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1. Mark your calendars: Unstoppable - June 3rd!

The release date for Unstoppable is June 3rd!

At that time it will only be available in print and at Amazon. 

To catch up on the series - Untraceable is currently free and Uncontrollable is $3.99.

You can add Unstoppable to your Goodreads 

If you would like to be a part of the summer blog tour - sign up here.




After everything that has happened, Grace goes to the Everglades to live with her grandmother, Birdee. Even though she is now home-schooled by her bird-obsessed grandmother, the move gives Grace time to relax. She learns to scuba dive and starts boating with old man Rex, Birdee's casual friend/boyfriend. 

One day while out in the marshes of the Everglades, Grace rescues an abused Florida panther, currently on the endangered list. The more she dives into the animal’s horrific condition, the more she ventures into the underground world of the roadside zoos that run rampant in Florida with a total disregard for the law. Eventually, she stumbles upon one large roadside zoo filled with a variety of endangered and illegal animals. 

Before she can gather evidence and report her findings to the authorities, she is kidnapped by the ruthless owner and dragged deep into the Everglades for a hunting challenge. Only this time, Grace is the prey. 

During a sick game of cat and mouse, Grace is offered one chance at survival. With a one-hour head start and very little supplies, time and skill are now all that stands between the hunter and the hunted.



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2. big headed

Some more great work by these kids, way to go!

age 11
age 10


age 6
age 8


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3. Two Selkie Stories From Scotland by Kate Forsyth, Ill. by FionaMcDonald, Armidale, NSW, Christmas Press, 2014


This is the second book to be published by Christmas Press, an Australian small press run by a group of writers and artists. The purpose of it is to publish the kind of  illustrated children's books they would have loved to read as children - and now! 

The first book, Two Trickster Tales From Russia, by Sophie Masson, featured Russian folktales with appropriately Russian-style illustrations(though they also reminded me of the art of British fairytale artist Walter Crane). The language was not too difficult for young children to understand, both those who could read independently and those to whom parents might read.

This new book is the same in that respect. I would have loved to read this when I was in Grade 2 or 3. (Admittedly, by the next year I was reading Robert Graves, but that was nerdy me.;-D) 

The two stories are "The Selkie Bride" - a story I have read before - and "In The Kingdom Of The Seals", which I haven't, although the theme of shooting at seals and hitting a Selkie is not unfamiliar. I've come across a much scarier version elsewhere. This one has a positive ending.

If you've been following Australian spec fic in the last year or two, you may have heard of Margo Lanagan's wonderful Selkie-themed Sea Hearts,  known as The Brides Of Rollrock Island outside Australia. It won about a million prizes and got on to the Stella list for women's fiction. 

Selkies are a part of Celtic folklore. The Selkie is a seal that can drop its skin and appear as a human for a while. If you steal the skin and hide it, the poor thing can't get home to the sea. The standard folktale is this: a fisherman or farmer sees a bunch of beautiful young women dancing on the shore. He startles them and they   run off back to the water, grabbing their skins and turning into seals. One poor girl isn't quite fast enough; the young man snatches her sealskin and demands she marries him.  She hasn't much choice. He hides the skin from her. She becomes a good wife and mother, but is always sad. One day, the  husband is out and one of her children finds the skin, either by accident or to make her happy. The woman grabs the skin, kisses the children goodbye - or sometimes doesn't bother - and returns to the sea. There's never a happy ending to these stories; even if the Selkie does go home, she loses her children and they lose her. 

In this book, the man who steals a bride from the sea is a laird, who tries to make his reluctant bride happy with nice clothes and food. Of course, he doesn't, and the story is pretty much the usual one.In the  second tale, "In The Kingdom Of The Seals", a man who makes his living killing seals and selling their pelts finds himself under the sea, facing the results of his actions, with a badly wounded Selkie that can't be healed except by him. But he's not a villain, just a man who has a wife and children to support, and the seals are a lot more forgiving than you'd expect. 

It's very appropriate to have these stories retold by a writer well known for her YA and adult fiction with folktale themes. She doesn't disappoint in this one.

The art is gorgeous and lavish, perfect for the kind of stories it's illustrating.

Another triumph for a wonderful new Australian small press.

