Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Look Ahead, for the Tax Man Cometh

At the end of January and the beginning of February, we get these little notices in the mail from our employers and publishers -- pieces of paper that say, "WE'VE REPORTED THIS INCOME TO THE IRS AND NOW IT'S TIME FOR YOU TO PAY YOUR INCOME TAX."

If you had an employer, they forced you to fill out a form giving them permission to take a bit from your paycheck each time to cover whatever income tax you have.

However, if you are freelancing, nobody did this for you.  YOU NEED TO DO IT, YOURSELF.  Or else you will be hit with a large tax bill by the government.

Martin Lewis talks about this on his blog, Money Saving Expert dot Com.
Don't be confused about that capitol L he places before every mention of money -- that is the symbol for Pounds, the currency in Great Britain.  Just mentally think of it as a dollar sign and everything else will make sense.

One thing he doesn't mention -- in the United States you can pay estimated taxes during the year to cover what you think you will owe, the same as the deductions that employers use.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Writing a Newbery Winner

If you were an Annimorphs fan some years ago, you already know who Katherine Applegate is.  Therefore it should be no surprise to you that her latest book, The One and Only Ivan, won the top award in children's literature -- the Newbery Award -- this week.   Here's a link the the Publisher's Weekly magazine article about it.

It's another example of a writer who didn't give up, but kept writing and rewriting until the story was the best it could be.

And here's an interview of the double Caldecott winner, Jon Klassen. (one of Jon Klassen's books won the major award and another book he illustrated won a Caldecott honor.)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Nonfiction Monday -- ALA Youth Media Awards

Today is Monday. Besides being Nonfiction Monday, it is also the day the American Library Association announces their Youth Media Awards.
Sibert  (nonfiction)
and much more (see the home page for ALA for the press release of today's winners)

For those of you NOT involved in the library world, this is like the Oscars of the Children's Book World.  Some of the winners were notified last night and had to keep their notification secret until this morning.  Others are being notified this morning, as I type.

I've had close contact with several winners and even had a book in consideration myself one year.  What year was that?  In 2003, my book To Fly, the Story of the Wright Brothers gathered many awards including ALA Notable Book.  But did I get "THE CALL" that January?  Actually -- I got FOUR phone calls that morning, but none of them were from the ALA award committees, darn it. (Just imagine my excitement each time I answered the phone in my hotel room.)

The closest contact I had with a major winner was sitting next to Rita Williams-Garcia at Vermont College of Fine Arts several years ago as the whole class and faculty watched the presentation instead of attending whatever lecture was scheduled that morning.

It so happened that there were several empty seats next to me and as the presentation began on the large screen at the front of the room, Rita and several other faculty members slid into them. I could tell she was trying to keep a straight face, while inwardly bouncing with news, so I crossed my fingers for her and was one of the loudest screamers when her name was announced for her book, One Crazy Summer.  By the end of the day, that book had gathered FOUR awards:

2011 Coretta Scott King Award Winner
2011 Newbery Honor Book
2011 Scott O’Dell Prize for Historical Fiction
2010 National Book Award Finalist   

Hurrah for BOMB, the Race to Build -- and Steal -- the World's Most Dangerous Weapon.  This nonfiction book is sweeping the 2013 Youth Media Awards!
Today's Nonfiction Monday roundup is at Laura Salas' blog, Writing the world for kids. The Roundup is hiding about halfway down the page. Click on the words, Mister Linkey, and you'll find it.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

A Picture a Day

You've got to click on over to my sister's blog Creative Catalyst -- Marion Corbin-Mayer.
She's painting a picture a day and doing a great job of it!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Vermont College of Fine Arts Faculty

You wanna see pictures of the faculty at the Vermont College of Fine Arts Writing for Children and Young Adult?

Just click on over to Ingrid's Notes, a blog run by a marvelous writer/ illustrator. She has posted all of the SuperHero illustrations she created of the faculty there.  (and explains why they were created)

I can brag that I've worked with a lot of these wonderful writers, either in writing workshops or during the school off-campus semester, and that the illustrations do capture their personalities.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

How to Find Your Plot

Are you lost?
Can't figure out where your story is going?
Where is that PLOT, anyway?

Jane Yolen, author of over 300 published books, illustrates how to find your plot, over on The Daily Fig blog.
(she uses illustrations from her latest graphic novel, Foiled Again, the sequel to Foiled)

And also demonstrates that, if you have people in your head talking to you, yes, you might be insane. But -- you also might be -- a Writer.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Nonfiction Monday and the Truth about Lexile scores

Some schools are insisting that students in a certain grade read books that range within a certain Lexile score.  (no baby books for our darlings)

Unfortunately, most people who understand writing and books understand that many famous adults books have lower Lexile scores than many, more suitable children's books.  Books that are at their interest level and understanding level.  I'm sorry, I actually don't want my fourth/ fifth/ sixth grader reading adult literature, thank you.

