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Results 901 - 925 of 657,345
901. Turning Pages Reads: DEW ANGELS by MELANIE SCHWAPP

Welcome to another session of Turning Pages! Synopsis: Nola Chambers is a reminder that her family wasn't always the golden-skinned, fair-haired folk who can stand proud and nearly-white in their village of Redding. Nola reminds her father that... Read the rest of this post

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902. Day Three - Supporting Character

Day Three, I get to talk about a supporting character from my team - which, since I decided I probably agreed more with Tony's logic than Steve's for a change, makes that Team Iron Man.

(For those of you jumping in to participate, you can find the Blog Party rules on Bella's blog.)

The character I became unexpectedly fond of was Spiderman. 

I didn't expect to like him at all. My favourite Spiderman of all times is the first one I ever saw -Toby McGuire. Yes, the effects were terrible. Yes, those movies could have used some work, and I despised MJ. But Toby McGuire was such a cute, sympathetic character as Peter Parker. He was the kind of superhero I could admire. I liked him a lot. (I didn't care too much for the Andrew Garfield remake, and I confess I did not watch the sequel to the Amazing Spiderman. It was mostly that part, where the teacher tells him not to make promises he can't keep, and Peter whispers to Gwen, "But those are the best kind," which completely ruined him for me. I mean, what? You promised a dying man to leave his daughter out of your escapades, and now you're freakin' saying broken promises are the best kind?! That's not cool at all, Bro!)

So, to watch Civil War and realize that, hey, you know what, I kinda like this Peter Parker... well, let's just say I went from violently disliking the idea of Spiderman, to feeling pretty glad he was on Tony's side. (Also, the fact that he's from Queens - that Tony found another kid from Brooklyn to join his team - is cool.)


Plus, he's so genuinely nice. I mean, the first time we even meet Peter, he comes into his house and finds Iron Man having tea and some kind of bread (was it walnut date bread? I think it was walnut date bread) with his aunt, and he's so adorably awkward in that scene. Tony pretends Peter had won some kind of scholarship, and Peter is just terrible at acting along, and I was over there going, well Marvel, I can't believe you have managed to introduce yet ANOTHER Spiderman, and somehow make him someone I might actually like more than Toby McGuire.


Also, during the fight between the teams that I loved/hated (loved because the dialogue was FUNNY, hated because it was friends against friends, and then RHODEY...) it was mostly Spiderman (and Ant-Man) who made the scene less horrible than it could have been.


I liked the freshness Peter brought to the team, the constant geeking out over peoples' suits, armour and abilities, and his overall ingenuousness.

Spiderman - "Are those carbon fiber wings?"
Falcon - "I don't know if you've been in a fight before, but there's usually not this much talking." 
Spiderman - "All right, sorry. My bad."

He was so young, and I liked that we got to skip over the whole "how Spiderman came to be" backstory and went straight to where he had had these abilities for six months, and was now able to apply them. I also liked the little nods to previous movies, like where he says something to Tony that's akin to Uncle Ben's famous line, "With great power comes great responsibility," and how he feels a personal obligation to use his powers to help the "little guy."

I'm glad they cast him younger, too. I almost felt like it was a way for Tony to reconcile his conscience with the boy killed in Sokovia - that by taking this young boy and making him one of his team members, he could make a small restitution. I thought it worked really well, and I'm interested to see how this Peter Parker grows up.

Until next time, that's a wrap!

God bless!



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903. Featured Review: Summer of Supernovas by Darcy Woods

About The Book:   Fans of Jennifer E. Smith and Jenny Han will fall in love with this heartfelt and humor-laced debut following one girl’s race to find the guy of her cosmic dreams.When zodiac-obsessed teen Wilamena Carlisle discovers a planetary alignment that won’t repeat for a decade, she’s forced to...

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904. Rainbow Honey Comb. Day25 of 100 in #100daysofoilcrayon...

Rainbow Honey Comb. Day25 of 100 in #100daysofoilcrayon #lisafirke #oilpastels #sennelier #the100dayproject

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905. Darwyn Cooke Undergoing Palliative Care for Aggressive Cancer

CookeBannerThis morning, the world learned that Darwyn Cooke is undergoing palliative care after a "bout with aggressive cancer."

9 Comments on Darwyn Cooke Undergoing Palliative Care for Aggressive Cancer, last added: 5/16/2016
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906. More questions about Sherman Alexie's THUNDER BOY JR.

As I continue thinking about Sherman Alexie's Thunder Boy Jr., I wonder about the responsibility of the editorial team. Back when A Fine Dessert was published, some people pointed out that the editorial team has responsibilities, too, for the book. Some argued that, in the end, the author and illustrator have final responsibility because their names are on the book. Others countered that they don't have as much authority as one might think. 

