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1. Trip to Romania Part 2: The Carpathian Mountains and Piatra Neamt

Sketch of the Museum of History and Archaeology in the city of Piatra Neamt.
More from the Romania trip!

Piatra Neamt: We loved this city so much, we stayed for 2 nights at the Grand Hotel Ceahlau and took a lot of time to sketch. They have the cutest gondola up to the top of the mountain.

Recently restored fortress that was much more vertical than the sketch suggests in order to defend from the Turks.
Sketch of the Carpathian mountains before a hike on September 7th.

Picture on location from the porch at our little pension. I sketched during breakfast.
Just call me Indiana Wald! Hiking over a safe but rickety looking bridge in the Carpathians

I was sad not to see any brown bears in the mountains. We did see their scat though…

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2. New Literary Agent Alert: Alec Shane of Writers House

Reminder: New literary agents (with this spotlight featuring Alec Shane of Writers House) are golden opportunities for new writers because each one is a literary agent who is likely building his or her client list.

 

alec-shane-literary-agent

 

About Alec: Alec majored in English at Brown University, a degree he put to immediate use by moving to Los Angeles after graduation to become a professional stunt man. Realizing that he prefers books to breakaway glass, he moved to New York City in 2008 to pursue a career in publishing. Alec quickly found a home at Writers House Literary Agency, where he worked under Jodi Reamer and Amy Berkower on a large number of YA and Adult titles. Twitter handle: @alecdshane.

(Writing a synopsis for your novel? Here are 5 tips.)

He is seeking: Alec is now aggressively building his own list. On the nonfiction side, Alec would love to see humor, biography, history (particularly military history), true crime, “guy” reads, and all things sports. “What I’m looking for in fiction: mystery, thriller, suspense, horror, historical fiction, literary fiction, and books geared toward young male readers (both YA and MG). What I’m not looking for: Romance (paranormal or otherwise), straight sci-fi, high fantasy, picture books, self-help, women’s fiction, food, travel memoir.”

Submission guidelines:  I accept e-mail and snail-mail queries (although email is preferable), and will usually respond within 4-5 weeks. Please send the first 10 pages of your manuscript, along with your query letter, to ashane [at] writershouse.com with “Query for Alec Shane: TITLE” as your subject heading – no attachments please! If sending via regular mail, please include a SASE with proper postage.

(When building your writer platform and online media, how much growth is enough?)

 

2015-GLA-smallThe biggest literary agent database anywhere
is the Guide to Literary Agents. Pick up the
most recent updated edition online at a discount.

 

Other writing/publishing articles & links for you:

 

Want to build your visibility and sell more books?
Create Your Writer Platform shows you how to
promote yourself and your books through social
media, public speaking, article writing, branding,
and more.
Order the book from WD at a discount.

 

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3. You have to ask the right question

Recently, I've gotten several voice mail messages from a writer asking me to call her back to tell her if "I'm accepting new clients."

I'm not going to call her back (now, or ever) because it's clear from the question that she doesn't understand how this query process works, and I don't want to spend 20 minutes on the phone doing Query 101, or worse Publishing 101.

She's asking "Are you accepting new clients" much like you'd contact a physician or dentist to ask if they are accepting new patients.

That presumes there are a certain number of slots and the next person to ask gets the one that's not filled.

That's NOT how querying works at all.

Even if I'm not eagerly searching out new clients, I'm always willing to read your query.  Frankly most agents are. We're always on the hunt for good projects.

So, the right question to ask YOURSELF is "how do I query this agent?"  To answer that you look at his/her website.

You don't call to ask.
You don't email to ask.

You just send the query.
I reply.


It's so splendidly easy and simple that it's mind boggling, I know.




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4. Did Jessica Shirvington predict the Apple Watch?

The destructive technology in Jessica Shirvington’s duology may not be as futuristic as it seems  When a certain multinational corporation announced the creation of the Apple Watch, Jessica Shirvington fans were buzzing. Not because they were excited about Apple’s newest product but because the watch bears an eerie resemblance to the M-band technology used in […]

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5. Goosebumps Monster Personality Quiz

Goosebumps SlappyWhich Goosebumps Monster Are YOU?

Villainy. Terror. Mischief.  All words to describe the monsters that wreak havoc in the Goosebumps book series by R.L. Stine. The menacing ghouls that fill the pages of the books each have their quirks that make their “monster-nalities” absolutely wretched! Take the Goosebumps Monster Quiz to see which ghoul is your rightful alter-ego.

Are you the trash-talking Slappy with a heart of pure cold, the vengeful Mummy, the devilish Scarecrow, the dastardly Lawn Gnomes, or the beastly Abominable Snowman? Discover your innermost wicked trait and see which Goosebumps monster you truly are.

Take the quiz. Which monster are you? Post it in the Comments.

