Want some pizza? Get a pie
And freeze it when you finish.
Wrapped in foil and baggied,
All that taste will not diminish.
Then when hunger strikes, you're set;
Just snatch a slice and heat it.
In ten minutes, grab a beer
And sit right down to eat it.
In New York, the pizza's great
So do yourself a favor -
Freeze it when it's fresh. You'll always
Have a meal to savor.
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Blog: prime time rhyme (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Want some pizza? Get a pie
Blog: Just the Facts, Ma'am (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Here are a few things not to put in your opening pages.
Blog: Playing by the book (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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One of the best days of our school summer holiday this year was spent taking things apart and weaving other things together.
Two friends of mine are the driving force behind setting up an alternative, creative play space in my home town, and I was honoured to be a part of the team involved in testing a prototype of their PLAYLAB. The longer term project is all about taking play seriously, providing a wide range of fun opportunities to grow and develop, through engineering, digital, drama, art, and tinkering-based activities, and for one day during the summer we took over an empty shop in the local mall and turned it into a hive full of transformers and loom bandits.
We had a range of old machines to take apart with hand tools, to explore, rebuild and repurpose and a sweetie shop array of loom bands for weaving and creating.
There were also books! Books on the theory of play and practical books to inspire kids and families. One of my roles was setting up this mini tinkering/play-themed library and today I thought I’d share some of them with you. Whilst these aren’t kids’ books per se, they are definitely family books – books to share and inspire kids and their grown ups to be creative.
Cool Tools: A Catalog of possibilities by Kevin Kelly is a bizarre but ultimately enticing and fascinating curation of reviews of stuff that enable you to do, create, and explore your world.
At first I baulked at a book that essentially seemed to be a collection of themed adverts covering everything from shoes to spirituality, Velcro to vagabonding, joinery to geology; each reviews has a product photo, details of where to buy the product and the typical price of the item, followed by a review of the “tool” at hand.
But as I browsed this book (although its size and format – larger than A4 and printed on thin glossy paper – make it slightly unwieldy, this is a great book for dipping in and out of) I got sucked in and ideas for all sorts of play and creativity started flowing.
And that’s what this book sis really all about: Showing you some interesting, practical tools (both physical and digital) to enable you to see possibilities where perhaps you saw none before. It’s sparked lots of “what if?” conversations in our family, and amazed us with the range of innovative ideas out there.
On the back cover of Cool Tools it states “This book was made with the young in mind. Give a copy to a kid you know.” M (at 9) has loved this books though some families may wish to know in advance that there is a small section on ‘Psychedelics’ including marijuana, and e-cigarettes. Given the format of this book, the page concerned can easily be removed and its presence should certainly not be a barrier to you opening this book up and exploring all the possibilities it offers you.
The Art of Tinkering by Karen Wilkinson and Mike Petrich has one of the best front covers I’ve ever seen. It embodies what the book is about int he most perfect way possible: It is printed with conductive ink, allowing you to play/tinker/hack the book before you’ve even opened it.
Where Cool Tools was about products to foster doing/playing/tinkering, The Art of Tinkering is about showcasing a wide range of artists mixing technology and art, taking apart and repurposing one thing to make something exciting and new. After each artist is introduced there’s a section on “how you can tinker” in a way similar to the artist in question. Some of the suggestions need rather more equipment than just a screwdriver, glue or paint, but the ideas are innovative and inspirational, ranging from time lapse art to playdoh circuits, animating stuffed toys to sculpting in cardboard, building your own stroboscope to making clothes out of unusual materials. Whilst the book doesn’t include step by step tutorials, it is packed with practical information, presented beautifully. Nearly every page turn has resulted in “Mum, can we try that?!”
Tinkerlab by Rachelle Doorley is a compendium of “55 playful experiments that encourage tinkering, curiosity and creative thinking”, born out of the US blog with the same name, Tinkerlab. Written specifically with the 0-6 year old crowd in mind, the projects in this book are simpler and easier to set up than in some of the other books mentioned here today, and many fall into the messy play category; you might not think of them as tinkering (for example collage painting and drawing games), and yet they do all involve experimenting, exploring, testing and playing, and in that sense they could be described as ‘tinkering’. “Design”, “Build”, “Concoct” and “Discover” form the main themes of each chapter packed with clear, recipe-like guidance for the themed activities. The book is beautifully produced with a coffee table book feel and the activities are contextualised with brief essays by various play and education professionals. It’s written very much with parents in mind; Doorley is keen to encourage us all at home to make space for mess and exploration, and this book helps make it feel possible, manageable and enjoyable.
