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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: fiction, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 26 - 50 of 2,763
26. University journal seeks poetry & prose

Sulphur, Laurentian University’s literary journal, is seeking submissions for poetry, fiction, and nonfiction in English and/or in French. Open to emerging and established writers and artists around the world. Submit to eas@laurentian.ca Deadline: February 15, 2016

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27. Seeking stories on Women and Justice in Canada

Understorey Magazine seeks fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and spoken word for special issue on women and justice (Women and Justice in Canada). Welcomes diversity of voice, experience and perspective. Length: 1500 words or 5 poems. Open to Canadians (including residents) who self-identify as women. Honorarium available for accepted pieces. Deadline: May 1, 2016.

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28. What Make a Good Read in Fiction?

Where I write books and book reviews. 
Books I love to read.
Today I was writing a book review (that you can read next door at my other blog, Victorian Scribbles) and it got me to thinking about what makes a good read in fiction. I read lots of books, and I review books in various genres, but the ones that stick in my mind seem to share certain characteristics, no matter what their genre.

1. Some kind of a problem to be solved. Yes, "the story problem" that creates the story arc for the protagonist, etc. The plot. Still, reading it that way, it seems so . . . pedantic. For me, "plot" or "story problem" boil down to some kind of a puzzle or challenge that needs to be worked out--one that engages the reader as well as the protagonist. You really want to know how it will end. One of the appeals of a good mystery is that you find yourself hot on the trail, trying to solve it along with the protagonist.

2. Interesting characters that can make me suspend disbelief enough to go along for the ride. For me, they don't have to be the p.o.v. character. Watson, purported teller of Sherlock Holmes tales, is the perfect filter to make me suspend belief regarding Sherlock Holmes's astounding mental and physical prowess, because Watson is believable, and he believes in his friend. Nick, in The Great Gatsby, pulls the reader into his awe of Gatsby so that a reader is invested in the outcome for this tragic figure. In The Lightning Queen, a YA novel about gypsies and Mexican-indians, the author, Laura Resau, makes us care about the dignity of both groups and their traditions, while pulling us into their world of fate and magic and healing through the eyes of two endearing characters.

3. A reader learns something they didn't know, even though it's fiction. This is true in all of the above. But let me add Cara Black's Aimee LeDuc adult mystery series, where every new mystery is a free trip to Paris, and Kate Morton's novel, The Secret Keeper, where a reader travels back and forth in time to unravel a dying woman's story behind the mesmerizing event witnessed years ago by her daughter--a secret going back to World War II. Right now I'm reading a gripping middle grade novel by Julie T. Lamana, Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere, that takes a reader into the terrifying lead-up to Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Many of us read about Katrina in 2005 when the storm hit New Orleans, but this book makes you live through it.

4. Emotional involvement. I love a book that plays on my emotions, and all of the above books do that. A special emotional aspect I enjoy, though, is humor--witty humor, not slapstick. For me, one of the simple pleasures in reading is to find myself chuckling, or even laughing out loud. The Sherlock Holmes mystery I reviewed next door--Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Ruby Elephants--was one such book, but library shelves and bookstores abound with good, humorous fiction, and for those of you who write, I would advise you to find a way to inject a little humor in your story. It's almost irresistible to re-read a truly funny book.

How about you? What do you find the most important elements in a good read? Can you tell me the titles of some good reads you think I (and others) might enjoy?

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29. Write about eating for a lit + photo installation

The Norton Center invites submissions of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction for EAT: A Literature and Photography Installation Event. Pieces can be about eating in all configurations: literal, figurative, experimental, dark, nostalgic, satirical, etc. Selected works exhibited alongside a photographic interpretation of each piece by Kentucky photographer, Sarah Jane Sanders. Deadline: February 5, 2016.

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30. Seeking poetry & prose from young writers

The Paragon Journal are looking for submissions from young authors for their second online literary magazine. Open to poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and plays. Deadline: March 18, 2016.

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31. Seeking work inspired by the woods, its shadows

Bracken Magazine is open to submissions of lyrical fiction and poetry for its inaugural issue. Prefers lyrical over narrative poetry, and is biased toward magic realism. Payment is $0.02/word for fiction up to 2500 words; $15/poem under 100 lines. Deadline: January 29, 2016.

