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<<July 2016>>
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1. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Release TODAY!

Today is the day. This is not a drill. Today is the first time in nine years that Harry Potter fans get a full Harry Potter story (in the form of a play) about the Trio and the rest of the gang as adults, 19 years later. WHO ISN’T EXCITED?

All the excitement, all the buzz, massive country-wide costume contests, breaking best-selling records (even though it is a play script!), it is happening again! Three turns of a time turner, and we find Harry Potter release parties happening all over the world, tonight. Barnes and Noble is hosting midnight release parties in almost all of its stores, and if you are in the Orlando area, we highly encourage you to join some of the biggest Harry Potter fans at GeekyCon with a day pass.

The GeekyCon party will be hosted by classic Potter podcast MuggleCast and PotterCast, and many others with experience and knowledge of Pottermania. The fun will start at 7 PM with the convention’s traditional Esther Earl Rocking Charity Ball. Starting at 10:00 PM, festivities will convert themselves into a huge Harry Potter and the Cursed Child midnight book release . In tried and true Harry Potter Book Midnight Release party fashion, there will be a set of games, activities, and events to take part of–including, but not limited to:

  • Costume Contests
  • Sorting
  • Trivia and other games
  • Wizard Chess
  • Quidditch
  • Wizard Rock performances
  • Face painting and other crafts
  • Video retrospectives
  • Appearances from special guests
  • Put your name in the Goblet of Fire! (Submit your predictions, and we’ll go through them together at Sunday’s programming!)
  • Share in the Pensieve: Submit memories about Harry Potter and your experiences; we’ll be sharing them throughout the night.
  • And a lot more!

At midnight, everyone will begin to receive their book copy of the Cursed Child script! You must reserve a copy online (here), and purchase will happen on site. Full, detailed instructions will shortly follow this announcement.

Fans in the Florida area, and maybe those who want to apparate further, can choose to come to just the party (which includes the ball) for $20, to enjoy the night’s festivities.

It isn’t only the script that is released today. The Cursed Child is a play, and it’s official opening night is tonight.

The Pottermore Twitter is being continuously updated by the minute, as the Cursed Child gala unfolds in front of the Palace Theater. J.K. Rowling and the creators of Cursed Child are greeting fans, and introducing opening night to the public.



In addition to covering the gala and the premiere, Pottermore will be following Sam Clemmett, who is playing Albus Severus) the star of the show, possibly the Cursed Child), behind the scenes.


The Harry Potter Play London Twitter will be doing a similar Twitter series, but following Anthony Boyle, who is playing the role of Scorpius Malfoy. Anthony will be showing fans what it is like behind the scenes of Cursed Child with his daily routine.

Pottermore released an article this morning, detailing when Jo Rowling met the Cursed Child cast–watching her Boy Wizard, his friends and family, come to life in their adult form. Everyone gather into a large circle to introduce themselves to the group by giving their names and the roles that they played. Pottermore reports:

When the circle of induction finally reached J.K. Rowling she said, ‘I’m Jo… Well, you know what I did.’

There was a long, sweet, earnest pause as we all stopped to think about exactly what she has done and why we were all here. Excitement unfurled across the party.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story – the story that fans have wished, dreamed and begged to have since Deathly Hallows. It’s an adult life for Harry, Ron and Hermione that, until now, we’ve only been able to imagine for ourselves. They’re really back.


J.K. Rowling has always enigmatically said ‘never say never’ when asked about the prospect of a new Harry Potter story. ‘…Until these two came to me,’ J.K. Rowling said, with a look of fond incredulity toward producers Sonia Friedman and Colin Callender.

It was Sonia and Colin, of course, who did the unimaginable: They helped J.K. Rowling to bring her characters back and released them on stage, in a two-part play directed by the brilliant John Tiffany. Together they assembled this group of gifted creatives – starting with writer Jack Thorne.

‘None of this would have been possible without that man,’ J.K. Rowling said, as she pointed across the room to Jack, a very tall man trying to hide behind two much shorter women. He beamed at her with a sweet modesty that belied the gargantuan task he had just completed. Jack is, after all, the only person in the world who has been trusted to write Harry, Ron and Hermione back into life.


