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1. The Night Horses - a bookwrap





Unwrapping some quotes for you today...







Unwrapping...







Author:  Anaka Jones 

Ages:  2-5








A rhyming unwrapping of book today...


Night Horses

Early morning
Start of day
Horses gather
Eat their hay.

Off they gallop
Work with power
Toil all day
Then back for shower.

Sun descends
Dinner calls...
Served with smiles
Inside their stalls.

Humans tired
Home...days done
Horses perk up...
Time for fun!

Cards come out
They braid their manes
Paint their hooves
Now that's insane!

Funny joke time
Midnight snacks,
Dance to music,
Back to back.

Alas, they're tired
Parties done,
Time for sleep
Night, everyone!

Tomorrow's close
The sun peeks through..
Up they get
So much to do.





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2. ABC Family Gives the Green Light For a Mortal Instruments TV Show

City of BonesABC Family has given the green light for a TV show based on Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments young adult novels. The executives plan to create a 13-episode drama series.

Here’s more from The Hollywood Reporter: “Constantin Film will produce, and Ed Decter (Helix, Unforgettable, The Client List) is on board to serve as showrunner and executive producer…Production will begin in May in Toronto.”

Back in August 2013, Constantin released a feature film adaptation of the first book City of Bones. No announcements have been made as to whether or not the lead actors of that movie, Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower, will come back to reprise their roles as Clary Fray and Jace Wayland. (via Variety.com)

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3. Three Questions with Tricia Springstubb: Advice for young writers, office cats and CODY AND THE FOUNTAIN OF HAPPINESS

A late bloomer, Tricia Springstubb didn’t discover the writing life till after she’d tried many other careers—all of which, not so surprisingly, centered on kids. Now she is lucky enough to be a full-time writer in Cleveland, where she lives with her teacher husband and, of course, Habibi. Her books include the novels What Happened on Fox Street, Mo Wren Lost and Found, and the picture book Phoebe and Digger.

You can find out more about Tricia and her work at her website, on Twitter and on Pinterest.

Synopsis of CODY AND THE FOUNTAIN OF HAPPINESS:

This is the very first book in a new series about Cody, her best friend Spencer, and their diverse families and neighbors. Cody is a girl who hates to give up, which makes for adventures big and small. My books are usually kind of broody, so writing one as sunny and happy as this was great fun. The next book publishes in spring 2016. (Publisher: Candlewick)

Q. Could you please take a photo of something in your office and tell us the story behind it?

This is the aptly named Habibi. He’s beloved not just by me, but kids all over the world. For real! Whenever I do a Skype visit, the sound of young voices brings him running. As soon as I hold him up to the camera, it’s all over for me. He completely steals the show! When not being a rock star, he likes to hang around my desk, preferably sitting on top of my notes. Cody features a large, comic, infinitely lovable cat named MewMew. Maybe you can guess my inspiration.

Q. What advice do you have for young writers?

Look again.

The world today is such a busy, buzzy place, with stimulation coming at us from every angle. It’s easy to find ourselves skimming along the surface of all there is to see, hear and read. Easy to forget how to listen instead of hear, how to look and really see.

Kids are born naturals at noticing and observing. As writers we need to nurture that skill, so we don’t just register A Tree but This Tree, in all its particular leafy (or barren) glory. Not just A Mean Girl, but This Mean Girl, with her chewed-down nails and too-loud voice. Our job is to go beneath the surface, beyond labels and first impressions, behind that front door. I may be biased, but I think it’s the world’s best, most rewarding job!

Q. What are you excited about right now?

I’m surfing the stratosphere because Eliza Wheeler is the illustrator for the Cody books. She found just the right combination of warm and witty to perfectly suit the books’ tone. Wait till you see her MewMew!

I’m also excited to have two new books in a single year, a first for me for sure. The other is Moonpenny Island, a middle grade novel for slightly older readers. A small island, Moonpenny harbors some big secrets. I think of the main character, Flor, as a sort of older sister to Cody. Both girls brim with questions and dreams, and though they grow and change, they also remain indelibly, uniquely themselves.

------
For more interviews, see my Inkygirl Interview Archive.

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4. 1-3-5

Many of us have trouble setting priorities for our writing sessions. Maybe we're working on different projects in various stages. We might be querying one story, revising another, and writing and researching a third. Or maybe we're focused on a single project but have a number of things to do.

Those of you who are organized at all likely keep to-do lists, which you prioritize from 1 to n. If you do, chances are you've run into problems because prioritizing this way doesn't necessarily work. You feel guilty if your list is long and you only manage to skim the top. You feel like a failure. Even the act of prioritizing that list can be daunting. Your top priority might be clear, but how you choose to order the rest of your list might as well be rock-paper-scissors. By the time you've made your list, you're ready for a break.

This is where the 1-3-5 method might be useful. It's a pretty simple concept. Before you start your day, list your priorities, only instead of trying to list them 1 to n, list them in three levels. Put your most important task on top. This is the one thing you have to do, if you don't do anything else. On the next level, put three things that are less important. You can order them if you want, but you don't need to. If you have time after your number 1, you can choose any of these, as many as you're able to do. finally, list five tasks you'd like to get to if you have time.

Now, the idea isn't that you have to do all nine things. You have to tackle number one, and that might take more than one day. Lower priorities can wait. If you don't get toy our threes but you finished your one, you've had a good day.

The next day, you start again. Maybe one of your threes becomes a one, but you might have a new one.

Your one every day might be to write a new scene on the project you are writing. Your threes might involve the work you're revising, and maybe a couple queries for the finished project. Your fives, well, you get the idea.

For those of you who like to use technology to help stay organized, there are apps to help with this method. For example, 1-3-5 To-Do is available for both iOS and Android. But this method works just as well on a white board or a good old piece of notebook paper. If you keep a writing journal, you can put your list in your daily entry, if you want.

