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1. Evil Wizards

The Evil Wizard Smallbone   The Evil Wizard Smallbone has some competition in the evil department in this book by Delia Sherman.  But Nick, the runaway who takes refuge with the old, smelly, grumpy and wicked wizard, has to do some heavy duty sleuthing - and endless chores - to get to the bottom of Smallbone's dastardly behavior.

The setting is backwoods Maine where the coyotes are numerous and the wolves rule the forest - some on motorcycle.  The small village of Smallbone Cove depends on the evil wizard for their protection against, what, exactly?  Here is part of the mystery.  Another part is why so many of Smallbone Cove's residents look so similar and how some of the residents can be as old as they say they are. 

An odd mix of werepeople, selkie legends, the reversing of spells, and ancient badness come together in a delightful fantasy.  I loved the ending.  And I thoroughly enjoyed the ride there.  I also liked the smart alecky books that plague Nick as he searches for answers.  That boy is too curious.

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2. Ladybug Magazine

Check out my artwork in the newest issue of "Ladybug" magazine!  I had so much fun imagining the details for these illustrations.


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3. Samuel Goldwyn Films Will Release R-Rated ‘Nerdland’ Theatrically

Another R-rated animated feature is headed to U.S. theaters.

The post Samuel Goldwyn Films Will Release R-Rated ‘Nerdland’ Theatrically appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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4. Presidential Polar Bear Post Card Project No. 245 - 9.29.16


Head down. Keep going. Full speed ahead!

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5. Everything will be fine


Who knows, your mind,
Is smart and blind,
Who knows, your soul,
Is pure and whole,

This chaotic universe,
Is a confident verse,
No idea of tomorrow,
Teaching the flow,

Listen to their pain,
The hidden rain,
Realize the tragedy,
Laugh at the comedy,

The eye that picks,
Is rare, that sticks,
Rest, just drives you away,
While helping, they sway,

The freedom of thoughts,
Is rare like the knots,
If you posses that trait,
Blessed you are, Great!

Hold on to that treasure,
Passion, none could measure,
Keep crawling to the shore,
The stars will do the chore,

Believe in the chills,
Keep honing your skills,
Any moment can bring,
That invisible wing,

Be on a constant hunt,
In smile or grunt,
One day, you will shine,
Until then, Everything will be fine.


   
  


  

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6. Presidential Polar Bear Post Card Project No. 246 - 9.29.16


While protecting polar bears is important, the real point of this project is to advocate for removal of the Coastal Plain from any future development. 1.5 million unique and irreplaceable acres of wilderness - "Alaska's Serengeti!" Keep it wild. Keep it -- period! 

Subsequently, for those that like to read a little more, there are currently two bills before the Senate, the Alaska Economic Development and Access to Resources Act (S. 3203) and the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Improvement Act (S. 3273) which both threaten to private public lands in the interests of resource and mineral development. We need to move forward in our search for clean energy solutions, not backwards in a last minute land grab to exploit as much as possible. Onwards and upwards!

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7. Cynsational News & Giveaways

By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Congratulations to fellow Vermont College of Fine Arts faculty member Uma Krishnaswami on the release of Book Uncle and Me, illustrated by Julianna Swaney (Groundwood, 2016)! Note: so far, the book has received starred reviews from School Library Journal and Kirkus Reviews. From the promotional copy:

Every day, nine-year-old Yasmin borrows a book from Book Uncle, a retired teacher who has set up a free lending library next to her apartment building. But when the mayor tries to shut down the rickety bookstand, Yasmin has to take her nose out of her book and do something.

But what can she do? The local elections are coming up but she’s just a kid. She can’t even vote!

Still, Yasmin has friends — her best friend, Reeni, and Anil, who even has a black belt in karate. And she has grownup family and neighbors who, no matter how preoccupied they are, care about what goes on in their community.

Then Yasmin remembers a story that Book Uncle selected for her. It’s an old folktale about a flock of doves trapped in a hunter’s net. The birds realize that if they all flap their wings at the same time, they can lift the net and fly to safety, where they seek the help of a friendly mole who chews a hole in the net and sets them free.

And so the children get to work, launching a campaign to make sure the voices of the community are heard.

An energetic, funny and quirky story that explores the themes of community activism, friendship, and the love of books.

More News & Resources

Author Interview: Deborah Hopkinson by Megan Smith from ALSC Blog. Peek: "There were many stories I could have told of other sailors and submarines, but I feel the ones featured help convey what it was like for the young men who went to war in the Silent Service."

Looking for a job in children's-YA literature? Paper Lantern is hiring a full time marketing assistant in New York City and The Horn Book is hiring a full time assistant/associate editor in Boston.

Picture This Diversity Inforgraphic: Follow Up from Sarah Park. Peek: "Since September 14, the blog post has had over 36,000 views; my initial tweet made over 17,000 impressions; my Facebook post was shared over 10,000 times..." See also A Joyful Diversity Collection by Elizabeth Bluemle from Publishers Weekly.