To read the article in its entirety, read here.

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2. Singalong Saturdays (Summer Songs, Again)

Today's prompt: Songs that remind you of summer. I'm adapting it a bit to focus on songs that remind me of a particular summer--1997.

This meme is hosted by Bookish Things & More.

I'm choosing to focus on the Backstreet Boys. I remember going shopping for school clothes and getting a sampler of their music--maybe even on cassette--from a department store. It was love at first listen. And when their album released that August, I believe, I bought it.

Hearing any of these songs brings back that summer and COLLEGE.

Also I can't help including Sugar Ray's Fly.

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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3. Jon Klassen – Finding Yourself in The Work

Canadian Treasure Jon Klassen, author/illustrator of award-winning picture books as well as the illustrator of many great chapter books, is here! He is quick to clarify he's not going to talk about how to find your style:

How you work on something isn't the same thing as your 'style':

"Style is mysterious and shouldn't be opened, at least not by you...

Don't think about it.

Take care of the machine that makes it, so you can get better at making your work..."

Don't Think About Yourself At All

Jon recommends treating the project as something outside yourself.

Some of his favorite artists subscribe to this particular work ethic:

Agnes Martin, who says "The worst thing you can think about when you're working is yourself."

David Bowie, when asked by a reporter how cool it was to be a rockstar with a crazy successful album, said it's not David Bowie who's successful, it's the character Ziggy Stardust! Jon says Bowie needed a character first to get into his work, which let him not have to ask what would "I" do, but what would Ziggy or the Thin White Duke do.

Artist/weaver Anni Albers has this quote Jon loves:

Another great idea from Jon:

Treat your brain the way Pixar treated computer technology, do your best work with the resources you have at that time.

When first starting out, Pixar had hundreds of ideas for stories, but computer animation made everything look stilted and plastic and non-human. Instead of fighting their technology, Pixar embraced the limitations by animating things that were naturally plastic-y and clunky:

Similarly, Sendak's dummy for WHERE THE WILD HORSES ARE had tons of horse drawings in it, but Maurice hated drawing horses! So his legendary editor Ursula Nordstrom asked him what he would enjoy drawing and Maurice said he didn't know, but he liked drawing THINGS...

Jon describes how he went from being a grumpy animator who only wanted to draw rocks and chairs, to a picture book author/illustrator who enjoys creating characters outside of himself who can 'write' their own lines. Jon mentions he felt like his voice as a narrator is similar to that of a drunk P.D. Eastman, but when he thinks about the characters acting in a play—spouting their own lines, not his—he's able to take himself out of the equation and make something good.

You are not in control of almost any part of this process, Jon says, except for keeping out what you don't want in a project, chipping all that away. A book is like a child, you can shepherd it along, but it may wander off without you somewhere amazing, and that's a great thing.

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4. Our meet

The tickling drops of rain,
Instigates your feel,
Like the fresh dew of morning,
My heart goes to you with a kneel,

Oh! a rainbow of my life,
Your silky hair shines,
The eyes capture the moment,
The hug acts as wines,

Let’s craft a new era of romanticism,
With glued hands & united heart,
Let’s paint a new sky, where,
Every moment, we can flirt.

Those drowsy conversation, 
In the starry night,
Subconsciously boosts me up,
Turns my day bright.

My mood swings as pendulum,
Your touch is so nourishing,
Reborn after every meet,
Had become a phoenix, so cherishing,

The moments fly off,
In the blink of an eye,
And when you walk away shying,
I can’t control the sigh,


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5. Donner Dinner Party

Donner Dinner Party. (Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales #3). Nathan Hale. 2013. Harry N. Abrams. 128 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Hear ye! Hear ye! Hear ye!

