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1. What I'm Reading And Rereading

Over on the Tor website, they're having a reread of Dune. I thought I might join in. I have it in ebook now, because I really don't want to stuff up my battered - and signed - paperback. I got it autographed when the author was visiting Melbourne. He had been a guest of honour at Swancon, an annual Perth convention, and was travelling around. That was at Space Age bookshop(long gone, alas!) which often hosted Swancon guests after they'd done their official gigs. Frank Herbert had a beard at the tine and looked like Santa Claus(and was just as jolly). I haven't read the rest of the series, but if you've read and loved Tolkien, you'll enjoy this - and it's the ONLY book of which I will say that. There are no Elves or Dwarves or immortal Dark Lords, but the world building is every bit as complex, the characters as fascinating, the adventure breathtaking. It's a believable universe, with good reason. I asked whether he had done his research first or begun writing and done it along the way - it's the way I do things, because otherwise my story never gets written. Other writers say the same - Robert Silverberg said so at a Worldcon I attended. But Mr Herbert snapped, "I didn't write a word till I'd researched everything!"

It is deservedly a classic.

I've bought and started reading - in ebook - Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers Of London, which is a crime fantasy novel, first in a series. So far, it's a hoot! The hero is a police officer who wants to do all the thief taking stuff and has found himself stuck with the paperwork section of the force, so that real cops can do the thief taking. In the first scene he has encountered a ghost who witnessed a murder. How do you use that information, for goodness' sake? Ben Aaronovitch is a Dr Who writer, among other things. I did hear him talking about it on the radio, but have only just bought it.

I've just finished rereading Kerry Greenwood's Electra, an enjoyable book. It's fantasy, with gods and the Erinyes, scary vengeful beings sent to punish a matricide. Mind you, strictly speaking, Orestes isn't a matricide. Electra is his mother, having been raped by her mother's lover. Clytemnestra is his grandmother, who has been posing as his mother, and he knows that. But if he has always thought of her as his mother, maybe he sees it as matricide. Anyway, Kerry Greenwood has fun rejigging Greek mythology. As usual.

I downloaded The Golden Apples Of The Sun, a Ray Bradbury anthology, because it had the story "A Sound Of Thunder" - that famous story where a time traveller steps on a butterfly in prehistoric times and everything changes in his own time - because there was some discussion of making it an English text at my school. I can always read some more Bradbury. I'm so glad he finally agreed to having his books in ebook, before he died. He was not a fan of the Internet. 

And then there are all those books I need to finish. All those on my TBR pile...

See you back here soon! 

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2. A Journal the Word Bible for Me & One for You!

by Sally Matheny
Photo: Journal the Word Bible

How sweet the season is—a time of thanks and giving! Christian publisher, Thomas Nelson sent me, not one, but two, NKJV Journal the Word Bibles. One to keep, and one to give away. First, let me tell you how awesome this Bible is!
Every cream-colored page contains wide margins of lightly ruled lines. You can either journal your thoughts or illustrate the meditations of your heart.

I’m doing a little of both in mine, but mostly journaling. No more writing on the back of church bulletins or loose papers! Everything will be in one spot, ready for future reference by me, or the next generation.
Read more »

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3. Thursday Review: CUCKOO SONG by Frances Hardinge

This scary cover almost made me not want to read it.Synopsis: I’m a huge fan of Frances Hardinge’s Fly By Night books, so I was eager to check out this one—another middle grade fantasy. It’s hard to talk about this one without giving away... Read the rest of this post

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4. How to draw a bee!

Here are my instructions for drawing a bee, from my ebook Don't Juggle Bees!
Get buzzy!

illustration of stages in drawing a cartoon bee

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5. न्यूज चैनल वालों – न्यूज चैनल जरा रहम करो

न्यूज चैनल वालों – न्यूज चैनल जरा रहम करो -जिस तरह से न्यूज चैनल या खबरिया चैनल खबरों को टीआरपी के लिए परोसते हैं ऐसी खबरें सुनना अब आम हो जाएगा न्यूज चैनल वालों – न्यूज चैनल जरा रहम करो यकीनन अब न्यूज चैनल देख कर कई बार धबराहट होने लगी है … डर बैठने […]

