Amanda Thrasher, Article, author, Book Marketing, books, Cereal Authors, Children's story, childrens stories, educators, Fantasy, Literary, Musings, parents, publishing, tweens, Uncategorized, writer's life, Writing Process

Need An Answer, Ask A Kid

If you’re a parent, grandparent, teacher or around kids for any length of time, then you already know kids have their opinion about most things. They’re often brutally honest, which I find quite refreshing; if you want the truth, ask a child.

One of the neatest things about being a co-owner of a publishing company is the freedom we have regarding our work, design, production, marketing, and pricing.

Freedom of such things do not come without cost, and we often learn lessons along the way, some we’d rather not. Many would argue that those are the best kind of experiences to learn from and I agree with that, and I’m sure we’ll continue to discover new and exciting processes throughout this publishing journey as this turbulent industry continues to change.

The request to conduct a workshop happened to come in at the same time as a new series cover reveal; perfect timing, test the covers out on the target market (niche group of kids). The kids I addressed were intense, listening to every word that I’d said, excellent feeling knowing you have such talented writers amongst the children your spending time with and showing them the steps of production. The staff stayed behind and asked questions themselves, also talking about wanting to become authors, and then I had the opportunity to ask for the kids’ opinions regarding the new covers. 

I had six works on display that day and a mock-up of a fourth; all from The Mischief Patch Series. Two different artists, styles, and visions, were presented. One by one, both girls and boys passed on their honest opinions of what I thought about the beautiful new covers and the existing older ones. “Do you like the colors in this one?” I asked. “What don’t you like about this one?” They kept pointing to one or the other and I kept tallies of each. I finally asked, knowing the time, energy and dollars that had been spent on each cover. “Why do you like this one and not the other?” I waited patiently for their responses. The answers surprised me. “Because there’s Boris” or “I like Jack,” and of course my favorite, “I love the one with Lilly.” They were on the other covers as well, but for some reason, they related better to these versions… precisely what I needed to know. Needless to say, Lilly, Boris, and Jack are my escape books. I love to write them and will continue to work on them as soon as my existing projects are wrapped up. A fourth is already mapped out. They’re fun for me to write, fantasy is such a great escape. The characters, Lilly, Boris, and Jack, are sweet and kind, but most of all they hold a special place in my heart. Needless to say, the kids that day helped pick the covers. Kids – Need an honest answer, just ask. BTW – Spider Web Scramble is a Mom’s Choice Awards® (MCA) evaluates products and services created for children, families, and educators. The program is globally recognized for establishing the benchmark of excellence in family-friendly media, products, and services. The organization is based in the United States and has reviewed thousands of items from more than 55 countries.

© 2018 Amanda M. Thrasher

Amanda M. Thrasher

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Article, author, Book Marketing, books, Cereal Authors, JD Holiday, Truth, As Strange As Fiction

Truth, As Strange As Fiction: Bothered, Part 2

girls and flags2 WARNING: violence.

Truth, As Strange As Fiction: Bothered, Part 2 

by JD Holiday

©May 2018         

Shortly after that, I joined a drum and bugle corps. It was a teen group for thirteen to seventeen year olds. My friend this time with Kathy Donahue. Her older brother, Mike was a drummer. Kathy was thirteen too, so she and I are joining together. Girls were in the Honor and Color guards. We would be in the newbies. That was where girls learn to carry the flag and twirl them in nice patterns to go with the instrumental music the boys made with the drums and brass horns. The girls in the newbies would join the Honor and Color Guard the following year when the older girls turned eighteen and would be leaving the corps. practice2

              So Kathy and I and about another ten to twelve other girls would spend that spring in training, and the summer would be our first time marching in parades starting on Memorial Day right behind the Color Guard and in from of the brass horns and drum sections.   In good weather, the corp would practice on the community ball field across from the club house, a VFW post. At eight AM this one Saturday morning, the newbies gathered in the baseball area of the field. The Honor and Color Guards were already turning their flags in the outfield. The band played on the basketball court loudly performing their signature instrumental, Sentimental Journey in the shadow of Garrettmountain field 2 Mountain. The brass horns and beating drums were hammering the song home across the field and ricocheting off the mountain and back again throughout the South Paterson neighborhood.

 

         Our group leaders shouted our instructions over the music were we stood by the bleachers since it would be impossible for us to hear them out in the field. When we were told to line up and march to third base where we would be going over our drills I saw that my sneaker was untied. The others had run out into the field while I sat to tie my sneaker.

