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1. TURNING PAGES: THE EMPRESS CHRONICLES, by Suzy Vitello

I admit that this book put me in a bit of a spin, when I'd finished it. I had no idea how to talk about it. Magical realism? Historical fiction? Problem novel? The line between what was, and what wasn't was... a little shaky. The pacing was very... Read the rest of this post

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2. Defining Moment

You know the one.
It's the moment where you realize you don't have to defend yourself.
That revelation split second in time when you ask yourself the question,
"Why did I ever think I did?"

A smack your forehead kind of time in life.

The Bible speaks repeatedly about God being our judge and counselor. Now I am not talking about going out on Saturday nights and partying and then coming to church on Sunday morning hung over. I am talking about making decisions to do something that is in the best interest of an innocent even when it doesn't make sense to others. Even when it offends them.

The Bible also speaks about standing up for truth. I am not going to stay somewhere that His word is compromised, sugar coated, or twisted. I'm not even talking about a church right now. I am talking about anywhere I go.

People are going to sin. It's human nature. But to live with your head in the sand for the sake of appearing tolerant is something completely different. I am going to tell the truth. And I am not going to add sparkly wings to it.
When it comes down to it-
I don't allow magick wands in my presence.
Deception.

If I am unaware of it, I pray for God to make me aware. It takes a while sometimes, but then God will do something amazing like give me scripture about dusting my feet. I know then I had better act.

If we don't listen in those moments my darlings- we will be sorry later.

I don't like offending people. But every time I have ever tried to be subtle about something, it ends horribly. So I have to be who God made me to be.
Imperfect. Determined. Strong. Loud. Alarming. Honest.  Creative.
Weird.
Strange.
Different.
Flowery.
Poetic.

Who has God created you to be? Do you know for sure? Are you seeking His face in order to know? Whoever HE has made you to be, be that person. And nothing else. Please. It will not end well. If you are meant to be a sweet and quiet example- be that. If you are called to be the loud one who climbs on tops of buildings and yells down to the masses, then do so. If you are told to be still, then be still. But know His voice. Know it well. Don't listen to other voices. Block the noise from your ears and heart.

Sometimes if I am running around in circles- I will stop somewhere at a stop sign and suddenly someone will pull up next to me with a license plate.

Saturday it said JAE (that would be my name) 9213. Saturday was 9/13... Just saying.
What about the two? Perhaps something happened at two o'clock that day that I will never know about. But it slowed me down to take the time to listen to my Father. And I had peace about what is coming for us. In that moment I hadn't been sure I was headed in the right direction, and too many other voices were trying to speak to me (children, spouse, parents, friends). I had to know whether to head up that mountain and take the tiny place that was offered to me- or to stay here and wait for the farm to come. I know now. And now I am moving.

Moving to a tiny place now forces me to get rid of all the unimportant things in my life. To clear out the clutter. At one time nine people lived in this five bedroom home (my five kids, us, and a couple of extra teenagers). The mess was easily hidden in closets. But you see, God has been revealing things in the natural as much as in the spiritual. Although I had gotten rid of half my belongings months ago, I needed to get rid of more. Moving to my tiny place before the farm causes me not to carry all this clutter with me to a farm. My promised land. It's up that mountain. I am going there. I will sit and wait. Prepare many stories for publication, and instead of wasting time finding the perfect place to try and put those stories- The Lion's Roar will do so for me...

If the Lord tells you to do something my lovelies, no matter how badly it hurts, do it. You won't be sorry. Know it's Him before you act. And then ACT. Please.

I love you all. Have a blessed week. If you don't hear from me for a little while, it's not because I have forgotten you. It's because I am embracing a life on TOP of the mountain.

Selah.





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3. Badly (or Awesomely) Lip-Read Bollywood GIFs

frizztastic:

kaagazkalam:

image

image

image

image

image

image


And my personal favourite…

image

Source

I am stealing ALL of these

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4. Happy Release Day, TUT!

Happy Release Day to
Tut: The Story of My Immortal Life!
     

Hi! P. J. Hoover here, and I am thrilled that after 7-1/2 long years, the book of my heart is finally being released! In some ways it feels like just yesterday that I started writing Tut, but when I look at how much time has gone by, I can't believe it. 7-1/2 years! That is a crazy long time!

Just so you know, I adore my re-imagining of the boy king, and I am thrilled to share him with you all. Tut is immortal, fourteen, and has an infectiously fun attitude. His humor and his need to do the right thing pulled me in from the first words I wrote.

Please consider sharing 
Tut: The Story of My Immortal Life with those in your life who love adventure, humor, and mythology. It's a great choice for those who love Harry Potter and The Lightning Thief or fantasy of any kind.

Thank you all so much for your support! It means everything!

 

About Tut: The Story of My Immortal Life:

You'd think it would be great being an Egyptian demigod, but if King Tut has to sit through eighth grade one more time, he'll mummify himself.

Granted the gift of immortality by the gods-or is it a curse?-Tut has been stuck in middle school for ages. Even worse, evil General Horemheb, the man who killed Tut's father and whom Tut imprisoned in a tomb for three thousand years, is out and after him. The general is in league with the Cult of Set, a bunch of guys who worship one of the scariest gods of the Egyptian pantheon-Set, the god of Chaos.

The General and the Cult of Set have plans for Tut... and if Tut doesn't find a way to keep out of their clutches, he'll never make it to the afterworld alive.


For more information about me or any of my books, please visit my website

For information on school visits or speaking engagements, please visit my author visits and schedule pages.




Buy Tut: The Story of My Immortal Life!   

 
Tut is now available anywhere books are sold. If you'd like to buy a copy of  Tut, I would be eternally (or immortally?) grateful! I hope you'll love Tut as much as I do!



  

  
If you are interested in purchasing a signed/personalized copy of Tut: The Story of My Immortal Lifeplease click here for more information.

 
# ISBN-13 (hardcover): 978-0765334688
# ISBN-13 (ebook): 978-1466814752


FUN EXTRAS for Tut: The Story of My Immortal Life!   

I've had an absolute blast coming up with some amazing extras to go along with Tut: The Story of My Immortal Life! What kind of extras you might ask? Well, let me take a minute and tell you about them!


