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1. Taiwan Trip Diary, Days 5 and 6

Into the mountains!

I've been sick--flu, cold, allergies, whatever you want to call it, but instead of blogging I've been stuck in bed reading (and finishing) Paul Scott's The Raj Quartet for the last couple of  weeks. My particular copy of The Quartet contained all four volumes in one door-stopper of a monstrosity, and my shoulders and wrists are suffering the consequences, LOL! Anyway, I'm much better now, have moved on to some lighter reading, and am ready to continue sharing my Taiwan trip, Days 5 and 6.

So . . . by Day 5 I had devised a sketching routine for my bus rides. I decided to divide some of my sketchbook pages into grids of six and then whenever we stopped at the traffic lights, or just slowed down, I would draw as quickly as possible in one or more of the squares. Some of the drawings are a bit esoteric, for instance:



At other times, however, the scenery was so consistent I was able to use a full page and go for some color, such as when we were following the coast:


They're funny little drawings, I know, but they mean a lot to me--and I now have some good references for larger work later this summer.


Other than drawing, the main focus for Day 5 was the National Center for Traditional Arts, and perhaps one of my favorite places on the tour. The idea behind the winding streets and specialty shops is to give visitors a sense of "old world" Taiwan while demonstrating how the various items for sale from puppets to paintbrushes are made. I found it utterly charming and ended up buying incense (complete with history lesson and a chance to sniff a wide variety of sandalwood shavings); preserved kumquats; dried "squid" cheese (a stringy cheese snack guaranteed to have not harmed any squids); and my most extravagant purchase to date: handmade lampwork glass beads for yet more jewelry-making. (I’m going to have to open my own shop at this rate.)

At lunch, served in a building that had once been an old kiln, one of our group members asked an interesting question: What have you learned about yourself so far? At first I seemed to have so many answers I couldn’t concentrate on just one, so I think I said something inane, like, “A lot!” But later that afternoon I wanted to examine the question in more depth. Here’s my reply straight and unedited from my journal: 

“I’ve learned that I don’t need to go on my dream-vacation to Japan. This trip is enough and even better. For years I thought I was “Japanese” in spirit. Now, after this trip, that no longer rings true. I have learned that I am more complex: for instance, in the Palace Museum I read that everything in Chinese culture and life holds meaning and symbolism. And it all has to add up and create the ultimate state of harmony. I have learned that I want that too. And that I want to use my five senses in my art and writing much, much more than I have in the past. I guess I've learned I am hungry for life. I want to keep learning."

Time Travel!

After lunch my quest for more "art and life" came to vivid life when I got caught up in a street theater performance—letting me believe I had been transported to another world and  century.

Then it was back on the bus for our next destination: our hotel and such a steep drive into the mountains we had to be calmed (i.e., distracted) by watching a spectacular movie on Taiwan's geographical wonders. Refreshments for the ride were what our guide referred to as “donkey tongue cookies.” Although I think something may have been lost in translation, they were very good, about ten inches of pastry filled with cinnamon, and I suppose they do look like donkey tongues (not that I'm any kind of expert on the subject).

And then . . . we arrived at our hotel, a wonderland of a resort owned and managed by the local Aborigines. I had NO idea we would be staying here (or anywhere like it, for that matter):

Magical morning.

My "10-minute" version of our cabin.

The dining room--great for early morning
journaling and sketching.
 

Using our hotel as "base camp,"  Day 6 took us hiking into the marbled cliffs of the Taroko Gorge:




Helmets were compulsory in this section--not, in my opinion, to protect us from the falling rocks, but because of the narrow walkway along the highway where buses, cars, and scooters whizzed, I mean whizzed by. Add to that my general fatigue from reaching the halfway point of our journey, and it's a miracle I didn't fall over the edge or in front of a speeding Porsche.


Taroko Gorge also provided my first monkey sighting in the village where we had lunch, followed by cold beers in a scenic garden setting while waiting for a few of our more-adventurous explorers to return. 


Beer finished, it was onto the bus and off to  a marble factory where we were able to take a peek into the high-security jade jewelry vaults. These star-fire gems (there is no other way to describe them) were unlike any pieces of jade I'd ever seen before--highly lustrous in shades of green, blue, and lilac, quite expensive, and guarded by uniformed girls straight out of a James Bond film. And, boy, did they keep their eyes out for sticky fingers. Once we'd had our look-see the cases closed with a bang, bang, bang and we were quickly ushered into the next room. Very quickly.

Marble chunks perfect for home or garden!

Back on the bus we had a lovely surprise waiting for us: our bus driver had bought us all porcelain pendant necklaces while we were admiring the jade. Mine was a miniature Blue Willow plate on a deep blue cord which I wore for the remainder of the trip. (It's currently on display in my writing room as part of my "Taiwan Memories" grouping.)

Necklaces in place, we then set out for another Aborigine village, this time with a lively dance show followed by a "hot pot" cook-your-own-dinner restaurant. As was often the case, I was given my own special vegetarian items to cook, starting with this amazing lotus flower:

 
A small lotus bud placed in  boiling soup water turned into . . . a 
genuine Kodak moment.
(And yes, I drew it in my sketchbook too.)

Highlight of the Day: Our Luxurious Leader Hotel. We were lucky enough to stay two nights in this beautiful setting and I don't think I'll ever forget a single moment. 

P.S. The dialogue in the video is in Chinese, but I thought that would provide an accurate example of what it was like to be there, rarely able to understand a single word anyone said! One difference between the video and our own stay is that the the grounds are shown to be more crowded than they were for us, but otherwise it's exactly the same. I even recognize some of the staff and  performers. So please turn on the sound, sit back, and enjoy.


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2. Giveaway: Kissing In America by Margo Rabb

By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Enter to win Kissing in America by Margo Rabb (HarperCollins, 2015). Author sponsored. U.S. only. From the promotional copy:

In the two years since her father died, sixteen-year-old Eva has found comfort in reading romance novels—118 of them, to be exact—to dull the pain of her loss that's still so present. Her romantic fantasies become a reality when she meets Will, who understands Eva's grief.

