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1. BEA for aspiring writers


I'm an aspiring novelist and an assistant editor for a travel book company. I'm going to BEA for the first time this year and I'm a little overwhelmed by the schedule. Do you have any recommendations of the best ways to spend my first BEA, given that I am trying to get published/get an agent within the next few years (knock on wood)? 

Yes. Don't go.

Unless your job for the travel book company requires you to attend, you're better off not going. If your job
does require you to attend, focus on what you need to do for your job. At your first BEA that will be more than enough to keep you busy.

BEA is NOT a place for writers to meet agents or try to get info on getting published.  Yes, I'll be there. So will everyone from my office. I'm not there to meet you. I'm there to see what publishers are doing. I'm there to meet with my co-agents from far flung lands.  I'm there to get a sense of the sea changes in the industry.  


The people who staff the booths of the publishers are most often NOT the editors who acquire manuscripts either. They're the sales people, the marketing folks, the publicity team.  They're there to talk to book buyers from bookstores, librarians, wholesalers and overseas publishers.  


Every single person working a booth at BEA has a horror story of some deluded author trying to press a manuscript on them, or asking who to send the manuscript to. Don't be that author, please.


And just in case you're absolutely sure you're the exception to this rule, here's a little known fact that should seal the deal: often times the people in the booth wear the wrong name on their badge because they share badges.  You think you're talking to a marketing person, it's really an intern brought in to help pack up boxes or hand out ARCs.


I know many authors who've gone to BEA and the most common response has been "I had no idea there were this many books." In other words, it's a daunting place to be particularly when you don't have an agent, let alone a book deal.


You want to go to WRITER'S CONFERENCES, not trade shows.  Go where agents ARE actively looking to talk to you.



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2. Walking the Game Beat: Batman, Disney Infinity 2.0, Call of Duty, RIP Silent Hills

What a 48hrs it’s been. Gamers have been given reason to cheer and cry. Such weight that can only be decompressed with hours of performing Mortal Kombat X fatalities.

Wait that ain’t it… oh well let’s talk about some of the major news video games has recently bombarded us with.

On Sunday, Treyarch showed off the first full trailer for the next installment of the Call of Duty franchise. Call of Duty: Black Ops III comes to the PS4, Xbox One, and PC this November.

Now the series has become a yearly expectation, not unlike a new Madden Football game or MLB The Show. Hell, the game has even aided in giving birth to pro gaming leagues where Mountain Dew fueled players compete for bragging rights and copious amounts of cash. So what can a new installment bring that we haven’t seen before? Bigger combat arenas allowed the game to boast a 4-player co-op campaign. For the first time in the franchise’s history, the campaign’s protagonist is fully customizable. In addition to upgrading abilities, changing your character’s appearance and tweaking weapons, players can pick the gender of their Call of Duty hero. Black Ops also brings back Zombie survival mode, where players obliterate wave after wave of the undead. This time the mode comes with a full character progression system similar to multiplayer.

Being the third CoD game by Treyarch, the group is leaving nothing out. Come November we’ll see wall running, underwater combat, unlimited sprinting, the ability to customize your solider as a heroic female in the campaign, and swimming. Yes according to the developer certain battle arenas will have areas where players can have their solider swim while still controlling weapons and combat. Though we haven’t seen much of how this development will affect the game, it sure does sound like a thing they threw in after the art directors pool party. The one thing the game really needs is a new Jim Lee drawn cover.

modern-warfare-2-ghost-1-jim-lee-variant-call-of-duty-dc-wildstorm-comic-book-9353-p[ekm]290x448[ekm]

Cause this weird “I gotta go to the bathroom but I don’t want to put my guns down” box ain’t cutting it.

 

WtolZw1Call of Duty: Black Ops III is set to release on November 6, 2015. Preordering through Gamestop will get you access to the upcoming beta.


 

 

Disney Infinity 2.0 finally released their mobile app on Android today. The guesstimated five of us that don’t have iPhones can now:

Create your own worlds and games starring over 60 of your favorite Marvel and Disney characters! Marvel Super Heroes come to Disney Infinity: Toy Box 2.0, with some of your favorite characters including the Avengers, Spider-Man, and Guardians of the Galaxy. Also explore some of your favorite Disney and Disney/Pixar characters from Frozen (Elsa & Anna), Big Hero 6 (Hiro & Baymax), Brave (Merida), Pirates of the Caribbean, Monsters Inc, and more!

For anyone that hasn’t picked up any Disney Infinity console and PC version… yes the cost goes beyond what you’ll initially pay after the starter set. This is just the new trend in gaming. These miniature versions of Mickey Mouse, Venom, Jack Sparrow, and Baymax we all have to buy are the new form of downloadable content for games. Though they have the distinction of having desk/shelf potential for collectors, it can still add up to serious coin, which is why it’s a nice feature that you can use web code cards from your physical Disney Infinity Figures to unlock characters in the mobile game. Such a novelty is essentially making the content transferable through all the platforms that gives it a value other games could learn from.

Now if we could just get those Legos and Amibos to talk to each other.

Plus look at the meme potential!

unnamed


 

As we talked a little about yesterday, Batman: Arkham Knight or as I call it “That thing I’m not going to work the week of June 23rd for,” dropped a new trailer that included the long awaited story playability of Nightwing, Robin, and Catwoman (I don’t count Arkham City cause you had to download her). The feature looks to be similar to what Grand Theft Auto 5 did with switching between three main characters at the push of a button at any time.

Here it is again in all it’s glory:

Two-Face, Oracle, Azrael, and the bat-plane also appear in the trailer. In addition to all this, pre-ordering the game get’s you a playable Harley Quinn in the game’s challenge maps and if you do it through GameStop then the Red Hood (Jason Todd) will also be yours. The game’s “Mature” rating doesn’t shine through in the trailer but you can see a level of despair that hasn’t been hit in the series yet, and that’s saying a lot because Arkham City wasn’t exactly sunshine and roses.

Fortunately we won’t have to wait too much longer as the game is locked into releasing worldwide June 23, 2015 on the PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

In the meantime, have you figured out who “Johnny Charisma” is yet?


 

Before we start the rundown of what gaming comics will be in stores this week, we should take a moment of “silence” for Silent Hills. Last year the world was told to play the creepy ass downloadable game P.T. In it, you’re put in the shoes of a man trapped in the hallways of a house where some supernatural depressing Scooby Doo ghost shit is going down.  The erie vibrance and mind bending nature of the situation made the game a brief but intense ride. Then at the end players find out that this is just a “Playable Teaser” for a game called Silent Hills. As if that wasn’t enough, we’re then told the game is being developed by Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima and master film director Guillermo Del Torro. Then as if that isn’t enough we’re told Daryl Dixon himself, Norman Reedus, is going to  model and voice the main character.

Yesterday, Konami confirmed our worst fears and officially canceled Silent Hills.

For fans of the Silent Hill series; the teaser was like being defibrillated back to life. A franchise whose better days were behind them, only showing mere glimpses of awesome in comics being published by IDW, was going to make a comeback. For a brief moment two storytelling giants that specialize in the bizarre were going to give fans the game they knew this series could be and P.T was the proof.

SilentHill-Downpour02-cover

What went wrong? While we may never know the real answer to that, at least until someone makes the documentary about all this ten years from now; the writing had been on the wall for quite sometime. Rumors surrounding Kojima leaving Konami after Metal Gear Solid 5 turned into plausible scenarios. Though he doesn’t look it, Hideo Kojima is like 50 something years old (Somewhere there’s an attic with a painting of an old Hideo Kojima screaming cause this guy doesn’t age). If he feels it’s time to move on and tell a new story then he’s earned that right. Most feel that he’ll put his passion for Hollywood to use. Then, Konami itself is starting to show signs of restructuring to focus on other ventures like gambling; they even pulled themselves from the New York Stock Exchange. Though, if you look at their numbers, it was apparent very little trading happened in the US for them. Both parites will undoutebly be okay as their names and properties alone could keep them afloat for years.

