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1. Vogalonga 2015 in Venice - The World's Most Pleasant Boat Race

Vogalonga 2015
(Venice, Italy) The Vogalonga or "long row" has evolved into an international rowing event, with people who have a passion for boats that are propelled only by oars or paddles arriving in Venice from all over the world. It is one of the most beautiful days to be in Venice because there are no motorboats allowed -- not even the vaporettos run on the Grand Canal.

Vogalonga 2015
Rowing clubs from the Veneto and beyond fill the lagoon with the sweet sound of oars gliding into the water. Even though there are no cars in Venice, the noise the motor boats make with their grinding engines sometimes sounds as bad as the Los Angeles freeway. On Vogalonga, the loudest noises are made by human voices and the pounding drums that keep the dragon boats on track. The silence is awesome... and inspiring.

Vogalonga 2015
The Vogalonga began 41 years ago, back in 1974. A group of Venetians who were rowing enthusiasts wanted to draw attention to how motor boats run by fossil fuel were damaging the Grand Canal and lagoon by the violent waves they made -- something that Venetians still fight to bring to the world's attention today. They decided to have a long, non-competitive race, starting in the Bacino of San Marco in front of Palazzo Ducale.

Vogalonga 2015
The route is about 30 kilometers long (about 19 miles), winds out past the islands, and ends up on the Grand Canal -- really one of the most fantastic routes on the planet that a rower could hope to enjoy. It takes anywhere from 2 hours (if you're very fast) to 6 hours (if you want to kick back and see the scenery) to complete the race.

The event is entirely self-funded -- no sponsors, no government support -- just the €20 entry fee each rower pays to participate. These days there are thousands of participants; each year seems to set a new record.

Vogalonga 2015
For a few hours, on the day of the Vogalonga, it is easy to see how Venice came to be called La Serenissima -- the Most Serene Republic. How peaceful and serene the world seems without gasoline motors!

CLICK to go to the official Vogalonga website.

Ciao from Venezia,
Cat
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

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2. Revisiting Palace of Stone

Palace of Stone. (Princess Academy #2) Shannon Hale. 2012. Bloomsbury. 323 pages. [Source: Library]

I definitely enjoyed rereading Shannon Hale's Palace of Stone, the sequel to Princess Academy. It was great to read these two books back to back. Having that continuity certainly helped me appreciate it all the more.

Miri is the heroine of Palace of Stone. Princess Academy concludes with Prince Steffan choosing Miri's friend, Britta, to be his wife. Britta and Steffan had known each other before and had fallen in love with each other. But Britta was not from Mount Eskel. Not until her father pushes her into a big deception: she MUST go live a year on Mount Eskel, she must be an orphan sent to live with oh-so-distant relatives on the mountain. She must attend the academy. No one but Miri and Britta and Steffan know the absolute truth. (Well, obviously her ambitious parents know.)

Palace of Stone opens with Miri and a handful of other Princess Academy graduates preparing to go with traders to the capital city. They have all been invited by Britta, they are her ladies. Miri will have an extra privilege as well. She'll be the first person from Mount Eskel to go to university. (Queen's Castle) She is thrilled and anxious and overwhelmed. She really WANTS to learn, to keep on learning, to absorb as much as she possibly can, so she can return to the village she loves and teach others what she's learned in her year away. She is a most eager and motivated student. She's also a great listener. She tries to stay close to Britta and the others, but, it isn't always easy since she's so busy.

And then there is of course her spying. Katar, the representative of Mount Eskel, her former classmate, has begged for Miri's help. She KNOWS that many are discontent and eager for revolution. But she can't seek these 'traitors' out herself and spy for the royal family. But Miri, well, she can be her eyes and ears. She may quite naturally come across these people at university or in the community. (Miri does have greater access, wider access, than some of the other girls.)

Miri learns all about the cause of 'the shoeless.' What she learns about the royal family, what she learns about the nobility, changes her. How can she LIKE such despicable people who are so cruel, so smug, so unfeeling?! She loves Britta, and, she wants to believe that Steffan isn't just like his father, but, she sees the rightness of the cause...

What will Miri do? What can she do? Will revolution come and change the kingdom forever? Or will Miri find a way to save the day?

Readers definitely meet a lot more characters in Palace of Stone. And the book is a quick, satisfying read. Her love of Peder remains strong throughout despite the fact that she's tempted a few times to entertain the attentions of another young man--a fellow student.

The book is beautifully complex in its characterization. It's easy to recommend both books. 