Unfortunately, after Eva falls head over heels for him, he picks up and moves to California without any warning. Not wanting to lose the only person who has been able to pull her out of sadness—and, perhaps, her shot at real love—Eva and her best friend, Annie, concoct a plan to travel to the West Coast to see Will again.

As they road trip across America, Eva and Annie confront the complex truth about love.

In this honest and emotional journey that National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr calls "gorgeous, funny, and joyous," readers will experience the highs of infatuation and the lows of heartache as Eva contends with love in all its forms. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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3. Monthly etymology gleaning for May 2015

In the United States everything is planned very long in advance, while in Europe one can sometimes read about a conference that will be held a mere three months later. By that time all the travel money available to an American academic will have been spent a millennium ago. In the United States, we have visions rather than short-range plans.

The post Monthly etymology gleaning for May 2015 appeared first on OUPblog.

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4. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Gatsby House Hits the Market

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s former home in Great Neck, the location that inspired his classic novel “The Great Gatsby,” is for sale. The seller is looking to fetch $3.9 for the Long Island home.

According to the real estate listing, Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda rented the home for two years in the early 1920s. Check it out:

Zelda called it \"our nifty little Babbit-home at Great Neck,\" and it became their base for parties and visits to even more luxurious homes in the vicinity, which eventually became the class-conscious West Egg and East Egg of \"Gatsby.\"

Via The Los Angeles Times.

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5. McKenna Jordon Joins Minotaur Books Team

St. Martin's Press McKenna Jordan, the owner of the Murder By the Book store, has been brought on as an outside publishing consultant at the St. Martin’s Press imprint, Minotaur Books.

Jordan, whose shop is based in Houston, will continue to work as a bookseller in addition to performing the duties required of her in this newly created position. She will report to editorial director Kelley Ragland.

Jordan had this statement in the press release: “I am so very excited to be working with Andrew, Kelley and the rest of the staff at Minotaur Books! After years of hand-selling their titles on the front lines at Murder By The Book, I hope to be able to bring a unique, first-hand insight about how best to market and promote Minotaur titles to all consumers.”

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6. New Ways to Annoy Agents

Maybe I was just in a bad mood, but I recently received a request that set my teeth on edge. I mean this really irritated me.

Not too long ago I received an email from a writer I've never heard of with a request that, frankly, I was astonished by. While I'm not quoting her email verbatim to protect her identity it was basically this:

Dear Ms Faust, I hope you don't mind me writing to you like this. My debut novel is a romantic comedy with a strong 'career girl' angle. It was released as an e-book by [redacted] Publishing recently. It would be a huge boost, were you to do me the kindness of a tweet of the link below. [title of book and description redacted]. Very sincerely, [author name redacted].

#TitleRedacted  [links redacted] via @[AuthorTwitterAccount Redacted]

I've never heard of this author, to the best of my knowledge we've never met, she never queried me and I definitely do not represent her.

This is one of those instances where someone has lost sight of how best to publicize and promote a book. Requesting that people you don't know Tweet about your book is offensive and ridiculous. It's equally annoying to receive email (I receive a lot) announcing your book when, again, I don't know you. This is all called spam people. Don't be a spammer.

--jhf

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7. स्कूल जाने का जुनून

aman pgaman pg2

पुस्तक “पाठक मंच न्यूज बुलेटिन”(नेशनल बुक ट्रस्ट से प्रकाशित) अंक- मई “खेल खेल में “नामक लेख में सिरसा के अमन मिढ्ढा से बातचीत…
सिरसा में रहने वाले अमन ने एक मिसाल कायम की है. दसवीं क्लास में पढने वाले अमन ने लगातार पांच साल में एक बार भी स्कूल से छुट्टी नही ली.शत प्रतिशत उपस्थिती …है ना हैरानी वाली बात .. इस बेमिसाल उपलब्धि के लिए सेंट जेवियर्स स्कूल ने अमन को प्रशस्ति पत्र देकर सम्मानित किया. अमन उन बच्चों के लिए प्रेरणा है जो स्कूल जाने के नाम से कतराते हैं और बहाना बना कर स्कूल बंक करते हैं. अमन ने हर क्लास मे प्रथम स्थान प्राप्त किया है. हम सभी को अमन से सीख लेनी चाहिए. खुशी इस बात की भी है कि अब अमन के छोटे भाई नमन ने भी भाई की कदमो पर चलना शुरु कर दिया है.
बहुत बहुत शुभ कामनाएं अमन, नमन और परिवार में उनके मम्मी पापा और दादा जी को जिन्होने बच्चों को हमेशा उत्साहित किया…

The post स्कूल जाने का जुनून appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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8. Can your diet make you feel depressed?

I am often asked whether eating particular foods can enhance mood and treat the symptoms of depression. With very few exceptions, the answer is no. In contrast, our mood can be easily depressed by our diet. Why? For adults, the brain responds primarily to deficits, not surpluses, in the diet.

The post Can your diet make you feel depressed? appeared first on OUPblog.

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9. Pay it Forward to Linda Mims



Welcome Linda Mims! Pay it Forward Day!

Writer-Blogger over at -Motivational Speaker-Retired Diva! My tweets briefly reflect my opinions. Join me at BOOMACIOUS! 
@boom_lyn

What is a Boomacious Woman? by Linda Mims
http://boomacious.com/home/


About Boomacious:

Who is the Boomacious woman! It’s a woman who is so fabulously happy to transition into the second phase of her life that even God is excited for her. A Boomacious woman embraces her age, weight, marital status, and any perceived shortcomings and never allows them to stop her show. She doesn’t care what people think, or what they do. She has learned to live and let live. That is Boomacious!
“Boomacious”, the blog, is dedicated to this woman!
Boomacious women lead businesses! Are entrepreneurs! Care for elderly parents! Process decisions daily about housing, food, clothing, automobiles, investments, etc. for multi-generational families.
A Boomacious woman is spirited, adventurous, and stylish! She remembers the woman she was in the 70’s, but now she’s ready to share her knowledge with generations Y and X. “Boomacious”, the blog, inspires Baby Boomer Women to redefine themselves and it identifies trends that will allow these women to embrace the second phase of their lives.
Join us as we explore literature, lifestyles, entertainment, technology, and travel for all ages. We’re 
not stuck on numbers. If it feels good, and you can still do it—go for it!
We’re eager to hear from you! Send all correspondence to lyn@boomacious.com.
Stay healthy! Stay stylish! Stay inspired!
Join her on her blog and learn about other authors, their books, and Linda's views about life and being fabulous.

