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Normally I'd gush about this being a great summer read to tuck into your bag for the beach, but I kind of hate the term "beach reads" and the relentless marketing campaigns and lists surrounding them. For me a beach read is a book I can get through... Read the rest of this post

0 Comments on TURNING PAGES: REBEL MECHANICS by SHAUNNA SWENDSON as of 7/3/2015 7:02:00 AM
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2. Thomas-Mann-Preis

       The (€25,000) Thomas-Mann-Preis has been around for ages (well, in one form or another -- it's actually apparently only been the 'Thomas-Mann-Preis' one year (2008) and is currently officially the: 'Thomas Mann Preis der Hansestadt Lübeck und der Bayerischen Akademie der Schönen Künste') and boasts an impressive set of previous winners.
       They did well again this year -- surprisingly selecting an author who doesn't write in German, Lars Gustafsson; see, for example, the report in Die Welt. New Directions published quite a few of his works -- fiction and poetry -- but seem to have given up on him; too bad, there's a lot still unavailable in English, and he really is very good.

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3. Best Selling Middle Grade Books | July 2015

It's true TCBR readers are fans of Star Wars! That's why, this month, Star Wars: The Complete Visual Dictionary - The Ultimate Guide to Characters and Creatures from the Entire Star Wars Saga is The Children's Book Review's best selling middle grade book.

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4. City University London triumph at OUP BPP Moot 2015

Congratulations to City University's Charlotte Bellamy and Raphael Gray, who gave an exceptionally polished and professional performance and won the Oxford University Press (OUP) and BPP National Mooting Competition 2014-2015 on 25 June 2015. His Honour Judge Charles Gratwicke of Chelmsford Crown Court presided over the final and praised the hard work and depth of knowledge the students demonstrated. Indeed, it was the the closest final in years.

The post City University London triumph at OUP BPP Moot 2015 appeared first on OUPblog.

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5. Working Social Media - Keep it Going Strong with Consistency

There’s a commercial on TV that shows someone doing one sit up; someone eating one blueberry; and someone eating one piece of broccoli The gist of the ad is that you can’t simply do just one of something to expect good health. Interestingly, I don’t remember what brand it was or what the marketer was trying to sell. But, that’s beside the point. What I took away is it takes ‘more than one.’

0 Comments on Working Social Media - Keep it Going Strong with Consistency as of 7/3/2015 5:48:00 AM
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6. Interview and Giveaway: Power Play by Tiffany Snow

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Tiffany!  What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Tiffany Snow] I’d say my cell phone, but that’s probably everyone’s answer. So I’ll change it up a bit and add that I won’t leave the house without putting on my eyebrow gel (don’t ask—it’s a weird makeup thing that I feel naked without).

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Tiffany Snow] My peacock lamp, a birthday card from my best friend, and a copy of my book POINT OF NO RETURN signed by Ian Somerhalder.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s your favorite snack when you’re working on a deadline?

[Tiffany Snow] Doritos (Cool Ranch). Leaves the nastiest aftertaste but they’re like crack.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Tiffany Snow] Kade Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge.  She’s beautiful, married to a prince, AND she’s a duchess. Plus, I’d have a posh British accent for a day which would be very cool.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] You have been granted the use of one superpower for one week.  Which power would you choose, and what would you do with it?

[Tiffany Snow] I’d choose to be able to travel backwards in time—not forwards—and I’d go back in time and eyewitness historical events such as the Gettysburg Address, Washington’s crossing of the Potomac, the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the building of the pyramids, the painting of the Sistine Chapel, and anything else I could think of.

About Tiffany Snow

A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Tiffany Snow earned degrees in Education and History from the University of Missouri-Columbia, before launching a career in Information Technology. After over a decade in IT, she switched careers to what she always dreamed of doing – writing. Tiffany is the author of romantic suspense novels such as the Kathleen Turner Series, which includes No Turning Back, Turn to Me and Turning Point. Since she’s drawn to character-driven books herself, that’s what she loves to write, and the guy always gets his girl. She feeds her love of books with avid reading, yet she manages to spare time and considerable affection for trivia, eighties hair bands, the St. Louis Cardinals, and Elvis. She and her husband have two daughters and one dog.




About Power Play

Sage Reese lives for her job. More precisely, she lives for her debonair boss, Parker Andersen. Sage handles everything for Parker, even as she fantasizes about the one thing that isn’t in her job description: him. But when a high-stakes account crosses the line from shady to deadly, a tough cop starts giving Sage the attention she wishes Parker would . . .
Detective Dean Ryker couldn’t be more different from Parker. While Parker wears expensive suits like a second skin and drives a BMW, Ryker’s uniform is leather jackets and jeans . . . and his ride of choice is a Harley. While Parker’s sexiness is a reserved, slow burn, Ryker is completely upfront about what-and who-he’s after. And Sage tops his list.
Now, as Ryker digs deeper into the dark side of Parker’s business, Sage finds herself caught between two men: the one she’s always wanted-and the one who makes her feel wanted like never before . . .

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1GuVfn4
B&N: http://bit.ly/1BmaVKs
iTunes: http://apple.co/1GxkgRy
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1QFtFLD
BAM!: http://bit.ly/1LltGxC
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1dMGAtr

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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7. School visits

I had a few wonderful school visits recently...

In St Christopher's School I helped with a project where the kids made their own picture books. I did a day of tutorials, some sketching and in the end made a whole dummy book on stage.
They had a biology lesson in the gym, handling exotic animals, which was great fun to draw.

 In the Haberdasher's Aske's School for Girls I visited for a day with Alexis. We read them our books and drew monsters together.

Very important to have a party stomach. 
modular beasts.

It was awesome.
Thanks everyone!

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8. Miffy and A Dutch wordless book about bikes

Special Tour de France Miffys are available!

Special Tour de France Miffys are available!

Tomorrow sees the start of the world’s greatest cycling event, Le Tour de France. This year it’s actually starting in the Dutch city of Utrecht, the hometown of Dick Bruna creator of Miffy (or Nijntje, to give her her original Dutch name), but I’m using today’s Grand Départ as an excuse to bring you some wonderful images from the marvellous, multi-award winning French-Dutch illustrator, Charlotte Dematons.

Dematons specialises in wordless picture books including The Yellow Balloon and Holland which have been published natively for English speaking readers. One of my personal favourites, however, is her celebration of bicycles and the many forms they can take, especially in the Netherlands. Fiets, or for English speakers ‘Bicycle’ (only available second hand, even in the Netherlands), follows a boy who, having been at a fancy dress party, goes looking for his stolen bike.




In this illustration you see something which is ten-a-penny in the Netherlands – folk giving others a lift home on the back of their bike.


In this spread I love the enoooooormous ‘bakfiets’ which is being used to transport eight children.


This spread shows a scene outside a school during “Children’s Book Week”. Can you spot the special tandem, with the child at the front? What about the unicycle? Or the child in a bread basket on the front of his Dad’s bike? I also like the twins, with the same hairstyle as their dad.


You can transport just about anything by bicycle, especially if you have a friend to help! Look out for the laden panniers, the tag-along car, and even the windshield for small children riding up front on a bike. These houses also make me smile – very typical modern Dutch suburban architecture!


This scene I love because of the very Dutch sight – a florist, and also the nod to how multicultural the Netherlands is.


Another classic Dutch sight – fishing out old bicycles from the canals. The book must be set in the South of the Netherlands because you don’t see hills anything like this anywhere else.


In the Netherlands lots of moving house is done by bicycle, especially if you’re a student. Can you see just how much this family has loaded up on their bike? What about the recumbent bike?

