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1. Wild Ones, Observing City Critters is off to the printers

Wild Ones, Observing City Critters goes to press this week. Drawing Scooter chasing the squirrel through the city for a day was a lot of fun. Next time we see him he'll be running through bookstores Spring 2016.

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2. Autobiography

Hi I am a 27 years married working lady; I would like to write an autobiography. I am sure my story will be inspiring for many; but I'm not sure how to

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3. These Shallow Graves: Review

If you enjoy historical fiction with a spunky female lead, some romance, and a murder mystery thrown in for good measure, you might want to pick up Jennifer Donnelly’s latest book, These Shallow Graves. I admit, I was lured in by the promise of a spunky female lead in this case – a girl who secretly dreams of being a writer and defying societal expectations! – ’cause that’s my jam all the time. In turn-of-the-century America, no less! (An aside: my love for American history has been totally revitalized by the release of the soundtrack for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton: An American Musical, by the way. And this is … a century later! Where’s my Revolutionary War YA when I need it?) Anyway. Ahem. Back to business! Despite the spunky female lead, while I liked many aspects of These Shallow Graves, I didn’t connect with it emotionally in the way that I wanted... Read more »

The post These Shallow Graves: Review appeared first on The Midnight Garden.

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4. My tweets

  • Tue, 20:50: Me: Uptown Funk is on. We must dance. Dogs: Me: There are bones involved here. Dogs begin uptown funking.
  • Wed, 01:49: KKari Anne Holts book is out today!!!!! What she writes about it? Just amazing. http://t.co/RsQkpMmKTN

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5. Compassion or compromise? The ethics of assisted suicide

“Death is inevitable, but suffering doesn't have to be,” says Tennessee native John Jay Hooker, who has devoted his life to fighting for civil liberties, and his deadly cancer hasn't stood in his way.

The post Compassion or compromise? The ethics of assisted suicide appeared first on OUPblog.

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6. Inky October

#Inktober Day 2 

In my quest to blog more (this always goes 'tits up' as we say in the UK) I've got on board with the whole Inktober thing. A day late, but I'm on board now. 
#Inktober Day 3 

Now, I'm truly rubbish at doing these things. Almost as soon as I commit I start resenting having to do a drawing a day for a month (or however long the thing is that you've signed up to) and then it just becomes a massive chore. But it has been a while since I've committed to any such thing, and I draw everyday anyway, so I'm giving it a bash. How hard can it be?
#Inktober Day 4

Another reason that participating in Inktober makes sense is that I am going to be taking a couple of Tracy Fennell's ink workshops during October. I really feel that need to push my work in a new direction. To take it somewhere exciting and I've always been a massive ink fan. So, no doubt, after the classes I'll be itching to experiment with all the new techniques.
#Inktober Day 5 

So that's the story so far. I'll post the rest as I go along. I will, I will, I will *trying to convince myself*. 

Some of my Inktober sketches are for sale, in my Etsy shop, HERE

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7. BilBOlbul Newsletter 7 ottobre 2015

NEWSLETTER 07/10/2015
La scorsa domenica all'Expo di Milano sono stati proclamati i vincitori del concorso Coop for Words di quest'anno. Per la sezione Fumetto sono stati premiati Marco e Riccardo Tabilio, che illustreranno anche il proscenio di uno dei libri Chiarelettere della prossima stagione.
Al Ram Hotel di Bologna sarà allestita quest'anno la mostra dedicata ai due fumettisti, ulteriore premio del concorso durante i giorni di BilBOlbul.
Dall'8 ottobre fino al 7 novembre immergetevi in un viaggio attraverso l'Europa e il Medio Oriente con la mostra Comic-Transfer alla Biblioteca Centrale di Amburgo, Hühnerposten 1.
Come vede Berlino una fumettista libanese? E cosa salta agli occhi di un fumettista tedesco a Lisbona?
I Goethe-Institut dell'Europa Sudovest hanno mandato in viaggio fumettisti provenienti da Belgio, Francia, Italia, Libano, Marocco, Portogallo, Spagna e Germania. In mostra i tanti punti di vista su città cultura e società e i diversi modi di vivere una metropoli. I lavori sono raccolti anche nel blog del progetto.
L'inaugurazione si terrà mercoledì 7 ottobre alle ore 18 alla presenza di molti degli artisti coinvolti.
Giovanni Nardone si aggiudica il contest NoiNo.org ArtLab promosso dalla Fondazione del Monte in collaborazione con l'Accademia di Belle Arti di Bologna e l'associazione Hamelin.
Alle/ai partecipanti era richiesto di realizzare un'illustrazione che avesse come tema la violenza di genere e che fosse rivolta a un pubblico maschile.
L'illustrazione vincitrice sarà usata per creare la nuova grafica per il visual 2015 di NoiNo.org, la campagna contro la violenza sulle donne.
Il primo ottobre a Parigi è iniziato il Fanzines Festival. Organizzato tra gli altri da Volker Zimmerman che collabora con BilBOlbul alla realizzazione del BBBLab, il Fanzines Festival è arrivato alla sua quinta edizione e mira a far conoscere la ricchezza e la varietà dell'autoproduzione francese e internazionale.

