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1. What’s in Your Writer’s Bag of Tricks? Putting the Writing Process in Context

Abayomi Launches in Brazil

Click cover to see the photo gallery.

I’m in the middle of a big revision of the first book of a sff trilogy and I thought I knew what to do. I’ve written several novels now and when I get to this stage, there’s one big problem. I am sick of reading the thing.

How many times do you read a novel before you send it out into the world? 5 times? 20 times? 100 times? I don’t know; I just know that it’s a lot of times and it reaches a point where I’m not re-reading what’s in front of me. My mind wanders off to anything and everything else.

One strategy I’ve used to deal with that is to retype the entire manuscript. Even if it’s 60,000 words, I just dig in and retype. This strategy forces me to see every word anew. It’s a strategy that I know works.

Except, it didn’t this time. I kept putting off the typing. When it was time to start, I’d find something some marketing to do; or I’d read on my Kindle; or I’d do research for a different project. I forced myself to type out about 25,000/60,000 words, but I was making very few changes. I wasn’t confident that this strategy was working.

Finally–with the urging of a friend–I stopped the foolishness. I started copying one chapter at a time into the fresh document and working on just that chapter till all issues were resolved.
Stuck in Revision? Pull out your writer's bag of tricks and try something different.

Wow! I’ve totally revamped a scene: it was static with no tension and needed lots of work. I found a conflict sitting there amidst the rubble, picked it up and ran with it. I cut a scene totally–worthless dialogue that went nowhere. Another scene got an overhaul for emotional impact.

In other words, my process is different for this book than for all previous books. Duh. Of course.
Each book that I write, I find a different way to work.

What doesn’t change are techniques that I have in my writer’s bag of tricks. I just need to remember that I won’t be using them in the same order for each book. Also, I may not use every technique or tip for every novel. And that there are always shiny new ways of working to explore, and that’s OK. Retyping a manuscript is a great technique that I’ll likely use again, even though it was deadly for this one. Focusing on short chapters this time helped me to see the story in a context that allowed for good decision making. That’s what you want: good decision making in your storytelling.

Stuck? Rummage around in your writer’s bag of tricks and try something different!

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2. Review and Giveaway: Wicked Embers by Keri Arthur

May Contain Spoilers


I loved Fireborn, so I was eager to dive into Wicked Embers.  While I did enjoy it, the non-ending was a letdown for me.  I prefer at least the illusion of completeness, even if I know that the larger, more complicated plot threats won’t be wrapped up until later in the series.  I didn’t even get my faux ending here; instead, Emberly, Jackson, and Rory manage to survive a no-holds barred battle with some vampires and bam!  It’s the last page.  So the grade did take a knock for that.

Emberly has a lot to keep her busy.  She keeps having dreams about a mysterious creature with backward feet that sucks organs from corpses, there is a passel of nasty vampires after her, she’s made more werewolf enemies, and Sam, her love of this life, still hasn’t forgiven her for not being honest about what she is.  All of this keeps her on her toes and fighting for answers.  As the frequency of her dreams increase, she’s desperate to track down the creature before it moves from the recently deceased to killing its own victims.  She and Jackson are also looking for a backup of research notes, which may or may not exist, about the Crimson Death, which turns its victims into mindless killing machines.  The red cloaks, victims of the red plague, are controlled by a psycho wearing a gray cloak, who is also after Emberly for nefarious purposes. She is thrust from one precarious situation to the next, with hardly any time to catch her breath! 

Even though the book is almost 400 pages long, the pacing is such that I polished it off very quickly.  I was reluctant to put down my Kindle, and I was happy I waited until the weekend to start this, because I stayed up past my bedtime reading away.  While we learn a little more about phoenixes and the fae, I wish the world building was a bit more robust.  Details about the creatures populating the series are slowly teased out, which can occasionally be frustrating. 

