कि […]

The post Audio – Short Story- Dard by Monica Gupta appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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4. Leave space for the reader to contribute

airplane view

There is a much overlooked element in picture books – the white space. The designer looks after this. This is the space in which the child readers make their own interpretations. A room crammed with furniture is not inviting. Nor is a book too full of words and pictures. Leave space for the reader to contribute. This will foster literacy of both kinds in the child, the visual and the verbal. It will also actively engage and stimulate the imagination.
-Joyce Dunbar

The post Leave space for the reader to contribute originally appeared on Caroline Starr Rose

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5. Last One!!

Last comment on this (though there are some almost having heart attacks!). "Cowards: The Cowards Remain Silent" has received the highest number of views for a post -MANY from the UK- this year.

But I'm done.  I've made it all clear now the people involved need to grow some balls.

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6. Room of Love

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7. Poetry Friday: Our Little House by Thomas Walsh

Our little house upon the hill
In winter time is strangely still;
The roof tree, bare of leaves, stands high,
A candelabrum for the sky,
And down below the lamplights glow,
And ours makes answer o'er the snow.

Our little house upon the hill
In summer time strange voices fill;
With ceaseless rustle of the leaves,
And birds that twitter in the eaves,
And all the vines entangled so
The village lights no longer show.

Our little house upon the hill
Is just the house of Jack and Jill,
And whether showing or unseen,
Hid behind its leafy screen;
There’s a star that points it out
When the lamp lights are in doubt.

- Our Little House by Thomas Walsh

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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8. What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week, FeaturingIrene Dickson, Emily Gravett, and Kazue Takahashi

— From Kuma-Kuma Chan’s Home:“I walk into his home.It smells slightly of bear.”(Click to enlarge)   — From Bear & Hare—Where’s Bear?:“There!”(Click to enlarge)   — From Blocks:Note: The text here is different than it appears in the book.(Click to enlarge)   Over at Kirkus today, I’ve got some new children’s lit novels on the […]

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9. 3000 chairs

Because... of this poem by Children's Author Nicola Davies, and the #3000chairs project.
It's worth every second it takes to read.

My husband and I had the opportunity to spend time in Kosovo with war survivors - refugees who returned to their homes carrying life-wrenching scars of war, with stories that ached in the hearing, and burned in the telling.

I wish a chair for every child running from war.
I wish refuge.
and hope.
and light.

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10. SURTEX 2016 - natasha kirby

Natasha Kirby is a freelance surface pattern designer based in London and Kent. Her work is inspired by the beautiful Kentish countryside and all its flora and fauna. Natasha's designs are created using a technique of pouring, dripping, manipulating and mixing gloss paints and glues together to create a variety of effects. She recently graduated from ABSPD modules 1-4 where she learnt the

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11. The Adventures of Midge and Moo / Opposites - a bookwrap


Authored and illustrated by Kerry McQuaid

Unwrapping some adorable illustrations...

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12. Tattoo

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13. Friday Linky List - 6 May 2016

From The Read Quarterly: So why don't children read the classics anymore? (Written by a 14-year-old - and she hits it home!)

From PW: Children's Editor Dick Jackson Turns Author - inspiring read!

From LiteraryHub: On the heartbreaking difficulty of getting rid of books

From SYP Scotland: Picture Hooks: Getting the Hang of Illustrating Children's Picture Books

At Cynsations: 2016 SCBWI Bologna Illustrator Interview: Paul O. Zelinsky

Chris Cheng's Bologna Wrap-up

From Write4Kids: The Adventures of Dan Santat: A Conversation with the Caldecott-winning Author & Illustrator

From SLJs 100 Scope Notes (by Travis Jonker): 2016 Preview Interview: Flying Eye Books

From BuzzFeed: This woman painted the first page from Harry Potter on her wall!