 
First, there's the King Tut MINECRAFT world! Yes, readers can visit the world of King Tut, from his tomb back in Egypt to his townhouse in Washington, D.C.. They can conquer the MINECRAFT scavenger hunt and unlock clues as to what Tut's future may have in store. Please check it out on my MINECRAFT page!

 

Next, there is the "Escape from King Tut's Tomb" video game to go along with the book! For those who don't know, I used to be an electrical engineer before I started writing books, so I programmed a video game using SCRATCH (a great platform developed by MIT to help kids learn to program). The game has 10 levels, codes to decipher, puzzles to decode, and patterns to recognize. You can find the game and more about SCRATCH on my video game page!





Finally, there is the Tut PICK YOUR OWN QUEST Adventure! Readers can travel through Egypt, playing the role of King Tut, Pharaoh of Egypt. They make choices that determine not only their own fate, but the fate of Egypt itself. I used to adore those Choose Your Own Adventure books back in the day, and I wanted to create something as fun for TUT. Try your hand at saving Egypt on my PICK YOUR OWN QUEST page!

 

 
You can watch the book trailer for
Tut: The Story of My Immortal Life below!


 


 
 
Thank you all so much for all your support! 

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5. Coloring Page Tuesday - Crows Nest

     Friday is Talk Like a Pirate Day! Methinks our young pirate might run the ship aground if he keeps his nose buried in Treasure Island instead of on the view in front of him. Arrrrrrr!
     CLICK HERE for more pirate-themed coloring pages!! And be sure to share your creations in my gallery so I can put them in my upcoming newsletters! (Cards, kids art, and crafts are welcome!)
     Sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and... Please check out my books! Especially...

my debut novel, A BIRD ON WATER STREET, coming out next week! Click the cover to learn more!
     When the birds return to Water Street, will anyone be left to hear them sing? A miner's strike allows green and growing things to return to the Red Hills, but that same strike may force residents to seek new homes and livelihoods elsewhere. Follow the story of Jack Hicks as he struggles to hold onto everything he loves most.
AWARDS
**A SIBA OKRA Pick!**
**A GOLD Mom's Choice Award Winner!**
**The 2014 National Book Festival Featured Title for Georgia!**
**eLit 2014 Gold Medal Winner in the Environmental/Ecology/Nature Category**

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6. Scholastic Publishes the ‘Open a World of Possible’ Anthology as a Free eBook

scholasticlogo082310Scholastic has published a free eBook entitled Open a World of Possible: Real Stories About the Joy and Power of Reading to celebrate the launch of its new literacy initiative.

This anthology contains over 100 stories and essays written by literacy experts and authors. The dedication in this book honors the late Walter Dean Myers and features his quote: “Once I began to read, I began to exist.”

Some of the contributors include bestselling author James Patterson, former National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature Jon Scieska, and education expert Karen L. MappFollow this link to download the digital book.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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7. Hamelin Newsletter 16 settembre 2014

bilbolbul
NEWSLETTER del 16/9/2014

RIAPERTE LE ISCRIZIONI A
"LA SOTTILE LINEA SCURA"
Sono ufficialmente riaperte le iscrizioni a La sottile linea scura - Convegno internazionale su adolescenza e lettura, che si terrà il 25 settembre 2014 presso il Cinema Arlecchino (via Lame 57, Bologna).

A tutti coloro che si sono prenotati alla lista d’attesa chiediamo di saldare al più presto la quota di partecipazione.


LA MOSTRA SOTTOSOPRA A LOSANNA
La mostra Sottosopra. Voci contemporanee dell'illustrazione svedese sarà presentata a Losanna presso Bibliomedia Lausanne dal 19 settembre al 18 ottobre 2014 con il titolo Sens dessus dessous.
L'esposizione è stata realizzata per la Fiera del libro di Bologna 2013 in occasione di Svezia Paese ospite, promossa da Swedish Istitute.

L'inaugurazione sarà giovedì 18 settembre alle ore 18.30.
Venerdì 19 settembre alle ore 14 Karin Cyrén e Emelie Östergren, due delle autrici esposte, saranno le protagoniste di una tavola rotonda sull'illustrazione svedese.

DECENNALE XANADU
Giovedì 18 settembre si chiude a Trento, presso la Sala Verde della Provincia, il corso per bibliotecari "Adolescenza e libri imperdibili. Il meglio dell'editoria contemporanea", organizzato dall' Ufficio per il Sistema bibliotecario trentino all'interno delle attività del Decennale Xanadu. Dieci anni di giovani lettori ostinati.

I prossimi appuntamenti a Rovigo, il 29 settembre presso l'Accademia dei Concordi, e a Verbania, il 4 ottobre.

VIII EDIZIONE DI SOME PREFER CAKE
Mercoledì 17 settembre, al Nuovo Cinema Nosadella (Via Lodovico Berti 2/7, Bologna) prende il via la VIII edizione del festival di cinema lesbico, Some Prefer Cake.

Una delle protagoniste dell'edizione di quest'anno è Tove Jansson. In occasione del centenario della nascita della grande illustratrice, verrà proiettato il documentario Haru, Island of the Solitary (venerdì 19 settembre, ore 18), a cui farà seguito l'incontro con Boel Westin, biografa dell'artista.

Hamelin Associazione Culturale ha voluto partecipare all'evento mettendo a disposizione la mostra Mumin e i suoi amici, che ha animato la V edizione di BilBOlBul, Festival Internazionale di Fumetto. La mostra sarà visibile per tutta la durata di Some Prefer Cake, che si chiuderà domenica 21 settembre.

HAMELIN FA PARTE DI IBBY ITALIA
International Board on Books for Young People è una rete internazionale di persone, che provengono da 77 paesi e promuove la cooperazione internazionale attraverso i libri per bambini, creando ovunque per l'infanzia l'opportunità di avere accesso a libri di alto livello letterario e artistico e incoraggiando la pubblicazione e la distribuzione di libri di qualità per bambini specialmente nei Paesi in via di sviluppo.
www.bibliotecasalaborsa.it/ragazzi/ibby/

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8. "Cry to Me": Fatherhood and Domestic Violence


The prevalence of violence, especially domestic violence with Caribbean families, has been one of the themes in my two short story collections, Uncle Obadiah and the Alien and Who's Your Daddy? 

