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The first novel published through Hardie Grant Egmont's new Ampersand Project, an imprint dedicated to debut YA novels, Life In Outer Space
is just the loveliest. As a result, I am very much looking forward to what the Ampersand Project discovers next.
Reminiscent of Six Impossible Things
by Fiona Wood in terms of adorable romance (and a little bit Shirley Marr's Preloved
too), Life In Outer Space
is just nice, you know? I don't know how to express this properly (if we could mind-meld you'd get it - how much easier everything would be if we could mind-meld), but sometimes I tire of all the edgy, and the gritty, and the ever-present overly masculine and borderline-disturbing love interest (I mean, really
) and I just want to read a novel with people I can relate to in it. It's like a YA novel version of a rom-com with all these socially awkward nerdy kids in it (who are actually really cool and awesome, despite their professed geekiness).
It's funny and endearing and chock full of movie references (do you think I've used the phrase 'chock full' on this blog before?) and there's a little bit of World of Warcraft in there, too. It's not groundbreaking - just boy-meets-girl, boy-is-socially-awkward, boy-eventually-realises-he-loves-girl but it's so darn nice/adorably funny. I love Camilla myself, and I also love Melissa Keil and I'd quite like it if another Keil novel were published very soon (why must it take so long for books to be written? Again, mind-melds, they'd be handy).Here it is on Goodreads
, should you care for a blurb or a second opinion.
By: Rebecca (Becky) Fjelland Davis,
Blog: Becky's Blog
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Internet has been sketchy and none have my posts have worked, but we are inSouth Africa!
This is out breakfast, view in Somerset West.
Sixteen-year-old Ash Fisher is the son of a vampire and a human, and as far as he knows, the only twin-blood in Black City. Because of his human blood he's allowed by law to live in the city proper, rather than behind the wall in the Darkling ghetto. He lives with his human father, making ends meet by selling his venom to human Haze addicts, and worries every single day, that this will be the day that the Trackers discover that he and his father are harboring a Darkling... a crime punishable by death. But how could they refuse? She's Ash's mother, and she's dying.
Sixteen-year-old Natalie Buchanan, meanwhile, is the daughter of Black City's Emissary: the woman in charge. The Buchanans have just returned back to the city after months in the capitol, a move precipitated by the savage murder of her father by a Wrath-crazed Darkling.
Full-blooded Darklings are barely second-class citizens; the few that live in the city are defanged and work as servants, and all of them—Ash included, despite his human blood—are required to wear ID bracelets at all times. ID bracelets that mark them as property of their human 'owner'. Not wearing the bracelets is punishable by death.
Any action judged a 'grievous crime against the state' is punishable by death, regardless of species.
Romantic relationships between humans and Darklings are punishable by death, regardless of species.
You've probably already guessed where the story is headed, and you aren't wrong: but that's not to say that there aren't some twists along the way. Since the prose stylings are neither squee-inducing nor remotely offensive, it'll be the plotting, the characters, and the world-building that attract or repel readers: and as Black City has a lot in common with other recent bestsellers, it should be pretty easy to figure out whether or not you should pick it up.
If you enjoyed the format of Marie Lu's Legend, then Black City might work for you: in this one, as in the Lu, the main characters alternate narration duties. And, as in Legend, the heroine is associated with the dictitorial government while the hero is, well, not part of the resistance, but certainly not held in any sort of esteem by the ruling class. Also, despite the vampires, I'd slot this one firmly in the science fiction arena.
If you like vampire apocalypse stories a la Emily McKay's The Farm or Julie Kagawa's The Immortal Rules and The Eternity Cure, then Black City might work for you: unlike both of those examples, in this case, the vampires are the subjugated class, but along with the action and the romance and whatnot, it deals with similar themes of racism and xenophobia. Black City actually takes that aspect of the story further, and makes some direct parallels to WWII with the aforementioned ghettos, with concentration camps, and with the ongoing experimental vivisection (i.e. torture) carried out in the name of research.