I like all of the characters, especially Emberly and Sam.  Emberly is tough, and I get a real sense that she isn’t human.  She’s a spirit, a creature made of fire, and in order to survive, she needs Rory, her life mate, to recharge her energy and ensure that she reborn from one life to the next.  Because of their symbiotic relationship, phoenixes are cursed.  They need their life mate, but they will never be in love with their life mate.  Instead, there is one person that they are fated to fall in love with every lifetime, only to have their love rejected.  Emberly’s love is Sam, but he, understandably, just can’t wrap his head around the need to have Rory in the picture, too.  It didn’t help that Emberly wasn’t up front with Sam about herself, so Sam just thinks she’s cheating on him with Rory.  I can see how that would be a relationship breaker!

I’m hooked on this series, and I can hardly wait to see what happens next.  Thanks to Signet, I have a copy to give away to one of you.  Just fill out the widget below to enter!

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher

Keri Arthur, New York Times bestselling author of Fireborn, presents the thrilling new Souls of Fire Novel featuring Emberly Pearson, a phoenix that can transform into a human—and is haunted by the ability to foresee death….

Crimson Death, the plague like virus spawned from a failed government experiment to isolate the enzymes that make vampires immortal, continues to spread. Emberly and her partner, Jackson Miller, are desperately seeking the stolen research for a cure before the virus becomes a pandemic.

But their mission is jeopardized by another threat uncovered in Emberly’s prophetic dreams. A creature of ash and shadow has been unleashed on a murdering spree. Now Emberly must summon all her gifts and investigative knowledge to put an end to this entity’s brutal rampage—even if it means placing herself in harm’s way….

Enter to win a copy of WICKED EMBERS!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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3. Live Blogging from #Nerdcampmi Monday and Tuesday

We know we didn't do such a great job of live blogging from All Write, as we had planned. But Franki will be at #NerdcampMi and she'll be adding live updates to the blog as the throughout the event. This is one of our favorite events of the year so we'd also recommend following it on Twitter if you are not attending.

0 Comments on Live Blogging from #Nerdcampmi Monday and Tuesday as of 7/6/2015 6:34:00 AM
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4. FOUR Giveaways plus New YALIT Releases Week of 7/6 with Author Interviews

There's an incredible eighteen new YA books releasing this week, and we have giveaways for four of them! Take a look at the wealth of books emerging into the world, and make sure to scroll all the way down to enter the giveaway.

Happy reading,

Lindsey, Martina, Sam, Jocelyn, Erin, Lisa, Shelly, Susan, Elizabeth, Kristin, Jen, Sandra and Anisaa

Read more »

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5. In Response To Mr Stransky....

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6. ALA 2015: event recap + giveaway!

I’m back from the American Library Conference in San Francisco! Well, I’ve been back for almost a week, but was so wiped out (and still nursing minor injuries), so this post is just now going live. But here I am with tidbits and goodies to share. Fair warning that I was bad at taking photos this year, but it was for good reason–I was having such a good time that I often forgot! Last year’s trip was great, but ALA 2015 surpassed my expectations, in ways I didn’t even imagine. Stick around, since we’re also giving away TWO prizes–a box of 10 coveted ARCS to a U.S. reader, and an awesome tote “Reading is my Everything, Everthing” bag filled with swag to an international reader. The Authors There were so many great authors at ALA this year, and I trotted around like an obedient pony trying to find them all.... Read more »

The post ALA 2015: event recap + giveaway! appeared first on The Midnight Garden.

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7. Typo to an Editor? Here’s How to Unsend an Email

warningsignThis post is from this week’s Monday Motivations for Writers email. To get these emails in your inbox, plus a free e-book and checklist for writers, you can sign up here.

Ever send a query to an editor and realize — too late — that you had a typo in the lede? Or accidentally hit “Reply All” on a sensitive work email?

Wonderful Renegade reader Cherese Cobb let me know about a solution: unSend.it.

unSend.it is a free service that lets you track email opens, edit emails and attachments AFTER they’re sent, and steal back emails you wish you’d never sent.

I tried it out with a couple Gmail accounts of mine. Sign-up was super easy thanks to a slideshow that covers every step.

