What is JacketFlap

  • JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans.
    Join now (it's free).

Sort Blog Posts

Sort Posts by:

  • in
    from   

Suggest a Blog

Enter a Blog's Feed URL below and click Submit:

Most Commented Posts

In the past 7 days

Recent Posts

(from all 1552 Blogs)

Recent Comments

JacketFlap Sponsors

Spread the word about books.
Put this Widget on your blog!
  • Powered by JacketFlap.com

Are you a book Publisher?
Learn about Widgets now!

Advertise on JacketFlap

MyJacketFlap Blogs

  • Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.

Blog Posts by Date

Click days in this calendar to see posts by day or month
new posts in all blogs
Viewing: Blog Posts from All 1552 Blogs, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 2,000
1. Sold Audiobook Review

Title: Sold Author: Patricia McCormick Narrated by: Justine Eyre Publisher: Tantor Audio Publication Date: November 26, 2012 Listening copy via Sync Sold by Patricia McCormick was a National Book Award finalist, a lyrical, heartbreaking story about Lakshmi, a thirteen-year-old girl who is sold by her stepfather into the sex trade. Justine Eyre does a phenomenal job narrating Lakshmi's story,

0 Comments on Sold Audiobook Review as of 4/19/2015 3:09:00 PM
Add a Comment
2. The second Fantastic Four trailer debuts the new Doctor Doom

dr. doom fantastic four

The new trailer for Fantastic Four wasn’t supposed to be released until tomorrow morning, but after another leak, 20th Century Fox moved fast to get the official trailer out for your Sunday viewing pleasure.

Get your first look at the team using their powers and a glimpse at this iteration of Doctor Doom:

Fantastic Four, directed by Josh Trank, hits theaters on August 7th.

0 Comments on The second Fantastic Four trailer debuts the new Doctor Doom as of 4/19/2015 4:13:00 PM
Add a Comment
3. Week in Review April 19, 2015

And what a week it was!

Some of you had some very odd ideas about my favorite movie, although Kregger's comment
I think your favorite movie is "Message in a Bottle." Not because of heart-string tugging syrupy tripe, but because everyone should know how Kevin Costner got it in the end. That's right...shark attack!

cracked me up completely.

and AJ Blythe did too:
Surely Janet's fave movie would have to be "Fifty Shades of Grey" - it's about paint, right?
Dena Pawling mentioned Hopscotch which I loved when I saw it the first time, so I promptly rented it on Sunday and watched it again.  It held up beautifully! (Some of my long time favorites have not!)  Did you notice the character names? Shout outs to Ludlum, Follet and Westlake, all great crime writers.  The book Hopscotch won the Edgar for Best Novel in 1976!

As for my favorite movie: none of you came close. It's Casablanca.


Apparently LynnRodz is circumnavigating the globe. Maybe she's looking for Platform 9.75, the train to Carkoon?
Don't get me started on the weather! When I left Paris it was 11°C, I landed in Dubai at midnight and it was already 26°C. When I got to Bangkok I came out of the airport to 38°C in the shade! Let me put it this way, when you're baking cookies and you open the oven door to see if they're done and that blast of hot air hits you...well I'm the cookie baking in Bangkok and Carkoon is looking like paradise!
I'm heading to Hong Kong next and hopefully the weather will be a lot cooler.


And just in case I was getting too big for my britches, John "Ol' Chumbucket" Baur put me solidly in my place on the food chain:

I missed the "plumber/agent" discussion, but as someone who has had two agents and who last fall had the mother of all sewer problems, let me just say, if I had to pick one or the other, I'd take a good plumber every time. My agents have had some success with me, but my plumber made it possible for life to continue.

W.R.Gingell had an important question about the Summer Synopsis Camp slated for Carkoon:
And lol at Colin's Carkoonian Synopsis Summer Camp. Should we bring our own stakes, or will there be a Impaler Specialist? ( I hear Vlad is once more available: he might like the change).

Maybe Gary Corby can be drafted for Impaler specialist. He's sure gotten some mileage out of that one scene in The Ionia Sanction.

 



On Monday the results of the writing contest were posted. Huzzah to Calorie Bombshell for an outstanding effort, and huzzahs also to the finalists! It was a touch choice (but then, it almost always is!)



On Tuesday we talked about meeting agents at conferences in unscheduled times.

I think we're going to need a collection of Julie Weathers' comments at some point because as usual, this one cracked me up:

I keep saying agents are humans pieces of meat and I still see people giving out advice for authors to act like blind dogs after meat wagon.

I liked what Susan Bonifant had to say so much that I made it this week's blog subtitle
"Best advice I ever got when I was raising children: Never miss an opportunity to shut up."

And Abib Khorram mentioned the Midwest Writers Conference:

I am very much looking forward to Midwest Writers, though now I'm going to be very suspicious of anyone wearing a "Janet Reid" name tag.

Speaking of which, is anyone else going to Midwest Writers? I think we should try to organize a Felix J. Buttonweezer Memorial Costume Contest and Kale Cookoff.

"Janet Reid" can be the judge.

Since my former minion Brooks Sherman will also be at MWW, I might deputize him to be me.  I'll be the one with the name badge that says "I AM OTTER"





And I really liked what KD James.com said about attending conferences

I think it's worth it, if you're unpublished or perhaps haven't attended a conference, to think about what you DO want to accomplish. As fun as they can be, cons are also expensive and time consuming. It's not necessary to set conference goals, but it's a good idea. This is not MY advice--- I've heard it from dozens of experienced writers.

A goal is something you can control and achieve: to attend classes or workshops to learn about craft or publishing; to meet up with writer friends you've talked to online; to experience what it feels like to be in a huge crowd of writers who "get" you (it's awesome); to meet new people.

My goal at my first con was simply to survive the overload. Which I did. Barely. I also attended a ton of workshops. SO WORTH IT.

It's also nice to have a goal so when you look back on whether the con was a good investment of time and money, you'll have something to gauge rather than just whether it was "fun."

It is NOT a goal to say you're attending a con because you hope to get published, or want to have an agent request your ms, or even simply to meet an agent/editor/famous author. You don't control those things. And they might not even be all that valuable.


And I liked what Leone said too
My point is, we're all part of the writing community and we give to it in our own ways. So my suggestion for folks nervous about attending a conference is to worry less about how others see you and more about how you can help. For example, I offer to moderate a panel. If you prefer, you could offer to staff the registration table or some other less public activity. Whatever you do, you're giving to the community, which not only helps you get to know people without worrying about pitching, but also gets your focus off your own nervousness.




And Colin demonstrates why he has been exiled to Carkoon, by trying to find a way that the point of the blog post might not apply.

So, do you suppose it might be different for a young agent, perhaps still fairly new and building a list? Might that agent be more likely to want writers to talk about their work? In other words, might Janet and Barbara's hatred of the "elevator pitch" come from their years of experience, and the fact they are well-established?