Like so many paranormal romances—though, as I said, this is more science fiction than fantasy—our characters do experience instalove, which I well know is definitely a dealbreaker for many. It, like Stephenie Meyers' 'imprinting' also turns out to be the sort of instalove that removes agency from the characters, which is another problematic element for some readers. In Richards' defense, she threw a hella-great twist into the mix of that plotline: even with the clues she dropped, I only saw HALF of it coming.
LONG STORY SHORT: WILL YOU LIKE IT? IT DEPENDS.
WHAT DID I THINK? Aside from a few issues—I found it bothersome that Natalie kept going on and on about how a Darkling killed her father, when she KNEW VERY WELL that that wasn't the entire story, because, you know, SHE WITNESSED THE WHOLE THING GO DOWN; the pacing got bogged down in the middle with all the 'DOES HE LIKE ME?' 'OH GOD SHE LOOKED AT ME AND I'D BE BLUSHING IF I COULD BLUSH' 'LET'S MAKE OUT' 'OH GOD WE JUST MADE OUT' 'IS OUR LOVE WORTH THE RISK?' and so on; there was some of that 'HE'S SO DANGEROUS BUT I LOVE HIM' that skeeves me out; the ex-boyfriend is such a complete d-bag that he comes off as a moustache-twirler—I approved of the plentiful gore and the creative vampire mythos (multiple species, various cultural traditions).
I'll be reading Phoenix to see where it all goes.
Book source: Finished copy from the publisher.
By: Colleen Mondor,
Blog: Chasing Ray
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As I've mentioned in a few posts here and there, I've been slowly reading an ARC of Andrea Barrett's upcoming story collection Archangel. Her fans are going to adore this; it's everything you expect from Barrett and more - a truly fabulous set of stories. I love it.
The final story is "Archangel" and includes the main character from the earlier story "The Experiment", now all grown up and fighting in WWI. It's 1919 in "Archangel" and although the war is over, for these men it continues in Russia, where they are assigned to The Polar Bear Expedition and bizarrely, stuck in the Russian Civil War. I have never heard about this force which is pretty stunning as I heavily studied US military history in college (it was the main focus of my history degree) and I've read a ton on WWI. (It seems like I'm always finding out more of history that I've missed. So frustrating!)
Barrett does amazing stuff with the setting and characters and brings alive all the confusion and fear of this war-after-a-war where nobody has any idea what is going on. Because this is Barrett there is also a second character, a woman, who is an x-ray technician. The science history of x-rays blends into military history as if they were always meant to be, and readers fall in love with these two people so far from home and so uncertain as to why they are there and what will become of them in that miserable place.
You will read "Archangel" and hate war all over again. It's sublime - brittle and sharp and slices your heart. I ripped me apart a bit, this story, and the final paragraphs were worthy of a Wilfred Owen poem.
I can't wait until you all read this book - I just can't wait.
[Post pic: En route to Archangel, a group of 339th Infantry Regiment doughboys pose with their newly issued M1891 Mosin-Nagant rifles. From the Army Sustainment Bulletin.]
By: Sue Bursztynski,
|Receiving Presidential Medal Of Freedom|
This morning I read that Harper Lee, author of To Kill A Mockingbird, is in a legal battle with her agent's son-in-law. Apparently, he has been enjoying the rights and royalties of her one and only classic novel for the last few years, due to her having signed something while recovering from a stroke. She has the rights back, but is now trying to get back the royalties for the last few years. She is in her eighties, but seems to be quite a feisty lady still. Good on her!
If you're going to write only one book, it might as well be a classic. Who will remember anything I have written so many years from now? I did once get a pleasant surprise when a young blogger told me he had had my first book, on monsters, in his teens, and it had inspired him to write horror fiction. But it's out of print and who else remembers it? I doubt Mockingbird will ever go out of print.
Why only one book? I heard that its success was so overwhelming, she worried she couldn't come up with something as successful second time around. And that's understandable - when someone has written a massive bestseller the next one sells because it's by them, but people invariably say,"Oh, it's just not as good as XXX..."