Missing From the Shelves: Book Challenges and a Lack of Diversity in Children's Literature, a dedicated issue from PEN America. Peek: "...an examination of current patterns of challenges to children’s books reveals that a large portion relate to children’s and young adult books that are either authored by or are about people of color, LGBTQ people, and/or disabled people (referred to in this report as 'diverse books')..." See also School Library Journal on Self-Censorship.

Magazine Credits & Book Submissions? by Deborah Halverson from Dear Editor. Peek: "If you’re a debut novelist, you can stand to cite evidence of your chops and professionalism."

10 Tips for Writing Through Family Stress by Barbara Claypole White from Writer Unboxed. Peek: "Control your social media. Don't let it control you."

Children & Young Adult Books Featuring a Child with an Incarcerated Parent: a bibliography compiled by Mitali Perkins from Mitali's Fire Escape.

The Sibling Reality: When Picture Books Stop Being Nice and Start Getting Real by Elizabeth Bird from A Fuse #8 Production at School Library Journal. Peek: "...picture books that pick apart the nature of sibling relationships in interesting ways. I don’t mean fighting. I mean that crazy pushmepullyou of loving each other to the extreme mixed with scream-at-the-top-of-your-lungs annoyance."

How I Got Into Publishing: Luana Horry, Editorial Assistant at HarperCollins Children's Books from CBC Diversity. Peek: "It felt important to me to build a career in an industry where I could make a difference in the lives of children like my niece, who deserve better than a peripheral reading and cultural experience."

Become a Story Genius: How Your Character’s Misbelief Drives The Plot by Lisa Cron from Writers Helping Writers. Peek: "What readers are wired to come for is insight into what people do when push comes to shove and, most importantly, why they do it. We’re looking for inside intel into human nature, the better to navigate this scary, beautiful world ourselves."

The Cooling Off Period: Handling Manuscript Feedback Effectively by Mary Lindsey from QueryTracker.com. Peek: "After one-to-three days, I've had time to process the suggestions logically, rather than react emotionally." Note for #ownvoices writers: Take the time, set aside your ego, and thoughtfully consider feedback. But don't bow to direction that minimizes your identity-grounded sensibility and/or literary traditions in favor of the reader's. (Time and again, I've seen mentees struggle with these dynamics.) With agents/editors, proactively and professionally engage in the conversation, explain where you're coming from and why. Anyone who's a good match will be open, appreciative and respectful of your perspective. (Ideally, get feedback and discuss prior to signing with an agency or signing a publishing contract to get a feel.) I've been blessed with insightful and sensitive editors at HarperChildren's and Candlewick as well as my rock-star agent at Curtis Brown Ltd. I personally know many terrific editors and agents. They're out there. Keep submitting!

The Powerful Role of Coach in the Latinx Community by Claudia Meléndez Salinas from Latinxs in Kidlit. Peek: "They’re not just coaches: they’re role models, mentors, friends. They’re the glue of after-school programs, the difference between wholesome entertainment and life in the streets."

Interview with Zetta Elliott from Rich in Color. Peek: "I don’t think about book sales that much; I want the books to exist and to be available to those who are looking for mirrors (see below). I’m leading more workshops on indie/community-based publishing these days, and that makes me feel visible and valued because I’m showing other aspiring writers how to make their own books outside of the traditional system."

Author Cori McCarthy Discusses Her Book Being Optioned by Beth Bacon from Digital Book World. Peek: "As someone with a screenwriting degree, I feel uniquely qualified to say to Sony, 'I think you should hire a screenwriter.'"

Alert! A New Kind of Bigotry: One-Star Reviews on Goodreads by Lee Wind from SCBWI. Peek: "The review copies aren't out yet. But suddenly the book's Goodreads account had more than 1,500 ratings of the book. The book that almost none of them, unless they were personal friends with the author, could have possibly read." Note: hateful online harassment, targeted at female children's-YA authors, especially those who're women of color, is becoming increasingly frequent. Not all of us go public with our stories. Please show kindness toward one another within our children's-YA literature community. Watch out for each other out there.

Banned Books Week Roundtable: The Evolution of Censorship by Hannah Ehrlich from Lee & Low. Peek: "I try to balance writing about controversial issues by writing with young people’s best interest in mind. That is, I always try to approach these topics honestly, but also respectfully and responsibly."

This Week at Cynsations

Giveaway! Enter to win!

More Personally

People keep asking how my new book is coming. I'm so honored by the enthusiasm! Let me assure you that a YA manuscript will be zinging through the Internet to Candlewick Press on Monday morning. I know, right?