Make: is a quarterly magazine made up of a mixture of opinion pieces, detailed tutorials and artist/project biographies and write-ups. I’d gift this mind-boggling magazine to teens (or adults) who love the idea of playing and creating with technology. The projects are aimed at those who embrace electronics and gadgets and range from the practical (eg a DIY blood pressure monitor or sleep timer) to the purely whimsical, (eg moving, fire breathing sculptures or coffee shop construction toys).
If tinkering/hacking is something that interests you, do look out for this year’s series of Christmas Lectures from the Royal Institution. “Sparks will fly: How to hack your home” is the title for this year’s series of lectures aimed at curious kids and their families and in them Professor Danielle George will be exploring how the spark of your imagination and some twenty first century tinkering can change the world. They will be shown on BBC4 over the Christmas period, and in January 2015 on the Ri’s (free) science video channel: www.richannel.org.
Blog: Scott E Franson (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Blog: Shelley Scraps (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Here are some more pages from my sketchbook in Tokyo this summer. I already posted this selection on Facebook, so apologies to my friends who've already seen them!
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Blog: Fantastical Childrens Books (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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It was two days later, when I had returned from a brief two day hiatus that I noticed the QUIET. Where was the traffic? Where were the sounds of scolding chatters and abrupt churrs? Where were the cries for food? Then I realized…the Wren family had flown the coop. I looked inside, sorrowfully, as our […]Add a Comment
Blog: The Storyteller's Scroll (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Today, I’d like to welcome my friend and author, Katie Carroll and her main character, Katora Kase, from her YA novel, ELIXIR BOUND. Let’s give a big round of applause for our guests. Katie, I’m happy you were able to visit The Storyteller’s Scroll. We are all anxious to meet Katora. Katie: Katora, why don’t you start by talking about exactly what you are up against in your latestAdd a Comment
Blog: Cheryl Rainfield: Avid Reader, Teen Fiction Writer, and Book-a-holic. Focus on Children & Teen Books (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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I was nervous before my talk on STAINED yesterday at Chapters Scarborough. I’m always nervous before I give a talk! (Part of it is that whole “we’ll-kill-you-if-you-talk” thing my abusers used to tell me, and part of it is that I’m an introvert. I’d rather talk one-to-one with readers.) But being nervous means I practice a lot–and that’s good for my talk.
So it was lovely to see copies of STAINED on display, next to books by Gayle Foreman (If I Stay), John Green (The Fault In Our Stars), and Holly Black and Cassandra Clare (The Iron Trial). STAINED was in such good company!
And it was reassuring to find Christie from the teen section of Chapters Scarborough and bibliophiliacs there, who helped organize everything so beautifully–and who came in when it wasn’t even her shift to help out, hear me talk, and buy two copies of STAINED and get them signed! I was honored. She is smart, kind, knowledgeable, and knows a ton about YA books.
I set out the free book swag I had for readers–some positive-message stickers, positive-message wristbands, and of course bookmarks. I also had a draw for readers for a Chapters giftcard and an audiobook copy of SCARS.
Christie introduced me. She had such nice things to say about me and about STAINED (which is a Bank Street College Best Book of the Year for Ages 14 and Up, 2014).
I talked about why I write the books I write, the need for strong girls, emotionally strong boys, and diverse characters in books. I talked about how I used to write instead of speak (my abusers told me that they’d kill me if I talked, and since I’d seen them murder other children I knew they could do it, so I turned to writing and art to speak), and how that lead to me writing books, mentioned #WeNeedDiverseBooks, the need for everyone to see themselves reflected back in books and popular culture so we don’t feel invisible, other, or like there’s something wrong with us, and how important books that deal with painful issues can be to some readers. Sometimes a book is the only “person” a teen has to turn to, the only way they can know that they’re not alone, not crazy, and that they can get through. That was true for me as a child and teen, and it’s true for many teens today.
After my talk I did a short reading from STAINED to gain readers’ interest.
I love how the audience always gets so quiet when I talk–they’re really listening!
