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1. Writing & Poetry Contest


This colorful fun illustration was sent in by Louise Bergeron Lousie was feature on Illustrator Saturday May 26th, 2012. Here is the link:http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2012/05/26/illustrator-saturday-louise-c-bergeron/ Take a look. Her artwork is so much fun.  website:  www.illustrationquebec.com/louisecbergeron

Do you love to play with words, arrange them in artistic ways?  Have you written poetry or a short story?  If the answer is yes, then maybe you will want to consider The Dream Quest One Poetry & Writing Contest. The people at Dream Quest say if you have an ability to dream, you have an ability to win. Write a poem or short story for a chance to win cash prizes. All works must be original.

Guidelines: Write a poem, thirty lines or fewer on any subject, style, or form, typed or neatly hand printed.  And/or write a short story, five pages maximum length, on any subject or theme, creative writing fiction or non-fiction (including essay compositions, diary, journal entries and screenwriting). Also, must be typed or neatly hand printed. Multiple poetry and short story entries are accepted.

Postmark deadline: July 31, 2014 All contest winners will be published online in the Dare to Dream pages, on September 20, 2014. Entry Form: http://www.dreamquestone.com/entryform.html

Prizes: Writing Contest First Prize is $500. Second Prize: $250. Third Prize: $100. Poetry Contest First Prize is $250. Second Prize: $125.  Third Prize: $50. Entry fees: $10 per short story. $5 per poem.

To send entries: Include title(s) with your story (ies) or poem(s), along with your name, address, phone#, email, brief biographical  info. (Tell us a little about yourself), on the coversheet. Add a self-addressed stamped envelope for entry confirmation.

Mail entries/fees payable to: “DREAMQUESTONE.COM” Dream Quest One Poetry & Writing Contest P.O. Box 3141 Chicago, IL  60654

Visit http://www.dreamquestone.com for details on how to enter!

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: authors and illustrators, Contest, opportunity, Places to sumit, poetry, Win Tagged: Dream Quest Contest, Louise Bergeron, Poetry, Short Story contest

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2. Anyone for Easter Solitaire? - Megan Rix

Did you know that there’s actually an Easter Solitaire game on the internet? I never let myself play games on my computer because I know it'd be too easy for me to get addicted and I'd end up spending all my days playing instead of writing. l don’t switch the TV on during the day either - for the same reason. :(

I was only looking up card games for this blog because I’d read that there are more ways to arrange a deck of cards than the number of atoms in the world!!!!?????!!!!

Quite often I hear authors say: l wanted to write a story about such and such eg. vampires (lions (hedgehogs) headless zombies / Cinderella etc etc but I didn’t because so and so had already done it.

But the thing is, I always want to say, the way youtell a story is personal to you. Even if you start off with the same characters you will end up with a different story by the end because your version is different to everyone else’s. There’s lots of lovely writing exercises at http://writingexercises.co.uk

Every character we write about has multiple choices to choose from and every plot a myriad of twists and turns.

There's a whole TV channel devoted to crime dramas and each of them are their own unique selves.


Just like the storyteller and the story.

Hope you all have/had a very happy and creative Easter break. I'm still dancing with joy at my first ever book award. 'The Victory Dogs' has won Stockton Children's Book of the Year for 2014. Many many thanks to all the children that voted for it. :)

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3. RhyPiBoMo End of Week 3

Still plugging away on RhyPiBoMo and learning A LOT! I don't have any poems to post, but I'm almost finished with one that I'm going to enter into the Golden Quill Poetry Contest. In the meantime, here are the books I've read in the last 2 weeks.

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4. Maryam's Maze review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Mansoura Ez Eldin's Maryam's Maze.

       (The review appears just ...2537 days after I received the review copy. Which demonstrates that little is lost in the piles surrounding me, and there's always a chance I will still get to a title from way back when .....)

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5. Monday Mishmash 4/21/14

Happy Monday! Here's my mishmash of thoughts:

1. YA Fest  On Saturday, I attended YA Fest with 49 other authors. It was crazy awesome. I got to meet my Month9Books family who I've talked to online but never met in person before.
Pab Sungenis, Jackie Kessler, Me, Jen McConnel, Janice Bashman, and Donna Gallanti

I also finally met Jennifer Armentrout in person, which was awesome since she blurbed my Touch of Death series for me.

Kate Kaynak photo bombed a picture, giving Lisa Amowitz bunny ears. ;)

So, I took a picture with Kate.

The lovely Kimberly Miller was nice enough to take a picture of me at my table.

I got a nice surprise when my friend and fellow author, Beth Consugar, showed up. We'd never met in person before.

Here's me with YA Fest founder, Jennifer Murgia, who happened to blurb The Monster Within for me.

And here I am with the totally sweet Jen McConnel. Seriously, what a sweetheart!

And that's probably way more pictures than you wanted to see, but I had an absolute blast and had to share. 

2.  Monroe County Book Expo  I'll be at the Hughes branch of the Eastern Monroe County Library on Saturday from 10am-3pm signing copies of all my books, PB through YA, and my Ashelyn Drake title, Campus Crush.

3.  Editing  I'm editing for clients this week along with working on revisions for two of my books. April has been such a busy month for me.

