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1. Critique Group Advice

Though you should sometimes ignore the advice from your critique group, you should still have one. 

http://annerallen.blogspot.com/2014/08/why-you-should-ignore-most-of-advice.html

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2. Shelter

Massachusetts isn’t close
To Em and Henry’s farm
But still, a twister landed there
And did some major harm.

My bro-in-law got an alert
That shelter he should seek.
They hurried to the basement
But their dog began to freak.

Now Waldo is a greyhound
And has never mastered stairs.
The warning was unusual
And caught them unawares.

So bro and sis-in-law and pup
(Another family pet)
Just waited without Waldo
‘Til the ending of the threat.

The twister didn’t hit them;
They were fortunate this time,
But I think they have a reason
To teach Waldo how to climb!

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3. NOVEDADES 2014



Muestra Itinerante 

“Trazar un futuro - Dibujantes Trabajando"

en Bahía Blanca

Exposición en apoyo a la aprobación del proyecto de ley de Régimen de Reconocimiento a Ilustradores, Historietistas y Humoristas Gráficos

Inauguración y charla explicativa sobre la creación del I.N.A.G.

29 de septiembre 2014 - 19 hs
 hasta el 3 de Octubre

Centro Histórico Cultural de la U.N.S. / Rondeau 29- Bahía Blanca.

auspicia el Instituto Cultural de la Municipalidad de Bahía Blanca





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4. ‘Private Down Under’ Joins iBooks Bestsellers List

Private Down Under by James Patterson & Michael White has joined Apple’s Top Paid iBooks in the U.S. this week at No. 4.

Apple has released its top selling books list for paid books from iBooks in the U.S. for week ending 9/1/14. If I Stay by Gayle Forman continues to lead the list, followed by Mean Streak by Sandra Brown.

We’ve included Apple’s entire list after the jump. (more…)

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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5. Lensmen by E. E. "Doc" Smith -the original Green Lanterns?

 The Lensman series is a serial science fiction space opera by Edward Elmer "Doc" Smith. Created in 1948 with the Triplanetary story.  It was a runner-up for the Hugo Award for Best All-Time Series (the winner was the Foundation Series by Isaac Asimov)

In the DC Comics universe, the Green Lantern Corps bears many parallels to the Lensmen, although its principal creators deny any connection (later creators, however, would introduce Green Lanterns named Arisia and Eddore as an homage).

What do you think movie buffs?

Lensman: Power of The Lens (1987)
 SF Shinseiki Lensman and The Secret Of The Lens

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6. Spawn: The Animated Series (Season 1 - Episodes 1, 2, and 3)

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7. The Brave New World of Publishing

Technology(This is a re-post from one year ago.)

Here’s the deal: I don’t like the fact that you have to “build a platform” these days, any more than you do. But I get weary of writers complaining about it. I get frustrated by hearing that publishers are “abandoning writers” and “bringing nothing to the table.” I know it’s hard to market your books — I feel your pain — and yet I dislike it that people saying that publishers are shirking their duties by “leaving it all up to the author.”

REALITY CHECK:

Publishers did not create this brave new techno-world we live in.

It is not the publishing industry that has created this society of ubiquitous electronics, Internet noise, YouTube, X-Box, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, and the decline of reading. It is not the publishing industry who put a computer in more than half of all American households, allowing millions of folks just like yourself to write books they want to sell.

It is not the publishers who brought our society to a place where it’s no longer possible to “market” books the old-fashioned way. It’s not the publishers’ fault that average human beings everywhere are being bombarded with literally thousands of pieces of information every day, making it more challenging than ever to draw a person’s attention to one little book.

The fact is, publishers are doing everything they can dream up, and everything they can afford, when it comes to marketing books. They have the same limitations you do: Time and Money. But they’re coming up with new ideas and innovations all the time.

Publishing is an “old world” industry, figuring out, day by day, how to thrive in this “new world.” We all face these challenges together. We all have to figure out how to get people to want to read our words… to want to PAY to read our words. We all have to figure out how to get our books to rise above the “clutter” and get the attention of readers who are willing to pay for them.

Those of you who find yourself bemoaning that “writers are expected to do everything” and concluding “we might as well self-publish” — perhaps the self-publishing route will work out better for you. For certain kinds of books and certain authors, it’s working out great. Give it a try!

