Hinting at Shadows ~ Summer Sale

 

 

June is a big month for short fiction.

Bath Flash Fiction Award is an organization whose goal is to “promote flash fiction for both writers and readers and to bring the genre to a wider audience.” They are hosting the Flash Fiction Festival on June 24 & 25th. “The first literary festival in the UK entirely devoted to Flash Fiction. Happening on the weekend of National Flash Fiction Day [June 24]…”

That’s a lot of flash.

I’m psyched about this promotion of flash fiction so I’m celebrating with ALL OF THE THINGS! Okay, a sale.

Hinting at Shadows, my collection of flash, will be just $0.99 (£0.99) for the entire month of June.

Happy flashing! Erm…reading. 🙂

 

You can get your copy here: Amazon US | Amazon UK

 

 

Yes, yes. I’m getting a global link. Working on it. Cheers!

 

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First Lines: Picture Books

 

Another First Lines post which was surprisingly enjoyable to compile. Also, it was a bit nostalgic.

This one is dedicated to my friend and fellow blogger, Norah, who thought a First Lines: Picture Books would be a grand idea. And she was right.

Some will argue that first lines aren’t important in picture books. Eh. Maybe. I’m not sure. They are a hook just the same as any other but you don’t need to keep the reader’s attention as long. (Which is not the point of a hook anyway.) Either way, it was fun to flip through these beautifully illustrated stories to find first lines.

Have you read any of these to your children? Did you read any when you were a child?

 

“There was once a Velveteen Rabbit, and in the beginning he was really splendid.”

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams Illustrated by Robyn Officer

 

“The sun is tired. It goes down the sky into the drowsy hills. The sunflowers lean. They fall asleep to dream of tomorrow’s sun.”

The Moon Jumpers by Janice May Udry Illustrated by Maurice Sendak

 

“No one ever came to Bear’s house. It had always been that way, and Bear was quite sure he didn’t like visitors. He even had a sign.”

A Visitor for Bear by Bonny Becker Illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton

 

“Once, in a beautiful, faraway land…that was, somehow, not so very far…a land where every stone was a teacher and every breeze a language, where every lake was a mirror and every tree a ladder to the stars, into this far and lovely land there fell…a truth.”

Old Turtle and the Broken Truth by Douglas Wood Illustrated by Jon J Muth

 

“Once, long long ago…yet somehow, not so very long…when all the animals and rocks and winds and waters and trees and birds and fish and all the beings of the world could speak…and understand one another…there began…an argument.”

Old Turtle by Douglas Wood Illustrated by Cheng-Khee Chee

 

“Puff, the Magic Dragon, lived by the sea, and frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honalee.”

Puff the Magic Dragon by Peter Yarrow / Lenny Lipton Illustrated by Eric Puybaret

 

“At the edge of every day, the Night Eater ran behind the moon. And as he ran, the Night Eater gobbled up the darkness.”

The Night Eater by Ana Juan  

 

“Mr. and Mrs. Mallard were looking for a place to live.”

Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey

 

“Tonight, when I looked under my bed for my monster, I found this note instead.

‘Gone fishing. Back in a week. – Gabe’”

I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll Illustrated by Howard McWilliam

 

“There once was a city without gardens or trees or greenery of any kind. Most people spent their time indoors. As you can imagine, it was a very dreary place.”

The Curious Garden by Peter Brown

 

“Oscar loved his boy. He also loved stinky cat food for breakfast and crunchy cat food for dinner.”

Oscar and the Mooncats by Lynda Gene Rymond Illustrated by Nicoletta Ceccoli

 

“Over 100 years ago, as the stars swirled in the sky, as the Earth circled the sun, as the March winds blew through a little town by a river, a baby boy was born. His parents named him Albert.”

On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne Illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky

 

“It was autumn. In the hush of the forest a lone yellow leaf clung to the branch of a great oak tree.”

The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger

 

“Once there was a Little Rabbit who did not like himself. He had soft pink ears, bright red eyes, and a short, fluffy tail. He was a beautiful little rabbit. But he wanted to be anything except what he was.”

The Little Rabbit Who Wanted Red Wings by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey Illustrated by Chris Santoro

 

“Imagine a place…

where you bend and sway, leap and land, right where a story begins.”

Imagine a Place by Sarah L. Thomson Illustrated by Rob Gonsalves

 

“Imagine a day…

when you can dive down through branches or swim up to the sun.”

Imagine a Day by Sarah L. Thomson Illustrated by Rob Gonsalves

 

“Imagine a night…

when snow white sheets grow crisp and cold, and someone whispers, ‘Follow me’.”