In the short story, "Cry to Me," from Who's Your Daddy, which I've republished as an eBook, I've combined domestic violence with fatherhood in the story of David Hamilton, a respected professor, whose life is disrupted when his daughter become a victim of domestic violence.




I think "Cry to Me" is a precursor to a darker story that I am currently working on in which fatherhood turns ugly. Stay tuned.

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9. Kids Picture Book - You Can’t Take the Dinosaur Home by Mary Esparza-Vela

Congratulations to award-winning children's author, Mary Esparza-Vela on the awards You Can't Take the Dinosaur Home has received. Yippee…doing the Snoopy dance for you!



Category: Littlest Angels
Author: Mary Esparza-Velawww.marysdollsandbooks.com
Artist: Mike Motz
Print ISBN: 9781616333645; 1616333642
eBook ISBN: 9781616333652; 1616333650

Two tiny space-tots want to go on a treasure hunt and little brother wants to tag along. They don’t want to take him because he throws fits when he doesn’t get his way. Reluctantly, they take him and he winds up throwing tantrums because he can’t take a dinosaur home.
readers favorite award
A Reader's Favorite Five Star Award Winner
Readers' Favorite Book Award Finalist Children - Preschool
The 2013 Creative Child BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD for "Elementary Aged-Fiction Books" category

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Multi Award-winning Children's Author

Ignite curiosity in your child through reading!

Connect with

A Sandy Grave ~ January 2014 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2014 Purple Dragonfly 1st Place Picture Books 6+, Story Monster Approved, Beach Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Powder Monkey ~ May 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Hockey Agony ~ January 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Story Monster Approved and Reader's Farvorite Five Star Review

The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

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10. Well, Do I Look Dumb?

Just got a double email. One from Blogger and one from Google+ to tell me that combined views for CBO are at 2,387,561.

I may be just getting a bit snappy but I can read numbers.

Google+ have offered me a premium membership which involves linking CBO into Google+ BUT this is quite convoluted and there are aspects of control and lack of certain controls I currently have on Blogger that I do not want to give up.  Of course, Google+ would be happy as it adds a lot of views there!

But, no, things have worked out well so far so why change something that is not broken?

I do note that neither Google nor Blogger offered me money.  Where's all this internet monet Southpark told me about???

Oh....I have to be a You Tube sensation first???? (CAUTION -adults only!)#

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11. Welcome, BACKHOE JOE! Long-Time Reader, First-Time Author Lori Alexander (plus a prize pack!)

September should be “giveaway month” here on the blog, since we’ve got a bounty of books ‘n’ stuff. The winner of THE LAKE WHERE LOON LIVES was Carol Nelson, who was notified, and who exclaimed that she never wins anything. I was tickled to prove her wrong!

And today we’ve got yet another giveaway, from a long-time blog reader and PiBoIdMo participant, Lori Alexander. Her debut picture book, BACKHOE JOE, is being released TODAY! A round of applause for Lori! I sat down with her to discuss the making of a debut. (Well, I sat HERE, while she sat THERE. We did not sit together, although I would have loved to. I mean, look at her! Isn’t she adorable?)

Author Photo_Lori AlexanderLori, there are many truck books on the market because they’re so popular with young children. (In fact, once an editor told me not to write a truck book because of others already out there!) Tell us what makes BACKHOE JOE different and special!

You are right, Tara! There are lots of truck books. When my son was younger, he was crazy about construction. He wore truck shirts and slept on truck sheets and had truck birthdays. We pulled the car over for close-up looks at construction equipment (which set an exhausting precedent on cross-country trips, with me wishing my son had been born a dinosaur fanatic instead. No stops!). We also sought out as many construction books as we could get our hands on. After a while, they all seemed similar to me: a bulldozer pushes, a dump truck dumps, an excavator digs. A playground is built at the end. To mix it up, my son and I had lengthy conversations about what we would do with our own backhoe. Our backhoe could scoop Legos into a pile, dump dirty laundry into the washer, and drive all the neighborhood kids to school (that front loader is roomy!). These dreamy discussions led to the kernel of the idea for BACKHOE JOE which is about a boy who tries to adopt a “stray” backhoe. So, like pirate books and dinosaur books and princess books, BACKHOE JOE joins a crowded subject, but I’m hoping he will dig out some space of his own on the bookstore shelves.

backhoejoeI’m sure he will! (I mean, look at him! Isn’t he adorable?)  And that’s what we all have to do, take a common theme and make it unique! I love the idea of a truck as a pet.

Is this the project that landed you an agent? How did you pitch it?

That is something you hear editors ask for…a fresh twist on a common theme! With Backhoe Joe, it took me a few years to get it right. My early drafts were about a boy asking for a backhoe for his birthday, through a series of letters to his parents, à la I Wanna Iguana. I received some positive feedback from a small publisher, who liked the concept, but wasn’t sold on the letter format. Many more months of big-picture revisions as well as tiny tweaks lead to the current version. I received some positive feedback from agent Mary Kole during a webinar critique, and that gave me the boost of confidence I needed to begin querying agents. I queried with BACKHOE JOE but had two other PB manuscripts ready to go, in case an agent was interested. Lucky for me, one was! And you asked how I pitched it. I believe in the cover letter I said something completely cheesy, like “it’s FANCY NANCY for boys!”

Well, that would certainly grab my attention!

What can you share about your debut book experience that’s been most surprising?

While writing BACKHOE JOE, I really tried to nail the page breaks. I studied the page turns in my favorite picture books and read blog posts about layout (Tara’s “Picture Book Dummy, Picture Book Construction: Know Your Layout” is one of my favorites). I submitted BACKHOE JOE to my agent divided into 16 spreads. I thought she might want to remove the breaks and submit it to publishers in paragraph form, but it never came up. I was surprised (in a good way!) when my editor at Harper agreed and the final layout of Joe was exactly how I envisioned it. All that homework paid off!

Another surprise was, although I should have known better, having one sale under your belt doesn’t make it any easier to sell the next book. Rejection—a thing of the past? Not so!