Premise/plot: Nathan Hale returns for this third hazardous tale in this graphic novel. The story that will prolong his life and delay his hanging is the story of the DONNER PARTY. His immediate audience, of course, is the hangman and a British officer. It's very convenient that since being eaten by the large American History book he can see the future and use the future to tell super-entertaining stories. Readers first meet the Reed family led by James Reed. Other families will be introduced as they journey west and join (and quit) wagon trains. The dangers are MANY. Some dangers are unpredictable and almost unavoidable. Other dangers they walk straight into confidently, sweeping away warnings. Usually if not always, always, it's the MEN making the decisions and the women and children who can do nothing but except the judgement of husbands and fathers. The story is FASCINATING AND HORRIBLE at the same time.

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this one. It is quite a compelling, absorbing read. You wouldn't think there would be a lot of characterization in a graphic novel, but, surprisingly there is. I had read very little if anything about the Donner Party, and, so I found it really interesting. I knew it was a grim story, but, I had not realized there were survivors too. So it wasn't quite as depressing as I first imagined it to be.

I definitely recommend this series of graphic novels. Even if you don't necessarily love reading graphic novels. The focus on history has me hooked. And I've become quite fond of Nathan Hale and his two would-be executioners.

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Bienvenidos - Benvenuti - Bienvenus - Welcome

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7. डाइट – वजन नियंत्रित करने की टिप्स

 डाइट – वजन नियंत्रित करने की टिप्स  डाइट – वजन नियंत्रित करने की टिप्स How to Maintain our weight.. some helpful tips हम जिम जाकर या अन्य तरीके अपना कर अपना वजन कम तो कर लेते है पर उसे नियंत्रण में नही रख पाते और जिम छोडते ही या सैर करना छोडते ही दुबारा अपने […]

The post डाइट – वजन नियंत्रित करने की टिप्स appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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8. J.K. Rowling Talks ‘Cursed Child’ on Red Carpet at Gala Performance

At today’s gala performance of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, J.K. Rowling took a moment to discuss with an interviewer the creation of the play and its unexpected, overwhelming success.

When asked about her request to fans to “Keep the Secrets”, she said:

“They’ve done me so proud. They’ve done me so proud. And I think our give back is that we really hope to take this play to as many places as it’s feasible to take it. So I hope a lot of them will get to see this play in due course.”



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9. Last Day of Class

Thursday was our last day of Picture Book Design at Hollins University. Students presented their dummies - the culmination of six weeks of struggles, lost sleep, and exploration. Here I am with all of my students. From the left, Kathleen, Kary, Me, Rebekah, Jennifer and Martha.

We began the day finishing up presentations. Each student gave a 20-minute presentation on an illustrator they admire and are inspired by. Among them were Melissa Sweet, Keith Negley, Cynthia Rylant, etc. Then, after lunch, we munched on bad-for-us snacks and read our final dummies to each other. It was a true moment of victory:
Jennifer read The Owl and the Pussycat

Martha read When Nana Dances (a manuscript donated to our program by Jane Yolen)

Rebekah created an adaptation of Red Riding Hood, now Blue

Kary created our first same-sex Owl and the Pussycat. First she presented her mini flip-book while Martha coaxed a funny smile out of her. (These guys truly bond over the intense summer term.)

And then she shared the full-sized dummy. (Covers were not required to be in color although some students took them there.)
Finally, Kathleen shared her version of When Nana Dances
     Even when they choose to do the same stories, it's amazing how wildly different they turn out. Just goes to show how individual illustrator voices can truly define a story.
     Next, was graduation! More soon...

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10. To Swing On A Rainbow

She wished to swing on a rainbow into a sky painted blue, where the stars slept at night and angels flew. And when the sky turned black from day to night, she would dangle from a star like the string on a kite.

What would it be like if her wish did come true, what would it be like, if only she knew.  

 Ann Clemmons

I'm working on my final draft of a children's manuscript, so I thought I would just write a short post today.

Thank you for stopping by A Nice Place In The Sun and have a spectacular Saturday!

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11. What would Shakespeare drive?