Imagine a Night by Sarah L. Thomson Illustrated by Rob Gonsalves


First Lines PictureBook

 

Next up:

First Lines: Epilogue

As a reader (and a writer) how important are first lines to you?

 

First Lines: Socially Acceptable Books for Grown-Ups (or SABGUS)

 

Another post in my First Lines series. Yes, it is here. Novels that are acceptable to discuss at dinner parties.

My choices for First Lines: SABGUS are varied. Please feel free to think of this post as a platter of fine cheeses. Some are light and spreadable, some are solid and must be sliced with a chainsaw. I don’t love all the cheeses. *gasp* What?!

It’s true.

In fact, I will be completely honest with you here and say that I haven’t even read some of these books. A few were taken from my TBR pile (which is not getting any smaller). Also, I raided my husband’s bookshelf to get some of these fabulous firsts and am not sorry one bit. They are marvelous, if not my particular cup of cocoa, and I had a splendid time reading through them. Some of these first lines, though, do belong to favorite books of mine and it was wonderful visiting them again.

For your dining pleasure, I bring you First Lines: SABGUS.

 

“I vaguely remember my schooldays. They were what was going on in the background while I was trying to listen to the Beatles.”

The Salmon of Doubt by Douglas Adams

 

“Tap-dancing child abuser. That’s what the Sunday New York Times from March 8, 1993, had called Viva.”

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells

 

“It’s morning. For now, night is over. It’s time for the bad news. I think of the bad news as a huge bird, with the wings of a crow and the face of my Grade Four schoolteacher, sparse bun, rancid teeth, wrinkly frown, pursed mouth and all, sailing around the world under cover of darkness, pleased to be the bearer of ill tidings, carrying a basket of rotten eggs, and knowing – as the sun comes up – exactly where to drop them. On me, for one.”

Moral Disorder by Margaret Atwood

 

“Out of the gravel there are peonies growing. They come up through the loose grey pebbles, their buds testing the air like snails’ eyes, then swelling and opening, huge dark-red flowers all shining and glossy like satin. Then they burst and fall to the ground.”

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

 

“A smear of fresh blood has a metallic smell. It smells like freshly sheared copper.”

A Deadly Shade of Gold by John D. MacDonald

 

“My sister Kwan believes she has yin eyes. She sees those who have died and now dwell in the World of Yin, ghosts who leave the mists just to visit her kitchen on Balboa Street in San Francisco.”

The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan

 

“The flash projected the outline of the hanged man onto the wall.”

The Club Dumas by Arturo Perez-Reverte

 

“The scent and smoke and sweat of a casino are nauseating at three in the morning. Then the soul-erosion produced by high gambling – a compost of greed and fear and nervous tension – becomes unbearable and the senses awake and revolt from it.”

Casino Royale by Ian Fleming

 

“Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that.”

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

 

“My friend Patsy was telling me a story. ‘So I’m at the movie theater,’ she said, ‘and I’ve got my coat all neatly laid out against the back of my seat, when the guy comes along—’ And here I stopped her, because I’ve always wondered about this coat business. When I’m in a theater, I either fold mine in my lap or throw it over my armrest, but Patsy always spreads hers out, acting as if the seat back were cold, and she couldn’t possibly enjoy herself while it was suffering.”

When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris

 

“It is a relatively little-known fact that, over the course of a single year, about twenty million letters are delivered to the dead.”

The Girl with No Shadow by Joanne Harris

 

“I come from Des Moines. Somebody had to. When you come from Des Moines you either accept the fact without question and settle down with a local girl named Bobbi and get a job at the Firestone factory and live there forever and ever, or you spend your adolescence moaning at length about what a dump it is and how you can’t wait to get out, and then you settle down with a local girl named Bobbi and get a job at the Firestone factory and live there forever and ever.”

The Lost Continent by Bill Bryson

 

“Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.”

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

 

“In the world of humankind, the tides of power are turning… To me, the seasons of men go by in moments, but from time to time a flicker will attract my attention.”

Lady of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley  

 

“On the day after my mother’s death, I returned to 83 Beals Street for the first time in fifteen years. I had stolen something from there when I was nine years old and kept it long after my reasons for holding on to it has lost their urgency.”

An Uncommon Education by Elizabeth Percer  

 

“It was about eleven o’clock in the morning, mid October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills. I was wearing my powder-blue suit, with dark blue shirt, tie and display handkerchief, black brogues, black wool socks with dark blue clocks on them. I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn’t care who knew it.”

The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

 

 

First Lines SABGUS

 

Next up:

First Lines: Picture Books

As a reader (and a writer) how important are first lines to you?