Ha, don’t I know it! They never stop, but they do get easier to swallow. (However, I am not advocating eating your manuscript.)

What’s your favorite line in the book?

My absolute favorite line is on the last page, but I don’t want to spoil anything. I will say Craig Cameron did a fantastic job bringing Joe to life and he set-up the twist ending beautifully.

Aha, I LOVE a twist ending! I think it’s so important for a successful picture book, to surprise your audience, to extend the story beyond the story. Let them imagine what happens next (plus set yourself up for a sequel)!

My second favorite bit is when the main character, Nolan, tries to train Backhoe Joe like he’s a dog. But naughty Joe revs at the mailman, buries his cone in the flowerbed, and digs in the garbage. It was fun to think about the ways a dog and a construction truck might behave similarly.

Sounds hilarious!

OK, one last question. I have a list of fun words I posted recently, which has become quite popular. What’s your favorite word?

This time of year, my favorite word is monsoon.

Yeah, I love ooh sounds!

And now our readers are gonna make ooh sounds (corny segue, Tara) because Lori has a BACKHOE JOE prize pack to give away! Just leave one comment below by September 23rd!

The prize pack includes a signed copy of BACKHOE JOE, bookmarks, stickers, and squishy foam stress “rocks”. (Hey, I could use some of those! Remember, the rejections never cease!)

Thanks, Lori!

backhoejoe prize pack

Lori Alexander lives in Tucson, Arizona, with her husband and two rock-collecting kids. Her family always brakes for road construction so they can admire the dozers and diggers. Lori still secretly hopes a backhoe will follow them home. She is represented by Kathleen Rushall of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. This is Lori’s first picture book. Visit her at LoriAlexanderBooks.com.


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12. WomanSpeak, A Journal of Writing and Art by Caribbean Women, Vol.7,



WomanSpeak, A Journal of Writing and Art by Caribbean Women, Vol.7, 2014, edited by Lynn Sweeting, brings together 30 contemporary women writers and painters of the Caribbean in a new collection especially themed, “Voices of Dissent: Writing and Art to Transform the Culture.”  Includes works by Opal Palmer Adisa, Lelawattee Manoo Rahming, Vahni Capildeo, Althea Romeo-Mark, Marion Bethel, Danielle Boodoo-Fortune, Sonia Farmer, Angelique V. Nixon and more. 


http://www.lulu.com/shop/lynn-sweeting/womanspeak-a-journal-of-writing-and-art-by-caribbean-women-vol72014/paperback/product-21293884.html

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13. Writing What You Don’t Know: Tips for Telling Another Person’s Story

Parker_2668_TOM

BY AMY PARKER

“Write what you know,” the adage goes. But when my heart pulled me way outside my knowledge base to help Rwandan Frederick Ndabaramiye write his unbelievable story, I knew that I had a lot to learn.

Here are a few pointers based on what I did, what I didn’t do, and what you must do … from someone who now knows.

What I Did

I saturated myself in the culture—as much as a Tennessee girl can, anyway. I asked Frederick for photos, read Rwandan news and books set in Rwanda, and listened to Rwandan (Internet) radio. Much of that information never made it into the book, but it enriched my ability to feel the surroundings, see the scenes, and hear the voices that later would be woven into the story.

I went! None of the remote research will enhance your knowledge and sense of setting as much as seeing it for yourself. If I hadn’t, I would have never known that the whole country smells like a campfire or why—almost everyone cooks over an open fire. I would have never known the inexplicable warmth and kindness of the people, felt the breathlessness of climbing the steep Rwandan hills, or known the awe of looking into the eyes of a mountain gorilla.

You’ll learn things that the native people would never think to tell you, and you’ll discover answers to questions that you would never have known to ask. Sure, it can be costly, but it is worth every cent—or Rwandan Franc—you’ll spend.

I begged the advice of those gone before me. And I got answers about everything from car rentals and hotels to what kind of shoes and electrical adapters to take.

This proved to be invaluable, especially in hiring a driver. We tried to rationalize that particular piece of advice away (the per-day fee was as much as a weekly car rental in the States), but in the end, we caved and were greatly rewarded for our investment. Our guide Charles had actually fought with the RPF (the army that ended the genocide) and shared knowledge and experiences beyond what I could find in any book. And as for the driving, we honestly could have never navigated the steep, rutted roads ourselves.

What I Didn’t Do

Learn the language. Of course, I bought the book and practiced some phrases, but I had no working knowledge of the language. So when the Rwandan pastor said something from the front of the church that prompted the entire congregation to turn and look at us, I didn’t know whether to smile or hide. (Thankfully, he was welcoming us.) If you even think that you may be traveling to a foreign-language location, start practicing the language yesterday. I can’t imagine how much more I would have learned if I had.

Ask permission to take photos. Every. Single. Time. It’s a courtesy common to most cultures, and I asked most of the time. But the one time I didn’t—in the market, when I wasn’t really photographing a person, but a place—I greatly offended one lady. And I didn’t need to speak Kinyarwanda to know it.

What You Must Do

Keep a journal. I did this but wish I had done more, had noted more details, went more in-depth about daily experiences. Stay up for an extra thirty minutes each night and jot down every single detail you remember about your day. This will be a priceless gift to yourself, not to mention the much-needed descriptions it will provide for your story.

Try something new. I ate sambaza, best described as fried minnows. And it was delicious. I fell in love with African Tea (like a chai latte with a kick). I’m not an athlete—in any sense of the word—but I eagerly signed up for the mountain gorilla trek. I drank in the culture, and I am forever changed.

Share the experience. I quickly shared my photos on Facebook, but two years later, I have yet to compose the dozen blog ideas that I jotted down while riding in that bumpy SUV. (Okay, so I did write a book, but still.) Find the time—share your experiences.

After all, it is our duty to the world as writers. And in many cases, it’s the only way readers will experience another world for themselves—through your writing, now that you know.


052910119X

Amy Parker has made her mark as an experienced and versatile writer and editor who has a particular enthusiasm for children’s books. She authored the bestselling A Night Night Prayer and has collaborated with authors ranging from a New York Times bestseller to her own son.

She is the co-author of Frederick: A Story of Boundless Hope from Thomas Nelson, which releases September 16, 2014. You can find her on amyparkerbooks.com or Facebook.

