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Viewing: Blog Posts from All 1547 Blogs, since 12/19/2007 [Help]
Results 37,176 - 37,200 of 162,283
37176. My blog crush is back!

One of the influences and inspirations of this blog is Li and her blog GAL Novelty. Li took a long break from the blogosphere but is now back with a new blog, A World of Paper Hearts. Check it out! ~^o^~

6 Comments on My blog crush is back!, last added: 10/25/2011
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37177. Gift Card Giveaway Hop Sign Ups


The Gift Card Giveaway Hop will run from Dec. 9th to 13th.  
Thanks to Peep from Attack of the Book for co-hosting. 


The Gift Card Giveaway Hop is just in time to help with with last minute holiday shopping!! 

What is a giveaway hop?
Simple - Each participating blog hosts a giveaway and then we link up together allowing our followers & blog readers to hop easily from one giveaway to another.
For blog readers this means lots of chances to win.
For blogs hosting a giveaway it means lots of new visitors.
It's a win-win!

Each participating blog will host their own giveaway. There is no requirement on the minimum or maximum value of your giveaway. It's up to you to decide.


Your giveaway must be for a gift card, it does NOT need to be book related.  The only exception is that you can give away a book shipped from the book depository (they don't have gift cards).  


Amazon.com, Wal-Mart, Costco, Barnes & Noble, McDonalds, Starbucks -- almost anything goes in this Gift Cards Only Giveaway Hop. (please ensure it is "family friendly")


Please specify in your post whether you will be emailing them an e-giftcard or mailing one to them through the postal service.

All participating blogs will be linked up through a Giveaway linky.
Please keep the process to enter your giveaway as simple as possible.
This hop has a limit of 6 entries per person.  1 mandatory entry and up to 5 optional entries.

As you prepare your giveaway post please remember the following:
1. The Gift Card Giveaway Hop Images needs to be part of your post.
2. Include the linky list with all the participating blogs at the end of your post OR link to this giveaway hop page or the post on Attack of the Book.
3. Keep It Simple!! Keep the way to enter your giveaway as simple as possible. 1 Mandatory entry and no more than 5 optional extra entries.  All entries must be able to be done on one visit to your blog - Entries such as tweet once a day are NOT allowed (tweeting once is fine).
4. This must be a giveaway specifically for this hop and must run only the 5 days this hop is scheduled.
6. Keep your giveaway easy to find for the 5 days this hop is open. If you post often and your post does not stay near the top of your main blog page then please post a link to your giveaway at the top of your blog or sidebar.  If we can't easily find your giveaway you will be deleted from the linky.

Please mark your calendars. A reminder email will be sent out a few days before the hops starts.

3 Comments on Gift Card Giveaway Hop Sign Ups, last added: 10/23/2011
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37178. More Freebies from Derwent!


Remember when Derwent sent me some samples from their pastel ranges to try out recently? Well, I was a bit cheeky: I figured, 'don't ask, don't get'...

I've often thought that it would be nice if people who come to my SketchCrawl days, who often stick to regular pencils to sketch, could try out new art materials. But it's a costly business, buying media to try out, especially if you don't get on with them and it turns out to be wasted money. So, I asked Derwent if they would be interested in sponsoring us. 


And those lovely folk up in beautiful Cumberland said 'yes of course', and sent me another big box of tricks! There are two huge tins of pastel sticks and similarly big tins of their coloured pencils, plus two sample tins of their Inktense watercolour pencils (I've heard they are great, but never tried them before now), and even two tins of metallic coloured pencils. Good eh?

But that's not all... They also sent us a selection of sketchbooks:


5 Comments on More Freebies from Derwent!, last added: 10/25/2011
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37179. Hour 1 Meme



1)Where are you reading from today?

Cybils books! I'm a first round judge for the Middle Grade/ Young Adult Nonfiction category.

2)Three random facts about me…

1. I can knit while I read.
2. On Monday, a delegation of municipal government employees from Jiangsu Province in the People's Republic of China came to my library. I got to welcome them and answer questions using my Chinese skills. It's the first time I ever really used Chinese at work in a work-related way.
3. I used to live in England. My first job there was the night shift at a call center travel agency. We were, like 50 different travel agencies (Sky, Morgan Stanley, AOL etc) and my computer flashed up which one the customer was calling so I knew how to answer the phone.

3)How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours?

63 (There have been 76 books nominated in my category, but I've already read 13.) I know I won't read all of them.

4)Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)?

Well, I can knit while I read. I hope to finish knitting the baby sweater I'm working on (only the knitting bit, not the weaving in ends/sewing of seams bit) and get cast on for the next baby project, so I can finish it before she outgrows it.