But I want to point out that publishers are still in business because of the value they bring to the table — not just in marketing but in every aspect of the editing, production, and selling of books. It is harder these days to sell books than ever before, yes, but publishers are more than just a business selling widgets, they’re entities who take seriously the responsibility of preserving and disseminating the written word. And so publishing persists, despite the challenges, despite our changing world.

Part of the value publishers bring is a sense of history, a sense of tradition and permanence. Many authors still want to be a part of that. It’s about great stories and important thoughts. It’s about legacy. It’s about a dream. People in publishing still see this dream as worth it. They’re willing to swim against the tide because publishing isn’t just a business, it’s a life, it’s a calling, it’s a passion.

To all writers who believe in the dream, who have the passion, who feel called to the legacy — I’m right there with you, and so is everyone else who has staked their livelihood on this crazy, unpredictable, totally unrealistic business called publishing. Thanks for being here, and hanging on for the ride. To those who are frustrated by the ways it seems publishing can’t meet your expectations, I commiserate with you and I apologize that things aren’t the way we wish they could be.

To each and every author, I sincerely wish the very best for you as you seek your own way of getting your book to its intended audience. I am doing my best to be a positive and helpful part of this process.

Are you in it for the legacy? Or something else?

Comment below or by clicking: HERE.

 

TWEETABLES

Publishing is an old world industry, figuring out how to thrive in this new world. Click to Tweet.

Publishing isn’t just a business, it’s a life, it’s a calling, it’s a passion. Click to Tweet.

To all writers who believe in the dream, the passion, the legacy – I’m with you.  Click to Tweet.

 

 

 

The post The Brave New World of Publishing appeared first on Rachelle Gardner.

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8. Green Leaves

 
Something I started for fun recently. It's big (well, for me) measuring 30 inches high and I'm having the time of my life painting vines and leaves and every green thing I can think of.

And I just posted an about/FAQ page on the sidebar. There's information about illustrating digitally, commissions and other assorted items. If there's a specific question I didn't cover, just let me know and I'll try to pop it in there. Hope this helps!

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9. REpost – in memory of Summer!

Previously, I posted a poem in honor of the hot months of the year. Now that they will soon be in our rear-view, I’ll post it again. And maybe later, I’ll write and post an ode to summer and a hello to AUTUMN! :)   SUMMER Kick off your shoes Wiggle your toes Catch the…

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10. First day of school.



First day of school.



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11. Lately a friend of mine’s four year old is into saying, “I don’t like your good...

Lately a friend of mine’s four year old is into saying, “I don’t like your good idea.” (I assume this is a contraction of some preschool-learned politeness along the lines of “That’s a good idea, but…”)

Just putting it out there in case you’ve been looking for a new way to express displeasure/ issue a veto/ rebut a think piece.

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12. Video Essay: "What Is Composition?"


My latest video essay is now available at Press Play. It's the first in a new series by various hands on cinematic terminology. My term was "composition", and so I made an essay creatively titled, "What Is Composition?"

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13. Summer Is Coming to A Close

Surrey Lane

I’ve been busy this summer at our farm.  We recently got this new sign from an artist in Vermont.  I thought I would share it with my Snuggery Friends!

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14. Susan Elizabeth Phillips Recap

Our 2014 Fall Evenings with Authors kicked off last Wednesday with bestselling author, Susan Elizabeth Phillips. As a former resident of Columbus, the event was extra special as Phillips was able to return and reunite with old friends that came out to celebrate her success. Phillips discussed that she prides herself on being able to create feel-good worlds where readers can immerse themselves in the story and end each novDSCN5044el feeling happy. Her newest novel, Heroes Are My Weakness, is no exception to this idea. Having only been released a few days before the event, readers were eager to hear what she had to say about her newest romantic comedy. Phillips said this novel was particularly fun for her, because rather than the typical warm location as a setting of many like novels, she had to find other ways to add heat as she set this one in the middle of winter. Phillips also talked about the importance of her covers, and unlike many authors, she has the opportunity to be very involved in the process. If you have read her books, you may have noticed that very few of the figures have heads. Phillips revealed that this is because she believes in the imaginations of her readers and hates the idea of placing a restriction on them by providing facial association to a character. Thank you to everyone who attended our first event of the season! We hope to see you again.

Kathy Reichs webOn Monday, September 29, Kathy Reichs will be joining us to discuss her newest novel, Bones Never Lie. Reichs is one of fewer than 100 certified forensic anthropologists and has used her experience to create seventeen novels in a series that thrills both on paper and screen. The bestselling series is also the source for the hit television show, Bones, which Reichs produces.

