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First and Last Lines

  Posted by Jemi in Just Jemi, 26 January 2015 · 0 views

A year or so ago, I read some advice on writing out the first and last line of every chapter in a list (if this was on your blog, please give yourself a shout out in the comments for me!).

I don't remember all the reasons, but as I'm reading through my NaNo novel, I'm keeping track of these lines in a file within my Scrivener folder and I'm finding some interesting things.
  • only a few of my first lines really stink
  • some of them are even pretty good
  • my last lines are often very short - 1-3 words
  • my characters are pretty sarcastic
  • putting the 1st and last lines together gives a great summary of the chapter's emotion
  • reading the list through gives a great sense of the story - and of the pace (which I always need help with). Much more helpful for editing than I expected
Doing this has helped me see I've grown as a writer too. I'm coming into scenes later and exiting earlier - trusting in the reader more. (Thanks to my fabulous CPs once again!!!)

Have you ever tried this? Any great first or last lines to share?


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Glowing Review @ Windy City Reviews

  Posted by Deb Borys in Debra R. Borys, 25 January 2015 · 11 views

Starza Thompson had lots of good things to say about Box of Rain at Windy City Reviews: “Box of Rain is a chilling murder mystery filled with exciting twists that make the reader question every character, while opening the readers’ … Continue reading

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I'm a Teacher--I Can Write Anywhere

  Posted by Joe Stephens in My Train of Thought, 24 January 2015 · 17 views

Something's been going on this week that I've been looking forward to since before Christmas break. And, by the way, the fact that I, an adult, still use the term Christmas break should tip you off that I'm a teacher. But anyway, I was contacted late in the fall about having a student teacher for the first half of this semester. I enjoy having student teachers for several reasons, some of them noble and others purely selfish. The noble ones include getting to have a positive influence on a new teacher and exposing my students to a different approach and point of view. The selfish ones include the fact that, for several weeks, the bulk of the teaching and grading duties fall to someone else. Yes, I supervise her and give her input, but that's a lot less labor intensive than making my own lesson plans, carrying them out myself, and grading the results. 

For me, though, the big self-serving outcome of having a student teacher is the sheer volume of writing time afforded me right square in the middle of the day. For several weeks, I no longer have to squirrel away time early in the morning or late in the evening to wedge in a few hundred words. No, I can have my coffee, read the news, browse Facebook, check my email, and linger over a leisurely breakfast before work because on the days when Beth, my student teacher, is responsible for all the classes, I can write. Thursday was the first day she had every period and I got almost 1800 words written. Yesterday, the number was lower, but only because I did some editing and revising before I started on a new chapter. 

And one of the cool unexpected benefits of being a teacher who's a writer is that I've learned that I can write anywhere and under nearly any circumstances, many that would be so distracting that a person without my superpower (that of being able to concentrate on fifteen things at the same time--every teacher develops it or becomes something else quickly) would find simply untenable. Yesterday, after I sat in on a couple of classes to verify she was comfortable with the lesson, I went away and wrote in a quieter place, but Thursday, I was at my desk all day as she taught. I even participated, at her request, in the activity. And, as I said, I wrote almost 1800 words. Yesterday, I edited that scene and found that, aside from needing a few minor tweaks and word changes, it was pretty strong stuff. 

So I found another reason to be thankful for being a teacher. It's not only made me a better writer--it's given me confidence that, should the need ever arise, I could knock off a solid chapter in the middle of a hurricane. 

Before I sign off for another week, I want to remind you that I'll be at the Parkersburg and Wood County Library today from 2pm to 3pm, selling and signing copies of my debut novel, Harsh Prey. If you live nearby, come by and say hello. 


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The Saturday Slash

  Posted by bigblackcat97 in Writer, Writer Pants on Fire, 24 January 2015 · 37 views

Meet my Hatchet of Death (or, some other colorful description RC Lewis and I come up with at any given moment). This is how I edit myself, it is how I edit others. If you think you want to play with me and my hatchet, shoot us an email.

We all know the first line of a query is your "hook." I call the last line the "sinker." You want it to punch them in the face, in a nice, friendly kind of way that makes them unable to forget you after having read the 300 other queries in their inbox.