Imagine a Hollywood film about the Iraq War in which a scene at a clandestine Al-Qaeda compound featuring a cabal of insurgents abruptly cuts to a truck-stop off the New Jersey Turnpike. A group of disgruntled truckers huddle around their rigs cursing the price of gas. An uncannily similar coup de thèâtre occurs in an overlooked episode in 1 Henry IV.

The post What would Shakespeare drive? appeared first on OUPblog.

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12. Teaching teamwork

The capacity to work in teams is a vital skill that undergraduate and graduate students need to learn in order to succeed in their professional careers and personal lives. While teamwork is often part of the curriculum in elementary and secondary schools, undergraduate and graduate education is often directed at individual effort and testing that emphasizes solitary performance.

The post Teaching teamwork appeared first on OUPblog.

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13. The Worm in the Apple: Part Six of Deedy's TV Interview

Here is part six of the television interview Deedy (that's Dorothea Jensen to you) with Kevin Avard on Gate City Chronicles. Here they are talking about "Taxation Without Representation" and Worms in Apples. (If this video does not show up on your mobile device, go here.)

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14. Golden Kite for Picture Book Text – Jessixa Bagley

Jessixa Bagley is by far Seattle's favorite Jessixa, and she'll be yours, too. BOATS FOR PAPA is a beautiful, lyrical book and her fellow Seattleites are thrilled that she/it have received this fantastic award.

In her acceptance speech, Jessixa thanks SCBWI, her lovely agent, Alexandra Penfold, and her stellar editor, Neal Porter. Jessixa got teary as she thanked her artist/author husband, Aaron Bagley, who she says helped her find her voice.

Jessixa says, upon receiving the call from SCBWI that she'd won the Golden Kite for Picture Book Text, that her Illustrator Brain thought, "Text!? Did my illustrations suck?"

But luckily her Author Brain piped up and said, "Hey! This is great!"

Jessixa's always felt much more comfortable calling herself an artist, "Calling myself an author... Author almost seemed like a taboo word... It seems like a dream now to be up on this stage. I went from thinking I'd never be published, to being here. Writing picture books is the hardest thing I've ever done, but also the most rewarding."

I love Jessixa's inspiring, concluding thoughts to us: She says if we haven't found our voice yet, to not be scared, it's there. It might be really quiet, but the more you write, the louder it will become.

Congratulations, Jessixa!!!

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15. Jubilee

"Jubilee" (watercolor, watercolor pencils, alcohol inks on paper). 13.5" x 18.5"

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16. The Emotional Wound Thesaurus Is Retiring Soon

Becca and I have been profiling Emotional Wounds for quite a while now, and it’s getting to the point where we need to retire this thesaurus and start a new one.

I know some of you might be upset. The Emotional Wound Thesaurus is truly one-of-a-kind, tackling a topic that is difficult to master in writing.

The good news is this: while we’re retiring the thesaurus, it’s for a good reason…so we can develop it further into a full-fledged book.

So, think of this thesaurus as merely being “on hold.” Down the road we’ll have a new resource for you that will be unlike anything else in your writing toolkit. 🙂

Before we wrap things up, we want to give everyone an opportunity to let us know what wounds they wish we would cover. This is your chance to let us know what wounds you want to see in the book!

Here’s another reason to leave us a wishlist of Emotional Wounds in the comment section:

Becca and I are going to create a short list from the ones left in the comment section and let you vote on the final entries we profile on the blog before we retire the thesaurus.

So, release the hounds! Er, the Emotional Wounds.

Tell us which wounds you would like to see us tackle, which wounds are difficult for you to portray on the page. Maybe we can help!





The post The Emotional Wound Thesaurus Is Retiring Soon appeared first on WRITERS HELPING WRITERS®.

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17. Dramatica "this scene represents" and creating scenes..but what about Sequels

Question: After months of creating my elements for my novel in Dramatica I'm finally up to creating scenes. I've read countless materials from a variety

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18. Happy Birthday Neville!

Today is not only an exciting day in the muggle world, what with the book release and premiere of Cursed Child, but it is also Neville Longbottom’s 36th birthday!