From PWs ShelfTalker: Beyond Bookmarks: How Publishers Can Help Authors and Booksellers

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14. Cynsational News & Giveaways

By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Illustrating Lonnie Johnson's Story: Whoosh! from Don Tate. Peek: "...unlike many other subjects I’ve written and/or illustrated about...Lonnie Johnson is still living. He lives and works today in Atlanta, Georgia, at his company, Johnson Research & Development Co. For that reason, being just a phone call or email away, I thought illustrating his story would be easier. Well, it was. And it was not." See also Don Tate on Whoosh! Researching & Texting with Lonnie Johnson.

Writing Suspenseful Fiction: Reveal Answers Slowly by Jane K. Cleland from Jane Friedman. Peek: "Writing that engenders reader questions creates suspense."

Writing as a Small Sturdy Boat by Bethany Reid from Writer Unboxed. Peek: "What does writing feel like to you?"

Vulnerability by Mary Kole from Kidlit.com. Peek: "It will get the reader on the character’s side. Just like in real life, in fictional life, an apology or owning up to a mistake go a long, long way."

Linda Camacho: Agent Looking for Diversity from Lee Wind at I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell Do I Read?  Peek: "I’d love a fantasy set in a non-European setting and, of course, a story featuring a plus-size protagonist (contemporary is fine, but bonus points for another genre!)." See also New Literary Agent Alert: Alexandra Weiss of Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency by Chuck Sambuchino from Writers Digest.

Teamwork: Pictures in My Head by Ann Rider from The Horn Book. Peek: "Do I always see pictures in my head when I read a picture-book manuscript? Yes, pretty much. If I don’t, it is often a sign that I might not be the right editor for the text. " Note: "Ann is an executive editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt."

10 Favorite Titles of American Indians in Children's Literature by Debbie Reese from VOYA. Note: Honored to see Rain Is Not My Indian Name by Cynthia Leitich Smith (HarperCollins, 2001) included in such distinguished company.

Writing from Color and Native Voices: "This contest will feature queries and the first 300 words of completed, polished manuscripts written by Native authors and authors of color. The entry window will be open from 12 a.m. (midnight) Eastern June 12 until 11:59 p.m. Eastern that same day."

Author Interview: Anne Bustard from Austin SCBWI. Peek: "I love Hawaii. So it was incredibly difficult for me to cast it as the antagonist at the beginning of the novel. I was most relieved when that changed by the end." See also SCBWI Student Memberships.

SpeakLoudly: Book Banning & Justifications by Teri Lesesne from The Goddess of YA Literature. Peek: "...confronting difficult topics and situations in books is so much safer than having to confront them in real life. In addition, books can be a comfort in a time of grief or distress."

Diversity 102: Ageism in Children's Literature by Laura Reiko Simeon from Lee & Low. Peek: "As increasing numbers of people live healthy, vibrant, active lives ever later in life, we need more of these types of picture books that reflect the true gamut of roles older adults play in our society."

Umaking the White Default: Writing About Race by Vicky Smith from Kirkus Reviews. Peek: "...I’ve felt more and more that naming race and identity is one of the duties of a reviewer. Parents and caregivers of children of color want books that reflect their children, as do librarians and teachers serving children of color." See also Vicky on The Road to Heck: Misreading Race in a Children's Book from Kirkus Reviews.

Author Interview: Julie Berry on The Passion of Dolssa from Sarah Johnson at The VCFA Launchpad. Peek: "I’ve seen a handful of bloggers say things like, 'Julie Berry is unafraid to make her characters suffer.' Another curious accolade. Is sadism a superpower? I know what they mean, though, and I guess I’ll take it."

Most Diverse? Verse! Five Easy Steps for Promoting Diversity with Poetry by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong from CBC Diversity. Peek: "Poetry is the ideal vehicle for promoting diversity in children’s literature.I It can be read in just a few minutes, but holds great depth, beautiful language, and much feeling."