I'm in the last stages of polish for the first-round submission, which--for me--means a writer friend (in this case, Sean Petrie) is reading aloud the whole manuscript, start to finish. Then I'll key in changes and put together a note for my editor. (You should hear him do voices in dialogue; hilarious!)

On Twitter @CynLeitichSmith, I mentioned doing the read aloud and got a few questions and comments in reply. So here the scoop:

By the time a manuscript reaches submittable level, I've read it so many times that I tend to see what I meant to write, what makes the most sense, to the point that my mind's eye will fill in missing words. Also, hearing another writer read the text will alert me oddities of cadence or awkward language. What's more I benefit from hearing the reader's emotional reaction, word by word and page by page, over the course of the novel.

I highly recommend doing this twice during the novel-writing process. Before initial submission and after revising informed by the editor's feedback, right before you turn in.

What else? My other highlight of the week was a Q&A with William Shatner, followed by a showing of "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" last Friday night at Austin's historic Paramount Theater.

Mr. Shatner was engaging and funny. He spoke at length about his experiences working with and his admiration for Leonard Nimoy and Ricardo Montalban (and his pecs).

He seemed a bit embarrassed by his early overacting on the small screen and explained it as a byproduct of his stage training. He'd been used to projecting to a live audience rather than for a camera that would magnify his every word, gesture and expression. Which makes total sense.

He likewise felt the need to apologize in an affectionate way for the special effects of the film as compared to today's standards. But then he fully embraced the suggestion that the overall effect was "charming," that what the crew had been able to do, given the limits of the era was "inspiring." I strongly agree.

What else? I am still thinking about a link I featured last week, We Are Still Here: An Interview with Debbie Reese from NCTE. More specifically, about this part:

"Tim Tingle (he’s Choctaw) talks about visiting a school in Texas where he read from his outstanding book about the Trail of Tears, How I Became a Ghost. The teacher apologized to him, saying that she had to teach kids that Choctaws are extinct because that is the answer they’ll need on a test she has to give them."
Tim and I are both Native authors, Texas authors. I greatly value him and his books. Please take a moment to visit Choctaw Nation.You'll find a great people with a past, a present and a future.

Personal Links

Authors and Illustrators for Children

 

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8. Artist of the Day: Mel Tow

Discover the art of Mel Tow, Cartoon Brew's Artist of the Day.

The post Artist of the Day: Mel Tow appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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9. Weapon



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10. Three Blind Mice

At music class, they sang the song
About the farmer's wife
But this time, just to be P.C.,
There was no carving  knife.

The mice retained their tails, but still
There was a bigger crime;
They substituted "nice" for "knife,"
Which doesn't even rhyme!

The lyrics from our youth, I'm sure,
Caused not one drop of harm,
But for the future poets,
I am sounding the alarm.

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11. “The Devil laughs at Death” A close-up of the...


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12. Come Out Come Out Wherever Your Are - YA Reads to Thrill and Chill

August and September went by in a blur!  What I thought was the beginning of another school year has turned into fall, meaning Halloween (coincidentally, also birthday) is around the corner! With that said, it's time to find some some fiendishly scary YA reads to display!

For me, horror fiction for young adults seemed to wane in a time where werewolves and vampires were having illicit romantic affairs.  But it began to rear its scary head in recent years, and there have been some AWESOME horror novels for teens published in the last few years.

A frequently asked question, is what is the definition of YA horror?  And to me, it's anything terrifying that happens to you in real life or on a paranormal level.  Of course, this opens the playing field to a LOT of perspectives, so this list of 10 definitely is more paranormal heavy.  But I couldn't help putting in two terrifying novels that are VERY reminiscent of horror in the real world.

** watch only if you dare...movie trailers may not be suitable to all audiences

There are in no particular order....


When you're covered with tattoos to protect you from evil, then encounter a huge flock of crows chasing you, you know something is about to happen.  But it's when you show up at a cornfield knowing something evil lurks between the stalks...yes, it's that creepy!


book trailer



Horror movie pair: Children of the Corn
Nothing screams horror more than an axe murder.  And that's what you'll find between the covers of this great non-fiction book.  Narrative style writing makes this read easy, and the pictures, eyewitness testimonies and life for Lizzie Borden will draw readers to the end.


book trailer


Horror movie pair: Halloween
This is horror...when the characters of this book are abducted and put into an underground bunker with no way to escape, the psychological thrillfest for the sociopath that kidnaps them begins.



book trailer

Horror movie pair: Saw
Entering a contest is easy, but living through it is a different matter altogether.  This is what happens when the teen winners of a contest by horror movie director goes from awesome to creepy.  Facing your fears is one thing, living to tell them is quite another...



book trailer

Horror movie pair: Final Destination



Okiku crawls out of the well, her black hair dangling in front of her deathly face.  The next thing you know, she is hanging from the ceiling looking at the man who just committed murder.  Then the lights go out and the terror begins...steeped in Japanese ghosts and Shinto exorcisms, this book will make you scream with pleasure. 



book trailer

Horror movie pair: The Ring

Jen and her father have just moved into Harmony House, home to several violent episodes, including the death of children.  People in the small town seem to know what's going on, but Jen doesn't and the voices become more real with each day she lives and survives....





