Constructionby Sally Sutton, ill. Brian Lovelock, Walker Books Australia
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Cynthia Leitich Smith
The books in the series are very much running together for me by the time I get to Patty’s Romance, and this one is no exception. Although I guess that’s a funny thing to day about a book that has, as its central incident, Patty’s kidnapping.
I mean, it’s not the most dramatic kidnapping. There’s kind of a cool bit where the various members of the Kenerley household, where Patty’s staying, slowly come to the realization that she must have been taken. But after that, there’s not much suspense, just a lot of men talking about how they don’t believe in paying ransom normally, but it’s different when it’s Patty. She never seems to be in much danger, unless it’s of dying of boredom, and we see very little of the kidnappers.
Patty cleverly brings about her own rescue, but it’s then carried out by Phil Van Reypen, which, as you can imagine, doesn’t make me very happy. It’s the high point of Phil behavior in this book, the low point coming when he tells her she’s not smart enough to play golf. That happens post-rescue, when Phil and his aunt take Patty on a trip to…oh, I don’t know, every mountain resort in the northeast. That’s what it feels like, anyway.
Phil gets another shot at rescuing Patty at one of these, thanks to a character who seems to exist solely for the purpose of stealing their boat and leaving them stranded on a small island. But Bill Farnsworth shows up and saves his life/steals his thunder. Which I guess is representative of his now obvious status as Wells’ favorite. Especially if you think about Mr. Hepworth rescuing Patty when her boat comes unmoored in Patty’s Summer Days.
Anyway, at this point if you’re paying attention you know that Patty’s going to fall in love with Bill eventually, and maybe that’s why Wells keeps heaping praise on Phil — because she feels sorry for him, or because she’s trying to cover her tracks. Or because it seems too much like Patty’s in love with Bill already. There’s a fine line between “Bill’s always been kind of special to her” and “why does Patty keep saying she’s not in love with anyone?”
So, this book isn’t one of my favorites, but it’ll do, mostly thanks to Bill. And I’m enjoying him as much as I can, because, if I recall correctly, I’m going to like him a lot less two or three books from now.
A friend of mine was a pilot who served his country well. Due to his experience, he never understood why someone would pay to go skydiving. In his words: “Why would you jump out of a perfectly good plane?”
My tandem mate Tod asked me this same question last week at Skydive Phoenix as I prepared to do just that. Why? Why would I choose to jump out of a plane at eight thousand feet? I wish I had a good answer, but as I told Tod’s nifty video camera, “I was bored.”
Now, I realize most so-called “normal human beings” wouldn’t get bored and decide to plummet toward Earth with a bag on their back, but you know me: I’m the girl who swam with sharks in Belize; who loves haunted houses and cemeteries at night. I’m the girl who likes to be scared.
When I arrived at Skydive Phoenix Thursday morning, I felt immediately at home. I was surrounded by people younger than me who seemed to be having a damn fine time just hangin’ together. I met Tod, who reminded me of a rock band roadie mixed with a Southern Florida surfer dude. Turns out he was from Ohio. As I chose my Ohio University “House Beer” t-shirt for my jump, we hit it off immediately.
There was little prep work. Sure, I signed all the paperwork that said Jake couldn’t sue anyone if I ended up a pancake. Then, I put on a harness, and we walked to a plane the size of an SUV. The video camera (strapped to Tod’s wrist) came along, and Tod kept asking, “Nervous yet?” Should I be concerned that I wasn’t?
The itty-bitty plane climbed to eight thousand feet. Tod and I were strapped together as we slid to the open door. My last moment of clarity: With my left foot outside the plane, I stared down at the desert below. Then, we jumped.
I can’t say the free fall is clear. I don’t exactly remember the way my body felt, and my mind was blown blank by adrenaline. I think I was screaming (we’ll see once I get the video tape back). What I can say with assurance: the free fall was over much too fast.
As we swung above the earth, tethered to our parachute, the first thing that came to mind: “I need to do this again.”
I had a perfect landing (thank you very much), and I felt like my spirit was still eight thousand feet high. The cool chick at the Skydive Phoenix office confirmed my belief that after skydiving, there are two things that should happen: a cigarette and sex.
I have to thank the team at Skydive Phoenix for making my experience so easy, enjoyable, and fun (including the guy who said he was going to undertake his hundredth jump nude. Now, that would be something to see!). Tod was the perfect crazy person to be tied to, and I already have intentions to do a thirteen thousand-foot jump in the near future.
