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1. imaginary portrait - colour study

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2. An Underwhelmed/Meh Letter To Public Enemies by Ann Aguirre...

From Becca PUBLIC ENEMIES Immortal Game #2 by Ann Aguirre Hardcover: 320 pages Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (August 4th, 2015) Language: English Goodreads | Amazon In Book 2 of the Immortal Game trilogy, Edie must learn the rules of the game . . . and then play better than anyone else.Through a Faustian bargain, Edie Kramer has been pulled into the dangerous world of the Immortal Game, where

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3. Guest Post: On Finding the Right Agent

Hey all! It’s Kat here with Pub Crawl guest Mary Weber. Take it away, Mary! :)

 

Mary Weber bio pic“It only takes one yes.”

Chances are if you’re an author (or even know an author) in search of an agent, you’ve heard those words. And I’ll be honest, after 87 agent rejections, I’ve heard that phrase more times than I ever want to again – heck, I’ve even SAID those words to other writer friends as they’ve walked their own agent-search journeys.

Except now a few years beyond those 87 rejections, with two books pubbed and a publisher I love (Harper), and having had three agenty relationships, I’ve come to the conclusion the “it only takes one yes” stance isn’t exactly true.

I mean, technically it DOES take only one yes. But the agent from whom that yes appears is infinitely more important than the yes itself. Because it comes from a person – someone with personality, feelings, opinions, and skills – and it’s an agreement to enter a partnership with you, a person who also has feelings, personality, opinions, and skills.

You’ve probably heard it said an author/agent relationship is rather like a marriage. You hope it’s long-term, compatible, and that you’ll have each other’s backs through both the hard and awesome. And in some ways, yes, it is like that. It’s also a business and a valuable career-growing game-changer, and if I’ve learned anything at all it’s that it matters more who you walk the pub adventure with than the adventure itself.

Which is where it comes down to trusting one’s gut.

Because the conclusion I’ve come to is this: There are amazing agents out there just like there are amazing authors and business partners and friends. There are agents who rep loads of New York Times bestsellers, and agents who prefer to simply keep a list of personal clients. There are agents who let you call them in the middle of the night and there are those who keep very tight office hours. There are those building their own new careers and there are agents who’ve walked the trenches for twenty years.

And THEY’RE ALL INCREDIBLE (okay, for the most part. Just like authors and random nice people are also truly wonderful for the most part). They’re passionate and focused and they know more about the pub world than half of us could ever hope to.

But that doesn’t mean they’re the right fit for you. Or for me.

When I needed to find a new agent for the third time (my first was AMAZING but sadly passed away, the second didn’t rep YA), I’ll be honest with you – I was a bit overwhelmed. Until I sat down and made a list. Not a “what an agent needs to offer me” type list, but a list about me. My quirks, my preferences, and particularly my weaknesses. It quickly became clear the type of agent I needed (and the types of agents I’d probably drive batty because I am like the chatty BFF of the pub world who’d adore nothing more than to host publisher sleepovers and pedicure parties if I could).

It also became obvious what strengths I bring to the table (hey, free pedicures, people).

With those notes in mind, and my published debut in hand, I began asking about other author’s agents (and yes I was terrified – what if I got the wrong fit?!). Just like my first go-around, it wasn’t a fast process. It took months until the conversations naturally led where I needed them to go and for my gut to be the one saying yes rather than just my flattered heart.

At that point, I chose to go with a darling, deal-maker of a lady – someone who was just as interested in building a relationship of trust and business and friendship together over the long haul as I was. Someone who saw writing as bigger than just a business on both our parts. And someone whose strengths seriously covered my weaknesses. (Also, it doesn’t hurt that she’s all about the pedicure idea too, ahem.)

And now, sitting here typing this and reflecting back over that season?

I can truly say I could not be happier with my gut decision. Or with her “yes.”

Mary Weber is a ridiculously uncoordinated girl plotting to take over make-believe worlds through books, handstands, and imaginary throwing knives. In her space time, she feeds unicorns, sings ‘80s songs to her three muggle children, and ogles her husband who looks strikingly like Wolverine., They live in California, which is perfect for stalking LA bands, Joss Whedon, and the ocean.