After the talk and reading comes my favorite part–talking to readers, signing their books, and hugging them. It feels so good to hear that I’ve opened up their eyes to an issue like self-harm and the reasons it happens, or the effects of rape and abduction, or the strength of survivors, or just that I’ve moved them.
Talking to my readers–readers who’ve read one or all of my books, and readers who are just discovering them–is rewarding!
And one of my very favorite parts of a talk is hugging readers afterward if they want a hug. Here’s me hugging Laurie, who’s read and loved my books. Laurie’s written some poetry, and she and her daughters love to write and read. I love hearing that!
And here I am hugging reader and activist Casey Anne. This hug and meeting her meant so much to me. Casey Anne has read all my books, talked with me online–and she drove more than 10 hours from the US to Toronto to come meet me and hear me talk! Casey Anne has such a good heart, so meeting her was a delight.
Mary, who drove down with her daughter Casey Anne, and I also had a few good hugs.
And so did reader Kaitlyn and I. Kaitlyn’s a tween, not yet a teen, so I left it up to her mom and grandmother about whether my books would be good for her. Kaitlyn read them, and so did her family, and they all enjoyed them. What a good feeling!
Casey Anne and I spent a good long time talking together after my talk and signing. I wanted to make sure that she had some time with me after driving so far to come meet me! It was a fantastic talk; I enjoyed it so much. Casey Anne is smart, kind, and talented, and she’s got such a good heart. Her visit was a highlight for me. She brought four of my books for me to sign, and I wrote special messages in them for her. I also gave her an audiobook copy of SCARS and a rainbow pencil. I am honored that she drove so far to meet me! I have such fantastic readers.
After my STAINED talk, reader Casey Anne gave me this beautiful journal she painted with a lovely quote and moving inscription inside because I write, and reader Laurie gave me the copper ring on my finger because of the copper jewelry in HUNTED. I was so surprised! I always have things to give readers; I didn’t expect them to give me anything. I have such thoughtful, kind readers!
And after I’d spent good time with Casey Anne (and part way into it, too) I signed the stock of STAINED and HUNTED that Chapters Scarborough had–all with special messages inside. I also enjoyed seeing a teen and her mom grab a copy when I was signing stock.
I heard many lovely things from readers after my talk. Then this morning I met a man on my walk with Petal who told me he was at my talk and how very inspiring it was. That felt so good to hear!
All in all, I think it was a lovely talk and signing. I so appreciate everyone who came by to hear me speak and to get a copy of STAINED or get their own books signed. Thank you all so much for a lovely day!Display Comments Add a Comment
A few weeks ago I placed a plastic bag over the head of one of the sunflowers in hopes that I would beat the birds and squirrels to the seeds. I couldn’t just cut off the head because while the flower had been pollinated, the seeds weren’t done forming. The bag was a big success. Yesterday I thought, it’s about time to cut the flower head off. Since I had plans on being out in the garden doing other stuff Sunday I figured there was no harm leaving it until today. The bag, after all, had been doing a great job at protecting it.Bookman and I managed to sleep late this morning, well late for us anyway, and we got up and had a lazy breakfast of from scratch gingerbread waffles. I pulled open the blinds and looked out into the garden and something wasn’t right. There was a hole in the landscape, what was missing? And then I realized it, the sunflower! The stalk was broken off about knee high and the rest of it was on the ground. I could still see the plastic bag so I thought, naively, that it had deterred the squirrels from the seeds. I put on my wellies and tramped out to find the squirrels had ripped open the bag and eaten every single seed. The remains of their feast was scattered around amidst the peppers and tomatoes where the flower stalk had fallen.
If I had cut off the flower head yesterday I would have been shelling sunflower seeds right now. Note to self, deterrents only deter for so long. If it is ripe, don’t wait or you’ll be sorry.
The weather has taken a decided turn towards autumn. We came very close to actually having frost Saturday morning. I alsohad to scramble at the end of the week to find clothes to wear because suddenly all my summer clothes weren’t warm enough. The change in temperature has definitely put a halt to the warm season vegetables getting on. The corn is done. The zucchini is done. Tomatoes and peppers, the ones currently on the plants will only grow a little bigger and may or may not get fully ripe before we actually do get a frost. Ironically, the eggplant has just now decided it is going to fruit and we have three beautiful purple and white streaked fruits about the size of a gherkin pickle. There isn’t enough growing season left for these to get full size so they have suddenly become gourmet baby eggplants. Didn’t know that was a thing did you? Well it is now. Hopefully they will at least get to be big babies before we have to pick them. We’ll see.