To me, the 1-3-5 method feels more natural than the 1-to-n method. I'm not a highly organized person, but I do this almost automatically. There's always that One Thing I really need to get done. After that, priority groups just kind of happen. Sometimes I can work down a list, but for most tasks, levels fit the way I work and think.

Maybe it will work for you too.

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5. An Interview with Jessica Faust


I do a lot of interviews, many with a lot of the same questions. Every once in a while one stands out as just a little different with questions that will give the reader, hopefully, something she hasn't heard a million times before.


Anna Katmore held just that kind of interview with me and for a long time I was saving the interview on my desktop to parse bits and pieces out for you or use it as inspiration for blog posts. After almost a year (how the heck did that happen!) I decided that the best course of action would just be to share the interview and let you read it all for yourself. 

Enjoy!



--jhf

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6. KidLit Author Events March 31-April 7

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It’s good to be home! I just got back from D4EO Literary Agency’s first annual retreat, on the beautiful Sequim Bay in in Washington (Seals! Bald eagles!). My body was still on Houston time, so I got six to seven hours of writing in each morning before the day’s activities began. It was fantastic to be surrounded by so many brilliant, dedicated writers and our wonderful agents, Kristin Vincent, Mandy Hubbard and Bree Ogden.

If you haven’t signed up for the SCBWI Houston Conference, April 18-9, there is still time! There are also available spots for the Sunday intensives, one for writers led by Wendy Loggia, Executive Editor at Delacorte Press, and one for illustrators led by Isabel Warren-Lynch, Executive Art Director at Random House Children’s Books.

Though the critique spots are filled, all attendees will be given information on what the speakers are looking for and how to submit their work to these editors and agents after the conference. Please join us to hear what this great line up of speakers has to share with us!

KELLY LIGHT  is the illustrator of two chapter books series: THE QUIRKS and ELVIS AND THE UNDERDOGS and the author-illustrator of the LOUISE LOVES ART picture book series.
ISABEL WARREN-LYNCH is the Executive Art Director at Random House Children’s Books.
SUSAN HAWK is a Literary Agent at The Bent Agency, representing middle grade, YA, picture books, and non-fiction for kids.
WENDY LOGGIA is Executive Editor at Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books.
MOLLY JAFFA is an agent with Folio Literary Management. She focuses exclusively on middle grade and young adult fiction.
ANNIE BERGER is an associate editor at HarperCollins. Annie is looking for both middle-grade and teen fiction.
JOHN M. CUSICK is an agent with Greenhouse Literary, representing picture books, middle-grade, and young adult novels.
J. PATRICK LEWIS is the author of more than fifty books of poetry for children and served as the nation’s third Children’s Poet Laureate from 2011 to 2013.

Here are the registration details.

Here’s what’s going on this week around Houston:

April 02, Thursday, 5:30 PMTHE IMPOSSIBLE RACE by Chad Morris
Barnes & Noble, Town & Country
Chad Morris, MG Author

Chad Morris is the author of the Cragbridge Hall series, a middle grade romp through a futuristic secondary school. He will sign the third book in the series, THE IMPOSSIBLE RACE and give away posters and bookmarks!

Every year the futuristic school, Cragbridge Hall, holds its most popular tournament–the Race: a series of challenges that range throughout the school and require the use of its amazing inventions like its holographic time machine! But this year is different. Rather than a monetary or academic reward, this year’s winner will be the recipient of a carefully guarded school secret: a secret that could prove both powerful and dangerous. Afraid that the secret may be one of their Grandfather’s inventions, Abby and Derick gather several friends and enroll.

But when Derick gets a mysterious message from the future, the team of friends must figure out how to succeed even when they know they are destined to fail. The stakes have never been higher. A page-turning, time-travel adventure that teaches powerful lessons about choice and consequence, believing you can do hard things, and valuing our history.

Watch the exciting trailer!

April 4, Saturday, 2:00 PM I AM HER REVENGE by Meredith Moore
Blue Willow Bookshop
Meredith Moore, YA Author

Houston author Meredith Moore will sign her debut YA novel, I AM HER REVENGE.

Vivian was raised with one purpose in life: to exact revenge on behalf of her mother. Manipulative and cruel, Mother has deprived Vivian not only of a childhood, but of an original identity. With an endless arsenal of enticing personalities at her disposal, Vivian is a veritable weapon of deception. And she can destroy anyone. When it’s time to strike, she enrolls in a boarding school on the English moors, where she will zero in on her target: sweet and innocent Ben, the son of the man who broke Mother’s heart twenty years ago. With every secret she uncovers, Vivian comes one step closer to learning who she really is. But the more she learns about herself, the more dangerous this cat and mouse game becomes because Mother will stop at nothing to make sure the truth dies with her.

April 7, Tuesday, 7:00 PM THE HAUNTING OF SUNSHINE GIRL by Paige McKenzie
Blue Willow Bookshop
Paige McKenzie, YA Author
TICKETED EVENT!

Paige McKenzie will discuss and sign her new novel, THE HAUNTING OF SUNSHINE GIRL, which is based on her YouTube series of the same name.

Shortly after her sixteenth birthday, Sunshine Griffith and her mother Kat move from sunny Austin, Texas, to the rain-drenched town of Ridgemont, Washington. Though Sunshine is adopted, she and her mother have always been close, sharing a special bond filled with laughter and inside jokes. But from the moment they arrive, Sunshine feels her world darken with an eeriness she cannot place. And even if Kat doesn’t recognize it, Sunshine knows that something about their new house is just … creepy.

In the days that follow, things only get stranger. Sunshine is followed around the house by an icy breeze, phantom wind slams her bedroom door shut, and eventually, the laughter Sunshine hears on her first night evolves into sobs. She can hardly believe it, but as the spirits haunting her house become more frightening–and it becomes clear that Kat is in danger–Sunshine must accept what she is, pass the test before her, and save her mother from a fate worse than death.

