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deenaml August 28 2014, 02:00

Memories Erased (123)

COMPLICIT by Stephanie Kuehn
When they were kids, Cate and Jamie's mother was killed and they were adopted by loving parents, but Cate acted out and was finally sent to juvie after burning down a neighbor's barn and injuring a classmate; two years later Jamie learns that Cate is out on parole and is coming for him to help fill in some gaps of his childhood memories.... Sixteen-year-old Jamie is sympathetic, the tone of the novel is suspenseful, and the short chapters serve the book well. It feels like the author nails the psychiatric details of the teens' diagnoses and makes Jamie's blackouts and numbs hands believable. A great upper-YA psychological thriller by the 2013 Morris Award-Winning author. (St. Martin's, 2014)
metteharrison August 27 2014, 17:54

Questions Without Answers #3: How Can I Tell if My Editor’s Comments are Right or Wrong for My Book?

I can answer this with a zen comment like, “If it *feels* right, then that means that you should go with it.” I’ve heard people say that if it chimes with you automatically, then it’s the right way to go. Or that if you envision the book with those changes and it is closer to the book you wanted to write, then they’re good comments.

Here’s the reality:

No editor is ever going to see the book in exactly the same way that you do. And this is a good thing.

Yes, I have seen people make changes that an editor suggested that I thought were a mistake.
But most of the time, what happens between an author and an editor is a collaboration that ends up with a book that is better than what either of them would have produced separately.

That means that the collaboration isn’t just a compromise kind of situation, where you get some of what you want and the other person gets some of what she wants. It means that you are bouncing ideas off of each other and sparking brilliant new ways of solving problems that you couldn’t do yourself. The best kinds of collaborations between authors do this same thing.

But with an editor, it’s a little different because an editor has a sharp eye for what is working and what isn’t working. Editors also have a bit of an idea (if they’re experienced) of how to get an author to think about something differently, or how to approach a problem in a new way. Sometimes other authors don’t always know how to do that.

So I would say that it’s less important if you immediately feel a zen peace with your editor’s comments and more important if you and your editor work well together. If you can call up your editor and start pinging ideas off of her, that’s a great thing. If she has ideas for you, also a great thing.

I know some people don’t like editors suggesting something. They only want critical feedback of the sort that says—this needs to be fixed. I’m a little more loose about what an editor does. I tend not to mind if an editor (horror!) adds a sentence here and there to my manuscript. I don’t feel possessive of my words that way.

I feel like a novel is a collaboration between an author and a reader, as well, and I have much less control over that. Having an idea in the first place, writing it down and then going through multiple drafts on my own—that’s my first step. But letting other people see it, writers groups, friends, agent, and editor, doesn’t make me feel like the novel is less mine.

That said, I would beware of you as the author feeling resentful about changes you feel “forced” to make. That should never be the spirit of the relationship. And if you feel like you’ve lost the sense of the novel being yours, that’s a problem you’re going to have to work out. You may need some time without the editor seeing the book to play with and get your touch back for it. Same thing with multiple drafts with a writers group or an agent.
lillpluta August 27 2014, 13:48

Labor Day Writing Activity

This year Labor Day falls on September 1.

labor.day.03

I've written this Labor Day themed writing activity with variations, but there are still many ways you can tweak it to make it work for your students.


1. Make a list of occupations. Include funny or unusual ones. Write each occupation on a slip of paper, index card, or whatever small bit of paper is convenient. Pass these out randomly to your students or have them draw slips out from a jar.

2. Allow 3-5 minutes (or however long you think is age appropriate) for students to quickly jot down what they know or think about the occupation. Note: Students should write on a separate sheet of paper to keep the card clean for future use.

3. Discuss what they wrote down, and then ask the students to research the occupation.

4. Have the student write down a description of the occupation in his/her own words. (Length depends on ability and age appropriateness.) In lieu of the written assignment, students may also give an oral presentation or draw a picture.