This afternoon Bookman and I were out starting to clean up the veggie beds. We pulled out the pickling cucumbers that hardly produced anything. We pulled out the bush beans too. We weeded and scattered clover seed to grow as a cover crop and act as a green “manure” in the spring when we pull it out to plant vegetables next year.Fall also means it is apple picking time. Usually Bossy, our green cooking apple tree, produces apples on alternate years. Last year was a bumper crop year so we thought this year we’d be lucky to have any apples at all. But Bossy has quite a few apples. The squirrels have been helping themselves to their share this past week, but in this case there is enough for everyone. Bookman and I picked a bucket and there is probably another bucket or more on the tree. Problem is, they are all at the top of the tree beyond our reach even while standing on a step ladder. And they are big apples too! We aren’t sure how we are going to get up there to pick them, I suppose we have to try using the extension ladder on a day that is not breezy so the branch the ladder is braced against doesn’t move around and tip the ladder and Bookman over.
Last week I was sad at the prospect of it turning cool and gardening season being over. But the cool, dry, and breezy week and weekend is kicking up dust and pollen into the air and has my allergies working overtime. My eyes are dry and scratchy and my sinuses a bit inflamed. It is not bad enough to make me feel bad and keep me from doing things, but it does sap my energy. As the day progresses I start to notice just how worn out I feel. All that to say I am no longer sad gardening season is coming to an end. Mother Nature and my immune system had a chat and now my brain is in agreement. Yes, please, a hard frost would be quite nice. Trouble is, now that I have decided I am ready to be done for the season, there is no chance of frost in the forecast for the rest of the month. Temperatures will be cool and seasonable which means no frost until early to mid October. I guess when the freeze finally does come I will be extra happy and have not a twinge of sadness at the change of season.
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Blog: Redheaded Stepchild (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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This book has had a profound effect on me. Every time I think of it, I go back to being a kid, and feeling those warm fuzzies it always gave me. There's just something magical about this book!
For more info about Hug a Book Week:
http://pages.simonandschuster.com/hugmachine Add a Comment
Blog: David Michael Slater's Blog (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Blog: Cinda Williams Chima (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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It's the Week of the Warrior during the World of the Weir blog tour.
Heidi over at YA Bibliophile discusses the magical guilds and the Warrior Guild in particular.
She also has an ENTIRE SET of the Heir Chronicles to give away.
Enter for your chance to win YABibliophile
Blog: RANDOM WRITING (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Hiking/Kayaking, Wildlife Sightings, birding, Heron, kayaking, Wildlife, Add a tag
Saturday morning, I rolled out of bed, and fumbled for my sweatpants and sneakers. Running my fingers through my hair, I glanced out at the pre-dawn darkness, then at the thermometer. I chuckled.
I might have crawled right back into the warmth of the bed covers, but I had a kayak date. When the first drips of coffee began plopping into the camp office coffee pot, I heard a gentle knock on the front door and looked to see Cindy Lord’s smiling face peeking through the window. I let her in to choose her favorite kayak paddle and life vest.
“The sky was awfully pretty as I drove over the hills of Rt. 26,” she said. So I hurried, screwing the lid on my stainless steel coffee cup and hoisting my camera bag over my shoulder. Checking one last time for my kayak key, we headed out the front door, locking it behind us.
We talked and walked. Rounding the last corner before the lake front, my breath caught. Cindy hadn’t exaggerated. The sky was glorious. I wasn’t even a foot off shore with the kayak, when I lifted the camera from my bag and began shooting.
Cindy led the way past the eagle’s island to our favorite sunrise viewing spot.
I sipped my coffee and watched the new-day sun, slowly rise over the treetops.
Basking in its glow, Cindy asked, “Where to next?” We decided to continue on, down the shoreline until we glided into my favorite cove. I was looking for deer, or the muskrat, or a loon.
What we spied through the fog and shoreline shadows, was a heron, wading through shallow water.
It stood perfectly still for the longest time. From a distance, it could be mistaken for a bare branch. But I knew what I was looking for. They’re one of my favorite subjects to photograph.
Cindy and I took a few photos. Silently paddled a little closer. Took a few photos. Paddled a little closer.
Suddenly, the heron lunged downward like a lightening strike. He came back up with a fish!