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14. Quick Comic for Teachers: Math Problems, Charles Schulz

This one has been flying around the internet for years, but it always makes me laugh.

Maybe it will have the same satisfying effect on you.

It’s interesting, I think, that Sally uses the word “hell” here. In the context of Peanuts, it’s almost shocking. And therefore more powerful. And, I think, a little funnier.

Thank you, as always, Charles Schulz.

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15. Sisters

Sisters Raina Telgemeier

Raina, her sister Amara, her brother Will, and her mother are road-tripping to Colorado (her dad has to work and will fly out and meet them there.) Of course, Raina’s siblings drive her crazy and if she didn’t have her Walkman to drown them out, she’d go insane. The story alternates between the car trip and what happened before (Raina wishing for a sister, she and her sister fighting, the arrival of her brother, life in general in their cramped 2-bedroom apartment.)

As always, I love Telgemeier’s art and storytelling. I think the frame of the road trip works well. It’s also interesting because this focuses exclusively on her family, and as such, gives a different, more complex picture than the glimpses we saw in Smile. The other thing I liked was, when Raina and Amara reached their inevitable detente, they didn’t immediately become BFF. They gained a bit of understanding, but you know their relationship still wasn’t perfect.

Hilariously, I read this one a bit out-of-order. When I got it, I flipped to the middle just to kinda flip through it and I started reading. And then I got to the end, having only read the second half of the book. Then I had to go and read it again, but this time starting at the beginning.

It’s not my favorite of Telgemeier’s (she’s going to have a hard time topping Smile in my heart) but it’s still a great read.


Book Provided by... my local library

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16. Luna and Me: Book preview and love of process

“Baby, you are my sunny afternoon,

you sprinkle magic in my heart.” – Tulsi, age 5

It’s 5:08 AM and has over a year since I last wrote in this space. Much can happen in a year, like a 4 year old (now 5) blowing my mind nearly every day with the ways she dances through her magical world, so free, her heart and mind wide open. I finished the children’s book that I went to the Redwoods to research last year, and it was dreamy, really, how Tulsi actively contributed in my process. She “played” out the story and quoted many lines from the manuscript. Sitting side by side, we elaborated and refined drawings from my initial dummy sketches while looking at photos from our trip. She freely offered countless ideas of details to add (or even hide) in the pictures. I treasured her unpredictable and untrained color sense while we both painted color studies of every illustration. And during long days of painting, she would climb up on her step stool next to me, gift encouraging “wow”s, thoughtful questions, keen observations only a child would notice, and even draw in wee details! It was such a treasure sharing this process with her.

The publishing world moves at a comparable rate to mine these days (ha), so even though I shipped off 20 illustrations mid-March, you’ll still have to wait until Fall 2015 to see it. I wanted to share a glimpse of LUNA & ME before I’m too engrossed in the next book(s). :) LUNA & ME, The True Story of a Girl Who Lived in a Tree to Save a Forest is a picture book inspired by environmental activist Julia Butterfly Hill’s two year tree sit in an ancient Redwood tree. Her story (and so many other environmentalists) inspire me to do what I can to care for our world using my own talents. One thing I love about this book is Julia’s example of acting from a place of love and compassion and then adding passion, dedication, faith, education, teamwork and endurance, to create change. And it is a magical, powerful story – one I am so happy my kids, and your’s, will know.

And recently, it has been awesome watching my incredible designer work her own sweet magic on the interior and cover design. So many people have supported this project, and I can’t wait to share it with you! – with Christy Ottaviano Books

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17. Happy Book Birthday, Little Author




















LITTLE AUTHOR IN THE BIG WOODS is officially out in the world today!

Working on this book brought back so many good memories from childhood. (Yes, I wanted to be Laura.**) I was a huge fan of the Little House books and the TV show, of course. (Who wasn't, growing up in the 70's?!)

Here are some very early rough sketches, and a few pieces from the book. Also, there's still time to enter the Goodreads giveaway here.) Enjoy!






































































































































(**Me, circa 1976, in a skirt and bonnet made especially for our annual street picnic by my grandmother.)

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18. The Official Synopsis for Avengers: Age of Ultron

Yup, just in case you may have forgotten there is an Avengers movie on the way, Disney (yes, Disney NOT Marvel) have sent this release out.
New Promotional Art for Avengers: Age of Ultron Showcases the Team in Action

Marvel Studios presents “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” the epic follow-up to the biggest Super Hero movie of all time. When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. As the villainous Ultron emerges, it is up to The Avengers to stop him from enacting his terrible plans, and soon uneasy alliances and unexpected action pave the way for an epic and unique global adventure.


Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” stars Robert Downey Jr., who returns as Iron Man, along with Chris Evans as Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk. Together with Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, and with the additional support of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Cobie Smulders as Agent Maria Hill, the team must reassemble to defeat James Spader as Ultron, a terrifying technological villain hell bent on human extinction. Along the way, they confront two mysterious and powerful newcomers, Wanda Maximoff, played by Elizabeth Olsen, and Pietro Maximoff, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and meet an old friend in a new form when Paul Bettany becomes Vision.

Wow. If I'd been living in a coma for months I'd not already know this.  But it is nice that Marvel Disney thinks about the little folk out in movie land now and then....


As the Wasp said in AVENGERS: EARTH'S MIGHTIEST HEROES: "That's one heck of a feckin lot of feckin Ultrons!"  I may have paraphrased there. And added something.  But it WAS a great scene and animated TV series.

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19. Comic Event Organisers Please Take Note!

I think the time has come to put a stop to absolute freebie advertising of events. CBO gets thousands of hits per day and comic event news are amongst the most popular items.  However, I am quite willing to sacrifice those views.

Do I get invited as a guest to these events? NO!
Do I ever get offered a table at these events for the promotional work I put in for them?  NO!
Do I ever succeed in getting a table at these events? NO!

What do I get out of all the work I put in for these UK events?  Absolutely nothing.  Organisers seem to think they are doing me a favour by deeming to grace me with their press releases.

No. It stops.  Time for me to be 'selfish' -I'm a person who publishes -biggest publisher of Independent comics in the UK.  Yes, but I don't know so-and-so.  I get invited to vote in the Harvey Awards and others -and I get invitations from outside the UK.

