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By: James Preller,
Blog: James Preller's Blog
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I’m sharing this poem because it came to me at a time when I really needed it. Maybe you feel the same way. Have a great weekend.
By: Mary Nida Smith,
Blog: Life's Beautiful Path
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STUDENTS/SCHOOLS Heroes Beneath the Waves: Submarine Stories of the Twentieth Century, is an ideal history book for students to learn and research how important submarines are for spying, transporting, rescuing without the world knowing. The seas hold many secrets.
The Lucky winner of Mouse's Christmas Cookie is:
Congratulations, PAM!!! Please e-mail me with your mailing address and how you'd like your book personalized by Pat. (claragillowclark(at)gmail(dot)com. Your book should reach you before Christmas!
Check out this perfect pick for a heartwarming winter read:
Here's the link: Red Sled
Patricia Thomas, Chris L. Demarest
School Library Journal--PreSchool-Grade 1—A father and son go sledding down a hill one snowy night in this charming picture book. The brief text consists of easy-to-read words in rhyming pairs ("Still hill./Far star./Snow aglow"). According to an author's note, the structure of the story-poem was inspired by an ancient writing pattern called chiasmus, "a format that creates a kind of mirror image." Bright watercolor pictures capture perfectly the downcast faces of the characters when they are stuck inside during a snowstorm ("Sad lad./Sad dad"), their expressions of happiness and excitement during their nocturnal adventure on the red sled ("Go! Go!/Whoa! Whoa!"), and their cozy contented smiles as they enjoy hot chocolate back home afterward ("Snug hug"). This is a great book for storytime and one-on-one sharing, and beginning readers will be able to follow the simple language presented in large black script.—Martha Simpson, Stratford Library Association, CTIt's a grand to give, but honestly it's pretty fun to receive, too! Today wraps up the book giveaways for this year, but there will be many more in 2016--some new authors and new books, but also authors you know and books you've come to love. Wishing you all the joy and wonder of the season! ~Clara
By: James Gurney,
Blog: Gurney Journey
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Today we'll take a look at Chapter 4: "The Painter's Training" from Harold Speed's 1924 art instruction book Oil Painting Techniques and Materials.
I'll present Speed's main points in boldface type either verbatim or paraphrased, followed by comments of my own. If you want to add a comment, please use the numbered points to refer to the relevant section of the chapter.
1. The traditional way of teaching painting is to teach Drawing first, then Painting. It's better to divide the problem into three interrelated elements: Form, Tone, and Color.
By Form I think he means both outline and modeling of 3D bulk. By Tone he means light or dark value, both tone as a function of design and tone as a function of defining 3D. Color presumably means both hue and saturation, but Speed points out it can't be seen separately from tone. Speed suggests that in the French academic schools, tone was overemphasized.
I'm still a little confused by this. I don't see how Form and Tone can really be separated.In Speed's scheme, then, when does the student make the switch to painting, and what are they doing exactly at each stage? I haven't reviewed the chapters ahead yet, but I suppose this will become clearer.
|Lilian Braithwaite by Harold Speed|
2. Systematic training isn't much help for design (or composition).
This comment, made in passing, struck me as an important one, and it's why I resist the idea of writing a book with any kind of authoritative tone on composition. Unlike the fields of color and light, which are full of verifiable facts, composition is elusive. Speed says it's unteachable, and not a subject for hard drilling. Still, I think it can be addressed in a classroom setting on an individual and a picture-by-picture basis by a mentor figure, the way Howard Pyle did.
The minute someone says that here are "The Five Laws of Composition" or "The 20 Don'ts of Design," I start thinking of masterworks that are exceptions to those laws. Composition by statute leads to sterile, conventional, and forgettable pictures.
3. "Before you can express anything you must feel something to express."
|Morelli, Temptation of St. Anthony|
Here's another comment made in passing that is essential to the study of picture-making. Speed criticizes work that is solely an excuse for an "unimpassioned rendering of the appearance of things." The works that stick in our minds are the ones that are both deeply felt and masterfully painted, and as a result the feelings transmit to the viewer.4. "The English language is not very rich in terms that express aesthetic things."
So true, and a good reason why painters have had to learn foreign vocabularies for words like effet,
which were so central to foreign training. French and Italian languages have a great many words that have now been adopted in many painting ateliers, but that's another topic for a blog post.5. "The heightened effect that there is in all artistic work, and which is in a way a departure from cold accuracy, must not be made the excuse for careless and slovenly work."
I've noticed that the words "creative" and "expressive" are often used nowadays as code words for sloppy work, but they shouldn't be.6. Western art is more concerned with naturalistic outward appearances than Eastern art, but in the great Western works, there are "variations from strict accuracy."
And Speed points out that these subtle expressive enhancements and aesthetic choices in realist painting have escaped critics. That's more true now than ever because most mainstream art critics are so visually unaware. As Speed says, realism makes the work "persuasive to the beholder" but it's only the first objective in doing something with lasting meaning. The expressive quality is more valuable, and he reminds us that a strongly expressive work that is executed with some rough technical edges may be preferable to a technically polished work that is empty of feeling.7. "Nature is not one of those who disclose their best to a shallow observer; she only reveals herself fully to those who seek her reverently."
This is because it takes a lifetime to learn to see. And it's not just a matter of seeing optically with the eyes. It's about apprehending with compassion and insight. One has to perceive what is fine in a subject and bring that out. Speed reminds us that we need to call up from memory the fine things one has seen in art and nature and bring that out in what one is painting.8. "If you cannot paint what you see, you will find yourself handicapped in trying to paint what you imagine."
