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Results 1 - 25 of 85
1. The Christmas Owl

OwlCover_Kindle_optimized

We are thrilled to announce the release of our latest children’s book, The Christmas Owl.  This ebook is available at a special discounted price of $.99 through November 14th on Amazon.  We have also released this book on Barnes & Noble.  A Barred owl becomes injured and must ask others for help. He promises to give back to those who have a generous heart and he is true to his word.


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2. Trailer park Thursdays — What I learned making 13 on Halloween’s book trailer

The trailer for 13 on Halloween was the second trailer I produced. I learned a lot when I produced my first book trailer for Winnemucca, a small-town fairy tale. Winnemucca’s trailer was a bit long. The standard seems to be right around a minute and a half at the most. It’s crazy how long two and a half minutes can seem. The minute difference really matters to readers/viewers. I’ve been doing a lot of presentations lately on my trailers and wanted to share this one with you because, as you know, I’m a bit of a freak when it comes to Halloween. I love it. I always have. And 13 on Halloween is free everywhere, so if you like reading about a girl who gets a birthday gift that’s literally out of this world, on her 13th birthday which just happens to be on Halloween, you might want to check it out.  When I produce trailers, they help me see my stories in new ways. My process so far involves writing the novel, then designing the cover, then producing the book’s trailer. I love this creative process because it reminds me of a crescendo in music. I begin with all the characters in my mind, then I get to “meet them” visually for the first time in the process of designing the book’s cover. And finally I get to experience the world in a bigger way when I add music and live action footage to breathe even more life into the story.

When my girls were little, I liked to serve dessert or breakfast for dinner sometimes. I loved it when their schools had upside-down days, or inside-out days. I’ve been thinking it would be fun to do the same type of thing with my creative process. Take that crescendo and reverse it. Start with a trailer, then a cover, then write the story. It’s fun to think about. Mixing things up. Trying something new creatively. But, whatever I do, I need to keep it under a minute and a half! LOL!


1 Comments on Trailer park Thursdays — What I learned making 13 on Halloween’s book trailer, last added: 10/11/2013
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3. Wordless Wednesday

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4 Comments on Wordless Wednesday, last added: 6/27/2013
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4. Monday Muse: SFINE (San Francisco Independent Authors Book Signing Event)

Whew! What a fabulous weekend…hung out with some old friends and made some new ones. Thanks to all the wonderful folks who stopped by to say hi!

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Got to meet some wonderful readers like Sabrina! <3

A big shout out to Angela, Sydney & Kate, Carly and Vivian too :D

Hanging with my booth buddies!

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Got to make some new friends who happen to be best selling authors too :D From Left Stephanie Holster, Nikki Jefford and my awesome roomie Bethany Lopez!

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Hanging at The Blue Mermaid with authors Aleatha Romig, Stephanie Holster, Leigh Talbot Moore & their hubbys! Happy anniversary Leigh!

And WHAT would San Francisco be without a little seafood and some awesome live music (& lots and lots of stories :D ) We were joined by the amazing Kris Kendall, Angela Orlowski-Pert, & Diana Murdock too!
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As much fun as all that was…the party continues now, because I came away with some FABULOUS reads I never knew about before and I’m dying to share my SFINE TBR list with you!
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Squeeee! I’m devouring these books as fast as I can! You should check them out too :D

The Consequences Series [ADULT TITLE NOT YA OR NA!!!!!!!] by Aleatha Romig
Thirty Seconds to Die by S. G. Holster
Entangled by Nikki Jefford
Nissa by Bethany Lopez
Forged by Greed by Angela Orlowski-Pert
Again by Diana Murdock
12.21.12 by Killian McRae
Captive in the Dark by CJ Roberts [This book contains very disturbing situations, dubious consent, strong language, and graphic violence]

I hope you find a great read on this list for your own TBR :D What a great way to kick off the summer! And I’m so excited to have all this swag that I thought I’d share a little with you too :D So, if you want some SFINE swag, let me know in a comment here.

