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1. Novel Spanning Months???

Question: In the current novel I am writing, (a realistic fiction with a paranormal-ish twist,) the protagonist, in short, is staying away from home, during

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2. WRITER'S RITES: Nobody's got time for that

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3. Facebook Live meets a manual typewriter

Yesterday Jeanette and I decide to try out an experiment.


It's the day before graduation at Bard College. Students are roaming around campus with their parents. We place the typewriter on a table in the student center, and I arrange the sketch easel.

We hope the typewriter will lure someone to pose for an impromptu portrait. First Cullan, and then his mom, try it out.

We set up the iPad to webcast the action via Facebook Live. The first session has audio issues due to problems with our old iPad (sorry). We switch over to an Android cellphone, and then it works fine. Here's the 16 minute webcast. (Link to video).


I start sketching Jeanette, but abandon the start and turn the page when Kathleen sits down. I lay down a few lines in watercolor pencils, then launch off with brush and watercolor to place the main shapes. With progressively smaller brushes, I place the smaller details.

Kathleen, watercolor and gouache 
Thanks to everyone who joined the webcast and left a comment. Let me know in the comments what you'd like to see on a future webcast. Thanks to Kathleen, Cullan, and Joe for lending a hand and being such good sports.
-----
My next video tutorial "Portraits in the Wild" comes out June 13. It's full of moments like this.

"Gouache in the Wild" HD MP4 Download at Gumroad

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4. Game Theory By Barry Jonsberg. Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 2026.


Jamie is a sixteen-year-old maths whiz. Summerlee, his older sister, is in the grip of a wild phase. Tensions at home run high.

When Summerlee wins a 7.5-million-dollar lottery, she cuts all ties with her family. But money can cause trouble - big trouble. And when Jamie's younger sister Phoebe is kidnapped for a ransom, the family faces a crisis almost too painful to bear.

Jamie thinks he can use game theory - the strategy of predicting an opponent's actions - to get Phoebe back. But can he outfox the kidnapper? Or is he putting his own and his sister's life at risk?


The fascinating thing about this novel is that, like many of Barry Jonsberg's other books, it has an ending you can't quite predict, a little twist that makes you say, "Oh!" It is one I love but can't share because of spoilers. I did suspect who the kidnapper was, then thought, "Well, it can't be, because..." but it was. But that isn't the twist I was thinking of. There is a delicious irony about it. 

Jamie is certain he can work out how to find his sister and her kidnapper through game theory; when his opponent seems to know as much about it as he does, he even rather enjoys the challenge, worried as he is for his beloved little sister. This is his major flaw and makes the book more interesting, even though the reader might, like me, be just a little disappointed that the book isn't actually about that. 

I would have liked a little more detail about the kidnapper before the long, detailed explanation at the end. Although I suspected who it was, the character traits that affected what the villain did were not so evident in the build up. 

Still, it's a good, exciting thriller that should suit boys from about fourteen up. 


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5. Reading thoughts.... a mindwrap




Hi everyone and welcome to Storywraps.  Today I am going to talk about some reading ideas that perhaps will get you thinking and inspired ...

Have you ever struggled with the question, "Is is ok for me to stop reading a book even though I haven't finished it?"  "Close cover, put down and ... delete.... gone!"  

A lot of people stuggle with this concept because they have been taught that every book you pick up to read should  be read to its completion.  What are your feelings on this? What do you do? As for me? I struggle with that because personally I feel I should read the entire book, like it or not.  










Unwrapping some things to consider:




It's perfectly alright for you to close a book forever if it's not your cup of  tea.





We read books either to learn something or for enjoyment and entertainment.  If the book your reading does not interest you, does not invigorate you, or is just plain boring then by all means put it aside because there are millions of other great books out there that will satisfy your reading pleasures. I promise!




Reading is supposed to be fun and engaging so if you find yourself not paying attention to the narrative, if you are distracted by every movement or noise around you, or if you don't even care about the plight of the characters or where the plot is going.... just stop. It's not happening for you with this book so close it down and move on.