NOTE: This is a ticketed event. In order to attend this event with Paige McKenzie, please purchase THE HAUNTING OF SUNSHINE GIRL from Blue Willow Bookshop. At the time of your purchase, you will be issued a ticket that indicates your place in line. Your book and signing line ticket can be picked up at the event.

Here’s the haunting trailer:

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7. Thinking (out loud) about learning in makerspaces

I recently made an expedition to SXSWedu in Austin. I was really excited about this conference because I thought it’d be useful to me as an educator/facilitator/enabler of science and technology-based programs and projects at my library. I was looking forward to hearing new-to-me perspectives on student (or in my case teen)-centered learning; maybe I’d pick up some tips on how to help teens feel comfortable expressing their interests or how to frame  a challenging project in a manageable way or chunk it into achievable pieces. What I most hoped to do, I think, was speak with other educators about the unique challenges and opportunities of learning in a makerspace-type environment. It was a valuable experience in many ways, but not quite what I expected. (The usual caveats apply – YMMV, perhaps I picked the wrong sessions, didn’t find the right folks to network with, etc.)

As I left SXSWedu and headed for home, I reflected a bit on my experience. I was disappointed, because I had hoped to connect with experts - people who knew more than me about what I was doing. I didn’t. At a panel where I expected higher-level conversation about makerspaces and learning, I left frustrated that the conversation was ‘what is a makerspace?’ and ‘low-budget vs high-budget’ and ‘you don’t NEED a 3d printer’ instead of ‘this is what makes a makerspace special, and this is how to maximize that opportunity.’ I wanted nuts and bolts and a user’s manual, and I got Tinker Toys. As I thought more and more about what had happened, it occurred to me that if I wanted to talk about this, I ought to just start the conversation I wanted to hear. To that end, here are the questions on my mind right now, and some of my possible answers.

Question 1: What’s the best way to enable teen-initiated learning in a makerspace?

A makerspace-based learning environment is very different from the structure of classroom-based learning, and I wonder how to scaffold learning and build skills methodically in such an unstructured, come-and-go environment (or whether I should even be worrying about that).

We could provide pre-chunked modules for each tool or skill (in physical or digital format). For example, a set of Arduino-themed handout-style modules, beginning with Blink and advancing to more complicated projects. We could curate a tailored, leveled set of links to digital resources for self-directed learning, like Youtube videos, Instructables, tutorials from sites like SparkFun and Adafruit, and resources created in-house. Another option might be leveled project challenges, with resources on hand and mentors (staff and/or teens) on-site to help. For example, “program the EV3 robot to follow a line maze” with Mindstorms programming books and websites accessible, and volunteers from a local robotics team.

Question 2: How should progress be measured or tracked in a makerspace learning environment?

The first option that springs to mind is badging – digital, physical, or both. A bonus (and a drawback) of this method is the opportunity to engage an artistically inclined teen volunteer to design the badges. One major question for this method is the procedure for issuing badges. There could be an online form to fill out, though that feels disconnected and impersonal, and I know I value any chance to engage with a teen during the learning process. Staff could be the primary issuers, but that reinforces the adult-as-authority dynamic. Teen mentors could also be deputized to approve badge earning, but organizing that as a face-to-face interaction could be complicated. Would these badges stay with the badge earner, or in the makerspace? Would we need to create physical artifact to hold the badges?

Chart-based tracking is a simple, time-tested method. The information is all in one place and easily accessible, but it feels (to me) a bit internal and closed off. It could be made more accessible, however. A binder is more restricted than a Google Doc, and quite private as opposed to a classroom-style wall chart.

It could be handy to track progress on the resources themselves, especially for those teens who are looking for help learning to use a resource. Imagine a sticker on the back of a resource sheet or ‘Expert’ badges displayed alongside digital resources – the teen looking at those resources can easily see peer mentors. Privacy issues could come up here, but an opt-in system might alleviate that worry. One possible complication is the difficulty of scheduling peer-to-peer learning sessions with so many demands on teens’ time.

In addition to those questions, I’ve been thinking a bit about some of the unique challenges and opportunities inherent in makerspace-based learning.

One challenge I’ve run into more than once is a complicated first foray into learning a new tool, resulting in frustration and discouragement and eventual abandonment of the project altogether, which in turn colors the teen’s view of the tool and makes it less likely that the teen will attempt to use that tool again. I hope that providing a structure for learning new tools and skills (see: Question 1) will ameliorate the problem. In discussions with others, I’ve also heard the suggestion of leaving the project as-is, in hopes that the teen will revisit it or that another teen’s curiosity will be piqued and they’ll take up the challenge. (Tangential – should projects be marked abandoned or off-limits to limit toe-stepping?)

Some makerspace materials are disposable, but many must be reused (for example, Arduinos), but being able to show off projects is important. What’s the best way to record these projects for posterity and ensure that the maker has some artifact of their accomplishment? Video clips? Time lapse photography? And what’s the best way to store and catalog these digital artifacts so that they’ll be accessible to the makers? Should they also be publicly accessible?

 

Caroline Mossing is a Teen Services Librarian in the Teen Library at the San Antonio Central Library.

 

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8. The Holiday and the Holyday

The Story Of Easter

By Aileen Fisher; illustrated by Stephano Vitale

 

 

As Easter 2015 approaches, I am always looking for picture books for young readers that emphasize both the holiday and holyday components of Easter.

For young children growing up today whose families celebrate Easter, perhaps it is harder than ever to find picture books that combine both.

The Easter Bunny, rebirth and spring, dominate the cultural landscape in April, and that is not necessarily a bad thing for children. But, for those families for whom Easter is the central holyday of the Christian calendar, they are looking for something more.

 

And Aileen Fisher’s “The Story of Easter” is one picture book that offers that “moreness.”

