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As inspired and creatively enthusiastic as we are, there are times when we can’t be as fully creative as we want to be. Whether you’re a creative pro taking a break after long hours at the drawing board, working a day job during the day or you’ve got to take time away from your creative life because of school. These things happened and we have to prioritize other things over our creativity.
However have you found when the pencils, paint brushes, graphics tablet or camera are put down, we don’t quite know what to do with ourselves. We’re creatively restless and eager to do anything but relax or what we’re supposed to. So to sooth your creative side whilst taking a break or trying to focus on other life to-do’s, here are a few small ways you can be creative in even the smallest ways everyday:
- Doodle while you’re on the phone ( comes in handy when you’re stuck on hold)
- Write a quirky quote as your twitter or facebook
- Doodle on the fridge ( grab a black wipe away board pen and have fun)
- Snap some pictures on your phone whilst you’re on your travels
- Write or draw something quirky in the sand or snow ( if you have snow where you are!)
- Doodle on your ipad whilst sitting on the bus or train
- Grab a pack of sticky notes and jot down your creativity anywhere ( maybe leave it for someone else to find?)
- Doodle on a napkin whilst you’re in that coffee shop whilst waiting for a friend or meeting.
- Sketch what you wore that day ( if you’re a lover of fashion)
- Find inspiration in the little things and make a quick 2 minute sketch of it ( it might become an illustration or pattern later on)
What do you do everyday to stay that little bit creative?
Image by illustrator Rhianna Wurman, you can find out more about there work here.
I'm so glad the week in review posts are popular! I enjoy doing them too. This week's is a tad late cause of the writing contest but I figure no one will complain about those!
Last week's review had a comment, on the Facebook link about how to build tension, from Mister Furkle:
Suspense is harder than tension. Your post, on Facebook, appeared to be about suspense not tension.
Please correct me if I'm wrong but:
Tension is needed on every page; it happens when a character is upset, two characters disagree, or the MC is trying to do something difficult.
Suspense is created when the reader doesn't know what will happen but desperately needs to know. Will the mission be a success or will the MC's party be captured? How will Anne Frank meet her demise?
Tension keeps the readers' attention while reading a page and suspense makes them plunge into the next scene or chapter.
Of these two, suspense is harder to create.
And if I'm mistaken, let me know. Also, any references to methods to manage suspense would be most welcome.
Well, you're not wrong, or mistaken but I think distinguishing suspense from tension will make us all insane. You did point that a good novel does need tension on every page: that's what keeps us engaged in the story. And we do need to be in suspense about the overall narrative arc. How many times have we put down a book and said "wow, I sure didn't expect THAT" and meant it as a compliment.
Whether we call it tension or suspense doesn't matter to me, as long as it's THERE!
Colin Smith mentioned an episode of Columbo called "Publish or Perish" where Mickey Spillane gets knocked off by evil Jack Cassidy. Of course I had to see what clue the literary agent provided so I watched it on Saturday afternoon. There's a small throwaway part where Columbo references "this guy, he's just a sergeant, he's had some books" and of course he means Joseph Wambaugh who was a detective sergeant in the LAPD when his first few books were written. I'm not exactly sure of the timing here but this episode says 1973 and The Onion Field, Wambaugh's big breakout non-fiction book was pubbed in 73.
Mariette Hartley played the literary agent, so I had to google those great old Polaroid commercials she did with James Garner (boy they hold up well!) and came across an episode of What's My Line from 1963 or so. James Garner was the celebrity guest. More than anything else on the show though, the formal good manners of the guest, host and panel were amazing to watch. The men stood up to shake hands with each panelist as they left, they refer to each other as Mr. and Mrs/Miss (Ms hadn't been invented yet!) and there weren't any sort of naughty undercurrent puns or joking references. (All that changes within about ten years I think)
On Monday we were mostly watching for snow. The weather forecasters had descended into hyperbole by 3pm and when one of our office suite mates said the subways would be closing, the Minion and I looked at each other and said "we're outta here." As it turned out that walk to the subway on Monday was the worst part of the storm for both of us.
And the subways DID get "shut down" but only for passengers. The trains themselves ran all night which meant that the people who needed them most (people without cars working in service industries like food prep
and retail janitorial) weren't able to actually get home.
I was astonished to learn that Governor Cuomo made the shutdown decision unilaterally.
I ranted about it (and I'm still not over it!) on my Facebook page.
On Wednesday the topic was print book rights versus print and ebook rights bundled.
Janet - just curious about your position. If the "Hugh Howey of crime fiction" queried you about trying to obtain a print-only deal, would you turn him or her down? If so, why?
Yes, I've also heard that print-only deals are less likely now than they were when Wool made its big splash because there is a perception that the market has already been tapped out by the e-book. But I also heard that Woolwent on to sell an additional 5 million print copies.
I'd say no because I don't know where I'd sell it. The editors I work with are only interested in bundled deals, even if they only intend to print e-versions initially. I don't know about Hugh Howey's sales figures but his agent is Kristen Nelson and she's pretty darn good at her job so I wouldn't be surprised at all to hear he'd done well.
And Kitty, oh my god what a blast from the past to hear about POD-dy Mouth again. The really interesting thing about that interview with Editor One however was that they were CLEARLY confusing self-publishing with print-on-demand. POD is a technology; HOW the books are printed and in what quantities. Major publishers use POD to fulfill unexpected demand or shipment delays. Self-publishing folks certainly use print on demand often, but they also use traditional web-feed printers as well.
I hammered on that distinction for YEARS as I recall. (That interview was 2005)
On Thursday's post about pub credits Julie Weathers said:
I wrote for a weekly, award-winning, national horse racing magazine for twenty-three years. In addition to doing race stories, I also did profiles and human interest stories.