If you feel badly about giving up the book you can always skim the rest of it hoping perhaps things will get better and then be able to say to yourself at least you tried to get the drift of it and complete it.  You can also give yourself some boundaries such as reading the first 50 pages or so. If you decide that the book is not your taste by then, with no guilt or apprehension, put it aside.  It's that simple.  You have to give yourself permission to do it and it's perfectly legal and ok to do so.  You are in charge, no one else, so take authority and nix the it.






Dr. Seuss put it so eloquently didn't he?  If magic is not in the book you are holding and presently reading then cast it aside and find the one that will make you stay up all night to discover the wonderment and magic within.  Great books will never disappoint you and they make the best lifelong friends ever. You can trust me on that. 




###





Unwrapping an inspirational story for you...








Schoolteachers shouldn’t be the only ones promoting reading; even local barbers can do their part to help spur a love of literature.
Don’t believe me? Meet Courtney Holmes, a barber at Spark Family Hair Salon in Dubuque, Iowa. The inspirational barber created a fun idea as part of the local Back to School Bash held in Comiskey Park. The father of two decided to attend the event with clippers in hand and offer free haircuts to kids that read to him.
The community loved it; both parents and kids found it an awesome way to get a new haircut for the upcoming school year while also sharpening their reading skills. Caitlin Daniels, a grade-level reading coordinator with the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque said, “It’s great. All the kids, they want to have a good haircut to go back to school. They’re paying through reading.”
Reading out loud can be very difficult and even nerve-racking for children, and so Holmes’ goal was to help make them feel more comfortable about doing so.
In an interview with USA Today Holmes explained how it worked: “The kids would come in, and I would say, “Go to the table and get a book you might like, and if you can’t read it, I’ll help you understand and we can read it together.”
Holmes had no idea how the turn out would be, “To be honest, I was amazed. The line started with four kids, and next thing I knew it was like 20 kids, all waiting for a haircut and eager to read.”
Source:  earthporm.com   












How cool is this guy?  Wow! I am so impressed. He needs a medal for doing what he does.  Don't you agree?




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*Instagram: Storywraps
*Email:  Storywrapsblog@gmail.com
*Facebook:  www.facebook.com/Storywraps
*Twitter: Storywraps@Storywraps1





I put hours of work finding the best kid's books to review for you each day.  If you enjoy visiting Storywraps and would like to donate something for my time and effort I would greatly appreciate it.

Go to the top of my blog on the right hand corner (above my photo) and please donate what you feel lead to give.  The amount you donate and the frequency you donate is totally up to you.  I thank you in advance for your support.  I love what I do and appreciate any amount that you may give so I can make our community even better.  Thanks a million! 



 


Read on and read always!


It's a wrap.




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6. Plastic Brain

The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science By Norman Doidge, M.D. Published by Penguins Group (Canada) 2007 This book is about brain plasticity and the miraculous abilities of our brains to compensate for damage, natural or inflicted, to learn or relearn tasks and actually change themselves to adapt without drugs or operations. Norman Doidge is a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and researcher at Columbia University and the University of Toronto. He took the time and made the effort to visit many contemporaries he calls “neuroplasticians “.He outlines the history of neuroplasticity, its proponents and opponents. Neuroplasticity: Neuro is for “neuron”, the nerve cells in our brains and nervous systems. Plastic is for “changeable, malleable, modifiable” A lot of wonderful discoveries took place in the 20th Century, yet Norman Doidge says in his preface that brain plasticity is “one of the most extraordinary discoveries of the 20th Century”. The results of experiments with the human brain which lead him to that conclusion are astonishing. In a futuristic science like neurology one would expect a more progressive attitude in its practitioners, but the same old attitudes appeared there too and every scientist-doctor-researcher who bucked the trend and suggested the possibility of plasticity was attacked because the establishment had concluded that the brain was hardwired to certain functions. The notion of plasticity was so revolutionary that those who believed in it wouldn’t dare to use the term in writing for many years. Those who knew brain plasticity was a reality were vilified, ridiculed and obstructed at each step of the way. Doidge pulls no punches when he describes the difficulties these people went through. As usual, the rebels led the way. One of the biggest misconceptions about this book is that it is written only for the super intelligent. It isn’t really. The stories of experiments with monkeys, rats and mice which make up many of the eleven chapters of this book are told clearly and simply. The extraordinary results in humans as well as animals are described in detail in plain language. There is a section at the end of the book, just before the appendix, called Notes and References, in which Doidge includes verifications and explanations of quotes, ideas and concepts, some requiring whole pages. The Brain That Changes Itself is a hopeful book which is well worth the read. This edition has 427 pages including. eleven chapters, two appendices, Notes and References, a forward, an acknowledgements section and an index.