This is why it's so important for fantasy artists and concept artists to paint outdoors. What you can paint from your imagination will only be 75% as convincing as what you can paint from nature."Vast themes seem to demand simple language for their expression."
You can insert any Rembrandt painting here.
Speed finishes the chapter with more thoughts about Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, but hopefully we covered that ground in the last few sessions.
Next week—Chapter 5: Tone Values
Click the image above for a print-ready PDF or download the "Gift Of Time" gift certificate here.
Looking for a gift for a friend but don't have the cash? Give the gift of TIME.
Depending on your relationship with the recipient, you could offer to do dishes for a week, pick up the kids from school, x number of hours of running, grocery shopping, babysitting and so on. If your friend complains about not having time to read, combine this certificate with a book.
Some suggestions for presenting the gift:
- Slip the certificate into a white envelope and then decorate the envelope with holiday stickers, sparkles, doodles, etc.
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For more free, print-ready goodies, see Debbie's Print-Ready Archives.
She wore purple, and when other people slept
She stept lightly - lightly - in her ruby powdered slippers
Along the flags of the East portico.
- the opening lines of Gavotte in D Minor by Amy Lowell
Read the poem in its entirety here.
View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.
View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.
Learn more about Poetry Friday.
Author A.L. Davroe joins us today to discuss the important issue of physical imperfection in characterization. Many of us as writers struggle with the need to create characters who are not perfect in looks, personality, or health, and who reflect real-life diversity, including physical. A.L. created a strikingly different sort of Cinderella character and is here to share why and how.
Why I cut off my character’s legs, why I gave them back to her, and why I didn’t focus on her recovery by A.L. Davroe
One of the things that sets the main character of Nexis
, Ellani Drexel apart from other YA heroines is that she has no legs. I did this on purpose. I took a character who was at a severe disadvantage from the get-go and made it ten times worse for her.
I originally did this wholly to fulfill a need to have a Cinderella character who loses legs instead of shoes and gets really cool ones to replace them. So, I started writing Nexis
, put Ella through the ringer and then it blew up into something way bigger than the Cinderella story that it was meant to be.
I took away Cinderella, the prince, the fantastic new legs. But, I kept the missing ones.
And I did it to make a point.
And my point is that we take things for granted.
When we’re young we tend to focus on the small petty things. Things like acne and having the same prom dress as someone are monumental and life-altering to us. And, while they are truly things that shape us, they aren’t very big when you look at them in perspective. But, we eventually learn what real trauma is. It’s a coming of age trope that’s common in YA, but I wanted to take it one step farther.
Often a YA heroine’s male counterpart loses something physically and the heroine has to deal with that. It’s creating adversity for her, but not putting her under attack.
Sometimes she loses a body part that’s not as important – a finger maybe. It’s awful and makes the reader sympathize, but it doesn’t often create too much hardship to the main character in the long run.
Sometimes she loses only one of something – an arm or an eye perhaps. It’s very hard to deal with losing one leg or one arm. Now, imagine how much harder it is to not have either?
Often she’s set upon and her body or psyche are somehow broken – be it from rape or a physical attack. These are equally as awful, for certain, but I feel like these have been done and, in some instances, in bad taste (don’t get me started on rape as a plot device).
Sometimes she loses something important and the book becomes all about it – an issues book about loss and recovery, breaking and coming back together.
But let’s face it, the girls who read issues books are often not the ones reading swashbuckling adventure. And I think that both sides are missing out by not reading the other. Why can’t we have both issues AND adventure? These are things that happen in adult novels, so why not YA novels too?
I chose the loss of the ability to walk because I think that, as humans, we take for granted our ability to walk upright. To explore, to see new things, to run, jump, play. To look someone in the eye… I wanted to explore the harsh reality of suddenly not being able to get up and go to the bathroom -- of sometimes having to wet your pants. I wanted it to be poignant and real. Because this happens to some people and we don’t think about it often, nor do we understand just how hard their lives become by this loss – to be trapped in an immobile prison.
I’m certain that some people are going to be like, “Well, why did you give her legs in the game? What about the legs at the end?”
My answer to this is simple: Because some issues are deeper than their solution. Leglessness is an issue that Ella has to learn to deal with in the book. Her desire to have legs in the game – to be something other than what she is – is a subtle hold-over of her desire to be like everyone else. It shows that even though we may progress so very far beyond something, there is still a little voice in the back of our head whispering all the insecurities. It’s evidenced in her inability to meet Guster in Real World because she’s not whole. And it’s what drives her to cause a huge problem at the end of the book – just to have those legs she wants so bad.
Her getting legs in the game doesn’t solve the problem of her needing to deal with not having them in real life. And her getting replacements in real life doesn’t solve the problem of her still needing to deal with the fact that she is not whole. And this issue will continue to haunt her throughout the series as her legs keep getting given and taken away from her. Is this mean to do to Ella? Perhaps, but by continually being put into and taken out of the fire, Ella will become stronger – like a finely honed sword. Ella is a character who embodies the metaphoric struggle of dealing with loss and trauma. It keeps rearing it’s ugly head, but every time you battle it, you’re stronger and more well prepared for the next bought.
Another question I get from readers is, “Why don’t you realistically portray Ella having to learn to use her prosthetics?”