Horror movie pair: House on Haunted Hill

Evil is on the hunt for those strange and peculiar people who hide from him.  But it's what happens when the hiding place is revealed.  It's up to Jacob to keep these peculiar, and sometimes dangerous, children alive, if possible.  The old pictures alone are sure to touch a nerve and fill it with dread.


book trailer

Horror movie pair: I actually couldn't think of one for this  because it's just so different and...peculiar (bwaaa-haa-haaa) Here's the movie trailer 

Two young women are trying to run to safety in a world filled with sharp knives.  The one thing they can't shake off is the fact they see the dead all around them.  Not only do they see them, but the dead won't leave them alone....ever...Are they here to help or hinder?







Horror movie The Sixth Sense

The entire premise of this book is to take something sweet and turn it into something dark and horrible, and these writers hit the mark! Think you know Alice in Wonderland?  How about Sleepless in Seattle?  Think again....






Horror movie pair: The Birds or Psycho

Going down a detour is irritating as best.  But going down one in the middle of the woods can cause a little different mood, unless you're narcissistic and on a cell phone.  But when the main character wakes up from an accident and finds herself in a basement, you know something bad is about to happen...




Horror movie pair: Misery

Beautiful house, never for sale.  It's been handed down through generations of a family, and it's special.  But a lot of sadness has occurred within the walls of this house.  Mom died, the aunt disappeared....but perhaps you can hear the scratching on the inside of the walls and the cry to let them out?  CREEP FACTOR times TEN!





Horror movie pair: The Conjuring

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13. In Conversation: John Canemaker On The Disney Family Museum’s Massive ‘Pinocchio’ Exhibit

The biggest collection of material ever from the production of the seminal Disney film 'Pinocchio' is currently on display in San Francisco.

The post In Conversation: John Canemaker On The Disney Family Museum’s Massive ‘Pinocchio’ Exhibit appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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14. A French Edition of Sadie

Happy news from France this week, as Editions Belin has acquired world French rights on This Is Sadie.

We had a tiny baguette to celebrate!

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15. FREE BOOK CONTEST: Play the “Scary Tales” Matching Game!

Welcome, Fearless Readers! Here we are, nearing the ghostly season when things go bump, and squish, and hooowl in the night.

It’s when I remind educators and young readers about the books in my “Scary Tales” series. Scientists agree: These books will make your life up to 63% better.

No, no one gets murdered in these stories, everybody comes out okay (more or less), but the suspense might kill you. Ah, not to worry. In that unlikely event, I’m sure the kind folks at Macmillan will fork over a full refund. Small solace, but hey, caskets aren’t cheap.

This year the vaunted James Preller Marketing Department has developed a game to play, featuring free books to win.

Yes, free books.

Could anything be better?

I’ll show six illustrations by the great Iacopo Bruno, one from each of the “Scary Tales” titles in random order. Below that, I’ll list the titles. You or (hopefully) your students or children need to match the illustrations with the correct titles. Then send an email to me at Jamespreller@aol.com under the subject heading SCARY TALES. Entries must be received by October 15th. On that date, I will send a signed book to six randomly-selected fearless readers who respond with the correct answers.

Please feel free to share this page with friends and foes and fish and fowl alike.

Illustration A:

night_land_interiors_06a

Illustration B:

3rd-try-page-9-1-2-mb

Illustration C:

one-eyed-doll_p28use

Illustration D:

homesweethorror_1use

Illustration E:

swamp-monster_interiors_11

Illustration F:

zombie-3-van-der-klemp

Now match the illustration to one of these six titles:

1. Home Sweet Horror

2. I Scream, You Scream

3. Good Night, Zombie

4. Nightmareland

5. One-Eyed Doll

6. Swamp Monster

 

THANKS & GOOD LUCK!

 

 

 

 

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16. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Neil Low, Author of Theater of the Crime



During the course of writing novels, I come to places in my stories where I need to share information with readers, adding historical background, context, character development, plotting details, and clues. The problem, I feel, is that the information should be revealed gradually, and it must also move the story along and help my readers solve the mystery before them. The caveat is that these new facts can’t be delivered in the form of an information dump, which might have odd sounding dialogue or appear as an unnatural topic of conversation.

As an example, all too often, when I’m watching a detective movie, I’ll see a protagonist and his secret informant meet inside a strip bar to share information, which strikes me as an overworked cliché—and in real life would be dangerous for the snitch. Not all cops or detectives do their business openly in strip bars, but Hollywood seems to love it, possibly because it gives them a chance to showcase naked women and make a point that the productions are edgy, meaning realistic and gritty. So although I don’t mind nudity or sex in this genre, I make a deliberate effort to find something more engaging about Seattle’s history or geography, where I can bring new information to light, without resorting to the cliché or the information dump.