The post न्यूज चैनल वालों – न्यूज चैनल जरा रहम करो appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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6. झूठ बोले कौवा काटे- छुट्टे पैसे

झूठ बोले कौवा काटे- छुट्टे पैसे – जब से 500 और हजार रुपये के नोट बंद हुए है लम्बी कतारों के बाद जब सौ सौ रुपये लोग ला रहे है वो रुपये जेब से झांक रहे हैं ऐसे मे कोई मांगे तो मना करना मुश्किल हो रहा है … क्योकि सब दिखता है  झूठ बोले […]

The post झूठ बोले कौवा काटे- छुट्टे पैसे appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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7. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Laurie (L.C.) Lewis, Author of Dark Sky at Dawn

Thanks for inviting me to share some of my culinary insights from research on my Free Men and Dreamers books. I popped into a gift shop in Williamsburg, Virginia in the early days of work on book one, Dark Sky at Dawn, and picked up a copy of a small, but priceless cookbook titled simply, The Williamsburg Cookbook. It was filled with primarily British recipes, most of which involved the ingredients of their day—cream, butter, meat and potatoes. Journal entries from actual colonial and pre-Civil War women helped me carve out the menus and beverages in DSAD and the other books in the series. These journals made it apparent that the planning, growing, harvesting, and preparing of food was a grueling, never-ending labor. I had a scene where the characters prepared chickens for cooking. Imagine chasing, catching, killing, draining, gutting, plucking, and burning off the pin-feathers of a bird, before you can even begin your recipe. Perfectly seasoned fried chicken is my weakness, and I’ll never take a fried chicken platter for granted again!

One dynamic that came up a lot in the series was “traveling” food. From the import shortages the British and French embargoes were creating for America in Dark Sky at Dawn, to the shortages caused by war and destruction in later volumes, the struggle to secure and prepare food, and the need for food that could travel, was a constant concern.

The lead characters in the series—Jed and Hannah Pearson and their neighbors—were frequently on foot, on horseback, or in a wagon, in rain or snow or wind. The scenery provided the only picnic ambiance, because by the time they stopped to eat, if they stopped at all, they were sore-bottomed, wind-burned, sun-baked, or rain-soaked. Dinner on the fly was simple—biscuits, jerky, salted or smoked slabs of meat, fruit in season, perhaps a boiled egg or two, and coffee made from water that might have to be strained to remove insects, dirt, and debris. Yum!!! Oftentimes, when they weren’t traveling in haste because of enemies or weather, or when travelling a long distance, they might have to forage, hunt, or fish for food along the way. Imagine waking up every morning not knowing when or if there would be food on the table before nightfall. Too many people today still face that challenge for different reasons.

I must admit, I do love the romance of the past. Life was home-centered and unplugged, conversation and mealtimes were the social events of the day, neighbors were lifetime friends nearly as essential as family, and you knew the joy and satisfaction of seeing the fruit of your labors. As beautiful as those things are, I’m grateful for the advantages of our day. I love modern medicine, and I’m a huge fan plumbing—hot baths, flush toilets, the ability to wash and sanitize food and prep areas, and the ease of having water at your disposal without toting it up a hill, the gym memberships of the day.

I keep a cute picnic basket packed with matching plastic ware, cups, plates, and gingham napkins, all at the ready, near a folded blanket, for those spur-of-the-moment picnic adventures, however, I confess that most of my picnics involve a quick stop at the “grab -and-go” section of my local grocery for abundant and luscious cheese I didn’t make, sandwiches or chicken grown and prepared elsewhere, and succulent prewashed fruit from a tree I didn’t plant.

Instead of armed enemies and wild beasts, time presents the greatest challenge in our day. I think we miss the sense of community and family meal preparation provided back in the day. Neighbors would gather to “bring in the sheaves” of wheat and to grind their grain into life-sustaining flour. I can imagine the laughter and conversations that happened in the hours when women filled kitchens to render lard, make jams, and prepare feats. In our busy world, gathering moments happen less and less now.
I actually store wheat and have an electric grinder to churn out freshly ground whole wheat flour. The children loved kneading their own loaves of homemade bread on our weekly break-making day. The smell of baking dough drew them back to the kitchen like an aromatic Pied Piper. Sadly, once they headed to school and discovered “white, fluffy bread that comes in a plastic bag” they didn’t want to take Mom’s homemade brown bread anymore, which they said made them look like “poor kids.” They now pay five dollars or more a loaf for bakery bread like that which they rejected back in the day.