There’s the matter of Guillermo Del Torro. He was the first one to come out and say that he was no longer working on Silent Hills. The news was just the latest in a string of incomplete projects the filmmaker has in his portfolio; Justice League Dark and Haunted Mansion (announced at SDCC 2010 but only now finding its star) come to mind . It looks like Pacific Rim 2 will be done before either of those movies gets to theaters. In the end the tragic news of Silent Hills doesn’t fall on Del Torro, he’s a gamer and a storyteller who wanted to create art with a man he sees as a legend. When it became apparent that the legend was leaving the table, he decided not to do the project.

Kojima will be okay, Del Torro will be okay, Konami will be okay; the only real casualties here are all of us because we’ll never know what could have been.

 


 

Gaming Comics 4/29:

Injustice: Year Three Annual #1                                                                                                                                         (W) Ray Fawkes, Brian Buccellato (A) Sergio Fernandez Davila & Various (CA) Neil Googe

The Year of Magic is over, and the stalemate between Superman’s regime and Batman’s resistance continues. But some mysteries remain to be explained, like the true start of John Constantine’s involvement. What secret role did Dr. Occult play? And what have the Titans been up to all this time?
Munchkin #4 (BOOM! Studios)
(W) Tom Siddell, Jim Zub (A) Mike Holmes, Rian Sygh (CA) Ian McGinty
Based on the popular card game. A squad of space marines are sent to investigate a colony that has recently fallen out of contact, but when they get there, they find the first signs of nonhuman life are super annoying. Plus, an exclusive game card is included with every copy of the first printing!
Sonic Boom #7 (Archie Comics)
(W) Ian Flynn (A/CA) Matt Herms & Various
It’s wacky-racin’ adventure in “Everybody’s Super Sonic Racing” Part Two: Dr. Eggman’s fun and “friendly” go-kart challenge has turned deadly! But, really, who didn’t see that “twist” coming? Can Sonic salvage the race and prove to the bad doctor he can win fair and square? More importantly, can Sonic survive long enough to return to the race course?! Discover the fate of life, limb and ego in this super-fast story with cover art from Sonic comic fav Jamal Peppers, and an all-new “insubordination” variant cover from painter Erik Ly!

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3. For the birds: Poetry that celebrates our fine feather friends (ages 4-9)

Every spring, I love hearing birds chirping outside as we wake in the morning--a sure sign that daylight is coming earlier each day. As we enjoy our last week of National Poetry Month, I would like to share two new books that celebrate the beauty of birds in nature, prompting us to marvel at birds in nature.

Sweep Up the Sun
by Helen Frost
illustrated by Rick Lieder
Candlewick, 2015
Your local library
Amazon
ages 4-9
Poet Helen Frost reunites with photographer Rick Lieder to explore the wonders of the natural world. I adored their previous collaboration, Step Gently Out, and this new book is equally as delightful. Frost's poem encourages young readers to watch birds in flight playing in the sky, learning to fly and trusting the sky to hold them aloft. But she also encourages children to do the same: 
"Spread your feathers,
sweep up the sun,
ride the wind and explore."
We can read this as a direct encouragement for children to take off and soar on their own. Lieder's amazing photography captures birds in mid-flight, freezing a moment in time. The final two pages provide brief information about each of the species photographed, ranging from house sparrows to Northern Cardinals.
The Sky Painter:
Louis Fuertes, Bird Artist
by Margarita Engle
illustrated by Aliona Bereghici
Two Lions, 2015
Your local library
Amazon
ages 6-9
Margarita Engle captivated me with her biography of Louis Fuertes, the artist who is known as the "father of modern bird art" because of the way he painted birds in flight in their natural environments. Fuertes loved watching birds as a young boy. As he began his career, he realized that revered artists such as James Audubon painted birds they had shot and killed, so that they could study their anatomy in detail.Fuertes decided that he wanted to let birds live, so he developed the skills to paint them, quickly capturing their flight and grace:
"painting quickly, while wings
swoop
and race
across
wild
blue
sky,
so swift,
and so alive!"
Pair these two books together and talk with children about the power of art and the call of nature. Why did these artists decide to focus on birds? What drew them to capture their flight? What do they want their audiences to think about? How do the poets words capture the birds' flight in a different way?

The review copies were kindly sent by the publishers, Candlewick Press and Two Lions. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2015 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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4. Article- Terror Earth quake

भूकम्प… तबाही … और अब अफवाहे… हे भगवान !!! मणि तो बता रही थी कि उसे अब भूकम्प के ही सपने आते हैं और जब आखं खुलती है तो बहुत राहत मिलती है कि शुक्र है सपना था.. वही एक जानकार जो दिल्ली में हैं वो बहुत धबराए हुए रहते हैं . हर समय खुद को तैयार रखते हैं कि कोई अनहोनी हो तो बाहर भागे … वही मैनें भी कुछ मैसेज वटस अप किए जिसमें कहा गया कि “नासा”की तरफ से है कि भूकम्प फलां टाईम आ सकता है. जबकि बाद मे पता चला कि भूकम्प का पूर्वानुमान नही लगाया जा सकता. वही कल अफवाहों का बाजार गर्म था कि …. !!! खैर आज फिर एक खबर ने चौका दिया कि वो ये आतंकी हमला हो सकता है वो भी ड्रोन के जरिए … हे भगवान !!! प्राकृतिक आपदा से बचा नही जा सकता पर ये आतंकी हमला करने वालो को तो सोचना चाहिए … ईश्वर से डरना चाहिए …

फिलहाल तो आदमी भूकम्प से ही बहुत डरा सहमा सा है

cartoon-Earth quake

The post Article- Terror Earth quake appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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5. April 30: Celebrating Children’s Day, Book Day


In just a few days, we’ll be celebrating El día de los niños, El día de los libros; Children’s Day, Book Day. It’s officially on April 30, but you can certainly celebrate books and children any day! Día (for short) originates with poet, author, and literacy advocate Pat Mora and we are so thrilled to have a poem in honor of this multicultural celebration of children and books penned by Pat herself. 


Here’s Pat talking about the Día celebration: 


And for more about Pat Mora, click HERE and for more about celebrating Día, click HERE.  

For the full text of this poem and 150+ more (all in English AND Spanish), order your own copy of The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations HERE and for more Poetry Celebrations fun, click HERE. Plus for more on National Poetry Month, click HERE.


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6. Why the ‘Adventure Time’ Peabody Award is Important for Animation

Is the Peabody Awards the only prestigious awards event that actually 'gets' animation?

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7. X is for Xenophilia ~ A to Z 2015 Challenge







X is for Xenophilia

Definition...

noun

1.an attraction to foreign peoples, cultures, or customs.

In researching what I would blog about for the letter "X" for the A to Z Challenge I discovered this wonderful website with inspiring words from A to Z. Talk about synchronicity! How cool is that! Check it out...

http://positivewordsresearch.com/list-of-positive-words/

That's when I discovered the word, Xenophilia.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Multi Award-winning Children's Author

Ignite curiosity in your child through reading!