That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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6. Character Interview – Boy & Monster from Monster Needs His Sleep



To help kick off the release of Monster Needs His Sleep, the second book in the Monster & Me series, Kid Lit Reviews is thrilled to have Monster and the young man who keeps Monster on the straight and narrow. This is the fourth stop on the Scarletta Kids Blog Book Tour. On May 12th, the first day of Children’s Book Week, KLR will review this new edition of the Monster & Me series and also be giving away a copy of Monster Needs His Sleep to one lucky winner. 

together topI know you have tremendous responsibilities right now and many places to get to, so, this will be a quick interview. A mere six questions. We shouldn’t even get below the fold.

KLR Readers, please welcome the stars of Monster Needs His Sleep! 

Welcome. Uh, what should I call you, young man? 

tiny monster Boy!


Really? Okay. Boy, what is it like have a monster living in your house?

tiny boyIt’s great! Monster and I are best friends, we do everything together. But he can be a handful. Like once we wanted to go camping and– 

tiny monsterLets go build a tree house! Doesn’t that sound cool? I want to build a 20 story tree house!

tiny boyMonster, we need to do this interview to help us sell the book. Once we’re done, we can go and build a tree house. Sorry, like I said, he’s a handful, but life is always really fun!

tiny monster* tree house *


Let’s get right to story. Monster, why don’t you like to go to bed?

tiny monsterThere is way to much to do at night like read books, and play games, and eat, and watch T.V. and–


tiny boyMonster… 

tiny monsterWhat? I like to do a lot of stuff. There is only so much time during the day. When else am I supposed to write a song? Or learn about the symphony? 

tiny boyMonster…

tiny monsterthe dark is creepy.


Monster, you like to read. That’s terrific! What is your favorite book?

tiny monsterWell…there is a great book out called Monster Needs His Sleep–

tiny boyMonster! Shameless plug!

tiny monsterWhat? You’re the one making me do this interview. I wanted to go a build a tree house.


Okay, Monster’s favorite is Monster Needs His Sleep. What is your favorite book?

tiny boyMonster is right about Monster Needs His Sleep, but I really like The Dark by Lemony Snicket. Monster has a fear of the dark, just like Lazlo, so reading it to Monster before bedtime helps Monster relax.

tiny monsterYou should read me Monster Needs His Sleep.


Here is the million-dollar question—no, you don’t get a million dollars—what are your plans after getting some sleep? Any new adventures? 

tiny monster#!

tiny boyOn September 2nd, 2014, look for Monster Needs a Christmas Tree.

tiny monsterOh I love Christmas! But that time I got worried we weren’t going to have a Christmas tree and Santa wasn’t going to visit!

tiny boyYeah, that was a close one. But you came up with a great idea to save the day!

tiny monsterDon’t forget! Halloween will soon be here and I am going to need another costume.

tiny boyAnd when spring rolls around again, its time for sports and you’re going to need to exercise!

tiny monsterBut I really wanted to learn how to cook. Do you think Mom will let me use her apron? 

tiny boyMaybe you’ll get one for your birthday, when we throw you a party.

Does that mean, Monster Needs to Exercise or Monster Needs a Baseball Game and Monster Needs a Birthday Party? Count me in!

This is the last question. Monster, what is your bestest advice to young kids about bedtime?

tiny monsterDon’t drink a lot of water before going to bed—Not a good idea.

And always keep your nightlight close. Remember, he’s your glowing friend!


Thank you for stopping by and bringing your best friend, Monster. Good luck on the rest of the blog book tour. Stay out of trouble. And Monster, get a lot of sleep!


Here is the blog tour—with GIVEAWAYS—for Monster Needs His Sleep, now available from Amazon—B&N—Scarletta Kids—your local bookstore.

new scarletta kids logo

Scarletta Kids Blog Book Tour

Monster Needs His Sleep


“Monster and boy are here once more,
travelin’ along a little blog tour!
So jump right in, discover a treat.
One little click and your day is complete!”


April 8
Carrie On…
We hear there is going to be a really hilarious video…

April 15
Find Paul HERE on the Scarletta blog!
He’s celebrating publication day by taking over the Scarletta blog!

April 17
Teach with Picture Books
The first giveaway you say? Better not miss it!

April 21  [you are here]
Kid Lit Reviews
Monster always has a lot to say, and this delightful character interview will be no different.

May 3
Lil’ Blonde Monsters
Sneak a peek at this great images from the book while reading a new review!

May 6
There’s a Book
Missed the first giveaway? Never fear, enter here!

May 12
Kid Lit Reviews
We’re back! This time for a review and giveaway to celebrate Children’s Book Week!

May 14
5,4,3,2,1… Find out the deets on Monster Needs His Sleep in this fast-paced, by-the-numbers interview to wrap up the tour.


boymonster together

MONSTER NEEDS HIS SLEEP. Text copyright © 2014 by Paul Czajak. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Wendy Grieb. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Scarletta Kids, Minneapolis, MN.