All these types of bike really are every day sights in the Netherlands. If they’ve piqued your interest, there is a specialist UK supplier who can help you find the bike of your dreams – http://practicalcycles.com/. I’ve never used them, but I love what they have to offer. I’m hoping one day to get a bike like this to use as a mobile pop-up bookshop or library, having been inspired by this bike which belongs to the Belgian bookshop Letters & Co.


You’ve seen the illustrations, now see the bikes in real life!

0 Comments on Miffy and A Dutch wordless book about bikes as of 7/3/2015 5:18:00 AM
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9. Green Tea

green tea photo                                                                                                       Green Tea

फैशन ग़्रीन टी का है तो भई हम पीछे कैसे रह सकते हैं.. हमने भी खरीदी( हालाकि महंगी थी पर सेहत के बारे में कोई समझौता नही)  खरीदी  और सुबह सुबह पीनी शुरु कर दी. वैसे कुछ भी कहिए इसकी पैंकिग बहुत ही स्टाईलिश सी  होती है वाकई में ऐसा महसूस होता है कि हम कुछ शानदार पी रहे हैं

कुछ सहेलियों से बातचीत हो रही तो पता चला कि खाली पेट नही पीनी चाहिए नुकसान होता है एक सहेली ने बताया कि वो दिन में पांच बार पीती है और उसे अपना वजन कम लग रहा है.हालाकि ये बात उस ने बेहद गम्भीरता से की थी पर हम सभी के चेहरे पर स्माईल आ गई. बात तो उस समय हंसी मजाक मे उड गई पर मेरे मन में बैठ गई कि हरी चाय क्या है इसके बारे मे नेट पर ही सर्च करुगी …

हरी चाय यानि   ग्रीन टी एक प्रकार की चाय होती है, जो कैमेलिया साइनेन्सिस नामक पौधे की पत्तियों से बनायी जाती है। इसके बनाने की प्रक्रिया में ऑक्सीकरण न्यूनतम होता है। इसका उद्गम करीब ५००० वर्ष पूर्व चीन में हुआ था और आगे चलकर एशिया में जापान से मध्य-पूर्व की कई संस्कृतियों से संबंधित रही. चीन देश में ग्रीन टी की शुरुआत हुई थी|कहते हैं कि चाय के कोमल पत्ते को यदि पीया जाए तो इससे काफी लाभ होता है| ग्रीन टी भी इन्ही पत्तों से बनाई जाती है|

भारत हो या ऑस्ट्रेलिया दोनों देशों में चाय के कई शौकीन लोग देखने को मिलते हैं और वे इन दिनों सेहतमंद चाय की तरफ कदम बढाते नजर आ रहे हैं| पश्चिम ऑस्ट्रेलिया स्थित स्कूल ऑफ पब्लिक हेल्थ अध्यापक कोलिन बिन्स का कहना है कि ग्रीन टी की मांग पहले से काफी अधिक हो गई है| साथ ही यह सेहत की समस्याओं को काफी हद तक घटा देता है| इसकी मदद से स्टोक जैसी समस्याओं से छुटकारा पाने में मदद मिलती है|

प्रायः लोग ग्रीन टी के बारे में जानते हैं लेकिन इसकी उचित मात्र न ले पाने की वजह से उन्हें उनका पूरा लाभ नहीं मिल पाता है।

हरी चाय का फ्लेवर ताज़गी से भरपूर और हल्का होता है तथा स्वाद सामान्य चाय से अलग होता है। इसकी कुछ किस्में हल्की मिठास लिए होती है, जिसे पसंद के अनुसार दूध और शक्कर के साथ बनाया जा सकता है।[2] ग्रीन टी बनाने के लिए एक प्याले में २-४ ग्राम चाय पड़ती है। पानी को पूरी तरह उबलने के बाद २-३ मिनट के लिए छोड़ देते हैं। प्याले में रखी चाय पर गर्म पानी डालकर फिर तीन मिनट छोड़ दें। इसे कुछ देर और ठंडा होने पर सेवन करते हैं। विभिन्न ब्रांड के अनुसार एक दिन में दो से तीन कप ग्रीन टी लाभदायक होती है। इसका अर्थ है कि एक दिन में ३००-४०० मिलीग्राम ग्रीन टी पर्याप्त होती है।

Green Tea Can Also Be Harmful |

ज्यादातर लोग ग्रीन टी को सेहत के लिहाज से काफी फायदेमंद मानते हैं। इसलिए वे दिन भर में कई बार ग्रीन टी की चुस्कियां लेते रहते हैं। लेकिन क्या आप जानते हैं ग्रीन टी का ज्यादा सेवन सेहत के लिए नुकसानदेह हो सकता है। कई बार अच्छी चीजों को ज्यादा सेवन सेहत बिगाड़ सकता है। दिन भर में पांच से छह कप ग्रीन टी का सेवन परेशानियों को कारण बन सकता है। ग्रीन टी में कैफीन होता है इसलिए इसे ज्यादा पीने से स्लीपींग डिस्आडर्र की समस्या हो सकती है। ग्रीन टी वजन कम करने में सहायक मानी जाती है इसलिए लोगों को लगता है कि ग्रीन टी के ज्यादा पीने से उनका वजन जल्द से जल्द कम हो जाएगा जो कि पूरी तरह से गलत है। ग्रीन टी के ज्यादा सेवन से शरीर पर होने वाले दुष्प्रभावों के बारे में जानें।

ग्रीन टी में मौजूद कैफीन इससे होने वाले दुष्प्रभावों का कारण हो सकती है। हालांकि ग्रीन टी में ज्यादा मात्रा में कैफीन नहीं होता है लेकिन एक दिन में ज्यादा ग्रीन टी पीने से बैचेनी, हृदय गति में अनियमितता, अनिद्रा की समस्या, चिंता, चिड़चिड़ापन जैसे लक्षण देखेने को मिल सकते हैं। वे लोग जो कैफीन की ज्यादा मात्रा के आदी नहीं होते हैं उनमें ये लक्षण जल्दी देखे जा सकते हैं। ग्रीन टी की मात्रा कम करके आप इन लक्षणों से बच सकते हैं।

जब ग्रीन टी को ठीक तरह से गर्म पानी के साथ नहीं मिल पाती है तो पेट की समस्या हो सकती गै। ग्रीन टी बनाते समय यह ध्यान रखना चाहिए कि ग्रीन टी पानी बिल्कुल उबला हुआ नहीं होना चाहिए नहीं तो जब आप उस गर्म पानी में चाय डालते हैं तो इससे एसिडिटी हो सकती है जो कि पेट की गड़बड़ी व सीने में जलन का कारण बन सकती है।

ग्रीन टी आयरन को अवशोषित करता है जिससे शरीर में आयरन की कमी हो सकती है। इसलिए जो लोग एनिमीया के शिकार हैं उन्हें ग्रीन टी पीते समय सावधानी बरतनी चाहिए। इस प्रभाव से बचने के लिए आप चाहें तो खाने के बीच में ग्रीन टी ले सकते हैं या उसमें नींबू मिलाकर भी पी सकते हैं।

कुछ लोगों में ग्रीन टी ज्यादा पीने के कारण कुछ एलर्जी के लक्षण देखे जा सकते हैं। ये लक्षण कुछ इस प्रकार के हो सकते हैं जैसे सांस लेने में तलीफ, चेहरे, होंठ व जीभ में सूजन आना।

ग्रीन टी में कैफीन व टैनिक एसिड पाया जाता है जो गर्भावस्था में नुकसानदेह हो सकता है । इसलिए गर्भावस्था के शुरुआती दिनों में महिलाओं को ग्रीन टी पीने से बचना चाहिए क्योंकि इसे होने वाले शिशु को न्यूरल ट्यूब( मस्तिष्क व रीढ की हड्डी में) जन्म दोष होने की संभावना रहती है।