Connect with

A Sandy Grave ~ January 2014 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2014 Purple Dragonfly 1st Place Picture Books 6+, Story Monster Approved, Beach Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Powder Monkey ~ May 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Hockey Agony ~ January 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ New England Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

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8. The life of Colonel William Eddy

Missionaries and US Marines? It did not seem a natural combination. But while working on a book about American Protestant missionaries and their children I came across a missionary son who became a prominent officer in the USMC and one of the most effective agents of the Office of Strategic Services during World War II. Col. William Eddy was in charge of the OSS operations in North Africa [...]

The post The life of Colonel William Eddy appeared first on OUPblog.

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9. Coloring Page Tuesday - Dancing Porcupines

     What are porcupines to do when they want to dance? Be very, very careful!
     CLICK HERE for more coloring pages!
     Sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and... Please check out my books! Especially...
my debut novel, A BIRD ON WATER STREET - winner of nine literary awards. Click the cover to learn more!
     When the birds return to Water Street, will anyone be left to hear them sing? A miner's strike allows green and growing things to return to the Red Hills, but that same strike may force residents to seek new homes and livelihoods elsewhere. Follow the story of Jack Hicks as he struggles to hold onto everything he loves most.
     I create my coloring pages for teachers, librarians, booksellers, and parents to enjoy for free with their children, but you can also purchase rights to an image for commercial use, please contact me. If you have questions about usage, please visit my Angel Policy page.

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10. Interview and Giveaway: Sugar on Top by Marina Adair

Please give a warm welcome to Marina Adair this morning!  She stopped by the virtual offices to answer a few quick questions, and she brought a giveaway for you to enter!

What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

A book.

Name three things on your desk right now.

Since I write in bed, it is my cat Suki, my other cat Awesome Bob, and a bag of powdered sugar mini-doughnuts.

What’s your favorite snack when you’re working on a deadline?

The previously mentioned powdered sugar mini-doughnuts. Yum!

If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

A zoo keeper. I would want full access to go and visit all of the animals.

You have been granted the use of one superpower for one week. Which power would you choose, and what would you do with it?

Zoolingualism. I would spend the entire week trying to figure out why my cat Suki likes to sleep in my dirty clothes and what Awesome Bob is thinking when he eats the fern, even though he knows the fern makes him sick. I imagine the conversation would go a lot like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsXUoOIhkfQ

SUGAR ON TOP by Marina Adair (April 28, 2015; Forever Mass Market; Sugar, Georgia Book #2)

She’s sassy and sweet

The last thing Glory Mann wants is to become chairman of the Miss Peach Pageant in Sugar, Georgia. Spending months hearing nothing but the clinking of pearls and judgment? No thank you! But when Glory is forced to take the rap for a scandal she didn’t commit, the judge sentences her to head the committee. Even worse, her co-chairman is rugged, ripped . . . and barely knows she’s alive.
He’s ready and willing
Single dad Cal McGraw can’t take any more drama in his life. After a difficult divorce, his little girl became a boy-crazy teenager and his hands are full. The last thing he needs is to spend his down time with the town bad girl. Glory is pure trouble-tempting and tantalizing trouble. But he can’t deny the strong chemistry between them-or how her touch turns him inside out. Now as squabbles threaten to blow up the contest and the town of Sugar itself, Cal must risk everything on the sexy wild card to get a second chance at love . . .

Buy Links:

Amazon

B&N

iBooks

GooglePlay

Kobo

BAM

About the author:

Marina Adair is a lifelong fan of romance novels. Along with the Sugar series, she is also the author of the St. Helena Vineyard series and the upcoming Shelter Cove series. She currently lives in a hundred-year-old log cabin, nestled in the majestic redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains, with her husband and daughter. As a writer, Marina is devoted to giving her readers contemporary romance where the towns are small, the personalities large, and the romance explosive. She also loves to interact with readers and you can catch her on Twitter at @MarinaEAdair or visit her atwww.MarinaAdair.com.

Social Media Links:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Excerpt:
Glory walked to the door and peeked out the peephole, doing some panting of her own when she recognized Cal’s sexy blue eyes peeking back.

She knew the minute he realized she was on the other side of the door because he smiled and took a step back, as though waiting for her to just open up her door and welcome him inside.

“I know that you know it’s me, Boots, so open up.”

Oh, she knew it was him all right. Her nipples told her that the second he’d knocked. Plus she could smell the testosterone through the door, and his soap, which from the looks of it he’d showered, too. Although, she thought bitterly, he’d put on a fresh pair of jeans and an untucked gray button-up, not a pair of shorts with dancing pigs on them and a tank that said RESIDENT BED HOG across the chest.

“Or I can go get my tools from the truck—your call.”

And since the thought of Cal with tools made her hot, she opened the door—wide enough to see his face.

“What do you want?” she asked, more than aware that she hadn’t put her bra back on after her shower.

“Our date wasn’t over.”

Time to be firm. “I had a fun time, I’d love to do it again, but like I already told you, panties are a strict date five topic.”

“You said date four if they’re special.”

She had said that, damn it.

He pushed the door open a tad and his eyes dropped to her pajamas. He grinned. “And, Boots, those shorts don’t leave much room for imagination.” He pushed the door open wider and leaned in. “Or panties.”

He was right. She was commando under there. Not that she’d confirm his suspicions or even had time to. Before she knew what was happening, Cal took her hand in his and led her down the stairs toward his truck—and the already opened passenger door.

She stopped at the bottom step. “I’m not wearing shoes and I’m in my pajamas.”

“Which answers the question of what you sleep in. Although, I have to admit, I took you for more of an in-the-buff girl.” She felt her cheeks heat but played it cool. “Ah, good to know.”

Okay, maybe not so cool.

Cal slipped his jacket over her shoulders, then turned around to offer her his back. “Pajama issue solved. Now climb on.”

Knowing that he wasn’t going to let her be until she did as he asked, at least that was the lie she told herself, she wrapped her arms around his neck and legs around his middle—which only managed to smash her front deliciously against his broad, muscular back.

He walked her over to his truck, sat her on the seat, and shut her door, not saying a word until he was in the driver’s seat with his door shut.

He didn’t start the engine, didn’t explain what he was doing, just turned to her and smiled. “I had a great time tonight, which after my day seemed impossible. But you made it fun, made it easy to talk about Payton, and just . . . easy. With you, tonight, it all seemed so easy, so thank you.”

And wasn’t that the most romantic thing anyone had ever said to her. “I had a great time, too.”

“Good.” His smile was back and he got out of the truck, walked around, and opened her door.

Glory rolled her eyes, but inside she was melting. “What are you doing?”

“Walking my date to her doorstep.” He looked at her bare feet and waggled a brow. “Or carrying.”

“That’s okay, I can walk.” But one hand was already around her back, the other firmly planted on her butt, and he was scooping her out of the truck, not putting her down until he was up the stairs and at her door.

Hands shoved in his pockets, he leaned against the rail. She opened her mouth to speak when he said, “Hang on.” He reached out and closed her front door. “There. Now, you were saying.”

“Just, thank you,” she whispered and neither of them moved, neither of them spoke. It was as though time hung, and in that one moment nothing else mattered. Only the two of them and this insane connection.

His eyes dropped and he cleared his throat. That’s when she realized he was waiting for his jacket.

“Oh, right. Sorry.” She started to take it off when he gripped the collar and tugged her to him.

“I don’t care about the jacket, I’ll get it next time.”

Her knees wobbled at the idea that he wanted a next time.

Oh my God, Charlotte was right, she had it bad. Glory was a certified McGraw addict; she had every last symptom, even down to wanting their next time to be now.