All my years promoting UK comics, the Small Press, my work, my publishing means nothing to a convention organiser which, let's put it mildly, is a bloody outright insult.  So why should their events mean anything to me?

From now on there are no more freebies -and please don't say you never saw this posting as its going out to you by mail also.  £20.00 a posting of a Press Release from an event organiser or you can pay £50.00 each year to have all your PRs on site rather than individual charges.

That's it.


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20. Guest Author Interview: Chris Cander on The Word Burglar

By Emma Kate Tsai 
for Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations

Chris Cander happened upon a children’s story by way of her real life as a mom of two kids.

Below, Emma Kate Tsai interviews Chris about how she conceptualized The Word Burglar, illustrated by Katherine Tramonte (Bright Sky, 2013) and her perspective on children’s literature as a writer who’s also a mother of two.

Can you tell the story of how The Word Burglar came to be?

My daughter, who is now eleven, was going to camp for the first time when I wrote it.

At the time, I would tell her a story that I made up on the fly every night. When she went away to camp, it was the first time she wasn’t going to have a story at night. But the camp allowed me to email a letter by 10 a.m. that they would then print and, by bedtime, give to her.

So I would get up and give myself forty-five minutes to write a story. I’d drink coffee while I was doing it and try to keep the baby occupied, then I’d email it.

I really didn’t know if she was liking them, but I started posting them on Facebook every morning. They amassed a bit of a following. People were downloading them and reading them to their kids.

There was some urgency behind it because I only gave myself forty-five minutes. That was how the story made its way to Bright Sky, because a good friend of mine had just published The Storm Wrangler (2011), and he introduced me to the publisher after seeing my stories on Facebook.

Did it come out of your head like that--that forty-five minute exercise—or did you go back and fine-tune after it became popular? 

It was the forty-five minute draft. I’d wake up, and I would grab anything I could think of.

My son was trying to learn how to read.

Now, of course, he didn’t have fourteen brothers and sisters like The Word Burglar, or parents who didn’t know how to teach him. But I immediately thought: Sasha’s gone, he doesn’t have his role model here—she and he would read together in bed—and then it happened.

That was the kernel of the idea and, believe it or not, it’s freeing to have a constraint of time. I wasn’t trying to write for publication. I was trying to write for my eight year old, so she’d have a bedtime story. That internal voice that gets really critical and tells you to over-analyze? It wasn’t there because I had forty-five minutes.

It’s such a great technique if you haven’t tried it. Give yourself either a time constraint or give yourself permission to write the very worst thing that you’ve ever written.

There’s something very liberating about having permission to fail, having permission to do garbage work, because you might actually find something wonderful comes out.

That gatekeeper, that critic, has been turned away.

You used your own illustrator, is that right? 

Was it difficult to convince the publisher to use own illustrator?

My illustrator, who is a very good friend of mine, will say that I strong-armed them, and I kind of did. I had two illustrators in mind, one who did the cover of a novel I author-published this year, 11 Stories. He was one of my top two choices, and he was a friend, too. We went to middle school together.

But his agent said he didn’t have time to do it. Kat is a good friend, and our kids are friends, so when I got the contract from Bright Sky, my contact there asked, “Do you have any kind of illustration style in mind?”

I said, “I’d just really like you to meet my friend.”

Kat had never done any children’s books before. So it was a risk on everybody’s part, but she had great samples and great enthusiasm.

Plus, it was a great story because of the fact that we’d been friends and our kids were the same ages, and so we were able to build the kids into the book. Mine were characters and hers became represented in it: Her son was the model for The Word Burglar, and her daughter’s bunny, Hop, is represented in the bunny on every page.

The publisher got excited about that story aspect. It’s a selling point when we’ve gone to festivals. We go as a pair, and people enjoy hearing the back-story of how we work together.

Most of the time, at the point of the contract being signed, the author has almost no input into the rest of the process, and yet I was able to chat with Kat at five in the morning about sample illustrations. “Do you like this direction?” she’d ask. That part of it was great. I’m glad they gave her a chance.

Could you share with us the story behind your blurb?

50th Anniversary Edition
Leonard Kessler, author of Mr. Pine’s Purple House, which was my favorite book when I was about three, blurbed my first children’s book.

I loved that book when I was little, and I kept it for forever.

At some point, I was inspired to go to my library and curate my own favorite books on my own shelves.

Mr. Pine’s Purple House was there. I thought to myself, I wonder what else he’s done.

He’s published over 250 books for children and young readers, he’s 93 years old, and he lives in Sarasota, Florida.

One day, I pick up the phone—because that’s how intrepid I am—and I looked him up.

I called and said, “I would love to talk to Mr. Kessler. Would you give him my email and pass on a message?”

And the woman that answered the phone said, “Oh no, I’ll just give you his phone number.”

And she did.

So I called him on the phone and we had a lovely, amazing talk that ended in tears, because it was the most satisfying, full-circle of my life.

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21. The Great Escape actor Angus Lennie dies aged 84

Angus Lennie in Monarch of the Glen  
Angus Lennie in his last acting role from BBC drama Monarch of the Glen
 
Scottish actor Angus Lennie, who was famous for roles in The Great Escape and ITV show Crossroads, has died in a London nursing home aged 84.


Born in Glasgow, he played a huge range of roles across stage, TV and film.


As Archibald "the Mole" Ives, Lennie performed opposite Hollywood icon Steve McQueen in The Great Escape. Director and co-star Richard Attenborough cast him again in Oh! What A Lovely War.

Lennie also had roles in Doctor Who and Monarch of the Glen.

For soap fans, he was Shughie McFee the chef in the ITV's Crossroads.

Lennie was also cast as a bagpipe-playing innkeeper during several appearances in Doctor Who.
He frequently returned to Scotland to appear in pantomime, often as a double act with his friend Stanley Baxter.

His last acting role was in Monarch of the Glen, before ill health forced his

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22. Beyond #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft

#WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft are great steps toward an improved public response to domestic violence. There are many, many risks and obstacles that make “Why didn’t she just leave?” at best an ignorant question and at worst the beginning of a victim-blaming spiral that can be as traumatizing as the violence.