Oh, how I wished he wasn’t behind the fog and in the shadows! Getting a feeding shot was on my bucket list of subjects . . . the photo above was okay, but not the bright, clear, striking photo I longed for.
Then the heron spread his wings, and took flight to land on a nearby branch.
He rubbed his beak on the tree branch, cleaning it off after breakfast.
This branching pose was a first for me! While he sunned himself, I took photo after photo after photo.
Cindy and I were in awe.
Mornings like this are always so much more special when you have friends to share them with.
Slowly we paddled back. It was time for me to open the store and then we had a special event to attend; lunch with Patience Mason before her book signing at Books N Things in Norway.
What an awesome day . . . Good friends, good weather and good food.
Couldn’t ask for more.
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I don't think I've shown these before? If I have -my apologies!
I love wasting time.
Nothing. Never a word. I was right.
Blog: MISS O's SCHOOL LIBRARY (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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I don't think Mo Willems pigeon would be a fan of this sign located all over a parking lot in Jackson Heights, New York. However, he might just walk right past it to visit this bakery steps from the sign.
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Blog: Books 'n' stories (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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The tellers are coming! The tellers are coming!
Frantically, I try to absorb all the research on stories and learning and then I must put all that stuff into context and condense it into sound bites. And then I have to provide adult learners with activities that will make them feel easier about incorporating storytelling into their work lives. And then I have to organize all this stuff so that it makes sense. And THEN, I have to NOT blank out when presenting.
So here's my to-do list:
Create the certificate of participation - because it's the thing I would forget to do if I don't do it NOW.
Make an enlarged resource list - which I will make available here.
Collect definitions of the word story.
Collect quotes from studies to support the research.
Organize how I hope to present this stuff.
Practice it - so I don't blank out when someone takes me down a shady tangent.
Oh, did I tell you? I'm leading a workshop for teachers and librarians about telling classrooms and storytelling clubs. On Saturday. From 9 to 12 noon. At StoryFUSION. JOIN ME!
Also, I am the MC on Saturday night - for Mary Wright and - TA DAH!!! Jennings and Ponder!
This is the MOST wonderful time of the year!!!
King Bronty and Prince Podoee are being lured into a trap aboard the Dinosaur Pirate vessel, the "Scurvy Shark".
You have, no doubt, already been introduced to "Captain Crockers", a prehistoric crocodile (a Sarcoshchus) who spends a lot of time in a kiddy pool. The Captain's crew is made up of various, salty dinosaur pirates with colorful names including a Nothosaurus for a Master Gunner!
Come, learn a little bit more about the dinosaurs of yore!
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Blog: Beth Kephart Books (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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(and we'll wear straw hats)
In this, I am blessed.
I feel blessed, too, by the glory of last evening's celebration of a certain 21-year-old Emma, whose family has taught so many of us about love, resilience, and grace. When the Yasicks call us together, the clouds subside, the sun locks in, and sometimes, even, a rainbow blooms. They may not understand just how much they mean to us, or how dearly we hold them in our hearts, or how they cast their minor spells of wonder. We have only this to say:
In the way that you live your lives—in your integrity, kindness, and dignified exuberance, in your bequeathing search for joy, in the ways that you remember (with wonder, without regret)—we learn a greater gratitude. Add a Comment
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William Sidney Mount (1807-1868) devised an itinerant artists' wagon in 1852. He wrote: "A Design for an Artist waggon to sketch and paint in."
"During windy and rainy weather, no time is lost on account of the hot or cold air. This vehicle with glass windows can by drawn by hand, or behind a waggon if the painter should not wish to keep a horse. I believe the true painter should have no home," but should wander instead in search of subjects to paint.
(Thanks, Edward O'Brien.) Add a Comment
Blog: A Year of Reading (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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This year, as I thought about Genius Hour, I knew I wanted to change it a bit from last year. Last year, students found areas of interest and spent time learning about those and sometimes creating things to share their learning. I wanted it to be playful and purposeful. But I wanted it to be more for this year and this Acorn Cap workshop gave me some ideas.
This year, we are changing the name of Genius Hour to "Wonder Workshop". We have Reading Workshop and Writing Workshop and Math Workshop so having a Wonder Workshop makes sense. Our students know what a workshop is and they know their role in learning in a workshop. And a Wonder Workshop seems to make sense to 8 year olds. This will be a time that we explore those things we wonder about each day.