Cal must have been suffering from the same affliction, because he tilted his head and delivered a gentle kiss that seemed to last for hours. Languid and soft and with deliberate control, the man kissed her as if there was nowhere else he’d rather be. This wasn’t a race or a sprint to the bed; to him, kissing was his way of connecting, sharing.

By the time they came up for air, Glory’s bones had turned to mush and her entire world had shifted because Cal wasn’t just special, he was perfect.

Then he did the one thing that could have made her fall, had her opening herself up to all the what-ifs and going all in. Cal gave her one last kiss on the cheek and made his way down the stairs, giving her what she wanted, time to prove he was serious, that she was worth waiting for, worth fighting for.

Only every step he took caused her chest to coil tighter and tighter until it hurt to breathe.

One date. A hundred. It didn’t matter. This was Cal. He was one of the good ones. He’d come all this way, in the middle of the night, to escort her to the door, and there she was, watching him walk away, wondering if she’d get another chance.

The least she could do was invite him inside and offer him a cold beverage.

He was rounding the truck when her feet finally got the message from her brain, and she took off down the steps, not stopping until she was standing in front of him. “Don’t go.”

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11. Draw Tip Tuesday - Background Pattern

Welcome to Draw Tip Tuesday!

What do you do when you think your drawing is missing something? Give it a little extra attention and perk it up with a colorful background!

I hope this video inspires you to make awesome art. If you want more inspiration, go to my website, koosjekoene.nl and sign up for one of my classes today!

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12. New Adult Fiction Genre - Contemporary Romance - #WriteTip



There is a new genre emerging..."New Adult" fiction for older teens aka college-aged readers. You never stop growing up, but little in the market seems to address the coming-of-age that also happens between the ages of Nineteen to Twenty-six. Life changes drastically once high school is over, you have college, first jobs, first internships, first adult relationships…

Part of the appeal of NA is that the storylines are about characters who are taking on adult responsibilities for the first time without guidance from their parents. And the storylines generally have a heavy romance element. 

Keep this in mind as you revise your wonderful story, New Adult books are mostly about that specific time in every person's life—the time when the apron strings are cut from your parents, you no longer have a curfew, you're experiencing the world for the very first time, in most cases, with innocent eyes. New Adult is this section of your life where you discover who you want to be, what you want to be, and what type of person you will become. This time defines you. This is the time of firsts, the time where you can't blame your parents for your own bad choices. 


An NA character has to take responsibility for their own choices and live with the consequences. Most storylines are about twenty-something (18 to 26) characters living their own lives without any parents breathing down their necks, and learning to solve things on their own as they would in real life. New Adult fiction focuses on switching gears, from depending on our parents to becoming full-fledged, independent adults.

I am a firm believer that if you’re going to write a certain genre that you should read it, too. So I’m going to recommend that you start devouring NA novels to get a real sense and understanding of the genre before you write one.

Here are some great recommendations: https://www.goodreads.com/genres/new-adult-romance and http://www.goodreads.com/genres/new-adult and https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/new-adult-romance
 

Just as YA is fiction about teens discovering who they are as a person, New Adult (NA) is fiction about building your own life as an actual adult. As older teen readers discover the joy of the Young Adult genres, the New Adult—demand may increase. This, in turn, would give writers the chance to explore the freedom of a slightly older protagonist (over the age of 18 and out of high school, like the brilliant novel, "BEAUTIFUL DISASTER" by the amazing talents of author, Jamie McGuire) while addressing more adult issues that early 20-year-olds must face.

Older protagonists (basically, college students) are surprisingly rare; in a panel on YA literature at Harvard’s 2008 Vericon, City of Bones author talked about pitching her novel, then about twenty-somethings, as adult fiction. After several conversations, Clare realized she had to choose between adults and teens. She went with teens.

Quote from the publisher, St. Martin’s Press: We are actively looking for great, new, cutting edge fiction with protagonists who are slightly older than YA and can appeal to an adult audience. Since twenty-somethings are devouring YA, St. Martin’s Press is seeking fiction similar to YA that can be published and marketed as adult—a sort of an “older YA” or “new adult.” In this category, they are looking for spunky but not stupid, serious but not dull, cutting-edge, supernatural stories.

Quote from Georgia McBride, author (Praefatio) and founder of #YALitChat and publisher at Month9Books: "New Adult is a fabulous idea in theory, and authors seem to be excited about it. But in a world where bookstores shelf by category, to them, it is either  Adult or Young Adult. Some booksellers even call their YA section “teen.” And when you have a character who is over a certain age (19 seems to be the age most consider the start of New Adult), it is received as Adult. In some cases, the designation by publishers causes more confusion than not.
Let’s face it, YA is associated with teens, and at 19, most no longer consider themselves teens. So, it would support the theory of placing these “New Adult” titles in the Adult section. However, with the prevalence of eBook content, it would seem that the powers that be could easily create a New Adult category if they really wanted to...."

There’s also a list on goodreads of New Adult book titles. These books focus on college age characters, late teens to early twenties, transitioning into the adult world.

Some popular authors of the NA category include:
  • Jamie McGuire
  • Jessica Park
  • Tammara Webber
  • Steph Campbell
  • Liz Reinhardt
  • Abbi Glines
  • Colleen Hoover 
  • Sherry Soule
http://www.wattpad.com/story/29486760-irresistible-mistake-new-adult-romantic-suspense


Would you buy New Adult books? 
Does the genre appeal to you? 

Does it sound better than YA (teen novels)? 
 
Or are you happy with YA as it stands?

Do you consider YA to include characters that are over the age of eighteen? 
 

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13. Beastly Verse

Beastly Verse by JooHee Yoon

by JooHee Yoon (Enchanted Lion, 2015)

Beastly Verse by JooHee YoonBeastly Verse by JooHee Yoon

(click to enlarge)

This book is something. A mashup of poetry and pictures, washes of color and words.

Beastly Verse by JooHee Yoon Beastly Verse by JooHee Yoon

(click to enlarge; this is an example of a spread that folds out to reveal an entirely new and more expansive illustration.)

Some thoughts from JooHee on the art and creation of Beastly Verse:

I wanted to create a book that not only tells wonderful stories, but one that is beautiful to behold. For me, the design of the book is just as important as its content; they are inseparably linked. I believe all elements of a book–its paper, binding, size and weight–create an atmosphere that plays an important role in the experience of reading.

The printing process fascinates me. Not only traditional printmaking, but also industrial processes as well, since these are just a further development of the old printmaking techniques. I have always been drawn to printmaking, and rather than mixing colors on a palette and putting them on paper, I enjoy working with flat color layers overlapping one another to create the secondary colors. My experience with printmaking informs almost all of my artwork today. I wanted to take advantage of the industrial printing process so the printer is not just reproducing the image I make, but in a sense creating the image itself.

Beastly Verse by JooHee Yoon Beastly Verse by JooHee Yoon

This book has been printed using just three colors. The areas where the main colors overlap create secondary colors, resulting in a book that seems very colorful even though only a limited palette was used. Seen alone, each layer is a meaningless collection of shapes, but when overlapped, these sets of shapes are magically transformed into the intended image. To me the process of creating these images is like doing a puzzle, figuring out what color goes where to make a readable image.

I am very inspired by books from the early 1900s – 1950, when artists were forced to work with spot colors since reproduction methods weren’t as developed as they are today. It is amazing what some artists could do with just two or three colors, and this is exactly the same process I am using, but one from choice rather than necessity. There is a luminous brilliant quality to the colors when images are reproduced this way that I love.

Beastly Verse by JooHee Yoon Beastly Verse by JooHee Yoon

(click to enlarge; this is an example of a spread that folds out to reveal an entirely new and more expansive illustration.)