A case in point in my Theater of the Crime (Available at Seattle Mystery Bookshop, University Bookstore, and Edmonds Bookshop) is where I have protagonist Alan Stewart meet with Sylvie Jourdan, Alexander Conlin’s business manager for late night breakfast at El Gaucho’s Restaurant. I find that greater intimacy and information comes from the relaxed environments of restaurants, coffee shops, and cafes, where people are instinctively more social and let their guards down. There is banter, teasing, social intimacy, and the sharing of clues that the keepers of which might not even know they possess. The focus of their discussion this evening is the spate of suspicious deaths of leading vaudeville magicians, all while performing on Seattle stages during the twilight of the vaudeville years. Alan and Sylvie meet immediately after Conlin’s performance. That evening, in his role of “Alexander Who Knows,” he predicted yet another magician’s death. Alan needs to find out how he’s making these predictions—and if there’s a way for him to prevent any more deaths and solve the mysteries that have already occurred.


Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Neil!



You can find Neil here:




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17. Thank You Friend


A friend like you is a gift,
Bubbly in nature and swift,
Made me forget the pain,
Made me forget the rift,

Few moments of smile,
Made me light & agile,
A moment of bliss for me,
Is you, painting in style,

The timeless freshness of dew,
Is so soothing & so new,
The replication of the same,
Is our friendship, we knew,

The happiness walks along,
You are a melodious song,
Keep sharing, Oh Friend!
A thread that's infinitely long

The life comes with an end,
Every moment creates a trend,
From bottom of my heart,

Thank you, for being my friend.

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18. September Reflections

Stand-Out Books Read in September 2016

1) Miracle Man. John Hendrix. 2016. Harry N. Abrams. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
2) Emily's Runaway Imagination. Beverly Cleary. 1961. 288 pages. [Source: Bought]
3) Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd. (Flavia de Luce #8) 2016. 320 pages. [Source: Review copy]
4) Applesauce Weather. Helen Frost. Illustrated by Amy June Bates. 2016. 112 pages. [Source: Review copy]
5) Dog Loves Drawing. Louise Yates. 2012. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
6) Good Good Father. Chris Tomlin and Pat Barrett. 2016. Thomas Nelson. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy] 

5 Places "Visited" in September 2016

1) Oregon
2) Kansas
3) England
4) Iowa
5) Galilee

Picture books:
  1. Good Good Father. Chris Tomlin and Pat Barrett. 2016. Thomas Nelson. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]  
  2. Dog Loves Books. Louise Yates. 2010. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  3. Dog Loves Drawing. Louise Yates. 2012. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  4. What is a Child? Beatrice Alemagna. 2016. Tate. 36 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  5. A Child of Books. Oliver Jeffers. 2016. Candlewick Press. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  6. Fascinating: The Life of Leonard Nimoy. Richard Michelson. Illustrated by Edel Rodriguez. 2016. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  7. Swallow the Leader. Danna Smith. Illustrated by Kevin Sherry. 2016. HMH. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  8. Dog Loves Counting. Louise Yates. 2013. Random House. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Early readers and early chapter books:
  1. Wagon Wheels. Barbara Brenner. Illustrated by Don Bolognese. 1978. HarperCollins. 64 pages. [Source: Bought]
  2. The Long Way Westward. Joan Sandin. 1989. 64 pages. [Source: Bought]
Contemporary (general, realistic) fiction, all ages:
  1. Applesauce Weather. Helen Frost. Illustrated by Amy June Bates. 2016. 112 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  2. The Best (Worst) School Year Ever. Barbara Robinson. 1994. 117 pages. [Source: Bought]
Speculative fiction (fantasy, science fiction, etc.) all ages:
  1. Snow White. Matt Phelan. 2016. Candlewick. 216 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  2. Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians. Brandon Sanderson. 2007. Scholastic. 308 pages. [Source: Library]
  3. Alcatraz Versus the Scrivener's Bones. Brandon Sanderson. 2008. Scholastic. 322 pages. [Source: Library]
  4. Alcatraz Versus the Knights of Crystallia. Brandon Sanderson. 2009. Scholastic. 299 pages. [Source: Library]
  5. Alcatraz Versus the Shattered Lens. Brandon Sanderson. 2010. Scholastic. 294 pages. [Source: Library] 
  6. The Scourge. Jennifer A. Nielsen. 2016. Scholastic. 368 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  7. Hansel and Gretel. Neil Gaiman. Illustrated by Lorenzo Mattotti. 2014. Toon. 54 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  8. The Borrowers. Mary Norton. Illustrated by Beth and Joe Krush. 1952/2006. HMH. 192 pages. [Source: Library] 
  9. The Stars Never Rise. Rachel Vincent. 2015. 368 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  10. The Flame Never Dies. Rachel Vincent. 2016. 343 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  11. The Heart of Betrayal (Remnant Chronicles #2) Mary E. Pearson. 2015. Henry Holt. 470 pages. [Source: Library]
  12. The Beauty of Darkness (Remnant Chronicles #3) Mary E. Pearson. 2016. Henry Holt. 679 pages. [Source: Library] 
  13. The Ask and the Answer. Patrick Ness. 2009. 536 pages. [Source: Library]