If you choose the unSend.it mode where you’re able to edit emails after they’ve been sent — and even after they’ve been opened — the email is converted to a graphic on unSend.it’s servers. I have to say, that looks a little wonky to the recipient. For example, when I tried emailing myself with this option, as the recipient I wasn’t able to copy the e-mail’s contents since it was a graphic, not text.

Something else that’s a little strange: If you unsend an email, according to the site, “unSend.it removes all content from the body of the email (including any attachments) you sent. The email itself will always remain in your recipient’s inbox along with the subject line—however, all email message content will be removed.” But…guess having your editor see a blank email is better than having her see one you meant to send to your best friend venting about said editor!

You can also opt for the mode where you can only unsend emails and edit attachments, in which case your email comes through as regular text.

There’s also a tracking-only mode, and you can choose to have unSend.it email you when recipients open your messages.

A cool perk is that you can change modes for individual emails as you send them out by using shortcode such as [att] for “attachments,” which means you have control over that particular email’s attachments even after you send it.

Hope you can use this cool tool to take the worry out of pitching! (Thanks, Cherese!)

By the way, I love sharing tips from my readers. If you have a good one and I can use it, I’m happy to send you an e-book gratis as a thank you!

Happy writing,

Linda Formichelli

P.S. Have you seen my new Writing Assignment Checklist, which I’m selling for just $1.49?

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8. Teaser - These Shallow Graves

These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly. Delacorte Press. 2015. Reviewed from ARC. Publication date October 27, 2015.

These Shallow Graves by A historical mystery!

In 1890's New York City, Josephine Montfort has everything: she's young, she's rich, her parents adore her, she has good friends. Soon, she'll be engaged to the handsome and rich young man who has been a good friend since childhood. She wants to be a reporter, like Nelly Bly, and puts together the school paper.

All that changes when her father is found dead in his locked study, a gun in his hand. An accident.

Jo can't understand how the accident happened....she does what a proper young lady should not do.

She asks questions. Searching for answers leads her out of her protected, cossetted world, into the rough and tumble streets of New York, the world she's been protected from. A world of shallow graves.

Yes, put this on your radar -- it's a great mystery, but it's also a great look at female roles and expectations, and sexism, and how people can be too protected.

Amazon Affiliate. If you click from here to Amazon and buy something, I receive a percentage of the purchase price.

© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

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9. Capturing the essence of Madame Bovary

The tragic story of Madame Bovary has been told and retold in a number of adaptations since the text's original publication in 1856 in serial form. But what differences from the text should we expect in the film adaptation? Will there be any astounding plot points left out or added to the mix?

The post Capturing the essence of Madame Bovary appeared first on OUPblog.

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10. Full moon over little Poland

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11. Lies, truth, and meaning

Words have meaning. We use them to communicate to one another, and what we communicate depends, in part, on which words we use. What words mean varies from language to language. In many cases, we can communicate the same thing in different languages, but require different words to do so. And conversely, sometimes the very same words communicate different things in different languages.

The post Lies, truth, and meaning appeared first on OUPblog.

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12. Best Wishes





Best Wishes

आओ विश करें

नया साल शुरु होता नही कि सकंल्पो की बौछार शुरु हो जाती है. अच्छी बात है सकंल्प लेने कोई बुराई नही है पर कम से कम उसकी लाज तो रखनी चाहिए. हर बात को टालने के अभ्यस्त हम फिर टाल देते है कि कुछ समय और ठहर जाते हैं. कर लेगें, हम कौन सा भागे जा रहे हैं. सोच तो लिया है ना बस …

इन दिनो वैसे एक चिंता और भी हम लोगो मे पाई जाती है और वो है शुभकामनाएं देना. असल में, देने मे कोई परेशानी नही है पर देनी किस किसको हैं ये परेशानी का विषय बन जाता है उसका सबसे मुख्य कारण है हर साल हमारी जिंदगी मे नए लोगो का आवागमन होता रहता है या फिर जो लोग पिछ्ले साल बहुत काम आए इस साल इनकी महत्ता उतनी नही रही.  तो ज्यादा कंफ्यूजन से बचने के लिए मैने बिना समय गवाएं चार कैटेगिरी बना ली.