I have had a LOT of people recommend I not include this in my query because this has nothing to do with writing fantasy. I did anyway for two reasons. 1. I wrote well enough for twenty-three years for a magazine to send me a paycheck every two
years weeks (glad to hear that was a typo!). Two, it might demonstrate I understand the value of deadlines.
Julie's right. the others are wrong. Writing regularly for a magazine IS a pub credit to mention. If writing this blog has taught me nothing else, it has taught me the value of writing to a deadline six or seven days a week. And regular writing is the ONLY way to improve. I'm not a novelist (although at this point the word count on the blog rivals some SF trilogy I think) but I talk about writing to writers a LOT and it sure helps to have some idea of how it works when I do so.
The only time you don't include magazine writing credits is if you've got a list of novels you've published that are more recent.
On Thursday's post about an agent who left a querier dangling, Julie Martin Munro summed up one of the biggest career-killers there is in writing:
I had a similar experience and my gut told me to do just what you've advised, but . These words I didn't...I was too afraid to rock the boat, ruffle feathers, I don't know what. I ended up losing a year of querying...and much hope tooalone "And I do reply" tells me I should've followed my gut. Thank you.
I cannot emphasize enough that this is YOUR career, and agents work WITH you; they are not demi-gods (ok, other than ME of course) to be approached like the King of Siam.
Turns out CarolynnWith2Ns has decided to do some painting! It's too cold here in NYC to paint yet but I'm getting the itch after reading that!
On the office front this week was the culmination of a move that started in August 2012. We ditched our old space on 35th Street for the new digs on 29th. Loved the new space, but soon found it had some limitations…like it was too small, and the Minion either froze or fried with the ac unit by her desk.
When one of our suitemates decided to give up his office, we pounced on it. After painting it, getting the phone/internet moved, it was time to move the rest of us.
I've always said "this is New York City, you can rent anything" and I was glad to discover you can rent handsome strong men to move furniture. Jason was pretty amazing. He showed up exactly on time, started working, never sat down once, and had us out and in record time.
Now the fun stuff starts: getting the books back on the shelves, the art back on the walls, and the liquor cabinet positioned. Oh who am I kidding. The bar was the FIRST thing we set up.
I meant to post pictures here but as usual, time got the better of me, so the photos will have to wait.
I'm working on the blog posts for next week and there are some good ones! See you then.
By: Patrick Girouard,
By: Becky Laney
Blog: Becky's Book Reviews
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Dying in the Wool. (Kate Shackleton #1) Frances Brody. 2009/2012. Minotaur Books. 368 pages. [Source: Library]
Did I love Dying in the Wool? No, not really. I had hoped to love it since it's a cozy mystery set in England in the 1920s. But I merely liked it instead of LOVING it.
The novel introduces the private detective, Kate Shackleton. She's a widow; her husband was a soldier who died during the war. Since the war, she's helped--usually without a fee--people find out what happened to their missing loved ones. Her other hobby is photography.
In Dying in the Wool, Kate Shackleton has her first paying case to solve. Her friend--her acquaintance--Tabitha is getting married in a month or two. Her father, a mill owner, disappeared in 1916. Some people strongly feel he's dead--likely suicide. Other people feel strongly that he's just ran off, probably with a woman to start a new life. Tabitha wants answers. Are the people in the village of Bridgestead keeping secrets? And can Kate and her ex-policeman partner (Jim Sykes) get people to talking? Will this case be easy or difficult? Is it dangerous to ask the wrong questions even after all these years?
I liked the setting just fine. I did. I liked Kate Shackleton and her partner, though I wish we'd had more of him. Would I have liked this one more if I'd found more of the characters likable? Perhaps. Probably. I really just felt this one had so many despicable characters in it. I hardly liked anyone! And it is NOT a clean read. I was hoping it would be a bit cleaner. That probably kept me from loving this one too.
Medal for Murder. (Kate Shackleton #2) Frances Brody. 2010/2013. Minotaur Books. 432 pages. [Source: Library]
Did I love Medal for Murder? I think maybe I did. At the very least I liked it so much more than the first book in the series. (I think I might have not been in the right and proper mood to enjoy/appreciate Dying in the Wool.)
Kate Shackleton and Jim Sykes have been asked by a pawn shop owner to investigate a robbery, and to discreetly visit the owners of the stolen (pawned) items. Sykes visits some. Kate visits some.
But Kate's passion isn't with finding missing things, it's finding missing persons. And within a day or two of her arrival, she does indeed have a person to track down.
I may have liked this one more because of its theatrical themes. The missing girl--woman, I should say--is an actress. She disappeared after the last performance of the play at the local theatre. Her disappearance wasn't the only strange and unhappy event that night....
I really did enjoy this one very much. It was a quick read! I really started to like the characters, especially Kate and Jim and Inspector Charles.
Murder in the Afternoon. (Kate Shackleton #3) Frances Brody. 2011/2014. Minotaur Books. 400 pages. [Source: Library]
I am definitely enjoying this mystery series. I may have started the series hesitant, but, by the third book, it is love. I've enjoyed each book in the series a little bit more.
Mary Jane Armstrong comes to Kate Shackleton early one morning begging her to help find her missing husband. Her daughter, Harriet, had found him dead on Saturday evening. However, by the time she'd returned with an adult--the body was gone. NO ONE in their town/village had believed her. "She's just a girl after all...and everyone knows that girls make up stories for fun." That's the logic that Kate Shackleton is up against. Kate does believe Harriet's story. And though she has the mother's support--seemingly strong support--in the case, she's having a hard time of it since no one in the community wants to talk to her about the supposed crime.
But as readers can imagine, things are not as they appear. Danger remains so long as the murderer remains free.
This one is a nice addition to the series. Readers learn more about Kate's background. And Inspector Charles is definitely coming to be a love interest!
© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
By: Jeanne Lyet Gassman,
riverSedge is a journal of art and literature with an understanding of its place in the nation in south Texas on the border . Its name reflects our specific river edge with an openness to publish writers who use English, Tex-Mex, and Spanish and also the edges shared by all the best contemporary writing and art.
