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1. ‘In a World of Imagination’ – Interview with Anna Walker

Anna Walker; master creator of picture books encompassing emotion, wisdom, sensitivity, adventure, charm and humour. And equally as gentle, creative, genuine and profound as her delightful stories and pictures is the author / illustrator herself, with which I had the utmost pleasure in meeting recently at her Mr Huff Exhibition. I am honoured that the […]

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2. ‘In a World of Imagination’ – Interview with Anna Walker

Anna Walker; master creator of picture books encompassing emotion, wisdom, sensitivity, adventure, charm and humour. And equally as gentle, creative, genuine and profound as her delightful stories and pictures is the author / illustrator herself, with which I had the utmost pleasure in meeting recently at her Mr Huff Exhibition. I am honoured that the […]

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3. Georgie Donaghey in the Spotlight; ‘Lulu’ Makes her Debut

It’s not enough to just want something and hope that it will be delivered  to you on a silver platter. Unfortunately for most of us, life isn’t that simple. What we try to teach our kids is that you absolutely can achieve your aspirations, your goals, your dreams, but it takes work, persistence and determination. […]

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4. Guest Post by Maria Gianferrari, Author of Penny & Jelly The School Show

To follow on from my review of Penny & Jelly: The School Show last Friday, I am very happy to have the author, Maria Gianferrari on the blog today to share about the inspiration for her debut picture book and offer … Continue reading

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5. Guest author, Chrys Fey Visits Write What Inspires You

It's with great pleasure that I announce Chrys Fey as the guest author today at Write What Inspires You! Chrys and I met through ISWG and we continue to stay connected via social media. 

A huge round of applause for Chrys...welcome!


Donna asked me to share the stories behind Ghost of Death and Witch of Death, so I shall. :)

A few years ago, I found out about a very well-known contest. At the time, I was struggling to get anything published. I thought this contest would be a good one to enter because it goes on all year. First, I needed a story idea. That night, while watching TV, I pondered a good story idea that could show off both of my strengths...suspense and the supernatural. Instantly the thought of magical murders committed by a witch strike my mind. Immediately after that, I knew I also wanted a witch to be the detective on the case. I wrote it, edited it, and sent off. But I did not win that contest. That story changed over the years with the help of beta readers and now it is Witch of Death.

***

I got the idea for Ghost of Death when I was seventeen. One night, when I was reading in bed, the concept of a diary from the perspective of a sixteen-year-old ghost popped into my head. I had wanted to call it Diary of a Dead Girl, but after getting that idea, I didn’t do any writing on it. It wasn’t until I was ready to send Witch of Death to my publisher for consideration when I thought of this story, so I wrote it. However, it’s different from that first concept. It’s not in a diary format and it’s about a twenty-one-year-old.

While I wrote the first version of Ghost of Death, I did have a bit of inspiration...an article by Ann Lander that I’ve kept which featured a story/poem called Dead at Seventeen by John Berrio:
Agony claws my mind. I am a statistic. When I first got here, I felt very much alone. I was overwhelmed by grief, and I expected to find sympathy. 
I found no sympathy. I saw only thousands of others whose bodies were as badly mangled as mine. I was given a number and placed in a category. The category was called "Traffic Fatalities." 
The day I died was an ordinary day. How I wish I had taken the bus! But I was too cool for the bus. I remember how I wheedled the car out of Mom. "Special favor," I pleaded. "All the kids drive." When the 2:50 p.m. bell rang, I threw my books in the locker . . . free until tomorrow morning! I ran to the parking lot, excited at the thought of driving a car and being my own boss. 
It doesn't matter how the accident happened. I was goofing off -- going too fast, taking crazy chances. But I was enjoying my freedom and having fun. The last thing I remember was passing an old lady who seemed to be going awfully slow. I heard a crash and felt a terrific jolt. Glass and steel flew everywhere. My whole body seemed to be turning inside out. I heard myself scream.
Suddenly, I awakened. It was very quiet. A police officer was standing over me. I saw a doctor. My body was mangled. I was saturated with blood. Pieces of jagged glass were sticking out all over. Strange that I couldn't feel anything.
Hey, don't pull that sheet over my head. I can't be dead. I'm only 17. I've got a date tonight. I'm supposed to have a wonderful life ahead of me. I haven't lived yet. I can't be dead.
Later, I was placed in a drawer. My folks came to identify me. Why did they have to see me like this? Why did I have to look at Mom's eyes when she faced the most terrible ordeal of her life? Dad suddenly looked very old. He told the man in charge, "Yes, he's our son."
The funeral was weird. I saw all of my relatives and friends walk toward the casket. They looked at me with the saddest eyes I've ever seen. Some of my buddies were crying. A few of the girls touched my hand and sobbed as they walked by.
Please, somebody -- wake me up! Get me out of here. I can't bear to see Mom and Dad in such pain. My grandparents are so weak from grief they can barely walk.
My brother and sister are like zombies. They move like robots. In a daze. Everybody. No one can believe this. I can't believe it, either.
Please, don't bury me! I'm not dead! I have a lot of living to do! I want to laugh and run again. I want to sing and dance. Please don't put me in the ground! I promise if you give me just one more chance, God, I'll be the most careful driver in the whole world. All I want is one more chance. Please, God, I'm only 17.
Title: Ghost of Death
Author: Chrys Fey
Genre: Supernatural/Suspense
Format: eBook Only
Page Count: 41 (short story)
Release Date: April 22nd, 2015
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Blurb:

Jolie Montgomery, a twenty-one-year-old woman, wakes up in an alley next to her corpse. She has no memories of her murder or the night she died. She didn’t even see the killer’s face before he or she took her life. Wanting justice, Jolie seeks answers in the only way a ghost can...by stalking the lead detective on the case.