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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3. On the wall

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4. School Visit Packet

Before your school visit, send out a packet containing all the information they will need to make your visit a success.

http://coolschoolvisits.com/2015/03/09/dont-forget-advance-promotional-materials/#more-94

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5. Now That You're Here Book Review

Title: Now That You're Here Author: Amy K. Nichols Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers Publication Date: December 9, 2014 ISBN-13: 978-0385753890 304 pp. ARC provided by publisher Here's another book in the current parallel universes mini-trend, Now That You're Here by Amy K. Nichols. There's dual narration by Danny, a street artist in Phoenix who lands in his doppleganger's body

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6. Library Loot: Fourth Trip in May

New Loot:
  • One Crow Alone S.D. Crockett
  • After the Snow by S.D. Crockett
  • Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
  • Alice's Tulips by Sandra Dallas
  • Return to Gone-Away by Elizabeth Enright
  • To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
  • Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Biography by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Leftover Loot:
  • Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss
  • I Wish That I Had Duck Feet by Dr. Seuss
  • Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss
  • I Had Trouble Getting to Solla Sollew by Dr. Seuss
  • Miles from Nowhere by Amy Clipston
  • Dear Hank Williams by Kimberly Willis Holt
  •  Stella by Starlight by Sharon Draper
  • Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Deibler
  • The Cottage in the Woods by Katherine Coville
  • Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia 
  • The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights by John Steinbeck
  • The Midwife's Tale by Sam Thomas
  • Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas, translated by Richard Pevear
  • Murder at Mullings by Dorothy Cannell
  • Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
  • Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George
  • Princess of the Silver Woods by Jessica Day George
  • The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander
  • Cursed in the Act by Raymond Buckland
  • Here There Be Dragons by James A. Owen
  • The Search for the Red Dragon by James A. Owen
  • Indigo King by James A. Owen
  • The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
  •  Dr. Seuss's Sleep Book
  • The Far Side of Evil by Sylvia Louise Engdahl
  • The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914 by Margaret MacMillan
  • The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
  • One Summer by David Baldacci
  •  Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
    Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Linda from Silly Little Mischief that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries 

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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7. Pollen

The porch is piled with pollen,
Transported by the breeze
And though I'm not allergic,
It's enough to make me sneeze.

It's powdered on the table
And it's dusted on the floor.
As the vacuum bag gets fatter,
Soon there is no room for more.

It's a constant losing battle
'Cause we clean up every trace
But when we wake up tomorrow,
There'll be more to take its place.

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8. How Teamwork Brought Me Closer to Teens

When I started working at a multi-branch system, my whole world turned upside down; I came from the craziness of a single library system with a large teen population to a smaller branch with a tiny teen population.  Although this has thrown me for a bit of loop, I decided that in order to stay in touch with teens, and not let my years of experience lay by the way side, I will work more closely with my colleagues who do serve a large teen population. In other words I’d outsource myself.

What I mean by “outsourcing” is literally working more closely with colleagues to provide and implement new programs and services. Through these interactions, I have been able to step out of my home library branch and visit other branches to present, and implement, new programs and services. Although I still need to build up teen programming, at my main branch, I sincerely believe that we should not let an obvious factors like location, or lack of a teen audience, keep our ideas from getting to our colleagues and teens all over the city. In fact, for this summer, I was able to get two of my colleagues excited about a no sew blanket program; this singular program will be at three branches instead of one! Furthermore, the best thing about working with your colleagues is that they are just a phone call, or e-mail away, and are willing to try new things, and/or help us out in any way they can. More importantly, by co-hosting programs at different branches, we have access to information that will help us gauge the interests of the entire teen community.

Through these exclusive opportunities, we can not only get suggestions from actual teens, we can also get very valuable feedback, which could easily change the way we evaluate our programs and services. Either way, this is definitely a win-win situation for all of us since we can take this valuable information back to our branches and plan programs and services that will get teens into our buildings. By establishing a stronger connection between ourselves and our colleagues, we have a much better chance of finding out what teens are really looking for at our libraries and in our city. Not to mention, this partnership will allow us to get know our colleagues interests and talents, which is very advantageous and re-assuring because we know there are other people in our systems who are just as passionate as we are about serving teens.

Along with co- planning, and co-hosting programs with our colleagues, I want to continue the dialogue about taking the extra step in getting to know our teens. Although we may try every social media outlet we know and make a million flyers, we need to remember that if we want to know what teens want, we have to go into our communities and find out from the source itself. Again, we have our standard outreach programs and resources, but we need to keep trying other methods of connecting with teens. For example, if schools are having a volunteer fairs, we can pick up the phone and ask if we can set-up a booth. Another example: if we know teens are flooding the local coffee shop to study, why not drop off flyers there or maybe host a passive program at the venue. The sky is the limit with ideas so try one and run with it. However, don’t forget about the obvious factors, which are working with teachers and school administrators to get the word out that the library does offer teens programs and services. I know it can be a pain communicating with teachers and administrators, but persistence really pays off. Whether we invade the local high schools, create Teen Advisory Boards, visit other branch libraries, or hang out at Teen Centers, the best way to find out what teens want is to ask! This is the best data we could ever ask for so let’s run with it and work together to make it known that teens have a place in public libraries and, more importantly, that they have people in their corner who truly care about their interests and well-being.