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32. Indie press seeks manuscripts

Unsolicited Press (US) is looking for poetry collections, poetry chapbooks, essay collections, memoirs, short story collections, lengthy journalism, and novels and novellas (popular fiction, literary fiction, and experimental fiction). Deadline: January 15, 2016.

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33. Review of Carry On: The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow

rowell_carry onCarry On: The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow
by Rainbow Rowell
High School   St. Martin’s Griffin   522 pp.
10/15   978-1-250-04955-1   $19.99
e-book ed. 978-1-4668-5054-5   $9.99

In Fangirl (rev. 11/13), protagonist Cath wrote fanfiction for the fictitious “Simon Snow” fantasy series. Now Rowell has written a novel set in Simon Snow’s universe and using many conventions of fanfiction, most notably “slash” (in this case non-graphic), usually defined as a wish-fulfilling relationship between two characters of the same sex who, in the original work, are not a romantic couple. Simon, the most powerful mage in centuries, uncovers secrets during his final year at Watford School of Magicks that call into question his long-held beliefs about sharp lines between good and evil. He also begins to realize that his obsession with his probably-a-vampire roommate Baz may not be purely antagonistic. The novel is longer than it needs to be — just kiss already, Simon and Baz — and the many alternating narrators are a little dense when it comes to solving several related mysteries. But there’s plenty to enjoy along the way, including clever names for spells (“These aren’t the droids you’re looking for” makes oddities like dragon parts on a human unnoticeable) and plenty of wit. Reading Fangirl first isn’t strictly necessary — the brief author’s note covers the basics — and the metatextual concept is somewhere on the spectrum between confusing and fascinating, depending on one’s perspective. A working knowledge of the Harry Potter books and other popular fandoms isn’t absolutely essential either, but it makes this send-up a lot more fun.

From the January/February 2016 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

The post Review of Carry On: The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow appeared first on The Horn Book.

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34. Interesting blog posts about writing: Jon's Pick of 2015

2015 was another great year for wisdomous words about writing. As always, I had a hard time narrowing the list of great blog posts down to just twelve, but I finally managed it.
Here's my personal selection of the best writing-related blog posts from 2015:

DECEMBER
Spinning Hope From Rejection (Larry Brooks)
https://killzoneblog.com/2015/11/spinning-hope-from-rejection.html

NOVEMBER
The Dark Side Of The Publishing Industry: How To Avoid Scams (Rob Hart)
https://litreactor.com/columns/the-dark-side-of-the-publishing-industry-how-to-avoid-scams

OCTOBER
Magnanimous (Donald Maass)
www.writerunboxed.com/2015/10/14/magnanimous-2/

SEPTEMBER
Don't be THAT Author Some Things I've Learned at Book Festivals (Alissa Grosso)
www.yaoutsidethelines.blogspot.com/2015/09/dont-be-that-author-some-things-ive.html

AUGUST
I Smell Your Rookie Moves, New Writers (Chuck Wendig)
www.terribleminds.com/ramble/2015/08/26/i-smell-your-rookie-moves-new-writers/

JULY
Surviving the Space Between: A Writer’s Journey (Heather Webb)
www.writerunboxed.com/2015/07/25/surviving-the-space-between-a-writers-journey/

JUNE
The 4 Hidden Dangers of Writing Groups (Jenny Nash)
www.janefriedman.com/2015/06/25/dangers-of-writing-groups/

MAY
Everything You Need to Know About Writing Successfully—in Ten Minutes
(Stephen King)
www.jerryjenkins.com/guest-blog-from-stephen-king/

APRIL
The 5 Essential Steps to Getting a Literary Agent (PeterHogenkamp)
http://querytracker.blogspot.com/2015/03/the-5-essential-steps-to-getting.html

MARCH
REAL TALK: $ix Figure Book Deal$
(Jennifer Laughran)

http://literaticat.blogspot.com/2015/02/real-talk-ix-figure-book-deal.html

FEBRUARY
Novelists: Two Empowering Little Mind-Models That Just Might Change Everything For You
(Larry Brooks)

http://storyfix.com/novelists-two-empowering-little-mind-models-just-might-change-everything

JANUARY
How Not to Fumble Your Social Media Presence
(James Scott Bell)

http://killzoneauthors.blogspot.com/2015/01/how-not-to-fumble-your-social-media.html

How about you?