 

First Lines: Young Adult Novels (YA)

 

Another First Lines post to feed my passion and your imagination.

So, I’ve shared some children’s and middle grade firsts with you.

Now.

The time has come, the blogger said, To talk of other things: Of love — and loss — and fantasy — Dystopia and kings! Yes, I’m talking YA. Hold on to your socks.

As you all know (since I’ve included this little tidbit about myself pretty much everywhere) I love YA.

Before you close this out, please give it a chance. The post, yes, sure, but the umbrella that all YA books are hanging out under. Interestingly enough, I’ve found that more adults refuse to read YA than they do middle grade or children’s books.

Conversations go something like this: “I’m not a teenager.” “I have no interest in reading about idiotic kids in high school, thank you very much.” “Why would grown-ups read this crap?”

Yes, they go something like that.

There is a lot of controversy over adults reading YA. Which, quite honestly, makes me wonder about the adults who spout off about this and, also, the price of potatoes in Jaipur.

Onward! First lines…

 

“I bear a deep red stain that runs from my left shoulder down to my right hip, a trail left by the herbwitch’s poison that my mother used to try to expel me from her womb.”

His Fair Assassin Book 1: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

 

“Everyone thinks it was because of the snow. And in a way, I suppose that’s true.”

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

 

“It has been sixty-four years since the president and the Consortium identified love as a disease, and forty-three since the scientists perfected a cure.”

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

 

“In all the years I’d existed, I’d never expected to be free.”

The Goddess Legacy by Aimee Carter

 

“Petunia was knitting some fingerless gloves to match her new red velvet cloak when the Wolves of Westfalian Woods attacked.”

Princess of the Silver Woods by Jessica Day George

 

“Every morning, the sun comes up and turns the earth red, and I think: This could be the day when everything changes. Maybe today the Society will fall.”

Matched Trilogy Book 3: Reached by Ally Condie

 

“Late in the winter of my seventeenth year, my mother decided I was depressed, presumably because I rarely left the house, spent quite a lot of time in bed, read the same book over and over, ate infrequently, and devoted quite a bit of my abundant free time to thinking about death.

Whenever you read a cancer booklet or website or whatever, they always list depression among the side effects of cancer. But, in fact, depression is not a side effect of cancer. Depression is a side effect of dying.”

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

 

“There is one mirror in my house. It is behind a sliding panel in the hallway upstairs. Our faction allows me to stand in front of it on the second day of every third month, the day my mother cuts my hair.”

Divergent by Veronica Roth

 

“They hung the Unregistereds in the old warehouse district; it was a public execution, so everyone went to see.”

Blood of Eden Book 1: The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa


“When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold. My fingers stretch out, seeking Prim’s warmth but finding only the rough canvas cover of the mattress. She must have had bad dreams and climbed in with our mother. Of course, she did. This is the day of the reaping.”

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

 

 “Spring in the mountains of Morravik was a about as predictable as a tired two-years child in a house of wonders…”

The Raven Ring by Patricia C. Wrede  

 

“Just so you know, when they say ‘Once upon a time’…they’re lying.”

Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer
(I cheated on this one. Technically, this isn’t the first line of the novel but it’s the first line of the “Oliver” chapter—the main character of this book within a book)

 

“Let me tell you something straight off. This is a love story, but not like any you’ve heard. The boy and the girl are far from innocent. Dear lives are lost. And good doesn’t win.”

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

 

“He began his new life standing up, surrounded by cold darkness and stale, dusty air.”
Book 1

“She spoke to him before the world fell apart.”
Book 2

“It was the smell that began to drive Thomas slightly mad.”
Book 3

Maze Runner Series by James Dashner

(James got a hat trick. I mean, really, he nailed every first line in each book of this trilogy.)

 

First Lines YA

 

Next up:

First Lines: Socially Acceptable Books for Grown-ups

As a reader (and a writer) how important are first lines to you?

 

First Lines: Middle Grade Books

 

Another First Lines post to feed my passion and your imagination. (I feel a bit like a literary Willy Wonka…)

Possibly this post will inspire you to sneak in a beach book or summer reading for your kids. ? Just a thought.

This is my middle grade book post. I admit I have a difficult time differentiating between children’s and MG. The Hobbit and Harry Potter are children’s. But so are Magic Tree House and Judy Moody. There are board books, picture books, readers, chapter books… This is a murky, grey area of writing and reading and marketing.

Anyhoo, these are the books I chose as middle grade, whether they are or not. There’s an overlap and I’m overlapping.

On to the first lines…

 

“Sophie had waited all her life to be kidnapped.”

