Archive for June, 2013

Rumor vs. Fact and a Bit of Irony

June 19, 2013

Last night my friend, H and I took BART into San Francisco to hear an author and political commentator discuss his new book.  Every seat was filled.  Two hundred people?  It was great to see many people do continue to read and think, and care enough to show up.  H and I agreed we could have stayed all night listening to this well-thought man discuss history and politics, not just media babble. 

 When it was question and answer time, he talked about the importance of getting facts correct.  How refreshing!  I’m reminded of why I don’t like watching television news much anymore, since these days rumors and name-calling are often reported before information is verified.  Who gets a story first is more important than who gets a story right.

 Afterwards, we walked city streets to a restaurant.  On Market Street, the light our way, another couple and my friend began to walk.  But a red truck made a right turn into their path . . . and kept on coming. For a moment – – everyone paused.  But no, upon checking, we did have the right away, so even I stepped off the curb, but the red truck continued. I threw out a protective hand in front of H, who would be first in the truck’s path. 

 Finally, the man at the steering wheel stopped.  Guess he didn’t want her as a hood ornament.  The man next to me laughed as we cross the street. 

“What?” I asked him. 

“Did you see his bumper sticker?” he said.

I shook my head no.

“I brake for bikes. Share the road!” he said. 

Then we all smiled at the irony. 

Guess the driver didn’t mean pedestrians.

Writing Prompts:

1.  As you watch television, note when there is news (facts which can be verified) and rumors and opinions.   If a person resorts to name-calling, look beyond the labels and seek what is behind it.  Is the person in front of the camera an entertainer or a reporter?  What is the person’s credentials?  Reputation?  Can you check the facts?  Write a piece where you need to use research.  Back up your story or article with facts.  Make sure you keep your references.

2.  Look for bits of irony and general humor in your daily life.  Jot it down when you find it.  Even sad moments can have a bit of comedy in them. How else do we survive tragedy?  Write a personal narrative, poem or story where you can include a bit of both. 

3.  Watch a movie and identify the moments of humor and sadness and how close they come together.  How much facts are in the show?  Opinions?

4.  Attend an author talk.  What does the author do well?  Remember this when it’s time for you to do your book presentation!

Summer Cartooning Classes for Kids and Parents

June 12, 2013

Cartoon Art Museum Classes  

Wednesday, July 3, 2013, 11am-1pm – Parent/Child

Class: Superheroes and Supervillains

Wednesday, July 3, 2013, 2-4pm – Parent/Child

Class: Crazy Cut-out Animation

Wednesday, August 7, 2013, 11am-1pm –

Parent/Child Class: Magical Adventures

Wednesday, August 7, 2013, 2-4pm – Parent/Child

Class: Mini-Comic Making

Celebrate the summer with fun classes that will have adults and kids teaming up to create their own cartoons at the Cartoon Art Museum!  The cost of materials and Cartoon Art Museum admission is included in the tuition fee.

Tuition for these classes can be paid through Guestlist.  Space is limited, and advance reservations are recommended:

Wednesday July 3, 2013 – Parent/Child Class: Superheroes and Supervillains

Ages: Parents/Guardians and Children (7 to 12 years old) recommended
Time: 11am to 1pm
Cost: $10 per person (all children must be accompanied by an adult, ideally no more than two children per parent)

Reserve your space:
BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND! In this Adult/Kid combo class we will create our own Hero and Villain characters while learning some of the basics of cartooning.

Wednesday July 3rd, 2013 – Parent/Child Class: Crazy Cut-out animation

Ages: Parents/Guardians and Children (7 to 12 years old) recommended
Time: 2pm to 4pm
Cost: $10 per person (all children must be accompanied by an adult, ideally no more than two children per parent)

Reserve your space:
Get hands-on experience with animation in this class for Parents and Kids featuring stop-animation with paper cut-outs. Participants will break into small groups and be able to create a few simple ‘crazy’ moments under the camera. The final results will be posted on the Cartoon Art Museum’s website the following week.

