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Next among the children’s/YA authors that I’m featuring in the Games & Books & Q&A series is J. Anderson Coats. J. is the author of the YA novel The Wicked and the Just (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), set amid the English occupation of medieval Wales. Published in 2012, the book was ranked among the year’s best YA fiction by both Kirkus Reviews and the Young Adult Library Services Association.
CB: What do you remember about the first video game you ever played?
JAC: Playing Nintendo was a way to hang out with my older brother and develop a common vocabulary. The better I got, the more he treated me like a peer instead of a pest. We bonded over Karnov and Contra.
CB: What games did you play the most when you were a kid? What did you love about them?
JAC: I played a lot of Super Mario Bros. 2 and 3, and hours and hours of Dragon Warrior II. Dragon Warrior was a quest game, and you had to travel around talking to people and gathering items and interpreting clues. It reminded me of reading a great story, only you got to participate.
CB: What role do games play in your life today?
JAC: Games are a big part of how I connect with my teenage son. He doesn’t want to do things like bake cookies anymore, but he’s usually up for a game of Civilization V. And I’ve been known to play Civ V or Medieval Total War when I’m stuck on a scene or a plot point in a book I’m working on. It’s good for morale to succeed at something, even if it’s razing your opponent’s city to the ground.
To write a series of books, my biggest tip is to plan ahead. You may get by with writing one book on the fly—plenty of people do that. But for a series to hang together, to have cohesion and coherence, planning is essential. Here are three decisions you should make early in the planning process.
Decision #1: What type of series will you write?
Strategies for a series vary widely. For THE HUNGER GAMES, the story is really one large story broken down into several books. Or, to say it another way, there is a narrative arc that spans the whole series. Yes, each book has a narrative arc and ends on a satisfying note; however, we read the next book because we want to know what happens in the overall series arc. Jim Butcher’s ALERA CODEX is another series with an overall series arc; it was fun to hang out in this world for a long time.
On the other hand, series such as Agatha Christie mysteries (in fact, many mystery series fall into this category) are stand-alone books. What continues from one book to the next is the characters, the setting and milieu, and the general voice and tone of the stories. Once a reader gets to know a character, s/he wants to spend more time with that character. These readers just want to hang out with a friend, your character. A sub-category is the series of standalone books that adds a final chapter to set up the next book in the series and leaves you with a cliff-hanger.
I distinctly remember when I first read Edgar Rice Burrough’s John Carter series about Mars. Each story is a standalone novel, but he hooked me hard. I started reading at noon on a Saturday and found myself hotfooting it to the bookstore at 4:30 pm because they closed at 5 pm and I had to have the second book to read immediately.
Rarer is the series that crosses genres. This type series begins with one genre, but moves into other genres as the lives of the characters progress. For example, a romance might continue with a mystery for the second book. And the third might move into a supernatural genre. These are rarer because one reason a reader sticks with a series is that they know what they are getting. It will be this type of a story, told in this sort of way and will involve these characters.
On the other hand, some series unabashedly cross genres but they do it for every book. Rick Riordian’s Percy Jackson series is a combination of mythology and action/thriller with a dose of mystery.
Notice that this decision centers on the plot of the stories in the series. Will you plot each separately, or will there be an overall plot?
Decision #2: Characters
Besides plot, you should make decisions about characters, and as with plot, you have choices. One choice is an ensemble cast that will carry over from book to book. Here, you have Percy Jackson, his friends and his family as constants. Each book introduces new characters, of course, but there is a core that stays the same.
Another option is to have just one character remain the same. Agatha Christie had Hercule Poirot traveling around and the only constant was the gumshoe and his skills.
Whether you choose one character or an ensemble, you can add or subtract as you go along. But the characters must be integral to the story’s plot.
In developing series characters, think about cohesion and coherence.
Cohesion: Elements of the story stick together, giving cohesion. For example, if one alien in the family can use telekinesis (moving objects with your mind), then that possibility should exist for all members of the family. Of course, some might not have the power, or it may develop slowly for a child, but the possibility should exist.
Coherence: Elements of a story are consistent from book to book. If Kell’s eyes are silvery in book one, they are silvery in books two, three and four.
Decision #3: How long do you want the series to continue?
Many easy readers series go on forever. Think of THE BERENSTAIN BEARS, who continue their adventures and lives throughout multiple volumes. For this type series, the story possibilities are endless. Or think of a TV series, where the situation set up is rich with possibilities. I Love Lucy ran for years and years on the premise of a slightly crazy wife of a musician.
On the other hand, some series have a finite life span. For stories with a narrative arc that spans a series, the life span is built into the plot. However even for these, there can be spin-offs into related series. Think of Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and Heroes of Olympia series. The A to Z Mysteries by Ron Roy and John Gurney had a built-in limit of 26 books.
The Buddy Files Series, Book 1, by Dori Hillestad Butler
Sometimes, the length of a series depends on the publisher and the early success of the series titles. When Dori Hillestad Butler’s first book in The Buddy Files series, THE CASE OF THE LOST BOY, won the 2011 Edgar Award for the best juvenile mystery of the year, the publisher contracted for more.
For Sara Pennypacker, author of the CLEMENTINE series of short chapter books, the answer of series length depended on something else. In a presentation about writing, she said that she had to ask herself what she wanted to say to third graders. She came up with eight things. Pennypacker focused on the themes of each book (friendship, telling the truth, etc) and found that eight was the natural stopping place for her. Of course, she reserves the right to many more, if other themes present themselves. But she deliberately stepped away from doing a Christmas book, a Halloween book, a 4th of July book, a fall book, a back-to-school book and so on and so forth.
My books, THE ALIENS, INC. SERIES, just released in August, 2014, is about an alien family that is shipwrecked on Earth and must figure out how to make a living. It’s been interesting developing these stories and thinking about these three issues.
They accidentally fall into party planning and each book features a different type of party or event put on by Aliens, Inc, the family’s company. KELL, THE ALIEN, the lead-off story, is about a birthday party and of course, it is an alien party. Can the aliens pull off an alien party? The second is about a Friends of Police parade, entitled, KELL AND THE HORSE APPLE PARADE. Book 3, KELL AND THE GIANTS, explored the world of tall and how to keep a giant secret.
Can you tell just from the description some of the decisions I made? There isn’t an overall series arc. Rather, the characters, setting and milieu are set up and there could be endless stories in the series. However, like Butler’s dog mystery series, I am starting with four books and their success will determine future titles. There is a main character who is surrounded by friends and family and, of course, a villainess. These characters weave through the stories and provide cohesion and coherence.
Plan ahead and your series will be stronger. For those who accidentally fall into a series, it will be harder to sustain coherence. You may realize in book three that it sure would be nice if your character had to wear glasses. Yes, you can add it—but you run the danger of it being obviously done for the story itself. So, in my series, early readers have questioned things like the art teacher who is from Australia.