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6. Illustrator & Printmaker Daniel Danger

daniel 2

I first stumbled across Daniel Danger’s work quite a while ago and it stuck with me ever since. I’m not sure if I’ll ever get the chance to meet him, but if/when I do, I have a feeling it’ll be like seeing an old friend.

daniel 5

Daniel is a Boston-based illustrator, mediamaker and printmaker with a penchant for urban scenery, natural landscapes, vintage guitar effect pedals and creepy memories. His style is marked by confident black strokes and eerie uses of color, often looking to one solid shade to create haunting contrast. You might have seen instances of his work through gig posters for bands such as The Black Keys, Arcade Fire, The Decemberists and Flight of the Conchords. He’s also worked with clients like Universal Pictures, Dreamworks, Penguin Books, Polyvinyl Records and ABC Television.

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His aesthetic strongly reminds me of Tugboat Printshop–the obsessive linework and powerful contrast work beautifully in a screenprinted format. I think art is especially successful when it looks good across a variety of formats (screen, print, phone, etc). He reflects the best and worst of reality, and most interestingly, his works reflect what’s neither here nor there–ghosts of forgotten cities, empty theaters, silent roads. Daniel demonstrates a sincere concern for the elements of life that continue to exist without inhabitation–an awareness that is rarely paralleled.

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I feel an extreme bond to Daniel not only over our shared love of creepy abandoned houses, but also because he’s yet another illustrator-musician hybrid (currently on tour in Europe right now, as a matter of fact). In a lot of ways, I couldn’t imagine him not being a musician–if that makes any sense. These pieces would all go entirely too well with some Neko Case or Laura Veirs songs.

The detail of his works is nearly overwhelming to the point of obscurity–as, sometimes, the most realistic aspects of life are the ones that are the most difficult to understand.

Follow along with Daniel and his breathtaking work:

Twitter

Website

Tumblr

Shop

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7. Polis Books Actively Seeking Submissions

PBlogo

Polis Books is an independent digital publishing company actively seeking new and established authors for our growing list. We are currently acquiring titles in the following genres. Submissions in the following genres should be to submissions@polisbooks.com.

We are currently acquiring:

• Mystery

• Thriller

• Suspense

• Procedural

• Traditional crime (i.e. ‘cozies’)

• Science Fiction

• Fantasy

• Horror

• Supernatural

• Urban Fantasy

• Romance

• Erotica

• Commercial Women’s Fiction

• New Adult

• Young Adult

• Humor/Essays

We are not currently acquiring:

• Children’s Picture books

• Graphic novels

• Short stories or stand-alone novellas

• Religion

Submission Requirements:

• Query Letter

• Three Sample Chapters

• Author Biography (include information about personal blogs, Twitter handle, or other social media outlets you feel we should be aware of)

Query letter and sample chapters should be emailed as attachments (not in body of email) to:

submissions@polisbooks.com

They will reply requesting more information on a submission-by-submission basis. 

They give a small advance and 40% royalties.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: authors and illustrators, Book Contracts, need to know, opportunity, Places to sumit, publishers, Publishing Industry, Royalties Tagged: Acquiring new and established authors, Digital Publishing Company, Polis Books

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8. Out of Season - Joan Lennon

Many of us have done author events at the Wigtown Book Festival but if you're like me, you rarely leave the centre of town, where the action is fabulously, alluringly booky.  But the festival is over for another year and I'm here instead to house- and dog-sit.  And I'm seeing a whole different Wigtown, which I'd like to share with you.  From sunrises to sunsets, with some cows in-between - 









Joan Lennon's website.
Joan Lennon's blog.

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9. ONE THING STOLEN: a single copy available to a U.S. reader

I have a single copy of ONE THING STOLEN, my novel about an impossible obsession set against the backdrop of Florence, Italy, available to a U.S. reader.

I invite those who are interested to leave a comment indicating one thing you most associate with Florence—a building, a landscape feature, an icon, a dish, a way of walking, a kind of weather, anything. I will then attempt to write a blog post referencing every single comment.

(I anticipate a mean mind twister.)

The winner will be randomly chosen on November 15th.

Perhaps you wonder why I have just one copy to give away? The answer is that I've been busy creating packages for the many people who helped make this book a reality.

Dr. Bruce Miller, for example, of the University of California-San Francisco Memory and Aging Center, who shed light on the disease that my young Nadia faces.

Emily Rosner and Maurizio Panichi, whom I met in the Florence bookstore, Paperback Exchange, and who helped me understand the 1966 flooding of the Arno and the Mud Angels who came to the rescue; Maurizio's own experiences are woven through this story.

Laura Gori, who directs the Scuola del Cuoio, and where I learned the art of leather working from a master.

Mike Cola, a dear friend and Renaissance man, who talked to me about birds.

Kathy Coffey, who sent, through the mail, the book that I needed, following her own trip to Florence.

My brother-in-law, Mario, who helped me with translations.

Wendy Robards, who read early on and kept me grounded.

My students Katie Goldrath and Maggie Ercolani, who deeply inspired me.

And a few others.

Leaving me with one galley for posterity's sake and one for one of you.

I hope you'll let me know of your interest.

0 Comments on ONE THING STOLEN: a single copy available to a U.S. reader as of 10/19/2014 7:42:00 PM
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10. DESIGNER - tyra von zweigbergk

Tyra von Zweigbergk is a designer and illustrator based in Stockholm, Sweden. Tyra studied at Beckmans College of Design graduating in 1999. She is represented by the Swedish Woo Agency and divides her time between commissioned work such as editorial illustration, pattern design, product etc, and self initiated projects such as posters and original artworks. Tyra's clients have included H&M.