Visit her website at: MaryWeber.com

Twitter: @Mchristineweber

Facebook: MaryChristineWeber

Instagram: MaryWeberAuthor

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4. वो प्यार

 

वो प्यार

बहुत बार समझाया था मणि को कि वो तेरे लिए ठीक नही है ठीक नही है … उसे छोड दें … उससे रिश्ता या किसी प्रकार का सम्बंध रखना उचित नही है पर वो ठहरी मणि … हां … मणि मेरी सबसे अच्छी सहेली है हर इंसान की तरह उसमे भी कुछ कमियां हैं जिसे मैं कई बार नजर अंदाज कर देती और कई बार उसे डांट भी देती… पर उसका असर पडता दिखता नही था. उसका उसके प्रति लगाव बढता ही जा रहा था. साल दर साल बीतते जा रहे थे और  मणि का उसके प्रति प्यार और आकर्षण बढता ही जा रहा था.मेरे सामने अक्सर वो उसकी बात छेड देती  तो मैं गुस्से मे तिलमिला जाती और मेरी तिलमिलाहट पर जब वो हंसती तो तो तो … !!!

खैर !!! अभी मणि का फोन आया कि तू अभी आ जा. मैनें उसे हमेशा के लिए छोड दिया है… क्या ??? मै… मुझे … विश्वास नही हुआ… !!! क्या कह रही है दुबारा तो बोला … वो बोले जा रही थी.  हां, आज बहुत सोचा और सोचने के बाद यही फैसला लिया कि उसे छोडना मेरे और मेरे परिवार के लिए सही रहेगा… बस तू जल्दी आ जा… मै बिना समय गवाए मणि के घर भागी.!!

मणि कमरे में थी. घर पर सभी थे. मैं अचानक ठिठक गई. मणि उठ कर बाहर आ गई और मेरा हाथ पकड कर बोली तूने बोला था … और हमेशा ही बोलती थी … गुस्सा भी होती थी.. आज छोड दिया मैने उसे अपनी जिंदगी से दूर कर दिया. बहुत दूर कर दिया. घर पर भी अपना फैसला सुनाया तो सब खुश हैं. उसकी आखें नम थी. बोली बहुत याद आएगी उसकी पर तू साथ देना उसे भूलाने मे मेरी मदद करना…

मै बहुत खुश बहुत ही खुश हूं ..अरे .. आप क्या सोच रहे हैं? किसको छोड दिया मणि ने ?? अरे … ओह क्षमा करें … मैनें तो आपको बताया ही नही … वो क्या है न मणि को बचपन से सुपारी और पान मसाला खाना बहुत पसंद है .. ?? अरे क्या हुआ ??? आप नाराज क्यों हो रहे हैं .. मैं बात नही बदल रही … वही बता रही हूं जो है .. असल में , मणि को सुपारी खाने का बहुत शौक है सारा समय कट कट मुहं ही चलता रहता था. उसके घरवालो ने बहुत समझाया पर नही, अडी हुई थी कि सुपारी खाना छोड ही नही सकती. मैं बोलती थी तो कहती कि शराब सिग्रेट की लत तो है नही .. बेचारी सुपारी ही तो खाती हूं … मैने समझाया कि शरीर को बहुत नुकसान कर सकती है सांस की प्रोब्लम हो सकती है पर किसी की नही सुनी और आज अचानक ये निणर्य… मैं बहुत खुश हूं … अरे .. आप क्या ??? कुछ और सोच रहे थे … देखिए आप जो भी सोच रहे हो पर एक बात जरुर है कि अगर आप भी सुपारी पान मसाला या अन्य का सेवन करते हैं तो प्लीज छोड  दीजिए.. शरीर को बहुत नुकसान पहुंचाते है ये … !!!

अब तो भगवान बस उसे शक्ति दे कि उसे कभी उस की याद न आए … :) अब आप फिर से क्या सोचने लगे !! ह हा हा !! कुछ भी मत समझा कीजिए !!   शुभकामनाएं मणि !!!