Rest assured, I’m fully aware of how difficult it is for an amputee to learn to use a prosthetic to the point that Ella so freely does almost immediately after receiving them. I have two reasons for not covering this reality in the book. One is the simple reality that, while unrealistic seeming, it would have taken too long. This story spans over a year and the end of the book needed to happen in rapid succession. Two is that this book is futuristic with incredibly advanced technology and it is my hope that one day amputees will be able to receive prosthetic limbs that will allow for a turn around as rapid as Ella’s. While the book doesn’t deal with the poignant reality of the adjustment period required of learning a new prosthesis, it’s also not an “issues” book, it’s an adventure story so I need to focus on advancing the plot not the person. Though, I think Ella does a good job of both!
ABOUT THE BOOKNexis by A.L. DavroePaperbackEntangled: TeenReleased 12/1/2015
In the domed city of Evanescence, appearance is everything. A Natural Born amongst genetically-altered Aristocrats, all Ella ever wanted was to be like everyone else. Augmented, sparkling, and perfect. Then…the crash. Devastated by her father’s death and struggling with her new physical limitations, Ella is terrified to learn she is not just alone, but little more than a prisoner.
Her only escape is to lose herself in Nexis, the hugely popular virtual reality game her father created. In Nexis she meets Guster, a senior player who guides Ella through the strange and compelling new world she now inhabits. He offers Ella guidance, friendship…and something more. Something that allows her to forget about the “real” world, and makes her feel whole again. But Nexis isn’t quite the game everyone thinks it is. And it’s been waiting for Ella.Purchase Nexis at AmazonPurchase Nexis at IndieBoundView Nexis on Goodreads
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A.L. (Amanda) writes both YA and adult speculative fiction. She prefers revisionist tales in paranormal, romance, Steampunk, and fantasy. She is the author of Salvation Station
(adult psych horror), The City Steam Collection
(adult psych horror), For Your Heart
(YA Paranormal Romance) and her YA Sci-Fi novel, Nexis
, is coming out with Entangled Publishing December 1, 2015!
By day, Amanda lives in Connecticut with her two feline hench-creatures. She's a terrible blusher, has a weak spot for cuddly animals, loves Laffy Taffy and Cadbury MiniEggs, and she's a huge advocate of alternative healing methods. Amanda also wears purple shoes and corsets...Though not always in the same ensemble. She's a Capricorn, a Hufflepuff, a bit gothic, and a few nuggets short of a Happy Meal. Amanda also suffers from Resting Bitchface Syndrome (RBS), so even though she might look like she'll tie you in a knot if you come near her, she's more afraid of you than you are of her (see blushing problem above).Website
-- posted by Susan Sipal, @HP4Writers
Lois Ruby slipped in the back door as a writer for young people. That is, she was a Young Adult librarian for the Dallas Public Library, and after reading a thousand books in her department, she decided she could write the stories herself. Her first book was published in 1977. Since then, 18 more have seen print, and Lois is no longer a working librarian. Instead, her time is divided among her family, research, writing, presenting at conferences, and visiting schools to energize children, teens, and teachers about the ideas in books for young readers. Lois’s novel, Steal Away Home, is used in the 5th grade Civil War curriculum in almost every school in Georgia.
Although Lois and her husband, Dr. Tom Ruby, raised their family in Kansas, they now share their lives in Albuquerque. Their three sons and daughters-in-law, and seven amazing grandchildren, are scattered around the country.
Thank you for inviting me to share my thoughts about historical fiction. It’s my first love, although I didn’t like history while I was in school. In those days it was all about kings and wars and memorizing dates. As I began writing historical fiction, I came to realize that history is individual people and their personal dramas within the context of events – large and small – swirling around them. So, yes, history is war and dates, but also art and music and law and order and ekeing out a living and planting and sowing and seeking meaning and purpose in the midst of huge events one cannot control. Once I saw all that, I allowed my imagination to wander until characters fixed to a certain time and place popped into my mind. Then it was simply (but not so simply) a matter of letting those characters poke around in their environment until a story emerged. I wait for characters to tell me their story. Sometimes it’s a long wait, maybe years of patient waiting.
I’m a recovering librarian, so I love the research as much as the writing. One of my friends does a huge amount of research for each novel, then disposes of all those materials before moving onto the next book. Not me. I continue to collect info and artifacts long after a book is written, which is why my office is such a jungle. So, I have boxes and boxes of research notes, print-outs, maps, articles, glossaries, bibliographies, photographs, and, of course, books on each of my historical subjects. And guess what. Even after all this research and later intense scrutiny of facts by my editors, there are still errors that surprise me in my books.
The process of writing contemporary novels differs from that of writing historicals. For contemporaries, the character comes first, and I have to figure out who this person is, and what his or her story is, and why this person is interesting or important enough for me to spend two or three years with. However, for historical novels, the time period comes first, and then my task is to figure out who populates that specific era and locale. Once that’s established, the story begins to write itself, and I have the privilege of hearing what the character has to say and recording it as fast as I can, like watching a movie in my mind.
I begin research for historicals by reading the best children’s book I can find on that subject, because the breadth and clear language are going to tell me what I need to know to get my own thinking cranked up. Then I move on to depth. Of course, I read online, but you can’t trust everything on the Internet, so any specifics I pick up, I need to verify with material that’s actually vetted and fact-checked by reputable publishers.
It’s important to visit the places we write about whenever possible, even if the events we’re describing happened centuries ago. We need to see the terrain, feel and smell the atmosphere out of which our characters spring, for I believe place affects one’s orientation and thinking. For example, I’ve been researching southeast Kansas in the 1870’s. Recently my husband and I visited the very place those dramatic events occurred, read the local papers on microfilm, interviewed people whose ancestors grew up in that area, and soaked up details about the trees, hills, and sky for sensory-loaded setting. I’ve had to put that book aside to work on other things with deadlines, so it could be years before I get back to writing it, but I’ll keep researching. In fact, I normally spend about two years researching an historical novel, all the while mentally interviewing my characters to plumb for the peculiarities and doubts and certainties, and especially the poignant moments in their lives.