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11. Bleeding for my art

This is one little humble pimento olive - the kind you put in your cocktails. I haven't eaten many of these, not being much of a martini drinker, and was surprised to find I actually like them!



But that's not the whole story here. Look closely at the bottom edge of this drawing. See all those little red marks? They're BLOOD. I had a small cut on my hand that I didn't even know about, and accidentally rubbed the edge of the drawing. Eww. And then, hours later, I did it again, with a different scrape on the other hand. I know! I couldn't believe it either. 

Luckily, they were all along the bottom edge, so I was able to just trim them off. People on Facebook seemed to think it added value to the art, but I'm not so sure. I think its just icky.

So here's how it looks all cleaned up (blood, and also the background) for prints. 



I can't seem to look at any food now without seeing it in this 'top, side, and section view' way. I find myself analyzing things in the grocery store for their drawing potential, trying to visualize them cut open, and lined up like this. I've bought a few things that didn't turn out to be very good subjects, but luckily since its all food it just gets worked into dinner or a snack.

Oh, this was done with Prismacolors on Bristol, and is 4" x 9".

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12. FABRICS - penguin & fish

Penguin & Fish, aka designer Alyssa Thomas, has a really great article on her blog called 'How to make a fabric collection'. In the post Alyssa explains how the process worked during the creation of her new fabric range for Clothworks called 'Sweet Tweets'. She covers inspiration, licensing, moodboards, sketching, deadlines and more. Read the full post here and if you like the look of Sweet

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13. Review: A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

Title: A Farewell to Arms
Author: Ernest Hemingway
Stars: 4 Stars


Summary: The best American novel to emerge from World War I, A Farewell to Arms is the unforgettable story of an American ambulance driver on the Italian front and his passion for a beautiful English nurse. Hemingway’s frank portrayal of the love between Lieutenant Henry and Catherine Barkley, caught in the inexorable sweep of war, glows with an intensity unrivaled in modern literature, while his description of the German attack on Caporetto—of lines of fired men marching in the rain, hungry, weary, and demoralized—is one of the greatest moments in literary history. A story of love and pain, of loyalty and desertion, A Farewell to Arms, written when he was thirty years old, represents a new romanticism for Hemingway.

Review: The beginning of the book was a little slow for me. But then I started swearing at Miss Van Campen for being such a mean old lady. It's been a while since I've sworn at a book. Some people just can't leave well enough alone. I like Catherine. Maybe I'm just biased on the name tho. :) The end of the book... Seriously just makes me want to cry. Where is the happy ending? Where's my hopeless romance? Why do you have to be so sad and depressing? OK sorry to many questions for a review. Haha. I do recommend this book. 4 Stars!

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14. MUGS - mmmg

It was through researching Tyra von Zweigbergk that I found out Korean company MMMG (millimeter milligram) had introduced the fifth version of their glass cups back in summer 2014. Tyra was one of the collaborators, with two designs (above and below) called 'Park' and 'Ghost'. There are fourteen cups in the new range with various designers creating two each. If you have been with P&P for many

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15. ‘Book of Life’ Launches with $17 Million

This weekend the $50 million Fox/Reel FX film "The Book of Life," opened in the United States with an estimated $17 million.

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16. Judging the Man Booker

       The obligatory 'judging the Man Booker Prize'-piece comes from Sarah Churchwell at The Guardian's book blog, where she writes about The joys of judging the Man Booker prize.
       (I enjoy these, but I'd love it if one year they did get the judge who just hated the experience to spill all the ugly beans about the process.)

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17. Star of the Team by Beverly Stowe McClure

teamA girl.

A dream.

An accident.

A dream shattered.

Eleven-year-old Kate Taylor dreams of being the star of her basketball team, Angels. When Kate’s tooth is knocked out at one of the games and her mother, who is also her coach, says she can’t play until the tooth the dentist replants heals, Kate’s dreams are in jeopardy. Add Emily, the new girl at school who claims she’s the best, and Kate faces a challenge to prove that she is the star.

Will Kate succeed? Or will Emily ruin Kate’s plans?

PURCHASE AT:

Amazon:  http://tinyurl.com/k5y1mky

 

Barnes and Noble: http://tinyurl.com/18r6ox4bev

Most of the time, you’ll find Beverly in front of her computer, writing the stories little voices whisper in her ear. When she’s not writing, she takes long walks and snaps pictures of clouds, wild flowers, birds and deer. To some of her friends, she is affectionately known as the “Bug Lady” because she rescues butterflies, moths, walking sticks, and praying mantis from her cats.

