Jump to content




It was the best of lines, it was the worst of lines: Studying first sentences

Posted by Selene Bell in Confessions of a Binge Reader, 16 September 2014 · 10 views

One of my all-time favorite beginnings to a novel is Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God. “Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board,” she wrote. It’s pretty and wistful, and also gives readers a good, strong hint that disappointment looms ahead, because once those ships get closer, real life has to intrude, right? Deciding how to start a novel is huge for writers. A good opening sets the tone for your book, draws readers in and shows off your writing skills. No single sentence in your whole manuscript will be read by as many people as that first sentence will be. Which begs the question, what makes an opening good? Here are some more of my favorites, and why I think they work so well...

It Had to Be You, by Susan Elizabeth Phillips: “Phoebe Somerville outraged everyone by bringing a French poodle and a Hungarian lover to her father’s funeral.” Why’s it good? It shows that the main character is audacious, and it's funny, but it also hints at something more complicated. Who doesn’t take her father’s funeral seriously? I immediately want to know more.

Legend, by Marie Lu: “My mother thinks I’m dead.” Why’s it good? Striking in its simplicity, this idea is fascinating—not only that the mother doesn’t know the truth of things, but that the main character has reason to hide from her. I definitely want to read on.

The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Díaz: “They say it came first from Africa, carried in the screams of the enslaved; that it was the death bane of the Tainos, uttered just as one world perished and another began; that it was a demon drawn into Creation through the nightmare door that was cracked open in the Antilles.” Why’s it good? The writing is lushly beautiful at the same times that it's dark and scary. What is this “it” that lives on screams and comes from nightmares? How could anyone not read on to find out?

Whether browsing at a store or surfing a website, my book-selection process is always the same—and I bet it’s similar to yours. First, seeing which cover design and title catch my eye. Second, judging whether the “back cover” description sounds interesting. And finally, if the book passes those two tests, opening to the first page to check out the writing style. The author doesn’t have long to snag my attention before I move on to the next cool cover. But I have read books where the first sentences definitely did not do much to draw me in. That was because I knew the story had something interesting, or for some other special reason. Some that didn't immediately grab me:

Dracula, by Bram Stoker: “3 May. Bistritz.—Left Munich at 8.35 p.m. on 1st May, arriving at Vienna early next morning; should have arrived at 6.46, but train was an hour late.” In hindsight, I can see the humor: Poor Mr. Harker. If arriving one hour late from a 220-mile trip makes him grit his teeth, he’s going to have problems dealing with the rest of this book. But for people approaching the story fresh, I don’t see how it could be that appealing.

The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini: “I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975.” Taken out of context—as in no front cover and no back-cover description—I have a hard time getting into first sentences like this. The weather description isn’t as spell-binding as the rest of the novel is, and that takes away from the significance of the character's transformation, in my opinion. Many readers will like it, though, and come away wondering what he became that gray day. This shows how widely judgment can vary and how you can never please every reader with one sentence. So please yourself first.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera: “The idea of eternal return is a mysterious one, and Nietzsche has often perplexed other philosophers with it: to think that everything recurs as we once experienced it, and that the recurrence itself recurs ad infinitum!” Umm, yeah. That's kind of heavy, and if I was looking for an entertaining read, I might pass depending on my mood (and how much sleep I’d had). It seems to be written for philosophers more than your average reader, but it does have an interesting theory when you start thinking about it. I go back and forth—good, bad, interesting, too heavy. Luckily, that sentence was not my deciding factor in whether to read Unbrearable Lightness. My friend recommended it, and the cool title did help draw me in. And the book was fascinating, if somewhat depressing—a read that leaves you questioning what life means, and so an appropriate first line. But it does bring up some advice: Consider who your audience will be.

There’s lots of advice experts give on how to start your story, but pretty much like all other writing “rules,” if you write well you can do whatever you want. (If there’s a theme to this post, it’s that.) For example, I’d say a really good first line will show readers what kind of story to expect—except when it doesn’t. Many of my favorite stories have started on an understated note that's quieter than the rest. For example:

Lord of the Flies, by William Golding: The boy with fair hair lowered himself down the last few feet of rock and began to pick his way toward the lagoon.

The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood: We slept in what had once been the gymnasium.

Divergent, by Veronica Roth: There is one mirror in my house.

The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins: When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold.

The Road, by Cormac McCarthy: When he woke in the woods in the dark and the cold of the night he’d reach out to touch the child sleeping beside him.

Writers commonly employ these quieter starts on high-octane stories, especially dystopians, to give readers a chance to get to know the character before the madness begins, or before the inciting event. A couple of these examples also disprove another commonly tossed-out “rule”—that starts where characters are waking up are overdone and best avoided. (Some say that about starting on the first day of school, too.) But I would argue that anything done well is worth doing. In other words, can you make it special? Be honest with yourself. If your answer is “No, not special enough,” try something else.