If you're looking for query advice, but are slightly intimidated by my claws, blade, or just my rolling googly-eyes, check out the query critique boards over at AgentQueryConnect. This is where I got my start, with advice from people smarter than me. Don't be afraid to ask for help with the most critical first step of your writing journey - the query. My comments appear in green.

London, 1867. Wayward Collins is anonymous. In the hidden magical communities of the city, a man without magic is expendable, and Wayward will do anything to remain hidden. Not a bad hook, but I think you could easily blend all three of this first sentences together to reduce the choppy quality - "... magical communities of 1867 London.... Wayward Collins will do anything to remain anonymous." But a miscalculation one night has tragic consequences, and he is trapped into the service of the wizard Lord Cadogan.

Rich, powerful and well bred, Cadogan is everything Wayward despises, and he immediately starts planning his escape. But when one of Cadogan’s footmen is murdered by magical means, Wayward is reluctantly dragged into the ensuing investigation. I think I need to know more about motivation here - if Wayward's only goal is escape, how can he be "dragged' into an investigation?

Cadogan doesn’t care that Wayward wants to stay hidden from magic users; he just wants to find the murderer. Why is Wayward the person to catch him? Wayward hates Cadogan from the top of his perfectly groomed head to the tips of his expensive shoes—there’s no way he’s going to co-operate. But Cadogan isn’t asking nicely, and every step of the investigation stirs up further trouble. The dead footman had his own secrets, certain magical factions are suddenly interested in the whole affair, and one particular police inspector just won’t leave the matter alone. This is well written, but again why Wayward and what's keeping him there?

Dogged by forces magical and mundane, Wayward is unwillingly entangled in the magic and power brewing in the heart of the city. After a lifetime of hiding, he’s attracting the attention of the most powerful magical force in the country. Even if he manages to escape Cadogan, he must play very carefully to ensure he doesn’t end up as a pawn in the magical plots he’s spent his whole life trying to avoid.

CHALK CIRCLES is a historical fantasy novel complete at 75,000 words. It is the first of a planned series, but will also work as a standalone novel.

This is well written and interesting, but the big question still stands - if all he wants to do is leave, why doesn't he just do it already? It sounds like he has no loyalty to these people, so what's his motivation to stay?



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Snow Free Pass Winner

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs in Michelle4Laughs: It's in the Details, 23 January 2015 · 9 views

I thank you for all the shared memories. All the stories of ski lifts, and igloos, and cakes made out of snow. I enjoyed the quiet silence of falling snow and the peace it brought to relatives going through cancer. It's great to read so much reminiscing about family and new-found romance. 



These were all great and so very entertaining. It was hard to pick a winner! Many of the stories made me laugh, a few made me sigh. Some brought back my own memories.

Some honorable mentions among all the stand out stories:

Emmy Paxman
Kathleen
Laura Rueckert
Kara BArbieri
Christopher Lee
Ashley B
Leann








And the winner of the snow free pass is:

Mike Hays


Mike, please format your entry as outlined in the contest format post and send during the submission window on Monday, January 26th. But in the subject line include: SNOW FREE PASS.

Thanks to everyone who entered. This was a lot of fun and writers are the best people. I wish I could pick all the entries.


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ANNOUNCING TEAM SUN MENTORS!

  Posted by Amy Trueblood in Chasing The Crazies, 23 January 2015 · 18 views

  TEAM SUN MENTORS!!!     I have been waiting for over a month to share the mentors on Team Sun with everyone! This group consists of some of the most talented, kind, and well pretty much totally-made-of-awesomeness writers on the planet (Okay, so I may be a little biased :-P)   The assembled team is going […]

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Friday Freeday: Fast Five Friday: TV Character Crushes

  Posted by DebsBlueRoses in The Writer Ambitious, 23 January 2015 · 15 views



Happy Friday!

Welcome back to another installment of Fast Five Friday! This new bloghop is brought to us by the Express Yourself gals, Dani and Jackie via covergirlsdj.blogspot.com.

This week, they ask us to name 5 TV character crushes.

