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and I met in 2003, via our mutual friend Melissa Anelli of the Harry Potter fan site The Leaky Cauldron, and I read an early draft of Grounded
in 2004. I liked its characters and action a lot -- Rapunzel descending from her tower against her will, and traveling across the land of Tyme with a thief named Jack -- but to my eye, it didn't have enough emotional and world-building depth to elevate it from "cute and smart" to "real and meaningful," and I thought Meg could do more with it. So I told her that, in a three-page editorial letter, and offered to look at a revision when she was ready.
I did not think at the time--and nor did Meg--that this readiness would take eight years. But when she contacted me about the ms. again in 2012, she said that she had rewritten the book, "revised the rewrite, plotted the entire series in detail from back to front, and then revised it again. . . . Though the plot sounds similar to what it was, the book is very different, with a cast of characters who are fully realized and motivated, including the peripheral characters, who don't come to the fore until later books in the series. I love it and believe in it." I had never forgotten Grounded--
and in fact had been hoping for this e-mail for eight years--so I asked to see it again.
And this time, I loved it and believed in it too, as Meg was 100% right in her estimation of her revised novel. I adore fairy tales in part because the transformations they contain speak to some of our deepest human stories and relationships, and my favorite retellings round out those transformations with complex psychology and world-building, while honoring the readerly pleasures of wonder or romance or connection at their heart. The new Grounded
kept all the charm of Rapunzel and Jack's banter and the cleverness of the land of Tyme, whose history, geography, and even the resulting economics and sociology have all been fully thought through. But it achieved the reality and deeper meaning I'd been hoping for, thanks to Rapunzel's complex relationship with her Witch, whom she truly loves, and who has good reason to keep her in the tower; and Rapunzel's own process of growing up, finding out hard truths, and yet moving forward into wholeness. The book made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me intensely happy as a reader; and since it came out earlier this month, both Meg and I have been delighted by its critical reception -- including two starred reviews! -- which has praised both its many pleasures and that emotional depth. (It's also an Amazon.com Best Book of the Month
for May.) Publishing it has reminded me yet again: Good things come to editors who wait.
Four more notes, before I share Meg's Five Questions:
- You can actually see a rare scene of the editor and author at work, sort of, in Melissa Anelli's Harry, A History. Page 79 documents a writing weekend among the three of us that took place at my apartment, where Meg was working on Grounded, Melissa was writing for the Leaky Cauldron, and I was editing A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth Bunce, another great fairy-tale retelling. (And also making pancakes.)
- This entire series of five-question posts was actually inspired by Meg herself, as she's written "Five Reasons to Read _________" posts like this one on her blog for years.
- Meg wrote about her side of this story at Literary Rambles and in this interview, which also reflects on her experience as a Harry Potter fan and a fanfiction author.
- And Meg and her friend Kristin Brown, who's a professional geographer, talk about their collaboration in creating "plausible geography" for Tyme in this fascinating interview.
Five Questions for Megan Morrison
1. Tell us a little bit about your book.
It’s the story of Rapunzel – the hair, the tower, the witch – except that my Rapunzel loves her tower and doesn’t want to leave it. She has everything she wants and thinks she is the luckiest person in the world. Until things go wrong, and she learns otherwise.
2. If this book had a theme song and/or a spirit animal, what would it be and why?
If I were to choose just one song, it would have to be “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell). This is Witch’s promise to Rapunzel: that she will allow nothing to divide them – that she’ll rescue her from anything. It’s a very different song at the beginning of the book than it is at the end.
3. Please name and elaborate upon at least one thing you learned or discovered about writing in the course of creating this book.
Sometimes, the idea for a story will come before the writer is ready to meet it. That doesn’t mean that the writer should stop writing or give up on the idea, but it means that the story won’t mature until the writer does. I had the idea for Grounded long before I was equipped to write it well. Life experiences – in particular becoming a mother and a teacher – were necessary. Not that those particular experiences are prerequisites for writing. Far from it. They were just necessary for me. They changed me in big, important ways, and strengthened me as both a storyteller and as a professional. My work ethic and my openness to criticism are vastly improved over what they were ten years ago. I have hardened and mellowed both, in the ways that I needed to.
4. What is your favorite scene in the book?
Rapunzel’s conversation with Witch at the end.
That’s a hard question, though. Whenever Rapunzel and Jack are talking to each other, I am delighted.
5. What are you working on now?
The second book in the Tyme series! A different fairy tale, set in the same world. Many characters who appear in Grounded will show up again.
Check out Crazy! Hot! And Living on the Edge! by Shirley Harris Slaughter for Pay It Forward Week!
Check out author Shirley Harris Slaughter about her book Crazy! Hot! And Living On The Edge! on Stories From Unknown Authors http://blogtalkradio.com/storiesfromunknownauthors
This was a great show and a good book.
