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By: Sue Bursztynski,
Yesterday, we started Literature Circles.
This year, I decided the best way to do it was with two classes and made my offer to a Year 7 English teacher who had a double period at the same time as me. We both had to do it anyway and it would save us competing for venue(library) and resources(books) as well as giving our students a wider range of choices.
Before beginning, I asked my own students which of them had done it before(some had done it in primary school) and invited them to tell me what they thought it was.
One of them asked, "Is it like a book club?" Not like MY book club, of course, but definitely like an adult one and I agreed: "Yes, that's exactly what it is! It's book club for the classroom."
Because we have had the same books for the last couple of years and there were going to be a large number of readers, I took a look at my shelves and among the class sets and chose some I thought they might like and that had meat for discussion.
Holes used to be the Year 8 class text, before we went to Lit Circles. It's a wonderful book, and students loved it and last year, several asked for it in the library. I made that available. We had more than enough copies. There's a group of four reading it.
I had taught Stephen Herrick's The Simple Gift to Year 11, who enjoyed it, even those who whined loudly about our other class texts, and it had also been on our Year 10 list. It's a verse novel, not difficult reading, but sophisticated concepts for good readers to discuss. We have a group doing it.
Looking For Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta was a Year 10 book at one time, also, but Year 10 teachers got sick of it, so it was out. I offered that too. There was some interest in it, but mostly by students who couldn't handle it. Reluctantly, I had to concede this one won't run this time.
We definitely needed some extra choices, because there's a Year 8(not mine) that did it last year.
So, apart from the above, here's what was chosen: Specky Magee, Cirque Du Freak by Darren Shan, Mao's Last Dancer junior edition, by Li Cunxin, The Ice Cream Man by Jenny Mounfield, A Ghost In My Suitcase by Gabrielle Wang, Space Demons by Gillian Rubinstein and a short book called The Big Dig by Meg McKinlay. It's kind of nice that all but two of these books are Australian published. It's not that we did the patriotic thing, it just worked out that way. I've read them all except Specky Magee(next project, thank goodness it's short!).
I was sad that some of the wonderful books from the last two years aren't on the list - Burn Bright and Dragonkeeper and Once. It's not that they had no interest, but that some of the interest was from students who couldn't handle them - well, they could handle Once, but we tried to give first choice where possible and work out the groups so that where there was a student who needed support to get through a book, there was at least one good reader with a kind heart who would help them.
Which brings me to the process of choosing groups. We had a mixture of reading levels. There are Year 7 students reading at Year 12 level and Year 8 students reading at Grade 2 and 3 level. The choice of books was wide enough to cater for them all, more or less, as long as we had aides to help the Integration students, but we had one Integration student who would have been highly offended at being placed with that group, so we gave him a mainstream book that was not too hard and the aide sat with the group. We had students who would fight if we put them together and others who would waste time and some who would put aside their own work to help others who would not be grateful, leaving their own work undone. I would have loved to have a group of high-skill readers who could make the most of it, as I have had in previous years, but they made different choices, so we settled for at least two good readers where we could get them.
All this and giving them their choices of book! We did ask them not to choose a book they had read before, as it would bore them and ruin any chance of a good discussion if someone said, "So, what do you think happens next?" and someone else already knew! Or if someone knew already WHY a character did this or that. We did have to allow one student who had seen the movie to read the book, or there wouldn't have been a group, and besides, he might come to appreciate the differences between a book and even a film that was fairly faithful to it.
Even as it was, I panicked a bit when a student told me he'd suddenly realised he had read this book after all. Turned out he hadn't - he was confusing it with something else.
So, yesterday, after a lot of running around and preparation, we got the library set up and the books ready to collect and then... All the year 7 students were gathered at the other end of the library to be yelled at over a lunchtime incident, for about twenty five minutes! That took a large chunk out of our teaching time and made a negative start. I sat with my year 8 students, keeping them occupied while we waited, having to speak softly in order not to disturb the drama on the other side of the library.
Still, we got going, beginning with getting them into their groups and practising with a short story before they began reading. We had already shown them some discussions from a previous year( how glad I am I had the idea of videoing them!) and most had agreed they did have a better idea of what was expected after seeing them.
They only had about half an hour to read after the interruption and delay, but got into it with a good will. There were already discussions going, arguing about word meanings, read alouds, agreement of how much they should read. One student asked to borrow his novel. I had to say no; last year I lent out novels which never came back and we're short as a result, but mainly, you have to trust people to remember to bring the book to class. And if he was anything like me he'd read the book in an evening and twiddle his thumbs while others caught up. You're supposed to discuss it as you go.
Next week I will be at Reading Matters and my colleague will have to explain about roles. Lucky man!
