Thanksgiving Crazes: 7 Bizarre Real-life Hunger Games Facts

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

By Dale Spencer, @DaleSpencerwork

Thanksgiving is about spending time with friends and family where people sometimes enjoy good entertainment. Recently, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 movie, has stirred up some interesting news like #MyHungerGames. Below I have listed 7 bizarre real-life Hunger Games facts. 

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Worldwide Horrors

Friday, October 31st, 2014

By Dale Spencer, @DaleSpencerwork

I’ve just recovered from months of a pneumonia hardship, making it my worst horror for 2014. Now that I’m fully recovered, I’ve been thinking about worldwide horrors—the things lurking at night, haunting children’s dreams—the monsters. The most helpful monster listings (covered on many sites) I’ve provided for you monster enthusiast and/or writers searching for some horror inspiration.

 

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First Half of 2014: Young Audience Book Deals that are Published

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

BlankChart

By Dale Spencer, @DaleSpencerwork

I’ve been keeping track of daily book deals for Children to New Adult (NA) on Publisher’s Marketplace. The children’s category consists of the breakdown of three separate categories: Children (under age 8), Middle Grade (MG) ages 8-12, and Young Adult (YA) ages 13-17. The results are quite interesting. Which category do you think had the most book deals with publishers for the first half of 2014? 

Check out the results…

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YA Authors on YouTube

Monday, June 30th, 2014

By Dale Spencer, @DaleSpencerwork

YouTube is a strange and magical place where the talented can showcase their amazing skills such as putting on their pants with no hands. No really. There’s actually a video of a guy using his lower body to put on a pair of pants. Crazy, I know! See him in action below: 

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YA Book Diversity

Monday, May 26th, 2014

DifferentPeopleRaisingHandsWithDiversity

By Dale Spencer, @DaleSpencerwork

Over the past several years, there have been recent discussions on the lack of diversity in children’s books.

I find the topic to be interesting since most of the children being born in the U.S. today are minorities, including children born of mixed backgrounds. There’s a document that contains facts related to this trend called, Minority Population Growth— The New Boom, An Analysis of America’s Changing Demographics. It contains an abundance of charts, stats, and colorful pictures that ought to keep you entertained. I’ve listed some other resources below  that discuss how this trend is impacting the publishing industry where YA book diversity is in high demand.

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2014 YA Movies Coming Soon…

Monday, April 28th, 2014

By Dale Spencer, @DaleSpencerwork

Some of the best YA movies are adaptations from novels. In the first half of 2014, Vampire Academy and Divergent were released in February and March. To my knowledge, there are only four YA movies left — the most popular is the box office hit, Hunger Games: Mockingjay. I can’t wait to see this one since I’ve been wondering how they plan to split the last book in the trilogy into two movies. It will be coming to a theater near you November 21, 2014. The ones I’ve listed below seem like worthy contenders, too. The first one is a contemporary like The Perks of Being a Wallflower, the second one is a popular dystopian from the 90’s, and the third is sure to keep your eyes glued to the screen with its nonstop action. I recommend reading all three book before seeing their movies.

Three YA Movie Adaptations to See This Year:

TheFaultInOurStarsTheGiverTheMazeRunner …Continue Reading

Being Divergent Rules!

Monday, March 24th, 2014

Brain Globe

By Dale Spencer, @DaleSpencerwork

Being divergent rules! The YA dystopian film, Divergent, just came out last weekend. After reading the books in the series and watching the movie, I found myself reflecting on all of those crazy personality tests. If you’re more into searching the stars for answers, try this astrology site, www.horoscope.com. Then again, there are always the fun ones from BuzzFeed such as Which “Hunger Games” Character Are You?. Or Which “Game Of Thrones” Character Are You? My results were Haymitch and the dragon tamer. Funny. I know. To entertain you more, I wanted to share three well-known tests.

