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1. Why, there! Don't you see how he's following me?


"Now this way, now that way, and won't let me be! Keep him off, Bill - look here - don't let him come near! Only see how the blood-drops his features besmear! What, the dead come to life again! Bless me! Oh dear!" 

The Dead Drummer or a Legend of Salisbury Plain from The Ingoldsby Legends a collection of myths, legends, ghost stories and poetry supposedly written by Thomas Ingoldsby, actually the pen-name of an English clergyman Richard Harris Barham (1788-1845).

The legends were originally serialised in Bentley’s Miscellany Magazine and later in the New Monthly Magazine the version I'm featuring here was published by Macmillan in 1911.  The illustrations are all by Harry G Theaker.





Raising his eye so grave and so sage, from some manuscript work of a bygone age.
The Lord of Thoulouse A legend of Languedoc.


And in rush'd a troop. Of strange guests! 
The Lay of St. Cuthbert or the Devil's dinner-party. A Legend of the North Countree.


The girl, as they say, ran screaming away.
The old woman clothed in grey A Legend of Dover.




When at the bed's foot, close beside the post, he verily believed he saw - a Ghost!
Plain, and more plain, the unsubstantial sprite to his astonish'd gaze each moment grew;
Ghastly and gaunt, it rear'd it's shadowy height, of more than mortal seeming to the view, and round its long, thiny bony fingers drew a tatter-d winding-sheet, of course all white; -
The moon that moment peeping through a cloud,
Nick very plainly saw it through the shroud!

The Ghost
or
Mirth and Marvels
With illustrations in colour by H. G. Theaker 



I was thrilled to be one of the lucky recipients of a giveaway hosted by the lovely Yvonne over at Winter Moon. My gift was a copy of The Savage Garden by Mark Mills and as if that wasn't enough Yvonne also included a gorgeous bookmark, a pretty card and a second card with my initial.  Thank you so much Yvonne, I know what I will be reading this All Hallows Eve.



The Witching Hour is nearly upon us – are you reading anything scary? 

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2. In the Early Morning Dark, In the Fall

Flickr Creative Commons Photo by Graham and Sheila


In the Early Morning Dark, In the Fall

I step out onto the front porch
thinking it must still be raining,
but the steady patter I hear
is the oak being deconstructed
by a light breeze.

© Mary Lee Hahn, 2014



Cathy has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Merely Day by Day.


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3. Just Something


Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.

There's just something 
About that name.
Master. Savior. Jesus.
Like the fragrance
after the rain.
Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.
Let all Heaven
and earth
Proclaim.
Kings and Kingdoms
will all fade away.
But there's something
about YOUR name.

I don't know, but it feels like Revival hit the house of Watt this morning in the form of audio Bible. Words elude me. In awe. Completely. Join me in worshiping the Lord today. Share some art later- but right now, oh mama mama- I'm on Holy Ghost fire. 
MmMmMm. 

PS- if anybody wants to share some Jesus art on here or a recycled treasure on Hand Me Dones, please just let me know. Woo! Have a blessed day. 

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4. Guest Post and Giveaway: Loop by Karen Akins

Please give a warm welcome to Karen Akins this morning! She’s here to chat about her new release, LOOP.

Thank you so much for having me on your blog today to celebrate the release of LOOP!

One of the things about writing any story is that as the creator, you know so much more about your characters than ends up on the page. It’s fun to be able to share some of these “extras” with readers. Smile

Without further ado, I give you…

The Top 5 Things Bree Never Leaves Home Without:

1. Her QuantCom. This handy little device is kind of like a temporal GPS, telling her where and when she is while she’s time traveling. At one point, Finn refers to it as “her security blanket,” and it kind of is. When I was thinking through what it would be like to be a time traveler, the Com was one of the first devices I thought up because it would help you feel a little more in control of your surroundings.

2. Comfy, non-descript clothing. Another detail that I thought through. I’m not sure that time travelers would really worry all that much about perfectly matching the styles of any era as long as they don’t stick out like a sore thumb.

3. Her heart-shaped locket. Bree’s mother is in a coma (which may be a bit more than it seems…dunh dunh dunhhhhhh), and one object that helps Bree feel closer to her mom is the photo locket that her mom gave her when she was younger. One thing I love about the cover of LOOP is that the space between them forms a heart, sort of an homage to the locket.

4. Hair clip. Bree’s pretty non-fussy, so it would be pretty utilitarian with maybe a little bit of sparkle that her best friend Mimi insisted on attaching to it.

5. Lip gloss. Navigating the space-time continuum can be pretty chapping on the lips, y’all. One detail about Bree’s lip gloss that I had to cut out was that it changes shades to perfectly complement the wearer’s skin tone.

Bonus: One thing she would be SO tempted to sneak back with her? Girl Scout Thin Mints.

Thanks again for having me! I hope everyone enjoys LOOP. <3

At a school where Quantum Paradox 101 is a required course and history field trips are literal, sixteen year-old time traveler Bree Bennis excels…at screwing up.

After Bree botches a solo midterm to the 21st century by accidentally taking a boy hostage (a teensy snafu), she stands to lose her scholarship. But when Bree sneaks back to talk the kid into keeping his yap shut, she doesn’t go back far enough. The boy, Finn, now three years older and hot as a solar flare, is convinced he’s in love with Bree, or rather, a future version of her that doesn’t think he’s a complete pain in the arse. To make matters worse, she inadvertently transports him back to the 23rd century with her.

Once home, Bree discovers that a recent rash of accidents at her school are anything but accidental. Someone is attacking time travelers. As Bree and her temporal tagalong uncover seemingly unconnected clues—a broken bracelet, a missing data file, the art heist of the millennium—that lead to the person responsible, she alone has the knowledge to piece the puzzle together. Knowledge only one other person has. Her future self.

But when those closest to her become the next victims, Bree realizes the attacker is willing to do anything to stop her. In the past, present, or future.

US addresses only, please

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Guest Post and Giveaway: Loop by Karen Akins appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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5. Series Spotlight and Giveaway: Sweet Texas Series by Candis Terry

 
Enter to Win
Signed Copy of SOMETHING SWEETER,
Halloween Socks and Halloween Candy!