We, the BookFinder.com team, have come to ask you a small favor; that you take 1-2 minutes out of your day to complete a short six question survey that we have created in order to learn a bit more about you, our Bookfinder.com faithful.
We would like to know a little bit about what kind of books you search for, and how you currently use our website we hope to better prioritize the improvements that we can make. We have recently had to spend considerable time and effort improving some backend aspects of the site and as such have had less time than we would like improving features that you, the book lover, see and use on the website. Now that we are in a position to make some front end user improvements, we just want to be sure we are doing so in the right areas. Please take this short survey.
Thank you for your assistance.
The BookFinder.com Team
Here are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week@JensBookPage.
Book Lists and Awards
Winners of the 2012 Andre Norton Award have been announced | Waking Brain Cells http://ow.ly/liEbL @tashrow #yalit
RT @catagator:So you want to read YA? Amy Stern (@yasubscription) has 12 suggestions for you! http://www.stackedbooks.org/2013/05/so-you-want-to-read-ya-guest-post-by.html…
Top Ten YA Road Trip Novels by Ben Kuhlman | @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/ldPo4 #yalit
One day I'll read YA with my daughter RT @tashrow: YA mother-daughter reading recommendations – The Horn Book http://buff.ly/13vqf3u #yalit
All true! 7 Reasons Why You MUST Read Aloud To Your Kids At All Ages by @postpartumprog http://ow.ly/ldQbV via @Scholastic #literacy
One family's observed benefits from reading aloud 30 min/day Sugar Bee Learning: Reading to Toddlers and Preschoolers http://ow.ly/ldNUu
RT @tashrow: Why Reading Aloud to Older Children Is Valuable | MindShift http://buff.ly/129p5rA #reading #litrdup
Helping Children to Spell: Eight Strategies That Work! from @TrevorHCairney http://ow.ly/ll4Qo #literacy #kidlit
Programs and Research
New study finds parents of preschoolers spend more time reading w/ girls than w boys @TheAtlantic @PWKidsBookshelf http://ow.ly/lgh3d
Congratulations to my friend @CHRasco for being a 2013 Eric Carle Museum honoree as an Angel for #literacy http://ow.ly/lgdIQ @FuseEight
Children reading more on screen than print, National Literacy Trust finds http://ow.ly/l9gSP @TheBookseller @PWKidsBookshelf #litrdup
It's time for @donalynbooks Fifth Annual #Bookaday Challenge | @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/ldOAl #kidlit #literacy
RT @LauraKomos:Love this idea! RT @kaaauthor: Great idea + great teacher = total fun! @colbysharp BOOK SPEED DATING!!!!http://goo.gl/G57tZ
Nice! "nothing is like the light generated when books and readers AND authors come together" @skajder @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/ll3kj
Let’s help… KidLitCares for Oklahoma, @KateMessner is organizing a signed book giveaway for people who donate http://ow.ly/liDTi #kidlit
Interesting post and comments @bkshelvesofdoom about reading rules (do you dog ear pages, etc) http://ow.ly/liGsy
Lots of great links from Tanita Davis at Finding Wonderland: Pennies from Heaven? Nope, it's 5 & Dime Friday... http://ow.ly/l8HqY
Authors, Publishing and Book Publicity
RT @tashrow: E-book sales are up 43%, but that’s still a ‘slowdown’ http://buff.ly/15MCGLM #ebooks
The Future of Picture Books: Alive and Well? @NoVALibraryMom reports after attending a MOST impressive panel session http://ow.ly/lgakk
Teenage Tweetland: useful ideas for authors on where + how YA authors and publishers are reaching teens online http://ow.ly/lggfR
Authors: an opportunity to promote your books and give back in support of children's #literacy @readingtub http://ow.ly/lgaFn
Novels for young adults are reaching more (adult) readers - http://KansasCity.com http://ow.ly/lggyN via @PWKidsBookshelf
Pack(ag)ing It Up, @gwenda talks about book packaging in light of @Amazon Kindle Worlds announcement http://ow.ly/ll4Il
RT@cbcbook: Sad news to report. 'Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile' author Bernard Waber has passed on.http://ow.ly/ldleM@HMHKids#kidlit
I enjoyed this post Thank You Teachers and Librarians from Donna Gephart + she recommends my newsletter :-) http://ow.ly/lkUdW
Diversity (or not)
Thoughts from Becky Levine on @VarianJohnson’s Post, “Where are all the black boys?” http://ow.ly/l8G6k #kidlit
RT @gregpincus: RT @CBCBook: Looking for some news on #kidlit diversity? Here's a round-up! http://ow.ly/kZ83P #CBCDiversity #kidlitchat
Wishing you all a relaxing Memorial Day Weekend!
© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.You can also follow me@JensBookPageor at myGrowing Bookworms page on Facebook.
Blue Sky’s eighth feature film, Epic, directed by Chris Wedge and based on a book by children’s author Bill Joyce, opens in the United States today. Reception to the film has been fair to middling. The film currently owns a 63% critics’ rating and 74% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Stephen Holden in the NY Times sums up the majority viewpoint: “As beautiful as it is, Epic is fatally lacking in visceral momentum and dramatic edge.”
Check out the film and report back here with your opinion in the comments below. As always, this talkback is open only to those who have seen the film and wish to share an opinion about it.
(Billboard via Daily Billboard)
I’ve had the pleasure of presenting the picture book illustrator’s craft at school visits and have more booked on the horizon--but
Springfield Elementary in Midlothian, Illinois, knows how to do it right!
I realized this as soon as I walked in and saw their Welcome Bulletin Showcase
with a Rambling theme, to honor my latest illustrated picture book “One Day I
Went Rambling” (author, Kelly Bennett, Bright Sky Press 2012).
I was doubly surprised to see their cute
version of the story’s main character Zane with a wagon-full of found treasures
and a “cowpoke’s twirling rope!”
Authors and illustrators are
interested in the same thing, telling a good story! The children learned that a
good picture book story leaves room for an illustrator's interpretation, and an
author does not need to say everything in words. Kids were able to answer
questions I asked like “How did I use color to show the character's emotion? Or
“How does this character’s body language give hints as to what a viper is?”
Certainly the best part of the illustration
presentation is the live demo. Here I show my black and white technique,
an involved process some of which I created in the studio. I save the
most magical part for the demo. The pre-prepped board is painted black, takes a
bath, and a line-drawn image appears and is projected on the jumbo screen!
Demo for 3rd & 4th grades:
To the delight of many!
Finally, MY last delight was this sea of
aqua shirts with the “Are You Ready to Ramble?” theme logo. I
lunched with these dedicated teachers, hearing how they inspire their students to read,
write, problem solve and create, while making learning fun! Thank you
Springfield Elementary staff. You are true ramblers….finding the
strengths and passion in your students, and encouraging them to flower!
You can find out more about booking my picture
book illustrator program here.
Post your answer in the comments column!
This is the only animator-for-hire ad you need to read on Craigslist this week. Click image to embiggen:
(Thanks, Josh Ryan, via Cartoon Brew’s Facebook page)
When Jace Cooke and Alex Chung founded Giphy, they simply wanted a convenient platform for sharing and searching GIFs. But now, Giphy, which launched in Febrary, is reaching beyond its search engine origins and aims to serve as a tool to empower artists and animators.
The first round of features to roll out on Giphy over the coming month are built to serve GIF makers rather than consumers. Artists will have dedicated URLs, making their work easily accessible for fans. When embedded on another blog, each GIF will include a coded block that shows the creator’s name. That’s right, no more stumbling onto a great GIF on Tumblr and wondering who created it. “I want Giphy to be what Vimeo is for videographers or Soundcloud is for musicians,” co-founder Jace Cooke told Cartoon Brew.
Cooke invited several notable GIF makers to launch artist pages, including animator Frank Macchia (see GIF below) and wildly popular Tumblr GIF artist Matthew DiVito (aka mr. div). The next step will be providing GIF makers with uncapped uploads—Tumblr, for example, has a maximum upload of 1 MB per GIF. Eventually, artists will have personalized dashboard with analytics for tracking where their GIFs are being shared. “I want to lend more credence to GIFs, give them a wider audience and open up the possibility of monetization for artists,” adds Cooke.
For Cooke there are two major questions going forward: For GIF makers, how can Giphy adapt to best serve their needs? For everyone else, how can Giphy encourage more people to try creating GIFs? Cook is turning to the animation community to find answers to these questions, particularly the latter. Many creative people who work in CGI are interested in GIFs, but they haven’t yet given it a shot. “There’s a learning curve,” Cooke says . “They understand the value and they’re excited about it, but they’re a little apprehensive.” Ultimately, Cooke hopes to see more animators embrace GIFs, which he describes as “animated trading cards.”
Even though there are many GIF repositories and search engines like GIFSoup, Tumblr, and Google’s new animated image search, Giphy is the first coherent attempt to elevate GIFs as an artform. “There is something really powerful about an art that is halfway between a photo and a video,” says Cooke. “GIFs are a legit medium, a form of expression that’s only going to grow.”
by Victoria, Thurber House Intern
Hello and goodbye blog readers! It’s Victoria the Intern (at least for another eight hours) giving you the final update as to what I’ve been up to at Thurber House.
