Hope by Grier Cooper (Giveaway)

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Indigo is living the life she’s always imagined at the famed New York School of Ballet. Or is she? Although she hopes she’ll be chosen for the company, her ballet teachers aren’t talking and their silence is confusing.

When Indigo is singled out for a coveted solo she feels her dreams are finally within reach, until she finds out she’s dancing with Felipe Gonzalez, the school’s smolderingly hot rising star. In the days that follow, Indigo questions everything she thought was true and finds herself making surprising choices.

After a fateful piece of paper reveals the truth, Indigo must ask herself the hardest question of all: can she take control of her own future to create the life she wants?

Excerpt:

Someone grabs my elbow firmly and I turn to find the new guy leading me to get a spot in line. I scowl at him and then at my elbow. “Um…hi? That’s my elbow.”

“You do not wish to dance?” he says, eyes wide. His accent is silvery, melodic. Also hot.

“Um, no–I mean yes–I mean, you’re grabbing my elbow a little too tightly.”

He drops it like he’s been scalded, holding up both palms in defense. A stray lock of brown hair curls along his temple. “My apologies. Sometimes I forget myself.”

I look at him as I try to appraise whether or not he’s making fun of me, but his face is unreadable. Also I can’t look at it for long or I might get hypnotized. “Riiight,” I say.

We wait in silence, watching the other dancers ahead of us. When we reach the front of the line I see our two reflections–dark and light–in the mirrors that run along the entire front wall of the studio and decide they are complementary. At least it’s nice to have a tall partner for a change; my opportunity to dance with someone my size is limited because I dwarf several of the other boys in the room.

I start to move and feel his hands firmly on my hips. His breath warms the back of my neck and I feel myself flush. Normally I’d take a glimpse in the mirror to make sure my alignment is perfect, but I don’t dare. For reasons I don’t want to admit to myself, I feel nervous and jittery. We face each other and he offers his hand as I come into arabesque. He starts the slow promenade and I chance a quick glimpse at his face. He smiles and I catch my breath. I switch my gaze over to his shoulder and notice that my palm is slick with sweat. I’m so embarrassed I feel heat in the tips of my ears. I pray my face isn’t bright red.

He slides a hand around my waist for the dip and I close my eyes. “Relax,” he says into my ear. “I’ve got you.”

Guest post: You Never Forget Your First Love by Grier Cooper

New York City has long been associated with glamour and all of the perks that come with a big city lifestyle; it’s also one of the most major hubs in the world for the arts, which means anyone who’s serious about a dance career knows they need to be there. I came to New York City when I was fourteen, leaving my home, my family and my friends behind after I received an invitation to become a full-time student at the School of American Ballet. I’d already spent the past two summers commuting into the city everyday to attend the Summer Intensive at the School of American Ballet, but it was thrilling to take the next step with my ballet career and move to New York. For the next four years, I lived and breathed ballet in the Big City, with all of its perks and challenges.

I had a lot to figure out at first, like how the city was laid out (did Madison come after Park Avenue, or was it the other way around?) and which bus went where. I had to find a way to squeeze school into my busy ballet schedule (I spent a lot of time running back and forth multiple times per day across the half-mile between school and ballet) and finding a place to live that was both convenient and affordable was even more challenging (think lots and lots of roommates). But eventually I fine-tuned all the details and my life existed in a one-mile radius on the Upper West Side, with Lincoln Center and the School of American Ballet at the heart of it all.

Those years in New York were an incredible time of growth for me, both as a dancer and as a human being, a pivotal period that shaped so much of who I am today. There were fun discoveries, like finding the best breakfast spots (especially the delicious super-sized muffins at the deli two blocks from my apartment), trying coffee for the first time (hated it), and exploring the city with friends during rare free moments. Mostly, there was a lot of work, both in ballet class and the rest of my waking hours (school, Pilates strengthening classes, homework, sewing pointe shoes…). Most of all, it was a glorious inspiration to walk past Lincoln Center most days and dream about dancing with New York City Ballet some day. Occasionally I got to attend performances of New York City Ballet when I worked at the gala events. Those evenings, everything in life felt magical. Wealthy patrons shimmered in exquisite gowns, the top dancers of New York City glittered like the stars they were, and the Lincoln Center fountain sprayed liquid diamonds all night long.