His determination to help his friends is seen throughout the series: from trying to prevent trouble in The Philosopher’s Stone, to drastically improving his magic in Dumbledore’s Army in Order of the Phoenix, and finally standing up to Voldemort and destroying Nagini, the last horcrux, in Deathly Hallows.

A true Gryffindor, Neville has the courage of ten lions, and was even complimented by Voldemort once!

‘You show spirit, and bravery, and you come of noble stock. You will make a very valuable Death Eater. We need your kind, Neville Longbottom.’ 

To which Neville (most valiantly) replied:

‘I’ll join you when hell freezes over,’ said Neville. ‘Dumbledore’s Army!’

Pottermore recounts Neville’s journey from a round-faced boy who’d lost his toad, to one of Hogwarts’ most humble heroes. They end with a beautiful tribute to Neville’s story:

“How did the nervous lad with the love of plants grow up to face the Dark Lord? Simple – he never gave up.

Neville didn’t seek sympathy or wallow in despair. Instead he took his pain and channeled it into his training. Spurred by news of the Death Eaters’ escape, he strove to avenge his parents and prevent more innocents from suffering their dreadful fate. The Sorting Hat was right – deep down, Neville Longbottom had the heart of a lion.

Neville’s story is an inspiration to us all. It doesn’t matter how many cauldrons you’ve melted; with hard work and courage, you can still be a hero.”


Please join The Leaky Cauldron in wishing Neville Longbottom, Professor of Herbology, a very happy 36th birthday!

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19. भारी बारिश और सड़क जाम

भारी बारिश और सड़क जाम कार्टून – पोल पट्टी आजकल  भारी बरसात से जिस तरह सडको पर पानी भर रहा है और ट्रैफिक जाम की खबरें सुर्खिया बन रही हैं ऐसे में डर लगना दहशत होना स्वाभाविक है

The post भारी बारिश और सड़क जाम appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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20. Not Think

We escaped the desperate hordes of Bangkok to the small island of Ko Samui in the Gulf of Thailand. Its main industry was the export of copra from the millions of coconut trees on plantations. The labourers earned a dollar and a half American per day. There was a little tourism, a little fishing, a lot of houses with self contained environments. Each house had pigs, chickens, water buffaloes and a garden. There were free coconuts: pineapples and bananas cost pennies. We headed across the island to a village called Tongkien where you could sleep for free under a bamboo canopy in front of a restaurant. You ate whatever the fishermen came up with that day. A few kilometres away was Lamlamai, the beach. It had pure, white sand, warm, light blue, translucent water. In the sun it was almost too bright to look at. There were sand dunes between the sea and the coconut trees. The Thai sun baked everything in vibrating shimmers, the sea breeze blew. The only people who didn’t seem to be affected by the blazing sun were the fishermen who stalked invisible prey with their coolers, Chinese hats and wet sarongs. They stood still, waded in the shallows with their nets, looked like outgrowths of the shore. The Thais appeared out of nowhere, two of them, sat beside us in the sand. The sun, breeze and salt water dehydration drove us up into the trees to sit in the shade and drink coconut milk Sante, “peace” in Thai, and Anothai, hacked some coconuts open, we all drank. Joyce liked the mature yellow coconuts, I preferred the yellowish brown ones, older. Some people liked the young, green coconuts, no one ate the old, brown ones. Anothai, tall, well developed above the waist, skinny below, challenged me as we sat. He was dark skinned, full of energy, knew English because he worked for the Americans who were stationed there. I was forced to respond to his pushing me, using me for a Thai boxing punching bag. The kids in Thailand knew Thai boxing like Canadian kids knew hockey. It was their national sport, on tv all the time. He flopped out some lazy jabs, then surprised me with combinations of whirling knee kicks and high kicks. Most of them landed on my shoulders and upper arms. My rudimentary karate training bluffed Anothai into giving up after a long sparring session. Sante and Joyce watched with forced smiles until we mutually backed off. I made sure our hatchet was in plain view in our pack when Anothai flourished his curved coconut knife. Sante said that he was educated in Bangkok, taught school on Ko Samui, but decided to give it all up and grow coconuts instead. We sat in the sand facing the beach, comfortable in the shade and the breeze. Sante and I talked of education, work, money, our respective countries, considered religion and meditation. Sante exclaimed “Ah, not think!” He demonstrated by sitting up straight, looking ahead with eyes closed, pointing with his index finger from the middle of his forehead to the horizon. He wore an intense expression of concentration and made no sound until he was finished. He said that meditation was taken for granted in Asia, everyone knew how to meditate. It was simply the emptying of the mind, the absence of thought. We slept under the canopy of the restaurant that night, returned to the ferry dock in the morning. Anothai was after our money, Sante tried to cadge whiskey. We bought coconut palm bongs from them, went back to the ferry dock. A man on a neighbouring island grew powerful ganja, the Ko Samui crop was rough, less powerful, plentiful, cheap. Two brothers, trying to escape the heroin addictions which they had picked up in Bangkok, stayed at the same hotel. They were from New York City, wired to China White and oriental women. Both swore they would take an oriental woman over a westerner any time. They apologized to Joyce, told me of the wonders of living with a Thai girl. They knew that they had to get out as soon as possible. They knew that they would inevitably be statistics on the list of heroin casualties if they didn’t. They smoked a lot of local weed to help them get through their withdrawals. We rested, let the tension of Bangkok drain away. We walked down long, white beaches radiated by the sun. The salt water and wind sucked the moisture from us beneath the blazing sun. We drank soft drinks constantly. Heavy punching bags tied to trees in back yards and farm yards were used for punching and kicking practice. The whole country was filled with Buddhist monks who survived on what the population gave them every day.

