Free-tique Free-for-All on Facebook Live (3/20/20) 4 PM Central – VIDEOS POSTED

UPDATE 3/21/20: The event videos are now posted! If we missed your question or ms, please email cynthealiu AT gmail DOT com and let Cynthea know! Here are the links (2 videos), enjoy!

Part 1: #1 – 28 (PB, CB, MG and YA)

Part 2: #29 – 41 (PB)

UPDATE AS OF 3/19 12:30 PM: We forgot to include a big option for you. If you would like to submit a query letter pitch only (see Anatomy of a Query Letter – we are referring to the section on “Pitch” in that article), you may. Please limit your pitch to 125 words for the purpose of this event. And see below for full instructions on how to submit your pitch instead for critique.

All right, WFCAT fans, we are back in action for yet another Free-tique event for folks who are feeling a little nutty because of #coronavirus. This is a time to buckle down and summon some writerly strength so we can subject ourselves to more torture by putting our manuscript through the C. Liu Wringer.

We were made for this, right?! RIGHT?!

As kids and teen book writers, we are tough. STRONG. Most of all, we are persistent in trying to write the best content out there for our readers. So let’s get on with it!

Here are the rules. PLEASE READ IN FULL BEFORE SUBMITTING OR RISK ELIMINATION. (Btw, this time there are NO prizes; we can’t even mail you anything right now, and the pooches and I are crushed with pandemic-related-activities, so we hope you will remember that YOU are already a prize because you do the great job of writing for children and teens. 🙂

Children’s or Teen Fiction Only.

There will be a question/submission deadline of 12 p.m. Central on Friday 3/20/20 to give the pooches plenty of time to gnaw on your material and render a verdict. If you are not submitting work, but asking general questions, you can do that, too. I ask that all questions also be submitted in advance so we can consider your most pressing questions and answer them during the event.

You do not need a Facebook account to view the live event. Anyone who goes to the link should be able to see it. It will occur at 4-5:30 p.n. Central on Friday 3/20/20, provided we aren’t invaded by an army of alien robots next) and it will happen on my author Facebook page here, The recording of the event will also appear on the page soon after it is over. Folks, if you’re friends with me on Facebook, my author Facebook page is different than my personal Facebook, so feel free to follow the page linked in this graph and/or set a notification if you’re worried you will miss it.

Here’s how to submit.

I will take submissions by email. Please do NOT send your submission to any email addresses I’ve used in the past. My email is getting totally revamped so that will not work.

I will provide the new email address at the end of this post.

Next, if you are submitting a sample of your ms for critique or a pitch, please do the following (scroll down for how to submit general questions only):

1) In the Subject Line of your email

For ms: Specify a) format PB, CB, MG, YA) and b) title (e.g. PB If You Give a Pooch a Pandemic). Please read the glossary if you don’t know what the abbreviations mean.

For a pitch: Specify a) PITCH: b) format as above. c) title as above.

2) In the body of your email

a) Copy and paste up to 125 words. Do not worry about formatting. Do your best. I can read hieroglyphics. You do not have to be super uptight about 125 words, but please don’t go over by much or you risk the pooches sending your words straight to the yard for immediate burial in their favorite spot by the oak tree.
b) You may also follow that with the ONE question that you hope to know about your submission. If you have no specific question, then skip this part.
c) Double-check the email address you are sending your work to.
d) Hit Send.

e) Wait until the Facebook Live event happens or is over. More details will be provided then. You will get a number as we have done in past rounds but it won’t happen right away; it will happen as your manuscript comes up for munching during the event, and it will arrive as a reply to your email.

If you are submitting a general pressing/vexing question (e.g. something about children’s book publishing, authorship, promotion, etc.) …

a) For your subject line: put the words QUESTION ONLY: [And then a brief specific summation of your question or the question itself] like so … QUESTION ONLY: How should pooches address the topic of bacon addiction to puppies?
b) In the body of your email: you can further elaborate upon this question in the body of your email.
c) Check for correct email address.
d) Hit Send.
e) Wait until the Facebook Live event happens or is over to get your question’s answer.

One submission and one general question per participant, please.

Here is the all-important email address: WFCATcrew AT gmail DOT com. Remember, your submission/questions are due before 12 p.m. Central on Friday, 3/20/20.

That’s it! If you need help with any of these rules or have any questions about the free-tique event process, please click on the message icon in the lower right of your screen and that will message us right away. Hopefully, we haven’t confused anyone. We will do our best to answer your question!

Happy Free-tiquing, everyone, and we’ll see you soon! Arf! Meow! <— that was Shaun, impersonating a cat.

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Sep 13, Grand Remembrances

Today is Grandparents Day in the United States. Being a Grand is a special honor. I feel very blessed that my wife and I have two grandchildren. We were able to visit them today. Yes, we are still being cautious with the coronavirus, but we also find it very difficult to not see them when they live so close. So today we did drop by to visit Jacob (age 10) and Sophia (age 7) along with their parents. We brought donuts and caught up with them. Our grandchildren are still pretty young and this is a precious time in their lives – and ours!

