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<<May 2015>>
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1. Painting...

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2. Blog Tour: All the Rage by Courtney Summers


The YABC tour is thrilled to be revealing a quote from Courtney Summers' newest YA novel, All the Rage, as part of the book's blog tour!

Are you ready for that quote we mentioned above?
Just keep scrolling...
Here it is!



About the Book


The sheriff's son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything-friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy's only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn't speak up. Nobody believed her the first time-and they certainly won't now-but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear.

With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out, All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women in a culture that refuses to protect them.



About the Author





Courtney Summers lives and writes in Canada, where she divides most

of her time between a camera, a piano and a word processing program. She is also the author of What   Goes Around, This is Not a Test, Fall for Anything, Some Girls Are, Cracked Up to Be, and Please Remain Calm.


 Book Links:



Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/125002191X 

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/all-the-rage-courtney-summers/1119182775?ean=9781250021915 

Books-A-Million: http://www.booksamillion.com/p/All-Rage/Courtney-Summers/9781250021915?id=6229825482952 

IndieBound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781250021915 

Indigo: http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/all-the-rage/9781250021915-item.html 

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/all-the-rage/id921442373 

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Courtney_Summers_All_the_Rage?id=UyudBAAAQBAJ

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/all-the-rage-12 



Author Links:


Website: http://courtneysummers.ca/ 

Tumblr: http://summerscourtney.tumblr.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CourtneySummersAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/courtney_s 

Instagram: https://instagram.com/summerscourtney/ 


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3. A New Frontier

It’s been about 4 months since I’d last posted anything on this ‘ere blog. With back to back deadlines and prepping for the arrival of our first newborn, the end of 2014 throughout the beginning of 2015 has been at the least to say chaotic and life changing..

If you follow me in any of my social media accounts you’ll notice an exorbitant amount of pictures {I apologize by the way..new mom syndrome you know..} of this little peapod,



Meet the new little addition to our growing family, Aria {yes we’re Game of Thrones fans} Rose. Born March 25th 2015 at 3:15 in the morning. It’s been a whole month since her arrival and aside from being sleep deprived, the late night feedings, milk vomits and spit ups, and her constant need to shriek at the top of her lungs..like ALL THE TIME…she hasn’t stopped putting a smile on our face since then.

she finds this all too amusing..

Now to top all that off I’m officially back to work! Hopefully the transition from old schedule to new schedule won’t be too bad

who am I kidding!?..

..Ah well..wish me luck!

In the meantime here’s the artwork I did for Highlights this past month!


Happy Monday!


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4. Could a Robot Do Your Job? Here’s Why You Should Write Like You Freaking Mean It

RobotWhen I started my Write for Magazines e-course around 10 years ago, I had one student who emailed me to ask if I would take a quick look at a query she had written. I did, and told her, “This part is wrong, and I would change this other part, and no way should you leave that phrase in there. Oh, and your formatting — what??”

The writer emailed me shortly after that and said, “Oh, never mind about the critique…I sent out the query because I was feeling impatient, and someone bought it.”

Wait, what? Someone bought her article idea even though her lede was like one I had never seen, and she used a formatting style I would definitely not recommend?

Oh, and guess what…this student pulled the same stunt the following week: Asked what I thought, sent it out before I could tell her it was all wrong, and immediately landed a sale.

That experience taught me a very valuable lesson: There is more than one way to do this thing.

Is your writing “fill in the blanks”?

Carol Tice and I recently finished up a session of our Pitch Clinic class, where we (and three magazine editors) critiqued hundreds of article ideas and dozens of queries and Letters of Introduction.

We showcase a way of creating LOIs that has worked well for us…and I was dismayed to see that many writers used this as a template of sorts to churn out quick and easy LOIs, minimal thought required.

You could almost hear the writers thinking, “This is where I add some flattery of a recent article…I’ll pull a title from their website archives.” And “This is the space where I fill in my benefit to the client.” And “This is where I ask ‘May I send you some clips?'”