5)If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, any advice for people doing this for the first time?

Alternate your coffee intake with water
Spend 5 minutes every hour doing yoga or crazy dance party or something.
Finger food that you don't have to prep and can eat while reading is key

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

3 Comments on Hour 1 Meme, last added: 10/22/2011
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37180. Monkeying Around

More recognizable than any celebrity to our preschool and younger set, Bobo the Monkey serves as our wildly popular story time puppet mascot. He leads our opening and closing songs and greets the hundreds of program participants in attendance at our busy Hope Mills Branch of the Cumberland County Public Library & Information Center in North Carolina.

For many of these kids, Bobo is the essence of story time. Our Youth Services Library Associate II Sarah Edwards, always thinking of innovative ways to extend the resources available at our high- circulating but smaller community location, decided to revise an idea she learned about at a conference. Our branch’s youth services supervisor Vicki Sheeler worked with Sarah to develop the procedures on just how to continue the library experience right into children’s homes with a special visit from a beloved story time participant. Meet Bobette, Bobo’s long-lost twin sister.

An identical puppet to Bobo (except for the addition of a flowered ankle bracelet she wears), our children can sign out Bobette to take home for a few days. When parents schedule a visit with Bobette, they borrow Bobette and a donated copy of I Must Have Bobo! by Eileen Rosenthal to read; participants are encouraged to autograph the book’s pages. Bobette’s accessories (hairbrush included) as well as a journal accompany the child home and allow the youngster and caregiver to work together to describe the details of Bobette’s visit.

Prep time is minimal. Statistics are maintained by staff and participation by patrons is voluntary (though this monkey has proved as popular as her sibling). There’s no punitive consequence if Bobette suffers a slight mishap during her travels (say an unfortunate run-in with markers), though lighthearted but serious care instructions encourage families to treat Bobette carefully. “Bobette likes to be read to, to have her picture made with you, to be brushed, sung to, and rocked. Bobette does NOT like water, especially bathtubs, pools and oceans, your live pets (unless you are holding Bobette safely in your arms), or to be fed real food. It is OK to feed her pretend food at your tea party or picnic!”

Photos in Bobette’s journal highlight her adventures, from her attendance at a soccer game, to an afternoon at the movies, and even to a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese! These journal photos provided by families are optional, but they foster a shared experience among our participants. Bobette also serves as a natural conversation starter for families about our library programming when parents and kids talk about Bobette’s visit with their friends and neighbors.

Bobette extends the story time experience beyond the walls of our library for our youngest patrons. What story time mascots are a smash hit in your community? I look forward to learning the creative ways you enhance your programming experience for your library’s children!

1 Comments on Monkeying Around, last added: 10/22/2011
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37181. Project Runway Writing Parallels


One of my favorite reality shows is Project Runway. If you’re not familiar with PR imagine the elevator pitch as this - Twelve unknown fashion designers vying for the chance to show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week and win $100,000 to jumpstart their own line. Each week they are given challenges to create fresh, modern, fashion forward designs which are judged by a panel of experts. The culmination of each episode is the runway show, when we find who’s in and who’s out and who goes on to be in the final three (or four depending on how the fashion gods want to go that season) to compete at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week.

I’m drawn to this show for many reasons - the drama, the fashion, but mostly I love to see creative minds in action. It fascinates me how the designers can take seemingly ridiculous challenges – like fashioning a garment out of supplies from a pet store (photo above) – and produce such breathtaking results. They aren’t always breathtaking. Some are downright disastrous and often there are epic fails (which usually produce the most hysterical one-liners from designer Michael Kors.) These components are what make this such an exciting show to watch unfold.

So where are the parallels to writing?


High Stakes – what makes this show so dramatic – other than the multitude of creative personalities – is what’s at stake each week – design something amazing or you’re out. Throw in some crazy materials, time limitations and team members that don’t get along and it’s a recipe for compelling drama.

Apply these same principles to your writing – intense situations, offbeat characters that clash and high stakes which can alter your protagonists life depending on if they meet their goals or not will help you craft a page turner.

Think Outside the Box – When you are limited to buying your design supplies from Petland Discount you have no choice but to think outside the box. How to apply that to your writing?

On every page. In your descriptions…dialogue…plot line…characters. Anything that remotely speaks mundane – think of a way to change it up, make it fresh and ultimately make it yours! Your unique voice.

Don’t Design for the Judges – In every season there’s a designer or two the judges seem to have something against. No matter what they put on that runway, their vision just doesn’t connect with the experts. Inevitably there will be that episode where you’ll see the ill-fated designer struggling with the design because of what the judges told them and suddenly they are more worried about the opinion of the judges than fully fleshing out their design vision. May as well start packing up that sewing kit, dear.