This year, when I think about Genius Hour/Wonder Workshop, I wanted it to be a combination of so many things. I love the Genius Hour movement and I also love the possibilities around Maker Space and Passion Time. I wanted to create a time that made sense for 8 year olds, where they could explore and learn. I wanted a place where they could sometimes be the learner and sometimes be the teacher. I wanted a place where anything was possible and where kids were in charge of their own learning.
To kick off Wonder Workshop, each child is creating a workshop for the class. We spent time talking about those things they love, things they are good at, things they want to teach others about. So, every day, for 2 weeks, we are learning from each other. For homework last week, kids prepared 10 minute mini-workshops on a topic of their choice. For 2 weeks, kids are rotating to workshops, learning from every other child in the classroom. So far we've learned:
- how to play guitar
- how to make fortune tellers
- how to braid hair
- about the sea
- how to make clay animals
- how to make puzzles
As students share, the audience members are jotting down new things they are learning and questions they have. They are also jotting down things they want to try. I am hoping that we are setting the stage for a Wonder Workshop that has us thinking about the following questions.
- What do we know?
- What can we teach each other?
- What can we learn from and with each other?
- What are you interested in/good at now?
- What might we be interested in later in the year?
Blog: WORDS (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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I am one of the teachers for our 6-8th grade Sunday School class. I love those kiddos and all the questions they ask. They make me think. Today, we discussed the fact that Abram was told by God to leave his country, and to leave his father’s family. God said He would lead Abram to…Display Comments Add a Comment
Blog: Watercolor Wednesdays (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Guess the Plot
1. On an island inhabited by warlocks, werecreatures, shapeshifters, witches, etc., Sarah's life is constantly in peril. How many times can she expect the strange angelic man who's actually a vampire to save her neck?
2. Isla de Santa Susanna is not found on any maps. When fat, homely Isabel washes up on its beach after a plane crash, she's surprised to find a colony of people only too glad to welcome her. But are they normal . . . or vampires?
3. When a plane crash lands Marsha and her two friends on a strange island, they know they're in major trouble. But, they didn't expect that trouble to include hiding from a mad scientist intent on capturing them to use as subjects in his human immortality experiments. Are they fated to die in pursuit of eternal life?
4. 13-year-old Danny dreads the annual summer vacation on Immortal Island. But this year is going to be different, what with the rumors of buried treasure, disappearing gardeners, suspiciously smart dogs, and the help of a cute pyromaniac named Kimberly.
5. In an alternate-history 1970’s, a small island off the English coast becomes a haven for wannabe revolutionaries and small-time crooks. When an international arms incident catapults the island into the spotlight, thief Jerome and rabble-rouser David must choose between their ideals and their love for each other.
6. The network has spoken, and they've voted off survival reality show host Guy Sly. In a plot of cold revenge Guy orchestrates a mass kidnapping of network big wigs and plants them on an remote island full of immortal beings. Which fat cat will be dinner first? Will Guy redeem himself during sweeps week? Vampires, zombies and faeries galore!
Dear Evil editor,
Please consider my mss that I have completed entitled, ‘IMMORTAL ISLAND - Spellbound/Midnight Masquerade’ first book is part one and two. [Your first sentence is a sure deal killer--and not just because it isn't a sentence. The title is three titles; choose one. We don't care about parts one and two. Ms. is the abbreviation for manuscript. My mss that I have completed would be more concise as my completed ms.] [The good news is that you've got an excellent shot at the Least Effective Opening Sentence Award (an Evil Editor coffee mug), though you're in a tight battle with Face-Lift 333.]
It is about a young woman named Sarah Daniels who discovers secrets about her friends and family that changes [change] her life forever.
Sarah begins having visions that she cannot explain. At first they appear as dreams, but when she has them while awake she realizes what they really are. [Which is?] The first vision she has is of the parents [her parents'] death, when they don't return from their vacation she goes to the town sheriff to report them missing. [The sheriff of her town or of the town where they went for vacation?] She meets a handsome yet mysterious Undersheriff named Chase Gavenport, who she has a unique attraction to. Things slowly start to unravel every day that she spends on the island.