1. Robb Stark (*bawls*) from Game of Thrones

2. young Ron Johnson from A Different World

3. Zack from The Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers

4. Jake Ballard from Scandal

5. Dr. Owen Hunt from Grey's Anatomy

These are a mix of old and new crushes, hehe.  How about you? I'd love to see the guys' answers. lol

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Book Thoughts: The Jewel

  Posted by Mia K Rose in Mia K Rose | Forsaken Illusion, 23 January 2015 · 4 views

Have you had a chance to read this one? If so, what did […]

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A New Look at Editing: Your Novel In Eight Minutes

  Posted by From The Write Angle in From The Write Angle Blog, 22 January 2015 · 46 views

by Cat Woods

As a speech coach, I often help students "cut" pieces from novels for competition. In my neck of the woods, this amounts to summing up an entire novel into an eight minute spoken presentation--or roughly 1,300 words including an original introduction.

Truly, it's like editing on crack.

The process is easy enough: read; tease out the phrases, sentences or paragraphs that best portray the scope of the story; and tie them together with a nice little intro. For prose, this entails sifting through a lot of introspection and a little bit of action. For duo, it means cutting and pasting the story together through the written dialogue. Humor is usually a healthy combination of both.

Regardless, the outcome is the same. When my speechies have cut a novel for competition, they've somehow whittled down the story to a fraction of its size--all while packing an emotional punch and retaining its integrity. The only usable words are the ones the author penned. No changes can be made and the lines must be connected in the order in which they appear in the novel. No rearranging allowed.

The outcome is quite awesome, really. And, it's something we should strive for as writers. We should each be able to whittle down our writing to the very heart of the piece. We should be able to tease out eight minutes of cohesive dialogue that somehow show the scope and depth of our story. We shouldn't have a problem finding that unifying thread that connects the beginning, middle and oh-so-satisfying end. And if we do, we just might need to eliminate unnecessary character peeks or fill in some plot valleys.

This process is completely different from writing a synopsis, which is really a blow by blow of each chapter. It's also very different from a query letter summary. This is more fluid and evocative. It strikes an emotional chord and carries the reader...er, listener along for a quick, but thorough roller-coaster ride. It's like storytelling on crack.

After working on several speech scripts this season, I challenged myself to "cut" my own stories. I think you should do the same. Like me, you might be pleasantly surprised by the results or get a swift kick in the muse. But, if you're not quite ready to dice your own manuscript to bits and pieces, try cutting one of your favorite novels to get a feel for strong character dynamics, intriguing plot nuances and meaningful dialogue. It's a great way to learn how to ferret out the important parts of a story or to determine what is lacking.

Once you master those, you'll have this whole writing thing licked. Then maybe, a speechie may someday cut your novel for use during a competition. And that, my friends, is the best word of mouth advertising I've ever seen among avid readers, educators and parents.

How do you content-edit your writing to ensure cohesive story lines and consistent character growth? Have you ever dissected another writer's work to see what he/she does right? If so, what did you learn from the process?

Curious minds want to know.

Each spring, Cat Woods spends thirteen weeks straight judging speech competitions in Southwestern Minnesota. She loves the interpretation categories because they force her to analyze character relationships on multiple levels. And speaking of characters, some of hers have found their way into print and reside in a smattering of anthologies--the most recent one being Tales from the Bully Box, a middle grade anthology. If you're so inclined, you can follow Cat's exploits at www.catwoodsblog.com or www.catwoodskids.com. In the meantime, happy cutting.


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Do You Read Nonfiction? Why You Should

  Posted by SC_Author in SC Write--Writing, Publishing, and Harry Potter, 16 January 2015 · 48 views

For the most part, I write contemporary novels. Modern issues find their ways into my books.

Rightly so, writers like JK Rowling, Stephen King, and Ray Bradbury have established the crucial importance of constant reading for anyone to be a decent writer. Read read read read read is the overarching theme; read everything you can.

For a long time, I've thought that only meant fiction. Yet, all the nonfiction that I've read (which isn't nearly enough) has helped to create a more believable and honest depiction of contemporary issues and life.

How does a writer balance reading nonfiction and fiction? And by nonfiction I don't mean narrative nonfiction, I mean actual, academic, fact-based nonfiction.

I have nonfiction books on my nightstand, but whenever my fingers itch to pick them up I grab something else. It's a waste, right? To read nonfiction when reading fiction - as all these great writers have said - is the key to being a good fiction writer. There's little emphasis on prose, no such thing as plot or characterization, and no allegory or metaphors or any such fictional devices. How can we fiction writers learn from nonfiction?