Avrianna Heavenborn is determined to find the person responsible for a young woman’s death. She gets closer to the killer’s identity with every clue she uncovers, and Jolie is with her every step of the way.

But if they don’t solve her murder soon, Jolie will be an earth-bound spirit forever.


Book Links:

Available for PRE-ORDER:


Blurb:

Detective Reid Sanders doesn’t believe in the supernatural, but when he’s faced with a crime scene that defies the laws of nature, he has no other choice but to start believing. And solving a magical murder involves working with a witch.

Liberty Sawyer embodies the look of your classic evil witch, so, it’s no surprise when she uncovers the murderer is a witch that she becomes Reid’s number one suspect. If she can’t convince him otherwise, more people could lose their lives to dark magic, including her.

Book Links:


BIO:

Chrys Fey is the author of Hurricane Crimes and 30 Seconds. She is currently working on the sequel to Hurricane Crimes that’ll serve as book two in the Disaster Crimes series.

When Fey was six years old, she realized her dream of being a writer by watching her mother pursue publication. At the age of twelve, she started writing her first novel, which flourished into a series she later rewrote at seventeen. Fey lives in Florida where she is waiting for the next hurricane to come her way.

You can connect with her on Facebook and her blog, Write with Fey. She loves to get to know her readers! 


Author Links: 
Thank you for having my on your blog, Donna. You rock!

Chrys, it was a pleasure hosting you today. Best wishes for your continued success! 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Multi Award-winning Children's Author

Ignite curiosity in your child through reading!

Connect with

A Sandy Grave ~ January 2014 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2014 Purple Dragonfly 1st Place Picture Books 6+, Story Monster Approved, Beach Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Powder Monkey ~ May 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Hockey Agony ~ January 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ New England Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

0 Comments on Guest author, Chrys Fey Visits Write What Inspires You as of 5/19/2015 7:43:00 AM
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6. Maria Jordan's interview with Sannel Larson


 Sannel Larson - The Total Picture 
An Interview by Maria Jordan 
You may read the whole interview here: Inspiration Station






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7. Suzanne Lieurance

Suzanne LieuranceSuzanne Lieurance is an author, freelance writer, writing coach, speaker and workshop presenter. She is a former classroom teacher and was an instructor for the Institute of Children’s Literature for over 8 years.

Lieurance has written over two dozen published books and her articles and stories have appeared in various magazines, newsletters, and newspapers, such as Family Fun, Instructor, New Moon for Girls, KC Weddings, The Journal of Reading, and Children’s Writer to name a few. She offers a variety of coaching programs via private phone calls, teleclasses, listserv, and private email for writers who want to turn their love of writing (for children and/or adults) into a part-time or full-time career.

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8. Guest Author and Illustrator, Kathleen Bullock Visits Write What Inspires You


I am delighted to host author/illustrator Kathleen Bullock. It's not too often that an author is also an illustrator. Come along for a glimpse into Kathleen's creative world. Take it away Kathleen...

In earlier days I worked my art in oils and watercolor, pencil and pastels, even the occasional collage. I’ve always been an illustrator at heart, rather than a classic ‘artist’. With a new world of electronics on the horizon, I saw that I’d have to adapt to creating artwork for publication in an electronic format, and I have. It’s a challenge to minimize the digital look of electronic art and give each piece the casual look of ‘top-of-your-head’ sketchiness that I so love, but I’m starting to get there.

I used Photoshop to create the artwork for Olive and the Great Flood. This meant that I could control the color and images on each page for consistency. Each separate piece of art is on its own invisible layer. I can eliminate or correct any of these images before I fix the art on a single layer. The pages then are sent to the publisher as individual jpegs for publication.

You can see my evolving styles on my portfolio web site, www.kathleenbullock.carbonmade.com

Also, look for my next book soon to be published by Guardian Angel,


I hope readers will enjoy reading Olive and the Great Flood as much as I did illustrating it.

Olive and the Great Flood tour schedule http://childrensauthorconniearnold.blogspot.com 

Guardian Angel Publishing 

Amazon  


There will be two drawings at Connie Arnold's blog tour conclusion on the 28th for a copy of Ms. Arnold's first children’s book, Animal Sound Mix-up and a dove wind chime.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Multi Award-winning Children's Author



Ignite curiosity in your child through reading!



Connect with

A Sandy Grave ~ January 2014 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2014 Purple Dragonfly 1st Place Picture Books 6+, Story Monster Approved, Beach Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Reader's Favorite Five Star Review


Powder Monkey ~ May 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review


Hockey Agony ~ January 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ New England Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review


The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist
















0 Comments on Guest Author and Illustrator, Kathleen Bullock Visits Write What Inspires You as of 2/27/2015 8:51:00 AM
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9. I think safe touch is so important for children and teens in school

I think safe touch is SO important. I desperately needed it as a child and teen in school from a few kind teachers who saw my pain; it was the only place I got safe touch. I’m honored to be quoted in Jessica Lahey’s article “Should Teachers Be Allowed To Touch Students?” in The Atlantic. I hope you’ll give the article a read. (smiling) I think it’s a thoughtful, insightful article.

As an incest and torture survivor who was also bullied at school, I had no safe place–not at home, and not at school. I rarely saw kindness or compassion; most of what I did see I got from books. But I had two really kind, compassionate high-school teachers who knew I’d been abused, and one librarian in middle school who was also kind. All of them were women, because I was scared of men because of all the rape I’d been through–and all of them gave me safe touch. It’s part of what kept me from killing myself.