Now that we have an idea of what teens want, and have a team of people who are willing to help makes these ideas a reality, the next part is to enjoy ourselves. Despite the countless amounts of hours we put into implementing programs, the real payoff is to see teens enjoy themselves and actually say they want to come back for the next program. More importantly, it’s imperative that we show our teens that we really enjoy these programs so get involved with them! Whether it’s an art project, a fitness program, or a presentation, become part of the program as well. One program that I had the most fun with was our Silent Library program, which involved a lot of prep and organization; I was literally exhausted, but, when I saw what these teens had to go through, my sides hurt from laughing so much, which made them laugh even more because I was in pain from laughing. Planning, and implementing programs, is only is a step towards having fun; the real fun is watching, and interacting, with our teens so dream big, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and enjoy!

 

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9. Ice Cream Summer

Peter Sis's new picture book, Ice Cream Summer, is all about fun (and ice cream!) and family (and ice cream!) and learning (about ice cream!). It's the ice-creamiest ice cream in the whole-wide ice cream world! Books mentioned in this post Ice Cream Summer Peter Sis New Hardcover $17.99

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10. On Seller Greed And Buyer Stupidity

An up-date.  I know you are all anxious to find out what the £50 reduced to £25 concrete gnome sold for at a VERY frosty auction.  £5.00.  Chancers luck.
****************************************************************************



This item has been re-listed several times on Ebay and from the description you will see why:


SLICK-FUN-ALBUM-1954-VARIOUS-Acceptable-1111111111




Item specifics


Condition: Acceptable : Split the cost with friends

Seller notes:“Dust jacket absent with major damage to the spine and boards including a missing spine, bumped corners and soiling. Inscribed on the front and back end-papers. A number of the images have been coloured in, with annotations and underlinings throughout. The page edges are tanned and a little dusty with foxing creeping into occasional pages. This book is beginning to show its age with usual signs of wear and damage to the binding, including damage to the hinges inside both boards. GRADED COMMENSURATE WITH AGE OF BOOK DUST JACKET ABSENT PLEASE BE AWARE THIS BOOK IS PRE 1965 AND THE GRADE WILL REFLECT IT'S AGE”


To which I can only respond with a derisory "bollocks, mate!" And I am being serious here though I am not naming the 'trader' because I found others linked to Ebay and Amazon asking anywhere from £25-£65.00 for this and another Swan album.

They all use the con-man phrases of "Very rare" or "THE GRADE WILL REFLECT IT'S AGE" -meaning it is old and tatty but you will never find another bargain like this.  The implication is also that the book(s) are so rare that if you buy it you can later sell it for what you want.

The fact that this particular seller has re-listed the book three times to my knowledge proves the lie in that.

This is like going into W. H. Smith and being offered a 2013 Dandy annual for £40 that they found battered and moldy in a corner: "Well, you know how popular the Dandy is and you will NOT find another 2013 annual in shops....oh, someone scribbled in it and the spine is battered but this reflects its age."  As an example a 2013 Dandy Annual is going for 99p to £2.80 on Ebay but there is this item:

"THE DANDY COMIC THE LAST EVER ISSUE AND THE DANDY ANNUAL 2013 - BRAND NEW"

"Only" £19.95 but you can get the gift set 2013 Beano and Dandy Annuals (2 annuals!)  for £2.00 and a copy of the last ever Dandy comic will cost you between £2.35-£3.00 that is all three for £4.35 -£5.00. Where the feck do you get £19.95 (oh, and add the postage) from?

Chancers and con-men.
Take a look at my copy of the same 1954 Slick Fun Album that arrived yesterday.  Shiny cover, no damage and apart from a 1 inch tear of one page margin near the spine, perfect.  The paper quality is great, not 100% but we were still on paper rationing back then.  

Cost? £7.50 WITH postage and packaging.  That is correct because there is no "huge collectors market" for Swan books -I've picked up comics for £2.00 in pristine condition.  

The most I ever paid for a Swan album was £10.00 which included p&p and I paid that because there was something specific within I needed.  As it turned out I got a complete refund when I found 4 pages missing but the strip I wanted was intact.  The dealer:"These pop up all the time I just never checked inside this copy"

There were THOUSANDS of these books printed and I have talked with reputable dealers who handle comic annuals and we all agreed that, based upon the market interest (usually people fooled into believing they are buying printed gold!), quality of paper/print and the fact that about 99.9% of the creators had never been major names (on that I disagree as E. H. Banger -pronounced as in "ranger"- was a major contributor to Platinum, Golden and even Silver Ages comics though his work has been belittled by many morons who claim to be comic historians) then £5-7.00 for an annual is a decent price.