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7. Children’s Book Illustrations from British Library

via Lines and Colors :: a blog about drawing, painting, illustration, comics, concept art and other visual arts http://ift.tt/1TF4uFB

Children's Book Illustrations from British Library
As part of the huge trove of public domain images being posted on Flicker — which I reported in 2013 — the British Library has assemble a large collection of children’s book illustrations.

As is often the case with these kinds of large scale image resources, best results come from a bit of patience and digging.

Some of the illustrations are not directly attributed to the artists, but reference is given to the books from which they were taken.

[Via DCAD Library and Century Past History on Twitter]

 
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8. Knitting Club for Tweens – a step-by-step how-to guide

Hand knitting has been around for arguably thousands of years, though in modern times its popularity has waxed and waned.  Waldorf schools around the world have long recognized that teaching young children handicrafts helps develop their fine motor and analytical skills. The great thing is, libraries can promote knitting, too! Currently, knitting is very popular and many libraries have started their own knitting circles. Here are several reasons to start a knitting circle for tweens at your library and a step-by-step list on how to get started:

Step 1

Start a knitting club for adults. My adult knitting group meets in the evenings right near the children’s area, so we’ve garnered a lot of interest from the kids by simply existing. They want to know all about knitting, how we started, what clothes we’ve made, etc. Most kids ultimately ask if I can teach them how to knit. We have a diverse group of men and women in our adult group, and in turn I’ve had both boys and girls show interest in learning. Having a multifaceted group is a great way to highlight that knitting is not just for women.

Step 2

Find someone who wants to teach kids how to knit. If you are a knitter, it could be you. If not, contact your local knitting guild or meet up group to see if one of their members has an interest in teaching kids how to knit.

Step 3

Gather your materials! You’ll need yarn, needles, scissors, tapestry needles, and knitting books from your collection to get the kids started once they’ve masted the basics of knit and purl. Ask your adult patrons if they can donate materials or reach out to your library friends group for the funds needed to purchase some knitting paraphernalia.

Step 4

Pick a date. I find that knitting clubs for adults tend to be the most successful if they occur at the same time and place weekly, so pick a date and time when your tweens will usually be able to attend. We have our summer knitting club on craft day, the same time every week!

Step 5

Publicize! Spread the word about your knitting club at school visits and outreach, and on library social media and websites. It also helps to reach out to your local knitting guild so they can publicize for you!

Kate Eckert is an artist, knitter, and mother of one. She is also a member of the School Age Programs & Services Committee and is a Children’s Librarian at the Free Library of Philadelphia. She tweets @8bitstate and may also be contacted at eckertk AT freelibrary.org.