5. If you are working with a group of students, have them swap cards after step two and repeat the step. Students can then choose their favorite occupation to write about.

If you need help coming up with occupations, consult this long and thorough list.

For even more fun, pull jobs from this historical list of occupations.

BONUS: Do you know the difference between the words historic and historical?
lillpluta August 27 2014, 13:03

Wednesday's Word #2 -- CYNIC

If you are reading this month's book club selection, Flora & Ulysses, you have probably already come across the word CYNIC.

Cynic is a noun. A noun is a word that names a person, place, or thing. A cynic is a person who thinks other people are selfish and do selfish things. If happy people look through rose colored glasses, then cynics view the world through mud spattered goggles.

Here are some sentences using the word cynic:

Rosalie is such a cynic that she never thought Orville would finish his share of the project.
The cynic assumed his guests would eat all the best pastries and leave him with moldy bread.

Now it's your turn to write a sentence with the word cynic.

Challenge: Look up the word cynical and write a sentence with it.

Super Challenge: Last week's word was winsome. Someone with a winsome smile probably isn't a cynic. Can you write a sentence using both cynic and winsome?

The following sources were consulted in preparing this activity.
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/cynic
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cynic
slayground August 27 2014, 13:02

Interview: Micol Ostow

micolIn 1974, Ronald DeFeo Junior killed all six members of his family in their home in Amityville, New York. A year later, another family moved into that home only to move out 28 days later, saying they were terrorized by something paranormal in the house. Their story was captured in a book by Jay Anson, then subsequently retold in various films and other adaptations.

In Micol Ostow's new novel Amity, we meet two teenagers who live in Amityville at two different times. This is not time travel; instead, they alternate narrative duties, weaving their stories together chapter by chapter. Inspired by the real story but wholly fictional, this YA book is now available for late night reading. But I promise, this interview is not scary, and neither is Micol.

Do you recall the first time you heard about the Amityville Horror?

The first time I heard about the Amityville Horror was when reading Stephen King's Danse Macabre, where he talks about the components of an effective horror movie. In fact, I didn't realize it was based on a true story (and that there was a bestselling book about the original crime!) until much later. Once I became interested in a riff on Amityville as a possible subject for a novel, I went back and read the original book by Jay Anson, as well as High Hopes, the book written specifically about the DeFeo family (as opposed to the Lutzes, who moved in after the DeFeos' murders and claim to have experienced hauntings within).

When did the seed for your novel Amity firmly plant itself in your brain?

Around Halloween, 2011. My novel Family had come out in April and I was tossing around ideas for the next book under contract. My husband was out of town and I was indulging in my favorite guilty pleasure: horror movies and Red Vines. The Amityville 2005 remake was on, and something clicked. But it wasn't until several months later that I had a pitch to show my agent, and it was a few months after that before we put something together for my editor. I went back and forth a lot trying to decide whether I wanted to tell the Lutz family's story, or the DeFeos' story. Both concepts – the "possessed," murderous son, and the beleaguered, haunted successors to the house – were equally compelling to me. Ultimately that's what led me to tell two alternate narratives, set ten years apart. That way I didn't have to choose!

amityWhen you started writing the book, did you know the ending? (Readers, don't worry - we kept this answer spoiler free!)

I one hundred percent knew the ending, and it didn't change one bit, strangely. Maybe a hint of clarification here and there. Some of the supernatural bits tend to read more straightforward in my brain than on a first-draft page. But it was an interesting process as compared specifically to Family, my first book with Egmont. The ending to Family changed three times, as did my feelings about where the protagonist needed to be, emotionally, by the story's end. This one was much more clear-cut. The two narratives needed to converge and I could only really see one way for that to happen.

Have you ever been to Amityville, New York?

We have family out on Long Island and therefore drive past the Amityville exit on the LIE several times a year, at least. I always point it out, like a huge dork. But I've never visited the house and to be honest, at this point, I probably wouldn't. It's been renovated heavily so specifically, those iconic half-moon “eye” windows are gone. And more to the point, there's also the fact that 1) it's a little icky to make a spectacle of a place where a family was murdered and 2) it's actually a private home, where people live. Personally, I prefer the make-believe versions of the Amityville story and am happier to spend my time there.