Crazy! Hot! And Living On The Edge!
Imagine experiencing emotions that have you questioning your sanity. Your body gets overheated at the least bit of excitement and you scramble to find a fan or some air. Or you find yourself in the throes of a panic attack and can’t understand how to shut it off, so you are filled with anxiety wondering when the next one is coming. What if every time you take a drug you experience side-affects that you are warned about on the label? The title was conceived in my mind after I thought over all the situations I had found myself in, getting out of them, and the affect all of this had on my overall physical and mental well-being. Crazy! Hot! And Living On the Edge!! Is the True Story of My Upside Down Life!
- Paperback: 84 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (April 3, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1508952507
- ISBN-13: 978-1508952503
About the Author
Shirley Harris-Slaughter’s first book highlights her passion for history which led to her first published work, Our Lady of Victory, the Saga of an African American Catholic Community. But she wouldn’t have been able to write that book had she not had the presence of mind to conquer the health crisis she found herself in. She is an advocate for natural health and healing. Any problem that she had to face, she found her way out of it through sheer determination and a miracle. This led to her second book CRAZY! HOT! AND LIVING ON THE EDGE!! Harris-Slaughter saw a void that needed to be filled; and so she decided to share her experience. Harris-Slaughter has been active in her community by supporting candidates for elected office, and voting in every election. She served on the Oak Park School Board. She is an advocate for children and mentored four freshmen girls in the Winning Futures program. She is an active member in her church and she belongs to the Rave Reviews (Virtual) Book Club. She married her best friend Langston and they share a blended family. “We are as different as night and day and yet we are so much alike in many ways. We made it through thirty-two years!” Shirley Harris-Slaughter is available for speaking engagements. Contact Email Address: email@example.com
"When I was younger, the future was... different." So says Frank Walker (George Clooney), one of the heroes of Brad Bird's Tomorrowland, in the opening narration that acts as a frame for the film's story. It probably says everything you need to know about this movie that Frank--and the film itself--seem entirely unaware of the irony and self-contradiction inherent in a statement like this, and
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It was known as Paris in the past. Today, it’s called the Sunken City where two classes live. Those that live the Upper City have the most splendid views as well as the prestige and money that accompanies their class. The Lower City is plagued with poverty and filth but is also the stage for the Razor, a contraption that beheads those of criminals or even wealthy family who go against the dictatorship of Allemande, a man small in stature but larger than life. Beside the Razor is the Tombs, where those awaiting death stay until summoned up by the evil LeBlanc, who is in charge of ensuring Allemande’s rule.
But little do they know Le Corbeau Rouge, also known as The Red Rook, has just entered the city…
Meanwhile, across the sea is the Commonwealth, where those who have enjoy a more pastoral life live. Sophia Bellamy has just entered the room, awaiting her Banns and the man she is to wed, a certain Monsieur Hasard, who catches the attention of all of the ladies in the room, except her. But she knows she must in order for her home to stay in the family. She will not be the ruination of her father and her brother Tom.
But she is hiding a secret most people don’t know. Lady on the outside, Red Rook on the inside…
Wherever they live, everyone lives in a world of no technology, where they watch as more and more useless satellites fall from the skies. The world has gone back to the simpler days of non-mechanized work, where most people are back to an agrarian lifestyle. The world is now a place where plastic sells high on the black market and a can with the strange word "diet" is sought after by collectors of the old world.
There are things that haven't changed though. Greed, the need for power, tyranny, murder and war are still part of the landscape, and one that the evil LeBlanc intends to see to the end. The only obstacle is the Red Rook. LeBlanc pulls no stops when it comes to crippling Sophia, but she does have a back-up plan in place, or does she? Are those working with her for or against her?
Sharon Cameron writes a dystopic novel set in future Paris with all the regale of the Revolution of its past in an excellent combination. People in ball gowns from the 1700s are still mystified by modern things of today's world, all set in a future that is as rich and full as the story itself. What is also unique about this novel is that Cameron parallels her newest novel to the classic, The Scarlet Pimpernel by weaving it into the story in subtle ways. Sophia is a strong female character who knows to rely on herself first while Rene Hasard, her betrothed, shares the same characteristics with a twist of slyness.
If you have been looking for a great dystopia read, pick up this historical dystopia in all of its glory, romance, triumphs and downfalls. It will not disappoint.
Booktrailer by author: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlSDsV8SuMs
In today's chapter of the 'Busy Drawers For Fun Club' I'm drawing a farm. This is about as close as I'm going to get to illustrating a scene from Charlotte's Web - so I quite enjoyed it. The girl reminded me of Fern. I just wished the script called for Wilbur - since I do love drawing pigs. In fact my nickname as a stout young lad was 'Pig'.
A brief look at 'grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.