If you, as comickers, keep buying these books at over-inflated prices then the crooks will keep increasing the prices.  It just means they make a huge profit and you have lost money and have a book worth £5-7.00 and unless you are an over zealous fan it is just an over-priced book.

It's rather like the 1970s "banned" UK Action weekly comic issues -one for sale on Ebay had reached £700 an hour ago.  Here is a truth that I was told by the bosses at the company: they still sold the banned issues but "one had to pretend to maintain order".  So, there are many more "banned" issue copies out there than you think because the whole industry was crooked and had its ways -burn books that cost money?  Yeah. Right.

'Rare' Alan Class copies going for £20-35 each.  That's a crook trader and a VERY dumb buyer. For any Class comic a standard price would be £2.50 max if you really wanted that issue.  Fantastic weekly "Ultra/Very rare Silver Age"...the joke is that thousands of copies of this comic are sold every month on Ebay...that is a LOT of very rare/ultra rare comics! 

Some utter moron, I'm sorry but he/she is, purchased a copy of the old print Comic Bits as a "rare silver age fanzine" -"rare"/"silver age" and "fanzine" being very false for the first two and "shady" with the third. I still have copies.  Oh, the moron paid £28.00 and £5.00 postage (???? for an A5 42 pager).

I remember about five years ago a BBC TV day time antique show (sell your old junk mainly -Cash In The Attic?) had their expert ("X" =the Unknown and "spurt" is a drip under pressure) look at a 1969 Star Trek Annual.  "Well, it's 1960s and Star Trek so you can ask £30 for it!" he declared as only chancers do.  Did it sell? No.  

In charity shops and two comic shops the same annual was on sale for £1.50.  

Similar price on Ebay...until Leonard Nimoy died and prices hit £25-40.00....why???  Leonard Nimoy did not write nor draw nor have any connection with these reprints of Gold Key comics other than there was a character called "Mr Spock".  Go on, sell the annual for the price you paid on Ebay.

But the greed goes on and as someone once wrote: "there is one born every minute" -a recent Batman issue had an asking price, on the same day as it was on sale in comic shops, of $12-19.00!  One long time comicker wrote online "F*** this. I'm waiting til it goes into the back issue bins!"  And guess what? Some of those selling the book at a high price were found to be shop owners who had not "been able to get hold of enough copies" for their standing orders...at the regular price.  And the old "I doubt we can get a copy as they've sold out" ploy was used.  One man purchased a copy online after being told this but next visit to the shop "We actually managed to get a copy for you after a lot of effort so its a bit dearer in price" -YES. The ploy I wrote about in a previous post.

When it was tried on me I said "Too bad. I got my copy online because you said you COULD NOT get a copy" (furious, whining shop staff).

You are an enabler if you allow this.  Seriously, draw a line!

I have a foot high concrete, mass produced gnome in my garden. An antique programme just on the TV had a dealer wanting £50 but he got knocked down to £25. 

Suckers.

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11. The Water Knife

In this near-future thriller portraying a severely drought-ridden Southwest, the fate of the region depends on three people — Angel, a Las Vegas water knife whose job it is to ensure his city stays flush; Lucy, a journalist; and Maria, a young refugee. Frighteningly bleak but a pleasure to read, The Water Knife is a [...]

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12. Comic: Plot For Sale

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13. The Sunlit Night

Delightfully quirky and charming, the tale of how Frances and Yasha come to meet on a tiny Norwegian island is both winsome and slightly melancholic. From the reaches of the far north to a Russian bakery in Brighton Beach, Dinerstein transports us to her slightly wacky world. Books mentioned in this post The Sunlit Night [...]

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14. Mike Curato Interviewed by Martha Brockenbrough: The #LA15SCBWI Pre-Conference Interview

Click on over to read this chat between SCBWI Team Blog's Martha Brockenbrough and debut author/illustrator Mike Curato.


They talk day jobs and publishing dreams, polka dot elephants and shows at cupcake stores. Martha even gets Mike's time-traveling advice to himself years ago, which includes this gem:

"Make things that make you smile inside."

Mike's publishing journey is one of our "SCBWI Success Stories" featured at the upcoming 2015 SCBWI Summer Conference on a Friday afternoon panel (that I'll be moderating, and that will also feature Martha herself!)

Mike will also be co-leading a Saturday Breakout session with agent Brenda Bowen on "The Artist Agent Relationship!"