When I started writing the Indigo Ballet Series, I knew these were things I wanted to share with readers. Even though it’s been many years since I experienced that part of my life, most of it lives on in my memory in crystal-clear detail. There were a few things I needed to clarify, however, so while I was in New York City a few years ago I took the time to revisit the Upper West Side and see the places where I spent my teens. I walked the halls of the School of American Ballet (now in a completely different building than it was in my day), photographed my old apartment buildings and other landmarks I remembered and walked around Lincoln Center. The area is a little glitzier than it used to be, but a lot of it remains the same.

They say you never forget your first love. I suppose that’s why New York lives on in my heart.

Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00LPUJWSK

Barnes and Noble: www.barnesandnoble.com/c/grier-cooper

Grier began ballet lessons at age five and left home at fourteen to study at the School of American Ballet in New York. She has performed on three out of sevenHope Author IndigoDreams continents with companies such as San Francisco Ballet, Miami City Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet, totaling more than thirty years of experience as a dancer, teacher and performer.

She writes and blogs about dance in the San Francisco Bay Area and has interviewed and photographed a diverse collection dancers and performers including Clive Owen, Nicole Kidman, Glen Allen Sims and Jessica Sutta. She is the author of the Indigo Dreams ballet fiction series for young adults and The Daily Book of Photography.

website: http://www.griercooper.com

 

Twitter: http://twitter.com/griercooper

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/griercooper

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/grier-cooper/1a/63/357/

Instagram: https://instagram.com/griercooper/

Grier Cooper will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn host.

Enter to win a $20 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

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The Search for Primary Emotions by Peggy Kruger Tietz, Author of Yell and Shout Cry and Pout: A Kid’s Guide to Feelings

Yell and Shout 2Yell and Shout, Cry and Pout: A Kid’s Guide to Feelings is an essential guidebook for adults in steering children through the confusing behaviors that emotions evoke.  When you understand the purpose of emotions, behavior becomes understandable.  Each of the eight emotions is clearly defined thorough vignettes and illustrations, keeping both adult and child captivated, thus creating an opportune time for discussion. By recognizing that all humans experience these emotions throughout their lives, the book provides a true sense of comfort. Emotions are not to be shunned, but rather embraced and explained to provide a positive development environment for all children.

For More Information

  • Yell and Shout Cry and Pout is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

The Search for Primary Emotions by Peggy Kruger Tietz

As a psychologist, I have seen, over the years, a lot of families and children.  For many years I did play therapy, where children could act out the things that were bothering them.   I was often struck by the intensity of their feelings, and of their enthusiasm to express them in that setting.  Often their play mirrored what was happening in their lives.  As I got to know the kids, I could share with their parents ways that they could help their kids express themselves at home.   Often this meant helping parents get comfortable with their own emotions and become more aware of what attitudes about emotions they were sending to their kids.  It was not uncommon to find that parents had certain emotions they really didn’t want their kids to express.   Not surprisingly these disallowed emotions were exactly the ones being expressed in the play room.

Wanting to be more helpful to parents, I often recommended books, but not infrequently had trouble finding exactly what I was looking for.  There were good books about a specific feeling, or books about a day filled with many feelings, but none about all our primary feelings.  And none really explained the purpose of each of those primary feelings.   I was disappointed because I had a clear idea of what I wanted and what might be helpful to the parents I was working with.

So I was prompted to start researching and thinking seriously about creating the book I was envisioning.  I wanted the book to be simple and educational.  I wanted it to be fun and full of stories and illustrations that kids could relate to.  I wanted it to include interactive questions so kids could talk about their own emotions while reading the book.

None of this was as simple as I thought.  First there was no common agreement about which emotions were primary.  I ended us using Paul Ekman’s research which was exactly what Peter Docter, artistic director of Inside Out did.  For artistic reasons Docter only used five emotions and I ended up with eight: the six Paul Ekman found to be cross-culturally valid, and two more that his student, Dacher Keltner considered primary.

I was also surprised at how much work it took to be clear about the description of each emotion.  Initially Fear and Anger looked a lot alike, and I had to go back and do more research until I understood how they were different.