The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

 

“I know I’m not an ordinary ten-year-old kid. I mean, sure, I do ordinary things. I eat ice cream. I ride my bike. I play ball. I have an X-box. Stuff like that makes me ordinary, I guess. And I feel ordinary. Inside. But I know ordinary kids don’t make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds.”

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

 

“Carter here. Look, we don’t have time for long introductions. I need to tell this story quickly, or we’re all going to die.”

The Kane Chronicles Book 2: The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan 

 

“Even before he got electrocuted, Jason was having a rotten day.”

The Heroes of Olympus Book 1: The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan


“It is difficult to choose a new name for oneself. Even more difficult, I imagine, than choosing a name for a child, for one is confusingly intimate with oneself, whereas one is barely acquainted with a baby upon its arrival.”

An Enola Holmes Mystery: The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets by Nancy Springer

 

“You don’t just fall into supervillainy.”

Book 1: The Cloak Society by Jeramey Kraatz 

 

“Wind howled through the night, carrying a scent that would change the world.”

Eragon by Christopher Paolini


“Once upon a time, a girl named September grew very tired indeed of her parents’ house, where she washed the same pink-and-yellow teacups and matching gravy boats every day, slept on the same embroidered pillow, and played with the same small and amiable dog. Because she had been born in May, and because she had a mole on her left cheek, and because her feet were very large and ungainly, the Green Wind took pity on her and flew to her window one evening just after her twelfth birthday.”

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente 

 

“There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis

 

“The deputy told me to empty my pockets: two quarters, a penny, a stick of bubble gum, and a roll of grip tape for my skateboard. It was pitiful.”

Flush by Carl Hiaasen

 

“The day before Mrs. Starch vanished, her third-period biology students trudged silently, as always, into the classroom.”

Scat by Carl Hiaasen 


“We have not yet seen Tomorrow. We have not yet dared go there.”

How to Train Your Dragon Book 11: How to Betray a Dragon’s Hero by Cressida Cowell


First Lines Middle Grade

 

Next up:

First Lines: YA

As a reader (and a writer) how important are first lines to you?

 

Harry Potter or Sidewalk Chalk?

 

I’ve been seeing a lot of blog posts about SUMMER! As in no school, no learning, no teachers, no pressure. And the “Woo-hoo! Yay!” of that.

This reminds me of a post I wrote last year about summer reading (posted below). I’m going to be the wet blanket here. I think kids should continue learning during the summer. What I don’t understand is why kids can’t learn and have fun. Why is there such an extreme separation between these views? I don’t think there needs to be. ThoughtBubble

Going to the beach, riding bikes, blowing bubbles, swimming…these are all wonderful parts of summer. That doesn’t mean kids can’t read or use some of their outdoor time learning about nature.

My children are out of school, and it is officially summer break around here. They both love reading and willingly grab books daily as a fun activity. But what about those who would rather not read? Summer Slide is real.

After you’ve dried off from the pool or wiped sand from between little toes, sit down in the sunshine and have some DEAR time or read to your kids.

Who says you can’t have a picnic and read Percy Jackson?

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

 

Summer Reading Book (s)

When I was in school, we had required summer reading lists. Every year. With multiple books we were required to read. End-of-summer / back-to-school meant buying clothes, pencils, notebooks, and a backpack. It also meant preparing ourselves to prove we did our summer reading. In grade school, we had to write book reports. When we entered junior high, we were tested on the reading.

I suppose I’m old(ish) but, wow, have things changed that much? Get this. My kids have to read a book over the summer. One. Book. AND they don’t technically have to read it—this is a request not a requirement. Reading a book is “great!” and “encouraged!” but not “required”. Consequently, my kids will not be tested on or even asked about the book(s) they read because they weren’t expected to read any.

CharlotteWeb

Also, there is a page trying to talk students (or parents?) into this one book by spouting “Summer Slide” statistics and research about expanded vocabulary and increased success in school.

There is a list of book suggestions, yes, but they are popular books including many comic books and magazines. I’m not looking for a fight. My kids read both of the above and some of them are fantastic but I’m talking summer reading here. I don’t understand how we went from a required list of specific books to a suggested list of popular books in one generation.

Okay, it’s been twenty thirty years since I was in grade school and things are bound to change a bit in that time but, honestly, taking away summer reading? It’s still there, technically, but it’s really not. Not with the mild, mousy voice of it-would-be-so-neat-if-you-could-maybe-possibly-read-one-book-or-something-with-words-on-it-this-summer.

 

Did you have summer reading when you were in school? Do your children? Are they going to read this summer? If so, is it for fun or because their school required it?