1 धक्के से
2 मजबूरी से
3 जरुरी से
4 दिल से

आप सभी इस बात से इत्तेफाक रखते होग़े कि कई बार कुछ शुभकामनाएं ना चाह्ते हुए धक्के से फोन करके हमे देनी पडती हैं. मसलन अपनी ससुराल मे या फिर अपने मकान मालिक को जो हमे फूटी आखँ ही नही सुहाता. समय की नजाकत को भापँ कर जीती मक्खी निगलनी ही पडती है.

अब बात मजबूरी की आती है.अब मेरी बात से आप इंकार कर ही नही सकते कि भले ही हमारी सम्पादक से जान पहचान हो ना हो पर उसे शुभकामनाएं भेजेगे जरुर.(भई, नही तो हमारा लेख कैसे छपेगा)ऐसे ही जिन से हमे हमारा काम निकलवाना है,पैमैंट निकलवानी है चाहे वो सरकारी नौकरी मे ही हो.चाहे वो कितने ही भाव ही क्यो ना खा रहा हो हमारा फोन ना उठा रहा हो पर हमे भी ढीठ बन कर लगातार उसे फोन मिलाते ही रहना है. जब तक वो फोन न उठा ले उसके बाद चाहे हमे कितना ही समय लगे उन्हे बताने मे कि हम कौन बोल रहे हैं. इसी का नाम मजबूरी है.
अब बारी आती है जरुरी से की. मेरे हिसाब से ये वाकई मे जरुरी है उन लोगो को शुभकामनाएं देने की जो जाने अंजाने सारे साल किसी ना किसी रुप मे हमारे काम आते हैं जैसे कि डाक्टर, गैस बुक करने वाले, बैंक मे काम करने वाले जो जाते ही हमारा सारा काम ना सिर्फ जल्दी निबटवा देते है बल्कि चाय भी पिलाते हैं. उधर गैस वाले तुरंत सप्लाई भेज देते हैं. वही अपने डाक्टर साहब भले ही फोन पर कितना ही व्यस्त क्यो ना हो वो हमे देखते ही फोन का चोंगा रख देते हैं. बच्चो की ट्यूशन सर या क्लास टीचर को भी बहुत जरुरी है शुभकामनाएं देना क्योकि सारे साल उन्होने ही तो ख्याल रखना है बच्चों को अच्छे अकं देने मे.

अब बात आती है दिल से की. ये आवाज दिल से ही निकलती है.अब भला जो हमारे साथ दफ़्तर मे कंधा मिलाकर काम करे मोना, रोजी पिंक आदि उन्हे तो विश करना बनता ही है न और जो सोशल नेट वर्क की साईट पर हैं उन्हे तो और भी ज्यादा और जल्दी विश करना हमारा हक बनता है.कही वो नाराज ना हो जाए या हमसे पहले कोई दूसरा की ना बाजी मार ले जाएं. वही दूसरी तरफ बास की माता जी का स्थान है भले ही बास को विश करे ना करे पर इनकी माता श्री या पत्नी श्री को दिल से प्रणाम करने को मन करता है. भई, आप भले ही कुछ भी समझे पर नौकरी मे तरक्की की चाह तो आपको भी होगी. है ना. तो मै आपसे अलग थोडे ही ना हूँ.
तो कुल मिला कर बताने का तात्पर्य़ ये है कि हमे संकल्प लेने की बजाय फोन करने वालो की लिस्ट मे ज्यादा जोर देना चाहिए ताकि हमारा आने वाला समय सुखद और मगंलमय हो.
आप हमारे प्रिय पाठकगण हैं तो आपकी जगह दिल से वाले कालम मे ही है आप सभी को  ढेर सारी शुभकामनाएं.