The book will be available at all good bookshops in Australia from May 1. If you live outside Australia and would like a copy, you should be able to buy online. Just check out the web site: http://christmaspresspicturebooks.com/buying-our-books/. 

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4. a couple more for my “ani-mask” series and a baby...







a couple more for my “ani-mask” series and a baby cafe.







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5. Bird Speed Painting In Photoshop





Just playing around with doing some speed painting videos.

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6. From the short story: The Boy In The Leaves by J.D. Holiday

The Boy In The Leaves


from Short Stories and Other Imaginings for The Reading Spot


by J.D. Holiday


All Rights Reserved


Copyright 2014 by J.D. Holiday
The Boy  In The Leaves B&W FINISHEDFinal 3-25-13  JDHOLIDAY


A small boy laid there, motionless. Unlike the leaves around him he lay undisturbed by the wind gust.


Max stepped away. It was just a little kid. He looked asleep, his dark skinwas a shade of blue and purple, almost translucent. Thin parchment spanning a fragile frame.


The boy wore black jeans and an orange T-shirt with a ‘Save The Oceans’ logo across his chest. A crusted gash was on his forehead. Any time now he’d move, open his eyes and jump up, laughing.


“He’s dead,” Tony said again, this time contemptuously, his eyes wells of tears.


Max’s chest felt crushed like the time he’d fallen on his back from the school yardjungle gym and he couldn’t pull air in. He managed to say, “Maybe he’s not.”


Tony shook his head. “The little piss head. Dumb shit! He didn’t do whathe should have and now he’s dead. Stupid kid!”


Max stared at the kid. For a moment he sawTonylying in the boy’s place.Max choked. “He’s sick or something.” He hedged closer and squatted down, hesitantly touching the boy’s face. The skin was unusually cold, and the cheek dented in easily, like clay. Max jumped back falling on his backside.


“He’s dead. Can’t you see that cut on his head? They smashed him with something.Hard!” Richie loudly told him, his hands clutched at his side.


“No. Maybe it was an accident. Or a car hit him.”


“Grow up, Max. It happens,”Tony said softly now, grabbing Max’s sleeveand jerking him to his feet. “We have to tell.”


On his feet again, Max let Tony continue pulling him toward his own house. At the front door Tony using his key, lead Max inside.


They softly moved through the silent house to the kitchen in back, bright light from the many windows illuminating their way. Nothing was ever out of place there. Alwaysa bleachy smell in the air as if someone wiped off everything to disinfect and kill all the germs before they contaminated the inhabitants of the house. This house gave Max the creeps. There was something missing from it. What it was Max knew well, though things have changed since his stepfather now sucks it all up in their family. There was no love and what was there, felt like old toast taste; brittle, crackly and harsh. Most times Max could get Tony to come over to his house and hang out.When Max was here though, at Tony‘s, he felt it. Something always spooked him, only worse this time. Finding the boy did it, never having seen someone dead before.


He could almost see Tony getting beaten up here. Marus broke Tony‘s leg with thebaseball bat Tony usually kept leaning inside the garage door. Tony said he was batted to short stop, the patio doors calling him out. His parents told people he’d fallen from a backyard tree. Afterwards, Tony put the bat through the lattice work decorating the front porch, out of sight under the stairs so Maris couldn’t use it again.


Copyright by J.D. Holiday 2014

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7. ‘To the Boys Who May One Day Date My Daughter’ Poem Goes Viral

How would you treat the people who may become a love interest for your children? Jesse Parent penned a cautionary spoken-word poem entitled “To the Boys Who May One Day Date My Daughter.”

The video embedded above features Parent performing his piece at the 2014 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational. The Button Poetry YouTube channel posted it earlier this month and it has since attracted more than 840,000 views.

continued…

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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8. Children’s Books Illustrators Contribute Pieces to ‘Imaginary Friends’ Art Show

BeekleSeveral children’s books illustrators will contribute pieces for the “Imaginary Friends” art show hosted at Gallery Nucleus.

The participating artists include Chu’s Day illustrator Adam RexThe Shabbat Puppy illustrator Jaime ZollarsAstronaut Academy graphic novelist Dave Roman, and more. The show will open on April 19th and run until May 11th.