 
 
HE’S STUBBORN AND THOROUGHLY MALE . . .

If Charlotte Brooks thinks she and her TV makeover show can turn Reno Wilder’s hometown upside down, he’ll be happy to prove her wrong. The x-Marine has seen too much turmoil and he likes Sweet, Texas, just the way it is. Traditional. Familiar. A little dull. Everything Charli isn’t. But instead of backing off from his scowls like everyone else, Charli digs in her skyscraper heels.

SHE’S TENACIOUS AND WICKEDLY TEMPTING . . .

Reno Wilder is a one-man unwelcoming committee, but Charli isn’t budging. It’s clear the gorgeous cowboy needs an overhaul just as much as Sweet. Someone needs to break him out of that gruff shell and show him how fun and rewarding a little change can be.

THEY’RE ABOUT TO FIND THAT LOVE IS ANYTHING BUT PREDICTABLE.




 
 
 
WHEN FRIENDS BECOME LOVERS . . .

Firefighter and former Marine Jackson Wilder has tough guy down to an art, but he’s learned the hard way that promises were made to be broken. Abigail Morgan was once his best friend, his first kiss, his first love, his first everything. He’d just forgotten to mention all that to her and she blew out of his life. Five years later, she’s back and he’s battling a load of mistrust for her disappearing act. But for some reason he just can’t keep his lips—or his hands—to himself.

IT CAN LEAD TO DISASTER OR . . .

When her stint as a trophy wife abruptly ends, Abby returns home to Sweet, Texas, and comes face-to-face with Jackson—her biggest and sexiest mistake. Time and distance did nothing to squash her love for the act-first-think-later stubborn hunk of a man, and when he suggests they renew their old just-friends vow, Abby realizes she wants more. She’d cut and run once. Could she do it again? Or could she tempt him enough to break his promise?

THE SWEETEST MISTAKE.





 
 
The men in Texas are hard to resist . . .

Seattle event planner Allison Lane is an expert at delivering the perfect wedding—even if she might not exactly believe in the whole “’til death do us part” thing. When her father decides to tie the knot with a woman he barely knows, Allison heads to Sweet, Texas, to make sure his new honey is the real deal. What she didn’t expect to find at the local honky-tonk was a sexy Southern man as bent on charming her pants off as he is on blowing her “true love doesn’t exist” theory all to hell.

And they always promise . . .

Veterinarian, former Marine, and Sweet’s favorite playboy Jesse Wilder takes one look at Allison and knows she’s a handful of trouble he can’t deny. But even after a sizzling kiss and obvious mutual attraction, it seems Allison has no such problem. When Jesse uncovers her sweet side, can he crush his playboy image, melt her cynical heart, and change her mind about taking a trip down the aisle?
 



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Candis Terry was born and raised near the sunny beaches of Southern California and now makes her home on an Idaho farm. She’s experienced life in such diverse ways as working in a Hollywood recording studio to chasing down wayward steers. Only one thing has remained the same: her passion for writing stories about relationships, the push and pull in the search for love, and the security one finds in their own happily ever after.

 
 

The post Series Spotlight and Giveaway: Sweet Texas Series by Candis Terry appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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6. Understanding viruses

The reemergence of the Ebola epidemic provokes the kind of primal fear that has always gripped humans in the face of contagious disease, even though we now know more about how viruses work than ever before. Viruses, like all living organisms, are constantly evolving. This ensures that new viruses and their diseases will always be with us.

For thousands of years, people knew little about the “plagues” that afflicted them and, despite the impossibility to define causality, there were many attempts to explain how they happened.

Thucydides wrote in the History of the Peloponnesian War during the plague of Athens in 431 BCE that

“no pestilence of such extent nor any scourge so destructive of human lives is on record anywhere. For neither were physicians able to cope with the disease, since they at first had to treat it without knowing its nature, the mortality among them being greatest because they were most exposed to it, … And the supplications made at sanctuaries, or appeals to oracles and the like, were futile, and at last men desisted from them, overcome by the calamity.”

Even two thousand years later, scientists were at a loss to explain the workings of contagion. William Harvey, who described the circulation of blood in humans and is quoted in The Works of William Harvey by Tr. Robert Wills, wrote in 1653,

“So do I hold it scarcely less difficult to conceive how pestilence or leprosy should be communicated to a distance by contagion, by (an)…element contained in woolen or linen things, household furniture, even the walls of a house … How, I ask, can contagion, long lurking in such things … after a long lapse of time, produce its like nature in another body? Nor in one or two only, but in many, without respect of strength, sex, age, temperament, or mode of life, and with such violence that the evil can by no art be stayed or mitigated.”

In the absence of information, humankind resorted to any number of explanations for the origins of disease. Physicians, natural philosophers, and religious figures hypothesized causes of contagious diseases based on their view of the way the world worked. Disease theories became part of the discourse about the causes of events such as earthquakes, lightning and the movement of the planets.

Avian influenza A H5N1 viruses. Public Domain via  the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Public Health Image Library.
Colorized transmission electron micrograph of Avian influenza A H5N1 viruses. virus. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Public Health Image Library. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Viruses are a fascinating group of entities that infect humans, other animals, plants, and bacteria. Their presence was anticipated when on 1 April 1717 Lady Mary Montagu, the wife of the British Ambassador to Turkey, wrote to a friend in England about smallpox. She was delighted to report that the disease did so little mischief. Why? Because an old woman would come with a “nutshell full of the matter of the best sort of small-pox,” (fluid derived from poxes) and immunize the children. The children would suffer some slight fever but soon recover, possibly never to contract the disease. What remained unknown was the contents of the fluid used by the old women to inoculate the children.

Near the close of the 19th century, scientists had come to understand that many plant diseases were caused by fungi, while a number of human diseases, such as tuberculosis, were caused by bacteria. But viruses remained a mystery.

That changed from the late 1880s to 1917, as the result of the discovery of contagious diseases whose causes could not be isolated or observed with ordinary microscopes. These included a contagion of tobacco plants, called mosaic disease, a disease of cattle (foot-and-mouth disease), yellow fever in humans, and another disease that attacked bacteria. It turned out they were all caused by viruses.