They ask, “Does it matter that she is from Australia?”
“Not yet,” I answer. I just know that I have seeded these early manuscripts with possibilities. If the series goes to books 5-8, I will have hooks to draw upon. So, while I haven’t plotted those books, I have still allowed room for them.
After years of intense basic and clinical research, hepatitis C is now curable for the vast majority of the millions of people who have it. The major barrier is access (diagnosis, getting care, and paying for it), because the scientific problem has been solved.
Not only that — but the situation will soon get even better.
For those who haven’t followed this medical miracle closely, here’s a Spark Notes version to bring you up to speed:
Pre-1989: Many blood transfusion recipients, injection drug users, and people with hemophilia have a form of chronic hepatitis, but they test negative for hepatitis A or B. Their infection is cleverly called “non-A, non-B hepatitis,” kind of a placeholder for a future discovery.
1989: A government-industry collaboration discovers the virus that causes “NANB hepatitis” (as it is sometimes further abbreviated). Good thing for that placeholder, because the new virus is called “hepatitis C”, abbreviated “HCV.” A few years later, a reasonably accurate blood test arrives, helping protect the blood supply and also giving us a much better sense of the natural history of HCV (generally slow but progressive liver disease), and finding a vast number of people infected, most of them unaware of it.
1990s: Remarkably, interferon therapy alone sometimes cures hepatitis C. That’s right, cures it. Unlike HIV and hepatitis B, HCV has no phase where it’s integrated into the host genome, so clearance of the virus completely occurs, provided the host and treatment factors are right. That’s the good news, but the rest, not so much: cure rates are terrible (generally <10% for genotype 1, the most common form in the United States), interferon has to be injected three times a week, and, perhaps worst of all, side effects are legion — fatigue, fever, muscle aches, anorexia, depression, irritability — and tend to worsen over the year or so of required therapy.
Late 1990s: Ribavirin — a mysterious antiviral whose mechanism of action still remains unclear — is added to interferon treatment, boosting cure rates up to 30-40% for genotype 1, 70% or higher for genotypes 2 and 3. Cause for celebration? Usually not, for several reasons: ribavirin has its own tricky side effects (hemolytic anemia, for one, and severe teratogenicity), so treatment is even more difficult than with interferon alone. Furthermore, the viral kinetics of successful treatment remain poorly defined, and hence patients are often given months of toxic therapy before it is ultimately stopped for “futility”.
Early 2000s: Attaching polyethylene glycol (PEG) to interferon greatly slows its clearance, so injections are now required only once a week. These “pegylated” forms of interferon plus ribavirin increase cure rates a bit further, as the reduced frequency of injections markedly improves adherence. (They also engender one of the best trade names ever for a drug – what marketing genius thought of Pegasys?) Side effects, alas, are no better. “I feel like I’m slowly killing myself,” says one of my patients, memorably, as he abandons treatment after 36 weeks of fatigue, snapping at his wife and co-workers, and general misery because his blood tests still show a bit of detectable virus – with no guarantee that continuing on to week 48 will cure him.
2011: The first “directly acting antivirals” (DAAs) are approved, the HCV protease inhibitors boceprevir and telaprevir. For patients completing treatment with these drugs — again, in addition to interferon and ribavirin — cure rates for genotype 1 reach 70-80%. Certainly a big improvement, yes, but a few major caveats: first, though the treatment can sometimes (but not always) be shortened to 24 weeks with these three rather than two drugs, interferon and ribavirin side effects remain extremely problematic, with some of them (in particular the cytopenias) made even worse. Second, these first-generation protease inhibitors have their own set of nasty toxicities (anemia, rashes, taste disturbance, diarrhea, pain with defecation — another memorable patient quote: “I feel like I’m shitting glass shards.”) Third, both drugs have a high pill burden and, with telaprevir, stringent food requirements, making adherence extremely challenging.
Given the limitations of interferon (pegylated or not), ribavirin, telaprevir and boceprevir, it’s not surprising that many clinicians and patients decide it’s best to wait for better treatments to come. In fact, the cure rates from clinical trials are huge overestimates of the proportions actually cured in clinical practice, since there is intense clinician and patient self-selection about who should launch into these tough treatments. Meanwhile, research is proceeding rapidly (competition in this field is a good thing) to find other anti-HCV drugs, and several promising early clinical trials results are presented at academic meetings.
The practical culmination of this research finally arrives in late 2013 with the approval of first simeprevir — another protease inhibitor, only given as just one pill a day and with very few side effects — and, a few weeks later, sofosbuvir. The first HCV nucleotide polymerase inhibitor, sofosbuvir is also one pill a day, is highly potent, has few side effects or drug interactions, and is so effective it can help you get a better deal on your car insurance. (That last part was made up, but for the price — $1000 a pill — sofosbuvir better be pretty good.)
Simeprevir and sofosbuvir have been studied together in the COSMOS study and the bottom line is that more than 90% of genotype 1 patients are cured with 12 weeks of therapy. Some of the patients in COSMOS received no ribavirin, and most importantly none received interferon. It’s a small study, yes, and so we can’t take that response rate as applicable to everyone – some very difficult to treat individuals have already failed “SIM-SOF,” as the combination is being called by the HCV cognoscenti. But both in the clinical trial and thus far in clinical practice, this two-pill, once-daily regimen has shockingly few side effects.
So what’s next? How can this happy state of affairs get even better? Within the next 12 months, we’ll have a combination pill that gives HCV treatment as one pill a day. Some patients will be cured in 8 rather than 12 weeks. Other options (here and here) will arrive that have the same astounding cure rates – because a greater than 90% response is the price of entry into this HCV treatment arena. It’s hoped (and expected by many) that these expanded options will bring the cost of HCV therapy down, because that’s the way markets are supposed to work.
More than 90% cured. Sure beats the 9% rate from the interferon-only days.
And that, my friends, is reason to celebrate World Hepatitis Day.
Paul Edward Sax, MD is Clinical Director of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School. He is the editor-in-chief of the Infectious Diseases Society of America’s new peer-reviewed, open access journal, Open Forum Infectious Diseases (OFID).
Open Forum Infectious Diseases provides a global forum for the rapid publication of clinical, translational, and basic research findings in a fully open access, online journal environment. The journal reflects the broad diversity of the field of infectious diseases, and focuses on the intersection of biomedical science and clinical practice, with a particular emphasis on knowledge that holds the potential to improve patient care in populations around the world.
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I’m a huge Kelly Hunter fan, so when this novella popped up at Amazon for .99, I grabbed it with no hesitation. Didn’t even read the blurb. I just had to have it. I am so glad that I hit the Buy button, because this is a fun, slightly angsty read. And guess what? The heroine is a costume designer and a co-player, and most of the story takes place at a gaming convention. Talk about pushing all of my geek buttons!