The post Knitting Club for Tweens – a step-by-step how-to guide appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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9. मोबाईल फोन बनाम कैंसर का खतरा

  मोबाईल फोन बनाम कैंसर का खतरा पहले मैगी फिर ब्रैड और अब मोबाईल … हे भगवान किस किस से बचे और कैसे बचे … थोडी देर पहले मणि मेरे लिए ब्रैड पकौडा बना कर लाई क्योकि मुझे बहुत पसंद है …. या था !!! मैने उसे बडा सा लेक्चर दे दिया कि क्या है […]

The post मोबाईल फोन बनाम कैंसर का खतरा appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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10. Featured Review: The Safest Lies by Megan Miranda

About this book: Kelsey has lived most of her life in a shadow of fear, raised to see danger everywhere. Her mother hasn’t set foot outside their front door in seventeen years, since she escaped from her kidnappers with nothing but her attacker’s baby growing inside her—Kelsey. Kelsey knows she’s supposed...

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11. जरा मुस्कुरा दो – मोदी सरकार के दो साल

  जरा मुस्कुरा दो – मोदी सरकार के दो साल मोदी सरकार की दो साल की उपलब्धियां …. जरा मुस्कुरा दो … ना जाने ये नाम किसने सुझाया होगा .  .. यकीनन भाजपा का तो नही होगा  क्योकि इसका मतलब साफ साफ है कि मुस्कान आ ही नही रही है…जब दो साल कुछ हुआ ही […]

The post जरा मुस्कुरा दो – मोदी सरकार के दो साल appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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12. Book Review: To Catch a Cheat by Varian Johnson

Title: To Catch a Cheat
Author: Varian Johnson
Published: 2016
Source: Edelweiss

Summary: After the shenanigans of The Great Greene Heist, Jackson is trying to keep his nose clean. Really! He is!  But he's framed for a cheating con, and the principal is all too eager to take the excuse to strike him down. Complicating matters are a fight with his best friend, and his attempts to kiss his sort-of girlfriend for the first time. (Yikes!) Still, Jackson's got to clear this up. What can a reformed con artist do, but con his way to the center of this mystery?

First Impressions: A fun romp, although I got lost more than a few times with all the characters. And I definitely spent some time wanting to knock Jackson and Charlie's heads together.

Later On: The things I liked (and the things I didn't) about the first one carried over into this book. I still loved the casual diversity (Jackson is black, Charlie and Gabi are Latinx, they have friends of other ethnicities as well) and the fine ear for the complexities of middle-school life. The con stuff got really, really involved, especially when the story juggled multiple characters of dubious intentions. Still, I think that this could become an entertaining MG series.

I was never entirely clear on why Charlie and Jackson were at odds, although I could see how it
played out. Charlie's been in Jackson's shadow a lot, and Jackson is just clever enough to be arrogant about it, and that arrogance would grate.

More: Kirkus
Book Nut

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13. Capital of Texas Triathlon Preview

Monday I'm going to be running in the 25th Capital of Texas Triathlon!  It's my first triathlon (Olympic distance) in twenty years and I'm pretty jazzed.

Steely-eyed determination 20 years ago. :-)

One of the great things about triathlons (and running races in general) is that you get to occupy unusual spaces: the last ones I did were Leon's Triathlon in Hammond, Indiana, a couple of Bud Light triathlons and others in Chicago. Leon's had a swim in Wolf Lake (shudder), followed by a cycle leg on an elevated highway that ran past the old U.S. Steel plant, and a run leg through an industrial downtown.  The Chicago ones were on the lakefront, just north of Navy Pier, with a bike on Lake Shore Drive and a run along the lake.

2013 CapTexTri
The CapTexTri also has a great location in downtown Austin, with a 1.5k swim in Lady Bird Lake; a 40k (24.8 mile) bike on a quadruple loop through downtown Austin, including Congress Avenue and Cesar Chavez; and a 10k (6.2 mile) run through Zilker Park.

The only thing I'm not too keen on is the bike route, since it requires you to do the same loop four times.  I don't like loop routes because I always think of how many more times I have to do the thing...Still, going up and down Congress Avenue without any cars is going to be pretty cool. As long as there are no poles in the middle of the road, I should be okay. :-).

Don't ask.