You've written for a number of different audiences - kids, teens, adults, fantasy, comedy, mixed media. Do you consciously try to mix it up?

I really don't try to mix it up, believe it or not! It just seems to work out that way! I was fortunate enough to come into publishing through the back door, in that I worked as an editor in the work-for-hire realm. So some of my earlier contracts were the results of editors seeking me out and offering me the chance to work with them. (Note: this is not the typical author's path to publication and I am very, very lucky. Trust me, I know!) The Bradford Novels were the product of an editor's original concept, and Emily Goldberg Learns to Salsa came from a publishing friend suggesting I mine some of my own adolescent experiences and pitch her a story. Even So Punk Rock was actually originally conceived of by my brother, David Ostow, who worked with me on the story and illustrated the book.

Family was the first novel I sat down to write, as they say, "on spec." And because it wasn't under contract and was coming purely from me, I was free to experiment. I had no idea when I sat down to my computer that what would come out was going to be such a massive departure from my previous work. But once it was published, it was treated as a sort of literary debut. So for Amity, I was much more conscious of trying to write something that would match Family in tone and audience.

What genre or audiences would you like to write for that you haven't yet?

As far as what's coming down the pike that's different, I have a chapter book series releasing this spring called Louise Trapeze, about a little girl in a circus family who wants to learn to fly on the trapeze but is afraid of heights. Talk about a departure!

Have you always been drawn to the horror genre?

Yes! My mother is a huge horror buff and always had the TV set to old B-movies, and scary-covered novels on her nightstand. They completely terrified me but obviously burrowed into my subconscious.

I've known people who can watch horror movies but can't read horror novels, and I've known people who can read horror but can't watch it. Do you lean more towards one than the other?

Love them both! Although in general, I watch a broader range of horror movies than I read horror novels. The only category of horror I really stay away from is the straight-up torture. The extreme gore really doesn't do it for me. With the books I tend to lean more heavily toward literary horror or dark thrillers as opposed to paranormal... and basically anything in the Stephen King cannon.

QUICK DRAW! Time for simple questions:

First horror story that gave you goosebumps: The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright
(Little Willow adds: I liked that book, too!)

First scary film that gave you nightmares: Frankenstein

Horror movie or book that you love but can only watch or read in the daylight: It by Stephen King

Favorite funny spooky story: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Favorite funny spooky movie: Shaun of the Dead

Favorite horror authors: Stephen King, Joe Hill, Shirley Jackson, Daniel Krause, Sarah Waters for purer horror. Adele Griffin (Tighter), Barry Lyga (I Hunt Killers), Libba Bray (The Diviners), Nova Ren Suma (Imaginary Girls), Mariana Baer (Frost), Thomas Harris (The Silence of the Lambs) for creepy psychological thriller/suspense-y stories. Robert Bloch's original Psycho was great. But that's really just the tip of the iceberg.

Favorite season of American Horror Story: Season One, Murder House, was amazing for just flinging all the fundamental tropes at the wall, and doing something different – and genuinely scary! – on TV. And I absolutely loved that finale.

Favorite Halloween costume you've worn: I'm super boring on Halloween! I love celebrating and decorating and eating treats and watching movies, but I rarely dress up. I'm kind of a party pooper that way. Last year I wore my “Overlook Hotel” tee-shirt and called it a day. But my daughter usually cycles through at least three costumes over the course of the festivities so I think that evens us out.

Ouija board: Wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole or bring it on?
I'm a little superstitious. I'd rather not tempt fate.

Ghosts and/or haunted houses: Believe, don't believe, or open-minded?
I have not had any paranormal experiences myself, but as per the above and being slightly superstitious – I do believe, actually. Kind of. Let's call it open-minded. That works.