More about the book signing this week…until then, what’s been inspiring you lately? I am constantly inspired by a book I read called You Are Your Choices by Alexandra Stoddard. Among the many things Alexandra talks about in the book, she suggests making choices based on Aristotle’s triangle which has three points of consideration: The Good, The Beautiful & The Truth. I’ve been really focused on making my choices being mindful of these three things. It’s really helped me over the past few months. Have a great week! I’ll see you on Wordless Wednesday :D


0 Comments on Monday Muse: SFINE (San Francisco Independent Authors Book Signing Event) as of 6/17/2013 2:41:00 PM
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5. Kids, Please Help Me Color Corte Magore

Coloring Corte Magore

Please have your kids color this page. I’d love it if you shared their art with me on my wall at http://www.facebook.com/toniaallengould


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6. From On-Line to HANDS-ON: Let’s Draw Stories!

Register NOW for Joy Chu's hands-on workshop, Illustrating Books for Children, Wednesday evenings 6:30-9:30pm, 6/28-8/21/13, extension.ucsd.edu, ART 40011. Immerse yourself!

Exercise your art chops!

Summer Solstice! What could be better after a full day’s work (or surfing), or sight-seeing around San Diego, than hunkering down, and drawing pictures with other passionate story-tellers?

We’ll work on hand-on drawing-and-sharing, in class, in person. Examine the latest picture books, plus a few timeless classics. And address aspects of the current children’s book market.


Join us!
Class:        Children’s Book Illustration – ART-40011
Dates:       June 26 – August 21  (9 meetings)
Day:           Wednesdays
Time:         6:30pm – 9:30pm
Location:  Extension, Room 128

Required books: 

Writing with Pictures: How to Write and Illustrate Children’s Books (paperback) :: Uri Shulevitz   ISBN: 9780823059355


Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book of Animals (paperback)
:: Ed Emberley   ISBN: 9780316789790

kitcat_SM

Don’t delay, sign up today!
You may purchase textbooks via the UCSD Bookstore.
extension.ucsd.edu.  Register now.  Ask about ART 40011
Fee:  $250 / $275 after 6/10/13

  


0 Comments on From On-Line to HANDS-ON: Let’s Draw Stories! as of 4/29/2013 5:45:00 PM
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7. New STEAM Books for Kids

Earlier this week, I was doing a little personal research on STEAM books for kids. I hopped over to Google and entered STEAM books for kids. After looking through the 120+ hits on Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel (and a few Steampunk hits), I finally found a reference to a book discussion about STEAM books, and then more pages on Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. When I used quotes, I got one hit… and it wasn’t related to STEAM books.
In November of 2011, in an INK post titled STEM & STEAM – Interesting Nonfiction for Kids, I wrote about the importance of STEM and STEAM in the schools.
I love STEAM books. One of the reasons why I was asked to be a member of this group five years ago was of my outspokenness on art books for kids. So, in regards to my Google search above and going back to my INK roots, I wanted to provide a service to any school, library, teacher, or parent who was interested in STEAM books.

Here are just a few of the latest books that may fall into a Google search for:
STEAM books for Kids
Art books for Kids
Adding art books to library
Awesome art books for kids

It Jes' Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw

by Don Tate, R. Gregory Christie
Lee & Low Books, April 2012

What Is Contemporary Art? A Guide for Kids
by Jacky Klein and Suzy Klein
The Museum of Modern Art, New York October 2012

Sky High
by Germano Zullo illustrated by Albertine
Chronicle Books, September 2012

Colorful Dreamer: The Story of Artist Henri Matisse Marjorie 
by Blain Parker (Author), Holly Berry (Illustrator)
Dial, November 2012

Brushes with Greatness: History Paintings
Brushes with Greatness: Landscapes
By Valerie Boddon
Brushes with Greatness: Portraits
Brushes with Greatness: Still Lifes
By Joy Frisch-Schmoll
Creative Paperbacks, January 2013

A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin
by Jen Bryant
Alfred A. Knopf, January 2013

Mister Orange
by Truus Matti
Enchanted Lion Books, January 2013

Diego Rivera: An Artist for the People
by Susan Goldman Rubin
Abrams Books for Young Readers, February 2013

And, here's a book to be published soon that my be of interest to teachers, educators, and libraries:


From STEM to STEAM: Using Brain-Compatible Strategies to Integrate the Arts
by David A. Sousa and Thomas J. Pilecki 
Corwin, March 2013


In high school when I read The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone, Michelangelo's artistic passion moved me like no other and drew me to the arts. It is my wish that every child have the opportunity to find his or her passion in life - hopefully, through a wonderful book. 