For twenty-two years Beverly taught children in grades two through five how to read and write. They taught her patience. Now, she teaches a women’s Sunday school class at her church. To relax she plays the piano. Her cats don’t appreciate good music and run and hide when she tickles the ivories. 

http://beverlystowemcclure.blogspot.com

http://beverlystowemcclure.wordpress.com


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18. Limonov review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Emmanuel Carrère pseudo(?)-biographical 2011 prix Renaudot-winning Limonov -- rather desperately subtitled in the US edition: The Outrageous Adventures of the Radical Soviet Poet Who Became a Bum in New York, a Sensation in France, and a Political Antihero in Russia.
       As longtime readers know, I'm not a big fan of biography in any form, and I note with some amusement that my review barely even mentions any of these supposedly 'Outrageous Adventures' Limonov had -- I found and consider them completely uninteresting (and Limonov -- despite some obvious talents -- a vacuous poseur: I can't imagine a less interesting person or subject matter, all noise and affectation). I didn't even notice until after I finished writing the review, but it didn't even occur to me -- though of course it should have: presumably a not insignificant percentage of readers are curious about the book because they want to know about Limonov. But, yeah, I really shouldn't be reviewing biographies -- even if this can also be considered something else entirely (and is much more interesting when considered as such).
       (This is also the second recent prix Renaudot-winner that I've reviewed in less than two months -- Our Lady of the Nile is the other.)

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19. Dante’s Inferno and the Non-Fiction Writer: by Terry Jennings

I am pleased to bring you a post from a writer friend TERRY JENNINGS, whose specialty is CHILDREN’S NON FICTION.  here’s Terry:

If Dante had been a non-fiction writer, in the Divine Comedy he would have put a circle in hell for writers whose overriding vice is Pride of Research. I never read the Divine Comedy but I did read Dan Brown’s Inferno and I know Dante liked those little circles where you would burn for eternity to expiate your sins. So if at any time there is a writer’s confessional, I would have to own up to that vicious sin—researching so much and having such pride in my cool factoids and data that sometimes I forget that the research should play a supporting role, not be all consuming like the fires of hell. And the part that makes this whole thing vicious is that along with pride can come a bit of arrogance and infallibility. I’ve done all this research and I know all there is to know, right? Recently, during the editing of my fact-based picture book, Sounds of the Savana (Arbordale, 2015), fate (or my sweet editor, whichever you choose) knocked me off my high horse.

Normally, my problem is not to include every tidbit and morsel in a manuscript. That is a sin I have worked hard to overcome. I figure I have slaved to get those lovely little gems and I have to put them somewhere. They have to be of use. I try dropping them into cocktail conversation. For instance, “Did you know that vervet monkeys have different kinds of vocalizations for different predators?” Or “Did you know spiny mice slough off their skin if a predator catches them? All that nasty owl will get is a piece of skin—and the mouse’s skin regrows by the next day. Imagine that!” I eat up that kind of stuff, but it makes people around me fall asleep.

Since I can’t use them socially, I want to include all my new knowledge in my manuscript. After many rejections, however, I have learned to listen to the wise and include only what works organically in the story, what drives the story forward. I have had to, sadly, leave a lot of wonderful information behind, condemning it to that nether world of unused facts. At first it was hard, but working with Arbordale has eased the pain. They have back matter in each book. A place where I can display many of my beloved nuggets. And if there’s not enough room in the back matter, they have a website with lots more information and activities. And when I remembered my own website could be a third bucket into which I could drop the remaining morsels, I danced a jig.

Now that I have the perfect place for all my darlings, the stories flow more easily. They can be even more engaging. I don’t have to explain that sound waves are deflected by temperature differences in Sounds. All I have to do is have a lioness roar on one side of the lake and the wildebeest hear her as if she were right next to them. Then . . . in the back matter or the website, I can put all sorts of amazing stuff about how the layer of cool temperature over a warm lake can deflect the sound wave so that it travels farther than when the temperature is uniform. I can let them know that in a 60 mile circle around Mount St. Helens, no one heard the eruption. They saw it like a silent movie—all because of the temperature difference between the roiling volcano and the layer of cool 8:32-in-the-morning atmosphere above it.

Pride of Research can also lead to avoidance.  There is many a time when I’m almost ready to let the book go but I talk myself into just a bit more research so I don’t have to let my baby out into the world so everyone will say it’s ugly. Or the writing’s going bad and I dive headlong into a new strand of investigation so I don’t have to face my shortcomings.
With Pride of Research also comes a certain arrogance. Admit it. I know you’re out there. Just like me. We check and triple check every fact and have three page bibliographies for an 800 word piece. It doesn’t have to be overt self-importance. It can just be that cozy warm feeling that we’ve done your job well. We always try to do our job well. Carolyn Yoder (editor at Calkins Creek, an imprint for historical children’s books) would be proud.