Eli is still mourning the loss of his girlfriend, five years after her death. He has cut himself off from almost everyone but his family. His only joy comes on Friday, during his weekly online gaming session with Fuzzy aka Zoey, another hardcore gamer. She is a take no prisoners kind of girl, and Eli has developed a fondness for her over the two years they’ve been gaming together. When his brothers plot to have them meet in real life, at a local gaming convention, he isn’t happy at first. He’s down right put out. His social life is just fine, thank you very much. He’s reluctant to step outside of his comfort zone, but he doesn’t want to hurt Zoey’s feelings, either, so he agrees to go.
Zoey is delighted when Eli asks her to go to the convention with him. She doesn’t know that the text she received is from his brother, but it probably wouldn’t have slowed her down if she had known. That’s what I enjoyed so much about this fun novella. Zoey is vivacious and full of life, while Eli has been avoiding life for the past five years. Zoey loves people, she loves making everyone feel special, and she has to be in the thick of the action. Sitting on the sidelines is not for her. Jumping into new situations with both feet and never a backwards glance is how she’s wired, while Eli is much more reserved and cautious. The push and pull between them was engaging, and it was nice to see the heroine take charge for a change.
If I have one quibble, it was with the potential relationship deal breaker, which seemed to come out of nowhere. While it was the one thing that would have sent Eli packing, it came out of left field. Other than that, this is the perfect read for a lazy afternoon.
Review copy purchase from Amazon
They were on the honeymoon of a lifetime. Pity it wasn’t theirs.
Eli Jackson has just married the woman of his dreams. Sure, it was part of an online role-playing game and not exactly real, but he totally dominated the wedding battle that followed and his lady wife was very impressed.
Eli never imagined that his brothers would bestow on them a real-world honeymoon package at one of the Gold Coast’s premier hotels. He never figured on costume designer Zoey Daniels being such fun. Together they’re dynamite, but Eli’s not looking for a real relationship and Zoey lives only for the day. Besides, no one falls in love this fast. Do they?
Note: The following post was originally published on the Writer’s Fun Zone blog, a site designed to help writers succeed and improve their author platform. When you have time, I urge you to check out this fantastic resource.
This post could have also been dubbed ‘Balance 101 for Authors’. About sixteen months ago the first novel in my middle-grade/YA time travel series hit the cyber bookshelves. There was so much to do, and it felt like there wasn’t enough time to do everything. I needed a time portal just to get all my marketing and promoting put in place. This included getting a website up and running, ordering promotional giveaways, setting up blog hops, writing blog posts, and joining the appropriate social media networks. The lists seemed endless, and when the date finally arrived for my book release, I was wearing my shoulders as earrings.
Needless to say, by the end of my first book blog tour, I was exhausted, spent, and bent out of shape. Even my eyelids ached.
What I learned from that whole experience last year is that authors need to learn to structure their writing life, or their writing will take a nose dive. We need to learn to create balance so that the task of being a writer plus a marketer plus a promoter doesn’t wear us down. So, how do we do this when so much is expected of a writer nowadays?
Start with finding your comfort zone. Find your personal comfort level with promotion or marketing, do that and do no more. That’s it. Do it. Or you’ll get burned. If you don’t heed my advice, then sure as shooting, negativity will leach into your writing. And that’s the last thing a writer wants!
Need help finding your comfort zone? Go to the dollar store and buy a timer. It will be one of the most important investments (and cheapest) as a writer you will make. For less than two dollars you can purchase a piece of sanity to help you organize your writing life and keep you in your zone. Set your timer to check emails. Fifteen minutes? Twenty minutes? Then do the same for Facebook and Twitter. But keep in mind which activity will help you as an author in the long run. Apply the 80/20 rule. Write (produce) for 80%, promote and market for only 20%. After all—social networking is a marketing strategy—as long as you treat it as such. Then, once you have laid the timer law down, set it for how long you want to sit and just write, with no interruptions (unless the dog really needs to pee).
So, stop pushing the zone. Relax. Let go. Breathe.
That doesn’t mean writers shouldn’t learn or try new things. By all means learn and try. Get your hands dirty if you must. But don’t burst a vein in your brain doing it. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself that you collapse into a quivering mass of writer goo. As writers, we must protect our work—and ourselves. It takes time to build an on-line (and off-line) marketing presence in this new publishing world. Learn this, cut yourself some slack, and prosper.
Thank you for reading my blog. How do you find balance as a writer? Love to hear your voices…
Ally Blake stopped by this morning to answer a question for us. Check out her answer and then enter the giveaway below!
WHAT FIVE THINGS WOULDN’T LORI KEEP IN HER PURSE?
AN IPOD. Lori’s a workaholic; mighty ambitious and super-focused on her career so the only music she finds time to listen to are the CDs her driver’s daughters make him listen to in the car. Funny, because – although she doesn’t know it yet – she is about to fall for one of the biggest rock stars in the world!
FLATS. High heels only for our girl. And why not? Lori’s the CEO of a haute couture shoe brand; wouldn’t you take advantage?!
TISSUES. Lori’s pretty tough. Had to be after her father left, leaving her to look after her little sister when her mother fell apart. Emotions are dangerous things and now her heart is for pumping blood, nothing more.
A LITTLE BLACK BOOK. Lori likes her men clean, neat, well-off and not at all needy. She likes it ever better if they last as long as a good steak dinner…no more. Which is why when she finds herself looking forward to her guitar lessons with big, scruffy, languorous rocker Dash Mills she’s set completely off her game.
MOMENTOS FROM HOME. Lori isn’t the least bit sentimental. She’s well aware that the events of her past made her the never-say-die go-getter she is today, but that doesn’t mean she needs a daily reminder. Pressing forward is her motto. Though since meeting Dash, and watching how he enjoys the simple things in life she’s beginning to wonder if she’s played it all wrong…
Resisting the Musician
Bridal shoe company owner Lori Hanover is in way over her head. First, her designer sister has fallen head over heels for the rock star fiancé of a client – talk about bad PR! Now her business is falling apart. Lori’s only hope in saving her company is making the world believe it was true love, even if she’s not so sure herself. Her best bet? A song. For this she turns to the most frustrating musical recluse in America, Dash Mills, a man who could pass for Thor’s sexier brother. And even though this former rock superstar agrees to help, it comes at a price…
When Lori agrees to Dash’s terms, he thinks she’s the one in for a challenge. But the more time he spends with this spitfire bombshell, the more tempted he is to play her—in more ways than one. But Dash left behind the rock and roll life for a reason. And seductive as Lori may be, if she drags him back into that world, this time he won’t forgive himself…or her.
