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Simon & Schuster has created a new publishing unit called North Star Way which is designed to help authors find audiences and build their profiles.
The unit will work with authors to help them create strategies to expand their readership. The imprint will offer book publishing, as well as help online courses and subscriptions and seminars, workshops and panel discussions. In addition the company will help authors with mobile apps, video creation, audio book building and podcasting.
Vice President and Publisher Michele Martin will lead North Star Way. The unit will be dedicated to self-improvement and inspiration, mind-body-spirit, motivation, wellness and business inspiration and leadership titles.
Matthew Inman (a.k.a. The Oatmeal) has partnered with Elan Lee and Shane Small to create a card game called “Exploding Kittens.” According to Mashable, Inman used artwork that had been previously featured in his popular webcomics.
The team launched a Kickstarter campaign with a goal of $10,000; the project has drawn over $4.6 million in funding from more than 116,000 backers. We’ve embedded a video about the project above—what do you think?
Welcome to our Kickstarter Publishing Project of the Week, a feature exploring how authors and publishers are using the fundraising site to raise money for book projects. If you want to start your own project, check out How To Use Kickstarter to Fund Your Publishing Project.
Author Lauren Oliver has written a short story set in the universe of her forthcoming young adult novel, Vanishing Girls.
EpicReads.com has posted part one of the piece which is called “The Search.” Part two will be unveiled on February 9th.
The release date for Oliver’s book has been scheduled for March 10th. Follow this link to reach an excerpt.
By: Maryann Yin,
Blog: Galley Cat (Mediabistro)
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, Amy Tan
, Augusten Burroughs
, Aziz Ansari
, Barbara Kingsolver
, Carlos Ruiz Zafon
, Jeffrey Eugenides
, Jonathan Safran Foer
, Julia Alverez
, Neil Gaiman
, Paulo Coelho
, Walter Isaacson
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Chipotle Mexican Grill has recruited ten new writers to contribute pieces for its “Cultivating Thought” line.
Jonathan Safran Foer returns to serve as both curator and editor. The participants include Neil Gaiman, Aziz Ansari, Augusten Burroughs, Walter Isaacson, Amy Tan, Paulo Coelho, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Barbara Kingsolver, Julia Alverez and Jeffrey Eugenides. The company’s cups and bags will feature short stories and illustrations.
Gaiman announced on his Facebook page that his piece focuses on “refugees and the fragility of the world.” Here’s an excerpt: “There are now fifty million refugees in the world today, more than at any time since the end of the Second World War. And at some point, for each one of those people, the world shifted. Their world, solid and predictable, erupted or dissolved into chaos or danger or pain. They realized that they had to run. You have two minutes to pack. You can only take what you can carry easily.” Follow this link to learn more. (via The Hollywood Reporter)
Literary superagent Bill Clegg labored over his debut novel Did You Ever Have a Family for seven years, unsure anyone would bid on or buy it.
As he told the New York Times, he’s secured mega-deals on behalf of other writers, but gauging reaction to his own novel was difficult.
\"It doesn’t make you any more confident — if anything, it makes you less confident. I represent great writers, and I couldn’t carry their glove on the field. When the bar is set that high, it’s daunting.\"
According to Alexandra Alter at the Times, four publishers bid on his book, and one–Gallery Books’ Jennifer Bergstrom–was so sold on it she offered a two-book deal. She also approached Carolyn Reidy, who is president and chief executive of Gallery’s parent company, Simon & Schuster, asking to create a new literary fiction imprint. Reidy agreed and Clegg’s will be the lead fall title for the imprint, Scout Press.
Bergstrom said, \"Because Bill’s book was the impetus for the imprint, it’s also the epitome of what we want to publish. It’s literary but very accessible, not precious, not fussy, not esoteric.\"
Clegg’s novel centers on a woman whose family was killed and home destroyed in an accidental explosion.