General Submissions/Contest Guidelines
Deadline to Submit is 3/1/15
$5 submission fee in all genres (except book reviews)
3 prizes of $300 will be awarded in poetry, prose, and art. All entries are eligible for contest prizes. Dramatic scripts and graphic literature will be judged as prose.
Multiple submissions are welcome in all genres. Each submission should be submitted as a separate entry. In other words, do not send two or more entries as one document.
Previously unpublished work only. Self-published work (in print and/or on the web) is not eligible.
Simultaneous submissions are welcome, but please notify us of acceptance elsewhere as soon as possible.
Submissions in English, Spanish and anything in between are welcome.
Current staff, faculty, and students affiliated with UT-Pan American, UT-Brownsville, or South Texas College are not eligible to submit original work to riverSedge.
By: Diane Sammet,
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Children’s picture book art is stunning. Children’s picture book stories are amazing. I love that there are usually layers of meaning, and that each viewer and reader can take away from the story exactly what they need to see and hear. I have long had a fascination with fables. I adore the metaphors.
Small Dog is a children’s picture book that I wrote and am now illustrating. Using sparse words and rhyme the story unfolds to reveal that gratitude is far more than simply saying thank-you. With gratitude you can change your life.
By: Jeanne Lyet Gassman,
Jabberwock Review invites submissions to:
THE NANCY D. HARGROVE EDITORS’ PRIZE FOR FICTION AND POETRY
DEADLINE: March 15, 2015
· Each winner (one for fiction and one for poetry) receives $500 and publication in Jabberwock Review.
· Entry Fee: $15, which includes a one-year subscription.
· Go to our website for more information and to submit using Submittable.
· We are also open for regular submissions in fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Send us your best work!
By: Steven James Petruccio,
This remains one of my all time favorite illustrations. Not so much for the technical aspect but I feel I captured the love of mother and calf when they are reunited in the story. I love illustrations, by any artist, that go beyond the words and capture the feeling.
by StevenJames Petruccio
There's a fine line between having depth to your story and it being melodramatic.
La fin de mon petit crayonné.
By: Jeanne Lyet Gassman,
The Freeman accepts poetry submissions year-round to be considered for publication. Poems appear online, and some are selected to appear in the quarterly print magazine as well. Payment is $50 per accepted poem. Recently published poems can be seen here.
Submissions must be unpublished poems or translations only.
Simultaneous submissions are acceptable if noted as such.
Translations into English are accepted, but either the translator must have documented permission to publish the translations at the time of submission or the poems must be in the common domain per U.S. and international copyright law.
Include copies of the poems in the original language with any translation submissions.
Send up to 6 unpublished poems, up to 60 lines each (exceptions to the length restriction may be made in rare cases), in .pdf, .doc, .docx, or .rtf format to the Poetry Editor at:
poetryATfeeDOTorg (Change AT to @ and DOT to . )
By: Terry Hooper-Scharf,
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The Secret Service - Kingsman
Millar & Vaughn
Art: Dave Gibbons
US Trade Size ISBN:
9781781167038£9.99 Available 1st April, 2014Gary’s life is going nowhere. He lives in public housing with his mother and spends his nights carousing with his friends. But Gary’s Uncle Jack has taken a different path of glamour, danger and mystery. When Jack has to get his nephew out of trouble, their lives are going to intersect in a way neither of them could have foreseen. From Mark Millar (Kick-Ass) and Dave Gibbons (Watchmen).
Soon to be a blockbuster movie!
I would like to make it VERY clear that my garotting the postman for heavily shoving another book through the letter box had absolutely nothing to do with this book.
Firstly, despite what you might read, garotting takes a while and can be a bit noisy. Cheese-wire is best. Quick and silent. Nothing written on a blog can be used in evidence, right?
Now the book.....
Well, I saw "Mark Millar" and thought "swear swear swear pointless violence -same old!" The only thing that attracted me to the book was Dave Gibbons. Most comic readers will only know Gibbons from the super hero comics though he is far, far more versatile. He is also quite a nice man and has a good streak of humour in him.
So, we have a big time Secret Service uncle who recruits his nephew from the tough council estate -I think most readers might recognise similarities between the "rough area" depicted so well by Gibbons in the book to ones they know.
I know this was first published in Clint magazine (which I've never read) so a collected book is a wonderful thing, baby. Titan Books have great production quality and when I received this one I thought I might be dismissive of it, even if Gibbons was involved. So? Well, I browsed though it and then realised I was reading the book straight though...then going back to check things out again.
Now, I generally browse through a book. Put it down and then look again later. That I sat down and read it all in one go says a lot for the story and the great art and, I really cannot ignore him -the colour work of Angus McKie which is EXCELLENT.
I am giving away no spoilers. I even had to select pages to ensure nothing gets given away. This is probably -remember it is only March- one of the best English language books I've received so far this year.
By: Jeanne Lyet Gassman,
JustA Theater & Production Company is a new Los Angeles-based company dedicated to fostering and employing diverse and emerging writers and actors.
We are seeking original work for our inaugural 2015 season: three staged play productions and two short films.
We would like to reach out to students in your prestigious program for play and short screenplay submissions. Our starting stipend for writers is $150.
Here are our submission guidelines:
Characters should primarily range between the ages of 15 and 30.
At least two characters must be women.
Diverse themes and characters are encouraged.
We welcome scripts of varied genres. Feel free to submit plays with elements of absurdism or magic-realism, as well as plays rooted in realism.
Staged plays should not exceed 115 pages total.
Screenplays should not exceed 15 pages.
Please submit the first 15 pages of your piece to:
infoATjustatheaterDOTcom (Change AT to @ and DOT to . )
For more information, visit our website.