ग्रीन टी में ऑक्सेलिक एसिड प्रचुर मात्रा में पाया जाता है जो गुर्दे में पथरी का कारण हो सकता है। कैल्शियम, यूरिक एसिड व एमिनो एसिड काइस्टीन के साथ फॉस्फेट व ऑक्सेलिक एसिड के साथ संयोजन से गुर्दे की पथरी की समस्या होती है। See more…

Health Benefits of Green Tea In Hindi |

ग्रीन टी के लाभ के बारे में हम सब जानते हैं। एक शोध के मुताबिक रोजाना आठ कप ग्रीन टी हृदय रोग होने की आशंकाओं को कम करती है। इसके साथ ही यह कोलेस्ट्रॉल के स्‍तर को भी कम करती है। साथ ही ग्रीन टी शरीर पर जमा अतिरिक्‍त वसा को भी दूर करने में मदद करती है।

ग्रीन टी में विटामिन सी, पालीफिनोल्स के अलावा अन्य एंटीआक्सीडेंट मौजूद होते हैं, जो शरीर के फ्री रेडीकल्स को नष्ट कर इम्‍यून सिस्‍टम को मजबूत बनाते हैं। इससे शरीर में बीमारियां होने का खतरा कम होता है और शरीर रोग-मुक्‍त होता है।

ग्रीन टी पीने से मेटाबॉलिज्‍म का स्‍तर बढ़ता है। जिसके कारण शरीर में कोलेस्ट्राल की मात्रा संतुलित रहती है। कोलेस्‍ट्रॉल की मात्रा संतुलित रहने से रक्त चाप सामान्य रहता है। जिससे हार्ट अटैक आशंका बहुत कम रहती है।

ग्रीन टी मुंह के लिए बहुत फायदेमंद है। ग्रीन टी में ऑक्‍सीकरण रोधी पॉलीफिनॉल पाया जाता है जो मुंह में उन तत्‍वों को खत्‍म कर देता है जो सांस संबंधी परेशानियों के लिए जिम्‍मेदार होते हैं। See more…

सिग्रेट लत से भी छुटकारा दिलाए   ग्रीन टी

सिगरेट पीने की लत से छुटकारा चाहते हैं तो ग्रीन टी पीजिए। एक वैज्ञानिक शोध के अनुसार ग्रीन टी में मौजूद तत्व निकोटीन की लत छुड़ाने में मदद करते हैं। चीन की पत्रिका साइंस चाइना लाइफ में ए रेवोल्यूशनरी अप्रोज फॉर दे सिसेशन ऑफ स्मोकिंग शीर्षक से प्रकाशित रिपोर्ट के अनुसार वैज्ञानिकों ने निकोटीन की तलब को शांत करने के लिए ग्रीन टी के तत्वों को मिलाकर एक सिगरेट का निर्माण किया। मालाबार कैंसर इंस्टीट्यूट के अध्यापक फिंस फिलीप ने कहा कि धूम्रपान की लत छुड़ाने के लिए निकोटीन रिप्लेसमेंट थिरेपी कारगर पाई गई है।

उन्होंने बताया, बहुसंख्यक लोग धूम्रपान आराम पाने के लिए करते हैं। ग्रीन टी में मौजूद अमीनो एसिड एल-थिएनिन तनाव रोधी असर के लिए जाना जाता है। चीन में किए गए अध्ययन के अनुसार ग्रीन टी सिगरेट की लत छुड़ाने का विकल्प हो सकती है। केरल में 21.9 फीसदी लोग धूम्रपान करते हैं।

कोच्चि लेकशोर हास्पिटल एंड रिसर्च सेंटर के थामस वर्गीज ने कहा कि सिगरेट छोड़ने के बाद ग्रीन टी का सेवन जारी रखने से फेफड़े के कैंसर की सम्भावना कम हो जाती है। उन्होंने कहा, ग्रीन टी के सेवन से शरीर की प्रतिरोधक क्षमता मजबूत होती है। इसका सेवन जारी रखने से धूम्रपान से हुई क्षति का दुष्प्रभाव कम होता है। See more…


Green Tea Has Side Effects Too | | – Hindi Boldsky

ग्रीन टी यानी की हरी चाय के अनेक प्रकार के स्‍वास्‍थ्‍य वर्धक गुण हैं। जब आप ग्रीन टी पीते हैं तो आपको पता होता है कि यह आपका वजन कम करेगी, त्‍वचा को सुंदर बनाएगी, बालों का झड़ना रोकेगी और शरीर से गंदगी को बाहर निकालेगी। लेकिन ग्रीन टी का ज्‍यादा सेवन स्‍वास्‍थ्‍य के लिये खराब हो सकता है। जानते हैं कैसे? हरी चाय कब्ज, दस्त, उल्टी, चक्कर और यहां तक ​​कि सिर दर्द पैदा कर सकती है। हरी चाय में कैफीन होती है जो कि अनिद्रा पैदा कर सकती है। तो अगर आप हरी चाय पी कर वजन कम करना चाहते हैं, तो नीचे दिये गए इन चरणों का पालन करें और स्वस्‍थ्‍य तरीके से इस ग्रीन टी को अपने जीवन में शामिल करें।

ग्रीन टी यानी की हरी चाय के अनेक प्रकार के स्‍वास्‍थ्‍य वर्धक गुण हैं। जब आप ग्रीन टी पीते हैं तो आपको पता होता है कि यह आपका वजन कम करेगी, त्‍वचा को सुंदर बनाएगी, बालों का झड़ना रोकेगी और शरीर से गंदगी को बाहर निकालेगी। लेकिन ग्रीन टी का ज्‍यादा सेवन स्‍वास्‍थ्‍य के लिये खराब हो सकता है। जानते हैं कैसे? हरी चाय कब्ज, दस्त, उल्टी, चक्कर और यहां तक ​​कि सिर दर्द पैदा कर सकती है। हरी चाय में कैफीन होती है जो कि अनिद्रा पैदा कर सकती है। तो अगर आप हरी चाय पी कर वजन कम करना चाहते हैं, तो नीचे दिये गए इन चरणों का पालन करें और स्वस्‍थ्‍य तरीके से इस ग्रीन टी को अपने जीवन में शामिल करें।

इसे ताजा पिएं: फ्रेश तैयार हरी चाय शरीर के लिए अच्छी और स्‍वस्‍थ्‍य वर्धक होती है। आप इसे या तो गर्म या ठंडा कर के पी सकते हैं, लेकिन इस बात का यकीन हो कि चाय एक घंटे से अधिक समय की पुरानी ना हो। ज्‍यादा खौलती गर्म चाय गले के कैंसर को न्‍यौता दे सकती है, तो बेहद गर्म चाय भी ना पिएं। यदि आप चाय को लंबे समय के लिए स्‍टोर कर के रखेंगे तो, यह अपने विटामिन और एंटी-ऑक्‍सीडेंट खो देगी। इसके अलावा, इसमें मौजूद जीवाणुरोधी गुण भी समय के साथ कम हो जाते हैं। वास्तव में, अगर चाय ज्‍यादा देर के लिये रखी रही तो यह बैक्टीरिया को शरण देना शुरू कर देगी। इसलिये हमेशा ताजी ग्रीन टी ही पिएं।

भोजन से 1 घंटा पहले पिएं: ग्रीन टी को भोजन से एक घंटा पहले पीने से वजन कम होता है। इसे पीने से भूख देर से लगती है क्‍योंकि यह हमारी भूख को कंट्रोल करती है। ग्रीन टी को सुबह-सुबह खाली पेट बिल्‍कुल भी नहीं पीनी चाहिये।