\"So much of my day job is occupying the ambitions of other people’s writing,\" Clegg told the Times. \"To just occupy my own feels almost brazenly selfish.\"
DIANNE K. SALERNI, a former fifth grade teacher, is the author of young adult historical novels, We Hear the Dead (Sourcebooks) and The Caged Graves (Clarion/HMH), and the middle-grade fantasy series, The Eighth Day (HarperCollins). In her spare time, Dianne is prone to hanging around creepy cemeteries and climbing 2000 year-old pyramids in the name of book research.
What typically comes first for you: a character? An era? A story idea? How do you proceed from there?
The premise of the story comes first, and that usually dictates the time period. When I decided to write about the Fox sisters, their séance fraud, and Maggie Fox’s romance with Elisha Kane, I had to follow the timeline of their true story. When I decided to write about the caged graves in Catawissa, Pennsylvania, I could have changed the time period, but I thought it was better to work with the actual dates of death on the headstones. When I began working on a project that involved Nikola Tesla, I obviously had to work within the span of his life.
Having determined the time period of each story, my first step is to research the subject (ie: biographies of Maggie Fox, Elisha Kane, Nikola Tesla), the setting (ie: the history of Catawissa), and when possible, read other books set within the same time period.
What kinds of sources do you use?
I do a lot of my research online and depend on historical society websites, historic photographs, census information, and even online copies of old magazines, such as Godey’s Ladies Book. Who scans all this information and puts it online, I don’t know, but I owe them a debt of gratitude!
I also purchase books when appropriate, especially biographies and books on local history. If a historical character in my story has written a book (such as Elisha Kane’s Arctic Explorations) I may read that. I also have a few reference books on hand in my house, such as a giant dictionary of slang (which helps me date slang accurately for historical use) or The Writer’s Guide to Every Day Life in the 1800s.
On occasion, I’ll visit a location related to my book or a scene in the book, such as a cemetery, a town, a coal mine, or in one case, a pyramid in Mexico! (Did you know traveling for book research is tax deductible?!)
At what point do you feel comfortable beginning to draft? How does your research continue once you begin writing?
I begin writing when the opening of the story reveals itself to me and I have enough plot ideas to move forward from there. Although I usually sketch out a basic outline for a plot before beginning the story, I rarely stick to it. For me, the true story develops along the way, and it’s often not exactly what I planned it to be.
I will continue to research as things come up during the writing. (ie: What town was accessible to the main character’s home by train in a single day? Were cupcakes invented by the 1860s? How did someone acquire decorative plants in the days before florists and nurseries?)
What’s your favorite thing about writing historical fiction?
I love learning about the details of life and marveling at what people could do then that we can’t do now. Yes, that may be the opposite of what one expects – Can’t we do more now? – but the people of the past had many more skills than we do. We are specialized and rely on our technology. We need to know less, because we can always look something up or find somebody else who knows what we need. (People don’t even bother to memorize phone numbers anymore!)
I also love portraying people in historical time periods as very much the same as people today. For example, when one of my characters, Verity, becomes engaged to a young man she knows only through letters, it’s a lot like today’s online dating. When she finally meets him, she’s expecting insta-love, and when that doesn’t happen, it’s a disappointment to her.
What are some obstacles writing historical fiction brings?
If I had a penny for every time an editor passed on a manuscript, saying, “Historical fiction is a hard sell” … well, I’d have a lot of pennies.
I wish so many readers (especially YA readers) didn’t automatically write off historical fiction. History is a setting like any other – contemporary, dystopian, fantasy, or science fiction. Where and when the action takes place helps shapes the story, of course, but why historical settings would be considered less appealing than others puzzles me!
Because life isn’t always clear cut, the motives behind our actions don’t always make sense. But stories need to follow a logical path. What sorts of decisions have you had to make about “muddy” historical figures or events in order for your book to work?