I desperately craved safe touch. I was starved for it on a deep soul level. At home and in the abuse and torture I endured–my parents were part of cults, and they also rented me out to men for money and “shared” me with their friends–I was never touched except for abuse, rape, torture. So to get it from these teachers in a safe way–a touch on the arm, a rub on my head, a hug–it met such a deep need I had to be treated with kindness and love and warmth and humanity, and it helped offset some of the abuse and torture and cruelty. It helped me feel like I mattered, like I didn’t deserve to be abused, like maybe someone cared about me a little bit. It helped me believe in people, that they could be kind, and that maybe, just maybe the abuse and torture I experienced every day and night wasn’t my fault. But it did more than that. Their touch–and their listening to me about some of the abuse and/or my pain–also helped me want to be here a bit more when all I could breathe and feel was pain, depression, despair, and bleakness.

I struggled a lot with wanting to die all of my life. Books helped me to be here–they gave me an escape–and I also used self-harm to cope with the pain and memories, and often cut instead of killing myself. And I also needed dissociation to survive the torture and keep me alive. But that safe touch I got? It was like a balm to my soul. It was healing, instead of causing harm like everything I had at home. It was affection when I had none. Sometimes it helped bring me out of triggered abuse memories. It told me my parents and other abusers were wrong to treat me the way they did, even though I couldn’t really believe that. And I just *needed* safe touch on a deep level.

I think as humans we need safe touch; I think it’s a basic human need, along with food, shelter, and safety. It lets us know we’re loved. (I know there’ve been studies, for instance, on babies not thriving when they don’t get touch.) And those teachers who used safe touch with me, and were compassionate and kind, helped create pockets of safety for me where for a few hours I could actually focus on something besides the terror I lived in–I could learn and love to learn and want to learn for them (and me). I could breathe a little easier. I could hope for safety some day. When I hear people saying that children shouldn’t be touched in school situations, it makes me sad, and it worries me. If a child doesn’t have any safe touch in their lives, it’s easy to get really disconnected from people and life, and to not want to live at all. I needed that safe touch desperately, just as I needed to be heard about the abuse and to (eventually) get safe. A kind, compassionate teacher may be the only safety and caring a child or teen has in their life.

0 Comments on I think safe touch is so important for children and teens in school as of 1/23/2015 10:59:00 AM
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10. Remembering Michele Serros


Michele Serros we will miss you. Te vamos a extrañar.

Thank you for your books. They will continue inspiring new generations.

In this video interview Michele Serros chats story, skateboarding and ethnic politics with llan  Stavans.







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11. January is here — and I’m loving it!

It’s strange. From October to December, there seems to be very little time to do much other than marvel at how fast time flies. I do as much as I can to get done what needs to be done. I love that time of year, even the hustle and bustle of it all. But from…

3 Comments on January is here — and I’m loving it!, last added: 1/5/2015
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12. How Characters Can Become Stories – Erika Wassall

snowman family

Talk about character, here is a steampunk snowman family Sylvia Liu recently made, as part of a new daily creative challenge blog that she started titled, Create One a Day. You can see her portfolio at: http://www.enjoyingplanetearth.com)

erikaphoto-45Erika Wassall, the Jersey Farm Scribe here on….

How Characters Can Become Stories

I enjoy character studies. Books that give perspective into the mysteries of human nature, and how we deal with intense mental, physical and psychological difficulties.

Give me a character I want to sit down and have a drink with, or even observe from afar and watch their interactions and reactions… and I’m sold.

When I write, I’m often focusing on a character in my mind. They’re more than a name, more than any description I can put on paper. I can sense them, know their thoughts, feel their emotions.

Which is great, right?

Well… yes. And sometimes no.

I tend to get bogged down in character development. Plot, is much more difficult for me. I’m exceedingly jealous of people who are more natural at plot than character development. While probably similar to curly-haired people wanting straight hair and straight-hair people longing for curls, being able to nail down a plot always seemed like it would make things “come together” more, give me more to go from.

Reading books on plot and attending workshops has been absolutely mandatory for me.   Martha Anderson, The Plot Whisperer… I honestly don’t know where my writing would be without her insight. I highly recommend her books for anyone else who gets stuck on plot.

For me, I’ve found one trick that works wonders for me, helping me take my character molds, and create not just ANY plot, but THE PLOT. The path the character was meant to take.

It’s focused on character transformation.

One of the other problems with an overly specific character profile, is that, to me, that’s how they ARE. And it’s hard for me to see them any other way. This makes for a very stagnant character, which we all know doesn’t really work.

This process helps me on both accounts.

I take the character, in all their their moods, their quirks, their temperament, and I make them the FINAL version of the character. (obviously this can change as time goes on, it’s just part of my process).

I ask myself… why?  What happened to them that gave them that chip on their shoulder or that far away look on their face they get when they listen to a certain song? Why do they place money all facing the same way, before putting it in their pocket?

I write out/think about, three categories: Mental, Physical and Psychological. I start out with at least two major and three minor things in each category. There are overlaps, but they each must have their own, specific effects on the character.

And then I delete them.

Naomi doesn’t like to be alone because she was once left behind during a field trip and spent a horrifying weekend alone in a museum. What was she like before that? Maybe before, she didn’t see how people could be a source of comfort. Or maybe it’s the opposite. Maybe before she was just a healthily independent person, and now she’s overly clingy.

