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1. Polly

0 Comments on Polly as of 10/26/2014 12:05:00 AM
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2. Books Gone to the Dogs!

Check out our great selection of Dog Books this week… Use the promo code “doggone” and get FREE shipping on your order. Offer ends November 3rd Top Dogs by Angela Goode A unique celebration of our remarkable Aussie working dogs, illustrated with photographs taken by the people who love them. This is a celebration of these […]

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3. New shop up selling original art!

Inktober 8Hi everyone! I have looked a long time for a place that I could sell my original art. I finally found a venue that I liked. Big Cartel lets the artist sell on their site and all money from the sale goes to the artist. This is much better than my other shops where I only receive a small portion of the sale. Please visit and check back as I will be adding more originals. The first two up are “Cats of Many Colors” and a watercolor I did from the Inktober Day 21 sketch, “Scarecrow”.  To visit my shop at Big Cartel, please click here.

Thank you for your interest in my art, I greatly appreciate it!


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4. Getting In Touch With Well Known Writers In The Days After Snail Mail

Many, many years ago, when the Internet was unknown, I found a wonderful book directory to children's writers. Many of the bios featured a mailing address. I sent a letter - not an email - to Susan Cooper, author of The Dark Is Rising series, who was a huge name in those days. She replied. The typewriter was manual and the print a bit pale. As a children's writer, she was used to being in contact with her fans. I have to say, things have changed even with her since then. She has a profile on Goodreads, but you can only become a fan, not a friend. You can't contact her any more. Perhaps she can't cope with all the fan mail any more or maybe she is simply fed up with emails from yet another PhD candidate doing a thesis on her work. 

I don't really blame her, if that's the case, though there are other children's writers who have found ways around the hugeness that is the Internet and stayed connected with their young fans. Tamora Pierce, for example. You can still friend her, and unlike many other writers who are only on Goodreads and Twitter because their publishers advised them to have a social media profile,  but don't actually write about the books they read or do any tweeting, she blogs and reviews books by other people. Plenty of Australian children's writers still communicate, too many to list here. Barbara Hambly has a Livejournal, as does George R.R.Martin(and I got a response to a comment even from him once). 

Some folk say, "I can write more books or I can communicate, not both." Some can theoretically be contacted via their agents, but only theoretically. Agents make their money on their clients' sales. If a client had to reply to the people who read their books, they would have less time to write more stuff or appear at writers' festivals and make money for themselves and, through them, their agents. I totally get that. 

I just don't think it's very polite to ignore reasonable inquiries or, at best, reply and tell the inquirer to piss off. One such agent replied to my inquiry a few years back. I found another writer for my wonderful student Selena to interview, one who was just as well known, but checked his own web site and was willing at least to hear what I had to say. 

It feels weird, in this day and age, to think that it's harder to contact some writers than it was back in the days when you could only make contact by snail mail. If nothing else, you could write to their publishers, who would pass it on. 

In the last couple of years, I have been able to arrange for interviews for several of my students with the authors of books they had read and loved in Literature Circles. Last year, the delightful Felice Arena answered questions from our kids, making one young man so happy that he carried around a printout of the blog post for weeks. Li Cunxin, author of Mao's Last Dancer, who had a ballet to direct and a tour to organise, nevertheless responded to questions by some other students. True gentlemen both! I wouldn't have blamed them if they'd said no, but they said yes.

This year, I have been able to arrange for an interview with Jenny Mounfield, author of The Ice-Cream Man, a children's thriller published by Ford Street(Stand by!).

But two of my other students, very good readers and intelligent kids, have asked to interview a well known US writer who has a Twitter account(nine tweets, all on the one day, then never again), who writes for a big name US newspaper, who is on the books of a speaker agency. He has a Goodreads profile, but no friends and no books, just an option to be his fan. I could understand a no, though I'd be disappointed, but no reply at all? That is just rude! 

I have emailed on their behalf to his publisher, his agency, his newspaper. I have even tweeted. So far, no response, not even a "piss off, he's too busy". 

I will have to tell the kids to do something else, though they have, just in case, prepared some good questions.

0 Comments on Getting In Touch With Well Known Writers In The Days After Snail Mail as of 10/26/2014 12:37:00 AM
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5. Call For Illustrations – Halloween Poems – Kudos

CALL FOR ILLUSTRATIONS: Please email to me any illustrations (at least 500 pixels wide) you think I could use with November and December posts. It is a nice way to keep your name out in the public. Please make sure you include a short blurb about yourself with your website link.

DO YOU HAVE A HALLOWEEN POEM? I will be posting an Halloween poem from Eileen Spinelli on Thursday this week and will post a few other Halloween poems that same day, if I receive any. I need them by 5 pm on Wednesday in order to post for Thursday.


