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Cover of "Ender's Game (Ender Quartet)"

Cover of Ender’s Game (Ender Quartet)

Being a fan of Orson Scott Card I have read many of his books.  So how did I miss this one?  Or the fact that it is a series?  The only reason I even knew about it was because of the movie coming out later on this year.
I loved this book and was shocked at the end.  Who would have guess?  But I kept wondering. Card takes a young child and puts him in adult situations making serious decisions. Very thought-provoking and intense scenes with bullies and fights.  Children are so innocent and usually make decisions based on what they have seen other children do.  Ender Wiggins was a genius and did things that some adults would never even thought of doing. I was glad in the end when Ender was able to reconnect with his sister.  It would have been a sad life if not.
Now I can’t wait to read the next books in the series. Card has a way with words giving them a deeper meaning.  Philosophy classes or even theorists could spend years psychoanalyzing his work.

http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/3252247-jessica-wilson”>View all my reviews

 

Does anyone have a favorite Orson Scott Card novel?

 

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Learning by internet is so fun! Not only do you get to come as you are but you can do whatever else too. I have taken college courses online and now I attended a webinar online. It was hosted by Writers Digest and featured agent Jennifer Laughran. She gave great advice about what is hot now in Middle Grade children’s books. Lots of facts about what is selling and what is not. Also we were told what to expect from agents in general to query letters.
I have lots of new websites to check out like Queryshark and Preditors & Editors.
Jennifer Laughran also will be giving those that attended a critique on the first 500 words of their middle grade manuscripts. That’s exciting!
Now I am off to a library to check out some middle grade books like “When You Reach Me” and “Penderwicks”.

Cover of "When You Reach Me"

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scbwi-logo

 

The  Missouri region Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators just announced that the winner of the Fall 2013 writing contest is……Jessica Wilson (me)!  The prompt given was “Follow Your Dreams” and the required word count was 500 words.  I entered my fictional work after editing and revising.  Later on I received a call from the regional advisor and she told me that I had won.  The prize is a free registration to the fall conference that SCBWI in Missouri holds every year.  My choice of break-out sessions.  Along with this I will be submitting work to be critiqued by Executive Editor Krista Marino from Delacorte Press.  Very exciting!

Last month I had the privilege to speak with Editor Emma Dryden by phone for a consultation.  She gave sound advice about sticking to one genre and writing about what matters to me.  Ms. Dryden told me that the important thing was too keep writing new material so that if an agent asks what else I have written that I could show my other works.  If not I would be stuck way down the road with old manuscripts and no prospects.  Emma Dryden is on the advising board of SCBWI and is a freelance editor at http://drydenbks.com .  She was at a conference at St. Charles last year and is where I first met her.

It was great to receive recognition for my writing.  Here is the winning piece:

 

THE CHOICE”
by

Jessica Wilson

Today is the day.  No more will I have another chance.  Spring has come at last and with it an open door and window.  The sky and trees looked so inviting through the glass.  As the air wafts through the house I smell the sweet scent of lilacs blossoming.  The trees have tender green shoots on their limbs adding more color to the pale blue sky.   Clouds drift by slowly on the sweetened air.  Mother Nature is putting on an inviting show just for me, tempting me with visions I only dream about, seducing me with smells I hardly ever detected before.  I watch with nervous tension as the people come in and out of the house.  They carry brown paper bags and other containers.  Cleaning and sweeping making their tiny nest ready for the new season.  One proceeds to the flower garden and selects a few tulips to place in a vase on a table.  I watch, breathing in the intoxicating smell of the newly cut flowers.  I take a drink to calm my nerves.  The cool water does nothing but sit at the bottom of my quivering stomach. 