The theme of this exhibition celebrates the main character of Dan Santat’s latest picture book, The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend. Santat announced on Facebook that he will share limited prints, unpublished art, and design sketches from the book for the display.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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9. A girl with a fish tail


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10. Riccardo Guasco

Riccardo Guasco via grainedit.com

Meet Riccardo Guasco, aka ”Rik”, a cartoonist, illustrator and painter based in Alessandria, Italy. Influenced by movements such as Cubism and Futurism he crafts rich compositions brimming with warm muted tones.

 

 

 

Riccardo Guasco via grainedit.com

 

Riccardo Guasco via grainedit.com

Riccardo Guasco via grainedit.com

Selected works are available for sale at his Society6 shop.

 

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Javier Garcia Interview

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11. Gabriel García Márquez Has Died

GabrielColumbian author Gabriel García Márquez has passed away. He was 87-years-old.

In 2012, Márquez’s brother Jaime revealed that the beloved writer was suffering from dementia. Earlier this month, he was hospitalized in Mexico City.

Throughout his career, Márquez wrote nonfiction, short stories, news articles, and novels including his best known works, One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967) and Love in the Time of Cholera (1985). In 1982, he won the the Nobel Prize in Literature and accepted the award by delivering his now famous speech, “The Solitude of Latin America.” (via Latin Times)

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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12. Shattering the Multicultural Myth of the Market. Let's go.

"A young adult book featuring a protagonist who isn't of European descent will never become a bestseller."

"The majority of readers won't read a young adult novel featuring a protagonist who isn't of European descent."

We imagine these kinds of comments, spoken or unspoken, governing the publishing industry. In our guts, we know they're not true. We gripe about this issue. We try to disprove such claims through social media and conferences, panels and articles, speeches and radio shows. Unfortunately, nothing so far has resulted in such a young adult novel breaking through into widespread success.

The truth is that, for all of our good intentions, publishing is a for-profit industry.

Money changes minds.

"Adults don't read books for young readers." Harry Potter shattered that one, didn't it?

"Boys don't read girl books." Along came Suzanne Collins with Katniss, and middle-aged men were tearing through The Hunger Games trilogy.

Yesterday I tweeted this:

I got several suggestions including books like Joseph Bruchac's Killer of Enemies, The Living by Matt De La Peña, Fake ID by Lamar Giles, and Prophecy by Ellen Oh.

But Ellen raised a good question:
I do think that film can take a book to the next level, but it must achieve some widespread market success before moviemakers begin to pay attention. There are two necessities to achieve this kind of success.

First, storytellers — RISE UP! Write a great story that rings with authenticity featuring a protagonist we love who is not of European descent (I know the label stinks, but you get my drift.) It must be a page-turner. It must knock our story-hungry socks off.  By the last page, not only are we are ready to read it again,  we are reaching into our wallets to pre-order the sequel. We are tweeting, texting, status-ing, and insta-ing that book until our friends are convinced they must buy it right now or their quality of life will diminish.

I may complain about the market and choose to blame my lack of breakthrough success on the r-word, but let's get real—I need to write an AMAZING STORY. Once I've achieved this (and the veracity of such a claim has been thoroughly verified by countless words and reviews of readers who don't know me), I might be able to question why it didn't become a blockbuster.

I know that one part of us believes our mothers and thinks our books are beyond incredible, but another part says, "Maybe it was good, but get better, get better." Let's listen to that—time is short.

Second, readers, be on the hunt for such a story. In the old days, we relied solely on publishing houses to put publicity and marketing big bucks behind fiction. These days, social media and virality are increasingly key to launching a novel into bestseller status, which feels like the collective "we" have a bit more power.  How can we use that power to get behind a title? Maybe we can add our small voice of influence to help it sell like crazy.

Who is likely to discover a young adult novel with blockbuster potential featuring culturally marginalized protagonists (gosh, I hate race labels—what do you think of that one)? I trust indie booksellers and librarians. That's why I tune into their voices on twitter (feel free to follow my lists of 197 booksellers and 359 librarians.) If booksellers like Elizabeth Bluemle and librarians like Betsy Bird, champions of "add-your-own-label-here" books for years, don't discover this myth-shattering story, nobody will.