Hallee Adelman and Gayle Aanensen

Hallee Adelman is represented by Jill Corcorcan.

Gayle Aanensen has a new book coming out next month for the holidays.


Lexa Hillyer reveals the cover of PROOF ABOUT FOREVER that is coming out June 2, 2015.

At Harper Children’s, Karen Chaplin has been promoted to senior editor, In addition, Alex Arnold has been promoted to assistant editor, Katherine Tegen Books.

At Carina Press, Kerri Buckley has been promoted to senior editor.

At HarperCollins Children’s, Christopher Hernandez and Stephanie Stein have been promoted to associate editor, while Alice Jerman moves up to assistant editor.

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: Agent, Book, Editors, Kudos, News Tagged: Gayle Aanensen, Hallee Alderman, HarperCollins Childrens, Lexa Hillyer, Proof of Forever, Senior Editor Karen Chaplin

1 Comments on Call For Illustrations – Halloween Poems – Kudos, last added: 10/26/2014
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6. UArt 2014 Open winners

University Art, who sponsored the UArt Open 2014, sent me an email with the list of winners. I think they'll be putting these up on the website at some point, but for now, this is all we have to look at. The images are small, which is what they sent, so this is the best I can do, sorry. The show is up at their Redwood City store now through November 8th if you'd like to see these in person. I've put links to some websites, for the people I could find easily online.


1st Place: Vincent Lu, "Kung Pao Chicken" oil

2nd Place: Lynette Cook, "Connecting the Dots in My Life" acrylic

3rd Place : !!! ME ME ME ME !!! "Molasses Cookie" colored pencil



1st Place: Hallie McKnight, "Fedoras" oil

2nd Place: Laura Snable, "Dirty Dog Blues" oil & oil pastels

3rd Place: Andrew Morrison, "Timeless Tenderloin" acrylic


1st Place: Nancy Near, "James M: Soul Man" watercolor

2nd Place: Debbie Bakker, "Lenox Lilacs" watercolor

3rd Place: Peter Carey, "Underwater" watercolor


1st Place: Arena Shaun, "Elegance-Life Drawing of Annie" charcoal

2nd Place: Samantha Holland, "Pele" drawing

3rd Place: Craig Sanborn, "Layers and Segments" graphite


1st Place: Jenifer T. Renzel, "Optical" mixed media

2nd Place: Davida Feder, "Woman Behind" mixed media

3rd Place: Noreen Rubay, "Trust" mixed media


1st Place: Elaine Lu, "The E-generation" oil

2nd Place: Annie Zhang, "Keturah" acrylic

3rd Place: Katrina Hernes, "Paint Chip Portrait" mixed media

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7. we have a super pb giveaway winner!

By Deb Pilutti Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt

By Deb Pilutti
Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt

Congratulations to Rita Borg! You’ve won Deb Pilutti’s super new picture book TEN RULES OF BEING A SUPER HERO.

Many thanks to everyone who entered this week’s super giveaway by sharing the identity of your superhero. It was fun to read your responses, ranging from Tony the Tiger and Wonder Woman to your critique group to your amazing friends and loved ones.

Be sure to you to pick up your own copy of TEN RULES for a little (or big) superhero in your life. (And please, purchase from a local, independent bookstore, if possible.)

Oh, and Miss Rita, please send me your mailing address via the Frog on a Dime contact page and TEN RULES will be flying your way soon!

More special treats and interviews coming soon . . .

Frog on a Dime is excited to offer another beautiful new picture book giveaway in November. (You will adore this book’s illustrator too.)

Be watching for your chance to win!



How Superheroes Make Money:
Spider-Man knits sweaters.
Superman screw the lids on pickle jars.
Iron Man, as you would suspect, just irons. ~ Jim Benton

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8. Still Reading

No, I'm not incredibly slow. Nor am I bored to death with CressAu contraire. It's just that I do do other things.

Coming up soon on my reading radar: Cybils nominees.

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9. Science Fiction Consortium (anthology)

Science Fiction Consortium is an anthology of short stories from nine authors, including the creator of the Science Fiction Microstory Contest, Jot Russell.

“Temporal Shift” by Jot Russell is a time travel story based around 9/11.

“The Watch Spring” by Allen H. Quintana – Where a man waits for no time.

“A Shepherd No More” by Andy McKell follows one man’s refusal to accept disaster in the depths of space.

“Vampirecratic Menace – A Case Study?” by Richard Bunning describes a dark future medical science.

“Luna-1” by James Newman is a space drama of human struggle.

“The Destroyer of Syn” by Ami Hart paints a synthetic world of youth to maturity.

“Cold New Planet” by Joy V. Smith – What mysteries will the colonists–and the consortium backing them–uncover on this slowly thawing planet?