Take out the word judges and put in…editor…agent…market and this easily applies to writing. While it’s important to have an eye on the market, or the wish list of an editor/agent, writing specifically to please someone else will almost always lead to flat, uninspired prose which in turn leads to frustration, rejection and a whole lotta chocolate. If you don’t connect to and/or love your writing, who else will?

Make it Work! – Tim Gunn’s trademark usually uttered after he gently talks a designer off the ledge. Said designer has either completely derailed or is standing with their hands in their hair surrounded by bolts of fabric they suddenly have no idea what to do with.

Ha…that’s me, during revision! This is the wisd

6 Comments on Project Runway Writing Parallels, last added: 10/25/2011
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37182. Happy Halloween

~Happy Halloween~On Oct 30th I will be a guest at the Albany Comic Con in NY.

4 Comments on Happy Halloween, last added: 10/25/2011
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37183. Small Damages, Ruta Sepetys, and a birthday surprise

This morning I did one of those things I try not to do—traveled over to the Amazon page to see if the cover for Small Damages, my summer 2012 novel, has been posted.  It has not, but a separate piece of news was there, something I had not known.  Small Damages, the book that took nearly a decade of my life, was inspired by my travels to Seville, and will be published by one of the most extraordinary houses anywhere, Philomel, is set to come out on my son's birthday.  (For more on the incredible Philomel, go here.)  That is no mere coincidence.  That is perfection.  My son has been with me through every one of the dozens of drafts and, indeed, the book is dedicated to him.

And so I wait to share the remarkable cover with you.  Believe me, it is worth waiting for.  Tamra Tuller, my editor, and her team worked for literally months to produce something that is just so infinitely right that it staggers me.  In classic Tamra style, she also took the time to share the book with her authors Kathryn Erskine (Mockingbird, The Absolute Value of Mike) and Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray).  I had shared Kathryn's words on this blog earlier, along with the treasured words of Rita Williams-Garcia (One Crazy Summer).  

This morning I share Ruta's:
Stunning.  Kephart's lyrical prose lingers with you long after the final page.  I simply didn't want it to end.

3 Comments on Small Damages, Ruta Sepetys, and a birthday surprise, last added: 10/22/2011
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37184. Writers and Authors: The Ongoing Process of Evolving

As every writer knows, creating and increasing visibility is an essential part of the business. Whether you're writing and promoting books or you're a freelance writer, you need to be out there . . . it's never ending.

As we progress on our writing path, we gain insight into what we're doing right and what we're doing wrong. At least hopefully we learn. Sometimes, if we're lucky enough to have the guidance of a writing coach or mentor, we're actually told what might be amiss, or what steps we can take to work more effectively and profitability.

But, no matter how you come to the realization of certain steps you need to take, the most important thing is to actually take those steps.

This is something I've been working on lately. As with a lot of writers, I spin my wheels trying to be everywhere and do everything, but it's not an effective use of time or an effective way of accomplishing what you want to, and it's just plain tiring.

Fortunately, I've been reminded of what I need to do by my writing coach Suzanne Lieurance. I've worked with Suzanne in a couple of different clubs since 2008, and she knows her stuff.

A key to writing success is to have your major writing goals in place and to be focused. What tends to happen though is we forget what out actual goals are - we get sidetracked, or we keep adding more and more goals to our list. This doesn't work.

My three major goals for 2011 are:

1. Working on children's books for publication
2. Marketing my existing books
3. Growing my ghostwriting business

While I've been working somewhat on goals one and three, and working regularly on number three, I'm not being productive enough. The reason: I've added this, that, and the other thing to my list of goals, or just to my workload.

So, although it's the Fall, I'm going to be doing some Spring cleaning. Some of the tasks will be tough, but are absolutely necessary to streamline my workload toward productive and goal attaining strategies.

What tasks will I need to undertake to direct focus back on my major goals?

1. I'll be changing my KarenCioffi.com site to my children's author site. This will entail getting a more 'children's author like' website theme and focusing the site solely on me as a children's author.

2. Establishing this site as my sole writing and marketing information and services site. Since it's pretty well established as this, it won't take too much work - although, I do have a lot of article marketing links directed to KarenCioffi.com. To remedy this, I'll have to have a redirect page there letting folks know this is my primary freelancing site.

3. Eliminate non-productive and non-money-making jobs, and other extraneous goals that are diluting my major goals.

4. Absolutely make time to write children's books - my current WIP is a sequel to Walking Through Walls.

5. Look into school author visits; get the book marketing items I need; write a couple of focused articles on my book topics and post them to the individual book sites to generate more visibility for the books.