BIO: Australian writer Ally Blake is a redhead, a footy fan, a devotee of the language of Aaron Sorkin; she is addicted to stationery and M&Ms and weak in the face of Italians and fire-fighters and a firm believer in love, luck, and fairies. She is also a best-selling author with more than twenty-five fun, flirty romance novels under her belt with over three million copies of her books sold worldwide. For Ally’s take on life, writing, and other fancy stuff, head to www.allyblake.com.
“What compelled you to ignore the ‘No Trespassing Or My Vicious Dogs will Eat Your Liver For Brunch’ sign?” asked Dash.
In sentences three words and less his voice was riveting. Longer it was rich and smooth, with a hint of an accent Lori couldn’t pick.
“The sign lied,” Lori prevaricated, as if she didn’t have a million things she ought to be doing with her time other than standing in this doorway in the middle of nowhere falling into the slumberous dark eyes of a hulking stranger.
His wide mouth flickered up at one corner. She would have bet a mint the guy was well aware how a smile like that would play with any female within range.
“If you want liver-eaters for dogs,” she said, standing taller to negate the urge to fan herself, “they need discipline.”
One meaty shoulder lifted into a shrug. “Never been that keen on the stuff myself.”
He touched the side of his nose and she wondered how many times it had been broken. And how big the other guys must have been.
Last week, we went on an annual trip to IKEA and Joseph Beth Bookstore. It is a fun way to get our heads back into school and to pick up some new books. This year, I discovered a new informational book series for young readers-the Did You Know? series by Laura Lyn DiSiena and Hanna Eliot. It will be perfect for 3rd grade and I think younger and older students would like it too.
The first book I read was Hippos Can't Swim: and other fun facts (Did You Know?). Kids LOVE facts. Isolated facts that are just fun to know. I worry a bit about this because so many kids read nonfiction and just collect facts without going further. This series of books is full of facts. I usually avoid books like that as there are enough out there. But this series is different. The facts are more than just a sentence fact. They are embedded in an explanation and connected to other facts in ways that build some understanding. For kids who are used to reading facts only, this is a great series to push them a little bit and to see how facts fit into bigger ideas and understandings.
These are great books for kids who need a bit of support reading nonfiction. I can see using them as read alouds or in small groups. But I think for all kids, these will be great reads for independent reading and kids will be able to read them cover to cover. The illustrations are fun with adorable animals doing crazy things everywhere. I think these illustrations will be great for kids who avoid nonfiction because they have a limited definition of what it can be. These don't look like your typical nonfiction book.
Right now, I think there are 3 books in the series. But 4 more are due out over the next several months. Woohooo!
The best part of summer is having time. Time for reading, time for vacation, time for kayaking, time for baking, time for redesigning the website. I’ve been doing all of these things. You’ll see the website redesign soon, but I have to say, my family is definitely more appreciative of the baked treats I’ve been […]
Lizzie Tarleton has always done things her own way—including the time at the tender age of thirteen when she confessed to her brother’s best friend she loved him. But now she’s a new teacher at the local high school, and independent enough to know that you can’t force love. She’ll find love when the time is right—even though her parents are adamant the time is now. The only downfall to her idyllic life is the fact that her childhood crush—who broke her heart—is now her boss. If only she could stop daydreaming about him.
Wayne Whitmore grew up on the wrong side of the tracks and worked hard to get where he’s at in life. Even though he enjoys being principal at the small town high school, he dreams of coaching baseball. When his best friend asks him to watch over his little sister at her new job at Wayne’s school, he agrees. What he doesn’t count on is how she’s grown from the pig tailed kid who told him she loved him, to the woman who breaks his concentration with her beauty and smile. Unable to get over his fascination, and afraid he’ll ruin his friend’s trust, Wayne applies for his dream job—one that will take him far away.
One night while decorating the school gymnasium for an upcoming sock hop, Lizzie and Wayne find themselves alone. They share a kiss and Lizzie realizes her childhood crush for Wayne has never died. Wayne decides he doesn’t want to let Lizzie get away.
Can they come to terms with their secret love and then overcome the other secrets they are hiding in order to get what they each want? Or is their timing for love still off?
She blinked away the heat of tears forming at the back of her eyes. Their conversation had grown too serious. She needed to lighten things up a bit. “Remember when we used to play ‘What if?’” He laughed. “What if Lizzie wore a dress?”
“Either she was going to church, or her mom was having a ladies’ social.” Lizzie giggled. “Ricky hated that game.”
“He’d get so mad when you’d start it.” He made the final cut on a small snowflake and added it to the pile before him.
“What if Wayne couldn’t throw his famous curve ball?”
“The school trophy case would be one trophy short. What if Lizzie wasn’t teaching here?”
She pouted. “She’d be sad. I have no idea what I’d be doing if I hadn’t found a job here. What does Lizzie have to do to show Wayne she thanks him?” She winked, enjoying their fun.
He cleared his throat. “What if Wayne said Lizzie owed him a kiss?”
Her belly trembled. What if?
“What if he stole one?” His voice lowered and he leaned in.
“Why don’t you find out?” she whispered.
Christine Warner is living her dream in Michigan along with her family, one laptop, and a much loved assortment of furry friends.
Besides laughing and a good dose of humor, she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, reading, writing, but no arithmetic. A confessed people watcher, she finds inspiration for her stories in everyday activities. She loves to read and write about strong heroes, and determined, sometimes sassy, heroines.
A girl gone wild, at least where social media is concerned, she enjoys meeting other avid readers and writers on facebook, twitter and her website at christine-warner.com.
Outlawed: The Naked Truth About Censored Literature for Young People
Arne Nixon Center for the Study of Children’s Literature
Henry Madden Library at California State University, Fresno
April 10-12, 2015
While most people are familiar with attempts to censor children’s and young adult literature, the problem of censorship continues to provoke many who believe that children and adolescents benefit from considering diverse viewpoints and cultural experiences. In recent years, many examples of children’s and young adult literature—including The Perks of Being a Wallflower, And Tango Makes Three, and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian—have been challenged in schools and libraries. This conference seeks to explore the ways in which censorship affects young readers whose parents, teachers, and civic leaders attempt to navigate thorny terrains of identity in a world in which information circulates more freely than ever before.
This conference will be hosted by the Arne Nixon Center for the Study of Children’s Literature, one of North America’s leading resources for the study of children’s and young adult literature. The growing collection of 60,000 books, periodicals, manuscripts, original art, and papers of authors and illustrators has an international and multicultural emphasis. The Center also houses one of the largest collections of LGBT+ literature for children and young adults in the United States.