Amity Giveaway!

What's your favorite ghost story? EGMONT USA is giving away a signed copy of the finished book to one lucky USA/Canada resident. Leave a comment below with the title of a book, movie, or play that chills you -- or even a personal story! -- along with your email address. You may mask the address, like myname (at) eeemail (dot) com - but we must be able to reach you to get your mailing information. The first comment with the proper info will get the signed book!

Follow the blog tour!

Micol is also visiting the readergirlz blog today. Check out the full schedule at the Egmont USA website.

Related posts at Bildungsroman:
Interview: Micol Ostow (2006)
Interview: Micol Ostow (2007)
Book Review: Popular Vote by Micol Ostow
Book Review: So Punk Rock (and Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother) by Micol Ostow with art by David Ostow

lillpluta August 27 2014, 02:00

Back To School Writing

I'm a homeschooling mom to a fifteen year old boy on the Autistic Spectrum. As we step off into a new school year, we face one of our most fearsome fire-breathing dragons --- the writing process. I know we aren't alone in this struggle because many of our friends wrestle with the same beast.

I've been researching and picking brains over the last several days, so many of my upcoming writing posts will center on the reluctant writer. Every student is different. What works for one, may not work for another. I'm stepping up the writing instruction game with my son this year, and I'll share with you what works and doesn't work for us. I hope many of you will share your ideas and experience as well.

This Austism Asperger's Digest article PLEASE DON'T MAKE ME WRITE lists several ideas to address a variety of concerns.

Today, I'd like to focus on writing prompts. Many of us can remember having to write What I Did Over Summer Vacation essays. As Kathy Oehler's article states, open-ended writing topics can be overwhelming for students on the spectrum and other reluctant writers. Since getting back in the groove can be difficult for all students, why not try some of these suggestions with the whole class.

Using pictures as prompts helps a lot of kids who struggle coming up with ideas on an abstract topic. They can write about what they see, or the picture might jog their memories about a personal experience. Comic strips also make good writing prompts. Students can either expand on the words in the comic strip or come up with another story based on the drawings in each frame.

A lot of standard writing prompts are about social situations or emotions. Tell about a time you had fun with your friends. Describe an embarrassing situation. Write about a difficult decision you had to make. For many on the Autistic Spectrum, identifying and talking about emotions or personal situations is difficult. Add in the frustration that comes with fine motor difficulties and organizing thoughts, and writing is a nightmare. It's too much to process all at one time.

Try another approach by distributing pictures of different summer scenes and have students list the sights, sounds, and smells they might encounter in each one. List or show pictures of favorite summer foods, and ask students to either write a recipe or describe the food. Show a photo of summer and another season. Direct the students to make a list of differences and similarities between the two seasons.

Make research more relevant by tying it into seasonal topics. Have students research which flowers or vegetables grow best in fall and summer. Ask them to describe how leaves turn color. Individual or small group projects could center around how summer is different in other states or countries.

Think outside the box when it comes to writing assignments, and your children will be more excited about exploring new possibilities as well.


Note: It is super easy to leave an anonymous comment on these blog posts if you are not a Live Journal member. It's always helpful and delightful if you tell me a little bit about yourself, a first name, initials, if I know you from somewhere, or your connection to kids and language arts.

Thank you for reading.
metteharrison August 26 2014, 18:44

Questions Without Answers #2: How Do I Know When I’m Done Editing?

Everyone is going to answer this a different way.

Some choices:

1. You’re done editing when your deadline hits.
2. You’re done editing when you say you’re done and you shouldn’t let anyone rush you.
3. You’re never done editing and you are going to keep editing a book in your mind every time you see the words again.
4. You’re done editing when you’re ready to write the next book.

No one can tell you the answer to this question. You make the answer to the question by your own actions.
Does that mean there isn’t anyone who can offer you useful advice? No. Hopefully, you have writing friends who can give you general rules of thumb. An agent can be useful if s/he can say, “Now it’s ready to go out,” which isn’t the same as being done being edited.