When to stop research and start writing? Who knows? For me it’s a circular process. The research peppers the narrative, and as I write and realize how little I actually know, I return to the research … which yields new details and possibilities for my characters. I ask a zillion questions. Each answer opens the window on another question, the answer of which leaves me gasping because so many, many ideas pop up, and I haven’t “world enough, or time” to explore them all. Let me give you an example. I’d been doing a great deal of research on Shanghai during the 1930s and 1940s, for my World War II book, Shanghai Shadows. Finally, I said, enough study – write it, already! Then I thumbed languidly through a book I’d actually already read for this project, and a tiny, but very significant detail jumped off the page. It was something I’d overlooked in the first reading because I wasn’t ready for it yet, but now that the detail was mine, it led me in a whole new direction of inquiry. What a joy!
Something about the research process: As I read, I write or type notes on 3×5 cards, one for each fact or captivating observation. These cards are organized by broad subject, such as dates, relevant laws, crops, quotes, historical figures, geography, etc. I index the information on each card by very specific details, much as you’d see in the index at the back of a book. That’s how I can retrieve info quickly to flesh out a scene. It’s a slow and arduous process, and yeah, I know, there are programs for collecting and sorting info, but I was writing before the term apps was invented. I’m old enough to remember and love library card catalogs!
I’m intrigued by the question Caroline posed: “What sorts of decisions have you had to make about ‘muddy’ historical figures or events in order for your book to work?” Wow, that gets an author’s heart thumping! The easy answer is that I often find contradictory information from one source to the next, such as the year of a certain major occurrence that affects my created characters. Sometimes a fact can be clarified or verified by a more definitive source, but at times even that doesn’t work, in which case I have to make my best guess. But what the question is really getting at is something more complex, and it leads to the query, how much can we tweak history to fit our story? We might need to juggle less significant dates a bit. We might need to intentionally omit some historical facts in service of the story, particularly about unsavory characters who might have done things too raw for the young audience I’m hoping to reach. We might need to put words in the mouth of an actual person who lived, though we can’t verify that that person said those words. We might need to invent characters who never existed, and drop them into an historical context to breed more drama for our protagonists. After all, it’s why we call historical novels fiction. So here are two things I try to remember: (1) make the story engaging and accessible to readers; but (2) don’t lose track of the deeper truth – which is beyond the facts – of what really happened.
Historical fiction is important, I believe, because it makes the dry back-story of our shared human experience spring to life with vividness and insight. There’s a common saying that if we don’t study our history, we’re doomed to repeat it. Some terrible things have happened; some terrible things continue to happen. But my hope is that as writers of historical fiction, particularly for young people, we cast a questioning and understanding eye on cultural, historical, and heroic events of the past, to help readers make wise, humane choices for the future.
The post Straight From the Source: Lois Ruby on Writing Historical Fiction appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.
Question: Well, I'll explain it better: I'm confused about where to put some kinds of information. For example, I want to explain each character's story,
Inspired by 1950's sci-fi movie posters, we DON'T want our polar bears to become the folder of science fiction! A collective effort soon solidified at #COP21 #saveourseaice.
By: Heidi Mordhorst,
Blog: my juicy little universe
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Last week I posted rainforest animal poems by my 7-year-old 2nd graders. This week I'm leaping forward a few generations to highlight work I did in collaboration with a visual artist through the SPARK program. This free opportunity to give and receive artistic inspiration is now in its 27th round, and I always enjoy the challenge. This time I was matched with Aimee Fullman, who's living in London at the moment and who wears all kinds of hats besides photographer!
Aimee sent me two pieces to select from, which I appreciated, so I sent her two poems, and old and a newer one. Here are our two resulting pairings of photography and poetry. The first photo shows the George Washington Masonic National Memorial.
I'm pretty pleased with both match-ups--fascinated by Aimee's and thrilled as always by how effective a prompt can be for me (not to mention a deadline). I bet other PF regulars participated--find more inspiration at the round-up today, hosted by Tara at A Teaching Life
I would have gotten to this book eventually, I think, but because Linda Sue Park mentioned it on her Beacon St. TEDx talk (and if you haven't had a chance to watch, please do) which was so full of good thoughts, I bumped it immediately to the top of... Read the rest of this post
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By: Monica Gupta
Blog: Monica Gupta
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सम विषम और महिलाएं धोषणाएं अभी बाकि हैं … पहले सुना कि सुबह 8 से शाम 8 बजे तक की छूट , फिर सुना की रविवार सभी के लिए छूट, फिर सुना कि आपातकालीन के लिए छूट और अब सुनने में आया है कि सुरक्षा के मद्देनजर महिलाओ के लिए सम विषम मे छूट रहेगी […]
The post सम विषम और महिलाएं appeared first on Monica Gupta.
Today I have two great books, and I have to say I love the cover of Fading Away. That's Alex from Kiss of Death (Touch of Death series prequel)!!!
SAMMY STEVENS was tragically orphaned at the age of nine and sent to live with a foster family in the town of Miakoda Falls. She's bullied at school by the arrogant, selfish, one and only... KAI JORDAN. Kai is your typical entitled teen who's on the verge of attending University and having everything he ever wanted handed to him. But that all changes when he is involved in a car accident after a night of partying... He's suddenly and painfully brought into the world of supernatural. Kai turns to the last person he ever would've expected. Sammy, as he struggles with his new identity and watches the people closest to him move on. And he is forgotten.