We hope you can join us for #LA15SCBWI – and perhaps it will be the path to your own SCBWI Success Story! Detailed conference information and registration here.

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

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15. Put On Your Thinking Cap

Put on your thinking cap, because I'm writing the stories for my new weekly post, Monday's Mysteries , which I wrote a post about last Monday. Forgive me, but I've changed a few things about Monday's Mysteries, including the title. I realized that the title might imply that the stories will be mysteries, when one story will be true and the other fiction. The new title will be Monday's Stories: Truth or Fiction.

On Monday's post I wrote: "Every Monday I’m going to write two brief stories, one story will be authentic, and the other highly colored fiction.

You will decide which story is true and which is pure imagination. These Tall Tales will be brief, fun, and challenging. Do you think you can tell the difference between truth and fiction?" 


In addition to changing the title, my friend Sandee from Comedy Plus, suggested I wait a few days before I reveal the true story, and I think it's a good idea, so the true story will be published every Friday.

I'll post the links to the blogs and websites, (or your name if you do not have a blog) for those of you who guess the true story. You can let me know by leaving a comment. I love comments and I will reply. Take your time, you have until Friday. Although you're more than welcome to leave a comment today, just to say hello, or if you have any questions.  

Thank you and good luck!

Have a wonderful day. :)

Ann Clemmons

Special note: Thanks Sandee. 

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16. schwupp und weg: reeve & mcintyre hit frankfurt

Look! Seawigs have reached Germany! Here are some young rambling isles who we met last week at the European School in Bad Villbel, near Frankfurt.



Dressler, our German publisher, had asked us to go and visit some international schools to spread the word about Oliver and the Seawigs, or Schwupp und Weg as it’s known in those parts.






Our main host was Stephanie von Selchow who is the librarian at the European School in Frankfurt.



She’d arranged for us to do two sessions there, for her own students, and a visiting class from Textorschule, Sachsenhausen. A lot of the kids had already read Oliver and the Seawigs, so after we’d talked a bit about it we went on to Cakes in Space, which has just been published in Germany as Kekse im Kosmos. Most of the audience spoke good English, and it seemed to go down well... of course, some of the show needs no translation; the bit where I hit Philip over the head with a mandolin case goes down well in any language.



That afternoon we had a quick wander around Frankfurt, and tried to draw some of the odd but attractive nobbly linden trees which line the riverside.



They're quite tricky trees to draw, and I'd love to have another try at them. One of the school kids had a picture of this kind of tree in his Oliver and the Seawigs artwork and he got the funny shape of it just right.



Then it was off to the Literaturhaus restaurant, where we had dinner with Stephanie and some of her colleagues from ESF and other schools.



As you can see, it was very grand, and the food and company were first-rate.



The next morning we were picked up by Manuela Rossi, who whirled us down the Autobahn to Bad Villbel, where we talked Seawigs and Cakes to some of the students of the European School Rhine Main.



Utte, the librarian there, showed us some of the great artwork the children had produced, including this fantastic tower of houses. It looks a bit like a Traction City out of Philip’s Mortal Engines books.



Most amusing question of the day: Where did you get those GIGANTIC SHOES?



Then it was back on the Autobahn to yet another international school, Accadis in Bad Homburg.



We’d met Samantha Malmberg and Caitlin Wetsch from the school at the previous night’s dinner, so it was good to see them in their natural surroundings, and meet their students, who were VERY EXCITED TO SEE US.
Some of the classes had done whole whole projects on Oliver the Seawigs, complete with some great drawings.



And after that we had a little bit more time to mooch around Frankfurt...



...in the guise of Mitteleuropean crime-fighting duo Peek & Cloppenburg.



Strange things were going on in Frankfurt city centre. Nobody seemed to be bothered by the fact that the shopping mall was being devoured by a wormhole…



But we discovered a natty German-style TARDIS and were able to save the day.



And we both found excellent covers for our pop albums, should we ever find time to write and record them. Here’s Philip, waiting for the Trans-Europe Express…



Heaven knows what mine is going to sound like.



But whatever it is, it will be lovely: some things are Better Than Perfection.



Thanks to Stephanie, Utte, Sam and all the staff and volunteers who helped to make our visit to Frankfurt so enjoyable. We were very sad to leave!

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17. Make Something Up

Reading the new Chuck Palahniuk collection is like popping that giant zit on your forehead: it's completely gross and full of bodily fluids, but you just can't leave it alone. After finishing, you step back from the mirror — exhausted, ashamed, and totally satisfied. Books mentioned in this post Make Something Up: Stories You Can't... [...]

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18. Weekend Links: Great Booklists that are Just in Time for Summer Reading

Welcome to Weekend Links! This is my chance to share what I consider some of my my ‘top finds’ that I have discovered over the course of the week. This week there was a plethora of delightful and timely booklists for kids that are just in time for summer reading. Enjoy!