I remember the novel from my own school days. And the movie is a classic in its own right. A couple of years ago, I chose it for my virtual readout in Banned Books Week. I didn't choose any of the more dramatic bits from the trial or even a Boo Radley bit, but the scene where Scout goes to school for the first time. She can read already, which sort of spoils things for the enthusiastic young teacher just out of her studies. The novel is as much about childhood as about the injustice of the treatment of African Americans in that time and place. If you're curious, my reading is on YouTube still, here
. Last year, when the students of my book club were reading, Ryan chose this book too. Oddly enough, it was challenged for racism!
It gets a mention in the novel The Help, which is set in the south in the 1960s, seen from the viewpoint of maids. One of them finds a copy of To Kill A Mockingbird on the bedside table of a young woman who is being snubbed by the middle class women of the town.
I love this book to bits! I even bought the fiftieth anniversary edition when it came out. I will probably be buying another copy for the library, because it has been requested and our only copy, which is still out, is a bit battered.
And it's interesting to know that even the writer of a classic has been ripped off, if not by pirates.
SIGNED BY ZELDA is now in paperback!
Kate Feiffer's Signed by: Zelda (with wonderful cover art by Kelly Murphy) is her second novel for young readers and comes on the heels of nine pictures books, four of which are illustrated by her father, the great Jules Feiffer. Besides her own great track record as a children's book author and her wonderful lineage, I was intrigued by Signed by:
There are approximately 18,000 children under the age of 5 in Howard County, Maryland. And another 50,000 older children in school here. Yet when my family takes advantage of a treasure in the heart of the county, we never see another soul! The Howard County Nature Conservancy is a peaceful and beautiful sanctuary full of rolling hills, safe hiking trails, clear running streams, gorgeous gardens, interesting animals and picnic areas begging to be filled with families looking for a fun, easy, cheap way to spend an evening. Locals say it’s the place to be for bird watching, geocaching or growing your own organic vegetables in the lush community garden.
Part of the reason many don’t know about this area is that from 1692-1992 one family, the Brown’s, was fortunate enough to call The Conservancy their private residence. But in 1992, Howard County schoolteachers Ruth and Frances Brown passed away without an heir. The 232 acre farm has since been held in its natural state and glory. With some additions and improvements, you can come visit and see many buildings that have been a part of the pastoral setting for three centuries.
When I say that we never see another soul on our weekend hikes, that is not to say the spectacular landscape is not put to good use. There are summer camps for the kids, regular nature walks and talks, “Wine in the Garden” for the adults, “School is Out” programs for local students, and too many more exciting events to name. (Check here for a full list: http://www.hcconservancy.org/upcoming-events.html)
These programs, and this place, have helped my boys, (Will age 6, Luke age 4 and Sam age 23 months) to be better little men. I take them there as a part of our unofficial family plan. I want my sons to grow up valuing a day in the dirt with their brothers more than a computer. I want them to seek out places to think and find serenity more than places to blend in with the crowd. I want them to know that it is sometimes better to walk quietly holding my hand than it is to scream in the chaos of an amusement park (although we’ll be heading off to Dutch Wonderland in 10 short days and I can’t wait). I want my boys to have a place to take a date in a decade or two and really get to know her. Somewhere safe where they can walk hand-in-hand (God help me) and find out if they are lucky enough to build what we are lucky enough to have.
I just read the last paragraph aloud my opinionated family. According to my husband and the boys, everything I said is true…but way too girly. They just like to be able to run and play ninjas with sticks. I guess that is a part of our official family plan.