But ultimately, there is no expert about this. There is no one who can say, “You edit it six times and then it’s done. The first time, you edit for character. The second time, you edit for plot. The third time you edit for pacing. The fourth time you edit for time scale. The fifth time you edit for language. The sixth time you edit to get details right.”

Yes, there are lots of people out there who will tell you a very specific answer to this question. To me, hearing people pontificate about a specific answer to something like this is really useful to me because then I can add them to my list of people that I don’t ever want to talk to about writing (or politics, either) again.

As a kid, I remember that when adults told me that the answer to something was “it depends,” I got really frustrated. I didn’t want to be part of the adult world where everything was gray and there was no black and white. That’s why I liked math, see? There was an answer and the teacher knew what it was.

But the adult world of writing is even more full of gray than I had imagined. No one knows the answer to my questions. And as an adult, I’m actually really happy about this because the questions I’m asking are only interesting to me because there aren’t any answers.

The reason that no one can tell me when I’m done editing my book is that I’m writing a book that no one has written before, not even remotely. If someone else had written it and there was an answer so that you knew when it was done, I wouldn’t be writing it.

(And as it turns out, after talking to my mathematician friends, this seems to be true in math as well. Mathematicians are not at all interested, once they are on a certain level, in working on problems with obvious answers for the rest of us. They want to deal with questions no one knows the answer to yet, too. So they find problems that are really, really hard. And spend sometimes their whole lives working on them. And this makes them happy. Go figure.)
robinellen August 26 2014, 00:20

Weekend Roundup...

...I got up early on Saturday to go to Pikes Peak with DH so he could ride (with some friends) down Pikes Peak (famous for 'America, the Beautiful'). I didn't like getting up early (at all), but I will admit that now that it's over, I'm so glad I went. It was so beautiful, and I've never been up there before. I will post pictures tomorrow (I'm on the wrong computer right now, oops).

...we came home and basically passed out (altitude mixed with getting up too early -- plus, we didn't get home until 6). DH somehow pulled it together enough to go to the Broncos' game.

...yesterday, D had scrimmages for football -- which also took all afternoon (didn't get home till 8). It was beautiful again (we were in the mountains), and it helped me get out my nerves a bit (I saw again that it really is hard to get seriously injured at this level of play -- not impossible, but probably not likely). Again, I'll post some pix tomorrow. :)

...today, we're back at it. We're slowly settling into the school-year routine, I think. The hardest part continues to be the sleep issue, *sigh*.

Last week of August -- how are you finishing out the month?
kellyrfineman August 25 2014, 21:27

Harlem Hellfighters by J. Patrick Lewis, illustrated by Gary Kelley

Just released from Creative Editions, this picture book tells the story of African American soldiers who fought in an all-black regiment in World War I, and which included among their ranks Henry Johnson, whom Theodore Roosevelt called "one of the five bravest soldiers" in the war. The Harlem Hellfighters also included Jim Europe, a jazz band leader, and his band members, who played for the weary troops overseas. The book includes the history of the unit during and after the war, as well as giving details about some of the things going on back in the United States, such as the shameful lynchings of black men in the South, which went ignored by President Wilson for far too long.

A mix of free verse and prose poems is paired with illustrations reminiscent of a graphic novel style, evocative as much as descriptive, as in the case of the two spreads on pages 12 and 13, which I photographed to share with you below. The text reads, "SOMEWHERE/in the mid-Atlantic/fog of history, two/dark ships passed/in the night . . ." The illustrations juxtapose the serviceman on the left, sailing toward France to defend his country, with a ghostly slave ship coming west, and it's one of the most haunting series of images in the book, which is saying something.




The actual illustrations in the book are a bluer gray than what is showing here, since the pages insisted on picking up ambient light somehow, but I think you get a good enough idea of the marvelous illustrations anyhow. (That's my carpeting in the background. Sorry.)