This Week at Cynsations

Cynsational Giveaways

More Personally

Happy Children's Book Week! Between the Austin SCBWI Regional Conference, the Asian Festival of Children's Content, VCFA grading and working on my novel, May is jam packed. Fortunately, I have a lot of help.

Personal Links

Definitions: "Native Americans" vs. "People of Color"
M.T. Anderson on What's Next?
Off the Reservation: A Teachable Moment 
Using Family Diversity & Structures to Teach Empathy

Learn more about the AFCC

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15. प्रशांत किशोर की राजनीति और सलाह

प्रशांत किशोर की राजनीति और सलाह सुनने में आया है कि   चुनावी रणनीतिकार प्रशांत किशोर भी इस बात से सहमत हैं कि राहुल गांधी या प्रियंका में से किसी को मुख्‍यमंत्री पद के उम्‍मीदवार के तौर पर उतरना चाहिए. उनका मानना है कि इससे प्रदेश के ब्राह्मणों में अच्‍छा संकेत जाएगा… जबकि कुछ कांगेसी […]

The post प्रशांत किशोर की राजनीति और सलाह appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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Well, okay it isn't a National event but it is Friday and I am selling books!
 The Cross Earths Caper
 See why we are the UKs largest publisher of  Independent Comics.

That writ, I've just noticed book orders from the United States.  Thank you, whoever you are.

The Hooper Interviews

The Hooper Interviews!  

 To celebrate, at the time of publication, over 25 years of interviewing comic creators -writers, artists and publishers- this 365 pages book was produced.

Interviewees included Yishan Li, Marv Wolfman, Dave Ryan, John Cooper, Mike Western, Donna Barr, Roberta Gregory, Sonia Leong, Emma Vieceli, Pekka A. Manninen, Alan Class, Karen Rubins, Kate Glasheen, Ron Fortier, Jon Haward, Franco Francavilla, Rick Geary, Tania Del Rio, The Etherington Brothers, Olivier Cadic (Cinebook the 9th Art), Holly Golightly and MANY others.

Profusely illustrated with art and photographs!

Reduced in price until October to £16.80 -an odd price but it's what the printer and lulu.com earn -I get zilch!


All Black Tower comic albums (that is A4 format) are in black & white.  Once you've had black and white you won't go back to colour, baby.

BTCG has specialised in presenting original material covering super heroes, crime, adventure, sci fi, horror as well as illustrated prose -not to mention ground breaking books on "world mysteries" and wildlife.  Oh, and even a huge book of interviews with comic creators and publishers.

All the books are, naturally, available for overseas licence -but we cannot translate work: that will be up to any licensed publisher.

What follows is a brief glimpse at some books but you can visit the online store to see more details and books at:


You  can also find some on Amazon and other sources but they do not make me much money so, come on, buy from the online store and remember that at least these books will be collectibles! 

To contact me please check out "About" at the top of the page -thanks!


Black Tower Comics began in 1984 as a Small Press publisher of A5 (US -Digest size) titles such as Adventure,Presents,Windows and Hanley's Garage.  Then came the news, reviews, previews and interviews publication backed up by the mart and mail order service -Zine Zone (later Zine Zone International).

In 2009, with the innovation in publishing of Print On Demand (POD), Black Tower jumped in head first!

One of the first titles to see print in the new comic album format (A4) was The Bat Triumphant! This saw the complete story, begun in Black Tower Adventure vol. 1.  William A. Ward's long lost 1940s character once again saw print as he fought a host of  enemies in an attempt to reclaim his homeland.


And while The Bat may have fought fist and nail to reclaim his homeland, another 1940s Ward creation, Krakos the Egyptian, seemed far from willing to claim a new Egyptian Empire as promised to him by the Gods.  Tackling a number of foes and even encountering the Many-Eyed One, Krakos turned his back on the gods and the final panel of Krakos -Sands Of Terror, delivered a true twist!

Krakos -Sands Of Terror!