I also had to pull together a lot of information to create the examples of situations that most commonly trigger each emotion.  I initially created shapes for each emotion, but found that cumbersome; instead, I chose a color to identify and express each emotion.  All in all, I’m very pleased that the book turned out to be packed with useful information, and that parents and kids have found it fun and useful.Peggy Kruger Tietz

Dr. Peggy Kruger Tietz is a licensed psychologist and maintains a private practice in Austin, Texas.  She sees a wide range of children with normal developmental problems as well as children who have experienced trauma.  Her Ph.D is in developmental psychology from Bryn Mawr College.  Before entering private practice Dr. Tietz treated children in multiple settings, such as family service agencies and foster care.  Dr. Tietz, trained at the Family Institute of Philadelphia, and then taught there.   She specializes in seeing children individually, as well as, with their families.   She has advanced training in Play Therapy as well as being a certified practitioner of EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, for children and adults).   She has conducted workshops on parenting, sibling relationships, and emotional literacy. 

Her latest book is Yell and Shout Cry and Pout: A Kid’s Guide to Feelings.

For More Information

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A Writer’s Inspiration by Subhash Kommuru, Author of Chatur

Chatur-CoverCHATUR is a hilarious and entertaining picture book written in Hindi (also with Hindi phonetics) for kids.

CHATUR is a wise laundry man. MAND is a loyal, reliable, albeit sluggish, partner in Chatur’s trade. He is a lazy donkey whose mantra is “Na Na Na hum to aaram karenge!”

Chatur’s ambition and Mand’s attitude doesn’t blend well. So Chatur comes up with a wise plan to reverse his fortune. He brings ATAL the elephant to do Mand’s job.

The plan starts out well and it did reverse his fortune substantially, but How?

Chatur(Hindi) is a comical and fun read for kids. It is sure to tickle your funny bones. Bright illustrations are sure to engage readers. Chatur has a humorous theme with a subtle message and young readers not only have a laugh, but towards the end connect with each character and sympathize with them.

The book is written in Hindi script and also in Hindi phonetics to make it easy for everyone to read.

Book Excerpt 

Hindi:

Yeh kahani hai Chatur dhobhi aur mand gadha ki. Aalsi Mand ka naara hai “NaNa hum to aaram karenge” aur Chatur ki nazar sirf taraki par hai. Jab Mand ka tevar chatur ko khatakne laga, to usne dikhai apni chaturai. Kya chatur ko apni chaturai mehnga padega?

English:

This is a story about Chatur, the Dhobhi and Mand the donkey. Chatur is smart and progressive by nature and his Lazy donkey Mand’s answer to any request was “No No No, I gotta take it easy”. Chatur realized that his success is limited by Mand’s attitude, So Chatur thought of a smart idea, will it work or will it hit him back?

A Writer’s Inspiration by Subhash Kommuru

Thank for your giving me the opportunity to share my opinion on your distinctive blog and exceptional readers and besides all the other great authors visiting here. I migrated to US from India and brought with me memories of land rich in culture and beliefs. For as long as me and wife were by ourselves we never took a moment to think about our cultural heritage and our values. But once we had Arya, our son, our perspective changed. He was growing up fast and seeing American culture all around him. That’s when we realized that there is a treasure called “India” which he is not exposed to and will never get to know unless we do something about this. Sure we can take him to local gatherings, temples, celebrate one of two festivals but that simply is not enough. Kids learn a lot from many different channels, One of those most effective channel is books. For Arya any time is story time, no matter how sad or how mad he is a book can always come to rescue.Kommurus-258x300

So that got me into making up stories and morals that we have learned as a kid and narrate those stories to him. But I had to pick up a pen when he started to demand that I tell the same stories over and over again and use same immersive words every single time. So I decided to pick up a pen and start writing something with cultural significance, something that he cannot learn anywhere else and put it on paper so every time I read it will be exactly the same.

Up until I wrote Chatur I have written quite a few stories just for Arya and all of them started to hit a tone or as one would say a style. It was working but I felt like I should challenge myself just a little bit and actually speak what comes to mind and tell stories that are light hearted and hence Chatur. I challenged myself to start to write a story without any objective and see where it takes me. I do have my boundaries clearly defined and that being that I will always write sensible story. So to address that I have to start with a theme that I want to hit and a moral that I want to drive towards but Chatur is reverse process, I started with no objective and just started to have fun page to page once story took shape, then I tightened up the characters and put them into play and made sense of it all to actually have a powerful learning at the end.

So now going forward I am no longer limiting myself, I am presenting lessons that can make a better person, be able to see good from bad, be able to see through evil and understand mechanics. Be able to differentiate right from wrong. But channel will always be an Indian theme.