This week we're looking at two popular hashtags that you can use to connect with patrons and other libraries around the world. Started by the Bernardsville Public Library in Bernardsville, New Jersey, the #libraryinmyhand hashtag is a way to show patrons all of the library resources that can be accessed from mobile devices in the palm of their hands. Based on the #instainmyhand pictures that are popular in Japan, the PicsArt Photo Studio app is used to layer a transparent screenshot of the library's website, databases, or social media pages on top of a photo of a hand. Although only in use for two weeks, the #libraryinmyhand hashtag has already been used by public, school, and academic libraries worldwide.
A second popular hashtag is #librariesofinstagram which serves as a way for libraries using the social media platform to unite and showcase their institutions. This hashtag is used on everything from photos of the library building itself, programs, collections, displays, games and trivia, and fundraising campaigns.
I came across the following micro-tension exercises by literary agent Donald Maass. He writes about how to create micro-tension in his craft books “The Fire in Fiction” and “Writing 21st Century Fiction.” I’m quoting the following from an article that I found here. I’ll admit to never (yet) consciously applying his ideas, but, since I’m now involved in both a stem-to-stern rewrite of one novel and beginning a new one, I think I’m gonna do it. One exercise that really interests me is the last one below. See what you think.
Micro-Tension exercises by Donald Maass
- Pick a passage of dialogue. Strip it down. Increase hostility between the speakers. It can be friendly ribbing, worried questioning, polite disagreement, snide derision, veiled threats, open hostility, or any other degree of friction.
- Repeat the prompt above 100 times.
- Pick a passage of action—anything from high violence to a stroll in the park. Freeze the action in a sequence of three to five still snapshots. Select a detail from each frame. For each snapshot record your POV character’s precise feelings. Discard obvious emotions. Choose emotions that contrast or conflict. Rewrite the passage.
- Repeat the prompt above 50 times.
- Pick a passage of exposition. List all of your POV character’s emotions. List all ideas. Discard what’s obvious. Find emotions that conflict. Find ideas at war. Grab what creates unease, uncertainty, fresh worry, new questions, a deeper puzzle, or agonizing dilemma. Rewrite the passage.
- Repeat the prompt above 100 times. (If you are a romance writer, repeat 200 times.)
- Pick a moment when your protagonist is still, simply waiting or doing nothing. Look around. List three setting details that only this character would notice. Detail her emotions. Find those that conflict or surprise her. What’s this moment’s personal meaning? Write a passage combining snapshot clarity and roiling inner intensity.
- Print out your manuscript. Randomize the pages. (In a workshop I attended he suggested throwing them in the air and then pick the randomized pages back up.) Examine each one in isolation. Does it crackle? Are the characters on tiptoe? What question arises that the reader can’t answer? What’s going badly or wrong for your POV character? How does this page tell the whole story? Revise until the tension level is unbearable.
- Repeat the prompt above for every page. Yes, seriously.
For what it’s worth.
© 2015 Ray Rhamey
By: Terry Hooper-Scharf,
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By: Terry Hooper-Scharf,
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...And More Importantly: How OFTEN Do You Read Them?
Well, since I did the post about the tidy-up in Room Oblivion things have moved on. Books have more-or-less been put into order on the shelves.
This was the old look:http://hoopercomicart.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/order-in-room-oblivion-not-cross-over.html
Then a query was raised about Why
are my comics not all bagged?:http://hoopercomicart.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/why-are-my-comics-not-all-bagged-in.html
But I've seen, over the last few days, several bloggers display their collection in the very over-priced comic boxes and Mylar bags, but also as stacks in comic shop bags. I know there are the lucky ones with a big living area, small room or even secured garage-cum-man den but that's the exception.
I started reading comics when I was 4 or 5 years of age thanks to Ma and Bill (my grandparents). I do not have all those old comics because of various reasons but as I never had a permanent place to live until I hit my 40s my comics were all over the place -but in rudimentary bagging.
Comics and comic annuals go back to the 1940s and there are series I want to re-read if and when I ever get the chance to 'retire' (or go senile which is a form of retirement -perhaps wander the streets with my underpants over my long johns and a table cloth around my neck as I go worrying "hoodies"....no. That's my current hobby). Silver Age Sub-Mariner,
Silver-Bronze Age Avengers, Dr Strange
and, of course, those wonderful small company titles like MF Enterprises Captain Marvel
Above:someone else's collection!
Here is the thing, though: I have thousands
of comics that I have not read since the 1980s, 1990s or even 2000-2010. Some of them were great reads at the time when Marvel and DC had maybe 14-18 main titles a month. Mini series or maxi series were extras. A lot of the comics after 2000 I have little interest in since by that time continuity had ceased to exist with both Marvel and DC. And with Disney owning Marvel continuity does not matter -the dollar is the be-all and end-all.