Some writers hewed to the structure so closely that they copied some of the tried-and-true phrases that I use in my own LOIs, such as “I’m easy to work with (no diva here!), professional, and fast.”

You are a key ingredient.

Your writing should be a reflection of you.

Not of a writer you admire. Not of your writing teachers. You.

You’re being paid to not only place words on a page — anyone can do that — but also to tinker, think, and brainstorm the best possible way of saying what you want to say — and to do it with style

If there were only one way to do things, with no room for personality and new ideas, a client wouldn’t need to hire you, because they could open up a handy-dandy fill-in-the-blank template of “the right way to write a blog post” (or article, or case study, or white paper) and do it themselves.

Sure, there are some key things that never change: For example, in an LOI, you want to show you know and understand the market. You want to make it clear who you are and why you’re writing. You want to show (not tell) the benefit you’ll offer the client. You want to make sure to get an “ask” in there somewhere.

But there are infinite ways to do this that reflect your thought process, your personality, and your writing style.

One student of ours just sent out a query that made liberal use of the word “dick.” Another was pitching an organization that researches medical cannabis and this writer, who uses medical cannabis herself, told the prospect that marijuana makes her a more creative writer. And at a writers’ conference I spoke at this weekend, one writer in my audience told me he likes to end his pitches with “What’s the deadline for this article?” — a super-ballsy move that I would never try, but it’s worked for him.

Writers like these are not afraid to put themselves into their writing, and to make everything they send their own. What they’re doing is the opposite of using a template.

Sure, if you get creative with your pitching and writing you may not appeal to every client — but that’s okay. You don’t want to appeal to every client, because by trying to be everything, you become nothing. A commodity. You want clients who want to work with you, not clients who want a robot that stings together words into sentences.

The next time you go to write a pitch, an article, or anything else, stop and think. What’s the very best way to do this? How can you show who you are as a writer? How can you make that personal connection with an editor or a potential client? This sentence you just wrote — could it be even better?

How can you make this writing your own?

photo by:

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5. Remembering Günter Grass

Günter Grass 1927-2015
Günter Grass, the 1999 recipient of the Noble Prize for Literature, passed away on April 13, 2015 at the age of 87.   Grass wrote one of my all time favorite novels, The Tin Drum, in which he confronted Germany's Nazi past through the character of Oskar Matzerath.  The novel opens with Oskar confined to a mental hospital and, with the help of his family's photograph album, he begins to relate his story set against the background of his home in Danzig, Poland and centered on the Nazi years.  In Oskar, Grass created an unreliable narrator/pícaro extraordinaire, one of the best, in my opinion, right along with Salmon Rusdie's protagonist Saleem Sinai from Midnight's Children, and Serenus Zeitblom from Thomas Mann's Doctor Faustus: The Life of the German Composer Adrian Leverkühn.

But in 2006, Grass, who was born in Danzig, Poland on October 16, 1927,  revealed that towards the end of the war, he had been conscripted into the Waffen SS.  It was 1944 and Grass was 17 years old at the time.  It was also clear that Germany was losing the war.  In a last ditch effort, Germany began to recruit  young boys and old men to do the jobs of trained soldiers against the advancing Allies.  By May 1945, Grass was a prisoner in an American POW camp.

Why Grass didn't reveal this information until so many years later is something we will probably never know the answer to.  He wasn't in the Waffen SS long and never committed any of the heinous crimes they were so notorious for inflicting on their enemies.  But Grass was always very outspoken, sometimes even very controversial.  Hiding his past, did he have a right to be so critical of others?  His conservative critics don't think so.  They jumped on his Waffen SS secret, quickly denouncing Grass.  Does hiding his past outweigh a lifetime achievement of confronting a horrific past that you were inadvertently made a part of?

Grass's death brought up all of this again for me.  But I think Salmon Rushdie put it best, at least for me personally, when he said "if you were a teenager and a Nazi came to conscript you, and a refusal meant death, would you choose to die?…To be a conscript is not to be a Nazi.  To be the author of The Tin Drum is to merit great honour." The Telegraph April 10, 2012.