Filed under: Children's Books, Interviews, Library Donated Books, Picture Book, Series Tagged: afraid of the dark, character interview, friendship, Monster Needs His Sleep, Paul Czajak, remedy for afraid of the dark, Scarletta Kids, Scarletta Press, Wendy Grieb

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7. People, Places, and Poetry

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By Xánath Caraza

What contentment to report on such varying cultural activities as the visits of James Edward Olmos and Rigoberto Gonzalez in Kansas City, the presentations of Noche de Colibríes: Ekphrastic Poems in Chicago and Wisconsin, in addition to another in Brazil, and Con Tinta’s celebration of National Poetry Month. 

James Edward Olmos at UMKC

James Edward Olmos in Kansas City brought excitement, energy and friendship.  What a pleasure it was to see him in person, to hear him talk and see him perform his presentation.  There is no doubt of his great commitment to the Latin@/Chican@ community.  His presentation was on Tuesday, April 15 at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) to celebrate Cesar Chavez.  Muchas gracias a Erika Cecilia Noguera, Coordinator of the Division of Diversity and Inclusion at UMKC, for her dedicated work and for making the Cesar Chavez Lecture possible.  After his UMKC presentation, James Edward Olmos continued his conversation with the Kansas City community at the Guadalupe Centers, where a reception in his honor was held. 

Erika C. Noguera, Coordinator of Diversity and Inclusion

James Edward Olmos at the Guadalupe Centers

Another distinguished Chicano writer visiting Kansas City was Rigoberto Gonzalez, American Book Award recipient, on Tuesday, April 8 from 5-8 p.m. at the Student Union at UMKC. His visit was part of Literature for Life Week.  Rigoberto Gonzalez’s reading was followed by a Q & A and book signing.  Several members of the Latino Writers Collective, Kansas City, attended this important event.

Consuelo Cruz, Jose Faus, Maria Vazquez-Boyd, Rigoberto Gonzalez and Norma Cantu

Noche de Colibríes: Ekphrastic Poems in Chicago and Wisconsin

Many thanks to my wonderful hosts in Chicago and Appleton, WI for making the presentation of Noche de Colibríes: Ekphrastic Poems possible.  Miguel López Lemus and Kapra Fleming opened the doors of their home to receive the literary and artistic Chicago community on March 27 for an Art Salon. Thank you Chicago for your warm reception and endless support.


Appleton, WI was next on Saturday, March 29.  Several members of the Latino Community graciously attended the Art Salon for the presentation of Noches de Colibríes: Ekphrastic Poemshosted by Yasser Bashi and Reme Bashi in their amazing home.  I have no words to thank their affable hospitality.   Among the people who attended the Art Salon was Paco, who I’m happy to say has been present during all my visits to Milwaukee and Appleton, WI.  I first met Paco in March of 2012 during a Poetry Workshop in Spanish I gave at Woodland Patterns Bookstore.  He then attended my presentation as part of Cantos Latinos in Milwaukee organized by Brenda Cárdenas.  I’m proud to say that I’ve been following Paco’s development as a poet and will continue supporting him.  Paco is an avid reader and poet, now a young man, who has graciously read all of my books.  So proud of you Paco.



I had the unique opportunity to be part of the 7th MECA (Muestra de Educación Ciencia y Arte) in Apucarana, Paraná, Brazil.  I had a couple of presentations, roundtable participation, book presentation, and classroom visits.  My main presentation was on Estructura de enseñanza básica en México: formación, práctica y carrera docente, y poesía.  Another highlight of my visit was the opportunity to meet the award winning novelist, Oscar Nakasato, from Apucarana.  I was able to exchange a few words with him and exchange books.  He is the author of Nihon Jin (Benvirá, 2011) winner of the Premio Benvirá de Literatura.  Iguaçu Falls was the last part of my intense trip to Brazil.  I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. Dr. Barbosa and Dr. De Jesus many thanks for all your support and great organization.


CON TINTA NaPoMo 2014 is here, send your poem to creativexc@gmail.com and/or mouthfeelpress@yahoo.com (Mouthfeel Press) y celebra la poesía. This is Con Tinta's third year celebrating NaPoMo, more to come. Viva la poesía!

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Algunos poemas

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Dios mío… Me desmayo!
By Miguel López Lemus

Con tanta competencia es difícil ser poeta
A ver díganme! Como competir contra
“Como espuma que inerte lleva el caudaloso rio,
Flor de Azalea la vida en su avalancha te arrastro”
Me sentare a pensar con las plumas en la mano
Y las hojas de papel arrugadas en el piso como hojas de otoño
Acabadas de caer.

Bueno aquí voy:
Dios mío, me desmayo!
La veo venir, se acerca
Y el zancudo de cupido me atraviesa su saeta
Dios mío, me desmayo
Que me mira
Se me cierran las ideas, no pienso, quedo
sin palabras, sin nada que decir
Dios mío, me desmayo
Me sonríe, me platica, camina junto a mi
Yo enloquezco, me derrito como nieve en el calor.
Dios mío, me desmayo
Que me besa!
y yo pierdo la cabeza
que me traigan un doctor.

Yo pensé que era invencible
Que mi corazón de roca
Jamás habría de penetrar
Y ahora sé que no es de roca
Gelatina, tembeleque,
Nieve de limón.