ज्‍यादा स्ट्रॉंग ना हो: ज्‍यादा स्‍ट्रॉग ग्रीन टी में कैफीन और पोलीफिनॉल की मात्रा बहुत ज्‍यादा होती है। ग्रीन टी में इन सब सामग्री से शरीर पर खराब प्रभाव पड़ता है। तेज और कड़वी ग्रीन टी पीने से पेट की खराबी, अनिद्रा और चक्‍कर आने जैसी समस्‍या पैदा हो सकती है।

केवल 2-3 कप: पहले भी बोला जा चुका है कि अत्‍यधिक चाय नुक्‍सानदायक हो सकती है। इसी तरह से अगर आप रोजाना 2-3 कप से ज्‍यादा ग्रीन टी पिएंगे तो यह नुक्‍सान करेगी। क्‍योंकि इसमें कैफीन होती है इसलिये तीन कप से ज्‍यादा चाय ना पिएं। Read more…

– LiveHindustan.com

ग्रीन टी हमारी सेहत के लिए फायदेमंद तो है, लेकिन कई बार यह नुकसानदेह भी साबित होती है। इसलिए खासकर इसकी मात्रा और बनाने के तरीके पर विशेष ध्यान देना चाहिए। इसके बारे में बता रही हैं ए. त्रिपाठी

ग्रीन टी को वजन कम करने में मददगार माना जाता है। इसलिए कई लोग इस गलतफहमी का शिकार हो जाते हैं कि अधिक ग्रीन टी पीने का अर्थ है जल्द वजन कम होना। लेकिन यह अवधारणा पूरी तरह से सही नहीं है। ग्रीन टी सेहत के लिए फायदेमंद है, यह तो हम सभी जानते हैं, लेकिन जरूरत से ज्यादा ग्रीन टी सेहत को फायदा कम और नुकसान अधिक पहुंचा सकती है। यह आंखों से नींद चुरा सकती है, शरीर में आयरन की कमी पैदा कर सकती है।

कैफीन हालांकि ग्रीन टी में ज्यादा मात्रा में कैफीन नहीं होता, लेकिन ज्यादा ग्रीन टी पीने से बेचैनी, हृदय गति में अनियमितता, अनिद्रा की समस्या, चिंता, चिड़चिड़ापन जैसे लक्षण देखने को मिल सकते हैं। जानकारों का कहना है कि दिन में चार से पांच कप तक ही ग्रीन टी पीनी चाहिए। इससे ज्यादा ग्रीन टी पीने से उन लोगों में परेशानियां जल्दी दिखने लगती हैं, जो कैफीन की ज्यादा मात्रा के आदी नहीं होते।

पेट की गड़बड़ी अगर ग्रीन टी को सही तापमान के पानी के साथ न पिया जाए तो यह पेट की समस्या का कारण बन सकती है। ग्रीन टी बनाते समय यह ध्यान रखना चाहिए कि इसका पानी बिल्कुल उबला हुआ न हो। उबला हुआ होने पर जब आप उसमें चाय डालते हैं तो एसिडिटी हो सकती है। See more…

तो ये तो थी नेट के अनुसार कुछ जानकारी पर अपना खुद का अनुभव भी बहुत मायने रखता है … अगर आपके पास भी कोई अच्छी जानकारी हो हरियाली चाय ओह मेरा मतलब ग्रीन टी के बारे में तो जरुर सांझा कीजिगा  :)

The post Green Tea appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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10. STATIONERY - wh smith

I thought I would share some of 2015/16 diaries spotted in WH Smith last week. The highlights from the range include sausage dogs wearing various patterned clothes, sweet birds on a ruled notepaper background, and black & white flowers interspersed with the odd flouro yellow one.

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11. Free 1st 5 Pages Writing Workshop Mentored by Author Ava Jae and Literary Agent Patrica Nelson -- Opens Tomorrow!

Our July workshop will open for entries at noon, EST, on Saturday July 4, 2015. We'll take the first five Middle Grade, Young Adult, or New Adult entries that meet all guidelines and formatting requirements. Click here to get the rules. I will post when it opens and closes on Adventures in YA Publishing and on twitter (@etcashman), with the hashtag #1st5pages.

And we have some exciting news here at the workshop! We have four fabulous new permanent mentors:  Brenda Drake, Janet B. Taylor, Stephanie Scott and Wendy Spinale.  All have wonderful books coming out in the next several months that I can't wait to read! (And if you want a chance to win one - make sure to add them to your shelf on Goodreads!) Also, the workshop will now run for 4 weeks.

  • Week One: Your two assigned permanent mentors plus Ava Jae provide feedback on your original entry, and you receive additional feedback from other workshop participants. You revise based on their comments.
  • Week Two: Permanent mentors and the guest mentor review and critique your 1st revision. You do another revision.
  • Week Three: Permanent mentors, the guest mentor, and the literary agent mentor review and critique your 2nd revision. 
  • Week Four: You provide a pitch (up to 200 words) that would be the core of a query letter and describes what your manuscript is about. Mentors and the agent mentor review it, consider whether it matches up to your first five pages, and recommend changes to make sure it matches up with your manuscript and answers questions while sounding enticing and marketable.

Another new feature we're introducing this month is that the guest agent will chose a workshop "winner" -- but, of course, you win just by joining the workshop, accepting the feedback, and working hard on revising your pages! The guest agent will review and comment on a partial of the winner's manuscript or work-in-progress!

In addition to our talented permanent mentors, we have Ava Jae, author of the forthcoming BEYOND THE RED, and Patricia Nelson of the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. So get those pages ready!

Read more »

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12. The history of American women [quiz]

Over the past several decades, few fields of American history have grown as dramatically as women’s history. Today, courses in women’s history are standard in most colleges and universities, and historians regularly produce scholarship on women and gender. In 1981, historian Gerda Lerner provocatively challenged, “always ask what did the women do while the men were doing what the textbook tells us was important."

The post The history of American women [quiz] appeared first on OUPblog.

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13. Spotlight and Giveaway: How to Marry a Royal Highlander by Vanessa Kelly

This morning I have a spotlight and giveaway for How to Marry a Royal Highlander by Vanessa Kelly!

How to Marry a Royal Highlander
The Renegade Royals # 4

By: Vanessa Kelly

Releasing June 30, 2015



Illegitimate yet thoroughly irresistible, the Renegade Royals are leaving behind their careers as daring spies for the greatest adventure of all…

At sixteen, Alasdair Gilbride, heir to a Scottish earldom, fled the Highlands and an arranged betrothal. Ten years later, Alasdair must travel home to face his responsibilities. It’s a task that would be much easier without the distracting presence of the most enticing woman he’s ever met…

After one escapade too many, Eden Whitney has been snubbed by the ton. The solution: rusticating in the Scottish wilderness, miles from all temptation. Except, of course, for brawny, charming Alasdair. The man is so exasperating she’d likely kill him before they reach the border—if someone else weren’t trying to do just that. Now Eden and Alasdair are plunging into a scandalous affair with his life and her reputation at stake—and their hearts already irreparably lost…

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2015/03/how-to-marry-royal-highlander-renegade.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22891461-how-to-marry-a-royal-highlander?from_search=true
Goodreads Series Link:

Buy Links: Amazon | B & N | iTunes | Kobo | Publisher

Author Info

Vanessa Kelly is an award-winning author who was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance.” Her Regency-set historical romances have been nominated for awards in a number of contests, and her second book, Sex and The Single Earl, won the prestigious Maggie Medallion for Best Historical Romance. Her current series, The Renegade Royals is a national bestseller. Vanessa also writes USA Today bestselling contemporary romance with her husband, under the pen name of VK Sykes.