Sadly, Mama sold out a bit, too. Travel food generally involves a stop at a drive-through or from a carefully selected sack of items from a grocer. And the location of on the fly meals generally depends on how much slop we’re willing to subject our vehicle to.

The primary labor of our ancestors’ day was protecting hearth and home, and growing and preserving food. Our challenges are the same.  Now we work to buy the home, and more of our ingredients are provided by someone else. What doesn’t change is the joy in gathering and working side-by-side to jointly meet our family’s needs. Families need not be so removed from those experiences. I remember the satisfying hours spent together with my children as we worked in and harvested from our garden. Each pepper or green bean was a treasure they’d bring to me in wonder. Take any family with a garden or even a tomato plant, and ask them how many life lessons they drew from the divine magic of watching a mature plant grow from the seeming nothingness of a single seed. There’s family strength and power in such moments.

Food is more than sustenance. So much more. Our ancestors knew it. I’m grateful we still revere and rediscover the art of the meal.

Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Laurie!

You can find Laurie here:

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8. Friday Links List - 18 November 2016

From PW: PRH Starts Student Loan Repayment Program

From BBC News: Top authors call for school libraries to be protected

From The Brown Bookshelf: A Declaration in Support of Children

From SLJ, Betsy Bird's Fuse #8: The Slush Pile Myth

From James Gurney: 72 Tips for Sharing Art on Social Media

From NPR: Colson Whitehead, Representative John Lewis Among National Book Award Winners

From The Guardian: Hundreds of US children's authors sign pledge to tackle racism and xenophobia

From Custom-Writing.org: 200 Powerful Words to Use Instead of "Good" (Infographic)

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9. In Memory: Yumi Heo

By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Obituary: Yumi Heo by Shannon Maughan from Publishers Weekly. Peek: "[Henry] Holt’s Laura Godwin shared this remembrance:

'Yumi was extremely gracious, enthusiastic, and inquisitive,' she said. 'I loved the way she incorporated ‘mistakes’ into her art rather than erasing or deleting them.
"If she drew a squiggle where she hadn’t intended, it would show up in the final art as a tree or a rabbit or whatever struck her fancy. She was part artist, part magician—and always an inspiration.'"
Yumi Heo Memorial Fund from Go Fund Me. Peek:

"Please show your support in honor of internationally loved children’s book author and Illustrator and creator of Polka Dot Penguin Pottery, Yumi Heo.
"Your support will help continue two of Yumi’s dreams, the steady training of her daughter as a professional figure skater and the founding of a scholarship program to help students in Korea who have big dreams and little resources."

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10. #ncte16

I'm coming to you from balmy Atlanta this week, where Mary Lee Hahn and I will be presenting later today a session called "Risking Writing," along with Dr. Shanetia Clark of Salisbury University and author Patricia Hruby Powell.  At the heart of this session is the writing of a poem brainstormed by Shanetia, drafted by Mary Lee, and revised by me.  Patricia will supply inspirational commentary. Do check back in to see what we came up with!

For now, here's our presentation in a nutshell:

The round-up today is with Brenda at Friendly Fairy Tales.  It's not much of a risk just joining in our friendly Fridays, but letting the poetry take you--that's riskier.

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11. Rejoined SCBWI

Photo(c) by Mary Nida Smith
Good morning from River Bend Park. If I can stay focus, I will be posting on my blogs and not be on Facebook, for they are yelling at me. I will be doing more media promoting and get more focus on rewriting and submitting. If this is the direction God wants me to travel, I will continue. Since my husband passed away November 15, 2015, I have been trying to get my act together. I have rejoined SCBWI- Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators and I am back with SCBWI-Arkansas and maybe, rejoining Missouri's group. I have already started setting up my page on the national website, My publisher Skyhorse is listed on their site, which I was happy to see. Next I need to post my information on the Arkansas group's website.