Dios mío, me desmayo!
Me aprieta!
Y estoy a punto de decirle
Que la amo
Que es el sueño de mi vida
Que adoraría tener muchos hijitos
Que quiero una casa grande con jardín.
Dios mío, Me muero!
Me dice
“Ahorita vengo
Voy a ponerme algo más cómodo”
Estoy sudando frio
Me tiemblan las rodillas
La vista se me nubla
Me peino con los dedos
Reviso mi aliento entre mis manos

Madre mía, estoy llegando al fin
Envuelta en no sé que
Y yo pienso
Hasta aquí llegaron tus huesitos
Me decido
Proponerle matrimonio
Bajarle las estrellas y la luna
Traernos a vivir a su mama

Madre mía, estoy borracho
La belleza me ha drogado
Yo le digo
“Ahorita vengo
Voy por la estrellas
Por la luna por el mar
y por el sol”
© Miguel López Lemus

Por Xavier Oquendo Troncoso

A ti León y a ti Paco y a ti Manuel
Poetas olvidados
A quien el tiempo no dio tregua.
A ustedes que nadie les da una efemérides
En el calendario solar.
Y que sólo son culpables de las letras olvidadas
De las letras sumergidas en la muerte
Para que pasen madurez en el infierno.
Para que apenas lleguen a ser leídos en la calma,
Luego, después de un homenaje a los poetas oficiales
Ustedes brillen como el azúcar
En esos días de sol y nieve y poesía.
Allá, en el infierno,
Allá en el olvido.

© Xavier Oquendo Troncoso

Nobody Asked Us
By Sonia Gutiérrez

They had wished
that their winged thoughts
would always be eternally

But nobody asked us
why we turned pale
and why our arms one day
stayed bare.

Nobody asked us
if we preferred living
away from the bullet machines
that rang our ears.

And now, they don’t know what will happen
because nobody asked us,
The Trees, what we felt
or what we thought.

What I have always known
is that I never dreamed
of living chained to the sulfuric
waste of humanity.

Translation by Sonia Gutiérrez
*“Nadie nos preguntó” is forthcoming in Revista Ombligo

© Sonia Gutiérrez

En una esquina
Por Gerardo Cárdenas

Los relojes reventados en diminutos cristales,
detenidos a horas distintas,
desangrándose en un torrente de engranajes
como un toro que embiste los trazos febriles
de las luciérnagas.

Cruzo la plaza bajo la mirada de una china
no oigo lo que dice pero leo en sus labios
mi locura.
Me persigue señalándome con un dedo
yo que sólo quiero recoger los cristales hechos añicos
de los relojes que agonizan
y mueren sin descendencia
pero los pájaros son más rápidos:
                                                se los llevan
y los regurgitan en los picos de sus polluelos.

Al final de la plaza me desplomo
como un ovillo sin sombra;
las hormigas se compadecen
me cubren con una roída manta
para que nadie mire mis incontenibles temblores.

El teléfono me urge:
alguien ha dejado un mensaje
(tal vez una carcajada o una foto obscena).

La plaza se vuelve un estruendo de piares
ya sacuden sus alas de cristal incontables relojes.

© Gerardo Cárdenas

The Disappearance of the Poem
By Mark Statman

For John Yamrus

Because the
young woman on
the Amtrak

I couldn't figure out
her accent
she told me
Puerto Rico
It unseemed secretly something else
but she was pretty sure
as she should be

© Mark Statman


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8. It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 4-21-14

Thanks to our dynamic hosts: Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kelle at Unleashing Readers.
Head to either blog to find reviews as well as dozens of links to other blogs filled with reviews!

Hello Vacation!  If you're enjoying a week off I wish you a wonderful, energizing and also restful break from your regular schedule.

Books I Read this Week:

The Quantum League: Spell Robbers by Matthew J. Kirby
Scholastic Press, 2014
Science Fiction
263 pages
Recommended for grades 4-6

Right off I was reminded of 2013's The Ability, a story where kids are honing in on a mental power within themselves.  This time the kids are called actuators, and are able to manipulate molecules into weather phenomena or various other physical changes and manifestations.  And, like in The Ability, our main male character has to leave his single mother behind in order to pursue his training.  This time things are not as on the up and up though, creating a main character that feels no loyalty to his new trainers.
Filled with double crossing, and double agents, young readers will never know what is coming next!  
The book ends with a total cliff hanger, so be on the lookout for book 2.
The only thing I found odd was that the book is set to a backdrop of reality, but departs so completely midway through the book, in a way that drastically separates the two parts of the story. 

Zombie Baseball Beatdown by Paolo Bacigalupi
Little Brown Books, 2013
304 pages
Recommended for grades 4-8
Audio read by Sunil Malhotra

Zombie Baseball Beatdown is on the 2014-2015 Maine Student Book Award reading list, though it was one I hadn't read prior to our final voting meeting.  Why didn't I read it...well, there were so many titles on our "short" list, and this one just didn't strike me as being a contender.  Yes, I based a lot of judgement on the cover and subject matter!
And after listening to the first few minutes of the book I thought I had been right.  Main character Rabi uses the word "suck" at least half a dozen times, which really turned me off of the story immediately.  But of course I kept listening, and thank goodness.  Not too far into the story Rabi's mother scolds him for using the word "suck."  Ok, we got that ironed out.  The rest of the story is one awesome journey through relationships, racial issues, the topic of illegal immigration, and of course, zombies!!

