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1. Using Darlene Beck-Jacobson’s Debut Novel WHEELS OF CHANGE in the Classroom

darlenebeckjacobson:

Thanks to Roseanne Kurstedt for the Interview on her blog!

Originally posted on Rosanne L. Kurstedt's :

I’m so excited to welcome Darlene Beck-Jacobson today in celebration of the launch (September 22) of Wheels of Change, her debut middle-grade historical novel.  I met Darlene at a NJSCBWI conference a couple years ago and was totally intrigued by the process Darlene and her idea went through. You see, she originally wrote Wheels of Change as a picture book. But after some urging from an editor she went back to the drawing board (or writing board in this case), did more research and turned her 1500 word manuscript that she envisioned as a picture book into a wonderful middle grade novel, rich with historical setting and multi-layered characters.  Since writing and education are my passions, I asked Darlene some questions about how teachers might use Wheels of Change in their classrooms, and if she could provide insights about her research process.

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  1. Tell us a little about how Wheels of Change came…

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2. Working with Dream Themes: Health and Healing

Caduceus - Medical Symbol for Healing

Caduceus: The Healing Rod of Asclepius

With nearly 40 years of dreamwork experience, one thing I can say for certain about my dreams is that the archetypal energy of healing at all levels, spiritual, psychological and physical has been expressed in myriad symbols, processes and themes, indicating to me that the primary purpose of dreams is to heal and make whole.

The Benefits of Working with Dreams to Heal

Learning to recognize when and how healing is at work within is a fascinating aspect of the study of dreams. It was one of the first benefits I clearly saw from keeping a dream journal. (See my blog 6 Health Related Benefits of Keeping a #Dream Journal.) As I grew more adept at working with dreams, I learned that they could be used to diagnose, treat and monitor the progress of any kind of ailment. Over the years, I learned to request information about a piece of health information prior to getting the specific lab results to verify the accuracy of that test. I have found my dreams to be up to this point in time 100% accurate and I have been doing this for more than ten years. And last but not least, I saw healings take place within my dreams which then manifested in my body.

How to Become Adept at Working with Health-Related Dreams

If you want to become adept at exploring your health from the dream perspective, do the following:

  1. Keep a dream journal and be faithful in recording all the dreams you can remember, even the most minor and insignificant. Many years ago I had an obscure “one-liner” dream which conveyed the cryptic message, “Everyone is working to develop a method of self-healing.” I knew nothing of what this meant at the time but many years later, I saw it would become one the main purposes of my life, and “everyone” referred to all aspects of me!
  2. Read the groundbreaking book by Patricia Garfield, Ph.D., The Healing Power of Dreams, which gives researched information on how symbols occurring in dreams relate to the body and its state of health. She gives many of the commonly occurring symbols for health in dreams.
  3. In addition the to common symbols for health and healing; learn your personal dream vocabulary. (See Recognizing Your Personal Dream Vocabulary.) What are your unique symbols for health, healing and healers that appear in your dreams?
  4. Notice and reflect on all images, processes and symbols relating to health, the medical field, therapists and healers. What are they telling you?
  5. Learn to request specific health information from dreams (Dream Incubation.) (See Ask and You Shall Receive: Incubating a #Dream.)  For example, ask what particular foods do you need to eat to get healthier?
  6. Request healings to come in dreams.
  7. Test your dream findings with your medical lab tests or a doctor’s diagnosis.  If your dream tells you one thing, and a doctor another, get a second opinion.

Many doctors now are beginning to see the helpfulness of dreams in staying healthy.  My doctor always takes my health dreams seriously and so should yours!  Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, is said to have learned about the value of dreams and their relationship to health at an asclepion, an ancient type of hospital which was dedicated to the god of healing, Asclepius.  The caduceus, the symbol of medicine which comes to us from this ancient era, depicts snakes wrapped around the rod of Asclepius.


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3. Need some writing help?

Katrina Kittle, a wonderful author, former John E. Nance Writer-in-Residence, and great friend of Thurber House is hosting an online writing workshop that everyone10632796_10152645977006101_3393910546497355061_n should join if they need a push to finally start a project…or finish one. Katrina Kittle’s online class series “Inspiration and Motivation” begins September 3rd. This 5 week class is for writers of any level of experience. Each week will focus on some aspect of the writing life (such as creating and defending a writing schedule, and dealing with the inner critic) and loads of writing prompts to jumpstart ideas.

Details here: http://www.onliten.com/workshops.htm 

Who knows…maybe the famous Joey Cat (pictured right) will make an appearance!


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4. Thoughts on the CCSS

How ironic that the more fluid the study of math and science becomes, the more rigid becomes the study of language and literature…

Solve for x

© L Taylor

…in which math becomes form and reading becomes function.

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5. Maggie Celebrates a Banner Year at Texas Pole Vault at EliteSportz, Home of America’s Top Teen Desiree Freier!

FORT WORTH, TEXAS –  It’s been a banner year at Texas Pole Vault at EliteSportz, home of Desiree Freier, who became the greatest teen vaulter in US history. Recently, a group of campers received outstanding instruction at the club and … Continue reading

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6. Release Blitz- Distraction by Angela McPherson

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A New Adult/College Contemporary Romance

by

Angela McPherson

with

Untold Press Publishing

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Aside from the normal changes in her life, college junior, Elle Richards, can always count on her friendship with Tristan. The longing for him to love her back is something she keeps well hidden, even from herself. No matter how many miles apart they are, regular phone calls and texts keep them close…until the day everything changes.

Wide Receiver Tristan Daniels has a good thing going. Much to his, and every single woman’s surprise, he’s in a committed relationship. The possibility of going pro looks more than promising…until his spur of the moment transfer to a rival college is approved. Now, Tristan will be forced to be in the presence of the woman he’s secretly loved for as long as he can remember. Elle.

Being away from one another was enough to keep Tristan and Elle distracted, but angst, confusion, and troubled secrets launches them into a breathless, heart pumping story you won’t want to miss!

Recommended for ages 18+

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Enter for a chance to win 2 eCopies of DISTRACTION and a $20 GC to Amazon

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Born and currently residing in Midland, Texas, Angela shuffles three busy children (not including her husband) all over the place. She works in a busy pediatric doctor’s office as a nurse during the day, and writes at night. She is addicted to coffee–who isn’t? And firmly believes chocolate can fix all–especially chocolate ice cream. She laughs a lot, often at herself and is willing to try anything once (she thinks). When Angela isn’t rushing kids around, working or writing, she’s reading. Other than life experience, Angela turns to a wide variety of music to help spark her creative juices. She loves to dance and sing, though her kids often beg her not to.

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*A special thank you to Kat with Four Chicks Flipping Pages for creating such wonderful teaser pics. Thank you for all your support.*

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7. Our Mailbox

Fortunately, we receive books! The following are upcoming or recently published books written by African American authors, or authors of any background, but feature diverse main characters.

51wrbp1a9kl-_sx258_bo1204203200_If Kids Ran the World
by Leo & Diane Dillon
Scholastic, Blue Sky Press, 2014

From the publisher:

Two-time Caldecott Medalists Leo and Diane Dillon show children playfully creating a more generous, peaceful world where everyone shares with others.