21 Picture Books with Diverse Characters from Erica at What Do We Do All Day.

Diverse Picture books

Children’s Books About Being Different at Cutting Tiny Bites

books about being different

Read and Learn About Mexico at Planet Smarty Pants

books about Mexico
Thirteen FUN Geography Books for Kids @edsnapshots

geography for kids
Kids Books About Telling the Truth  by @artsy_momma

Kids Books about Lying and Telling the Truth

20 Kids Crafts & Activities Inspired by Books at KCEdventures

Book Inspied Activities
12+ Books about Botany for Kids at Study at Home Mama

12+ Botany Books for Kids
Best Books for Middle School  at Research Parent

Selection of Best Books for Middle School

Top 10 Roald Dahl Book List ~ With Go-Along Activities @Creekside-Learning

Roald Dahl books
Over 20 Children’s Books about Weather (Fiction and Nonfiction) @buggyandbuddy

books about weather

The Spring Sale has been EXTENDED! I have two of my most popular books on a super special sale until May 31st!

book sale

The Waldorf Homeschool Handbook: The Simple Step-by-Step guide to creating a Waldorf-inspired #homeschool. And for a limited time, this best-selling book by Donna Ashton, The Waldorf #Homeschool Handbook is now only $17.95 until May 31st, 2015 ! http://amzn.to/1OhTfoT

Enjoy more month-by-month activities based on the classic children’s tale, The Secret Garden! A Year in the Secret Garden is a delightful children’s book with over 120 pages, with 150 original color illustrations and 48 activities for your family and friends to enjoy, learn, discover and play with together. AND, it’s on sale for a limited time! Grab your copy ASAP and “meet me in the garden!” http://amzn.to/1DTVnuX

 

The post Weekend Links: Great Booklists that are Just in Time for Summer Reading appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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19. Good Thing I Am Not Made of Sugar

Day two of a long three-day holiday weekend. The weather is a mixed bag of sun, clouds and rain. It just wouldn’t be right to have three beautiful days in a row. At least it isn’t snowing!

Gardening

spiderwort

spiderwort

I am a morning person and if I had my choice I would wake up with the sun every day. I love the long days of summer. At the moment the sun comes up around 5:35 and as the light filters into the bedroom my eyes fly open. It doesn’t matter that I get up at 5 for work during the week, sleeping in on weekends when the sun is up so early is impossible. But instead of jumping out of bed and rushing to shower, I get to wake up slowly and stretch and lounge a bit and languorously get up and wander into the kitchen where Bookman has already been up for a few minutes and is brewing coffee and starting to make breakfast. All this and it is barely 6:00!

Over breakfast and the weather forecast Bookman and I discussed the order of the day, stay home and garden and cook or go for a long bike ride? Since the day promised light rain throughout, we decided today would be a good day to stay home. Bookman began his wizarding (he is not a witch, he is a kitchen wizard) by putting pinto beans on to cook so he can make vegan sausages one of which will be used to slice up for the pizza he is making the crust for today too. And then there are the energy bars he is making for biking. Who needs Clif Bars when you can make your own nutritious granola bars with real food and no white sugar. We add coconut and chocolate chips and change up a few different kinds of seed like flax, pepitas, and sunflower.

I did a few around the house chores and then we got suited up to go outside. It had not yet started raining. We gathered our gloves and tools and the seeds we intended to plant and walked outside and it immediately began raining! At first it was a few sprinkles and then it was a light rain heavy enough to chase us back inside. We changed our clothes and puttered around indoors and couldn’t bear it any longer. Back into our gardening togs and out into the light rain. Since neither Bookman nor I are wicked witches or made of sugar, we did not melt (such a relief because sometimes you just never know).

We planted flax seeds, planted three different kinds of sunflowers we had sprouted so the squirrels didn’t dig up the seeds (lemon queen, Russian, and arikara). We also planted the basil we had sprouted in pots in our little greenhouse. Oh, and okra, we planted seeds for that where the garlic was supposed to be growing.

Kind of pretty mystery bug

Kind of pretty mystery bug

The garlic is the first garden fail of the year. Only two cloves came up. Most of the rest I found mushy and heaved up beneath the winter mulch. We didn’t plant them deep enough for what turned out to be a warm winter with quite a lot of freezing and thawing. And I was so looking forward to garlic scapes again this year. Guess I will have to wait another year.

By this time we had gotten a bit damp so we came back indoors and changed out of our gardening gear and had some lunch. It was still raining after lunch with no chance of it clearing up. I was restless and grumpy over not being able to be outdoors. Bookman took pity and humored me. We put our gardening gear back on and went out to garden in the light rain.