Of course, the flag-ship title had to return!  And so Black Tower Adventure -eventually reaching new heights when the legendary Ben Dilworth jumped on board!  Volume 2 consisted of  ten issues. Just look at these covers....

Black Tower Adventure 1Black Tower Adventure 2BLACK TOWER ADVENTURE 3Black Tower Adventure 4Black Tower Adventure 5Black Tower Adventure 6ADVENTURE 7Black Tower Adventure 8BLACK TOWER ADVENTURE 9Black Tower Adventure 10

And, with something like 40 years worth of files and investigation reports could all that much delving into UFOs, lake and sea creatures and many other mysteries not result in a book or two...or three? Some Things Strange & Sinister, Some More Things Strange & Sinister as well as Pursuing The Strange and Weird: A Naturalist's Viewpoint set a precedence.

Whereas for decades those involved in "UFOlogy", "Cryptozoology" and "Forteana" declared many mysteries, that photographs were lost "to history" and so on, these three books swiped away the false claims.  Alleged lost photographs -found.  'Mysteries' solved by doing actual research work and reading the sources -something others had never done.
Some Things Strange & SinisterSome More Things Strange & SinisterPursuing The Strange & Weird:A Naturalists Viewpoint

And, of course, mention natural history and Black Tower Books broke new ground with that in The Red Paper: Canids.

The Red Paper: CANIDS

But not all the prose books covered mysteries and wildlife.

And if there is one thing "Herr Professor" loves it is discovering and presenting long lost UK Golden Age (1939-1951) comic strips and characters from publishers such as Gerald Swan, Foldes, Denis M. Reader, Cartoon Art Productions and others.

Scanned and restored as best as can be considering the poor print quality of the rationing years -especially red, orange, yellow, blue and purple ink printing!

Ace Hart The Atomic Man!  The Tornado!  TNT Tom!  Dene Vernon!  Acromaid!  Cat-Girl! Bring 'Em Back Hank! Robert Lovett:Back From The Dead and so many other action heroes and humour strip characters -William A. Ward, Jock McCaill and a host of known and unknown creators contribute -either in single volume " Black Tower Gold" albums or all six collected into the 400+ pager -The Ultimate British Golden Age Collection!

The Ultimate British Comics Gold CollectionBlack Tower British Gold Collection 1Black Tower British Gold Collection 2Black Tower British Gold Collection 3UK GOLD COLLECTION 4Black Tower Gold 5:Back From The Deadblack tower gold 6

Another great love is Centaur Comics from the United States.  Right at the very start of the American Golden Age of Comics Centaur had creators who were ahead of the others!  Before Plastic Man there was Plymo!  Before The Human Bomb there was TNT Todd!  Before Green Arrow and waaaaaaay before Hawkeye there was the mysterious red hooded archer called The Arrow!  And, to just break your comic mind world there was even a Black Panther -decades before Kirby came up with his character of the same name.

The Eye Sees All.  The Owl. The Iron Skull.  Amazing Man. The King of Darkness.  The Invisible Terror. The Blue Lady. The Shark. Mini Midget & Kitty.  Mighty Man. Super Anne.  The company may have been short-lived but it's characters -oh boy!

The two volume Centaur Heroes Collection has been compiled into one sweet 140 page comic collection!
The Ultimate Centaur Collection 2011

Horror. Ghost stories.  The twist-in-the tale.  Did you think that a publisher who is a big horror comic/film fan would ignore these?

Nope.  Each year since 2010, BTCG has published a Tales Of Terror anthology album and 2014s included some fun and spooky lost Swan Comic strips.  I mean how can you go wrong -even Ben Dilworth is in these!

 Tower Tales Of TerrorTales Of Terror 2TALES OF TERROR IIITales Of Terror 4

The Church Of England has it's own basher of dark forces in the Reverend Merriwether -"God's Demon0-Thumper" as the press billed him.  From an ancient Egyptian demon to a village of the damned and Varney the Vampyre, werwolves and a final confrontation with Satan himself -Merriwether pulls no punches and offers no compromise.  And in those last few seconds between life and death, Merriwether's mind recalls past cases -thanks to Ben Dilworththe Tall Man of Osaka.