What were your favorite blog posts from 2015?

If you found these useful, you may also like:


My personal selection of the most interesting blog posts from 2014
My personal selection of the most interesting blog posts from 2013
My personal selection of the most interesting blog posts from 2012

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35. Review of City of Halves

inglis_city of halvesCity of Halves
by Lucy Inglis
Middle School, High School   Chicken House/Scholastic   361 pp.
11/15   978-0-545-82958-8   $17.99   g
e-book ed. 978-0-545-83054-6   $17.99

While on reconnaissance for her lawyer father in the City of London, sixteen-year-old Lily is viciously attacked by a two-headed dog and discovers the existence of the other half of the City she thought she’d known all her life. Tall, “eerily beautiful” Regan saves her life with a transfusion of his blood, which miraculously heals her wounds. Lily is plunged into the world of the City’s unseen, inhuman inhabitants, the Eldritche, at a dangerous time when young girls are disappearing and monsters are at large; an ancient prophecy concerning Lily and Regan is coming to pass. The historically distinct City of London, surrounded by an ancient Roman wall and gates, is a perfect setting for Inglis’s credible blending of the mythological and modern and her appealingly extraordinary protagonists. A deft hacker, Lily follows leads for the missing girls into dangerous situations, from which Regan, Guardian of the Gates, rescues her more than once. Slowly unraveling mystery, fast-paced action, and preternatural romance will leave readers eager for the clearly projected sequel.

From the November/December 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

The post Review of City of Halves appeared first on The Horn Book.

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36. Necessary Fiction on Eduardo Lalo’s Simone

Simone_Lalo6

 

Eduardo Lalo, as a review in Necessary Fiction notes, is a name familiar to very few English readers. “At the time of this review, a Google search of ‘Eduardo Lalo’ turns up very little in English—only a basic Wikipedia page. One hoping to read more about the author must brush up on one’s dusty Spanish skills.” The Cuban-born Lalo, however, began to gain more cosmopolitan acclaim with the publication of his book Simone, which won the Rómulo Gallegos International Novel Prize, an award that aims to “perpetuate and honor the work of the [titular] eminent novelist and also to stimulate the creative activity of Spanish language writers.” (The award is somewhat comparable, though much larger in scope, to the Man Booker Prize.) ” On the heels of the award, the the book’s first English language translation, by David Frye, has recently been published by the University of Chicago Press. The plot arc of the novel is complex, and the book’s narrative fealty vacillates between the subject positions of a self-educated Chinese immigrant, a jaded novelist, and the eponymous Simone.

From Necessary Fiction, which manages to condense the core of what is at stake for Lalo:

Just when we have uncomfortably settled into the doomed love story, the book takes a significant turn. Toward the end of the novel, the narrator and a novelist friend of his interrogate a visiting Spanish writer about the literature of the peninsula, and the lower quality work—in their opinion—that many Spanish publishers publish. (There may be some continental agreement to that, as Javier Márias has stated that he had no desire “to be was what they call a ‘real Spanish writer.’”) It is, at first, a strange shift. While the plot is held in abeyance, the book tries to make a larger point about the treatment of literature. In part, the point is that Puerto Rican writers have been unfairly ignored, while more maudlin and unoriginal writings from “real Spanish writers” have received outsized attention.

While the narrator obviously has significant pride in his Puerto Rico, it inevitably comes with a concomitant sense of resentment—part of the dark shadow that follows this novel sentence-by-sentence. Upon seeing the name “Colony Economy” on a carton of milk in a coffee shop, the narrator muses about how Puerto Rico’s history “overwhelms and defines” him. It is an apt lens through which to view Simone—characters who cannot quite escape the world they were born into, or the childhoods they were subjected to, a country shackled by the past and every extension of happiness undercut by sorrow. “What is left of the men and women of this country?” the narrator muses. “What remains but the coffee and the centuries, ground down and percolated, flowing through steel tubes, pouring from plastic spigots?”