This definitely came up a number of times when I was writing the story of the Fox sisters. They did what the historical record says they did, and I had to work with that. I had to provide the motivation behind their actions, even when those actions didn’t make sense. I believed the girls were frauds, but I had to work with witness accounts of their eerily accurate séances. Elisha Kane disappointed Maggie Fox repeatedly, but she always took him back. Why?
In the end, I had to remember that people in the past were not very different than people today. Witnesses lie. Girls believe their lovers will change, that this time, things will be different. When faced with a conundrum in history, I almost always found that human faults and frailties provided the solution for me. Because people aren’t logical or perfect.
Why is historical fiction important?
For exactly the reasons I stated above! People in the past were the same as people today. It’s important for us to understand that there’s nothing new under the sun – even if we think there is! Online dating and long-distance romance? Not new. Boyfriends who won’t commit and businesses that defraud the customers? Not new.
We need historical fiction in order to be less self-centered, to remind ourselves that people who came before us led lives as rich and interesting as our own – as will the people who come after us.
The post Straight From the Source: Dianne K. Salerni on Writing Historical Fiction appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.
‘The ink was in the baby, he was bound to write a tale
So he wrote the first of stories with his little fingernail’
Nathalia Crane was nine years old when, in 1924, she wrote ‘The First Story’ and many other poems, published in a collection called The Janitor’s Boy. She was one of many child poets in the 1920s, which saw a spate of precocious poetry and prose in the UK and the US. In the 19th century already, a cult of poetic precocity in children had erupted with the rediscovered works of Marjory (/Marjorie) Fleming, a little Scottish girl who wrote everyday from the age of six and conveniently died before she was nine, in 1811 - embodying forever the vision of glorious, pure and doomed childhood genius for the Victorians (this is a great article on the subject).
|a rather haunting sketch of Marjorie Fleming by (?)Isa Keith |I’m currently looking at those works by child poets and at the adult discourse which developed around them, and it’s fascinating to see the extent to which such works were simply not allowed to be on their own: they were relentlessly explained, explored, excused, by the adults who read, published and critiqued them (another great article).
We get, of course, the usual amount of ‘how cute they are!’, and the associated Romantic claims that they were ‘close to nature’, ‘close to God’, ‘close to universal truth’. Not coincidentally, references to classics of children’s literature recur when critics analyse those poems: they talk of Alice in Wonderland and Rudyard Kipling, and James Matthew Barrie prefaced a novel by nine-year-old Daisy Ashford. This was around the so-called ‘Golden Age’ of children’s literature, at a time when children and childhood already had cult status; the verbal abilities of the precocious poets gave hope that their word might be interpreted, and ‘teach’ adults about the beyondness to which childhood supposedly had access.
But those poets were also thought of as dramatically unstructured and lacking technical skill. In 1926, an academic reviews ‘some child poets’ and gives Marjorie Fleming the kind of review anyone would cringe to see written about oneself:
‘An affectionate little soul, with a real joy in nature, and a strangely precocious taste for books, she found her surroundings prosy, though her heart expressed itself in bursts of pitifully inadequate song.’
He goes on to expose Marjorie Fleming’s ‘limitations’ by indicating that she often invents words to make up for a lack of rime (heaven forbid!) and:
‘Another shift which she found useful was the introduction of a purely irrelevant line:
At supper when his brother sat
I have not got a rhyme for that.’
Purely irrelevant indeed. Thankfully, George Shelton Hubbell reassures us that young Shelley was also a ‘juvenile blunderer’ in matters of poetry.
A strong concern of much of the general audience at the time was whether the children were actually writing those poems, or if adults were sneakily doing so. A passionate correspondence developed in Poetry: A Magazine of Verse in 1919, concerning little Hilda Conkling, who dictated poems to her mother:
‘Dear Poetry: Could you not give your readers more explicit information as to just how those poems of Hilda Conkling’s are done: To what extent does her mother select, rearrange and give form? Is it all actually improvised as given?… What a delightful little genius!… (E. Sapir.)’