We turned over the groundcover clover in an arm of the veggie bed and planted zucchini, lemon squash and strawberry spinach. The squash does not taste like lemons but are yellow round things about the size of a lemon, maybe a bit larger. The spinach isn’t really spinach at all but one of those green leafies that like the heat of summer and you can substitute for spinach. The strawberry comes from the strawberry red flowers is gets that look kind of like strawberries but I think look more raspberry-like, at least in the photos. The flowers are edible too. I have not grown this before so it will be a fun experiment. I decided to grow this instead of the malabar spinach I grew last summer that is a vining plant and requires trellising. The strawberry spinach is tall and bushy.

We also planted seeds for cantaloupe, variety Minnesota midget. These softball-sized melons that grow on a compact vine and in a shorter growing season than your big full-size cantaloupe. I have grown these for a couple of years now and love them. They are the perfect size for two people and they are as sweet and tasty as their bigger cousins.

Do I need to say that gardening in the rain is a muddy affair? My wellies were designed for such delights! My

geese with babies

geese with babies

gloves, my gardening pants and the sleeves of the light windbreaker I was wearing are caked in mud. So are Bookman’s gloves and jeans and shoes (he does not have wellies in spite of my encouragement for him to get some).

While we were out gardening in the rain, our neighbor walked through her yard on the way to her car and I can’t imagine what she must have thought about the two crazy people who live next door to her. She didn’t say a word, probably too afraid to.

Not much blooming at the moment. I did notice the lemon thyme I bought at the plant sale a couple weeks ago has a few tiny pink flowers on it. The spiderwort is beginning to flower and the wild geraniums in the garden are going to town. Walter is covered in little bean-sized crabapples and it looks like it will be a big year for Bossy, the green cooking apple too. I can’t tell yet what Bee the Honeycrisp apple is going to do. The tree is still pretty young so I don’t expect anything really. I wouldn’t mind a surprise though!

Biking

Theodore Wirth Park trail

Theodore Wirth Park trail

Bookman had to work on Saturday so I once again ventured out alone on Astrid to do some exploring. I found two trails I had not been on before and oh, are they gorgeous! I took a couple of photos so you can see what a marvelous bike city I live in. And the trails were a little hilly too. Not big hills, but a few long, not very steep inclines and a couple small rollers, enough for a bit of a workout and some panting and a few whees! when I got to go downhill.

While out I saw lots of birds, a few I didn’t know what they were. There were geese too with their fuzzy babies. I got hissed at as I rode by. I also saw a deer! She crossed the bike path about ten feet/3 m in front of me and then stood next to the path until I was about six feet/2 m away before she bounded into the woods. It was so amazing!

The weather was cool and cloudy and rained lightly a couple times but I rode between the raindrops and didn’t

Luce Line Regional Trail

Luce Line Regional Trail

get wet. It was a perfect day for a ride. When all was said and done I had gone 43.8 miles/70.5 km in three hours and ten minutes, three hours and 37 minutes if you count my rest breaks and stops to look at a map when I couldn’t find the connecting trails or when the trail would suddenly disappear at a street intersection. Not bad, eh?

Tomorrow it is supposed to rain in the afternoon so Bookman and I will be out early for a long ride. We are going to try and see if we can reach Purgatory. Seriously. There is a park off a spur of the trail I rode last week called Purgatory. This amuses me immensely. I’ll be sure to let you know what Purgatory is like!


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20. News & Newsletter

sitting in my office, contemplating what to write...

I've been wanting to try out TinyLetter for a little while now, having subscribed to a few newsletters that use it, and so I took some time to create a newsletter aimed at sending out information, musings, etc. about my upcoming collection, Blood: Stories, which Black Lawrence Press will release in January.

Why create such a thing when I've already got this here blog? Because I think of this blog as a more general thing, not really a newsletter. I will put all important information about Blood here (as well as on Twitter, and I'll make a Facebook author page one of these days), but the newsletter will have more in-depth material, such as details of the publishing process, background on the stories, etc. There will be some exclusive content and probably even some give-aways, etc. I probably should have titled it Etc., in fact... And it's not all limited to Blood — if you take a look at the first letter, you'll see some of the range I'm aiming for. That letter is public, and some of the future ones will be, too, but for the most part I expect to keep the letters private for subscribers only. (I've always wanted to be part of a cabal, and now I've started my own!)

One of the things I note in that first letter is that Mike Allen is running a Kickstarter to raise funds for his fifth Clockwork Phoenix anthology, and all backers can now read a 2006 story of mine that Mike first published, "In Exile". This is, as far as I remember, the only story I've ever published set in the typical fantasy world of elves and wizards and all that. (To learn why, read the newsletter!) Mike made an editorial suggestion for the manuscript that completely fixed a major problem with the story, so I've always been tremendously grateful to him, and I'm thrilled that it's now available to backers of this very worthy Kickstarter.