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10. What does peace mean for our children?

Peace is an Offering

Words by Annette LeBox, pictures by Stephanie Graegin

 

It seems more than ironic that I am writing this post of a picture book on peace, on the day after Memorial Day, originally termed Decoration Day. 

Decoration Day, instituted following the Civil War by General John A. Logan, was begun on May 30,1868 to honor the war dead from both sides of the conflict. Flowers  “decorated” the graves of those who died “in defense of their country during the late rebellion.”

On the first Decoration Day, May 25, 1868, more than 20,000 Union and Confederate graves were decorated at Arlington National Cemetery by over 5,000 participants. And if we’re really being precise, the decorating of graves of the Civil War dead even predates 1868, as it first began in the South where black communities in Charleston, South Carolina, around 1865, honored the Civil War soldiers that died, and their ultimate sacrifice.   

Before reading Annette LeBox’s picture book, “Peace is An Offering”, I took a look at the number of soldiers who have died from all wars and military conflicts that the United States military has been engaged in, in some form or another. The numbers are pretty staggering.

And yet.. I feel even as we read books on peace to young readers, we need to impart to them, some other facts and values. And those are, that there are some values, such as family and freedom, that are very much worth protecting, and even defending.

Gala Truist, a medical anthropologist, and contributor to the Library of Congress History Project, talked with recent veterans in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. And she has some pretty interesting observations:

 

     “Today, out of a nation of 320 million

     people, 1.3 million Americans are in

    active duty military, and another 1 million

     serve in the reserves, according to the

     Department of Defense….That small fig-

     ure influences the way the general pub-

     lic thinks about the cost of conflict.

     Now, less than 1% of our population has

     served…So few have served, and that

     it’s very easy for people to say now that

     “I didn’t want these wars”, but that 

     doesn’t mean that we aren’t all part of

     this.”

 

And, as we as a nation pray, teach and hope for peace, the reality is that only a very small percentage of Americans have, not to put too fine a point on it, “skin in the game,” because of an all volunteer military and the elimination of the draft.

I often wonder what the effect would be in this country if the draft were re-instituted and, as a result, the military draft cut across all lines.

Would families still allow sons and daughters that are drafted to defend and serve? Or would they consider the sacrifice too great? It’s a question worth pondering.

Annette Le Box, in her picture book, travels through a neighborhood of everyday children enjoying everyday things. It’s filled with pictures of sun filled days, and softly shaded nights; of young ones and their families and friends, sharing the day to day joys of childhood. And it touches gently on the sometimes subtle and unsettling conflicts that may sometimes arise. Stephanie Gregins’s pictures provide a wonderful complement to the picture book in their softness and simplicity. 

The inference is that peace is something that may be sought and found in our every day interactions with the people that come our way. And that is a truly wonderful message to impart to young readers. 

But, I also hope that as parents read “Peace is An Offering” to their young readers, they also remind them that peace, on a world wide scale, often does come at a price, and that it is preserved, as it has been in the past, by many that are very deserving of their thanks and prayers.

Maybe then Memorial Day may continue to mean, for their generation, so much more than beaches, barbecues and bargains.  

 

 

 

 

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11. There’s going to be another live-action League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

league-of-extraordinary-gentleman-700x379

I distinctly remember going to the theater in 2003 to see the James Robinson-written adaptation of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. At the time, I hadn’t read the Alan Moore/Kevin O’Neill series, I just happened to be drawn in by what I saw as an ingenious premise: the Justice League of Victorian literature.

Even my dad, who had no use for superhero movies pre Iron Man/Dark Knight/Avengers, was excited about the prospect.

You can imagine how deflating that day actually was: a gun-wielding Tom Sawyer, a barely interested Sean Connery, and so. much. camp. When the released just a few months later Underworld was more entertaining by comparison, you know there’s a problem.

I eventually discovered the source material and devoured it voraciously. I even love the somewhat more divisive Century volume. For a good long while I yearned for Fox to go back and correct this grievous cinematic misstep. Then Showtime introduced Penny Dreadful, which took the same basic concept with a number of different characters (Mina Harker’s father, Dr. Frankenstein, another live action shot at Dorian Gray, vampires, witches, etc) and toned down the broader action elements in favor of a healthy dose of “Hammer horror”. It was the League adaptation I always wanted, just without the name or central characters, and it is perhaps the strongest series that the premium channel has ever produced.

And of course now, Fox has announced plans to reboot The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen for the big screen per Variety. Just two years ago, there was talk of it becoming a television series with apparent go-to genre guy Michael Green as the showrunner, but that ended up not moving forward. Now producer John Davis will be teaming with Ira Napoliello and Matt Reilly to bring this new version to fruition, though no writers have been announced as of yet.

Can it succeed? Possibly! But given how Fox has generally mishandled its comic book franchises and fumbled with the League before, it’s tough to get excited on my end. Then again, we are talking about what I think is Moore’s best work from the ABC era to the current period, so the studio definitely has a tough row to hoe. In the meantime, season 2 of Penny Dreadful is wonderful thus far.

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12. Why Do Idiots Not Send Comics Through The Mail Correctly?

So, I get home from the shops and there is this floppy package waiting for me.
There is a tiny piece of sellotape along the back and an address sticker.  Didn't recognise the name but could not remember ordering any clothes.

Oh, and there is a clear label stating that it needs to be signed for.  Apparently my sister opened the door and this was handed to her.  This was signed for? Not by either of us.  Oh -would this be the TENTH example this year of a postal delivery worker committing FRAUD by faking a signature?  Is that why this package was almost open?
Ahhh.  NOT clothes. Comics. 1980s, quite prone to tearing and damage newsprint comics.
A closer look, yes a very thin, flimsy (judging by the catalogue bar code something that did hold cloth).  Yes, bumped down at the edges and both ends.


See that damage at the bottom of this pack?  Not a single piece of card and yet postage was £4.50 -more than the comicsw cost but you cannot be so stupid as to not realise it will cost you NO MORE to buy a proper postal packet to put these in.