              I saw the older black guy who had left the corps now that he was eighteen sitting on his bike not far away. I remembered I finished and was getting up when I was grabbed from behind and pushed down onto the bleacher again. I felt my blood pounding in my face as I struggled to push him away but the guy came around and over my body to sit straddle my legs. It was the guy with the small bike. He started saying, “I’ll show them. I’ll show them,” over and over again while pushing me down with a hand on my collarbone.

              I fought hard and I turned looking for help. I glance toward third base but my bleachersgroup had their backs to me. No one else was near. I kept fighting to get him off pushing at his chest as the music continued and even sounding louder as it vibrated. With his other hand he began pulling at the snap of my jeans trying to open them. He was much bigger and I was powerless to get him off me.

              Then the blaring music ended. And silence. Or I thought it was, until I heard screaming echoed through the air. I was screaming.

              We continued wrestling until there was movement around us. Then the weight was lifted from me. Pete, who I knew was one of the drummers was there, and then the two of them were a blur as they fell to the ground and seemed to scrambled away from me. Some older girls came to me and dragged me off the bleacher toward the batting cage. Breathing seems hard. But I was already feeling some relief that it was over but I couldn’t focus on what was being said to me.

       batting cage       Many adults came from nowhere it appeared to me. Faces around me were frowning with concern. I glanced in the direction I came from to see my attacker up against the chain link fence surrounded by male group members and adults.

The woman who ran the drum corps came and wrapped her arms around me. She pretty much dragged me off the field. I heard her saying the guy was troubled.

Someone else walking with us across the street to the clubhouse added how he had behaved about having to leave the corps because he had reached the age limit and his fight with the group managers over it.

              Inside the clubhouse I sat while they all talked. Some stared at me and I have to look away having so much attention paid to me. Things began to sink in as they asked questions and I nodded a lot. They asked what happened, what did he say, what did he do. And I started murmuring that I was alright a few times and had to turn away from them wishing that were true. I didn’t want to be here anymore.

              My attention sharpened when I heard them mention talking to my parents. While I was glad to be going home, I didn’t want to have to tell them about this. And at the same time, just wanted it to be me who told my mom and dad. But the adults had to tell my parents, to explain the situation to them.

              At home, my father was the one who opened the front door. Somehow they all went inside, while someone ask me to stay on the porch. What was said I suddenly didn’t porchcare. I wasn’t in the middle of all the attention anymore. I sat on one of the adirondack chairs. What thoughts I had I couldn’t tell you, though relief was setting in. Home, I would find, was were I would always come to be out of the storm from here on.

              Once the club members left, most of the women giving me a hug before going, my mother and father came to the door. They had a short talk before my father stepped out onto the porch where I still sat by myself.

              “Are you all right?” he asked in the doorway.

              I glanced his way before turning back to watching the afternoon traffic on Madison Avenue. My father looked thoughtful.

              “Yeah,” I said, not wanting to talk about it.

              Looking back, I’d say he knew me better than I did when I was thirteen years old, for he said, “You don’t want to be bothered, I take it.”

              “No,” was all I said as I realized my breathing was normal now and I wasn’t hurt. I was all right, at least for the moment.

              He nodded, then he went back in with my mother leaving the door open a little.

              It never dawned on me at that time if the kissing incident being brought up at school had anything to do with the boys being black and the girls being white. I did find out weeks after from Leslie that the two boys involved were in a bit of trouble that night but for Leslie and me being their alibis.

              So you know, my parents never said anything about the kiss incident. And my parents never talked about race to us. Knowing them as I did, they thought there was no need to. Black people came to our house to have their taxes done all the time. And, over the years I’ve thought about that guy on the bleachers wondering if anyone had ever bothered enough to care about him.

Read Part 1 at: https://cerealauthors.wordpress.com/2018/05/17/truth-as-strange-as-fiction-bothered-part-1/

JD’s Site:   http://jdholiday.blogspot.com/

 JD’s Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/J.D.-Holiday/e/B002G1GOKQ/

Character Quotes, Dellani Oakes

Character Quotes from Down the Drain by Dellani

character-quotes-imageYou willing to give me a shot?” Dario asked, sounding hopeful.

Vanessa gave Dario a once over, taking in his thick black hair, fathomless eyes, full lips and square jaw. Dropping her gaze, she examined his broad shoulders and firm chest, washboard abs, powerful thighs and tight ass. He waited patiently for her decision.

Yeah. I’m willing to give you a shot.”

Cool.”

Don’t think you’re getting lucky after this party.”

Hadn’t entered my mind,” he lied.