But the study of viruses posed unique challenges. Viruses are not cells like pathogenic bacteria or fungi which can multiply independently in their hosts or on artificial media. The agent that caused flu could not be grown in culture, and there was no experimental animal that could be infected. It was also impossible for researchers to visualize the agent of disease. After the great flu epidemic of 1918, scientists made numerous attempts to isolate the agent, but it was not until 1933 that three British investigators discovered that ferrets could be infected by nasal washings from patients with the disease. Thus they proved that an entity contained in nasal material could transmit the disease.

The mysteries of viruses were largely revealed by investigators working with those that infect bacteria. These viruses attracted the attention of researchers who speculated that they might lead to discoveries in the field of genetics. They worked with a virus that infects E. coli — which lives in the intestinal tracts of humans — and, while taking over the machinery of the bacterial cell, causes these bacteria to blow open, releasing hundreds of viral particles. Chemical analysis revealed their composition to be DNA and proteins. These studies contributed significantly to the conclusion that DNA is the genetic material of cellular life.

We now know that viruses that infect humans have their origin in animal populations that are in close contact with humans. Many of the flu viruses originate in Southeast Asia where bird and swine populations live in close proximity to humans. The viruses undergo mutations so that humans must be immunized each year against new strains. The rapid production of astronomical numbers of Ebola virus ensures that new strains will be constantly produced.

We also know that all viruses are composed of DNA or RNA and proteins. Ebola, influenza, polio, and AIDS are caused by RNA viruses. The virus that infects tobacco plants also is an RNA virus. Because we know how they work, we have had some success in interfering with the disease process with various drugs.

All of these modern procedures contribute to understanding the cause of disease. Humankind has long believed that understanding would lead to cures. As Hippocrates stated 2,500 years ago, “To know the cause of a disease and to understand the use of the various methods by which disease may be prevented amounts to the same thing in effect as being able to cure.”

And yet, as we have seen with Ebola, understanding the cause is not always the same as curing. We have arrived at a point in the 21st century where we can mitigate some contagious diseases and prevent other catastrophic diseases such as smallpox. But others will be with us now and in the future, for contagion is a general biological phenomenon, a natural phenomenon. Contagious agents evolve like all living organisms and constantly challenge us to understand their origin, spread and pathology.

Headline Image: Ebola virus. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Public Health Image Library. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

The post Understanding viruses appeared first on OUPblog.

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7. Friday Linky List - October 24, 2014

From The Boston Globe via PW: Is Jeff Bezos really the bad guy?

Kristi Holl's Writer's First Aid, via Cynsations: A Writing Retreat Redefined.

At Bustle (via PW): 11 of the Most Chilling Book Covers Ever Published (several are children's books)

At ABC News via PW: 'Reading Rainbow' Host Debuts New Children's Book and Announces the Show's Online Return

The Guardian Children's Books (via PW): Children's Illustrators' Doodles: Watch Them in Action! (And send in your own!) - I might have to do this.

The History of Air Puppets (via BoingBoing)!!! Gads, I love those things. I can stare at them forever.

From PW's ShelfTalker: Kids Say the Darndest Things - so cute!

From The Guardian via PW: Frank Cottrell Boyce: schools are destroying the power of stories

From ABC News via PW: Jimmy Fallon's Picture Book Inspired by Daughter - I like to think he'll have a better chance than most at doing a good job with a picture book - we'll see.

At Rolling Stone magazine: Why Robbie Robertson's Son Wrote a Kids' Book About His Dad - illustrated by fellow PBAA member Adam Gustavson

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8. Letters from your Characters

by Julie Eshbaugh

~~~

Julie(This post originally appeared in a slightly different form on my personal blog in October, 2010. I revisited it recently and decided to share it here.)

Wouldn’t it be great if, when you went to your mailbox today, you found a letter inside from the main character of your work-in-progress, telling you just how she feels about the central conflict of your story? Or maybe she wrote a love letter to another one of your characters, and somehow it was misdirected to you? Imagine what a resource a letter like that would be…

When I do my outlining for a new WIP, I write up a lot of backstory. I also do character sketches, to help me form a clear idea of each of my characters – not just hair color, eye color, and favorite movie, but what they would do on a perfect spring day, where they would go on vacation if money were no object, even how they feel about money, in general. I try to think of the most revealing questions possible. These sketches help me with the essentials of my characters, but they only get me so far.

That’s why I’ve taken to writing first-person narratives – letters to me, if you will – in the voice of each character. These narratives generally address the main conflict faced by that character in the story, and how she or he feels about it. Does she believe that the problem is insurmountable? Does she still have hope? Who is she counting on most to help her? Who does she expect to cause her the most trouble?

I also write first-person narratives by all the individuals involved in romantic relationships in my story. For each one, I ask the character to tell me:

What do you love most about this other person?

What would you miss the most if he or she were taken away?

When did you first feel an attraction and what triggered it?

And, well, I’m sure you can come up with a lot more questions along this line.

These letters are great tools to return to while drafting. They help me to maintain consistency within a character, but they also helped me see that, despite consistency, all well-rounded characters have internal conflicts they are dealing with. People are filled with contradictions. Your characters need to be, too, if they’re going to leap off the page as real people with real complexity.

When you ask your character to tell you how he feels about the central conflict, chances are his answer will be complicated. It won’t just be as simple as, “I hate my father and wish he were dead,” because where’s the true conflict in that? Nothing is ever that straightforward. If it were, in chapter one your character could pull out a shotgun and shoot his father and the story would be done. Instead, your character’s answer to how he feels about the central conflict will be layered, complex, and in some ways, contradictory.

For you, as the writer, the secret to your character’s arc lies hidden in these contradictions. Early in the story your character may respond most to the tug of one attitude toward the central conflict. But as the story moves along, he may feel the influence of another attitude toward that conflict, and he will begin to change. By the time he’s completed his character arc, he may find himself in a place of compromise between these two contradictory attitudes.

Do you think this method might work for you? Do you have any of your own unique methods of learning about your characters? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

  ~~~

Julie Eshbaugh writes fiction for young adults. She is the author of the upcoming Ivory & Bone (HarperCollins, 2016.) You can add Julie on Goodreads and follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.