All roads lead to kindness in this powerful final collaboration between Leo and Diane Dillon. In a colorful tree house, a rainbow of children determine the most important needs in our complex world, and following spreads present boys and girls happily helping others. Kids bring abundant food to the hungry; medicine and cheer to the sick; safe housing, education, and religious tolerance to all; and our planet is treated with care. Forgiveness and generosity are seen as essential, because kids know how to share, and they understand the power of love.

The book closes with examples of fun ways to help others–along with FDR’s “Four Freedoms” and “The Second Bill of Rights,” which illuminate these concepts.

A tribute to peace and a celebration of diverse cultures, this last collaboration by the Dillons captures the wondrous joy of all people, and the unique beauty within each one of us shines forth. If kids ran the world, it would be a better place–for grown-ups, too.

Review: Publisher’s Weekly *Starred review* 

Little Melba and her Big Trombone
by Katheryn Russell-Brown
illustrated by Frank Morrisonmain
Lee & Low Books, 2014

From the publisher:
Melba Doretta Liston loved the sounds of music from as far back as she could remember. As a child, she daydreamed about beats and lyrics, and hummed along with the music from her family’s Majestic radio.

At age seven, Melba fell in love with a big, shiny trombone, and soon taught herself to play the instrument. By the time she was a teenager, Melba’s extraordinary gift for music led her to the world of jazz. She joined a band led by trumpet player Gerald Wilson and toured the country. Overcoming obstacles of race and gender, Melba went on to become a famed trombone player and arranger, spinning rhythms, harmonies, and melodies into gorgeous songs for all the jazz greats of the twentieth century: Randy Weston, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Billie Holiday, and Quincy Jones, to name just a few.

Brimming with ebullience and the joy of making music,Little Melba and Her Big Trombone is a fitting tribute to a trailblazing musician and a great unsung hero of jazz.

Review: Kirkus 

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61rKOPiTrYL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_The Zero Degree Zombie Zone
by Patrik Henry Bass, illustrated by Jerry Craft
Scholastic Press, 2014

From the publisher:
In the spirit of Tony Abbott’s UNDERWORLD books, comes the new kid on the block – Barkari Katari Johnson!
Shy fourth-grader Bakari Katari Johnson is having a bad day. He’s always coming up against Tariq Thomas, the most popular kid in their class, and today is no different. On top of that, Bakari has found a strange ring that appears to have magical powers–and the people from the ring’s fantastical other world want it back! Can Bakari and his best friend Wardell stave off the intruders’ attempts, keep the ring safe, and stand up to Tariq and his pal Keisha, all before the school bell rings? Media celebrity and Essence Magazine entertainment producer, Patrik Henry Bass delivers adventure, fun, fantasy and friendship in this illustrated action-packed adventure starring an African American boy hero and his classmates.
Review: Kirkus:

9780545609616_p0_v1_s260x420Unstoppable Octobia May
by Sharon Flake
Scholastic Press, 2014

From the publisher:
Bestselling and award-winning author, Sharon G. Flake, delivers a mystery set in the 1950s that eerily blends history, race, culture, and family.

Octobia May is girl filled with questions. Her heart condition makes her special – and, some folks would argue, gives this ten-year-old powers that make her a “wise soul.” Thank goodness for Auntie, who convinces Octobia’s parents to let her live in her boarding house that is filled with old folks. That’s when trouble, and excitement, and wonder begin. Auntie is non-traditional. She’s unmarried and has plans to purchase other boarding homes and hotels. At a time when children, and especially girls, are “seen, not heard,” Auntie allows Octobia May the freedom and expression of an adult. When Octobia starts to question the folks in her world, an adventure and a mystery unfold that beg some troubling questions: Who is black and who is “passing” for white? What happens when a vibrant African American community must face its own racism?

And, perhaps most important: Do vampires really exist? In her most and probing novel yet, Sharon G. Flake takes us on a heart-pumping journey.

Review: Kirkus 

51aC4bZQfxL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

Zane and the Hurricane: A Story of Katrina
by Rodman Philbrick
Scholastic, Blue Sky Press, 2014

From the publisher:

Newbery Honor author Rodman Philbrick presents a gripping yet poignant novel about a 12-year-old boy and his dog who become trapped in New Orleans during the horrors of Hurricane Katrina.

Zane Dupree is a charismatic 12-year-old boy of mixed race visiting a relative in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hits. Unexpectedly separated from all family, Zane and his dog experience the terror of Katrina’s wind, rain, and horrific flooding. Facing death, they are rescued from an attic air vent by a kind, elderly musician and a scrappy young girl–both African American. The chaos that ensues as storm water drowns the city, shelter and food vanish, and police contribute to a dangerous, frightening atmosphere, creates a page-turning tale that completely engrosses the reader. Based on the facts of the worst hurricane disaster in U.S. history, Philbrick includes the lawlessness and lack of government support during the disaster as well as the generosity and courage of those who risked their lives and safety to help others. Here is an unforgettable novel of heroism in the face of truly challenging circumstances.
Review: Publisher’s Weekly *starred review* 

61aO6AF6oaLThe Madman of Piney Woods
by Christopher Paul Curtis
Scholastic Press, 2014
From the publisher:

Bestselling Newbery Medalist Christopher Paul Curtis delivers a powerful companion to his multiple award-winning ELIJAH OF BUXTON.

Benji and Red couldn’t be more different. They aren’t friends. They don’t even live in the same town. But their fates are entwined. A chance meeting leads the boys to discover that they have more in common than meets the eye. Both of them have encountered a strange presence in the forest, watching them, tracking them. Could the Madman of Piney Woods be real?

In a tale brimming with intrigue and adventure, Christopher Paul Curtis returns to the vibrant world he brought to life in Elijah of Buxton. Here is another novel that will break your heart — and expand it, too.

Review: Publisher’s Weekly


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8. Author Spotlight on: Laurisa White Reyes

Today I’m really excited to welcome Laurisa White Reyes to the blog. I met Laurisa a few years back at a writing retreat, soon after her first novel, The Rock of Ivanore, had been picked up for publication by Tanglewood Press. Of course she was pulsing with excitement and we all wanted to sit next […]

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9. Historical Kids: What the HECK is Going On With Nonfiction Bios These Days?

Maybe it’s Common Core.  Maybe not.  I’m not always quite certain how far to place the blame in these cases.  However you look at it, children’s nonfiction bios are getting weird these days.  In some ways it’s quite remarkable.  I’m the first one to say that nonfiction for kids is better now than it has ever been.  I mean, when I was a young ‘un the only nonfiction I ever enjoyed was the Childhood of Famous Americans series.  Not that it was actually nonfiction.  I mean, it made these interesting suppositions about the youth of various famous people, complete with fake dialogue (I am the strictest anti-fake dialogue person you’ll ever meet).  I enjoyed them the way I enjoyed fiction because, for the most part, they were fiction.  Boy, you just couldn’t get away with that kind of thing today, right?

Right?

Meet three new “nonfiction” series of varying degrees of fictionalization and authenticity that caught my eye recently.  I can’t exactly call them a trend.  Rather, they’re simply interesting examples of how publishers are struggling to figure out how to tackle the notion of “nonfiction” and “high-interest” for kids.  And it’s now our job to determine how successful they’ve become.