We do expect that the Kathy Reichs event will sell out soon, so get your tickets today! For more information or to purchase tickets, click here!


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15. RIP Challenge 2014

Turning the calendar page to September can only mean one thing when it comes to reading: time for the RIP Challenge! It’s been nine years —nine! — that Carl has been hosting what has surely become a highly anticipated fall event. I know I always look forward to it and actually started thinking about what I would read a few months ago, plenty of time to write and rewrite and rewrite again the list of books. And now here we are and I need to figure out what, exactly, I am going to read. Of course I can always change my mind. For some reason I don’t feel like I have much time to read many books for RIP, not sure why I’m feeling that way, maybe the big pile of books on my reading table has something to do with it. But I will still manage to get in a few, so here’s what I’m thinking of:

  • House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski. I’ve been meaning to read this one for years and I think it is finally time I got to it. It is a sort of haunted house story in which the house, much like the TARDIS, is bigger on the inside. Only I don’t think the Doctor will be showing up to sort things out and save the day.
  • She by H. Rider Haggard. A little adventure, a chance at immortality, and a whole lot of Victorian prejudice, what more could a girl want? I actually started reading this at lunch today on my Kindle. Such proper gentlemen about to be terrified by a strong woman and Africa. Horrors!
  • What’s a RIP Challenge without some old fashioned gothic romance? The Old English Baron by Clara Reeve. Published in 1777, Reeve described it as “the literary offspring of The Castle of Otranto.” It is filled with revelations, horrors, betrayals, and a final battle between good and evil. I presume there might also be a beautiful maiden in there somewhere too.
  • If I survive The Old English Baron and find myself prepared to face more terror, I just might give Glenarvon by Lady Caroline Lamb a go. Lamb was Lord Byron’s mistress, one of them anyway, and the title character is reportedly a very unflattering depiction of him. It was Lamb’s first novel and a big success. Ah, revenge is sweet.

If the “classics” get to be too much I might substitute something more recent, but that will be a last minute decision. Stay tuned!


Filed under: Books, Challenges, Gothic/Horror/Thriller Tagged: R.I.P.

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16. Seven Year-Old Aims to Publish Anti-Gun Book

Indiana seven-year-old Terry Miles is writing a book about gun violence and with help from his teacher Ball State University student Brittany Cain. The work will be self-published published as an eBook.

The Shot Heard Around the Town: A Story About How One Boy Can Change the World stems from a letter that Miles wrote to the mayor of Muncie telling about gun violence in his neighborhood. He wrote: “Dear Mayor, I have a problem. I have been hearing gunshots in my neighborhood. Can you make them stop?” which ran in The Star Press. You can watch a news report about Miles here.

As part of a class project, Cain wants to help Miles publish the eBook through Kids at Heart Publishing company, a self-publishing services company that helps self-published authors publish and promote their books for a fee. Miles is currently seeking donations to help fund the project. Huffer Memorial Children’s Center is accepting donations on his behalf. (Via The Star Press).

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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17. Tuesday's Question- Hmm...? A question that will bring you back in time...so, fasten your seatbelts

                                                                  Tuesday's Question          


Baby bottle
                                                                    



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Are you ready to answer A Nice Place In The Sun’s weekly post entitled Tuesday's Question???

Tuesday’s Question is as old as this blog, which I started writing sometime in 2007, thinking it would be a great way to get to know the people and bloggers who were reading my blog, and in turn, read theirs, but within a short period of time, I realized their blogs were just the icing on a spectacular cake, and that cake is friendship.  

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Moving on, please be advised of the fact that some of Tuesday's Question's are a bit heavy, for example, look at this poor man; 
    
      
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Just kidding, you can relax, most of the time Tuesday's Question's are light and easy to answer, because I want to encourage you to comment, that way my visitors, friends, and I can get to know you.        


Oh, I almost forgot to ask the question, which, by the way, will take you back in time, so fasten your seat belts. Here's it is: 

                                  What is your first memory?  
                                  
                                   Alright, I'll answer first:


                 When I was three my family moved into a house in a subdivision still under construction. Our house was one of two that were built and bought. Through the years we watched house after house become a part of our street and neighborhood.

                 But, before that my brothers and I had the run of an untouched world, full of green clover, wild animals, grassy green lawns, and Ant beds. 