Originally published in 1968, her book opens with the central theme of “rejoicing.” Nature, it appears is reflecting the greatest holiday of the year for Christians as it signifies their belief in the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Ms. Fisher and the elegantly subdued pastel folk art feel of Stephan Vitale combine completely in a depiction of the events in the life of Jesus leading up to Easter,  whose events can be a difficult thing to present to very young children. Ms. Fisher, I think, does a fine job here.

Her picture book also provides an interesting overview of the spring festivals that preceded Easter, as people celebrated the renewal of life from winter. I can certainly identify with that after our “winterus horribilus.”

 

“After the Christian religion spread

to many lands, the joy of Jesus’

Resurrection became mingled with

the joy of the spring festival. Both

celebrations stood for new life. Both

stood for new hope in the hearts of people”

 

Ms. Fisher gives a wonderful thousand  years perspective on many of the symbols of Easter such as the egg. It takes its significance of new life from cultures as ancient as Persia and China. Plus the egg is also ….”one of the ritual foods eaten at Passover.”

From Ukranian and Polish dyed eggs to the beauties that Carl Peter Faberge created, the Easter egg takes on a whole new history. Did you know that Sephardic Jews invented a way to dye eggs using ONION SKINS? Who knew?

And the Germans, Ms. Fisher relates, were the first to initiate the Easter Egg Tree. Poked holes in an egg shell with the liquid blown through, then dyed or painted and hung on a tree or bush, is a tradition that we have done with our children ourselves for years. Try using quince branches in a pot to hang the eggs from. It blooms beautifully and usually in time for Easter!

Traditional Easter egg hunts are here of course.

And the tradition of new Christians baptized at Easter with white robes as a sign of renewal, perhaps is also reflected in the wearing of new Easter outfits?

Sunrise Easter services and lilies blooming all announce to your young reader in this great picture book, a very interesting perspective on the history, holyday and holiday combination of celebrations that make up Easter.

Ms. Fisher’s book is an entertaining and informative prelude to the old saying concerning Easter Sunday – “The sun dances as it rises on Easter morning.”

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9. Women Heroes of World War I: 16 Remarkable Reisters, Soldiers, Spies and Medics by Kathryn J. Atwood

Today is the last day of Women's History Month for 2015 and because the theme this year is about Weaving the Stories of Women's Lives, I thought who better to turn to for today's post than Kathryn Atwood.  A few year ago, Atwood wrote a fascinating book called Women Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance and Rescue.  Now she has followed it up with a book about women heroes in World War I and once again, their stories are as amazing as they are compelling.

In Women Heroes of World War I, Atwood introduces the reader to some of the women, a few still in their teens, who decided to serve their country, despite the real dangers that they were to face.  Some became nurses, caring for the wounded as close to the front lines as they could get.  Others joined the resistance or became spies, some became soldiers fighting side by side with men, and still others were journalists, reporting events from the heart of the conflict.

Some of the women are familiar, like British born Edith Cavell who found herself in Belgium when the war started, director of a school of nursing there.  After the Germans invaded Belgium, hospitals were forbidden to care for any Allied soldiers that might find their to one of them.  Edith, ignoring the Germans, cared for wounded Germans soldiers openly, and for wounded Allied soldiers secretly.  And when these were healthy enough, she made such they had safe passage out of Belgium to the Netherlands.  Edith and her network can be credited for heroically getting a lot of Allied soldiers to safety before the getting caught by the Germans.  Her capture and punishment, which caused an uproar around the world, subsequently changed the way Germany handled women POWs at the insistence of the Kaiser.

One of my favorite stories is Helena Gleichen and her friend Nina Hollings, two ambulance drivers in Italy who sometimes found themselves driving through intense shelling to get wounded men to hospital.  Later, after training in Paris to become radiographers, they could be found driving around the Italian front with a portable x-ray machine.  With their x-ray skill, Helena and Nina were able to help the wounded in some surprising ways, for example, locating shrapnel lodged in areas that wouldn't have been found otherwise and bringing relief to the wounded man.  For their heroic work, the women were awarded the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (the OBE).

My personal favorite is the story of Mary Roberts Rinehart.  Yes, I do mean the mystery writer.  Mary was also a journalist who wrote for the Saturday Evening Post and in 1915, she decided she wanted to go to Belgium.  After all, she had nursing experience and could report of the conditions of the hospitals there, but what she really wanted to do was experience the war as soldiers do.  Mary finally did get to see the front lines, including no man's land, and even managed to get an extensive interview with the King of Belgium.  Returning home she wrote her articles, but realized the war was going to last longer than anyone thought.  

Women Heroes of World War I is a well-written, riveting book.  Atwood divides the women's experiences into four sections - Resisters and Spies, Medical Personnel, Soldiers, and Journalists.  The women profiled come from different countries, including the United States, France, Britain, Russia and each of their individual stories ends with a Learn More inset listing where to find more information them.  Atwood's extensive, intelligent research is evident in all the women's stories and she includes sidebars that give additional information about the women and the war.  Also included are an Introduction, an Epilogue and many, many photographs of war and the different women in it.  An extensive and useful Glossary and Bibliography, and well as a list of websites can also be found at the back of the book.

World War I was at first greeted with incredible enthusiasm, causing young men to unhesitatingly leave school, jobs, and families to join their countries armed services.  After all, no one thought it would last more than a few months.  Women were also eager to do their part and for some that meant being in the thick of the fighting, not working on the home front.  Women Heroes of World War I not only informs the reader about these now mostly forgotten women heroes, but pays homage to them and all the women who decided to do constructive for their warring countries.   

I can't recommend Women Heroes of World War I highly enough, and what a wonderful book with which to end this year's Women History Month.

This book is recommended for readers age 12+
This book was borrowed from the NYPL

March is Women's History Month



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10. New Adult Fiction Genre - Contemporary Romance - #WriteTip



There is a new genre emerging..."New Adult" fiction for older teens aka college-aged readers. You never stop growing up, but little in the market seems to address the coming-of-age that also happens between the ages of Nineteen to Twenty-six. Life changes drastically once high school is over, you have college, first jobs, first internships, first adult relationships…

Part of the appeal of NA is that the storylines are about characters who are taking on adult responsibilities for the first time without guidance from their parents. And the storylines generally have a heavy romance element. 