There’s something about doing irresponsible things that makes me feel alive. Since my jump, all sorts of people have called me crazy for doing it, but I think they’re just jealous they don’t have the balls to let go. Do something that scares you. Do something that makes you freak. Stop working and wake up for a second. Find your own “plane,” and make the jump.
The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression will celebrate Banned Books Week from September 21st to September 27th.
The organization plans to shine a spotlight on graphic novels and comics. Judith Platt, chair of the Banned Books Week National Committee, had this statement in a press release: “This year we spotlight graphic novels because, despite their serious literary merit and popularity as a genre, they are often subject to censorship.”
The American Library Association recently revealed the top ten list of most frequently challenged books for this year. Jeff Smith’s comic series, Bone, occupies the #10 spot. Earlier this year, Smith designed the cover for Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s Banned Books Week Handbook. Follow this link to access a free digital copy. Check out the entire list after the jump.
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Today’s guest blogger, Barbara Greenway, is the Founder and Director of The Read to Me Project.
When I ask the kids in my program how many of them struggle in school, half of their hands raise in the air.
It can be frustrating to spend your day in an environment where you feel you can’t succeed. So it comes as no surprise that kids who struggle in school become disengaged, stop trying and drop out.
We created the Read to Me Project to motivate kids to keep trying – and to break the cycle of low literacy in our community.
With help from First Book, our 4th, 5th and 6th graders check out all kinds of great books to read to their younger siblings at home. Their reading skills improve and their siblings get a head start.
Most of the kids in the Read to Me Project don’t own books. Their families struggle to get by. English is often their second language, and reading is not a common activity at home.
With new books to read all the time, our kids blossom. They take ownership of their learning and that of their siblings. They become literacy role models in their families.
I want all kids to love school, to be enthusiastic learners, to have big dreams and the skills they need to make those dreams come true. With books, all things are possible.Add a Comment
We’re about one third of the way through the blog tour for WHEELS OF CHANGE. Hope you’re enjoying the posts as much as I am being part of it.
Originally posted on Robin Newman Books:
I am thrilled to interview my friend and fellow Creston Books author, Darlene Beck-Jacobson.
Teacher, speech therapist, and freelance writer, Darlene’s stories have appeared in Cicada, Cricket, and other magazines. Her debut historic middle grade novel, Wheels of Change (Creston Books), hits bookstores on September 22, 2014. She has also been working on another historic middle grade novel, A Sparrow in the Hand, exploring the coming of age of two sisters growing up in the coal mining area of Pennsylvania during the 1920’s. A chapter from this novel appeared in the March 2001 issue of Cricket magazine. You can also read this story on her website: http://www.darlenebeckjacobson.com
Here’s what Kirkus has to say about Wheels of Change:
Changes fomenting both locally and nationally during the final year of Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency are seen through the eyes of feisty, bighearted Emily Soper, daughter of a carriage maker in…
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New Adult (books with protagonists ages 18-25) has swiftly become the hottest thing in both self-publishing and traditional publishing. New authors are making astonishing strides in this category and making great deals with the big traditional houses. Recent success stories include Molly McAdams, whose book Taking Chances has sold more than 200,000 copies so far.
The rise of New Adult has introduced questions, such as: Is it a genre? Does it need to have sex scenes? How do you define it? Should you self-publish it? How do you know if an agent wants NA? How is it different from YA? Despite all the questions, New Adult manuscripts have been selling remarkably well, no matter how it is published. The readers want it, it is here to stay, and we are among many agencies actively looking for it.
In this live 90-minute webinar — titled “How to Write and Sell New Adult” — Literary agent Gordon Warnock will help you understand New Adult fully from all aspects of the business, whether you need to know the rules of the category, how to pitch it to agents, or how authors are hitting the bestselling lists with modern marketing techniques. Plus, as a bonus, Warnock will critique 1,000 words of your manuscript! It all happens at 1 p.m., EST, Thursday, September 18, 2014, and lasts 90 minutes.
Gordon Warnock is a founding partner at Foreword Literary, serving as a literary agent and editorial director of the Fast Foreword digital publishing program. He brings years of experience as a senior agent, marketing director, editor for independent publishers, consultant, and author coach. He frequently teaches workshops and gives keynote speeches at conferences and MFA programs nationwide. His NA books include A Real Emotional Girl by Tanya Chernov and Dragon’s Breath and Other True Stories by MariNaomi. You can find him on Twitter @gordonwarnock.