Being too young to join my brothers, I was confined to the house without an adult, which was good, because I had time to plan an escape.

Anyway, long story short, one day I found an opportunity to escape my captors, and dashed out the door after my brothers when they ran outside.

I'm not sure if they were running away from me, or weren't aware of my existence, but I simply could not catch up with brother on or brother two- Finally, out of breath and gasping I stopped running and stood like a stone on an ant bed.- 

Ants began to climb my legs like a trapeze artist crawling the rope that he will swing to the top of a circus tent.              

My three year old fingers could not slap the ants fast enough, and my legs felt as if they were on fire.

I began screaming for my brothers, but they were out of sight and sound by this point, so I continued to strike the tiny monsters, while thinking it was the last day of my life.

Then, I saw my mother sprinting toward me with a bucket of water in her hand.- And I was saved by one of my captors no less.-  


Now, it's your turn, think back...What is your first memory?

You can write your answer in comments. 

Thank you for stopping by A Nice In The Sun, and for participating in Tuesday's Question.                                                    





                                         











    

                                                   

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18. Art Students Rewrite American Psycho Using Google Ads

Art students Mimi Cabell and Jason Huff, wanted to explore how Google’s ad scanning technology would react to a series of email exchanges depicting violence and racism.

So they emailed each other the original text of Brett Easton Ellis’ novel American Psycho, page by page, to see what kinds of products would be marketed to them. They have turned the project into a book that includes Ellis’ original chapter titles along with the ads that ran next to each email and their own footnotes. The text essentially retells American Psycho via relational Google Ads.

What kinds of ads would run next to graphic depictions of rape and murder sent through a Gmail conversation? Cabell explains on her website: “In one scene, where first a dog and then a man are brutally murdered with a knife, Google supplied ample ads regarding knives and knife sharpeners. In another scene the ads disappeared altogether when the narrator makes a racial slur. Google’s choice and use of standard ads unrelated to the content next to which they appeared offered an alternate window into how Google ads function — the ad for Crest Whitestrips Coupons appeared the highest number of times, next to both the most graphic and the most mundane sections of the book, leaving no clear logic as to how it was selected to appear. This “misreading” ultimately echoes the hollowness at the center of advertising and consumer culture, a theme explored in excess in American Psycho.”  (Via Electric Literature).

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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19. Half My Facebook Friends Are Ferrets

Half My Facebook Friends Are Ferrets
Author: J.A. Buckle
Publisher: Switch Press
Genre: Teen
ISBN: 978-1-63079-000-4
Pages: 224
Price: $16.95

Buy it at Amazon

Josh is nearly 17, a metal head, and a nerd by his standards. He has a pet ferret, a mom and sister, and a couple of unusual friends, but no girlfriend – yet. Six months before the big birthday, he sets some lofty goals, but “real life” is getting in the way of achieving them.

In the journal his mother gave him as a release valve, Josh records his everyday thoughts and feelings. Girls, work, guitars, friends, and ferrets are all covered in some manner, as well as his regret at never having met his really cool and handsome dad. But life is going to throw Josh some big surprises he never expects.

Turning 17 means facing demons from the past, and requires an extra dose of courage and strength. Growing up isn’t easy, and guys will relate to Josh’s struggles in trying to get his life going in the right direction. Half My Facebook Friends Are Ferrets is a great coming of age story from a guy’s perspective, although girls will also enjoy reading Josh’s private journal. I highly recommend this entertaining and lighthearted book.

Reviewer: Alice Berger


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20. From the Heartland: Kekla Magoon

Indiana has proven to be such a rich state for authors who address ethnically diverse characters that I cannot image what I’d find if I looked for authors in Florida, Ohio, Texas or Rhode Island. These authors are among our hometown heroes because they document our local lives. When brought into classrooms and libraries, they prove that someone right here, right in this town can be a successful writer.

I actually first met Kekla Magoon in Philadelphia. I was excited that she had lived in Cameroon for a while and I’d visited there several years ago but could not believe that she has also lived right here in Indiana. What a small world!

Kekla is the author of the award-winning The Rock and the River; Camo Girl, Fire in the Streets, 37 Things I Love middle(in no particular order) and the nonfiction book, Today the World is Watching You: The Little Rock Nine and the Fight for School Integration 1957. Her forthcoming How It Went Down has received a starred review from Kirkus. “This sobering yet satisfying novel leaves readers to ponder the complex questions it raises.”