The back matter in the book includes an eight-book bibliography, as well as five different artist's notes, in which the artist credits other artists from whom he borrowed an image or idea. The book covers a lot of ground in only 32 pages, and does it in a thoughtful, informative way. A real must for libraries everywhere, people interested in World War I history and/or African American history, and folks who love great poetry and great art. My thanks to Creative Editions for the review copy.




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janni August 25 2014, 21:23

Welcome home

Some things are too big for a blog post, but also too big to not be posted about.

And also, well, jet-lag and sleep-interrupted nights have this way of interrupting posting of any sort.

But.

We’ve spent the past couple weeks in China, first in Henan province, then in Guangzhou, getting to know our daughter.



And just a couple days ago, we welcomed her home.



We are, needless to say, glad beyond words that she’s here.

(ETA: we've chosen not to share our daughter's name online for privacy reasons, do if you do know it, please don't use it in comments. Thanks!)

Mirrored from Janni Lee Simner / Desert Dispatches.

metteharrison August 25 2014, 20:46

Questions Without Answers #1

A lot of writers will ask me a variation on the following:

How do I know if this is the right book for me to be writing?

I want to kind of laugh, but really, it would be mean. Because I know it’s a real question and I know that someone is hoping that another person has the answer to it.

I suspect what they’re hoping for me to say is something like, you know it’s the right book because you have a feeling inside that just chimes. Or, you know it’s the right book because when you talk about it, everyone is super interested in it. Or you know it’s the right book because your agent keeps bugging you to write it.

But that’s not really the way that it is. Sure, there are ideas floating around and some are probably better than others. Some are hackneyed. Some are so overused that at the moment, it might not be a good idea to spend a whole bunch of time on a book idea that might feel to an editor that it’s been overdone.

On the other hand, who would have guessed that it was time for vampires to come back when Twilight was published? Did The Hunger Games anticipate a new trend for dystopia or create one? Why is Harry Potter the school with wizards book that made it big when there are arguably better school with wizard books out there already?

No one can tell you which book you should write. And there’s no magical sense of “rightness” that’s going to make you sure that this is the one. Asking for that is basically asking for a time machine.

All I can say is this:

You make a book the right one by refusing to give up on it.

You make a book the right one by revising it again and again until it’s so good that people love it.

You make a book the right one by pouring yourself into it in ways that make you squirm and embarrass you when people who know you too well, including your parents, read it.

You make a book the right one by pushing aside thoughts of success and writing the best book that you can write.

You make a book the right one by becoming the right author to write that kind of book.

You make a book the right one by refusing to ask yourself if it’s the right one because you’re not going to work on another one until this one is finished, by gum!

aprilhenry August 25 2014, 19:49

I just sold a new book! The Girl I Used to Be

Three years ago, I read a news story that I knew immediately would make a great jumping off point for a new book.

The newspaper story said that a bone had been found in the woods in Washington, and that it had been identified as belonging to Mike Riemer.

The thing was that that Mike Riemer had long been thought to be a killer. In 1985, he had taken his girlfriend, Diana Robertson, and their daughter, Crystal, to look for a Christmas tree. Later, Crystal was found wandering around a department store without her parents, but she was too young to say who she was or what had happened. She was later identified after her photo was placed in the newspaper. Mike and Diana had vanished without a trace. Two months later, Diana's body was found deep in the forest. She had been stabbed. There was no sign of Mike. Police believed him to be responsible for her murder.  Now they realized he was probably a victim, too.

I couldn't stop thinking about what might have happened. And what it would be like to grow up thinking your dad probably killed your mom - and then to learn that wasn't true at all. I started working on my version of the story right away, but a few things intervened, like other deadlines, starting a new series, and taking care of my mom while she was dying. I took chapters of it to my critique group, but it didn't meet very frequently, so I made slow progress.