Book 2 in The Reckoners Series
by Brandon Sanderson
Released on January 6th
Brandon Sanderson is back with a vengeance in FIREFIGHT, the follow up to the #1 New York Times bestselling Steelheart. In the book that Kirkus Reviews is calling a “rare middle volume that keeps the throttle open,” Sanderson takes readers on another a thrill ride and “presents a Marvel Comics-style mix of violently destructive battles, fabulous feats and ongoing inner wrestling over morality and identity.”
David Charleston still can’t believe it. Steelheart is dead, and he died by David’s own hand. Even the Reckoners had never killed a High Epic, but the invincible has fallen and now Newcago is free. Despite attaining revenge for the murder of his father and living his dream as a team member of the most elite Reckoners cell, David finds he has more questions than ever before, and he won’t find the answers in his home city.
Babylon Restored, the city formerly known as Manhattan, could hold the key. Ruled by the mysterious and ambivalent High Epic Regalia, Babylon Restored is a place flooded with water and painted in neon, where the inhabitants spend most of their days lounging and nights partying. David can’t seem to understand the complacency of the city and its residents, but what he does understand is that being positioned here, risky as it may be, could lead him to the answers he so desperately seeks. Because there is an emptiness in him, one left behind after killing Steelheart, that was filled unexpectedly by Firefight, who is just plain Megan to him. And David will stop at nothing to find a way to understand Epics and bring her back to him. Hopefully for good this time.
The second book in the Reckoners series and follow up to the highly acclaimed Steelheart, which Publishers Weekly called “an absolute page-turner,” FIREFIGHT is filled with spine-tingling adventure and heart-racing action that promises to satisfy fans both new and old.
PRAISE & ACCOLADES FOR STEELHEART
· #1 New York Times Best seller
· IRA Young Adults
· ALA-YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults
· ALA-YALSA Teens Top Ten
· Amazon Best Book of the Year
« “Sanderson has written a riveting dystopian adventure novel . . . Snappy dialogue, bizarre plot twists, high intensity action, and a touch of mystery and romance; it’s a formula that sucks readers into the prologue, slings them through on tension-filled encounter after the other, and then . . . leaves them panting for the sequel.” —Booklist, starred
"Sanderson's whiz-bang imaginings, and a fully realized sense of danger (the brutal opening scene alone will hook many) make this an absolute page-turner." —Publishers Weekly
"Perfect for genre fans who love exciting adventure stories with surprising plot twists. Readers will be rooting for David." —School Library Journal
“Unfortunately for my ego, Steelheart is another win for Sanderson, proving that he’s not a brilliant writer of epic fantasy, he’s simply a brilliant writer. Period.” —Patrick Rothfuss, author of the New York Times bestseller The Name of the Wind
“Fantastic! The suspense is relentless and the climax explosive, with a resolution that I’ll be thinking about for a long time.” —James Dashner, New York Times bestselling author of the Maze Runner series
"A tense, fast-paced adventure. Br andon Sanderson is one of the best fantasy sci-fi writers working today.” —Christopher Paolini, author of the New York Times and USA Today bestseller Eragon
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
BRANDON SANDERSON is the author of the internationally bestselling Mistborn trilogy. In 2007, he was chosen to complete Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time series following the author’s death.&nb sp; The concluding book in that series, A Memory of Light, was released on January 8, 2013, and debuted at #1 on the New York Times Hardcover Fiction List., just as his two previous Wheel of Time books had done. His work has been published in over 25 languages and his books have sold millions of copies worldwide. He lives and writes in Utah. Visit him at BrandonSanderson.com or connect with him on Twitter @BrandSanderson.
Visit the author online at his Website and Twitter.
When sharing on social, please use hashtags:
THREE winners will each win copies of Brandon Sanderson’s Steelheart and Firefight for an epic reading experience. US only.
Entering is simple, just fill out the entry form below. Winners will be announced in our monthly newsletter (sign up now!) within 30-60 days after the giveaway ends.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
During each giveaway, we ask entrants a question pertaining to the book. Here is the question they'll be answering in the comments below for extra entries: What was Manhattan renamed as in the series?
By: Jeanne Lyet Gassman,
The Singapore Poetry Contest
Since its beginning in October 2013, Singapore Poetry
has the goal of introducing the arts of Singapore to a general American audience. Operating out of New York City, it aims to cultivate dialogue and understanding between the two countries. To celebrate Singapore’s 50th year of political independence this year, Singapore Poetry will seek American perspectives on the island-state by holding a contest for the best poem in English about Singapore. The contest is open to anyone living in the USA who is not a Singaporean
The poem may be about any aspect of Singapore — for instance, an OkCupid profile, an old black-and-white movie, Singapore noodles, a recurring nightmare, the orchid Vanda Miss Joaquim, a family heirloom — but it must have the word “Singapore” in it. It does not have to be celebratory in tone, but it must possess the qualities of a good poem, nicely defined by Dylan Thomas as “a contribution to reality.” For a good example, read Vijay Seshadri’s "Light Verse"
from his Pulitzer Prize-winning collection 3 Sections
Awards of USD100, 50 and 20 will go to the top three winners. The winning poems will be published on Singapore Poetry; non-winning poems will be considered for publication as well. The judge is the curator of Singapore Poetry, Jee Leong Koh. Friends and associates are welcomed to submit. Judging will be based solely on poetic merit. Singapore Poetry reserves the right not to make any or all awards, should the quality of entries not merit them.
Contest entry is free. Please submit a maximum of three poems. Only unpublished poems will be considered. Posting on weblog, Facebook and other social media does not constitute publication. Simultaneous submissions are acceptable, provided you inform Singapore Poetry if your poem is accepted elsewhere. Please email your submission to:
The poem(s) must be pasted into the body of the email, together with a short cover letter giving your name, mailing address, and brief biographical note.
The deadline for submissions is June 1, 2015. Results will be announced in August and the winning poems published in the run-up to Singapore’s National Day on August 9.