This post is some of my thoughts on the role of the editor.

Alexie writes primarily for adults. His name, books, and then his films (Smoke Signals and The Business of Fancydancing) were well known in Native circles. When he wrote The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian he became widely known in children's and young adult literature. In one interview, he said that Diary sold over a million copies. He heard from a lot of readers about how much that book mattered to them, and so, he wanted to do something similar for younger readers. Hence: Thunder Boy Jr.

The first print run for Thunder Boy Jr. is 100,000 copies, which is rare for a picture book. The publisher is Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (they also published Diary). Their decision to print 100,000 copies tells us they expect the book to do well. Its status this morning as "#1 Best Seller" in the Children's Native American Books category at Amazon tells us they were right. 

As I noted yesterday, Alexie is making a lot of appearances. I assume the publisher is paying for all of that. 

Alexie's editor, Alvina Ling, is fully aware of the intense discussions in children's literature regarding the topic of diversity, racism, stereotyping, bias... all of that. She's steeped in the world of children's literature. I think--and I could be wrong--but I think Alvina knows that we're pushing very hard against monolithic images of Native peoples. 

Alexie may not know. When he talks about children's books, his go-to title is The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. That's a really old book. I've never seen Alexie speak or write about a children or young adult book about Native peoples written by a Native writer, so I wonder if he's aware of that particular body of literature? 

In The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian, we know which tribal nation his characters are from. Why is that information missing from Thunder Boy Jr.

Did he think it was too much information to include Thunder Boy's tribal affiliation in the story, somehow? 

Was he unable to figure out a way to do it without yanking readers out of the story? 

If he was writing with a Native reader in mind, did he think that specificity was unimportant?

If Alexie and his editor talked through all of that, I again end up at the place I was yesterday: an author's note would have been the place to address all of this.

It is possible that Alexie didn't know about author's notes in children's literature, but his author knows all about them and why they're important. Is the lack of one ultimately her error?


There is another framework to situate Alexie's book and choices within... There's a contentious conversation taking place amongst Native people, regarding enrollment or citizenship within a federally recognized tribe. Or--rather--the disenrollment of people who were formerly enrolled in those nations. Some weeks ago there was a hashtag campaign objecting to the disenrollments. You can read about it at Indian Country Today's article, 'Stop Disenrollment' Posts Get More than 100K Views.

Read, too, their story on Alexie's views on disenrollment: Sherman Alexie Gives Disenrollment the Bird. Is the lack of specificity his way of embracing kids whose families are being disenrolled?

No doubt, I'll be back with additional posts on Alexie's book. No book exists in a vacuum. It is in the world, being read by people who are also in the world.


See my first post on his book How to Read Sherman Alexie's Thunder Boy Jr.? uploaded on May 12, 2016. 

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907. Warp Zero Is TOMORROW!!!

 A new event but, sadly, I can't go -transport being a big problem.  
But looks like it could be fun. And if you are into vintage toys then this has to be something for you to get to (if you can). 
According to organiser Fred Yee it will be " the highest concentration of 70s-80s toys anywhere in London this weekend."   Now, seriously, HOW can you not want to go there???
 Don't forget to look for Warp Zero on Face Book!

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908. Browner Knowle At Comica Comiket TOMORROW!

Comica Comiket is tomorrow! You can find details here:http://comiket.comica.london/latest-news/

I only -ONLY- mention this as Mr Paul Ashley Brown will be there selling his latest Browner Knowle there and will be at the House of Illustration event there.

If not for Mr Brown's presence I'd not mention this at all since I am, obviously, beneath the organisers high ideals.

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909. Flogometer for Stephanie—are you compelled to turn the page?

Submissions Welcome. If you’d like a fresh look at your opening chapter or prologue, please email your submission to me re the directions at the bottom of this post.

The Flogometer challenge: can you craft a first page that compels me to turn to the next page? Caveat: Please keep in mind that this is entirely subjective.

Note: all the Flogometer posts are here.

What's a first page in publishingland? In a properly formatted novel manuscript (double-spaced, 1-inch margins, 12-point type, etc.) there should be about 16 or 17 lines on the first page (first pages of chapters/prologues start about 1/3 of the way down the page). Directions for submissions are below—they include a request to post the rest of the chapter, but that’s optional.

A word about the line-editing in these posts: it’s “one-pass” editing, and I don’t try to address everything, which is why I appreciate the comments from the FtQ tribe. In a paid edit, I go through each manuscript three times.

Mastering front 100WshadowBefore you rip into today’s submission, consider this checklist of first-page ingredients from my book, Mastering the Craft of Compelling Storytelling. While it's not a requirement that all of these elements must be on the first page, they can be, and I think you have the best chance of hooking a reader if they are.

Download a free PDF copy here.