Author Links: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads




As she came down the elegant cantilevered staircase, one of the doors off the entrance hall opened and Gilbride strode out. When he looked up and smiled, Edie almost missed a step. That charming smile did something peculiar to her insides, something fluttery and warm. It was an unfamiliar sensation and her mental jury had yet to rule on whether she approved of it or not.

“Good morning, Miss Whitney,” he said in a friendly voice. Much too friendly considering that the last time they’d exchanged more than two words she’d called him a great Scottish oaf. She still winced thinking about it.

His smoky gray gaze drifted over her figure, lingering with an appreciation that made her blink in surprise.

“You’re looking particularly lovely today,” he said as he handed her down the final step. “I count myself fortunate to have you join me this morning. It’s been an age since we spent any time together.”

And now he was back to teasing her, drat him. He knew very well she’d been avoiding him, and he clearly wanted her to realize that he knew. But she refused to play that game.

“Mamma hasn’t been well, the poor dear. She simply wouldn’t let me leave her side for a moment.” She punctuated that canard with a melancholy smile meant to communicate how trying the last few days had been. With any of her suitors, it would have brought them to their knees with abject apologies.

Gilbride, however, was made of sterner stuff.

He leaned in close, towering over her, and his eyes gleamed with a wicked intent that promised things she couldn’t even begin to name. Edie resisted the impulse to retreat because she never took a step back from any man. To do so would be a fatal show of weakness.

Besides, he was only pretending to flirt so as to annoy her.

“Ah, lassie, you can’t fool me,” he said, that seductive Scottish burr roughening his voice. It dragged across her nerves, making her shiver. “I’m not one of those man- milliners you lead around by the nose like docile geldings. I know very well you’ve been avoiding me.”

She placed a hand on his brawny chest and gave him a shove. He stepped back, not because she could move him on her own—the man was a proverbial mountain—but because she’d obviously surprised him.

“I do not lead anybody around by the nose, and please desist using that absurd brogue. It makes you sound like an actor in a second-rate touring company performance of Macbeth.

He looked stunned for a second then let out a deep laugh. If the brogue made her shiver, the laugh was even worse. She almost hoped she was coming down with her mother’s cold.

“Miss Whitney, if you think my brogue is heavy, I doubt you’ll be able to understand anyone at Blairgal.”

“That will be something to look forward to, won’t it? Although I must say that so far I haven’t had any trouble understanding the staff here at Breadie Manor.”

He took her elbow and led her across the entrance hall to the front door, where a footman in livery sprang to open it. Even though Edie had teased her mother about the kilts and the bearskins, she’d been a tad surprised to encounter such superbly trained servants, decked out in the finest livery. They wouldn’t be out of place at Carlton House.

Truthfully, she’d been rather hoping for kilts and tartans, or someone who spouted at least a few lines from Marmion or The Lady of the Lake.

Rafflecopter Giveaway (grand prize of a $25 Amazon eGift card and 4 runner-up prizes – each of those winners will receive a copy of How to Plan a Wedding for a Royal Spy and Confessions of a Royal Bridegroom )

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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14. Illustration Friday: Danger

Danger, danger!  Hurry, we must hide from the bomber mosquito!

I overheard a conversation between my kids the other day.  They were reminiscing and giggling over their younger days when it was time to go to sleep.  Trying to stay still, the younger one would say, "I'm a rock."  And the older one would say, "Then I'm a stick."  Then they burst out laughing.

Have a safe and incredibly fun Fourth of July!

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15. Interview with Cassie Eubank for Diary of an Ugly Sweater

Come and join me as I talk with author Cassie Eubank about her novel Diary of an Ugly Sweater on Stories From Unknown Authors http://blogtalkradio.com/storiesfromunknownauthors at 1pm EST today.

Have you ever felt alone? Can you remember a time when you thought you weren't good enough? Maybe you have even felt ugly before? Sophie certainly knows how you feel. Sophie was created a Christmas sweater and was feeling on top of the world when she was chosen to be featured in a newspaper ad. For one day, she was shipped off and was the model for a glamorous photo shoot. Her feeling of joy faded when she got back to Warehouse City and had to quickly learn to understand and find the best way to work with all the different personalities of the other sweaters. With compassion and humor, Sophie was able to turn those who started out as adversaries into allies. These were skills she would need when she arrived at the Superstore, the place where her forever person would find her. During her short stay at the store, before Katie purchased her, Sophie had the opportunity to watch and observe human nature in a big way as the masses of holiday shopper descended when the doors opened each day. All of the things she learned would be needed for what was to come. At first, Sophie believed she was the happiest sweater in the world. The perfect forever person had chosen her, and she even heard her talk about going to a Christmas party and being entered into a best sweater contest. Sophie was alive with excitement, especially when she found out that Katie was going to “bling” her out. Oh the glitz, the glam, Sophie was loving it all. First came the garland. Then the blinking lights. Next it was larger ornaments and presents under the tree. Being an over-achiever, Katie also added bells, bows, a purple peacock, a raccoon, an elf, a floating Santa head, an angel and candy canes all over her right arm! Sophie was feeling like a freak show and wondered why her forever person would want to change her so much. Why wasn’t she good enough just the way she was? With the help and support of her new family, Sophie learned some new coping skills that allowed her to grow and gain from the feelings she once had. With these new skills in place, what once seemed overwhelming was now simple and easy. Life was good. Until….. One evening, Sophie and the family that had been attached to her were left on the kitchen table. There before her, Sophie saw things that caused her world to crash in around her. In plain sight, was an invitation to the party she was going to with the prompt to Get Your Ugly On! $100 to the winner of the UGLY SWEATER CONTEST. As her heart sunk, she glanced to the right and saw a newspaper advertisement. What it said made her go numb. There on the open page was a picture of her. It was one that had been taken when she had been sent to model at the photo shoot. UGLY SWEATER SALE the words above her head screamed. She had been created… no, she had been born to be ugly. Her only purpose in life was to be a hideous amusement. Sophie was heart-broken and saw no reason for her worthless, pathetic life. Thanks to the love and understanding of her adopted family, Sophie came to learn her true value. Having come to love herself, she was able to offer those around her so much more, which made her feel even better. She was also able to let her challenges turn her into a champion! Join Sophie as she shares real life solutions to the opportunities for growth that present themselves in our lives. When you delight in these pages, you will come to love Sophie and feel both her trials and her triumphs. Take this journey now and engage in a delightful ride that will capture hearts of all ages during all seasons.

Diary of an Ugly Sweater is a unique story told by a sweater named Sophie as she makes her journey from warehouse to store to someone's home. Along the way the reader will learn life lessons as Sophie encounters troubles. She also discovers new things about herself. As a sweater on a shelf brand new Sophie is beautiful. She gets a photo shoot and lots of attention. But when she makes it to the store and gets pawed at, tried on, and moved around, she becomes stretched, worn, and damaged. When Sophie thinks no one will want her, her forever person, Katie, comes and buys her. The problem is she bought her for an ugly sweater contest. This news damages her view of herself. The reader will become aborbed in the story feeling the characters ups and downs. The great thing is Sophie learns a lot about life from Katie and how to become a better sweater no matter what she looks like on the outside. For Katie it wasn't just about the contest any more, buying Sophie was about so much more.

This 180 page novel is a delightful story about self worth. The sweater imparts a valuable lesson. We must always be the best version of ourselves we can be. Then we will know we are a person of value, with a life that has purpose. It doesn't matter what somone thinks, it only matters what we think of ourselves. These words are true and will resonate with readers young and old. 