Jurret has scars on his back up into his neck from fighting off a robot scorpion that was attacking his older sister. It makes him uncomfortable taking off his shirt, and sometimes he even wears turtlenecks so no one can see it. His sister lived, but was badly injured with many scars of her own, including some on her face. He feels responsible for her turmoil as well.

What was he like before all that happened? Did he and his sister get along? Were they close? Maybe he was a gym junkie who was overly concerned with appearance and it gave him much-needed humility. Or maybe he was already plenty humble and this just drained him of his confidence. Perhaps before that, he always felt like the baby, the one everyone was taking care OF, and that day, everything changed. Before then, perhaps he never felt both the joy, and the burden of responsibility.

I do this with dozens of concepts for my character. Literally.

And I don’t always write them down. Sometimes I just think about them. While I’m driving. Cooking. Food shopping. It’s a great exercise I work into time that I’m not necessarily able to write. Then later, I’ll jot down a few notes, sometimes just two or three words, to remember the concept.

The more interesting an idea – or a “deletion” as I have come to call it – the more I actually write it out. Sometimes these “scenes” even become actual events in the book.

But I write out FAR more than I end up using.

At some point, I start to feel a general theme, a pull in a direction of a certain “type” of transformation, and certain related concepts that bring the character through that change… events, relationships, both pain and joy.

And for me, this is where I find my plot. Hidden beneath the intricacies of the character. And I know it’s right when it makes the character themselves even stronger, more solid in nature, more truthful.

This doesn’t (usually) give me a nicely-laid-out plot. But it gives me ideas, storylines I can get excited about. It helps make “plot” a less intimidating, overwhelming word, and interweaves it into what I already have.

What “deletions” could you do to your characters? Do you have other tricks or exercises that help you to develop the nature and variables of your plot?

This one really can be time consuming. And I end up throwing out countless concepts, but that’s just nature of beast! And you know that I’m a believer…

… our manuscripts are worth it!

Erika Wassall is a writer, a farmer and a liver of life. She is a member of SCBWI and a proud Mad Scientist, bringing science experiments right into children’s classrooms, and hearts. She has a small farm in New Jersey with sheep, chickens, pigs and vegetables. Check out her new website at www.TheJerseyFarmScribe.com where as a first generation farmer, she often takes the long way, learning the tricks of the trade on The Farm. On her website is also The Shop page with tips and a free Q/A from her husband’s mechanic shop, and The Writer page where she shares stories, experiences and characters from the heart. Follow her on Twitter at @NJFarmScribe. She’d love to hear from you!

Thank you Erika for another great post. We all enjoy your posts.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Advice, article, Author, Character, inspiration, writing Tagged: Erika Wassall, Guest Post, How Characters Can Become Stories, Sylvia Liu

3 Comments on How Characters Can Become Stories – Erika Wassall, last added: 12/18/2014
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13. Kylie Westaway Makes a Big Splash with her Debut Picture Book, ‘Whale in the Bath’

Kylie Westaway is the author of her popular debut picture book, Whale in the Bath. She has literally travelled far and wide, worked in foreign schools, events and in theatre. But there’s one thing that has remained constant in her life; her love of writing. Here, I’ll give you the brief run-down of her captivating […]

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14. Publishing Industry J.K. Rowlings

barbaraD

Todays illustration was submitted by Barbara DiLorenzo who was featured on Illustrator Saturday April 14, 2012. Barbara is an author/Illustrator and her first picture book titled Renato and the Lion will be released by Viking in 2016. Very Exciting. Congratulations, Barbara! www.barbaradilorenzo.com  

David Caruba sent me an note saying that PW reported that one of the publishers will be publishing J.K. Rowland’s commencement address at Harvard University in book form. He looked it up on the Interent and her speech is on You Tube (it’s posted in its entirety) and it’s really great. Funny, moving, shocking, sincere–everything that makes her a wonderful author. Thanks David for sharing your find.

 

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Advice, Author, inspiration, success Tagged: Barbara DiLorenzo, David Caruba, Harvard Commencement Address, J. K. Rowling

0 Comments on Publishing Industry J.K. Rowlings as of 12/14/2014 9:48:00 PM
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15. Publishing Industry J.K. Rowlings

barbaraD

Todays illustration was submitted by Barbara DiLorenzo who was featured on Illustrator Saturday April 14, 2012. Barbara is an author/Illustrator and her first picture book titled Renato and the Lion will be released by Viking in 2016. Very Exciting. Congratulations, Barbara! www.barbaradilorenzo.com  

David Caruba sent me an note saying that PW reported that one of the publishers will be publishing J.K. Rowland’s commencement address at Harvard University in book form. He looked it up on the Interent and her speech is on You Tube (it’s posted in its entirety) and it’s really great. Funny, moving, shocking, sincere–everything that makes her a wonderful author. Thanks David for sharing your find.

 

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Advice, Author, inspiration, success Tagged: Barbara DiLorenzo, David Caruba, Harvard Commencement Address, J. K. Rowling

10 Comments on Publishing Industry J.K. Rowlings, last added: 12/16/2014
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16. Free Fall Friday – Mish Mash

CALL FOR HOLIDAY ILLUSTRATIONS – Needs to be at least 500 pixels wide. Send to Kathy.temean (at) gmail.com.

I forgot to give you the date for when I will announce the two book give-a-ways from my post on November 14th. I will announce the two winners on Thanksgiving. Good news! You still can leave a comment on that post for your chance to win up until Wednesday at 6pm EST.