It's been a long time since I have read a book by Günter Grass.  He was really the stuff of graduate school.  Still, The Tin Drum, which is actually the first book in Grass's Danzig Trilogy that includes Dog Years and Cat and Mouse, will always be one of my all-time favorite books and now I am even tempted to reread it since a new translation has come out a few years ago.  And if you haven't already read The Tin Drum yet, I highly recommend it.

I am always sad when an author I like passes away, and Grass is no exception.  He left the world shrouded in controversy, but with such an very impressive body of work that just cannot be discounted.

You can read Günter Grass's New York Times obituary HERE

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6. Monday - A Week in the Artist Studio

I am always wondering how other artist moms, especially those with toddlers do it. This is my attempt to document what a week in my studio looks like on a day to day basis (thought I didn't have enough projects going).


I process all of my orders on Monday, it's my main goal. I set a few goals, but this is always #1. Our weekends are usually very full, so this is a recoup day for us, and orders are the easiest to do watching Norah.

Beware the land mines.  >_<

Did I mention we listen to Kidz Bop most of the time? Norah loves to boogey, and so does mom. 

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7. Avengers: Age of Ultron scores second biggest opening, but took some shots from the Mayweather-Pacquiao


Avengers: Age of Ultron had a huge opening weekend domestically—$187.7 million, huge but still only the second biggest opening of all time. Luckily for Joss Whedon, the record is still held by the original Avengers movie which opened with $207.4 mil in 2012. While A:AOU is doing very well, the numbers for the weekend were definitely impacted by the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao “Fight of the Century”

As the weekend wore on, it became apparent that Saturday night’s Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao fight was hurting Ultron in a big way. Some box office observers believe the movie could have approached $200 milion were it not for competition from the PPV event. Moviegoing tumbled 40 percent from Friday to Saturday in Los Angeles and San Francisco, for instance, and more than 50 percent in some Hispanic markets, such as El Paso, Texas.

Costing $89-$99 to watch, the fight is expected to have generated hundreds of millions in revenue. Additionally, thousands watched the fight on pirate sites. “The fight dinged all films across the board. The numbers on Ultron are still phenomenal but definitely less than they would have been,” said one rival studio executive.

While you ponder the idea that the once in a lifetime sight of two real life villains whacking each other’s gloves for 12 rounds for $100 could have been more appealing to people than a two 1/2 hour CGI toy-ad for $15 or so, note that A:AOU has already made $627 million worldwide. That’s a great number but Avengers made $1.5 BILLION, so the follow-up has a lot of catching up to do.

That said we hung out with many people this weekend who had yet to see A:AOU but were planning to as soon as they could, so the movie has a shot and really making some money.

It wasn’t just The Big Fight that singed the Avengers, it was Saturday’s entire sporting lineup:

Yep, apparently, the boxer walloped more than Manny Pacquiao on Saturday. He also beat up on the Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America, and the rest of the Marvel heroes. Well, not just Mayweather. Saturday was a perfect storm of high-profile sporting events. Besides the much-touted boxing match, there was the Kentucky Derby, NBA and NHL playoff games, and some big-deal baseball games, including Yankees vs. Red Sox. So that’s a whole lot of eyeballs that were too busy watching sports to watch the superhero-vs.-robot competition in theaters, noted Disney Executive Vice President for Theatrical Distribution Dave Hollis.

BTW While Marvel’s The Avengers i currently the #3 domestic release of all times, on the inflation adjusted chart, it only clocks in at #27. While these comparisons are always flawed, it’s a reminder of what kind of entertainment drew people in the past, when attention spans were longre and a film like The Exorcist (#9 all time inflation adjusted) could have controversy grow over the course of a long run with more and more people going to see what the fuss was about instead of just downloaded it illegally.


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8. 13 Authors to Write Short Stories For a Summer Reading Program

Scholastic SRC15 authors (GalleyCat)Scholastic has enlisted 13 children’s books authors to help with the Summer Reading Challenge program.