IMG_7974

That, however, is exactly how my pride of research came tumbling down around me.
“So, the illustrator wants to know what kind of owl would eat a spiny mouse?”
My sweet editor at Arbordale sent shivers of shame down my spine. In Sounds of the Savanna, “sound” shows up through predator and prey interactions. Since predators silently sneak, swoop, snatch, and stalk and prey squeak, squeal, heeaw, kerchew—actually make sound—when caught or almost caught, I foolishly concentrated on the prey. Every stalked critter, big and small was thoroughly researched. Its demeanor, its diet, its vocalizations, how it takes care of its offspring and of course, which animals preyed on it were minutely scrutinized. And it goes without saying I already knew they lived on the Savanna because that was my first criterion for choosing the species. But the predators? I had given them nary a thought. The research on the spiny mouse said owls eat them and that was good enough for me. Without much thought I could write that the owl swoops on silent wings with deadly talons—beautiful, although generic, tags—and that was sufficient. Was it arrogance or just plain forgetfulness? I know better. When I wrote my book about the recovery after Mount St. Helens’ eruption, I had tons of lists of the trees and animals that lived on the mountain and approximately when the species returned. I can’t believe I didn’t check on the spiny mouse’s predator. Turns out the Verreaux or Milky Eagle Owl loves spiny mice. And it didn’t take me too long to find it. Phew!

If that had been all, I might have come out with my dignity bruised, but still extant. But not long after the owl came the question about the vervet monkeys and their predator. Vervet monkeys have a vocalization for snakes. What snakes? All I could find was boas. My idea of a boa is huge. Vervet monkeys, not so big. I suggested they avoid the conundrum altogether by having the snake hidden in the grass. But by now I was absolutely distraught. Really? Two unidentified predator species? How could I? I checked to make sure there were no more hanging in the breeze and it turns out there weren’t. The other predators were well known dudes like leopards and lions, animals an illustrator can draw without getting down to differentiating between species.

I have been chastened, however. I promise to never let my pride of research make me blind to the shortcomings of my manuscript ever again. I will continue to do my job well, even better than I have because as non-fiction or fact-based fiction writers for children we are passing that information on to kids, and perhaps some day some one will take our book and use it as fodder to his or her pride of research.

Bio:

Terry Jennings began writing in 1999. Her first piece “Moving Over to the Passenger’s Side,” about teaching her fifteen-year-old to drive was published by The Washington Post. She has written a few other articles for them and Long Island News Day, as well as Ranger Rick, and a family humor column in my local newspaper, The Reston Connection.

She also writes educational text for the Smithsonian Science Education Center and other educational outlets. Gopher to the Rescue! A Volcano Recovery Story (Sylvan Dell, 2012) was named Outstanding Science Trade Book by the National Science Teachers’ Association and the Children’s Book Council. Her other book, The Women’s Liberation Movement: 1960-1990 (Mason Crest, 2013) was named to the Amelia Bloomer Project’s recommended feminist literature for women birth to 18. Sounds of the Savanna, a book about sound as told through predator/prey interactions in the African savanna is on its way with Arbordale Publishers. It’s due out fall of 2015. Terry is currently working on a historical novel about the Cuban Revolution (1959-1961) loosely based on my childhood along with a couple of other picture books–one on Magnetism and one on Erosion.   IMG_0003

Contact her at:

website: Terrycjennings.com
science blog for kids: kcswildfacts.com


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20. (German) art-in-literature database

       The University of Vienna has put up an online Datenbank literarischer Bildzitate, a database of some 1,500 references to works of art in modern German literature, searchable by author, artwork, artist, and text. (See the search page, which makes it reasonably obvious what's on offer.)
       I'm not sure how comprehensive this is (yet) -- Bernhard referenced specific works of art in only one of his novels ? -- but it's still fairly interesting and even somewhat useful.

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21. THE FIRE ARTIST by Daisy Whitney {Review}

Review by Valerie  THE FIRE ARTISTby Daisy WhitneyAge Range: 12 - 17 yearsGrade Level: 7 and upHardcover: 288 pagesPublisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (October 14, 2014)Goodreads | Amazon Aria is an elemental artist—she creates fire from her hands. But her power is not natural. She steals it from lightning. It’s dangerous and illegal in her world. When she’s recruited to perform, she seizes

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22. Christopher Yasick: a son leaves the world too soon, a father reaches out from his distance

Remembering an extraordinary young man, lost too soon, a year ago today.

With deepest love and affection for his family.

Sometimes I'd be sitting in Mike Yasick's office at Shire, a client company, and he'd get to talking about his family.

The phone would ring, and he'd lift one finger, check the number, and discover his son, Chris, on the line.

"Hold on," Mike would say to me.

"Hey," he'd say to his son, his face lighting up two additional degrees of bright, which was really something for a man already so fully illuminated. Maybe Chris had some news. Maybe Chris was hoping Mike would pick up some ingredient on the way home to complete the meal Chris was cooking. Whatever it was, Mike glowed. Whatever it was, afterward, Mike would sit, talking about Chris and the rest of his family. It was a favorite topic for a famous raconteur, because Mike may have been a super star in the pharma world, but more to the point, and through and through, he was a purely devoted family man.

The world lost Mike Yasick eight months ago to a rare genetic condition. He was with us, laughing one day, parading his bright red pants, and then—suddenly—he was gone. Imagine the largest Catholic church you've ever seen. Then imagine it filled, wall to wall, with friends and family—mourners—most of them wearing Mike's trademark red. Imagine a small blog tribute—mine—read by 15,000 people. That's how loved Mike was.