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9. YUP! WE'RE REALLY REALLY HIGH TECH ELVES!


 Fun Holiday Book with a Great Message, October 23, 2014
The book is a fun mix of both traditional and contemporary holiday charm! Frizzy is one of Santa's elves and she loves making dolls. However, she's always sad when Santa takes the dolls to deliver them to the children. So Frizzy talks with her friend Dizzy and decides that she must find a new toy to make - one that she won't miss when Santa delivers them on Christmas Eve.

It's a fun twist to see what Frizzy decides to do and also the outcome of her new toy-making adventures. The author includes some very up-to-date and funny references to technology throughout the book which the kids thought was great! I like the problem-solving aspect of the story and how Frizzy approaches her dilemma (and also how Santa and her friends help out along the way).

The story is actually written in verse and mimics the poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas". I wasn't sure I would like this when we first got the book but it works really nicely with the story! My 10 year old and I read this book together so it was great to get into the rhythm of the poem as we read. And I also like the connection of old and new (old being the link to the original Christmas story and new being the fun introduction of technology throughout the book).  - Jacqueline Fisher, Amazon.com

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10. Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer, 272 pp, RL: YA

Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer is just flat out brilliant, both for the subject matter and how the author chooses to tell the story.  And in this, Belzhar is ideally pitched to its audience, in tone and content. Even the cover image is perfect! Wolitzer is an award winning writer of books for adults, most recently The Interestings, as well as The Ten Year Nap, which I read and enjoyed immensely.

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11. Poetry Friday with review of Digger Dozer Dumper


Many years ago I visited a friend who was living in Nairobi with her husband and two little sons. One of the boys kept on calling out "Digga!" when we drove around town, pointing at the vehicles that were hard at work on road construction projects. As far as he was concerned the diggers, dumper trucks, and other machines he saw were the bees knees. He would have loved today's poetry title.

Digger Dozer Dumper
Digger Dozer DumperHope Vestergaard
Illustrated by David Slonim
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Candlewick Press, 2013, 978-0-7636-5078-0
There is something about trucks, diggers, cement mixers, and other big vehicles that young children find irresistible. They love the loud engine noises these machines make and will watch them at work for hours on end. In this book children will meet eighteen of these wonderful machines and they can figure out which of the machines is most like them. Are they “slow and steady” or “really strong?”
   The first machine that sweeps across the page is…you guessed it, the street sweeper. Though this machine is perhaps not very glamorous, it is vital to getting rid of all the things that make the streets in a busy town or city dirty or messy. The street sweeper’s “steely whiskers whisper / as they gather dust and dirt,” and the sweeper is “quiet and determined” not to “miss a spot.”
   After getting to know a garbage truck who “adores his work,” we meet a dump truck and a backhoe. These hard working machines are vital to the success of a project that requires the removal and placement of earth, rock and other materials. The dump truck is “precise” and does not dump his load “just anywhere.” The backhoe is amazing because it is two machines in one. Its “front end pushes dirt and rocks; / his back end digs out muck.”
   Unlike the dump truck and backhoe, the skid-steer loader does not have a steering wheel. Instead, it has two levers and being small it can zip and turn almost on the spot. It can drill, push, lift, and dump.
   As they read the delightful poems in this book, children are going to enjoy looking at the artwork. The vehicles described in the poems all have large eyes and very definite personalities, and the people and dog that we meet on the first introductory spread appear in all pictures thereafter. Children will enjoy seeing where the dog will turn up next. Will the girl with the black curly hair be driving the next vehicle or will the boy with the glasses? The clever ending perfectly wraps up the narrative, giving children something to think about.

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12. They All Fall Down, by Roxanne St. Claire | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a hardcover copy of They All Fall Down, by Roxanne St. Claire. Giveaway begins October 24, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends November 24, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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13. Craft of Writing: World Building Tips by Erin Cashman

Today we have our very own First Five Pages Workshop Coordinator, Erin Cashman! Erin's novel, THE EXCEPTIONALS, is a YA fantasy that was named a Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Book.

 WORLD BUILDING TIPS by Erin Cashman


Recently, someone commented to me that writing fantasy must be easy, since I can just make up what I need to fit my plot. I wish! As Lloyd Alexander said, “Once committed to his imaginary kingdom, the writer is not a monarch but a subject”. I think world building is both the hardest and the most wonderful part of writing a fantasy novel. Here are some of the techniques that help me:

1. Give your imagination free reign!
Do not edit your thoughts or ideas. During brainstorming sessions let your imagination soar. Take chances and risks while you write – try outlandish ideas. Editing comes later. Fantasy, is by its nature, a leap of faith, suspended belief, so – dream big. Write big.

2. Description and Parameters of the World
What is the nature of the magic? Who has it and who doesn’t? What are the rules? What are the consequences of breaking the rules? What does it cost? What does the world look like? Beware the dreaded info-dump, however. No one walks down the street and thinks about the color of the buildings, the thickness of the sidewalk – nor should your character think about the blue floating bridge that connects two purple fluffy clouds. The details of the world need to be woven in artfully and naturally – in revision after revision after revision.

3. Important Objects/Mechanics
For example, in Lord of the Rings, there is the one ring and the lesser rings, the Wizard’s staffs, etc. Harry Potter has many as well: the sorcerer’s stone, the sorting hat, the Sword of Gryffindor, etc. If you have these objects, try to have them serve another purpose besides a plot device. Rae Carson does an excellent job of this in The Girl of Fire and Thorns. The Godstone is crucial to the plot, it connects history to the present and informs the reader about the people. These objects should not be a crutch, but should add richness to the novel.
source: harrypotter.wikia.com 


4. Power/Abuse of Power
Who has power? Who wants power? In a fantasy world a central conflict often arises from the control, or the use and abuse of the magic. Why should magic be protected? Why would someone want to exploit it? Try to weave in good, evil and murky gray reasons and purposes for using/controlling/monopolizing the magic, and strong motivation.