‘I do not change words in Hilda’s poems,’ replied her mother, ‘nor alter her word-order; I write down the lines as rhythm dictates. She has made many poems which I have had to lose because I could not be certain of accurate transcription.’
The ‘accurate transcription’ of childly thoughts, the ‘authenticity’ of the child’s poetry needed to be ascertained at all costs, to the extent that Nathalia Crane, perhaps the most controversial of all child poets, was asked to produce a poem in the same room as a journalist.
Nathalia Crane was quite unique in that her poetry got published in a newspaper without the editor’s knowledge that it was a child’s. The editor, Edmund Leamy, wrote an afterword to her collection, in 1924, in which he talked about his astonishment when he discovered the ‘imposture’:
My surprise is excusable. So many times I had received “poems” from youngsters who were careful to give their ages in addition to their names; so often I had received visits from doting parents or relatives requesting publication of verses by their children or sisters or cousins that I never dreamed any child would ever submit any work from his or her pen without adding the words “Aged — years”. But little Nathalia was the exception — and there was nothing in her poems that I received to indicate her age. The poems bought were accepted on their merits and on their merits alone.
‘On their merits alone’, with no ‘child-loving’ bias (to quote Kincaid’s famous study); this was, therefore, proper poetry. Yet it made adults feel relentlessly uncomfortable. Her poetry was more structured, more sexualised and more aware of the constraints of the adult world than other child poets, and adults didn’t know how to tackle it. Louis Untermeyer, in 1936, prefacing Crane’s new collection ‘Swear by the night’ (she was 22 by then), talks about the uncanny feeling he had when the poet was a little girl:
‘She was ten and a half years old and she puzzled me. She puzzled me as a person even before she puzzled me as a poet. … There was even then a queerness about her, an almost too pronounced childishness coupled with a curious vocabulary.’
The blending of categories is always troublesome, the difficulty to draw lines between adulthood and childhood always a problem. Adults then, but still now, find it difficult to make sense of moments when the presence to the world of children is felt literally, fully, rather than wrapped in layers of symbols.
Nathalia Crane died in 1998 and I’ll leave you with one of her early poems, because it’s fair, after contributing myself to obscuring the works of those child poets with my own, to let her have the last words. I think the work might still be under copyright, so I'll only put the first stanza here; click to redirect to her collection on the Internet Archive.
Clementine Beauvais writes in French and English. She blogs here
about children's literature and academia.
Blog: the pageturn
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, New Voices
, Tween books
, YA Books
, Becky Albertalli
, Blackbird Fly
, Bryan Bliss
, Erin Entrada Kelly
, Little Peach
, middle grade
, No Parking at the End Times
, Peggy Kern
, Red Queen
, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
, Ted Sanders
, The Keepers
, Victoria Aveyard
, young adult
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Happy 2015 to you! To start the year off right, we’d like to introduce our New Voices picks for Winter 2015. These debut novels entertained us, enriched us, intrigued us, and made us so excited to witness the beginnings of these authors’ sure-to-be-stellar writing careers.
Click on the links below to read the first chapter of each title, and make sure to keep an eye on these fantastic authors. We can’t wait to see what they do next!
BLACKBIRD FLY, by Erin Entrada Kelly, follows twelve-year-old Apple Yengko as she grapples with being different, with friends and backstabbers, and with following her dreams. Apple has always felt a little different from her classmates. She and her mother moved to America from the Philippines when she was little, and her mother still cooks Filipino foods, makes mistakes with her English, and chastises Apple for becoming “too American.” But it becomes unbearable in eighth grade, when the boys—the stupid, stupid boys—in Apple’s class put her name on the Dog Log, the list of the most unpopular girls in school. When Apple’s friends turn on her and everything about her life starts to seem weird and embarrassing, Apple turns to music. If she can just save enough to buy a guitar and learn to play, maybe she can change herself. It might be the music that saves her . . . or it might be her two new friends, who show how special she really is. Read the first chapter here!