As Kai and Sammy grow closer, Kai must figure out a way to either stay human or risk being stuck forever, as a prisoner of his own body…
I was only nine when they died… I remember the colour of my mother’s hair, and her soft voice. I remember my father’s cologne and the way he used to hold my hand tightly as we walked down to the store for milk. Everything else is a blur; I don't remember what they looked like. Their faces escape me. The memory of my parents is a fuzzy one and all of the photographs are gone now. It was dark and hot, that much I can remember very clearly. Sweat beads off my forehead and down my neck. My room smells of wood smoke, clogging up my nose and throat, making me cough. Surely the smoke detectors would have gone off by now if we were in trouble? I clutch my pillow to my stomach and watch the flickering orange light dance under the door. A shadow and then Dad is bursting through my door, bringing a cloud full of toxic smoke with him. “Come on Sammy,” he coaxes me towards him, throwing a fearful look over his shoulder at the wall of heat. I run to him and he scoops me up, spinning and ducking through our burning house. The bright, white hot fire is everywhere. I can feel the blazing heat on my bare skin. It burns. An overhead beam collapses above us and my dad goes down, letting go of me as he hits the ground. I scream and crawl closer to him. “Baby girl, you need to get out.” His words come out wheezy. I glance at the burning roof beam lying across his back. His fingers lightly touch my knee and I look back down at him. “Go get help darling, outside. Stay close to the ground. Go!” I nod quickly and weave my way to the front door as fast as I can. As soon as I push the hot door open, someone lifts me up and sprints away from the house towards the waiting ambulance. The fireman puts me down and wipes my face clean. I cough and point back at my house. He smiles and nods before pushing me further into the ambulance and handing me off to a paramedic. I wake up in the hospital still clutching my dirty pillow, surrounded by people, none of them my parents. The other kids at school never see me, and when they do, they whisper. I don't know how, but they know, and being a foster child doesn’t win you any sympathy points or special treatment. It’s more like I’ve contracted an extremely dangerous disease and if anyone was to talk to me or come into contact with me, their parents would magically die too. Kids can be brutal. I was thirteen when I first met Kai Jordan. He was a kind, gentle person back then. He introduced himself to me with a smile, unaware of my status with the rest of our classmates. Being the new kid, he was immediately snapped up into the popular group at school. If I knew what he would be like as we grew older, I would never have smiled back at him. I am eighteen now, living with foster parents and on the verge of graduating high school and getting into the college of my dreams…if I can get this stupid paper done. Argh. I slam my pen down on my desk in frustration. It’s due tomorrow and I haven't stung a single sentence together. I shake my head and close my book. I’ll just have to ask for an extension from Mrs. Danby. Gathering my things, I stuff them unceremoniously into my backpack and swing it over my shoulder. The bell hasn’t released us yet, but that doesn’t stop the chatter from the other students around the room. Ms. Kelly sits down at her desk and starts shuffling her own books into her tote bag. As soon as the bell sounds I follow everyone out of the classroom and drift down the hallways amidst the sea of pushy seniors, thinking about what I'm going to make myself for dinner. Someone steps out in front of me and I collide head on with their shoulder. I frown up at the dark haired, brown eyed road block and adjust my glasses. “Watch where you’re going,” Kai Jordan sneers at me as he pushes past. He wouldn’t remember who I am, even if he tripped over me, obviously. I wonder briefly what happened to the happy, friendly little boy he was when he moved here. Shifting my backpack back onto my shoulder, I continue down the hallway, heading for the exit. People smack me with their books or bags as I push my way through. I feel as though I'm completely invisible. Sometimes I just want to scream, I’m here, just look and see me.
I'm in no hurry to get home. My foster parents gave birth to their first child this year, so I live in the flat above the garage by myself. Not much to look forward too. And no chance of a new foster family, I'm too close to graduating and leaving for college. “It’s impossible notto believe in ghosts, They light up the night sky every time the sun goes down, reminding us that we are never alone.” What would you do if you had a second chance at lost love? Kristian Reed was only seventeen when the love of his life fell to her death. The hardest part of losing someone you love is moving on without them. After six long years of trying to escape the pain, Kristian starts his new life in the big city, working for one of the top News Networks in the state. Enter Bailey Nichols, she’s up front, forward and just plain annoying, and what’s worse, she won't leave Kristian alone. Everything seems to be falling into place, that is until his past comes back to haunt him and he is torn between holding on and letting go.