About the Author:
Cassi showed a passion for reading and writing at a very young age. In second grade she read over 150 books while maintaining an A average and was first published in the local newspaper for a poem she wrote in the fourth grade. 

In college, English was the young scribe's major and Psychology her minor. Being gifted with the ability to communicate, Cassi got a job as a corporate trainer, working with companies such as HMS Host, Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons, Wynn Casino, Las Vegas, Chili's, Shula's Steakhouse, the US Government and hundreds more. During that time, she still wrote short stories and poems, as well as remaining an avid reader. 

In 1990, Cassi wrote, Do You Know Elvis? 501 Questions About the King. It was a fun project and she sold almost 1,000 copies in a weekend, this being before the age of social media. 

Cassi has stayed in the field of communications with the television show she produced and hosted on Fox network almost 5 years. Home Grown Music enjoyed almost a quarter million viewers each week. She also was the DJ for an AM radio station for almost 2 years and now hosts Believe & Receive Radio on blogtalk. Once Cassi became a contributing author in the book, Dare to Be Authentic, she decided to put her skills to use and write another book of her own. 

With the recent birth of her grandson, she decided to revisit her dream of writing for a younger audience. She understands the mind of a child and believes that if we can show our kids how to remain child-like while learning how to shed childish ways, we will all see a brighter future. Cassi has completed Diary of an Ugly Sweater and is in the process of completing Diary of an Ugly Sweater: the Action Guide. This action guide will allow readers to take the lessons that Sophie learns throughout her journey and apply the solutions to experiences that have or may occur in their own lives. 

Ms. Eubank speaks at medium and large engagement on topics that result in success in your business and life. She donates her time to at-risk young people to help them build the self-esteem and life skills they need. When not immersed in a book or behind her computer writing, Cassi loves to garden, cook, and sing. Her greatest passion in life is Elliot, her grandson and family. After that, it's travel that Cassi is passionate about. 

www.CassiEubank.com Cassi@CassiEubank.com

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16. The 2nd Annual Pretty Much World Famous Illustration Contest WINNERS!!!

Happy Friday, Everyone!

I know none of you has gotten a minute of rest or a wink of sleep for days, what with the torturous anticipation of finding out who the winners of the contest are!

No doubt you have paced a hole in your carpet!

But fear not!  The day has arrived!

Are you ready to see who won?

The 2nd Annual Pretty Much World Famous
Illustration Contest for Children's Illustrators!

Me, too!

I just have one quick thing to say, which is that EVERYONE who entered this contest should be very proud of themselves.  You all showed up, put in the work, produced GORGEOUS illustrations, followed guidelines, and worked to a deadline - all very important skills to practice when illustrating and/or writing is your profession :)  Even if you didn't make the finals, be assured that your illustrations were greatly enjoyed by many upon many!  Seriously!  I am not making this up.  The contest post with all your links had around 3000 views, which means lots of people were visiting you, even if they didn't all comment!  So we are giving you a round of thunderous applause - clapclapclapclapclap!!!!! - and you should pat yourselves on the back and have an extra slice of chocolate cake - you did good! :)

So now, without further ado, by popular vote, the Winner of the 2nd Annual Pretty Much World Famous Illustration Contest and the opportunity to take Mark Mitchell's fantastic Make Your Marks And Splashes online illustration course...


Anna Totten!!!

Congratulations, Anna!!!

2nd Place, and winner of the Wacon Intuos Pen and Touch Small Tablet is...

Dow Phumiruk

3rd Place, and winner of the $50 gift certificate to Blick Art Materials is...

Cheryl Pilgrim

Congratulations, Cheryl!!!

4th Place* is...
Michelle Todd

Congratulations, Michelle!!!

5th Place* is...
The Write Laura

Congratulations, Laura!!!

6th Place* is...
Micha Klann

Congratulations, Micha!!!

*4th-6th Places may have their choice of any one of the following:

     - Writing With Pictures by Uri Shulevitz
      - 2015 Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market by Chuck Sambuchino

  - a Canson sketch pad and a small set of Derwent or Faber Castell colored pencils

and of course you ALL get the bragging rights to having won or placed in a Pretty Much World Famous Contest! :)

Winners, please email me so we can talk details :)

Thank you again to all the illustrators who participated in this contest and treated us all to such beautiful artwork; to our wonderful judges, Iza Trapani and Lisa Thiesing, without whom we could not have done this!; and to all the readers and viewers who visited, commented, and voted to celebrate these talented artists!  It is all of you who make these contests fun and worthwhile!

Have a spectacular 4th of July Weekend, Everyone!!!

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17. Author Math by Y.S. Lee + Request for "How Harry Potter Influenced My Writing" Submissions

Before we welcome our guest poster today,  I'd like to request your participation in an exciting upcoming event the end of this month. Can you believe that it has been 18 years since Harry Potter was first released? So many authors whom I have had the pleasure to work with in these posts and on this blog have mentioned what an influence this magical series had on their writing. So, in celebration of Harry's birthday (and JK Rowling, who will turn 50!), we plan to host a special celebration for July 31!

If you were inspired to write, or if your writing was any way influenced by JK Rowling, we'd love to hear from you! Please send a paragraph (or two) telling us how Harry Potter influenced your writing and you may be included in our upcoming celebration. Email posts to AYAPLit AT gmail.com, and please put Happy Potter Day in the subject line. We'll let you know before July 31 if yours is one of the submissions chosen.

Now, speaking of the UK...our author today has written a charming serious set in Victorian London featuring a young lady spying for The Agency, an all-female investigative unit. YS Lee put an enormous amount of research into bringing Mary and her London to life, and is here to share with us an inside look at some of the detail that goes into the recreation of an historical setting. Be sure to check out her most recent release at the end as this series sounds fresh and appealing (especially for someone recently bent on re-reading all of Jane Austen)!

Author Math, A Craft of Writing Post by Y.S. Lee

One of the things I find consistently surprising in historical fiction is how very long it takes to get from one place to another. My Agency series (aka the Mary Quinn Mysteries in Great Britain and Australia) is set in London between 1858 and 1860. They’re too urban to make use of the railways that criss-crossed the country and a shade too early for the first intra-city underground trains (the Metropolitan Railway opened in 1863). Most of the travel in my novels takes place either on foot or by horse-power: carriages, cabs, and of course, simply riding on horseback. By 1858, there were also horse-drawn omnibuses that, like our present-day buses, plied regular routes through the city.

The climax of Rivals in the City features a fair amount of running around between locations in central London. One of the first things I did when plotting it was create a chart showing the different sites, the distances between them, and how long it would take to move from one point to another. In order not to spoil the plot, I’ve renamed the locations after four of my favourite North American cities. This, of course, is a fiction upon a fiction; the real locations are London landmarks. Otherwise, here’s what my chart looks like:

Timing the final action
Distance in miles
Walking (in mins)
Running (in mins)
Horseback (in mins)
Vancouver to Toronto
Toronto to New York
New York to Montreal
Montreal to Vancouver
New York to Vancouver

I assumed an average running speed of about 6 miles/10 km per hour - a pretty fast clip for a woman burdened with heavy clothes on slick, inconsistently paved, and poorly lit urban streets (it’s after dark). But I’m talking about the women of the Agency, an elite detective firm. Not only are they in excellent physical form, they are responding to an emergency.

I assumed a horse trot of 7-8 mph, since poor road quality and night-time visibility again make it impossible to canter. With horseback, I also needed to allow tie-up time and the need to rest or change horses. Riding turned out to be not much faster than running, but riding made it possible for a character to arrive at an important location looking respectable.