The post वो प्यार appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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5. Classic MG Discussion: Trixie Belden #1

Jeepers! It’s time to discuss The Secret of the Mansion, the first book in the classic Trixie Belden mystery series from the 1940s. As always, we do these discussions with the hope that you’ll check out these classics for yourself even if you didn’t have the chance to read them with us, but do be aware that there are spoilers in the chat below. Wendy: I loved Trixie as a kid, so I was very eager to revisit these. I distinctly remember my grade-school self daydreaming about having an almost-twin and wanting desperately to be in a club with secret signals. Kim, I’d forgotten you aren’t a big mystery fan, so I appreciate your forbearance with the occasional one I slip into these readalongs! Kim: I had literally never heard of Trixie Belden before it was suggested for our readalong! Wendy, no worries! I am not usually a huge mystery person but this... Read more »

The post Classic MG Discussion: Trixie Belden #1 appeared first on The Midnight Garden.

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6. Friday Feature: Trail of Secrets Cover Reveal


This week the cover of Trail of Secrets by Laura Wolfe was revealed. Check it out:

Trail of Secrets, by Laura Wolfe
Fire and Ice YA (Coming August/September 2015)

Spending three weeks of her summer at the elite Foxwoode Riding Academy in northern Michigan should have been one of the happiest times of sixteen year-old Brynlei’s life. But from the moment Brynlei arrives at Foxwoode, she can’t shake the feeling she’s being watched. Then she hears the story of a girl who vanished on a trail ride four years earlier. While the other girls laugh over the story of the dead girl who haunts Foxwoode, Brynlei senses that the girl—or her ghost—may be lurking in the shadows.

Brynlei’s quest to reveal the truth interferes with her plan to keep her head down and win Foxwoode’s coveted “Top Rider” award. To make things worse, someone discovers Brynlei’s search for answers and will go to any length to stop her. As Brynlei begins to unravel the facts surrounding the missing girl’s disappearance, she is faced with an impossible choice. Will she protect a valuable secret? Or save a life?

Age level:  13-18
www.AuthorLauraWolfe.com

Check out the trailer:


Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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7. Caine Prize follow-up

       The Caine Prize for African Writing is the leading African short story prize, with a solid track record.
       In the Daily Trust Nathaniel Bivan now looks at the Literary Journey of 5 Nigerian Caine Prize Winners.

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8. Polish Illustrator Nikola Kucharska

skan_2014051909592700 randka 5 okladkaaa michal_bros

Nikola Kucharska Website >>

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9. Crayons, paper, pencils…

Super Turtle (photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery)

Super Turtle (photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery)

Capes are flying in the air at the Deschutes Public Library!

Crayons, paper, pencils are scattered around the room, children are sitting on the floor sharing stories and ideas.  The theme, Super Animals!  What is your Super Animal?  What is your Super Animals’s super power? How will it save the day?

Super Speeding Turtle (photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery)

Super Speeding Turtle (photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery)

As part of  the summer reading program, “Every Hero has a Story,”  children of all ages have been creating Super Animals and bringing them to the library to share.  I love hearing about their super animal power! The Super Turtle is speedy.   The Super Elephant has super water powers and the Super Rainbow Puppy makes mean people nice.  Every day, I receive a new piece of art.  This makes me smile all day long.  The children’s enthusiasm when they share each super animal power and how they will save the day is amazing.  I also love hearing how they created each piece.  Did they use glue? Magazine cut-outs? Paint?  Found objects? Nature? One child created a Super Rainbow Puppy and included flowers, leaves and grass on her canvas.

Super Bunny (photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery

Super Bunny (photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery

One child added beads for eyes and a pipe cleaner for the mouth-Super Bunny!

I hosted weekly summer school visits and after hearing a silly story, learning about a new section of the library and checking out books, children created their own Super Animal at the library.  After, the art committee added foam core to each art piece, making them easier to hang in the meeting room.

The call out in the library event guide was open to everyone in any art form and in any size.  What other animals will appear? Maybe a HUGE Super Giraffe?

Super Rainbow Puppy (photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery)

Super Rainbow Puppy (photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery)

 

The art work goes up Saturday, August 1st and will be on view in the library meeting room the month of August.  We will also be part of the 4th Annual Friday Art Stroll, handing out popsicles while families, children and everyone enjoy looking at the children’s super animals pieces.  You can also create your own Super Animal with chalk outside the meeting room.  Super Bird to the rescue!

Super Bird! (photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery)

Super Bird! (photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery)

 

I look forward to doing more art programs in the library and having art work displayed throughout the library.

Where do you display your art work in the library?  Do you have an art or craft room? Please share in the comments below.