But here's the thing. Apart from it being, in my opinion, required for good social activists or public figures, reading nonfiction might be the key to great fiction writing. Seriously. I think it's the next big breakthrough in fiction writing (shhhh, don't give the secret away).

True, most writing and art is simply an autobiography (it's a cynical view of art, but I've found it to be true), but I assume that most of us aren't writing literal autobiographies. We're writing fiction, and we have characters that go through issues we don't go through.

The key is to portray these characters honestly, whether they be in a fantasy novel, a romance, a sci-fi, a mystery, anything. The problems that living beings face are universal and they have universal nuances and complexities that a simple 'I'll guess my way through it' attitude cannot address. These problems are usually also part of a societal structure, a structure that can be analyzed and understood more thoroughly.

It's one of the (few) problems I had with Harry Potter. How does race play a role in the wizarding world? How do Muggleborns not speak up against the tyranny of owl mail when text messages work so much faster (and would have solved Harry's dilemma of finding Sirius Black quite quickly - and electric objects do work in Grimmauld Place, they only don't work in Hogwarts). Where are all these complexities? The series's saving grace is the fact that it is fantasy. Rowling already painstakingly created such a nuanced world that expecting any more from her is just cruel and unusual punishment. Plus, she is Queen. I just wanted to show that these complexities and nuances (learned from nonfiction based on this world) could be translated to fantasy.

And even further complexities and nuances: gentrification, health care, law, policy, scientific methodology, university structures, etc. These exist in the real world and can exist in fantasy worlds as well.

I've completely revised my novel based on information I learned within the last few months. Pulling up an article or Googling a quick fact for research works well but not nearly as well as really researching and reading the best books on your topic. Not to mention, taking the first bit of information you receive can be dangerous.

For example. In The DaVinci Code, Robert Langdon speaks to a group of prisoners about the Mona Lisa's supposed gender duality. Using the Egyptian god Amon and the goddess Isis (or L'isa), Langdon, a Harvard professor, uses the fact that the two names rearrange to Mona Lisa as part of his proof that Mona Lisa smiles because she promotes the divine union of male and female.

Well. Well. Da Vinci never named the painting. Never. It's called La Gioconda traditionally (yes, not Mona Lisa, we English-lovers!) and was named Mona Lisa centuries after Da Vinci's death. Ugh. Just read this, it explains it all. Harvard professor? I think not.

But the fact of the matter is, how would someone have known the painting's naming history without doing thorough research? It's not a fact that most even imagine to research about. The only solution is to just research everything.

Not only did Dan Brown alienate much of his readership (I almost but the book down after reading that part), but he lost credibility with many people. But you can't really blame him. It's the case of a 'take the first bit of information given and not look into it further'. It's something we all do to save time and make quick decisions.

But fiction writing is not fast. We all know that. It's a slow-cooked meal, and the slower you cook it, the better it gets (unless it's super slow - try being good, but not overly perfectionist!). Do your research. Read nonfiction!

Reading all these books will take long. Reading nonfiction that has little to do with your subject matter is crucially important too, because having a broad knowledge base lets you pick where your novel can go, giving you a much bigger canvas to paint on. I mean, we read fiction books outside our genre, right? Why not read nonfiction books outside our topics? It'll give us the honesty that we all reach for when we write.

First on my reading list, after I finish my current book, is Merchants of Doubt or Alan Turing's biography, still have to decide.

Do you read nonfiction? Why or why not?

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5 reasons why I quit reading books before the end

Posted by Selene Bell in Confessions of a Binge Reader, 13 January 2015 · 67 views

Over the holidays, I suffered through a bout of bronchitis. The unexpected upside was that because I didn’t want to do anything else, I had tons of time to read. I got lost in a sea of self-pubs. The best ones were edgy with fascinating characters—things that would have been difficult to find through traditional publishers. There’s always a “but” though, right? Here’s mine: I probably didn’t finish three-quarters of the books I bought, for quality reasons. (Thank goodness they’re so cheap.) Here’s some of what the authors did wrong:

They wrote lots of smug dialog: I know writing dialog where everything clicks is addicting. But if every time you write any dialog, you think, “Wow, people are going to think I’m so smart!” know you’re wrong. Especially if one of your characters comments on how clever the speaker is, you’ve crossed the line into annoying. Good dialog needs to show tension and have a point that advances the plot. It can’t just be there to show off. (A book isn’t Seinfeld, which mind you, lasted just half an hour.) If you get clever, keep it short. Trust me. That (deleted expletive) gets old fast.