Were I you, I'd examine my first page in the light of this list before submitting to the Flogometer. I use it on my own work.

A First-page Checklist

  • It begins engaging the reader with the character
  • Something is happening. On a first page, this does NOT include a character musing about whatever.
  • The character desires something.
  • The character does something.
  • There’s enough of a setting to orient the reader as to where things are happening.
  • It happens in the NOW of the story.
  • Backstory? What backstory? We’re in the NOW of the story.
  • Set-up? What set-up? We’re in the NOW of the story.
  • What happens raises a story question.

Caveat: a strong first-person voice with the right content can raise powerful story questions and create page turns without doing all of the above. A recent submission worked wonderfully well and didn't deal with five of the things in the checklist.

Also, if you think about it, the same checklist should apply to the page where you introduce an antagonist.

Stephanie sends the first chapter for Soldiers, a science fantasy. The rest of the chapter follows the break.

Mara had never considered having a different life. Not even after the violent vision of her abrupt death.

Her home within the base walls was safe, at least for the moment. The humid, tropical air as embracing as she imagined a hug, down to the moist exhale upon her cheek. The greyed skies and warm rain accepted her demeanor, and comforted, crying, sometimes, so she didn’t have to.

She did wish for some changes, minor things similar to desires overheard in others’ thoughts. It was normal to want a few alterations.

Losing her ability to see the future wasn’t one of them. That saved lives. Protected soldiers and cadets, like Randall. Helped keep civilians safe. But, if she could, it’d be nice to avoid the glances and thoughts of the other Visionary apprentices. To quiet her mind of the in-suppressible deluge of jealousy and distrust whenever the topic of Mara Miller gained attention: the Silent One.

“Miss Miller,” her teacher said at the front of the class. “Please share your thoughts as we cannot hear you.”

Even her teachers liked to remind those within hearing range. The class joined in. Thought-comments on the Favored One. The Powerful One. No longer droning reflections of the class’s lesson streaming through her head.

Were you compelled to turn the page?

Good writing and immersion into a scene here, though there were clarity issues for me a couple of times. As you’ll see after my notes, there was something from a later page that would have gone a long way to introducing this character in an intriguing way. And then, if at all possible, raise a story question about what might happen next. As it is, the only question is what her answer would be to sharing her thoughts, but there are no stakes or consequences suggested for what will happen if she does.

As it often happens with fantasy, there’s a urge to set up the “world” and its operating principles. That’s what most of this chapter is—setup. My suggestion would be to cut down on the elegant expressions of thoughts and ruminations and have something happen. At the end of the chapter, another student is introduced, along with a coming trail of Mara’s abilities. I suggest that that’s the place where this story starts. Weave in other elements as something happens to her in that trial that could lead to serious consequences. An almost from me, but all the setup discouraged me. Notes:

Mara had never considered having a different life. Not even after the violent vision of her abrupt death.

Her home within the base walls was safe, at least for the moment. The humid, tropical air as embracing as she imagined a hug, down to the moist exhale upon her cheek. The greyed skies and warm rain accepted her demeanor, and comforted, crying, sometimes, so she didn’t have to. Something missing here? “as embracing as she imagined a hug would be”?

She did wish for some changes, minor things similar to desires overheard in others’ thoughts. It was normal to want a few alterations.

Losing her ability to see the future wasn’t one of them. That saved lives. Protected soldiers and cadets, like Randall. Helped keep civilians safe. But, if she could, it’d be nice to avoid the glances and thoughts of the other Visionary apprentices. To quiet her mind of the in-suppressible deluge of jealousy and distrust whenever the topic of Mara Miller gained attention: the Silent One. This sentence fragment didn’t work for me. I think it’s too far from the “it’d be nice to avoid” setup. And who is the Silent One?

“Miss Miller,” her teacher said at the front of the class. “Please share your thoughts as we cannot hear you.”

Even her teachers liked to remind those within hearing range. The class joined in. Thought-comments on the Favored One. The Powerful One. No longer droning reflections of the class’s lesson streaming through her head. Remind them of what? Is it that they can’t read her thought? For me, this could be a lot more clear. I have no idea what the references to the favored and powerful one mean. Are they meant to describe her? I suspect so, but that’s not as clear as I’d like it to be.

Here is the intriguing bit I’d like to see on the first page, but only if it can immediately lead her into having a desire for something and trouble ahead as a result.

But, as it often did since she first saw her last day, that final moment of life before she vaporized into a red mist, her death shadowed her entirely.

Ms. Ronam strode forward and stopped before the desk, her gaze zeroed in upon Mara’s wrist. Mara looked, and found her fingers pacing the expanse of skin where she knew, someday, someone would put a bracelet there and it’d explode.

Your thoughts?

For what it’s worth.