It emphasizes what’s most important—and this is a rule that can’t be ignored. Start strong, but make every line better than the previous. That means your story has to get more interesting, more spell-binding and better written on every page. That’s how to draw in readers, and keep them coming back for your work.

I think the most delicious openings have a twist that shows you the story will be something special. This style is one of my favorites—that kind of sentence where you can’t not read on...

One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.

Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer: I’d never given much thought to how I would die—though I’d had reason enough in the last few months—but even if I had, I would not have imagined it like this.

World After, by Susan Ee: Ironically, since the attacks, the sunsets have been glorious.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, by Holly Black: Tana woke lying in a bathtub.

This is probably the most famous opening of all time:

A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

And that’s interesting because it’s such an incredibly long sentence. I suspect it would get chopped up if it were coming through the publishing pipeline for today’s readers. And yet, it’s so famous and the book has been so ridiculously successful regardless of what kind of story was popular with readers of the day.

To read more on this topic, check out writer Amy Trueblood’s blog Chasing the Crazies. She regularly interviews literary agents about what’s important to them in the first five pages of any manuscript.

Her blog is an excellent tool to check when you’re considering which agents to query. I prefer agents who recognize that anything can be done well—those who don’t rule out working with, say, “waking up” openings (hello, The Hunger Games) or vampire stories (The Coldest Girl in Coldtown), even if my manuscript doesn’t deal with such elements. That’s because an agent signs you for your whole career, and who knows what you'll get interested in next.




  Posted by LucidDreamer in LucidDreamer's Blog, 16 September 2014 · 19 views

Many people have the image of authors as these solitary beings, scribbling away in some garret. (Or office, or living room, or…) Anyway, the concept was that authors wrote books and then — voila! The published book appeared. I know I used to think this.  But it is so wrong. It really takes a lot […]



Express Yourself: Collections

  Posted by DebsBlueRoses in The Writer Ambitious, 16 September 2014 · 8 views

Happy Tuesday! Welcome back to Express Yourself, created by Jackie @ Bouquet of Books and Dani @ Entertaining Interests to learn more about their followers. You can join us on either of their Express Yourself pages!

This week, they ask: What do you like to collect?

I LOVED when they started making the state coins. I spent every year trying to get the new states, and I finally have them! I also have many dollars and coins from other countries, from New Zealand to Costa Rica! I noticed maybe last year that two mints were out of each state quarter (one made in Denver I think, and the other in Philly), and I would still like to have all 50 from each region, but I do have all of the states.

They're making the national monuments and parks now, but I need the quarters for the bus, so maybe I'll continue when I have a car. hehe



Daddy Salami Returns

  Posted by Professor VJ Duke in The Punchy Lands!, 16 September 2014 · 8 views

The following story, PF, is written down by Ruber Salami. He tells the story way better than this professor could. Keep in mind that Salami’s return takes place a day before he invaded Dr. Zauberer’s party, in search for his clock parts.


A typical day for me, Ruber Salami, is usually this:

I’m up at the crack of dawn (around 4AM) and I get dressed in me blue suit and brown shoes. I also pull the red hair back into a ponytail, eh?

Me food place is a huge establishment, ever since Mortimer Butterfield started helping me out. We attract people from all over the land. I don’t really do any of the cooking now. I’m just the manager.

Now this food place is huge. And I mean, huge! In the lobby, it’s more like a hotel. And there’s cuisines from all over the world in the food place. That’s multiple restaurants, all in one building. Me job is to make sure guests know which elevator to take to reach which restaurant, and all that.

So, I’m usually at work early.

On me way today, though, I stopped by me dad’s hut.

He wasn’t home.

But I still went in.

I was about to leave, when I heard the familiar sound of dad’s blue minivan. Once you hear that horrid engine, you won’t forget it.

The door swung open, and dad entered—with a young woman!

She wasn’t overly tall, she had red hair—like dad and me—and she had large, circular glasses. Glory be!

What the heck was going on, eh?

“Ruber,” Salami said, “meet your new sister, Sandra.”

I was shocked down to the bottom of me boots

“She’s studying ta be a doctor,” Salami said, happily. “I want you ta take her ta work with you. Give her a place to study, and give her a job. Now do it!”

Five minutes later, Sandra and I were walking to the food place. (Everything is in walking distance, usually.)

This is a habit with dad. He adopted Lucini Pavarinni, my younger brother, supposedly. Though, he doesn’t have red hair. He’s a lawyer. Or supposed to be one. I think he’s as crooked as the grave. And Sandra is going to be a doctor. Glory be.

“You own a restaurant?” Sandra asked.

It was a meek voice.


What had dad done now?