By: Lisa Firke,
Rabbit Rabbit February, digital serigraph © 2015 by Lisa Firke.
Rabbit Rabbit everyone. After several weeks of very hands-on (and sticky) paper mache work in the studio, I turned my hand to some digital graphics in advance of Valentine's day.
Woodland Rabbits Valentine's Print
Woodland Rabbit Valentine's Cards
Fabled Valentines Clipart Set
The Poster and the Card
By: Barbara Fisher,
I always enjoy the Pinterest Inspirations posts over at Carry Us Off Books and thought it would be a nice way to show you what I did on my blogging holiday.
Besides enjoying all the lovely things pictured above I've joined a pilates class and taken up walking for at least an hour a day. My bookselling life is a happy one, but it’s also very sedentary, so I’m determined to get just a little fitter in 2015. Are you sticking to your new year resolutions?
Thank you for all the lovely comments left on my blog while I've been away. I will be over to visit you very soon.
By: Jeanne Lyet Gassman,
The Inflectionist Review is a small press publishing stark and distinctive contemporary poetry that fosters dialog between the reader and writer, between words and their meanings, between ambiguity and concept. Each issue gathers established and emerging voices together toward the shared aim of unique expression that resonates beyond the author’s world, beyond the page, and speaks to the universality of human language and experience.
Submissions for Issue 4 are open at the moment.
By: Diane Sammet,
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Working on this piece allowed me to explore more methods of adding the illusion of texture to flat vector imagery. The lighting was also a lot of fun to build. To add the look of rim lighting required the use of gradients and the feather effect. This chimpanzee (like most of my characters) is basically a “puppet.” His body is composed of a series of separate shapes that can be moved for any type of gesture needed.
By: Jeanne Lyet Gassman,
The Nelligan Prize for Short Fiction is offered annually for a previously unpublished short story of no more than 50 pages. The winning short story will be published in the 2015 fall/winter issue of Colorado Review; the writer receives a $2,000 honorarium.
The Nelligan Prize was established in 2004 in memory of Liza Nelligan, a writer, editor, and friend of many in Colorado State University’s English Department, where she received her master’s degree in literature in 1992. By giving an award to the author of an outstanding short story each year, we hope to honor Nelligan’s life, her passion for writing, and her love of fiction.
Previous winners of the Nelligan Prize include Amira Pierce’s “Anything Good is a Secret,” (selected by Kent Nelson); Edward Hamlin’s “Night in Erg Chebbi,” (selected by Jim Shepard); and Matthew Shaer’s “Ghosts,” (selected by Jane Hamilton).
General Guidelines for the 2015 Nelligan Prize for Short Fiction:
$2,000 will be awarded for the best short story, which will be published in the fall/winter 2015 issue of Colorado Review.
This year’s final judge is Lauren Groff; friends and students (current & former) of the judge are not eligible to compete, nor are Colorado State University employees, students, or alumni.
Entry fee is $15 per story (add $2 for online submissions); there is no limit on the number of entries you may submit.
Stories must be previously unpublished.
There are no theme restrictions, but stories must be under 50 pages.
Deadline is the postmark of March 14, 2015.
Winner will be announced by July 2015.
All submissions will be considered for publication.
You do not need to be a Colorado or US resident to enter.
To submit online:
The story title and your name, address, phone number, and e-mail address should be entered in the cover letter field, separate from your story. Be sure your name is not anywhere in the story itself (for example, in the header or footer).
The fee to enter online is $17 ($2 goes to the good people at Submittable; in most cases, it will be less expensive to enter online than by mail).
On or before March 14, 2015, submit here.
To submit via regular mail:
Include two cover sheets: on the first, print your name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, and the story title; on the second, print only the story title. Your name should not appear anywhere else on the manuscript.
Enclose a check for $15 for each story. Checks should be made out to Colorado Review. You may submit multiple stories in the same envelope, and the check can be made out for the total.
Provide SASE for contest results.
Manuscripts will not be returned. Please do not enclose extra postage for return of manuscript.
Entries must be clearly addressed to:
9105 Campus Delivery
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523-9105
For complete guidelines, visit our website.
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We didn’t see it as a line drawn in the sand at first. Roy hired Eldon, Ruth’s nephew, just before the bingo started. Aunt Ruth saved him from returning to a life of petty crime and jail with a kitchen helper job. If Roy hadn’t fought with Ruth, his wife, who worked at his diner that night, things might have stayed quiet for a while longer. It was bound to explode, but maybe it could have been a little less volatile. And deadly. No one could ever figure out why Roy and Ruth were together. It wasn’t physical attraction. They fought constantly and enjoyed showing the other up in front of everyone. None of us at the counter could imagine them making love without grimacing. Roy had let himself go, sampled too many fries, drank too much beer. The diner had taken over his life. He even smelled greasy outside of the diner. Ruth was putting on the beef as well. She had a shrill voice that grated on everyone’s nerves. We only heard it peak when they were busy. Eldon hung around the back, chain smoking when he wasn’t scurrying around the kitchen following orders. He had a shaved head and some jailhouse tattoos on skinny, big veined arms. Geordie and I sat at the counter one morning and witnessed the birth of the bingo. We were waiting for Ruth to check the last of her lottery tickets. When she had counted up her losses, to hear her tell it, she served us our second coffees. There was a gathering of women at the table in the corner. It was unusual to see the female diner regulars sitting anywhere but at the counter next to us. They talked to each other and ignored us. It was the first meeting of their bingo committee. The women must have talked about it before, somewhere else. Roy brought the morning paper to the counter open at the picture of that day’s beauty. She was beautiful all right. Not wearing much either. Neither Geordie nor I had attempted relations with a woman for so long, it was as if we’d forgotten about sex. Roy had a way of leering at the pictures, every morning, which was probably similar to ours in our younger days. These days, when he did his little act, it was hard for us to watch. We