I feel fairly good about my training.  I've maintained good running mileage after the Austin Marathon and Austin Distance Festival and got some good workouts in even while traveling doing school visits.
On Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis
The swim is probably my weakest event -- I could stand to do more work on technique and probably do more open water swimming, but the distance won't be an issue.  Also, Lady Bird Lake isn't going to have waves (I seem to recall a couple of triathlons in Chicago with 3-4 foot waves on Lake Michigan (and this was on the near side of the breakwater).  Also, I won't have to deal with a wet suit.  My biggest concern is to not get kicked in the face. :-).
Lady Bird Lake during 2013 CapTexTri
The bike I'm feeling good about as well.  I'll be using the bike I used for my triathlons back in the day - a Trek 1000 I bought when I was in grad school for $450 (a guy at one bicycle shop here tried to sell me a new one, asking if I had a "nostalgic attachment" to it.). I do, but I also don't think a new bike is going to drastically transform my performance.  At least not $2000 worth :-). (A guy at another bike shop told me the Trek 1000 was his first road bike and he wished he still had it.  It's possible he was being kind :-)).

Tomorrow is packet picket, bike drop-off, and a chance to scope out the transition area, which I'll need because I can't see without my glasses...:-)

Oh, well.  Onward!












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14. Thoughts from a Library School Student

This week marks the end of my first semester of graduate school; the end felt unreal until I received my grades today. They’re my roller-coaster-photo-finish proof the last five blurry months actually happened, complete with wild hair and shocked expression. If you’re just starting this adventure, fasten your seatbelt and prepare yourself for a wild ride with a few suggestions from a recent first-timer in mind.

TIMING IS EVERYTHING:

Most students I’ve met are also juggling several roles, and online programs allow flexibility for those with a lot of things up in the air. However, the ability to attend class in pajamas can lend a false sense of security; it’s easy to lose track of deadlines and projects when classwork is squeezed in whenever you find a spare moment. I carved out mornings for classwork, and after the kids came home from school, we did homework together. During my lunch breaks at work, homework; after I came home from work, homework. Basically, the semester was homework with real life “squeezed in whenever”. But those hours I’d specifically carved out for school work were sacrosanct (in theory – I’m a parent). Which brings me to my next point…

MOVE IT OR LOSE IT:

When I had pneumonia shortly before the semester began, I asked my doctor how long it would take to recover. She replied it would be a few weeks and joked, “Why, do you have a marathon planned?” I explained I’d soon have a full load in graduate school, plus my part-time job and three kids, so yes, I had a marathon planned. She advised me, as she survived medical school and residency with kids, to make time for exercise. When I asked hopefully if “exercise” included the movement of Dr Pepper or chocolate in hand to mouth, she laughed and said it could at times, but actual exercise would keep me sane. It didn’t matter what I did, as long as I got up and moved for at least 30 minutes a day. Remember the wise words of Elle Woods? “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands.”

REMEMBER YOUR PASSION:

It’s a safe bet if you’re in graduate school for library science, you want to be there. If you’re exploring the ALSC site and found this post, you’re probably interested in library services for children. Nevertheless, at one time or another during library school, you’ll find yourself wondering why you traded Netflix binges after work for writing research papers until dawn. But then you’ll find that one class or idea that sets your world aflame with possibilities and everything’s touched by the burning to know more. That’s the hope, at least. If your studies haven’t uncovered something yet, then recall what inspired you to be a librarian. Was it a librarian who touched your life? Quirky picture books? Your love of cardigans, cats, or library-cake memes? Suggested pick-me-ups: Neil Gaiman’s “libraries are the future” lecture or Library Journal’s inspiration board on Pinterest.

One last tip:

There might be a learning curve on your ride, but don’t worry. Just lean into it. Embrace the opportunity to grow and stretch your skills, maybe even throw your hands up in the air and scream. It will eventually come to an end and you’ll roll to a stop, amazed you’ve come so far despite how quickly it went.