The participants include R.L. Stine, Maggie Stiefvater and Jackson Pierce, Gordon Korman, Michael Northtrop, Varian Johnson, Jude Watson, Blue Balliet, Patrik Henry Bass, Roland Smith, Tui T. Sutherland, Lauren Tarshis, and Wendy Wan-Long Shang. These writers will create original short stories; kids will be able to access these “rewards” by tracking the minutes they spend reading.

According to the press release, “each of the authors has written a unique short story using the same opening sentence which is, ‘I glanced over my shoulder to make sure that no one had followed me into the shadowy library, then took a deep breath and opened the glowing book…'” The organizers behind this venture hope to break the record of 304,749,681 minutes (spent reading) that was set last summer.

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9. CLUMSY DIALOGUE – Your Mission Statement for a Subtle Scene - #writetip #AmWriting

Guest Post by author and editor, Roz Morris

I was editing a manuscript and came across a confrontation scene. It was well set up so that we understood the stakes, the context, and why this encounter would sizzle. We were about to watch a protagonist face a mischief-maker and warn them off.

Except the dialogue was painfully obvious. Realistically, the characters should have been tiptoeing about, laying hints, oblique warnings and making concealed excuses. Instead, they came baldly out and said what was what, in a way that was unrealistic for their situation and personalities. Indeed, one of the characters said things that would have been professional suicide – when they were usually much smarter.

But wait!

Although it was unconvincing, it certainly wasn’t bad work. Indeed it was a very useful way to mark out what must go in a scene where there’s a lot simmering under the characters’ words.

What I advised my writer to do was this. Make a copy of the plain-speaking on-the-nose version, and highlight the dialogue in a colour. This is what the characters really mean. Then rewrite so that they try to get this across without saying it. If one of them originally had the line ‘I know you started that malicious rumor’ or ‘I’m in love with your husband’, make them try to convey it in another way, by steering the conversation, making hints and watching the other person pick up the cue.

It’s not all speech!

Non-verbal reactions are very useful in oblique dialogue. After all, a conversation with a heavily shaded meaning is a highly emotional situation. Characters might panic, develop a visceral sense of wrong or injustice. They might insist more strongly that they were right, or back pedal shamelessly. Even, a character might not know what they’re trying to say and surprise themselves with how much they reveal in an indirect way.

Their spoken lines may sound innocuous to an eavesdropper, but you can demonstrate their inner state with gestures, expressions, pauses, and nervous abuse of the cafe teaspoons.

Clarity first!

Readers love to spot what’s between the lines and a scene that is undershot with subtext can be immensely satisfying. But until you know what your people mustn’t say, it’s hard to write it well. Indeed I see a lot of scenes that suffer from the opposite problem. I’ve seen many a scene drown in opaque, vague fluff because the writer wasn’t clear what was going on...

Read the rest of this post on the NAIL YOUR NOVEL website and you'll find even more amazing tips on editing your fiction novel. 

And check out her newest release!

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10. Dead Wake (2015)

Dead Wake. Erik Larson. 2015. Crown. 448 pages. [Source: Library]

Did I enjoy reading Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson? I'm not sure "enjoy" is the right word. But I certainly found it absorbing and compelling. It reads quite quickly despite the large cast of narrators and various perspectives. (I didn't miss a central narrator.)

It is abounding in detail: details about the ship, the captain and crew, the passengers, the cargo, about U-boats (submarines), about the war in Europe, about England, about Germany, about the United States.

One thing in particular that I found fascinating was "Room 40" the oh-so-secret British code-breakers that were decoding German transmissions and such. They were able to keep track of so much and make predictions about where the Germans might strike next. (But no warnings were sent to the Lusitania about all the recent activity by German submarines in their path just hours before.)

Another interesting aspect of the book is the focus on President Wilson--his personal private life and his public life. (Though it would be a huge stretch to say it is the most interesting aspect of the book.) Why was America so reluctant to enter the war? Why were they so sure they could avoid it no matter what? Did the loss of American lives really help change the general perception of the war and make the average American ready to enter the war? If it was, why wait almost two years to declare war?