To read the review in full, click here.

To read more about Simone, click here.

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37. Wanted: Writing for valvepunk anthology

Stories wanted for Valvepunk – the Anthology (UK). Looking for stories that explore strange discoveries, encounters with the unknown, alternate technologies and altered histories. Length: 7500 words max. Deadline: January 1, 2016. Guidelines.

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38. New press seeks resonant and relevant manuscripts

Tailwinds Press, a young New York City-based independent press specializing in literary fiction by new and emerging writers, seeks submissions for 2016. Publishes “intelligent work that is compelling, accessible, and relevant to the spirit of our time.” Manuscript length: 40,000 words or more. Deadline: Rolling. Guidelines.

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39. Review of A Song for Ella Grey

almond_song for ella greyA Song for Ella Grey
by David Almond
High School   Delacorte   268 pp.
10/15   978-0-553-53359-0   $16.99
Library ed. 978-0-553-53360-6   $19.99
e-book ed. 978-0-553-53361-3   $10.99

A celebration of the wonderful madness of youth, and of the bemusing, soul-confusing power of aesthetic experience, lies at the heart of Almond’s lyrical, contemporary-set take on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. Set on the northeast coast of Britain, Almond’s story echoes that of the myth: teen Ella falls in love with Orpheus; they’re wed; Ella dies; and Orpheus retrieves her from death only to lose her at the last minute. Almond’s narrator, Ella’s best friend Claire, takes up her pen to bring her “friend into the world for one last night then let her go forever,” recalling the spiky conversations, parental disagreements, and school assignments that are part of her life and Ella’s. But she strives most to convey the experience of hearing Orpheus’s music, the inchoate yearnings and ecstasy it evokes in herself and her friends: “It was like being blessed,” she writes. “Like truly becoming ourselves. Like being loved.” Almond’s prose has always been intense, sensual, and vivid: here his very subject matter is intensity of feeling with a capital F. Cumulatively, from one page to the next, physical, emotional, and aesthetic bliss becomes ever more potent: a foundation for adult awareness, for the joy that lies in art, nature, and love.

From the November/December 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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40. Review of Flop to the Top!

davis_flop to the topstar2 Flop to the Top!
by Eleanor Davis and Drew Weing; 
illus. by the authors
Primary   TOON   38 pp.
9/15   978-1-935179-89-4   $12.95

Wanda is a superstar — in her own mind. Oblivious to her family’s dismay, she forces everyone within arm’s reach to endure invasive photos, rude orders, and diva-like dismissals. After posting a selfie taken with her droll and droopy-faced dog, Wilbur, she scores millions of online likes. Hordes of admirers fill her street, and Wanda receives her fandom, only to be swiftly snubbed by the crowd. They want “FLOPPY DOG!” Wilbur is swept away to party with the celebrity du jour, Sassy Cat, and Wanda, jealous, tails the duo. The blinged-out dog is offered a contract to leave his “old life behind,” but instead decides to devour the document after a heartfelt apology (of sorts) by Wanda. Wife-and-husband team Davis and Weing share author-illustrator duties (“Can you tell who drew what? They bet you can’t!”) for this expertly paced — and funny and topical — early-reader comic. The digitally rendered art is a departure from the pen-and-ink cartooning of Davis’s Stinky (a 2009 Geisel honoree) and more closely related to her Matisse-like work for adults. It is infused with so much warmth, color, and whimsy that young readers will gladly see this book through to its pleasing reversal of fortune.

From the November/December 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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41. Seeking discourse on people & their environments

Online journal The Turnip Truck(s) seeks creative and critical submissions concerned with the dialectics of the human and its environment(s). Submit one essay/story or five poems. Deadline: Rolling. Guidelines.

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42. Submit your fearless, unpredictable works

great weather for MEDIA (New York) seeks poetry, flash fiction, short stories, dramatic monologues, and creative nonfiction for their annual print anthology. Focus on the fearless, the unpredictable, and experimental. Welcomes submissions from international writers. Deadline: January 15, 2016. Guidelines.