5. Possibly reduce the posts here to two times a week,  rather than three times

2 Comments on Writers and Authors: The Ongoing Process of Evolving, last added: 10/22/2011
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37185. Book Launch Party

Last week, after seeing The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master blog touroff to a great start, I introduced the new book to a packed house at my local bookstore: Capitola Book Cafe. One estimate had it at 150 people (truly humbling) two of whom were young girls with their mothers.

As some of you know, my dream is to stand toe-to-toe with the big boys who current reign supreme in the plot world. I want to represent plot from a woman's pov and balance the discussion...

I was thrilled when I was writing the book and my editor never even blinked when I used "she" as the generic reference rather than "he" throughout the book.

I lovingly and predominately showcase women's fiction and women writers. 


That two young girls may read the book while they are still young makes me dreamy and giddy at the same time. Dreamy about the stories those girls will write and giddy about our future as more and more young girls and women find and write their truths. Not the truths we were brought up to believe but our own individual true and creative selves as women and mothers and daughters and wives and sisters and friends.

One of the greatest thrills of the book talk -- besides the 150 people who attended (thank you! I hope soon to have pictures to share) -- came hours after the actual event. Way past midnight, the house quiet and the moon (visions and dreams) bright, I check in on the blog tour and then sweep through the social media and stumble upon a list of tweets  where @plotwhisperer is mentioned several times by the same person with the same Twitter icon for each tweet in the sequence.

A woman and writer in the audience tweeted about the event in real time. I had the chance to review the night through her list of tweets. 

I don't know but something tickles me about that -- live, social commentary.

This has been an amazing week. 

Thank you for coming along on the whistle stop book tour. At least 4, perhaps 5? books were given away last week. I'm hoping for as many or more in this next week beginning on Monday and running everyday through Friday. 

I hope to announce a surprise blogger on Monday who will compliment Shreve's st

6 Comments on Book Launch Party, last added: 10/25/2011
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37186. The Phantom Tollbooth: 50th Anniversary (ages 9 - 12)

A few books stand out to me from my childhood - books that were rafts I sailed on in my imagination, journeying from place to place, carrying me away from all my cares and worries. A Phantom Tollbooth brought me so much joy as I journeyed with Milo and his trusty watchdog Tock. I loved the wordplay, the thinking, the puns, the secret jokes I could figure out. Tonight, I started reading this with my 10 year old and it brought me right back to that sense of joy I had as a child.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of The Phantom Tollbooth. Random House is publishing a wonderful anniversary edition of this classic book, including new brief essays from authors, educators and artists such as Philip Pullman, Suzanne Collins, Jeanne Birdsall, Mo Willems, and more.

The Phantom Tollbooth 50th Anniversary Edition
by Norton Juster
illustrated by Jules Feiffer
NY: Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2011
to be published October 25, 2011
ages 9 - 12
available at your local library, favorite bookstore, and on Amazon
Filmmaker Hannah Jayanti is making a documentary film about this amazing book: The Phantom Tollbooth Turns 50. Jayanti's project is being funded in part through Kickstarter, a fundraising website that I first heard about through Greg Pincus of The Happy Accident. Watch this trailer and see how it brings you right back to reading The Phantom Tollbooth:


The Phantom Tollbooth Turns 50 - Documentary Trailer from Phantom Tollbooth Documentary on Vimeo.


From the Kickster website, here's a description of the project:
"The Phantom Tollbooth turns 50 this year, and we've joined Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer, Milo and Tock, and a host of authors, critics, teachers and kids - to celebrate the classic 1961 children's book, by making the definitive documentary film about this beloved work of the American imagination. Check out www.thephantomtollboothturns50.com for more info."

With conversations - and banter - from Norto

1 Comments on The Phantom Tollbooth: 50th Anniversary (ages 9 - 12), last added: 10/22/2011
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37187. EVIL EDITOR CLASSICS


Guess the Plot

Don't Forget the Death Ray

1. A team of astronauts arrive in a new world, only to discover the atmosphere is full of poppy-gas that adversely affects their cognition and makes them vulnerable to kidnap by flying monkeys, green women, and singing midgets.

2. Zorpha Qv'naul has had to deal with one too many creeps who think, just because they paid for immersion in the nutrient vats, she should drop her carapace and become brood-host to their natal swarm. So she's written a handbook of practical advice for the single female tentaculoid playing the dating game on Eta Horologii IV.