Scholars, librarians, teachers, writers, and illustrators are invited to submit proposals for formal presentations, roundtable discussions, and workshops. Presentations may highlight creative work, community engagement, pedagogy, or scholarship. Sessions will last 75 minutes (15–20 min. per presenter).Proposals for individual presentations should be 250-300 words, while proposals for entire sessions should be no more than 500 words. Please include two- to three-sentence biographies for each participant and indicate any audio-visual/media needs.
Possible topics for proposals include, but are not limited to:
· Suppressed or silenced histories
· International contexts for censorship
· Technology and/or digital literacies
· Fan fiction as a response to banned young adult texts
· The use of social media to intervene when books are challenged
· History of censorship and banned book lists
· LGBT+ literature
· Bibliotherapy and censorship
· Recent attempts to ban books based on cultural empowerment movements
· Multiculturalism and diversity
· Sex and censorship
· Creating curriculum that supports the use of banned books
· “Artivism” and subtext in illustrations
· Graphic novels, novels in verse, and experimentation with form
· Libraries (school/community/archives) and closed reference cases
· Publishing or Pre-Censorship
· Schools (K-12, public/private)
· Religion, spirituality, and mysticism in banned books
· Authorial politics and the reception of young adult literature
· Recommended age ratings for books
Submission deadline for proposals (both individual and panel) is November 26, 2014. Submit electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org, Dr. Kathleen Godfrey, English Department, Fresno State.
So, a couple of weeks ago, I posted “An Intro to The Art of Revision,” and promised more to come. Here’s the more to come (which will, in time, be followed by yet another “more to come,” I’m sure)
Again, I start with a disclaimer about how revision (and writing, in general) is different for everyone, yadda yadda yadda, and how you should totally ignore me if the following doesn’t appeal to you.
Last time, I focused on how you should see your first draft as malleable, and how you’re using it to figure out What Is My Story About (and What Is My Story NOT About). Here’s a little more explanation on that.
At the heart of every story, there is Want and there is Conflict. Your characters are driven to action because they want something. The rest of the story exists because there’s conflict that prevents your characters from just getting what they want. This Want and Conflict (which can then split into many Wants and Conflicts) can differ wildly in complexity and subtly from story to story.
You can think about it this way (and I’m generalizing/stereotyping here): a summer blockbuster action movie is gonna have a pretty simple main Want and Conflict—Villain wants to destroy the world (mwauhaha!); Hero wants to save it. An “art-house” indie film might have something less outwardly dramatic: young woman wants to get into college and escape her little town; her emotionally needy mother wants her to stay.
But either way, there’s always a main Want and Conflict. Many times, there are sub-Wants and Conflicts as well (Hero in action movie also wants to maintain his relationship with his girlfriend, who doesn’t understand why he’s always off saving the world and not watching police procedurals with her; she threatens to break up with him if he keeps skipping date night). But the main thing in your revision is to make sure that your main character(s)’s major Want and Conflict are established as early as possible, and as clearly as possible. Without this, readers find it much harder to care. After all, this juxtaposition of “want” and “conflict” is your book’s plot.
This is what people are talking about when they say beginner writers often start a book “too early” in the story. If your story is about a boy whose sister gets kidnapped and he has to go after her, it’s an issue if the girl doesn’t actually get kidnapped until chapter 10. You might protest that the first 10 chapters are necessary to explain why the girl would get kidnapped, and to develop the characters, and the setting, and so on. Yes, those things are important, but not as important as kick-starting your plot.
I’ll wrap up here for today. Go check your WIPs! Are you setting up “Want” and “Conflict” as early as possible?
Kat Zhang loves traveling to places both real and fictional–the former allows for better souvenirs, but the latter allows for dragons, so it’s a tough pick. Her novel WHAT’S LEFT OF ME is about a girl struggling to survive in an alternate universe where people are born with two souls, and one is doomed to disappear. It is the first book in a trilogy and was published by HarperCollins in September of 2012. Book 2, ONCE WE WERE, released September 2013, and Book 3, ECHOES OF US, will come out September 16, 2014. You can learn all about Kat at her site, or listen to her ramblings on twitter.
The landscape of time can be a ticklish beast, particularly when writing. We live our lives in a linear fashion, always moving forward, never backwards or sideways. Our characters often live their lives linearly as well. In fact, books themselves must be read in a front to back fashion where chapter one leads to chapter two and so on. Yet time – or story time – is more malleable in a novel than it is in real life. Engaging a reader in the whole history of a world and character requires flashbacks, summarization of memories, and whole scenes that make us time travelers. Or as my favorite time traveler Doctor Who would say:
As authors, the question is how do we deal with all this wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff without disorienting our reader? Jumping around in time is a luxury we can explore, but walking blindly into a flashback, without any cues to the reader, will break the fictive dream and draw attention to itself. It will commit the cardinal sin of writing, which is to remind the reader that they are reading.
One of the best ways to transition a reader in time is through the careful crafting of language. Words are our tools and used craftily, that can lull a reader through an invisible portal from one time space to another.
Let’s look at four techniques to help a reader flawlessly transition through story time.
1) Word Repetition
Create transitions through the repetition of sounds, syllables, objects, and words. In the excerpt from The House on Mango Street below, the repetition of the words know and because are used as a portal from one time period to the next. The words move us from the present day story space to a new location in Mexico, and then back again.
“I have never seen my Papa cry and I don’t know what to do. I know he will have to go away, that he will take a plane to Mexico, all the uncles and aunts will be there, and they will have a black-and-white photo take in front of the tomb … because this is how they send the dead away in that country. Because I am the oldest, my father has told me first and now it is my turn to tell the others.”
2) Sentence and Phrase Repetition
Create transitions through the repetition of phrases, images, and sentence structure.
In this second example from The House on Mango Street, the repetition of a sentence structure creates a rhythm and punctuation to the paragraph. It is the repeating words along with the repeating rhythm that transitions the reader from impression to impression.
“In English my name means hope. In Spanish it means too many letters. It means sadness, it means waiting. It is like the number nine … It is the Mexican records my father plays on Sunday mornings … songs like sobbing. It was my great-grandmother’s name and now it is mine.” (The House on Mango Street)
3) Word Association
Remember being a kid and playing the word association game? The mind likes to make connections through visual images evoked by single words. You can also use this technique to create transitions in time and space.
The word association game begins with hair in the example below. It then riffs off of imagery to transition from hair to bread, thus moving the reader into a memory.
“But my mother’s hair, my mother’s hair, like little rosettes, like little candy circles all curly … sweet to put your nose into when she is holding you… is the warm smell of bread before you bake it, is the smell when she makes room for you on her side of the bed … the rain outside falling and Papa snoring.” (The House on Mango Street)
4) Question and Answer
You can also use a question to transition the reader from one time to the next. The question creates curiosity in the reader’s mind and the answer works as a transition into the new time space.