No.
I've hated people pushing their pitches on me from Day One. There is simply NO WAY to properly evaluate or offer help to a writer without seeing pages.  Pitching is not social conversation. If we're in a social setting, DO NOT PITCH. There are NO exceptions to this.

*climbs down off soapbox*
*signs exile extension*




And I REALLY liked this from BJ Muntain

Because there's nothing about being a stay-at-home mom that deserves to be ignored. It just needs better press.



On Wednesday, a gentleman wondered about self-publishing to make money.

CarolynWith2Ns asked
Might the questioner try Kindle Scout as a no cost path to e-publishing ? And Janet, I'd love to know your opinion about Scout. Is it as good a deal as Amazon says?


I'm not a resource on Kindle Scout or really any of the self-publishing platforms because I don't work with them at all, and have no experience.  What I see are people querying me with books they've already published, or sending me finished copies of books they've essentially printed rather than published. Often times those books are just sad little messes of bad production and worse cover art.

BJ Muntain said
Yes, even if it's only printed out in a chapbook format and handed out to a few friends, it's still technically published. Will it affect future sales? As Janet said, that's very unlikely. My thought: If these have already been published, then you no longer have first rights to sell for them anyway. Reprinting them won't make a difference

There is no such thing as "first rights" although I do see that phrase used a lot on writer boards.  There IS such a thing as "first serial rights" but that means publishing an excerpt of a book before publication day.

A book, and stories, can be published more than once. If you've had stories accepted for publication in a lit mag (as the questioner had) you can publish them AGAIN once the period of exclusivity with the magazine has ended.

The rights you license to a lit mag are 1. territory 2. language 3. duration  4.exclusivity 5.format

For example: you license the short story "Felix Buttonweezer Fends off Kale on Carkoon" to the Carkoon Lit mag for publication in (1) Carkoon (2) Carkoonian, English and Klingon; (3) for the period of one Carkoonian year; (4) exclusively; (5) for the print edition and the Carkoon Lit mag website.  All rights not specifically granted to the lit mag are retained by the author.


On Thursday the discussion turned to the endlessly entertaining topic of submission guidelines.

Colin posted a question from exile:
My question(s) to agents: When was the last time you requested because the querier spelled your name correctly, gave good comp titles, had an MFA, or correctly identified their novel as YA Urban Fiction? And how many queries have you requested from because they sold you on #2 above [2) A paragraph or two selling the novel to the agent, incorporating the 4 Cs (see Craig's comment).]

Answer:
0%
100%


Lizzie said
aside from people not paying attention, one of the problems could be agents not updating their Querytracker profile.

I can't remember the last time I updated my QueryTracker profile. Probably the last time I closed for queries a few summers ago, but honestly I haven't a clue.

The reason for that that? There's no trigger to update it. No one from QueryTracker emails me an easily accessible link and says "here, update yer info, SharkForBrains"  If they did, I would.

As it is, I don't even THINK about QueryTracker.  The places I DO update when I remember, which isn't often: 1. my website 2. my Pub Mkt page and 3. this blog's incoming query status. 



And then things pretty much fell completely off topic with a discussion of the Buttonweezer clan name, origin and location. Which made for a VERY entertaining comments trail.



On Friday the topic was whether a query should mention fulls requested by other agents.

I loved this from Dena Pawling:
Carolynn, I met my husband at a friend's wedding, the summer after I graduated from high school. I was a bridesmaid and he was an usher. About a week after the wedding, he called me.

Him: “Hi... um... would you like to go to church with me? I've asked everyone else I know and no one else can come.”

Yes, that's how he asked me out on our first date. I've teased him endlessly about it, too. We've been married now for more than half my life.

Karen McCoy asked:
Say Agent B doesn't ask if anyone else is reading, and Agent A requests representation while Agent B still has the full. How does the author bring this up without burning possible bridges?

This happens ALL the time. I've been on both sides of the situation.  In fact, I have a prospective client notifying other agents even as we speak.

Here's what you do:
1. Email all the agents who have the full and say you've received an offer (or you've gotten serious interest) in the manuscript. Ask if they can let you know their decision within a specified amount of time (a week is normal but I've said two weeks on occ. if there's a holiday or vacations pending)

2. On the expiration day, advise everyone of decisions.  "Thanks for reading my full. I've chosen an agent to represent the book" kind of thing.



And maybe y'all think someone else reads the comments but it's me and I SAW THAT STUFF ABOUT PAGES!
Julie Weathers, I'm looking at you, gnomie! 

If an agent asks for 50 pages, and 50 pages ends at the wrong place to present your work well, send 48. Or 55.

The idea of asking for 50 pages is "please don't send 300" and "please don't send 5"

It is NOT: please adjust your margins, and your font to make sure that what should be 48 is really 50 pages. 

 

Never break a sentence when you send pages, NEVER. Never break a paragraph if you can possibly help it.

And it's really ok to end where the chapter ends, be that page 45 or 55; in fact it's better.

And do NOT get creative with your margins. I work on 1" margins all around, and if you send something in ANYTHING else, I adjust it because of the size of my screen and what my eye is used to seeing.

YES I NOTICE 1.25 margins!


Sheesh you guys!



On Saturday the topic turned to the newest way to torment writers: social media


I liked what Amy Schaefer suggested:
Instead of focusing on what you aren't willing to do (Twitter, FB, the internet in general), turn it around and think about what you are willing to do. Get that clear in your mind. Signings? Visiting bookstores? The aforementioned newsletters and so on? Think hard about what sort of interaction you feel capable of with strangers/potential fans. Then, when the problem arises with an agent, you'll be ready with your own solution to your so-called social media issue. Get out in front of it, is my advice.


And I read PhoenixWaller's comment about promotion with great interest particularly the closing line:
The moral of that story is that mass advertisements are iffy at best, but word of mouth is still an invaluable tool for selling books, even free ones online. ;)

The more things change, the more they are the same. Word of mouth. The best way to sell books since there were books.


Angie Brooksby-Arcangioli asked

the question that Janet could answer is if you did write under a pseudo would your agent need to know your real name and at what stage would you have to tell them.

If you had a pseudo with incorporated status, you could have a social media presence for your 'business'.

As an agent I need to know two things: what you want me to call you, and the name you want to use when I pay you. 

The PUBLISHER however has a stake in this because the contract you sign for your book has a clause called Warranties and Indemnities and that's the one where you warrant the work is yours, you didn't copy it, and no one else has a claim to it.  Publishers really want to make sure that "the author" signs that contract.  That's where you'll need more specific advice than what I'm able to give you on the blog.

If a potential client had the kinds of security concerns that the questioner had, I'd probably let the editor know about it, and we'd figure something out.

I've certainly worked with authors who've used pen names before, and it's pretty funny, we forget the pen name isn't the author's "real" name.