Please, if there are some new STEAM books that I have missed, add them to the comments section. 











3 Comments on New STEAM Books for Kids, last added: 1/31/2013
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8. 2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog. Here’s an excerpt: 19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 130,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that [...]

1 Comments on 2012 in review, last added: 1/15/2013
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9. Don’t Feed The Boy by Irene Latham

5 Stars Don’t Feed the Boy by Irene Latham Illustrated by Stephanie Graegin Pages:  288     Ages: 8 to 12 ……………………. Back Cover:  No kid knows more about zoo life than Whit. That’s because he sleeps, eats and even attends home-school at the Meadowbrook Zoo. It’s one of the perks of having a mother who’s the [...]

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10. Bible Detective: A Puzzle Search Book by Peter Martin

5 stars Bible Detective: A Puzzle Search Book Peter Martin Lion Children's Books 48 Pages   Ages: 4+ .............. ……………………. Are  you a super sleuth? Have you got an eagle eye?  Back Cover:  This book is a treasure trove of fabulously detailed pictures from the world of the Bible. You’ll have hours of fun trying to [...]

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11. Talking Wordles Here

Wordle

Wordle (Photo credit: Oompoo)

I decided to do something different today for a short post. I’ve been writing for submissions today and this is a little poem that I did for the site The Sunday Wordle.

For those who don’t know what a wordle is, here’s how it goes. Choose a group of related/unrelated words–from seven to ten of them–and then write a poem using those words. If you’re not a poem kind of person, write a piece of fiction/non-fiction of no more than 100 words using all of the given words.

Think of this as a writing exercise that anyone can do. It doesn’t matter really how expert it sounds or how off-the-wall. It’s your wordle–make it what you want. One thing you’ll find with that this exercise forces your mind to shift gears and look at how you put things together and how you use language for the meaning you want to transmit.

Take a chance and have a whirl with a wordle. And when you think you’re ready, share it here or jump over to The Sunday Whirl and share there. Enjoy yourself. That’s the main purpose of it all.

Home’s Destination

A link to my port of call,

a deck on which to stand,

as I navigate foreign waters,

I store up scents and sights

to anchor me within time,

to sink into my marrow,

never to wake from this dream,

even as I pitch against the rail

of stern reminders of days gone

missing and lives gone stale of use.

© Claudette J. Young 2012


4 Comments on Talking Wordles Here, last added: 8/9/2012
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12. Talking Wordles Here

Wordle

Wordle (Photo credit: Oompoo)

I decided to do something different today for a short post. I’ve been writing for submissions today and this is a little poem that I did for the site The Sunday Wordle.

For those who don’t know what a wordle is, here’s how it goes. Choose a group of related/unrelated words–from seven to ten of them–and then write a poem using those words. If you’re not a poem kind of person, write a piece of fiction/non-fiction of no more than 100 words using all of the given words.

Think of this as a writing exercise that anyone can do. It doesn’t matter really how expert it sounds or how off-the-wall. It’s your wordle–make it what you want. One thing you’ll find with that this exercise forces your mind to shift gears and look at how you put things together and how you use language for the meaning you want to transmit.

Take a chance and have a whirl with a wordle. And when you think you’re ready, share it here or jump over to The Sunday Whirl and share there. Enjoy yourself. That’s the main purpose of it all.

Home’s Destination

A link to my port of call,

a deck on which to stand,

as I navigate foreign waters,

I store up scents and sights

to anchor me within time,

to sink into my marrow,

never to wake from this dream,

even as I pitch against the rail

of stern reminders of days gone

missing and lives gone stale of use.

© Claudette J. Young 2012


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13. Contests and Other Things Fun

 

The last few days have been interesting ones at Chez Young. Yesterday one of my Haiku poems was placed among the five finalists of a Haiku Poetry Challenge at Khara House’s website “Our Lost Jungle.”  That was exciting. My Haiku poem stood with poems from four other marvelous poets, all of whom I’ve admired for a long time.

Today, my inbox held contests, challenges, and Calls for Submission from websites and publishers of varied types, no few of which were for poetry.