ये लेख Best Wishes आओ विश करें   कैसा लगा जरुर बताईगा …  :)

The post Best Wishes appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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13. Echoes of caste slavery in Dalit Christian practices

In the mid-twentieth century Dalit migration from the villages of southern princely State of Travancore to the villages in the Western Ghats hills in the north was reminiscent of Exodus, although we are yet to have substantial narratives of the difficult journeys they undertook.

The post Echoes of caste slavery in Dalit Christian practices appeared first on OUPblog.

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14. MMGM Links (7/6/15)

Before I get to the MMGM links, just wanted to remind you guys that I will be at SDCC this week. I kept my schedule super light (I mostly go for fun) but I do have one signing scheduled--and it looks like it'll be ticketed. So here's the info, in case you'll be at the Con (and of course if you spot me in the crowd in prime fangirl mode feel free to come up and say hi)

Shannon Messenger / Shannon Messenger Signing
Exhibitor Hall – MG Booth #1119 Sunday, 1:00 - 1:45 PM 
Please note -- all booth signings will be limited, and require tickets. Tickets are available while supplies last at the MG Booth, #1119, when the exhibit hall opens each day. Also, anyone who buys one of my books at the signing will get one of the special Black Swan mirrors (you might've seen them in the pics of my launch party)

Okay, on to the links!
- Rachel at What Rachel Wrote is highlighting JULIE OF THE WOLVES. Click HERE to see her thoughts. 
- Cindy at Cindy Reads A Lot is spreading some love for the TRADING FACES series. Click HERE to see what she thought.  
- Roseanne Parry is gushing about THE GREAT TROUBLE. Click HERE to see why. 
- Dorine White is cheering for easy readers Budding Readers ebooks. Click HERE read her review.
- Greg Pattridge is burning with enthusiasm for DIEGO'S DRAGON--DRAGON'S OF THE DARK RIFT. Click HERE to see why. 
- Rosi Hollinbeck is reviewing--and GIVING AWAY--THE TAPPER TWINS GO TO WAR (WITH EACH OTHER). Click HERE for all the details.    
- Jenni Enzor is seeing stars for STELLA BY STARLIGHT. Click HERE to see what she thoughts.
- The Bookworm Blog is championing A MANGO SHAPED SPACE. Click HERE to see what they thought. 
- Michael Gettel-Gilmarten is singing praises for SERAPHINA AND THE BLACK CLOAK. Click HERE to see his feature. 
- Jess at The Reading Nook is interviewing author Will Mabbitt HERE and reviewing THE UNLIKELY ADVENTURES OF MABEL JONES over HERE.
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time!
- The Mundie Moms are always huge supporters of middle grade. Click HERE for their Mundie Kids site.  
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.    

If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love on a Monday (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday. (usually before 11pm PST is safe--but if I'm traveling it can vary. When in doubt, send early!) (Also make sure the post you send me is a new post, not one from earlier in the week. I try to keep the content fresh)

If you miss the cutoff, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you, but I will not have time to update the post. Same goes for typos/errors on my part. I do my best to build the links correctly, but sometimes deadline-brain gets the best of me, and I'm sorry if it does. For those wondering why I don't use a Linky-widget instead, it's a simple matter of internet safety. The only way I can ensure that all the links lead to safe, appropriate places for someone of any age is if I build them myself. It's not a perfect system, but it allows me to keep better control.

Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome meme, and spreading the middle grade love!

*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.

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15. STATIONERY - mara-mi

We start the new week with some beautiful new patterns from Mara-Mi (The Minnesota based stationers named after their founders Marilyn & Mimi). Each year, Mara-Mi introduces a new limited edition collection of art and products and for Summer 2015 they have created a painterly collection of stripes, florals, and geometrics in a gorgeous palette where pastels mix with brighter tones. The range

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16. Disney Paid $4 billion For Marvel -Was THAT A Good Deal?

There is a rather "dirty" question asked by Newsarama.  The "Dirty" subject is about money -in particular: was Disney's $4 billion buy out of Marvel worth it?