3. All mad scientist Lysander Schultz wants to do is take over one, maybe two continents so his mother will finally stop complaining he's never accomplished anything. But then Mama Schultz gets wind of the plot and decides her baby boy can't possibly do it without her assistance...

4. What happens to megalomaniacal arch-villains whose powers fade as they proceed into their golden years and find they can no longer remember exactly what they were going to do with the world once they dominated it? This is the story of a most unusual assisted-care facility where, more often than not, weapons of mass destruction are found in the refrigerator rather than in that tray on the dresser where they belong.

5. Ironic hipster Lance McAllister's blog, "Don't Forget The Death-Ray," is a send-up of science fiction cliches and alien abductions. It's all fun and games, until the Reticulons show up and the anal probes start.

6. The ultimate reference work on how to write comic books. Includes invaluable advice like: Don't put an alien's third eye on the back of his head; Never make a spandex costume pink; and of course . . . Don't Forget the Death Ray.



Original Version

I'd like to sell a fun and informative book about how to write superhero novels and comic books. Don't Forget the Death-Ray! would be aimed at readers aged 13-18.

My main writing credential is that I run Superhero Nation, a writing advice website that has had 150,000 readers in the past two years. My superhero writing advice is credible and effective. [Evil Editor is a good name for a superhero who gives writing advice (though my advice is incredible and ineffective). And thanks to my laser vision I can also battle super villains. Here are my arch-enemies:]




7 Comments on EVIL EDITOR CLASSICS, last added: 10/22/2011
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37188. Illustrator Saturday – Colin Throm

This week we have illustrator, Colin Throm. I picked up one of his postcards at the NYC SCBWI Conference in January. It has been sitting on my desk ever since and probably is sitting on a number of art directors who pick one up at the conference, too.

So illustrators don’t let the importance of postcards and getting yourself out there to meet people slip by, you never know where your postcard could end up.

Here’s Colin – Enjoy!:

I have been drawing ever since I was old enough to hold a crayon. Always surrounded by art and children’s literature from Norse mythology to Oz to Dr. Seuss, to this day I hold a love for both classic illustration and cartooning. Though I have spent the past two decades working with computer graphics and multimedia, I prefer to get my fingers dirty with pencil, ink, and paint. Nature provides me with endless joy and inspiration. The vibrant colors, the subtle play of light and shadow, discovering odd faces in trees and stones, even the feel of sun and sky all give me fresh perspective and ideas. The woods, mountains, and seaside are full of wonder and beauty, and are sacred spaces for my wife, Anna, and me. As we enjoy frequent rambles and adventures in the natural places around us, I tap into that same feeling of joy and magic when I return to the studio. From these journeys, my art offers a generous helping of whimsy and fantasy. I am deeply grateful for my wife and lifestyle that support staying in touch with nature, and provide continuing inspiration.

Here is a little bit about Colin’s Process for “Ghost Stories”, the October cover for “Stories for Children” online magazine:

I begin with a series of thumbnail sketches, anywhere from 5 – 10 quick, small compositional ideas. This is where the Art Director and I start the conversation.

I gather or photograph as much reference as possible. I use stock imagery, internet search, photos of wife and family or friends, and photos of myself. In this case, I was particularly interested in campfire lighting effects for hands and faces.

After picking a thumbnail to work with, I create a rough pencil drawing at full size or larger, and in correct proportion to final output. Depending on how I plan to proceed, this drawing may be worked up to a very close-to-final state. Sometimes I draw directly on my final painting surface, which will usually be Arches hot press watercolor paper or Strathmore illustration board. In this case, the drawing is on plain smooth drawing paper, at 150% of final output size. In any event, I will always digitally scan the drawing for future reference before starting to paint. This is especially important if I am going to paint over the original drawing.

One of the most difficult moments in this process is the transfer of my final drawing onto a painting surface. Normally, I use the old-fashi

5 Comments on Illustrator Saturday – Colin Throm, last added: 10/25/2011
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37189. Character Traits Thesaurus: Talented

Definition: a marked innate ability

Causes: a trait one is born with, exposure to many different experiences and activities, a certain amount of dedication to honing the ability (for it to develop into a gift)

Characters in Literature: Peeta and Katniss, The Hunger Games (art/cake decorating and archery); Sam, The Lord of the Rings (gardening)

Positives: Talents make people well-rounded; they add dimension. With so many talents to choose from, they provide innumerable opportunities for creating unique characters. It is their talents, along with their abilities, that make our characters valuable in group and social settings by giving them something to offer, whether they be practical (cooking, sewing, carpentry) or entertaining (singing, painting, acting) in nature.