The first was an easy contest from the sense of an entry. It was a give-away contest by J.L. Spelbring (ebysswriter). The prize for this contest was multi-faceted. And you betcha, I’m entered in this one and gladly.  will get copies of Dan Cohen’s book “Masters of the Veil,” either in paperback or PDF, and a chance at a B&N gift card at the end of summer.

The first Calls for Submission came from Robert E. Brewer of Writer’s Digest fame. Okay, so I’m a chump. You guessed it; I’m going for one of these slots, too. Robert’s looking for both how-to articles for the 2014 edition of Writer’s Market. He also calls for poetry to grace that year’s Poet’s Market.  Call me an over-achiever. That’s okay. I am, and I’ll submit here, too. I do write poetry, after all.

To top off all the contests, challenges, and submission calls was Jane Freidman’s Newsletter “Electric Speed” which gave me great writer/reader tools to check out in my leisure time.   How great is that?

With all of this going on, I’m going to be one crazy writer trying to keep up. My book of poetry “The Moon Sees All” is the in the hands of my beta readers, who are getting their responses and critiques back to me throughout this month. I’ll have that to finish off next month before going out to agents/publishers, That excites me as much as anything else.

For all of those writers out there who think they can’t compete, I ask this: how do you know? Have you don’t much of it? If the answer is “NO,” you might be short-changing yourself and your abilities. Remember: the only sure way to fail at something is to never do it. Be a doer, even if you think you can’t be good at it. Until you do, you can’t know.

Have a great weekend, peeps. Soak up the atmosphere wherever you are, smile at yourself as much as you do at others, and do something different wit

6 Comments on Contests and Other Things Fun, last added: 7/22/2012
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14. Flash Fiction is Everywhere

If you’re looking for a lunchtime break with a little fiction of a different type, head over to Two Voices, One Song. I’ve posted a new bit of Flash Fiction there this morning titled “Choices.”

Later today, I’ll have a new, regular post here with pics, but I thought I’d give you all a heads-up about a quick read. Hope you enjoy it. While you’re there, and if you have time, take a look around. There’s plenty to see.

Here’s the link.

http://2voices1song.com/2012/06/25/886/

See you all in a bit. Have a great afternoon, peeps.

Claudsy


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15.

Good Morning, all. I’m excited this morning. A bit of shameless promotion here.

 

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

My Science Fiction Fantasy short story“Destiny’s Decision” was released this morning on Ether Books for download onto iPhones.

 

 

 

It’s a powerful little story that I think you’ll enjoy. To get the app and the story, please look here. Enjoy!

http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/id362070951?mt=8

 

 

 

Have a terrific and relaxing day, peeps. Give your bodies engine a reason to feel good tomorrow and your mind a reason to surge forward with creativity.

 

A bientot,

 

Claudsy

 


6 Comments on , last added: 6/11/2012
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16. The Slow Blog

Breathe, relax, breathe, let it come through.

Breathe, relax, breathe, let it come through. (Photo credit: honor the gift)

I received a terrific and helpful link this morning to an article by Anne R. Allen. In the article she talks about the Slow Blog Manifesto and what it means, as well as what it can do for the writer in general. I’ve fallen in love. I admit it.

For the first time in three years, I’m getting the kind of advice that makes sense to me as a writer of something other than blogs. Anne enumerated the eight Slow Blog Manifesto rules for long-term success as follows:

1) A slow blog has a longer life-span.

2) You reach more people by commenting on other people’s blogs than by madly posting on a blog nobody reads.

3) Busy people are less likely to subscribe/follow a blog that’s going to clutter their email inbox/rss feed every day. 

4) Everybody has bad days. When you have to think of something to say on the day you got that nasty/clueless review/rejection, your emotions are going to leak out.

5) Nobody can come up with that many interesting posts. When you slow blog, and you don’t have anything to say, you don’t have to say it.

6) Writing nonfiction—which is what you should be writing on your blog—uses a different part of your brain from fiction.

7) You write narrative–remember? The blog is supposed to be about getting your name out there as a creative writer. It’s an aid to your serious writing, not a substitute for it.

8) Trying to blog every day is impossible to keep up, so you’ll constantly feel guilty. 

With these rules to go by, I no longer have to feel guilty for not having new material here each day, or on any other of my sites. I can take pride in having one good piece a week that readers can take away and think about and, perhaps, utilize in their own daily activities or thoughts. And readers don’t have be slammed with announcements, notifications, and guilt for not looking in on my blogs each day.