YA Author Emery Lord On The Second Book Baby

  Posted by bigblackcat97 in Writer, Writer Pants on Fire, 16 September 2014 · 16 views

Welcome to another of my fabulous acronym-based interviews. The second novel is no easy feat, and with that in mind I put together a series of questions for debuts who are tackling the second obstacle in their career path. I call it the SNOB - Second Novel Omnipresent Blues. Whether you’re under contract or trying to snag another deal, you’re a professional now, with the pressures of a published novelist compounded with the still-present nagging self-doubt of the noobie.<br /><br /><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot...0/authorpic.png" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-vPga_hS9Dfc/U_py2gVIHpI/AAAAAAAAB5k/hzFAmExryH8/s190/authorpic.png" /></a>Today's guest is <a href="http://www.emerylord.com/" target="_blank">Emery Lord</a>, a 20-something Midwestern girl who writes stories about high school and best friends and weird families and the crushes that make you feel combustibly alive and also more awkward than you thought was possible. If you're not sure how to pronounce Emery, try slurring the name "Emily," and that will get you really close. Emery's debut,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.emerylord.com/2012/04/open-road-summer.html" target="_blank">OPEN ROAD SUMMER</a>, is available now from Bloomsbury. Her next offering, <a href="http://www.emerylord.com/2012/03/the-start-of-me-you.html" target="_blank">THE START OF ME AND YOU </a>releases March 21, 2015 from Bloomsbury.<br /><br /><b>Is it hard to leave behind the first novel and focus on the second?</b><br /><br /><i>For me, it wasn't. As daunting as it can be to stare down the blinking cursor of a blank page, I think- I hope- every new project is an opportunity to improve as a writer. I was ready for a fresh start and new voices/themes/settings to play with.</i><br /><br /><b>At what point do you start diverting your energies from promoting your debut and writing / polishing / editing your second?</b><br /><br /><i>You know, I ducked in and out, and I think I'll keep doing that. When drafting was making me crazy, I'd stop and take care of swag, return emails, do guest posts, etc. And when promo felt overwhelming, I'd go back to writing. And, actually, I believe the best promo you can ever do is honing your craft on a second book! So...one in the same sometimes :)</i><br /><br /><b>Your first book landed an agent and an editor, and hopefully some fans. Who are you writing the second one for? Them, or yourself?</b><br /><br /><i>Always myself first. Haha- that sounds terrible on its face! But it's because I can't hope anyone else will even *like* my book if I don't love it. Now that I have an agent and an editor/team of awesome people at my publishing house and readers who I really connect with, I feel all the more passionate about making sure I give them something I believe in.</i><br /><br /><b>Is there a new balance of time management to address once you’re a professional author?</b><br /><br /><i>Absolutely. The main thing is juggling multiple books. Still work to do for released Book 1, promo for Book 2, edits for Book 3 and drafting Book 4. And there are just...so many emails, haha. I'm still trying to figure out how to balance it all! (If anyone has figured this out, give me advice! And coffee. Give me coffee.)</i><br /><br /><b>What did you do differently the second time around, with the perspective of a published author?</b><br /><br /><i>I did two things differently. First, I used my "perspective of a published author" to make a huge rookie mistake. I was editing my second book while being publicly reviewed for the first time. And I kept letting those voices in- which was paralyzing. I could hardly make choices about my writing because I kept subconsciously lingering on what people would ultimately say. But, then, it finally clicked for me- the actual perspective of a published author that I needed: people are going to criticize me no matter what I write. So I might as well write balls-to-the-walls about the things I care about most. That's what I did differently for my third book. *shoots pistols into the air* No regrets.</i><br /><div><br /></div>

<a href="http://writerwriterp...-book-baby.html" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


Agents in Indiana

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs in Michelle4Laughs: It's in the Details, 16 September 2014 · 18 views

If you live in Indiana--like moi--and want a chance to meet agents face to face, here's your opportunity.

Chuck Sambuchino, Jen Karsbaek, and Whitley Abell will be in Indianapolis on November 1st! Here's the link. Check out the Indiana Writing Workshop!




  Posted by Amy Trueblood in Chasing The Crazies , 15 September 2014 · 13 views

      It may be cliché, but it’s true that we are our own worst enemies as writers. We question every word choice. Every sentence and piece of dialogue we craft. It is the nature of what we do, and self-doubt, unfortunately, is a huge part of the process.   So knowing all this, […]



I'm Back to Work!

  Posted by SC_Author in SC Write--Writing, Publishing, and Harry Potter, 15 September 2014 · 21 views

For a while now, I've been doing basically nothing writing-related. Yeah, nothing. No revising, no submitting, no drafting, no nothing. Granted, life has been rather busy lately but I know I can find time to work on writing - I always do.

So now, I've got to get back to work. I don't like this long break of no writing.

This is different than the break that comes after you write your first draft. That break (even though I fought it so hard) is necessary for a fresh go at the second draft. It's hard to force yourself away from your manuscript during that break. That break is a natural pause in the writing process.

But the break I was on wasn't. It wasn't even that I was sick of writing and needed to breathe. That'd justify my break. But no. I just...didn't work on writing. I got lazy? I don't even know.