Historical fiction, all ages:
  1. Wolf Hollow. Lauren Wolk. 2016. 304 pages. [Source: Library]
  2. Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd. (Flavia de Luce #8) 2016. 320 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  3. Emily's Runaway Imagination. Beverly Cleary. 1961. 288 pages. [Source: Bought]
Mysteries, all ages:
  1. Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd. (Flavia de Luce #8) 2016. 320 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  2. Wolf Hollow. Lauren Wolk. 2016. 304 pages. [Source: Library]
Classics, all ages:
  1. The Borrowers. Mary Norton. Illustrated by Beth and Joe Krush. 1952/2006. HMH. 192 pages. [Source: Library]
  2. Emily's Runaway Imagination. Beverly Cleary. 1961. 288 pages. [Source: Bought]
Nonfiction, all ages: 
  1. B is for Big Ben. Pamela Duncan Edwards. 2016. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
  2. Fascinating: The Life of Leonard Nimoy. Richard Michelson. Illustrated by Edel Rodriguez. 2016. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  3. Agatha: The Real Life of Agatha Christie. 2016. 130 pages. [Source: Library]
  4. Winning Balance. Shawn Johnson and Nancy French. 2012. Tyndale. 256 pages. [Source: Library] 
  5. The Grand Tour: The Life and Music of George Jones. Rich Kienzle. 2016. 288 pages. [Source: Library]
Christian fiction:
  1. Good Good Father. Chris Tomlin and Pat Barrett. 2016. Thomas Nelson. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  2. The Revolt. Douglas Bond. 2016. P&R. 240 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  3. Crossroads in Galilee. Elizabeth Raum. 2016. BJU Press. [Source: Review copy]
Christian nonfiction:
  1. Unashamed: Healing Our Brokenness and Finding Freedom from Shame. Heather Davis Nelson. 2016. Crossway. 192 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  2. Miracle Man. John Hendrix. 2016. Harry N. Abrams. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
  3. Overcoming Sin and Temptation. John Owen. Edited by Justin Taylor and Kelly M. Kapic. 2006/2015. Crossway. 462 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  4. Don't Follow Your Heart. Jon Bloom. 2015. Desiring God. 196 pages. [Source: Downloaded for Free]
  5. 52 Little Lessons from Les Miserables. Bob Welch. 2014. Thomas Nelson. 224 pages. [Source: Bought]
  6. Song of Songs. Ian M. Duguid. 2016. P&R. 216 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  7. Winning Balance. Shawn Johnson and Nancy French. 2012. Tyndale. 256 pages. [Source: Library]
  8. What Grieving People Wish You Knew About What Really Helps (And What Really Hurts). Nancy Guthrie. 2016. Crossway. 192 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  9. Voice of a Prophet. A.W. Tozer. 2014. Regal. 208 pages. [Source: Bought]
  10. Unshakable. K. Scott Oliphint and Rod Mays. 2016. P&R. 160 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  11. The Lion First Book of Bible Stories. Lois Rock. Illustrated by Barbara Vagnozzi. 2012. Lion Hudson. 96 pages. [Source: Library]

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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19. The Ask and the Answer

The Ask and the Answer. Patrick Ness. 2009. 536 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Your noise reveals you, Todd Hewitt.

Premise/plot: The Ask and the Answer is the sequel to the Knife of Never Letting Go. To refresh your memory, these are the first two books in the science fiction Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness. In the first book, readers met Todd and Viola. Todd is the conflicted hero who can't decide if he's willing to kill in order to "become a man." Viola is the newly arrived colonist whose parents died in the crashing of the scout ship. She puzzles Todd because she does NOT have noise. All the men, all the animals have noise. Women are mysteriously noise-free. Their thoughts cannot be heard by others. (Women can and do read the thoughts of men. And MEN hate this so very much). The Knife of Never Letting Go ended in a horrible place. Our two had spent over four hundred pages racing to reach a town called Haven only to arrive and....

Viola spends this book worried about Todd--they are separated for most of the book--and worried about what will happen next. Will the women (led by Mistress Coyle) war with the President's army? The women are THE ANSWER. The army (mainly if not exclusively men) are THE ASK. Both seemed determined to defeat the other no matter the cost. Both seem short-sighted and not really thinking about what is best for the planet, best for humanity. Mayor Prentiss and Mistress Coyle seem to be two peas in a pod--stubborn, selfish, dishonest.