Since my last update, I’ve embraced my very limited artistic ability by creating some fun, inspirational, and only slightly lame posters for Thurber’s summer camp. I got to release my inner murderer/grand thief/CSI detective as I helped brainstorm ideas for various summer camp mysteries. And, I also connected with my inner mailman too, as I spent some time delivering and mailing out Flip the Page books.
Since this is my last day, I always try to walk away from an experience with a new quote due to my slightly unhealthy obsession with them. It’s only fitting that the one I’ve collected from Thurber House be from Mr. James Thurber himself: “Don’t get it right, get it written”.
If I’ve learned anything this week, it’s that being a writer is hard; despite whatever romantic notions people have about words effortlessly flowing onto pages (I can personally attest that that is not the case). More often than not, I try so hard to write right that I forget about what’s really important – writing. Because at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter how you write something, it’s that you did. And so, I’m going to try to apply Thurber’s words of wisdom to my future as a writer and spend less time focusing on how I’m going to phrase something and instead just write it.
All in all, I’ve had so much fun spending the week here! I was a little worried at first because I didn’t know how the other workers would react to having some awkward, lingering high school student take up space for the week, but they have all been amazing. Everyone here has been so incredibly nice, helpful, and supportive as they showered me with Snack Packs, answers, and encouragement.
And that was my final update! Thanks to everyone who took the time to read my silly, little posts. I’m so happy that I got an opportunity to intern here at Thurber House, which I now know for sure is, as my friend’s little sister said, “the best place on Earth”.
Staff Note: All of us at Thurber House loved having Victoria here! She was incredibly helpful, didn’t complain about the boring tasks and had great input in some of our camp activities (we’re a little scared at how readily she helped create our camp mysteries!). We wish we could have her for longer but we know she will do amazing things!
By: Jerry Beck,
Blog: Cartoon Brew
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, Aboveground Animation
, Barry Doupe
, Ben Jones
, Casey Jane Ellison
, Erin Dunn
, Jacolby Satterwhite
, Kathleen Daniel
, Lauren Gregory
, Katie Torn
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On Thursday, May 30th, the Museum of of Contemporary Art in downtown LA will present a screening of Aboveground Animation featuring new commissions by Kathleen Daniel, Barry Doupe, Erin Dunn, Casey Jane Ellison, Lauren Gregory, Jacolby Satterwhite, Katie Torn, and the premiere of a video work by Ben Jones (Paper Rad, The Problem Solverz). The screening will be followed by a conversation with Aboveground Animation curator Casey Jane Ellison and Ben Jones, moderated by MOCAtv creative director Emma Reeves.
The screening will take place at MOCA Grand Avenue’s Ahmanson Auditorium (250 South Grand Avenue, LA, CA 90012). Doors open at 7pm, screening at 8pm. RSVP at email@example.com.
Author: Steve Gardner
Genre: Teen / Self improvement
Buy it at Amazon
Life just isn’t going the way you planned, but you don’t know how to change it. Maybe you don’t know about your superpowers! Yes, you do have superpowers, and Steve Gardner shows you what they are and how to access them, in this book.
You are greater than you realize, and you can attract good things into your life. But how, you ask? By following this five step process. There is a logical technique to attracting your best life to you, and if you follow these steps, you’ll be well on your way.
Adults have followed the Law of Attraction for a long time, but it may surprise teens to know this law can also be applied to their lives. And once these principles are established, they can easily be used forever. One of the things I really like about this book is the author’s encouragement to establish contact with Heavenly Father. Without divine assistance, the Law of Attraction doesn’t work, so it’s great to see Gardner’s insistence on prayer and gratitude. Overall, this is a nice, concise guide in easy to understand language, on how to live a wonderful life.
Reviewer: Alice Berger
There’s some upstanding companies and artists advertising on Cartoon Brew nowadays, and we want to take a moment to highlight some of the useful products and services they’re offering the community. This week’s highlights include a drawing workshop by Mike Mattesi and a new Disney art book offered in the U.S. exclusively by Stuart Ng Books.
Mike Mattesi, author of the Force drawing book series, will be holding an Animal Drawing workshop on Saturday, June 1st, at the LA Zoo. The class will take place from 10am to 4pm and costs $100. Class description:
Mike Mattesi, author of FORCE Animal Drawing, will return to LA after six years for an eventful weekend. One of his favorite locations to draw and share his knowledge about FORCE is the LA Zoo. Join him June 1st, 10am at the front gate to the LA Zoo so he can share with you how to see, understand and draw the residents within through the concept of FORCE! Mike has a specific order of animals he will guide the class through to help you understand how to grasp FORCE. He will cover basic anatomy to shape and design. Mike will instruct the group and speak to artists individually based on your abilities.