The book definitely provides readers with a rich perspective of the times. It was suspenseful and full of tension in part because of all the questions that have no easy answers.

I would definitely recommend this one.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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11. First Look: Cartoon Saloon’s ‘Ellie the Ace’ Series

The "Secret of Kells" studio is developing a new action-packed children's series.

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12. Iconic Feminist Bookstore Changes Hands

Kathryn Livelli, the woman who ran Provincetown feminist bookstore Womencrafts for the past 16 years, is passing the torch.

Livelli has sold the institution to a former employee named Michelle Axelson. Livelli plans to help guide Axelson and to stay present in the shop as it changes hands. Axelson plans to expand the store’s product lines and to produce more events at the store in order to expand its audience.

\"My journey as a woman and as a lesbian has been made easier by institutions like Womencrafts and women like Kathryn Livelli,” stated Axelson. “I am inspired by the shop’s history and excited to keep it dynamic and relevant for generations to come.”

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13. Leah Reena Goren

Leah Reena Goren

Leah Goren is a NYC-based illustrator and surface designer. Her patterns feature soft representations of people, florals and geometrics. Her color palettes are unexpected, making her portfolio a treat to sift through – you never know what you’ll find next! In additional to her own product range, Goren’s patterns have translated into numerous partnerships with brands including Anthropologie, Land of Nod, Evian and Frankie Magazine. Her work maintains a consistent and unique voice across all the products she touches, from scarves to editorial illustrations to dresses to paper products and soap packaging. Her portfolio is a shining example of how one artist’s voice can successfully span across a variety of media and applications. I can’t wait to see what she’ll do next!

Leah Goren frankiecover-leahgoren 142_pattern7

Leah Goren
Leah Goren Leah Goren Leah Goren78_pattern35
78_pattern49You can connect with Leah via her blog, on twitter and in her shop.

Post written by Bryna Shields.

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14. Asuka Watanabe

Asuka Watanabe

Asuka Watanabe is a multidisciplinary designer, illustrator and occasional cookie artist.  A graduate of Tama Art University, she now splits her time between Tokyo and Los Angeles.


Asuka Watanabe

Asuka Watanabe

Asuka Watanabe

Asuka Watanabe


Also worth viewing:
Hulse & Durrell
Kelly Thorn
Gracia Lam

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15. You Know I Love "Jane Bear?" I Mean, "Jane Eyre."

I was intrigued when I read a review of The Cottage in the Woods by Katherine Coville and snatched the book off the shelf when I saw it at my local library. I mention this to make the point that sometimes reviews actually do get readers. Or, in this case, a reader.

The Cottage in the Woods has been described as Jane Eyre meets Goldilocks and the Three Bears. It certainly is. Jane Eyre fans can have a fantastic time picking out the connections. A young, powerless, single female enters a large house as the employee of a wealthy man. This is a wealthy, married man with a family, which is one of the ways this book is different from Jane Eyre. But he's also a bear, as is the young female, Ursula. (Relating to ursine, I'm guessing.) Ursula is there to act as a governess to the bear's son, Teddy. (Oh, my gosh. Teddy Bear!!! No, actually his last name is Vaughn.) Ursula has a love interest, and, shades of Mr. Rochester, he's not free to love her. There is a mystery in this house, as there is in Jane Eyre. And it's related to a female, as is the mystery in Jane Eyre. This female, though, is young, with golden hair.

However, there is a whole nonJane plot involving human bigotry toward enchanted animals like Ursula and the Vaughns. I've read that some reviewers found that aspect of the book didactic. To me it was distracting, because it wasn't part of the Jane Eyre/Three Bears premise. It seemed unnecessary. What was going on with Goldilocks was so clever and unique that I would have liked a plot sticking much closer to that, which could have been closer to the Jane Eyre source material.

But, then, I know Jane Eyre. Readers who don't could feel differently. Since this is a middle grade novel, there will be many readers who don't know Jane.