THE KEEPERS: THE BOX AND THE DRAGONFLY, by Ted Sanders, is the first in a four-book middle-grade fantasy series about Horace F. Andrews, a quiet boy who discovers he possesses a power that can change worlds. When a sign leads Horace underground to the House of Answers, a hidden warehouse full of mysterious objects, he unfortunately finds only questions. What is this curious place? Who are the strange, secretive people who entrust him with a rare and immensely powerful gift? And what is he to do with it? From the enormous, sinister man shadowing him to the gradual mastery of his new-found abilities to his encounters with Chloe—a girl who has an astonishing talent of her own—Horace follows a path that puts the pair in the middle of a centuries-old conflict between two warring factions in which every decision they make could have disastrous consequences. Read the first chapter here!
NO PARKING AT THE END TIMES, by Bryan Bliss, is a thoughtful and moving story about losing everything—and about what you will do for the people you love. Abigail’s parents never should have made that first donation to that end-of-times preacher. Or the next, or the next. They shouldn’t have sold their house. Or packed Abigail and her twin brother, Aaron, into their old van to drive across the country to San Francisco, to be there for the “end of the world.” Because now they’re living in their van. And Aaron is full of anger, disappearing to who-knows-where every night. Their family is falling apart. All Abigail wants is to hold them together, to get them back to the place where things were right. But is that too big a task for one teenage girl? Read the first chapter here!
RED QUEEN, by Victoria Aveyard, is a sweeping fantasy about seventeen-year-old Mare, a common girl whose latent magical powers draw her into the dangerous world of the elite ruling class. Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood—those with Red blood serve the Silver elite, whose silver blood gifts them with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the King, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own. To cover up this impossibility, the King forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything to use her new position to help the Scarlet Guard—a growing Red rebellion—even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal. Read the first chapter here!
LITTLE PEACH, by Peggy Kern, is the gritty and riveting story of a runaway who comes to New York City and is lured into prostitution by a manipulative pimp. When Michelle runs away from her drug-addicted mother, she has just enough money to make it to New York, where she hopes to move in with a friend. But once she arrives at the bustling Port Authority, she is confronted with the terrifying truth: She is alone and out of options. Then she meets Devon, a good-looking, well-dressed guy who emerges from the crowd armed with a kind smile, a place for her to stay, and eyes that seem to understand exactly how she feels. But Devon is not what he seems to be, and soon Michelle finds herself engulfed in the world of child prostitution. It is a world of impossible choices, where the line between love and abuse, captor and savior, is blurred beyond recognition. This hauntingly vivid story illustrates the human spirit’s indomitable search for home, and one girl’s struggle to survive. Read the first chapter here.
SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA, by Becky Albertalli, is an incredibly funny and poignant twenty-first-century coming-of-age, coming-out story—wrapped in a geek romance. Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: If he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing with, will be jeopardized. With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met. Read the first chapter here!
Check back here for “Opening the Book” Q&A’s with the authors and insightful words from the editors of these fantastic New Voices!
Comics creator Adrian Tomine has signed a deal with Drawn + Quarterly. A release date for Killing and Dying: Stories has been scheduled for October 2015.
Editor Chris Oliveros negotiated the deal with Samantha Haywood of the Transatlantic Literary Agency. Farrar, Straus & Giroux has signed on as the U.S. distributor and Raincoast Books will serve as the Canadian distributor.
Oliveros had this statement in the press release: “D+Q first published Adrian Tomine’s comics in 1995 and in the ensuing two decades it’s been a real privilege to see how he has continued to evolve as an artist, a writer, and overall as a cartoonist. Killing and Dying just might be my favorite book by Adrian. We’ve come to expect from him an eloquent visual sensibility and insightful, complex storytelling, but there’s something else going on here: these stories are darkly funny, and they’re tinged with a very particular acerbic wit that we haven’t seen all too often before this.”