I will be doing a book signing Sunday December 4th, at the Donald W. Reynolds Library, Mountain Home, AR. The days will travel quickly, so I must prepare for it.

Do allow the last day of sunshine this week to warm your home and open up the windows, for this maybe, the last day to let the fresh air in and stale air out.Don't forget to wear your smile and maybe, dance a little across the floor.

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12. Harts Pass No. 323

Perhaps a lot of similar sentiments this past week... but wolverines DON'T actually hibernate, so stay vigilant and keep the checks and balances of our government accountable!

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13. Cynsational News

By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Courage, Connection & Hope: Interview with Gae Polisner from Book Club Advisor. Peek: "...a video interview on the power of literature, how The Memory of Things was created, and the impact of a national tragedy on a generation."

Finding the Lost Voices in YA Historical Fiction by Pia Ceres from Lee & Low. Peek: "Using the framework of the past, the genre challenges consumerism, individual sovereignty, justice – salient subjects that adolescents actively question and explore."

When It's Okay to Listen to Your Inner Editor by Sara Letourneau from Writers Helping Writers. Peek: "...ask yourself, 'Will this improve my WIP? Or am I beating myself up?' You might already know the answer subconsciously."

Ambelin Kwaymullina: Thoughts on Being an Ally of Indigenous Writers from Justine Labalestier. Peek: "I believe supporting others requires a rights-based, strength-based approach. Rights-based, in that I recognise that the denial of anyone’s rights, and the diminishment of anyone’s humanity, diminishes and denies my own."

Author Interview: Dr. René Saldaña Jr. from Houston Public Media. Peek: "The saga of children Mickey’s age attempting to come to the United States without their parents is sad yet intriguing. Could there be a connection between the unaccompanied minor children and the mysterious Natalia?"

Your Two Plots by Dave King from Writer Unboxed. Peek: "Depending on how self-aware your characters are and how distracting your action is, you can hide how your internal story develops until the end."

See also Islam in the Classroom
Books in the Home: Mommy, Do I Have White Skin?: Skin Color, Family, and Picture Books by Julie Hakim Azzam from The Horn Book. Peek: "We’re surrounded by images that tell us mothers and children should look alike. Adoptive, interracial, and intercultural families do not have what Christopher Myers called in his essay 'Young Dreamers' an 'image library,' a robust visual archive that reflects and validates their existence."

SCBWI 2016 Winter Reading List: "Authors and illustrators from close to your hometown to those around the world are featured on the List. The Lists will be published bi-annually, in the Summer and Winter." Note: I was excited to learn about some new (to me) Texas authors from the list, and that's saying something because one of my personal commitments is to keep up with new voices, especially in my home state.

The Slush Pile Myth by Elizabeth Bird from A Fuse #8 Production. Peek: "...there is a myth that circulates about the children’s book that is plucked from the pile and subsequently reaches hitherto untold levels of success. I know of only three instances where this happened, and I wanted to just give them a quick glance today."

Crossing Borders by Reyna Grande from Latinxs in Kidlit. Peek: "It saddens me to see that the world—instead of tearing down border walls—is actually building more of them. There are more border barriers today than ever before. In 1989, there were only 15 border walls in the world. Today there are more than 63, and counting."

This Week at Cynsations

Cynsational Screening Room

More Personally

Thank you to everyone at McAllen Book Festival and McAllen (Texas) Public Library for a wonderful event. Here are a few pics from the author party last Friday night.

A.G.  Howard & Beth Fehlbaum
With Lupe Ruiz-Flores, Carolyn Dee Flores & Kelly Starling Lyons
Thanks also to Michael Hays, Lee Francis IV, Debbie Reese, Traci Sorell, Tim Tingle, and everyone who turned out last night for the "Indigenous Voices in MG" #MGLitChat on Twitter.