They delayed gratification for too long: There’s that sweet spot by when your readers need to get some payoff from hanging in there through the “will they or won’t they.” If you promise violence, at least a little blood needs to spill before the last page. Basically, if I’ve hit the seventy-five-percent mark and I’m still waiting, I feel like I’m being toyed with, not entertained. If your point is to delay, you need to find small ways to provide readers some kind of satisfaction throughout.

They wrote perfect characters: I don’t want to read about the girl who every guy falls in love with, who’s going to be the next leader and knows medical skills and can fight like a master even though she’s barely been trained. She always makes the right decision, she always gets the funny line, and yeah, her best friend’s gay and she’s the only one who will accept it. (Which I have no problem with, but cliché much?) Please, please, please, for the love of your readers, give her a drug addiction or something. Otherwise, there’s no struggle to make her feel real. Good example: Clarke from The Hundred could be so annoying in her bravery, medical training and all these guys who fall for her, BUT she’s balanced by the fact that she’s so angry, especially at herself, and that other girls’ disdain hurts her. Perfect is only OK in small doses.

They didn’t plot smart: I have little patience for a book that seems like two short works sandwiched together. In Part A, the guy and girl get together. In Part B, a bad guy appears and they beat him. The bad guy needs to show up in Chapter One to loom doom over your main characters’ heads—or at least hint at it. The problem if there’s nothing at stake from the start? You lose opportunity to build tension that keeps readers flipping pages.

They got boring: The greatest start in the world won’t keep readers going if you trail off into mediocrity. Sure, you need a good start to get people to buy your book, but if you want them to buy your next one, you need a great middle and a great ending too. If you get tired of writing your book in the middle, it’s going to show.

The best way to avoid all of these problems is to find honest beta readers or editors and pay attention to their feedback before you hit the “publish” button. If your early readers tell you every single thing you write is great, perfect, the next best seller—they care more about your feelings than your actual work. And that’s not to ding them. It’s hard to point out deficiencies. But trust me, you’ll be a better writer for working to improve your weaknesses. Be brave and unflinching in confronting your deficiencies, and your readers will benefit.

www.selene-bell.com

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My Experiences with Formatting

Posted by D. E. Jackson in Adventures of Wolf 3, 13 January 2015 · 67 views

Good day writers! This is an exciting day for me. I’ve just finished the first part of my formatting. I couldn’t wait to blog about it. I did have step by step instructions on here, but AQ is not supporting most of it because some is in html code. So I'll have to refer you to Guido Henkel's site.
http://guidohenkel.c...ook-formatting/

If you just want to get started without knowing the why, start on Part III for what you need to download in order to make this work. I used Notepad++ and will be using Calibre to finish it out. Both free. But he has other ideas also to look into. Then go to Part VI to start the formatting process.

Good Luck everyone!

EDIT: I was able to provide the step by step Formatting Process (according to Henkel) below in the posts! ^_^

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The Professor Confronted

  Posted by Professor VJ Duke in The Punchy Lands!, 13 January 2015 · 31 views

So, this professor was walking down a street.

You know, one of those streets that has stores a bit off the sidewalk.

It was a little town. I probably should have said that first.

Anyway, I was walking along (or down) a street when I ran into a fellow and a lady. They were around the same age, I think. And much younger than the professor.

(But everyone is younger than the professor. I’ll soon be…I forget. But it’s up there.)

Anyway for seconds, they stopped me. With words, of course.

“Where you going?” the lady asked.

I should stop calling her a lady about now.

The professor didn’t answer right away. And that’s the thing to do, when confronted.

This professor just stared at her (glancing at the fellow) and raised one eyebrow.

I’ve heard this subtle moment of mine inspires fear. I’m not sure if it’s true, but I think it is.

“I asked you a question!” she said.

“Yeah,” the fellow said, “answer her.”

“Well, to be honest,” this professor said, “I was actually not on my way to see either of you two.”

They seemed shocked, dismayed, and terribly angry.

The woman–who was smoking–threw her cigarette on the ground and stamped it angrily with her heel.