Todd spends this book worried about Viola--as I said, they are separated for most of the book. He will do his duty and do whatever the Mayor (the PRESIDENT) says if he promises to keep Viola safe and allow them to see each other and be together again. He'll bide his time following orders--always kept close by the Mayor's son, Davy--until an opportunity comes along. Todd doesn't like being in the army. He doesn't like working with the slaves--the SPACKLE. He doesn't like banding the slaves or the women. But unlike the women of The Answer he doesn't physically rebel and become violent. He's still conflicted.

Mainly the book is about the skirmishes between The ASK and THE ANSWER...and the lies and broken promises of Mistress Coyle and President Prentiss. Todd and Viola are sad, lonely, angry, confused. More than anything they want to be TOGETHER and live in a peaceful community. This seems impossible.

My thoughts: I really LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this one the first time I read it. I can't say the same the second time I read it. Perhaps because you can only be surprised by the story and characters once. One thing that really surprised me the first time was the character arc of Davy Prentiss. The ending of this one is SOMETHING especially the first time I read it.

I would still recommend this series with a few reservations. First, I think you have to read all three books in the proper order, and, close together at that. I think the books will have the biggest impact on readers if they're read back to back. Second, I think that the series isn't for all readers. You have to be fine with a moderate amount of profanity and really enjoy science fiction set on another planet. If you don't enjoy science fiction, then this series probably won't seem all that good.
"If you ever see a war," she says, not looking up from her clipboard, "you'll learn that war only destroys. No one escapes from a war. No one. Not even the survivors. You accept things that would appall you at any other time because life has temporarily lost all meaning." "War makes monsters of men," I say, quoting Ben from that night in the weird place where New World buried its dead. "And women," Mistress Coyle says. (102)
Everyone here is someone's daughter," she says quietly. "Every soldier out there is someone's son. The only crime, the only crime is to take a life. There is nothing else." "And that is why you don't fight," I say. She turns to me sharply. "To live is to fight," she snaps. "To preserve life is to fight everything that man stands for." (215)
© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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20. “The Devil laughs at Death” One more final #Sketch...


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21. POETRY FRIDAY: Wild Geese

 
 
I often find it difficult to capture an image/idea that I have in my mind in words. Autumn is the time of year when I hear the honking of geese that are heading south for winter. I have tried over the years to write a poem about migrating geese—but I have never been really satisfied with the results. Here are two versions of a “wild geese” poem that I wrote. The first was written several years ago; the second was written earlier this year.
 
One Poem Two Ways
 
WILD GEESE #1
 
So long…farewell. We’re on our way.
We must depart. We can’t delay
Our journey to a warmer clime.
Mother Nature warned: “It’s time!”
We’re heading south before the snow…
And winter winds begin to blow.
We leave you with our parting call—
Honk! Honk! Honk!
That’s the sound of fall.
 
WILD GEESE #2
 
So long…farewell. We’re on our way.
We must depart. We can’t delay
Our journey to a warmer clime.
Mother Nature warned, “It’s time!”
Days grow shorter. Trees grow bare.
Pumpkins fatten. Frost nips the air.
We know the signs. It’s time to go
Before the sky fills up with snow.
But we’ll return again next year
When we can sense that spring is near.
We leave you with our parting call—
Honk! Honk! Honk! That’s the sound of fall.
 ***************
 
Here is one of my favorite fall poems:
 
Something Told the Wild Geese
by Rachel Field, 1894-1942
 
Something told the wild geese
It was time to go,
Though the fields lay golden
Something whispered, "snow."

Leaves were green and stirring,
Berries, luster-glossed,
But beneath warm feathers
Something cautioned, "frost."
 
Click here to read the rest of the poem.
 
***************

Cari Best wrote a touching picture book about a wounded goose that landed in her backyard. It is based on her own experience. A photograph of the one-footed goose is included on the title page. The book was beautifully illustrated by the late Holly Meade.
 
 
From the title page:
“Goose’s story is true. She came on a Sunday. We could only guess about how she’d hurt her foot…Whatever it was, the goose with one foot became our spring and then our summer that year. Who would have thought she’d become our inspiration for all times, too.”
Booklist gave Goose’s Story a starred review. Here is an excerpt from that review:
“Best's simple prose is rhythmic and beautiful, more poetic than much of the so-called free verse in many children's books; and Meade's clear, cut-paper collages show the drama through the child's eyes--the clamor of the flock against the New England landscape through the seasons; the honking and jumping for the sky; and one goose left behind, wild and beautiful, hurt, and strong.”
Unfortunately, the book is now out of print—but you may be able to find it in your public or school library…or a used copy from an online bookseller
 ***************
A Family Movie about Migrating Geese
My five-year-old granddaughter Julia likes Fly Away Home, a 1996 movie starring Jeff Daniels and Anna Paquin. Julia and I have watched the movie together a few times.
NOTE: (Fly Away Home won the 1997 Broadcast Film Critics Association Critics Choice Award as the Best Family Film, the 1997 Christopher Award (for family films), 1997 Young Artist Award in the category of Best Family Feature – Drama, and the 1997 Genesis Award for Feature Films.)
Fly Away Home movie trailer:
 Mary Chapin Carpenter—10,000 Miles
Something Told the Wild Geese (Ann Arbor Youth Chorale)
Mary Oliver reading her poem Wild Geese
 
***************
 
Karen Edmisten has the Poetry Friday Roundup this week.
 