Merriwether: God's Demon Thumper and Merriwether: The Test Of Satan are available as individual comic albums or in one swanky book The Collected Merriwether: God's Demon Thumper.

 Merriwether:God's Demon-ThumperMerriwether:The Test Of SatanMerriwether: Gods Demon Thumper

Oh, did I forget to mention Dene Vernon -British comics' first investigator of the supernatural and strange mysteries?  I did? Unbelievable since Gavin Stuart Ross drew the 1948 based Dene Vernon: The Thing Below!

 Dene Vernon:The Thing Below

 And did you know Ross also drew the two adventures of Victorian mystery man Chung Ling Soo? Chung Ling Soo: The Curse Of The Jade Dragon and Chung Ling Soo: The Case Of The Thames Serpent were two cracking tales of magic, adventure, murder and deception -still available as single comic albums or collected together to form The Adventures Of Chung Ling Soo!

Chung Ling Soo 1Chung Ling Soo Man Of Mystery


Ben Dilworth is no slouch either!  Chung Ling Soo's police "counter-foil" isnone other than old London "Jack" (police man) Inspector Wilberforce and when Dilworth says "Here's a Wilberforce one-off: PUBLISH IT!" you do not argue!


And did you know you can be a Gold Master of Japanese Haiku?  Well, neither did I -but guess what?  Ben Dilworth is such a master and his Osaka Brutal features his Haiku in English!

 Osaka Brutal

Old saleman that he is, Dilworth just keeps on going.  He produced Aesop's Fables -a darker version of the childrens tales and then went on to write two well illustrated prose albums looking at spirits and demons -Dilworth's Japanese Yokai and Dilworth's Western YokaiOsaka and the Yokai books were combined with Aesop's Fables into the one volume The Collected Ben R. Dilworth -though the single volumes are also still available.

The Collected Ben R. DilworthDilworth's Japanese YokaiDILWORTH WESTERN YOKAIDilworths Aesop's Fables

Horror comics yes but also some nice illustrated prose from Dilworth in...Dilworth's Horror & Ghost Stories but for the connoisseur those stories were collected together with the Phantom Detective comic strips into The Complete Phantom Detective!
Dilworth's Horror & Ghost StoriesTHE COMPLETE PHANTOM DETECTIVE

And could anyone forget the sensational Iron Warrior Versus Big Bong:When Giants Fought? But add to that the various Iron Warrior strips from Adventure and you get The Iron Warrior Collection -When Giants Fought!  In the 1940s, William A. Ward's creation was to be the most graphically violent comic strip seen until the 1970s.  That is some legacy. It continues....with a touch of fun!


In case you are wondering, yes, obviously there are super heroes.  Mix in ancient pantheons of gods, giant robot, alien invasion, Lovecraftian dark ones and so much more that the book runs to over 320 pages then you have part 1 of Terry Hooper-Scharf's Invasion Earth Trilogy" or as it is titled Return Of The Gods: Twilight Of The Super Heroes!  And epic ending with the words: "Dr Morg has killed us all" -and if you have never read the mind altering counter actuality that is The Dr Morg Trilogy you may be saying "What? Who-?"

And part 2 of the trilogy The Cross Earths Caper ought to get you in the mood for 2015s big 31st Anniversary third part of the trilogy The Green Skies.

 The Return Of The Gods:Twilight of the Super HeroesTHE CROSS EARTHS CAPERJourney Of The ID:The Dr Morg Trilogy

If you pass the ESTC (Epileptic Seizure Test Cover) on Dr Morg well, you are fit and healthy enough to read it and to check out all the Black Tower Comics and Books at the online store -see why we are the UKs largest publisher of  Independent Comics!