It’s fascinating to pull the curtains back on an illustrator’s process, and I’m thankful to JooHee for her words here. Her explanation of something so simple, so exquisite, and so complex is as brilliant as those colors she creates.

And the book itself is definitely a work of art. Uncoated, thick pages. Slightly oversized. There’s a non-uniform feeling to the ends that isn’t quite a deckled edge, but a bit more raw and tactile. Hand-crafted almost.

Beastly Verse by JooHee Yoon

(click to enlarge)

Beastly Verse’s dedication reads simply, For the Reader.

Here, the reader is also the design enthusiast, the art collector, and the wordsmith. A book for book lovers.

ch

 

Huge thanks to Claudia Bedrick at Enchanted Lion for the images in this post. 

 

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14. Social Media Etiquette

What not to do when using social media.


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15. Producing music


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16. Mom School - a bookwrap




Mother's Day is fast approaching, arriving May 10th, and I want to get a head start on the day by sharing this wonderful book with you, "Mom School".  But first let me give you a sense of motherhood through the eyes of a mom that is anticipating the birth of her miracle baby...



Can't Wait To Be Your Mommy!    






© Cindy Hawkins


So I am sitting here thinking of the perfect words to say,
to tell you how I feel about the arrival of your birthday.

I am feeling a little nervous, with hopes I do everything right,
but I can't wait to be your mommy, every waking day and every sleepy night.

I have so many plans and things for us to do,
So I sit here in anticipation just waiting to meet you.

You already mean the world to me and so, so much more,
I can't wait to be your mommy, that's all I'm waiting for.

Mine and your bags are packed and waiting in the car,
because the day that you will be here isn't very far.

So here I sit thinking of the perfect words to say,
But all that comes to mind is
I can't wait to be your mommy every single day!!!!



Unwrapping today's book which is an adorable kids-eye view of what would happen if Mom went to Mom School....






Authored by Rebecca Van Slyke
Illustrated by Prsicilla Burris
Ages ... unlimited



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17. Review: Her Rodeo Man by Cathy McDavid

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I really enjoy Cathy McDavid’s novels, so I’m a little puzzled why I haven’t read more of them.  I like that her characters are every day people.  There’s not a billionaire in sight, just ordinary folk working hard to get through each day and provide for their families.  They could be my neighbors.  They could be me.  McDavid has a way of taking average problems and building them up into something that’s easy to relate to, and like Donna Alward, simple daily tasks become compelling efforts to better oneself and make the most of each protagonist’s strengths. 

Ryder Beckett is returning home to help his family run The Big Easy, an equestrian facility.  He hasn’t been back in years, and he’s still unable to forgive his mother for lying about his youngest sister’s parentage and breaking up their family.  He can’t understand why she kicked his father out of the house, why she divorced him, and why she hasn’t been paying him the agreed on profits from the The Big Easy.  He’s reluctant to return, but after being fired from his high-paying marketing position, he doesn’t have much choice.  He’ll help out at the family business until he has another option and can return to the career his poor choices have derailed.

Tatum Mayweather is struggling to raise her three young children on her own.  A former teacher, she was pink-slipped and watched in horror as everything she worked so hard for was taken away from her.  She lost a job she loved, her house, and even, for a brief period of time, her kids.  The Beckett’s offered her a job that allowed her to rent another place and reclaim her children from her meddling mother-in-law.  Through all of her misfortunes, her ex-husband was too busy competing on the rodeo circuit to lend a hand or even send some money her way.  Tatum learned the hard way that the only person she could count on was herself, and that there’s no one else out there who will be there for her or her kids.

When Ryder comes back to The Big Easy, he notices the pretty Tatum leading her visibly lame pony into the barn.  Not quite ready to face his family, he helps her with the pony.  Then he realizes that she’s his sister’s best friend, and that he’s known her since childhood.  He’s immediately attracted to her, and Tatum has had a hopeless crush on Ryder since she was a girl.  Can she get involved with him, after learning that he’s just biding his time until he gets another big city job?  Or should she just ignore the feelings she has for the handsome cowboy?

Ryder and Tatum are working to promote the equestrian center and the rodeo events they host, as well as their bucking stock, which is Ryder’s father’s pride and joy.  I enjoyed following along as they worked through their tasks, especially getting ready for the rodeo.  You’d think that as much as I like horses that I would have attended a few rodeos myself, but nope, I haven’t been, so it’s fun to read about them.

Money is a huge issue for Tatum, something I can certainly relate to.  Feeding the kids, keeping a roof over their heads, unexpected medical bills – all of these weigh heavily on her mind.  Ryder lost a plum job, and the offers he’s receiving now are disappointing.  It’s a huge step back for him, and he’s frustrated that one mistake cost him so much.  He feels underutilized at home, though, and he just can’t forgive his mom for turning her back on his dad.  Both Ryder and Tatum have to learn to forgive and let go of the past, starting with themselves.  Life didn’t work out how they had planned, and they are both slow coming up with a new one.  Tatum is worried about losing her kids again, so she doesn’t want to do anything to antagonize her MIL, and number one on the list would be dating Ryder, so she resists.  So hard.  But she can’t say no to him.

If you enjoy sweet romances with a more real life slant, I recommend that you give Her Rodeo Man a try.  Despite the lack of glamorous locations or palatial mansions, it’s a solid, satisfying read with believable conflicts.

Grade:  B

Review copy borrowed from my local library

From Amazon:

RETURNING…HOME? 

Twenty-five years ago, the Beckett family was irrevocably divided by lies told and secrets kept. But Ryder Beckett comes back to The Easy Money to reconcile with his past and help run the rodeo arena until he can find a new job. He’s quick to fall into old ways—taking care of the horses, trying a few of his old rodeo tricks…and falling for Tatum Mayweather. 

Ryder’s childhood friend has become a beautiful woman. But how can he get involved with a single mother of three when he’s only at the ranch temporarily? Tatum deserves a stay-in-one-place kind of guy, and that has never been Ryder. Is the pull of family enough to keep him in Reckless, Arizona? Is this where Ryder truly belongs?

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18. The truth will set you free

First of all, gratitude. Gratitude to Opera Parallèle for its consistently high quality productions of contemporary works, and for their extensive educational outreach program. More specifically, gratitude for its new production of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, featuring revised scoring for smaller orchestral ensembles—a revision that loses nothing and makes the piece more accessible for smaller companies.

The post The truth will set you free appeared first on OUPblog.

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19. Critiques 4 U, April Edition

tulips-52125_1280

Spring!

Can you believe that it’s April already? Seems like we were just setting resolutions, breaking resolutions, and racing out for last-minute Valentine’s Day presents. Time surely does fly, because here we are at the tail end of April, giving away 3 more first page critiques.

If you’re working on a first page and would like some objective feedback, leave a comment that includes: 

1) your email address

2) your story’s genre (no erotica, please)

3) the intended audience

ONLY ENTRIES THAT FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS WILL BE CONSIDERED. 

Psssst! Last month, one of the winners didn’t leave an email address and I had to pick an alternative. Please don’t forget all the important info :).

3 commenters’ names will be drawn and posted tomorrow. If you win, you can email me your first page and I’ll offer my feedback. Best of luck!

photo credit: Pixabay

The post Critiques 4 U, April Edition appeared first on WRITERS HELPING WRITERS™.

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20. New Voice & Giveaway: Sarah McGuire on Valiant

By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Sarah McGuire is the first-time author of Valiant (Egmont/Lerner, 2015). From the promotional copy:

Reggen still sings about the champion, the brave tailor. This is the story that is true.