Authors: Did you know that I am repeating what we did with the Halloween Poems? Please send in your Thanksgiving Poems and I will post them on November 26th and the public will vote for their favorite. The winner will receive a chit for a future post about them and or a book they have coming out.

undertheneversky2The first book of the UNDER THE NEVER SKY trilogy by Veronica Rossi price has dropped to only $1.99 for the Kindle version on Amazon.

From a New York Times bestselling author comes a dystopian masterpiece called “inspired, offbeat, and mesmerizing” (Kirkus Reviews). Though from different worlds, Aria and Perry must depend on one another for survival. “You won’t be able to put this book down” (Seventeen).

Great Buy! One of my favorite trilogies, BTW. Here is the link on Amazon.

grave mercy
Grave Mercy: His Fair Assassin, Book I (His Fair Assassin Trilogy 1) by Robin LaFevers is $1.99 on the Kindle.

From a New York Times bestselling author comes an Amazon Best Book of the Month with over 300 five-star reviews. In medieval Europe, Ismae discovers her destiny as a handmaiden to Death. But can she kill the man she loves? “A page-turner — with grace” (Kirkus Reviews).

Here is the link on Amazon

 

VOTE NOW FOR THIS YEARS GOODREADS 2014 BEST BOOKS:

http://www.goodreads.com/choiceawards/best-books-2014?utm_campaign=final_round&utm_content=choice_vote_button&utm_medium=email&utm_source=GRCA_2014

 

From Publisher’s Lunch:

Children’s/YA Sales Drive Sales Again In August

The AAP released their monthly Stat Shot statistics from approximately 1,200 reporting publishers for August, with sales remaining true to the pattern from all of 2014: Strong children’s/YA sales — in all formats — continue to carry the trade, accounting for all of the gains and then some, as new release adult hardcovers (and thus companion ebooks) remain lackluster.

For August itself, adult sales of $415 million did rise slightly from $408 million a year ago, and children’s/YA sales of $170 million were up from $141 million last August. Adult hardcover sales were down again, though, and have been weak all year (down 7.2 percent for the first 8 months of 2014); adult ebook sales for August were $107 million, down 2 percent from $109 million a year ago. Adult ebook sales for the year are barely below flat, at $853 million.

Remember that the AAP is measuring net shipments to and from accounts, not consumer sell-through (except for ebooks); so the August numbers reflect stores bringing in inventory to prepare for the big holiday season — but the lack of adult breakout titles may show itself in monthly numbers later this year and early into 2015. Informally, publishing and retail executives have expressed concern over the past month or two over the lack of new, breakout hits pulling consumers’ attention in advance of those holiday sales.

But the smaller children’s/YA market tells a different story. Registering their best month so far in a strong year (children’s sales are up $225 million, or more than 20 percent), August children’s sales were $170 million. Children’s ebook sales gained $5 million, rising to $17.9 million, still leaving total ebook sales of $124.6 up slightly from $122 million a year ago. eBooks accounted for 21 percent of August’s sales.

At Little, Brown Children’s, Alvina Ling has been promoted to vp, editor-in-chief, overseeing the publishing program (excluding licensing). Pam Gruber moves up to senior editor; and Allison Moore is now associate editor.
wendymcleodmacknight100cropped
Last Friday, Wendy McLeod MacKnight was signed by the LKG Literary Agency in New York City for her children’s chapter book! Woo-hoo!

Check back next week for November’s First Page Critiques by agent Alex Slater from Trident Media Group.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Agent, Author, Book, children writing, inspiration, Kudos, Publishing Industry Tagged: 2014 Goodreads Best Book Voting, Children's YA drives Book Industry Sales, LKG Literary, Veronica Rossi's Under the Never Sky

1 Comments on Free Fall Friday – Mish Mash, last added: 11/21/2014
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17. Renée Treml Reveals Answers About Her Picture Book, ‘The Great Garden Mystery’

Renée Treml is a talented artist and author, originally from the States, now residing in Melbourne. She creates her stunning illustrations primarily using the scratchboard technique, setting her work apart with its unique qualities. Her artwork can also be seen at design markets and art exhibits through a range of gorgeous products. Renée has three […]

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18. Guest Post: Thinking About Scrivener?

scrivenerThinking About Scrivener?

By Pamela Brunskill

You’ve probably heard about Scrivener, and if you’re wondering if you have time to learn how to use it or whether it’s as great as everyone says it is, take half an hour and try it. Scrivener allows you to organize your drafts, using tools effective writers have been doing for ages, but all in one place. You don’t need to use all that Scrivener has to offer, and it can still transform your writing process.

For a relative beginner writer like me, Scrivener has been incredibly helpful in learning how to write and manage all the details in a lengthy manuscript. There are a LOT of great features, but some of my favorites are:

• On the main screen there’s a binder on the left hand side that allows you to add folders, chapters, and research. You can import websites, images, and research there, too.
• You can split your page horizontally or vertically to see two versions of the same piece at once. Or you can use it the split the view to two different parts of your manuscript, or a chapter and a website at the same time, or…you get the idea. You can also view your manuscript as a single page.
• There’s a synopsis tab you can view on the right hand side that allows you to jot down the purpose of the chapter and keep notes you can utilize in the chapter. I like to view this tab at the same time I’m working on a chapter to remind me how to focus my writing, to keep me from going on tangents.
• By changing the view mode, you can look at your chapters on a virtual cork board where you can rearrange the note cards that represent your chapters, just as you would on an actual cork board. But, when you’re done, the program has already rearranged the corresponding chapters in your binder.

Write, structure, revise

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This is an example of what your screen looks like on Scrivener.
Image taken from Literature and Latte’s website.