Suddenly numbers of hits makes more sense to me. If I begin living my blogging life by these eight rules, I have more time to work on large projects, give more quality content to my readers, and still feel as if I’ve accomplished something during the week. That’s a big deal around here.

So, for those of my readers who feel pressured to read here each day or even every other day, rest assured that as the month progresses, your labor here is be lessened and, hopefully, you’ll have some terrific things to take away when you do come by. Perhaps you’ll see an interview with an editor you’ve yet

10 Comments on The Slow Blog, last added: 6/8/2012
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17. It’s a Cluster Out There

Today, I want to show you how many writersgo about clustering ideas for

Blank Mind Map–Clustering

story development.

The process is simple. Daydreams draw on it all the time. Draw a circle, square, whatever you like in the center of a piece of paper. Go ahead, draw it. Inside that shape, put a word or group of words designating a specific something; desire, idea, plan, objective, goal, or whatever.

For our purposes here, I’ve put “Main Character—Isabel” in my circle. Now, all I’m going to do is let my mind provide everything it can think of that could be related to this character named “Isabel” and draw a line radiating from the circle to the new word. “short” “dark hair” “tanned skin” “Speaks with an accent” “watery eyes” “clubbed foot” “Orphaned” “City dweller” Hates mice” “Can’t read” “generous nature” “hears voices” “Knows the king” and on and on until I fill the page.

I do this exercise quickly. (Most of the time I do this on the computer with my eyes closed.) I don’t stop to ponder any of my associations or to question where any came from. I only write whatever word comes to mind as quickly as possible to make way for the next word.

When I look back at what I’ve written, I will find anomalies. In the example above, some items are capitalized and some aren’t. Why? What is it about the ones with caps that make them important enough to warrant a capital?

Isabel speaks with an accent. Where does she come from if that is true within this story?

Isabel is an orphaned city dweller who can’t read. Why is it critical that I know this about this character?

Isabel knows the king. How does she know the king? Now that’s helpful and important. So, why are the other pieces important, too?

Without answering these questions, I’ll move on to the plot cluster to see if I can find answers there.

Plot Idea Cluster center–(Isabel’s story) “Taken from the king’s household during infancy” “Related to the king” “lives in the weaver’s quarter” “indentured to Master Weaver Challen” “Doesn’t go out in the daytime” “King has ordered a celebration for his son’s birthday” “City faces a dread disease”

Lots of capitals here. Let’s see what I have now. Isabel, disabled with a clubbed foot, lives in the capital city where the king has just ordered the celebration of his son’s birthday and at a time when the metropolis faces a dread disease. An indentured person to Master Weaver Challen, Isabel lives in the weaver’s quarter and doesn’t venture out during the day. How she was stolen from the king’s household during infancy is unclear as yet or what

8 Comments on It’s a Cluster Out There, last added: 6/4/2012
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18. Submission, Rejection, and Success

Letter from Farnsworth Wright, editor of Weird...

Letter from Farnsworth Wright, editor of Weird Tales, to Robert E. Howard, rejecting the first three Conan the Barbarian stories, although suggesting a re-write for one of them. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Writers live and prosper by sending material out to publishers, magazines—print and online—and freelancing. Anyone who’s spent time around a writer picks up that working reality.

After April’s writing challenges wound down on the 30th, May was ushered in with a group challenge to submit at least one poem, story, article, etc. each day for the month of May. Many of us groaned at the thought of such a challenge. Others took the reins in their teeth and charged ahead like their hair was on fire.

I’m one of those on fire. My reasons may be a bit different than some, especially those who submit on a regular basis. I’ve been trying to get one piece out each week for several months.

Suddenly I’ve been dared to find something, create something, modify something and get it out before bedtime each day. Finally, a serious dare that will help me create a habit that’s beneficial to my future.

In the first three days, I sent out one story and two packets of poems. I haven’t worked on today’s material yet, though I’ve decided what it will be. The story is ready and the market selected.

In the past three days, the story was rejected, as was one of the packets of poems. **Some editors are really quick. **

Not to be discouraged, I keep sending things out. Why? Because that’s what writers do; we send out our work until somebody buys it.