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22.

Good work for the GGs!

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23. THE HORROR STRUCTURE: SUBGENRES

No story makes your skin crawl more than the horror story. The horror story takes suspense to a higher, usually more explicit, level and generally contains more graphic material than the Thriller.

The overall story problem in this genre is a mortal threat to an individual or group. Therec can be a mystery at the heart of it, but it is separate from the mystery genre.

Antagonists include the abnormal and paranormal: ghosts, zombies, vampires, serial murderers, killer sharks, giant spiders, viruses, vampires, werewolves or clowns. The antagonist must be nearly impossible to beat and to fail means death. 

The reader expects to be not only thrilled and anxious, but horrified and you need to start from page one. You can start slow and build on the horror, but true fans won’t appreciate a slow, horror-free build-up to a final, horrible truth.

The point of the Horror story is to make the readers squirm, scream, and confront their fears either individually or as a group. The fears can be everyday things such as fear of being alone, of the dead, of the unknown, or of the dark. The horror genre magnifies our fears so we can examine them safely.

There must a sense of being trapped in a room, a house, a town, or on a planet that you can’t escape and therefore must turn and face the threat. 
It’s scariest if the reader doesn’t know where the threat is hiding or where it will strike next. It’s that feeling of “there’s something in the dark, I can’t see it, how can I protect myself from it?” that preys on our elemental fear of being defenseless.

It can also be the “who will die next” plot.

The reader asks: What brought the danger near and how will they get away from it?

There are several subgenres of horror from suspenseful to gruesome.

Alien Horror takes Science Fiction to a darker place. The source of the horror is either on another planet or something brought to Earth from outer space.

Creepy Kids Horror features children who turn out to be evil, possessed by demons or Satan himself.

Erotic Horror features explicit content: sadomasochism, torture, the dark side of sexuality and the sex trade.

Extreme Horror contains explicit violence and is often a “who dies first plot” with no real rhyme or reason other than to kill the victims off in horrendous fashion.

Holocaust Horror contains mass deaths, either in the past or future. They can be due to human slaughter, a rogue virus, monsters, zombies, etc. They are often dystopian or post-apocalyptic settings.

Humorous Horror combines the horror structure with the comedy structure. It is scary, but also funny.

Mind Control Horror plays on our fear of not being in control – especially of our own minds. The mind can be taken over via sorcery or via technology. Victims are forced to act against their will and nature and are horrifying aware of it – unlike a mindless zombie.

Noir Horror
uses a gritty, urban setting with cynical protagonists who must fight the horror facing himself or everyone.

Paranormal Horror
features a mortal protagonist who must fight off immortal or supernatural threats. These include exorcist tales, possession, ghosts or demons.

Psychological Horror keeps the verbal camera in tight focus on the protagonist. He and the audience are kept in the dark. They aren’t certain what they are fighting until the end. This subgenre can also follow the evil or insane protagonist such as a serial killer, where the protagonist actually turns out to be the antagonist.

Rampant Technology Horror examines our fears that man has gone too far in their technology or achievements. It can feature monster toasters or robots that kill. It can be the ghost in the machine or the machine that steals your soul.

Satanic Bargain Horror features a protagonist who strikes a deal with the devil, like Dorian Gray. They end up paying a horrible price for their decision.

What are your favorite horror subgenres? 
Can you think of others? 

You can learn more about the genre through Horror Writers Association at http://horror.org/ 

You can join their group on Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/Horrorwritersassoc/.

For the month of October, we will examine story building block layers as they pertain to the horror genre.

For more about how to craft plots using conflict check out, Story Building Blocks: The Four Layers of conflict available in print and e-book and check out the free tools and information about the series on my website.

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24. Library Books

Reasons why it helps your sales to have patrons check your book out of the library.

https://www.facebook.com/notes/maggie-stiefvater-really-its-me/how-much-does-checking-out-books-at-a-library-help-you-the-author-if-any/10153804036257036

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25. Literacy Coaches: The Art of Voicing-Over

Are you an instructional coach? As part of your work, do you demonstrate minilessons, conferring, or small group work in classrooms? If yes, then this post is for YOU!

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