So my real question is this, why aren’t more young families joining us on a beautiful day? No matter what the season? Right now the tadpoles are changing week-to-week and day-to-day! The goats are climbing onto the roof of their habitat and the chickens are laying eggs. Ranger, the owl, is eating his mice and the crayfish and salamanders are hiding from eager little fingers looking to snatch them up. Log bridges with rope sidebars are waiting to be crossed by young explorers and the trees and logs give our young Luke Skywalker lots of convenient hiding places when bounty hunter Boba Fett (aka daddy) comes searching. Maybe you’ll luck out and see a snake while you skip rocks along the creek. If you’re quiet, you’re sure to see some deer and a fox or two. The children’s log garden allows the kids to jump and climb and play in an unusual and safe environment. The indoor playground at the mall is teaming with kids (and germs) every night of the week. Yet we are the only ones at the Conservancy! After seeing the animals, playing or checking out the simple indoor nature room, go for a hike. There is no need to hold hands! Let the kids run on the safe, grassy paths and lead the way as they leave their energy behind to light a trail for you.
Just this weekend I spoke to a young mom who lives within a half mile of the Conservancy. She had never been! What!?!? Why?!?!? Come on! I’ll meet you there on Friday night! We’ll bring sandwiches, juice boxes and kids ready to squeal with delight and satisfy the natural, scientific curiosity that fills their ever-expanding brains….and play ninjas with sticks. Honestly, what could be better?
For more information about the Howard County Nature Conservancy, check out their website at http://www.hcconservancy.org.
Erin Schade is a wife, a mother to three fantastic boys, a teacher in Howard County, Maryland, a freelance writer and an aspiring children’s author. Questions or comments? Please contact her directly at email@example.com.
Running is a crazy, paradoxical, numerical-obsessedo, backwards world.
Just when you don’t think you can run another step, you push through five more minutes, then instantly you feel like your legs have transformed into two totally different running entities. You go on for miles.
The first interval for a runner can sometimes feel like the worst. That’s where the nerves are, getting started.
Races are even crazier, poised at the line, in the seconds before the gun is about to CRACK you feel certain if they take any longer to fire it you’ll explode. Then, CRACK, and the whole world slips away.
“Back to those intervals…ya, suckers say the hardest is the first one…plowing through miler number three of five HAS to be more painful,” you think.
You then say, “Legs, don’t worry, this is the last interval we have to so…promise.” You say that after every one. Until you finish. Scr##w honesty.
Funny how a running partner that you train with feels like a war partner. You come to know them so well, read their breathing and stride as well as your own. You become intrinsically linked in the shared quest for your best.
Easy days can feel like the epitome of hypocrisy sometimes.
Out of nowhere getting blessed with one of THOSE days is a special kind of euphoria a runner never forgets.
The good days, the slog runs, the meh ones, the mentally tough workouts you’re proud of, the long runs that you wish never end…all of it. It’s crazy stuff. But it’s runner crazy and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
1) Just before you start a race, what makes you feel confident on the line?
2) Best lie you’ve told yourself/legs to get through a workout?
3) One of THOSE days, how many do you think a runner gets?
Linc knows Wyn is the girl for him.
Wyn knows Linc is the boy for her.
But she’s promised to another.
Lincoln “Linc” Tatman had been at his new school for months and he thought he’d met all the girls it had to offer. Until one day, he spied Wyn sitting against a tree and realized this new place had been hiding the girl of his dreams. He goes out of his way to get to know her, even though he’s warned that it’s a hopeless case. But he’s determined to win her, even if she can only be his for a short time.
Arwyn “Wyn” Scott is the black sheep of her big gypsy family. When most of the girls her age are dropping out to start their own families, she begs her parents to stay. She doesn’t fit in with the gypsy teens and the regular teens are too afraid of her five older brothers to get close. Then Linc comes into her life, showing her a new life she never thought she could have. She can’t stop herself from falling head first for the boy.
Can Wyn leave behind her family and their traditions to follow her heart, or will she become a young gypsy wife?
Michelle is a 28 year old native Ohioan. Go Buckeyes! Who now lives with her husband and son in West Virginia. When she isn’t spending time with her family you can find her with her nose stuck in a good book. She released her first book (Reviving Bloom) as an independent author in October 2012 and plans to release two new books (Promised & Enlightening Bloom) in 2013.