Keep this in mind as you revise your wonderful story, New Adult books are mostly about that specific time in every person's life—the time when the apron strings are cut from your parents, you no longer have a curfew, you're experiencing the world for the very first time, in most cases, with innocent eyes. New Adult is this section of your life where you discover who you want to be, what you want to be, and what type of person you will become. This time defines you. This is the time of firsts, the time where you can't blame your parents for your own bad choices. 


An NA character has to take responsibility for their own choices and live with the consequences. Most storylines are about twenty-something (18 to 26) characters living their own lives without any parents breathing down their necks, and learning to solve things on their own as they would in real life. New Adult fiction focuses on switching gears, from depending on our parents to becoming full-fledged, independent adults.

I am a firm believer that if you’re going to write a certain genre that you should read it, too. So I’m going to recommend that you start devouring NA novels to get a real sense and understanding of the genre before you write one.

Here are some great recommendations: https://www.goodreads.com/genres/new-adult-romance and http://www.goodreads.com/genres/new-adult and https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/new-adult-romance
 

Just as YA is fiction about teens discovering who they are as a person, New Adult (NA) is fiction about building your own life as an actual adult. As older teen readers discover the joy of the Young Adult genres, the New Adult—demand may increase. This, in turn, would give writers the chance to explore the freedom of a slightly older protagonist (over the age of 18 and out of high school, like the brilliant novel, "BEAUTIFUL DISASTER" by the amazing talents of author, Jamie McGuire) while addressing more adult issues that early 20-year-olds must face.

Older protagonists (basically, college students) are surprisingly rare; in a panel on YA literature at Harvard’s 2008 Vericon, City of Bones author talked about pitching her novel, then about twenty-somethings, as adult fiction. After several conversations, Clare realized she had to choose between adults and teens. She went with teens.

Quote from the publisher, St. Martin’s Press: We are actively looking for great, new, cutting edge fiction with protagonists who are slightly older than YA and can appeal to an adult audience. Since twenty-somethings are devouring YA, St. Martin’s Press is seeking fiction similar to YA that can be published and marketed as adult—a sort of an “older YA” or “new adult.” In this category, they are looking for spunky but not stupid, serious but not dull, cutting-edge, supernatural stories.

Quote from Georgia McBride, author (Praefatio) and founder of #YALitChat and publisher at Month9Books: "New Adult is a fabulous idea in theory, and authors seem to be excited about it. But in a world where bookstores shelf by category, to them, it is either  Adult or Young Adult. Some booksellers even call their YA section “teen.” And when you have a character who is over a certain age (19 seems to be the age most consider the start of New Adult), it is received as Adult. In some cases, the designation by publishers causes more confusion than not.
Let’s face it, YA is associated with teens, and at 19, most no longer consider themselves teens. So, it would support the theory of placing these “New Adult” titles in the Adult section. However, with the prevalence of eBook content, it would seem that the powers that be could easily create a New Adult category if they really wanted to...."

There’s also a list on goodreads of New Adult book titles. These books focus on college age characters, late teens to early twenties, transitioning into the adult world.

Some popular authors of the NA category include:
  • Jamie McGuire
  • Jessica Park
  • Tammara Webber
  • Steph Campbell
  • Liz Reinhardt
  • Abbi Glines
  • Colleen Hoover 
  • Sherry Soule
http://www.wattpad.com/story/29486760-irresistible-mistake-new-adult-romantic-suspense


Would you buy New Adult books? 
Does the genre appeal to you? 

Does it sound better than YA (teen novels)? 
 
Or are you happy with YA as it stands?

Do you consider YA to include characters that are over the age of eighteen? 
 

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11. Dinotopia: World Beneath, Episode 9

It's Tuesday, time for Episode 9 of the serialized audio dramatization of Dinotopia: The World Beneath. You can listen to the track by clicking on the play button below, or by following the direct link to SoundCloud.




Arthur, Oriana, Bix, and Crabb explore further into the caverns, and in the process, each of them discovers more about their own inner lives.


The Podcast Series
This acoustic adventure was produced by Tom Lopez, mastermind of the ZBS Foundation, with an original music track by composer Tim Clark.

The Christian Science Monitor called this production "A dazzling soundscape that does full justice to Gurney’s wondrous lost world… perfect family listening.”

Episode 10 arrives in a week. Each short episode will only be live online for one week, and then it will disappear.

If you'd like to purchase the full two-hour World Beneath podcast right now and hear all fifteen episodes back to back in a feature-length production, check out The World Beneath at ZBS Foundation website for the MP3 download. It's also available as a CD.

The Book
You can also order the original printed book from my web store and I'll sign it for you. (It ships via Media Mail within 24 hours of your order. US orders only for the book, please). The book is also available from Amazon in a 20th Anniversary Edition with lots of extras.

The Museum Exhibition is now on view
Many of these paintings are now on view at the Dinotopia exhibition at the Stamford Art Museum and Nature Center through May 25.

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12. Five Questions for Lindsay Eyre, author of THE BEST FRIEND BATTLE



1. Tell us a little bit about your book.

Sylvie Scruggs is the heroine of this series, and she’s a lot like her name: interesting, energetic, and a little rough around the edges. In The Best Friend Battle, Sylvie comes home from a family vacation to find that her best friend, Miranda, has made friends with the enemy, Georgie Diaz. Sylvie’s entire world is threatened by this new friendship, and she does everything she can to get things back to normal. But normal doesn’t come easily, and Sylvie seems to have a penchant for making difficult situations much, much worse!

2. If this book had a theme song and/or spirit animal, what would it be and why?

Sylvie’s theme song would probably be "Life’s a Happy Song" from the new Muppet movie. It’s all about how life is a happy thing if and only if you have someone, a best friend, to share it with. But what happens when you don’t? (Sylvie does not want to find out.)