By denying what’s standing right there in front of him, Kristian could lose everything…
The memories come in flashes. These are the happiest moments of my life. I'm living them all over again. Kristian leans towards me in a dark corner of Maisy’s house, the loud music surrounding us and the smell of teenage sweat in the air. I don't know how long I've wanted to touch his dark hair or to kiss his lush lips. Every time I see him at school, I make sure to pass his classroom on the way to my own. Now’s my chance. I grab the collar of his shirt and pull him down so I can reach. As soon as our lips touch, his hands gently grasp the sides of my face, holding me close. Pulling away slowly, Kristian gazes down at me, the dim light around the shadowed room glinting in his dark eyes. This moment is perfect. One I will remember forever. Kristian’s fingers run down the side of my face, I smile up at him and he returns it. “You are the most beautiful girl I have ever met Jessica.” I turn away and giggle quietly. Kristian reaches between us and grabs a hold of my hand, leading me out of the shadows and into the room full of our dancing and talking classmates. I wake close to midday the next day and stretch in my plush bed. All the memories from last night flooding my thoughts and making me blush. “Jessica?” My mother’s voice sounds from the other side of my bedroom door. “There’s a boy downstairs waiting for you.” A boy? “Okay Mum, I'm coming.” I jump out of bed, my blanket tumbling to the floor in my rush. I pull my nicest pair of jeans on and riffle through my dresser looking for an appropriate shirt. Taking a deep breath, I pull my door open, dash down the stairs at breakneck speed and trip on the bottom step. Oh no, I'm going to face plant in front everyone. Strong arms catch me around the shoulders just as I'm about to hit the floor. Plastering a weak smile on my face, I look up into Kristian's beautiful eyes. “Whoops, sorry.” Oh god, I could die of embarrassment right now. Kristian smiles and helps me to my feet. “I was wondering if you might want to go to the movies with me?” He looks almost shy as he asks, as if I'm the gorgeous, beautiful, smoking hot... Okay, that's enough. I have to answer before he thinks I'm dense as well as clumsy. I lift my shoulders in a small shrug. “Definitely, I would love to.” Out of the corner of my eye, I can see my Mum’s head poking around the corner of the kitchen doorway, eavesdropping. I turn discreetly so my back is to her and make a go away motion with my hand where Kristian can't see. “I’m going out Mum,” I call out over my shoulder as Kristian leads me out to his car. I'm so nervous my palms are sweating. I hope he doesn't want to hold hands. The car ride over eases my nerves a bit. I'm sitting so close I can smell Kristian’s soap. Sort of lemony. We arrive at the theatre and Kristian buys us both a ticket. I don't know which movie we are going to see, but it doesn't matter. As soon as we are seated, I'm not paying attention to the big screen anyway. Kristian shifts in his seat and puts his arm around my shoulders. I look down at my lap and smile to myself. Another flash and I'm walking down the main hall at our high school; Maisy trots along beside me, chattering about the party last Friday. I'm not listening; my eyes are scanning the people standing by their lockers, searching for Kristian. “Hey, looking for me?” Kristian’s arms come around my shoulders and he places a gentle kiss on the side of my neck. I lean my head back against his shoulder and smile. This is where I want to stay; this is where I feel safe. The scenery around me changes again. “So Kristian, have you thought about what universities you will be applying for next semester?” My father is leaning slightly over the table towards Kristian with a stern look on his face. Kristian glances at me unsure. “Dad!” My father gives me a small mischievous grin and looks back down at his plate, lifting a forkful of pasta to his mouth. This is so awkward. My mother sits across from me, trying to hide her own smile. God, could this be any more embarrassing. After dinner is finished and I've helped Mum clean up, I follow Kristian out to his car to say goodbye. “I had a really nice time,” Kristian leans against his car and pulls me into his arms. “I'm so sorry about my parents. They’re a little annoying sometimes,” I apologize, twisting my fingers into his shirt. “Stop worrying, I swear I had fun.” Kristian’s hand closes around mine and untwists my fingers. He smiles and leans down to kiss me. I stand on the front porch until Kristian’s car turns the corner out of sight. “Was all that really necessary?” I ask, shutting the front door behind me. “Of course, darling,” my mother answers from the lounge room. Dad chuckles from beside her. “We had to make sure he is worthy of our little princess.” Mum giggles like a little schoolgirl and switches on the television. I huff at them and skip up the stairs to my bedroom. Lying on my bed, I stare up at the ceiling. My cell phone buzzes from my nightstand and I scramble across the bed to grab it. I open the text and nearly squeal in delight. I love you Jessica Scott. Another flash, they are coming quicker now. “Do you think we will stay together after we graduate?” Kristian asks, sitting cross-legged on my bed in front of me. Our hands are touching between us. “I hope so.” Today is our one-year anniversary. The time we’ve been together has been perfect. Kristian reaches behind his back and pulls out a long black velvet box. “Oh my god, Kristian.” His eyes crinkle at the sides when he smiles. He hands me the box and I open it almost reverently. The sparkling gems from the bracelet shine up at me, glittering in the dying sunlight coming through my bedroom window. It’s so beautiful. “Thank you so much.” Kristian helps me do up the clasp as I wrap it around my wrist. When he's done, I crawl onto his lap and kiss him, wrapping my arms around his neck and pulling him closer. We fall backwards until he's lying on his back and I'm on top of him, running my hands up his stomach and chest. The atmosphere becomes heated; Kristian's fingers push my shirt up underneath my bra. Is this really happening? I hesitate and then yank Kristian's shirt up, he lifts himself off the bed slightly so I can take it off completely. “Jessica! Kristian! Dinner is ready,” my father calls out from downstairs. We both falter and look at each other. Had we nearly done what I think we were going to do? Kristian smiles shyly up at my shocked expression. “I don't think I'm ready for that yet, and neither are you.” I giggle timidly and hand Kristian his shirt. He sits up underneath me and pulls me into a tight hug. I relax into his hold and whisper into his ear. “I love you.” I can feel his mouth lift up in a smile on the side of my face. Now I'm sitting in a brightly lit classroom. Math is one of the most boring classes in school. The equations don't make sense to me, and who puts letters