The lady of the house pulls the rug out of the room and moves some of the furniture.  She does not even come near me.  They both know I am here.  They just choose to ignore me at times.  I do not mind and even welcome the solitude.  But I also grow lonely.  I need companionship.  I need someone to talk to.  The people do not allow me to sing when I feel a song bubbling up inside of me.  The song I sing is an old tune I heard over and over again when I first became aware of sounds.  The people like to hear the deadening silence in the middle of the day.  The silence feels as if I am wrapped tightly with thorns.   Days have gone by like this and I become tired of eating and drinking.  The food is just sustenance to keep my torture prolonged.   I have glimpsed the outside world before when I have had a bad day and they put me near the window to let the sunshine brighten me, like an awakening flower my head slowly rose from it’s resting place to peek out at the light.

As the people proceed with their cleaning I know my time will come when they will focus on me.  They will need to care for me and I must be brave.  She approaches me and gathers my dishes leaving the door open.  Here is my opportunity.  My shaking legs spasm as I hop down after she leaves.  They do not suspect what I am doing.  Before they know it I am flying above their heads and out the window.  I have escaped my prison and ventured out into the world.  I have followed the bright temptress and made my dreams a reality.  My wings expand as I soar into the boundless blue full of possibilities.

 

Garden flower

 

Thanks to Emma Dryden and Prof. Henderson in believing in me.

 

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YAFEST 2012 table signing

There are not a lot of authors who can write a horror story with poetic prose and still kick butt.  So who is Jonathan Maberry?  Here are a few fun facts about him:  He first started writing while working as a professor at Temple University.   “Jonathan is an 8th degree black belt in jujutsu and a 5th degree in kenjutsu. In 2004 he was inducted into the International Martial Arts Hall of Fame.  Jonathan was scouted to write for Marvel Comics after Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso read his novel “Patient Zero'”. (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3044026/bio) His first novel, Ghost Road Blues, won the 2007 Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel.   He is a speaker for the National Writers Union, a writing mentor for the Horror Writers Association and the Mystery Writers of America, a member of the International Thriller Writers and president of the NJ-PA Chapter of the Horror Writers Association.[10]  Maberry is also a contributing editor for The Big Thrill,[11] the monthly newsletter of the International Thriller Writers, and a founding partner of The Liars Club, a networking group of professionals in publishing and other aspects of entertainment.

QUESTION: Could you give us a list of your books?

JONATHAN MABERRY: I’ve been cranking out a lot of books in a bunch of different genres and categories. Some of the older nonfiction books are long out of print, notably the textbooks I wrote while teaching at Temple University and some training manuals I created for martial arts schools.  That said, here’s the more recent list:

  • NOVELS:
    • THE PINE DEEP TRILOGY (Pinnacle Books)
      • Ghost Road Blues
      • Dead Man’s Song
      • Bad Moon Rising
  • The Wolfman (Tor)
  • THE JOE LEDGER THRILLERS (St. Martin’s Griffin) n287418
    • Patient Zero
    • The Dragon Factory
    • The King of Plagues
    • Assassin’s Code
    • Extinction Machine
    • Code Zero (2014)
    • Predator One (2015)
  • THE ROT & RUIN (Simon & Schuster)
    Rot & Ruin Cover

    • Rot & Ruin
    • Dust & Decay
    • Flesh & Bone
    • Fire & Ash (August 2013)
  • WATCH OVER ME (Simon & Schuster)
    • Watch Over Me (2014)
    • Cold Cold Heart (2015)
  • THE ZOMBIE OUTBREAK (St. Martin’s Griffin)
    • Dead of Night
    • Fall of Night (2014)
    • ANTHOLOGIES EDITED
      • V-Wars  (IDW)
      • Redneck Zombies from Outer Space (fall 2013)
      • Out of Tune (JournalStone 2014)
      • Unnamed YA Horror anthology (date TBD)
      • NONFICTION
        • The Vampire Slayer’s Field Guide to the Undead (written as ‘Shane MacDougall)
        • The Martial Arts Student Logbook
        • Ultimate Jujutsu
        • Ultimate Sparring
        • Judo and You
        • Vampire Universe
        • The Cryptopedia (with David F. Kramer)
        • Zombie CSU: The Forensics of the Living Dead
        • They Bite (with David F. Kramer)
        • Wanted Undead or Alive (with Janice Gable Bashman)Occult and Paranormal Books

QUESTION: What inspired you to create a book series about zombies?

