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Archive for April, 2015

Mark your calendars, people. Comic Book Day is May 2, 2015. Head on over to your local comic book store and pick up a free comic, or two.  Don’t know where your local comic book store is? Go to this website.

http://www.freecomicbookday.com/Home/1/1/27/992

You may have to go to another town. Where I live now there are several stores so I’m good. One year I had to go about 60 miles to Savannah, GA. I wouldn’t have done it ordinarily, but I told my boys in the Graphic Novel/Manga Club I’d get them a comic so off I went. Armed with a map and directions I headed on over, getting there too early as usual. I think I had to wait about thirty minutes at the first store.  That was my first time getting free comic and I thought they’d just give you one or you could pick out one. That’s why I had several addresses. One store for each kid. Turned out they have special comic book day comics and you could get several different kinds. I was able to get three books for each boy. And several for me.

This year Comic Book Day also kicks off Children’s Book Week. This is a cool way to help celebrate Children’s Book Week by bringing your children to the comic book store. I know a few people may cringe because comics are not decent ‘literature’. These are the people who’ve never looked at them. Comics are a great way to get a reluctant reader to start reading.

 

 

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Eleven-year-old Ari hides a secret from her classmates and teachers. It’s why sometimes she smells and her hair is greasy and why friends can’t get in touch after school and her homework isn’t always done. She and her older brother are homeless.

This is one of the best glimpses into the world of homelessness I’ve read. It illustrated several reasons why people become homeless. In this instance, Ari’s brother takes her away from the home they’ve lived in since their mother died. He wants to take care of his sister himself. Without a college degree or any job experience, it’s not easy and they slide deeper into the jungle and tangle of being homeless.

What I absolutely loved about the book was how it gave names and personalities to the other homeless persons in particular Reggie, a homeless vet. Ari thinks the world of him and we’d probably just walk on by, sliding our eyes away from him and his dog and we’d be the losers for it. It made me really think how these people are people. Without homes.

This book made me think of those children in my school who are homeless and I don’t know it. They go on with life, doing their homework and giving the illusion of having a home when they don’t. They crash at friend’s houses like Ari and her brother, always moving from place to place.

The book isn’t just about homelessness. It’s about first love and doing what you believe in. For years the school Ari attends has had traditions like putting paper snowflakes in the halls and crazy hat day. With the new principal comes new rules. No more hat day. No more snowflakes. But Ari and Daniel and their classmates learn about civil disobedience and wish to change the rules.

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I’ve probably mentioned that I joined a small writer’s group. We’ve decided to create a cookbook and now a book of short stories and memoirs. I offered up putting together another book with Christmas and winter holiday stories and that got accepted as a viable idea. Most, well all except me and perhaps the teacher, wish to get traditionally published. So far the others only have self-published and just like to write. I think they come mostly for the friends they’ve made. We read our stories, but don’t really get back constructive criticism. But as I read my story, I can start seeing where I can improve on it, so that’s a good thing. Last time we met, someone mentioned asking someone to give more classes on how to write. Since that person is free, I’m for it. Not that we’re dumping our old teacher. She’s the one who mentioned it in the first place. The other teacher will give a new perspective.

For the cookbook I only gave three recipes and sent them a few pictures. This book will be sold at a nominal fee. The second one we’ve decided is for whatever anyone in the community wants to submit. Instead of writing a story I decided to submit memoir pieces. One from my trek on Hadrian’s Wall, one on roller skating, which combines how I and my mother learned to roller skate, and one about winter vacations in Germany at General Walker and General Patton hotels. The last two were about a page long each. I thought I’d have more than that. Some of the people in the group offer pages and pages of a place. I guess my memory isn’t as good as I thought.

 

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In my quest to submit the perfect query for my story The Big ‘a Wandering I searched for hints and suggestions and guidelines, wading through books, websites, and magazines, until I get really tired of looking at them and just send the darn query in hoping it’ll do. So far it hasn’t, but I’m hopeful. I have another story in the works, it’s being critiqued now, and I hope to add that to the mix, which means having to write another perfect query.

In my search for helpful hints I found this site at literary agents.com on how to format an email query:

http://literary-agents.com/get-a-literary-agent/how-to-format-an-email-query-for-literary-agents/

The author breaks it down into something simple. It’s the best and most concise explanation for formatting an email query that I’ve seen so Thank you, Literary Agents. com

It’s now off to polish the query, making sure to hit each of the seven steps. I’ll be reading the rest of the 17 part series for more hints. Check it out.

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Dear Hamish, Another bonny happy birthday greeting to you. Thank you for your grand card and letter. Twas a fine birthday card indeed. I was sorry to hear the twins ambushed you and painted you up as an Easter Egg. How they thought they could be anonymous by wearing masks, I do not know. You’d think they’d know by now they can’t, but paint themselves too. Mum sent a picture of those horrible twins. There they are, standing in front of the kirk in their finest kilts and ribbons and with streaks of green and blue and red and orange in their wool. I do pity me parents. What they must put up with. I got homesick for an Easter Egg hunt this year. Upon seeing an advertisement for one, I thought I would attend, see the wee bairns run amok in the nearby park and have a bonny time gathering eggs. Of course these would be candy eggs and not made of oat and barley. What a treat those were. I didn’t tell Pawnee Kitty my intentions knowing full well she’d join me. A grand mistake that was. Wee children are not like wee lambs. They are big. They are fast. And they thought I was a prize to be had. Och, Hamish, me poor noodle legs got sorely tired running from that mob. Imagine, a hundred odd human bairns, chasing a ram like meself through the trees, around the playground, through the car park, and nearly into the lake. The ranger managed finally to corral the lot, while Pawnee Kitty rescued me. She’d been curious and wondered where I went off to visit on such a fine day. She fanned me while I got me strength back. ‘Twas then I learned she never attended such events for the very reason I suffered. We went home where I rested. The next day the person surprised with our very own wee Easter Egg hunt, with treats appropriate for sheep and kitties. Twas bonny. I will call you soon, like in ten minutes, Yours, from the colonies, Angus. McSheep.

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“Little Man, Little Man, you so small…” That is the dismal start to Albert’s first day of middle school on the island of Little Shrub. It’s not bad enough that he’s short, but he’s going to school without his best friend, Linden. To further make matters worse, by jumping a year ahead, he doesn’t understand the math, something he’s always been good in. Every day he must ride that bus and listen to that song sung by the bullies. Things are not going well until the tall, stilt walking Jumbies, dancing, swaying, walking come into his life. Upon seeing them, Albert sees a way to get tall.

This is set on a fictional island in the Caribbean. The author writes so you can picture it, like Emo’s bar. As I read the words, I saw that bar with it’s open, wooden, window shutters and those empty, white, plastic chairs. I could see the bakery where his mother works. I learned about the Mocko Jumbies and how they originated in Africa. For years I’ve seen pictures of them. Now, each time I see one, I’ll remember this book.  I liked that she included a map. I flipped back and forth many a time in order to see where the action took place.

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