But the story stayed with me.  It's about half-written. I moved the story to Southern Oregon, where I grew up. I put my mom in as the next door neighbor, named her after my mom, and even read it to her while I was with her. I figured out the answer to my imaginary puzzle, and it's surely not going to be the answer that happened in real life. I treat real-life inspiration the way Law & Order did - you might recognize the initial set up, but that's it. This spring, I gave my agent a short description.  What follows is about half of it.

The Girl I Used to Be by April Henry
I used to be a little girl.

Now I’m 17 and an emancipated minor.

I used to be blonde.

Now my hair is brown.

I used to be named Ariel Benson.

Now all of my ID says Olivia Rinehart, the last remnant of an adoption that didn’t work out.

I used to have a mom and dad. And then I had a long string of adults who wanted me to call them some variant of that.

Now I’ve got no one.

I used to think I was the child of a killer and a murder victim.

Now I know I’m the child of two victims.

I used to hate my dad and pity my mom. Now I only have one desire: to find the person who killed them both.

I was three years old, dirty, covered in scratches, and all alone, when a sales clerk found me curled up in a Wal-Mart, sleeping on a blanket of white cotton “snow” underneath an artificial Christmas tree.

The authorities didn’t figure out who I was until someone recognized me from a photo of a family missing nearly 200 miles away, in Southern Oregon. A mom and a dad and a little girl, who had gone out in the woods to look for Christmas tree. When they asked me where my parents were, all I could tell them was, “Mommy’s dancing.”

Two weeks later hunters found my mom’s body in the forest. She had been stabbed to death. And my dad—who had never been married to my mom and sometimes fought with her—was missing. Later, his truck was found parked at the Portland airport, wiped clean of prints. Everyone figured they knew what had happened: my dad killed my mom, dropped me off, and then ran away.

Today, nearly fourteen years later, the cops came to tell me that they had finally located my dad.

And he wasn’t hiding out under an assumed name. All these years, my dad has just been a body in the woods, like my mom.

Or not exactly a body. Not that they can find, anyway. All they have so far is his jaw bone.

And what everyone knows to be true has changed.

This is the truth. The real truth.

Someone killed both my parents. And whoever did it must have thought I was too young to tell on them. So they dropped me off at the Wal-Mart instead of killing me, too.

I had to have spent several hours with the person who murdered my family. But I don’t remember a thing—not about my parents or what happened that day in the woods.

But I’ve started having these dreams. Dreams filled with blood. What if I remember more than the killer thought? And will the person who murdered my parents kill again to keep their secrets hidden?

My agent showed my editor.  And this was the result:

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 2.58.01 PM
deenaml August 25 2014, 15:10

A Summer to Remember (122)

THIS ONE SUMMER by Jillian Tamaki & Mariko Tamaki
Every summer since she was five, Rose's parents have taken her to Awago Beach where she swims, bikes, and hangs out with her younger friend Windy, but this summer Rose's parents are fighting and something is going on with the older teens in the beach town that changes the way she sees things. Even though Rose and Windy are about 11 and 13, this graphic novel is firmly YA due to the language and mature themes, but it perfectly hits on that coming-of-age point between childhood and teenagerdom. The moodiness mixed with fun mixed with the life of summer vacation is palatable for girls of that tween age. Great illustrations are matched up with a great story and vibrant characters. Highly recommended. (First Second, 2014)
theladyrebecca August 25 2014, 07:07

No subject

I finished the Rapunzel skirt a few days ago, but haven't had a chance to start the bodice this weekend, since it's been filled with theatre stuff. However, I did manage to get six hand-sewn buttonholes done on my 1860s bodice at my six-hour rehearsal yesterday afternoon. Then I had a short break, and went back to the Seattle Center for my last night of emceeing at Movies at the Mural (I did 3 weeks worth). Today was amazing, because we had our table read for the all-female production of 1776 that I'm co-producing, and it went fantastically! I am sooo freaking excited for this project. I followed that up with another 3-hour Mancha rehearsal, so no sewing today. I also have just been hired on for a new temp job, so I start that tomorrow morning. Between rehearsals and the job, I think I'm going to be very busy this week!

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