Once she was done, I repeated the motion (only I was more vicious, I think) just to prove to them that I could stamp harder.

After all, I’m a warrior.

They laughed at this.

“Your weird!” the woman said.

The fellow shook his head. “Definitely weird, dude.”

The professor moved on; I didn’t have time to keep on having speaks.

I looked back once, and saw that the duo had caught another fellow.

Maybe I should have been a bit fiercer, and messed up their operation for good.

Oh well.




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IWSG All About Me

  Posted by K McClelland in Teardrops On My Book, 07 January 2015 · 46 views

(Make sure you check out the IWSG website and founder of this group, Alex J Cavanaugh.)So, I already had my post written out and then I just saw I was supposed to introduce myself. But that's okay, I'll have two posts today. To see the other post, click here.

And onto some stuff about me:

I'm a mother and a writer. I also am basically a personal assistant for my mom. Plus I run errands for my dad and I work at the gym (where my kids do dance and gymnastics) twice a week.

My kids are (recently) online homeschooled and both of them are in gymnastics and hip-hop. I don't really have a life outside of my kids and parents. Aside from when I stay up late and find time to do things I want to do (mostly online games, writing, and blogging).

This year is the first year that my youngest will be competing in gymnastics so I'll be adding gymnastics meets to my schedule which should be interesting. Most of them are going to be on Sundays though so that's not too bad.

I spent a lot of last year not blogging enough and my visiting was even worse, but I'm going to do better this year. I also tend to write too much on my blog posts and struggle to write enough in my books.

And that's about it, but if you're curious about anything else, feel free to ask. :)




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WRECKAGE Launch Party- Save the Date

  Posted by mlebleek in Bleeker Street, 06 January 2015 · 49 views

March is approaching quickly and I am busy planning a fantastic launch party for WRECKAGE. I’ve decided to pair the launch with a fundraiser for a FANTASTIC and inspiring organization: The Book Bridge (thebookbridge.com):

Screenshot 2015-01-06 11.35.01

The Book Bridge is a 501©3 charitable organization.

“Our mission is to support, motivate and inspire children in crisis situations to read through individualized access to books and other materials geared toward increasing literacy skills while also providing them with a healthy emotional outlet to stress.

We serve youth up to age 18 who are in physical, economical, emotional, or mental health crisis situations. They have little or no access to books of their interest and reading abilities.”

I’m sure you can see why I am SO excited to partner with this great organization. Right now I’m in the process of collecting some awesome raffles and getting all the plans together but I wanted to make sure you all saved the date so you can come celebrate WRECKAGE’s release and support The Book Bridge at the same time.

Screenshot 2015-01-06 11.16.48Launch party(pdf)

 

Besides the actual party we will also be holding a raffle to benefit The Book Bridge. You can purchase raffle tickets for a dollar or receive one ticket per new/like new book donated to The Book Bridge. When donating please take a moment to double check what items they are able to accept: thebookbridge.com/donations

I can’t wait to celebrate with you all and to help provide children with the books they deserve. And don’t worry, if you don’t live in Illinois I will be running a virtual launch party as well!

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and on this blog for regular updates!

As a side note- if you have a raffle item you’d like to donate to support this fundraiser please email me at emilybleekerauthor@gmal.com




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Love and Rumors will be FREE Dec 31 & Jan 1

  Posted by Jean Oram in The Love Bug Blog, 29 December 2014 · 89 views

My new series, The Summer Sisters, has two new books coming out in the following months and I thought I’d do a little something nice for readers by giving away ecopies of book 1, Love and Rumors, for two days to help bring in the new year as well as celebrate the book’s brand new cover.


Wednesday, December 31, 2014 through Thursday, January 1st, 2015, the ebook of Love and Rumors will be FREE. This deal will only be available on Amazon for those two days before it goes back to its regular price of $2.99. (The paperback edition is always available for $10.99–or less!)


If you don’t have a Kindle to read the free book on, no worries! You can download the Kindle app onto most devices, easy peasy! (I have it on my phone and tablet so I can read free romance ebooks for Kindle on the go.)

Click Here to go to Amazon.com & Grab Your FREE Kindle Reading App & Read ebooks on Most Devices


Love and Rumors--a free contemporary romance ebook

The new cover for Love and Rumors. (It’s so new I haven’t even changed the cover images on my website yet!)