As it worked out, the time elapsed for a series of important messages to be relayed was:

  • 57 minutes: for a character to run from Vancouver to Toronto and back again
  • 41 minutes, plus delays while tying-up a horse: for a character to ride from Toronto to New York, and then from New York to Montreal
  • 30 to 35 minutes, plus time for marshalling and instructions: for a large group to walk quickly from Montreal to Vancouver

This left me with a space of 2 ¼ hours, the minimum period of time my heroine, Mary Quinn, would be alone in “Vancouver” after sounding the alarm. It turned out to be the perfect window of time to allow her to take action, imperil herself, yet receive help at just the right moment.

I love this kind of concrete plotting, and wonder if any of you do the same. How do you work out timelines, near-misses, and rescues?

About the Book:

In a tale steeped in action, romance, and the gaslit intrigue of Victorian London, Mary Quinn’s detective skills are pitted against a cunning and desperate opponent.

Mary Quinn has a lot on her mind. James Easton, her longtime love interest, wants to marry her; but despite her feelings, independent-minded Mary hesitates. Meanwhile, the Agency has asked Mary to take on a dangerous case: convicted fraudster Henry Thorold is dying in prison, and Mary must watch for the return of his estranged wife, an accomplished criminal herself who has a potentially deadly grudge against James. Finally, a Chinese prizefighter has arrived in town, and Mary can’t shake a feeling that he is somehow familiar. With the stakes higher than ever, can Mary balance family secrets, conflicting loyalties, and professional expertise to bring a criminal to justice and find her own happiness?

Amazon | Indiebound | Goodreads

About the Author:

Y S Lee was born in Singapore, raised in Vancouver and Toronto, and lived for a spell in England. As she completed her PhD in Victorian literature and culture, she began to research a story about a girl detective in 1850s London. The result was her debut novel, The Agency: A Spy in the House. This won the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s inaugural John Spray Mystery Award in 2011.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

-- posted by Susan Sipal, @HP4Writers

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18. DESIGNER - lizzy dee studio

Elizabeth Doyle aka Lizzy Dee is a designer, illustrator, and author from New Jersey who now calls New York City her home. Elizabeth is currently a children's book & kit designer and her first children's book "The A B See" will be published on July 21st. She finds inspiration through her collecting of antiques and oddities and with her work aims to "Bring smiles and laughter to people

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19. Alice down the microscope

Tomorrow Oxford will celebrate Alice’s Day, with mass lobster quadrilles, artwork and performances, croquet, talks, and teapot cocktails, and exhibitions of photographic and scientific equipment. The diverse ways in which Alice and her wonderland are remembered and recast reveal how both heroine and story continue to speak to many different kinds of audience, 150 years since Lewis Carroll’s book was first published.

The post Alice down the microscope appeared first on OUPblog.

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20. DESIGNER - bley hack

Bley Hack is a surface pattern designer who works under the studio name, Esther Bley Designs (named after her grandmother). Bley's style is a mix of hand-drawn and digitally rendered prints with a vintage and retro flavor.  Bley is currently an ABSPD student, and will be showing at Surtex in 2016. She is interested in commissions and licensing in all markets. Bley also maintains a daily pattern

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21. Poetry Friday

Happy Almost-the-Fourth!

Donna has the Poetry Friday Roundup this week at Mainley Write.

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22. A Walk in Paris by Salvatore Rubbino

If, like me, you and your family are enjoying a stay-cation yet again this summer, you might enjoy a little armchair traveling, which is what A Walk in Paris by Salvatore Rubbino is perfect for. Of course,  A Walk in Paris is also a superb book to read to any little listeners who just might be visiting the City of Lights themselves. If your travels take you elsewhere, Rubbino is also

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23. Ingeborg-Bachmann-Preis

       They've started the 39th Tage der deutschsprachigen Literatur ('Days of German literature'), the annual festival around the Ingeborg-Bachmann-Preis, where authors read their texts out loud in competition (all broadcast on TV (and now, of course, also livestreamed)).
       They used to have good English-language information -- and even translations of the texts -- but they can't afford to do that any longer. Still, as you can see from the list of previous winners, a lot of soon-famous authors have passed this way: Wolfgang Hilbig, who you'll be hearing a lot more about this year, with the first English translations of his work (two books, no less) won in 1989, and other authors whose works have appeared in English in the past few years inculde Sibylle Lewitscharoff (1998), Inka Parei (2003), Uwe Tellkamp (2004), and Tilman Rammstedt (2008); 2011 winner Maja Haderlap's Angel of Oblivion is due out from Archipelago next year (see their publicity page).
       So probably worth paying some attention to.

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24. Gender Roles and the Heroine

Your world is your own; traditional gender roles need not apply. This means that even if your fantasy is inspired by 1300s France, you can still have women being professors at universities or leading armies. A classic image that comes to mind of a woman in history is the passive homemaker waiting for her husband to come back from war. There were certainly quite a few of those, but that image doesn’t account for what these women actually did while waiting. The result is a picture where a lady stands at the threshold of her manor looking wistfully out the horizon to catch a shadow of her husband. In reality, she was probably too damn busy making sure her crop yield would cover both her taxes and the food needs of her household. Since stories tend to focus on the epic, and since fantasy in particular isn’t usually about actual, historical daily life, the public perception of gender roles in history is still a little stuck in this romanticized notion of passive and desperate reliance on men. The people that read these stories then go on to write their own, continuing the vicious, misinformed cycle that can even go so far as to influence society’s perception of present-day reality. Literature is an extremely powerful brainwashing tool.

Here’s the thing. Only you can break this oversaturation and constant recycling of “women had no power back then.” A good way to do that is by doing some research in unbiased gender history and exposing the public to the shocking notion that humans didn’t have the luxury to lock fifty percent of the population into an ivory tower.

Another way to do it is to write an awesome book where you totally reinvent gender roles within your world. And you can start as small as with your main character’s background story.

Alter the Intention

If you have a girl whose character arc depends on her being extremely sheltered at the start, don’t let the reason she’s sheltered rely on the fact that she’s female. Not only is it kind of lazy, it’s dependent on exactly the sort of cultural norm you’re trying to steer away from. Instead, it could be that a kidnapping attempt in her early childhood led to her parents overreacting. If she’s not allowed to learn swordplay, it could be because her family believes she’d never have use for it since they’d always be protecting her. If she’s being forced to marry against her will, it’s because they want to make sure she’s always provided for. The idea is that the driving forces behind her important life events will have little to do with the basic fact that she’s female. If you change the intention and complicate the reasoning from “because she’s a girl” to something less gender-related, it becomes actual logic that can be used in plot and character development: The story starts with her running away from the arranged marriage, arranged because her family’s misguided but genuine concern for her well-being is blinding them to her misery. Just as she’s trying to adjust to the novelty of freedom, the attempted kidnappers resurface, suddenly throwing her into crippling self-doubt. She can’t physically fight back against them because she’s weak; but she’s weak not because she’s a girl, but because she was never taught how to fight. The story that ends up being told is not one about a girl struggling against the patriarchy but one about a girl overcoming insecurity ingrained from childhood by an overprotective family she feels she cannot return to.