First up, let’s go back old Childhood of Famous Americans.  They remain beloved, but they’re problematic.  So what do you do when you have a product that slots into that category?  You rebrand, baby!

Introducing History’s All-Stars from Aladdin (an imprint of Simon & Schuster).  Observe the following covers:

Sacagawea Historical Kids: What the HECK is Going On With Nonfiction Bios These Days?

JackieRobinson Historical Kids: What the HECK is Going On With Nonfiction Bios These Days?

Look vaguely familiar?  Pick up the book and you may find the words “Childhood of Famous American” in there individually, but never strung together in that particular order. The publication page only mentions that the books were previously published as far back as the 1950s (little wonder I’m worried about that Sacagawea title, yes).  Yet the design, as you can see, isn’t far off so we had to wonder.  Is it just the same series?  A side-by-side comparison:

BetsyRoss2 Historical Kids: What the HECK is Going On With Nonfiction Bios These Days?BetsyRoss Historical Kids: What the HECK is Going On With Nonfiction Bios These Days?

The publisher description calls this “a narrative biography” which is technically the accepted term for this kind of book.  But there is no way you could use this for a report.  They’re fiction, baby.  A kind of fiction that doesn’t really have a designated place in a library collection at this time, though that could change.  Which brings us to . . .

Ordinary People Change the World – A series by Brad Meltzer, illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos

AmeliaEarhart Historical Kids: What the HECK is Going On With Nonfiction Bios These Days?

AbrahamLincoln Historical Kids: What the HECK is Going On With Nonfiction Bios These Days?

It’s the series bound to wreck havoc with catalogers everywhere!  They look like Charles Schulz characters.  They read like nonfiction . . . sorta?  Kinda?  Kirkus said of I Am Rosa Parks that it was, “A barely serviceable introduction with far more child appeal than substance.”  Yet they’re bestsellers and visually incredibly appealing.  Published by Dial (a Penguin imprint), the books were a risk that appears to have paid off in terms of dollars.  In terms of sparking interest in these historical figures it’s also a success.  But is it factual?  Is it accurate?  Does it stand up to scrutiny?  Does it matter?  Why shouldn’t it matter?  You see the conundrum.

Finally, there’s a series coming out from Scholastic that looks like it might be along similar lines to these, but that I haven’t seen firsthand quite yet:

BenjaminFranklin Historical Kids: What the HECK is Going On With Nonfiction Bios These Days?

SallyRide Historical Kids: What the HECK is Going On With Nonfiction Bios These Days?

Called the When I Grow Up series, again we’re seeing historical figures as children.  But maybe these are entirely accurate in their retellings?  They’re Scholastic Readers, made to meet the needs of early readers.  It’s the title “When I Grow Up” that raises the red flag for me.  Because, you see, they’re written in the first person.  And as a librarian who has had to field reference questions from first graders asking for “autobiographies”, this is problematic.  If a book is entirely accurate but seems to come from the lips of its biographical subject, what is it worth in the pantheon of nonfiction?

People will always say that worrying along these lines is ridiculous.  If the books are good and spark an interest, isn’t that enough?  Why do you have to require strict accuracy at all times?  My argument would be that when biographies are written for adults, people are meticulous (hopefully) about maintaining authenticity.  Why should we hold our kids to different standards?

It’s a debate.  These books just crack it open wide.

Along the same lines (WARNING: Shameless plug looming on the horizon!) I’ve gotten out the jumper cables and restarted the old Children’s Literary Salon at NYPL.  Babies have been born and it is time to get back in the swing of things.  On that note, on Saturday, September 6th I’ll be hosting one of children’s nonfiction all-stars in a conversation that might very well touch on this topic.  Behold!

Personal Passions and Changes in Nonfiction for Children and Teens: A Conversation with Marc Aronson

Author, professor, speaker, editor and publisher by turns, Marc Aronson’s love of nonfiction and his conviction that young people can read carefully, examine evidence, and engage with new and challenging ideas informs everything he does.  Join us for a conversation about the changing role of nonfiction for youth, and the special challenges and advantages of this one-of-a-kind genre.

See you there, yes?

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10. Back to School E-Edition

As students head back to the classroom many libraries are planning outreach opportunities to their local schools and learning institutions. For my library, this season’s goal is to bring increased visibility to the library’s digital offerings and provide programs to serve the technology needs of our community. If you are looking for ways to highlight your eCollection and other similar initiatives here are some suggestions for the new school year.

Digital Family Open House

Each year after the December holidays we host an event for patrons to bring in their new devices for tutorials on downloading eBooks. Timely as it may be, throughout the year we find many families who are still unaware that you can check out an eBook from the library. This September we are inviting families to bring in their devices for an Open House event to serve all their tech needs. While everyone is in back to school mode, this gives us an opportunity to feature our collections through Overdrive and 3M, and new services like Hoopla and Zinio for parents and their kids.

School Visits

Contacting your local school board and scheduling a visit is also a way to market the library’s digital services. Language teachers may be interested to know that the library subscribes to language-learning databases like Mango Languages and Muzzy Online. Try to discover what databases your local schools subscribe to in order to maximize available resources. For a few years we have offered an online submission process for teachers to alert the library of town-wide projects. Most recently, a local parent group of children with special needs has expressed interest in learning more about our eAudio collections. Within the past year we have seen a spike in our eAudio collection, while circulation for physical audiobooks has declined. Hearing parent voices has allowed us to focus more on building this new collection.

Techsploration

For the first time this August we offered a roster of Kindergarten Readiness programs for the community. A decision made early on was to bring back Little Clickers, an introduction to computer skills for preschoolers created by Gretchen Caserotti. It was the perfect time to reinstate this successful program, especially after learning that many new students were entering elementary school lacking basic computer skills. This was concerning due to the move towards online testing in our school district. Many parents were appreciative and encouraged us to offer another popular computer class called Techsploration which builds on the skills learned in Little Clickers, while having participants explore programs like Microsoft Word and PowerPoint.

Have you thought about raising awareness for your digital collections this September? If so, what are some steps that you are taking to promote these services to families?

Claire Moore is a member of the Digital Content Task Force. She is also Head of Children’s Services at Darien Library in Connecticut. You can reach Claire at cmoore@darienlibrary.org.

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11. Get Real! A Non-Fiction Video Book Review

This month, Kelly shares the book Poem-Mobiles: Crazy Car Poems, by Patrick J. Lewis:


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12. Character Talent & Skills: Mentalism

As writers, we want to make our characters as unique and interesting as possible. One way to do this is to give your character a special skill or talent that sets him apart from other people. This might be something small, like having a green thumb or being good with animals, to a larger and more competitive talent like stock car racing or being an award-winning film producer. 

When choosing a talent or skill, think about the personality of your character, his range of experiences and who his role models might have been. Some talents might be genetically imparted while others are created through exposure (such as a character talented at fixing watches from growing up in his father’s watch shop) or grow out of interest (archery, wakeboarding, or magic). Don’t be afraid to be creative and make sure the skill or talent is something that works with the scope of the story. 

MENTALISM

medium_6918558888Description: having heightened powers of observation and exceptional body language reading skills that allow one to deduce things that others cannot, leaving many to believe some sort of psychic ability is involved.