Explore a few art inspired picture books for your next art program at the library.  Draw! Paint! Create! 

Paige Bentley-Flannery is a Community Librarian at Deschutes Public Library. For over fifteen years–from Seattle Art Museum to the New York Public Library to the Deschutes Public Library-Paige’s passion and creative style for art, poetry and literature have been combined with instructing, planning, and providing information. Paige is currently serving on the ALSC Notable Children’s Book Committee, 2015 – 2017. She is a former Chair of the ALSC Digital Content Task Force and member of the ALSC Great Websites Committee.

The post Crayons, paper, pencils… appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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10. Mini Reviews: Rainbow Boys and Shades of Grey

Title: Rainbow Boys
 Author: Alex Sanchez
Published: October 2001 by Simon and Schuster
Source: Bought
Review: A look at life for queer teens at the turn in the millenium. I like how some things, such as pressures of coming out, falling in love, and dealing with bullying, are themes that are still relevant today, but it really does seem firmly set in its time place. I also like the fact it shows people in different stages of accepting their sexuality, and various questions related to all of them.
 It felt like a gentle story of exploration. Our three main characters discover sexuality, new love, and new experiences.I feel it was probably a great book when it was first published, when the market of books featuring queer characters was very very small. Reading it today, when we have a lot more representation, with a lot more nuanced characters, I felt it was very very tropey- Nelson especially seemed like the archetypal flamboyant gay, with not much else going for him. On a much less serious note, “chartreuse” hair....  Then again, this was written in the early 2000s, so Rainbow Boys might be an originator of these tropes. Or maybe all that could get sold at that time. I don’t know. Despite this, I did enjoy following the characters and their emotions.  I also like how it did bring up the issue of safe sex well
My favourite thing is that whoever chose the models for the cover I got does not appear to have read the book.

Overall: Strength 3 tea to  an early LGB YA novel.
Links: Goodreads


Title : Shades of Grey
Author: Jasper Fforde
Published: December 2009 by Penguin
Source: Bought
Review: I picked this up because of the cover, and bought it because a review said it was "full of witticisms, wordplay, and puns", and was described as a cross between Douglas Adams and George Orwell. For me, it didn’t live up to the fun I expected from the comparison with Adams, but the Orwellian aspects were strong.
I most enjoyed reading about this new society Fforde created. Extracts from the Rulebook head every chapter, and we got a good look at the workings of the society as we learnt bits about it gradually. The characters were interesting, but I didn’t really connect.
I felt that plotwise, it took a long time to get going, and when it did, it was often really confusing. It did clear up towards the end, providing a clear set up for later books in the trilogy, but for this book, it was quite late. There’s many different strands, with a murder mystery, marrying to improve social status but maybe being in love with someone who you can’t marry, finding out about the Something That Happened. Normally, I like mixes like these, but for some reason, it felt really confusing here.

Overall: Stregnth 2 tea to a book with a great concept, but was less fun to read.

Links: Goodreads

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11. Movies and Writing and Front Sight, Oh My!

Since I last posted (pretty much a month ago exactly) I have seen two movies in theaters, written about three quarters of the first half of a novel, remembered how much I enjoy baseball, started watching Avatar, and signed up for hand-to-hand combat classes at Front Sight.

What's... Front Sight, precious, eh? What's Front Sight?

For all y'all who don't know what Front Sight is, basically it's a gun school. You go there, they teach you how to safely use/carry firearms, so you don't go out literally half-cocked and accidentally cause mayhem rather than assistance.
That could be awkward.

It teaches you how to be a responsible gun owner. MmmHmmm.  Anyhoozle, so I'm signed up for the hand-to-hand combat part of it (because it is my first time and I'm a little intimidated at the idea of doing guns first) and I shall be heading down to Pahrump tomorrow - along with my sister Amanda, and our "sister/friend" Sammi. I am trying to figure out how to wear pants. As I am strictly a shirt and skirt kind of girl, pants are a whole 'nother kind of ballgame. But one simply cannot wear skirts to a martial arts type of setting. Awkward.
Unless, of course, you're Golden Sparrow.

I saw MINIONS and ANT-MAN.