I know there are -there really are- comic fans out there that refuse to believe Disney owns Marvel let alone pulls the strings.  So I hope they do not let reality encroach too much by reading this!

Anyway, I think it is quite obvious what the answer is but there are lots of facts and $ figures here so check out Newsarama (SPOILER -it WAS!):


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17. My Writing and Reading Life: Dan Scott

Dan Scott was born in Surrey, England. Growing up, he became interested in ancient Rome and his love of historical fiction provided plenty of inspiration for the adventure stories he began to write as a child. Eventually, his characters and stories developed into the action-packed Gladiator School series.

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18. Artist-in-Residence: the 'Atmospheres' Conference

I am sorry for my uncharacteristic absence of late. After my last post, everything suddenly stopped here, because John got rushed to hospital and has been very poorly. He had a big operation and is now into about 3 months of recuperation, but the very good news is that we now know he is going to be fine. It's been quite a roller-coaster though.

I went back to work at the end of last week, because I was booked to spend two days drawing at Manchester University, recording the fascinating 'Atmospheres' conference for the Morgan Centre team. It's a precursor to my residency, which kicks off in October, and I really, really didn't want to miss it.

Various friends and neighbours volunteered to step into my shoes at home and keep an eye on the poor old invalid, so I packed my sketching gear and hopped on a train, a little nervous, but mostly very excited. I have once before done a similar job, on that occasion for the library service, and it was good fun. My pencil finger was itching to begin!

The idea was that I should sketch as much as possible, recording the various speakers and capturing something of the atmosphere of the conference since, after all, the theme was 'atmospheres'. 

Apart from the fun I had meeting the sketch-challenge, the conference itself was fascinating. It covered a huge range of sociological issues around the theme. I particularly enjoyed a paper on shared atmospheres at heavy metal concerts and the rules of audience 'moshing' (jumping up and down, crashing into one-another in an apparent frenzy). There was a paper on snobbery, another on beer festivals, one about the weather, one on taste, another on Goths... it was extremely varied and totally accessible to a layman.

I was working in the concertina books I made. I scribbled away the whole time and filled 6 metres of paper! 

Near the end, I gave a 15 minute presentation about urban sketching and then used a visualiser to show everyone the drawings I had been doing over the two days. This was one of the reasons that I was a little nervous... 

Thankfully it all went fine and, as far as I could tell, everyone seemed to approve of my drawings of them. Then, straight after my presentation, I co-delivered a paper with Professor Heath, the director of the Morgan Centre, talking about the upcoming residency and what we hoped to achieve from the year. 

The final key-note was the wonderful Simon Armitage, who talked on 'The Language of Where we Live' and read us some of his spellbinding poetry. When it came to questions, there was an embarressing moment: the first questioner apologised to Simon and then addressed their question to me instead! It was a good question, about the parallels between my way of recording detail through images and Simon's gathering of detail through language. It sparked some good discussion, but I did want to floor to open up at first, when all eyes, including Simon's, shot to me, brush in hand, mouth open in surprise. 

And then suddenly it was all over. I decided that, since I had recorded part of my journey there, I would carry on working and record my journey home. The train was packed so I was very lucky to get a seat. I was tucked tight against the window, so it was quite a challenge, frantically scribbling impressions of the passing landscape with my concertina paper unfolding all over the place and the man next to me being terribly British and pretending it wasn't happening!

Unfortunately, extrapolating from my output at the conference, it looks like I am going to need to wrestle with another roll of watercolour paper before the residency, as I will need approximately twice as many sketchbooks as I have already made. Rats.

A big thank you to the team at the Morgan Centre for hosting a really interesting event and for looking after me so well. An even bigger thank you to Sue Heath for commissioning me to take part in such a fun project. Can't wait for the next bit...

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19. You’re Practically Grown Up…NOT!