One day this is all going to implode and I'd guess within the next 4 years, maybe sooner. The rot has already set in. You see, everyone over-excited about Avengers: Age Of Ultron
and I've now noted ten negative reviews such as Bounding Into Comics:"Age Of Ultron: Worse Than A Star Wars Prequel?
Wow. Apparently it only made around $191.3 million dollars on opening weekend. Disney execs must have been jumping from windows. That was sarcasm by-the-way.
It is quite noticeable that more and more bloggers are now calling it "Disney" not "Marvel"...oh, it finally sank in. But while the die-hard Marvel fans will hail anything -even Tony Stark's nail clippings- as a huge success it is very obvious that more negativity is creeping in.
DC are not exempt as, even before the movies are released they are getting negative responses for all sorts of silly reasons. Okay, that may be DCs fault because it has dragged its heels -rather than base movies on established characters -say, Smallville, which movie goers would probably be familiar with- they are dragging things out. "Suicide Squad -has anyone seen the stills from that? Its like a cosplayers lineup" (sic). The most positive comments surrend, as I mentioned before, Harley Quinn's spray-on shorts.
And...WHOA! Even the TV series that "made comic book geek chic" -The Big Bang Theory is getting unprecedented criticism. "Kaley Cuoco's acting stinks. She ought to be replaced!" "Kaley Cuoco shortened her hair. Bimbo!" and Cuoco was previously untouchable. Even the other characters -or, rather, the actors- are getting negativity. One TV pundit in the US claimed the series was still popular but had lost that "geekster following"!
Look on Ebay and elsewhere and you will find a heck of a lot of comics from the last 4-5 years on sale. Shop owners never ever declare these things publicly (they fear for their business after all) but it seems more and more of the newer readers are trying to sell their books back to shops. Yes, after 4-5 years some are realising that comics are NOT going to make them rich. The huge financial outlay in comic storage boxes, Mylar bags and...seriously..."reading gloves" (condoms for comic reading!) is a lot and their comics value has increased by....00.0%
I've seen two comic geek chic types who spent up to $120.00 on a "Rocket Raccoon first appearance" title (seriously, again, go online and see just how many 'first appearances' it is claimed he had!) write that the best offer they had when trying to sell the books on (now there was a sincere interest in comics) was "$20 ****** bucks!" (I was going to tell him he needn't include the "$" sign if he was going to write "bucks" but...).
Comic shops are not going to buy back comics they know they cannot sell or if they can it's only in the $1 box. One stated "It's a buyers market" then added "Customers buy we sell. We don't buy back!" I have now heard of two long time customers in comic shops in the US who had no real interest in the new Secret Wars series -the store owner offered issues 1 and 2 "If you don't like them then okay -bring 'em back and I'll put them in the remainders box".....in one case at least -they ended up in the remainders box (the other guy paid half price "out of loyalty"!!!!).
Having spoken to people who attend comic conventions from Finland to the USA there is one thing they hate as traders -Cos-players.
I really like cos-players and thought that my own observations that they never buy comics -they'll take the freebies- was isolated. However, time and time again I hear "Cos-players never buy books. They are not there for that!" followed by "Events support them so they ought to support the industry!"
Every cos-player I have chatted to does the whole thing for fun. It's a social thing. Decades ago you wanted to meet people and feel one of the gang you joined cycling clubs that went on weekend tours (VERY big in "the olden days"!), or you became a bird-watcher or...or...okay, train-spotters with a real interest in the engineering and so on maybe. But bus-spotting?!! Seriously, Bristol at weekends seems to be full of them -note books and pens ready, cameras on tripods or cameras with telephoto lenses. I mean, okay, as kids we used to spot car licence plates -not so many cars and in some cases those notes even helped the police! But buses......
Anyway, check out You Tube videos of cos-players and it is not
about the comic it is about the look of a character and how they have designed and put together a costume. And meeting up with like-minded people. I am NOT going to go into the more seedy side of why some female cos-players are involved because they are the exception -I think roped off sections for "more adult posing" says it all.
One day, cos-playing will be the main event with comic selling as a rather quaint aside.
TV and movies make big money. Comics to a lesser degree. The fact that "The Big Two" are desperately recycling ideas and really have no respect for fans -watch Tom Brevoort for
Disney announce things -he is not even hiding the fact that selling and YOU buying are all that matters. After all, he's already publicly hatte eine Scheiße over Marvel legendary creators Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and others that followed because they were "not as sophisticated at story telling" as the regurgitating new bloods -check the Ultimate Avengers animated movie extras: it's there.
Comics are seen as secondary and not that important as anything other than movie fodder. The chic-sters -well, the brighter ones- are realising this. There is going to be a massive comics glut on the internet and shop owners are advising those wanting to get rid of their books to "sell them on Ebay!"