While reading this, I wondered what Ms. Yingling would think of it. Sure enough, she read The Cottage in the Woods and weighs in on the subject. I agree that while I enjoyed it, it may have trouble finding an audience. 

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16. David McCullough Takes on the Wright Brothers

Pulitzer Prize winning author David McCullough has a new book out this week in which he tells the dramatic story of Wilbur and Orville Wright.

“The Wright Brothers” lands on book store shelves tomorrow and is already the No. 7 book on Amazon’s Top 100 Books list, and is No. 1 in various categories including History and Engineering & Transportation. Here is more about the book from Simon & Schuster:

On a winter day in 1903, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, two unknown brothers from Ohio changed history. But it would take the world some time to believe what had happened: the age of flight had begun, with the first heavier-than-air, powered machine carrying a pilot.

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17. Stop shushing the funny girls

Elizabeth Bird (librarian, author, blogger) asked me to contribute to her upcoming anthology FUNNY GIRL. For the announcement, she wanted me to write a sentence or two about being funny and being a girl and a writer or whatever, and yeah, I got carried away. Here’s the stuff I sent her that was obv too long for her announcement article.

While there are moments of humor in my first two books (Goose Girl & Enna Burning), no one would rightly call these comedies. When I was writing Princess Academy, I remember going to NYC for something and having a meeting with my editor and publicist. They'd read an early draft of Princess Academy. They both said, "We've been talking about how funny you are in person but how that doesn't come out in your books. Is there room for humor in this book? Is Miri funny?" And I thought, well, yeah, she is. She would totally use humor to defuse tension. So why hadn't I written that? The truth is I think I'd bought into the idea that "girls aren't funny." I heard that hundreds of times growing up. And again as adults, with regards to movies especially: "women aren't funny." I'd swallowed the party line without realizing it. But I was beginning to question it. Are we really not funny? Not as funny as the guys? Or do people assume we're not so don't notice when we are? The answer is clearly yes since I’m hysterical.

Ten of my twenty published books could be considered comedies, and yet I've never heard myself referred to as a comedic writer. TEN BOOKS. Never been invited on a humor book panel (those are for man writers). And the books that I co-write with my husband (Rapunzel's Revenge, Princess in Black) people always assume the funny parts are his. Hundreds of times people have pointed out parts that made them laugh and then asked, "Did Dean write that?" And most of the time, I had. Make no mistake, he is very funny and witty and clever. Too.

Here's a little story. Fifteen years ago when Dean and I were getting married, we made a wedding website. One night at a get together with our old group of friends:

Mike: "Dean, I loved your wedding website. It was really funny. I kept laughing out loud."
Me: "Well, you know, he built the site but I wrote the content."
Mike: nods "You typed it?"
Me: "I wrote it."
Mike: "You typed it up for him?"
Me: "No. I wrote it."
Mike: "You helped him write it?"
Me: "No, I came up with the words and put them together in sentences and wrote them down."
He was still so stumped. It took several more exchanges for him to get it. Later he returned.
Mike: "I guess I've just always thought of Dean as the writer."
Me: "I just received my MFA in Creative Writing."
He returned later yet again.
Mike: "I guess with couples, we're used to just thinking that one of them is the funny one."
Me: "You and I were in an improv comedy troupe together."

Mike is a wonderful human being and open-minded and a feminist and we're still very close. And believe me, he's been teased about this mercilessly by all of us for over a decade. But this is how deep the "girls aren't funny" idea runs. Even when presented with direct evidence, so many people can't see it! They keep seeing what they've been taught to believe.

So why does it matter? Why do kids need to see/hear/read women being funny? And hear adults acknowledging that they are funny? Because stereotypes shut down possibilities. The "class clown" is a boy. The actually truly funny girls in class are just "obnoxious" or "attention-seekers." Boys who are funny are encouraged, laughed, cheered. Girls who are funny are told to behave, shush, sit down. Comedy is a gift to humanity. How sad and pointless life would be without good laughs. We need to see girls being funny, encourage them to develop their sense of humor, reward them for the cleverness and intelligence it takes to make jokes. They'll be happier, more fulfilled human beings. And so will we. The more comedy the better!