I read an article a few weeks back about rejection slips. The author talked about enjoying each one as it arrived; using it as wallpaper around one’s desk; and knowing, each time he glimpsed it, that he’d come that much further in the writing game.

I’ve thought about that philosophy this week as my inbox gathers virtual pink slips, and I’ve decided that he’s right. Without sending my work to publishers and magazines, I can’t count myself as a writer. Each time I receive that little rejection, it’s a signal that I’ve gained more confidence in my abilities.

It’s a flag of honor, knowing that someone read what I sent. The editor may or may not have sent a personal note with the rejection—I had that personal note on the story, and a form rejection on the poetry, so I’m batting 500, which is great. I can see each rejection as a success in its own right.

I’d submitted something to someone. It had been read and understood. It may not have fit the editor’s needs at that moment, but I’d succeeded in taking the risk.

In the case of the story, the editor told me how much he enjoyed my writing and would like to see more of it. Guess who’s getting my next effort. That editor’s note was definitely a successful rejection.

When using that philosophy each day, I’ve had one su

12 Comments on Submission, Rejection, and Success, last added: 5/6/2012
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19. Writing, Definition, and Roles

From left to right: Plato, Aristotle, Thomas A...

From left to right: Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Rene Descartes, John Locke, David Hume, Immanuel Kant, G.W.F. Hegel, Arthur Schopenhauer, Søren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m doing something totally different today. This afternoon I had a conversation with a fellow writer and poet. We often have philosophical discussions, and this was no exception. I’d like to recreate a small portion of our talk.

Friend: In my little “boxed” way of thinking:

1. Photographers are seekers, first and foremost

2. Graphic artists are messengers

3. Composers are messengers

4. Singers are channels

5. Actors are mirrors

Me: Yep, I agree about actors. Are writers the interpreters?

Friend: 6. Writers, in my mind, are all of the above

7. Philosophers are interpreters

Me: Ah, okay, I can go along with philosophers. So, let me spell this out differently–

Writers are the philosophers who seek, through pictures, to channel messages and hold up mirrors to their readers, so that interpretations of reality can be seen and appreciated, and a future can be built upon that foundation.

Poetry is the perfect medium in its own way. It’s short, lyrical in form and presents a message, philosophical in method and presentation, and gives the reader an entire picture, however short. And there is music in the cadence and rhythm of the lines that bring home the message.

Friend: I like it. That should be your blog post. I think of ghost writers, for example…

Me: I think on some level it is true. Even the most out-there writers, like early King or Koontz, write about people’s fears and what they’re based on. They give an opportunity to imagine the lengths to which those fears can go. I think ghost writers are even truer for the example. They channel so much of       their client, the messages they gained while working with that individual, and so on. They may be only reflecting the philosophy of the client, but the  wording, phraseology is their own, which makes or breaks the philosophy.

Friend: I suppose as writers we go “I have something to say”… that something is definitely inspired somehow. Poetry is the most compact package as far as  writing goes. It also asks a lot of the readers.

Me: Which is what all messages do.

Friend: I mean… it is a push off a cliff compared to the steady rise of a roller coaster before it crashes down. Longer writing is more like the amusemen

10 Comments on Writing, Definition, and Roles, last added: 5/6/2012
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20. A party in February

Erik Kuntz, Amy Rose Capetta and Nick Alter made this video of the Austin Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators 2012 Regional Conference, Something for Everybody.  I get a kick out of how the thumbnail on YouTube shows me in the crowd, getting a hug from illustrator Marsha Riti. So of course I had to include it here. Erik, [...]

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21. Common Core ELA Activities:

Month by Month CCSS Lesson Plans You Can Use Immediately in Your Classroom or School



School years includes many odd sorts of days.

  • You unexpectedly finish a unit on Thursday and don’t want to start a new one until Monday.
  • Holidays or special events make regular lessons difficult.
  • You’re sick and need a substitute teacher for a day.

This group of seasonal ELA and writing lessons is designed to fill in those odd days with fun, easy, lessons which require a minimum of preparation and yet still meet the needs of the Common Core State Standards. We suggest activities for each month, but most activities are flexible enough for any season.

Meets Common Core Curriculum Needs

Each lesson is correlated to appropriate Common Core curriculum maps.

The Common Core State Standards (corestandards.com) include ten anchor standards each for writing and reading and six anchor standards for language. Each ELA activity in this book will list the anchor standards addressed, thus making them flexible enough to fit any grade level.