Beneficial Strengths or Abilities: because the key to mentalism is the ability to see past deception and facades, appearing good-natured and nonthreatening will encourage others to put their guard down. A background in human psychology gives a mentalist insight into human behavior and motives, which allows them to make judgements about who they are and what they believe in. Armed with this knowledge, they will be able to deduce facts in a way others cannot. Having a way with words will allow the mentalist to ask the right questions to elicit a “tell” that can then be harvested for information. Sharp eyesight will allow them to notice micro-gestures in the split-second that they appear, which acts as breadcrumbs of true emotion. Mentalists are also skilled in mind tricks (the power of suggestion, reverse psychology, leading questions, misdirection, etc.) and utilize them to appear to read minds or somehow access information in a way that seems impossible.

Character Traits Suited for this Skill or Talent: observant, focused, alert, intelligent, shrewd, persuasive, crafty, controlled, friendly, unconventional, creative, curious, charismatic, mysterious, charming

Required Resources and Training: understanding human psychology and emotions, having exceptional body language reading skills through exhaustive practice and some working knowledge of hypnosis and/or the power of suggestion will all hep a mentalist hone his craft.

Scenarios Where this Skill Might be Useful:

  • magicians who use mentalism in conjunction with sleight-of-hand can become very effective at manipulating audiences through illusions
  • police or other law enforcement personnel in the course of interviewing suspects and determining what is truth and what is not
  • those who practice psychological torture, where secrets must be uncovered
  • politicians who must persuade and inspire in order to retain support
  • lawyers during jury selections, and then later at reading the jury during the trial, allowing them to revamp their strategy if needed
  • anyone in a position of leadership or power, where retaining control is difficult and may depend on being able to uncover enemies before they attack (criminal organizations, for example)

Resources for Further Information:

Easy Mentalism Tricks

Psychology Mind Tricks

Mentalism School: Areas of Study

You can brainstorm other possible Skills and Talents your characters might have by checking out our FULL LIST of this Thesaurus Collection. And for more descriptive help for Setting, Symbolism, Character Traits, Physical Attributes, Emotions, Weather and more, check out our Thesaurus Collections page.

photo credit: Condor.com via photopin cc

The post Character Talent & Skills: Mentalism appeared first on WRITERS HELPING WRITERS.

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13. Illustrator Saturday – Annie Wilkinson


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14. Summer Partnership with Somali Students

Tukwila WA is one of the country’s most diverse cities. In part, it’s a hub for many Somali immigrants who attend mosque, visit the local ethnic shops and restaurants, and find support at the Somali Community Services Coalition (SCSC).  SCSC has a vital presence in Tukwila, offering an array of social services for their clients, Somali language instruction for non-Somali-speaking adults, and both afterschool and summer programs for children.  These refugee children are placed in the appropriate grade level by age when they arrive in the U.S.A. If a 5th grader doesn’t know English, nor is literate, it’s a struggle to keep up, especially with parents at home who can’t help them with their lessons, so I formed a partnership with the Youth Program Manager of SCSC to help reduce the summer slide. We made arrangements for two dozen elementary students to visit our library once a week during their summer school period. Our main goal was to improve the students’ reading skills, but we also hoped the Somali children would become familiar with library staff and feel comfortable using the library. I lined up our teen Book Buddy volunteer to help out with one-on-one reading sessions. Additionally, I was tasked with providing library materials to match different themes each week.

Working with this group required a fair amount of flexibility and creativity.  Challenges began on the first day – we wouldn’t be doing activities based on a theme, we’d simply be reading. I had to quickly come up with some activities and reading games that would work for children ranging in ages 4-10.  Those leftover science storytime materials from the previous night sure came in handy! In preparation for the following weeks, I thought of different ways of using our Bananagrams, and I took ideas from Reading Games for Young Children by Jackie Silberg. Her book offers a ton of ideas that can be adapted for early English language learners. I tried to make our reading activities fun for all the children.

The sessions were chaotic and meetings sometimes fell through. Managing this boisterous group was demanding, usually requiring constant interactions with several young people at once. But contributing toward the success of these students felt rewarding, and it was truly fun! They were so enthusiastic about learning!  I’ve been asked to resume working with the students in the afterschool program this fall and I’m looking forward to our continued partnership.

-Gaye Hinchliff, member of School-Age Programs and Services Committee, is a Children’s Librarian at Foster Library, a branch of the King County Library System

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15. Ubuntu, the facts and the heart

 

scan0143 - Version 2August 26 is a bittersweet day.  My fifth book will publish (sweet) but 18 years ago to the day I lost my mother.  She was warm and wise, witty and fun, brave and beautiful.  And she’s the one who inspired me to pursue a writing career although she never knew it.  While she was proud that I became a lawyer and would always be able to take care of myself, I think she would’ve loved to read my books (whose mother doesn’t?) and been a proud supporter (like my sister, who has already ordered 30 copies of The Badger Knight for friends, whether they want it or not).

My mother was an excellent writer herself and I think dreamed of writing the Great American Novel but ran out of time.  Growing up, homework was our responsibility but she couldn’t help looking at papers we wrote with a critical eye.  Like a reporter, she wanted to see the facts supporting the argument but like the novelist and woman with heart that she was, she also wanted to know the “why” of everything.  I can still see her … “Yes, but why?”  “This is lovely but why is it important?”  Or simply, “Mmm-hmm”– the paper handed back — “and why?”  In fact, we heard “and why?” so often that my sister and I would tease her with, “AND why!” in all sorts of situations.  But she was right.  And it made me a better writer — both the facts and the heart.

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She encouraged us to find what inspired us and do it the best we could.  Go after whatever you want, she said, work hard, study hard, do whatever it is to achieve your dream and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it.  You can.  She got her pilot’s license at age 15, even before her driver’s license.  But — and this part was important because I can still see the seriousness in her face — pursuing your dream is never at the expense of others.  In fact, you should be helping others at all times. In her words, the world is our community and we are put on this earth to help each other; otherwise, really, what is the purpose?   It’s the African concept of ubuntu.  Maybe she learned it while we were living in South Africa but I suspect she was just born that way.  Of course she gave much money and even more time to charitable causes, but what I remember most is her sitting with an elderly or disabled person and just talking, smiling, laughing until they did, too, or stepping into a situation to diffuse the tension, or standing up for someone or something even when it wasn’t popular.  Everyone deserved equal treatment and kindness.

Here’s Nelson Mandela explaining ubuntu:

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When she finally had a chance to retire, she battled cancer and ran out of time, on this earth, at least.  It made me realize that writing, which I’d planned to do when I retired, couldn’t wait.  I had to start.  And I had to do it well as a tribute to her and to my community.  So I try always to get the facts right, check my sources, do the research.  And then I think about the why, which takes a lot longer because it’s at the heart of every story.  Why did something happen?  Why did someone act that way?  Why are we here?

And that’s why I write.  To bring meaning to my life and to try help young people make sense of this world.  Sure, people can laugh that I gave up a job as a lawyer to write for kids (“Can’t she even write for adults?”) but for me it’s the right choice.  It’s not hard when you boil it down to the essence, to the why.  It’s to try to bring something good into the world.