I believe that changing the market can and will happen. And when it does, I promise you I'll say I told you so.

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13. New Theme: Fictive

Fictive is about your style, your look, and your story. With plenty of ways to customize, it's a great option for a travel blog or personal website.

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14. The Secret World of Dr. Seuss

The touring "Hats Off to Dr. Seuss" exhibit  is on display at 
The Art Shop in Greensboro through tomorrow, April 19th.


Slideshow via http://wunc.org/


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15. Manischewitz

Once a year, for one week straight,
A beer I will decline.
Instead, I will indulge in
Manischewitz kosher wine.

If you have never tried it,
Well, your life is not complete,
But you’d sure surprise your taste buds
‘Cause it’s sickeningly sweet.

Since it’s part of my tradition,
It’s a habit I can’t break
And from childhood sips to current times,
I’ve stuck with Concord Grape.

Though I’m not at all religious,
I’m nostalgic for the past
And at Seders* long ago,
The Manischewitz die was cast.

Certain connoisseurs of culture
Call me out and say, “Enough!
Now it’s time to climb the ladder
And reject that sweetened stuff.”

But a creature (me!) of habit
Thinks that Manischewitz wine,
Like the macaroons and matzoh,
Fits the holiday just fine.

*Passover meal

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16. Calling the Cops on Conventions

Donna Barr has posted an item on her blog that I think is very important.  Why? Because more and more I hear female cosplayers and women attending US conventions report sexual harassment.  The organisers of events rarely even act when perpetrators are reported.

A woman wearing a comic or fantasy related costume to an event is NOT shouting out -"Hey, I'm a slu come and abuse me!"  I've heard of no incidents in the UK but cosplayers and fan boy geeks ought to read Donna's posting!

http://donnabarr.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/calling-cops-on-conventions.html

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17. Amazon Bestseller List

I made it to the Amazon bestseller list for Children's Literature & Fiction today!  There I am! I'm right there WAY down at the bottom, right after Dr. Seuss.  I took a screen shot before it disappeared. :)

"May I Please Have a Cookie?" is also the number one best seller in Children's Books (hyphen)  Animals (hyphen) Alligators & Crocodiles AND number one in Children's Books (hyphen) Growing Up & Facts of Life (hyphen) Friends, Social Skills & School Life (hyphen) Manners

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18. Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken is Being Adapted as a YA Novel

unbrokenLaura Hillenbrand’s bestseller Unbroken: An Olympian’s Journey from Airman to Castaway to Captive will be adapted as young adult novel. Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, will publish the work on Veteran’s Day 2014.

Hillenbrand adapted the work for young readers. “The saga of a man’s bravery, ingenuity, and unwavering will in the face of almost unimaginable challenges, Louie Zamperini’s story is spellbinding to people of every age,” explained Hillenbrand in a statement. “At the urging of librarians, teachers, and parents, I’ve created this edition specifically for younger readers. I’m delighted to bring Louie’s inspiring, exhilarating story to a new generation.”

The first printing of the YA adaptation will be a 200,000 copy run. The original book has sold almost 4 million copies and has been on the bestseller list for more than 160 weeks, with 14 weeks at No. 1. The book has also been adapted as a film starring Angelina Jolie, which is slated for release on Christmas Day 2014.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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19. What Magazine Editors Want (& Don’t Want)

What are editors pet peeves? What can you do to get more and more assignments tossed your way by editors? Do editors expect you to know SEO? (Do you know what SEO means?)

I was honored to be interviewed by Laura Pepper Wu, editor of The Write Life magazine, where we discussed many important topics that relate to freelance writers. It’s a lot of great info packed into a relatively short conversation, so it’s worth checking out (not to mention I look incredibly dashing in my bright blue headphones). Here’s the clip.

Thanks for visiting The Writer’s Dig blog. For more great writing advice, click here

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brian-klems-2013

Brian A. Klems is the online editor of Writer’s Digest and author of the popular gift book Oh Boy, You’re Having a Girl: A Dad’s Survival Guide to Raising Daughters

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Follow Brian on Twitter: @BrianKlemsWD Newsletter

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20. Great News from the NCBLA!