“Linc, there are things in my life that you can’t understand and this,” She waves her hand back and forth between the two of us, “will never be able to work out.”
“You can’t know that. You’re not even giving us a chance.” I cross my arms.
She throws up her arms, “You want to know how this will go if I give in?”
“Yeah, since apparently you’re a psychic, tell me how this will go, Wyn.”
“Say my family doesn’t find out, which is highly unlikely. And say if they do find out and they don’t hurt you. And Linc, those are two huge obstacles to overcome right off the bat. Well, say we overcome those, then what?” She runs her hands through her hair before she continues, “We’ll spend a few weeks, a few months it we’re lucky, together. But it won’t last after that, Linc. It’ll be over and we’ll be left with what? Nothing.”
“You’re wrong, Wyn. We’ll have the memories and I’d rather have those than nothing.” I want to reach out and grab her. I want to hold her in my arms but I know she has boundaries that I’m not use to and I can’t cross them. I’m afraid to even hold her hand, that it might cross some unseen line.
“I’m not sure I can handle the memories. Because if you give me everything I think you can and things turn out the way I know they will, I won’t be able to handle them. Knowing I had you and I had to let you go. I can’t do that, Linc.” There’s a quiver in her voice and I have to shove my hands in my pockets to keep from reaching out for her.
“You won’t have to let me go.”
“Yes, I will.”
“The only way I’m going anywhere is if you decide you don’t want me around.” I promise her.
“It won’t be me who pushes you away.”
“Well, I can promise I won’t push you away. I want to be with you, Wyn.”
“I’m promised, Linc.” As the words leave her lips, I watch the tears begin to escape her eyes.
“Explain please.” I have a feeling I know what it means but I need to hear it aloud.
“My Dad informed me last night that someone expressed interest in my hand. He’s going to accept the proposal.” She’s watching my face as she finishes, “I’m going to be married.”
By: Cindy R. Williams,
Blog: Dragon Dreamer
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Not sure what Squiggy Time is? It is when you have the wiggles and nothing, and I mean NOTHING will help you stop wiggling until you get up and dance around. Does this ever happen to you? It happens pretty much every day to me. No worries though, we dragons are good dancers! How about you?
Then slip on your ruby red slippers, click your heels together three times and repeat…
I’ve teamed up with my local indie in Bernardsville, NJ.
I’ll be signing THE MONSTORE at The Bookworm on Thursday, June 20 from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.
But, if you can’t make it, you can still get a signed copy made out to your favorite kiddo. (Or yourself, or Toto the dog, as the case may be.)
Just call The Bookworm at 908-766-4599 and pre-order. Specify to whom you’d like me to sign the book. I’ll be heading over there periodically to sign copies and they’ll ship ‘em out to you.
You’ll also receive one of these cool, exclusive “Grand Opening” stickers with your book…
Some assembly required.
Sorry, Ruby Red Slippers sold separately.
Blog: The Children's and Teens' Book Connection
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Books for preschoolers
, children's books
, Children's picture books
, tiger tales
, book reviews
, books for young readers
, books that teach a lesson
, books that teach children a lesson
, children's books that teach a lesson
, children's fantasy
, Paula Bowles
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, What Goes Up
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By: C. C. Gevry,
Put a dragon in a story and it’s an instant hit. This holds true in What Goes Up by author/illustrator Paula Bowles.
Martin the dragon is sad because he longs to fly but his wings are too small. He tries all sorts of ways to fly, but always comes down with a CRASH! It takes the village children to show Martin the importance of believing in yourself.
Bowles has created a charming book of a sad dragon who wishes to fly. His friendship with the village children plays a big role, so young children witness the importance of friends in helping a person–or in this case a dragon–reach his goals. What I like the most about What Goes Up is that there isn’t an easy resolution to the problem. It takes Martin many days of practice and exercise before his wings grow big enough to carry him.
The artwork you see on the front cover is similar to what is inside. Soft colors add comfort and sweetness to a delightful story. I’ll be looking for more of Bowles’ work.