5. Government
Who is in charge of the fantasy world? What is their goal? Can those in power be believed and trusted?

6. History of The World
The history of my world often takes shape as my draft takes shape (I wish I was a plotter, but alas, I am a pantser). It comes to life through revision . . . after revision . . . after revision . . . you get the idea. I always draw (draw is a very grandiose word for what I do – it is more like scribble) a map. For The Exceptionals, a contemporary fantasy, I drew the school grounds, the tunnels, the tournament field, and the caves. My editor even asked me to send her a copy! If I’ve created a world, I make a map of the geography, and take notes on how it would have influenced the people and the government.
Source: lotr.wikia.com 


7. Travel
How do people get around in your world? Are there space ships like in Star Wars? Do they teleport? Is there a portal – like the wardrobe in Narnia? Do they use magical creatures? Back to #1 – let your imagination go wild!
Source: narnia.wikia.com

8. Recreation/Culture/Rituals
Think of the magic/powers/creatures that you have in your world. What would be a game or a competition that would arise from it? What about rituals? Expressions? Always be on the lookout for ways to include more world building, such as in currency, recreation, clothes, food . . . this adds layers to your world, and makes it more real to the reader.

9. Edit
Revise, revise, revise. Make sure the rules that you have created are followed, or have a consequence if not followed. With each new draft, look for ways to take what you have created and use it for more than one purpose. For example, if you have a magical creature, perhaps it can be used in a competition, or as a plot twist or for barter.

10. Find a Critique Partner and/or Writing Group
I really can’t emphasize this enough. Your CP should be someone that you trust who is not afraid of hurting your feelings. Consider what he or she says – the places in your manuscript that are muddled or confusing, the world building that worked, and more importantly, the world building that needs work. And then – you guessed it – revise, revise, revise!


About The Author

Erin's debut YA fantasy novel, THE EXCEPTIONALS, was named a Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Book. She primarily writes YA and middle grade fantasy while eating chocolate and drinking tea. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and three children. You can find her here, as our First Five Pages Workshop Coordinator. She loves hearing from readers and writers, and you can contact her at erin (at) erincashman.com, or through her Website or on Twitter.











About The Book

Born into a famous family of exceptionally talented people, 15-year-old Claire Walker has deliberately chosen to live an average life. But everything changes the night of the Spring Fling, when her parents decide it's high time she transferred to Cambial Academy--the prestigious boarding school that her great-grandfather founded for students with supernatural abilities. Amazon | IndieBound | Goodreads

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14. New World Literature Today

       The November-December issue of World Literature Today, with a focus on 'After the Wall Fell: Dispatches from Central Europe 1989-2014', is now available, a decent chunk of it accessible online -- as is the entire World Literature in Review-reviews section.

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15. Prize shortlist: T.S.Eliot Prize

       They've announced the ten-title shortlist -- selected from 113 (unnamed, sigh) book submitted for consideration -- for the T.S.Eliot Prize.

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16. The Missing Place Writing Contest!

If you haven't read all of Sophie Littlefield's books I urge you to ameliorate this dreadful state of affairs at once.

If all the copies are on reserve at your library, here's a chance to win her most recent book THE MISSING PLACE.  (Let's just say my sox were knocked off so often while reading this I finally just abandoned them completely and stuck with flip flops)


Usual rules apply:

1. Write a story using 100 words or fewer

2. Use each of these words in the story:

oil
boom
mother
ice
shower


You can use the word as part of a larger word but it must be appear in whole form:

oil/spoil is ok but ice/icicle is not.

3. Post your entry in the comment column of THIS blog post.

4. If you need a do over, delete your entry and post another.  [It helps to compose on a word .doc then paste to the comment box when done]

5. Entries outside the US are ok.

6. Contest opens Saturday (10/25/14) at 10am and closes on Sunday (10/26/14) at 10am.  That gives you a whole extra hour since daylight savings time ends this weekend!

Questions? Tweet to me @Janet_Reid

Ready?
Set?
NOT YET!

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17. Easy, Last-Minute Costume Ideas For Kids Big and Small.

I came across some great sights for unique, easy costume ideas for kids for Halloween.  The first site Surf Net, has costumes for toddlers and school aged children. using items found around most houses.  Check out their ideas at:

http://www.surfnetkids.com/halloween/homemade-costumes/

 One of my favorite sites for kid-friendly crafts, and holiday decorations as well as costumes is one I’ve mentioned before on this blog: Red Ted Art.  While looking for costume ideas, you might also check out the 20 Apple Crafts, 20 Pumpkin Ideas, and the Bat Crafts as well.  http://www.redtedart.com

 

picnic table costume

picnic table costume

Don’t forget, you can also have your child be his or her favorite Literary Character from a book by taking something unique from each character as the focus. One example would be to paint a lightning bolt on your son’s forehead and give him a pointed hat and he’s good to go as Harry Potter.  A pointed hat, green face paint and a long black scarf that doubles as a cape makes a pretty acceptable witch.  Dress your child in black turtleneck and tights and tie a sash around her middle and she’s an Oreo cookie.   You your imagination and you won’t have to break the bank to be original.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!


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18. The big Update-y post of all the Update-y Things!

There's been a LOT going on around here, thanks to how close we're getting to the launch of EVERBLAZE. (Less than two weeks--AHHHHHHHH!) So in case you missed anything, I thought I'd put it all in one place, to make it nice and handy. 


First up--the EVERBLAZE Official Launch Party, in Southern California.  There will be cupcakes! And prizes! And an exclusive piece of swag that will be very hard to get anywhere else! Plus you'll get to buy your signed copy a whole day early and be there for all the fun. Trust me, if you're in SoCal you don't want to miss this.  For more details on all of that, go HERE. And here's the when and where:

Monday, November 3, 2014
7:00pm
Barnes & Noble 
5183 Montclair Plaza Ln.
Montclair, CA 91763
(909)399-1966


Next--I'm hitting the road again, for the EVERBLAZE Fall tour!! Each stop will include special swaggish goodies and some awesome raffle prizes. So if you're in Colorado, Utah, Texas, or Arizona I hope you'll come out to see me. Here's a handy tour graphic, and a list of all the stops (in case the graphic doesn't load):




BOULDER, COLORADO
Wednesday November 5th
5:30 pm
Barnes & Noble--Crossroad Commons
2999 Pearl Street
Boulder, CO 80301
(303)444-0349


SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH
Saturday November 8th
7:00 pm
The Kings English
1511 S. 1500 E.
Salt Lake City, UT 84105
(303)444-0349
Further event details HERE.