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17. Digital Mentor Text for Blogs: Teaching Writing with Mentor Texts

Some of the most influential pieces of writing that have tugged at my heart and live in my soul are blog posts. As we planned this blog series on mentor texts, a lightbulb flashed above my head: Why not create a collection of mentor blog posts to help me improve my own writing? Why not create a similar collection for my students, to share with them possibilities and craft moves they could try, too?

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18. What Type of Writer Are You? Part 3

Most writers are introverts. That’s just the nature of the beast. Writers spend a lot of time alone and palely loitering over their pads of paper or keyboards. 

Introversion is not shyness or social anxiety. Those are fear-based psychological conditions.

I suspect there are more introverted editors, because they are usually confined in a cubicle or freelancing at home. Editing is tedious, lonely work. 

It’s easy to tell whos's who at writing conferences. Introverted Jane tends to hang with the people she knows. She scans the crowd looking for familiar faces, or brings her buddies with her. She meets internal resistance when asked to pitch or take the microphone. That doesn’t mean she isn’t interesting or a witty conversationalist. 

Once the ice has been chipped, she is eager to talk about what she loves most: writing and reading. She isn’t there to compete. She is there to absorb. She is interested in what other people are writing. She enjoys the individual exercises and lectures but struggles to share in public. 

She attends the workshops to hone her craft. She enjoys meeting other introverted writers. It’s the self-promotion and exposing herself to public scrutiny that gives her ulcers. Jane may shun the bar after dinner, unless her friends go with her. Even then, she is likely to seek a table in a back corner. Jane leaves the conference drained and in need of a vacation. If she received negative feedback or criticism, she will ruminate in private or sound off to her trusted circle.

Extroverted writers are in the minority, mainly because they are not natively drawn to long periods of pondering and working in solitude. They tend to be sports or comedy writers, but can show up in any genre. 

Dick writes for the recognition or impact. He wants to be the next J. K. Rowling. There are extroverted agents and marketing professionals present too. 

Even if the agents, presenters, and editors are introverted, they are forced to schmooze and perform in an extroverted way. Extroverts thrive on it and are easy to spot. The introverted ones can be painfully awkward to watch.

Dick loves the limelight. He flits from table to table, introducing himself to perfect strangers. He hogs the microphone and loves publicly reading his work. He likes watching the other conference attendees. He likes talking about them as well as to them. He is more interested in who you know than what kind of writing you do. He is there to network and promote himself.

Dick finds it hard to focus on the individual exercises. He is easily bored and can be highly competitive. He likes the voting, the rah-rah, and the woo-woo. He likes winning. Dick is concerned about his image. He wants to fit in. He eagerly pitches his ideas to other people. He may never write them. 

He is found networking at the bar after dinner long after dinner. Dick leaves the conference humming with energy. If he received negative feedback or criticism, he leaves fuming and vents to everyone about it.

The Dicks at the conference struggle with all the Janes. Extroverts tend to think introverts are boring loners. He couldn’t be more wrong, but that is his general impression. He thinks they are an unfriendly bunch, especially if they don’t eagerly embrace his overtures. He flits until he finds the extrovert’s table.

The Janes at the conference are annoyed by the Dicks. They think the extrovert tables are too loud and rude. They may very well discourage Dick from landing at their table. They will cross the room to avoid his.

Every writer must shore up his weak side. Jane is forced by the very nature of a conference to step outside her comfort zone. She is put on public display and forced to interact with people outside her inner circle. She must sell herself as well as her work. It feels slightly dangerous, but she is in good company.

Dick finds the conference slightly confining. He may not find an audience for his bubbling repartee. He may feel silenced or marginalized for the first time in his career. It isn’t a comfortable sensation. He may be rebuffed, left to bounce around the room like a loosed helium balloon.

Each needs to take pity on the other. They should spend a little time getting to know one another. Opposites can help each other grow. Dick can help Jane learn to network and put her best foot forward. Jane can help Dick learn the pesky details of craft. Both have something worthwhile to offer and to say. Getting Dick to sit down and Jane to speak up is the challenge.