I wish I had known my grandparents better. We never lived in the same place. Dad was a career Air Force pilot, so we moved around a lot. But we did get to see them once in a while when they would visit us, or we them.

A Plague of Giants

There are five known magical ‘kennings’ or types: air, water, fire, earth, and plants. Each nation specializes in of these kennings, and the magic influences the society. There’s a big pitfall with this diversity of ability and locale–not everyone gets along.

Enter the Hathrim giants, or ‘lavaborn’ whose kenning is fire. Where they live the trees that fuel their fire are long gone, but the giants are definitely not welcome anywhere else. They’re big, they’re violent, and they’re ruthless. When a volcano erupts and they are forced to evacuate, they take the opportunity to relocate. They don’t care that it’s in a place where they aren’t wanted.

I first read Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid books and loved them (also the quirky The Tales of Pell), so was curious about this new venture, starting with A PLAGUE OF GIANTS. Think Avatar: The Last Airbender meets Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series. Elemental magic, a variety of races, different lands. And it’s all thrown at you from page one.

But this story is told a little differently. It starts at the end of the war, after a difficult victory, and a bard with earth kenning uses his magic to re-tell the story of the war to a city of refugees. And it’s this movement back and forth in time and between key players in this war that we get a singularly grand view of the war as a whole. Hearne uses this method to great effect.

There are so many interesting characters in this book that I can’t cover them all here. Often in books like this such a large cast of ‘main’ character can make the storytelling suffer, especially since they don’t have a lot of interaction with each other for the first 3/4 of the book–but it doesn’t suffer, thankfully. And the characterization is good enough, despite these short bursts, that by the end we understand these people and care about what happens to them.

If there were a main character it would be Dervan, a historian who is assigned to record (also spy on?) the bard’s stories. He finds himself caught up in machinations he feels unfit to survive. Fintan is the bard from another country, who at first is rather mysterious and his true personality is hidden by the stories he tells; it takes a while to understand him. Gorin Mogen is the leader of the Hathrim giants who decide to find a new land to settle. He’s hard to like, but as far as villains go, you understand his motivations and he can be even a little convincing. There’s Abhi, the son of hunters, who decides hunting isn’t the life for him–and unexpectedly finds himself on a quest for the sixth kenning. And Gondel Vedd, a scholar of linguistics who finds himself tasked with finding a way to communicate with a race of giants never seen before (definitely not Hathrim) and stumbles onto a mystery no one could have guessed: there may be a seventh kenning.

There are other characters, but what makes them all interesting is that they’re regular people (well, maybe not Gorin Mogen or the viceroy–he’s a piece of work) who become heroes in their own little ways, whether it’s the teenage girl who isn’t afraid to share vital information, to the scholars who suddenly find how crucial their minds are to the survival of a nation, to the humble public servants who find bravery when they need it most. This is a story of loss, love, redemption, courage, unity, and overcoming despair to not give up. All very human experiences by simple people who do extraordinary things.

Hearne’s worldbuilding is engaging. He doesn’t bottle feed you, at first it feels like drinking from a hydrant, but then you settle in and pick up things along the way. Then he shows you stuff with a punch to the gut. This is no fluffy world with simple magic without price. All the magic has a price, and more often than not it leads you straight to death’s door. For most people just the seeking of the magic will kill you. I particularly enjoyed the scenes with Ahbi and his discovery of the sixth kenning and everything associated with it. But giants? I mean, really? It isn’t bad enough fighting people who can control fire that you have to add that they’re twice the size of normal people? For Hearne if it’s war, the stakes are pretty high, and it gets ugly.

The benefit of the storytelling style is that the book, despite its length, moves along steadily (Hearne is no novice, here). The bits of story lead you along without annoying cliffhangers (mostly), and I never got bored with the switch between characters. It was easy to move between them, and they were recognizable enough that I got lost or confused. The end of the novel felt a little abrupt, but I guess that has more to do with I was ready for the story to continue, despite the exiting climax.

If you’re looking for epic fantasy with fun storytelling and clever worldbuilding, check out A PLAGUE OF GIANTS.

The post A Plague of Giants appeared first on Elitist Book Reviews.

The Artwork Of Gary Choo

Gary Choo is a concept artist/illustrator based in Singapore. I’ve know Gary for a good many years ( 17, actually ), working together in animation studios in Singapore like Silicon Illusions and Lucasfilm. Gary currently runs an art team at Mighty Bear Games, but when time allows he also draws covers for Marvel comics, and they’re amazing –

The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo

To see more of Gary’s work or to engage him for freelance work, head down to his ArtStation.

The post The Art Of Gary Choo appeared first on Halcyon Realms – Art Book Reviews – Anime, Manga, Film, Photography.