3. Please name and elaborate upon at least one thing you learned or discovered about writing in the course of creating this book.

Writing this book was not easy. I don’t believe (or at least I don’t like very much) writers who claim writing is an easy thing whether they are writing their first book or their hundredth, but certain things can make writing go much more smoothly. When you can hear the voice of your main character — when that person is large-as-life in your head — many difficult issues take care of themselves. Your writing struggles will revolve around plot, not plot and character. As flawed as Sylvie is, she’s now a friend I could sit down with and have a conversation about anything from mushrooms to ice dancing. That familiarity makes writing (mostly) a pleasure. I don’t always know what will happen to Sylvie or even what she will do, but I usually know what she would have to say about it!

4. What is your favorite scene in the book? 

The scene where Josh and Sylvie build the castle together. I love Josh (who gets a big role in Sylvie’s third book) and all of his interactions with Sylvie.

5. What are you working on now? 

Sylvie’s second adventure, The Mean Girl Meltdown, is in the final stages of publication [editor's note:  out this fall!], and her third book, The Spelling Bee Scuffle, is in beginning stages of the editorial process. I’m also working on a novel about a twelve-year-old girl named Rory, the middle child in a dysfunctional and eccentric family, whose mother is in Sweden for a month. As Rory, a very different character than Sylvie, attempts to save the family from their dictatorial grandmother and an impending eviction, she alienates her best friend, Owen, nearly kills her younger brother, and gets her grandmother arrested for illegal possession of a motorcycle. This book has been much harder for me to write because of what I was speaking about earlier — knowing your characters. I get into the heads of many characters in Rory’s book, and I’m finding out very quickly that I know some of them much better than I know others!

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13. Preview: The Spring 2015 YA Scavenger Hunt and a COMPULSION for Reading Giveaway

Hey, guys!

Are you ready for some fun? I'm participating in the Spring 2015 YA Scavenger Hunt from noon PACIFIC time on April 2nd to noon PACIFIC time on April 5th. 

The hunt is HUGE this year, so there will be eight different teams. I'm going to be on #TeamBlue, but you can play every team for more chances to win! 

If you've never played before, it's like a giant blog hop, introducing you to new YA authors and books at every stop. There are tons of prizes including a grand prize for each team. If you win one of the grand prizes you will get a book from each author on that team! For more information and to make sure you get hunt updates, sign up for news on the #YASH website. 

Not only will I be hiding an exclusive never-before-revealed sneak peek of COMPULSION, but I will also be giving away a signed hardcover and an ARC of PERSUASION, book two in the series for part of the Blue Team prize. 

Starting today, here on Adventures, I'll also be giving away a Tiffany-style "key" necklace like Barrie wears, an "I have a compulsion for reading" tote bag, and ten "I have a compulsion for reading" bumper stickers. You don't want to miss out on this fabulous and fun event, but play fast because the hunt is only live for three short days!

Ready? Here are the teams! (Hint: If you click on the image you can get a close up)

Blue Team 1 Pink TeamTeam Gold (2)Team Purple 1Team GreenTeam Red 1Team Teal (2)
Team Orange


I hope you are all as excited as I am!
THE HUNT BEGINS 4/2/15!

Today's Bonus Giveaway




a Rafflecopter giveaway

SOUND OFF! 

What book first started your compulsion for reading?

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14. when diversity is not a strategy but an essential element of the story being told: Blue Birds by Caroline Starr Rose

We Need Diverse Books. We absolutely do. Books that don't merely place a "non-mainstream" character into the story for the sake of inclusion. Books that go much deeper than the announcement of, or allusion to, skin color, origin countries, sexual preferences. Books that don't operate as if conforming to PC checklists. Books that function outside the circle of slogans and tell real stories.

Truly diverse books are books in which the culture and cultural heritage and economics of the characters are essential to the story being told. They explore wide ranging personages, languages, histories, orientations, dreams. They are steeped in the particular social and personal pressures faced by very particular (and particularly well-drawn) characters. They introduce characters that seem to live not just on the page, but off it.

Middle grade/YA novels such as Ann E. Burg's Serafina's Promise, Thanhha Lai's Inside Out and Back Again, and Patricia McCormick's Never Fall Down and Sold have, among many other titles, introduced lasting, fully dimensional, diverse characters to younger readers. With her second stunning middle grade novel, Blue Birds, Caroline Starr Rose has made another important addition to this canon.

Blue Birds is a novel in verse that explores a little-known chapter of American history concerning the "Lost Colony" of Roanoke. It's late in the 16th century. English explorers have arrived to Roanoke Island, off Virginia. Conflict and distrust erupt among the native tribes and the English.

Into this setting Rose has placed two young girls—Alis, from England, and Kimi, a Roanoke who has watched the English bring disease and disaster to her world. Out on her own, Alis discovers the natural beauty of the place. Watching, Kimi must decide whether or not to trust this fair-skinned creature. Will Alis and Kimi be able to peel back the social prejudice and befriend one another? Will they be able to step over the great divide that rises whenever individual people are presented with difference? And what will they do—what can they do—as tensions mount in their respective communities?

Rose has given us a complex story, a real and researched story, a story that, despite its roots in late 16th century America, feels contemporary. The questions about other are neither dodged nor trumped, and they never feel commercially strategic. The questions arise because such questions naturally do, because this is the story Starr is telling. And look how gracefully and honestly she tells it:

Why do they dress as they do?
To speak their language,
does it feel as it sounds,
like sharpened rocks on  your tongue?
What makes their skin
the color of a snake's underside?
Why do the men not keep their faces smooth
but grow hair from their cheeks?
Do they ever bathe?
For their strong odor lingers
long after they've gone.

Though they
have brought us heartache,
must all of them
be enemies?
In bringing readers Alis and Kimi, Starr has not just brought us a distant era. She's brought her readers a way of sinking in with real questions about difference—and a credible suggestion that such differences might be overcome.