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43. Wanted: Writing that comments on today’s world

whimperbang (US), an online journal of artistic commentary, published three times a year, invites the submission of serious, directed artistic expressions that reflect or comment upon today’s world. All literary and visual genres will be considered. Deadline: Open. Guidelines.

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44. Lights, camera, chapter books!

These lighthearted outings for early primary readers offer adventures both everyday (a run-in with a teacher, a classmate rivalry) and extraordinary (a dog’s rise to superstardom and…a ghost raccoon sighting).

davis_flop to the topIn Eleanor Davis and Drew Weing’s Flop to the Top!, young Wanda is a superstar — in her own mind. After posting a selfie taken with her droll, droopy-faced dog, Wilbur, she scores millions of online likes and hordes of admirers fill her street. But instead of Wanda, the crowd wants “FLOPPY DOG!” Wife-and-husband team Davis and Weing share author-illustrator duties for this expertly paced — and funny and topical — early-reader comic, with digitally rendered illustrations infused with warmth, color, and whimsy. (TOON, 5–8 years)

potter_piper green and the fairy treePiper Green, resident of Peek-a-Boo Island, Maine, and star of Ellen Potter’s Piper Green and the Fairy Tree, is about to start second grade. For her, this involves taking a lobster boat to school and insisting on wearing green monkey-face earmuffs. Her new teacher looks like a princess, so Piper assumes she’ll have a tinkly voice and won’t mind about the earmuffs; but Ms. Arabella does not live up to expectations. Very brief chapters and frequent illustrations by Qin Leng advance the story, as does Piper’s spunky first-person narration. How the standoff is resolved makes for a satisfying, funny early chapter book. (Knopf, 5–8 years)

mills_izzy barr running starIn Izzy Barr, Running Star, Izzy’s passion and dedication have made her the fastest runner in the third grade. That is, until classmate Skipper — whose dad is their P.E. teacher and the coach for Franklin School’s Fitness Club — beats her. Author Claudia Mills presents and resolves problems in a winning story, the third installment in the Franklin School Friends series, with friendly illustrations by Rob Shepperson. (Farrar/Ferguson, 5–8 years)

dicamillo_francine pouletFans of Kate DiCamillo and Chris Van Dusen’s Mercy Watson books will remember Francine Poulet, the animal control officer who tried to net Mercy in Mercy Watson Thinks like a Pig. In Francine Poulet Meets the Ghost Raccoon, Francine — fearless, and with an impressive resumé — receives a call about an unusual raccoon (“He shimmers! He screams like a banshee!”) on a roof. When the shimmery raccoon screams “Frannnnnnnnnnnyyyyy!” and hurtles toward her on the roof, she loses her confidence, and then her balance. The wacky plot comes smartly together with humorous insights and lively illustrations. (Candlewick, 5–8 years)

From the November 2015 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

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45. Five questions for Tim Wynne-Jones

Tim_Wynne-JonesAt the start of Tim Wynne-Jones’s The Emperor of Any Place (Candlewick, 14 years and up), Evan, reeling from the death of his single father, has no choice but to contact his paternal grandfather, Griff — whom Evan’s dad called a murderer. A gripping story-within-the-story unfolds about a WWII Japanese soldier stranded on a haunted island. How Wynne-Jones weaves these strands together is elegant, surprising, and exhilarating.

1. How much did you know about WWII Japan and Japanese folklore before writing this book?

TWJ: Very little! I’ve had the good fortune to travel in Japan, and loved it, but I cannot claim any particular prior knowledge of Japanese culture or folklore. For years I had wanted to write a World War II book to honor my father, whose experience of the war in Europe scarred him. What we would call PTSD now, but which he did not acknowledge as more than “shell shock,” haunted him and had an effect on us, his children. War does that: spirals down the years and decades, affecting generations. Whenever I tried to write myself into the war, so to speak, I found it impossible, and only after a great deal of time did I come to the realization that the European war was my father’s war. Which left me with the “Other War,” in the Pacific Theater, the one I knew next to nothing about. That gave me the freedom to research deeply, to dig and imagine and finally find a corner of the war that I could inhabit, fictionally.