Submitting to the Flogometer:

Email the following in an attachment (.doc, .docx, or .rtf preferred, no PDFs):

  1. your title
  2. your complete 1st chapter or prologue plus 1st chapter
  3. Please include in your email permission to post it on FtQ.
  4. Note: I’m adding a copyright notice for the writer at the end of the post. I’ll use just the first name unless I’m told I can use the full name.
  5. Also, please tell me if it’s okay to post the rest of the chapter so people can turn the page.
  6. And, optionally, include your permission to use it as an example in a book on writing craft if that's okay.
  7. If you’re in a hurry, I’ve done “private floggings,” $50 for a first chapter.
  8. If you rewrite while you wait for your turn, it’s okay with me to update the submission.

Were I you, I'd examine my first page in the light of the first-page checklist before submitting to the Flogometer.

Flogging the Quill © 2016 Ray Rhamey, prologue and chapter © 2016 by Stephanie



She tried to ignore them. Visualized moments of stillness watching the fog gather above the rainforest canopy. The silence of her house, placed exactly there upon a rolling hill. And no one near to intrude purposefully or inadvertently upon her thoughts.

But, as it often did since she saw her last day, that final moment of life before she vaporized into a red mist, her death shadowed her entirely.

Ms. Ronam strode forward and stopped before the desk, her gaze zeroed in upon Mara’s wrist. Mara looked, and found her fingers pacing the expanse of skin where she knew, someday, someone would put a bracelet there and it’d explode.

Her fingers knew the pattern, the design, the textures as they swirled and twisted over the bangle’s surface. Knew the way it hung on her wrist, and how far it’d travel up her arm or down her hand when she moved. Curiosity inquired if it would slide off, but as her future self lacked the knowledge of its true purpose, future Mara merely existed one moment and then didn’t the next.

No beep.

No click.

No held breath or pregnant moment of expectation.

All stolen from her.

Though the castle windows hung wide open and the sun streamed through, glinting off the gold and silver of her phantom bracelet, Mara shivered with a gust of icy air. She shifted her legs and a slough of snow chilled and suffocated movement.

She pressed her palms to her thighs and squeezed her eyes closed, only to snap them open, nearly transported into that moment. She couldn’t bear a Flash right now.

“Do you need a meditation room?” Ms. Ronam asked. Her thoughts spoke of Mara’s distraction. It’s selfish to focus on your own death.

At the beginning of class, Mara plucked the lesson plan from Ms. Ronam’s mind. About twenty minutes in, her teacher should have been discussing the pursuit of vision outcomes. So the opinion Ms. Ronam desired was —

A thought interrupted: Why would anyone want to think of their own death?

Who said that?

She wants to quit her duty.

The thoughts only intensified. She needed them to stop.

Others don’t see their own deaths.

Everything about her is different.

She wants to die.

“I don’t!” Mara blurted, though she stood as was proper, a trained reaction if there ever was one.

The thoughts quieted, waiting for Ms. Ronam’s reaction but their teacher had received a message and shifted to the side to answer. Distant thoughts of fear at being reproached circled carefully chosen words. She. Can. Be. Sent.

The class returned their attention to Mara and she wondered what was wrong with her today. She didn’t share her thoughts willingly. They were the only thing hers.

What’s she going to say? The class inquired, some eyes watching her. Others staring at their desks or out the castle windows, feigning lack of interest, but keenly in tune to her present state.

A lesser Visionary apprentice held her arms around herself, uncomfortable with the topic. She felt no animosity toward the Speaker of all the Visionary apprentices, nor understood why they would elect Mara into the position and yet be so critical of her.

Mara concentrated on the girl, an almost oasis in a sea of judgement. “Soldiers are what we most often see die. Sometimes we tell them so that they are aware. They must cope with that knowledge. Why is it any different that we shouldn’t know, that we shouldn’t cope? That it can’t be thought of. ”

Why would anyone want to be like the soldiers?

Mara couldn’t determine who thought that. Ms. Ronam shuffled to the front of the classroom, the long skirt of her uniform flapping around her ankles. “Knowing when you’ll die serves only as a distraction, Miss Miller. You are supposed to focus on the deaths of the military, to save them. The rest is unnecessary.” Ms. Ronam turned to her notes. Where was I?


Ms. Ronam fixed a hard gaze upon Mara and pointed to the red, block letters on the grey, stone wall.  “See the Future. Report the Vision. Save lives.”

The class repeated the mantra. 

“Save.” Ms. Ronam clasped her hands together. “With no death, no coping.”

“But there is —”

“Miss Miller.” Sit. Ms. Ronam turned and changed the information on the holo-board. Glancing back at her, and registering that Mara was still standing, she went on. “Vision Outcomes, Miss Miller. We aren’t to chase after outcomes. Or attempt to avoid them. Tell me why.”