Tuition can be paid through PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org Space is limited to 25 students.
Stuart Ng Books is the U.S. distribution partner of the upcoming Pierre Lambert book Sleeping Beauty (La Belle au Bois Dormant). Like the previous art-filled books in the series—Pinocchio, Mickey Mouse, Snow White, Walt Disney: l’Age d’Or, The Jungle Book—this new title promises to be chock-full of beautifully printed artwork from the classic 1959 Disney feature.
The recent books in the series, including this one, are only being published in France, and Stuart Ng’s should be the easiest way to get your hands on this in the United States. Stuart is offering a pre-publication price of $170 which includes an exclusive English translation booklet. The book will be released on June 30th. Preview and pre-order the book at StuartNg.com.
Comic-Con International: San Diego is less than 2 months away and we’ve got special advertising rates for the month of July. Go HERE to advertise your Con-related goods on Cartoon Brew today!
By: Bernhard Oberdieck
Blog: Kinderbuch und Illustration
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children´s book illustration
, Cover Illustration
, colored pencil
, Bernhard Oberdieck
, Add a tag
Mein alter Bilderbuchklassiker "Eulengespenst und Mäusespuk" kommt im Juni, in einer überarbeiteten Neuauflage, wieder in den Handel. Es ist eine Geschichte von Sigrid Heuck, die von Gefangenschaft, Freiheit und Abenteuer, von Spuk und Gespenstern und von einer ungewöhnlichen Freundschaft erzählt.
One of the things about my job that is really important to me is saving vintage treasures from the landfill and being destroyed forever.
When i found these wonderful antique music sheets from the early 1900's in a box on the floor, all the way in the back of a dusty thrift shop, i got that rush feeling. Got to save these.
If they were kept around for more than 100 years, they should not end up thrown carelessly in a cardboard box.
Before there were mp3's, or even cd's or records, there was sheet music. Going back to when most people didn't even have a radio yet, musical entertainment came from playing the piano. Around the turn of the century, families gathered round and sang and played.
The early 1900's were the golden age for cover art illustrations on the sheet music booklets. Nowadays these make for eye-catching pieces of affordable art. For around $10 - $20 you can have an original 1920's flapper girl illustration on the wall.
Unfortunately, the golden age of sheet music art didn’t last long. It ended in the late 20's, very early 30s. Piano's were being replaced by radios and record players, and less sheet music was being sold. The sheets that were still printed, now had photographs of the performers or movie stars on the cover.
Want to have some antique sheet music art on your walls? The pieces shown in this post and a few more are available in the shop.
Curtains or Venetian blinds, Drapings, shutters, shades Serve to keep our privacy From peeping Tom parades. Everybody loves a glimpse Surreptitiously, of course, Which is why our views are blocked Thus it’s more enticing, wond’ring Often, though, we’ll get a peek And people who, ironically, Live like we do ourselves.
By: Jerry Beck,
Blog: Cartoon Brew
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Artist of the Day
, Blue Sky
, Celebrity Deathmatch
, Dan Shefelman
, Ice Age
, New York Newsday
, The Venture Brothers
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As Blue Sky’s Epic opens theatrically in the United States, we continue our week of featuring artists who worked on the film. Today we look at the work of storyboard artist Dan Shefelman.
Dan has worked as a story artist at Blue Sky in addition to doing boards for television series such as The Venture Bros., Robotomy, Celebrity Deathmatch, and Doug.
When drawing caricatures of celebrities and politicians, Dan distorts and renders faces with equal humor in digital paint, marker, pencils, ink and watercolors.
Dan previously worked as an editorial cartoonist for Newsday and continues to draw illustrations and cartoons that you can see on the pages of his website DanShefelman.com.
Above are a few of Dan’s story drawings from the Ice Age cave painting sequence. The finished version from the film can be seen below:
Huck staggers out, sleep-rumpled. His first words of the day: “What does woozy mean?”
Me: “It means you feel dizzy, like you might fall over. Is someone woozy?”
Huck: “I had a very woozy dream.”
By: Mark Miller,
Blog: From the land of Empyrean
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, Hugh Howey
, best seller
, Mark Miller
, science fiction
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Today, we have the pleasure of talking with N.Y. Times and USA Today best-selling author Hugh Howey. He is the author of the award-winning Molly Fyde Saga and I, Zombie, but is perhaps best known for Wool.