“No address. No Name. Nothing in his pockets. Ain’t it a shame. Only Marin can’t explain why it mattered … but what difference does it make? He wasn’t anything to her. He wasn’t her boyfriend … Just another brazer who didn’t speak English. Just another wetback … How does she explain it? She met him at a dance. Geraldo in his shiny shirt and green pants…” (The House on Mango Street)
There are a lot ways to transition between time and space in a story. In later posts we can discuss things like: cause and effect, causality link-chains, or pause button violations. For now, focus on the magic of phrasing and how your words can makes a transition seem inevitable, natural, and invisible.
See these time transition techniques (and more) in practice by reading and studying these awesome stories:
Three recent YA historical fiction novels by Australian women (all published by HarperCollins/ABC Books) inhabit times when girls had to bend to the influence of men and were comparatively powerless.
The Raven’s Wing is Frances Watts’s first novel for teens. It is set in Ancient Rome where fifteen year-old Claudia is strategically offered in marriage several times. Making an alliance which can best help her family is paramount. Primarily a romance, the book addresses Claudia’s growing awareness of human rights (here through the fate of slaves) which interferes with her sense of duty and makes her a much more interesting character than the docile cipher she is expected to be.
I am Juliet by Australian Children’s Laureate, Jackie French, is based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. French’s Juliet is a fleshed-out focal character. Superficially she shares some of Claudia’s privileged lifestyle features: attended by maids who wash and dress her and apply her makeup; elaborate meals; and protection behind high walls. Medicinal and other herbs and plants are a feature of their times; and Juliet and Claudia both face imminent arranged marriage, but are aware of a dark man in shadows. Their stories, also, contain a story within a story.
Jackie French has reinterpreted Shakespeare previously – in her excellent Macbeth and Son which grapples with the nature of truth. She has also addressed the role of women in history, perhaps most notably in A Rose for the ANZAC Boys.
Issy, the thirteen-year-old protagonist of Pamela Rushby’s The Ratcatcher’s Daughter, doesn’t share Claudia and Juliet’s privileged backgrounds. Set in a well-drawn Brisbane of 1900, Issy’s father is a ratcatcher during the bubonic plague. Issy is offered a scholarship to become a teacher but her family refuse it due to lack of money. The issue of the poor’s inability to take up opportunities that the rich assume is reiterated throughout the novel.
The Ratcatcher’s Daughter and I am Juliet include background notes about the historical period and other points of interest.
These three books unite in their exploration of girls who are prepared to defy tradition to control their own lives, where possible, in spite of general lack of female empowerment. I hope that this really was possible and is not just a revisionist interpretation.
It is interesting that this crop of YA historical novels has appeared now. Are these authors finding a story-niche or reflecting current concern? Although surely girls today, particularly in a country such as Australia, are more fortunate in their freedom and choice.
It’s easy to assume that we know what pain is. We’ve all experienced pain, from scraped knees and toothaches to migraines and heart attacks. When people suffer around us, or we witness a loved one in pain, we can also begin to ‘feel’ with them. But is this the end of the story?
In the three videos below Joanna Bourke, author of The Story of Pain: From Prayer to Painkillers, talks about her fascination with pain from a historical perspective. She argues that the ways in which people respond to what they describe as ‘painful’ have changed drastically since the eighteenth century, moving from a belief that it served a specific (and positive) function to seeing pain as an unremitting evil to be ‘fought’. She also looks at the interesting attitudes towards women and pain relief, and how they still exist today.
Joanna Bourke is Professor of History at Birkbeck College, University of London. She is the prize-winning author of nine books, including histories of modern warfare, military medicine, psychology and psychiatry, the emotions, and rape. Her book An Intimate History of Killing (1999) won the Wolfson Prize and the Fraenkel Prize, and ‘Eyewitness’. She is also a frequent contributor to TV and radio shows, and a regular newspaper correspondent. Her latest book is The Story of Pain: From Prayer to Painkillers.
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The Freedom Maze by Delia Sherman combines time-travel fantasy and historical fiction in an different way that makes for an interesting read. Sherman begins her novel introducing us to the thirteen-year-old Sophie Martineau and the very different world of 1960s Louisiana. Sophie's mama is a Fairchild of Oak River, which was once a great sugar cane plantation. Now, the remains of the
I love all the fresh fruit that’s available this time of year. Every trip to the grocery or farmer’s market is an olfactory and visual delight as summer fruits abound. Why not take advantage of the color and variety and make your own fruit salad to have as a snack or for a refreshing dessert at the next barbeque.
For my fruit salad, I used peaches, kiwi, cherries, and blueberries. You can add grapes, cantaloupe, watermelon, pineapple or raspberries. Think multi-colored and you’re sure to have a winning combination. You can sprinkle unsweetened coconut on top or even some homemade granola if you want to add some crunch. Don’t be afraid to try new combinations. It’s all delicious!
The Zimbabwe International Book Fair apparently runs 30 July through 2 August, with a theme of 'Indigenous Languages, Literature, Art and Knowledge Systems of Africa' (certainly a worthy one -- and one hopes some word gets out beyond Zimbabwe ...).
There's an 'Indaba Conference' leading into it, 28-29 July; see the schedule at Writers International Network Zimbabwe.
In The Herald Stanley Mushava argues that with ZIBF @ 31: Time for inclusivity, with all sorts of suggestions, criticism (both constructive as well as merely critical), and a good bit of enthusiasm -- as, for example, in suggesting:
ZIBF must be a national buzzword just like the agricultural show and the trade fair, to some extent, because books are the engine that drives development.
Some, of course, is just wishful thinking:
More outlets must come aboard to stimulate and sustain the reading culture of the country.
Bookshops must be frequented at least half as much as fast food outlets to mitigate the cultural malnutrition which threatens the country.
He does have a point about the lack of a proper web-presence for much of the industry (and ZIBF as well ...) -- colorfully suggesting:
Now that the communication protocols governing the reception of art have vastly changed over the years, committing your work to a publisher who does not operate a website, blog or social network account is as wise as fastening your book on the tail of a crocodile.
I'm not sure anyone ever put it that way, but he does have a point.
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An interesting conversation (monologue ?) by Jonathan Gottschall at Edge on The Way We Live Our Lives in Stories, arguing that: "We live in stories all day long", and that most aspects of that haven't really been studied and considered very closely or well.
Lots of articles all over about the 'fan-fiction' phenomenon, but Julia Lllewellyn Smith's in The TelegraphHow Downton's Lady Sibyl met Doctor Who offers a solid, basic introduction.
It is a fascinating subject, from what folks come up with to the knotty copyright issues, but I have to admit I can't really find the time to dig into it.
Kendra Shedenhelm sent in this “out-of this world” illustration from an upcoming book she illustrated titled, “You, the Magician.” You can visit her site at http://kendrashedenhelm.com/.