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Tiger Tales (March 1, 2013)
I received a free hardcover of this book from the publisher. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I have not been compensated in any way.
By: Lizza Aiken,
With over one hundred books published in her lifetime, Joan Aiken has contributed so much to the lives of her readers that some characters have lived on as a part of their own history, like old friends. Everyone has that aha! moment as with the taste of Proust’s famous Madeleine, when they catch sight of […]
Last year was the Patrick White centenary, and among the highlights surrounding that was the posthumous publication (in Australia and the UK) of a novel he had begun in 1981 but left unfinished.
Now Picador has brought out a US edition (as a beautiful little (i.e. appropriately -- more mass-market than trade -- sized) French-flapped paperback original) of The Hanging Garden -- and my review of it is the most recent addition to the complete review.
It got good but not great critical attention in the UK (a lot of papers skipped it), but it's great to see that US coverage begins with a bang: apparently the cover-review of the coming (26 May) issue of The New York Times Book Review will be John Sutherland's take on the novel.
(White has been critically and, especially, popularly neglected in recent years, and only a few of his titles are still in print (barely any in the US) -- but it wasn't always quite like that: recall that even something like The Twyborn Affair had been reviewed in, of all places, People (!) back in the day.)
As longtime readers know, I'm a huge fan of White -- a batch of nine reviews (rather thin ones, I'm afraid) of White titles were among the first fifty-odd to appear on the site, more than 14 years ago (yes, back in April 1999), and almost all of his work is now under review (I'm saving up The Tree of Man, for a last hurrah -- and I still need to get my hands on a copy of Happy Valley).
Unfinished and posthumous it may be, but The Hanging Garden is well worth your attention.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has been visiting India, and this has led to a variety of protocols, agreements, and 'memoranda of understanding' getting signed, as the two nations try to work more closely together in a number of areas.
There's exciting stuff like 'coöperation in the field of sewage treatment' (something we certainly want the two most populous countries in the world to coöperate on) and 'coöperation in the field of water efficient irrigation'
The one I'm most curious about, however, is number six: the "Memorandum of Understanding [...] on Cooperation in Mutual Translation and Publication of Classic and Contemporary Works".
MoU provides for a Joint Working Group that will coordinate translation and publication of 25 books of Classic and Contemporary Works of each side over a period of 5 years in to Chinese and Indian languages respectively.
I'd love to see the list of books each side submits -- but regardless of the exact titles, it sounds like a very worthy undertaking (and maybe the start of something even bigger and better ?).
Translation -- and cross-cultural exchange --, after all, is always something good.
They've announced that Gerbrand Bakker's The Detour (published in the US as Ten White Geese), translated by David Colmer, has won the 2013 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.
(Interestingly, the Readers' Prize and the shadow iffp selection both went to other books.)
Ten White Geese (i.e. the US edition of The Detour) only came out in the US in 2013, so it wasn't eligible for the most recently (just a few weeks ago) awarded Best Translated Book Award (for 2012 titles), but will certainly be in the running next year.
In 2010 Bakker won the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for The Twin, so he already has two of the major English-language international book awards under his belt -- impressive (though two other author have also managed this particular double: Orhan Pamuk and Per Petterson (the latter with the same book)).
It’s always an honor when a young person chooses a book you wrote for a school project. It is a special honor when that young person happens to be the child of a fellow author. (Not every writer passes on genetic code for a talent in writing but I suspect all writers hope we pass on at least refined taste in writing.)
The young man’s name is Max. The fellow author, his mom, also happens to be my friend. Her name is Jennifer Allison. She also gave birth to Gilda Joyce via a series of mystery novels for young readers.
Here is Max’s report, which I find both flattering and factually sound:
Here is Max:
Thank you Max! You are now a Boy of Steel, too. And Jennifer will be featured on this blog again later this year. I won’t say why yet but will give this clue. Maybe this is one for Gilda Joyce herself to solve...
by Cindy R. Williams
Donny and Marie. What does that mean to you? A little bit country? A little bit rock and roll? Paper Roses? Puppy Love? Mulon? Depends what year you were born.