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15. I am illustrator of the week on childrensillustrators.com

Hey, check me out! I am Illustrator of the Week on childrensillustrators.com.

childrensillustrators.com/geraldhawksley


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16. None of the Above: guest post + box of Harper ARCs giveaway

I’m asked to host a fair number of blog tours, and I almost always turn them down. It’s truly a labor of love, because it takes so much time and effort if you want to do justice to the book that’s being featured. When None of the Above came across my desk, however, I couldn’t say no. It’s a compelling story about a girl named Kristin whose life is like any other teenager’s, until one night as she and her boyfriend are becoming intimate, she discovers that something doesn’t feel right. When she goes to the doctor, she finds out that she is intersex, a condition that so many people seem to know so little about–myself included. In telling us Kristin’s story, I.W. Gregorio puts a spotlight on underrepresented members of our society; as Kristin learns about intersex, we do too. It’s important to understand the physical and psychological nuances... Read more »

The post None of the Above: guest post + box of Harper ARCs giveaway appeared first on The Midnight Garden.

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17. cartoon … Good Bye Broom

जिस तरह से आप यानि आम  आदमी पार्टी की झाडू बिखरती जा रही है संकेत अच्छे नही है .. जब अपने ही बोल रहे हैं तो विपक्ष क्यो चूके !!! अफसोस !!

The post cartoon … Good Bye Broom appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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18. Social Media Etiquette

What not to do when using social media.


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19. Coloring Page Tuesday - Groovy Bunny

     Easter is Coming and groovy bunny is hip-hopping down the bunny trail! Help him decorate his egg - and his tummy while you're at it!
     CLICK HERE for more Easter coloring pages!
     Sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and... Please check out my books! Especially...
my debut novel, A BIRD ON WATER STREET - winner of nine literary awards. Click the cover to learn more!
     When the birds return to Water Street, will anyone be left to hear them sing? A miner's strike allows green and growing things to return to the Red Hills, but that same strike may force residents to seek new homes and livelihoods elsewhere. Follow the story of Jack Hicks as he struggles to hold onto everything he loves most.
     I create my coloring pages for teachers, librarians, booksellers, and parents to enjoy for free with their children, but you can also purchase rights to an image for commercial use, please contact me. If you have questions about usage, please visit my Angel Policy page.

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20. An Elephant Gift For You : Hello from the Elephants

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21. NPM Project: Jumping Into Form - At the Starting Gate!

I've been looking for a good way to describe my choice of project this year and why I'm so passionate about poetic forms. After listening to this fabulous PBS NewsHour piece on Kwame Alexander​ and poetry, I can say it no better.
"See, I’m in love with poetry. And there are so many different forms of poetry. And I believe I wanted to have that sort of variety, that sort of diversity of verse, so that kids could sort of figure out what they were interested in and what they could latch on to and perhaps mimic some of these poems themselves."
Ditto and Amen.

See you tomorrow for the launch of my 2015 project, Jumping Into Form. Up first is the sijo.

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22. Hello Again...

As always, a big thank you for your kind comments. Yes, the book is ALMOST finished, although I've strayed from the straight and narrow, due to various hiccups concerning my husband's health, and to lighten the situation, have joined the Society of All Artists. Partly to provide a relief from writing, and partly because I need to complete some illustrations for my books for the very young. Any excuse.

Anyway, I should have River Dark completed by the publishing date I set for myself.

I have been composing a very occasional Newsletter from the Cake and Custard Bookshop, with very simple offers, some of you said you might be interested in this, but I can't be sure who was kind enough to say so. If you receive an unwanted copy of the newsletter, then do please click on the unsubscribe and you won't be bothered again. And I do apologise.

Yes, we jog along as best we can, husband and me, and in order to get him out of the armchair, I have booked several short holidays away throughout the year, while he can still do this. The first is just a weekend in the Cotswolds, a gift given to us for our 40th Wedding Anniversary, and we are both looking forward to the break. 

Shall be taking many photographs, partly to have material for those amazing pictures I'm going to paint!

Much love to you all, Carole.

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23. An Interview with Jeff Anderson About His New Middle Grade Novel


Most of us know Jeff Anderson for his brilliant work as a teacher and writer of professional books. I have learned so much from Jeff through his workshops and books. Mechanically Inclined is a book that I go back to often and his others stretch my thinking about writing.  This year, Jeff's first MG novel is due out and I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of it.  The book is called  Zack Delacruz:  Me and My Big Mouth and it is due out in August from Sterling. It was a great read and I can think of so many past students that will love this book.  This is probably geared toward the upper end of middle grade--I am thinking grades 5-7 seems perfect.  

I had the opportunity to interview Jeff about his book and his writing.   I learned so much about his writing and this new book! 

Enjoy!

Franki:  Why, after focusing on writing professionally for teachers did you decide to write a middle grade novel?

Jeff:  Actually I began trying my hand at writing fiction for middle grade readers almost 20 years ago.  While my first published work was professional writing for teachers, my first love was middle grade and YA fiction. Since my professional writing was fairly successful, I decided to give fiction another shot after letting it wane for five or six years. Instead of revising what I’d done in the past, Zack’s voice came to me and spilled out on the page, and many revisions later that became Zack Delacruz: Me and My Big Mouth (Sterling, August 2015).  I have a blast plotting stories, cracking myself up, going back to certain settings—hamburger joints, school festivals—any of the settings in my books and paying attention in a new way.

Franki:  You mention in your note before the story that Zack Delacruz is a lot like you. Can you talk more about that?