I have signed on to A Declaration in Support of Children from the Brown Bookshelf. Peek: "...we, the undersigned children’s book authors and illustrators, do publicly affirm our commitment to using our talents and varied forms of artistic expression to help eliminate the fear that takes root in the human heart amid lack of familiarity and understanding of others; the type of fear that feeds stereotypes, bitterness, racism and hatred; the type of fear that so often leads to tragic violence and senseless death." See also Hundreds of U.S. Children's Authors Sign Petition to Tackle Racism & Xenophobia, Hundreds of Children's Authors Pledge to Combat Bigotry and What Do We Tell the Children?

Cynsations will be on hiatus next week while those of us in the U.S. contemplate gratitude. 

Personal Links

Honored to join the SCBWI winter conference faculty!
Honored to join the SCBWI winter conference faculty!

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    14. Titles

    Although it's like your title will be changed before publication, you still want to choose a good one to help attract the attention of an agent or editor.


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    15. Casting About

    Would-be actors read for roles
    And give it all they’ve got,
    Hoping that their name will fill
    A vacant casting slot.

    They gesture, pace, project and still,
    Some don’t get any part.
    Rejection hurts; it’s very hard
    To not take it to heart.

    Though confidence is needed
    Just as well as some ambition,
    Determination is the key
    To face the next audition.

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    16. Friday Feature: Fading Into the Shadows Cover Reveal

    I'm so excited to share the cover of Fading Into the Shadows because I actually designed it myself and I'm thrilled with how it turned out. Check it out!

    When sixteen-year-old Ella Andrews’s best friend, Avery, goes missing, she’ll do anything to get him back—starting with punching the no-brain cop who couldn’t care less about the disappearance. 

    Ella’s convinced Avery’s been kidnapped, and she tries everything to find him—even following a strange shadow to another world where the constellations are real-life figures in the sky. But three star groups have fallen and are destroying the world. 

    The fallen constellations are not the only enemy. Melanie, the princess of Stellaris, is forcing Ella, Avery, and an army of other kids kidnapped from their world to fight the rogue constellations, even as the land is draining away their life. The longer they stay, the more they fade into substanceless shadows—a fate worse than death.

    Can Ella save Stellaris before there’s nothing left of her and Avery?

    Preorder your copy here.

    I love the full spread too! This cover was so much fun to design, but I admit it was a lot of work.

    e-ARCs are also available. If you'd like an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review, click here to sign up.

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

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    Book Sale hours:

    Thursday, November 17 8:30am – 5:00 pmFriday, November 18 8:30am – 5:00pmSaturday, November 19 8:30am – 1:00pm 

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    18. POETRY FRIDAY: “Revolutionary Letter #51” by Diane di Prima

    The righteously indignant poet Diane Di Prima. Photo by James Oliver Mitchell.

    The righteously indignant poet Diane di Prima. Photo by James Oliver Mitchell.

    It’s hard to say why we pluck one book from the shelf, a slim volume surrounded by so many others. In this case, for me, it was a book I hadn’t read in at least 20 years. A book I’d purchased new for $3.50, back in my college days, when that’s how I spent my available book-money: poetry, poetry, poetry. Building a collection.

    A year ago, I was moved to post Wendell Berry’s fine poem, “The Peace of Wild Things.” Last week my blog blew up because somebody, somewhere, linked to that page on my blog. Berry’s poem expressed something that helps me in troubling times. I go back to it, as a reminder, time and again. And, oh yes, we are in troubling times, with irksome, fearful days ahead.

    Cover design by Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

    Cover design by Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

    During the week of the election, I took Diane di Prima’s Revolutionary Letters off the shelf. Because as much as I needed solace and surcease, I also needed fire and gasoline. I needed the righteous indignation of di Prima’s shambolic, vexed, idealistic voice. While I don’t think of her as a supreme poet, or of this as a perfect poem, her spirit strikes chords in me, resounding and reverberating like a clanged bell. But I’m here today mostly for that good line: “We have the right to make the universe we dream.”

    Be keep dreaming, dreamers.

    We have that right, and that mission. Be strong.


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    19. Today’s Word: Portemanteau

    This is a portemanteau:




    That is, a large suitcase or trunk that usually opens into two separate parts.