Scrivener isn’t magical—it won’t write your book for you, but it can certainly help you turn that first draft into a brilliant one. And once you’re ready to send off your manuscript to a critique partner, editor, or friend, there’s a compile button. You check which sections of your manuscript you want to include, and then you can print, save, or export it in various formats, such as Word, PDF, ebook, and Web Page.

I am still learning all the great tools Scrivener has available, but within an hour of downloading it, I got the basics. If you’re worried that it will take a long time to learn a new program, don’t be. Literature and Latte, the company that developed Scrivener, provides tutorials to get you started. In this ten-minute video, Keith Blount, the original designer of Scrivener, demonstrates how to do all of what I mentioned and more.

 

Click on the image above to view the video

If you need more help getting started, Literature and Latte offers several video tutorials, and there are a number of blogs out there devoted to the subject. Children’s and YA author Dee Romito also has a great, step-by-step overview to set up your first project at I Write for Apples. And, of course, there are books and Scrivener coaches out there as well if you want to really get into it. But, even with a minimal understanding, Scrivener can help manage your big projects and keep you organized.

I use Scrivener for my adult non-fiction and for my picture books (it’s great to see the double-page spread and visualize page turns), but there are templates for all different forms of writing.

scrivenerwin-order_from_chaos

If you want to test out Scrivener on your computer, Literature and Latte offers a free 30 day trial. The best part is that the days don’t even have to be consecutive—if you use it one day, and then again a month later, you have only used two days! If you’re wondering, I bought the program after the first day, and it’s been well worth the money, at least in my book. Right now, Scrivener costs $45, and for the month of November the company is offering discounts for those participating in NaNoWriMo. Either way, to get the software, go to Literature and Latte and download it. It’s worth it.

Thank you Pamela for writing this up for everyone to read. I started the 30 day trial after talking to you about the software at Craft Day.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Author, Book, opportunity, Technology, writing Tagged: Free 30 day trial, Manage Manuscript, Scrivener, Writer's Software

11 Comments on Guest Post: Thinking About Scrivener?, last added: 11/11/2014
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19. Ready to Play: Peter Carnavas bears all on ‘Oliver and George’

Peter Carnavas is an award-winning children’s author and illustrator, some of his titles including The Children Who Loved Books, Last Tree in the City, The Great Expedition, The Boy on the Page, The Important Things and Jonathan!.   Peter’s books consistently provide both children and adults with heartwarming, humorous and thought-provoking experiences that leave a […]

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20. Camarillo Hosts 5th Annual World Multicultural BookFest

The Fifth Annual Multicultural World BookFest will be held at the Camarillo Community Center on Saturday, November 1, 2014 from 10am-3pm.
I’ve been selected as one of the children’s book authors to present at the event at 11:00 AM, followed by book signings and readings.

• We will have six storytents representing: Asia; Africa; Latin America, North America, Europe, and Australia & New Zealand.

Location: Camarillo Community Center 1605 E. Burnley Street.
Take the 101fwy exit at Carmen Drive. Going north turn right @ light. Going south make 2 left turns; go over fwy. Continue on Carmen past City Hall to 4 way stop which is Burnley. Turn right then left into parking lot. Event will be inside the gated Community Center Room

Please join us for a day of books, readings, food trucks, fun and culture.

Hope to see you there!

Tonia Allen Gould/Author
Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore

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21. 10 Writer Quotes to Keep you Working on Your Novel


30 Days to a Stronger Novel Online Video Course

Sign up for EARLY BIRD list for discounts



30 Days to a Stronger Novel Online Video course

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Writing teacher Darcy Pattison teachers an online video course, 30 Days to a Stronger Novel. Each day includes an inspirational quote, and tips and techniques for revising your novel. Here are the 10 of the inspirational quotes.

LEARN MORE: ONLINE VIDEO COURSE.

Or sign up for more information on the availability of this course and other courses.

Pattison
The titles below are the first ten entries of the Table of Contents for the Online Video Class. Sign up now for the Early Bird list. You’ll be notified when the course goes live.

Mims: Online Video Course

Sign up for information on online video courses with Darcy Pattison. Discounts, deadlines, and more.

  1. The Wide, Bright Lands: Theme Affects Setting

    21-Morrell

  2. Raccoons, Owls, and Billy Goats: Theme Affects Characters

    22-singer

  3. Side Trips: Choosing Subplots

    23-morrell

  4. Of Parties, Solos, and Friendships: Knitting Subplots Together

    24-lengle

  5. Feedback: Types of Critiquers

    25-goldberg

  6. Feedback: What You Need from Readers

    26-king

  7. Stay the Course

    27-Parker

  8. Please Yourself First

    28-dillard

  9. The Best Job I Know to Do

    29-allen

  10. Live. Read. Write.

    30-Bratslav

Click Here to See 22 More Quotes for Writers

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22. Guest Post: I killed My Mother by Terry Jennings

terryjenningscropped

Terry Jennings

I killed my mother, I must confess. And while I’m at it, I should admit I killed my baby brother too.  In the interest of full disclosure I should also own up to doing away with an uncle and a few cousins as well.

I know full well that matricide, fratricide—familycide in general—are frowned upon in polite society.  But I’m not the least bit sorry. In fact, under the right circumstances, I wouldn’t hesitate to repeat the act. I had to do it. My story, a fictional novel very loosely based on my life, was drowning with the weight of its characters.