Creative Writing Institute’s
International Short Story Contest Now Open
No Entry Fee
DIRECTIONS: Read all guidelines (rules) carefully.
First place: $200 USD or a free writing course with a personal tutor, valued at $260, + publication in our anthology and eBook.
Second place: $100 USD or a credit of $150 toward a writing course with a personal tutor, valued at $260, + publication in our anthology and eBook.
Third place: $50 USD or a credit of $100 toward a writing course with a personal tutor, valued at $260, + publication in our anthology and eBook.
Plus:seven additional Judge’s Choice stories will receive publication in our anthology & Ebook, entitled “What Could Possibly go Wrong?“
ONE submission per person
When you’re ready to submit, scroll to the bottom of the page at http://CreativeWritingInstitute.Submittable.com/submit and click on SUBMIT. Entries will only be accepted on that form. Fill out your name and address, and follow the prompts to a space where you can copy and paste your document into it. Do NOT send attachments or emailed entries as these will NOT be accepted.
Especially note our requirements for G-rated literature. Please see #1 below for further definition.
By entering this contest, you are saying this story has not been previously published, you grant minor editing rights for publication, and Creative Writing Institute has first, non-exclusive, electronic rights and First North American Print Rights to publish the winners and Judge’s Choice stories in our anthology, “What Could Possibly go Wrong?” All Rights return to the author upon publication.
This is a themed contest. Your story must be original and unpublished (except on personal blogs, critique groups, or personal web pages) and must be between 1,000 and 2,000 words.
Your story may be any genre, but these exact sentences must appear together in the story:
I have a list and a map. What could possibly go wrong?
Accepting submissions until midnight, August 9, 2014, USA Eastern Standard Time.
Entries will only be accepted through the submission form. As you go through the submission process, there will be a space for you to copy and paste your document into. Do NOT send attachments or emailed entries as these will NOT be accepted.
ENTRIES MUST FOLLOW THESE GUIDELINES OR BE DISQUALIFIED.
1. Any genre: Horror, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Humor, Romance, Children, etc., No erotica, profanity, swearing, or gore. (Swearing includes but is not limited to the following: hell, damn, bitch, taking God’s name in vain, and other similar words.) This is a “G” rated contest.One swear word will disqualify your entry. Good writers can make their point by showing the character’s attitudes. Questions? Query the head judge at email@example.com.
2. Entries must be 1,000 to 2,000 words. (This is a strict word count, but don’t count the title or personal information in the word count.) Place the word count at the top of page 1 before submitting.
3. One entry per person, please.
4. By entering this contest, you are stating that the story is your own copyright. You are stating that it has NOT been previously published by a professional or semi-professional publication. You are stating that you grant minor editing rights for publication, and if chosen, Creative Writing Institute has first, non-exclusive, electronic rights and First North American Print Rights to publish the winners and Judge’s Choice stories in our anthology, “What Could Possibly go Wrong?” All Rights return to the author upon publication.
5. Entries will be judged on originality, creativity, style, and technique.
6. Be sure that your entry has been proofread and edited. Points will be deducted for poorly structured sentences, spelling mistakes, and grammatical errors. Your entry should reflect your commitment to writing.
Lotta Kühlhorn is one of my favourite designers so i was really pleased recently to discover some more great designs she has created for the Japanese market. You may know Lotta from her gorgeous Koloni range of products or from her cards, wrap, book covers etc. but her graphic Scandinavian style designs are also very popular in Japan where she takes lots of commissions through her Japanese
Celebrate Harry Potter’s birthday with us all week long!
Hey, everyone! Welcome to the happiest week of the year (except maybe Christmas or the first week of school): Harry Potter Week! To celebrate Harry’s birthday, we will be featuring Harry Potter on the blog all week long . . . AND having a live readathon/ virtual birthday party
on Thursday, July 31. Please come if you can and bring a friend. You’re TOTALLY invited!
I love the ending of The Deathly Hallows, especially when they seem to be figuring out where all the Horcruxes are. As I mentioned previously, I really love mysteries, so this part was great, in my opinion.
Skyelark Moon, who really wants to read Harry Potter right now, but she can’t.
Diagon Alley in Florida, and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Japan
It’s been a crazy month for Muggle fans of Harry Potter! As you may know, Universal Studios recently officially opened Diagon Alley in Florida, and Universal Studios Japan just unveiled its own Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
complete with all the shops and spots like the Leaky Cauldron, Gringotts, Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes, Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment, Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions, Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor, and more. Guests can get their fill of Nosebleed Nougats, butterbeer ice cream, and other Diagon Alley specialties. The main attraction, of course, is the Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts ride. The other attraction is . . . THE HOGWARTS EXPRESS!
The Hogwarts Express is actually a shuttle between 2 different theme parks inside of Universal Studios. You need a “Park-to-Park” ticket to ride the Hogwarts Express which costs $136. For $96, you can see either Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade (but not both).
This Diagon Alley is the first of its kind in the (Muggle) world, but the first Wizarding World of Harry Potter to open outside of the U.S. is now in Osaka, Japan. It opened on July 14th and it is almost identical to the original one in Florida. Tom Felton
(who played Draco Malfoy in the movies) and Evanna Lynch (who played Luna Lovegood in the movies) greeted fans on opening night and led lucky visitors into the new park the following morning!
Universal Studios Japan
Another Wizarding World is set to open at Universal Studios Hollywood in California in 2016.
coming to life! It’s so exciting . . . and also kind of overwhelming. What do YOU think? Would you go to Diagon Alley? What other parts of Harry Potter’s world would you like to see made real for us Muggles? (Well, to be honest, Harry Potter has always felt very real to me!) Share your thoughts in the Comments below!
Trigueña (Instituto chihuahuense de la cultura, 2013) de Juana Moriel-Payne es una novela histórica donde conocemos sobre la vida de Juana de Cobos en el norte de un México de los 1700´s, un lugar de tarahumaras, apaches, mestizos, mulatos y europeos.Moriel-Payne nos lleva de la mano por calles de pueblos por construirse, ilusiones de niña, que en el hacer pan ve una razón para vivir y subsistir.Con escenas casi cinematográficas Moriel-Payne nos muestra la historia del norte de México, nos lleva de viaje en carreta, por un microcosmos, de ida y vuelta.Descubrimos una heroína de carne y hueso entre las páginas de Trigueña, una niña que se convierte en mujer, con retos, personales y económicos, a los que se sobrepone y que también crea espacios públicos, un consultorio médico y una casa para mujeres, para beneficio de la sociedad donde vive, la actual frontera entre México y los Estados Unidos.