in math anyway. Maisy scribbles notes in her book beside me, I'm not sure if they have anything to do with what Mr. Saul is teaching. I tap my pen on my notebook and stare at the clock above the door, the second hand feels like it is going backwards. As soon as the bell rings, I'm already packed up and leaving the classroom. I walk to my locker to exchange my textbooks and get a new pen. Maisy is chattering away beside me. “So Jake asked me to the prom. Should I wear blue or green?” I turn to her with pursed lips, thinking. She has deep red hair and a fair complexion so she would look great in either colour. “Green?” She nods, “Yeah, that's what I was thinking. Has Kristian asked you yet?” I spin back around to my locker and turn the knob for my combination. “No, not yet.” I thought for sure he would have asked me by now. I sigh and pull my locker door open. Dozens upon dozens of colorful flowers and ribbons tumble out onto the floor around me; there’s so many they spill across the hall. Other students stop and gawk at me. I bend down and pick up one of the flowers; it’s a dark yellow rose. Attached to its stem is a small card with black writing. Each day I love you more, today more than yesterday and less than tomorrow. Please be my date for the prom Jessica Scott. – Love Always, Kristian I look down at the other flowers, every single one has its own note attached to it. I can't breathe. I'm lost for words. Maisy and all the other students have stopped talking and are staring at me, open-mouthed. “So will you go with me?” Kristian asks quietly from behind me. He’s so close I can feel his warm breath on the back of my neck. This is the most romantic thing I've ever seen. Even better than a movie. I twist slowly to face Kristian, a look of awe on my face. “Of course I'll go with you.” He grins and pulls me into his arms, crushing me to his chest. My mother leans over me, I watch in the mirror as she pins a stray strand of hair up on top of my head. I wince as the bobby pin scrapes against my skull. “Sorry darling,” Mum apologizes as she sprays glitter into my hair. I'm practically bouncing on my seat in excitement. I'm finally graduating high school and I'm going to prom with the love of my life. The doorbell rings downstairs, I can hear my Dad’s heavy footsteps as he walks across the lounge room to answer it. Mum helps me stand and I cautiously descend the stairs in my high heels. My light blue, nearly white dress is tight at the waist and loose around my legs, trailing along behind me. Kristian's face lights up as he sees me. He holds his hand out to help me from the bottom step. “You look beautiful Jess,” Kristian exclaims as I spin in a circle to show him and my father my sparkling dress. “You two over by the window, please, so I can take some pictures.” Mum holds up her digital camera and waves her other hand towards the lounge room window. I grab Kristian's hand and drag him over to the window. Dad stands behind Mum and smiles as she starts clicking the camera. I glance up quickly at Kristian and pause. He's watching me; I'm caught in his dark gaze. The rest of the world falls away, leaving only us. The school gym is decorated in hundreds of neon lights of all different colors, making everyone’s lighter colored clothes glow. My arm is tucked in Kristian's elbow as he leads us through the entry way and towards my group of friends. “I'll be right back.” He kisses me on the forehead and walks back into the crowd. “You are so lucky Jess, he's so gorgeous.” Maisy and Jenifer come up on either side of me and sigh dreamily. Jenifer hands me a cup of punch and we all sit down at a small table at the edge of the room. “Did you hear about Stephanie?” Maisy whispers loudly beside me. “No, what happened to Steph?” I lean across the table to hear her reply. “She cheated on Brodie!” Maisy’s eyes go wide and shocked. Beside me, Jenifer gasps. She's had a crush on Brodie since fifth grade, so this is big news for her. “You should make your move tonight Jen,” I tell her with an encouraging smile. She looks a little worried. “You think so?” “Definitely,” Maisy pipes up from across the table. Jenifer stands up hesitantly and searches the dancing masses in the gym. After a moment, she nods to herself and walks through our classmates heading for Brodie. Jake jogs up to the table and grasps Maisy’s hand, twirling her out onto the dance floor. Kristian stops beside me, his white dress shirt glowing under his jacket. The neon lights around the room make his eyes glitter as he holds out his hand. “Do you want to dance?” I place my hand in his. “Only if it lasts forever.” Kristian pulls me through the door and into his room before his family sees me. “I've organized for all of us to go and hang out at the waterfalls for your birthday.” “Yes, I'll pick you up from your house tomorrow morning at eight.” He drags me down onto the bed beside him and then pushes me back so he's leaning over the top of me. Flash, and I'm no longer in Kristian’s room. I can hear the excitement from our group as we walk along the narrow dirt track through the trees to the waterfall that our town was named after. There are about ten of us and we’re all dressed to go swimming and lounge about beside the water. We emerge from the dense trees and I stop to stare as everyone moves past me. The waterfall is even more beautiful than I remember. The clear water sparkles in the sunlight as it tumbles down the rocks and splashes into the pool below. There are wildflowers growing in patches around the entire clearing, butterflies in all sorts of incredible colors hovering above them. A small group of us heads up the path to get to the top of the falls so we can have a look at the view. The trees thin out and the rocks beneath our feet turn into slippery pebbles. Kristian takes a hold of my hand and keeps me steady as we exit the trees and reach the edge of the waterfall. I can see everyone down below us, spreading out, talking and laughing. I let go of Kristian’s hand and take a small step closer to peek over the edge. “Careful Jess,” Kristian warns, from right behind me. The cascading water looks fast as it speeds over the edge and crashes down into the pool. It’s not a huge drop, but it’s big enough to do some damage. I turn slowly to walk back to Kristian. One minute I'm gazing at his face, the next I'm falling. My fingers scramble to hold on to the slippery rocks on the side of the waterfall. Kristian's face appears above me, his expression fierce but afraid. This is the last thing I remember and it is so clear, as if I saw it all in slow motion, every single excruciating detail. Kristian’s dark, glittering eyes open wide in horror. His mouth opens, screaming my name as he reaches for my hand. I remember the exact moment my fingers give, ripping my fingernails to shreds as they scrape the rocks, my bracelet from Kristian slipping off my wrist as I fall. The memories come in flashes. They are what I will remember forever.