To assuage any sensibilities that may be aroused by my dastardly acts, I will let you know that the murders were done off stage, very discretely. I could have lined them all up against a wall and shot them, right in front of God and everybody, and been totally within my rights. My story, after all, is set during the Cuban revolution in 1958—executions were common place. But I disposed of my family gently, elegantly. My mother, bless her soul, died giving birth to me. With one stroke of the pen I not only got rid of one very significant adult, but I also gave my protagonist a reason to have guilt—because she lived, her brother didn’t have a mother. I transformed the baby brother into a 17 year old and morphed the essence of the combined souls of the rest of my relatives into his character.

Having to kill and change people is a peril you run into when you write a novel loosely based on fact. Not just historical novels, like mine. When we know the story so well—when it’s our story, or the story of someone we know or have come to know—it is difficult to sacrifice the truth in order to let that fictional story shine through.

I think it was Stephen King that said you have to kill your darlings. I’m not sure he meant fratricide and matricide, but in essence, he said get rid of anything that doesn’t move your story forward. That is particularly hard when it comes to characters. Each one of those people had a story, an experience, which was significant to the historical context. Their experiences weren’t darlings to be cast aside. They were representative and exciting. And my real life was so lame, I had to draw on their experiences for my plot. I needed their experiences. Every one of them. But even I realized that the reader would need a cheat sheet with the names and life stories of each relative in order to keep up with the plot.

It was my friend Ivy Ruckman (Night of the Twister), who suggested an older brother replace the uncle. Why hadn’t I thought of that? That simple change made everything simple. In the brother I could develop the mindset of the young revolutionary, in love with Fidel Castro who could be the foil against the pro-establishment and anti-Fidel father. The brief discussions about the revolution which happen as a result of the action, are now organic. A perfect case of the new pared down cast showing rather than telling what it was like living in those first two and a half years of Castro’s revolution.

Another result of my murderous binge was that now my protagonist participated fully in all of the experiences without having to take a taxi. In the previous version, an older cousin (it happened, I promise) was writing pamphlets against the revolution to hand out at school.

Eventually, someone finds out, calls her and tells her she’d better stop of else. My cousin ended up in an embassy not long after that phone call. But in order to get my protagonist to see that, I had to invite her to a meeting at her older cousins’ house, find a way to get her money for a taxi and a way to sneak off to her cousins’ house, hear what the older kids are saying and later find out about the phone call and her cousin’s exile from her father. With the brother embodying some of the experiences of other characters, my protagonist is right there, in the same room. She chooses to write pamphlets of her own to distribute at church, and she is the one who picks up the phone when the ultimatum is received—who’s the ultimatum for, her or her brother? Now the book is full of energy and the narrative moves quickly from one exciting scene to another. No more taking a figurative taxi or a bus to get the protagonist to the action.

It was a significant change in the book, I must admit. More of a re-imagining of the whole story than a revision. But I believe it has been well worth it. Now we’ll see if a power that be agrees with me and buys my story. I really hope someone does. My cousins are really not happy that I killed them, whether on or off the stage. They were all hoping for a cameo. The only way I’ll keep them quiet is to prove them wrong and have a best seller.

http://literarymidwives.com/

Terry Jennings began writing in 1999. Her first piece “Moving Over to the Passenger’s Side,” about teaching her fifteen-year-old to drive was published by The Washington Post. She has written a few other articles for them and Long Island News Day.  Since then she has written for Ranger Rick and had a family humor column in her local newspaper, The Reston Connection. Primarily she writes educational text for the Smithsonian Science Education Center and other educational outlets. Gopher to the Rescue! A Volcano Recovery Story (Sylvan Dell, 2012) was named Outstanding Science Trade Book by the National Science Teachers’ Association and the Children’s Book Council.  Her other book, The Women’s Liberation Movement: 1960-1990 (Mason Crest, 2013) was named to the Amelia Bloomer Project’s recommended feminist literature for women birth to 18. Sounds of the Savanna, a book about sound as told through predator/prey interactions in the African savanna  is on its way with Arbordale Publishers. It’s due out fall of 2015.  Currently she is working on a historical novel about the Cuban Revolution (1959-1961) loosely based on her childhood along with a couple of other picture books–one on Magnetism and one on Erosion.

Thanks Terry for sharing your article with us. I will be doing a lot of killing this week.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Advice, article, Author, demystify, Process, revisions, Writing Tips Tagged: Literary Midwives, Terry Jennings

5 Comments on Guest Post: I killed My Mother by Terry Jennings, last added: 10/27/2014
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23. Interview with JaNay Brown-Wood and Hazel Mitchell, creators of Imani’s Moon

One of the fun things of being friends with illustrators is getting sneak-peaks at art spreads before the book is published. I fell in love with this story back last Christmas when Hazel was busy working on the front cover, … Continue reading

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24. Dealing with Rejection by Erika Wassall

erikaphoto-45Erika Wassall, the Jersey Farm Scribe here with…

FULL DISCLOSURE – Dealing with a Rejecting Critique

This past Friday the 31st, on Halloween, I had a fright like no ghost or goblin costume could compare to.

My first page critique of Daddy, What’s A Redneck! (see it here)

The full manuscript is a touching story of a father who finds himself surprisingly stumped on how to explain the history and pride of an important piece of his family’s culture. He explains the actual origin of the term, the ingenuity, fun-loving and family-oriented traditions that mean so much to him. Little Lainey’s excitement grows as she learns not only about a term and a family, but about herself.

Suffice it to say: Liza was not a fan.

My first response was the famous kneejerk: “I’m NEVER writing ANYthing EVER again,” supported by the ever-popular: “What’s the point??” and the sister thought: “What does SHE know anyway?”