The writing is great, and Sunil Malhotra does a phenomenal job bringing the book to life in its audio version.

I'm Currently Reading:

On Deck:

I'm excited to be hosting a stop in The Dyerville Tales blog tour!  Be on the look out for a chance to win a signed copy of the book!  On May 6th stop by for a guest post written by M. P. Kozlowsky!

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a wonderful week :)

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9. Mailbox Monday - 4/21/14

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. (Library books don’t count, but eBooks & audiobooks do).    

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists!

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia @ A Girl and Her Books, has a permanent home now at Mailbox Monday.

Every week Mailbox Monday will have a new linky posted for our Mailbox Monday links at Marcia's Mailbox Monday blog.

Here’s a shout out to the new administrators:

Leslie of Under My Apple Tree 
Vicki of I’d Rather Be at the Beach
Serena @ Savvy Verse And Wit 

THANKS to everyone for keeping Mailbox Monday alive. 


I hope you had a good mailbox.  

I had a record book week this week.  :)
I am saying that because I have gotten NO books or no more than one or two books for a long time.  :)

On Monday, April 14, I received:

1.  THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME by Hazel Gaynor, courtesy of LibraryThing.

It looks quite good.

On Tuesday, April 15, I received:

1.  THE OTHER STORY by Tatiana de Rosnay, courtesy of Staci Burt and Joan Higgins of St. Martin's Press.


I know I am going to LOVE this book.

On Thursday, April 17, I received:

1.  HUNTED by Elizabeth Heiter, courtesy of Emer Flounders of Harlequin.


Love the cover...Sounds very good too.

On Friday, April 18, I received:

1.  THE FORTUNE HUNTER by Daisy Goodwin, courtesy of Reading Group Guides and Carol Fitzgerald.

It looks very good.

On Saturday, April 19, I received:

1.  Chateau of Secrets by Melanie Dobson, courtesy of Christopher M. McCarthy of Howard Books, a Division of Simon & Schuster.

Love the era it is set in.

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10. WonderCon Anaheim 2014: The Talk Back!


John Rogers looking as stoic as usual.

John Rogers looking as stoic as usual.

Though WonderCon has been in Anaheim for three years now, no event goes without some sort of hiccup or two. Myself being more use to the larger conventions like Comic-Con in San Diego, I was prepared to hear a pummel of negative feedback from the line gathered for this year’s Talk Back panel. A familiar face, president of Comic-Con Internation John Rogers, sat alone at the table, thick notebook at the ready. Those not in the know, this panel is geared toward hearing the thoughts and concerns of fellow convention goers to see what was done well, or what issues need to be addressed. Comic-Con’s Talk Back’s are known for some heated words and hurt feelings.

But for WonderCon, that really wasn’t the case.

What I thought would have been a large line actually only mounted to maybe about a dozen individuals, almost of which had positive things to say about the convention. The compliments ranged from, “easy check-in process,” “great hotel selections,” to “very well managed.” The consensus though was “please keep WonderCon in Anaheim.”

The few meager grievances that were mentioned were the lack of chairs afforded to exhibitors, and of security. It seems that every year, despite what convention you go to, security is always an issue. Since these conventions get so large, a third party security company is needed to help. They aren’t direct employees of the convention, but of the security company, and this allows for a lot of the security personal to be unaware of certain comings and goings. “One security guard told us to wait in a line against the wall for one of the halls, and then later another security guard told us we couldn’t be there,” says one man. “It’s hard to have to listen to someone when they don’t all communicate.”

As for suggestions for the future of WonderCon, one gentleman asked if there were plans to expand into the other halls and rooms of the convention center. John Rogers answered, “We’ve added some additional space compared to last year. We don’t want to go too crazy too fast. That’s what happened with Comic-Con, and now it’s just too hard to manage.”

As I mentioned earlier on how everyone asked to keep WonderCon in Anaheim, the very last person in line posed the question directly; “Will WonderCon be back in Anaheim next year?” In reply, Comic-Con president said, “At this time nothing is finalized if WonderCon will be back in Anaheim next year. We are looking at a few other options, so we’ll make that announcement once we know.”

I was happy to hear all the great things said by WonderCon attendees. The air was positive, and everyone seemed generally happy with how the convention was slowly evolving. Whether or not WonderCon will be back in Anaheim next year and keep these good vibrations, it will remain to be seen.

~Nicholas Eskey

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11. PFAS: “Testing My Hypothesis” by Leslie Bulion

Melissa P. uses images of kids and cats and blankets along with appealing background music to act out the story within the poem, “Testing My Hypothesis” by Leslie Bulion. 

Click here to watch it now.

You’ll find this fun poem in the 3rd grade section of The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science in Week 5: Predictions & Hypotheses.

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12. Blessed Easter

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life.
He who believes in me will live, even though he dies,
and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?"

     Celebrating our risen Savior, Jesus Christ!
 I pray you all have a blessed and joyful Easter.
See you back on April 28 as we talk about
missing out on something special.
Has that ever happened to you?
Dont' miss next week's post!

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13. Sunday Sketching -

In the teensy purse-Moleskine balanced upon my knee...