Next week, we will continue to explore writer temperaments.

For more tips on how to craft believable characters, pick up a copy of Story Building Blocks II: Crafting Believable Conflict available in paperback and E-book, and Story Building Blocks: Build A Cast Workbook, also available in paperback and E-book.

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19. SURTEX 2016 - hollie mcmanus

Designer and illustrator Hollie McManus is very excited to be exhibiting at Surtex this year with design collective Dot & Flow, in Booth 244. Hollie takes her inspiration from nature, animals, people and texture to create fun, whimsical, colourful patterns, typography and illustrations. 

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20. My thoughts on the great Mark Haddon's new short story collection, in the Chicago Tribune

Mark Haddon, a name that needs no introduction, has a devastating new collection of short stories debuting next week.

I was lucky enough to review the book for the Chicago Tribune Printers Row.

Click the link to read the full review.

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21. Armada

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22. Featured Review: Anything You Want by Geoff Herbach

About this book: Taco's mom always said, "Today is the best day of your life, and tomorrow will be even better." That was hard to believe the day she died of cancer and when Taco's dad had to move up north for work, but he sure did believe it when Maggie...

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23. mother may I?

(c) Robbie Nuwanda 2015
mother may I
take a break
sisters may I
slow down
cousins may I
sleep and wake
in tune with moon and sun?
every day is raced away
lists are long
with oversight/s
mother may I
fail to strive
let nature drive
for 40 days?

daughter yes
do breathe and rest

if anyone is asking why
why lay by?
why go slow?
"I'm the mom
and I say so."


See you all in mid-June.
The roundup is hosted today by Sylvia at Poetry for Children.

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It was good to hear that Dave Gordon and Chang3lings made some good sales at the Edinburgh comic Con.  
It also seems that the UK may be a bit later in catching on but more events seem to be organised around vintage toys of the 1970s and 1980s.  Unfortunately for the Ebay sharks, the aficionados are not gullible and are ignoring the excessive prices asked for common and CHEAP figures and toys. Sadly, I can't get to Warp Zone in London this month. Might be a good thing as an old man rolling about the floor clutching his wallet and screaming "I have no more money!" is a very, uh, embarassing sight.
Remember that there is a link to Chang3lings on the right.

I love Winged Greenie below -over 2 feet tall which has an option for bird-like feet/claws.
Above: A little over 2 feet (60cms) tall with resin wings.  EVERYTHING hand-crafted by Chang3lings.

 Above the cover to the Chang3lings catalogue.  As you can see, they do not just make one off exclusive dolls but also sell quality vintage action figures -Cyborg, Muton, Android and my favourites -Micronauts!

Check out the unique figure below.

 Chang3lings is one of the most under-rated UK pop culture businesses and you can meet up with David Gordon, who is also a very talented graphic novelist (check out Cosmic Oddity).

When you talk about investment potential it usually involves comics.  Comics produced in their thousands and 99.1% of all those copies of a book will need to be destroyed before yours is worth anything.  But the action figure and doll market is strong.  
Guess what? all of Chang3lings dolls are unique.  Just one of each. One of each.

In case that did not sink in let me explain it.  Chang3lings will make a custom made figure or sell a figure of which there will only ever be one.  Not replicable..

You would own the only one of its kind.  Hopefully treasure and love it but, if you ever had to sell then that figure is unique.  No "Oh, well I think I saw one cheaper at---" because there are no other copies/duplicates.

But look at it another way, and I've seen some of these first hand and no photo really does them justice.  There are different scale sizes and you can see the much chunkier me of a few years back at the Bristol Comic Expo at David Gordon's table with a display of dolls.

Remember that there is a link to the right of page for Chang3lings and they have now been named "The UKs Premier Exclusive Figure" company!
Now, back to the real delights!