Yesterday, Chris, just twenty-five years old, was taken by the same terrible disease that took his father. Another sudden passing. Another terrible loss in the world, an unimaginable heartbreak for a beautiful family. I got the news in the dark hours of the morning that Chris was in the hospital. I got the news several hours later that he was gone. In between, I prayed—so many of us prayed—for some kind of miracle.

Chris was a civil engineer, a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin. He was a young man on his way up in a job with Skyline Steel. At his father's funeral he was dignified, one of those people you really hoped you'd get a chance to personally know—his face so much like his dad's, that Yasick sparkle in his eyes. So this is Chris, I kept thinking. This is Chris.

Miracles are so hard to come by. Miracles aren't every day. The disease took Chris. But here are two things that all of us who loved Mike, who mourn with and for his family, will always see as miraculous. On the day that Chris grew so suddenly and terribly ill, Mike's best friends were in town. They had come to town specifically to see Chris, to take him out to dinner, to tell him some stories about his dad. They were there when it happened. They were there for Chris—all night in that hospital, they were there for Chris. They were present.

Just as another friend just so happened to land in Chicago, on his way to somewhere else. He checked his phone. He saw a text from Chris's sister, Katy, he changed his plans, he hurried to the hospital, he was there, too. There.

"I haven't connected on a flight in years," this friend, Matt Pauls, wrote to me. "Why last night? In Chicago? Why were his buddies in town? Because Mike made sure Chris was covered."

Mike made sure his son was covered. As other family rushed to town, as Chris's mom got there as fast as the plane could fly, as the doctors did all they could do, Mike, through his friends, was there for his son. A beautiful thing in a most tragic time, and the thing we will hold onto as we honor Chris.


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23. Monday Mishmash 10/20/14


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

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Curse of the Granville Fortune Releases Tomorrow!  I can't believe tomorrow is the big day! My middle grade fantasy will be available 10/21.
  2. Out of the Ashes on Goodreads  You can now add Out of the Ashes, book two in the Birth of the Phoenix Series, on Goodreads.
  3. #IntotheFireChallenge  Halloween will be here before you know it, so get your review of Into the Fire up on Amazon to be entered for a chance to become a phoenix in the third book in the Birth of the Phoenix Series. You could also win signed copies of all three books in the series.
  4. Beth Fred's Writing Class  My friend Beth Fred is teaching another class through Colorado Romance Writer. It's called The Art of Blurb Writing. Sign up here.
  5. Witches Three Tour  I signed at Books-A-Million in Exton, PA last Saturday along with Jennifer Murgia and Molly Cochran. Jen and I will be signing at BAM in the Stroud Mall in Stroudsburg, PA this Saturday from 1-3pm. Come see us if you're in the area.
Here are some fun pictures from last Saturday.


That's it for me. What's on your mind today?



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24. NACCS Midwest Focus: Latin@s in the Midwest: Past, Present, and Future in Kansas City


Xánath Caraza

 

 

 
From October 23 – 25, 2014 in Kansas City, the Latina/Latino Studies Program (LLS), University of  Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) will host and organize the NACCS Midwest Focus: Latin@s in the Midwest: Past, Present, and Future.  The conference theme–Latin@s in the Midwest: Past, Present, and Future–recognizes the rich historical and growing presence of Latin@s in this region. Our goal is to promote awareness and further develop knowledge and analysis of historic, current, and future developments that impact the Latin@ population.

 

Keynote Presenters:

 

Dr. Alberto Pulido: “Everything Comes from the Streets” Documentary on Lowrider Culture

Dr. Rogelio Saenz: “Demographics: Latinos in the Midwest”

Dr. Rusty Barcelo: “Navigating Our Midwest Latina/o Journey in Higher Education: Challenges and Opportunities for the Future”.

 

Latina/Latino Studies Program at UMKC

 

The mission of Latina/Latino Studies (LLS), a program based in the College of Arts and Sciences, is to function as a vehicle for interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary teaching, research and outreach focusing on Latinas/os-Chicanas/os in the U. S.  The LLS program will provide an awareness and understanding of the wide diversity of Latino communities, cultures and backgrounds.  The development and expansion of our curricula will serve to empower our students with the concepts and skills to better understand a rapidly growing Latina/o population.  The LLS program will engage students, scholars and the greater Kansas City community in collaborative projects, programs and service learning efforts.  These efforts will foster new curricula and advance research and outreach scholarship to create new knowledge to better understand the cultural, economic, and historical experiences and contributions of U. S. Latinas/os-Chicanas/os and their diasporic origins.