HOW THE CRITIQUE WORKS
All registrants are invited to submit the first 1,000 words of their manuscript for critique. All submissions will receive a written critique by Gordon Warnock. Gordon reserves the right to request more writing from attendees by e-mail following the event, if he deems the writing excellent.
Please Note: Even if you can’t attend the live webinar, registering for this live version will enable you to receive the On Demand webinar and a personal critique of your material. Purchasing the On Demand version after the live event will not include a critique.
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Since its premiere in France in 2008, "Wakfu," an anime styled fantasy-adventure series created by Roubaix, France-based company Ankama, has picked up a dedicated fanbase, even in countries where it hasn't officially aired like the United States.Add a Comment
Today we look at the work of Estefania Pantoja, Cartoon Brew's Artist of the Day!Add a Comment
After discovering a copy of the NYC Transit Authority Graphics Standards Manual in the basement of Pentagram, designers Jesse Reed and Hamish Smyth have set out to reissue this unique piece of history. For a limited time you can support their efforts through a Kickstarter campaign that has been set up. Starting at the $118 level, each backer will receive a copy of the reproduction which will include an intro by Michael Beirut. After this campaign, the book will never be reissued again. See all the details here.
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Lisa Harland, the wife of one of Pittsburgh’s richest tycoons, shows up at Daniel Rinaldi’s office, intending to commit suicide by 7:00 that evening. But Rinaldi doesn’t anticipate Lisa being kidnapped right from under his nose as she’s leaving his office. Her husband immediately summons the FBI and police, and Rinaldi is included as the last one to see her before she was snatched.
But the kidnappers are playing hardball with the authorities, and the violence escalates. Money is their primary aim, but Rinaldi senses they may also be looking for some kind of revenge. And until he understands what motivates them, no one is safe.
Phantom Limb is a fast-paced mystery-thriller, in the same mold as the previous Daniel Rinaldi mysteries. Rinaldi and the supporting characters are well-developed for a mystery, and the intricate plot made this a book I couldn’t put down. I highly recommend this series.
Reviewer: Alice Berger
Jorgen Klubien lives a double life: he's an animation artist in the United States and a pop singer in Denmark.Add a Comment
Post by Natalie
Jana Curll is an icon obsessed, color hungry illustrator working from the rainy Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. She loves to create quirky work that engages and delights both the young and the young at heart.
See more of Jana’s work on her website.
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Leonard Marcus gave a swell talk about Robert McCloskey last night, but what’s really sticking with me is a response he gave to a question at the end about ebooks. Size matters, he essentially said, when it comes to picture books and other books for young children. Of course, we all know this, but I hadn’t thought about the point in the context where Leonard was placing it, that the size and shape of whatever ebook you’re reading is subsumed by the size and shape of whatever screen you’re reading it on. The difference between the board book, picture book and big book editions of Goodnight, Gorilla disappears in your e-reader edition (which–I just tried it–is a disappointing experience indeed). I’m thinking I may need to gin up a jeremiad for our Cleveland presentation on Friday.Add a Comment
Hello, and welcome to Tuesday's Question.
|Olive Oil's daily attire|
Judy Platt is celebrating her 35th anniversary at The Association of American Publishers. The organization honored Platt with a lunch in DC today. As Director, Free Expression Advocacy, Platt heads up the AAP’s Freedom to Read Committee and the AAP’s International Freedom to Publish Committee.
In her tenure with the group, Platt has led the AAP’s advocacy work against book censorship since before Banned Books Week started 32 years ago. She has been the AAP’s liaison with Banned Books Weeks since the movement began. During that time, Platt has seen book censorship movements evolve.
“I’d say that in my early years at AAP the majority of censorship was focused on sexually explicit materials, or ‘pornography’ and efforts were made to keep such materials away from adults as well as minors on the questionable assumption that access to such materials resulted in anti-social behavior,” she told GalleyCat via email. (more…)
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On Friday Cindy and I went to see actor Jason Segel discuss his new middle-grade novel (cowritten with Kirsten Miller) Nightmares! The sold-out event was sponsored by the Harvard Book Store and the nonprofit writing organization 826 Boston (program coordinator Karen Sama led the conversation with Segel). Cindy loves How I Met Your Mother (even the ending!), I love Freaks & Geeks, and we both love The Muppets. Segel is also the guy you may have seen naked in the very funny Saving Sarah Marshall (which he also wrote), and he was one of the bromantic leads in I Love You, Man.