I just sighed rather than going into a raging fury.

Feedback on this purchase......I'm calming down right now.

As I have looked after comics in all conditions and states for 50 years (I REALLY must get a life) I think I can repair the damage to these but it will take time.  Nice buy but FFS how long before these people learn that just throwing a comic into a crap envelope and putting it through the postal system is NOT WHAT YOU DO.

I really do despair at times -especially when there are web sites telling you HOW to send comics in the mail. And even Ebay tell you what to do!!

http://www.ebay.co.uk/gds/How-To-Properly-Package-Ship-Raw-Comic-Books-/10000000175497112/g.html

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13. Cinebook The 9th Art: Lucky Luke 52 - The Beautiful Province



 



Lucky Luke 52 - The Beautiful Province
Authors: Gerra & Achdé
Age: 8 years and up
Size: 21.7 x 28.7 cm
Number of pages: 48 colour pages
Paperback

ISBN: 9781849182492
Price: £6.99 inc. VAT

Publication: April 2015

While taking part in a rodeo in Wisconsin, Lucky Luke and Jolly Jumper meet Mario Bombardier, a Quebecois cowboy, and his mare the beautiful Province. It’s love at first sight for the two horses, and after the inevitable separation, Jolly Jumper can’t stop moping. Eventually Luke decides to head to Quebec in order to arrange a reunion – and discovers the merry atmosphere of the Nouvelle France: mounted police, bar fights, poutine, traditional French songs ... and an unscrupulous, wealthy banker...

After 52 albums I cannot seriously think of anything new to write.  From being very -very- cold to Lucky Luke, I just never actually thought much about a humorous western comic.  However, as the years (!) have rolled on since volume 1 he has grown on me.  Never ever thought he would but he has.

I can appreciate the slap-stick humour and plots as well as the vizual gags and I can also appreciate that this series is one of those attracting more younger readers to comics rather than the rather had-its-day Bean or Dandy, or whichever is still dragging itself out each week.

Above all, for Cinbebook the 9th Art and the man who started it all, Olivier Cadic, this is a graphic legacy for a few generations to come.  One day people will immediately think "Cinebook" when asked about British comics -its legacy will be that important.

For now see just how Lucky Luke, the epitome of the cool Western hero, gets on in Quebec!

 

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14. App of the Week: Last Voyage

lastvoyageTitle: Last Voyage
Cost: $1.99; currently on sale for $0.99
Platform: iOS 7.0 or later

Last Voyage, by Semidome Inc., is an abstract puzzle game inspired by science fiction movies. It features hypnotic, minimalist graphics that often consist of simple geometric shapes; but also more cinematic scenes that pay homage to icons like the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Black, white, and red are the dominant colors throughout, with occasional surprise appearances by blue and green. The pulsing, 40-minute original soundtrack adds immensely to the experience.

astral Told in five chapters that can be played individually, or moved through in order, it has been compared to other cinematic games such as Monument Valley and Lost Sounds. While Last Voyage doesn't present a traditional narrative, the idea that you are embarking on a mind-bending journey through the depths of space is strong and ever-present. Each player is free to imagine their own reason for the journey, and their own interpretation for each chapter.

chaptersThe game chapters alternate between puzzle challenges and challenges that test the speed and accuracy of your thumbs. The puzzles in Chapter1: Astral and Chapter 3: Mind are presented with no instructions; half of the fun was in figuring out the key to solving each one. I thought that these might not be much fun once I knew what I needed to do to solve them, but revisiting Astral a few days later, I discovered that several were just as challenging the second time around. Getting through some of the harder ones in half the time as before was also somewhat gratifying.

voidThe other chapters, the ones that require quick thumbs, offer minimal instructions. Even with these, however, it took a long time for me to pass Chapter 2: Void. First I had to train my thumbs to swipe in the right direction. After failing many, many times in the early stages of the game; I found that timing became even more important during the later stages. I had to fail many more times before finally making it all the way through. The soundtrack helped to keep my going, though. During this chapter, it sounded to me like the perfect accompaniment for plunging through a wormhole, and I really wanted to see what lay on the other side.

This is a game that I would enthusiastically recommend to all young fans of puzzle games, science fiction, electronic music and any gamers with a big imagination.

Have a suggestion for a featured App of the Week? Let us know. And don't forget to check out more great apps in our archive.

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15. The 2015 San Diego Comic-Con: what, where, Conan and One Direction

San_diego_comic-Con40o5867.jpg

SDCC 2015 is less than six weeks away.

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Comic-Con is about two weeks early this year, right after July 4th and I don’t even want to THINK about the hell that will unleash upon our psyches. But we’ll survive like we always do.

Like a rite of late spring, Tom Spurgeon’s epic 2015 con guide has been posted, meaning that we can’t escape this any further. As always Tom’s tips are solid for those who still go to the con for the comics portion; line waiters have probably memorized the SDCC Unoficcial Blog’s Where do I line up guide. An entire culture of tips about getting into Hall H, getting autographs, grabbing toys, waiting for panels, sneaking into rooms, exists, but I’m just not going to go there.

Just to reiterate my own two cents:

* Comfortable shoes! Yes it has to be said!

* Don’t ever go to the con planning to finish something while you’re there! It just doesn’t work out. The one exception might be slide shows for your panel, because I’ve sat on the floor at the convention center on Saturday doing that…but not recommended. Really.

* Secret Bathrooms Tom came thisclose to explaining where the secret bathrooms at the convention center are. But he didn’t exactly draw a map so there’s still  hope for a peaceful pee. There is actually a WHOLE FLOOR of secret bathrooms used only by Jude Law and Diane Nelson, but you need a wristband to get there. I should mention that one Beat Operative is a ninja for going into secret places, and I may send him on a bathroom recon this year.

* Tip people. It’s really a good idea.

* Carry trail mix Every year my podcast producer Kate makes me four big bags of GORP and I carry one with me each day. Just like Nux had a line in to Mad Max, I stay connected to this energy source, reaching in and eating a handful whenever I think of it. I never get hungry until my one meal of the day, which is usually some hor d’oeuvres from some kind of reception, hopefully some carrot sticks and a cheese slice. At night I go to Ralphs and get a piece of pumpkin pie.