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21. Interview with Anne Sawyer-Aitch, author of 'Nalah Goes to Mad Mouse City'


Anne Sawyer-Aitch (pronounced like the letter “H”) is a puppeteer and stilt-walker. When she decided to create her first book, Nalah and the Pink Tiger, she began experimenting with different styles of illustration, and finally discovered a technique that uses her skills as a maker of color shadow puppets. She calls it “Illuminated Illustration”, and it involves cut-away designs, layering, and backlighting. In her capacity as a puppeteer, Anne creates puppet pieces of all kinds: parade floats, giant stilt puppets, and intricate color shadow shows. She is a MN State Arts Board Roster Artist, teaching puppetry all over the state, and has been touring around with her first book & her Nalah and the Pink Tiger show for the last two years. Nalah Goes to Mad Mouse City is her second book. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

For More Information
Tell us about your recent release. What was your inspiration for it?

In my newest book, Nalah Goes to Mad Mouse City, the adventures of Nalah continue! One day Nalah finds herself bored and lonesome because all of her imaginary friends have gone away on vacation. But wait – not all. Mad Tooth, the little mouse who lives in her sock drawer, is still busy munching away on her knee-highs. When she finds out why Nalah is sad, she offers to take her down through the sock drawer into a mouse metropolis. The result is a tale of wild dancing, cousins and mice, taffy and a sock monster.

This book was inspired by my little niece, Nalah. She is a very lively girl who is always getting into mischief. She sparked the first story, Nalah and the Pink Tiger. The series has taken on a life of its own since then. 

Tell us about your children's books.

There are the two Nalah books mentioned above. I have illustrated a book for the MN Humanities Commission as well called The Imaginary Day. My next projects include a third Nalah book (Nalah in Piggy Wig Paris) and a book about animals in winter. The latter is something I started developing when I began painting small creaures sleeping: hedgehogs, squirrels, dormice, sleeping. I want to make a little board book for toddlers that parents can read to them at bedtime.

Describe your working environment.

Ha! I’m a puppeteer as well as an author/illustrator, and that means I save everything. I work in all sorts of mediums, from fabric to clay to paint and paper cutting. I’m always re-configuring my dining room table based on the project at hand. 

Do you have a website/blog where readers may learn more about you and your works?




What are you working on now?

Aside from the books I mentioned before, I’ll be developing some new puppet pieces, including the Spanish version of Nalah Goes to Mad Mouse City, and a Mexican folk tale in toy theatre style. 

Where are your books available?


What was your experience in working with an illustrator author?

I illustrated both of my books. I think both in words and in pictures, so I enjoy doing it that way. I use a lot of speech bubbles in my books. Probably because I grew up reading my Mom’s old Donald Duck comics.

What type of book promotion works for you? Any special strategies you’d like to share?

Because I’m a professional puppeteer, I have a puppet show that goes with the book. I’ve been performing that at various sites and selling books that way. But also through social media, Amazon, Good Reads, and shops that support local artists. 

What advice would you offer aspiring writers?

Don’t worry about how you are going to publish it. There are lots of ways to do that. You don’t need anybody else’s permission. Focus on making something you enjoy.

Who are your favorite authors?

In children’s ficiton, I love Maud Hart Lovelace, the D’Aulaires, Wanda Gag, William Steig. Also the Harry Potter books. They are so Dickensian.


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22. How an #ink #drawing starts. #Sketch #studio #bookart (at 17th...



How an #ink #drawing starts. #Sketch #studio #bookart (at 17th Avenue Studios)


Original post by Brian Bowes via Emergent Ideas: http://ift.tt/1KfhZrP

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23. Our Souls at Night

What a blessing it is for Kent Haruf fans to have one last story to savor. In his resonantly lean style, he sheds light on a relationship between two elderly people living alone yet seeking the warmth of companionship in conversation during nights spent in bed together. Here is the essence: lives enhanced by the [...]

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24. #BookADay | YOU NEST HERE WITH ME by Jane Yolen, Heidi Stemple and Melissa Sweet (Boyds Mill)

Heidi and Jane were kind enough to answer Three Questions for me earlier this year:

Three Questions With Jane Yolen: Advice For Young Writers, Books, Tea and YOU NEST HERE WITH ME

Three Questions With Heidi Stemple: Advice For Young Writers, Owls and YOU NEST HERE WITH ME

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More info: Donalyn Miller's Summer Book-A-Day Challenge | Archives of my #BookADay posts

 

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25. How an #ink #drawing starts. #Sketch #studio #bookart (at 17th...


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