But yesterday, I finally thought, "What the heck am I doing?" and started some writing-related stuff. I I was in the shower and thinking, "What am I waiting for? A critique or beta feedback? No, I already got it. More revising? No, I did it. What's there to wait for now?" and I realized that my publication goal would have literally no chance of coming true if I didn't, well, try. So I started again! My break is over and it feels good.

Have you ever gone on one of these unintended breaks? How did you get over it?



The Big C-hop

  Posted by Jemi in Just Jemi, 15 September 2014 · 16 views

Two awesome people are behind this blog hop -- Michael Di Gesu and Melissa Bradley. For more information on the background of the hop, head on over to one of their blogs!

A while back, I had a friend diagnosed with the big C.

She is one of those people. You know the type: out-going, friendly, hilarious, kind, and with an edge of snark that makes everyone laugh.

She decided, on the way home from her diagnosis appointment, that she was not only going to kick cancer's ass, she was going to do it in style.

Every time someone looked sad or got teary eyed, she pointed her finger right in his/her face and yelled, "Hey! None of that!" And then she'd add another comment. The comment always started the same, but each time she had a new ending. I never heard her repeat one.

It's cancer, not something serious like moldy carrots.

It's cancer, not something serious like having your underwear shrink.

It's cancer, not something serious like Timmy's (Tim Horton's) being out of sprinkle donuts.

It's cancer, not something serious like buying a male and a female rabbit instead of a matched set.

It's cancer, not something serious like running out of toilet paper.

It's cancer, not something serious like forgetting your child in the bank.

It's cancer, not something serious like screaming out the wrong name. Don't look at me like that. You know what I'm talking about.

(As you might be able to tell, she's a Star Trek fan with a particular fondness for Bones.)

And she pulled it off. She not only kicked cancer's ass, she's gone on to help a whole pile of other people do the same. Proud to call her a friend!

Remember to pop on over to check out the rest of the blog hop!!



Writing Success Goal Sunday #2

  Posted by Lora Palmer in Lora Palmer's Blog, 14 September 2014 · 17 views

Photo courtesy of Pippalou at Morguefile.

Setting writing goals and keeping track of progress can be a great way to achieve success. They'll also serve as a reminder to enjoy and celebrate the smaller, short-term accomplishments along the journey. Each week, I'll post my writing goals and invite you all to post yours and update us on your progress. I've seen something like this on another blog where it's a summer feature, and it seems like a great way to encourage each other as a regular feature here.

This week, here are my writing goals;

1. Finish reading KNIGHT OF LIGHT and write my review. I'll post it here and on Goodreads.

2. Write at least 200 words a day on my WIP, BENEATH THE RED SKY. Next up, my mc Kassi will be having dinner with her parents, her new friends Jacqueline and Noah, and she just may find out why the heck those two had a huge falling out in their past. After that, Kassi's first excavation training turns out to be much more of a challenge than she hoped, and she'll discover she's got obstacles to overcome if she's going to secure a spot for herself on the team.

3. Fight the urge to obsessively check my inbox! It's so hard to distract myself when I'm querying (I'd forgotten how difficult the wait can be), but hopefully if I can focus on writing, it'll help :). 

That's it for me. Next week I'll let you all know how it went! What are your writing goals for the week? 



All aboard the Query Train!

  Posted by mlebleek in Bleeker Street, 13 September 2014 · 32 views

So, I made a writer friend today. Yes. In real life. She’s a published author that hasn’t needed an agent yet in her career but is considering heading out into the query world in order to sign with one and I couldn’t be more excited. I. Love. Queries…Especially when they are not my own.

Maybe I should insert a quick definition of a query here for those that may not be familiar:

“A query letter is a single page cover letter, introducing you and your book. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s not a resume. It’s not rambling saga of your life as an aspiring writer. It’s not a friendly, “Hey, what’s up, buddy. I’m the next John Grisham. Got the next best selling thriller for ya,” kind of letter. And for the love of god, it is NOT more than one-page. Trust us on this.”

This quote comes from AgentQuery.com. If you click on that link you can read the whole article about query letters.

Anyway, back to my new writer friend. After a short chat I knew right away that I wanted to give her all the resources I used in my query journey to eventually sign with  my awesome agent, Marlene Stringer of StringerLit. When I got home I began wildly typing in all the sites I’d used countless times while querying and ended up with so many open tabs. I didn’t know my browser could HAVE that many tabs open.Then I realized…..

It was time for a new blog post!!

Disclaimer- in no way do I claim that this is and exhaustive list of helpful query sites, they are just the ones I have a lot of positive personal experience with. 

Query Shark- I love this site. It was one of my first forays into what a query even is and give sooooo much helpful information. The blog is written by literary agent Janet Reid. She posts queries (with permission from the writers that submitted them) and gives thoughts and advice to help improve them. She follows them through revisions and helps polish that query till it’s shiny and perfect. Her instruction is AMAZING.

My best advice is to start here if you are preparing to query. When I say start, I mean literally start at the beginning. Take the time to read ALL of the archives. Not only are they informative but also entertaining. If you think “but my book is different- I can’t fit into this query format” I promise you’ll find a query with your same issues in the “chum bucket.”