didn’t think he was so attracted to the pictures, he was just doing it to get under Ruth’s skin. Geordie rolled his eyes at me and smiled at Roy. The licking of his chops and the quick glance down at his greasy apron were too much for customers who didn’t know Roy. One man, standing at the cash to pay, watched Roy ogle the picture and dirty dance to the kitchen, his big, old belly undulating beneath his apron. The man observed him as if he was watching a lunatic. He was wondering if Roy had cooked his ham and eggs. Gladys, Caroline and Linda were the three regulars sitting at the table. They had a pile of papers and looked like they knew what they were doing. Linda had already done most of the paperwork about licences and permits. Gladys was an old farm wife with a brood of kids, grown up and settled elsewhere. We heard one got into trouble and ended up in jail, but we kept our noses out of other peoples’ business. Gladys’ husband, Hubert, died a few years ago. She figured she did her part, putting up with him and his farmer ways and the kids were on their own. She was enjoying her freedom, doing her thing. Caroline’s driven the school bus ever since her husband died. She sounded like a rough, old trucker and drank everyone under the table on special occasions at the Legion. We suspected that there was a female part to her, aside from the obvious ones. She hadn’t lost a kid from the bus yet though. Geordie’s son, Cliff, a cop, told us that she was really a sweet old thing. He said the kids trusted her more than their parents and teachers. Linda had retired and moved here from out west. Nobody knew much about her. We couldn’t figure out her age. Roy took a long look at her rear end and legs when she wore shorts in the summer, licked his lips, rolled his eyes and attempted some pelvic thrusts beneath his big, round apron. We saw Ruth catch Roy in his act. She got that angry glare on her face and wouldn’t speak to him for the rest of the morning. It wasn’t as if Ruth was jealous, every sign pointed to her not caring what Roy did. She laughed at him when he made a mistake with the orders and enjoyed telling everyone at the counter, especially Linda, about her husband’s latest screw up. It was more like she didn’t want competition from Linda. If she only knew: there was no competition, Linda was much better looking and younger. Some mornings, Linda watched, with a steady stare, Roy do his act with the morning paper. While Geordie and I were cringing with embarrassment, Gladys and Caroline chatted. They had seen Roy do his thing so often, they didn’t even notice. Roy took Linda’s stare as a sign of interest. Ruth saw how foolish Roy looked. Linda, Gladys and Caroline were like peas in a pod when you gave them a coffee and a place to sit. The bingo really fired them up. They were gung ho to get started. Ruth got involved in the bingo, too. Anything Linda did, she criticized or tried to do one better. Even though the others had done all the work, she insisted on being consulted about everything. Ruth had been at the diner for years and here was this newcomer organizing a bingo. Everyone knew bingos didn’t work around here, there was no support. Ruth figured that everyone around her was poor. But she had no trouble sleeping at night when she took their tips. She thought that the world was doomed. We couldn’t argue with her there, but she didn’t have to be so gloomy about everything, every time she opened her mouth. We had to survive, somehow. Laughter seemed better than complaints nobody listened to. The regulars at the diner found Linda to be someone new and interesting. She had strong opinions but she was happy just to fit in with the others. Ruth knew that she, herself, wasn’t interesting enough to hold the attention of the regulars without the coffee pot in her hand. She repeated each new piece of gossip so that it was old by the end of the day. It drove Roy and the regulars crazy. Geordie and I sensed Ruth’s smouldering jealousy over Linda’s popularity, but it was none of our business. We played cards, euchre, on Tuesday nights, at the Legion. There were four tables of four, sometimes five. It was an excuse to drink while we played. They showed up on a Tuesday night when we were just getting started. Linda led them straight into the Legion with the bingo machine, sheets of cards, change box and everything. Geordie and I were about to protest, when Jack appeared. Jack Lawson was the president of the Legion. He approved of the bingo, a potential money maker and told us so. We had to move our card game to the other room. We were upset by this interruption of our routine and did our share of grousing when we went to pick up our next rounds at the bar. The euchre games lost a little charm when speakers droned, “Under the B, fifteen” or “under the N, thirty five”, in the background. At first, there were a lot of sudden attacks of deafness at our tables. The players raised their voices to speak over the bingo noise. Gradually, it calmed down. There was less interference once we got used to it. Jack came to sit down at our table later. He told us that he had refused to cover the bingo losses if they didn’t have a good turnout. He’d back them, once they showed a profit. It was business, pure and simple. We realized, after talking with Jack, that having a money maker around was a good thing. Ruth was there from the start. From the sound of it, the next morning at the diner, she did everything she could to disrupt the proceedings. Relations were frosty between Ruth and Linda. The bingo had been a modest success in spite of Ruth’s interference. She was mad, Linda quietly triumphant. Roy loved it. Geordie and I ate our usual breakfasts listening to the women at the counter. They were attacking Ruth that day. She had crossed the line at the bingo. We had an extra cup of coffee and read the paper twice so we could listen to them tear down Ruth. I don’t think that there’s much doubt anymore, about the notion that women are more vicious than men. After we heard what they had to say about Ruth, there was no doubt for us. They’d smile and change the subject when Ruth approached with the coffee pot. They made small talk with her while she topped up their cups. When she was out of earshot, they resumed the attack. Sounded to us like Ruth had ruffled a few feathers by being a little too bossy at the bingo. It was the second Tuesday night bingo at the Legion. There were five tables for our euchre game. The bingo organizers, led by Linda, all carrying sheets of cards, got there early. Ruth was still working with Roy back at the diner. The games went well for us. Geordie and I were cleaning up. There was a good crowd for the bingo in the other room. The buzz of their chatter subsided as Linda, the caller, started each new game. When there was a winner, Gladys called back the numbers to Linda and Caroline paid. We heard the first disturbance after a lot of cheering from the bingo side, figured somebody had won the jackpot. Geordie was returning