* Plan ahead! If you heeded my advice from last year, you started your to do list for 2015 the day the 2014 show ended so you’ve already done everything you need to get done like make business cards, because you had a whole year, right? RIGHT???

* Heading east for dinner is an intriguing suggestion. With the San Diego Public Library becoming a new hub for activity I think the once little known region to the northeast of Petco is going to be busy for Our Kind. I had dinner there last year and it was quite pleasant.

Zaynmalik

NOW, as to what else is happening this year! One Direction is coming to Comic-Con! Omigod ohmigod ohmigod. Okay not really. They are playing Quallcomm Stadium on the Thursday of the con, but Zayn won’t be there so what is the point of living, really?

The Unofficial SDCC Blog folks have an exhaustive list of offsite events and while some things haven’t been firmed up, many traditional fan events will be back including Wootstock, the Aquabats, Jay & Silent Bob Get Old and The Walking Dead Escape. It is amusing to me that some of these are now a year’s old tradition, just like the Saturday dinner at Panda Inn used to be for cartoonists. You can also find a lot of good information on con survival and events at Tony Kim’s Crazy4 Comic-Con site.

I’m not going to go down the list of offsite concerts etc, but there will be many cosplay photo shoots, and symphony concerts of Pokemon and Zelda music.

NOW what about the big offsites?

* Gam3rCon will be back, This is a full five day event running at the Tenth Avenue Arts Center and devoted to all things video games. I’ve never been but they say it’s fun.

* Will there be a NerdHQ this year? This offsite, run by actor Zachary Levi, has been a parallel nerd con with panels and activities, most recently seen at Petco. But it seems to be MIA this year. Last year’s event was crowdfunded, to some controversy, and this year there’s been only this call for volunteers:

Hey there, nerds! Were you guessing if #NerdHQ would be back this year too? You were guessing right! Applications to…

Posted by The Nerd HQ on Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The link is now dead but applications closed on Sunday so that’s probably why. Otherwise, no word.

However, Nerdist HQ WILL be taking up some space at PetCo this year—the stadium itself has had some renovations which will mean changes to the Walking Dead Escape route and more. Once again the SDCC Blog has the deets:

We’ve confirmed that Nerdist Industries will be using the Main Concourse along Left Field and the 3rd Base sideline sections, used in previous years by The Nerd Machine and Nerd HQ. Although at this year’s WonderCon, Chris Hardwick announced they’d be using the entire lower level, there was some question as to exactly which area this referred to. There’s no word yet on what Nerdist has planned for the space, but last year’s Nerdist event was held on the top level of Petco Park, where they teamed up with 2K and Gearbox Software to hold a Borderlands themed laser tag area.

 

So, more to come on all that.

If these nerdlebrity/media hype events aren’t your cuppa there is one ongoing offsite that will definitely appeal to comics fans, and a lot of people will want to take a look. It’s the Art of Comic-Con show being held at the central library. As we reported previously, the exhibit opens on June 20th and runs until August 30th and can be seen at the Art Gallery on the 9th Floor of the San Diego Central Library @ Joan Λ Irwin Jacobs Common at 330 Park Blvd. in downtown San Diego. It is FREE to attend. For reference, here’s a map:
330 Park Blvd   Google Maps.jpeg


Now, there will be ONE MAJOR NEW EVENT at this year’s Comic-Con: as seen above, the Conan O’Brien Show will be broadcasting directly from Comic-Con. The schedule of shows will run from Wednesday to Saturday, a break from their usual Monday-Thursday schedule. I haven’t seen any more details on this, but it should be good and weird and O’Brien will have his pick of stars for the show. Team Coco previously went to Cuba, but O’Brien says he expects this to be weirder and he’s absolutely right.

Have any hints or tips for this year’s Comic-Con? Let us know in the comments!

1 Comments on The 2015 San Diego Comic-Con: what, where, Conan and One Direction, last added: 5/27/2015
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16. First Day Jitters - a bookwrap





Unwrapping...




Written by Julie Danneberg

Illustrated by Judy Love



Unwrapping some illustrations for you...



















My take on the book...




     This is such a fun book because everyone on the planet can relate: a parent, a student, a teacher or a principal understands those emotions completely.  The first day of school is exciting but also scary. Everyone finds it hard to sleep the night before and they try to imagine what that first day will look in their head all night long.  Will the teacher be nice?  Will the kids accept me and be my friends?  Will I miss my bus or horrors even forget my lunch? Is what I chose to wear the right thing?  Is my backpack stuffed and ready to go?  And on and on and on....... All these things swirl around in your head in over an over again as you anticipate that alarm going off any minute and your first day calling you forth.  

      Sarah Jane does not want to get up and head off to school her first day and pulls her covers back over her head and refuses to budge.  She finally is lured from her hideaway and encouraged to eat a piece of toast, grab her lunch pail and head off into the wonderful world of first day jitters. She still does not want to go and slumps down in the car en route and tries to disappear once again. 

     She is met by the principal of the school and escorted to her classroom where a gaggle of students are anxiously awaiting her arrival.  How will she be received?  Will her jitters overcome her?  This book is humorous and witty.  The illustrations are just fantastic, full of detail, emotion and action.  Suspense is created as the reader turns each page because the true identity of Sarah Jane is not fully disclosed, not until the very end of the book.  The twist of the story will bring a great laugh to readers of all ages.  

     I used this book when teaching in every grade, from Kindergarten right up to grades 7 and 8 and each time the kids enjoyed it immensely and we all had a great laugh because the characters portrayed in the book was....us!!  Highly recommended.



About the author....






"As a kid, when I daydreamed or played at being grown-up, I never imagined myself as a writer. Instead I dreamed of being a famous girl reporter, a secret agent, and a teacher."

With an imagination like that, it's hard to believe that Colorado native Julie Danneberg never considered a career as a writer.

After graduating from the University of Colorado, Boulder, Julie became a teacher. In her classroom, she read many children's books, and witnessed the profound impact a good book can have on a child. "I was motivated to try and write books like the ones I enjoy reading."