AgentQuery Connect-  So you’ve read through QueryShark and have a pretty new query you want to get feedback on? AgentQuery Connect is THE place. Okay, not the only place but there are some really helpful and experienced people on this site (including ME, haha). There are TONS of resources on this site so take your time to look through them all and if you feel extra adventurous, post your query for feedback.

Just be aware that you will get LOTS of opinions and it will be up to you to decided what to do with them. Sometimes it is hard to get feedback on your first post but don’t freak out. Just get involved in helping out other AQC’ers and you’ll get it back in spades.

PS- this is also a wonderful site to find beta-readers and critique partners that are serious about giving feedback but clear some time to return the favor!

QueryTracker- Once you are ready to hop onto that roller coaster ride called the “query train” then head on over to QueryTracker. You’ll want to set aside a good chunk of time to really figure out this website. It’s *that* important. Here you can search through agents that have interest in your genre. I advise reading the websites for EVERY SINGLE AGENT you are interested in. What every agent wants submitted with your query is different. Doing your research now can really really pay off. Their websites are usually linked in the Overview page.

There are also “Quick Links” on the Overview page for each agent. These link up to sites like Publishers Weekly, Predators and Editors etc that give you independent information about the agent. It’s also helpful to read the “comments” section for the agents you are interested in to see how long of a wait you are in for, how often and what type of rejection you can expect (if it comes to that).

If you find an agent you are interested in then add him/her to your “query list.” This helpful list lets you keep track of the agents you want to query and that you have queried. It’s also a great place to record responses from agents and gives you a lovely (and sometimes depressing) pie chart to show you how successful your query is. I lived and died by this website. Without it I would’ve been flying blind and probably done that super embarrassing thing of double querying the same agent.

Twitter #mswl & #tenqueries- If you are not on twitter yet, this is a good time to get an account. There’s so much good stuff for writers going on over there. Besides awesome pitch contests (which I’ll cover later) there are several awesome agents super active on there.

First is #tenqueries. #tenqueries is a hashtag used by agents as they go through their slush pile for the day (week..or whatever). In a tweet they give feedback on the queries that cross their desk and say if they requested or rejected the query. It is all done anonymously and is so very helpful even if you aren’t querying these particular agents.

Another helpful hashtag is #mswl which stands for “manuscript wish list.” This hash tag is used by agents to share what they are dying to see in their mailboxes. Wouldn’t it be awesome if one of their “must haves” resembles your MS? There are a few websites that keep record of these wish lists but I’m just going to link one: http://mswishlist.com

Contests: There are many many query contests out there. Some are very very involved, others are simple twitter pitch contests held periodically like #pitmad (which we just passed) or #pitchmas in December or #pitchmadness in March. There are many many more out there. For these contests you need a 140 character twitter pitch for your book which would include space for the contest hashtag and your genre. I had lots of luck with these contests and know several writers that found their agent from them. Even if you don’t participate, it’s always helpful to read the tweets and think about what the “pitch” for your book would be.

There are plenty of contests NOT on twitter including contest sponsored by bloggers and other authors. I can’t even come close to listing them all but as Halloween is on the horizon I thought I’d share the next one I’ve heard about: Nightmare on Query Street . Here is a contest schedule for 2014-2015 from Brenda Drake’s website. Some people LOVE these contests and have found dream agents as a result. I’ve only participated in one but found that for me I preferred the traditional method of querying.

Well- that’s it. I know there are many many more resources out there for querying but in my particular journey to publication, these were the sites I found invaluable. If you have other favorites, please link them in the comments section! Good luck with your query process and if you’d like to chat further, don’t hesitate to contact me via email. Now go! You have a lot of reading to do!!

You KNOW you want on this Query Train



Research Ramblings: The Spartan Citizenry, Part 20

  Posted by Sakura Eries in Sakura Eries' Blog: Keeping It In Canon …mostly, 12 September 2014 · 42 views

As noted in my May 2, 2014 post, Spartan warriors were an interesting bunch, and I’m continuing my series on them with today’s fact:

Spartan warriors were famed for dancing.

This might sound kind of odd because we don’t associate ballet with camouflage and semiautomatics, but in those days, fighting involved coordination that was often signaled by drums and pipes. Because dance is physical movement choreographed to sound, it became for the Spartans yet another means of military training.

Tune in next week for more about the Spartans!



A Week of Firsts

  Posted by Joe Stephens in My Train of Thought, 12 September 2014 · 37 views

You may not be able to tell it from where you are, but I'm typing this on Friday instead of my normal rollout time of Saturday morning. I'll be busy doing something important with some friends tomorrow--and by important, I mean superhero related. But that's another post. For this week, the topic is firsts.

I've been teaching in the same school for about 18 years now, so I thought I'd pretty much run out of new things that could happen to me. This week proved me wrong. I've had three new things happen to me just in the last two days. I have to think that's a record.