When I met Dave, Lesley and Lynsey at the Bristol Expo I got to see how carefully the dolls were put together -everything from eyes (different colours), hair and right down to the clothing and extras that were amazing to see.  Things have moved on since the day of Action Man (GI Joe) outfits and weapons!

The display piece below (NOT completed in this photo) has raised a few comments and interest and resulting in some good sales so it just goes to show what a bit of creative display work can achieve.
or how about this......
Yes, the fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith and some bald crook off the TV...but I think the Doctor is far more interested in someone else!  Now come on you Star Wars fans what do you think?
Below: more classic figures. If there is one place you need to go if you are into any scale figures/dolls this weekend it HAS to be Chang3lings at the Edinburgh Comic Con!
And I did say that Dave was an incredible graphic novelist. His Cosmic Oddity was such a revelation to me that I just sat there after finishing reading it.  So, you see a copy grab it because, as I wrote earlier this month, the book deserves an award.
In case you missed that item:
My Excess: Dave -A Cosmic Oddity

Black & White
106 Pages
Price: £12.99
The biography of Dave Gordon, often called the Uk's Manara. Detailing Dave's origins and relationships, this is an insight into one of UK comicdoms creators.

I got this book handed to me by the postman (mailman if you are American) at 1300 hrs and by 1500 hrs I had read it through.

This is David Gordon -the UKs very own Milo Manara- telling his story.  From his birth and adoption three days later through family life, school, university, work and later trying to contact his birth mother -the outcome of which is still currently open.

Dave takes us through his life and troubled relationships with himself (2014) narrating and flashback images and sequences of events.  The style he uses in this book, being honest here, I saw at a glance and thought "not sure about this".  However, I realised the clever way the art had been designed and drawn -photos, etc.- actually worked. Even the cartoony flashback-to-situation pages (see below).

What can I write about this?  Gritty -yes.  Factual and being brutally honest and to be equally honest here I do not think I'd have the guts to quite literally open up my chest and let some of these experiences out.  Being pushed away by his adopted family is bad enough but then having to go through his (adoption) father dying of cancer -bad enough.  But we then learn about the abusive relationships (physical and emotional).

There is still the matter of his birth mother and how that might end.  However, Dave is now happily in a relationship with Lesley (I've met her and she seems quite nice for a prison officer -not even a moustache!) and that gives us a sort of happy ending.  But, oh boy, what happened before.

Let me tell you something.  For years I was also an agent for comic creators.  You see good art, you know the writers or artists are reliable so, as an agent you put a spin on things to sell the work.  I've read and reviewed comics and graphic novels for publications and online now for over 30 years.  I see a couple hundred books of one sort or another a year -the crammed bookshelves and floors attest to that.

I cannot think of one book where a creator has taken us through his personal life and things have been so dark and gut-wrenching -even preparing for suicide- that I have said out loud "F***!" so many times. My sister even said "What are you swearing at?"

If this were an independent film it would be getting some award.  A publisher should be paying Gordon to allow them to publish this!  This is superbly written -and it must have taken a lot of thought to put this together without going over the top or exaggerating.  To make it a sequential story interspersed with illustrated text pieces....this is truly what Will Eisner described what graphic novels should be: telling a true and honest story that grabs the reader and pulls them in.

You people out there deciding who gets nominated for an Eagle Award should read this book.

This book should NOT be ignored. If you think "I'll buy just one Independent book...." then PLEASE make it this.

The book has surprised and shocked me - I have heard some snippets over the years but never the whole story.  In fact, you really need to read it yourself because nothing I write here can even adequately do it justice.

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25. BLUE PRINT 2016 - melanie chadwick

Melanie Chadwick will be exhibiting for the first time at Blue Print Show with her agents at Pure Illustration on 12-16th May at the Metropolitan Pavilion, New York. Melanie is based in Falmouth. Cornwall where she has her own design and illustration studio creating everything from pattern designs to brand logos. Previous clients have included The National Trust and Mollie Makes. Since January

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