*************************************************************

Today’s Guest Blogger is Stephanie Milberger. Stephanie is a youth librarianship student in the College of Information at the University of North Texas and children’s assistant at the Highland Park Library in Dallas. You can contact her online at Twitter (@milbergers) or email milbergers@gmail.com.

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at alscblog@gmail.com.

The post Thoughts from a Library School Student appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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15. The Hotel of the Three Roses review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Augusto De Angelis 1936 mystery, The Hotel of the Three Roses, the second to come out from Pushkin Press, in their Vertigo imprint, this year (with another to follow).

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16. A king and a coloring book - Works in progress

I decided I need a nursery rhyme for my portfolio.
So I found a sort of obscure one - King Boggen.

"Little King Boggen he built a fine hall.
Pie-crust and pastry-crust, that was the wall;
The windows were made of black puddings and white.
And slated with pancakes, you ne'er saw the like!"

It has food, architecture, and is a children's book thing, which hits three of my sweet spots!

I found a couple of versions of the rhyme. One doesn't call him "Little" King Boggen, and there are other fiddly bits in the text that are different. But I decided to go with "Little", and make him a kid. I also toyed with the idea of making him a dog or other animal (well, it doesn't say the king is a person, does it?), but then stuck with the kid. I did like adding the dog though, and fell in love with the idea of the King being a chef, and the "fine hall" is a table-top size creation that they then enjoy eating.

So this was my first version.






An earlier incarnation . . .


And some revisions to the dog . . .




Then, after sitting on it for a day or so, decided it was too static and predictable.
So I sketched around a bit more, and came up with this ~


The Fine Hall is now a real building size, and everyone's moving around. I added the cat having a wash, and the bird making off with a pancake from the roof. The dog is leaping for a pancake (like a frisbee), and the King is just a weird little guy with a fancy pitchfork, picking pancakes and bits off the Hall and flinging them around. More fun, right? (and fyi, "black puddings and white" is blood sausage (black) and pork/oatmeal sausage (white), which will be the panes of the windows).

I have the dog just about exactly how I want him, and the cat needs a little refining.
But the King needs some work. Not sure exactly who he is - how old, is he jolly or bland or goofy, or what? And what exactly is his outfit? And let's get those legs just right . . .




And the hands - blimey. The top one holding the pitchfork is in probably the hardest position I could possibly create to draw. (Try holding a broom or something, and see how odd your arm/hand looks from this angle).



Still trying different things . . .


and that's where I've left it, for now.


Of course I googled this to see who else had already illustrated this, and found this 1915 image by Frederick Richardson (1862 - 1937) ~



~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  

And then, I'm also working on the next Drawings of Knitting coloring book.
This next one will be full of more 'normal' drawings of knitting (not so 'arty'), and will have Fair Isle designs to color.

I'm going to do a couple of Fair Isle versions of each design, then have one, or maybe two, "blank" versions (like the mittens below) so that people can make up their own designs if they want to.

So here are some mittens ~


And here is a very work-in-progress Turtleneck Sweater. This shows exactly how I create these drawings. I sketch out the basic shape and design, then lay in the rows of stitches, very roughly, with "V's" to show where each stitch goes, then I painstakingly draw each stitch with the black 'ink'. After that's done I'll erase out the background guidelines, and clean everything up. There are always "overdraws" and bits that haven't quite joined up right, that need touching up. Its very fiddly, and I have to take quite a few breaks. 



Its Memorial Day weekend here in the States. Regular working people get a 3-day weekend. Not the rest of us though. I'll be doing more of this, and maybe some weed-pulling if its not too hot. I hope you all have a good holiday if you get to have one!