Sympathy is a good start and it is truly amazing to see the media and the general public open their eyes to some of the challenges women face when their relationships turn violent. However, there are still many other stereotypes and old ways of thinking that are getting repeated even today. Here are a few items on my wishlist for beyond #WhyIStayed:

(1)   Starting asking what is going on with the perpetrators. Batterers create domestic violence and yet we still turn to the victims of domestic violence and ask what they can or should do. Where are the batterers? Where are the men? When a burglar breaks into a house, we do not spend all of our time trying to understand the homeowner. We do not expect an explanation about why they decided to stay in their home or need an analysis of why they purchased that flat-screen TV. We try to catch the burglar and understand that the victims are just going about their lives, trying to get their needs met like the rest of us.

(2)   Do not stereotype anyone or any institution. In the last several days there have particularly been numerous negative comments about churches and other religious organizations. Yes, some religious leaders send bad, blaming messages about domestic violence and encourage victims to stay for the sake of the marriage. However, many religious leaders and religious institutions are important parts of the solution to domestic violence in many communities. Many religious leaders stand by victims with years of support, both tangible and intangible, often long after social service benefits are tapped out. We know that many family members sometimes pressure victims to stay too, but we do not start describing families in a negative light. Do not assume that every religious organization is part of the problem.

(3)   Awareness is not enough. We need to follow up with better services. The first and most obvious step is to do a better job with safety planning and risk assessment. Risk assessment needs to include all of the reasons people have shared with #WhyIStayed. The Victim Inventory of Goals, Options, and Risks, called The VIGOR, offers a big-picture, holistic approach for risk assessment. The VIGOR allows victims to report all of the risks and obstacles they might be facing, including not only the violence to them, but also threats to loved ones, housing needs, financial needs, legal needs, and issues related to the rejection by family or community members. The VIGOR is also unique in that it asks victims to describe their strengths and resources and helps them brainstorm about their options.

Research with the VIGOR backs up this newly empowered view of victims of domestic violence. The women who participated came up with over 150 different coping strategies for domestic violence. This is far more than any existing safety plan. This can also be the legacy of #WhyIStayed—more comprehensive safety planning that recognizes the complexities and also the many strengths of battered women.

Headline image credit: Blue door by Ana_J. CC0 Public Domain via Pixabay.

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23. KidLit Events September 16-23

We have a lot of exciting events this we, from early readers to young adult, authors and illustrators. There is also a free writing workshop, so take notes and mark your calendars. While you’ve got your calendar out, be sure to put a big circle around September 27th for Tweens Read 2014!

September 17, Wednesday, 5:00 PM  LOUISE LOVES ART by Kelly Light
Blue Willow Bookshop
Kelly Light, Author/Illustrator

Kelly will also be appearing at Barnes & Noble, The Woodlands, September 18, Thursday, at 7:00 PM

For fans of Olivia and Eloise, this stunning debut from Kelly Light is an irresistible story about the importance of creativity in all its forms.

Meet Louise. Louise loves art more than anything. It’s her imagination on the outside. She is determined to create a masterpiece–her piece de resistance!

Louise also loves Art, her little brother. This is their story.

 

September 18, Thursday, 5:00 PM THE ODD SQUAD, KING KARL by Michael Fry
Blue Willow Bookshop
Michael Fry, Cartoonist/MG Author

Michael Fry will discuss and sign KING KARL (Disney-Hyperion), his newest novel in the ODD SQUAD series for kids. Nick, Molly, and Karl have nowhere to turn but to each other in KING KARL, the latest Odd Squad adventure, and they’ll need every ounce of wit, resourcefulness, and help they can get in order to rise above their biggest challenge yet.

Visit Michael Fry’s website to read the first four chapters of KING KARL.

September 18, Thursday, 6:30 PM MADE FOR YOU by Melissa Marr
Murder By The Book
Melissa Marr, MG, YA & Adult Author

Melissa Marr will sign and discuss MADE FOR YOU (Harper Collins). Eva Tilling wakes up in the hospital to discover an attempt has been made on her life. But who in her sleepy little North Carolina town could have hit her with their car? And why? Before she can consider the question, she finds that she’s awoken with a strange new skill: the ability to foresee people’s deaths when they touch her. While she is recovering from the hit-and-run, Nate, an old flame, reappears, and the two must traverse their rocky past as they figure out how to use Eva’s power to keep her friends—and themselves—alive.

Visit Melissa Marr’s website to read an excerpt of MADE FOR YOU.

September 20, Saturday, 10:00 AM
Writespace
The Houston YA/MG Writers
Writing Workshop: “More Than Words: Crafting Dialogue with Impact”

Join the Houston YA/MG Writers and YA author Kathleen Bagley for this free workshop! Dialogue is the backbone of character, but it is also notoriously hard to get right. It can be too long, too short, too wordy, too sparse, and, worst of all–sometimes dialogue just doesn’t work. But how does one know if one’s dialogue is working? In this hands-on workshop/lecture, Kathleen will show you several examples of dialogue that DOES work, and we’ll focus on what is done right. I’ll also show you how to cut out lengthy, unnecessary dialogue, and, most importantly of all, how to work with the most important aspect of dialogue: what is left unsaid. (Bring a writing utensil, because you’ll definitely be writing and sharing.)

September 20, Saturday, 1:00 PM SHATTERED by Mari Mancusi
Blue Willow Bookshop
Mari Mancusi, YA Author

Mari Mancusi will discuss and sign SHATTERED ( Sourcebooks Fire), her newest novel for young adults. Trinity, Connor, and Caleb are holed up in an abandoned West Texas farmhouse. Their only problem is Emmy, a baby dragon who is growing like crazy. When Emmy is caught on tape and the video goes viral, they find themselves on the run again. Their only hope comes from an old map leading to a man who has come from the future to help them.

September 23, Tuesday, 5:00 PMHALF A WORLD AWAY by Cynthia Kadonata
Blue Willow Bookshop
Cynthia Kadohata, MG Author

 Cynthia Kadohata—author of the Newbery Medal–winning book KIRA-KIRA, the National Book Award winner THE THING ABOUT LUCK, the Jane Addams Peace Award and Pen USA Award winner WEEDFLOWER—will discuss and sign new novel for children HALF A WORLD AWAY. (Atheneum Books for Young Readers).