To be honest, I clicked off the site, without even reading the critique in full. Said nothing to anyone. Ignored it. Told myself it didn’t matter.

But, I am proud to say that it wasn’t long before I took a deep breath and tried to take a more realistic look at what was happening.

Okay. So an agent had read my work, and not liked it.

Ummm…. that’s NOT new!!! I’ve had agents turn my work down before. Even successful authors get rejected.

I decided I would go back to Kathy’s site and read Liza’s comments in full, THREE TIMES before the NJ SCBWI event the next day.

The first time I read them, they made me angry. I disagreed with EVERY word, and rolled my eyes at LEAST half a dozen times.

“She just doesn’t GET it.”

A few hours passed.

The second read, I saw where she coming from with. I shrugged a few times where I had previously crinkled my nose and shook my head. I reminded myself that while my usual writing is exceedingly kid-centric, this manuscript in particular is not mainstream-minded.

I reminded myself of three things: (1) writing is an art, not a science (2) her critique was for MY benefit, she got nothing out of this (3) as a successful agent, she knows much more than I, (and that’s a fact, not an insult).

The next morning, I read it a third time. This time, I saw real value in her comments. She mentions a lack of motivation. WHY is the little girl asking the question in the first place?

Huh…. I guess that could set the stage a bit better….

She mentions the title not properly representing the story itself, that people may even be insulted and not read it.

My “darling” cried out to me to be saved…. But I LOVE the title… I crafted it with certain connotations, liking the idea of that it was counter-balanced by a story of love and honor.

But … um… HELLO??!!! They have to READ the story to know that. If they see the title and turn away, the power of the irony is useless.

By the time I left for the SCBWI event, I no longer felt that dejected combination of anger and self-doubt. After all, as I’ve said myself, rejections are PROOF that I’m a writer!

I’ll be completely honest that I still do not agree with all of her comments. And that’s okay too. It is an earnest somewhat “issue” driven story, which while not something everyone is looking for, can have its place.

But even the comments I may not fully agree with have given me insight into my writing. Some of them I found may even apply to other manuscripts or projects I’m working on.

This week, when I sat down to write my post, fueled by amazing speakers, and an afternoon of great workshops at the SCBWI craft day, including a chance to see my dream editor Amy Cloud (I just genuinely enjoy her personality), I wrote the opening paragraph to three different articles. None of them worked.

I looked over my notes from the workshops. Nothing felt right.

I looked at Kathy’s site, as I often do, and it hit me. I had a chance to write about dealing with critique in a very unique, painfully honest way.

So a big thank you to Kathy for the opportunity. And a genuinely GIANT thank you to Liza for helping me grow as a writer, and realistically, probably also as a person.

And to you… I give a heart-felt thanks for indulging me by reading my story. It has immeasurably solidified for me the importance of not only accepting but also truly embracing critique in order to allow for growth.

Because you know what? Our manuscripts are worth it.

Erika, what can I say other than thank you for giving us another great post. I think we all have experienced this, so I hope others will take note of how you dealt with the angst of a negative critique and benefit from your reaction and journey.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Advice, Agent, Author, demystify, inspiration, Process, rejection, revisions Tagged: Dealing with Rejection, Erika Wassall, First Page Critique, Guest Blogger

7 Comments on Dealing with Rejection by Erika Wassall, last added: 11/7/2014
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25. SCBWI School Visit Webinar

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Webinar – School Visits with Suzanne Morgan Williams

Date/Time
Date(s) – 11/12/2014
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

COST: $25.00 For All SCBWI Members – $30.00 Non-Members

Suzanne-Portrait-2012300dpi-150x150The best school visits are age appropriate, energetic, engage the students, and add value to the school’s curriculum. How do you design amazing presentations? Gain confidence in your performance, teaching, and negotiations? How do you get schools (or more schools) to hire you? Author, former teacher, and school presenter, Suzanne Morgan Williams, uses handouts, exercises, and the online presentation to help you plan programs based on your strengths, your books, and students’ needs.

She’ll share her best tips for connecting with schools and negotiating fair deals. If you’re serious about giving presentations that leave schools buzzing tune in for this one. The webinar will end with an optional online question and answer time.  Homework and supplemental information will be forwarded to participants as they register. A link to the online classroom will be provided 24 hours prior to the event.

Click HERE to register for:

So You’re Not a Juggler: Planning Amazing School Visits with Suzanne Morgan Williams

Suzanne Morgan Williams is the author of the middle grade novel Bull Rider and eleven nonfiction books for children. Bull Rider is a Junior Library Guild Selection, is on state award lists in Texas, Nevada, Missouri, Wyoming, and Indiana, and won a Western Heritage Award from the National Cowboy Museum in Oklahoma City. Suzanne’s nonfiction titles include Pinatas and Smiling Skeleton. The Inuit, Made in China, Nevada, and her latest book, China’s Daughters.

Suzanne has presented to adult and children’s audiences and taught writing workshops at dozens of schools, professional conferences, and literary events across the US and Canada. A former teacher, she has an M.Ed, teaching credentials, and a Montessori teacher certification. She’s been commissioned to create teacher’s guides for other writers as well as to write and support community cultural and literacy projects such as Nevada Hispanic Service’s/Nevada Humanities’ Great Latinos Biography Project. Visit www.suzannemorganwilliams.com

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Advice, Author, Events, inspiration, opportunity, organizations, Uncategorized Tagged: school visits, Suzy Morgan Williams, Webinar

4 Comments on SCBWI School Visit Webinar, last added: 11/6/2014
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