Sure, I grew up with them. I even attended Marie's wedding reception when she married Steve Craig --the first time.
I will be attending the Donny and Marie Show in Las Vegas with my mom, husband, son and daughter and son-in-law soon. It will be my second time seeing them in the past six months.
My mother is a huge Donny fan and gave us tickets to see their Christmas show at the Gammage. It was incredible. Donny and Marie are true showmen/women/people! Both have incredibly trained voices and insane stage presence.
Let me tell you a little story about my mom and Donny Osmond. A couple of years ago, my brother took our mom to Las Vegas to see the Donny and Marie show for her birthday. (He always does one-up my sister and me.) They arrived just in time to unload their luggage in their hotel room and change for the show. Mom was so excited that after she brushed her teeth, she forgot to put her one false tooth back in. It is the second from the top front, so yeah, it shows. She, and said brown nosing brother, hurried to the show.
Afterword, there was an opportunity to shake Donny's hand and get an autographed picture. They waited in line and when it was their turn, Mom grinned with her mouth closed but wouldn't talk. My brother is a funny guy. He told Donny that Mom was a super fan, but embarrassed because she forgot her tooth. Mom about melted into the ground. Donny flashed his million dollar smile then quickly grabbed an 8 by 10 glossy, signed it and handed it to Mom.
When they got back to their hotel room, Mom looked at the picture. Donny had written, "To my dear friend. Don't forget your tooth! Love, Donny.
I am looking forward to the show, not only to see Donny and Marie, but to watch my dear mother act like a kid in a candy shop.
Donny and Marie forever!
Gerald is careful. Piggie is not.Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can.Gerald worries so that Piggie does not have to.Gerald and Piggie are best friends.In A Big Guy Took My Ball! Piggie is devastated when a big guy takes her ball! Gerald is big, too...but is he big enough to help his best friend?
Available your favorite local book store or library today!
I hope you enjoy the BIG surprise!
Just got back from a *fabulous* weekend in Kansas City attending Spectrum Live (a full report will follow soon). Have been trying to think of a sufficiently celebratory song for the lingering elation... This isn't *quite* that, but close (and one of my favorite scenes from Practical Magic):
As of November 20, 2012 (that is, Midnight Eastern Time tonight) I am closed to queries. I will reopen to queries January 7, 2013.
If I already have your work, you should hear from me by January 7. (That's the point of taking the break, I have to catch up!)
I'm sorry to say that I cannot respond to new queries sent during this time.
The exceptions will be: work that I've requested -- conference material -- client or editor referrals -- and people I actually know in real life. If this is you, please be sure you've said so, along with the word Query, IN THE SUBJECT LINE of your email. Otherwise, your query will be deleted.
For all other regular queries, please feel free to try any of my colleagues at Andrea Brown Lit, or else try me again in January.
Thanks again for thinking of me in regard to your work.
Wishing you all the best, and Happy Holidays,
Andrea Brown Literary Agency
Awhile ago I did an 8-part series on Plot to help me understand the differences between the terms: plot, story, and structure. (I’ve since revised some of my thoughts from that series when I did my grad lecture on story structure. More on that coming soon). But what I seem to find interesting is that no one seems to be able to agree on what plot is.
Sure, everyone sort of knows what plot is on a gut level, (and there’s plenty of overlap when writers discuss it), but there isn’t a concrete single definition. I think this is fascinating (and confusing), and oddly empowering. It means each of us gets to create our own personal definition of plot. We get to pick a definition that works for us!
I’ve begun to collect definitions of plot and I’ve shared my list below. Take a look through them and see if any resonate with you. Or maybe you’ll find you disagree with some (I sure do!). Perhaps some will confuse you, while others might help you consider plot in a whole new way! I’d love to know what you think.
As writers, we create our own philosophies about how we each define good writing and how the craft should be approached. Coming up with our own personal definition of plot is an interesting part of that journey. I’ve never found two writers who articulate it exactly the same way.