Thanks, Mom.  Thanks for teaching and embodying ubuntu.  Thanks for making me think of the why.

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16. How to UP Your Word Count and Write Like a Boss! (Part 2)

Keep calm and write onGuest Post by Sheryl Scarborough

We shouldn’t be surprised or amazed when our writing suddenly starts to click. After all, this is what we’ve been practicing, perfecting, mastering and perhaps even MFA’ing, right? So it makes sense that as we grow as writers we will become more proficient. We will find our centers and words will flow.

But as all writers also know, the magic word faucet can suddenly and inexplicably develop a clog. So for those times – and regular times, too – I asked some of my successful writer friends to share their methods.

My friends publish a LOT of books and I’m predicting this blog will be relevant for some years to come, so I’m not listing their recent sales next to their names. Instead, I’m including a link to their websites where you will find the most up-to-date info on their publishing successes. Please do yourself a favor and check them out.

Kelly Barson, and Melanie Fishbane, don’t worry about word count per se but both of them try to get through a complete scene in one sitting. Then if they feel like they can go further, they do. I call this PACING YOURSELF.

The prolific Kekla Magoon, admits to not being very scheduled or orderly, but she writes up against DEADLINES so she sets daily goals for herself depending on chapters, pages and scenes. She also swears by Scrivener, saying it has enhanced her productivity. Kekla’s method seems to be GUN-TO-THE-HEAD + PROPER TOOLS = WORDS ON THE PAGE.

Carrie Jones, sets ridiculously low word count goals for drafting, then celebrates when she goes beyond that goal. She also points out that failure to meet her goals would result in starvation, so there is that. I’m calling Carrie’s method SURVIVAL as MOTIVATION.

Kristen Kittscher is another author/friend who advocates SCRIVENER. “Scrivener helped me speed up immensely because I feel freer to jump around and write where the energy is,” she says. I call this creativity freed through proper tools.  FORGET WILLIE… FREE YOUR CREATIVITY!

nanowrimo_logov101Heather Demetriios-Fehst just offered up two words – “Use SCRIVENER.”  I’ll forgive her the brevity since she has already released TWO books this year. This is the third vote for Scrivener… It’s starting to have an impact on me.

Tammy Subia did something she never thought she would do. She wrote a complete first draft of a novel in four months and she was anxious to share her secrets.

Tammy has identified three things that really worked for her and they might work for you, too.

  • One: she set weekly word goals instead of daily ones, but she kept a daily chart of what she accomplished. She said just seeing the progress each day spurred her on the next day.
  • Two: She read her first chapter to a non-writer friend who really loved it and kept asking to hear more. Consequently, she wrote more to satisfy her friend.
  • Three: this might be her most important technique of all. Tammy described feeling like this book needed to be written. She wanted the story to be told so badly she couldn’t stop writing it! I’m going to call this DRIVE (and for the record I’m picturing Nick Cage behind the wheel of a muscle car when I say this.)

PICK YOUR TECHNIQUE:

Everyone seems to employ a different technique. Below is the full list. Feel free to be creative. Try on different ones. Pick and choose. Combine two or three. Experiment and see if you can’t UP your output. And if you do… write to us and let us know.

GET A RUNNING START Hold something back for the next day
DEVELOP A ROUTINE Write everyday.
KNOWLEDGE + TIME + ENTHUSIASM Know what you’re going to write, put in the time and be excited about your story.
PACE YOURSELF One word after the other until you get to the end.
RESPECT DEADLINES You can’t blow ‘em, so you get it done.
WRITE FOR FOOD You can’t eat promises and I should’ves.
DRIVE Find a story that demands to be written.
KEEP A WORD COUNT Set word count goals, daily or weekly. It piles up.
USE SCRIVENER Yay for sophisticated writer tools.

As for Scrivener – I’m going to buy it and use Scrivener for my revision process. I will report back in my next blog.

Here are some Scrivener tutorials that came up in a search on Youtube.com. I haven’t looked at any of them yet… but I plan to.

Sheryl_Quote

Be sure to read the first half of this amazing two-part series: How to UP Your Word Count and Write Like a Boss! (Part 1)

More guest posts by Sheryl:

Sheryl Scarborough - Photo by Russell Gearhart PhotographyOver the years, Sheryl Scarborough has written: TV series, cartoons, comic books, graphic novels, magazine articles, Business Plans, Direct Music Marketing letters (as Mariah Carey, MC Hammer and others), Corporate Newsletters and Restaurant and Theater Reviews (for free food and great seats!) Now she writes what she really loves which are YA mysteries and thrillers.

Follow Sheryl on Twitter: @scarbo_author

Read more by Sheryl on her blog: Sheryl Scarborough Blog

 


1 Comments on How to UP Your Word Count and Write Like a Boss! (Part 2), last added: 8/21/2014
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17. How to UP Your Word Count and Write Like a Boss! (Part 2)

Keep calm and write onGuest Post by Sheryl Scarborough

We shouldn’t be surprised or amazed when our writing suddenly starts to click. After all, this is what we’ve been practicing, perfecting, mastering and perhaps even MFA’ing, right? So it makes sense that as we grow as writers we will become more proficient. We will find our centers and words will flow.

But as all writers also know, the magic word faucet can suddenly and inexplicably develop a clog. So for those times – and regular times, too – I asked some of my successful writer friends to share their methods.

My friends publish a LOT of books and I’m predicting this blog will be relevant for some years to come, so I’m not listing their recent sales next to their names. Instead, I’m including a link to their websites where you will find the most up-to-date info on their publishing successes. Please do yourself a favor and check them out.

Kelly Barson, and Melanie Fishbane, don’t worry about word count per se but both of them try to get through a complete scene in one sitting. Then if they feel like they can go further, they do. I call this PACING YOURSELF.

The prolific Kekla Magoon, admits to not being very scheduled or orderly, but she writes up against DEADLINES so she sets daily goals for herself depending on chapters, pages and scenes. She also swears by Scrivener, saying it has enhanced her productivity. Kekla’s method seems to be GUN-TO-THE-HEAD + PROPER TOOLS = WORDS ON THE PAGE.

Carrie Jones, sets ridiculously low word count goals for drafting, then celebrates when she goes beyond that goal. She also points out that failure to meet her goals would result in starvation, so there is that. I’m calling Carrie’s method SURVIVAL as MOTIVATION.

Kristen Kittscher is another author/friend who advocates SCRIVENER. “Scrivener helped me speed up immensely because I feel freer to jump around and write where the energy is,” she says. I call this creativity freed through proper tools.  FORGET WILLIE… FREE YOUR CREATIVITY!

nanowrimo_logov101Heather Demetriios-Fehst just offered up two words – “Use SCRIVENER.”  I’ll forgive her the brevity since she has already released TWO books this year. This is the third vote for Scrivener… It’s starting to have an impact on me.

Tammy Subia did something she never thought she would do. She wrote a complete first draft of a novel in four months and she was anxious to share her secrets.

Tammy has identified three things that really worked for her and they might work for you, too.