Nightmares! is his first children’s book, and he kicked off the event by asking everyone in the audience under age fourteen to raise their hands (there were a few). Later on he asked for kid volunteers to come up and read aloud from the book, instead of reading himself, which could have backfired but was awesome. “I’m like the Pied Piper,” Segel quipped as a girl named Tessa, two boys named Sam, and a cutie little one named Lucas came up onstage to read. Afterward he told them, appreciatively, “You’re so much braver than I would have been at that age.”
The audience participation didn’t stop there. He asked people to share their nightmares; his as a kid involved a witch nibbling his toes (“because I have delectable toes”) and being chased around Dracula’s castle (“it was more Rococo than I would have thought”) which happened so frequently that he discovered a secret room where he could hang out and play video games. (Side note, and there were a lot of those: as a kid, Segel wore a Superman cape under his clothes “just in case” and carried the MYST game book around with him. Also? He’s been 6’4” since age 12 and the other kids used to jump on his back and chant “Ride the oaf!”)
And then there was the singing. During the Q&A a woman nervously asked: “What’s your favorite show tune?” “It’s gotta be the confrontation from Les Miz. Do you know it?” “Um, yes (giggle giggle).” “Ok, do you want to do it? Which part are you going to sing?” She chose Javert, and Jason sang his heart out as Jean Valjean (here’s how he did it with Neil Patrick Harris). The evening ended on an amazing note for fans with Segel at the piano doing the Dracula song (“‘Die… die… die…’ ‘I cahhn’t'”).
If this guy isn’t the nicest, most genuine-seeming Everydude in Hollywood, well, he must be a truly great actor (slash-master-manipulator), because he seemed really thrilled (“This is so much fun! Seeing those kids read up there, that’s the coolest thing ever”) and humbled to be there — even after a two-hour-plus signing line that Cindy waited on. Any “grown man” (he was in his late twenties at the time) who “burst into tears” upon seeing Kermit the Frog “in person” and who also cried while sitting in “kind of a rough pub in London” after finishing Winnie-the-Pooh is a-ok in my book. I’ll even forgive his publicist for ignoring my Five Questions request *cough cough.* Jason Segel, we love you, man.
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Nightmares! was originally a screenplay I wrote at age 21, after Freaks & Geeks ended and I was unemployed and thinking, “I’m going to have to live with my parents forever.”
When I was a kid, movies like Labyrinth and The Goonies and Roald Dahl’s books made me believe I might find buried treasure. There’s still magic out there. You can catch a kid at the right age to say: don’t forget there’s magic…Kids’ imaginations are so much better than what you can put onscreen.
My mentor Judd Apatow said to me, “You’re kind of a weird dude.” Also [after Segel played him the Dracula song] he said: “Don’t ever play that for anyone else ever again.”
I’m willing to sit through the fear of doing something badly to get to passable. I tell myself: “I’m bad at this… right now”…The only thing I’m afraid of is being unprepared.
Coraline really scared me, and I’m a grown man!
Audience question: Who was your favorite actor growing up? Answer: Kermit. When you’re a kid, Kermit is Tom Hanks, Jimmy Stewart.
I wrote The Muppets when I was in London. With all those double-decker buses and furry hats, it’s a very Muppet-y place…The Muppets are Monty Python to a kid.
I did a Muppets screening at the White House and got to meet Barack Obama. He shook my hand and said, “I love you, man,” and I said, “I love you too, Mr. President!” It gets worse. Then I said, “You should come to the screening. There will be free snacks,” and he said, “Yeah, that’s what I’m missing. Not being able to get free snacks.”
“YOU BE ME...AND I'LL BE YOU.”Romance?: Nope. But lots of talk of middle school type crushes.
ELLIE spent the summer before seventh grade getting dropped by her best friend since forever. JACK spent it training in “The Cage” with his tough-as-nails brothers and hard-to-please dad. By the time middle school starts, they’re both ready for a change. And just as Jack’s thinking girls have it so easy, Ellie’s wishing she could be anyone but herself.
Then, BAM! They swap lives—and bodies!
Now Jack’s fending off mean girls at sleepover parties while Ellie’s reigning as the Prince of Thatcher Middle School. As their crazy weekend races on—and their feelings for each other grow—Ellie and Jack begin to realize that maybe the best way to learn how to be yourself is to spend a little time being someone else.