Saville despises the velvets and silks that her father prizes far more than he’s ever loved her. Yet when he’s struck ill she’ll do anything to survive–even dressing as a boy and begging a commission to sew for the king.

But piecing together a fine coat is far simpler than unknotting court gossip about an army of giants, led by a man who cannot be defeated, marching toward Reggen to seize the throne. Saville knows giants are just stories, and no man is immortal.

Then she meets them, two scouts as tall as trees. After she tricks them into leaving, tales of the daring tailor’s triumph quickly spin into impossible feats of giant-slaying. And stories won’t deter the Duke and his larger-than-life army.

Now only a courageous and clever tailor girl can see beyond the rumors to save the kingdom again.

Perfect for fans of Shannon Hale and Gail Carson Levine, Valiant richly reimagines "The Brave Little Tailor," transforming it into a story of understanding, identity, and fighting to protect those you love most.

Was there one writing workshop or conference that led to an "ah-ha!" moment in your craft? What happened, and how did it help you?

I think it came in stages for me. I was one of the lucky writers included in the Nevada SCBWI Mentor Program. Harold Underdown chose me as one of his mentees, and for six months, we worked though my novel. I think my biggest takeaway was tackling the middle of the novel and keeping it from sagging.

Even though I had to slide that novel, under the metaphorical bed, I had a much better understanding of story structure. And I used it in Valiant, making sure I had a tent pole of tension to hold up the center of the story.

My next jump was in a Highlights Workshop with Patti Gauch. She taught (among other things) about going far enough emotionally, about reaching a transcendent moment of fear or hope or joy. She taught me to watch for those places in the story that already meant something to me. I learned to circle back to those places and dive into the emotion of that moment.

I think as writers, we're afraid of our emotion in a scene seeming cheesy or overwrought. And from that place of fear, we keep our emotion on a tight rein. I would have said I was being subtle, but the truth was that I was scared– scared of purple prose and people laughing at over the top scenes. When I was afraid, and didn't go far enough, my writing came across as insincere or insubstantial.

And ... here's the secret: it was. I was too scared to reveal the substance of that emotion. I was too afraid to be truly sincere. My fear of emotional triviality actually made my writing trivial.

But now I'm all better.

Ha.

Of course, I still work at this. And I still don't get it right the first or second draft. Or the third. And when I do finally go far enough, I have to loop back a few days later to trim and shape and make sure there's nothing in the writing of that moment that would keep a reader from going far enough. But I'm getting better at it. And knowing when I don't go far enough is half the battle, right?

Right.

As a fantasy writer, how did you go about building your world?

Photo by Chris Anderson
I found that stories and math (among other things!) shaped Valiant's world.

Let's start with stories. When we think of world building, we often think of government, architecture, all the minute details of daily life. But we forget that we view our own world through the lens of story.

For instance, going off to pursue a dream is most mostly viewed as proper independence in America. In our stories and movies, it's often rewarded. But in other cultures, such independence might be viewed as destructive and selfish.

Anyway, once I realized I'd be writing a story about giants, I knew wanted to work within the stories we all know about giants--even if we don't think we know them. So I did an informal survey of Western myth, folk and fairy tales. Whether it was a titan of Greek mythology or the giant who ground bones to bake bread, giants were brutes who could only be overcome by some form of trickery.

(I found one story of a smart giantess: Oona, the wife of Finn MacCoul. But she defeats another giant through (you guessed it!) trickery. The only story I could find in which someone beat a giant through a straightforward attack was David and Goliath.)

So I had stories where giants were 1) the enemy, 2) stupid, and 3) sometimes ate humans. It seemed only right that the humans in my novel would have similar stories (and thus views) of giants.

David and Goliath, by Osmar Schindler (c. 1888)
But things got interesting when I looked back through that same story-lens. Given those stories, how would giants view humans? As unreliable tricksters who used their wits to overcome and kill giants.

So within the giantish world, the most powerful giant might not always be the strongest, but the one who couldn't be fooled.

For me, that was when things got interesting. So I wrote Valiant with the idea that I had two cultures with the same set of stories, but who viewed those stories from two very different perspectives.

I also used math to build my world. (Such a whiplash-inducing change from stories, isn't it? But bear with me.) I was thinking about volume.

Let's say you have a cube that measures one inch on every side. It's volume is length x width x height, or 1 x 1 x 1, which equals 1 cubic inch. If I had a cube that was six times the size of the first cube, 6 x 6 x 6, its volume would be 216 cubic inches.

So–and this is an oversimplification– if a giant was six times as big as a human, he could weigh roughly 200 times more. And he'd need a lot more food than six humans.

Where might giants living in the stony Belmor Moutains find food? And how could they travel the great distance they did in Valiant? I discovered some of my favorite details about the world of the uten by exploring that. What started as mathematical ended with one of my favorite scenes.




Cynsational Giveaway

Enter to win a signed copy of Valiant by Sarah McGuire (Egmont USA/Lerner, 2015). Author sponsored. Eligibility: North America.

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21. Fearing What You Love -- The Scary Side of the Writing Life

Before I get to today's post, I have to tell you that Adventures has been honored by Writer's Digest Magazine with a listing in their 101 Best Websites for Writer's issue!

This is the third year in a row, and I want to take this opportunity to thank the wonderful team that we have in place here. Lisa Gail Green, Jocelyn Rish, Susan Sipal, Shelly Zevlever, Erin Cashman, and Jan Lewis, thank you all so much for the amazing work you do day in and day out. Thank you also to Alyssa Hamilton, who has unfortunately recently left us to concentrate on her studies, and to all the authors and publicists who provide the wonderful interviews, guest posts, and giveaways, and thank you to all of YOU--the readers. This is the best kind of team effort!

Fearing What You Love -- The Scary Side of the Writing Life

I've wanted to be a writer most of my life, but the word "author" really didn't enter into that equation. Not because I didn't want to be one, but because I had no perspective of what it meant. All I wanted was to get put words on a page and bring characters and ideas to life. Raise a few questions, connect a few thoughts.

Beyond publication, there is a whole world of things that go into being an author. I'm goodish at some of them. The things that are similar to the business world, those I can handle, and I love, love, love talking books and writing, anytime, anywhere. I love helping people. But the rest?

  • Pre-publication publicity and marketing
  • Interviews and guest posts
  • Getting and navigating reviews 
  • Pre-order giveaways
  • Blog tours
  • Launch parties
  • Book tours and events
  • Engaging with publicists
  • Ongoing post-publication publicity and marketing
  • Subbing to book festivals or responding to invitation

And that doesn't include writing the next book or editing the current one. Learning to write better books. All at the same time.

It's a lot.

Don't get me wrong, it's a mind-blowing honor and a wonderful opportunity, but the problem is there is no guidebook for this portion of the journey.

I'm going to the RT Convention in Dallas in a few weeks. And the more I think about it, the more I get hot flutters of panic. It's such a HUGE event. People dress up, and I don't really know anyone well. The social and the event side of publishing always make me feel completely inadequate.

Don't get me wrong, everyone I've met in the book world is truly nice. Really nice. But I'm a little shy, and when I'm nervous, I tend to babble, or fall back on things I know. What I know is business, and organization, and timetables, and how to get things packaged and put together. Which means that most of the time, working with other authors, I feel like an idiot.

Being an author is scary. It's a whole new career, and I'm on the bottommost rung, and the rest of the rungs are shrouded in mist.

Thinking about going to the RT Convention, it occurred to me that I haven't felt this way since I was a teen. Lost and confused and inadequate. Afraid. Convinced I would never be good enough. Afraid that people would laugh at me, or no one would talk to me. Afraid that I would fall on my face or make an idiot of myself.