I gotta say, I was a little disappointed with the Minion movie. I enjoyed the bits with the actual minions, but there was some stuff in there that I thought was totally unnecessary and inappropriate for kids - such as that disgustingly overweight sumo wrestler wearing next to nothing and leaving NOTHING to the imagination. The Cat did not approve. Also, I kind of would have preferred that the Minions met Gru earlier, and worked together to bring down the baddie Scarlet, even though Sandra Bullock voiced Scarlet and I could just "see" her getting into the role. I felt they could have done MORE with the movie, but instead relied on people being such fans of the minions they would overlook some loose plotting.

There really was some funny stuff, like Stuart and his fire hydrant:

But overall, I thought it could have been fabulous rather than just good.

ANT-MAN, however... yeah, I liked Ant-Man. Instead of being like the Avengers (WHICH I ADORE, BY THE WAY! IN CASE YOU THOUGHT I DIDN'T), Ant-Man sort of goes back to the "simple" Marvel movies, focusing on small but important bad guys, and instead of saving the world focusing more on just bringing down the single villain. Plus, Scott Lang (Ant-Man himself) was freakin' hilarious, and his stupid criminal friends were adorable idiots. The script was spot on, and I surprised myself by actually liking Michael Douglas. Normally, I don't like anything about him, but he was a really good character in the movie and I quite liked him. So, I would recommend you watch Ant-Man, but I would advise you to wait on Minions until it comes out on DVD. :-)
It was brilliant, you guys! I love Marvel.

As for my writing, I'm knocking out the first half of my novel quite rapidly. It's going to be told from two points-of-view, but since the timeline is a little "weird" for one character, I'm having a hard time switching back and forth, so I'm doing one character at a time, and I'll fit them together later. (All hail the revision process!) Besides, the second half will need a bit more research into the landscape, and mapping out the world being travelled. So, I'm procrastinating on the part. But the completed project will be great, I promise!


That's all for now. Hope y'all have a great day!

God bless!

The Cat
Byebyebyebyebyebyebyebye!!!!!!!!!!


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12. Poetry Friday -- Glimpses of a Journey




I have spent the month of July with Mom, getting her and her home of 60 years ready for her move to assisted living. Besides taking lots of photos, I saved a bit of time each day to take a snapshot in words. Here is a haiku-mosaic of July:


The move

1
the to-do list grows
fills heaping bowls of sadness
tears overflow

11
a childhood filled
with mother's sacrifices
daughter's turn now

21
shelves and shelves of books
multi-storied richness
wealth measured in words

26
going through dresser drawers
layers of memory
the archaeology of a life

two children
visitors at the museum
of their mother

an inveterate archivist
saver of minutiae
savoring each scrap of life

one more time

30
transplanting is tricky
handle roots with loving care
mix old soil with new




Meditations on the cycle of life and my place in it right now

9
midseason lily
surrounded by bud and wilt
enjoy it now

14
leaf breaks free
flutters away from tree
wind brings it back




Being in Eastern Colorado

4
ripening wheat
indiscriminate thunderheads
farmers remain hopeful

7
unseasonably cool
north breeze, low clouds, drizzle
roofer's gun pops

8
typically blue skies
smudged with a grimy haze --
Canada burns

19
antelope grazing --
uncharacteristically
green and lush prairie










Keri has the Poetry Friday roundup this week at Keri Recommends.


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13. This Bird Has Flown

Bram Stoker had this to say about Chicago: It, “neither fears the devil nor troubles its head about him and all his works.”  So in light of my recent move, and in celebration of this (my first day), I offer the following to you:

Goodbye Library

(With profuse apologies to Margaret Wise Brown, who would find it hilarious that a NYPL children’s materials specialist was referencing one of her books)

Goodbye, branches 89

NYPLBranches
Goodbye, pretty Lego lions

LegoLions

Goodbye, Winnie. Goodbye, Pooh

Camera- Leaf Aptus22/ Hasselblad H1 Color space-ProPhotoRGB Date- 4/10/08

Camera- Leaf Aptus22/ Hasselblad H1
Color space-ProPhotoRGB
Date- 4/10/08

Goodbye, toys (still missing Roo)

Winnie-the-Pooh

Goodbye, Mary Poppins umbrella

MaryPoppinsUmbrella
Goodbye to this striking fella

Andersen

Goodbye, Plaza and Eloise

EloisePortrait
Goodbye, statue no one sees

AliceStatue2

Goodbye, Children’s Lit Salon

LitSalon
Goodbye, tourists from Milan

eurotrash

Goodbye, Peter. Goodbye, Willie.