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Spring Break Travel Trends 2014

Monday, February 24th, 2014

SpringBreak2014By Dale Spencer, @DaleSpencerwork

I’ve noticed a recent trend in bad cold weather jokes referencing the Disney movie, Frozen. Check out this parody: YouTube vid, Just Don’t Go. I’m sure there are plenty of other fun ones out there. I especially find the South versus the North snow day jokes in the US to be hilarious. I can’t wait for spring to arrive, which is why I wanted to discuss this year’s spring break. So, whether you need a getaway to work, relax, and/or party, I think these 2014 spring break travel trends below may interest you.

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A Few Quick Writing Tips

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Writing Journal

By Dale Spencer, @DaleSpencerwork

After writing the first draft and its revisions, it’s always good to double check for the minor grammatical changes. I’ve listed a few quick writing tips (or US grammar rules) with examples below that are sometimes…forgettable. These rules may vary depending on the situation or country.

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Best of 2013

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

Christmas in the NeighborhoodBy Dale Spencer, @DaleSpencerwork

Since it’s the holidays and 2013 is almost over, I want to share some of the end of the year lists for best books, movies, and music. So, if you’re doing any last minute shopping, searching for ideas, or just want to see what’s out there because you know you’re receiving gift certificates, then check out the links below. Of course, it’s always good to use your own judgement when determining what’s best for you or someone else.  …Continue Reading

A Thankful Writer: Face-to-Face Writing Advice

Monday, November 18th, 2013

FallTrees

By Dale Spencer, @DaleSpencerwork

What are some things as a reader and/or writer that make you thankful? Everyone is different, but there are five face-to-face things that I enjoy and find helpful. I’m a thankful writer because of the following:
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Tricks or Treats?

Monday, October 14th, 2013

OrangePumpkinsBy Dale Spencer, @DaleSpencerwork

Would you like tricks as in writing tips and/or treats as in a YA hardcover giveaway contest?

Pick one:

Tricks

or

Treats?

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Top 10 Favorite YA Heroines

Monday, September 16th, 2013

By Dale Spencer, @DaleSpencerwork

This list only includes Young Adult (YA) heroines of books written within this decade (2010-2013) that I’ve enjoyed reading so far. I’m sure there are plenty of other books that ought to make this list. Feel free to offer any recommendations. 

Here’s my top 10 favorite YA heroines list (in no particular order):

1. Courier’s Daughter Series by C.J. Redwine: Rachel Adams

                  Defiance, a book written by C.J. Redwine. Published by Balzer + Bray and sold by HarperCollins Publishers.   Deception book written by C.J. Redwine. Published by Balzer + Bray and sold by HarperCollins Publishers.

This redheaded heroine is supposed to be obedient and well-mannered in this dystopian world where the women are expected to have a male protector at all times. These women are given few rights and privileges. When most girls were playing with dolls, Rachel was training and learning to fight, survive, and hunt in the wild. She’s a feisty warrior who’s courageous, impulsive, and loyal.

2. Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth: Beatrice Prior (AKA Tris)

Divergent written by Veronica Roth. Publisher is Katherine Tegen Books and Sold by HarperCollins Publishers.   Insurgent written by Veronica Roth. Publisher is Katherine Tegen Books and Sold by HarperCollins Publishers.   Allegiant written by Veronica Roth. Publisher is Katherine Tegen Books and Sold by HarperCollins Publishers.

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The Blurred Lines Between Science Fiction and Fantasy

Monday, August 12th, 2013

Image reveals science fiction and fantasy elements as origami dinosaurs watch a comet fall from the sky

By Dale Spencer, @DaleSpencerwork

What’s the difference between science fiction and fantasy? It’s hard to tell sometimes — the boundary lines between science fiction and fantasy can sometimes blur.

A classic example of this is the novel A Wrinkle in Time, which combines scientific theories (such as quantum physics and wormholes) with elements of Christian fantasy along with witches and fortune tellers using crystal balls.

Another good sci-fi/fantasy book example that’s trending in popularity is Cinder, a Cinderella retelling, where sci-fi aspects of cybernetic organisms (A.K.A. cyborgs) and futuristic high tech exists. It’s also fantasy because of the mysterious “Lunar” mind control powers along with the beast-like mutants.