JONATHAN MABERRY: I’ve written a couple of different zombie series, notably the DEAD OF NIGHT series for St. Martin’s Griffin and the ROT & RUIN series for Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. I’ve had a lifelong interest in zombies since sneaking into the Midway Movie Theater in Philadelphia on October 2, 1968 to see the world premier of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. I was ten at the time, and ever since then I’ve imagined how I would deal with a zombie outbreak. I wrote the Rot & Ruin series to explore life after a zombie apocalypse, and that series is written for teens. My Dead of Night books are for adults, and they explore how an outbreak happens, literally from the first bite.

QUESTION: How long from inspiration to publication, and any interesting points along the way?

JONATHAN MABERRY: Currently my books are on shelves about a year after I turn them in. Give or take. The novel I just finished, CODE ZERO, will be released in March 2014.

I was trained as a journalist, so I have pretty solid work habits when it comes to developing an idea, finding a narrative hook, doing my research, outlining the project and then digging in. Structure gives me solid footing, and that allows the craftsman side of me –the artistic side—to give the work as much meaning, and depth, and artistry as I can.

QUESTION: What challenges do you face when you write?

JONATHAN MABERRY: I have a very full schedule, so for me the biggest challenge is getting everything done on time but in its best possible form. This year I have three complete novels to write –a 140 thousand word thriller, a 90 thousand word horror novel, and a 90 thousand word teen mystery-thriller. I also have five issues of a new horror comic to write, along with six novellas of at least 20 thousand words, and a half dozen or so short stories. And I need to tour –I’m on the road nearly all the time—as well as manage my social media profiles. It’s a lot of work, so I look for ways to get it done well while still having a life and having fun.

QUESTION: What do you hope readers take away from your novels?

JONATHAN MABERRY: Even at my darkest –which can get pretty damn dark—I never go for the ugly cheap shot. I use the themes in my fiction, light and dark, to explore the human experience. People get that. Even Rot & Ruin, which on the surface looks like a “zombie novel”, but which is really about the value of human life. There’s always a deeper meaning to my writing. I wouldn’t write it if there wasn’t.

QUESTION: What are your favorite YA books of 2012 (or 2013)?

JONATHAN MABERRY: Probably my current favorite is The Archived by Victoria Schwab and Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake. Stunning novels. And The Diviners by Libba Bray.

QUESTION: When you are not writing what is your time occupied with?

JONATHAN MABERRY: When not writing, my wife and I travel. We’re into music, theater and dance and are always on the prowl for interesting new performers. And, we’re stand-up comedy addicts. Usually when we visit a new town we look for the local comedy club.

QUESTION: What can your fans look forward to next?

JONATHAN MABERRY: For my adult fans, the fifth Joe Ledger novel just debuted, EXTINCTION MACHINE, and there are several Ledger short stories due out this year, including BORROWED POWER (an eBook exclusive) and CHANGELING (published in Australia’s Midnight Echo Magazine). And there are a bunch of Pine Deep short stories coming out, including one written for the souvenir program of the Bram Stoker Awards.  Then, for my teen readers, I have FIRE & ASH due out in August, which is the fourth and final book of the Rot & Ruin series. That will be preceded by TOOTH & NAIL, an eBook novella.  In October, Simon & Schuster will release a box set of all four Rot & Ruin books. And JournalStone just released LIMBUS, INC, which has a novella featuring my werewolf private investigator, Sam Hunter.  For updates and more info, they can find me on Twitter (www.twitter.com/jonathanmaberry) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/jonathanmaberry).

Extinction Machine    Borrowed Power    Fire&Ash_cvr     Rot&Ruin_BOXSET3

Works Cited

IMDb. n.d. 29 April 2013. <http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3044026/bio&gt;.

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Cover of "The Awakening: And Other Storie...

Cover via Amazon

Nathan Bransford, Author.