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21. Graduation day

So on the hottest day of the year, a couple of weeks ago, we rose at 6.30am, caught a taxi and three trains to the pretty town of Ormskirk, finishing off with a bus journey to Edgehill University campus, where Joe's graduation ceremony was taking place. We were already melting by the time we arrived. 

It's a very impressive campus and has a pleasing amount of topiary trees. Around the back of the historic part, the more modern additions are discreetly concealed.


The first item on the agenda was for Joe to get togged out in his graduation robes, before an extraordinary amount of photos and selfies were taken with his colleagues. Me, I stayed in the background and had a crash course in ladies shoe fashion for 2016. A loose count showed that ankle straps are 'in' this year and that 'flesh' (or as I believe it is called, 'nude') is this season's colour. I was in cheap baseball boots. Not being in heels, I was one of the few females on campus able to walk in a straight line.

At last we were able to head off for the ceremony.

After a long wait for everything to be organized, and having the most fidgety child on the planet next to me, it all got rolling with the expected pomp and ceremony; the procession of the University staff in suitably impressive robes and hats, and a fanfare of trumpets. Literally. 

After several long speeches, the graduation ceremony itself began. Joe was about third from last, by which time people were a little restless. Having patiently waited for nearly two hours for his moment of glory - the shaking of the chancellor's hand - I had my camera poised, zoomed and in focus. 

Then just at the very second of the hand shake, a big bloke in a white shirt came bustling down the aisle stairs behind me and barged right in front of my camera as I was pressing the button. I may have sworn loudly. (OK, I did). So all I managed to get was this...

Then the lovely chancellor made the most interesting speech of the day, cracked a joke about the University board being 'the entire staff of Hogwarts' and everyone waggled their caps in the air. Apparently throwing them up willy nilly is not the done thing anymore. 

After a quick go at the buffet, we started our homeward journey. Did I mention it was hot? And so we got a bus, three trains and another taxi back to the cottage. The English countryside quietly sweltered in the sun. The train guard handed out free bottles of water on our last late, overcrowded train, where we stood in the corridor all the way back to Shrewsbury.

We eventually arrived home, flopping and half asleep, at about 8pm and went to bed almost at once. A long day, but one which Joe worked hard for and despite my humorous tone, I was actually very, very proud of him.  He is now a fully qualified counsellor.

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22. Nonfiction social: the real story!

