In honor of National Dog Day which occurred earlier this week, today's blog post is dedicated to photos of my dogs, Rocky and Luna. Rocky is a Westie, and Luna is a Beagle-Schnauzer mix.
The Louisville Review publishes poetry from kids in kindergarten through seniors in high school. From the website: "We seek writing that looks for fresh ways to recreate scenes and feelings. Honest emotion and original imagery are more important to a poem than rhyming and big topics--such as life, moralizing, and other abstractions." They pay in copies. You can read the complete guidelines here.
Adults: They publish poetry and prose people over eighteen, too! See the submission guidelines here.
I'm pleased to have Darlene Beck Jacobson guest blog today about the cover of her upcoming historical middle grade novel, WHEELS OF CHANGE, which will be available on September 22nd. Be sure to visit Roseanne Kurstedt's blog, the next stop on the WHEELS OF CHANGE TOUR, on Tuesday, August 26th.
Five Things About the Artwork and Cover Design for WHEELS OF CHANGE by Darlene Beck Jacobson
1. The book was originally titled THE CARRIAGE MAKER’S DAUGHTER, but in order to appeal to a wider range of children --namely boys --my editor and agent thought a new titled was needed. WHEELS OF CHANGE (WOC) was the result.
2. The Illustrator was MARISSA MOSS who also happens to be the publisher and Editor at CRESTON BOOKS. Before I saw any art, I envisioned a cover with a carriage or forge and a girl in the shadows. Her concept of the wheels, gears and cogs of progress surrounding the wagon wheel on fire was brilliant and inspired!
3. I decided early on that I wanted some small illustrations at the beginning of each chapter. Silhouettes were popular during the early 1900’s and Marissa agreed to try that. I made a list of suggestions for possible objects for each chapter and she went to work.
4. Simon Stahl was responsible for cover and book design. It reminds me of a circus or event poster. Such posters were popular at the time. I love how it says: Darlene Beck Jacobson Presents…To me, that sets the scene for a story taking place in another era.
5. CRESTON BOOKS published WHEELS OF CHANGE without a book jacket. The blurbs and cover art appear right on the book, so there is no dust jacket to lose. And, the fact that it was printed in the good old USA --using sustainable forestry practices --feels great.
View the WHEELS OF CHANGE book trailer here. Story summary:
"Racial intolerance, social change, sweeping progress. It is a turbulent time growing up in 1908. For twelve year old EMILY SOPER, life in Papa’s carriage barn is magic. Emily is more at home hearing the symphony of the blacksmith’s hammer, than trying to conform to the proper expectations of females. Many prominent people own Papa’s carriages. He receives an order to make one for President Theodore Roosevelt. Papa’s livelihood becomes threatened by racist neighbors, and horsepower of a different sort. Emily is determined to save Papa’s business even if she has to go all the way to the President."
Darlene Beck Jacobson has loved writing since she was a girl. She wrote letters to everyone she knew and made up stories in her head. Although she never wrote to a president, she sent many letters to pop stars of the day asking for photos and autographs. She loves bringing the past to life in stories such as WHEELS OF CHANGE, her debut novel. Darlene’s stories have appeared in CICADA, CRICKET, and other magazines. When not writing, Darlene enjoys baking, sewing and tea parties. She also likes hanging around forges watching the blacksmith work magic. She’s never ridden in a carriage like the one in the story, but hopes to one day.
Her blog features recipes, activities, crafts and interviews with children’s book authors and illustrators. She still loves writing and getting letters. You can follow her on Twitter (@dustbunnymaven) and check out her website at www.darlenebeckjacobson.com.
Crashtest is an online magazine run by students in Greenville, South Carolina that publishes the writings of other high schoolers (grades 9-12) twice a year. You can submit year-round by email, but response times may be longer during the summer months.
From the website: "Here at Crashtest we believe being alive right now is what matters. We don’t think the ability to observe the world and form an opinion is denied us because we can’t yet rent a car. . . "
They publish poetry, short stories, and creative nonfiction. (No fan fiction.) Please see the website for complete details about sending them your work.
This week I'd like to share some writing websites and blog posts you might find useful.
The #AugWriting Challenge
It’s not too late to commit to writing 500 words a day for the month of August! Read about writing habits and why this concept is a good idea in a blog post by Kristy Acevedo, who originated the challenge in July. I’m finding that making a public commitment and tweeting about my progress is helping to keep me on track. There's still half a month left if you'd like to join.
For August, YA Outside the Lines is featuring a great series of blog posts from various YA writers about “beginnings.”
The Time Between Acquisition and Publication
If you are pre-published or have a contract in the works, I hope you find my recent guest post at UncommonYA useful. It’s about some of the things I learned in the time between acquisition and publication.
Amazon Author Features
Kathy Temean recently ran a blog series about Amazon and sales strategies, including:
Amazon categories, the “Look Inside” feature, and the Author Page. (Thanks for the suggestions on how to improve mine, Kathy!)
Finding YA Book Bloggers
Are you looking for a lists of YA book bloggers? Try the new Writers’ Blog Finder which allows you to search top bloggers by category. Or visit the YA Book Blog site, which provides a huge directory.