We need to get back to the old comic mart days. A day long event where comickers come to buy old comics and where cos-players or over priced toy merchandise are secondary.
For me, I have those thousands of comics I no longer read. I would love to sell them off and get the money -AND the much needed space. However, I know that is unlikely because the market is not there. An offer from a deal for a book that I know in its condition is worth £50-60.00 of "I can give you £5.00 but there is no guarantee I can sell it" is an insult. I check out dealers, I know people who use these comic dealers and they tell me the prices asked by those dealers. That book I was offered £5.00 for? The dealer was so certain I was going to take his offer (!) that he contacted someone I know who emailed me to say he had been offered the book for...£75.00. The dealer did get back to me by phone and tried everything to get back book -all of that month's Marvel comics AND £10.00. He certainly did not like my "No".
But look at your comic collection and ask yourself how many of the books you read more than once. What do you expect from your collection -it will never earn you enough to retire on- as the years go by? A yard sale? Thrift store donation? I know that when I croak mine will probably -likely- be sold off for what can be got and the rest trashed or burned.
Comickers tend to buy, read and store. I don't think I've ever met a real comicker who ever thought beyond that.
Depressing, isn't it? Believe me, no one is more depressed about it than me...other than the cupboards.
Here's a thought, though: Hong Kong produced huge numbers of comics but you try finding comickers today in Hong Kong who have knowledge of Manhua pre 2000s or 1990s. The same in Singapore where I was astounded on forums to learn I was the only one who knew of 1980s Singaporean comics!
Buy and read and keep comics you love and read more than once. In forty years time someone is going to be writing: "Where the hell did these mountains of comics from the early 2000s originate?!" and that after he picked up a pack of 50 comics for $10.......LINKS http://sciencefiction.com/2013/11/04/comic-book-collection-yeah-pretty-much-worthless/http://www.epguides.com/comics/dealer.shtml http://www.comicsbeat.com/why-your-bronze-age-comics-colelction-aint-worth-squat/
Blog: Hello Ello 2
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Sloths Are So Talkative!
Did you know #Sloths made this adorable sound? It's like they're calling out for us to hug them, too cute! What animals do you think they sound like? Tell us below and share the video if you want to see more #SlothSundays.
Posted by Animalist on Sunday, May 17, 2015
#BookADay: FOX AND SQUIRREL MAKE A FRIEND by my awesome sis, Ruth Ohi (published by Scholastic Canada). This was a "Best Books" selection by the The Canadian Children's Book Centre and a "First and Best" Toronto Public Library Selection!
"Is there room for someone else in Fox and Squirrel's friendship? Fox and Squirrel are the best of friends. But when Yellow Bird comes along, he and Squirrel frolic high up in the treetops where Fox can't reach. Fox feels like Squirrel doesn't need him anymore. Can Squirrel help Fox see that there's room in their friendship for another?
The simple text and joyful art together deliver a heartwarming tale with a subtle but profound message about the strengths of friendship, loyalty, and acceptance."
More about my sister and her school visits: http://RuthOhi.com
More about the book: http://www.scholastic.ca/…/v…/fox-and-squirrel-make-a-friend
More info: Donalyn Miller's Summer Book-A-Day Challenge | Archives of my #BookADay posts.
By: Nicole L.,
Head to either blog to find reviews as well as dozens of links to other blogs filled with reviews!
Books I've Recently Read:
Chasing Freedom: The Life Journeys of Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony-Inspired by Historical Facts by Nikki Grimes
Illustrated by Michele Wood
Orchard Books, 2015
Recommended for grades 3-5
Beautiful paintings accompany short vignettes of Tubman's and Anthony's lives, coming together to form an imagined version of how the two powerhouse women might have passed a morning together in conversation. The reader will leave with an introduction to Tubman and Anthony, setting up readers for deeper understanding when confronted with heavier historical texts.
The art is inspired by African patterns and American quilt designs, which were such an important symbol during the years the underground railroad ran.
I enjoyed this brief and informative story, and fully appreciated the visuals.
The Witch's Boy by Kelly Barnhill
Algonquin Young Readers, 2014
Recommended for grades 4+
A fellow blogging friend said to be patient with The Witch's Boy. I now know why. This story is slow in developing the reader's expectations-at least that is how I experienced it. I've got to be honest, this one let me down. I had such high hopes: Creepy title + Gorgeously dark and mysterious cover + Stellar online reviews = high expectations. I was let down in the way the story seemed to plod softly along. The opening of the book was also almost too much to bear, and I think adults should beware of which child they might be recommending this book to, as the book begins with the scene of a drowning death of a young boy. The image of the mother holding her lifeless son hurt me, and I felt angry at the unexpected pain the book brought me. There is so much to this story, I'm just not the one to do it justice. I'm sorry.