In January look forward to X:A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz with Kekla Magoon.

I’m glad this busy lady had time for an interview!

 

Do you have any pets?

I have a pet turtle, named Tiffany.

What were some of the first books you found as a child that turned you into a reader?

I don’t know if it was the very first books that turned me into a reader. My parents read to me as a child, and there were many picture books that I loved. Some of the ones that jump to mind are Where the Wild Things Are, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day, and The Snowy Day. I loved the wordplay in Amelia Bedelia. My mom took us to the library every week, and I could get as many books as I could carry. I think it was the repetition of experience that turned me into a reader, along with the escapism and adventure I always found in stories. As a mid-grader, I mostly read series books like The Babysitter’s Club and Sweet Valley. I liked the episodic nature of those stories, and returning to familiar characters. The first stand-alone book I remember feeling really “Whoa!” about was Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor.

Meat or vegetables?

Meat, with a side of vegetables. I want it all. If I can’t have it all: MEAT!

Which writers have most influence you?

Ooh, I feel most influenced at this point in life by my close writer friends. Not only are they talented authors whose work I enjoy diving into, but they also provide a lot of support and inspiration to me in the real world. I constantly recommend books by Laurie Calkhoven, Josanne La Valley, Bethany Hegedus, Wiley Blevins, Rita Williams-Garcia, Coe Booth, Tami Lewis Brown, Pablo Cartaya, Sharon Darrow, Helen Frost….and many other amazing writers and books out there who inspire me both on and off the page. As far as influences from books I read, though, I learned a lot from Stephen King’s memoir of his writing life: On Writing. When I read Jennifer Egan or Benjamin Alire Saenz I am torn between being sucked into the vivid worlds they create, and wanting to rush to the computer to write something myself!

What three things would you like to add to a list of national treasures?

1: All the libraries!!!!

2: All the independent bookstores!

3: The voices of our young people, thereby empowering them to begin sharing their own stories with the world in whatever medium feels right to them.

Why would you be up at 3am?

I am usually up at 3am. I write, or I watch TV, or I read. I might also be eating potato chips or ice cream.

 

What book(s) are you currently in the middle of reading?

In fiction, I am reading Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King. Next up is If You’re Reading This by Trent Reedy. In non-fiction, I am reading Courage Has No Color by Tanya Lee Stone and essays from Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay.

What obstacles did you face when you began your writing career?

Interestingly enough, being a relatively young writer was a bit of an obstacle, even in the children’s literature market. It is happening a little bit less now that I am in my thirties, but when my first book was published, I was mid-twenties, and I heard a lot of “Oh, what a special achievement for someone so young.” Which it was, in a way, but it tended to be said in a patronizing tone. People might as well have been patting me on the head, which is somewhere short of a backhanded compliment, but it is not exactly uplifting either. The sentiment often seemed less than genuine, as if the person was pointing out that I was actually TOO young to make a meaningful contribution. The fact of the matter is, publishing a book is a special achievement at any age, and I never thought it should be considered more or less significant because of my age.

Why write for young people?

I write about young characters. Probably partly because that is what I knew best at the time I started writing. My first book was published when I was 25, and so the natural things for me to write about were teenage things because that was my experience. I do intend to keep writing for teens, and I hope to retain the connection that I feel to that time period in my own life. I don’t think it will be hard to retain, especially since even in my thirties I have yet to reach an age where there isn’t someone older than me looking down on my relative youth. That feeling of being underappreciated helps drive my work. Young people have a lot to learn, sure, but we also have a lot to contribute. There is always plenty of talk about “when you’re older…” and “what do you want to be when you grow up?” but who is asking kids and teens, “what do you want to be right now, today?” As a writer for teens I get to ask those questions, of my characters and of my readers.

Where is your favorite place to write?

On my laptop. (Haha!) Honestly, I can write pretty much anywhere. I prefer coffee shops, where there is a low-grade hustle and bustle in the background, and maybe some soft jazz or indie rock playing. Some place with just enough sound that my mind has to do a little bit of work to tune it out, but not enough to actually distract me from working. The result is a special kind of focus that works well for my writing.

Your books have required a lot of research! Are you an Internet researcher or hands on?