Wednesday August 7th, 2013 – Parent/Child Class: Magical Adventures

Ages: Parents/Guardians and Children (7 to 12 years old) recommended
Time: 11am – 1pm
Cost: $10 per person (all children must be accompanied by an adult, ideally no more than two children per parent)

Reserve your space:
Create your own world of wizards, monsters, elves and brave heroes! Adults and Kids team up to create their own fantasy characters in this fun interactive cartooning class.
Wednesday August 7th, 2013 – Parent/Child Class: Mini-Comic Making

Ages: Parents/Guardians and Children (7 to 12 years old) recommended
Time: 2pm to 4pm
Cost: $10 per person (all children must be accompanied by an adult, ideally no more than two children per parent)

Reserve your space:
This Parent/Child class teaches how to write and draw a simple comic book story and then to assemble it into a book you can take home with you.

All classes are taught by longtime CAM instructor Brian Kolm of Atomic Bear Press

Cartoon Art Museum • 655 Mission Street • San Francisco, CA 94105 • 415-CAR-TOON •
Hours:  Tues. – Sun. 11:00 – 5:00, Closed Monday
General Admission: $7.00 • Student/Senior: $5.00 • Children 6-12: $3.00 • Members & Children under 6: Free
The Cartoon Art Museum is a tax-exempt, non-profit, educational organization dedicated to the collection,
preservation, study and exhibition of original cartoon art in all forms.


So You Want to Write a Children’s Book?

June 6, 2013


  1. If you want to write a picture book, read 1,000 of them.  Read the ones published today.  Read, read, read.  Get to know your independent bookstore and children’s librarian for specific suggestions.
  2. Join The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
  3. Send away for every free publication available from SCBWI.  Read these materials carefully. 
  4. Attend local writing for children workshops and conferences by SCBWI.  Take writing classes
  5. Join a writer’s group or find a writing partner to encourage your discipline.  It is most helpful if you can find members who are writing for children, too. 
  6. After you’ve written many drafts of your project, submit it for a professional critique at a conference.  If you are able to meet face-to-face with the professional, ask polite questions regarding your writing craft and your manuscript.
  7. Read and listen to advice from other authors.  One example is my book, The ABCs of Writing for Children: 114 Children’s Authors and Illustrators Talk About the Art, the Business, The Craft & the Life of Writing Children’s Literature.
  8. Look at your world through the eyes of a child.  How do they talk, think and feel?  If you work with children, are a parent or a grandparent, you have an advantage!  Volunteer at a local library, preschool or elementary school to read or play with children. 
  9.  Remember that publishing changes rapidly.  Kids aren’t reading books that were published in 1960 or 1970.  Your book must be competitive with today’s market and be read with the sophistication of today’s child.
  10.  Read all of your work out loud.  Read other published children’s books out loud.  You’ll need to incorporate the internal rhythm of literature into your writing style.


June 4, 2013

Confrontation – – a semiannual publication for fiction, nonfiction and poetry.  Although it has begun careers of Nobel and Pultizer Prize-winning authors, it also features work from college students and teenagers.

Confrontation is open to submissions from any writer.

How to send your work:

U.S.-based writers: Along with your manuscript of previously unpublished work, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE) with standard letter-rate 1st-class postage so that we can reply to your submission. If you want us to return your manuscript along with our reply, be sure to include enough postage on your SASE to allow us to do so. If your work is a simultaneous submission, please let us know in your cover letter.

International writers: E-mail submissions ( are accepted only from writers living outside the U.S. Please include your postal mailing address with your submission.

If your work under simultaneous submission is accepted elsewhere, please inform us as soon as possible:

We usually respond to submissions within three to four months; we are quite a small staff, so we appreciate in advance your patience if we stray beyond this window. Reading period for all submissions: August 16 – May 15. Unless specifically commissioned or solicited, all manuscripts received during the non-reading period will be returned unread.

For all submissions, please be sure not to put two spaces between sentences.

Mail your submissions to:

Confrontation Magazine
English Department
LIU Post

Brookville, NY 11548


We judge on quality of writing and thought or imagination, so we will accept genre fiction. However, it must have literary merit or it must transcend or challenge genre.

Send complete manuscript.

Length: Up to 7,200 words

Payment: $50-$125; more for commissioned work.


Length of a poem should be kept to two pages.

Send up to six poems per submission.

Payment: $25-$75; more for commissioned work.


We publish personal as well as cultural, political and other kinds of essays, and (self-contained) sections of memoirs.

Send complete manuscript.

Length: 1,500-5,000 words.

Payment: $50-$125; more for commissioned work.

For more information, visit