The Dungeoneers by John David Anderson
Walden Pond Press, 2015
Recommended for grades 4-8
Full review to come closer to publication. I will say now: fans of Iron Trials and Harry Potter and The Ability, etc, will enjoy this story of kids being round up for an ability, then put to the test as they refine their skills. Hopefully the start of a new series!
I'm Currently Reading:
Thanks for stopping by!
By: Cate Gardner,
Blog: The Poisoned Apple
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Astounding artwork by David Chatton-Barker
By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for CynsationsStephanie Lyons
is the first-time author of Dating Down
(Flux, 2015). From the promotional copy:At Café Hex, Samantha Henderson can imagine being the person she really wants to be. It’s her place to daydream about going to art school and getting away from her politician father. It’s her place to imagine opening herself up to a new kind of connection, away from her family and the drama of high school.
Enter X—the boy she refuses to name. He’s older, edgy, bohemian . . . in short, everything she thinks she needs. Her family and friends try to warn her that there may be more to him than she sees, but still she stays with X, even as his chaos threatens to consume them both.
Told in waves of poetry—whispering, crashing—Dating Down is a portrait of exhilaration and pain and the kind of desire that drives a girl to risk everything.In writing your story, did you ever find yourself concerned with how to best approach "edgy" behavior on the part of your characters? If so, what were your thoughts, and what did you conclude? Why do you think your decision was the right one?
I did struggle with how much to tell. My story is about a girl who spirals downward while in a bad relationship. It’s odd because—as far as the drugs and partying—I didn’t feel I needed to censor. But the sex, well, that was the part I wrote around for many edits until finally realizing it just wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t go there. So I did. And it hasn’t been a problem out in the real world with readers.
I guess my new mantra is anytime I take off my seventeen-year-old hat and put on my writer’s hat, I’m doing a disservice to the story.As someone with a MFA in Writing for Children (and Young Adults), how did your education help you advance in your craft? What advice do you have for other MFA students/graduates in making the transition between school and publishing as a business?
My MFA made all the difference. I was a sponge while I was at Vermont College of Fine Arts
. Time there is an endless source of creative inspiration and information: The lectures and discussions. Talking about books. Why you did or didn’t like a particular one. Turning something in on a monthly basis and knowing someone’s on the other side ready to read it and help you make it better.
All these things gave me “aha” moments. And the people I met were super talented and supportive. I didn’t just gain a degree, I gained lifelong writing friends.
As for advice for other MFA students making the transition, I’d definitely say, know that when you’re creating something that is the creative process. Once you create it and turn it over to an agent or editor that is the business process.
The creative process is personal. The business process isn’t. Learn to separate the two and you will have a much easier time.
|Ruby is a vital part of the creative process.|
By: Terry Hooper-Scharf,
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वो बच्चा …
कुछ दिन पहले दोपहर मे दरवाजे पर घंटी बजी. इतनी गर्मी में कौन आया होगा सोच कर मैं दरवाजा खोलने गई तो देख दस बारह साल का एक बच्चा थैला लिए खडा था बोला आंटी जी धूप, अगरबत्ती लाया हूं ले लीजिए … मुझे शक हुआ कि भरी धूप में किसलिए … कही उसके साथ कोई गिरोह न हो …मैने बहुत मना किया कि नही लेनी पर फिर भी छोटा बच्चा जान कर 20 रुपए की अगरबती ले ली. दो दिन पहले फिर घर की बैल बजी. बाहर गई तो वही बच्चा था. उसने फिर खरीदने के लिए जोर दिया उसने बताया कि उसके पिता शराब पीते हैं और मां घरों मे काम करती है और कमाई का कोई जरिया नही … मना करते करते भी मैने इस बार 30 रुपए की धूप और अगर बती खरीद ली. पर मन में बार बार एक ही बात आ रही थी कि ऐसे लोगों की बात में कोई सच्चाई नही होती ..
आज किसी काम से भरी दोपहर में मार्किट जाना पडा, ट्रैफिक की वजह से कार रेंग रेंग कर चल रही थी अचानक मेरा ध्यान एक दुकान पर गया. वही बच्चा वही थैला अगरबती बेच रहा था. आवाज तो सुनाई नही दे रही थी पर उसके हाव भाव से लग रहा था कि वो मिन्नत कर रहा है कि दुकान दार खरीद ले और कुछ ही देर में वो पसीना पोछता चुपचाप सिर झुका बाहर आ गया. सामने का रास्ता साफ हो गया था इसलिए मेरी कार भी आगे बढ गई. रास्ता साफ था पर मेरे मन मे बहुत उथल पुथल चल रही थी.