  • One: she set weekly word goals instead of daily ones, but she kept a daily chart of what she accomplished. She said just seeing the progress each day spurred her on the next day.
  • Two: She read her first chapter to a non-writer friend who really loved it and kept asking to hear more. Consequently, she wrote more to satisfy her friend.
  • Three: this might be her most important technique of all. Tammy described feeling like this book needed to be written. She wanted the story to be told so badly she couldn’t stop writing it! I’m going to call this DRIVE (and for the record I’m picturing Nick Cage behind the wheel of a muscle car when I say this.)

PICK YOUR TECHNIQUE:

Everyone seems to employ a different technique. Below is the full list. Feel free to be creative. Try on different ones. Pick and choose. Combine two or three. Experiment and see if you can’t UP your output. And if you do… write to us and let us know.

GET A RUNNING START Hold something back for the next day
DEVELOP A ROUTINE Write everyday.
KNOWLEDGE + TIME + ENTHUSIASM Know what you’re going to write, put in the time and be excited about your story.
PACE YOURSELF One word after the other until you get to the end.
RESPECT DEADLINES You can’t blow ‘em, so you get it done.
WRITE FOR FOOD You can’t eat promises and I should’ves.
DRIVE Find a story that demands to be written.
KEEP A WORD COUNT Set word count goals, daily or weekly. It piles up.
USE SCRIVENER Yay for sophisticated writer tools.

As for Scrivener – I’m going to buy it and use Scrivener for my revision process. I will report back in my next blog.

Here are some Scrivener tutorials that came up in a search on Youtube.com. I haven’t looked at any of them yet… but I plan to.

Sheryl_Quote

Be sure to read the first half of this amazing two-part series: How to UP Your Word Count and Write Like a Boss! (Part 1)

More guest posts by Sheryl:

Sheryl Scarborough - Photo by Russell Gearhart PhotographyOver the years, Sheryl Scarborough has written: TV series, cartoons, comic books, graphic novels, magazine articles, Business Plans, Direct Music Marketing letters (as Mariah Carey, MC Hammer and others), Corporate Newsletters and Restaurant and Theater Reviews (for free food and great seats!) Now she writes what she really loves which are YA mysteries and thrillers.

Follow Sheryl on Twitter: @scarbo_author

Read more by Sheryl on her blog: Sheryl Scarborough Blog

 


0 Comments on How to UP Your Word Count and Write Like a Boss! (Part 2) as of 8/21/2014 5:07:00 PM
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18. The Human Body: An Energy Field Connected to Other Energy Fields

Body as transmitter of information and energy

A Connection of Energy Fields

From Asian cultures we learn that the body is essentially an energy field connected directly or indirectly to all other energy fields in the universe. Because all fields are interconnected, they are capable of transferring information and energy. That means we have access to an infinite amount of information. We are all aware of how we receive and send information through the five senses of taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing.  But what about the so-called sixth sense?

Receiving and Sending Intuitive Information and Energy

Many of us are not so aware how we can send and receive information and energy through intuition in the form meditation and dreams. The intuitive images, sounds, feelings, and sensations that we pick up spontaneously or receive in dreams and meditation are identifying symbols for unique, relevant information and energy within and without us that can be used to help ourselves and others. Any of the senses can be a vehicle for an intuitive message because our bodies are wonderfully designed to transmit information through the five senses as well as the sixth sense of intuition. Just as we pick up data through touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste coming from outside us, we can register intuitive data coming from within us through those same senses.

Sending intuitive information and loving energy is very much like using our senses to send and receive information about what we see or hear except we do it in an intuitive, altered state of awareness such as meditation, deep prayer or dreams. In these states we intend to receive or to transmit information or energy, and it happens! We can intend to have dreams that will help someone else by giving deeper understanding, clues to resolution or a diagnosis of the issue. While in meditation or prayer, we can send healing energy and even information to someone through the imagination and intention.

When you think of the body as a bundle of energy in addition to it’s amazing physical capabilities, it is truly amazing.


2 Comments on The Human Body: An Energy Field Connected to Other Energy Fields, last added: 8/21/2014
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19. Talents and Skills Entry: Swiftfooted

As writers, we want to make our characters as unique and interesting as possible. One way to do this is to give your character a special skill or talent that sets him apart from other people. This might be something small, like having a green thumb or being good with animals, to a larger and more competitive talent like stock car racing or being an award-winning film producer. 

When choosing a talent or skill, think about the personality of your character, his range of experiences and who his role models might have been. Some talents might be genetically imparted while others are created through exposure (such as a character talented at fixing watches from growing up in his father’s watch shop) or grow out of interest (archery, wakeboarding, or magic). Don’t be afraid to be creative and make sure the skill or talent is something that works with the scope of the story. 

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Courtesy of Dru Bloomfield

Description: Being able to run quickly

Beneficial Strengths or Abilities: endurance, being physically fit

Character Traits Suited for this Skill or Talent: disciplined, driven, competitive, determined

Required Resources and Training: Undoubtedly, there’s a genetic component to speed (including body mass index, bone structure, and muscle fiber physiology), making some people simply born to run fast. But a training regimen can help the swift of foot by 1)making a fast person faster, and 2)enabling a fast person to stay fast for longer periods of time (adding endurance). As always, one must practice the skill in question in order to improve. Pushing oneself to do more and go farther is also beneficial in maintaining and building upon one’s innate abilities.

Associated Stereotypes and Perceptions: Associated stereotypes include athletes (especially sprinters and distance runners), extremely thin people, superheroes, and men and women of African heritage. Common perceptions of fast people is that they may abuse their bodies in order to maintain their speed, through eating disorders or the use of steroids.

Scenarios Where this Skill Might be Useful:

  • in a race
  • when a message needs to be taken on foot
  • in an emergency situation when supplies need to be delivered on foot
  • to escape a murderous pursuer or wild animal
  • in many children’s games (duck-duck-goose, tag, etc.)
  • when the car has broken down and one must get to an important meeting
  • to avert danger before it happens (by breaking up an impending fight across the room or rescuing a child from an approaching kidnapper)

Resources for Further Information:

Physical Characteristics of Sprinters and Runners

25 Tips for Running Faster

Add Speed with these Before and After Running Tips

 

You can brainstorm other possible Skills and Talents your characters might have by checking out our FULL LIST of this Thesaurus Collection. And for more descriptive help for Setting, Symbolism, Character Traits, Physical Attributes, Emotions, Weather and more, check out our Thesaurus Collections page.

The post Talents and Skills Entry: Swiftfooted appeared first on WRITERS HELPING WRITERS.

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20. The Six People Who Shaped My Life

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

My life might have been entirely different had I not befriended seven people along life’s journey. It has been said that to understand the path of our life we have to review it in reverse, starting with the early years.

Beyond parents and siblings, throughout my life I have had six people leave deep footprints on my heart: a landscape architect (Dave), a family practitioner (John/Dr. Jensen), an English teacher (Miss Starr Hacker), a professor (Dr. Ralph H. Hunkins), my wife, (Marilyn), and a poet (Shel Silverstein.) Whom and what we love seems to shape the person we become.

I grew up next door to Dave in Queens, New York, until he turned five. Then his family moved 30 miles away. Our parents were great friends. The friendship survived the move because on Thursdays the men met to play cards in the kitchen and the women met to sew sweaters and chat in the living room. They took turns visiting one another with a small group of lifelong friends.