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14. The Little Girl Who Shined Just Right by Holly Lynn Walker


The Little Girl Who Shined Just Right sheds light on the subconscious and energetic side effects of bullying, through the experiences of a little girl named Celeste. She lives in another dimension and is called a little Deva, which means Spirit of Light. Undergoing a series of events that leave her sad and confused, Celeste wants so badly to be accepted that she is willing to sacrifice her Light. In the end she learns that it will not bring the happiness she is desperately seeking; with the help of her family, and an inspiring tale told by her mother, Celeste learns the true meaning of friendship, as well as how to trust her feelings and love herself. She ultimately finds happiness by honoring her Light, and surrounding herself with Devas who encourage her to do so.

Purchase at:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Little-Girl-Shined-Just-Right-ebook/dp/B00JBQB3FU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1397833621&sr=8-1&keywords=the+little+girl+who+shined+just+right

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-little-girl-who-shined-just-right-holly-lynn-walker/1118913356?ean=9781621370208



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15. New Literary Agent Alert: Michelle Richter of Foreword Literary

Reminder: New literary agents (with this spotlight featuring Michelle Richter of Foreword Literary) are golden opportunities for new writers because each one is a literary agent who is likely building his or her client list.




About Michelle: Michelle Richter was formerly an editor at St. Martin’s Press. Michelle has a degree in Economics with a minor in Russian from the University of Massachusetts at Boston and left a career in finance for publishing. She joined St. Martin’s Press’ editorial department in 2006 after obtaining a Masters in Publishing from Pace University. Richter says: “What I’ve most loved as an editor is discovering new authors, helping them make their writing stronger, and finding just the right audience for them. Now I’m excited to bring the skills I developed over eight years at St. Martin’s Press to my new role at Foreword Literary. I’ve been impressed by how the Foreword Literary team capitalizes on the myriad opportunities to find writers and reach readers, whether through traditional publishing channels or in the evolving digital landscape, and I’m thrilled to be joining this dynamic, energetic agency.” Find her on Twitter at @michrichter1.

(Can you re-query an agent after she’s rejected you in the past?)

She is seeking: Michelle is primarily seeking fiction, specifically book club reads, literary fiction, well-crafted women’s commercial fiction, thrillers, and mysteries. For nonfiction, she’s interested in fashion, film, television, science, medicine, sociology/social trends, and economics for trade audiences.

How to submit: To query Michelle, please send your query letter, a 1-2 page plot synopsis, and the first twenty pages of your manuscript to querymichelle [at] forewordliterary.com as an attached Word document. Please allow up to eight weeks response time.

(Are you writing middle grade, edgy paranormal, women’s fiction or sci-fi? Read about agents seeking your query.)



The biggest literary agent database anywhere
is the Guide to Literary Agents. Pick up the
most recent updated edition online at a discount.


Other writing/publishing articles & links for you:


Want to build your visibility and sell more books?
Create Your Writer Platform shows you how to
promote yourself and your books through social
media, public speaking, article writing, branding,
and more.
Order the book from WD at a discount.

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16. Hove on 'the day Zimbabwe became independent'

       In the Mail & Guardian 'Chenjerai Hove reminisces about what April 18 1980 meant for him', in Free at last: The day Zimbabwe became independent.
       The obscenity that was Rhodesia is certainly not missed; still, one wishes a bit more of the promise had been realized by now.

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17. Monday Poetry Stretch - Tritina

I've been working on a series of longer form poems recently, namely the villanelle and sestina. Whenever I get stuck on the sestina, I go back and work on the tritina. 

Helen Frost has a number of helpful worksheets on poetic form on her web site. She suggests starting with the tritina since the sestina is a more difficult form. This is an idea I have taken to heart.

Here are the nuts and bolts of the form.
10-line poem made of three, 3-line stanzas and a 1-line envoi

There is no rhyme scheme but rather an end word scheme. It is:



A, B, and C (all in the last line/envoi)
So, the challenge for the week is to write a tritina. Won't you join us? Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.

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18. It's Monday!! What Are You Reading? - 4/21/14

I hope you had a great reading week.  
This is a weekly meme run by Book Journey!

Post the books completed last week, the books you are currently reading, and the books you hope to finish this week. 


Books Completed Last Week:


This is for a blog tour on May 30. 

It was a fantastic book.  No review at this time.  I need to wait until May 30 to post, but below are a few lines from my review.

"A quilt with a history.  A quilt containing royal cloth.  A quilt spanning a number of years.  A quilt that told a story.

If you enjoy reading family history and the history of family heirlooms created by a past generation and found by the present generation, you will definitely enjoy THE FORGOTTEN SEAMSTRESS.

The writing is flawless, the characters are lovable and unforgettable, the storyline will definitely hold your interest until the last page.  And...the last few pages will have you glued to each word.​ 5/5"


Book Currently Reading: 

EMBER ISLAND by Kimberley Freeman
I am not too far into the book, but it is good.  It has secrets hidden in a family homestead.  

Books Up Next:

TO SLEEP...PER CHANCE TO DIE by Donald R. Grippo
This is for a blog tour on June 20. 



DELICIOUS by Ruth Reichl 

WOMAN OF ILL FAME by Erika Mailman


PERFECT by Rachel Joyce



The books below are not necessarily in the order I have planned to read them.  