    However, the word “mansplaining” is also a portemanteau:

    Ironic businessman boss. Business concept professional at work retro style pop art

    According the Merriam-Webster, 1: a large suitcase; 2: a word or morpheme whose form and meaning are derived from a blending of two or more distinct forms. 

    Our language has many portemanteaus, including: brunch, dramedy, carjack, Reaganomics, motel, snowmageddon, threepeat, gaydar, Brexit, sharknado, etc.

    FUN FACT: “Chortle” is a portemanteau invented by Lewis Carroll, combining “chuckle” and “snort.

    Carry on!

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    20. Trusting God

    The book of Psalms is proof of God's constant mercy and grace. How boldly it speaks of trusting the Lord. It promises hope. Speaks of discipline, love, restoration, deep worship of the Lord, and crying out to HIM in time of need. It is a glorious testimony of faith for young and old alike.
    Psalm 108 is a grand display of the author's faith. At the end of the chapter, in verses 12 and 13 (MEV) it reads:
         Grant us help against the foe, for the help of man is worthless. Through GOD (emphasis mine) we shall be valiant, for He shall tread down our enemies. 
    When facing battles humans tend to turn to human answers. They rely on self and mankind. But God's word speaks continuously about trusting HIM.
    I had a friend once, who felt it her duty to "bless" me when a need arose. I was the type of person to ask God to cover it and stretch whatever we had to make it fit. To increase and prosper us as our souls prospered. To supply all our NEED. That really bothered her. She thought I was settling. She went out of her way on numerous occasions. If I mentioned I needed to buy extra towels and washcloths, the next day she would bring them to me. It almost became a ritual. And THAT bothered ME.
    She, in her own mind, became my provider. I didn't need her help. I needed her prayers and friendship. Needed her to understand I was merely making an (thinking out loud) observation. I appreciated each and every gesture. Yes. But it became an obligation on both parts and it really tied me down. So I put a stop to it. I stopped talking about those needs at all. I recognized when it stopped being a God blessing, and started becoming a human thing.
    Some would call that insanity. But for my family it was almost a release. We have to, as children of God trust in Him to be our Champion. If He lays it on someone's heart to help my ministry and family whether in labor or need, and I know it is of Him, I will say yes. But the Lord gives us the ability (and favor) to care for ourselves and others. We rely on Him. Those victories and answered prayers... the credit belongs to Him. And when we are facing our "enemies", He is the answer.
     Jehovah Jireh, my provider.
    Have a blessed day, Princesses. I pray God's very best for you today and every day.

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    21. समझदार

    कुछ लोग इतने समझदार है,
    जो उनकी ना माने गद्दार है,

    बिन जाने बना डालेंगे पुल,
    बातें उनकी जैसे मझदार है,

    करने को समय नही है पास,
    बोलें वो ऐसे जैसे ललकार है,

    पुल बाँधने की ना है हिम्मत,,
    नसीहतें पास उनके आपार है,

    टूट चुके है पूरे, अंदर से देखो,
    पर बोलने को वो, बेकरार है,

    बातें करते है बढ़ने की आगे,
    कदम जो उठाए, वो बेकार है,

    करते हर बात का वो विरोध,
    चुनी गयी ना उनकी सरकार है

    मिर्ची की रखे ढेलिया वो 'साथी',
    ज़ख़्मों का उनको. इंतज़ार है || Dr. DV ||

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    22. नोटबंदी मामला – सरकार को कोर्ट की फटकार

    नोटबंदी मामला – सरकार को कोर्ट की फटकार-  होमवर्क नही किया सरकार ने अपना .देश भर में आम आदमी बेहद हैरान परेशान है और इसी बात को मद्देनजर रखते हुए 500 और हजार रुपये की  नोटबंदी पर कलकत्ता हाई कोर्ट ने केंद्र सरकार को कड़ी फटकार लगाई और कहा ‘केंद्र ने नोटबंदी को लागू करने […]

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    23. ZOO DIARY - Thanksgiving - a fowl day for turkeys

    In recognition of the up-coming U.S. Thanksgiving holiday.