HOUSTON, TEXAS
Monday November 10th
5:00 pm
Blue Willow Bookshop
14532 Memorial Dr.
Houston, TX 77079
(281)497-8675
Further event details HERE.



FRISCO, TEXAS
Wednesday November 12th
6:00 pm
Barnes & Noble--Stonebriar Centre
2601 Preston Rd. #1204
Frisco, TX 75034
(972)668-2820



TEMPE, ARIZONA
Thursday November 13th
7:00 pm
Changing Hands Bookstore
6428 S. McClintock Dr.
Tempe, AZ 85283
(480)730-0205


And I know this is the point where those of you who do not live in any of these areas pout because I'm not coming to see you. Believe me, I'm sad too. I wish it were possible to go everywhere. But since it's not, I've got a couple of other options for how you can get signed books and some of the awesome tour goodies I'll be giving away: 

  • If you want a hand-signed copy of EVERBLAZE and the swag I'll be giving out on tour (except the mirrors--those are only for the launch party), you can order a copy from the stores I'll be visiting and have them ship it to you. Independent booksellers tend to be the best organized for this, so I'd recommend either The King's English, Blue Willow, or Changing Hands. Shipping and availability may vary, so you'll want to be sure to ask. Phone numbers for all of the stores are listed above.
  • If you pre-order a copy of EVERBLAZE before 11/3/14, you can fill out the form on this blog for the Pre-Order Swag giveaway and as soon as I get home from tour, I will send you awesome signed swag. You'll get the Iggy postcard art print, a Keeper series bookmark, and a signed bookplate to stick in your copy and turn it into a signed hardcover (or put anywhere you'd like if you order the ebook.) Plus you'll have a chance to win some extra goodies (including a few of the exclusive launch party mirrors). And this offer is even open internationally--but is only for a limited time. Full details on how it works--and the form you'll need to fill out--can be found HERE


And in non-event related news: the KEEPER website has been totally redesigned, and it has some incredible new goodies I think you're going to LOVE!!! Go HERE to check it out, and be sure to keep an eye out for:

  • Sophie's Foxfire schedules
  • Foxfire Academy information
  • All the details you'll need to create your own Foxfire schedule
  • Awesome new character art
  • A quiz to discover your ability
  • A recipe for Mallowmelt
  • Plus an excerpt from EVERBLAZE--which includes the first TWO chapters (so yes, if you've read chapter one in the EXILE paperback, another chapter has been revealed!!!) Get thee there quickly for another early sneak peek!

Phew--I think that's everything!!! But as always, keep an eye on this blog, and my other social media because there's a good chance I'll have more updates in the days to come. I hope I get to meet some of you on tour, and that the rest of you sign up to get your swaggish goodies. And thank you all for the excitement and support--THE WAIT IS ALMOST OVER!!!!


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19. Ripe for retirement?

In 1958, Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., the US ambassador to the United Nations, summarized the role of the world organization: “The primary, the fundamental, the essential purpose of the United Nations is to keep peace.  Everything which does not further that goal, either directly or indirectly, is at best superfluous.”  Some 30 years later another ambassador expressed a different view. “In the developing countries the United Nations… means environmental sanitation, agricultural production, telecommunications, the fight against illiteracy, the great struggle against poverty, ignorance and disease,” remarked Miguel Albornoz of Ecuador in 1985.

These two citations sum up the basic dilemma of the United Nations.  It has always been burdened by high expectations: to keep peace, fix economic injustices, improve educational standards and combat various epidemics and pandemics. But inflated hopes have been tempered by harsh realities. There may not have been a World War III but neither has there been a day’s worth of peace on this quarrelsome globe since 1945. Despite all the efforts of the various UN Agencies (such as the United Nations Development Programme) and related organizations (like the World Bank), there exists a ‘bottom billion’ that survives on less than one dollar a day. The average lifespan in some countries barely exceeds thirty. According to UNESCO 774 million adults around the world lacked basic literacy skills in 2011.

Given such a seemingly dismal record, it is worth asking whether the UN has outlived its usefulness. After all, the organization turns 69 today (October 24th, 2014), a time when many citizens in the industrialized world exchange the stress of daily jobs for leisurely early retirement. Has the UN not had enough of a chance to keep peace and fix the world’s problems? Isn’t the obvious conclusion that the organization is a failure and the earlier it is scrapped the better?

The answer is no.  The UN may not have made the world a perfect place but it has improved it immensely. The UN provides no definite guarantees of peace but it has been – and remains – instrumental for pacifying conflicts and enabling mediation between adversaries. Its humanitarian work is indispensable and saves lives every day. In simple terms: if the UN – or the various subsidiary organization that make up the UN – suddenly disappeared, lives would be lost and livelihoods would be endangered.

Henry Cabot, Jr. By Harris & Ewing. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

In fact, the real question is not whether the UN has outlived its usefulness, but how can the UN perform better in addressing the many tasks it has been charged with?

The answer is twofold. First, the UN needs to be empowered to do what it does best. Today, for example, one of the most pressing global challenges is the potential spread of the Ebola virus. Driven by irrational fear, politicians in a number of countries suggest closing borders in order to safeguard their populations. But the only realistic way of addressing a virus that does not know national borders is surely international collaboration. In practical terms this means additional support for the World Health Organization (WHO), the only truly global organization equipped to deal with infectious diseases. But the WHO, much like the UN itself, is essentially a shoestring operation with a global mandate. Its budget in 2013 was just under 4 billion dollars. The US military spent that amount of money in two days.