Title is available at Amazon

Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble

Watch the Book Trailer

Subhash and Sujata hail from India. They migrated to the United States along with their memories of childhood and youth. Now that they are parents, just like every immigrant they crave to introduce their child to the culture and values of their upbringing. Yet it is challenging to teach something while you are in the midst of adjusting to a different culture yourself. Subhash and Sujata both work in different disciplines and have different styles and backgrounds, but it is the upbringing of their son that brings them on the same page. That exact place where they meet is captured and reflected in their stories, where Subhash can express in words, and Sujata can illustrate them beautifully. Where he puts it in black and white, she adds color to it. You get the idea! These stories are their attempt to share a glimpse of their childhood days with their son. He is their inspiration to write short stories that have meaning to them and provide teaching in some shape or form.

Visit Kommuru Books

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Gilded Wings: The Angel Chronicles, Book 2 by Amy Lignor Book Tour and Giveaway

gilded wingsThe Beloved Angel-Warrior Team from Until Next Time Returns!

When Matt and Emily are sent on their second mission they have no idea how truly dark human nature can become…

Emily never wanted to face humans again. With the heartache that went on down below, she’s still trying to figure out how to save souls that don’t deserve saving. The only one she wants to see again is Jason – the young man she fell in love with who became the soulmate she simply can’t forget…

Matt was trained to protect and defend the souls down below. Longing to feel the heartfelt emotions that come from being human, Matt wants nothing more than to have just one life – one chance – to live and love the girl of his dreams…

The powerful team find themselves in a brand new century, living in the Gilded Age of New York City. Emily takes over the body of Anya, a young Russian girl who arrives on Ellis Island after a hideous tragedy. There she meets up with a strangely familiar young man by the name of Drew Parrish, who helps Anya survive in an unknown world of luxury, snobbery and…obsession.

What Anya’s inner angel doesn’t know is that the soul she loves is also back. This time around Jason goes by the name of Max Carrow. Once a quiet and kind boy, he’s now part of the ‘Four Hundred Club,’ and wants nothing more than to be among the most admired as he climbs the shaky ladder of society’s elite.

As two worlds merge, Emily and Matt struggle under the weight of their “Gilded Wings.” Not only will they have to figure out who they should fight to save, but they must also face a romantic choice that could destroy them both.

Read an excerpt

Mitchell Carrow pulled out a chair. “Please sit. We’re all quite looking forward to getting to know you better.”

Anya sat down between the two young children who’d suddenly appeared in the room. She placed napkins in their laps, attempting to catch the egg yolk that was already leaking down the youngest Carrow’s chin. “Sit up,” Anya commanded softly.

Rolling their eyes, the boys squared their shoulders and followed orders.

Mitchell laughed. “See that, son? She’s teaching you better manners already.”

“And what, may I ask, is all the laughter in here?” Hope breezed through the double doors dressed in a beautiful white lace outfit. Her bright white boots were closed with soft pink laces, and a parasol hung over her wrist.

Anya noticed the sudden glow in Mitchell Carrow’s eyes. “Good morning, Hope. Don’t you look lovely today.”

“I look lovely every day, Mitchell. But it certainly is nice to hear it from such a dashing man.”

Anya looked over at Max. Unlike his father, his smile had disappeared at once, as a look of anger sparked in his black eyes. Suddenly he looked like the rude butler’s twin.untilnexttime

So…You Want the Inside ‘Skinny’ on the Warrior? Here Goes…

Hi, I’m Emily. I’m the angel part of this angel/warrior team. And I have to say, when I talk to our creator (no, I mean the writer, not our Creator, creator) I’m always amazed by how many females – and we’re taking teens to grandmothers – want to know about Matthew because they think he’s so great. Well…here are some things you don’t know.

Matthew needs to shower more, especially after we fight in Gabriel’s pit. Even though we’re talking about Heaven, we are still talking about a soul who’s in need of soap and water to make his scent livable again.

team matt

Matthew is also a questioner. Now, I know that you would think I would be, considering the fact that I do it a lot in our stories, but Matthew is the really annoying one. Sometimes he’ll hold his head up, turn his neck back and forth so fast it’s like he’s found something odd to smoke in St. Francis’ field, and he’ll start asking about everything. When he sees a new animal, a new piece of technology, a new wardrobe choice that Mark makes (even though Mark likes the tuxedo the best, he tries on a lot of different outfits), Matthew has to know all about it. He also asks Michael all about the ins and outs of thoughts, magic, reading minds, teleportation – which I still don’t think will ever be invented but, whatever. He even got into this kick recently where he wanted to know about vampires. I’m sure it’s because the library suddenly became full of books about ‘fanged’ creatures, but Matthew wanted the lowdown on whether or not they were real. Turns out, they… Sorry, I forgot, I’m not supposed to give anything away.