When Julie became a mother, she began to seriously consider a career in writing. During weekly trips to the library with her children, she found herself enjoying the picture books as much as they did. "The funny thing is that my kids eventually graduated from the children's section of the library and I never did!"

Writing children's books was the perfect medium for blending Julie's many interests--working with kids, being home with her family, being creative, and being her own boss. She even fulfilled her childhood dreams of becoming the intrepid reporter and world-class secret agent through her research, writing and character development in her books.

Julie earned great success with First Day Jitters--the funny and engaging story of Sarah Jane Hartwell's first day at a new school. The surprise ending charms and delights readers time and again. Teachers and students alike love these stories and they are perennial favorites for back-to-school. Julie lives with her husband and two children in Denver. She teaches at a local middle school where she garners ideas for her books. When she's not writing, Julie enjoys reading, quilting, gardening, and spending time with her family.


About the illustrator...



When did you start illustrating books?
I started doing educational illustrating in 1976. The first book I illustrated, Leapin’ Lizzie, was published in 1985.
At what point did you develop a passion for drawing when you were a child?
I was pretty young. When most kids started drawing, I was drawing more than most. I even thought I wanted to be a book illustrator when I was little. I was in second grade at the time, about 7 or 8 years old.
What aspects of your personal life inspire you most as an artist?
I have a passion for fabric and textiles—the colors of fabrics really excite me. If I go into a fabric store, the colors can really inspire me. As a student at the Rhode Island School of Design, I almost went into fashion design, but I felt like I was back in high school taking home economics classes. Fashion design was too superficial—it didn’t feel like real art. I was just designing clothing according to the market’s fads and it felt too commercial.
I love theater too! I have done some set deisgn and costuming, mostly in high school and college. I did some theater work recently for my children’s performances. I think working on costuming is similar to illustrating books. In both cases, you are designing and creating a character’s visual appearance.
I also really like gardening! I love the textures of different plants, and the way the leaves overlap. Making flower arrangements and arranging plants in my garden inspires me to draw. While I was working on my first book, Leapin’ Lizzie, I went to the woods and photographed things so that my illustrations could be more lifelike and botanically correct.
What were your most memorable experiences in researching & illustrating Gobble, Quack, Moon? Special people? Special places?
I grew up on a farm, so I went back there and took rolls of pictures of the fields and machinery. I got together with my roommate from college who sculpts cows, goats, and other animals. She helped me find videos of all the dances mentioned in the book.
I would stop the car in middle of road when I found a good squished can that could be part of the animals’ scrap rocket they flew to the moon. I got books out of the library about rockets. I would also spend time with my choral director’s husband who was sick with Lou Gehrig’s disease. Every day, I would work on the sketches for Gobble, Quack, Moon, and I would show him how the illustrations were progressing.
Have there ever been tough times when you’ve felt discouraged or uninspired? Have such obstacles ever made you rethink your career path? If so, what keeps you going in such times?
Artists get illustrator’s block just like authors can get writer’s block. In every single book, there is at least one two-page spread that’s a problem. Always when you finish a book, you feel like there were things you could have done better. Sometimes after I do lots of book illustrating, I get burnt out. It’s during those times that working on theater productions helps me become re-energized. However, I think I did make the right choice in being an illustrator—I really find it fulfilling.
I would also love to do more figure and classical drawing. In order to get refueled and get ideas for my next illustrating job, I like to go to art museums and/or galleries. These cultural outings recharge my creative juices and get me inspired for my next book. I usually illustrate one to two children’s books each year.
Your home business and art studio, called "The Artery," is where you work on your illustrations. How would you describe your hometown, its surroundings and the view from The Artery’s window?
I live in Belmont, Massachusetts—a fairly rural suburb of Boston. Belmont is the home to 36,000 residents. Behind my house, you can see wetlands and conservation land. I watch the beautiful New England seasons as they change and the leaves change colors. My studio is on the third floor of my house. It has one window that looks out onto a dead-end street where I hardly ever see cars. There is a mockingbird that starts singing at 4:30am on the dot, and sometimes I can hear him in my studio when I’m working late.
What other products do you illustrate in addition to children’s books? How often are you working on children’s books and how much time do you spend on other projects?
I illustrate books three-quarters of the time and the rest of my illustrating work is for educational materials. I illustrate ESL (English as a Second Language) and math workbooks. I also draw posters and craft books for Rockport Publishing.
Working as an illustrator is a nice lifestyle because I can make my own hours. Both my sons want to go into art as their careers, so I must be doing a good job!




Read on and read always!

Its's a wrap.





Contact me at storywrapsblog@gmail.com

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17. Straight From the Source: Author Jeannie Mobley on Writing Historical Fiction

Jeannie Mobley writes middle grade and YA fiction. Her debut novel, KATERINA’S WISH (Margaret K. McElderry Books), won the 2013 Colorado Book Award, is on the 2014-2015 William Allen White Award Master List, and represented Colorado at the 2013 National Book Festival.  Her second novel, SEARCHING FOR SILVERHEELS, released September 2, 2014. When not writing or reading fiction, Jeannie is a mother, wife, lover of critters, and an anthropology professor at Front Range Community College, where she teaches a variety of classes on cultures past and present. You can visit her at www.jeanniemobley.com.

What typically comes first for you: a character? An era? A story idea? How do you proceed from there?

I tend to start with big ideas–themes or threads that I then build a story around. In Katerina’s Wish, I started with ideas about what constitutes “magic” and to what extent our own attitudes shape our luck in the world. In my newest book, Searching for Silverheels, I was interested in two varying views on a local legend, and how either way, the character could be seen as a “strong woman.” That got me thinking about what really constitutes strength and womanhood, and it went from there. My next step is matching the setting and historical time period to my idea.

katerina's.wish.frontcvr

Whats your favorite thing about writing historical fiction?

The fact that I can find historical settings to focus the lens on topics, themes, or social issues. For example, in Searching for Silverheels, I chose World War I to explore the issues surrounding strong women, because women are called to do a wider range of things in wartime than at other times. And World War I had the unique additional feature of the clash between President Wilson and the Women’s Suffragist Movement. Of course, I could tell a story about all the ways women are strong in any place or time, but I like historical fiction because I can pick times and places to make the issues much more intense.

What kinds of sources do you use? 