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17. Wolfpack, to be found in the third in line


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18. ऑडियो – व्यंग्य – आम बनाम आम आदमी

क्लिक करें और सुनें  व्यंग्य आम बनाम आम आदमी                            ऑडियो – व्यंग्य – आम बनाम आम आदमी ऑडियो – व्यंग्य – आम बनाम आम आदमी गर्मी का मौसम है और बहार आई हुई है आम की… सोचा आज इस बारे में ही […]

The post ऑडियो – व्यंग्य – आम बनाम आम आदमी appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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19. Burmese 'House of Literature'

       In The Myanmar Times Zon Pann Pwint reports that 'plans for a writers' hub inch closer to fruition' in Rangoon, in House of Literature.
       The selected building/site may have some symbolic appeal but looks hideous; still, if they can finally get this done (if: "the planned House of Literature project faces major delays", even now ...), that would be pretty neat.

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20. Bloom: You Were Born to Bloom

Hi, folks! Today is my twenty-eighth wedding anniversary with the sweetest man ever, Tim Blaisdell. He is also a blogger and writes over at THE MUSINGS OF A MEANDERING MIND.  I also am in a entrant in QUERY KOMBAT. Queries are selected by judges and they go head and head in a VOICE-esque contest. Only one query moves to next level. I'm Southern Gothic Secrets and my critique partner Ellen is Mochi Monster!

What do we win? Twenty-eight agents and editor will be looking at the queries with the possibility of landing an agent or even a contract. Did you notice 28 and 28? Feels very portent-y to me!

This week I'm writing about a deep truth. We are all born to bloom. A dear friend facing who suffers from a cancer syndrome hugged me and whispered, "I want to bloom but I feel like I'm falling apart."

I hugged her back because I know what it is like to be broken on a genetic level. Some things don't need words. What we can do is focus on the splendor of now.  Blooming does not come from us but creator of all things.

I grew up with a plant-loving mom, and she surrounded my life with flowers. So this week, I'm going to share about unusual blooms that I have seen in my life. I love flowers and I pay attention. I hope you will take lessons from these blooms and realize that you are stronger that you know.

A half-of a daffodil  bloomed in my mother's yard once. It was the most beautiful thing. A genetic anomaly but more beautiful because of it was unique.

One time there was a sad rhody in my yard that covered with some kind of leaf disease. I had to hack away more than half of the plant. The next year the rhody bloomed with almost a hundred gorgeous blood-red blooms that took my breath away. It had never bloomed before.

Once my mom stopped the car beside the road and made me get out and look at this field of spiky plants with these gorgeous white blooms on tall spears. She told me to soak it in because these were century plants and this might not happen again in my life time.

I planted a cemetery rose in my backyard from a cutting that was about two inches long.  This year rose is the size of a small car and it has hundreds of blooms.

So this week, I was blessed by this: my daylilies bloomed during the 8 inches of rain that fell on my house this week in 24 hours. The splash of color on such a dreary day uplifted my heart. Bloom during the flood!

Maybe one of these blooms speaks to you. Just like you were born to share, to be merciful, to smile, and to love, you were born to bloom. Seize every day.

I will be back next week with a new series about the Monomyth.   I hope you will join me.

Here is a doodle:



Here is a quote for your pocket:

Why should I be unhappy? Every parcel of my being is in full bloom. Rumi

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21. Deepen The Protagonist to Readers By Challenging His or Her Moral Beliefs

When we sit down to brainstorm a character, we think about possible qualities, flaws, quirks, habits, likes and dislikes that they might have. Then to dig deeper, we assemble their backstory, plotting out who influenced them, what experiences shaped them (both good and bad) and which emotional wounds pulse beneath the surface. All of these things help us gain a clearer sense of who our characters are, what motivates them, and ultimately, how they will behave in the story.

soulBut how often do we think about our protagonist’s morality? It’s easy to just make the assumption that he or she is “good” and leave it at that.

And, for the most part, the protagonist is good–that’s why he or she is the star of the show. The protagonist’s moral code dictates which positive traits are the most prominent (attributes like loyalty, kindness, tolerance, being honorable or honest, to name a few) and how these will in turn influence every action and decision.