Back when I was a teenager, I wouldn't have admitted those fears. Maybe that's the difference. I would have buttoned them inside myself.

Today, I know that everyone falls on their faces. I know that it's pulling myself up after I fall that makes me stronger.

Maybe this fear will be a good reminder for when I write. I'm writing some scary scenes for Barrie, and this third book has made me nervous. Stepping into the climax, it's good to connect back to being afraid. Hopefully, it will make me a better writer.

Thinking about going to the RT Convention, it has been tempting to cancel. I've considered it several times.

But I won't.

Because fear is good. Fear pushes us. New things stretch us.

SOUND OFF!


So tell me. What are you afraid of?

THIS WEEK'S GIVEAWAY


SThe #1 New York Times bestselling author Carl Hiaasen serves up his unique brand of swamp-justice in Skink—No Surrender.

Classic Malley—to avoid being shipped off to boarding school, she takes off with some guy she met online. Poor Richard—he knows his cousin’s in trouble before she does. Wild Skink—he’s a ragged, one-eyed ex-governor of Florida, and enough of a renegade to think he can track Malley down. With Richard riding shotgun, the unlikely pair scour the state, undaunted by blinding storms, crazed pigs, flying bullets, and giant gators.

Carl Hiaasen first introduced readers to Skink more than twenty-five years ago in Double Whammy, and he quickly became Hiaasen’s most iconic and beloved character, appearing in six novels to date. Both teens and adults will be thrilled to catch sight of the elusive “captain” as he finds hilariously satisfying ways to stop internet predators, turtle-egg poachers, and lowlife litterbugs in their tracks. With Skink at the wheel, the search for a missing girl is both nail-bitingly tense and laugh-out-loud funny.

Purchase Skink - No Surrender at Amazon
Purchase Skink - No Surrender at IndieBound
View Skink - No Surrender on Goodreads

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22. Afraid of Second Act Sag

Question: First of all, great to have found your site. Very well thought out and detail oriented. Am well into my novella, which deals with a very hot-button

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23. Tracey Baptiste and The Story Behind “The Jumbies”

Headshot 1 crop

 

I interviewed Tracey for the Brown Bookshelf in 2012. As she shared Angel’s Grace with me, I quickly became a member of the Tracey admiration club. She writes. She edits. She encourages and she shares her knowledge with young people. Today, Tracey is giving the Brown Bookshelf and its readers the inside scoop on her latest book, The Jumbies. Welcome back, Tracey!

 

As a kid I could not get enough of fairytales. Princes, princesses, helpful fairies, vindictive witches, magical mishaps, and cleverly-hatched plans that led to happy endings were all I dreamt of all day long as I flipped through the pages of my beautifully illustrated Grimm’s fairytales, a book almost too large and heavy for my three year-old hands. But fairytales were something that happened in places far away from my native Trinidad, in lands where children could leave footprints in the snow, and you needed a large red cloak to keep the cold off your back. Besides, none of the characters looked anything like me with their golden hair and pale skin. So I had no hope of being chosen to marry a prince, or encountering a witch with architectural baking skills, or meeting an opinionated fairy (this being the greatest disappointment of all). But on warm island nights when the books were closed, and the ships at port bellowed out mournful horns, the stories were different. They came with warnings from the adults in my life such as “Never answer if you hear your name called at night. That is how the douens will get you,” they said.

The Jumbies

The Jumbies

Then I would listen to stories about how douens roamed naked through the forests of Trinidad with their feet on backwards to fool anyone who might follow them. They were small like children, but with the strength of grown men, and wore cone-shaped hats and not one stitch of other clothes. The douens would learn the names of children so that they could lure them into the forest, where the children would never be heard from again. “Just ask ‘did you call me?’ and wait for us to answer,” the grownups said. If they hadn’t called, I could be sure it was a douen trying to get me, and I would pull the covers more tightly under my chin. But the douens were not the only creatures to be feared at night in Trinidad.

There were also soucouyant, who were old ladies who shed their skin at night, burst into flame and came flying through your window to suck your blood. And there were La Diablesse, who had one regular foot and one cow hoof that they covered under long skirts. The lagahoo was a wolf-man who might help you as often as he might eat you. Papa Bois protected the animals in the forest, and sometimes punished the hunters who were after them. The water was a worry too, with Mama D’Lo, a half-woman, half snake who was as beautiful as she was vindictive. All of these creatures were called jumbies, a group of malevolent creatures who were hell bent on harming or at least tricking any human who dared to cross their path.

Jumbies were fascinating, but they didn’t come in beautifully illustrated books like my Grimm’s. Jumbie stories were very much alive. My uncles might meet a La Diablesse on their walk home at night. The red itchy bites that showed up on my legs in the morning might not be from mosquitoes, they might be from a soucouyant. And always, there was the threat of voices calling at night. I was living my own dangerous fairytale. Every person who encountered a jumbie and lived to tell the tale was brown-skinned like me, some even wore their hair in plaits like mine. But they were never in books. Why didn’t the children who looked like me have their own fairytales? We were just as clever. We had to be just as brave. Our foes were just as treacherous. Didn’t our stories deserve to be written down?

A young Tracey in the days before books had her name emblazoned on them.

A young Tracey in the days before books had her name emblazoned on them.

At the very mature age of three, I declared that I would grow up and be a writer. I would have my own stories with beautiful pictures that I could hold and flip through and read over and over again. I had just learned how to write my name. So the next step, of course, was a book.
Years later, I was in New York, between classes at NYU, and browsing through the shelves at Barnes and Noble when I came across a book of fairytales from around the world. I scanned the table of contents looking for Trinidad. Were there douens in here? Papa Bois? A soucouyant? No. But there was a story called “The Magic Orange Tree” from Haiti. “Close enough,” I thought and I flipped to the page. It was a Cinderella-type story about a clever girl, a magical tree, and an evil stepmother. I knew instantly that I could somehow take this story and make it my own. I would give my three-year-old self the fairytale she had been waiting for. I reread The Magic Orange Tree for years but it was only after my first novel had been published that I started working on the story that would become The Jumbies. Early titles were: The Green Woman, The White Witch, and the Magic Orange Tree; The Orange Tree Girl; and Growing Magic. And jumbies being the tricky, malevolent creatures that they are, didn’t make it easy for me to get them down on the page.

Tracey discussing her writing process with students.

Tracey discussing her writing process with students.

I worked on the story off and on for almost nine years. Over the course of that time, several people in the industry told me to just give up on the story and move on. “Some stories belong in the desk drawer,” one editor said. But there was something about this story that compelled me to keep pulling it out of the drawer even if it had been sitting there for years at a time. It wasn’t working. It was always missing something. But I kept slogging. My three-year-old self, it turns out, is quite the taskmaster. I lost an agent along the way, but found another with the manuscript for this story. Marie Lamba and I worked on it a little longer before she approached just the right editor—Elise Howard—who had also worked on another creepy tale, Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book. The Jumbies was just her kind of story, and even then there were a few rounds of changes before it was final.

In just a few weeks, the three-year-old me will get the book she has been waiting for. Maybe not beautifully illustrated as she would have liked (though the jacket art is amazing), but this time the book will fit easily in her hands, and the hero will look like her, with plaits falling down her back. There is even a nod to the fairytale stories she used to love, with a little frog providing comic relief. But this story is all Caribbean. All Trini. All sun-kissed brown-skinned, and still, all fairytale.

Tracey and her fans.

Tracey and her fans.