बेचारा सच्चा था पर मैने विश्वास नही किया शायद इसलिए कि समाज मे बुराई इतनी बढ गई है और हम उसमे इतने उलझ गए है कि सच्चाई और अच्छाई हमें दिखाई नही नही देती.. दिखाई देती भी है तो हमारा दिल उसे नही मानता
पर अब मुझे उसी बच्चे का इंतजार है वो आएगा तो मैं उससे खूब सारी धूप और अगरबती खरीदूगी …
The post That kid appeared first on Monica Gupta.
Doable: the girls' guide to accomplishing just about anything
by Deborah Reber
Simon Pulse. 2015
Grades 10 thru adult
I borrowed a copy of this book from my local public library
I’ve been taking a class in Leadership; it’s really a course in Coaching. I took it with the intention of becoming a more effective manager at work, but also a supportive friend and mentor
One of the many things I like about Facebook? You get to learn things about your family that you otherwise probably wouldn’t have known.
The man laying on the ground in the picture above is my grandfather – my dad’s dad. He fought in World War II.
I’m just going to post what my Aunt posted on Facebook …
Dan said his dad never talked about the war much (who could blame him) but he would tell us this story often.
One day there was an order to head out, so some of his buddies got into the jeep. Right before Leroy got in, his commanding officer said “Hutton you stay”. That jeep was hit and Leroy lost good friends. He would say to us, “If I would have gotten in, you all would have never been here, that saved my life”. Glad he didn’t get in!”
Isn’t it amazing to think that one moment in time, that one split second decision my grandfather’s commanding officer made, led us to this moment: Four children, ten grandchildren, nineteen (?) great grandchildren later.
It sort of boggles the mind when you stop to think about it.
My grandfather is in his early nineties now. We lost my grandmother, my dad’s mom, about … three years ago (?). She developed dementia toward the end of her life and it was a terribly sad way to say goodbye. It was very hard on my parents, I know. And now my grandfather is being moved to a nursing home today because we have reached the point where he can’t take care of himself and it’s physically too hard on my family to help. (He’s wheelchair bound and he requires physical assistance to get into bed, go to the bathroom, etc).
This is INCREDIBLY hard on my grandfather. He’s FIERCELY independent, has been his whole life, so now that he is being forced into this situation, well, it’s been difficult, to say the least.
My parents came over yesterday and they filled in the details. It was heartbreaking to listen to the anguish in their voices and watch tears gather in their eyes.
My grandfather begs them to take him home. He doesn’t want to go to the home. Who can blame him?? But though my family tried to take care of him in his home for one week, the situation is simply more than any of them can handle. They’re trying to make deals with my grandfather, work hard, participate in physical therapy, work on his strength so that he can at least walk on his own again and then they can take him home and work on a schedule to have someone with him at all times. But my grandfather is being stubborn. I’m sure the whole situation is embarrassing and humiliating for him. I see this in patients every day at work. It’s SO HARD to succumb to physical restrictions and have to rely on other people to help you when you’ve been so used to being on your own, taking care of yourself, your whole life.
This situation makes me think of my own parents a lot. They’re getting up there in age, too. Though they are still both relatively young and stay physically active (they go to a gym to walk and socialize every day), I can see early signs of dependency. It brings a lump to my throat to think me and my siblings may be in a similar boat one of these years. And though you can promise you’ll never, ever, put your loved ones in a home, you can’t TRULY promise that. I think this situation with my grandfather has taught me that. All you can do is the best you can do for the situation you find yourself in.
I also wonder how our boys will react when Kevin and I reach that age. Getting older has never really bothered me before, but honestly, seeing my grandfather’s situation has opened up doors I never really knew existed before.
I learned that being in a home, a DECENT home, is terribly expensive. This will likely put a huge dent in my grandfather’s money. I have no idea how much he has, it’s really none of my business how much money he has, but knowing my family, he likely has a nest egg somewhere he can rely on to help him through this stage. I feel terribly sorry for people that DON’T have that money to fall back on.
Kevin and I have talked about making sure we have a will. But I’m not sure we have ever really discussed our plan if one of us ends up in a nursing home. I have made Kevin promise me he will never put me in a home, and vice versa, but my grandfather’s situation has taught me, it’s never quite that black and white.
I worry that dementia runs in our family. I mentioned my grandmother had it and there are signs my grandfather might have it, too. I’ve always worried about my own memory – I have trouble remembering things NOW. What will I be like when I reach my twilight years?
I think that’s one big reason I refuse to retire. Which, I realize is unrealistic, my body will deteriorate … I realize this. But I hereby pledge to work on keeping my mind active. I’m not saying my grandparents did not do that, dementia is not something you can likely prevent, but I will do everything in my power to keep it at arm’s length.
In the meantime, life trudges on. All we can do is try and keep pace with it.
Filed under: Life
how do you become the kind of teacher who leaves plenty of think time? How do you go from rapid-fire, to more thoughtful questioning?