I do both internet research and “hands on” hunting for more information. I typically use the internet to get an overview of what material is out there, and I look for articles in reputable magazines, newspapers, and journals published online. There are plenty of library databases online, too, and I use those to find resources in other cities that I might not be able to access otherwise. But for my type of historical research, the best resource is books! I use the library or I special order and purchase the things I need. I have also spent a fair amount of time traveling to visit museums and library archives around the country. Many institutions preserve archival materials from the time periods I study, and you can make an appointment to go in and view the objects. I have looked at old newspapers in hard copy, flyers and posters, hand-written journals and letters, photographs, personal items that belonged to historical people, and much more.

HowItWentDown5-206x300What can you tell us about How It Went Down?

How It Went Down is my newest novel, which centers around the controversial shooting of a young black teen by a white man passing through his neighborhood. The novel comprises multiple viewpoints, through which members of the community react and respond in the days after Tariq Johnson is gunned down. Amid the media firestorm that descends, a family has lost a son and brother, friends grieve, and an entire community reels from the personal loss of one of their number. These characters share their struggles to cope with the loss and the decisions they each face over how to move forward.

I began working on this book in the spring of 2012, when the Trayvon Martin shooting was big in the news. I was interested in pushing beyond the headlines and soundbites dominating the national media in order to confront the experiences of people closest to this type of tragedy. Now, two years later, the conversation remains relevant and high-profile after the shooting of Michael Brown and the resulting riots and violence in Ferguson, Missouri. It is my hope that this novel and other YA literature can be used to start conversations between teens and adults about the prevalence of these incidents, and how we as a nation can begin to respond and heal from these tragedies, and hopefully minimize or wholly prevent similar things from occurring in the future. How It Went Down hits bookstores on October 21, and my website has links to pre-order from IndieBound or Barnes & Noble: http://www.keklamagoon.com/books/how-it-went-down/

I really enjoy the historical and fact based fiction that you write. What limits do you feel in writing these stories?

ROCK-w-CSK-hi-res1One of the great things about fiction is that it has no limits! I do impose some limitations on myself as a writer of historical fiction, but these are individual choices about which many writers would (and do) choose differently. It’s important to me that readers come away from my books feeling like they really *could* have happened. For example, I carefully research the events surrounding my books and try to stick as closely as possible to the real facts and timelines. I don’t move around real historical events, or make up facts about real historical figures. Generally I choose not to even include real historical figures as actors in my novels. For example, in The Rock and the River, I mention people like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, but neither of them appear in the book with action scenes or actual dialogue. I made my first really big exception to this last rule this past year, though. I’ve been working with Ilyasah Shabazz on a YA novel about her father, Malcolm X. The book is about Malcolm living through his difficult teen 9780763669676years, before he became the powerful speaker, faith leader, and international human rights activist he is remembered for being. It was exciting and challenging to work on that project with her, and I’m so thrilled that X: A Novel is about to debut in January 2015.

 

 


Filed under: Authors, Interview Tagged: Indiana YA author, Kekla Magoon

1 Comments on From the Heartland: Kekla Magoon, last added: 9/2/2014
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21. How to promote Your Novel--one simple idea from the reluctant promoter



First my disclaimer—I’m a reluctant promoter. I try now and then, but I struggle with that part of being a writer. So I’m inexperienced. But I have been reading up on it a little, trying to know more.  One thing I keep reading is that writers have the opportunity to connect directly with readers, thanks to social media, in ways they never could before. So although the gatekeepers and influencers are still important, there seems to be a lot of potential to let readers know about your work without going through the middleman or woman. The problem is how do you make that connection?

There’s a much-quoted line from Cory Doctorow, author of Little Brother and co-editor of Boing Boing, “The problem for most artists isn’t piracy, it’s obscurity.” Yeah, that is a problem. I kind of have that problem. His point is a good one, I think-- you should give away as much content as you can because the worry shouldn’t be that you’ll give away too much; the worry should be that no one will read what you give-away or what you or your publisher sells.

Of course Amazon and now publishers give away the first few chapters of books to try to get readers interested.  The SAMPLE has been around for a while and I’m a big fan of it. I usually read the sample of a novel before I buy it even if friends have recommended the novel.  But the SAMPLE—in most cases-- isn’t available until around publication.  It made me think that it would be nice if that kind of experience or an experience like that could be available before the book was published.