As I was getting to know Isamu Oshiro, I realized he would have grown up with the folklore of his people just as I have grown up with the folklore of mine. And as soon as I started reading up on that, I knew it would be an integral part of Kokoro-Jima. I have played with the idea of the jikininki, giving them a unique back-story. This is what Bram Stoker did with Dracula: take an existing folktale and breathe new life into it. It has happened down the ages and was one of my favorite parts of writing this book.

2. Did you write the different threads of the story one at a time or were you working on them all at once?

TWJ: Oh, the threads. The threads were a complete schmozzle! There were so many threads — far more than made the final cut. At one point I had thirteen point-of-view characters all clamoring to tell their stories. “Me, me!,” they shouted until my head hurt. What really came first was the story-within-the-story, that of Isamu’s adventures on the island of ghosts and monsters. Then there was the very lengthy task of finding out who else was going to make their way to that mysterious place and how it would all play out and how those people were related to the contemporary characters. I drew a whole lot of family trees!

wynne-jones_emperor of any place3. Did you make Griff up? Or is he based on someone you know?

TWJ: Griff grew out of my research and wide reading about the war, but with aspects of various people I’ve met, including my father. War shapes a man, whether he wants it to or not. A lifetime of fighting wars has shaped Griff. There was a whole novella-length part of the book that I eventually took out, about when Griff was a young man, Evan’s age, stationed in Iceland, before he was shipped over to the Pacific after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. It was, among other things, a love story. He alludes to that in the novel, but originally I had the whole story as part of this book. That was when the novel was over six hundred pages long and…well, something had to go. But I’m so glad I wrote his story. It really helped me to get to know him and see that he wasn’t always like he is now. Once he was young and in love, with his whole life before him.

4. This book is: realistic family story; fantasy; mystery; ghost story; historical fiction; war story; contemporary fiction; story-within-a-story; and more. How’d you make that all work?

TWJ: Phew! Put that way, I’m not sure! It took a long time, I’ll say that much. I usually spend a year or so writing a novel. This one took more than three and a half years. There were so many parts of the story I wanted to tell, and I juggled all that in such a way that there were many, many versions. Gradually, the stories that needed to be there stayed and the other parts fell away. Along with the Griff novella, there was another whole novella telling us Hisako’s story as she lived through the invasion of Sampei. I think it was only when Evan rose to the top as my central character that I knew what I could include and what had to go, no matter how interesting it was to me in and of itself. This is, in the end, Isamu’s and Evan’s book, and there is nothing in it now that doesn’t shore up their stories and, hopefully, weave them together: the Emperor of Kokoro-Jima and the Emperor of Any Place.

5. Do you believe in the afterlife? (Or the beforelife, in this case?)

TWJ: Do you want the long answer, the short answer, or the truth? The afterlife has been a part of human culture — the Human Mind — for so many millennia it’s not something one can simply dismiss. I don’t believe in heaven as a place, per se, so much as a deeply rooted concept, but I do believe that the idea operates on us and through us while we are alive. So in a way it does exist as we live in a world with this unanswered and persuasive question hanging over our heads. It was only after a long time of writing this novel that I came up with the idea of preincarnation, and I loved the poetry of it. I quickly learned that there are other definitions of this word out there, but my own definition and its appearance on Kokoko-Jima captivated my imagination. I love the idea that there was — is — this magical island in the largest of our oceans where the future waits in ethereal form and recognizes us for who we are, if we happen to wash up on the shore there. I suppose that even if heaven is only a metaphor, it’s a particularly powerful one. And I take metaphors very seriously. A metaphor is how we describe something we have no description for. Sounds like heaven to me!