Second, the UN must become better at ‘selling’ itself. Too much of what the UN and its specialized agencies do around the world is simply covered in fog. What about child survival and development (UNESCO)? Environmental protection (UNEP) and alleviation of poverty (UNDP)? Peaceful uses of atomic energy (IAEA)? Why do we hear so little about the UN’s (or the International Labour Organization’s) role in improving workers’ rights? Does anyone know that the UNHCR has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize twice (out of a total of 11 Nobel Peace Prizes awarded to the UN, its specialized agencies, related agencies, and staff)? It’s not a bad CV!

We tend to hear, ad nauseam, that the 21st century is a globalized one, filled with global problems but apparently lacking in global solutions. What we tend to forget is the simple fact that there exists an organization that has been addressing such global challenges – with limited resources and without fanfare – for almost seven decades.

Indeed, it seems that in today’s world the UN is more relevant than ever before. At 69 it is certainly not ripe for retirement.

 Featured image credit: United Nations Flags, by Tom Page. CC-BY-SA-2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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20. The “Share” Time

Long ago, most teachers I knew had a ritual that they held near and dear to their hearts. At the end of every writing workshop, a child sat in the Author’s Chair and… Continue reading

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21. Navanethem Pillay on what are human rights for

Today is United Nations Day, celebrating the day that the UN Charter came into force in 1945. We thought it would be an excellent time to share thoughts from one of their former Commissioners to highlight the work this organization undertakes. The following is an edited extract by Navanethem Pillay, former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, from International Human Rights Law, Second Edition.

I was born a non-white in apartheid South Africa. My ancestors were sugarcane cutters. My father was a bus driver. We were poor.

At age 16 I wrote an essay which dealt with the role of South African women in educating children on human rights and which, as it turned out, was indeed fateful. After the essay was published, my community raised funds in order to send this promising, but impecunious, young woman to university.

Despite their efforts and goodwill, I almost did not make it as a lawyer, because when I entered university during the apartheid regime everything and everyone was segregated. However, I persevered. After my graduation I sought an internship, which was mandatory under the law; it was a black lawyer who agreed to take me on board, but he first made me promise that I would not become pregnant. And when I started a law practice on my own, it was not out of choice but because no one would employ a black woman lawyer.

Yet, in the course of my life, I had the privilege to see and experience a complete transformation in my country. Against this background it is no surprise that when I read or recite Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, I intimately and profoundly feel its truth. The article stated that: ‘All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood’.

The power of rights made it possible for an ever-expanding number of people, people like myself, to claim freedom, equality, justice, and well-being.

Human rights underpin the aspiration to a world in which every man, woman, and child lives free from hunger and protected from oppression, violence, and discrimination, with the benefits of housing, healthcare, education, and opportunity.

Yet for too many people in the world, human rights remain an unfulfilled promise. We live in a world where crimes against humanity are ongoing, and where the most basic economic rights critical to survival are not realized and often not even accorded the high priority they warrant.

The years to come are crucial for sowing the seeds of an improved international partnership that, by drawing on individual and collective resourcefulness and strengths, can meet the global challenges of poverty, discrimination, conflict, scarcity of natural resources, recession, and climate change.

United Nations Building. Photo by  Ashitaka San. CC BY-NC 2.0 via mononoke Flickr.
United Nations Building. Photo by Ashitaka San. CC BY-NC 2.0 via mononoke Flickr.

In 2005, the world leaders at their summit created the UN Human Rights Council, an intergovernmental body which replaced the much-criticized UN Human Rights Council, with the mandate of promoting ‘universal respect for the protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all’. The Council began its operations in June 2006. Since then, it has equipped itself with its own institutional architecture and has been engaged in an innovative process known as the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The UPR is the Council’s assessment at regular intervals of the human rights record of all UN member states.

In addition, at each session of the Council several country-situations are brought to the fore in addresses and documents delivered by member states, independent experts, and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Today, the Office of the High Commissioner is in a unique position to assist governments and civil society in their efforts to protect and promote human rights. The expansion of its field offices and its presence in more than 50 countries, as well as its increasing and deepening interaction with UN agencies and other crucial partners in government, international organizations, anad civil society are important steps in this direction. With these steps we can more readily strive for practical cooperation leading to the creation of national systems which promote human rights and provide protection and recourse for victims of human rights violations.

In the final instance, however, it is the duty of states, regardless of their political, economic, and cultural systems, to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms. Our collective responsibility is to assist states to fulfil their obligations and to hold them to account when they do not.

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22. Ashes by Kathryn Lasky

Life is pretty comfortable for Gabriella Schramm, 13, called Gaby by friends and family.  Living in 1932 Berlin, her upper middle class family is better off than most Germans at the time.  Her father is a renowned scientist, teaching astronomy at the University, and is friends with Albert Einstein.  Her mother, an former pianist who gives lessons at home now, hob nobs with Baba, a well-respected Jewish society columnist for the only newspaper in Berlin that isn't pro-Nazi.  Gaby's older sister, Ulla, is scheduled to begin studying at a conservatory in Vienna next year.  And Gaby, who loves to read anything she can get her hands on, including Ernest Hemingway, Jack London, Mark Twain and my personal favorites Rainer Maria Remarque and Erich Kästner, is looking forward to reading Heinrich Heine's poetry in Gymnasium after summer vacation.

But things are beginning to change, both within Gaby's family and all over Germany.  First, Ulla insists on remaining in Berlin for the summer instead of going to the family's lakeside vacation home, claiming she has a bookkeeping job at the cabaret where her boyfriend Karl, an engineering student, works.  But when Karl and Ulla come to visit, Gaby begins to suspect that Karl is a Nazi supporter.  She had already suspected the same thing of the family housekeeper, Hertha and the man who maintains their Berlin apartment building.  In fact, Gaby has noticed a significant increase in the number of Brown Shirts (SA) and Black Shirts (SS) all over Berlin despite the ban on them.

Back in school after vacation, Gaby and her best friend Rosa are overjoyed to begin studying literature with the very beautiful, kind, well-dressed Frau Hofstadt, who is picked up everyday by a mysterious limousine.  But, at home, the talk is more and more about the political situation, which in 1932 is all over the place, though everyone is relieved when the Nazis loose seats in the Reichstag (Parliament), hoping that that will be an end to Hitler and his Nazi party.