NCBLA Planning 
In Search of Wonder:
Common Core and More
Professional Development Day
October 17th, 2014 in Perry, Ohio

The National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance is launching a new education initiative—In Search of Wonder: Common Core and More—in  Northern Ohio this fall! This inspiring professional development day is designed for teachers, librarians, and caretakers—any and all adults who live with and work for young people!

In Search of Wonder: Common Core and More” will take place on NEOEA Day, October 17th, at the Goodwin Theatre in Perry, Ohio and will feature authors Katherine Paterson, Nikki Grimes, Tanya Lee Stone, Steven Kellogg, and a soon-to-be named YA author! 

For more information and registration details, click here

We are working with Perry, Ohio School’s chief media specialist Jodi Rzeszotarski and the Cleveland Public Library’s Director of Children’s Services Annisha Jeffries to plan the day’s schedule so we ensure In Search of Wonder addresses the Common Core needs of all teachers and librarians.


Recently, I spent time with Jodi at the Perry Schools touring their beautiful facilities and had an inspiring afternoon working with Annisha and her talented and energetic staff at the Cleveland Public Library (CPL). 

As a teen working in downtown Cleveland, I spent most of my lunch hours at the CPL, so it was with special joy that I saw all the remarkable changes Annisha and her staff have created—a new teen room, the only safe harbor for teens downtown, a beautiful arts center for creative activities, and the huge reading rooms overflowing with books, looking out onto the city and the lake. Annisha and her staff have accomplished so much in two short years! 

Mary Brigid Barrett
President and Executive Director
The National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance

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21. sketch dailies "lady of the lake"


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22. Emotional Anticipation

Build tension to build your character's emotions. 

http://kidlit.com/2014/03/24/building-emotional-anticipation/

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23. MTV Unleashes ‘If I Stay’ Movie Trailer

MTV has unleashed a new trailer for the If I Stay film adaptation. The video embedded above offers glimpses of actress Chloe Grace Moretz playing the lead role Mia and actor Jamie Blackley as her love interest Adam.

The story, based on Gayle Foreman’s popular young adult novel, follows Mia when her “world is turned upside down during a horrific car accident that kills her parents, and leaves Mia in a coma.” This movie is scheduled to hit theaters on August 22nd.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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24. A Video Essay on Jim Jarmusch: "Dead Men & Ghosts, Limited"


As the silence around here indicates, I've been tremendously busy the past few weeks. One project I managed to complete was a new video essay, this one about Jim Jarmusch's films Dead Man, Ghost Dog, and The Limits of Control. It's now available at Press Play, along with a brief introduction.

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25. O is for Overtaken--and a Free Giveaway

My recent novel, Overtaken, is a keeper because--I wrote it! Better yet, I want you to have a copy too! 

From now until the end of the 2014 A-Z Challenge on April 30, all you have to do is leave a comment on any of my posts and you'll be entered into a random drawing on May 1, 2014 to win your very own copy. This goes for everyone who's already commented on earlier posts as well. And if you're a follower of my blog who leaves a comment, it gets even better--I'll throw in a bonus prize! This is to thank all of you wonderful people for taking the time to visit, comment, and join. "O" is for overjoyed to meet you!

In the meantime, here's a little more about the book: Published in 2012, Overtaken is a literary Gothic fairy tale centering on Sara Elliott Bergsen, a portrait artist living in London. You can watch the book trailer here, and get some idea of the story settings from my Pinterest board here. 

I started writing the book as part of an exercise in a workshop I took at the International Women's Writing Guild Summer Conference at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY. We were meant to try a visualization process to invite a story in that we could write about. We closed our eyes, sat in deep silence and meditation, and asked a character to visit us. That's when Sara appeared, climbing the stone steps to a mysterious mansion, on her way to being . . . Overtaken. I was equally overtaken, and for the next several years I wrote every day in my spare time to find out what happened to Sara and why she was at the mansion in the first place. I was as surprised at what I found as she was.

Now Sara and her story are so much a part of my life I can't think of what my world would be without her. One of the strangest things about writing, to me, is how our characters become real--imaginary friends that change our lives as much as we create theirs. What is real, what is illusion?, the exact dilemma Sara faces throughout the book, and questions I still love to explore.

How about you? Looking forward to hearing from you so we can discuss these questions together! See you tomorrow with the letter "P."





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