Woolintroduces readers to the Silo Saga and a ruined and toxic landscape, where a community exists in a giant silo underground, hundreds of stories deep. There, men and women live in a society full of regulations they believe are meant to protect them. Sheriff Holston, who has unwaveringly upheld the silo’s rules for years, unexpectedly breaks the greatest taboo of all: He asks to go outside. His fateful decision unleashes a drastic series of events. An unlikely candidate is appointed to replace him: Juliette, a mechanic with no training in law, whose special knack is fixing machines. Now Juliette is about to be entrusted with fixing her silo, and she will soon learn just how badly her world is broken. The silo is about to confront what its history has only hinted about and its inhabitants have never dared to whisper. Uprising. Woolis available in hard cover, paperback, eBook and audio book. It is on the fast track to be a major motion picture and, at last count, has been picked up by 28 countries for translation. Amidst this whirlwind of success, Hugh was nice enough to answer a few questions about the man behind the books. Mark Miller: In meeting other authors, I have found that our life story can sometimes be as interesting as the ones we create. Can you tell us a little about your life? What did you do before you were an author? How did that help you become an author? Hugh Howey: I’ve had numerous jobs and careers. My main gig was as a yacht captain, which allowed me to see quite a bit of the world, meet fascinating people, and get in some wild predicaments. I think each of those helped me be a better writer. Roofing for two years was a great way to daydream and also a great job for wanting one where you worked from home in your pajamas. MM:Roofing in your pajamas probably doesn’t work too well, but you might be able to get away with it on a yacht. Life experience is key to writing and it sounds like you’ve had some good ones. What about your hobbies, pajama-clad or not, do they add to your writing in any way? HH:I’m a nut for photography. It definitely adds to my writing. It teaches you to see the details in the world. You also learn to tell a story with a single snapshot. MM:I believe you share some of your photography on Facebook. You definitely share your life. Being a world traveler and best-selling author, how different is that life now versus about a year ago? HH:Not so different when it comes to work. But a year ago, I was living in the mountains of North Carolina. Last June, my wife and I moved to south Florida when she took a different job. So that’s changed quite a bit. I now see more sand and far less snow! MM:Less snow is always good. I will say, at least snow melts. Sand always seems to be hanging around and winds up in some odd places. You traded the beautiful mountains of North Carolina for the beautiful waters of South Florida. Even with the move, it sounds like you are traveling as much as ever. With all the travel and book tours, like Germany and Australia, what do you miss most from your old life? Does your wife have any thoughts on the subject? Does it affect her in any way? HH:I miss the steadiness of my writing routine. Travel makes writing difficult. I think my wife gets worn out from me being away from home so much. Since I work from home, I normally keep up with the cleaning and food prep. I also watch and entertain the dog. So it’s a lot more work for her when I’m gone. Plus, I think she misses me. A little. MM:That is a very familiar routine to me, except for the globe-trotting. Maybe you should try adding some children to the mix…but let’s change the subject. Many consider Wool a must read. When you open a book, what do you consider a must read? What elements are you looking for to make it a must read? HH:For me, I have to learn something. It has to expand my mind. I mostly read non-fiction, but I read a work recently that blew me away with its prose and plot. It’s called Lexicon by Max Barry, and it comes out in June. One of those books you want to read a second time. MM:Max is an Australian author and is also known for his online political simulation game Nation States. It sounds like he will be making his mark soon. There are so many up and coming authors these days with changes in independent, digital and self-publishing. There are also a growing number of authors and aspiring authors that write fan fiction, Amazon recently made an announcement about it. You have even posted about Wool fan fiction and seem to encourage it. How do you feel about other writers creating stories in your world? Have you written any fan fiction? If so, can you name the franchise? HH:I fully support it. Of course, I would never ask or expect anyone to write fan fiction in my world, but when people approached me about it, I gave it my full blessing. The idea of charging money for the fan fiction came from me. I just feel like artists should be bold enough to ask for a dollar for their hard work. And a lot of the fan fiction is better than the source material. I haven’t written any fan fiction, but it’s something I’m keen on now that I’ve seen it work the other way. My first foray might be a Dr. Who episode, just for fun. Maybe I’ll shop it to the studio and see what they have to say. :) MM:I can picture it now – the TARDIS materializes in a cave; the Doctor and his companion walk out and discover they are at the bottom of an enormous spiral staircase. Or maybe Firefly? After all, you are a captain. Also, don’t think I’ll let your “fan fiction is better than the source material” comment go unnoticed. It is something I have seen from you on more than one occasion: you appear to be a modest, genuine person. It is refreshing. You are as much an author as you are a fan. Allowing for a fanboymoment, are there any established authors that you would like to see write a story in