During the summer Dave and I would always spend a week or two at each other’s home. We shared several important interests: chasing girls for dates, blue ribbons on the track team, and a Regents diploma. In our teens, it was frequently more satisfying to write volumes to one another about girls, sports, school, and our domineering fathers than to do anything else. Our moms faithfully exchanged our letters every Thursday. We called it the “Pocketbook Mail Express.” No stamps needed.

Our dads asked a lot from themselves and those they loved. And our generation was the one where kids were seen but not heard. Sometimes our letters were a forum for complaints against the universe. Sometimes they were simply tales of teen triumphs and defeats.

I admired Dave and his family because they took summer vacation trips together. Dave was a Boy Scout, had cute girlfriends, and attended church with his family. He always wore shiny black shoes, a pressed white shirt, and a tie to church. Dave was the first person who taught me how to make a presentable knot. Now whenever I put on a tie, I think of Dave and how I kept my vow to be like his Dad by vacationing with my kids during their formative years. Thanks to Dave and his vacation stories I became a better father than I might have been.

John, the doctor-to-be, was very analytical and loved baseball. As a youngster, I hated playing “Go Fish!” with him because had a photographic mind.  I was better at playing stoop ball, stickball, or sandlot baseball. Because he lived a bike ride away, we played ball all of the time. We grew up loving baseball and rooting for two different New York teams. We had baseball and family in common—Christmas dinners, birthdays, confirmation, and more.

John taught me to stand up for myself, enjoy family gatherings, and cherish our moments outdoors or indoors together. Some of the best laughs we had were watching the “Jackie Gleason Show” and rolling with laugher on the living room floor. We even earned money together by sharing a big paper route. At the age of 12, we sometimes took the train into the city by ourselves with our earnings and attended a Yankee day game. John encouraged me to go after whatever I wanted, but never to lose my sense of humor in the process.

In my senior year in high school, I realized that I wasn’t going to be a professional baseball player. My English teacher, Miss Starr Hacker, thought that I was a promising writer. She believed in me. For her, I wrote my heart out. My weekly essays always had a large red “A” scribbled on them. I actively participated in her class. My mind was growing with possibilities. I started believing that I could be an English teacher or a writer, thanks to her.

 I longed to make a difference in the lives of others, just like Miss Hacker. I even considered being a sixth grade teacher because mine was so dull that I thought that I could do better!

My first education course was taught by Dr. Ralph H. Hunkins. He was a kind, intelligent, and enthusiastic. We immediately hit it right off in class. I loved studying about teaching, especially theories of education and men like John Dewey. Two pet projects of Dr. Hunkins were defining what education really is and fostering World Peace. In his classroom I was politely outspoken. After doing an Independent Study with him, we became friends, and I wrote him often after I graduated. He once told me that my letters about school were better than John Holt’s writings about education. Sometimes I even had the pleasure of his wife’s delicious cooking and friendly company. Thanks to them, my confidence as a future educator or writer was growing.

Around the time I met Ralph, I also met my bride-to-be, Marilyn Dufford. We fell madly in love. I thought she was perfect, beautiful on the inside and the outside. And she loved kids. She wanted to be an early childhood teacher. We studied a lot in the college dorm. She taught me how to really study, love long walks, chick flicks, and pizza at “Arnies.”

We married two weeks after our June graduation. In September she was teaching kindergarten, and I was teaching sixth grade in the same school district. I felt the happiest I ever felt in my life. I taught elementary school for thirty-three years.  She taught public school for fifteen years, became a religious director, and raised two lovely daughters. She finished her teaching career as a Special Education teacher. The two of us always loved teaching kids, books, stories, and words.

Thanks to Ralph’s inspiring words about writing, I published a number of articles for parents and teachers in national magazines, and I fell in love with the works of Shel Silverstein, especially A Light in the Attic and Where the Sidewalk Ends.

Poets like the late Shel Silverstein made the ordinary different and exciting. I read and enjoyed his poetry so much that I internalized it. I never met the man, but he became my mentor and friend. Whenever there was a break from the regular school schedule, I read his poetry to my delighted students. They loved the joy and craziness in his poems. And sometimes his poetry even gave them thoughts to ponder. They treasured the book of poems they created in June. If as a teacher you can make kids laugh, think and create for themselves, they are more apt to become self-actualized students, encouraging the best from themselves and their teachers.

My students encouraged me to be to write and perform poetry for our class and other classes. Now I am the luckiest man alive helping kids to laugh, think, and write, whenever I am invited into school as a poet. Each school is my stadium. Each stage is my diamond. And Coach Sottile enjoys his players and our moments in the limelight, thanks to Shel and six others.   

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21. Susan Elizabeth Phillips to kick of 2014 Fall Evenings with Authors

imgresWe are looking forward to kicking off our 2014 Fall Evenings with Authors series on Wednesday, August 27! Beginning at 7:30 p.m., Susan Elizabeth Phillips will be at the Columbus Museum of to discuss her newest novel, Heroes are My Weakness. Susan’s love for her readers and passion to write a good story lead to her novels repeatedly appearing on the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today bestseller lists. Heroes are My Weakness takes readers to a secluded island in winter off the coast of Maine, where we see a struggling actress begin to reconsider her feelings of fear towards the story’s villain (or hero, you’ll have to wait and see). With the release of this anticipated novel just a day before our event, you won’t want to miss seeing the author who Bookpage magazine refers to as “the crown jewel of romantic comedy.”

For more information or to order tickets, click here!

If you’re interested in a more personal experience with Susan Elizabeth Phillips, consider attending out Author’s Table Dinner! This opportunity allows you to sit down for a catered dinner with the author, receive reserved seating at the event, and get your book signed ahead of time. For more information about the Author’s Table Dinner, please call Anne Touvell at Thurber House, 614-464-1032 ext. 10.

As a gesture of respect to our authors and guests, the event will begin promptly at 7:30 p.m. with no admission allowed past 7:45 p.m. We thank you for your understanding on this matter.


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22. Books to Films – Coming Soon so Be Prepared!

The advantage of having a bookstore in the library is when it has a tendency towards brilliance.  Take this recent list the employees of the Schwarzman Building of NYPL came up with.  I can take no credit for this.  It’s just smart stuff (and very useful for my ordering as well).  With mild tweaks on my part:

KIDS

READ the book: Alexander and the No Good Horrible Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst

AlexanderTerrible1 Books to Films   Coming Soon so Be Prepared!

BEFORE YOU SEE the movie, opening in October

AlexanderPoster Books to Films   Coming Soon so Be Prepared!

READ the book: Here Be Monsters! by Adam Snow

HereBeMonsters Books to Films   Coming Soon so Be Prepared!

BEFORE YOU SEE the movie, called The Boxtrolls, opening in September

Boxtrolls Books to Films   Coming Soon so Be Prepared!

READ the book: A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond

paddington Books to Films   Coming Soon so Be Prepared!

BEFORE YOU SEE the movie, called Paddington, opening in December)

paddington bear ver3 xlg Books to Films   Coming Soon so Be Prepared!

READ the book: The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex

truemeaningsmekday Books to Films   Coming Soon so Be Prepared!