So my idea is pretty simple (it may have been done before but I haven’t seen it anywhere). You give away a short version of your novel before it’s published. What I did was make a 2-minute novel that is something that a reader can read in less time than it would take to listen to a song. I took select lines from my novel that comes out on Feb.10, 2015 --Utopia, Iowa-- from the beginning to the end. I posted it to my website. Here it is if you want to take a look at the post: http://brianyansky.com/2-minuteUtopia.html

I was careful not to give away the secrets of the story, of course. I picked lines that I thought were interesting or funny or revealed a little character or plot. I wanted it to be fun and short. More than anything I wanted to give a feel for the novel so that if someone read the 2-minute version and liked it, they might be interested in the full 300+ page version when comes out many months from now.

So here are some reasons I think this is a good idea and something you might try with your novel:
*It’s easy to do.
*It’s kind of fun.
*It’s basically free.
*You have something you can show readers before publication.
* The 2 minute version will remain on my website through publication so it isn’t a one-shot promotion deal. I did put it out there when I got my book cover but I can keep referring people to it as time moves closer to the pub. date and I do other promotions.

Will it help? Who knows?  But as a reluctant promoter I’m all about small steps; if it makes even a few readers aware of and interested in Utopia, Iowa, I’m happy. 

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22. First Day of School

So, Emily the cutie (that is her official name), started her junior year at college today on the same day that people around here are posting their adorable first-day-of-school-kid pictures.



IMG_4934And I miss her and worry about her CONSTANTLY because that's how I am.

But, anyway, I found this old Livejournal post from December 2005, from my first month blogging, from when people actually commented on my blog and I actually knew everyone who did. All very weird.



My daughter wants to quit sixth grade.


Yesterday, as a result of a student rep meeting, the school stopped serving cookies.

Em, my daughter, said at the student rep meeting that it seemed strange to her that the school sells cookies for a quarter and salad for a dollar, when there’s this big “Healthy Eating Campaign.” She said it made it easier for rich kids to eat healthy. She said buying a cookie is more convenient than no more salads.

The principal wrote in the minutes, “Kids question cost of healthy food vs cookies.”

The cook read it, thought, “They want no snack food. I’ll get rid of the cookies.”

She did.

Now. there are no more cookies. Now, there is no more ice cream. Not Em’s intention. Nor did she know it was happening. She likes cookies. She loves ice cream. She just doesn’t eat them all the time.

So, yesterday, a mean eighth grader named Sebastian spent all of recess running around demanding to know whose fault it was. Someone said Em mentioned something about cookies at a rep meeting. Sebastian with an ever-growing gang of followers found some of Em’s friends and surrounded them.

“Do you know Emily?” they demanded. “Where is she?”

“She’s in Mr. Stackpole’s room, working on an essay.”

The bell rang. Three eighth grade boys sprinted for Mr. Stackpole’s room, where ring leader, Sebastian yelled in Emily’s face, “There are no cookies! There are no cookies! Bitch!”

Em had no idea what he was talking about. She tried to ignore them. They didn’t stop. Her classmates filtered in.

“You took our cookies!” Sebastian screamed.

Em gave in, looked up at the face of a big eighth grade boy, who easily outweighs her by a hundred pounds and said, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Yes, Em does say sentences like that. I hear them all the time, especially when I ask her if she’s ready for school.

So, the boys leave when the teacher comes. Em is filled in about the cookie thing. All the 7th and 8th graders are angry at her. The principal talks about it at the honors banquets. Emily, really, really, really does not want to go to school again.

“I’m afraid of eighth grade boys,” she tells me this morning. “I’m really afraid of them.”

“That’s okay,” I tell her.

“Is that what men are like?” she says. “I think I’m afraid of men.”

I nod. “Not all men. Not all boys. Not all people are like that. Girls are mean too, right?”

“Yeah,” she says and stares out the window, “But boys are so big.”



And as I'm reading this post, I'm sort of wondering how this event helped shape Emily into the awesome person she is today. How awesome?

1. She could be my body guard.
2. She goes to Harvard and has a super-high GPA but she is still nice and not pretentious.
3. She still thinks healthy choices should be as inexpensive as not-so-healthy choices

I am proud of her, so super proud of her. Not because she is strong or smart, but because she has so much integrity and so much will, because she battles it out in crappy situations and doesn't publicly lose her cool. I am proud of her because she is such a warrior. And I really can't wait until she doesn't have any more first-days of school. I think she can't wait either.

Two more years, Em. Unless you go to graduate school. Maybe take a gap year, okay?