The first came Thursday morning and it involved the police. No, I wasn't arrested. Sorry. That probably would've made a more entertaining story. But anyway, I was driving to work and I was in a bit of a hurry because I needed to get to school early to get into the horseshoe before they closed it off for our annual 9/11 ceremony. As I was crossing the Fifth Street Bridge (anyone who is familiar with Parkersburg at all knows this bridge--it's the main artery from Southside to downtown) when I passed a woman lying on the sidewalk. She was sprawled out and didn't appear to be moving, though I couldn't tell in the short time I could see her. I pulled into the Tim Horton's lot at the foot of the bridge and called 911. By the time I got out of the lot and was ready to drive back to check on her, the police were already on their way onto the bridge, so I proceeded to work, albeit later than I planned. I found out later from our Prevention Resource Officer that she had indeed been having some sort of medical emergency and was transported to the hospital.

The second thing was much more positive, though it came out of a negative thing. I got an email from a student apologizing for the bad behavior of another student, despite the fact that she had nothing to do with it. She said she just felt so badly for what the other student had done that she had wanted to give me a hug.  I literally can't think of another time that one student apologized for the behavior of another student. It brightened what had been a dark afternoon.

A reenactment of me after chasing skippers
And finally, I did something today that you hear about in stories and see in teen movies, but I never thought I'd actually do--I chased students who were attempting to skip school. Literally ran after them. Of course, they're young and had a tremendous head start, so the only one I caught was the girl who decided against running and came back. But I gave it my all! Who knew teaching was a cardiovascular workout? Well, I guess phys ed teachers did. But the only time your heart should race as an English teacher is when you're reading a particularly moving poem.

Being a writer, I can't help but think that these events are going to end up in a book someday. People ask where my ideas come from and I have to wonder how boring their lives are that they aren't surrounded by them.

So, to end, a quotation from the great philosopher Rosanne Rosannadanna, "It just goes to show you it's always something."



The iPhone(s) 6 and more: EW live-blogs Apple's big event

Posted by Monicoo in Monicoo's Blog, 10 September 2014 · 38 views

The iPhone(s) 6 and more: EW live-blogs Apple's big event Have you heard? Apple is going to release a new iPhone today. There are some rumors. Today, they will be rumors no longer.
There’s always a lot of hype around an Apple event, and while some of it may seem frivolous and excessive, it’s not all for the tech-obsessed. Thanks to the manufacturer’s immense popularity, the people behind a lot of the pop culture you know and love often follow Apple’s lead when it comes to bringing media your way. So if you want a peek at all the new ways you’ll be able to obsess over pop culture in the coming year, look no further.