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18. Michael McKenzie Moves to Algonquin

Algonquin Books Logo (GalleyCat)Michael McKenzie has been named executive director of publicity at Algonquin. His start date has been set for May 26th.

McKenzie will be based at the publishing house’s New York office. He will manage publicity projects for both the adult and children’s books list.

Prior to this development, McKenzie serve as the senior of director of publicity of the Ecco and Harper imprints at HarperCollins. In the past, he has worked on campaigns for authors Michael Chabon, Amy Tan, and Joyce Carol Oates.

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19. Live Chat with Ally Carter


There is an exciting event for Ally Carter fans taking place this upcoming Tuesday! Scholastic will be hosting a LIVE video chat with the New York Times bestselling author of the Heist Society and Gallagher Girls series alongside some special guest stars. Did you love Ally's book All Fall Down? Then this event is a MUST for you!

During the chat, Ally will debut the cover for SEE HOW THEY RUN, book 2 in the Embassy Row series. Ally will also be doing a live video Q&A in which fans will be able to interact with her face-to-face.


**For more about this event and to RSVP, you can go HERE.



This exciting new series from author Ally Carter focuses on Grace, who can best be described as a daredevil, an Army brat, and a rebel. She is also the only granddaughter of perhaps the most powerful ambassador in the world, and Grace has spent every summer of her childhood running across the roofs of Embassy Row. 


Now, at age sixteen, she's come back to stay--in order to solve the mystery of her mother's death. In the process, she uncovers an international conspiracy of unsettling proportions, and must choose her friends and watch her foes carefully if she and the world are to be saved. 




Book 1: ALL FALL DOWN is in stores now. You can find reviews and links to purchase HERE.


Book 2: SEE HOW THEY RUN will be released January 2016.




Ally Carter writes books about spies, thieves, and teenagers. She is the New York Times bestselling author of the Heist Society series and the Gallagher Girls series, which together have sold over two million copies and have been published in more than twenty countries. She lives in Oklahoma where her life is either very ordinary or the best deep-cover legend ever. She'd tell you more, but...well...you know...



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20. Saturday Night Live Unveils a Black Widow Spoof

Have you ever envisioned a Black Widow movie? Scarlett Johansson, the actress who has played this character in several Marvel movies, teamed up with the Saturday Night Live cast to explore this project idea.

The video embedded above features the hilarious spoof trailer for a fake film called Black Widow: Age of Me. Marvel Entertainment has many projects in the pipeline, but unfortunately none of them focus solely on the deadly female assassin Natasha Romanova.

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21. WIGGLE by Jane T


Submitted by Jane T for the Illustration Friday topic WIGGLE.

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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

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? 

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23. the Broad boys

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24. Date Your Mate

by Sally Matheny
May is Date Your Mate Month
Are you married? Did you know May is “Date Your Mate” month? It’s essential we put caring for Biblically based marriages at the top of our lists. Christians, our marriages are influential testimonies to the love and power of God.

Perhaps you already date your spouse on a regular basis. Fantastic! Or perhaps you’re like me, and you find date nights just don’t come around often enough.  Let’s put aside all our excuses and brainstorm for some ideas on how to make date nights happen.
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25. Keep the Cadillac tax

The Obamacare “Cadillac tax” is currently scheduled to go into effect in 2018. However, last week, sixty-six members of the House of Representatives, including both Republicans and Democrats, proposed to repeal the Cadillac tax before it becomes effective. The Cadillac tax will be imposed at a 40% rate on the cost of health care insurance, exceeding statutorily-established thresholds. Unions and many of their Democratic stalwarts, otherwise supportive of Obamacare, oppose the Cadillac tax because generous union-sponsored health care plans will trigger the tax.

The post Keep the Cadillac tax appeared first on OUPblog.

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