 

EL PROGRAMA

THURSDAY OCTOBER 23, 2014

 

4:30-6:00                 REGISTRATION –STUDENT UNION THEATER FOYER

5:30-                                      WELCOME

Leo Morton, Chancellor 

Miguel Carranza, Latina/Latino Studies

Theresa Torres, NACCS

Juan Betancourt, ALAS

6:00               Introduction to the Video:  Everything Comes from the Streets

7:00               Question / Answer Session with Alberto Pulido, Director and Co-Producer and Rigo Reyes, Co-Producer

7:30               RECEPTION                                                  SU THEATER FOYER

Low Rider Car Display                                 Administration Bldg Parking Lot – Cherry Street        

 
FRIDAY OCTOBER 24, 2014

9:00—5:00   REGISTRATION STUDENT UNION (SU) THEATER FOYER

 

10:00-11:30       CONCURRENT SESSIONS

Session 1.1          Moderator:                                                                                                        Room Bloch 211

ROUNDTABLE: Gustavo Carlo, Sarah Killoren Francisco Palermo Katharine Zeiders and Cara Streit

TITLE:  Socializing Agents and Experiences Associated with Latino/a Children and Youth Well-being

Session 1.2  Moderator:  Viviana Grieco                                                                                 Room Bloch #212

ROUNDTABLE: Valerie Mendoza, María Torrez Anderson, Fatima Rodríguez Al-Makhim, Christina

Valdivia-Alcalá

TITLE: Chicana Testimonios: Growing up Chicana in Kansas, Three  Generations of Experience

Session 1.3 Moderator: Morgan                McMichen                                                          Room Bloch 213

ROUNDTABLE:  María Vásquez Boyd, José Faus, Miguel Morales

TITLE: The Latino Writers Collective: Creating and Sustaining a Community of Writers, Advocates, and Educators

Session 1.4 Moderator: Erica Hernandez Scott                                                                    Room SU 302

WORKSHOP: Judy Ancel and Saira Gordillo

TITLE: They Just Cut Our Program’s Budget. Now What Do We Do?

11:30-12:00                 POSTER SESSION                   SU Theater Foyer

Victoria Santiago & Claritsa Santiago

TITLE: ESL Misconceptions: Making a Good Program Even Stronger.

Jessica Rodas

TITLE: An Evaluation of Organizations in Kansas City in Improving the Health of the Latino/Hispanic Community.

Joseph Salazar and Idaima

TITLE: Assessing Obesity of Latino Children in Southwest Kansas via Ventanilla de Salud para Niños

12:00-1:00 LUNCH           

1:00-1:30  POSTER SESSION                                      SU Theater Foyer

1:30-3:00                     CONCURRENT SESSIONS 2

 

Session 2.1 Moderator: DJ Ferman                                                                                           Room Bloch 211

ROUNDTABLE:  April Bermudez & Matthew García

TITLE: (dis)Placed Ecologies, (dis)Placed Communities: Social Art Practice and the Homeland

 

Session 2.2 Moderator: Jessica Rodas                                                                                     Room Bloch 212

ROUNDTABLE: Patricia Alvarez-McHatton, Dea Bermudez-Marx, and Erica Hernandez-Scott

TITLE: Maestras: Past, Present, and Future

 

Session 2.3  Moderator: Morgan McMichen                                                                        Room Bloch 213

READING: Xanath Caraza, Natalia Treviño and Minerva Margarita Villarreal

TITLE: La Poetry en el Midwest y en México: Chicanas/Mexicanas con Ganas

 

Session 2.4  Moderator: Jorge Palomares                                                                              SGA Chambers/SU

ROUNDTABLE:   Moises Orozco, Eduardo Coronel, Daniel Muñoz, Jonathan Mendoza, Wendy Ramírez, Angeles Rivera-Centeno, Alberto Jimenez

TITLE:  Meaningful Connections between Latina/o students at a Community College in Illinois

Session 2.5          Moderator: Vanessa Aguilar                                                       Room SU 302

TITLE:  Researching Women and Gender in the Midwest

Linda Garcia Merchant: Five Layers Of Performance Art: Creating the Films, ‘An Evening with La Tess”
 

Andres Lazaro Lopez:  A Conceptual Note on Latino Professionals: The Future of Latina/O Scholarship On Paid Labor

Kandace Creel Falcón: Railroad Settlement Narratives: Invisibility And Chicana Feminist Interpretations Of Mexican Women’s Representations in Early 20th Century Kansas

BREAK

3:15-4:45                     CONCURRENT SESSIONS 3

Session 3.1          Moderator: Norma Cantu                                                                            Room Bloch 211

Panel: Gloria Anzaldúa

Visnja Vujin:  Gloria Anzaldúa’s Female Borderland Identities in Sandra Cisneros’ Fiction

Sarah Becker: Beyond Borderlands: Spiritual Mining and the Gloria Evangelina Anzaldúa Papers, 1943-2004

Norma E. Cantú, Vanessa Aguilar Maritza Fernandez: Researching Latina Traditional Culture in Kansas City: An Anzaldúa Third Space feminist Approach

 

Session 3.2  Moderator: Patrica A. McHatton                                                                       Room Bloch 212

ROUNDTABLE: Randy López, Jackie Madrigal

TITLE:  ¿Qué hiciste en la escuela hoy?: How High Schools Can Make Meaningful Connections with Spanish-Speaking Households and Get Them College-Ready

 

Session 3.3  Moderator: Morgan McMichen                                                                        Room Bloch 213

ROUNDTABLE/READING:  Elizabeth Martinez, Xanath Caraza, Andres Rodríguez

TITLE: Gathering Words: A Special issue of Diálogo

 

Session 3.4          Moderator: Amelia Montes                                                                        Room SU 302