Negatives: Talented people can come across as smug, disdainful, and over-confident. They are often envied for their abilities, and can easily become targets. Those with talents might wonder whether people are showing true interest in them for who they are, or only because of their abilities. As such, it's not uncommon for very talented people to be insecure, untrusting, and lonely.

Common Portrayals: artists, musicians, athletes, fashion designers, chefs, dancers, authors, actors

Cliches to Avoid: the high school trifecta (talented, good-looking, and smart); the spoiled, entitled Talent; tortured artists; the Talent who is so into his gift, he's completely out of touch with reality

Twists on the Traditional Talent: 
  • Talent, by definition, is at least somewhat inborn. The grain is talent is there, but it is nurtured into fruition by hard work and dedication. How about the talent who really doesn't have to work at it? This could provide some interesting conflict between him and his peers.
  • Instead of talent being inborn, place your character in a society where talent can be chosen. See where that takes you.
  • Talents are often strategically chosen to help a character achieve his goal. But what if a character's talent is what makes success impossible? 
10 Comments on Character Traits Thesaurus: Talented, last added: 10/24/2011
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37190. Future Friday #9: Winner

Congratulations to YA Reader for being randomly selected to win the ninth round of Future Friday giveaways! To claim your goodies, send your mailing address to EmmaNelson4Ever@aol.com. If you don't know who Emma Nelson is, you will when you start reading The Future of Us!

If she could experience any week in history, she would go all the way back...to Thursday.

Yes, of this week.

That way, she could let her St. Louis Cardinals know that the 9th inning is going to be rough.

See ya next Friday for another chance to win an Advanced Reader's Copy of The Future of Us!

1 Comments on Future Friday #9: Winner, last added: 10/22/2011
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37191. Guest Post: DOUBLE CLUTCH Author Liz Reinhardt on Love Triangles (and How She Met Her Husband)

Visual evidence of why love triangles are fascinating.
My book, Double Clutch, is about a lot of different things; growing up, messing up, finding your passions, dealing with hormones, rebellion, love, first crushes. But its stand-out element is the love triangle. It's an element I loved writing, and the one part of the book that brings up the most real-life curiosity. People often ask if the inspiration for Double Clutch came from real life. Were there ever two delicious, amazing guys who adored me, but I just couldn't choose between them?

Um, sadly, the answer is no. 

Sigh!

Well, there wasn't a love triangle involving me and two amazing guys I was head-over-heels in love with. But that didn't mean there wasn't a love triangle of sorts. My love triangle involved a cool guy who I decided wasn't right for really dumb reasons, and the imaginary perfect guy I kept making lists about. (Spoiler alert: I did not end up with an imaginary guy.)

This is a picture of the actual quaint little town I spent many,
many weekends being extremely bored in. Can you see
why I was ready to run, screaming? It would take a
zombie apocalypse to make this place interesting.
.
45 Comments on Guest Post: DOUBLE CLUTCH Author Liz Reinhardt on Love Triangles (and How She Met Her Husband), last added: 10/25/2011
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37192. Playing Hyde & Seek



In 1885 Robert Louis Stevenson wrote “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” We all know the story of the gentleman doctor’s struggle with the creature lurking within him. Some say the story is a study on the duality of human nature; others say it is merely reflective of the constraints of the Victorian era. Either way, it is a story somewhat relatable to all; for who among us has not felt the need to hide our Hyde?

In real life our Hydes are not purposely coaxed out with chemical concoctions, instead they silently, steadily grow stronger each time we try to hide them. The little irritations, the setbacks, the struggles which comprise our daily lives slowly feed the monster. We beat the monster back, place him in shackles, and tell ourselves to be nice. Don’t lose your cool. It’s just a minor glitch. Things will get better. It doesn’t really matter. Then one day our Hyde breaks free wreaking havoc with loved ones or causing illness. With all this positive talk, why does the Hyde grow stronger? Because Hyde needs a hug.

Being a balanced individual does not mean always feeling good, that’s the mistake ol’ Jekyll made--he judged his frustrations, reactions, and desires as bad therefore his two “selves” were in conflict. But it’s our “bad” feelings that tell us so much about who we are. They give us a tool to gauge when a situation isn’t right or the areas where we need to grow. If we are truly seeking balance we must embrace both our Jekyll and our Hyde—they each have a tale to tell.