#LA16SCBWI nonfiction aficionados gathered in the ornately walled Athenian room to socialize, network, and talk trade. And this is just a few of them–more people flowed in after the photo was taken! What was the nitty-gritty? You'll just have to be there next year to find out.

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23. Marie Lu: The Creative Life

Marie Lu is author of the Legends and the Young Elites trilogies.

Her books have "interesting, complex plots that never settle for easy answers," Lin said as she introduced Marie, an extraordinarily successful writer.

SCBWI was one of the first conferences Marie ever heard about as an aspiring writer. LEGENDS is set in a futuristic LA and it's about a boy who's the most wanted criminal and a girl who's the most gifted hunter of criminals.

"I'm a very happy person. My books do not reflect this," she joked.

Marie always liked writing, but didn't know you could do it for a living. She was born in Beijing, and was five years old during the Tiananmen Square massacre. Her family came to the states and settled in New Orleans. The family knew no English. Her mom wanted to go out and see what typical American families do. So they set out—and it was Mardi Gras.

"I have this memory of standing there in this crazy street where people were throwing beads at you for no reason." She didn't know what had just happened—"but I liked it."

She started writing to learn English. In kindergarten, she had to look up five English words every day and put them into sentences. "I eventually realized I liked the practice of putting words into stories."

She became a voracious reader. She loved Brian Jacques's Redwall Series, Harry Potter, and Tolkien. She had a writing desk in her room, and she made the space where the chair went into a library, which she enclosed with a curtain and illuminated with a flashlight.

She also loved to draw and would put a paper up to the screen a trace a frame of a Disney movie. "I eventually figured out how to draw on my own." Her childhood was drawing and reading and playing games. "I loved every second of it."

She wrote her first novel at 14, and she thought it was "amazing." It involved a chosen one on the quest with dwarves and elves "for a shiny thing." She submitted to 100 agents, but didn't get any bites.

She used to set her alarm clock during high school for 2 AM, and she'd write two hours a night. Her second manuscript, written when she was 16 or 17, was "a little bit less bad." It got her an agent, but many more rejections. She would draw and write in her spare time, and before her school work, but her parents worried she wouldn't be able to support herself. So she studied political science in college. She kept submitting books and kept getting rejections, and parted ways with her agent.

She applied for a Disney internship. Her parents: "Our basement is here for you. You go and do what you need to do to make yourself happy." She got the gig and worked there for two years. "It was absolutely a life-changing experience. This was the first time in my life I had been surrounded by fellow creative people."

"Once I started working in video games, I started writing again." She got a new agent, Kristin Nelson, and her fourth novel went out on submissions. She got a lot of rejections. By the time her fifth novel, LEGEND sold, she'd been rejected 500 times. "Rejection eventually becomes a piece of paper. Put it on the pile. We'll build a fort out of it."

Because rejection didn't bother her as much, she could concentrate and write LEGEND.

"Every writer succeeds at their own pace. It took me 12 years and four unpublished manuscripts... There are no guarantees in this business."

She gave us some terrific writing advice: about the importance of hard work, about learning to take criticism, and about the importance of not comparing ourselves to others.

"Be brave and listen," she told us. "None of us know everything. None of us is always right. We can always learn more." She feels she made mistakes with the relationship of a couple in LEGEND. She didn't know at the time, and she learned to see her failure there because she listened. "No one enjoys being called out," she said. But our intentions don't matter if they don't come across on the page.

"We are all in this together. The journey to publication is not always fair. It takes all of us to lift up those voices that struggle to be heard."

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24. My tweets

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25. The LGBTQ and Allies Q&A

Always a highlight of the conference, this gathering of people interested in including LGBTQ characters and themes in our work for children and teens was a warm, safe space that brought up some powerful issues and generated enormous good-will. We sat in an large oval and took the time for each person to introduce themselves and share what they were working on, and, if they had one, ask a question of our 'brain trust.'

Faculty guests included Arthur A. Levine, Bruce Coville, Neal Porter, Emma Dryden, Ellen Hopkins, and Laurent Linn.

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