Nick Bilton, author of the bestseller Hatching Twitter, has inked a deal with Portfolio, an imprint of the Penguin Group, to write a book about the deep web site Silk Road.
The AP has the scoop:
The book is currently untitled and no publication date has been set. Authorities have said Silk Road’s San Francisco operator generated more than $1 billion in illicit business from 2011 until the website was shut down in 2013.
Bilton tweeted the news, revealing that 20th Century Fox has acquired rights to a Silk Road film based on the book.
I have some news. I'm writing The Silk Road book, which has also been optioned as a movie by 20th Century Fox: http://t.co/LTLWfy7Jzg
— Nick Bilton (@nickbilton) January 26, 2015
Chinese authors have a tradition of using pen names, particularly when writing about controversial subjects. The government wants to put an end to this practice for authors publishing online.
China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, has released new guidelines requiring all authors that publish literature online to register their real names with the publishing platforms they use.
The New York Times has more:
Under the guidelines, creators of online content will still be allowed to publish under pen names. But unlike before, when some writers registered accounts under fake names, websites will know exactly who is publishing what.
The End of the Tour, a biopic about author David Foster Wallace, debuted at the Sundance Film Festival this week in Park City.
James Ponsoldt’s film is based on David Lipsky’s piece Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself in Rolling Stone. The essay is based on five days Lipsky spent interviewing Wallace while he was on a book tour in Minneapolis in 1996. Lipsky never published his intended profile, but after Wallace’s death published a transcript of the encounter. The film stars Jason Segel and Jesse Eisenberg.
Follow this link to check out a video from the set of the film.
Haruki Murakami works on creative projects from 4am to noon. He spends the next hour exercising and the rest of the day on food/leisure until he goes to bed at 9pm.
Maya Angelou wakes up at 5am and writes from about 6:30-3 and the rest of the day eating and having leisure time except for a half hour of creative time at 7:30.
Podio.com has created an infographic outlining the daily routines of famous creative people. We’ve embedded the entire graphic after the jump.
Want to develop a better work routine? Discover how some of the world’s greatest minds organized their days.
Click image to see the interactive version (via Podio).
The Eerdmans Books for Young Readers team has shot a Social Media 101 video for their YouTube channel. The video embedded above features “Facebook Tips for Authors.”
Follow this link to read the publisher’s social media and internet marketing guide for authors. Most successful authors know that their job is not limited to just writing. Last year, Jarrett J. Krosoczka verified this during an interview with MassLive.com.
Krosoczka explained: “You know people who are authors-only? Could I meet them? Because even though I, along with many of my peers, make my living from putting my imagination to paper, so many other roles are expected in today’s publishing landscape. Authors must also be speakers, performers, online marketeers and social-media mavens.” What do you think? Do you have any social media advice that writers would find helpful?
111 writers have won the Nobel Prize in Literature; only a few of them are female. The team at freshessays.com has created the “13 Female Nobel Laureates in Literature” infographic to celebrate these women.
According to visual.ly, the piece showcases the “names of their best novels and poems and words of wisdom.” We’ve embedded the full infographic below for you to explore further—what do you think?
IBM’s artificial intelligence machine Watson is taking its computing power to the kitchen.
IBM has partnered with Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) and Sourcebooks to create a new cookbook that comes out of a collaboration between the machine with real life chefs.
Cognitive Cooking with Chef Watson presents readers with more than 65 original recipes brought together by man and machine. Chef Watson offered up ideas based on its understanding of compounds and food pairing theories and ICE chefs augmented the suggestions into yummy meals to create recipes.
Self-publishing tools might make it easier to get published, but writing a book is a tough way to make a living. In fact, according to a new survey from Digital Book World, indie authors make about $500-999 a year, much less than traditionally published authors who still only earn an average of $3,000-4,999 a year.
Hybrid authors, writers that take both routes, do better and earn an average of $7,500–$9,999 a year. The survey includes online feedback from 1,879 published authors of which 56 percent are self-published, 13 percent who are traditionally published and 31 percent who do both.