I agree with this article but there is a big misconception about authors.  There are good authors who are not recognized because their work is not mainstream popular reading.  The decisions to read and study certain literature in a canon is determined, in my opinion, by political and cultural preferences.  Whatever is popular now is what people want to read about.  There were books held back from the public (like Kate Chopin‘s The Awakening) because of people in power found their work offensive.  Literature is a fickle thing.  I don’t know a lot of people that can actually agree about what should be studied in college literature classes or read as entertainment.  As a society we are like a leaf apt to go where the wind blows us.

The new writers and authors are flooding the market with self-published books and e-books.  There are all kinds of writers.    Sure we don’t have a lot of Mark Twains or Edgar Allen Poes’ anymore.  But shouldn’t we find some that are still worthy to quote?  Obviously the Noble Prize in Literature is still finding candidates to hand out the award to.  Even the Newberry Award is given out every year.  So there is still some talent out there.

Mark Twain statue

Mark Twain statue (Photo credit: stevebkennedy)

People will read what they want to read.  As writers we just need to write what we feel.  Whether it will make it into a canon or not is up to those who select it.

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At the last writer’s conference I had received some feedback on a manuscript from an editor from HarperCollins.  She gave me more than a page of great insight to help me write the best picture book out there.  As I sat in the conference reading her notes the lady next to me said, “Did you get any critiques back?”  I answered ‘yes’.  She then wanted to know if the critique I received was nice also.  So I let her read mine and she said, “This is really good.”  We talked about where we were in our careers and where we wanted to be in the future.  I found that I could talk to her like a comrade in arms.  We both loved the conference and felt it was empowering and had a lot of great information.

When I went to my critque group the others in the group read the critique and there were words said like “this is golden” and “oh my gosh” and so on.  I knew that the critique was good but I thought everyone at the conference was just being nice.  But now I know that these words of encouragement from the editor were more than just words.

So I took the advice of the editor and tweaked just a few parts in the picture book manuscript.  Now it is so polished it could be the sword “Sting”.  I just knew that I could send it somewhere and get it published.

Well I sent it to HarperCollins and recieved a very useful rejection letter from an editor there.  It hurt a little more than the form or generic rejections I have received in the past.  But I see now that everyone is entitled to their opinion.  Instead of getting upset I have deceided to put all my energy into finding the right avenue to have my picture book published.  Whether that be traditional or independent.

The world is changing and we are not seperated by countries or bodies of water.  Technology has made the world we “live in a planetary civilization”.  (p. 459, Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder)  Becoming published is easier than it has ever been before and the time is right for anyone to get their work out there.  People all over the world can buy e-books a lot easier than print.

So I am taking my writing to the next phase, and like someone told me recently to “just publish it.”  So keep an eye out for a children’s book with my name on it.

amazon_kindle_1118

Tell me what you think of the publishing industry?

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How have we become a society where we relish entertaining novels instead of novels with depth and character? Where have the Jack Londons, Thoreaus, and Mark Twains gone?

Cover of "Walden"

Cover of Walden

“Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.”- Henry David Thoreau
I read the novel “Into The Wild” by Jon Krakauer and loved it. He uses Thoreau’s Walden, Or Life In The Woods quotes throughout and brings more depth and understanding to the Romantic.
I have read chapters from Thoreau’s writings of the “Pond” and “Solitude”. We have a kinship for the love of nature.
Books today do not give a voice to nature or to the wild. Authors look to entertain and to make themselves immortal on paper. But what about nourishing the mind with spellbinding writing? Am I wrong to want more than entertainment?
I have fully engrossed myself in books, these last months, that will not only feed my mind but help me understand what “good” writing is.
Someone once said, “Writing is an art. It can be interpreted in many different ways. What may seem right to the author may look like gibberish to you.” I am sure there were people who thought Picasso’s work was of a deranged man too. My writing may not make sense to some, but to others who find it acceptable, I thank you.

I thank all the authors, who are gone or are still around, that contributed to inspiring all the great authors in the world today.

Cover of

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