But that's not what happens at all and through all kinds of twists and turns, Hitler is named Chancellor by President Hindenburg at the end of January 1933.  And with amazing speed, Gaby watches her previously safe, happy world fall completely to pieces.

The period 1919-1933 was such a complicated time in German history and politics.  The Nazis referred to it as the Kampfzeit, the time of struggle to gain acceptance and power for their radical policies.  Lasky covers only 1932-1933 in Ashes and kudos to her for successfully tackling it in a novel for young readers.  There is lots of talk about events that actually happened, and Lasky provides enough information to understand it without overwhelming or boring the reader.

Ashes is a well-written novel, and although it is a little slow in places, given the time and place of the action, it is indeed a worthwhile read.   I particularly loved that each chapter begins with a quote from a book Gaby loves and which foreshadows what happens in that chapter.  And since Gaby witnesses the Nazi book burning on May 10, 1933, it is all the more poignant a reminder of some of what was lost in that tragic event.

The novel is told from Gaby's point of view, which gives us her very subjective, but very astute observation, not only of what is happening around her, but how she thinks and feels about it all,  A fine example of that is when she witnesses her former math teacher, Herr Berg, being removed from her school by the Nazis for being Jewish, and disappears.  The reader feels her shock, disgust, sadness and  despair all at the same time.

Some of the scenes may feel a little cliche and I am not the first person to realize that Karl resembles Lisle's Hitler Youth boyfriend from The Sound of Music, and that there is a scene similar to one in Cabaret, in which everyone in an outdoor Biergarten joins a Hitler Youth in singing a Nazi song.  But, these scenes also make a necessary point (and people have traditionally joined in singing in Biergartens in Germany, it wasn't just a Nazi thing to show support).

Ashes is a nice contribution to the body of Holocaust and World War II literature and on its own, a very interesting book about a very complex time made accessible by good research and skillful writing.

This book is recommended for readers age 11+
This book was purchased for my personal library

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23. 3 Leading Ways to Target Your Writing for Children--NOT!....and Poetry Friday!

.
Howdy, Campers!  Happy Poetry Friday!  Poem and link to Poetry Friday are below ~

Our topic this round is Do you try to appeal to reluctant readers, or any particular type of reader, when you write? 

Carmela's post addresses the topic of writing to reading levels thoroughly. She writes:"If you want your writing to appeal to boys and other reluctant readers, don't try to target this particular audience. That's right, DON'T target them. Instead, write what moves, excites, or interests YOU."

Mary Ann's post, agrees: "I write what I am passionate about. I write for my inner eleven-year-old. It's the best that I can do. It's all any of us can do."

As for me?

I titled this 3 Leading Ways to Target Your Writing for Children--NOT!  because I agree with Carmela and Mary Ann's conclusions.  Essentially, write with passion and you'll hit a bullseye.

from morguefile.com
Here are three thoughts hopefully slightly related to this topic:

1) I am a reluctant reader.  Always have been. Once I dive into a book, I'm swimming, but getting to the edge of the pool, dipping my toe in? Terrifying.  Every book.  Every time.

2) Many years ago, former bookseller, and book reviewer Janet Zarem was hired by my son's elementary school to talk to parents about reading.  She began by passing out a paragraph in and asking us what it said.  Okay, so let's try it.  I'd like you to read this paragraph and tell me what it says.  You have two minutes:

*see bottom of this post for attribution*

When we saw the paragraph, we were scared'r than a long-tail cat in a room full of rockin' chairs.**

Isn't that a powerful way to show someone the world from a new or challenged or reluctant reader's point of view?

3) That's how scared many of us feel about learning anything new.

For example, UCLA Extension's Writers' Program is in the process of changing how its instructors post course materials for our students.  We are moving from a platform called Blackboard to one called Canvas.

When I saw the first email about this, I rolled into a little ball.  I felt as outdated and useless as a screen door on a submarine.***

I see now that I went through the five stages of loss and grief, finally arriving at acceptance: Wow--it's done, it didn't take long, and I am truly invincible.
Tah-dah--I did it!
RELUCTANT
by April Halprin Wayland


New? New?

Who are you talking to?

You’ll have to leave a message—
I think I have the flu.

It’s too bad that you saw me
I stick with tried and true.

If you want revolution,
I’ll leave it up to you.

Who? Me?
You found me up this tree?

Just cut that sheet in two?
And paste it here with glue?
That’s all we have to do?

I’m standing on my head, now:
I see your point of view.

poem & drawing (c) April Halprin Wayland 2014
=====================

Don't forget to enter our latest book giveaway for a chance to win a copy of the 2015 Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market (in which our very own Carmela Martino has an article!). See Carmela's post for all the details.

The giveaway ends Oct 31.

Poetry Friday is at Merely Day By Day ~ Thanks, Cathy!



poem & drawing (c) April Halprin Wayland 2014

posted by April Halprin Wayland, who thanks you in Greek for reading all the way to here.

*from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odyssey
**from: http://charlottenewcomers.blogspot.com/2008/01/southern-expressions-uglier-than.html
***from: http://www.examiner.com/article/southern-isms-50-of-the-funniest-southern-expressions-and-colloquialisms











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24. temporarily closed for business, but then: Alumni Authors at Penn

I leave in an hour for five days away with my father—a trip we've been looking forward to for quite some time. I thought that maybe I'd try to write while gone. I won't. I'll be riding my bike through the pine paths of Hilton Head Island instead. Walking the beach. Reading a book or two.

I need not to work for awhile.

I will return in time for the Alumni Authors Panel for Homecoming Weekend—with Lorene Carey, Jordan Sonnenblick, Kathy DeMarco Van Cleve, and Liz Van Doren—at the University of Pennsylvania. I hope to see some of you, perhaps some of my former students, there.

Happiness and peace to you in the meantime. I'm signing off of the blog for a spell.

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25. Per Petterson Q&A

       At PEN Atlas Tasja Dorkofikis has a Q&A with Per Petterson, author of I Curse the River of Time, etc.

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