your franchise? Any with which you would like to co-write anything? HH:Oh, I would hate to suggest that anyone write stories in my franchise. That would have to be up to them. If I co-wrote something with another author, it would ideally be my wife. I’m trying to convince her to publish some self-help shorts. She’s a psychologist with a gift for helping people, and books could reach a much wider audience. MM:There’s that modesty again. You wear it well and you seem to have a great relationship with your wife. Isn’t that every husbands’ dream to write with his wife? Or at least every husband that is an author? I even have a concept when I can convince mine to join me. We have covered quite a bit already, but I wanted to rewind a little and ask have you always wanted to be an author? And looking forward, where do you see yourself in five years? Still writing or pursuing another goal? HH:Yeah, this has always been a dream of mine. In five years, I see myself on a sailboat, sailing around the world. Writing as I go, of course. MM:With Shiftclimbing the charts, it looks like your long term goals are coming sooner rather than later. As you try to hold your laptop steady, bobbing on the Caribbean waves, can readers expect more stories from the silo? What others stories are you looking forward to sharing with the world? HH: There’s one more book coming out in the series entitled Dust. It will be out August 17th of this year. And then it’s on to other stories. MM:Every good story deserves to be a trilogy, at least. Whatever those other stories might be (hopefully one Dr. Who episode), this is only the beginning for you. Congratulations on everything so far and thank you for taking the time to be here today. I would like to end with a fun question: If you could be any fictional character, who and why? HH:I’d be Han Solo. It’s everything I knew from being a yacht captain, but in outer space. That’s the job for me. With a Wookie for a best friend, which is like a dog, but better. A dog you can talk to and play chess with. Sign me up!
For more author interviews and guest posts, please visit the blog archive:
Shares and Comments are appreciated.
This summer, Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida will open a Simpsons-themed area at its park to complement its existing Simpsons ride. The new space will allow visitors to walk around Springfield and spend their hard-earned dollars on Simpsons-related food, like Duff Beer, which will be brewed exclusively for the park. Simpsons creator Matt Groening has said in the past that he wouldn’t allow actual Duff beer to be brewed because he didn’t want to encourage kids to drink
The press release describes how parkgoers will be able to buy other food items as well: “[You] will be able to grab Krusty-certified meat sandwich at Krusty Burger, snatch the catch of the day at the Frying Dutchman, get a slice at Luigi’s Pizza, go nuts for donuts at Lard Lad, enjoy a ‘Taco Fresho; with Bumblebee Man and imbibe at Moe’s Tavern.”
The area will also feature a new attraction—Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl—as well as the statue of Springfield founder Jebediah Springfield. Cick on the image at top for a close-up rendering of the new area.
As of November 20, 2012 (that is, Midnight Eastern Time tonight) I am closed to queries. I will reopen to queries January 7, 2013.
If I already have your work, you should hear from me by January 7. (That's the point of taking the break, I have to catch up!)
I'm sorry to say that I cannot respond to new queries sent during this time.
The exceptions will be: work that I've requested -- conference material -- client or editor referrals -- and people I actually know in real life. If this is you, please be sure you've said so, along with the word Query, IN THE SUBJECT LINE of your email. Otherwise, your query will be deleted.
For all other regular queries, please feel free to try any of my colleagues at Andrea Brown Lit, or else try me again in January.
Thanks again for thinking of me in regard to your work.
Wishing you all the best, and Happy Holidays,
Andrea Brown Literary Agency
I've been having such a great time working on my next book - Santa Pups by Jerry Pollatta - Scholastic. It's a very simple but funny story where Santa decides to try different breeds of dogs to pull his sled one year. These are the Mutts and they want to go in every direction! This has been such a fun story to work on! I even got to work in my dog Pooch! How did they know I'm such a dog guy? It's like the dog gods were smiling down on me when I got this assignment! I even got to work in the author and editor's dogs into a few of the illustrations! Working as an illustrator is so much fun because you never know what kinds of projects you'll get to work on from month to month.
I'm out of here - going for a walk with Pooch - later.
Marcus Kraft is an award-winning multidiscplinary studio located in Zurich, Switzerland. Their diverse portfolio ranges from editorial pieces that are bold and confrontational to posters that are more subtle and nuanced in their approach.
Also worth viewing…
Jason Munn Interview
Jessica Hische Studio Visit
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Submissions invited: If you’d like a fresh look at your opening chapter or
prologue, please email your submission to me re the directions at the bottom of
The Flogometer challenge: can you craft a first page that compels me to turn to the next page? Caveat: Please keep in mind that this is entirely subjective.
Note: all the Flogometer posts are here.
What's a first page in publishingland? In a properly formatted novel manuscript (double-spaced, 1-inch margins, 12-point type, etc.) there should be about 16 or 17 lines on the first page (first pages of chapters/prologues start about 1/3 of the way down the page). Directions for submissions are below.