I use different sources at different points in my research. I have a background in history and historical research, so that eliminates much of the initial work I might otherwise have to do. But, in the early stages of formulating an idea or picking a time period, I rely heavily on informational websites and textbooks–the kind of sources that give broad overviews of a topic or time period.

My next step is to create ideas for world building–getting the local setting, the voice, and the details of ordinary life right. This involves reading sources from the era–newspapers, books, reports–anything that gives me a sense of how people wrote or talked. I also look at oral histories that give details of life. Since I write for kids, I especially like oral histories in which people are remembering back to their childhood, because those give me details about what life was like for kids, which is often lacking from history books.

I also love to look at historic photographs for background details, and especially ones that evoke other senses (like the smoke boiling from chimneys in turn-of-the-century coal camps. I try to think about how that must have smelled, how gritty the air must have felt, how the laundry drying on the line must have taken on that smoke.).

There are many good sources for all of these things, but since my work so far has been centered in Colorado, I’ve found the Western History Archives at the Denver Public Library to be a wonderful source of photographs, www.coloradonewspapers.org to be a great place to read for voice, and a variety of sources of oral history, the most extensive being the National Archive oral history project, which has many recordings online that let you hear the actual voice of the teller, as well as the details.

How long do you typically research before beginning to draft?

Not long, or even at all. If I’m working with a new place or era with which I’m not familiar, I might spend a few hours doing background research, and a few more listening or reading for voice. I may read a novel written in the era or watch a movie set in the area (not really research–more just a good excuse to read a book or watch a movie.) But mostly, the story is most important to me in the first draft, and it guides me as to what details I need to find. So I research as I write the first draft. For example, in my current WiP, I had a conversation going on between the front seat and back seat of a car in 1930. I had a character glance in the rearview mirror to see the people in the back,  and realized that I don’t know for sure when the rear-view mirror became standard in vehicles. So, I made a note in the margin–“would the car have a rearview mirror?” and when I finished writing the scene, I stopped to look it up.

SilverheelsCoverSCBWI

Whats one of the most interesting things youve learned while researching?

I tend to love (and get lost in) the quirky details, but also the strange connections. So, I lost a whole day one time on the history of toilets on trains. Fascinating, if you go in for that kind of thing. And I am often stunned by connections that sometimes make me feel like I’m channeling instead of creating. In my newest book, Searching for Silverheels, I needed a last name for a character. At the time, my son was in high school, so he was getting recruitment mail for colleges. There was an envelope sitting on the table from Stanford University. I looked at it, changed it from Stanford to Sanford, and made it the kid’s last name. Later, while doing some back-up research on the Silverheels legend, I learned that one of the “eye witness” stories that claims to know the truth about the legend is in a manuscript at the Colorado Historical Society, written by a man named Sanford. The Sanford in my story is searching out an eye witness, just as the real Sanford was. So, I adjusted the story so that my fictional Sanford hears the same story that the real Sanford heard. But the names, that was just a crazy coincidence that sent a chill up my spine when it happened.

Because life isnt always clear cut, the motives behind our actions dont always make sense. But stories need to follow a logical path. What sorts of decisions have you had to make about muddy historical figures or events in order for your book to work?

In Katerina’s Wish, I was deliberately vague and never named the coal camp in which the main characters live. I did this because I wanted to avoid the political implications of setting the story in the place where one of the major battles of labor union history took place. Many readers have made the connection, which is fine, but I didn’t want to imply that my characters were directly part of a movement.

On the other hand, in Searching for Silverheels, I did want to connect my suffragist to the real women’s suffrage movement, so I set the story in the exact month and year when the members of the National Women’s Party were arrested at the White House, and that arrest is a catalyst for setting up the climax of my story. I did, however, create some fictional responses to that event that I don’t think really happened. I am always careful to create an author’s note that clarifies the real from the fictional, but I also think that some of the fun for readers of historical fiction can be looking up the truth themselves, and seeing where the author has been honest and where she’s told lies.

Why is historical fiction important?

I think historical fiction has the opportunity to give kids a passion or curiosity about the past. I think a lot of people are turned off by the idea of “history” because they see it as the dull retelling of a bunch of boring dates about boring politicians. It took me years to figure out that people saw history that way, because for me, history was always about story. I grew up in the west where I could explore old cabins and travel roads that used to be railroads or wagon trails, and to me, that continuation of the past, as a compilation of extraordinary stories about ordinary people, is what history has always been about. Hopefully, historical fiction can make kids (or adults) see history that way too.

The post Straight From the Source: Author Jeannie Mobley on Writing Historical Fiction appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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18. Hamelin NEWSLETTER del 27/5/2015

  bilbolbul

XANADU - CLASSIFICA DELL’UNDICESIMA EDIZIONE
Grande successo per la festa finale dell’undicesima edizione di Xanadu, che si è tenuta venerdì scorso al Teatro Duse con più di 700 ragazzi presenti, e ospiti d’eccezione Melvin Burgess e Gianni Biondillo.
Qui i libri vincitori di quest’anno per le medie e le superiori.
Sul sito si trovano anche le foto della festa, i messaggi dagli autori e i consigli degli ospiti sulle storie imperdibili a sedici anni.
PER MAGGIORI INFORMAZIONI SUL PROGETTO: WWW.PROGETTOXANADU.IT

CORSO SUGLI ALBI ILLUSTRATI
"AD OCCHI APERTI"
Il 28 maggio 2015, alle 19 presso la Biblioteca Cantonale di Bellinzona nella sala conferenze si terrà il primo appuntamento del ciclo di formazione sugli albi illustrati "Ad occhi aperti". Il corso, promosso da Bibliomedia Svizzera italiana e Istituto svizzero Media e Ragazzi vuole sviluppare una riflessione sull’albo illustrato e sperimentare nuovi percorsi pedagogici.
Il primo incontro sarà incentrato su una presentazione delle ultime uscite e tendenze editoriali. I prossimi appuntamenti si concentreranno sulla divulgazione scientifica, sulle forme del comico e sui percorsi sull’identità nell'albo.
PER INFORMAZIONI: NPLSVIZZERA@GMAIL.COM

INCONTRO DI FORMAZIONE A
PIOVE DI SACCO
Mercoledì 3 giugno Nicola Galli Laforest terrà a Piove di Sacco presso il Centro d'Arte e Cultura un incontro di formazione e aggiornamento sulla letteratura per ragazzi dal titolo Dove va la narrativa young adults? Generi, tendenze e autori imprescindibili. È il secondo appuntamento organizzato dalle Biblioteche della Saccisica e del Conselvano e del Bibliopride.