If you want to watch the event live, Apple is streaming it on their homepage here—it may be restricted to Safari browsers on OS X and/or iOS devices, however. If you have Apple TV, you can watch it there too, as there will be a dedicated channel for you to tune into.
GET MORE EW: Subscribe to the magazine for only 33¢ an issue!
This post will be updated throughout the event. Refresh for the lastest.
AND WE’RE OFF: Tim Cook is talking about the iPhone’s history.
“Today we’re announcing the biggest advancement in the history of iPhone”
Video showing off the phone. Looks much like leaked images: sleak, nigh seamless body.
And the phones are bigger! iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. 4.7 and 5.5 inches, respectively. The rumors are true!
With the bigger display, comes a revamped horizontal display. More keys on the keyboard, two columns in iMessage and email, etc.
Apps will scale—older apps for smaller screens will automatically resize for the larger displays.
Of course, both come with new hardware: the faster A8 processor (The 5S has a processor called the A7).
There’s a gaming presentation now, a game called Vain Glory.
Now we’re talking battery life: both iPhone 6 models have have equal or better battery life than the iPhone 5S.
There are new motion coprocessors, which will give the phones better performance for fitness apps—measuring distance, motion, and even altitude. Good for health apps.
It looks like size and battery life may be the main differences between the two iPhone 6 models.
Everything is promised to be faster, clearer. You’ll be able to make calls over WiFi, and the connection will seamlessly carry over from WiFi to Cellular if you lose connection.
Now the camera: 8 Megapixels, all-new sensor, Focus Pixels tech brings DSLR-level autofocus to iPhones, improved face detection.
One feature is different between the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus: the larger has optical image stabilization, which allows the lens to move around and help stabilize your image even more than usual.
Video camera is also being updated: it now can capture HD video at 60 fps, double the previous frame rate.
iPhone 6 will come with iOS 8, with a new keyboard, a one handed controller, HealthKit suite and more.
Colors will be gold, silver, and space grey.
COST: starts at $199—$399. 16GB, 64 GB, and 128 GB for the iPhone 6.
6 Plus starts at $299, same storage space options.
AVAILABLE: September 19.
There is a weird ad for the phones being shown. It’s very weird. But there’s lots of applause. It’s by Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon, but you can’t see their faces, so you’d have to be told that.
iPhone news is a wrap. Tim Cook is now talking about replacing the wallet. “Payments is a huge business.”
Cook is talking about how low tech debit cards are, how no one has replaced it yet.
“We’ve created an entirely new payment process, and we call it ApplePay.”
Brief demo video shows user touching their TouchID button and holding the phone up to the swipe-free scanners on registers.
It’s built into every iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, uses NFC chip and new Secure Element chip for security. You can add cards you have linked to iTunes account. Adding a new card is simple: you take a picture, and Apple verifies with your bank. The card is then added to Passbook. Levels of security: uses device-specific account numbers, one-time use security codes, etc.
Apple does not track what you bought, where you bought it, and how much you spent. Cashier doesn’t see your name, credit card number, security code.
ApplePay is supported by AmEx, MasterCard, and Visa, and six biggest banks in US. Major department stores, drug stores, and restaurants are already on board. McDonald’s is even adding ApplePay to its drive through. Whole Foods gets applause, so there’s that.
Here it is: the One More Thing. iWatch?
It’s official: The device is called Apple Watch. Cook talks about how Apple Watch focuses on an entirely new user interface, one focused on the old-school dial you have on regular watches.
There’s a video showing off the design and features of the Apple Watch–the screen can sense touch and force, telling the difference between a touch and a tap. Apple Watch will also give force feedback. Apple Watch will also have wireless charging.
Apple Watch comes in two sizes.
There are three distinct collections, Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch Edition. Standard, athletic, and luxury, respectively.
iPhones are required to use Apple Watch.
Instead of a grid, apps are arranged in a cluster—you arrange them how you like. You can customize the watch face as well.
The watch’s notifications won’t buzz, but ‘tap’ you gently on the wrist—no one will know but you, unless of course the sound is on.
Quick Board is a feature that analyzes your messages and suggests quick responses without having to type. Also has dictation, and a new collection of emoji.
Siri is built into Apple Watch.
There’s a new messaging system—you can tap friends and trace small pictures to other friends that have Apple Watch.
You can also….feel their heartbeats?
A number of new apps are being shown off: American Airlines, Pinterest, BMW, MLB, and more.
Tim Cook is back, talking about health and fitness.
Workout app lets you set specific goals for specific types of exercises. Aim is to give you a comprehensive view of your daily activity, along with two other apps: Fitness and Activity.
There’s a video explaining how Apple Watch will “get to know you the way a good personal trainer will.” Lots of Active People Living Life and exercising whilst wearing Apple Watch.
Apple Watch is “so much more that we don’t have time to cover this morning,” says Cook.
Pricing is coming:
Apple Watch will work with all iPhones from iPhone 5 onward. Remember, it needs an iPhone to work. To charge simply attach a magnet to back.
Apple Watch starts at $349, available early 2015.
ApplePay will work with Apple Watch.
Cook mentions the iTunes festival, and Apple’s relationship with music industry and artists in it. Mentions collaboration with U2. Applause. They’re performing.
Bono is on the mic now, announces new album “Songs of Innocence.” It’s out now on iTunes. For free. Exclusive to iTunes through mid-October.
AND THAT’S A WRAP: iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, ApplePay, and Apple Watch, with a dash of free new album from U2. Thanks for following along. By YLTZ2013


BWF in summary

  Posted by Mia K Rose in Mia K Rose | Forsaken Illusion, 08 September 2014 · 24 views

So over Friday, Saturday and Sunday just past I attended the Brisbane Writer’s Festival. I attended a great deal of Author Masterclasses and panels which were fantastic  and I got a great deal of many notes, and also made some great writer buddies now on twitter. Also, I now have like super writer motivation, which […]



An Awesome Autumn Afternoon

  Posted by Deb Borys in Debra R. Borys, 06 September 2014 · 35 views

Yesterday’s In Print Word of Art reception was a great kick off for an awesome autumn.  And I’m  not just saying that because my piece, An Autumn Afternoon, was one of five finalists selected by writer/publisher John Gile from the … Continue reading




Posted by Marzie Malfoy in Slytherin House Poetry Reading, 05 September 2014 · 29 views
Death, slytherin, anxiety attack and 3 more...

My heart about to explode.
Breathing slowing.
Faint vision of darkness.
Extremities burn and tingle
From the loss of blood flow.

That is death coming.
This is what happens when the bell tolls.


Feeling A Little Of Both This IWSG Wednesday

  Posted by K McClelland in Teardrops On My Book, 03 September 2014 · 38 views

(I set this as a scheduled post so I'd actually have it up first thing, but Idk what happened because it didn't post...Oh well, it's here now.)

It’s another Insecure Writer’s Support Group Wednesday. I’ve managed to accomplish a whole bunch of nothing this past month in regards to writerly things. I’m not even sure if I’m secure or insecure either…

I’ve been dreaming of my various characters. I’ve made up whole scenes and chapters during drives to and from places. I’ve even sat at my computer pumped to do some critting/writing/editing/other related writerly things and then passed out because I’ve been so exhausted. But, nothing much has actually come of it.