I normally read in order of publication or tour date.

And....these are not for reading in the upcoming week.  They are books into and including all of 2014.

The "list" is a means of keeping me organized.  A visual display helps a lot for organization along with my Excel lists.  :)


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19. A Home for Mr. Emerson

A Home for Mr. Emerson  by Barbara Kerley illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham Scholastic Press, 2014 ISBN: 9780545350884 Grades K-5 The reviewer borrowed a copy of the book from the public library. The picture book biography duo of Barbara Kerley and Edwin Fotheringham are back! Kerley and Fotheringham are known for introducing young readers to interesting Americans from the past in What to Do

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20. Alistair MacLeod (1936-2014)

       Canadian author Alistair MacLeod has passed away; see, for example, Mark Medley's obituary in the National Post.
       None of his books are under review at the complete review, but I certainly admired his work; get your copy of No Great Mischief at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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21. Whale Poaching Children's Book, A Sandy Grave - Final Days of Virtual Book Tour

A Sandy Grave Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Visit today and enter at a chance to win a $50 Barnes and Noble Gift Card!

Monday, April 21
Book feature at Plug Your Book!

Wednesday, April 23
Book review at 4 the Love of Books
Book review at Mymcbooks’s Blog

Thursday, April 24
Book review at WV Stitcher

Friday, April 25
Book tour highlights at The Book Rack

Pump Up Your Book and Donna McDine are teaming up to give you a chance to win a $50 Barnes and Noble Gift Card.

Terms and Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $50 Barnes and Noble Gift Card
  • This giveaway begins March 3 and ends on April 25, 2014.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on April 28, 2014.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you for your time and interest!


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

A Sandy Grave ~ January 2014 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.

Powder Monkey ~ May 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.

Hockey Agony ~ January 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.

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

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22. Sinan Antoon Q & A

       In the Irish Times Martin Doyle has a Q & A with The Corpse Washer-author Sinan Antoon.
       Among his responses:

What book would you give to a friend's child on their 18th birthday ?

Nowadays, George Orwell's 1984.

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23. Science Poetry Pairings - African Animals

I believe I have more books on animals and nature than any other topic in my teaching library. As a science teacher, that probably doesn't surprise you. However, my love for animals started long before I began teaching. When I was young I tried to ensure I never missed an episode of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. That show started a life-long fascination for animals of all types. However, it was a drive through Lion Country Safari in Loxahatchee, Florida in 1970 (I was nearly 5) that cemented a life-long fascination for African animals.

Today's book pairing showcases the amazing animals of the African continent.

Poetry Book
African Acrostics: A Word in Edgeways, written by Avis Harley with photographs by Deborah Noyes, is a collection of 18 acrostic poems, each accompanied by a gorgeous photograph of the animal described. Poems cover the crocodile, rhino, kudu, lion, hornbill, elephant, stork, zebra, giraffe, buffalo, ostrich, African wildcat, lioness, bonobo, impala, hippo, bat-eared fox, and leopard. 

Here's how the book opens.
ACROSTIC (uh-Kros-tik)

Welcome, all poets--both new
Or well versed. Non-rhymers or
Rhymers! Come,
Dive in headfirst!

Inviting all writers--
Now you're just the right age.

Explore the acrostic that rides
Down the page.
Get a word you
Enjoy and would like to define.
Write it down vertically
And fill in each line.
Your name is a very good way to begin.
Surprise yourself. Find that poem within!
The poems in this book are deftly created, with words spelled out vertically range from single words (herald, lying, poppet, outstanding) to phrases (wild stripes, cloud friends, fatherly advice, beauty in the beast). You'll find much more than simple acrostics here, with Harley including double acrostics, a quintuple acrostic (yes, that's FIVE words), and concrete acrostic. The patterns that exist within them never get in the way of the poem itself, and finding them is a bit of a surprise. 

Here's one of my favorite poems. 
A Croc Acrostic

Poems © Avis Harley. All rights reserved.

Back matter includes More About Acrostics where Harley describes and provides examples of the types found in the book, Nature Notes on each animal, and A Note From the Photographer describing her experiences capturing photos of the scenes and animals in the book. 

Nonfiction Picture Book
African Critters, written by Robert Haas, is a first person account of his experiences photographing animals while on safari in different parts of Africa. After an introduction entitled Welcome to Africa, Haas writes about observing leopards, elephants, wild dogs, lions, scavengers (hyenas), the big grays (hippos and rhinos), itty bitty critters (Oxpecker bird, purple dragonfly, dung beetles), and cheetahs. Each chapter tells a true story about the location (Mala Mala, Okavango, Sabi Sand, and other places) and the animals observed there. The first person observation of the habitats and behavior of the animals is extraordinary. Also included are several small informational boxes in each chapter that provide additional information about the animals.