A word about the line-editing in these posts: it’s “one-pass” editing, and I don’t try to address everything, which is why I appreciate the comments from the FtQ tribe. In a paid edit, I go through each manuscript three times.
Before you rip into today’s submission, consider this list of 6 vital storytelling ingredients from my book, Flogging the Quill, Crafting a Novel that Sells. While it's not a requirement that all of these elements must be on the first page, they can be, and I think you have the best chance of hooking a reader if they are.
Evaluate the submission—and your own first page—in terms of whether or not it includes each of these ingredients, and how well it executes them. The one vital ingredient not listed is professional-caliber writing because that is a must for every page, a given.
- Story questions
- Tension (in the reader, not just the characters)
Elizabeth sends the first chapter for Teddy Roosevelt Is Dead. Please vote—the feedback helps the writer.
the key from the ignition, Jessie leaped from her battered green Jeep and ran
to the back door of the community theatre. She hated being late for interviews
and this was more important than most. Peter Friesen – historian, scholar,
amateur actor, and jerk extraordinaire – was waiting for her in his dressing
room. If the clock on her dashboard was right, he had been waiting for almost
20 minutes. And from what she knew about Peter, he had probably stormed out of
the building, furious from her lack of respect and impossible to placate.
the back parking lot, Jessie’s hopes grew. Peter’s silver Lexus was still
parked in the VIP lot. Maybe he had been so absorbed by his rehearsal that he
had forgotten to watch the clock. Maybe a fan had waylaid him after practice,
and he had enjoyed regaling a beautiful young historian with little-known facts
about Teddy Roosevelt. Maybe luck would work in her favor just this once.
to a walk, Jessie smoothed her stubborn red curls back into her usual braid,
straightened her jacket, and pushed open the weathered back door. Maybe this
would be the year the community theatre would repaint the old building. Taking
a breath, she stepped into the cool, shadowy hall.
she called. “Anybody home?”
knew the tangle of halls, dressing rooms, and closets as well as her own
Would you turn Elizabeth's first page?
No, but . . .
There’s a dead body waiting for us on page three—if we get
there. At this point, there’s little in the way of a story question or tension.
It looks like Peter is there, so that shouldn’t be a problem. The writing is is
a little over-written in spots (battered green Jeep) but good—a couple of nits:
the reference to “stubborn red curls” is a small break in point of view, and
the style used in publishing is to spell out numbers (it should be “twenty”).
I’ve cobbled together a different page from later narrative.
See if you would turn this one:
leaped from her Jeep and ran through the back door of the community theatre.
She hated being late for interviews, and this was more important than most.
Peter Friesen – historian, scholar, amateur actor, and jerk extraordinaire –had
been waiting for almost twenty minutes.
she entered his dressing room, a coppery smell assaulted her, accompanied by a
deeper, more distressing scent she knew from her long-ago days covering the
police beat. She pushed back the images that still haunted her nightmares and
called, “Peter, are you here?”
stepped further into the room, and then spun away from the sight that
confronted her. “Oh God, Peter,” she sighed, and knew she was too late to help.
out her cell phone, she dialed 9-1-1 and got Monica. “It’s me, Jessie, from the
paper,” she said. “Send the sheriff, quick. I think Peter Friesen’s dead.”
are you, Jessie?”
at the community theatre. In the back. There’s blood all over the dressing
touch anything. The sheriff will be right there.”
if she wanted to touch anything. Just walking into the room had added to the
sights that tormented her during long sleepless nights. Then the reporter in
Jessie awakened. Taking shallow breaths to avoid the smell of Peter’s death,
she went to work. She pulled a digital camera from her bag and began shooting.
Would you turn the page with this opening?
For what it’s worth.
Free sample chapters—click here for a PDF
“This book has some of the most helpful writing advice I've encountered in quite a while, illustrated by copious--and I mean copious--examples. Ray doesn't pull punches, and his illustrations have real-world wording at times, but it's truly like having an editor on your bookshelf. I definitely recommend it.” Richard
Submitting to the Flogometer:
Email the following in an attachment (.doc, .docx, or .rtf preferred, no PDFs):
- your title
- your complete 1st chapter or prologue plus 1st chapter
- Please format with double spacing, 12-point font Times New Roman font, 1-inch margins.
- Please include in your email permission to post it on FtQ.
- And, optionally, permission to use it as an example in a book if that's okay.
- If you’re in a hurry, I’ve done “private floggings,” $50 for a first chapter.
- If you rewrite while you wait for your turn, it’s okay with me to update the submission.
© 2013 Ray Rhamey