Eleven-year-old Jaden is adopted, and he knows he’s an “epic fail.” He’s sure that’s why his family is traveling to Kazakhstan to adopt a new baby—to replace him. And he gets it. He is incapable of stopping his stealing, hoarding, lighting fires, aggressive running, and obsession with electricity. He knows his parents love him, but he feels…nothing.

But when they get to Kazakhstan, it turns out the infant they’ve chosen has already been adopted, and literally, within minutes, they are faced with having to choose from among six other babies. While his parents agonize, Jaden is more interested in the toddlers. One, a little guy named Dimash, spies Jaden and barrels over to him every time he sees him. Jaden finds himself increasingly intrigued by and worried about Dimash. Already three years old and barely able to speak, Dimash will soon age out of the orphanage, and then his life will be as hopeless as Jaden feels now. For the first time in his life, Jaden actually feels something that isn’t pure blinding fury, and there’s no way to control it, or its power.

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24. New Episode of ‘Elders React’ Features ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Movie Trailer

How did you feel after watching the Fifty Shades of Grey movie trailer? Fine Brothers Entertainment (a.k.a. TheFineBros) has captured a hilarious panel of reactions in the latest episode of their YouTube series, “Elders React.”

The video embedded above features ten people watching a short clip with Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson starring as Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele. This film adaptation will hit theaters on February 14, 2015.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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25. Scottish Women and the Vote

Scottish women are said to hold the key to independence, as they predominate in the ‘no’ camp. Men have been repeatedly estimated from poll data to be around 50:50 for and against, while those women who were sure of their intentions were 60% against.

This has been represented as an alarming gender divide, but a look at the history of women fighting for the vote in Scotland shows they have long been resolute in their positions, more concerned with what politics could do in real life than the grandstanding of political ideas, and much more internationalist than their sisters south of the border.

The Scottish route to women’s suffrage started in 1867 with the Edinburgh National Society for Women’s Suffrage; similar societies were established in Manchester, London, and Dublin. Later these suffragists were joined by the suffragettes, who attracted considerable publicity for arson, vandalism, and hunger-striking in the cause, to the disdain of the constitutional campaigners who thought this sort of behaviour counter-productive. This major division in tactics has served to obscure the fundamental similarity of both campaigns as both sides were directed towards the same objective: for women to have the vote on the same basis as men, which was then on a property-owning franchise. They also both steered away from engagement in other social activities. The vote was all-important, it was a millennialist objective, which once achieved would inaugurate an era of social justice and peace. Other social activity was at best a distraction and could wait till after the advent of the franchise. For this reason English suffragists such as Millicent Fawcett were not involved in important campaigns like those against the Contagious Diseases Acts and for temperance, whatever their personal views may have been.

The Great Procession and Women's Demonstration, 1909 on Princes Street, Edinburgh. Photograph taken by James Patrick. The People's Story, Edinburgh Museums & Galleries. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
The Great Procession and Women’s Demonstration, 1909 on Princes Street, Edinburgh. Photograph taken by James Patrick. The People’s Story, Edinburgh Museums & Galleries. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Scottish women took another path, with a much more inclusive vision of the purpose of political activism. For them the vote was one of a number of issues on which to campaign, and temperance was another. Using the vehicle of the Scottish Christian Union, Scottish women allied with the American Women’s Christian Temperance Union, the most powerful women’s suffrage organisation in the world.

The temperance cause was part of a set of progressive measures as disparate as anti-slavery, ‘social purity’ (sexual control), universal education, and promoting enhanced domestic skills to the poor. All had women as prime movers or playing a prominent part – the so-called ‘feminine public sphere’. Scottish women embraced this ‘woman’s mission’ with a vengeance, for example eagerly seizing on the municipal vote which was granted to Scottish women in 1881, in order to favour candidates who wanted strict alcohol licensing. Other areas of activity included such practical institutions as the Glasgow Samaritan Hospital for ‘diseases of women’ and rescue homes for ‘female inebriates.’ It has been said that alcohol more than slavery or suffrage or any other single cause politicised American women. Megan Smitley in The Feminine Public Sphere (MUP, 2009) has convincingly argued that the same can be said for Scottish women.

In the United States the Women’s Christian Temperance Union saw through enfranchisements state by state, and sent out missionaries to New Zealand (which became the first nation to enfranchise women in 1893) and to Australia (which started enfranchising with South Australia in 1894). Isabel Napier, who was National Superintendent of the Suffrage Department of the Scottish Christian Union, grew up in New Zealand and retained strong links. “When Suffrage became law in New Zealand all their influence was thrown on the side of Temperance Reform,” she said, “and so you have the advanced laws that now obtain.” WCTU speakers toured Scotland from the Shetlands to the Borders, hosted by the Scottish Christian Union.

In contrast, English women considered the US temperance campaign vulgar and did not welcome WCTU speakers; they feared the ‘Americanisation’ of their field. Nor did English and Welsh temperance organisations officially support women’s suffrage (though individual members doubtless did).

The importance of this tradition of social activism for the independence debate has been that Scottish women were not moved by the same arguments as men. The ‘Braveheart tendency’ of independence at all costs as a patriotic ideal, regardless of the consequences, has had limited feminine appeal. As Lesley Riddoch wrote in The Scotsman: “Toughing out controversy and appearing to spoil for a fight may earn respect from male commentators and small armies of cyber-angry, anonymous men. Clever dick answers, snide-sounding put downs and swaggering arrogance turn off watching women as swiftly as they appear to engage watching men.” That was the level at which most of the independence campaign was fought, however, leading to a frantic late catch-up as more ‘woman friendly’ policies were rolled out.

The issues that women took most interest in were: How would either side deal with child poverty, low pay, and poor housing? What could be done about the European-wide disgrace of poor health and low life expectancy in parts of Scotland? Finally (and in a manner that would be instantly recognisable to nineteenth century prohibitionists) how to deal with the appalling levels of alcohol abuse in Scotland which are so damaging to personal health and family life?

Such practical matters of national renewal were often drowned out by masculine bluster.

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