In the first chapter of The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough, a baby boy is visited by the manifestation of Love. Appearing as a man in a fine gray suit, Love gives the boy a steady heart and these words: "Have courage." The next night, the manifestation of Death visits a baby girl across town and marks the child with a tear and whispered warnings. The first chapter is set in 1920; the next chapter skips forward to 1937, when the players are seventeen years old and the Game officially begins.
Told in third person, the book shuttles between the perspectives of the players - Flora, an African-American aviatrix who tends to planes during the day and sings jazz music at her uncle's club at night, and Henry, a scholarship student who lives with his best friend's well-to-do family - and the game runners - Death, a cynical feminine presence who would give Once Upon a Time's Queen Regina a run for her money, and Love, a masculine presence who believes in the transformative power of love. Other characters who come into play include Henry's best friend Ethan, Ethan's little sister Annabel, Ethan's cousin Helen, Flora's grandmother, Flora's uncle, and others at the jazz club. The third-person narrative permits the readers to know more about the characters, the events, and the overall big picture than the main players, who are unaware of their part in the Game. Revelations and connections lead to some tense page turns, especially as the story ramps up to the climax.
Death is a master manipulator, cunning and some would say cruel as she finds a way to get close to Henry and use him as a pawn. Meanwhile, Love is determined and hopeful, and his side story is something that made me want to give Brockenbrough a very strong high-five. The world would be a better place if all people were open-minded and optimistic and true to themselves.
The contrast between Death and Love is stark, but what's even more interesting is what they have in common. Consider, if you will, what they want; what they seek; what they are willing to sacrifice; and what they refuse to give up. It's eye-opening and tear-jerking and thought-provoking and other hyphenated things. If you are an emotional reader, you should probably have a box of Kleenex nearby. Also, perhaps you should sit in a comfy chair so you can grip the arm of it and/or curl up in a ball when necessary.
The writing throughout the novel is thoughtful. Every scene offers a complete picture of the setting and the people present. For example:
"Do you ever wonder," Helen said, walking down the stairs towards him, "if flowers feel pain when someone cuts them?" She lifted one from the basket. "Does it look like it suffered?"
"Oh, Helen," Mrs. Thorne said, "what a curious thing to say. I'm sure Henry has thought no such thing."
It was true. But, he realized, he would not be able to look at a flower again without wondering whether it had suffered, or whether anyone had cared. - Page 94
The word "someday" is introduced early in the book as something important to the characters, and it leads to an impactful song that I wish we could hear.
If you liked The Game of Love and Death, you should check out The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. Read the original book, then see the classic film. The book was written by Josephine Leslie, but she used a pseudonym: R.A. Dick. The book also inspired a TV series, a sitcom. You should also read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, which is directly narrated by Death, who is omniscient and genderless and more of an observer than a manipulator. Set on the European homefront during World War II, you'll need Kleenex to handle the tears you'll shed while reading that book, too.
The Sound of Music Story: How A Beguiling Young Novice, A Handsome Austrian Captain and Ten Singing von Trapp Children Inspired the Most Beloved Film of All Time. Tom Santopietro. 2015. St. Martin's Press. 324 pages. [Source: Library]
I enjoyed reading Tom Santopietro's The Sound of Music Story. Did I enjoy each chapter equally? Probably not. But what I was interested in, I was REALLY interested in, and, I was fine skimming the rest.
The book focuses on several things: 1) the story of the actual von Trapp family, both before and after the Sound of Music, 2) the Sound of Music on Broadway (its creation, duration, etc.) 3) the filming and reception of The Sound of Music (focus on the directing, producing, filming, acting, costuming, etc.) 4) the legacy of the Sound of Music, five decades worth of trivia on the film and the soundtrack, etc.
I loved reading about the filming of the movie. I did. I loved reading about the filming of particular scenes and particular songs. It was just fun. There were chapters of this one that were just giddy-making.
Not all of the book was equally captivating to me. But I appreciated the thoroughness of it.
© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
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Authored by Lauren Micchelli and illustrated by Thomas Barnett
Ages 3- 6
Unwrapping the illustrations....
Unwrapping the book's story...
What a fun book to share with your little one. The characters are adorable and the message is positive and full of love. Please trust me, after it's read to your child ... forget the dog or cat ... she will want a pet elephant of her very own, just like Pete.
The antics and adventures that these two share proves beyond a shadow of a doubt how special their friendship is. The book is written in rhyme and each page naturally flows into the next. The sweet couple share feeding, bath, and play times that radiate pure bliss and happiness. They are inseparable and you know by their facial and body responses, the feeling is mutual.
I especially love when she rides around on his back after coming home from school for snacks and she sleeps on his head because the bed is too small for both of them to fit. I know you will be charmed by the colourful expressive illustrations that portrays the love between a cute little girl and her BFF elephant, her Pete. I highly recommend this book for you to check out.
About the author...
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