What raises your Hyde? Do you have an anecdote?
Maybe it’s having your child’s school declare a snow day when you’re facing an important deadline. Or when your mother-in-law announces (for the third time) at a family dinner that you don’t really work and shouldn’t you go find a job? How do you find balance under stress?


by Robyn Chausse

image from movies-wallpapers[dot]net

2 Comments on Playing Hyde & Seek, last added: 10/24/2011
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37193. 2011 Cybils: WITHER, by Lauren De Stefano

Oh, science, you have SO screwed up.Dystopian fiction is always so amusing to me, because In The Future, science has become so very important -- and it sort of controls and compels the characters in the novel. In this case, it's All Out Of Control.... Read the rest of this post

2 Comments on 2011 Cybils: WITHER, by Lauren De Stefano, last added: 10/23/2011
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37194. Dewey's Read-a-thon today!


I'm taking part in Dewey's Read-a-thon today; for the next 24 hours, I'll be reading as much as I can (goodness knows I don't want for books to read). I'll be using this post for all my read-a-thon updates.

14 Comments on Dewey's Read-a-thon today!, last added: 10/23/2011
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37195. Frankfurt Comic-Con 2011

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While 105,000 people converged upon the New York Comic Con last week, some 150,000 booksellers, publishers, and bibiophiles packed the halls at the Frankfurt Book Fair, held October 12-16.

While Germany’s comics scene is not as robust as that of France or the United States, it is one of the major book shows, and features numerous comics events to entice both rights seekers and fans.  Unlike Book Expo America, Frankfurter Buchmesse allows the public to attend on Saturday and Sunday, charging €15.00 for one day, €21.00 for two days, including public transportation!  (Two adults and up to three children can get a family pass for €35.00.)

So imagine Book Expo running for three days, and then add NYCC on the weekend, hold it at McCormick Place, and you get an idea of what happens in Frankfurt every October.  Need a visual?  Here’s the site map. Those aren’t floors or rooms… those are buildings.

lageplan aum en 1024x703 Frankfurt Comic Con 2011

Oh, and it’s been running since Gutenberg perfected movable type in nearby Mainz.

So, all the German publishers (including the German graphic giants Ehapa and Carlsen) show up, as well as publishers and professionals from other countries.  Iceland was the guest of honor this year, next year is New Zealand.  (Hmm… volcanic islands…)  The rights center had an influx of attendees, given the new digital space of publishing.  There was even a “kids and comics” topic in the digital “Hot Spots” Center!

So, amid all these books, what was there for comics?  Well, there was enough to fill a 30-page program book just on comics programming!  Charlie Adlard and Craig Thompson represented Team Comics!

Well, if you read my post from last year, you know that comics awards are presented each year, both for new talent and for fan favorites.

Winners of the German Cartoon Prize for New Talent (Deutscher Cartoonpreis für neue Talente) were selected from 435 entrees, and the top 20 were displayed at the Fair.

First prize was awarded to Piero Masztalerz (http://masztalerz.wordpress.com/) of Hamburg.

2011 06 08 wurstneu 1000 Frankfurt Comic Con 2011

Juergen M. enjoys his work most of all when he can stand alone behind the counter.

3 Comments on Frankfurt Comic-Con 2011, last added: 10/24/2011
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37196. Artistic Devices

Here's an observational sketch of an old guy reading with a magnifying glass.
I used a fat black marker and a skinny pen on smooth paper.
 
The idea, of course, was to group all the darks into a single shape and contrast that with the light line work. I did this sketch about 30 years ago when I was just out of art school.

If I were to do the same drawing again today, I'd probably use a water brush and a fountain pen, and I probably wouldn't have made the artistic device so obvious. 

Although it's a fun idea to contrast a big shape with line, the way I feel now is that if any abstract device gets in the way of seeing the character, it weakens the drawing. This is an aesthetic judgment, and we all differ on such things, but my feeling now is that artistic devices should be concealed and should be a conduit to more universal human values.

3 Comments on Artistic Devices, last added: 10/25/2011
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37197. Who reads writers' blogs? - Anne Rooney

In the late eighteenth century, the French Royal Academy of Sciences and the American Patent Office were so overwhelmed with proposed perpetual motion machines that they banned further designs. I wonder if writers' blogs are a form of perpetual motion machine, where we each comment on one another's blogs in a constant cycle, but there is never any input from, or leakage to, the outside world? Or like a snake eating its own tail?

We are all busily blogging away, encouraged by publishers who want us to have a platform, and buoyed up by good stats and interesting comments. And it's all great fun and we enjoy each other's writings. But who's really watching? We can see who comments, but we can't see who reads and doesn't comment. One of my recent posts on Stroppy Author has had 250+ hits and 8 comments. So I don't know who 242+ of the readers are.