Spring is finally here in NYC and it's fabulous. We have a giant courtyard space next to our office building and it has a huge TV screen on the side of our building. The TV broadcasts soccer games and I can always tell when they do cause the fans gather in the courtyard and cheer. It makes World Cup a lot of fun here even if I don't have  clue who's playing.

I'm tackling my requested full pile with renewed vigor. Some very patient authors have been waiting for more months than I care to reveal in public for a reply from me. Every time I pass on a manuscript I feel bad. I really hate doing so, particularly now that I'm passing on things that are good and publishable (but just not the right books for my particular list or interest.)

This coming week I'm taking a reading break and heading to the Delaware shore with a friend. We're going to sit on the porch, read manuscripts and plot World Domination. 

I'm hoping the Wifi will be adequate. If not, well, you'll know cause I'll be tardy posting the week in review!

Have a great week!





0 Comments on Week in Review April 19, 2015 as of 4/19/2015 12:45:00 PM
Add a Comment
4. She's ALIVE!

So let me see... what has happened since Easter?

Hmmmm


Well, first of all, we made fabulous ravioli for Easter.  Like, handmade, beautiful ravioli.  Like, check out Treskie's blog to see HOW beautiful this ravioli really was. (And you can enjoy the overall post, anyhoozle.  If you want.  Don't feel pressured or anything.)
Intense Glare


Then....

                              Theeeeeennnn.....

Thhhheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeennnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn.............
Source


I apparently have a boring life, because I can't recall much of what has happened between then and now.

Well, I take that back.  I had a jury summons, for which I HAD to appear (which, by the way, is one of the few things that can put me into a state of hysterical panic), and then, for 1-1/2 days, I got to sit in court while the judge and attorneys made up their minds who they really wanted as their jurors and alternates.

Just CHOOSE someone! Not me, but SOMEONE!


They didn't even choose jurors the first day.  The first day, all of us potential jurors got to complete a hardship form if we wanted to (Like, if you miss three out of five days of work for five weeks, can you survive on what little pittance of money you WILL be making?).  Then we got to fill out a 30+ page questionnaire of random questions, like WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TV SHOW?  HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT HEALTHCARE?
Source

The second day, by 10:30 a.m., eighteen people were chose for jurors plus six alternates, and I WASN'T ONE OF THEM! Praise God.   But then none of the rest of us could leave, and we had to sit in the courtroom while the attorneys took turns asking jurors "pertinent questions" from their questionnaires, and the judge told us to make sure and pay attention because they would be "winnowing" their jurors and choosing new people to take their place.

Joy.
Source

We had to adjourn for lunch, and we came back to the courtroom at 1:30, at which point eight people were excused from the jury box and eight more people from the audience were chosen to take their place.  Again, I was not one of them.  Praise God.

After endless questioning, three people were excused and three more chosen (none of them me).

Then SEVEN people were excused and seven more chosen! (Thankfully, again not me.)

Then three more people were excused and three more chosen.  (At this point, I'm still safe.)

Then two were excused and two more chosen. (I'm still not a juror.)

Then two more people were excused, and THIS time my name was called.  At this point, it was 4:00 in the afternoon and I had been in a state of constant panic that my name WOULD be called.
Source


But God had not abandoned me, because over the course of the loooooong day and the questions, questions, questions, I had realized my job as a medical transcriptionist would conflict with some of the rules regarding the case, and when I pointed this out to the attorneys they seemed to agree with me and I was excused from jury duty.

PRAISE GOD.

So THAT wasn't the most fun I've ever had, but I survived.

On a happy note, prom for the high school was last night, so this week at the flower shop was busy making corsages and boutonnieres, so I had tons of fun doing those.
I was just about this giddy, too.

Also, I signed up for singing class.  Hollah! I haven't gone to singing class in something like 2-1/2 years, so I'm super excited.  I've missed it so much!
Da Da Da Da DAAAAAA!

Speaking of the Phantom of the opera, we've also been binging quite a lot on musicals - Phantom of the Opera, Pirates of Penzance,  H.M.S. Pinafore, and sometime in the near future we are going to watch Oklahoma!  We are also listening to a lot of musicals - the best parts of Jekyll and Hyde... the Anthony Warlow version; Phantom (Duh); and we will be listening to Jane Eyre (tolerated because of Mr. Rochester. Amazing voice!); Secret Garden, and Tale of Two Cities.


A lady I know, the Amazing Jan Fields (better known as the Ghost in the Machine and Administrator of the Institute of Children's Literature chat boards, the Writer's Retreat) is having a drawing to win an autographed copy of her two books, The Wellspring of Magic and The Emerald Dragon.  Plus, you can also win a super cute doll who represents a character in the book, and she is holding a bear.  Check it out here.  Isn't that fantastic?
Source

I haz also been drawing a little.

First, I did dis dragon for my brother, who requested it:

Then I did these two character sketches for the two characters in a book I'm actively/passively working on:

Aliry Thyme

Dragon

And I KNOW there has been other stuff happening, but for the life of me I cannot think of them.  So, until la'ers, I shall leave you with this thought:
There is that.

Bye!
 
Gigglygigglygiggly


~Cat

Add a Comment
5. Gardening Season Begins!

Lily of the valley

Lily of the valley

The weather during the week was sunny, dry and warm. Oh, and windy. The wind makes my allergies very bad so it’s best to just skip over the misery to the beautiful warm, sunny and non-windy days that were Friday and Saturday. They could not have been more perfect. Unfortunately I had to spend most of my day indoors working on Friday, but the evening was mild and relaxing.

Saturday I had work to do. The forecast for Sunday was rain off and on all day. Gardening had to happen this weekend and it had to happen on Saturday. Bookman was at work so he missed out on all the fun. I spent two glorious hours outdoors. I began in the front garden removing leaves and cutting back the remains of last year’s perennials and grasses. I had decided last year that I want to use my tall native grasses to make baskets. I don’t have a huge prairie so they would have to be small or take a year or two to make one of size. No problem. I found out how to do this: cut grasses before they flower, place in a warm area to dry. When the time came last summer to cut back some of the grass to dry I couldn’t bear the idea. I know, it’s grass, it would grow back, but it’s so pretty waving in the breeze. So I decided I didn’t mind some fluffy grass seedheads in the mix and I would let nature take its course and when the grass dried naturally I’d cut it back to use.

When the time came to cut the dry grass I thought, oh it looks so pretty I can’t cut it back yet. I’ll wait until just before it snows. Snow came late but the cold didn’t and who wants to be out cutting back grass when it’s 25F/-4C outside? Spring, I’ll do it in spring.

And as I was cutting back the grass yesterday I understood why it gets cut when it is green. It is fresh and clean, unbroken and unbent. In spring it has been flattened by snow, has leaves and dirt in it. It is no good for baskets, only good for mulch and compost. Lesson learned. So this summer I will try cutting a little from a few clumps of grass and drying it and seeing how that goes.