If you've come across other useful links lately, please let me know. Happy Writing!
"School Daze" Writing Contest for High School and College Students
Deadline: August 31, 2014
Prizes: IHOP and Papa John's Gift Cards
Entries: 500 words or less, nonfiction (write the true stuff!)
Essay topic: "Submit a story about a school memory - being the new kid, a great school achievement, a special (or not so special) teacher, something joyful or something embarrassing."
Contest run by StageOfLife.com. See their website for complete rules and details.
Is it really almost time for back-to-school? This time of year makes me think about the quote from an Edna St. Vincent Millay sonnet: "no such summer as the one before" (Fatal Interview XLVI).
What phrase or quote describes this summer for you?
All of the recent Ebola news is quite frightening. That's why I was surprised to hear an interview on CNBC yesterday with Irwin Redlener, author of the nonfiction book, Americans at Risk. Even with the Ebola outbreak, what does he worry about most? A "natural occurring pandemic of avian-flu type." He feels that the United States is not prepared for that type of disaster. "To put it simply," he said, "no, we're not ready." This is primarily because of cuts to federal funding that would be used for preparedness training and the stockpiling of antibiotics and vaccines.
You can listen to the full interview here.
During the interview, the Spanish flu of 1918 is mentioned. Even though Pandemic is set in current times, I spent a lot of time researching the Spanish flu for my novel. Today, Darlene Beck-Jacobson is sharing my guest post on her blog about five interesting historical facts that I learned. That serves as my Friday Five for this week -- I hope you check it out.
You can leave me a comment about what diseases and natural disasters keep you up at night.
The 12th Annual Collingswood Book Festival will take place on October 11th in Collingswood, NJ, and I'm excited to be signing books that day. You can read a full list of the attending authors on the festival website.
As part of the book festival, the Collingswood Public Library is running two contests. One is a poetry contest with a sensory theme (smell, taste, etc.) for kids ages seven to thirteen. Entries need to be postmarked by September 15th. Complete details are available here.
In honor of Amelia Bedelia’s 50th anniversary, a second contest is being held for the illustration of an idiom (several examples are listed on the site, such as "hit the books" and "face the music") in a way that Amelia Bedelia would interpret it. There is one prize for kids ages twelve and under, and one prize for teens/adults. Entries are due October 1st. Go here for details and scroll down.
You can enter the contests even if you can't attend the festival. Good luck!
The Last Ship is a new series on TNT about the aftermath of a deadly flu pandemic. After undertaking a secret mission in the artic where a scientist on board searched for the original strain of bird flu, the ship's crew discover that they are some of the world's few survivors and may be the only hope for a vaccine.
Having written a young adult novel about a deadly bird flu pandemic, of course I had to watch this show. For those of you new to my blog, Pandemic debuted in May from Sky Pony Press. (You can learn more about the book here and read various reviews here.)
For this week's Friday Five, here are five things Pandemic and The Last Ship TV series have in common.
In The Last Ship, the main threat (other than the deadly virus itself), is the Russians, who are desperate for a cure and willing to steal to get it. With countries around the world decimated by the disease, there is a general sense of anarchy. In Pandemic, there is also the threat of the disease. The bad guys in this instance are the looters who go from house to house in the main character's neighborhood. With the police busy with riots and the rising death-toll, there is a similar sense of lawlessness but in a suburban setting.
The contagious disease in both The Last Ship and Pandemic is a deadly bird flu. The scientist on The Last Ship spends time in the Artic, looking for the "primordial strain," which is found in a specific type of bird, Artic Tern. The exact source of the bird flu in Pandemic is an unspecified water fowl that migrates up the East coast of the US. Coincidentally, I had already chosen an artic tern photo as an image for my Media page (more because of its squawking pose than a direct tie to my story.)
Dire circumstances might not necessarily seem conducive to romance, but when facing mortality. . . well, things happen. On the naval ship, there is the romantic subplot between Lt. Danny Green and Lt. Kara Foster, complicated by their enlisted status. In Pandemic, sixteen-year-old Lilianna Snyder is recovering from a traumatic incident and has difficulty trusting people. Her relationship with a neighborhood teen may help her both survive and heal.
Separation from Loved Ones
An underlying subplot in both the show and my book is the concern for other family members and hope for their survival during a crazy, uncertain time. Various characters during multiple episodes worry for their families. Will they ever be reunited? Lilianna, after being separated early in the pandemic from both her parents, also fears for their safety when communication between them stops.
Fear and Hope
In the most recent episode of the show ("Lockdown") one of the main themes was the balance of fear and hope. The Captain tries to manage the morale of the crew by withholding information which ultimately backfires. How is information disseminated during a disaster? Fear (and panic) can certainly play a large role. In Pandemic, Lil and other surviving neighbors must consciously decide whether or not to help other people in the community and what risks they are willing to take.
Overall, I find the crew members' relationships and their emotions to be the most interesting aspects of The Last Ship. Have you been watching the show? Are you a fan? I'd love to hear what you think about it or the ideas I mentioned.
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