“Past experience says that pursuit of outcomes sometimes strengthens a vision’s chances of becoming Inevitable.”

“Exactly. And, by keeping to this, we haven’t had an Inevitable in 182 years.” Ms. Ronam glanced at the door, as she turned back to Mara once more. “You are dwelling on the emotional side of things. Emotion gets us nowhere. Makes us afraid. Makes us attempt to make a difference by actively avoiding a vision outcome.” 

“But that’s not what I’m saying.”

“You will sit now.” Save such a discussion for your Controversial Combat Strategies or debate classes.

All thoughts were on her: Will she listen? Or will she continue to act like she can do whatever she wants?

As if that was true.

Another shiver prickled Mara’s flesh. Reliving a vision in a Flash would make everything worse. Make her seem weak. Needy of attention. She bowed her head slightly and went to sit.

A clear voice came from the door. “Mara Miller, there you are.”

Mara spun toward the doorway where Head Visionary Thora Yung stood with a gaggle of assistants in the hall. “Madame.”

The class followed suit in unison with their thoughts.

Ms. Ronam stiffened and bowed low. We were discussing the pursuit of vision outcomes before Miss Miller decided to side track us with her thoughts on death, specifically her own.

I see,” Thora said. The older woman approached Mara. “I remember you as being quieter in your opinions, Mara. I suppose your position as Speaker forced such a change.”

Mara bowed deeper and remained bent. “Apologies, Madame.” Her black hair fell over her shoulders and obstructed any glimpse she might have stolen at the highest ranked Visionary in a thousand miles.

A pair of delicate boots came into view, nothing like the cadets and apprentices that trained here at Paragon Warfare Academy for final placement. A bit military-utilitarian in style, and lacking serious function for one that never came close to a single bullet fired, or even prisoner detained. Madame Thora rarely left the protective confines of the Visionary Complex, except to visit other Visionary facilities, and of course, to see Mara.

A thin finger lifted her face and Mara met Thora’s intense green eyes with her own darker shade.

Hm. She’s upset. Perhaps she’s in need of a meditation room. Thora removed her hand and most likely the attempt to tap deeper into Mara’s essence. Behind her, one of the assistants began registering meditation permissions to Mara’s records.

Thora turned partially to the singular man within the assistants. “Our very best Visionary and she’s only an apprentice.”

A military liaison.

Mara swallowed. What did the military want? Did they come for her? The echo off his mental wall, something all soldiers were trained to do only churned the fear in her gut.

She wasn’t centered enough to do anything for the military.

Thora moved on quickly, and spoke to Ms. Ronam. “We should explore ideas here, should we not? Miss Miller, why don’t you go on? Finish what you were going to say about death and emotions.”


The man’s attention brought goosebumps to her arms. She needed quiet. A meditation room, just like they both said.

Go on, Mara. Thora’s expression was reassuring, her tone, however demanding.

“We cannot detach from emotion. It is necessary in order to see motivations behind actions. To help us understand. Allows us to use the information within our visions to train and prepare and expect what may have once been unexpected.” Like explosive bracelets.

“Yes,” Thora said, taking steps around the outside of the class, listening to the thoughts of other apprentices. “It is about being prepared for anything. And while we may want to avoid our emotions when we see our friends and our family as subjects in our visions because we spend the most time with them, we should not detach from that. Balancing the careful calculations we are forced to suffer, picking who we, as a whole, can survive losing and then making that sacrifice is quite hard on us all.” All of us.

A reprimanding gaze shifted over every student and Ms. Ronam, but rested on the young apprentice that had been Mara’s momentary oasis. Thora set her hand on the girl’s shoulder. You must learn to assert yourself. The military will try to push and take all they can from you. It is much worse than these girls.

The girl was ashamed but resilient. Yes, Madame. I will try harder.

Now,” Thora said, stepping away toward the doorway and her assistants. “Why does it seem that there are no Cadets in this class.” No boys at all, only twelve girls, circled with their desks. “Where is Cadet Randall Rex?”

“He, uh, skips this class,” Mara whispered.

Thora pinched the bridge of her nose and closed her eyes. “The Military-Visionary relations program we are attempting requires a cadet.” The design of the immaculate black braid styled on the back of Thora’s head could be seen as she turned toward her closest assistant. A slow breath hissed out through her teeth. How is it the Senior Cadet Commander of all five year levels of U’gen cadets skips his classes?

“Madame, class operates better without the U’gen present,” Ms. Ronam said. “In exchange, he attends office hours for review. The class is open for him, but both Visionary and U’gen parties prefer this. The arrangement was made with the backing of both Military commanders and PWA Visionary Liaisons, in addition to our Head Mistress, Olair.”