Eighth-graders frequently seem confused about how grown up they are. And do you blame them? Not me. Twelve to fourteen-year-olds pay adult admission, and are about to make the giant leap into high school, yet they’re not allowed to drive or work. Bummer. Girls, already on the road in developing the forms and functions of grown women, deal with parents who one moment scold, “You’re practically grown up!” and then awhile later become hysterical when their princess ASKS about the ins and outs of dating. Boys, with their physical and sexual maturity just beginning to awaken, are suddenly surrounded by a horde of newly attractive and unnervingly gigantic girls. Yikes!

Most eighth-graders concerns are related to friends, family, and school. Honestly, it’s a social media nightmare at times. Are they going to be embarrassed? Will their BFF still be their friend tomorrow? Does he like me like me, or just like me? You get the drift.

So as a writer, how do you connect with such a tough audience, who’s not quite grown up, yet feel that all systems are go and are ready to wear bigger shoes? One way is to hook into their characteristics, and extract a much needed trait or a combination of traits to make your characters feel authentic to your readers. In order to do this, we need to take a look at what makes an eighth-grader tick.

Here are Eight 8th Grader Characteristics:

1. Can be touchy, and express anger easily.

2. Music is increasingly important to them, as is technology and the latest got-to-have gadget.

3. Sarcasm is a prevalent quality. (I use that one a lot!)

4. As their self-concept develops, they can be withdrawn or prone to challenging others. They struggle with a sense of identity.

5. Abstract reasoning skills are strengthening and expanding. 

6. May test limits and rules, but also develop ideals and choose role models.

7. Skin problems may be emerging, boys’ voices are changing, and girls are menstruating. Personal hygiene and self-confidence become issues.

8. May begin to experiment with sex and substances.

Remember, readers this age are looking for escape, to experience things they can’t in their own lives. Being attuned to how they think, and what they’re feeling is a step in the right direction to creating a story that will keep this age group turning page after page of your latest tween read!

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20. Monday Mishmash 7/6/15

Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Book Deal! You know that news I've been hinting at? Well, it's that I signed another book deal! Yay!!! OUR LITTLE SECRET, my YA contemporary romance (written as Ashelyn Drake) will be published by Limitless Publishing. Here's the PM announcement:
    Ashelyn Drake's OUR LITTLE SECRET, when a girl falls for her best friend's twin brother, she'll have to decide what she's willing to risk to keep the guy of her dreams, to Jessica Gunhammer at Limitless, by Sarah Negovetich at Corvisiero Literary Agency.
  2. Signing Postponed  I was supposed to have a signing on July 4th for The Monster Within and The Darkness Within at Books-A-Million in the Stroud Mall in Stroudsburg, PA, but it had to be postponed. It's now scheduled for July 25th from noon to 3:00 p.m. If you'll be in the area, I hope you'll come see me.
  3. Editing  This is the summer of edits for me. Last week I tackled edits on two of my own books as well as edits for clients. My poor eyes are going to hate me soon—if they don't already.
  4. Free Monthly Newsletter  Today my newsletter goes out. In it is a sneak peek at the cover of the secret project I've been hinting about. The cover has already been revealed in my street team (Kelly's Coven) FB group, and now it's time for my newsletter subscribers to see it. I won't be doing a cover reveal, which means no one else will see the cover until the book is released, which will also be a surprise! If you aren't signed up to receive my newsletter, but would like to, click here.
  5. Slow Response Time  I have funeral services to attend this week because there was a death in my family. So if I'm slow to respond to comments, that's why.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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21. Illustrator Submission :: Clare Owen

Post by Chloe

flowers jpg jpg2 toulouse

Clare Owen is a freelance illustrator based in Bristol who combines traditional media such as pen and ink with digital media to create charming illustrations. Her work has a feminine, pretty feel with added quirky touches. Clare Owen is inspired by films, flowers and food.
If you would like to view more of Clare Owen’s work please visit her portfolio.

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22. Unexpected Joy


If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it.
―Mary Oliver

The post Unexpected Joy appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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23. Headlines in an Ever Changing Marketing Landscape

If you use social media networks to publish your content, you should realize that one title or headline won’t have the same click-power as others. And, even if it’s effective now, it doesn’t mean it’ll be click worthy a month or so down the road. If you’ve read about writing effective titles, you know they need to almost instantly grab the reader. Along with that, it must have enough

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24. It's a "White Page Day"


Woohoo!!!! It's #TeachersWrite Time!