One photographer who needs cash—fast. One movie star with an offer as tempting as his bad boy smile.

Hailey Summer needs more time. As the eldest Summer sister she’s always taken on the task of solving everyone’s problems—including finding ways to hold onto the family’s precious historic cottage. Only this time she’s stretched too far and is in danger of losing absolutely everything that matters to her from her dream photography business to her sisters’ trust to the cottage that’s been in the family for over a century. Will Hailey find the money she needs or will she have to confront a lot more than just the family members she’s kept in the dark?

When Finian Alexander closes his eyes he is haunted by his family’s destitute past and the unfulfilled promises he’s made to others. Only a fraction away from making the A-list food chain and fulfilling his promises, Finian needs help from the paparazzi to push his next ‘bad boy of Hollywood’ escapade into the limelight. Problem is he’s in the Canadian Muskokas and the only photographer he’d consider partnering with slaps him every time he deserves it—which is increasingly often as he becomes more desperate.
Will Hailey and Finian give in to the easy way out of their problems, or will discover how alike they truly are when they hit the tabloids—together?

This is the first book in the Summer Sisters beach read contemporary romance series.

Grab your copy of Love and Rumors while it’s FREE! Link: http://amzn.to/1oMKQXT


Happy New Year! All the best to you and yours in 2015.

Happy reading,

Jean

P.S. Love and Rumors & book 2, Love and Dreams, are both available in the Kindle Unlimited program for a limited time–you can snag the books on KU as well.

P.P.S. Want to see Love and Dreams‘s new cover too? Here it is:


Love and Dreams, a contemporary romance by Jean Oram

The new cover for Love and Dreams!


The post Love and Rumors will be FREE Dec 31 & Jan 1 appeared first on Jean Oram.


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A Member Of the Club

Posted by generalmuj777 in generalmuj777's Blog, 29 December 2014 · 118 views

Greetings to all! I joined Agent Query today and I just wished to introduce myself to the group. For me it is indeed to pleasure to make your acquaintance. Take and be well everyone.

Best Regards
Muj Attia

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Influences and Inspirations

Posted by Terence Park in T.P. Archie's Blog, 21 December 2014 · 82 views
Jack Kirby and 5 more...

Influences and Inspirations Influences and Inspirations
by TerencePark on 12-20-2014 12:29

Influences. We all have them. I'm going to talk about comic books; American comic books, from the Silver Age. I was there when Jack Kirby's Fourth World came out and what an impact it had on me.

American comic books of the 60's sold in their millions. Well some of them did. The biggest in terms of circulation was Superman. The comic was widely distributed and could sell up to 1 million copies each issue. In practise it sold between 70% and 80% of that figure. A common theme that irritated more sophisticated comic book buyers was: DC would run a story with life-changing consequences that under the rules of continuity, ought to be evident in future issues. But this didn’t happen; characters were reset at the start of each new issue.
The main rival to DC was Marvel. it had a strong line of heroes. They sold well, each ranking up sales between 200k and 400k per month. Unlike DC, they were every month - many DC titles were bi-monthly, or came out, at best, 8 times per year. Supes was the big DC star. At that time he was in Superman, Action Comics, World's Finest Comics, Justice League of America, Superman's girlfriend - Lois Lane, Superman's pal - Jimmy Olsen.
Oh, bring those memories back. The big problem for the Superman family was that they fared less well, subsisting on circulations of 150k - which at that time was a trigger for cancellation. They were ripe for change. DC knew this but its culture was somnolent. It needed shock treatment to stay on terms with Marvel.

The star in Marvel's armoury was the late, great, Jack King Kirby (born Jacob Kurtzberg). He worked on titles like The Mighty Thor, The Fantastic Four, Captain America, Sgt Fury's Howling Commandos, and had been instrumental in bringing to life outstanding comic book characters such as Galactus and the Silver Surfer.
Kirby had great vision and was an absolute art monster. He regularly did 3 + comic books per month. that was 60 + pages of art work. Many struggled to put in a full shift of 20.