Pronunciation guide:
Douen = dwen
Soucouyant = SOO coo yah
La diablesse = LAH jah bless
Lagahoo = LAH gah hoo
Papa Bois = Papa BWAH
Mama D’lo = Mama Juhlo
Jumbie = JUHM bee

Early reviews for The Jumbies:

“Her fantastic cast of characters and lush, vibrant setting make you feel immersed in her Caribbean island.”
–Valerie R. Lawson’s Blog, Barbies on Fire

“Endlessly addictive and hypnotic.”
–Essence Magazine

“A well-written tale full of action.”
–School Library Journal

“Tracey Baptiste knows just how to seize kids’ attention.”
–Foreword

“It’s refreshing to see a fantasy with its roots outside Europe.”
–Kirkus

About The Jumbies
Caribbean island lore melds with adventure and touches of horror in The Jumbies, a tale about Corinne La Mer, a girl who on All Hallow’s Eve accidentally draws a monstrous jumbie out of the forest, sparking a very personal war that only she can stop – a war made even more difficult once she discovers her own dark truth.

Jumbies (pronounced JUM bees) are trickster creatures from Caribbean stories, like the pint-sized douen with its backward feet, the soucouyant who turns into a ball of flame, or the man/wolf lagahoo.

Can Corinne save herself, her father, her friends, and her entire island from the jumbies? Preorder now to find out!

Indiebound
Barnes and Noble
Amazon

Join me for the launch of The Jumbies at
Watchung Booksellers, Montclair, NJ on April 28, 4-6pm
La Casa Azul Bookstore, Harlem, NY on April 30, 6-8pm
Enjoy the trailer!

Tracey is also the author of the young adult novel “Angel’s Grace” which was named one of the 100 best books for reading and sharing by New York City librarians. Tracey is also an editor at Rosen Publishing.

You can find out more about Tracey on her website Tracey Baptiste or by following her on Twitter @TraceyBaptiste, or on Facebook and Instagram at TraceyBaptisteWrites.

The Jumbies will be in stores on April 28th.

Join her for the launch of “The Jumbies” at
Watchung Booksellers, Montclair, NJ on April 28, 4-6pm
La Casa Azul Bookstore, Harlem, NY on April 30, 6-8pm

If you can’t attend the launch, it is available at

AmazonBarnes & Noble, and Indie Bound.

 

 


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24. Native American Representation in Children's Literature: Challenging the People of the Past Narrative, by Julie Stivers

Eds Note: Today, AICL is pleased to share a study done by Julie Stivers, a graduate student at UNC-Chapel Hill, School of Library and Information Science. Ms. Stivers shared the poster (below) with me earlier this week. I was reading Ed Valandra's article that day and sent it to her because her study confirms Vine Deloria Jr.'s observations about books published from 1968 to 1975 (Valandra's article is listed below in Additional Resources). Of those four years, Deloria wrote (p. 105-106):

...it seemed as if every book on modern Indians was promptly buried by a book on the "real" Indians of yesteryear. The public overwhelming[ly] turned to Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee and The Memories of Chief Red Fox to avoid the accusations made by modern Indians in The Tortured Americans and Custer Died for Your Sins. The Red Fox book alone sold more copies than the two modern books. 
Valandra continued:
In other words, the non-Indian literary world refused to consider Native peoples in a modern context, thus hindering the accurate depiction of contemporary Native issues.

Ms. Stivers studied children's books published since 2013. Her findings tell us that things haven't changed much. What gets published, matters. The writer's you read, and their viewpoints, matter. Please seek out Native writers! Think about their stories and what they choose to share. It matters. 

Thank you, Ms. Stivers, for giving AICL permission to share your excellent work on this project! 

___________________________



Native American Representation in Children's Literature: 
Challenging the "People of the Past" Narrative
by Julie Stivers

Are you a librarian...a teacher...or a parent?  Let’s think for a moment about the books we own that feature Native American main characters.  What are their settings?  In the past?  Modern day?  If the text does not make this clear—if, for example, there are anthropomorphic animals—what are they wearing?  Baseball caps and modern clothes or ‘leather and feathers’?

It was these questions that drove me to research the time settings of books featuring Native Americans for a Children’s Literature class assignment on content analysis.  Of the many problematic stereotypes in youth literature written about Native Americans, I chose to focus on examining the prevalence of the ‘people of the past’ narrative.  At face value, readers and librarians may think this is a harmless problem—which is, of course—what makes it so dangerous.  However, a predilection for featuring only Native American books that are set in the past puts forth a narrative that Native American people themselves are only of the past, allowing their present lives—and their sovereign rights—to be ignored.  This stereotype is damaging to the sense of self of contemporary Native youth.  A Broken Flute: The Native Experience in Books for Children (Seale & Slapin, 2005) contains “living stories" which shed light on the negative impact stereotypes in literature are having on Native American youth.

This poster displays results from the content analysis of youth fiction books published since 2013 with Native American main characters.  75% of books written by non-Native authors were set before 1900, compared with only 20% written by Native authors.  Increasing the time period granularity makes the results even more striking.  No books by non-Native authors were set after 1950, whereas 75% of books by Native authors were, with 2/3 of books written by Native authors set in present day. 
Which books do we think are being put out by the Big Five publishers?  Overwhelmingly, those set in the past.  So, if we are relying on ‘mainstream’ review sources, ordering platforms, and book fairs, we will get a clearly biased view of Native Americans in our youth literature.  Only by seeking out offerings from independent publishers and learning from sites such as American Indians in Children’s Literature and Oyate can we successfully challenge the ‘people of the past’ narrative by collecting books about—and written by—Native Americans that reflect a wide range of experiences and settings.



Please note that this research makes no claims as to the quality or authenticity of the titles.  The presence of a book in a ‘pre-1900’ category does not preclude it from being an excellent example of literature featuring American Indians, such as How I Became a Ghost by Tim Tingle, praised by both Native reviewers and mainstream critics.  For this sample, however, there was a commonality for all well-reviewed books set in the past—they were all written by American Indian authors.

Additional Resources:

Seale, D. & Slapin, B. (Eds.). (2005).  A broken flute:  The Native experience in books for children.  Berkeley, CA:  Oyate.

Stewart, M.P. (2013).  “Counting Coup” on children’s literature about American Indians:  Louise Erdrich’s historical fiction.  Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, 38(2), 215-235.

Valandra, E.C.  (2005).  The As-Told-To Native [Auto]biography:  Whose voice is speaking? Wicazo Sa Review, 29(2), 103-119.

Boccella Hartle, M. & Shebala, M. (2010).  When your hands are tied.  Documentary film.  http://www.whenyourhandsaretied.org/


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25. PO-EMotion -- Optimism




PLANTING BULBS IN THE FALL

It will matter
that I gave them
time 
and 
choice.

It will matter
that they read
widely,
deeply,
voraciously.

It will matter 
that we were family --
accepting
and
respectful.

It will matter
in a someday spring
when they
truly
bloom.


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2015







Carol, at Carol's Corner, will join me again this year as often as possible.


Kimberly, at iWrite in Maine, is joining me this month. 
Kay, at A Journey Through the Pages, is joining, too!


Steve, at inside the dog, is sharing his poems 
in the comments at Poetrepository.


Heidi, at my juicy little universe, will join us when she can.

Linda, at TeacherDance, will join as often as she can.
Check the comments at A Year of Reading or Poetrepository for her poems.

Kevin (Kevin's Meandering Mind) is back this year,
leaving poetry trax in the comments.

Carol, at Beyond Literacy Link, is writing alongside us when she can.
"Optimism"

Jone, at DeoWriter, is doing a "double L" challenge. 
She and I are cross-poLLinating our challenges whenever possible.


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