DONA IL TUO 5 X 1000 AD HAMELIN
Anche grazie al tuo contributo potremo portare avanti le nostre attività.
Nella tua dichiarazione dei redditi, scrivi il nostro codice fiscale: 92047890378
Grazie per il sostegno!

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19. The importance of continuing professional development in medicine

We all want our doctors to be familiar with the latest developments in medicine, and to be able to offer us as patients the very best and informed healthcare. It is important that doctors in the fields of anaesthesia, critical care, and pain are up to date and familiar with the latest developments in these rapidly developing areas of medicine, with new techniques and drugs emerging which improve outcomes for patients. As professionals, we cannot stand still and we must always strive to improve outcomes for our patients.

The post The importance of continuing professional development in medicine appeared first on OUPblog.

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20. Tanith Lee Has Died

Tanith Lee, an author of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, has died. She was 67 years old.

The British author wrote more than 90 books and 300 short stories, as well as poems, four several radio plays, and television episodes. Lee’s publisher Tor revealed the sad news on their website yesterday. Here is more about Lee’s life from Tor:

Born in 1947 to two professional dancers, Lee grew up with a love of weird fiction, sci-fi, and Shakespeare. Struggling with then-undiagnosed dyslexia, Lee was unable to read until the age of 8, when her father taught her. Thereafter, she made up for lost time, publishing her first vignette at the age of 21. She worked various jobs as file clerk and assistant librarian as she sent out her work. Her first published novels were children’s fantasies The Dragon Hoard and Animal Castle, published by Macmillan in 1971 and 1972.

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21. Schweinburg

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22. Coldplay Puts On a Game of Thrones Musical

Have you ever envisioned Game of Thrones as a musical? Coldplay, a seven-time Grammy Award winning band, put on this hilarious show in honor of the Red Nose Day USA.

The video embedded above features appearances from several of the HBO series’ cast members such as Kit Harington, Emilia Clarke, and Peter Dinklage. Thus far, it has drawn more than 7.7 million views on YouTube.

Some of the numbers featured in this project include “Rastafarian Targaryen” (sung by The Khaleesi herself), “Wildling” (a Jon Snow performance for Ygritte), and “Still Goin’ Strong” (a tune belted out by Tyrion Lannister). What’s your favorite song from this project? (via BuzzFeed)

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23. First Day Jitters

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24. Guest Post and Give Away on Natalie Aguirre's "Literary Rambles"

I'm excited to have a guest post and a giveaway of my new book, Imogene and the Case of the Missing Pearls, on Natalie Aguirre's wonderful blogLiterary Rambles. You can read the post and maybe win your free copy HEREPlease visit her site and check it out.

Here's a teaser of the book, a trailer a friend made for me:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpBXxmTVdvM&feature=youtu.be

And at Natalie's blog, you'll find a wealth of information on agents and other authors.

Have you ever made a trailer for one of your books?

0 Comments on Guest Post and Give Away on Natalie Aguirre's "Literary Rambles" as of 5/27/2015 11:39:00 AM
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25. कैसे करें खुद को प्रोत्साहित

भाग दौड भरी जिंदगी में अक्सर खुद को प्रोत्साहित करना बहुत जरुरी हो जाता है पर … कैसे करें खुद को प्रोत्साहित… यक्ष प्रश्न है. पर कुछ ही देर मे मुझे इसका उत्तर भी मिल गया . किसी काम से मेरी सहेली  मणि के घर जाना हुआ  तो वो किसी से बात कर रही थी ” कमाल है,तुम तो वाकई में बहुत समझदार हो. मतलब कि हर बात को कितनी सहजता से ले कर उसका समाधान निकाल लेती हो और कोई तनाव नही रखती हमेशा स्माईल ही रहती है चेहरे पर हमेशा ऐसे ही रहना शाबाश,कीप इट अप…

मैं सोच ही रही थी कि किससे बात कर रही होगी अंदर गई तो दूसरा कोई नजर नही आया. मेरे पूछ्ने पर बोली अरे तूने सुन लिया… और स्माईल करती हुई बोली कि शीशे के सामने खडी होकर खुद से बात कर रही थी. खुद को मोटिवेट करना भी बहुत जरुरी होता है इसलिए अक्सर वो यह काम करती रहती है.. मुझे यह बात बहुत पसंद आई. सही है जब तक हम खुद को शाबाशी नही देंगें उत्साहित नही करेंगें तो आगे कैसे बढेग़े…

वैसे नीचे Motivational Quotes भी दिए हैं ताकि आप भली प्रकार समझ सकें

 

14 Motivational Quotes to Keep You Powerful

I once despised motivational quotes, probably because my wrestling coach liked to say, “If you’re not puking or passing out, then you’re not trying hard enough.” Read more…

हमे हमेशा खुद प्रोत्साहित करने के साथ साथ मोटिवेशनल साहित्य भी पढते रहना चाहिए इससे हमे बहुत नई जानकारी मिलती है और साथ साथ हौंसला भी मिलता है.

 

50 Motivational Quotes

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/245810
Here, in 50 inspiring quotes, businesswomen, role models, activists, entertainers, authors, politicians and more share their thoughts on leadership and success — and what exactly those mean to them. 50 Motivational Quotes From Disruptive, Trailblazing, Inspiring Women Leaders

 

मेरे विचार से अब तो नही सोच रहे होंगें कि कैसे करें खुद को प्रोत्साहित …. वैसे अब मुझे भी घर लौटने की जल्दी थी खुद को प्रोत्साहित  जो करना है शीशे के सामने खडे होकर … और आप ?? आप तो करते ही होंगें अगर नही करते तो आज से ही करना शुरु कर दीजिए….

फिर जरुर बताईएगा कि कैसा लग रहा है !!!

The post कैसे करें खुद को प्रोत्साहित appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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