Here's an excerpt from the chapter The Scavengers of the Savanna (pp. 53-61).
     In the animal world, it is wrong to pin the label of "good guys" on certain critters and "bad guys" on other critters. Each type of animal must survive in its own way.
     For most meat-eaters, or carnivores, finding food is difficult and dangerous. It means capturing other critters who are usually able to escape and often willing to fight for their lives.
     Certain critters, known as "scavengers," will feed on the meat and bones left behind by other hunters. The best-known scavenger in all of Africa is the hyena. 
     After many safaris I had learned to respect the hyena as an animal with unique skills and a special role in the African wilderness. At first, I thought the hyena was simply a scavenger who would eat scraps from a fresh lion kill. But the hyena is also a fierce hunter who brings down prey after a chase that lasts for miles. And hyenas play an important role in their ecosystem. With a huge set of powerful jaws, they crush and eat even the largest bones left behind by lions and leopards. That way, they recycle food that others can't digest.
And here's an example of one of the informational boxes from this chapter.
Learning About Hyenas 
The largest type of hyena in Africa is known as the spotted hyena. Spotted hyena cubs are all black. The coat of an adult is thick and coarse with dark spots, and its muzzle is black. Female spotted hyena are larger than males, and the clan is usually led by a female. Even though clan members often hunt as a team, once their prey is brought down, each hyena fights for its share of the carcass.
Text © Robert Haas. All rights reserved.

Every chapter is packed with information about the animals and how they survive in the often harsh African wilderness. Back matter includes additional information on animals highlighted or mentioned in the chapters, an author's note on the photography and creation of altered and combined photos in the book, a glossary, extensive index, short list of references, and a nice list of books on animals by other National Geographic photographers.

Perfect Together
Harley's poems and Haas' observational stories offer an incredible introduction to the world of African animals. Begin with Harley's poems Moody Guy (rhino) and Sipping the Sunset (hippo). What kind of clues about them can you find in the acrostic words? Then read Haas' chapter on The Big Grays. Ask students what similarities and differences they found between the two descriptions of the animals, what surprised them, and the most interesting thing they learned. Continue on in this fashion, matching poems to the chapters in AFRICAN CRITTERS. When you're finished, consider making a class book on African animals.

For additional resources, consider these sites.
And just in case you're interested, here's a photo from our 1970 visit to Lion Country Safari.

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24. Reading Bingo Starts Today!

Reading Bingo

Reading Bingo Day 1

Here is everything you need to get started playing STACKS Reading Bingo.

Rules and Procedures:

  1. Print your Bingo card.
You can print as many Bingo cards as you want.Reading Bingo card
  • Easy Bingo: If you have read any books that fit in any of the squares, you can write them in. For example, A1: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. You will have to report the titles for each square to prove that you have Bingo.  If you want an extra challenge, skip this step and go to step 3.
  • CHALLENGE Bingo: When we announce a book title on the STACKS, check your Bingo card and see if that book fits in any of the squares. Write down the book title in the proper square. This is harder because you can only use the books that we call out.
  • Each square must be a different book title. No repeating the same book!
  • You must have read the book OR are currently reading the book.
  • Every day, the way to win will be different, so you could get Bingo every day. The way to win today is to get 5 squares in a row either horizontally, vertically or diagonally. Tomorrow, it will be different!
  • When you get Bingo, yell it in the blog Comments and tell us which books you put in which squares. (A1: book title, A2: book title . . .)
  • The first book clue is . . . .The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm book cover

    The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm by Nancy Farmer

    If you have read this book, then choose the Bingo square it fits in and write in the title.

    Check Ink Splot 26 and the Harry Potter Message Board

    all day today for more book clues. When you get 5 in row, yell BINGO! in the Comments. Good luck!

    image from kids.scholastic.com— Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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    25. Celebrating Earth Day: A focus on Molly Bang's science picture books (ages 4-10)

    Among my very favorite books are those by Bay Area author-illustrator Molly Bang. She captures a sense of wonder, respect for a child’s perspective and a passion for helping kids understanding the science that underpins the way our world works. I love highlighting these books as we celebrate Earth Day with our students.

    My Light
    written and illustrated by Molly Bang
    Blue Sky/Scholastic, 2004
    Your local library
    ages 4-8
    This first book in Bang’s “sunlight series” focuses on how the sun’s energy fuels first the water cycle, then electricity and power for humans, animals and plants on Earth. Connecting the dots from a city lit up at night to the twinkling stars, Bang excels in explaining complex science for young children.
    Living Sunlight
    How Plants Bring the Earth To Life
    by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm
    Blue Sky/Scholastic, 2009
    Your local library
    ages 4-9
    The sun narrates this story, telling children: "Lay your hand over your heart, and feel. Feel your heart pump, pump, and pump. Feel how warm you are. That is my light, alive inside of you." The sun radiates across every page, spreading bright yellow dots as it travels. This light "becomes the energy for all life on Earth," as Bang and Chisholm explain. A beautiful, rich reflection that can be read at many levels.
    Ocean Sunlight
    How Tiny Plans Feed the Seas
    by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm
    Blue Sky/Scholastic, 2012
    Your local library
    ages 4-9
    The ocean shimmers with the sun’s light, but did you know that the sun fuels a billion billion billion tiny plants called phytoplankton? “Half the oxygen you breathe every day ... is bubbling out of all the tiny phytoplankton floating in your seas.” Bang and Chisholm capture this majestic beauty and fascinating science.

    Join me on Wednesday for an interview with Molly Bang. Head over to the Nonfiction Monday blog to read more fantastic nonfiction to share with your children. The review copies came from our school library. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

    ©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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