“Is that so?” Thora frowned. The point of the program was so they work together. Cadet Rex should be attending the set classes for Military-Visionary relations chosen at the beginning of their schooling, or else four years have been wasted. Thora’s voice was sharp in Mara’s head, as she directed it at Ms. Ronam.  It startled her as it was not often Madame Thora’s thoughts could be heard so clearly for Mara. She had no idea if it was different for others, but Ms. Ronam seemed to have no difficulties hearing Madame Thora’s voice in her head.

The pairs work together well on a practical basis, Ms. Ronam said. All eight individuals operate within our standards, supervised by both Headmasters. Mistress Olair worked with the Headmaster Commander to form acceptable changes, as the Cadets are called away for readiness exercises. I assure you, Mara Miller and Randall Rex work together perfectly.

I hope so. Thora took a step forward. They are required to demonstrate their ability during the upcoming Night Mission. It is the very first test of their union, to be monitored by the base commanders of all four bases under Visionary protection, our protection.

Mara bowed her head again and interjected. “Madame, if you will allow me, I will get him as you require.”

Thora waved her hand, excusing Mara, and stepped forward to continue speaking privately with her teacher. Should they fail, we… All Visionaries would suffer from this. Their compatibility must be expert…

Mara stepped past the Military liaison, out into the hall, closed her eyes to the wood paneling and stone of antiquity, the ancient castle that was their school, and forced her mind to focus.

Where was Randall?

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910. sport utility vehicle

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911. Dan Evans promoted to VP, Creative Affairs at DC 

Respected animation veteran Dan Evans has been promoted to the position of VP, Creative Affairs at DC, where he’ll review the use of DC characters in other media. Evans’ resume includes stints at Nickelodeon and Marvel Animation, so he brings a wide portfolio to the position. His previous position at DC was Creative Director. HE’ll […]

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912. Stuffed animals in the library

Stuffed Animals DSCN0033 Stuffed animals in the children’s area:  Love ’em  or hate ’em?

Most libraries have at least a few stuffed animals. Perhaps you use one as a “stand-in” during lapsit storytime.  Perhaps you have a “character” stuffed animal that makes an appearance at storytime.

But what about those other stuffed animals? You know, the ones that just “hang out” in the children’s area?  Are they beloved initiators of imaginative play or are they germ-carrying, dust-collectors sparking possessorship wars?

Share your opinion in our one question poll:  Love ’em or hate ’em?

 Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.

The poll will be up all month. I’ll share the results, your comments (leave them below), and my own opinion, in June.

Please share with your colleagues.  I’d like a big sampling.




Image credit: MorgueFile

The post Stuffed animals in the library appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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913. Hey, things look a bit different around here …

catconfusedHello, dear writers! We’ve done some tidying up around here.

Not a whole lot has changed — mostly back-end stuff to make things work better. But if you can’t find what you’re looking for, try search. And if you have any questions or comments, please use the feedback form to let us know. Of course, we’re happy for suggestions, too.

Happy writing!

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914. It’s like #Sherlock is reaching through the bottom of the...

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915. Cynsational News & Giveaways

By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

The One and Only Ivan: Meet the Author Book Reading from TeachingBooks.net. Peek: "Katherine Applegate introduces and shares some of the backstory for creating The One and Only Ivan."

Empowering Parents to Increase Literacy in the Home by Sarah Walzer from Lee & Low. Peek: "...by age 3, low-income children have heard 30 million less words than their middle income peers, so we know that too many children do not experience the quality verbal interaction they need to succeed. Parent (primary caregiver)-child interaction is critical to closing this word gap and preparing children for school."

Lifting the Cone of Silence: ALSC Awards & Confidentiality by Travis Jonker from School Library Journal. Peek: "...it would be fascinating to know the details of how a book ends up an award winner – you know, the other books that were in consideration, how the voting went – that kind of thing. One the other hand, it could potentially turn the awards into something else." See also For Librarians: How Do You Raise Awareness of Summer Reading in Schools by Amy Koester from ALSC Blog.

Agent Interview: Ronnie Ann Herman by Natalie Aguirre from Literary Rambles. Peek: "The Herman Agency is definitely a boutique agency and will remain as such. My daughter, Katia, has joined the agency and is representing middle grade and YA authors."

Writing When It's Not Like a Movie by Joe Eberhardt from Writer Unboxed. Peek: "Not only do I not see movies as I write, I can’t visualise, well, anything. At all. I don’t even dream in pictures. I have absolutely no concept of what it would be like to see things that no one else can see."

Debunking the Myth of the 10,000-Hours Rule by Maria Popova from Brain Pickings. Peek: "Anders Ericsson, the Florida State University psychologist whose research on expertise spawned the 10,000-hour rule of thumb, told me, 'You don’t get benefits from mechanical repetition, but by adjusting your execution over and over to get closer to your goal.'"