I'm your friendly Monday-Morning Warm-Up host and I'll be posting here every Monday Morning with a little writing encouragement and exercise to get you going for the week.

To start, let's think about why you're here. What are your goals? What do you want to say? Why is writing important to you? These are big questions, but I find the answers are what help me keep going on days when it's hard to sit and write.

Here's a favorite passage from Jacqueline Woodson's brilliant and beautiful book, Brown Girl Dreaming (from the poem "Composition Notebook"):

Nothing in the world is like this—
a bright white page with
pale blue lines. The smell of a newly sharpened pencil
the soft hush of it
moving finally
one day
into letters.

(Brown Girl Dreaming, page 155)

Guess what, friends? Today is your white page day!

Today, you get to open a new notebook, start on a new page, a new screen, a new scrap of paper, a new sticky note. Today, that wonderful blank page is waiting for your words to fill it up with a note, a memory, a phrase, a thought, a piece of love. Your truth. Your story.

How can you make that white page colorful? Meaningful? Special? What do you want to tell the world? How might the story inside you change a life if you share it?

My task for you today, on this White Page Day, is to find a blank page and make a list of what you know about your project, and the reasons this particular one is important to you. Just start listing each little piece, no matter how seemingly insignificant. Write everything you know so far. Everything you hope for. Everything you see when you close your eyes and think about this particular story.

As you make your list, watch how your words turn into a poem of promises to yourself. Then keep your list somewhere near, so that when your energized days start to wilt, you'll remember the spark that got you started.

Since I'm beginning something brand new this month, here's mine. I'd love it if you shared yours in the comments, too. Or, share them on your own blogs, or on facebook, or tumblr, or wherever you might be spending time these days. Or don't. You can also hold it close to your chest for now. This is your White Page Day. Celebrate it however you want. :-)

A Work In Progress

This is a story about a girl
It's not a lucky year
Next door, there are new neighbors
They are The Haves
She is a Have Not
From a Have Not family
It's summertime
Dry and hot
I think there's a pony she didn't ask for
And an angry pig to feed
And too many responsibilities
There will be dirt
And resentment
A bit of self-loathing
And blaming
And longing
There's be a boy who can't see her
And a brother who sees too much
There will be loneliness
And there will be loss
But there will also be joy
This is my story
But I'll make it someone else's
I see the scenes like ghosts
They've been haunting me all my life
The images aren't vivid yet
Just pieces of memory and wishes from the past
Secrets and missed chances
And misunderstandings
I feel them slowing down now
Waiting for me to reach out and pull them close
Own what's mine finally
Face fears and face facts
Turn them into story
Put it on the page

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25. माँ को भी याद आती है




माँ को भी याद आती है

अपनी माँ की हर बात

उसका वो

नर्म हाथो से रोटी का निवाला खिलाना

होस्टल छोडने जाते हुए वो डबडबाई आखों से निहारना

उसका पल्लू पकड़कर आगे पीछे घूमना

उसके प्यार की आचँ से तपता बुखार उतर जाना

कम अंक लाने पर उसका रुठना पर जल्दी ही मान जाना


माँ को भी याद आती है

अपनी माँ की हर बात

पर माँ तो माँ है

इसलिए बस चंद पल खुद ही सिसक लेती है

और फिर भुला देती है खुद को

पाकर अपने बच्चो को प्यार भरी

छावँ मे,दुलार मे ,मनुहार में

पर अक्सर

माँ को भी याद आती है

अपनी माँ की हर बात

असल मॆं, हम हरदम अपनी मां की बात करते हैं उन्हें याद करते हैं पर हमारी मां को भी अपनी मां की याद आती है … है ना … बस यही सोच कर कविता बन गई … कैसी लगी आपको जरुर बताईगा !!!

The post माँ को भी याद आती है appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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