[What island? Immortal Island? I had no idea they were on an island.] Then a strange man dressed in all black begins to stalk her while at her parents [parents'] place. (Zadkiel).[Zadkiel? Is that the name of her parents' place? The name of the stalker? An exclamation, like Gadzooks?]When he finally reveals himself to her he tries to kill her but Chase comes to her rescue. They become close and Chase eventually reveals to her that he is a vampire and also tells her what the man in black wants. [(Zounds).]
Sarah’s ex-boyfriend decide [decides] to complicate things even more by adding himself to the equation. He reveals that he is still in love with her and wants her back. [The word "reveals" appears more often in the last four sentences than it does in the entire book of Revelations.] Sarah is torn and can’t decide what she really wants. [No need to say the same thing twice in one sentence.] They [Who?] share a house just off campus [Campus? I had no idea they were on a campus.] with close friends and things start to really heat up. She must choose but who will it be, the vampire who brings with him a life filled with uncertainty or her best friend and ex-boyfriend who loves her for everything he thinks she is. [Which is what?]
But now preternatural beings of Sarah's new world seem to be drawn to her. Her life is in constant peril, she cannot turn to her human friends. With witches, warlocks, were-animals, shape-shifters, [zombies, sharks,] to name a few, come to claim, and the power that dwells inside her begins to grow. [That sentence made no sense to me, apparently because I'm unfamiliar with the expression "come to claim."] A power Sarah does not know how to control.
Now Chase has disappeared and no one will give her any answers as to his whereabouts. [When you ask someone where the vampire is, you seldom get a straight answer.] Who will keep her safe from the nightmare that has become her life. Wait a minute there is always a white knight…Right? Erick the strange angelic man.Who always seems to rise to the occasion mainly when she is in harm’s way? Three times he saves her but why, he is a vampire too. [Making your most compelling character a vampire is a mistake. I liked him better when he was just Erick the strange angelic man. In fact, my desire to read more about Erick the strange angelic man leads me to insert this week's writing exercise here. Write a scene involving Evil Editor and Erick the strange angelic man. Don't make Erick a vampire. 300 words max; deadline: Sunday, 10 AM eastern.]
Then one night after giving up all hope she receives a mysterious letter. A Midnight Masquerade ball? Being thrown by the vilest of creatures out there. He has no sympathy for human kind and would rather rid his world of them. [Naturally she accepts the invitation.] Sarah must do what she can to save her life and the life now inside her as she comes face to face with the man who will take her life…Chase? [You're asking me?]
Sarah survives the Masquerade but not before her unborn child or is it children are infected with vampire blood. Now it's a waiting game. To see whether or not her children will live and be vampires killing her in the process with their savage birth, or if they are healthy and unharmed by the blood that was so easily given to her by the same vampire who on many occasions attempted [to] take her life. Ambrose and Sarah will forever be connected from that day forward. [Ambrose? Who's Ambrose?] Now she must tell the father that his babies could be vampires. How will Jeff [Jeff? Who's Jeff?] take the news that vampires exist and that his unborn children may be one [two] of them?
Turns out that the twins are affected by the vampire virus yet in different ways. Alaina is half vampire and half human, she prefers to drink blood. Wyatt is human but has all the abilities a vampire has, [If you have all the abilities a vampire has, you're pretty much a vampire.] however he is more unique than they know... His blood is the key, the cure to vampirism.
This is four parts all together book two is complete but not ready for viewing just yet.
Please contact me if you would like to review my complete mss.
word count -> 84,328
Urban Fantasy fiction for YA or Adults. There are intimate scenes that can be altered to fit YA.
A query letter should fit on one page. Trash the whole thing, start over, limit your plot summary to ten sentences.
It's riddled with errors. This leads the reader to assume the book is also riddled with errors. Even if cleaning up the query got a request for the manuscript, no one will read far into a manuscript full of spelling, usage and grammar errors.
Your opening hook is that this is a book about a woman who discovers secrets about her friends and family that change her life forever. Her family isn't in the query at all as they disappear while on vacation and never get mentioned again, and the only friend in the query is her ex-boyfriend, and I didn't see any secrets about him.
The hook might be something like this: Pregnant with twins, Sarah Daniels attends a masquerade ball at which she is bitten by a vampire. The pregnancy, birth and aftermath sound like they could make an interesting story. The witches and werecreatures and island and parents and campus and man in black and Zadkiel are cluttering the query. And possibly the book.
I decided you would rather view Erick the Strange Angelic Man's pitch session than read selected comments (which may be viewed by searching for immortal island on this blog).
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