I must have some new neighbors down the street from me because as I was working a child of about eight I had never seen before was riding his bike up and down the street all by himself. He seemed to be having a good time, zooming along and sometimes singing to himself. Finally his curiosity got the best of him and he stopped and asked me what I was doing. I explained I was clearing away the leaves and dead twigs so the new flowers could grow. He didn’t know what to say to that but sat there on his bike watching me for a bit before he asked if I was “helping the house.” I understood his question to mean was I being paid by the people who live in the house to do this work. I told him no, that I live in the house. His response was “oh” and then he zoomed off down the sidewalk and didn’t come by again. Did I scare him or have I been placed in the “crazy lady” box?

I got one big bed cleared. There is another large bed and a couple smaller ones yet to do. Almost all of these plants are natives and they don’t need much attention at all in order to thrive and do their thing. Unless there is something newly planted in one of the beds, my policy tends to be one of benign neglect. No one took care of them on the prairie, they don’t really need me to take much care of them now.

I was happy to see the gooseberry I planted last year is leafing out and the black currant, which I fretted

beginning ramp patch

beginning ramp patch

over all winter because it looked like nothing more than a stick in the snow, is covered in new leaves too. And, hooray, the ramps came back! Ramps are wild leeks, native to woodlands in Minnesota. I planted a couple last spring and they went dormant a few weeks after that. To see them tall and leafy now makes me very happy. Hopefully in a couple of years I will have a patch large enough I can start harvesting some for an early spring treat.

In the vegetable garden in the backyard I prepped the polyculture bed for planting. I had covered it in leaf mulch for the winter and with the wind most of the leaves had blown away. So I broke up the top of the soil pulled out a few weeds that had sprouted, turned some of the leaves under — found some earthworms yay! I also cut back all the dead stalks from the perennial sunflower that lives next to the polyculture bed. When Bookman came home in the evening we planted the bed with a lettuce variety mix, cosmic purple carrots, red beets and golden beets, parsnips and purple radish. Then we covered it with row cover fabric and weighed down the corners. Since it was going to rain, we didn’t water it.

It did rain a little overnight, not much though. And today it rained only once for about twenty minutes. It was too wet to do any digging but Bookman and I got out in the garden for a little while. We worked on breaking up some old concrete and used it to mark out more paths through the garden. At one point Bookman failed to remember he was swinging a sledge hammer while standing beneath a clothesline rope. He swung the hammer, it hit the rope and bounced back and gave him a glancing blow to the head. I didn’t see it happen, only heard the cursing after the fact.

Bookman is ok. He has a small cut on his forehead, a bruise and a marble-sized lump. But we decided he needed to be done gardening for the day. After a long afternoon rest, however, he did take a few minutes to help me plant sunflower seeds in pots. We have to start the sunflowers so the squirrels don’t dig up the seeds.

But it isn’t squirrels I am worried about this year. The mild winter we had allowed the rabbit population to embiggen and we’ve had several rabbits foraging through the garden over the last few weeks. There was nothing growing except weeds and greening grass so I didn’t think much about it. Until yesterday when I walked around the garden checking on all my shrubs. Bush cherries looking good, black raspberry fantastic, winterberries made it, blackberry not sure, huckleberry — hey where did the huckleberry go? Eaten down to a nub. And it is a good thing I already decided to give up on the blueberries because the rabbits had eaten those too! Nonetheless I was a bit miffed.

My nextdoor neighbor has a large shade tree in the backyard and has told us there is a hawk nesting in its upper branches. I can see a nest but I have not seen the hawk. Is it bad of me to hope the hawk takes care of the rabbit problem? There were three large rabbits. In the last few days I have only seen one. I have not seen any rabbit remains though so maybe the rabbits have just become more cautious? Whatever the case, I now have to take extra precautions and protect against both squirrels and rabbits. Not pleased about that!


Filed under: Books

Add a Comment
6. Flowers Study Guide

When we study living things, we like to include four topics:

  • morphology
  • life cycles
  • habitats
  • relationships with humans

The morphology (study of the form) of flowers includes the parts of the flower and what each part does, as well as the different kinds of flowers. Start by introducing or reviewing the morphology of a flower:

  • Download The Parts of a Flower Powerpoint Presentation for a clear introduction to the parts of a flower.
  • Have students bring flowers to class and dissect them. (If you are in a setting in which students may not have easy access to wildflowers or flowers in their own gardens, bring a bouquet of mixed flowers to class.) Use the American Museum of Natural History’s Flower Anatomy page if you don’t have a diagram in your science text. Have students recreate the diagram with the parts of their flowers.
  • Create a class Pinterest board showing as many different kinds of flowers as possible. Challenge students to find the petals and stamens of each flower. This can be tricky — for example, the large white flowers of the dogwood flower are actually bracts (like the poinsettia) and the petals are the tiny structures in the center.

dogwood

The life cycles of flowering plants generally consist of

  • pollination of the flower>
  • formation of seeds>
  • germination of seeds>
  • growth leading to flowers>
  • pollination again

Here are some resources on the life cycle of the plants:

Probably the best possible way to study the life cycle of the plant is to plant one. In Tech Lessons on Plants you can simulate the life cycle in Google Earth, or you can find a bean growing project in  Jack and the Beanstalk.

Flowers grow in many different habitats. If you’re using the Pinterest board idea, you might want to add separate boards for flowers found in different habitats, such as mountains, deserts, tropical and temperate forests, prairies, and cities. However, these distinctions are often only relevant to wildflowers. Not only are flowers cultivated in plenty of habitats which are not their natural habitats, but they are also carefully bred to live in different habitats from their own.

Gardens are sort of like zoos for plants; most gardens, whether at your school or your students’ homes or a large botanical garden, showcase plants from many different places. Find a native plant garden in your area and visit it. How many of the flowers there are familiar to your class?

Use online research or field trips to identify ten plants that are native to  your region. Plan a garden for your school using these plants. Maybe you can really plant the garden!

Flowers have a complex relationship with humans. Flowers show up in our homes and gardens, artwork and objects like clothing and wallpapers, and in our songs and stories. Here are a few choices for exploring this relationship:

  • Use coloring pages of the state flowers to create a paper quilt of the United States. Divide the coloring pages among students and ask each student to find out why the flower was chosen by the state.
  • Traditionally, flowers had a variety of meanings, so that people could communicate in their secret language. If you sent your friend a bunch of Bells of Ireland, it meant, “Good luck!” Check out the Language of Flowers page from Texas A&M, and see how practical this kind of communication might be. Decide how the main characters of the literature you’re currently reading would have put together a bouquet that showed their true feelings.
  • Flowers turn up in literature sometimes. Discuss the flowers in Sleeping Beauty as an example. Then find examples of flowers that are important in books you’re reading, popular songs, and movies the class has seen.

The post Flowers Study Guide appeared first on FreshPlans.