Panel:  Brown Mujeres Navigating Predominantly White Midwest Spaces

Belinda Acosta:  Brown Body: White Faces: The Brown Female Body as Authority Figure in The Predominantly White Classroom

Bernice Oliva: Naming The Whole World A Borderland: Performance of the Teacher Self

Amelia Montes: Directing an Ethnic Studies Program in the Midwest: Challenges and Successes

4:45-5:00                                              BREAK

5:00-5:30     FEATURED SESSION                                                                      SU Theater

 POETRY READING BY MINERVA MARGARITA VILLARREAL

5:30-  Plenary Talk                                                                                                SU Theater

Dr. Rogelio Sáenz, Dean, College of Public Policy, University of Texas at San Antonio

Title:  Latinos and the Changing Demography of the Heartland: Implications for the Future of the Midwest

7:30        RECEPTION                                                                                                                         SU THEATER FOYER

 
SATURDAY OCTOBER 25, 2014

8:00—11:00       REGISTRATION—                  STUDENT UNION FOYER

8:30 A.M.            BUSINESS MEETING                                           SU Theater

9:00-10:30          CONCURRENT SESSIONS 4

Session 4.1      Moderator: Jessica Rodas                                                                   Bloch 218

Panel: Education Matters

 Heather Hathaway Miranda: ¡Sí Se Pudo! ¿Sí Se Pudo? Latina/Latino Student Activists in The 1990s

Hannah K. Noel:  Developing a Responsible Pedagogy

Uzziel Pecina: Leadership for English-Language-Learner Programs: Uniting Policies, Practices, and Parents to Support Secondary Students

Session 4.2 Moderator: Alice R.                                                                                                                 Bloch 213

Panel:  Chicana Studies at Kansas State University

Yolanda Broyles-González:

TITLE:  Jenni Rivera Enacting Mujerismo (Womanism): Change And Continuity Of The Oral Tradition

Isabel Millá

TITLE:   Engineering Chicana Heroism In Border Dystopian Sci-Fi Film

Norma A. Valenzuela

TITLE:  The Evolution Of A Transnational Imaginary In United States Latina Drama: Mujeres In Search Of “Home”

 

Session 4.3 Moderator: Alberto Villalmandos                                                                                      Bloch 324

READING:  Miguel M. Morales, Ruben Quesada, Joseph Salazar

TITLE:  Queridos: Midwestern Gay Latino Poets

 

Session 4.4. Moderator: Theresa Torres                                                                                                                SU 302

WORKSHOP:  José García

TITLE:  West Side Chronicles - City Life Chicano Style

 

Session 4.5 Moderator:                                                                                                                                 SGA Chambers

ROUNDTABLE: Gabriela Díaz Sabates and Marcelo Sabates

TITLE:  Reshaping the Multicultural Landscape at a Midwestern University

10:30  BREAK

 
10:45        CLOSING PLENARY

Dr. Nancy “Rusty” Barceló, President, Northern New Mexico College

TITLE:  Navigating our Midwest Latin@ Journey in Higher Education: Challenges and Opportunities for the Future

 

 
In Other News

 

Reyna Grande in Kansas City, University of Missouri-Kansas City





Norma Cantú, Reyna Grande and Xánath Caraza


 
Las Esmeraldas, ESU

Gregory Robinson, Ph. D., Xanath Caraza, Kevin Rabas, Ph. D., ESU


During my keynote at Emporia State University

 

University of North Georgia: “Exploring Linguistic Diversity among Latinas”, October 7 – 8

Univesity of North Georgia, Dahlonega Campus, lunch with LASO
After lunch with Alvaro Torres, Ph. D. and Maria Guadalupe Calatayud, Ph. D. with LASO students 

University of North Georgia, Dahlonega Campus


University of North Georgia, Gainesville Campus, LSA


 

 

Festival del Libro y la Palabra, Acapulco en su Tinta 2014, October 9 – 11 


Before my poetry presentation
 
My poem "Frente al mar"

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25. On being a young writer

Being a writer is such a weird profession, with a huge chasm between the hopes/expectations/romantic ideals of what being a capital-W Writer involves and the reality of the thing. Which is not at all glamorous. It's mostly hard work and uncertainty and awkwardly fielding questions about how much money you earn at every social event for the rest of your life.

It's hard to tell whether my experiences of being a writer are specific 'young writer' experiences, or things that affect new writers regardless of age. I think anyone who dreams of becoming a writer, at any age, has a concept of what being a writer will be like and finds the reality of it to be something else entirely. I dreamt of being an author from the age of seven. My childhood was consumed by writing. I got a book deal age fifteen, and my debut novel, Girl Saves Boy, was published the next year. It was thrilling and surreal to see my novel on the shelves of a bookshop, but the actual publication day felt totally normal - there was no real transition to feeling like a proper writer.

I wrote a guest post about my experiences as a young writer and what I've learned along the way, for the Writers' Bloc blog. They're celebrating young writers (under the age of 31) with a series of posts in October, so well worth a read! You can read the rest of my piece here.

(Sidenote: The editor of Writers' Bloc is the lovely writer and book blogger Sam van Zweden, who interviewed me on her own blog way back in 2010!)

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