WhistleWillieStatue
Goodbye, Kid Lit Drink Nights (really!)

KidlitDrinkNight

Goodbye, overpriced Bemelmans Bar

bemelmans
Goodbye, not having to own a car

subwayalice

Goodbye, Beauty

Beauty
Goodbye, Truth

Truth

Goodbye, Times Square ads uncouth

TimesSquare

Goodbye, Fortitude (on right)

Fortitude
Goodbye, Patience and goodnight

patience

Goodbye, city. This Bird is gone

B.Bird
Hello, gorgeous Evanston!

EvanstonPublic

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14. CALL FOR ENTRIES - new P&P book

Today I can officially announce that the next Print & Pattern book will be on the subject of..... Nature!  Now is your chance to be part of the book with an official 'Call For Entries'. I would love to hear from P&P readers who would like their flora and fauna designs to be included. You may wish to create new work or perhaps you will have something suitable in your portfolio already. Remember

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15. The Wild Piano: A Philemon Adventure by Fred, 39 pp, RL

Last year, TOON Graphics brought us Cast Away on the Letter A, the first  Philemon Adventure by Fred, published in 1972 in France. Philemon and his adventures are unlike almost anything that we have seen on these shores. Fred's illustrations are intricate and filled with action, humor and imagination. I am often reminded of the interstitial animated flights of fancy (and weirdness) that

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16. “Behind the Trees”

posted by Neil Gaiman


 I love my wife so much. This is an animation by animator Avi Ofer that uses a voice memo from Amanda's phone of a conversation she had with me while I was asleep. 

(I can have conversations while I am asleep, I am told). 

She found the message she had left on her phone for herself, whispered in a bathroom while I slept,  a year or so after she’d left it, and played it to me. I said it sounded like an animated film, and she agreed, and used her Patreon to make it happen…

Only watch it if you want to know what the inside of my head is probably like while I am asleep.


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17. 3 things I've learned About Conferences & Me

.
Howdy, Campers--and happy Poetry Friday!
(See below for a poem about being a writer by Richard Wilbur and for today's PF host.)

We're in the middle of TeachingAuthors' series on Summer Learning Opportunities.

So far we've heard from JoAnn--who, through her own fascinating Summer Science Experiments, is learning more about hatching monarchs in her backyard; Esther--who's learning about authors from her own fair city (Chicago), discovered four "eye-openingly insightful" blogs, learned about the "3-paragraph query," and how to "attend" the National SCBWI conference if you can't be there in person. Carla shares what she's learned about the unexpected benefits from attending an SCBWI conference, and Mary Ann inspires us with her summer Young Writer's Camp.

As for me, I'm looking forward to being on the faculty of the National SCBWI Conference from July 31 through August 2nd (with intensive workshops available for an additional fee on Monday, August 3rd). Once again I'll be critiquing manuscripts submitted by conference attendees who've paid extra for written and face-to-face critiques.

My very smart friend, author and poet Greg Pincus (who blogs at GottaBook) posted the link to this fabulous blog post on attending an SCBWI conference by art director Giuseppe Castellano...and our own Esther has written what is by now a classic essay on attending an SCBWI conference.

Esther and I come at conferences from two very different perspectives. Basically, She jumps into the fray carrying a bunch of balloons; I get overwhelmed by more than 10 people at a party.

So, here are three things I've learned about conferences (how they affect me and how I cope) in the 24 years I've attended SCBWI in Los Angeles:

1) Be kind to yourself.  This conference can be overwhelming. No--I take that back: this conference is overwhelming. This summer 1000 people are attending from around the world.

A few of the attendees at this year's SCBWI Conference
(from morguefile.com)

We crowd into a posh hotel over a long summer weekend. The excited, anxious, ecstatic, frightened, enthusiastic, vibrating energy of 1000 friendly/shy/talkative/mute children's book professionals and pre-professionals (thanks for that term, Carla!) can be paralyzing.  The air in any hotel over that many days with that many people gets used up. And so do I.