0 Comments on Flowers Study Guide as of 4/19/2015 12:33:00 PM
Add a Comment
7. Animated Paper Burlesque Dancers


Legendary toy inventor Mel Birkrant has just posted the story of his years developing R-rated paper burlesque dancers for his company "Boutique Fantastique." 
-----

0 Comments on Animated Paper Burlesque Dancers as of 4/19/2015 8:29:00 PM
Add a Comment
8. Traveling Light on the Writer’s Journey

Travel LightThe writer’s journey. The hero’s journey. Springtime and the open road.

Road stories!

I’m itching to recount my stories of the road—in Africa, India, Pakistan, Alberta, Samoa, Greece, Scotland, Italy, the high Arctic, New Zealand.

In my last post we didn’t get far before I ran into the bees.

Next up is an encounter with “simba” on the Hell Run in Tanzania.

But first a short detour to the UK where the Writers’ Village is graciously hosting my guest blog about “traveling light.”

If you’re a writer with a toolbox over-heavy with tips about story mechanics, then here are more tips! To lighten your load.

Traveling light on your writer’s journey—THIS WAY...

And after you’ve read my Reece’s Piece, join the discussion already in progress…

Add a Comment
9. What Was I Dreaming?

Last night I dreamed that I wrote an essay comparing...something, I don't know what, though I think it was related to writing...to the I Ching. I didn't know what the I Ching was in the dream, which makes sense, because I don't know what it is when I'm awake. In the dream, I just read a few screens worth of information about it, maybe the equivalent of a Slate article with a short film. Really short. Then I wrote the essay. I didn't get to the point in the dream where I was submitting the completed piece of writing. That's too bad, because I'd really like to know if there's a publication that would even consider such a thing.

Well, it appears that only in a dream would you find a short piece on the I Ching that would make it possible for you to write anything intelligent about it. (Though I'm trying right now.) Even the I Ching Wikipedia entry made my eyes glaze over two-thirds of the way through the second sentence. 

The best I can work out, the I Ching, known as The Book of Changes in English, is an ancient Chinese text used to tell the future. This makes it different from the zenny stuff I'm usually interested in reading, which deals with staying in the moment so you are not anxious about the future or regretful about the past.

As a general rule, you don't have to have completed psych 1 to analyze my dreams. But I'm at a loss as to where this I Ching business came from. Yes, I attend a tai chi/kung fu school, and those are both Chinese martial arts. And, yes, next Saturday is World Tai Chi Day, and I'm not taking part with my school because I'm going to a conference. And I did get a couple of e-mails about it.

But nobody mentioned the I Ching.

So, today I've been thinking about this and wondering what I could have written that essay on, even though, of course, I didn't really write an essay, I only dreamed I did. In dream world it happened. Here is what I came up with: If the I Ching is about telling the future, maybe I connected it to plotting a piece of fiction. Maybe I came up with a way to use it to work out the future, the plot, of a story.

How easy my life would be if I could find an ancient Chinese text that would do that. 

0 Comments on What Was I Dreaming? as of 4/19/2015 1:21:00 PM
Add a Comment
10. SNOW PERCEPTION


Snow Perception   
    
Not a star or a moon,
dark as the inside of a covered hole.
This black night had sounds
of wind moving among
houses and thick trees,
whistling loud and humming low.
Morning light was slow to enter
my world of winter uncertainty.
Suddenly the curtain of light
blasted through my bedroom window.
The woods were covered thick
with shadows of blue
bouncing off dark trees.
Between shadows appeared
a large white dog
that had the appearance
 (c) by Mary Nida Smith
of a timber wolf snooping
for a meal of gray rabbit.
The snow dog stood proud and still.
(c) by Mary Nida Smith
It appeared, as created by snow.
Then quickly, it disappeared
melted below the heat of sunrays.
Only signs it had appeared
were foot prints of a wandering spirit.

                                            © By Mary Nida Smith

0 Comments on SNOW PERCEPTION as of 4/19/2015 12:29:00 PM
Add a Comment
11. Prince Podoee's Diary, King Bronty Sea Saga Continued

Last week, in an effort to contain King Bronty and Prince Podoee, Captain Crockers summoned the giant sea turtle pirate of legend, "Cong-A-Bong-Bong"! King Bronty and Prince Podoee watched, amused, from the ship's rigging. The following is an entry from Prince Podoee's memoirs, (well, more like his coloring book).









 I hope you enjoy this blog. Though I truly enjoy making "King Bronty" please join in and  encourage it's continued creation by support for art supplies, coffee, etc.  JRY



 

0 Comments on Prince Podoee's Diary, King Bronty Sea Saga Continued as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
12. Must a subplot affect the main plot?

Hello. I have a question. I'm writing on an epic fantasy novel. This novel has four main characters, who also double as both POV characters and protagonists

Add a Comment
13. Read Inspiring Handwritten Letters From Animators to Young Artists

A project aims to collect as many letters of encouragement as it can from animators.

0 Comments on Read Inspiring Handwritten Letters From Animators to Young Artists as of 4/19/2015 4:05:00 PM
Add a Comment
14. part of the garden (series)

ink and wash on a printed page with a poem by J. L. Borges

0 Comments on part of the garden (series) as of 4/19/2015 5:35:00 PM
Add a Comment
15. Dick Whittington and His Cat (1950)

Dick Whittington and His Cat. Told and cut in linoleum by Marcia Brown. 1950. Simon & Schuster. 32 pages. [Source: Bought]

First sentence: Long ago in England there lived a little boy named Dick Whittington. Dick's father and mother died when he was very young, and as he was too small to work, he had a hard time of it.

Premise/plot: Dick Whittington, an orphan, goes to London to seek his fortune--or at least a somewhat better life. It won't be easily come by that's for sure! He eventually finds work in the home of a merchant as a cook's assistant. With his one penny, he happens to buy a cat who is an excellent mouser. The cat will be the key to it all: his eventual success.
Not long after this, Mr. Fitzwarren had a ship ready to sail. He called all his servants into the parlor and asked them what they chose to send to trade. All the servants brought something but poor Dick. Since he had neither money nor goods, he couldn't think of sending anything. "I'll put some money down for him," offered Miss Alice, and she called Dick into the parlor. But the merchant said, "That will not do. It must be something of his own." "I have nothing but a cat," said Dick. "Fetch your cat, boy," said the merchant, "and let her go!" 
My thoughts: Loved the story. Dick Whittington and His Cat received a Caldecott Honor in 1951. I can't say that I particularly "liked" the illustrations. (But I didn't dislike them either.) I enjoyed the story more though.

Have you read Dick Whittington and His Cat? What did you think? Do you have a favorite Caldecott or Caldecott Honor book? 


© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 Comments on Dick Whittington and His Cat (1950) as of 4/19/2015 11:03:00 AM
Add a Comment
16. Spring Chicken

“You’re not a spring chicken,”
My husband blurts out.
The truth in that statement’s
Beyond any doubt.