The Guardian has more: “Overall, half of the writers – traditional and independent – surveyed this year earned $1,000– $2,999 or less. At the top end, almost 10% earned $100,000 or more, with 4.1% earning $250,000 or more.”
Writer Neil Gaiman and artist Chris Riddell have once again teamed up on a project. In the past, the two worked on an illustrated book edition of The Sleeper and The Spindle short story; Bloomsbury U.K. published it last year.
According to The Guardian, the two collaborators came together again to express their feelings on the “the Paris terror attacks” with an “artist’s creed.” Altogether, Riddell created four images for this “credo”; both Gaiman and Riddell have shared the finished pieces on their Facebook pages.
Here’s an excerpt from Gaiman’s writing: “I believe that in the battle between guns and ideas, ideas will eventually win. Because the ideas are invisible and they linger and sometimes, they are even true.” What do you think?
Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has written a new short story entitled “Olikoye.” It has been posted in its entirety on medium.com.
This piece appears in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “The Art of Saving a Life.” According to the project’s website, this is a “collection of stories about how vaccines continue to change the course of history. It offers an opportunity to hear, see and feel the tremendous impact of immunization, and to energize us in the global effort to protect every child from life-threatening disease.”
For Adichie (pictured, via), her goal in writing this piece is to humanize “the importance of healthcare.” Follow this link to listen to her 2009 TED talk on “the danger of a single story.” What do you think? (via Entertainment Weekly)
In her writing, author Joan Didion talks about how Robert Lowell and W.H. Auden have influenced her writing.
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway, Victory by Joseph Conrad and Guerrillas by V.S. Naipaul are also on her list, along with Wonderland by Joyce Carol Oates, Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë and The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford.
Brainpickings recently scored a handwritten list of the author’s favorite books from documentary filmmakers Susanne Rostock and Griffin Dunne, Didion’s nephew, who are working on a documentary about her life. Follow this link to check it out.
Michael Bond has enjoyed a writing career that has spanned more than five decades.
Bond has published hundreds of children’s books and continues to write to this day. How does he maintain his authorial momentum? He makes it a practice to avoid working on one character’s story for too long.
Here’s more from Bond’s interview with The New York Times: “When I have finished a Paddington, I think, that’s it, I’m out of ideas. When I get to the end of a Monsieur Pamplemousse, I think that’s it, but maybe I’ll go back to another Paddington. I’m a great believer in the subconscious. Graham Greene wrote about going to bed in the evening and waking up to discover you’ve solved the writing problem that had been worrying you. Alternating between characters is a way for me of staying fresh. My wife found a website that lists everything people have written. I’ve done over 200 books apparently; there are quite a lot I’ve totally forgotten I’ve written.”
When J.K. Rowling was working on the fifth Harry Potter book, she mapped it out on a piece of lined paper.
The handwritten sheet which informed Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, includes chapter titles, plot points and timelines among other details that helped her with the writing.
Additional columns map out subplots including the titles: \"Prophecy, \"Cho/Ginny,\" \"D.A.,\" \"Dumbledore’s Army,” \"O of P,\" \"Snape/Harry,\" and \"Hagrid and Grawp.\" (Via Open Culture). We’ve got the whole sheet for you to explore after the jump.
age range: 12 and up
setting: Missouri en route to California, 1849
Stacey Lee’s website
High drama, tension, romantic longings, and touches of humor will entice historical fiction fans, and will be a perfect tie-in to social studies curriculum.
— School Library Journal
Please tell us about your book.
Missouri, 1849: Samantha dreams of moving back to New York to be a professional musician—not an easy thing if you’re a girl, and harder still if you’re Chinese. But a tragic accident dashes any hopes of fulfilling her dream, and instead, leaves her fearing for her life. With the help of a runaway slave named Annamae, Samantha flees town for the unknown frontier. But life on the Oregon Trail is unsafe for two girls, so they disguise themselves as Sammy and Andy, two boys headed for the California gold rush.