Matthew also likes to fight. He’s always throwing himself into the pit to go against Gabe, our teacher. He loves all the swords and shields, and all the ‘ancient’ weapons the best. I think he wants to be King Arthur, or something. But I told him that already happened so he was out of luck.

But…I suppose he learns a lot. His questions and his battles have made him just about the best at this ‘business’ as anyone could possibly be. And the people he’s helped and the jobs he’s done made him the biggest-hearted person I’ve ever met. And, yes…I suppose he’s handsome, if you like that sweet/oddly rugged warrior thing and the bright blue eyes. Well…I’ll give him that one…the eyes are amazing. Anyone can be drawn into those eyes in seconds.

The loyalty and honesty he has are large benefits too, you could say. He is so loyal to his job, his friends, his decisions and…to me. I know people got mad at me in our first life when Jason became my first love, but I really don’t have any idea about soul mates. I mean, we’re taught about them all the time, but I’m still trying to figure out how it would be possible to have two?

team jason

Anyway…yes, Matthew is a hero. And, yes, he’s definitely the guy you want on your side. But you may want to bring duct tape with you or have one of those iPod things so that you can put it in you ear and drown him out after a while.

Oh, and in Gilded Wings, Matthew becomes even more of a warrior than what you…or I, thought he was.

Until Next Time, Everybody,
Amy

thankyou

eBook
ISBN: 9780985792220
ISBN: 9781301335541
Pages: 275
Release: November 1, 2012

Gilded Wings: The Angel Chronicles, Book 2 buy links:

Kindle buy link – $2.99
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009K4KUMK?tag=tributebooks-20


Nook buy link – $4.95
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/gilded-wings-amy-lignor/1113106076?ean=2940015537970

iBookstore buy link – $4.99
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Smashwords buy link – $4.99
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PDF buy link – $4.95
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Until Next Time: The Angel Chronicles, Book 1 buy links:

Kindle buy link – $2.99
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0071LLL2M/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=tributebooks-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B0071LLL2M

Nook buy link – $4.95
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iBookstore buy link – $4.99
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Smashwords buy link – $4.99

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/126226?ref=tributebooks

PDF buy link – $4.95
https://www.payloadz.com/go/sip?id=1554857

amylignorAmy Lignor began her career at Grey House Publishing in northwest Connecticut where she was the Editor-in-Chief of numerous educational and business directories.

Now she is a published author of several works of fiction. The Billy the Kid historical The Heart of a Legend; the thriller, Mind Made; and the adventure novel, Tallent & Lowery 13.

She is also the owner of The Write Companion, a company that offers help and support to writers through a full range of editorial services from proofreading and copyediting to ghostwriting and research. As the daughter of a research librarian, she is also an active book reviewer.

Currently, she lives with her daughter, mother and a rambunctious German Shepherd named Reuben, in the beautiful state of New Mexico.

Gilded Wings Twitter hashtag:

#GildedWings

Gilded Wings Goodreads page:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15725493-the-angel-chronicles-book-2

Until Next Time Goodreads page:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13319888-until-next-time

The Angel Chronicles web site:

http://www.the-angel-chronicles.com

The Angel Chronicles Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/The-Angel-Chronicles/168932393209654

Amy Lignor’s Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/alignor

Amy Lignor’s Twitter:

https://twitter.com/#!/HelloWritersAmy

Amy Lignor’s Website:

http://www.thewritecompanion.com/

Amy Lignor’s Blog:

http://hellowriters.wordpress.com/

Amy Lignor’s GoodReads:

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5222068

Tribute Books website:

http://www.tribute-books.com

Tribute Books Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Archbald-PA/Tribute-Books/171628704176

Tribute Books Twitter:

http://www.twitter.com/TributeBooks

Visit http://the-angel-chronicles.blogspot.com/2012/10/gilded-wings-blog-tour-schedule.html for your chance to enter and win great prizes:

  • 50 gifted Apple iBookstore versions of the “Until Next Time: The Angel Chronicles, Book 1” ebook
  • $10 Amazon.com gift card
  • t-shirt featuring Matt on the “Gilded Wings” cover
  • t-shirt featuring Emily on the “Until Next Time” cover
  • poster (12″ x 18″) featuring Matt on the “Gilded Wings” cover
  • poster (12″ x 18″) featuring Emily on the “Until Next Time” cover

Read along at these other blogs!