I have a horrible fear that many of the people reading writers' blogs are other writers. That's OK for blogs actually intended for other writers, such as mine, and Nicola Morgan's fine Help! I Need a Publisher. But what about the more bookish or personal blogs? What about this blog? We hope they reach readers, librarians, teachers, publishers, agents, parents, booksellers, and other lovely people who are interested in books, read books and - sometimes - even buy books. But is it true?

If you are a silent reader who never comments, we can't know if we are saying things that you like or not. Or what you would like more of, or less of. So I'm investing my posting slot today to say - please, silent readers, let us know what you like to read on ABBA (and elsewhere). Because we really want to write things you want to read! Which posts do you like best? What do you like to read about? And who ARE you? Thank you!

14 Comments on Who reads writers' blogs? - Anne Rooney, last added: 10/24/2011
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37198. On Halloween by Jenny B. Harris

Jenny B. Harris has created some adorable apps through Interactive Touch Books. The latest is ON HALLOWEEN. Here's a peek:

SO cute!! And Jenny's artwork is so perfect for apps like this. To get them, go to Interactive Touch Books and search for ON HALLOWEEN.

2 Comments on On Halloween by Jenny B. Harris, last added: 10/23/2011
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37199. Small Blogs, Big Giveaway! (4th Edition)


The Biggest International Bookish Giveaway Online


62 prizes split between 5 winners + 6 Gift Card Giveaways!

Follow the event on twitter


HOSTS, Feat. Authors & Other Giveaways

Organized by: *Reading Romances
* Having Other Giveaways During The Event 
Hosts:


*Can't Put It Down

*The Magic Attic

Bona Fide Reflections

*Laurie's Thoughts & Reviews

My Cute Bookshelf

A Writer's Life With Liz Fielding

No Page Left Behind

*Close Encounters with the Night Kind

*Sweeping The USA

*Frugal Experiments

Alexa Loves Books

I Just Wanna Sit Here and Read

Romance Around the Corner

Coffee Beans & Love Scenes

So Many Books, So Little Time

*Sexxy Blogger
Thank you to our featured authors:
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37200. Debra la tardita in her America, of late

un pensamiento por Rudy Ch. Garcia

I know of a little girl whom I call Debra here who struggled to get to school on time. Her record on tardiness steadily grew worse. From a minute or two to five and ten minutes and then half an hour; soon she didn't show up to school at all some days. But not because she was sick.

She inevitably came in with disheveled hair, sometimes displaying frustration and helplessness over her lateness. Her teacher had talked with her and her older sister about what was going on. From the little I'd heard, Debra seemed to be a very capable student who loved learning about the world around her, and threw herself into improving her academic skills. Despite whatever went on in her life that made her late, she maintained an optimistic smile and seemed a happy child.


Unfortunately, in the real world, Debra's mom worked two low-paying jobs, like a lot of Spanish-speaking and other parents, with or without papers. One job required the mom to leave the house at four a.m., with Debra's siblings responsible for somehow getting everything ready and everyone to school on time. It hadn't been working out well.

In that same world, Debra's dad hadn't been born in the U.S. He'd gone through hells to relocate here from another country, like so many on the planet these days. He didn't come to sell drugs or covet and steal others' possessions nor to underbid millions of Americans also desperate for meaningful work. He finally found some manual labor that he worked hard at, often as many hours or more than Debra's mom.

Debra's teacher, whom I've known for years, never considered the child an "at-risk" student. She became instead a bright spot in that teacher's day, a child who often giggled as she wrote small stories, who orally expressed herself quite remarkably for a six-year-old, and eagerly tackled math and more, especially her learning of English.

Her teacher told me that one morning she pulled attendance up on the computer and there stood an X by Debra's name, indicating she'd be missing school again. The sidebar explanation read, "Dad arrested."

Debra's teacher cried.

On the other hand, Obama's minions carved one more notch on their hundreds of thousands of deportees list, more even than his supposedly more evil predecessor Bush had extradited from their workplaces and homes and communities and families. The Republican-Democrat political machine added one more statistic to their tally of see-how-many-illegals-we-catch? And the millions of ignorant American citizens who blame Debra's dad instead of American politicians and corporations for their unemployment, college-loan bills and underwater mortgages, went to bed thinking that arresting Debra's dad would magically turn their own plunging lifestyles around.


Debra's life certainly got turned around; more like, upside down. Getting to school on time will not be the major problem in her life anymore; worrying about her dad replaced that. Wondering how well she is learning English may no longer be an immediate goal for her; that will depend on where she winds up attending school. Why butterflies can fly and how many colors there are in a rainbow might become relegated to the back of her small, growing brain. And I dread to think how long her giggles will be overshadowed by new burdens in her life.
4 Comments on Debra la tardita in her America, of late, last added: 11/13/2011

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