A Cure for Writer's Block? A Deadline. by Carla Killough McClafferty from Teaching Authors. Peek: "The challenge is figuring out which idea is the right idea to become my next book. Is the idea marketable? Has the topic been written about thousands of times? Are there any books on the topic? If not, why not? And is this a subject I can think about every day for the next several years?"

Six Rules That Keep Critique Partnerships Golden by Dee Romito from Writers Helping Writers. Peek: "If there’s something you don’t understand or you feel like something’s missing or unclear, ask about it. Writers are sometimes too close to their own work to see it."

Story-to-Contract & Cherokee Children's Writing: Interview with Traci Sorell by Suzanne Slade from Picture Book Builders. Peek: "If you approach your creativity and the process of writing from a place of gratitude, it opens you up. You will be more aware of story ideas, available to hear critiques that improve your craft, and connected to others around you in the kidlit world. Gratitude opens up receptivity."

The Heart of the Story from Janet Fox. Peek: "Here’s an exercise I’ve used to understand what drives me, what desires I have and therefore what desires will rise through my work and reach readers."

Use Guest Blogging to Promote Your Book by Beth Hayden from Jane Friedman. Peek: "By offering popular bloggers a guest post, you’re giving them something valuable (high-quality content) instead of asking for a favor (asking them to review your book). You’re considerably more likely to get a positive response than if you’re just requesting their attention and time."

Celebrating Pura Belpré Winners: Spotlight on Illustrator Susan Guevara by Dr. Sonia Alejandra Rodriguez from Latinx in Kidlit. Peek: "The prevalence of these fashion statements today despite their negative associations and Soto and Guevara’s representations of these markers in their stories are indicators of resistance against dominant narratives."

Don't Accidentally Give Your Characters a Time Out by Lisa Cron from Writer Unboxed. Peek: "Where do these well-developed, story-specific characters go, and how do they keep themselves busy, when they’re not in the current scene?"

How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome by Margaret Dilloway from Writer Unboxed. Peek: "I was extremely shy. The kind of shy that isn’t cute bashfulness, but extreme social anxiety. People mistook me for being extremely aloof, even snobby."

Ninth Annual Children’s Choice Book Awards Winners Announced During the 97th Annual Children’s Book Week from CBC Books. Peek: "Readers across the country voted on a diverse selection of titles for children and young adults that ranged from a picture book about a shark that’s afraid of the dark to issue-driven stories including a novel about a young transgender girl."

Also Known As by Pseudonymous Bosch from The New York Times. Peek: "...as much as I owe to my pseudonym, lately I find that it fits less than perfectly, like an old suit that I’ve outgrown."

Author Interview: Kimberly Reid on Perfect Liars from Lee & Low. Peek: "...we aren’t always trying to throw off the yoke of oppression, dealing with the legacy of slavery or the marginalization that comes with being immigrants. Books from white writers with white leads don’t carry this burden. They can be fun for entertainment’s sake, and that’s just fine."

Cynsational Screening Room

Treat yourself to Pat Mora's 2016 Arbuthnot Honor Lecture. See more information from Ruth E. Quiroa from School Library Journal.

Check out the book trailer for Thunder Boy by Sherman Alexie & Yuyi Morales (Little Brown, 2016). See more information from Travis Jonker at 100 Scope Notes. See also Debbie Reese's related thoughts at American Indians in Children's Literature.

This Week at Cynsations

Cynsational Giveaway

The winners of A Book of Mermaids by Ruth Manning-Sanders were Laura in Indiana, Heather in Washington, Rachel in Texas, Lynette in Massachusetts, and Carlos in Kansas.

More Personally

Congratulations to fellow Austinite Cate Berry on the sale of her debut and sophomore picture books at auction to Donna Bray at Balzer + Bray!

I'm off this weekend to the 2016 Austin SCBWI Writers & Illustrators Working Conference! I look forward to sitting down one-on-on to discuss manuscript critiques and participating in the agents' panel. Note; I still have a couple of 10-minute spots available for $30 career consultations.

For me, highlights will include incoming faculty members art director Kristen Nobles of Candlewick Press and fellow VCFA faculty member Will Alexander!

Thanks to Alison DeLuca for raising awareness in Book Diversity, Goodreads & Native American Representation from Girl Who Reads. Peek: "Publishers need to realize how many Native writers and artists there are. Those authors should be on bookshelves. Children who think Peter Pan's Tigerlily is an authentic characterization need an alternate and accurate view."

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Publishers Weekly already christened Philip Ball’s Patterns in Nature: Why the Natural World Looks the Way It Does as the “Most Beautiful Book of 2016.” In a recent interview he did with Smithsonian Magazine, Ball lets us in on why, exactly we’re so drawn to the idea of patterns and their visual manifestations, as well as what let him to follow that curiosity and write the book. Read an excerpt after the jump.