    Thanksgiving eve. The zoo denizens are upset with the zoo directorate having not been included in the Thanksgiving celebrations


    Once again, we’re not included in Thanksgiving celebrations


    Did you really expect to? I mean, why should they? Who are we? Merely the tools in which they make money. That’s all - and how do they thank us? Closing the zoo for the day so we can’t even expect extra treats from visitors. This is so typically…human


    What’s that noise?


    Noise? What noise? Are my stripes straight?


    You don’t hear that?


    ‘You are magnificent… Those teeth…those sparkling eyes…’


    Maybe if you’d get your face away from that mirror and stop admiring yourself…


    A person has to make sure that he looks good from every angle. Being the sole representative of the zebra specie in this zoo comes with a responsibility. A daily body examination is necessary to ensure that all my black stripes are evenly spaced on my perfectly white skin. ‘Yesssss! Perfection personified!’


    Far be it to burst your bubble, Zeeb…


    …I am not zeeb - or zebby - or zeeby-baby. I’m a zebra. Z-E-B-R-A!


    Gotcha Zebby-boy – like I was sayin’ – the way that I see it, the stripe on your upper right leg doesn’t well…match the left


    What?! You must be mistaken. It’s not possible… How could this be? I just checked it not two minutes ago and it was perfectly aligned

    (MANNY, the boa constrictor slithers in)

    Hey – how ‘ya doin’?


    Manny – you’re out. Free. Did you eat lunch, yet?


    Yes Manny – I do hope they’ve fed you some nourishment. I mean, it’s important to keep up your strength. We don’t want you slithering around hungry looking for anybody, heh-heh…


    That’s the last thing we need - being that we’re your friends and all - that is to say, we don’t want you to experience hunger pangs…


    As I remember, I had a nibble a month ago but no in between snacks since then. Sure is quiet around here. No humans to knock on the glass of my enclosure. One day...one sweet day...someone is gonna hit hard enough to break the glass and they'll find out why my knick-name is Mr. Squeeze



    There it is again. Sounds familiar-like

    (a turkey suddenly drops down from a tree)


    Save me!


    A tree chicken. How unique. 


    I am a turkey who requires sanctuary


    Listen chicken sweetheart…


    …turkey…I am – um – an endangered specie. Yes – that’s it - and am declaring myself on the extinct list thus requiring sanctuary


    You must be someone important judging by your extensive vocabulary. All cultured and important species have an extensive vocabulary – and a beautiful body, of course (zebra looks at himself in the mirror) You handsome fool!


    I am very important. In fact, I can state with absolute knowledge that I am number one on everyone’s hit list, today

    (slithering closer)

    Well I for one, believe you. You do look very appealing – in an endangered species way of course


    Wish we could help, turkey, but we live out in the open with nowhere to hide


    I could send a protest letter to the Zoos of America if that could assist you in any way


    I am doomed!

    (slithering almost directly in front of TURKEY)

    Well turkey – really feel for you, in the true sense of the word. I just happen to live inside in a huge glass enclosure that has lots of hiding places.  Why don’t you come back to my place and check things out? I live alone and there’s nobody to bother or see us

    That’s a very generous offer on your part –


    -          Manny –




    Anything for a friend in need.

    (the two start to make their way to MANNY’s place)

    (cont’d.) Did anyone ever tell you that you have a beautiful, full body. I bet under all those feathers, you have nice firm flesh


    The farmer took good care of me up until before Thanksgiving. You can see for yourself when we get back to your pit.


    Oh I intend to


    Can I give you a hug?


    Later…when we’re alone…they’ll be plenty of hugging to go around

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    24. Rain May be Coming

    Good morning. Another beautiful sunrise rose above the tree line as the sky began to darken. Thunder slightly roared to warn us, maybe, rain will follow. The rain is needed for many of the trees are thirsty allowing their leaves to drop without producing any color. We always love to witness the trees and bushes celebrating their splashes of color, trying to out do each other.

    Sit back, grab a good book or a sketch pad, or whatever one does to enjoy a relaxed rainy day. Play some special music to move by, as you excise your thoughts and prayers.

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    25. FREE kindle ebook for middle grade children from R. L. Toalson - FREE EBOOK OF THE DAY!

    Free on amazon today! ( This is the introduction to an epic middle grade fantasy series)
    Check out the preview:

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