2) Take breaks. I usually stand in the back because there's simply TOO MUCH SITTING!  That's one way I've learned to give my body a break. I've also learned (to my astonishment) that it's okay not to attend every single session. I can actually go outside and gulp fresh air...sit on the grass with my eyes closed for a few minutes. It's amazing how so simple an action as breathing can change my body chemistry.  Ahhhhhh....

No--not me.
(from morguefile.com)

3) And I've learned that some years I just need to be VELCRO®.

from morguefile.com

Although there have been many years I couldn't wait to sign up for the conference, couldn't wait to bond with new peeps, couldn't wait to find out what everyone was doing and share what I was up to, there have been other years, too.

Years when I couldn't figure out how to write that book--the one that was going to put me on the map, years when no one had invited me to submit a poem since the Ice Age, years when I was raw, raw, raw from rejection, Those are the years when I did NOT want to attend that stupid conference.  Nope.  Not gonna do it. And you can't make me.

It's about the shame, of course. I'm judging my insides against everyone else's outsides. It's like that false fog which hovers over FaceBook where I see those sparkling photos and know that every one of my FB friends are completely fulfilled, are always at goal weight, and have (just yesterday) signed a three-book deal.  (It's true--they have, you know.)

That's when I've learned I need to VELCRO® myself to real-life friends at the conference.  Hang with them. Go into the hall with them. Choose whatever breakout session they choose--it doesn't matter. They're my peeps. My buds. The ones who believe in me...and I believe in them. They save me from the darkness every time.

So, if you're coming to the SCBWI conference, please come up and say hello!We can VELCRO® together for awhile.

And Campers--if you are going to any gathering this summer that makes you a teensy bit uneasy, a little bit insecure, maybe the following quote will help. It's helped me.

Just for today, be open to the possibility
that there is nothing wrong with you.

Finally, here is a poem to inspire you:

THE WRITER
by Richard Wilbur

In her room at the prow of the house
Where light breaks, and the windows are tossed with linden,
My daughter is writing a story.

I pause in the stairwell, hearing
From her shut door a commotion of typewriter-keys
Like a chain hauled over a gunwale.

Young as she is, the stuff
Of her life is a great cargo, and some of it heavy:
I wish her a lucky passage.
click here for the rest of this poem

The poetry gods and goddesses bring Poetry Friday to Keri Recommends today. Thanks for hosting, Keri!

posted live from the floor of SCBWI's National Conference in living color and with love by April Halprin Wayland


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18. Don't Judge A Book By Its Cover; or A Film!

I admit it.  I was wrong about the new film, Annie.  At first, I was upset when it came out.  I thought to myself why ruin a good thing? I vowed that I would not see it.  I kept that vow until I noticed that it was running on Stars cable network.  Reluctantly, I took a shot.  I also always believed that Little Orphan Annie should have red curly hair as the prototyped Annie.  However, they put a spin on things and added new songs.  They took the story and added a modern day spin that didn't hinder the movie from being good.  I only wish they would've titled it different. To keep the original Annie sacred, I feel that they should have titled it: Annette:  A new spin on Annie.  Otherwise, I felt it was a very good flick.  Cameron Diaz portrayed a good Miss. Hannigan.  I liked that they changed the name from Daddy Warbucks to Mr. Stacks.  I appreciated the character Annie to be spunky as the original movie portrayed Annie to be.  I was a true fan of the movie.  I remember going to see it and was mesmerized by the plot and music the first time.  Again, I felt mesmerized by this modern tale.  I can be quite a sap and by the very end of the movie, I was in tears.  They may have been happy tears, but they were tears.  So, I give the new Annie a thumbs up and would definitely watch it again.

        VERSUS          

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19. गुरु पूर्णिमा

cartoon IPL monica gupta

गुरु पूर्णिमा का मौका ऐसा होता है जब हम अपने गुरु जिनसे भी हम कुछ सीखते हैं उन्हे जताते हैं उनका आशीर्वाद लेते हैं पर ये गुरु …. के नाम पर परेशान से क्यो है …

 

Chennai, Rajasthan suspended from IPL for two years

The Indian Supreme Court committee, led by Justice Rajendra Mal Lodha, has proposed a two-year ban on Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) from the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL) tournament. Read more…

The post गुरु पूर्णिमा appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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20. More Than I Can Bear Wash Your Hands Baby Door Signs

MORE THAN I CAN BEAR Wash Your Hands Baby Door Sign 

Many people have been requesting that the More Than I Can Bear car seat sign be turned into a home / door sign. And since I got a little bit of extra time this week (I wrote two novels this summer —whew!), I got it done!