From the November 2015 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

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46. Review of The Emperor of Any Place

wynne-jones_emperor of any placestar2 The Emperor of Any Place
by Tim Wynne-Jones
High School   Candlewick   328 pp.
10/15   978-0-7636-6973-7   $17.99

“So much of grief is unlearning,” observes Wynne-Jones in this perceptive and 
multi-layered page-turner. When Evan’s single father, Clifford, dies suddenly, the high-schooler must work through his own grief while dealing with Clifford’s estranged father Griff, a military man who Clifford had claimed was a murderer. Griff’s also a control freak and is somehow tied to the strange book that was sent to Clifford just before he died. As Evan reads the book — the translated journal of a WWII Japanese soldier stranded on a mystical island with an American Marine plane-crash survivor — he experiences a strange sense of déjà-vu. Wynne-Jones skillfully weaves the World War II journal into Evan’s own story, building suspense and keeping Griff’s part in the proceedings just obscure enough to create a cracking mystery. The author’s conversational tone provides occasional comic relief when things start to get too sinister, and the immediacy of his writing leads to some evocative descriptive passages (such as when Evan and his father listen to Miles Davis: “A night breeze stole into the room and was doing a slow dance under the jazz. Evan could feel it on the back of his neck, the sweat on him cooling. He shivered”). There’s a whole lot going on here: Evan’s and Griff’s shared heartbreak, exhibited in very different ways, and their own increasingly complicated relationship; the stark contrast between the mainly nondescript “Any Place” of Evan’s suburban Ontario and the horror of the desert island; and the unlikely friendship between enemy soldiers in the story-within-a-story. All these seemingly disparate parts come together in fascinating ways, resulting in an affecting and unforgettable read.

From the November/December 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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47. Seeking writing about the craft of writing

Biannual magazine Compose: A Journal of Simply Good Writing seeks submissions for their Spring 2016 issue. Accepts fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, artwork, and feature articles and interviews about the craft of writing. Deadline: January 31, 2016. Guidelines.

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48. Barry Deutsch on Hereville

deutsch_hereville how mirka caught a fishIn our November/December issue, reviewer Shoshana Flax asked Barry Deutsch about the third entry in his graphic novel series about “11-year-old time-traveling Jewish Orthodox babysitter” Mirka. Read the full starred review of Hereville: How Mirka Caught a Fish here.

Shoshana Flax: We hear more about the modern world in this third installment. What do you think the neighbors think of Hereville?

Barry Deutsch: I can honestly say no one’s ever asked me that before! The people in the next town over are pretty suspicious of Hereville. There are a lot of weird rumors flying around, as you’d expect. (The Hereville folks tend to be pretty insular.) But in real life, one of my neighbors has become a big Hereville fan! We sometimes talk about it on the bus.

From the November/December 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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49. Review of Hereville: How Mirka Caught a Fish

deutsch_hereville how mirka caught a fishstar2 Hereville: How Mirka Caught a Fish
by Barry Deutsch; illus. by the author; backgrounds by Adrian Wallace; 
colors by Jake Richmond
Middle School   Amulet/Abrams   141 pp.
11/15   978-1-4197-0800-8   $17.95

Mirka is stuck babysitting her pesky six-year-old half-sister Layele while the rest of the family is away from their all-Hasidic community. Fruma, Mirka’s stepmother, leaves strict orders to stay out of the woods, where bizarre magic always seems to happen (Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword, rev. 11/10; Hereville: How Mirka Met a Meteorite, rev. 11/12) and where Fruma saw “things” when she was Mirka’s age. Of course, Mirka does go into the woods, dragging Layele with her, and before long she’s wheedled the troll from the first book out of a hair elastic with time-travel capabilities (the illustrations denote the time travelers by superimposing them onto the landscape in transparent purple and white). The girls encounter a wishing fish, the same one who lost a battle of wits with a young Fruma (then called Fran and dressed in modern garb) and who now has a wicked plan to gain power by controlling and kidnapping Layele. Though the expressive and often humorous illustrations in this graphic novel do much to convey each scene’s tone and highlight important characters and objects, words make the world go ’round here. (Check out Mirka’s punctuation-marked skirt!) Speech bubbles wind in and out of the variably sized panels, and the eventual solution involves verbal gymnastics as much as heroics and compassion.

From the November/December 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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50. Wanted: Diverse poetry and prose

Polychrome Ink seeks submissions for Volume Three. Interested in diverse poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. Defines diversity as anyone who: does not consider themselves to be white, heterosexual, and/or cisgender; is Intersex; is neuroatypical, and/or who is physically disabled. Pays $15-$40. Deadline: December 27, 2015. Guidelines.

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