I do have moments during the day that I worry I’m ruining everything for myself and then I have moments that I explain to myself how busy I am and that things will smooth out and start working just fine really soon. But then I go back to doubting anything will ever go back to being right and wondering if I’m really a writer. Of course, if I wasn’t a writer I don’t think I’d have the tons of ideas, dreams, and desires related to the writerly world.

So, I’ll go with a little insecure, a little secure, and a whole bunch of I’m determined to have something more to say next month.

Make sure you hop over to the wonderful Alex J Cavanaugh. Check out this month’s hosts too- Laura (My Baffling Brain), Mark Koopmans, Shah Wharton, and Sheena-Kay GrahamAnd don’t forget about the IWSG Website.

Until next time, have a wonderful day/week/month and I’ll see you soon. J



Sudden Realizations and Other Misnomers

  Posted by From The Write Angle in From The Write Angle Blog, 03 September 2014 · 22 views

by Matt Sinclair

I recently attended a wake for a high school classmate who passed suddenly and way too young. As often happens, the wake became a bit of a reunion with other old friends and dredged up memories good, bad, and potentially litigious.

Later, I thought I could probably write up a short story inspired by the experience. So many scenes could be played: conversations with old classmates in the receiving line; meeting the widower and his sons; waiting for old friends outside the funeral home; drinks and storytelling afterward. Presumably, almost any adult could relate to the situation.

Of course, the universality of the situation has its appeal, but it also is a trap. It's too easy to retell the same story that everyone knows, to scrape the dirt off the same old bones, so to speak. Then again, perhaps you use the death of a friend as part of a novel in which the protagonist is propelled further to some epiphany. It might even be believable if written well.

But doesn't it all seem a bit too convenient? Not the death of my friend, of course. That's a family in the midst of real pain and sorrow. I imagine being the child whose parent died during the summer and starting high school without that rock you took for granted to keep you stable. What if the child's parents had been living apart and now the school year starts in a place with no established friends. What was the relationship between the parent and the child during the separation, and how has it changed?

As writers, we wade through story ideas most every day. Sometimes we pick a shiny one up right away, but more often they wash over us without our ever realizing it. Only later, usually when we're writing, do we net a few of their larvae in the shoals of our subconscious mind and help them germinate into a flash of inspiration. And we often never know who to thank for those ideas, those "sudden" glimpses of what is possible.

What inspires you? Do you memorialize your past, present, and future "yous" and those who've walked with you along the way?

Matt Sinclair, a New York City-based journalist and fiction writer, is also president and chief elephant officer of Elephant's Bookshelf Press, which recently published Battery Brothers, a YA novel by Steven Carman about a pair of brothers playing high school baseball and about overcoming crippling adversity. In December, EBP will publish Billy Bobble Makes a Magic Wand by R.S. Mellette. Matt also blogs at the Elephant's Bookshelf and is on Twitter @elephantguy68.



AC Milan vs Lazio se trouve

Posted by midfielder in midfielder's Blog, 02 September 2014 · 47 views
nike air max 2014 homme

Lundi entraînement nike air max thea femme Allemagne vient à Düsseldorf pour la première fois l'équipe, formation en Allemagne a été mises sur le survêtement brodé avec 4 étoiles et cette fois formation attire plus de 45 000 fans locaux est venu à regarder. Allemagne entraîneur Joachim Loew a dit, "pour voir que tant de fans est venu à la scène, cela se sent si bien. Je tiens à remercier les fans pour leur soutien, vous êtes grand. ”

AC Milan vs Lazio se trouve à San Siro, avec Keisuke, Muntari, objectifs du manoir, victoire de 3-1 Milan Lazio, patron de Filippo Inzaghi, faite après le départ de Milan. Fans de Milan que nuit et ça s'apprend qu'une autre peu de bonnes nouvelles, fanjinkeer le milieu de terrain de Chelsea était arrivé à Milan et sera formellement signé après examen médical.

Beckenbauer a dit, "je pense que le Bayern nike air max 2014 homme dédicaces cet été sont bons, la force de l'équipe a été renforcée. Notre succès de l'introduction de Xabi Alonso et, oui, il était déjà 32 ans, ne sera pas l'avenir, mais maintenant il peut aider le Bayern. Il était le milieu de terrain parfait, selon moi, qu'il devrait devenir la principale force du milieu de terrain du Bayern. En outre, nous présente le beinadiya, pour vous dire la vérité, je ne sais pas pour lui, mais bien sûr, il était bon, ou ils n'auraient pas fait si bien à Rome. ”

  • 745 Total Blogs
  • 7,399 Total Entries
  • 675 Total Comments
  • zxc100's Blog Latest Blog
  • zxc100 Latest Blogger

33 user(s) are online (in the past 15 minutes)

0 members, 32 guests, 0 anonymous users

Google (1)