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Lady Disdain, beware!
For beneath the surface of even the most polished Regency gentleman can lurk...Guy Table Manners.
The lady may think them unintentional, but the gentleman begs to differ!
Never mind that Admiral McGillvary wore a borrowed coat, stained and threadbare into the bargain. The lovely Miss Elliot, seated by chance at his table, did not recognize him--she thought him a clerk! Nor did she bother to hide her scorn at his scruffy appearance.
The temptation to tease her was overwhelming. McGillvary gave her one of his most charming smiles...and tapped the hard tea biscuit sharply against the tabletop.
She looked up.
"Old habit," he remarked. "Reminds me of a nibby. A sea biscuit. Navy issue."
"Oh," she said. "The Navy."
McGillvary nearly laughed outright. Obviously, flirting with a clerk was taboo! When she looked his way, he poured the last of his tea into the saucer to cool. This was clearly outrageous; his mother would have boxed his ears! He lifted the saucer and took a long, gleeful draught.
Replacing it, he remarked, "A nice brew, but I prefer coffee. As you can see," he indicated his waistcoat, "we had a little mishap with the coffeepot."
"Do you mean today?" she said.
He stiffened. Did she think he would wear a stained waistcoat all week?
And so begins the sparring banter between the Admiral and the arrogant Miss Elliot, romantic leads in Mercy's Embrace
, a spin-off of Jane Austen's Persuasion
And it seems I cannot help myself. All my life I have been surrounded by men: a father, one brother, a husband, and three sons. Even though I write Regency, real-life male behaviors creep in. Too much fun!
Even though tapping the "nibby" was how sailors knocked the weevils out...
Not something I am wanting to eat.
What outrageous Male Table Manners - the kind designed to get a rise out of guests - have you observed?
Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Laura!
You can find Laura here:
Readers are loving Laura Hile's joyous Regency novels. Her signature style - intertwined plots, cliffhangers, and laugh-out-loud humor - keep them coming back for more.
The comedy Laura comes by as a teacher. There's never a dull moment with teen students!
This winter she will be releasing Darcy By Any Other Name, a comic 'body-swap' romance based on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.
Laura lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and sons. Her fiction is for everyone, even teens.
Welcome to YABC's first annual 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Extravaganza! We're featuring some of the hottest titles of the year--perfect for the book lover on your holiday list!--with exciting prize packs every day for the first twelve days of December. Each giveaway will run for seven days. Giveaways are US only due to publishers' rights restrictions in other territories.
Are you ready to see the fabulous prize packs of books for today's giveaway?
The first prize pack is brought to you by MB Communications. The second is brought to you by Entangled Teen. Click on each cover to learn more about that title and then enter the Rafflecopter giveaway linked below each prize pack.
Good luck, and be sure to come back tomorrow for another 12 Days of Christmas giveaway!
Prize Pack featuring titles from MB Communications
RAFFLECOPTER ENTRY FORM
Prize Pack featuring titles from Entangled Teen
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Today, we're spotlighting My True Love Gave To Me, a lovely collection of holiday-themed stories! Though this book made its debut last year, it is still a perfect read for the month of December (and all the year through)! Read on to learn more about this book and the giveaway!
Meet Stephanie Perkins, editor of
My True Love Gave To Me
Stephanie Perkins has always worked with books—first as a bookseller, then as a librarian, and now as a novelist. She's the author of the international bestsellers Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door, as well as Isla and the Happily Ever After. My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories is her first anthology. Stephanie and her husband live in the mountains of North Carolina.
My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories
If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you're going to fall in love with My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by the international bestselling Stephanie Perkins. Whether you enjoy celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or New Years, there's something here for everyone. So curl up by the fireplace and get cozy. You have twelve reasons this season to stay indoors and fall in love.
Sounds fantastic, right?!
Edited by: Stephanie Perkins
Release Date: October 14, 2014
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Lynne North at Crimson Cloak Publishing
Never good when you go to bed at midnight and you are up and working at 1 AM. And not very pretty when, hours later, in an all-out sprint in your graffiti Doc Martens, you run to catch a train and fall on the escalator that (darn) keeps going up and up.
Good when you save yourself in the nick of time.
But such a pretty day it was, and so nice to be in the city among friends and a former student and kind strangers. And how nice to return home to three new kiln pieces, collected by my husband earlier in the day. As always, the organic shape is mine from scratch. The well-made bowls are well made by my husband, but glazed by moi.
I'm going to miss the world of ceramics, as new responsibilities force me to put that once-a-week hobby at rest for the time being.
Off to make my first holiday meal for my father and a friend. I'm not sure why I chose to work with new recipes at this hour, this late in the day. But the house is pretty. The tree is up. There is wine. There is the cake baked during a dawn hour.
We will be fine.
Posted on 12/10/2015
The Doctor Who Christmas special looks like fun--see the video--and I'm looking forward to seeing River Song again: Video preview
By: LAURIE WALLMARK,
Blog: Just the Facts, Ma'am
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I hope your marriage proves to be As sturdy as an olive tree, With roots so strong that you will thrive And keep the joy and love alive. Your wedding day’s around the bend So to you both we do extend Our hopes that you’ll have many years
Of happy times and frothy beers!