  And that some books aimed at certain grade levels can scored be either way lower or way higher when graded on the Lexile system.

And now the Goddess of YA Literature (don't you love her title) has discovered that parents looking for good books for children can find books listed by Lexile at Barnes and Noble bookstores. See her blog post -- It's the end of the world as we know it.  Are you sure you want your 10-year old reading Stephen King?  Some of his books are kinda gross.  But that's what B&N recommends.

I wish schools would back away from the Lexile system and return to being guided by good children's librarians and knowledgeable children's booksellers when looking for a good book for their kids.

Oh, by the way,  The LibrariYan blog  is gathering all the links for Nonfiction Monday today.  Click on over to discover good books and get help determining what age children would enjoy these books.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Neil Gaiman reveals the Secrets of Successful Writing

Advice from a Newbery Medal winner and multi-published author:

Neil Gaiman was John Green's surprise guest at An Evening of Awesome last night at Carnegie Hall. Here's Neil's advice for aspiring authors -- and good advice for all of us:

"Read everything.
Do not hope that elves will come in the night and write your novel for you.
They NEVER do.
I've tried, and it's a waste of time.
And finish things, just whatever it takes to finish,
finish, and then get on with the next one.
You will learn more from a glorious failure than you ever will from something you never finished."

(I think I need to get this engraved in a plaque to put right over my writing desk.)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Lois Lowry talks about the sequel to GIVER

Help spread the word as Booktalk Nation returns from its holiday hiatus with a full slate of nationwide dial-in events. This week, Lois Lowry will discuss the concluding book in her Newbery winning series that began with The Giver, and Emma Straub will talk about her widely praised debut novel about Hollywood's golden age.
Later this month, Pulitzer Prize winners Richard Russo and Robert K. Massie will be discussing their latest books, and PEN/Robert Bingham Prize winner Vanessa Veselka will talk about her debut novel, Zazen.
Here’s is this month’s Booktalk Nation events (all start 7:00 Eastern/4:00 Pacific):
Tues, Jan 15: Newbery Medal winner Lois Lowry talks about her latest novel, Son, with fellow children’s author Tanya Lee Stone.
Tues, Jan 22: PEN/Robert Bingham Prize winner Vanessa Veselka discusses her novel, Zazen, with Pauls Toutonghi.
Thurs, Jan 24: Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Richard Russo discusses his most personal book, Elsewhere: A Memoir, with author Nick Taylor.
Tues, Jan 29: Pulitzer Prize winner Robert K. Massie talks about his latest biography, Catherine the Great, Portrait of a Woman with biographer David Michaelis.
About Booktalk Nation
Booktalk Nation's nationwide phone-in events are intended to supplement book tours and other efforts promoting new books. Booktalknation.comprovides an e-commerce platform in conjunction with its events, allowing readers to order books that authors will personally sign at host bookstores. Proceeds from these sales are divided between the host store and any affiliate brick-and-mortar bookstores that bring book buyers to the site.

For the next few months, Booktalk Nation will be hosting up to three events per week. We expect to increase the number of events as more bookstores sign on as hosts.
Like Booktalk Nation on Facebook
Follow @BooktalkNation on Twitter
Sign up for the Booktalk Nation mailing list

Monday, January 14, 2013

Monday, January 7, 2013

Nonfiction Monday -- writing nonfiction

Welcome to Nonfiction Monday.

Today I suggest you click on over to these links:

WOW! Women on Writing Blog: Do You Have What it Takes to Write Children's Nonfiction?

and the

Nonfiction Monday Roundup, which is at the Hope is the Word blog.

(actually, come on back to the Nonfiction Monday Roundup on Tuesday, because she's having difficulties getting the Roundup to work this Monday.)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year and other stuff:

May 2013 be an improvement over 2012 for you and yours.

Things of interest.

Try not to use these words in the coming year -- they've been officially banished by Lake Superior State University and I agree and say, "good riddance."

Remember the Kodak Camera?   (a blog post)
This company enabled ordinary people to save memories, one special shot at a time.  Now the company is gone.  Kodak Cameras are gone. Film for cameras?  either gone or going to be gone soon.    And I"m not convinced that digital cameras are an improvement.  After all -- when was the last time you leafed through every single snapshot?  I bet there are loads of pictures you'll never look at again and soon the technology will improve and you'll not be able to access these treasured shots you took so many of.

Check out this retrospective of the picture books published during 2012, especially the art, over at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, written by Julie Danielson.  (First time I've seen her full name.  Mostly I see her referred to as Jules.)

Wow.  There's a new writing term out there named after one of the marvelous faculty advisors (they're not called professors) at the Vermont College of Fine Arts Writing for Children and Young Adults. " The difficulty of the act of looking at the story from the outside to consider radical changes from early drafts is what I have dubbed the “Bechard Factor.”"  Check out this interview with author Trent Reedy by editor Cheryl Klein over on her blog, Brooklyn Arden.