To better understand the difference between science fiction and fantasy, let’s examine some of their definitions.  …Continue Reading

Story Archetypes

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Story Cubes is a pocket-sized creative story generator, providing hours of imaginative play for all agesBy Dale Spencer, @DaleSpencerwork

In stories, one of my favorite areas to explore is archetypes. So I’ve decided to reveal a few archetypes found in my YA trilogy.

According to Britannica.com, an archetype means, “… original pattern…in literary criticism, [it’s] a primordial image, character, or pattern of circumstances that recurs throughout literature and thought consistently enough to be considered a universal concept or situation…The term was adopted and popularized by literary critics from the writings of the psychologist Carl Jung, who formulated a theory of a ‘collective unconscious.’ For Jung, the varieties of human experience have somehow been genetically coded and transferred to successive generations. These primordial image patterns and situations evoke startlingly similar feelings in both reader and author.” Of course there are other definitions of the word “archetype.” If you would like to explore more of these meanings, check out Webster’s Dictionary.

Speaking of Mr. Jung…according to changingminds.org, Carl Jung’s 7 story archetypes are:

  • The hero: Rescuer, champion
  • The maiden: Purity, desire
  • The wise old man: Knowledge, guidance
  • The magician: Mysterious, powerful
  • The earth mother: Nature
  • The witch or sorceress: Dangerous
  • The trickster: Deceiving, hidden

Six of these story archetypes exist in my trilogy where some are metaphorical while others are more literal. My 6 archetypes with brief description include: …Continue Reading

YA Trends 2013

Monday, June 10th, 2013

2013 Young Adult (YA) popular books to read

By Dale Spencer, @DaleSpencerwork

Do you know what’s popular in Young Adult (YA) fiction?

There are lots of opinions on the subject. According to Sarah Fisher at Pepperdine Magazine, “Vampires are done…After vampires, werewolves, and supernaturally strong girls saving a postapocalyptic planet had dominated pop culture since the late 2000s, publishers considered them at the point of being exhausted in the young adult market. What they really wanted were contemporary stories about angels.” Keep in mind, there are always exceptions to the rule where the trends are constantly changing. I’m sure some of these types of YA books will continue to sell.

When YALSA’s President, Jack Martin was asked about the ongoing trends, he said, “It seems like dystopian romances are still on the rise as well as alternate histories and even retellings of fairy tales…Manga is also still huge with teens everywhere.” He also mentioned that supernatural romances and zombies are still popular and that YA books are being advertised to adults more often.

Here’s a good top 10 list from Scholastic’s Editors on the YA trends for 2013: …Continue Reading

Did you know great dreams can inspire amazing action adventure stories?

Friday, May 10th, 2013

Dream chasing is not for weak hearted but for the determined By Dale Spencer, @DaleSpencerwork

“I confess…I’ve had an epic dream and I can’t stop writing about it.”–Dale Spencer

My writing started with an unforgettable dream, a rare dream type I’ve experienced once. What is this dream you ask? Well, it goes by many names. You could call it a cosmic dream, epic dream, great dream, numinous dream, vivid dream, etc. For now, let’s call it an epic dream because it’s the most common name, and it sounds adventurous. According to Webster’s Dictionary, the word “epic” can be defined as, “extending beyond the usual or ordinary especially in size or scope.” And the word “dream” can be defined as “a series of thoughts, images, or emotions occurring during sleep.”  When I researched the epic dream terminology, I learned that it’s considered a sleep disorder. The Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation states, “epic dreaming [is] a condition where patients report having extremely vivid dreams throughout the night typically involving constant activity.” Keep in mind that anything that’s not considered “normal” is a disorder, so don’t worry if you do have this type of dream. It’s normal to have one of them. According to Dream Dictionary, “Most case studies have showed us that everybody on earth will experience at least one or more epic type dreams in his/her life span.” So take my advice: if you have an epic dream, try your best to write out everything you remember. They make good stories to share. …Continue Reading