Sammy and Andy forge a powerful bond as they each search for a link to their past, and struggle to avoid any unwanted attention. But when they cross paths with a band of cowboys, the light-hearted troupe turn out to be unexpected allies. With the law closing in on them and new setbacks coming each day, the girls quickly learn that there are not many places to hide on the open trail.
An unforgettable story of friendship and sacrifice—perfect for fans of Code Name Verity.
What inspired you to write this story?
I’d always wondered what life in America was like when my ancestors arrived to California in the late 19th century. When I researched the history of Chinese in America, I learned that the bulk of the Chinese came during the western expansion and California Gold Rush. I don’t speak Chinese myself, so I knew my heroine needed to have a full command of the English language. The story grew from there.
Could you share with readers how you conducted your research or share a few interesting tidbits you learned while researching?
I’m not a historian, so for me, every book begins with a trip to the library. There are plenty of online resources as well, but I seem to learn better when reading a hard copy. Also, I find the Children’s section of the library to be invaluable for subjects I know nothing about. Children’s books and videos break down the material into easy to understand chunks, not to mention, they’re much more entertaining than the adult stuff.
What are some special challenges associated with writing historical fiction?
One challenge is understanding the geography of the area as it existed during a particular period in time. Cities can change a lot over a few years, and while I certainly believe in taking liberties, I like to know when I’m doing it. I’m starting quite a collection of antique maps and reproductions!
What topics does your book touch upon that would make it a perfect fit for the classroom?
The Oregon Trail and western expansion, slavery, Chinese American history, and the California Gold Rush, and last but not least, cowboys.
The post Classroom Connections: UNDER A PAINTED SKY by Stacey Lee appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.
By: Deborah Jensen,
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Publishers Lunch has two new editions in its free Buzz Books series, buzzed about as the first and best place for passionate readers and publishing insiders to discover and sample some of the most acclaimed books of the year, before they are published. Substantial excerpts from 65 of the most anticipated books coming this spring and summer are gathered in two new ebooks, BUZZ BOOKS 2015: Spring/Summer and BUZZ BOOKS 2015: Young Adult Spring, offered in consumer and trade editions (adult and YA). All are available free through NetGalley.
Book lovers get an early first look at books from actress and activist Maria Bello, \"Morning Joe\" co-host and bestselling author Mika Brzezinski, NPR/Weekend Edition’s Scott Simon, and bestselling fiction writers Dennis Lehane, Ann Packer, Ian Caldwell, and Neal Stephenson, among others. Highly touted debuts include Leslie Parry’s Church of Marvels, Erika Swyler’s The Book of Speculation, J. Ryan Stradal’s Kitchens of the Great Midwest, Christopher Robinson and Gavin Kovite’s War Of The Encyclopaedists, and Jessica Knoll’s Luckiest Girl Alive. From inside publishing, there’s Jonathan Galassi’s debut novel Muse, and George Hodgman’s memoir Bettyville.
The YA edition features the latest from Sarah Dessen, David Levithan, Barry Lyga, and Michael Buckley, plus renowned middle-grade authors including Newbery winner Rebecca Stead and Louis Sachar. There’s Alice Hoffman’s Nightbird, her first novel for this age range. We also get a first look at YA debut authors Margo Rabb, Maria Dahvana Headley, plus Paige McKenzie’s The Haunting of Sunshine Girl (adapted from the web series of the same name and already in development as a film from the Weinstein Company) and Sabaa Tahir’s debut An Ember In the Ashes (already sold to Paramount Pictures in a major deal).
Fourteen of the adult titles featured in last year’s Buzz Books 2014 were named to one or more major \"Best Books of 2014\" lists, and 18 became bestsellers. Of the 28 books published to date and previewed in the 2014 Fall/Winter edition, 19 have made \"best of the month/year\" lists and nine are New York Times bestsellers.