My running around’s
Surely taken its toll,
As Nature reminds me
I’m not in control.

For age has its limits
And mine’s reached a peak.
What I do in a day
Should spread over a week.

I try for it all
But my body’s refused.
As I conk on the couch,
There’s my husband – amused!

0 Comments on Spring Chicken as of 4/19/2015 7:43:00 PM
Add a Comment
17. सकारात्मक सोच

B positive- cartoon

घना अंधेरा था गरीब बच्चों के पास कोई बिजली का उपकरण नही था डर था कि गहन जंगल से बाहर  कैसे जाएगें पर हिम्मत नही हारी कुछ जुगुनूओ को पकड लिया राह दिखाने के लिए और निडर बेखौफ चलते चले गए और घर पहुंच गए… अगर डर के मारे वही बैठ जाते तो हो सकता है कि कोई जानवर ही खा जाता पर एक सकारात्मक सोच और सूझ बूझ भरे आईडिया ने दिशा दिखाई … हमे भी जिंदगी मे हमेशा सकारात्मक सोच लेकर चलना चाहिए और देखना  रास्ते मिल ही जाएगें …

The post सकारात्मक सोच appeared first on Monica Gupta.

Add a Comment
18. John Dilworth Brings Back ‘The Dirdy Birdy’

The creator of "Courage the Cowardly Dog" is reviving his earlier cult character, Purdy the Dirdy Birdy.

0 Comments on John Dilworth Brings Back ‘The Dirdy Birdy’ as of 4/19/2015 4:05:00 PM
Add a Comment
19. Brain Pickings - KU2015


Someday blogging is SO easy.  My inbox delivered this post from Brain Pickings about 15 picture book biographies.  The illustrations for the Pablo Neruda biography are so vibrant.  Check the post here.


AND - tada - you can look at my KU2015 book list here.  The Kutztown University Children's Literature Conference was wonderful yesterday.  I love talking about books with other readers and authors.

0 Comments on Brain Pickings - KU2015 as of 4/19/2015 11:53:00 AM
Add a Comment
20. Social Media Etiquette

What not to do when using social media.


0 Comments on Social Media Etiquette as of 3/17/2015 5:21:00 PM
Add a Comment
21. Miss Marjoribanks (1866)

Miss Marjoribanks. Margaret Oliphant. 1866. 512 pages. [Source: Bought]

First sentence: Miss Marjoribanks lost her mother when she was only fifteen, and when, to add to the misfortune, she was absent at school, and could not have it in her power to soothe her dear mamma's last moments, as she herself said. Words are sometimes very poor exponents of such an event: but it happens now and then, on the other hand, that a plain intimation expresses too much, and suggests emotion and suffering which, in reality, have but little, if any, existence.

I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED Margaret Oliphant's Miss Marjoribanks. Within a few chapters, I was going Why did NO ONE tell me how absolutely, wonderful this book is?!  Even before I finished it, I  had decided that I would NEED to read more Oliphant in the future. A lot more. (Which book should I seek out next?!)

Lucilla Marjoribanks is the heroine. She's clever and stubborn, more than a little ambitious, and manipulative but well-intentioned. I also want to add that her manners are phenomenal; she's a proper lady. Readers meet plenty of characters: men and women of all ages, both upper and lower class.

So the novel opens with Lucilla learning of her mother's death. She resolves then and there to be a comfort to her father. Her father wants Lucilla to stay in school, and, later go on a tour of Europe. But when Lucilla is nineteen, it is inevitable that she will return home to Carlingford and start being a comfort to her dear father. He's hesitant at first, as is his cook, but within a day--or two at most--she's got them both. They love and adore her. Her reign has begun without a bit of resistance.

Lucilla has plans. Not just for her father and the household (a new makeover for various rooms). But for Carlingford. She wants to make a great society. She'll host her Thursday Evenings, and the town will be changed for the better, for the most part.

As part of her project, Lucilla "rescues" Barbara Lake from the lower class (she's a drawing master's daughter) to sing duets with her on Thursday evenings. Barbara doesn't exactly like "being a project" of Lucilla's. Part of her hates the idea of a rich woman condescending to her and elevating her position--once a week--for entertainment purposes. On the other hand, she does love to sing. And one of the men who attends is quite swoon-worthy, and he flirts with her. So the evening isn't a complete waste.

The book is essentially two stories in one. The first story occurs when she's nineteen and just getting started with her Carlingford project. She's young, beautiful, smart, ambitious. And most everyone is of the opinion that she will soon marry. Despite her protests that she will not marry for at least ten years so that she can be a comfort to her father. A handful of neighbors introduce various young men to her. One of the eligible suitors is Mr. Cavendish. (Cavendish is the one who can't help flirting with Barbara Lake). The other two "eligible" suitors don't seem all that interested in Miss Marjoribanks. (One (a general) falls in love at first sight with Barbara's sister, Rose, who happens to be visiting Lucilla because she's worried about her sister. The other (Archdeacon Beverley) coincidentally is the first-lost-love of one of Lucilla's friends--another project of sorts, her name is Mrs. Mortimer.) The second story occurs when she's twenty-nine. It mainly centers around Miss Marjoribanks schemes to get Mr. Ashburton elected to parliament.

The book is part romance, part comedy, part drama. I LOVED everything about it. I loved the characterization. I loved the narration. I loved the plot. I loved that it wasn't predictable--at least not to me!