“Darklings in the Glow” by Sterren describes birth from the ashes.

“Host” by A. L. Scott is a story of internal contact.

“Consortium” by Jot Russell – The search for intelligent life has used the method of radio and light. But somewhere within the subatomic, a universal seed has been planted that is slowly working to control us all.

Available from Amazon: Science Fiction Consortium

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10. The thinking hat

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11. Ben Franklinstein

Famous Monsters from history… #inktober day 25

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12. Diwali Mauritius

This last Thursday was Diwali here. I was unsure of what to expect. We were told to put out lights in front of the house and to break and old dish and buy a new one. People go from house to house giving "cakes" which looked like different shaped doughnut holes and giving thanks. As we drove to dinner that night we say "chistmas lights" on houses and one cars and temples. The picture above (and sorry for the half image there- that's the window of the truck as we drove by)is of a temple on the way to Grand Baie. We had a meal at a South African joint- with a great view of the bay. Later that night there were fireworks and when we got home we say the best ones from people in the neighborhood firing them off. It's a happy, festive holiday- I love any holiday where people give thanks to each other and I like the lights.  

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13. Character Based Plotting

Do you need to fully know your character in order to plot your book? 


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14. Recent images

Just realizing I have been truly neglecting the blog this year... because there have been lots of happy and art-y things going on! I now have a local art studio where we have a lot of fun creating... come visit! Meanwhile, here are a few pics I've done recently.20131022_172624

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15. Week in Review: October 19-25

The Night Gardener. Jonathan Auxier. 2014. Abrams. 350 pages. [Source: Library]
A Tale of Two Cities. Charles Dickens. 1854/2003. Bantam Classics. 382 pages. [Source: Bought]
Silver Like Dust. Kimi Cunningham Grant. 2012. Pegasus. 288 pages. [Source: Library]
Grave Mercy. Robin LaFevers. 2012. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 560 pages. [Source: Review copy]
The Forbidden Flats (Sky Jumpers #2) Peggy Eddleman. 2014. Random House. 288 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Magic in the Mix. Annie Barrows. 2014. Bloomsbury. 288 pages. [Source: Review copy]
While Love Stirs. Lorna Seilstad. 2014. Revell. 341 pages. [Source: Bought]
Loving Jesus More. Philip Graham Ryken. Crossway. 176 pages. [Source: Crossway.]
Rich Mullins: An Arrow Pointing to Heaven (A Devotional Biography). James Bryan Smith. 2000. B&H. 272 pages. [Source: Bought]

This week's favorite:

I love, love, LOVE Jonathan Auxier's The Night Gardener. It may just be my favorite book published in 2014. 

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 Comments on Week in Review: October 19-25 as of 10/25/2014 5:38:00 PM
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16. Two Picture Books for Little Girls

Auntie Ellie’s Beach House by Raewyn Caisley, illus. Lisa Allen, Duck Creek Press

This gentle, thoughtful story will strike a chord with New Zealand families – many of us have fond memories of time spent at a bach or beach house somewhere on our beautiful coastline. Leyla loves spending her summer holidays at her aunt’s house – so when Aunt Ellie says the city is moving too close and she’s decided to sell up, Layla is devastated. But a big bonfire and a sparkling moonbeam painted on the sea manage to cheer her up. “The moon will always know where we are,” said Auntie Ellie. “No matter where we go or what we do…” The last double spread illustration leaves us in no doubt about the truth of this wisdom. The style of the illustrations, done in fine black pencil and watercolour, matches perfectly with the tone of the story. The pictures are soft, subtle and dreamy, with many painted in a range of sea colours – green, blue, turquoise, lavender. I see this book being enjoyed by girls of about four to seven – especially those who are celebrating Christmas at the seaside!

Hardback, ISBN 978-1-877378-95-9, RRP: $29.99
Paperback, ISBN 978-1-877378-96-6, RRP: $19.99

Bye! Bye! Bye! By Juliette MacIver, illus. Stephanie Junovich, Scholastic NZ

People who love Juliette MacIver’s Marmaduke Duck books (like me) will find this charming picture book is totally different. It will probably appeal more to the little girls in your family. Written in rhyming text with assonance and escalating repetition, the story uses a first-person point of view to show a child’s sadness at going on holiday and leaving her numerous pets behind. There’s a pleasant surprise for the narrator at the end – which is more like wish fulfilment than reality, so parents planning Christmas holidays may need to do a bit of explaining… The illustrator (twice short-listed for the Storylines Gavin Bishop Award) has produced lush, realistic illustrations using watercolour and watercolour pencils. Everything about the pictures is soft and gentle, with much use of calming white space. The publishers say the book is suitable for age three to seven - but I would tend to recommend it more for the younger end of the scale. Book-loving two-year-olds will enjoy it, and I think it will be especially useful in pre-school centres that include younger children.