What exactly is a pattern?

I left it slightly ambiguous in the book, on purpose, because it feels like we know it when we see it. Traditionally, we think of patterns as something that just repeats again and again throughout space in an identical way, sort of like a wallpaper pattern. But many patterns that we see in nature aren’t quite like that. We sense that there is something regular or at least not random about them, but that doesn’t mean that all the elements are identical. I think a very familiar example of that would be the zebra’s stripes. Everyone can recognize that as a pattern, but no stripe is like any other stripe.

I think we can make a case for saying that anything that isn’t purely random has a kind of pattern in it. There must be something in that system that has pulled it away from that pure randomness or at the other extreme, from pure uniformity.

Why did you decide to write a book about natural patterns?

At first, it was a result of having been an editor at Nature. There, I started to see a lot of work come through the journal—and through scientific literature more broadly—about this topic. What struck me was that it’s a topic that doesn’t have any kind of natural disciplinary boundaries. People that are interested in these types of questions might be biologists, might be mathematicians, they might be physicists or chemists. That appealed to me. I always liked subjects that don’t respect those traditional boundaries.

But I think also it was the visuals. The patterns are just so striking, beautiful and remarkable.

Then, underpinning that aspect is the question: How does nature without any kind of blueprint or design put together patterns like this? When we make patterns, it is because we planned it that way, putting the elements into place. In nature, there is no planner, but somehow natural forces conspire to bring about something that looks quite beautiful.

To read more about Patterns in Nature, click here.

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917. Drop Literally Everything You’re Doing and Read “Lady of the Shard” Right Now

Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 2.31.38 AMPlease go read Lady of the Shard, the new comic by Gigi D.G. as soon as you can in the best space available to you.

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918. Comic: The Scrabble Addict

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919. 23 Random Images from Recent School Visits — Just for Fun

I’ve been visiting schools lately as a guest author, speaking to grades K-8, traveling from Buffalo to Binghamton, Rochester to Wallkill, and places in between. Here’s a variety of images from those visits. Maybe this composite will offer an inkling of the “school visit” experience. I especially appreciate the posters and student artwork that’s created in anticipation of “the big day.” Feeling honored, grateful, and a little fried. (And, yes, still full from my first taste of “breakfast pizza” — it’s a Buffalo thing.) Thank you all for making these visits possible. I know that someday the phone won’t ring, there will be no invitations, no email queries. For now, during these good times, I feel privileged to be welcomed into so many schools, and to see those young faces, and to try to make each place I visit just a little bit better than it was the day before.







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920. Watch the Trailer for Michael Dudok de Wit’s ‘The Red Turtle,’ Debuting At Cannes

It's the first European film that Japan's legendary Studio Ghibli has co-produced.

The post Watch the Trailer for Michael Dudok de Wit’s ‘The Red Turtle,’ Debuting At Cannes appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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921. What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week, FeaturingPeter Brown, Milan Pavlovic, and Jillian Tamaki

“There was only one place Brightbill could have gone. The robot gravesite.So Roz galloped northward.”— From Peter Brown’s The Wild Robot   “‘He’s here!’ she yelled, and ran outside. The moment her father stepped out,Gertie threw her arms around him, and hehugged her back so hard he lifted her off the ground.”— From Kate Beasley’s […]

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922. Flamecaster: Review

Some things Flamecaster contains: spies, blood-drinking assassin priests(!!!), magic, dragons(!!!!!), intrigue, deception, and heartbreak. Oh, that heartbreak. It’s interesting both that the author chose to return to the same world as a previous series, and also was not at all afraid to wreck some heavy damage in the lives of previously established and beloved characters. Things have not been happy for Raisa and Han in recent times. Their eldest child, and heir to the throne, was killed in combat not too long before the start of the book. You wander along thinking, “Yes, this is pretty bad.” And then it gets worse: Yes, she goes there. But I admire this for the boldness of it, if nothing else. And also, When I saw the first synopsis for this book, and its heavy mention of Adrian sul’Han, I must admit I was worried! One of the things I enjoyed so much... Read more »

The post Flamecaster: Review appeared first on The Midnight Garden.

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923. Nostalgia

I don't like nostalgia unless it's mine. Lou Reed
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/nostalgia_2.html
I don't like nostalgia unless it's mine. Lou Reed
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/nostalgia_2.html

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924. My tweets

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925. Sneak Peek: The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You by Lily Anderson

  Today we're excited to offer a sneak peek of Lily Anderson's The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You!  Below you'll find more about Lily and her books, plus an excerpt!   For girls who devour comics, overanalyze Doctor Who, mourn the cancellation of Firefly, and are competitive brainiacs, THE ONLY...

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