BEFORE YOU SEE the movie, called Home, opening in November

 Home 500x281 Books to Films   Coming Soon so Be Prepared!

Plus, read How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell before the DVD of How to Train Your Dragon 2 hits the shelves in November.

how to train your dragon two ver7 xlg Books to Films   Coming Soon so Be Prepared!

 

TEENS

READ the book: Dracula by Bram Stoker

Dracula Books to Films   Coming Soon so Be Prepared!

BEFORE YOU SEE the movie, called Dracula Untold, opening in October

dracula untold poster 610x965 Books to Films   Coming Soon so Be Prepared!

READ the book: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Hobbit12 Books to Films   Coming Soon so Be Prepared!

BEFORE YOU SEE the movie, called The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, opening in December

the hobbit the battle of the five armies poster Books to Films   Coming Soon so Be Prepared!

READ the book: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner cover Books to Films   Coming Soon so Be Prepared!

BEFORE YOU SEE the movie, opening in September

TheMazeRunnerDaily Books to Films   Coming Soon so Be Prepared!

READ the book: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Mockingjay Books to Films   Coming Soon so Be Prepared!

BEFORE YOU SEE the movie, opening in November

mockingjay poster Books to Films   Coming Soon so Be Prepared!

Plus, pick up John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, then make plans to catch the DVD when it’s released in mid-September

FaultStarsMovie Books to Films   Coming Soon so Be Prepared!

share save 171 16 Books to Films   Coming Soon so Be Prepared!

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23. Boost Story Conflict By Exploring The Dark Side of Your Hero’s Best Qualities

 Every hero or heroine needs positive traits to not only make them likable and worthy, but also to see them through the tough times ahead in the story. No journey should ever be smooth, and the bumpier the road, the more the protagonist has to earn that happy (or at least satisfying) ending.

Yet like all things, positive traits have a dark side. Anything, taken to the extreme, will find its opposite, and this is something we encourage writers to explore using our Positive and Negative Trait Thesaurus books. There’s nothing better than the moral crossroads and conflict these extremes can bring into the story.

To see how our good friend & YA author Julie Musil has explored these positive and negative sides of character traits in her new novel, please read on!

Fleuron

Determined. Loyal.

Good character traits, right? Determined writers ultimately reach their goals. And we all appreciate a loyal friend.

 But admirable character traits, when paired with the right story, can turn negative. In a good way.

crossing linesIn my latest YA release, The Summer of Crossing Lines, the main character, Melody, is determined to find her missing brother. She relentlessly follows breadcrumbs of clues. Here’s the rub: those clues, and her determination to follow them, lead her to do unsavory things. She crosses moral lines because her view has become skewed. She goes too far.

The love interest in the story, Drew, is a thief who’s trapped on the wrong side of the law. He’s loyal to his dad and concerned about his safety, which causes Drew to stubbornly carry out crimes he’s not proud of.

With both of these characters, their positive traits lead them down dangerous roads. How can writers move positive character traits into negative territory, while also creating a believable, entertaining story?

 The Set Up

The first step is to set up the positive traits early. Melody stutters, and she’s determined to improve her speech. She’s determined to branch out and join the summer drama program. She’s a determined student.

Drew is a loyal mentor who plays basketball with younger kids. He’s loyal to his dad, who’s fallen on rough times. He’s loyal to the leader of a crime ring, who at one time came to Drew’s rescue.

Once the positive traits are established, we can then manipulate events to turn them negative.

Know Your Ending

Even if you’re not a plotter, you can re-write your beginning to make this work. I knew where Melody and Drew would end up–splayed out on a California freeway after a high speed chase. Once I knew the end game, I was able to establish a series of events that gradually moved them further and further over the line.

The trick here is to muddy the character’s viewpoint, which makes this unhealthy path seem necessary to them. When Melody infiltrates a theft ring, it’s reasonable to her. It’s simply a way to gather information and follow clues. With each crime she commits, she inches closer to her brother. She’s determined to find him, no matter the cost. When Drew commits crimes, he’s doing it out of loyalty. He’d rather break laws than break his word.

 When Positive Traits Collide

These positive-turned-negative traits can bind your characters together. Brainstorm traits using the Positive Trait Thesaurus and Negative Trait Thesaurus. Which traits can your characters have that will bind them together through a crisis? Which traits can you assign your characters that will increase conflict? How can those positive traits turn negative throughout the character arc?

For instance, a generous person might allow others to take advantage of her–she gives too much away and finds herself desperately in need. Or a kind, trusting person may believe what other people tell her–she won’t see the lies and betrayal coming. These positive traits turned negative.

In my story, Melody’s goal is to find her brother. Drew’s goal is to repay an unholy debt. Their goals run parallel to each other, binding them together. Her blind determination and his blind loyalty trap them in a high-risk lifestyle without an escape.

It’s fun to play with character traits, working them against each other. And it’s fun to turn a positive trait into a flaw–especially when it leads the character down a twisted path.

Have your characters’ positive traits ever turned negative? Did you plan it that way, or did it happen by surprise? Any tips you’d like to add? Please share!

Julie MusilJulie Musil writes from her rural home in Southern California, where she lives with her husband and three sons. She’s an obsessive reader who loves stories that grab the heart and won’t let go. Her YA novels The Summer of Crossing Lines and The Boy Who Loved Fire are available now.

The Summer of Crossing Lines:

When her protective older brother disappears, sixteen-year-old Melody infiltrates a theft ring, gathers clues about his secret life, and falls for a handsome pickpocket. At what point does truth justify the crime?

(Click HERE to add this book to your GOODREADS list!)

And for more information, or to stop by and say Hi, please visit Julie on her blog, on Twitter, and on Facebook(Seriously, Julie’s pretty dang awesome, so make yourself a new friend!)

 

The post Boost Story Conflict By Exploring The Dark Side of Your Hero’s Best Qualities appeared first on WRITERS HELPING WRITERS.

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24. KidLit Author Events Aug. 19-25

Things are a little quiet while we all gear up for getting back to school, but here are a couple of things worth spreading the word.

There’s still time to enter the 2014 Houston Writers Guild Fall Contest! Entry fee $35 for fiction/nonfiction. $25 for poetry. Open to all writers, regardless of publishing status. Winners will be announced at the annual Fall Conference. $75 prize awarded to first place in each category. Entering is easy. For more information visit http://houstonwritersguild.org/contests. Deadline is September 1. Stay tuned to their facebook page for information on the Fall Mini Conference on November 8.

August 23, Saturday
10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. TAKING OFF by Jenny MossSPACE STATION SCIENCE by Marianne Dyson
Clear Lake Freeman Library
Multi Author Event

Marianne Dyson and Jenny Moss  will join fourteen other authors for a day of celebration at the Clear Lake Freeman Library 50th Anniversary Event. Panel discussions and presentations by local authors will cover topics such as, “Finding Your Own Voice”, “What’s new in Publishing/Self-Publishing” and “How I Got Published” just to name a few. Representatives from four of the library’s book groups will be here so you can meet with and learn more about them. Ten percent of the proceeds from book sales will go to the library.

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25. Sneak peek, progress shot. #sketch

via Instagram http://ift.tt/1pc33Tu



via Studio Bowes Art Blog at http://ift.tt/1obLUEt

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