My debut full-length poetry collection, Solving the World’s Problems, was released by Press 53 last September. I thought it might be interesting to take a look at what has happened since then and share any lessons I’ve learned during my first year as the author of poetry collection. (Click here to check out my 8-part series on getting it published last year.)
One thing I learned right away is that the most common question someone asks you when you’ve published a book: “How many books have you sold?” Or, “How are your books selling?” And I quickly learned to answer in this way, “It’s doing pretty well…for poetry.”
I have sold quite a few books personally. I’ve received my first royalty check from my publisher. Neither are going to pay my mortgage, but there’s a great joy in being compensated for something I would be doing anyway for free: that is, writing poems.
Publish Your Poetry!
Learn how to get your poetry published with the latest (and greatest) edition of Poet’s Market. The 2015 Poet’s Market is filled with articles on the craft, business, and promotion of poetry, in addition to poet interviews and original poetry by contemporary poets.
In fact, it has an entire section covering various poetic forms.
Plus, the book is filled with hundreds of listings for poetry book publishers, chapbook publishers, magazines, journals, contests, grants, conferences, and more!
However, I work in the publishing business, so I know relative book sales, and I can tell you that sales are usually not spectacular for debut authors in any genre–but they’re especially lean for poets. So it’s the first question often asked, but I prefer to get past talking numbers.
Numbers aside, I learned quite a few lessons about selling poetry books. The first thing is handling how to get the word out about the book. In some ways, I have a very good platform for a poet.
I have a lot of followers on social media sites, edit the Poet’s Market book, write a poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine, and well, there’s this Poetic Asides blog too. All of that helped, but not as much as one (namely me) might expect.
Here’s how I achieved the most sales:
Lesson learned: A little creativity in promotion can work wonders, but also a more intimate approach. Look for local and regional reading series and see if you can be a featured reader. As a published author, you have an added level of authority.
There are a few (obvious) opportunities that I missed as a debut author that I don’t plan to let slip by again with the next book. They are:
Here’s the thing: No matter how prepared you think you are there will be missed opportunities. Don’t beat yourself up about them. Rather, pay attention and try to do a better job next time. I’m sure I’ll have a whole new list of missed opportunities with the second book. As with writing, selling books is a process.
What Am I Up To Now?
Most importantly, I’m writing. The work of a creative person is to create. It’s not to write a poem and call it a day. Or write a book and call it a day. Or two books. Or three. Creative people create, and that’s what I’m doing for the sake of creating.
These creative acts are important for other reasons too. For starters, I’ve had a few new poems published online here and there over the past year, and nearly every new publication has coincided with a few new book purchases on Amazon. I’m not able to track it directly, but I’m pretty sure each new publication leads to more books selling.
Plus, I know from other genres that authors tend to build book sales over time by writing more books. Someone reads and enjoys your new book and then hunts down your older title(s). This isn’t selling out; it’s building a readership.
The entire enterprise of being a creative person, regardless of medium, is a process. After more than two decades of writing poetry and one year as an author, I’m enjoying the process more than ever and focusing on the art and the craft…and hoping it doesn’t take another 20 years to get my next collection together.
Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of the poetry collection, Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). He edits Poet’s Market, Writer’s Market, and Guide to Self-Publishing, in addition to writing a free weekly WritersMarket.com newsletter and poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine.
He honestly believes writing has done more than he’s done for writing. Before and beyond getting published, poetry has helped him deal with the real problems in his life. Material things come and go, but sanity is priceless–and poetry has helped him in that regard time and time again.
Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.
Next week is Banned Books Week and to help you celebrate, the Associate of American Publishers has put together a list of ways to participate in the celebration of censored book titles. AAP members Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, Scholastic and Simon & Schuster have each created a way to help readers engage in the event, whose goal it is to promote the freedom to read.
Hachette is calling readers to share how a banned book has impacted their lives on the HBG Facebook page. HarperCollins is supporting online discussion forums on Epic Reads which will encourage discussions around banned books. Macmillan has created a website dedicated to The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander and Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden, two previously banned books. Penguin Young Readers Group is encouraging readers to share selfies of themselves holding up a sign that reads, “I celebrate #BannedBooksWeek because …” and will give away prizes to participants. The publisher will also join in several #BannedBooksWeekTwitter chats during the week. (more…)
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