In 1970, Jack dropped a bombshell onto Stan (the Man) Lee. He was leaving. it wasn't as if Stan didn't know this was coming. Kirby had been taken for granted and Marvel weren't going to change. They had DC on its knees. Marvel comics had heroes with real life problems - a new thing at time, as under the Comics Code Authority, comics had reverted to simplistic pre-teen content, which defined DC. Marvel had found a formula that didn’t cross the Authority and yet appealed to older audiences. DC managed mouldering properties. Superman had a whole family to support - but suddenly, Jack Kirby was available. He had worked at DC in years past - on stuff such as Newsboy Legion, Manhunter, the Sandman.... There were no other real opportunities in the field for Jack - Charlton wouldn’t publish its one bi-monthly superhero title -E-Man - until 1973, Archie comics didn't do superheroes, Dark Horse, Image and other imprints were yet to be formed;Creepy and Eerie (the Horror market) wasn't where Jack was coming from and besides they were only b&w.

Jack went to DC. He was full of ideas.
The comics blazed out the news:

KIRBY IS HERE
Marvel ran a monthly Bullpen Bulletin Board in most of their comics. it was the biggest news in comics industry but they said nothing. Jack's output was prodigious and regular pencillers had to be found to replace him. There are various accounts of the inner workings of Marvel’s Bullpen - here isn’t the place for that.

Jack brought his Fourth World Saga with him. This was an interlinked tale ‘AN EPIC FOR OUR TIMES’ of good and evil. New Genesis v Apokolips. It ran in three comic books: The New Gods, The Forever People and Mister Miracle. These ran side by side, along with a re-envisioned pal of Supes - Jimmy Olsen, who got a bunch of side-kicks - the Newsboy Legion. Kirby (& Joe Simon) created the original Newsboy Legion which was based on the child-labour used by the respective newspapers of Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst at the start of the Twentieth Century. These weren’t employees but rather purchased the papers from the publishers and sold them as independent agents. Yep. Child-labour. New York then.
DC were protective of the Superman look. Change meant threat and DC baulked at Jack's envisioning of Superman. He drew Supes' face, they redrew it. Jack's art style was dynamic. House artists were static. Jack's Superman looked muscular. If DC's house artists were told to bring Jack's Superman into line - well that's what they did. Re-booting heroes was - well done with care. The debates surrounding owner-creator v hired-hand were still to come.

Change brought opportunities. The insignia; for a long time, a double circle enclosing the letters DC in the top left hand corner, was revamped. For Jack Kirby’s series, the circle grew and now contained a bullet image of the main character(s) in the comic.

Below are the covers from the respective first issues of his Fourth World. Beyond tweaking for ‘color-cast’ I have left them as they are. I could clean up these images - but why? They have character as they are...

The New Gods
Main character: Orion of the New Gods
Earth name: O’Ryan

Posted Image
New Gods #1
Read: Orion Fights for Earth


Mister Miracle
Main character: Scot Free of New Genesis. He decides to become an escape artist - this is both metaphor for his escape from Apokolips and for sublimation of hope into cynicism in attempts to revive an obsolete form of entertainment. In many ways he is diametrically opposed to Orion, who, when the chips are down, resorts to smashing his way out of traps.

Posted Image
Mister-Miracle #1 cover
No Trap can Hold Him


The Forever People
The genesis of this group is quite interesting. Jack was often disturbed by groups of motorbike enthusiasts, tearing up and down the road that his California hangout overlooked. Enthusiasts? Fiends? it depends on which side of the peace and quiet debate you lie. They irritated the life out of him- and became the inspiration for his Forever People

http://my.telegraph....ple-201x300.gif
The-Forever-People #1 cover
Big Bonus Beautiful Dreamer


and from page 10 of The New Gods: Apokolips
Ruled by the enemy of life, Darkseid. Simple but great visuals.

http://my.telegraph....ips-206x300.gif

(if you've lived in some neighborhoods, this might look pretty familiar!)
Was it good? How can you ask? Re-reading these is a visual feast.
Final thought. Just look at that blurb.


I like grand themes but I prefer them realistic. My work is probably closer to The Road than Kirby's Fourth World content-wise.

Originally published October 24, 2014 on my Daily Telegraph blog.


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A Letter to My Younger Self on the “Dear Teen Me” Blog

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I’ve written a “letter” to my teenage self as part of the “Dear Teen Me” blog project.  Check it out here: http://dearteenme.com/?p=8689#more-8689  

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