People generally want this for day care centers, hospitals or their nursery door. The sign measures 5.2 x 7.2 inches, is laminated and durable! Oh, and of course, handmade in Alaska, USA! Click here to check it out, and while you're there, take a look around! =)

More to come — stay tuned!

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21. Catherine Linka, Author of Girl Undone | Selfie and a Shelfie

"I wanted my selfie to show that A GIRL UNDONE continues the story of A GIRL CALLED FEARLESS."

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22. Pick of the Week for NATURE and This Week’s Topic

naturegrid72nowm

Happy Illustration Friday, fellow creators!

We’re ready to announce this week’s topic, but first please enjoy the wonderful illustration above by Jessica Roux, our Pick of the Week for last week’s topic of NATURE (you can get a print here). Thanks to everyone who participated with drawings, paintings, sculptures, and more. We love seeing it all!

You can see a gallery of ALL the entries here.

And of course, you can now participate in this week’s topic:

GROW

Here’s how:

Step 1: Illustrate your interpretation of the current week’s topic (always viewable on the homepage).

Step 2: Post your image onto your blog / flickr / facebook, etc.

Step 3: Come back to Illustration Friday and submit your illustration (see big “Submit your illustration” button on the homepage).

Step 4: Your illustration will then be added to the public Gallery where it will be viewable along with everyone else’s from the IF community!

Also be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and subscribe to our weekly email newsletter to keep up with our exciting community updates!

HAPPY ILLUSTRATING!

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23. Micro Reviews: Demons, Race Horses, Assassins and Majors

And here’s another catch up post of long overdue mini reviews.

The Shadow Ellysium by Django Wexler

B / B+

This short novella served its purpose as a teaser to generate interest in the Shadow Campaigns series. I loaded The Thousand Names on my Kindle – now I just need time to read it!

 

To Win Her Favor by Tamera Alexander

B / B+

This inspirational romance caught my eye because of the horse on the cover.  Maggie is dismayed when her father arranges her marriage to Cullen, an Irish immigrant.  She’s reluctant to marry a complete stranger, and an Irishman at that.  She’s also fearful that he’ll object to her training her mare to run in an upcoming race. 

I enjoyed the development of the romance, as well as the details of daily life on a farm in post Civil War Tennessee.  The author doesn’t shy away from describing the prejudices and terrible treatment of the Irish and African Americans.  At first I had a hard time with Maggie because her thoughts and views mirrored those of her neighbors, but as she got to know Cullen and the farm hands working for them, she began to finally see them as individuals deserving respect.  And the horsey bits were entertaining. 

 

 

Hit! by Deliah S Dawson

C-

This just did not work for me. I can’t help but think that a huge banking conglomerate would have a better solution for deadweight borrowers than having them assassinated, or forcing them to be assassins. Meh, I didn’t care for HIT.

Mad About the Major by Elizabeth Boyle

B

Fun read with a Ferris Bueller’s Day Off vibe. Lady Arabella escapes the suffocating confines of her father’s estate to grab a small taste of freedom before she’s forced to marry a stodgy old bachelor. Her father is furious with her because a handsome stranger made a spectacle of her at a ball, and now he’s adamant that she marry before she’s completely ruined. She runs into the rakish Kingsley, the stranger from the ball, after he almost runs her down with his carriage. Arabella convinces him to accompany her on her day of freedom, arguing that he owes her three favors for his behavior at the ball. What follows is an enjoyable romp through London, as Arabella and Kingsley fall for each other during their unusual adventures. I really enjoyed this.

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24. Grow






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25. Juan Gabriel Vásquez 'By the Book'

       The New York Times Book Review has Juan Gabriel Vásquez (The Informers, etc.) answer this week's 'By the Book' Q & A.
       Like so many prominent foreinh-language-writing authors, he has also translated works into his mother tongue -- and one of the questions they ask him is: "Has translating changed your approach to reading fiction in translation ?" I realize the column is about reading, but of course the really interesting question is how it's affected his writing. (As longtime readers know, I'm a big proponent of writers at least dabbling in translation -- as far too few US/UK authors of fiction do ...).)
       Some interesting answers, though -- worth a look.

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