In real life, most people want to believe they know right from wrong, and that when push comes to shove, they’ll make the correct (moral) choice. People are generally good, and unless you’re a sociopath, no one wants to go through life hurting people. Sometimes it can’t be avoided, but most try to add, not take away, from their interactions and relationships.

To feel fully fleshed, our characters should mimic real life, meaning they too have strong beliefs, and like us, think their moral code is unshakable. But while it might seem it, morality is not black and white. It exists in the mists of grey.

prisonersIn the movie Prisoners, Hugh Jackman’s plays Keller, a law-abiding, respectful man and loving father. But when his daughter is abducted and police are ineffective at questioning the person he believes to be responsible, he is forced into a moral struggle.

Keller needs answers, but to obtain them, he must be willing to do things he never believed himself capable of. Finally, to gain his daughter’s freedom, he kidnaps the suspect and tortures him repeatedly.

In each session, Keller battles with his own humanity, but his belief that this man knows where his daughter is outweighs his disgust for what he must do. It is not only Keller’s actions that makes the movie compelling, it is the constant moral war within the grey that glues us to the screen.

Extreme circumstances can cause morals to shift. What would it take for your “moral” protagonist to make an immoral choice?

Is your character deeply honest? What might push her to lie about something important?

Is your character honorable? What would force him to act dishonorably?

Is your character kind? How could life break her so that she does something maliciously hurtful?

When your protagonist is forced to enter a grey area that causes them to question what is right and wrong…this is where compelling conflict blooms!

YOUR TURN: Have you built in situations that force the hero to evaluate his morality? If not, what can you do within the scope of your story to push him into the grey where he must wrestle with his beliefs? What event might send him to the edge of himself, of who he is, and possibly force him to step across the line dividing right and wrong?

Tools to help you understand your character better:

The Reverse Backstory Tool: Hit all the highlights on your hero’s backstory reel, including his Emotional Wound & The Lie He Believes About Himself

The Character Target Tool: Set the path of your hero’s positive traits, spiraling out from Moral based attributes

The Character Pyramid Tool: Plot your character’s flaws that stem from a Wounding Event &visualize how these flaws present as behaviors & thoughts

(& even more tools HERE)

Originally posted at IWSG
Image #1 Brenkee @ Pixabay

The post Deepen The Protagonist to Readers By Challenging His or Her Moral Beliefs appeared first on WRITERS HELPING WRITERS™.

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22. Rhyming Mistakes

It's easy to write poorly in rhyme, so make sure to avoid these mistakes.

https://li.st/l/6G5mNeBDX1faUIfJRdIscE

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23. Presidential Polar Bear Post Card Project No. 160 - 5.27.16


Arctic Blues

0 Comments on Presidential Polar Bear Post Card Project No. 160 - 5.27.16 as of 5/28/2016 7:57:00 AM
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24. Emma Watson, Emma Thompson, and others Take Part in Red Nose Day 2016 Celebrity Plea

On May 26, Emma Watson, Emma Thompson, and other celebrities got silly for a cause to raise awareness for Red Nose Day, a global fundraising event that uses comedy to help raise funds for children living in poverty. Spot our Hermione and Professor Trelawney in the video below as they fight other celebrities for the audience’s attention.

 

 

Though Red Nose Day had its start as an iconic British fundraising event, this is the second year of participation for the United States. A primetime television event aired on May 26 featuring comedic skits, musical performances, and short films documenting the lives of children affected by poverty in the U.S. and around the globe. In the days leading up to the television event, celebrities shared their silly side to up awareness for the event–like the photo below that the de-light-fully funny Emma Watson shared on her Instagram account.

 

@rednosedayusa

A photo posted by Emma Watson (@emmawatson) on


Red Nose Day donations are still being accepted. For more information, read more at E News. To make a donation, visit the Red Nose Day website.

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25. Writing and Illustrating Stories by Bob Graham

Bob Graham, author and illustrator of numerous picture books, closes out TWT’s Author Spotlight today.

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