ISBN 978 1 77543 225 8 $19.50 Pb
Reviewed by Lorraine Orman

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17. Retro Action Figure Commercials Compilation 60s & 70s! Mego GI Joe Bioni...

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18. Writing in ... Belarus

       No worries -- as reported by BelTA:

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko does not believe that the Belarusian literature has plunged into the twilight.
       So that's settled .....
       Or maybe not: for all his optimism, Lukashenko still wondered aloud:
Why does the contemporary Belarusian literature fall short of the highest standards set by our great writers ?
       They do have that nice Books from Belarus site -- now with drawings of the authors -- with a pdf booklet of the most recent offerings. The Zen novel Just Don't Tell My Mom ! (by Adam Hłobus) anyone ? Alena Brava's autobiographical Heaven is Already Overcrowded ?
       I'm not so sure about some of these, but would certainly like to see more Belarusian literature available in translation; the only local writers under review at the complete review are Victor Martinovich (Paranoia) and Svetlana Alexievich (Voices from Chernobyl).

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19. Floater

My eye produced a floater
And although it felt quite weird,
It wasn’t quite as dangerous
As I, at first, had feared.

The vitreous inside the eye
(A jelly-seeming goop)
Becomes, as we grow older,
Less like Jello, more like soup.

Then little teeny fibers
Clump together in your eye,
Casting shadows on the retina
As they go drifting by.

A floater’s shape can vary
So it’s no surprise that mine
Resembled, like a pencil stroke,
A skinny curvy line.

It danced across my vision
From the left side to the right,
Interfering with my reading
And imbuing me with fright.

Though the doctor called it normal,
For it happens as we age,
I don’t need a new reminder
That I’m at that later stage.

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20. more 5 mins quickies

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21. Danke!

Mein Dank an alle deutschen Comic Volk, wurde die Förderung heute die CBO Post stats haben. Danke!

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22. Imraan Coovadia profile

       Imraan Coovadia's new novel, Tales of the Metric System, is just out in South Africa (see the Random House Struik publicity page or the Pontas Agency information page), and in the Mail & Guardian Bongani Kona profiles him, in Impressive feat of imagination.
       Seagull Books did bring out his Green-Eyed Thieves a couple of years ago, so that's available in the US and UK (get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk), and his debut, The Wedding, was published in the US, ages ago, but I'm surprised he hasn't made greater inroads in the US/UK yet. Acclaimed in South Africa, his books don't even need to be translated .....
       The only Coovadia title under review at the complete review is The Institute for Taxi Poetry.

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23. Annual failed attempt to capture how pretty the woods here are...

Annual failed attempt to capture how pretty the woods here are in fall! First one in the woods, second one taken on the walk home.

Also, while people who spray-paint in national parks and wilderness settings are obvious asswipes, this “we shall perish” graffiti courtesy of the local hoodlums made me laugh. The boulder next to it has a daisy-like cartoon flower, so it goes: Trapper Keeper! Then, “we shall perish,” which seems about right for being a teenager.

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24. William Hill Sports Book of the Year shortlist

       They've apparently announced the shortlist for the 2014 William Hill Sports Book of the Year (though not yet at the official site, last I checked); see, for example, Graham Sharpe on the William Hill Sports Book of the Year: 25 years of runners and riders at The Guardian's Book Blog.
       Needless to say, I haven't read (or even seen) any of the seven finalists. Sports-books are definitely under-represented at the complete review ..... Read the rest of this post

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25. Green Witch by Alice Hoffman

Green Witch, written by Alice Hoffman and edited by David Levithan, came out in 2010. I just discovered this slender volume that breaks many rules.

Green is a young woman when tragedy changes her world. The Horde causes terrible destruction and the loss of many lives, including all of Green's family. The boy Green loves has disappeared. She sets forth to visit each of a group of women who have been labeled witches because of their mysterious powers. Convinced that the world needs to preserve stories, she makes paper specially for each story, straps her typewriter on her back and sets off to visit the witches.She visits the Stone Witch, the Sky Witch, the Rose Witch, and the River Witch, hoping that one of them can grant her heart's true desire.

The book is told in the first person voice of Green. The voice is at once distant and intimate. It uses telling much more than it uses showing. There is little dialogue. Often, Green tells the reader what someone said without quoting it. "She confided that on the burning day, she'd stood unprotected in the firestorm and let the cinders rain down on her."

The blend of the matter of fact telling, the poetic language, and the haunting voice make this a book to be treasured.

Only a true artist and a fantastic editor could have pulled this off.  And in Green Witch, Hoffman and Levithan have created a gem.

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