Jeff:  That's the fun of fiction, isn’t it? Bits and pieces and flashes of your life unconsciously work their way into your prose. Zack is short—I am tall. But the way the difference contributed to us standing out is our link. And let’s just say my big mouth had a way of getting me into trouble as well—saying the wrong thing at the wrong time to the wrong person. But all the characters have a bit of me or people that I’ve known—even in embarrassing ways. Like Janie, I sometimes spit when I talk. This was not conscious choice for her character, however. I only realized the connection later. It just happened. That’s the other fun of fiction. As I write characters they become real people to me. They do the things they’d naturally do, which are sometimes things I’d do or I’ve seen people do. There is a power beyond the conscious mind that weaves conflict and humor into my fiction. I love the way the ideas just keep coming.

Franki:  You do such a good job of balance of real middle school issues with humor in the book. How did you do that and was it a conscious decision?

Jeff:  Thank you. I’m glad you think so. There’s that conscious word again.  I’d say no. I didn’t decide to balance tough issues with humor. That’s what came out when I started to write. The reality is I was bullied relentlessly as a middle school student, and I believe the birth of my humor came from these experiences. If I made people laugh, I’d survive. They say a peacock’s feathers are so beautiful because they eat thorns. Through constant bullying I received, I ate a lot of thorns, making humor a feather in my cap.

Another connection to me is my parents were divorced around this age, but I was separated from my Dad by a three-hour drive and three-times-a-year-scheduled visits. In this book, the closeness I have with my father is the one I wished I had. That’s another wonderful thing about fiction. You can change things or experience them in a new way. The way you want. I felt alienated and alone as a child. I had such a wish to disappear. Those thoughts couldn’t help but arise as a theme in this middle grade book. But I hope the humor makes it fun. It wasn’t a message book at all, but still I think one can be found in it if you look. 

Franki:  You’ve taught this age level. Did you notice kids you’ve taught show up in the characters of this book?

Jeff:  I wanted to write a book my students would want to read. In that way they are present as an audience I wanted them to relate to. And in a way everyone I’ve ever known shows up in Zack DelacruzMe and My Big Mouth. But of course none of them are actual people. They are fabricated mixtures of people’s voices and experiences as well as mine.

I’ve taught over twenty years in the classroom and that experience oozes all over these pages. The things my students liked, said, worried about, and wrote about find their way into the fabric of my stories. I don’t often see the students I taught in books: kids that hope and dream and have everyday kid problems, but also happen to be kids of color. I am so honored that I have the chance to give my students and those like them a true reflection of their day-to-day lives. But quite often my experiences work their way in. For example, in high school I was the one who ate all the chocolate bars I was supposed to sell. I, like Zack, turn to a jar of peanut butter when stressed. When I saw the illustrator’s rendering of that scene from the book, I saw me—young and old—all over that picture. 


Franki:  I wasn’t aware there would be illustrations. Tell me about that.

Jeff:  Yes, I absolutely love Andrea Miller’s illustrations that aren’t in the advanced reader copy (ARC) you received. The pictures really add a layer to the book. If you’re interested, sometimes we release sneak peaks of illustrations on twitter. (@writeguyjeff, @andreacecelia, @sterlingbooks) And while I am at it, I am honored to have the fabulous Tad Carpenter, the cover designer of Wonder by RJ Palacio, designing the cover of Zack Delacruz: Me and My Big Mouth.

Franki:  Can you talk a bit about your experience writing a middle grade novel as opposed to the other writing you do?

Jeff:  In some ways, writing both genres are the same. I have to set aside large chunks of time to draft and revise. But fiction comes together in a different way than nonfiction writing for teachers. For teachers, it’s my voice and my actual experiences teaching writing. For my fiction book, my voice is that of a sixth grader. The characters exist only in my mind and the pages. It’s freer.  Organization matters in both cases, but in fiction it’s about the plot and change and connection. In my professional books, it’s how I can best show teachers options and possibilities. And in the end, there is something incredibly healing in fiction writing that isn’t the same in professional nonfiction. The story is all. Fiction is also a more fun to write, though I enjoy writing whatever I work on. With fiction, I feel a new purpose, a new way of reaching readers. That’s a wonderful feeling.

Franki:  Will Zack Delacruz be a series? If not, what future writing for kids do you have in the works?

Jeff:  Yes, Zack Delacruz is slated to be a series of books. I actually have already drafted the second book in the series and am revising it right now. I also have a YA book that I’d love to get out there in the next year or so. It deals with the truth of how our pasts do in fact change us and form us and haunt us.

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24. Kindle Kid's Book Trailer : "Happy Animals. A Children's Animal Picture ...

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25. Meet Miss Persnikity, your ms' BFF



A recent email exchange with one of my authors:


> ...I got far too many letters from
> prisoners, so a post office box was a necessity.

I get those too!
I always reply personally to those poor guys. Their handwritten hopes for publication just kinda break my heart. A LOT of Sci-Fi writers are in prison.

If we'd been in actual conversation, that third sentence might very possibly have passed unremarked because we both knew what I meant: the majority of query letters coming from a prison address are for SFF books.

But written on the page, it stops the eye (and rightfully so!)

If you'd sent a query letter that said most of your audience was in prison, we'd have a problem. Of course, what you'd meant to say was "lots of prisoners have ordered my book."

When you write, you know what you mean. Your task is to make sure I do too.  Whether your reader does  is YOUR responsibility. If I don't understand your sentences, that's YOUR problem (generally) not mine.

How to make sure you avoid this problem: other readers. No matter how you get them, it's really important to have a second set of eyes on your manuscript that will catch things like this. Someone who is thin lipped, evil-eyed, and sucks lemons for a living. If you can pay them in lemonade and sauerkraut, so much the better.

Here's the kind of thing Miss Persnikity will catch:

should of

lie/lay/lay

There/they're

Bale/bail (misuse of found just tonight in a published book!)

How many SFF writers are in prison (or exiled in Carkoon)




I read your manuscript with Miss Persnikity looking over my shoulder. Too many tsks tsks from her and I know you're more careless than the kind of writer I want to work with regularly.

It's not a problem to write this stuff. The problem is when you fail to revise it away.

(and how many revisions are enough? This blog post had seven in three days)

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