Each activity is meant to be:

  • Flexible
  • Fast and easy preparation
  • Fun for students
  • Aligned to the CCSS
  • Correlated to CCSS curriculum maps

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • August 26 National Dog Day (argument)
  • September 3 Skyscraper Day (informative/expository)
  • October 2 – Write a Comic Strip (comic strip/narrative)
  • November 21 – World Hello Day (letter writing/optional argument)
  • December – Rudolph’s Top 5 Writing Tips (narrative)
  • January- Frosty the Snowman (narrative)
  • February- Evaluate a Website (argument)
  • March – Gingerbread Man (folk tale/narrative)
  • April 5 – National Read a Road Map Day (Reading/Creating maps as informational text)
  • May 20 – Endangered Species Day (Informative/expository)

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22. Meena Rose On the Air

Once upon a time I met a young, shy woman named Meena Rose. She’d come onto the Institute of Children’s Literature’s Writer’s Retreat to join our merry band of word workers. It took less than a half dozen visits for her to become a favorite attendee. Her wisdom belied her youth. Her perception and insight startled many of us who’d lived twice as long. And her gentleness melted our hearts.

I give you Meena Rose, who will surprise those who don’t as yet know her and who will bring smiles to those who already love her. Take it away, Meena.

 

Have you ever slowed down your train of thought?

Meena–A Desert Rose

By: Meena Rose

It just so happened that I was asking myself that very question a few days ago. I was curious what my thoughts would be on a topic if it was delivered in freeze frame segments to my mind. Would I reach the same reaction in the end or would it be different for having slowed down the input and the reaction to it?

There really was only one way to find out. It was to put the idea to the test and have a voice recorder on standby to record my immediate impressions before they faded. Since I normally neither watch nor listen to the news, I decided to select the first full story that I would tune into. Without further ado, here are the results. I will relay the segments and then reconstruct the story at the end.

Newscaster: This is about a little boy

Meena: Ummm, and, so?

 Newscaster: Who ran

Meena: Really, where?

 Newscaster: Into the street

Meena: Irresponsible parents, silly boy, will they ever learn. <I am feeling very agitated and angry>

 Newscaster: In front of oncoming traffic

Meena: This does not bode well. <My gut actually heaved and I felt myself tense up>

 Newscaster: Escaping from

Meena: Oh no, I am so sorry little boy. I hope you are safe. I am sorry for judging your parents too. <My arms get goosebumps>

 Newscaster: His father who was

Meena: I knew it. You were just like all the little kids who escape the grips of their parents. <I am feeling flushed and angry again>

 Newscaster: Chasing him with a knife.

Meena: Oh, no! Dear God, no! I am SO SO sorry kid. You should never have had to deal with that. Your dad is a monster you did not deserve. Please be alright kid, please be alright. .

 Newscaster: A bystander

Meena: The story is not over? Please let it end well

 Newscaster: Tackled the father

Meena

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23. Fan Fiction or Fun Pastime?

The Star Trek fanzine Spockanalia contained th...

The Star Trek fanzine Spockanalia contained the first fan fiction in the modern sense of the term. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An entire genre has developed itself over the past 40 years or so. Ever since the original Star Trek warped through space, we’ve toyed with the idea of all those stories that never got written about the characters that intrigued us, who captured out respect and hearts. The movement became known as Fan Fiction.

I doubt any serious TV viewer has passed up an opportunity to fantasize about what would happen if… and brought the conjecture back into the series fold as a full-blown story, whether it was written down or not. I’ve done it for years—had whole scripts with good plots, great characters, and even parts for all the regular characters. And the sad thing is that I could have done something with them, if only as fan fiction and not sent the script to the studio for consideration by that series’ team of writers.

It’s one of those “I should have” things that many of us live with on a daily basis. “I should have” gone to see… “I should have” known better than… Truth is, I had a girlfriend back in ’67 when I lived in LA, who’d just sold her script to Desilu Studios for a Star Trek episode. The day after she got word, she was murdered two blocks from our building. The incident sort of put me off Fan Fiction for a while.

Last year I sat down to write poetry of a minor competition—there were no prizes involved, but critiques. My piece didn’t do very well. The audience was too young. That happens more frequently than older writers want to believe.