to our table with the quarts when a loud bang froze everyone. It was the sound of a gun. The Legion is full of old soldiers and hunters. The old soldiers hit the deck, the hunters jumped to see what was going on. “Hey, stop right there” We heard the female voice clearly. I peeked around Geordie, who was also hiding under the table soaked in beer and saw Linda fire the gun. We heard the body drop and screams. I saw Linda stand up, put the revolver down on the table and walk toward the body. Silence at the euchre tables broke into excited whispers. “Holdup. Robbery” The words bounced around the room. “Mask” Ruth arrived at this point, glanced at us rising from the wet floor and kept going into the bingo room, a worried expression on her face. There were more than a few legionnaires regurgitating their beer when they saw the mess that Linda had made. She must have hit a blood vessel when she shot him. There was blood on the hysterical women sitting at the table beside the body, a mess on the floor. The guy was still masked. Jack Lawson pulled the sticky balaclava up far enough on the guy’s head to reveal Eldon’s face. There was no breath left in him. They tried to revive him while we waited for the ambulance but there was no hope. Eldon had tried to rob the bingo at gun point. He fired his weapon once into the air. He was leaving with the cash when Linda stood up and told him to stop. She pointed her gun at him, he pointed his at her, and that was it, she fired. It didn’t make Linda feel any better when it was discovered that he was using a harmless starter pistol. It looked real enough, one cop who knew Geordie confided. Ruth blanched when she saw Eldon’s face. She stared at Linda, looked at the body on the floor and sat down. The next morning, the diner was buzzing about the happenings at the Legion. Linda arrived late. She had been talking to police, reporters and her lawyer. There would be an autopsy and a trial. With so many witnesses to the attempted robbery, she would be cleared of the charges. Linda entered the diner like a conquering hero. We applauded her. Eldon didn’t have any family, except for Ruth, in the east. She shipped the body to Vancouver. It only took a day of her time. She was back at work that week. It came out later, through the press, that Linda was a retired cop. She had worked undercover for years and carried a licenced weapon all the time. Nobody knew it, but she went to target practice at the shooting range on the weekends. She had seen all of their hard work go for naught when that boy scooped up their bingo money. When he pointed his gun at her, it was instinctive to shoot. She didn’t think about killing him. It was cut and dried with Linda. She regretted Eldon’s death, but he was the bad guy. Geordie and I were treated to a visit, by Cliff, one night at the Legion. He let it slip, as we watched the hockey game, that Ruth was being investigated. None of the cops thought that even Eldon was dumb enough to risk everything for the small amount of money at the bingo. They figured he was put up to it by his aunt. They didn’t know why, what her motivation was, but they thought she was behind it. One thing for sure, Cliff told us, without Ruth’s confession, they couldn’t prove it. Ruth paid particular attention to Linda after that bingo. She served her first among the counter people, her coffee cup was always full. It was impossible for Linda not to know that Ruth was suspected by the cops. Roy wore a hunted look, like he was confused, not sure where he stood. He checked out the morning paper in the kitchen. We heard that Ruth had left the diner on the night of the bingo, in a huff, after a big fight with Roy. Maybe it was enough to push her over the line. Maybe her jealousy and anger caused her to put the kid up to it, to make Linda look bad. Unfortunate for young Eldon, her dead nephew. Geordie and I watched and listened. We knew that Ruth knew that Linda knew. Ruth attended the bingos but she didn’t boss anyone around any more. Linda watched Ruth fill our cups at the counter and listened to her repeat tidbits of gossip. We saw their eyes, Linda’s steady gaze, Ruth’s furtive glances, meet. That was when we saw it as a line drawn in the sand.
The ALA Youth Media Awards will be announced tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. CT in Chicago (that’s 9 a.m. for Martha and me). Here is a link to the live webcast.
Watching online is not quite the same as being in that huge ballroom full of book-loving early risers, fizzing with anticipation and hoping their favorite new books are about to be named. With luck, the microphone will pick up some of the reactions in the audience.
Robin will be right there in the room for the announcements. Martha and I will be in our own homes surrounded by the March book review section because we’re expecting ANOTHER foot or more of snow tonight and tomorrow.
Wherever you are, we will post the winners on this blog ASAP so we can all react to the announcements together.
The post Caldecott Award live appeared first on The Horn Book.
Blog reader Walt Morton, asks:
"Did Howard Pyle teach or endorse a particular palette of colors? He was so methodical and analytical, I believe he had an ideal palette underlying his methods.
Yet I find no printed evidence."
Offhand I didn't know the answer, so I reached out to my lifelines.
"It is my understanding that Pyle's emphasis was always on values, and color was of secondary consideration. [Harvey] Dunn said that Pyle 'preached tonal values 24-7' and had a very negative view of his own abilities with color. In fact Dunn reported that Pyle claimed he didn't really understand color at all. Given the many beautiful pictures in color by Pyle, we may take this anecdote with a grain of salt... something Dunn said which was designed more to drive home to his own students the preeminence of values in picture making.
"Regarding actual palette set up, Harvey Dunn said that Pyle taught his students to 'Keep shadows and light absolutely separate both on palette and on picture.' Dunn elaborated elsewhere: 'Keep light colors and shadow colors separate on palette, shadow colors on left, leaving a division between, and then light colors on the right.'"
Ian Schoenherr, author of the Howard Pyle blog
|Howard Pyle, The Dancer, 1899|
"I have almost nothing to add to what Kevin said. In my transcribed records, there’s little mention of the specific pigments Pyle used.
"However, in a letter Gertrude Brincklé wrote from Italy on March 12, 1911, she said: 'Mr. Pyle colored a print of Holbein’s ‘Richard Southwell’ for me - not just tinting, [but] modeling with water colors, white, vermillion, cerulean blue, thick colors.'
"And two observers assumed that Pyle added vermillion to his black and whites (starting in the early/mid 1890s). Likewise, an 1897 news item said, 'He even uses color sparingly where that will add to the ‘value’ of his scheme. Black and red is his favorite combination, with the introduction now and then of blue and yellow.'"