Sure, it hadn’t.” She nudged him, laughing.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Dellani Oakes, Sassy Sarcasm

Sarcasm, Cynicism and Irony by Dellani

Sassy SarcasticWhen dealing with sarcasm, one cannot forget its best friends, cynicism and irony. These fellows are rarely separated, though the latter two aren’t always as easy to spot. I used to teach high school Advanced Placement English, and we had an entire section on irony. My students had some trouble with it, initially, until we started picking things apart, looking for it. I had posters and worksheets – in fact, I think I still do.

According to most authorities, there are Three Types of Irony: Verbal, Situational and Dramatic. Not to go into a lengthy lesson, but brief descriptions follow: 

Verbal: As the term implies, this is the use of ironic tone, or words which mean the direct opposite of what the character says.

Oh, thanks for that. I needed Amaretto spilled on my pants.”

It will be worth noting that a lot of sarcasm relies on verbal irony, though they are different.

Situational: This involves a description of what is supposed to happen, as opposed to what really does.

A woman buys a new dress, anxious to show it off on her date, only to have the man cancel on her.

Dramatic: This occurs when the audience of a book or movie knows more about the story than the character.

A man is looking forward to getting home to his family, but the audience knows that his wife has suddenly left him.

Each of these can be broken down further, and I won’t bore you with details. If you’d like to know more, follow the link above. Or here, I don’t mind giving it to you twice. 

I use a lot of irony, cynicism and sarcasm in my work. It’s not intentional, it is, quite simply, a large part of who I am. I didn’t intend to be this way, it just sort of happened. Then again, you can’t have my parents (in particular, my father) and not be exposed to sarcasm daily.

As another sarcasm post pointed out, a child can recognize sarcasm, and use it accurately. This is illustrated by my granddaughter, age nine, who gave me the most withering look imaginable, when I told her something sarcastic. I was slightly surprised, then realized that the kid came by it naturally—she has me for a grandmother, after all. It’s inevitable. Her parents are also, slightly, sarcastic.

Yes, I’m aware that I’ve mentioned this before. The irony of the situation hasn’t escaped me.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Cynicism will be the subject of a later post

Character Quotes, Dellani Oakes

Character Quotes from First Love by Dellani

character-quotes-image“I don’t mean you,” Clayton replied without a hint of apology. “You’re like a guy—with boobs.”

“What?” She tried to hit him from the front seat, but he was too far away. “A guy—with boobs?”

“Enough!” Miss Polly yelled. “Apologize,” she demanded.

“I’m sorry. I acknowledge that you are not, in fact, male with female appendages.”

“Very nice ones,” Richard intoned from beneath his cap.

Madison could reach him from the where she sat. She leaned over the seat back and smacked him with a copy of The Hobbit she was reading.

“Ow! Ow! Unnecessary use of dwarfs!” Richard yelled as he tried to climb over Brad.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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First Love cover

Character Quotes, Dellani Oakes

Character Quotes from Love Comes Lately by Dellani

character-quotes-image“I’m so sorry. I didn’t raise Clancy to talk like that.”

“I blame video games. Terrible what they teach our young. Why my boys curse like truck drivers. I don’t know where the f**k they learned all those goddamn shitty words from.”

“Television. Terrible influence.”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Among the Shine Clan, Dellani Oakes, Uncategorized

Among the Shine Clan – Part 14 by Dellani

among the shine clan coverAfter examining a map of the compound, Fiddlestix realizes that the warriors they just fought were a distraction. The others can be seen moving in on the rest of the compound. Their leader isn’t anywhere to be seen.

“We have to get back there now,” Fiddlestix gasped.

“They’re on foot,”Deacon assured her. “We’ll get there first. Don’t worry.”

“What about this lot?” Jasper motioned to the downed warriors.

“They’re not going anywhere,” Deacon assured him.

“Kill them,” Fiddlestix warned him.

“You’re supposed to bring them back, aren’t you?” Harmony asked her.

“The parameters of the mission just changed,” Fiddlestix said. “Take them out, Harm.”

“Yes, Master Sergeant.” He chambered a round on his heavy weapon.

Standing a safe distance from the shut down warrior, he emptied his magazine into the control panel at the base of the skull. Reloading, he moved to the other, doing the same thing. “Is that satisfactory, Master Sergeant?”

“That’ll about do it. Let’s move out, people!”

They left the wounded in the hands of the medical personnel, Kaz among them. Fiddlestix didn’t stop to see how he was. She hoped he would still be alive when she got back. There was no time to worry over him now. Others needed her more.

Loading up the Jeeps took a couple of minutes, but they made up for it in actual transportation time. On the way, Deacon contacted the commanding officers at the other three gates, warning them what was coming.