Quotes:
There are people who talk of themselves, and think of themselves, as it were, under protest, and with depreciation, not actually able to convince themselves that anybody cares; but Lucilla, for her part, had the calmest and most profound conviction that, when she discussed her own doings and plans and clevernesses, she was bringing forward the subject most interesting to her audience as well as to herself. Such a conviction is never without its fruits. To be sure, there were always one or two independent spirits who revolted; but for the crowd, it soon became impressed with a profound belief in the creed which Miss Marjoribanks supported so firmly.
At other times she had been a visitor; now she had come into her kingdom, and had no desire to be received like a guest.
But it was only in the morning that Lucilla unfolded her standard. She was down to breakfast, ready to pour out the coffee, before the Doctor had left his room. He found her, to his intense amazement, seated at the foot of the table, in the place which he usually occupied himself, before the urn and the coffee-pot. Dr Marjoribanks hesitated for one momentous instant, stricken dumb by this unparalleled audacity; but so great was the effect of his daughter's courage and steadiness, that after that moment of fate he accepted the seat by the side where everything was arranged for him, and to which Lucilla invited him sweetly, though not without a touch of mental perturbation. The moment he had seated himself, the Doctor's eyes were opened to the importance of the step he had taken. "I am afraid I have taken your seat, papa," said Miss Marjoribanks, with ingenuous sweetness. "But then I should have had to move the urn, and all the things, and I thought you would not mind."
The Doctor's formidable housekeeper conducted her young mistress downstairs afterwards, and showed her everything with the meekness of a saint. Lucilla had won a second victory still more exhilarating and satisfactory than the first; for, to be sure, it is no great credit to a woman of nineteen to make a man of any age throw down his arms; but to conquer a woman is a different matter, and Lucilla was thoroughly sensible of the difference. Now, indeed, she could feel with a sense of reality that her foundations were laid.
Lucilla, who was liberal, as genius ought always to be, was perfectly willing that all the young ladies in Carlingford should sing their little songs while she was entertaining her guests; and then at the right moment, when her ruling mind saw it was necessary, would occur the duet—the one duet which would be the great feature of the evening. Thus it will be seen that another quality of the highest order developed itself during Miss Marjoribanks's deliberations; for, to tell the truth, she set a good deal of store by her voice, and had been used to applause, and had tasted the sweetness of individual success.
There is nothing one cannot manage if one only takes the trouble.
"I am always afraid of a cousin, for my part," said Mrs Chiley; "and talking of that, what do you think of Mr Cavendish, Lucilla? He is very nice in himself, and he has a nice property; and some people say he has a very good chance to be member for Carlingford when there is an election. I think that is just what would suit you."
Thus all the world contemplated with excitement the first Thursday which was to open this enchanted chamber to their admiring eyes. "Don't expect any regular invitation," Miss Marjoribanks said. "I hope you will all come, or as many of you as can. Papa has always some men to dinner with him that day, you know, and it is so dreadfully slow for me with a heap of men. That is why I fixed on Thursday. I want you to come every week, so it would be absurd to send an invitation; and remember it is not a party, only an Evening," said Lucilla.
It was when she was in this unhappy humour that her eye fell upon Mr Cavendish, who was in the act of making the appeal to Lucilla which we have already recorded. Barbara had never as yet had a lover, but she had read an unlimited number of novels, which came to nearly the same thing, and she saw at a glance that this was somebody who resembled the indispensable hero. She looked at him with a certain fierce interest, and remembered at that instant how often in books it is the humble heroine, behind backs, whom all the young ladies snub, who wins the hero at the last. And then Miss Marjoribanks, though she sent him away, smiled benignantly upon him. The colour flushed to Barbara's cheeks, and her eyes, which had grown dull and fixed between fright and spite, took sudden expression under her straight brows. An intention, which was not so much an intention as an instinct, suddenly sprang into life within her, and, without knowing, she drew a long breath of eagerness and impotence. He was standing quite near by this time, doing his duty according to Miss Marjoribanks's orders, and flirting with all his might; and Barbara looked at him as a hungry schoolboy might be supposed to look at a tempting apple just out of his reach. How was she to get at this suitor of Lucilla's?
As for poor Barbara, she is only a little shy, but that will soon wear off. I don't see what need she has to talk—or to move either, for that matter. I thought she did very well indeed for a girl who never goes into society. Was it not clever of me to find her out the very first day I was in Carlingford? It has always been so difficult to find a voice that went perfectly with mine."
"I always make it a point never to shock anybody's prejudices," said Miss Marjoribanks. "I should do just the same with them as with other people; all you have to do is to show from the first that you mean to be good friends with everybody. But then I am so lucky: I can always get on with people," said Lucilla, rising to greet the two unfortunates who had come to Colonel Chiley's to spend a merry Christmas, and who did not know what to do with themselves.
It was rather vexatious, to tell the truth; for to see a man so near the point and not even to have the satisfaction of refusing him, is naturally aggravating to a woman.
If there was one thing in the world more than another which contented Lucilla, it was to be appealed to and called upon for active service. It did her heart good to take the management of incapable people, and arrange all their affairs for them, and solve all their difficulties. Such an office was more in her way than all the Archdeacons in the world.

For even the aid of Miss Marjoribanks was as nothing against dead selfishness and folly, the two most invincible forces in the world.


© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 Comments on Miss Marjoribanks (1866) as of 4/19/2015 1:35:00 PM
Add a Comment
22. New Adult Fiction Genre - Contemporary Romance - #WriteTip



There is a new genre emerging..."New Adult" fiction for older teens aka college-aged readers. You never stop growing up, but little in the market seems to address the coming-of-age that also happens between the ages of Nineteen to Twenty-six. Life changes drastically once high school is over, you have college, first jobs, first internships, first adult relationships…

Part of the appeal of NA is that the storylines are about characters who are taking on adult responsibilities for the first time without guidance from their parents. And the storylines generally have a heavy romance element. 

Keep this in mind as you revise your wonderful story, New Adult books are mostly about that specific time in every person's life—the time when the apron strings are cut from your parents, you no longer have a curfew, you're experiencing the world for the very first time, in most cases, with innocent eyes. New Adult is this section of your life where you discover who you want to be, what you want to be, and what type of person you will become. This time defines you. This is the time of firsts, the time where you can't blame your parents for your own bad choices. 


An NA character has to take responsibility for their own choices and live with the consequences. Most storylines are about twenty-something (18 to 26) characters living their own lives without any parents breathing down their necks, and learning to solve things on their own as they would in real life. New Adult fiction focuses on switching gears, from depending on our parents to becoming full-fledged, independent adults.

I am a firm believer that if you’re going to write a certain genre that you should read it, too. So I’m going to recommend that you start devouring NA novels to get a real sense and understanding of the genre before you write one.

Here are some great recommendations: https://www.goodreads.com/genres/new-adult-romance and http://www.goodreads.com/genres/new-adult and https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/new-adult-romance
 

Just as YA is fiction about teens discovering who they are as a person, New Adult (NA) is fiction about building your own life as an actual adult. As older teen readers discover the joy of the Young Adult genres, the New Adult—demand may increase. This, in turn, would give writers the chance to explore the freedom of a slightly older protagonist (over the age of 18 and out of high school, like the brilliant novel, "BEAUTIFUL DISASTER" by the amazing talents of author, Jamie McGuire) while addressing more adult issues that early 20-year-olds must face.

Older protagonists (basically, college students) are surprisingly rare; in a panel on YA literature at Harvard’s 2008 Vericon, City of Bones author talked about pitching her novel, then about twenty-somethings, as adult fiction. After several conversations, Clare realized she had to choose between adults and teens. She went with teens.

Quote from the publisher, St. Martin’s Press: We are actively looking for great, new, cutting edge fiction with protagonists who are slightly older than YA and can appeal to an adult audience. Since twenty-somethings are devouring YA, St. Martin’s Press is seeking fiction similar to YA that can be published and marketed as adult—a sort of an “older YA” or “new adult.” In this category, they are looking for spunky but not stupid, serious but not dull, cutting-edge, supernatural stories.