Like Kevin said, there are a few photos of Pyle with palette in hand - and I think only one (from early 1899 - above) shows the paint side - but that doesn’t help much.
By: Matthew Cheney,
Blog: The Mumpsimus
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My name is Matthew and I am a Norton Critical Edition
Hardly a term has gone by without my assigning students at least one NCE, both when I was a high school teacher and especially now that I'm teaching college students. (This term, it's The Red Badge of Courage
.) I have been known to change syllabi each term just to try out new NCEs with students. I have bought NCEs for myself even of books that I already owned in multiple other editions. I have all four editions of the NCE of Heart of Darkness
because the changes between them fascinate me. (I've been meaning to write a blog post or essay of some sort about those changes. I'll get to it one day.)
Anton Chekhov is my favorite writer, a writer whose work I've been reading and thinking about for all of my adult life. The Norton Critical Editions of Chekhov's stories and plays published in the late 1970s remained unchanged until Laurence Senelick's Selected Plays
came out in 2004, and then, finally, last year Cathy Popkin's Selected Stories
. Senelick's collection is good, and probably all that the average reader needs, though I'm more partial to Senelick's true masterpiece, the Complete Plays
, which is awe-inspiring.
Popkin's Selected Stories
is something more again, and easily the best single-volume collection of Chekhov in English. This is the place to start if you've never read Chekhov, and it's a great resource even for seasoned Chekhovians. I'll go further than that, actually: Because of the critical apparatus, this is a great resource for anyone interested in fiction, translation, and/or writing; and it is one of the most interesting Norton Critical Editions I know, almost as impressive as my favorite NCEs, Things Fall Apart
and The English Bible
Popkin made the interesting and valuable choice to not only include stories from multiple translators (including new commissions), but to foreground the act of translation by including helpful descriptions of each translator's approach and methodology, as well as short passages from multiple stories in numerous translations for comparison:
|sample of the Comparison Passages section|
Further, Popkin frequently offers a perspective on the translation of an individual story in the first footnote for it, and sometimes in subsequent footnotes that point out particular choices the translator made.
The foregrounding of translation allows Popkin to bring in essays in the critical section that focus on Chekhov as a stylist, something Ralph Matlaw, editor of the previous edition, specifically avoided because he thought it made no sense to talk about "since the subtleties of Chekhov's style are lost in translation." Popkin's contention is that this no longer needs to be true, if it ever was.
What we have here, then, is not only a book of Chekhov stories plus some biographical and critical material, but a book about aesthetics and writing. One of the critical disputes that Popkin highlights, both in her introduction and in her selection of essays, is a longstanding one between critics who believe every detail in the stories has a particular purpose and function, and critics who believe that Chekhov's art (and philosophy) resides in the very extraneousness and randomness of some of his details. There is, as Popkin notes, no solution to this question, and plenty of readers (I'm one of them) believe that in a certain way both
interpretations can be correct — but the value here is that Popkin is able to make the critical dispute one that is not only about Chekhov, but about writing, realism, and the reader's experience of the text. Attentive readers of this Selected Stories
will thus not only gain knowledge of Chekhov's work, but will also participate in the exploration of aesthetics: the aesthetics of the stories as well as the aesthetics of translation.
Inevitably, I have one complaint and a few quibbles. The complaint is that the physical book is terribly bound — the binding of my copy broke when I opened it, and continued to break whenever I opened to anything in the middle of the book. No pages have yet fallen out, but they could soon. This is unusual for a Norton book — The English Bible
is huge and only one year older than Selected Stories
and its bindings (2 big volumes) are very strong; my copy of the 1979 NCE of Chekhov's stories, purchased at the earliest 15 years ago, seems unbreakable. I hope the problem with this new book is an anomaly.
My quibbles are purely those of anyone who has their own particular favorites among Chekhoviana. I detest Ronald Hingley's imperialist atrocities of translations, and though I know they're necessary for this volume because they offer such stark contrast to other translations, why why why did Popkin have to include Hingley's translation of perhaps my favorite Chekhov story, "Gusev"?! At least she could have included somebody — anybody! — else's translation alongside it. (Indeed, I think it would have been helpful for the book to choose one complete story to offer in multiple translations. "Gusev" is probably too long, but Chekhov wrote a number of quite short stories that have been translated numerous times.)
The selection of stories in this edition is almost completely superior to Matlaw's, but it's unfortunate to lose the 1886 story "Dreams", which seems to me a perfect encapsulation of Chekhov's style between his early humorous sketches and his later, longer stories ... but it's easily available elsewhere
One significant improvement Popkin makes over Matlaw's previous edition is the inclusion of some of Chekhov's longer stories, most significantly "Ward No. 6" and "In the Ravine", two of his most important works. The book is already almost 700 pages, so obviously novellas such as "My Life" and "The Steppe" — hugely important, original, difficult, complex, breathtaking works — wouldn't fit without bumping out a lot of other worthwhile material, but still I pine. Perhaps Selected Stories
will be successful enough that Norton will consider a Critical Edition called Chekhov's Novellas
Finally, it might have been nice to include something on the adaptation of Chekhov's stories to theatre, film, and television — though of course his plays are more frequently adapted, some of the better adaptations are of the short stories, and there's been at least a little bit of critical attention to that. Adaptation is another form of translation, and it would have been interesting to consider that further within the frame that Popkin set up.
But really, these are the inevitable, unimportant quibbles of the sort that any anthology causes in a reader familiar with the territory. Popkin's edition of the Selected Stories
is a book to celebrate and savor, and it gets so many things right that it is churlish to complain about any of it. Even the cover is a smart, appropriate choice: a painting by Chekhov's friend Isaac Levitan
This book is clearly the result of lots of love for Chekhov, and as such I can only love it back.
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Live drawing at Angoulême International Comics Festival, photo Fredrik Strömberg