“We want the handler,” Fiddlestix told them. “Take him out, the rest will be relatively easy.”

“I don’t think I like how you qualify that statement, Hannah-Belle.”

“Nothing’s ever easy. But if we take out Livingston, it will be less difficult. Still have to tag them within a line of sight.”

“True.” He leaned back, putting his arm around her as Jasper drove. “When this is over, I get you alone. All to myself, ” he whispered, his lips close to her ear.

“Which way, Deacon? East or west?” Jasper called.

“Did we get a visual of Livingston on the scan?”

“No, sir.”

“Find me a screen, littler brother.”

“You got it!”

He turned right without slowing down much. Pulling up in front of a room, he left the Jeep running while Deacon and Fiddlestix jumped from the vehicle. Dashing into the room, they accessed the scanner again. Livingston didn’t show up on any of the scans.

“He must be somewhere out of range,” Deacon muttered, glaring at the screen as if it had done him an injury.

“Is there anywhere he could hide that’s shielded? Could he be inside, but hidden?”

“Oh, God,” Deacon groaned. “The cloak room.”

“You’ve got a room for coats?”

“No, no the cloaking device. The thing that made your people disappear. That area is shielded because it has an independent power source that makes our other instruments go all wonky otherwise.”

“Where’s it located?”

“Shine Peak. About a quarter mile straight up.”

“Can we get there from here?”

“You good at mountain climbing?”

“Tell me there’s an elevator.”

“There is, but if he’s up there, do you really want to trust it?”

“Good point.”

“Jasper, take us to the fire station.”

Deacon leaped in the back of the Jeep, giving Fiddlestix a hand up.

“You got it, Deacon.” Jasper swung them around in a tight arc, heading back the way they’d come.

“Saunders, it’s Deacon,” he spoke into his communicator.

“Go ahead.”

“Have me a two man flitter set up. I’ll be there in less than five.”

“Yes, sir.”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes, Dellani Oakes

Character Quotes from Emma Dangerous by Dellani

character-quotes-imageDetective Tan was already on his phone, calling officers to the scene. He escorted Emma, Sam and Raleigh back to the common room. When his people arrived, he put the sergeant in charge and took the teenagers to the library.

“This case gets weirder by the second,” he commented as an aside.

“Who is this guy?” Sam asked. “He doesn’t seem like the run of the mill psychopath to me.”

“You’re familiar with psychopaths?” Frank Tan looked skeptical.

“I spent a lot of time in juvie,” Sam said. “I also have a crack head for a father. His customers are pretty f**ked in the head. I think one or two of them qualify.”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes, Dellani Oakes

Character Quotes from Take On Me by Dellani

character-quotes-image“Perhaps, but will he change up his MO?” Petra asked. “Like you said, he knows we know. Is now the time to change? He knows this method works. Changing it up is risky.”

“It would be riskier to continue,” Etienne countered. “Don’t you think?”

“I want a crack at that bartender. What’s her name?” Chelle asked.

“Risha Porter. Twenty-three,” Stringer replied.

“You want in?” Chelle asked Petra. “You’ve got a lot invested in this case, too.”

“Thought you’d never ask. Jones?”

“Don’t need three of us, but thanks. I’ll watch. If you need me, you know how to whistle.” Hooking his thumbs in his utility belt, he winked.

“God, you’re incredibly good looking,” Petra said.

Jones laughed. “Did you mean to say that out loud, Deputy Reyes?”

“Yep.” She strode toward the door with Chelle behind her.

The door thumped shut. Once they got in the elevator, heading to holding, she glanced at Chelle, who was laughing quietly.

“You totally called his bluff. I’m not sure if he’s a show-off or if that’s just how he stands,” Chelle giggled.

“He’s showing off—for you. You know he likes you, right?”

Chelle smirk. “Yeah. He’s hot as seven kinds of hell, but not while I’m his boss….”

Petra chuckled, nudging her. “If I weren’t hooked on a psychologist, I’d be all over that.”

“It’s tempting….”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Uncategorized

Character Quotes from One Night in Daytona Beach by Dellani

character-quotes-image“I told you, I didn’t kill him,” Draven insisted.

“Maybe not, but we have his place wired for sound. You made certain threats. Then twenty minutes later, his wife finds him in the garage, his head bashed in with your baton. It’s got your prints all over it.”

“F**k. I dropped it in the yard. He was alive when I left, Erickson. I swear.”

“I believe you, kid. But I don’t think the boss will. Stay put. My guys will be there in twenty.”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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