Quote from Georgia McBride, author (Praefatio) and founder of #YALitChat and publisher at Month9Books: "New Adult is a fabulous idea in theory, and authors seem to be excited about it. But in a world where bookstores shelf by category, to them, it is either  Adult or Young Adult. Some booksellers even call their YA section “teen.” And when you have a character who is over a certain age (19 seems to be the age most consider the start of New Adult), it is received as Adult. In some cases, the designation by publishers causes more confusion than not.
Let’s face it, YA is associated with teens, and at 19, most no longer consider themselves teens. So, it would support the theory of placing these “New Adult” titles in the Adult section. However, with the prevalence of eBook content, it would seem that the powers that be could easily create a New Adult category if they really wanted to...."

There’s also a list on goodreads of New Adult book titles. These books focus on college age characters, late teens to early twenties, transitioning into the adult world.

Some popular authors of the NA category include:
  • Jamie McGuire
  • Jessica Park
  • Tammara Webber
  • Steph Campbell
  • Liz Reinhardt
  • Abbi Glines
  • Colleen Hoover 
  • Sherry Soule
http://www.wattpad.com/story/29486760-irresistible-mistake-new-adult-romantic-suspense


Would you buy New Adult books? 
Does the genre appeal to you? 

Does it sound better than YA (teen novels)? 
 
Or are you happy with YA as it stands?

Do you consider YA to include characters that are over the age of eighteen? 
 

0 Comments on New Adult Fiction Genre - Contemporary Romance - #WriteTip as of 3/18/2015 4:48:00 PM
Add a Comment
23. Barcelona, Spain by Margot Justes




I’m working on the fourth hotel book, and this one is set in Barcelona. It is a city filled with art, amazing architecture and an incredible zest and appreciation for life.Barcelona is exciting, vibrant and the locals know how to enjoy themselves, they possess the joie de vivre that is hard to miss, and often times hard to find.

The architecture is unsurpassed, modern and old blends well together, and of course there is Gaudi-it is worth a visit to Barcelona just to see his work. It is unforgettable. I loved it so much that I posted a separate blog about his stunning and imaginative style. The amazing thing is that once you see it, you want to do it again, and again, simply because you probably missed the marvelous details the first time through. His work is beyond whimsy.

There are museums to be sure, Miro, Dali and Picasso have a foundation in Barcelona. The stunning architecture will take your breath away, everywhere you turn you see a magnificent building, from Gothic to Art Nouveau to the indescribable Gaudi treasures, to contemporary and everything in between. Landmarks abound.

At any given time stroll on La Rambla, and you’ll see locals and savvy tourists sit down in a cafe and enjoy a beer, tapas, coffee, along with a dish of green olives, or just stroll arm in arm on the wide avenue that is both romantic, hectic and invigorating. There are many souvenirs shops that line the famous paseo, all the kitschy tourist stuff, pottery, foods and other items made locally, along with entertainment, and all of it delightful.

The street is filled to capacity, and I for one at this stage in my life don’t like crowds, and if truth be told-never did-but I really rather enjoyed the lovely walk, and a stop for the obligatory delicious coffee. I had a wondrous adventure just walking down the street. You see people smile, nod their heads in acknowledgement as you stroll along as if in a romantic dream.

The city also boasts a beautiful coast line, and one of the biggest ports in Europe, along with some beautiful parks, even one designed by Gaudi.

Have I forgotten to mention the food-it is delicious-they create a mouth watering delight   with just potatoes. Okay, I’m Polish and happen to love potatoes, but the Patatas Bravas are truly yummy, roasted potatoes, a yummy sauce with a slight bite that you feel on the tip of your tongue. The excellent bread and incredible local hams would have kept me happy for a long time.

A huge array of cheeses, hams, breads, olives, an amazing selection of fish, all that is available in many tapas bars. The offerings are small, so you can visit many places and taste the amazing variety of appetizers. A delightful and delicious way to sample the local cuisine.

Shopping abounds on Passeig de Gracia, favorably compared to other famous boulevards with prices to match. I enjoyed the walk, and window shopping, the displays are imaginative and fun, and I was grateful that I travel light with little room for souvenirs.
That being said, I managed to buy a few small trinkets for family and friends, the souvenir shop at the Gaudi Casa Batllo was amazing, and yes-all my souvenirs came from that shop.

There are many hotels and as always prices range from low to high, it all depends on your budget. You will find delicious and reasonably priced tapas bars off the main tourist areas, but if you’re in with the tourist crowds be prepared to pay. I do a bit of research  before I leave, but I always allow for a tourist trap or two.

I booked the Casa Fuster Hotel, on Passeig de Gracia 132, on my first visit, a beautiful hotel reminiscent of Gaudi’s work, the service was superb, the rooms a good size, the breakfasts superb, and  the staff always eager to help with directions and available tours, they were friendly and caring. I hope to return and stay there again.

The second hotel was the Majestic, also on Passeig de Gracia 68-70, was a little more centrally located-by just a few blocks from Casa Fuster. That being said, I would rather walk the additional 4 or 5 blocks than stay at the Majestic again, lack of overall service, and a snippy registration cured me of ever staying there a second time.

The Majestic staff lost interest after I didn’t want to book a private car to Montserrat to the tune of 600Euros. After a discussion on booking a reasonable tour failed, a short 10 minute walk took me to a travel agency, where I was able to book a round trip ride for 29EU that would take me to the Montserrat  Monastery for the better part of the day. It is a trip not to be missed. I’ll post a separate blog on the location-it is in the mountains and it is magnificent.

I’m a breakfast person, and tend to eat the meal at the hotel to save on time, and the breakfast at the Majestic was outstanding. I couldn’t have asked for a more varied or delicious selection, and the coffee was delicious, but the lack of care and concern from the registration staff ruined any chance of my return to the hotel.

Barcelona has it all, and is definitely worth a visit or two, or three.

Cheers,
Margot  Justes
Blood Art
A Hotel in Paris
A Hotel in Bath
Hot Crimes Cool Chicks
www.mjustes.com








0 Comments on Barcelona, Spain by Margot Justes as of 4/19/2015 12:31:00 PM
Add a Comment
24. Welcoming Spring Sunshine!

As I anxiously awaited for the sun to come out and join me and waited for the cold to pass, I planned some ideas I can do in the warmer weather.  Yesterday, the sun did join me and I was able to go with my family to a museum.  It was a very nice museum, educational and fun for all ages.  When we arrived there, I had to wait for family as they were running late.  I sat on the bench basking in the sun.  That was something I was unable to do for quite some time.  As she warmed my face, I took a breath of that fabulous spring air that left me relaxed and calm.  My heart felt warm and fuzzy as I embraced my first real spring outing.

0 Comments on Welcoming Spring Sunshine! as of 4/19/2015 6:51:00 PM
Add a Comment
25. Countdown to STRANGE SKIES

I can’t believe it’s almost April 28th which means this:

strange skies

is almost here! I’m doing a countdown over on my Facebook author page, where I’m sharing a fun tidbit each day leading up to the release. Today, I mention a similarity I have with my main character, Tora. I’ll also be giving away prizes so check it out!

0 Comments on Countdown to STRANGE SKIES as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment

View Next 25 Posts