Weaknesses Are Allowed

Women are traditionally viewed as the weaker and more submissive sex. Breaking out of this view in your story might lead you to the conclusion that your main girl character has to be physically and emotionally strong. A common thing I come across (and sometimes catch myself writing) is a female character who overcompensates for all those damsels in distress by being ridiculously tough in every way possible. This “strong female protagonist”, often patronisingly described as feisty, turns into a caricature of a person instead of a representation of reality. For example, the girl above who was protected all her life and never learned to fight still probably won’t be able to fight very well just a few months after she’s left home. Maybe she’ll never be able to fight well. Some people are just uncoordinated. This means that she’ll inevitably have to rely on those around her for physical protection. And that’s totally fine. Because again, the reason she’s physically weak is because she just is. That doesn’t mean she’s not crafty and can’t help out in different ways. It just means that when one of those kidnappers shows up, she won’t be the one fighting them; that role will go to the person protecting her. She doesn’t have to have all the qualities of the “strong female protagonist”. She first and foremost has to be a believable person.

Background Characters

By the way, that girl’s protector can easily be a lady. The kidnappers can also be ladies. All of the characters can be ladies. Why not? A lot of times the opposite is true, with men occupying all active roles and women left to the job of “plot device”, up there in importance with Tree #2 in the elementary school play. In an attempt to remedy this, some people, while still having women as mostly weak and submissive, will nevertheless have a couple of ladies in incredibly powerful leadership roles. This is excellent; it shows that women in that writer’s world are able to achieve a position that relies on their intelligence and strength. However, these stories often miss the women in less powerful roles. These women have to climb that ladder somehow. They didn’t get to the top overnight, which means they have to have had a lower status in the past. Regardless, women will often be absent from starting or midrange roles. You don’t usually see a woman as a foot soldier, unless she’s a main character. And even if you do, she’s always something more; undiscovered prodigy bomb technician that diffuses the bomb at the last minute; master sniper that helps them hit their target; top-class martial artist that leads them through a push. She’s never just a bumbling soldier who didn’t clean her gun properly, like so many of the other male peons are.

It all goes back to the initial lack of women in these stories, and the attempt to rectify this lack. During this attempt, the women become special, having skills that are sometimes better than those of most men. At first glance this doesn’t seem bad, because it seems to show women who are powerful and successful in roles traditionally held by men. But there’s a sneaky kind of damage to it: it implies that women can only be in these roles if their skill sets are abnormally high. The best thing you can do for gender equality in your world is to take a bunch of women, put them on the front lines with the men, kill them all, and then have everybody react with equal grief. None of this “Even the women were killed!” None of this “Women and children first!” (…Well, children first, yes.)

Which leads me to my last point.

Don’t Make It a Big Deal

If, in your world, traditional gender roles don’t apply, then you don’t have to justify why one of the best warriors in the land is a woman. Similarly, you have to remember to make some of the most mediocre warriors women as well. The worst thing you can do is have people constantly commenting on how strong she is for a woman, or how she’s the only woman in her class, or how even though she’s a fighter she still knows how to cook. Nobody cares.  The men also probably know how to cook. It’s an important part of being an independent person. Drawing attention to the woman’s gender will take power away from why she’s as successful as she is: because she’s strong, because she’s skilled, and because she learned how to fight. You never hear phrases like, “Yeah he’s a pretty good fighter for a man.” Though, you might hear, “Yeah he sews pretty well for a man.” And that is just as damaging for the other side.

Gender Still Exists

Gender is a thing, and it’s foolish to ignore it…which seems to contradict everything I’ve just said. Still, physically, men and women are different. This will always result in situations where one character might be better at completing a task than another simply because of their gender. The key is that one gender should never be excluded from the possibility of doing that task, excepting in obviously physically limiting situations (because I just know that somebody’s going to say that a man can’t birth a child). And even in a world of equality, there will always be some outlying group of misogynists or misandrists itching to push people down. They can be part of your story too. And if your story is good at putting on display the strengths and weaknesses of the characters, and if those strengths and weaknesses are well-developed and don’t rely on gender, then it can expose the individual and shared features that your characters possess, and most importantly, uncover how absolutely ridiculous those misogynists and misandrists are.

Because oh my god. If you could build a world like the one I’ve described, I would read that book. I would read that book so hard.

So please write it.

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25. सैलरी डबल

cartoon sansad by monica guptaसैलरी डबल- एक बार फिर सांसदों की सैलरी का मुद्दा गरमा  गया है इससे पहले 2010 में वेतन दुगुना हुआ था. आम लोगों के अच्छे दिन आएं न आएं, लगता है सांसदों के तो आ ही जाएंगे। प्रस्ताव कहता है कि सांसदों की स्वास्थ्य सुविधाओं में उनके बच्चों के अलावा पोते-पोतियों को भी शामिल कर लिया जाए।

MPs’ salaries – Navbharat Times

फोटो शेयर करें जैसे-जैसे हमारे अधिकांश सांसदों के संसदीय बर्ताव और काम करने के तौर-तरीकों में गिरावट आ रही है, वैसे-वैसे सुविधाओं की उनकी मांगें बढ़ती जा रही हैं। बीजेपी सांसद योगी आदित्यनाथ के नेतृत्व वाली संसद की संयुक्त समिति ने कहा है कि सांसदों के वेतन को दोगुना कर दिया जाए। इस समय सांसदों को मासिक वेतन 50,000 रुपये मिलता है। बात यहीं तक सीमित नहीं है।

सांसदों का दैनिक भत्ता 2000 रुपए से अधिक करने और पूर्व सांसदों का पेंशन भी 75 फीसदी बढ़ाने का प्रस्ताव है। उल्लेखनीय है कि इससे पूर्व सांसदों के वेतन में बढ़ोतरी सन 2010 में की गई थी। बहरहाल, समिति ने कहा है कि सांसदों के लिए ऑटोमैटिक पे रिविजन की व्यवस्था हो ताकि समय-समय पर बढोतरी स्वयं होती रहे। 34 हवाई यात्राओं में 25 फीसदी किराए के प्रावधान से भी सांसद संतुष्ट नहीं हैं। समिति ने 20 से 25 फ्री हवाई यात्राओं सहित करीब 60 सिफारिशें की हैं। इनमें निजी सचिव के लिए प्रथम श्रेणी के एसी रेल-पास की मांग भी शामिल है।

सांसद ग्राम योजना के तहत कुछ भले न हुआ हो, आम लोगों के अच्छे दिन आएं न आएं, लगता है सांसदों के तो आ ही जाएंगे। प्रस्ताव कहता है कि सांसदों की स्वास्थ्य सुविधाओं में उनके बच्चों के अलावा पोते-पोतियों को भी शामिल कर लिया जाए। गौरतलब है कि अपने क्षेत्र में काम कराने के लिए प्रत्येक सांसद 45,000 रुपए का भत्ता हर महीने पाने का हकदार है। ऑफिस के खर्च के लिए भी माहवार इतनी ही रकम मिलती है।

कपड़े और परदे धुलवाने के लिए हर तीसरे महीने 50,000 रुपए मिलते हैं। सड़क मार्ग का इस्तेमाल करने वाले सांसदों को 16 रुपए प्रति किलोमीटर के हिसाब से यात्रा भत्ता मिलता है। लेकिन यह सब इन्हें कम लगता है। ऐसा लगना स्वाभाविक इसलिए है कि हमारे ज्यादातर सांसदों की नजरें उन लोगों पर रही ही नहीं जिनका प्रतिनिधित्व वे करते हैं।

अगर अपने आम वोटरों की जिंदगी पर, उनके जीवन की तकलीफों-चुनौतियों पर नजर डालने का वक्त इन्हें मिले तो शायद इनकी भी प्राथमिकता कुछ बदले। मगर, राजनीति का जो चरित्र बनता जा रहा है, उसमें इसकी संभावना तलाशना आकाश कुसुम तोड़ने जैसा ही हो गया है। ऐसे में यह उम्मीद भर जताई जा सकती है कि वेतन के साथ वे अपनी गरिमा बढ़ाने पर भी ध्यान दें तो बेहतर होगा। See more…

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