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The Templeton Twins Have An Idea Winner!

 

Sorry I am so late in announcing this. Life has gotten crazy the past couple of months. It’s almost over, though, since the writers conference is Saturday and the Lil Diva’s cheerleading and the Lil Princess’ soccer will be over at the end of the month.

Congratulations goes out to Alice. She won a copy of The Templeton Twins Have an Idea by Ellis Weiner. I’ll email her now.

Thanks to all who participated.

Guest Blogger: Ellis Weiner, Author of The Templeton Twins Have An Idea (GIVEAWAY)

Suppose there were 12-year-old twins, a boy and girl named John and Abigail Templeton. Let’s say John was pragmatic and played the drums, and Abigail was theoretical and solved cryptic crosswords. Now suppose their father was a brilliant, if sometimes confused, inventor. And suppose that another set of twins—adults—named Dean D. Dean and Dan D. Dean, kidnapped the Templeton twins and their ridiculous dog in order to get their father to turn over one of his genius (sort of) inventions. Yes, I said kidnapped. Wouldn’t it be fun to read about that? Oh please. It would so. Luckily for you, this is just the first in a series perfect for boys and girls who are smart, clever, and funny (just like the twins), and enjoy reading adventurous stories (who doesn’t?!).

Hearty Har Har

Do funny books have to have “heart”?  I’m seriously asking.

In entertainment, “heart” is a term of art meaning sentiment, warmth, poignancy, and feeling.  It’s most often used in Hollywood, in script development for television and movies.  “It’s got laughs, but it needs more heart,” is the standard producer’s criticism, based on the assumption that large audiences need to feel something nice in addition to getting laughs.  “We need to care about the hero,” they say, even with regard to the silliest comedies.

In fact, in the arena of big studio movies, you’re not going to get your comedy made without a touching, “redeeming” heart moment at the climax.  No matter how raucous or “wicked” the comedy, the protagonist is going to come to a serious emotional confrontation before it’s all over, either with his/her antagonist or his/her self—even if it’s acted by Will Ferrell playing a completely unself-aware doofus.

There is nothing wrong with this.  It’s not (or, at least, it needn’t be) particularly dishonest, manipulative, or sentimentally phony.  Still, many comedy writers chafe at it, fearing—with cause—that a script heading toward a heart-rich climax will have to pull its comedic punches en route, lest the heart moment seem arbitrary and unearned.

Television provides a little more leeway; you can, and actually have to, provide less heart per episode.  A season of thirteen weekly emotional climaxes can, especially to a modern audience more emotionally sophisticated than ever, seem labored and forced.  Famously, when Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld were creating Seinfeld, David’s controlling aesthetic was: “No hugging, no learning.”  “No heart” was implicit.

But the above examples deal with adult (and teenage) entertainment.  What about books for younger people—for, say, children ages 9-13?  I have no idea whether a climax characterized by heart is necessary or not.

In The Templeton Twins Have an Idea, the climax of the action occurs when the bad guy is (literally) shot down and, with the other bad guy, flees in disgrace.  But the story itself has one more turn, which by any reckoning can be called a “heart” moment.  It deals with the twins realizing why their father felt it necessary to move to a new place.

I wrote that section because it felt like a legitimate aspect of an “origin story,” the first in a series.  And one or two reviewers praised it as “touching.”  I liked that.

But constitutionally, I don’t like heart—or, rather, I don’t mind reading it, but it doesn’t come naturally to me, the way parody and exaggeration does.  So recently, when I wrote the second in the series, I assumed I had to include a heart-ish moment at the end, and did so more out of a sense of obligation than anything else.

The funny part, though, was that, either because I was merely being dutiful (i.e., my heart wasn’t in it), or the story simply didn’t sustain it, my editor asked that it be cut.  As I recall, her hand-written comment about the scene was, “MEH.”  I was quite happy to agree.  What remains is a small exchange between the twins and their father, in which he praises them for doing something nice for a friend.

As heart moments go, it’s a small one.  In fact it barely qualifies.  In any case, I’m not so sure kids need a “touching” moment to help them “care” about the protagonist.  Once they commit to reading a story, they care plenty.  I’ll be interested to hear how readers react to the happy, but relatively heartless, conclusion of the second book.