I still have the poem, which I’ll share here in a moment. I went back through it and changed a few things here and there. It leaped out of the hard drive this morning, screaming at me to find it a home. Since I don’t have any markets (that I can find), I decided to drop it here in order to create a challenge for those who’re up for it.

Everyone has/had a favorite show from their childhood. Now’s your chance to create a little fan fiction to commemorate that show. Write a story in 200 words or less using your favorite character from that show. Or write a poem about said character in a new situation. Recapture the heart of the character and share it here with us.

There’s no prize involved; no judging either. We are merely sharing bits of imagination for the fun of it. Be sure to inform us at the end of the piece the name of the show and the character’s name if you haven’t used it in your story. That’s all there is too it. Don’t be shy. Branch out and explore some fun. I can hardly wait to see what everyone comes up with.

Here’s my poem and how I approached my character from those long ago days of the 60’s,

 

Rememberin

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24. Two for the Money, Two for the Show

This morning has been one of entertainment and revelation, as well as finding two more writers I want to get to know much better now that I know so little about them. Odd phrasing, I know, but true, nonetheless.

I met John Jakesthrough a short article he did for the June issue of The

Cover of "North and South (North and Sout...

Cover via Amazon

WriterMagazine. Though I’ve dabbled in his books, I never stopped to pay attention to the one behind the words. That privilege came with his article.

Jakes talks about how plot, while important, seldom brings someone back for a second reading of a book. Rather, it is a character that calls the reader back for another look into the life represented within the confines of the book’s covers. That reasoning is one I can agree with without reservation.

At fifteen, Louis Bromfield’s marvelous novel “The Rains Came” leaped off the school library’s shelf and into my waiting hands. This story for more mature

Cover of "The Rains Came

Cover of The Rains Came

audiences both surprised my composition teacher and dismayed her. She felt I wouldn’t be able to grasp the complexity of its story, characters, and plotline at a mere 15 years old.

I devoured this story of colonialist India with it’s coming revolution for sovereignty and its interwoven native characters and English colonials, its love stories—both adulterous and forbidden inter-racial unions, and its political statements. I couldn’t put it down. The depth of the story spoke volumes to me. I wanted more and took the time to find just that.

I went to the public library to find more books by this author. I came away with his Pulitzer winner, “Autumn Leaves” and counted myself fortunate that it was available. I’d discovered a world beyond kid’s literature. I could read something again with the depth and knowledge of Tennyson, Homer, and Shakespeare and get away from what was “acceptable” for my age bracket.

I understoo

2 Comments on Two for the Money, Two for the Show, last added: 5/24/2012
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25. Two for the Money, Two for the Show

This morning has been one of entertainment and revelation, as well as finding two more writers I want to get to know much better now that I know so little about them. Odd phrasing, I know, but true, nonetheless.

I met John Jakesthrough a short article he did for the June issue of The

Cover of "North and South (North and Sout...

Cover via Amazon

WriterMagazine. Though I’ve dabbled in his books, I never stopped to pay attention to the one behind the words. That privilege came with his article.

Jakes talks about how plot, while important, seldom brings someone back for a second reading of a book. Rather, it is a character that calls the reader back for another look into the life represented within the confines of the book’s covers. That reasoning is one I can agree with without reservation.

At fifteen, Louis Bromfield’s marvelous novel “The Rains Came” leaped off the school library’s shelf and into my waiting hands. This story for more mature

Cover of "The Rains Came

Cover of The Rains Came

audiences both surprised my composition teacher and dismayed her. She felt I wouldn’t be able to grasp the complexity of its story, characters, and plotline at a mere 15 years old.

I devoured this story of colonialist India with it’s coming revolution for sovereignty and its interwoven native characters and English colonials, its love stories—both adulterous and forbidden inter-racial unions, and its political statements. I couldn’t put it down. The depth of the story spoke volumes to me. I wanted more and took the time to find just that.

I went to the public library to find more books by this author. I came away with his Pulitzer winner, “Autumn Leaves” and counted myself fortunate that it was available. I’d discovered a world beyond kid’s literature. I could read something again with the depth and knowledge of Tennyson, Homer, and

0 Comments on Two for the Money, Two for the Show as of 5/22/2012 5:17:00 PM
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