100-7

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23. Where To Start: How To Write the Exact Right Beginning of Your Story

Pain shoots up from the bottom of her foot, enough so she limps and is forced to wear heavy boots with firm arch supports. Hearing the pain started about a month into writing a memoir and that she hasn't moved very far into her story even after more than seven months of writing scenes long-hand, I suspect that her foot pain and writing pain were linked.

Often problems with the feet indicate difficulty moving forward. I ask her what the problem is with moving forward with her story.

"I don't know where to begin," she mutters.


The struggle in determining the exact right beginning point to start your story is not isolated to memoir writers. Yes, when faced with scenes from your entire life, deciding what to put in and what to leave out can confuse a writer about where best to begin her memoir. The same can be said for novelists and screenwriters as well as memoir writers

With some intense theme explorations, both listing themes that fire up the most energy in her to write about and developing a thematic significance statement for what meaning overall she wishes to convey lead her to the perfect place to begin.

Is that the place the memoir will ultimately begin in the final, final draft? Not necessarily. At this point the most important action this writer can take is to start there and write an entire draft all the way to the end one time. Then she can go back and determine if, in fact, that is the place to begin or take the test I share in my upcoming Writers Store webinar: Where To Start: How To Write the Exact Right Beginning of Your Story and finally pinpoint the exact right place. (Oh, and I can almost guarantee that by the time she writes into the exotic world of the middle, her foot pain miraculously vanishes…)

Today I write!
~~~~~~~~
For more about how to develop THEMES and a THEMATIC SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT for your novel, memoir, screenplay: Read my Plot Whisperer and Blockbuster Plots books for writers.
~~~~
Need more help with your story? 
  • Looking for tips to prop up your middle with excitement? 
  • Wish you understood how to show don't tell what your character is feeling? 
  • Are even you sometimes bored with your own story?
  • Long to form your concept into words? 
We can help you with all of that and so much more! View your story in an entirely new light. Recharge your energy and enthusiasm for your writing.


PlotWwiMo: REVISE YOUR NOVEL IN A MONTH
PlotWriMo: Revise Your Novel in a Month includes 8 videos  (5.5 hours)  + 30 exercises

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24. The Internet is Also Real Life

The distinction between Real Life and the internet is frequently made. Particularly by people for whom the internet is not a big, or in some cases any, part of their social lives. But the internet is not on a different planet. It’s right here on Earth it was created by people and is made up of people just like Sydney or New York City or Timbuktu.

The internet is a huge part of my life, and has been since the early 1990s, when I was first introduced to the weird and wonderful World Wide Web. Oh, the glory of it.

I remember my very first email address. Hard to believe now, but back then email was a wonder. I could stay in touch with friends and family all around the world without stamps or envelopes or treks to the post office and without the insanely long waits.1

In those early days I spent a lot of time reading through various different rec.arts news groups. People exchanging opinions! As if they were in the same room! Except they weren’t! Woah! I joined loads of different listservs. I discovered weird and wonderful blogs and would lose days reading back through the archives. I even commented on some of them. By 2003 I had my own blog. Er, this one. In the last few years twitter has become a large part of my life and through it I have met many amazingly smart and witty an inspiring people.

Online I have found people who care about the same things as me. I’ve found communities I feel at home in. I loved it then and I still love it.

For twenty years now I’ve had many people in my life I think of as my friends whom I’ve never met in *cough* real life. But I know them. Not the way I know the people I’ve lived with. Not the way I know my closest friends. But in some cases I know my online friends better than some of my offline friends and acquaintances.

These online friends are not imaginary. We who spend big chunks of our lives online are real. We make each other laugh. We make each other cry. We annoy each other. We talk to each other several times a week. We fight bullies together. We share experiences. We care about each other.

When one of us dies it hurts.

Social media is not an abstraction. It’s real. It’s made up of real people, who live and die. Their deaths are real and painful.

  1. Okay, obviously, not entirely true. As with snail mail it all depends on how good a correspondent a person is. But in the first days of email we were all so excited we were amazing correspondents. Until the novelty wore off . . .

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25. FILM REVIEW: ‘Rocks in My Pockets’: A Deeply Personal Film About Depression

Can an animated feature about depression be entertaining too?

0 Comments on FILM REVIEW: ‘Rocks in My Pockets’: A Deeply Personal Film About Depression as of 9/2/2014 7:14:00 PM
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