Visit http://www.scribd.com/doc/94086414/The-Templeton-Twins to read a chapter excerpt from The Templeton Twins Have An Idea.

Stop by and pester the Narrator at http://templetontwins.tumblr.com/

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Guest Blogger Geoff Herbach, Author of Nothing Special

Felton Reinstein thought he had it all–a great girlfriend, an athletic scholarship in the bag, and football friends he could totally count on. Wrong  Like an elephant storming a house of cards, it all comes crashing down. And it’s Felton’s fault. Turns out his little brother has taken an impromptu road trip to Florida (aka desperate flight from all the talented people) to make a bid for stardom (aka fronting a hotel rock band with escapees from a retirement community). What’s a big brother to do but help pick up the pieces, even if it means giving up all the status, all the glory and once again facing a life of nothing special.

Book Boy Dream by Geoff Herbach

Stupid Fast has been out for almost a year. It’s been really great. I’ve traveled a bit, met lots of writers and librarians and bloggers. Best of all, though, I’ve met “elusive” teen boy readers – both through my blog, email and in person. Good stuff.

I do have some concerns, though.

A really smart 16-year-old from Brooklyn wrote to tell me how much he loved Stupid Fast. He also said, “I hate books, always have.” What? A freshman at a high school I visited the other day told me: “I only like two books. Stupid Fast and this other one I can’t remember.” Okay… I have had similar exchanges again and again in the last year. It reinforces the reason I wanted to write Stupid Fast in the first place: there is a good-sized subset of kids who don’t have enough books to read. I was that kind of kid.

When I was fourteen-years-old, I played sports and played in the orchestra, tried out for plays and did okay in school. On paper I looked like a normal kid, maybe even a pretty high achieving kid.

Here’s the truth, though: I was all crazy on the inside. I was all like: “I should shower again because… is there a weird smell? What are you looking at? I think Kerri and Audrey are laughing at me. I hate them! My shirt doesn’t fit. What’s that smell? I love Jenny. I love her. She hates me! What’s wrong with my shirt? There’s definitely something wrong with my ear. What are you looking at? What’s that weird smell?” ETC.

Crazy. But… here’s the truth: not abnormal.

Having taught writing to college kids for the last six years, I know something for a fact: Almost everyone (male or female) felt like a dork as a teen. They write essays about it. But, boy culture puts a premium on hiding the truth. The girls in my classes are better at expressing it. Many have read books for years that help them make sense of things. Boys, who need the help most, have very few books that address their concerns. A few years ago, my son decided fantasy no longer spoke to him, then he read a few books that did then stopped reading, because he could find nothing that spoke to him.

I had a similar experience. When I was fourteen, I read. A lot. If I hadn’t read Catcher in the Rye my life would’ve been much worse. Holden Caufield’s thoughts were so familiar to me. Even if they were a little terrifying, and he was on the edge, I knew that I wasn’t alone. I began to devour anything with a male protagonist. The more gritty, the more down to earth, the better (this was a big change, because up until that point, I pretty much read fantasy). Vision Quest, The Chocolate War, I am the Cheese, A Separate Peace… But soon, I ran out of material. I read some adult titles, but slowed down and almost stopped.

The publishing industry believes that boys don’t read, so they don’t publish books for them. My anecdotal evidence contradicts this belief to some extent. The boys I’m meeting enjoyed reading books that were meant for them, that directly address their way of thinking – which isn’t always pretty, but isn’t dumb or simple, either.

I’m on a mission, I guess. I want to write good stories aimed squarely at teen boys. In a decade, I want to have dudes come up to me and list ten books they love. The girls I’m meeting are able to do this! Girls are so lucky to have dozens of great books coming every month that speak to their experience.

If you’re a writer, maybe think about writing for boys? If you’re a reader, ask a librarian what’s new that speaks to boys. They’ll know (because there aren’t many titles). Maybe we’ll build a bigger market for these young men who need material so much!

Yeah, that’s my dream.

Blogger’s note: Do you think Geoff has a valid point? Is there a lack of material out there for teen boys? Do you have any recommendations?

Wee Wisconsin boy, Geoff Herbach wanted to play for the Green Bay Packers or join The Three Stooges.  His tight hamstrings left him only writing.  Now he teaches at Minnesota State, Mankato where he blows his students’ minds with tales of football and comedy glory, none of which are true. Visit www.geoffherbach.com.