Here’s what some of my craft books, friends, and teachers have to say about plot:
“Plot is how the events in a story directly impact the main character.” - Martha Alderson
Story is: “The king died and then the queen died.” Plot is: “The king died and then the queen died of grief.” - E.M. Forster
“Story is what happens; plot is the structure of what happens.” - Cheryl Klein
“Plot is merely the mechanism by which your character is forced up against her deepest fears and desires.” - Margaret Bechard
“Plot is nothing more than the way you organize your story.” - Nancy Lamb
Plot is “merely one way of telling a story, by connecting the happenings tightly, usually through causal chains.” - Ursula Le Guin
“Story [is] what your novel is about. Plot [is] what happens within your story … Structure [is] how it’s organized.” - Sheryl Scarborough
“Plot is the arrangement of events that make up a story… Plot is the sequence of unfolding action. In examining plot we are concerned with causality, with how one action leads into or ties in with another.” – Chea Stephenson
“Plot is a system of actions.” – Susan Fletcher
Plot is “the under-the-surface weaving of various lines of action or sets of events so that the story builds steadily … It is a combination of what happens and how those events are revealed to the audience.” - John Truby
“Plot is not just what happens in a story. Rather, plot is a pattern of cause and effect or conflicts upsetting the equilibrium of a situation.” - Ron Layne and Rick Lewis
“Plots engage our capacity to understand motives and thus the logic of action.” - Roger Seamon
How do you define plot? I’d love to hear your personal definitions, thoughts, and ideas!
The above quotes come from the following sources:
Alderson, Martha. The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master. Avon, MA: Adams Media, 2011. Print.
Bechard, Margaret. Small Workshop Plot Handout. Vermont College of Fine Arts. 2012.
Chea, Stephenson. “What’s the Difference Between Plot and Structure.” Associated Content. 16 Feb. 2010. Web. 7 May 2010.
Forster, E.M. Aspects of the Novel. 1927. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1985. Print.
Klein, Cheryl. “The Essentials of Plot.” CherylKlein.com. Web. Nov. 2012.
Fletcher, Susan. Structure as Genesis. Faculty Lecture. Vermont College of Fine Arts. 2012.
Lamb, Nancy. The Writer’s Guide to Crafting Stories for Children. Cincinnati, OH: Writer’s Digest Books, 2001. Print.
Layne, Ron and Rick Lewis. “Plot, Theme, the Narrative Arc, and Narrative Patterns.” English and Humanities Department. Sandhill Community College. 11 Sept, 2009. Web. 7 May 2010.
Le Guin, Ursula K. Steering the Craft: Exercises and Discussions on Story Writing for the Lone Navigator or the Mutinous Crew. Portland, OR: Eighth Mountain Press, 1998. Print.
Scarborough, Sheryl. “Re: Laura’s (Way Late) Lecture Thread.” MFA Student Forum. Vermont College of Fine Arts. Web. Nov. 2012.
Seamon, Roger. “The Price of Plot in Aristotle’s Poetics.” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 64:2, Spring 2006. Ebsco Host. Web. 10 May 2011.
Truby, John. The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller. 2007. New York: Faber and Faber, 2008. Print.
Continuing our week of looking at artists who worked on Epic, we focus on Sang Jun Lee.
Sang Jun has designed characters and concepts for many blockbuster movie franchises including Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean and Men In Black. After a stretch of working in California on these live-action films, he moved to New York to work on Blue Sky features such as Horton Hears a Who, Rio, and most recently, Epic.
Sang Jun’s website has a generous amount of drawings and digital paintings to explore. He also keeps a blog here.
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Here are some of my left over drawings from ILL 699 Character Design for Children's Book Class (and scary slasher one from Eli Harris' Clothed Figure Class). They are all about 10 minute poses.
I loved teaching the course, and can't wait till the next term. I'll post up some of the best work from the students on the AAU Children's Book blog soon.