Trigueña con sus secuencias analépticas nos compenetra en los recuerdos de los personajes que vivieron con Juana de Cobos, y es así como descubrimos su vida y, de paso, aprendemos sobre ese México de los 1700´s, de un norte colonial en plena vía de desarrollo.
La novela combina, capítulos con visiones retrospectivas de los múltiples personajes, analépticas, con capítulos que están en el tiempo presente de la novela.Ese juego de tiempos crea una acertada dinámica, despierta la atención en el lector; y logra un dejar pasar las páginas fluido y sin detenerse, mezclado con aromas, texturas, sabores y color.
“Todo de negro, el viejo Gregorio encabezó la procesión.Y un poco para mostrar su valor y un mucho para quitarse de encima los escalofríos, iba dando tragos a pico de botella del aguardiente que circulaba de mano en mano.El sonar de sus pasos sobre la tierra escarchada seguía el ritmo de los cuchicheos que entre vahos le preguntaban por el cuerpo de la difunta.” ( p. 11)
“Vio surgir el calor de las brasas que se encendían y se apagaban como siguiendo el ritmo de una respiración sin prisa que a la vez sugería una promesa de retorno.Poco a poco observó cómo las hogazas se iban esponjando, dorando y despidiendo un leve olor que en ese momento asoció con el regazo de su madre y así, con la mirada perdida en el horno y la mente entretenida en sus años de infancia, el aroma a pan recién horneado invadió su nariz, su estómago y la mañana.” (p. 16)
La diversidad de México colonial está presente en Trigueña, tarahumaras, apaches, mestizos, mulatos y otros europeos son protagonistas de las páginas.
“Las mujeres encendían los fogones y preparaban el desayuno para despachar a sus maridos e hijos a labrar la tierra con la barriga llena, aunque en casa de Juana aquello ocurría un poco diferente.Su madre no se ocupaba de la cocina, ni ella tampoco.Lo hacía Manuela, una tarahumara que su padre empleó para que acabara de criarle a los chamacos y, de cuando en cuando, le aliviara las necesidades propias de los hombres, después de que su madre perdiera por completo la cordura…” (p. 21)
““¡Qué costumbres tan raras!”, pensaba Juana y lo afirmaba las veces que iban de paseo a la plaza.Todas las personas estaban revueltas: indios platicando con españoles, españoles del brazo de mulatas, indias abrazadas a españoles…todo un relajo, un desorden…” (p. 199)
El desarrollo psicológico de la protagonista, Juana de Cobos, lo seguimos en diferentes partes de Trigueña, la vemos crecer de niña a mujer, de mujer a esposa, de esposa a viuda y finalmente convertirse en una mujer sola e independiente.
“Juana se acostó a dormir junto a su madre dándole la espalda a la abuela, pero no podía conciliar el sueño.Con los ojos cerrados repasaba la escena del beso que le dio Eladio y cuando una y mil veces trató de acomodarle el bigote para que no le picara en los cachetes al besarla.” (p. 38)
“Juana regresó a su casa con Gregorio y conforme pasaron los días fue haciéndose a la idea de que ahora sí era viuda, aunque sólo ella y su hijo lo sabían y aún así, no pudieran comentarlo ni siquiera entre ellos.” (p. 143)
“¿En qué pensaba?En Majalca, en sus palabras: “Ojos luminosos”, “Lo que me dice con la mirada”…apagó la vela y se dejó caer sobre la cama.Al levantar la frazada el chal de seda resbaló por sus piernas y al sentir la suavidad de la tela, pasó una y otra vez el chal por todo su cuerpo hasta rendirse y quedar profundamente dormida.” (p. 116)
Juana de Cobos, protagonista de Trigueña, finalmente sola, se da cuenta de las necesidades del pueblo donde vive.A manera de activista social y visionaria, organiza a la gente a su alrededor y logra llevar el primer médico al pueblo.Así mismo solicita, al municipio, que mujeres recién salidas de la cárcel trabajen con ella en su panadería e igualmente residan ahí, a manera de entrenamiento y lugar de transición, para, después de un tiempo, ser reincorporadas a la sociedad.
“En pocas palabras, Juana ofreció su casa y su negocio para dar recogimiento a las mujeres de la villa.Antes de que la interrumpieran le hizo ver al alcalde que San Felipe el Real no contaba con lugares decentes para alojar a mujeres que hubieran cometido algún delito menor, fueran abandonadas, estuvieran recuperándose de algún mal o, en general, tuvieran necesidad de un techo digno donde pudieran asearse, comer…y, lo más importante, aprender algún oficio para que rehicieran sus vidas.” (p. 214)
Trigueña, novela de ficción histórica, escrita con gran precisión donde viajamos en el tiempo con Juana de Cobos y otros personajes en el norte de un México colonial.No es sorpresa que la novela haya recibido el premio, 43 Southwest Book Award por The Border Regional Library Association-BRLA en 2013.
Novelista e historiadora, Juana Moriel-Payne
Juana Moriel-Payne is from Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua. She lives in El Paso with her husband John Payne and three beautiful dogs. Trigueña is her first published novel, and a wining prize of "Publicaciones 2012", a literary contest organized by the Instituto Chihuahuense de la Cultura (ICHICULT). Trigueña also received the BRLA Southwest Book Awards 2013. She has an unpublished novel La caza del venado, and is looking for a publisher. Sometimes she thinks she can be a poet and writes poems. "Culpas", a set of four poems that resume the history of women living in the desert-frontier will be published in August by Cuadernos Fronteizos (UACJ). Right now she is Ph. D. candidate for Borderlands History Program at the University of Texas at El Paso. She has published her research findings in history-social reviews in Latin America and United States. Her dissertation analyzes the colonial festivities in San Joseph del Parral, Chihuahua. She is doing research and writing, meanwhile in her mind she is creating a second historical novel about a mulata named Antonia.
I have been working on the spread 'using colour first, line later'.One of the things that has been quite tricky is that I've had to do a step-by-step set of images. My publisher felt it was useful for the reader to see one of my sketches built up in stages. Trouble is, the very nature of them is that they are quick and instinctive.
I tried to sketch John in the garden, but it was a nightmare. After each paint mark, I needed to go upstairs and scan my sketchbook, before coming back down to John for brush-mark two, then back up to the scanner again, and so on. Because of the palava, I felt under terrible pressure to get each mark right. Well, there's no better guarantee of failure than that.
So I gave it up and decided to create a mock-up, repainting an existing sketch. The guitar-player at the top was done a few years ago, but it's a good example of the technique. I created a print-out to trace on the lightbox in paint.
I scanned it in 5 stages. The line-work was the hardest. Trying to draw as if you are drawing quickly and intuitively, when actually you are copying, is a bit like trying to forge a signature (I don't make a habit of that, honest).
It didn't turn out quite the same as the original, but near enough and it does the job. Phew.