Inizia giovedì 8 a Ravenna l'undicesima edizione del festival Komikazen, curato da Elettra Stamboulis e Gianluca Costantini.
Dedicato da sempre al fumetto di realtà, quest'anno al centro del festival c'è la rappresentazione della crisi in tutte le sfaccettature: da quella economica a quella politica, da quella ambientale a quella personale.
A luglio 2015 BilBOlbul ha lanciato BBB CONSIGLIA, un progetto che vuole mettere in rete le librerie più attente al fumetto in Italia. Ogni 15 giorni in libreria viene segnalato da una fascetta con il logo di BilBOlbul un nuovo fumetto di qualità; un segnalibro all'interno del volume racconta in poche parole perché BilBOlbul ha scelto di consigliarlo.
Il fumetto di questa settimana è: Megahex di Simon Hanselman (Coconino Press).

Scoprite i fumetti consigliati sulla pagina Facebook

Se sei una libreria e vuoi partecipare al progetto di BBB CONSIGLIA scrivi a elena.orlandi@bilbolbul.net
BilBOlbul Festival internazionale di fumetto fa parte della
Rete dei Festival del Contemporaneo di Bologna
Biografilm: 5 > 15 giugno 2015 - biografilm.it :: Gender Bender: 31 ottobre > 8 novembre 2015 - www.genderbender.it :: BilBOlBul: 19 > 22 novembre 2015 - bilbolbul.net :: Live Arts Week: liveartsweek.it ::
Future Film Festival
: futurefilmfestival.org :: Angelica- Festival Internazionale di musica - aaa-angelica.com ::

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8. Good Eats & Drinks in the City of Rose

If you didn't know by now that the City of Roses (Portland, OR) has been named best city in the world for street food, now you do. However, these options will strictly focus on the non-food truck options. That being said, if the street food is good, the eateries without wheels have to be off the hook! Of course they are! Here's a smorgasbord of eats and drinks one can indulge during the #yalsa15 Symposium:

La Panza Cafe is good for breakfast/brunch and dinner, but this option should be reserved for when time can be spared because of possible long waits. According to our peer reviews, this is definitely a spot to experience for “True New Mexico Cuisine”.  The Waffle Window is an option if you are looking for your waffle fix.  The Darkest Desire, The Bee Sting, or The Whole Farm, but if those don’t convince you, then maybe a peanut butter chocolate dipped waffle will.

Considering a lunch pick-up? Call, email or drop by Elephants Delicatessen to pick a sack or box lunch. Add a little swankiness to your dinner and try Bamboo Sushi, because according to Willamette Week, it’s the best sushi in Portland! Or veg out at Veggie Grill. The dining choices in Portland are varied and the options nearly endless.

It’s been noted that Portland is known as Best Beer City in the world. They have a booming craft beer scene with many local breweries and brewpubs.  Not a fan of beer? Then have no fear, because there are plenty of other poisons to choose from. Here are a few mentionable watering holes--one is even referred to as a library: Multnomah Whisk{e}y Library, also known as “whiskey dreamland in beervana” is a great choice.  They even have a Friends of the (Whiskey) Library membership! If you’re thirsty for creative mixology, the Teardrop Lounge should not disappoint you.

There is another thing Portland is well known for: coffee!  Coffee and I go way back, hopefully besties for life. If you have the same connection, try these for your caffeine boost.

--Annie Snell, YA Services Symposium Marketing and Planning Task Force


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9. Prix Goncourt (less-)longlist

       The prix Goncourt -- the top French book prize -- goes through four rather than the usual three rounds, and they've now announced the deuxième sélection -- the not-quite-so-longlist.
       Boualem Sansal's 2084 and Simon Liberati's controversial Eva have made the cut, as have the books by Alain Mabanckou and Mathias Enard.

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10. Bare bodkins and sparsely clothed buttinskis, or, speaking daggers but using none

Few people would today have remembered the word bodkin if it had not occurred in the most famous of Hamlet’s monologues. Chaucer was the earliest author in whose works bodkin occurred. At its appearance, it had three syllables and a diphthong in the root, for it was spelled boidekin. The suffix -kin suggested to John Minsheu, our first English etymologist (1617), that he was dealing with a Dutch noun.

The post Bare bodkins and sparsely clothed buttinskis, or, speaking daggers but using none appeared first on OUPblog.

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11. One more day until the Nobel Prize in Literature announcement

       The Nobel Prize in Literature will be announced tomorrow, at 13:00 local time (Stockholm); you'll be able to watch the announcement live at the Nobel site.
       The Swedish Academy decides who gets the prize, and its (new) permanent secretary, Sara Danius, will make the announcement. (Oddly enough, they've just announced that Danius has received a literary prize -- the Gerard Bonniers essäpris; the SEK 100,000 isn't exactly Nobel-money, but it ain't bad. Former permanent secretary Horace Engdahl also won this, in 2010, a year after he had stepped down as permanent secretary.)

       Most of the media coverage takes the betting-lists as starting (and ending) point -- so, for example, we have Camille Bas-Wolhert's AFP report (here at Yahoo), The tough task of predicting a Nobel literature laureate, noting that: "The real experts are usually reluctant to make a prediction".
       In one of the more interesting variations on that, Christian Lorentzen admits to actually betting on the Nobel (and other literary prizes) -- and even finds he's: "still in the black" thanks to his Alice Munro punt -- in explaining My Book-Prize Betting Addiction: A User's Guide to Making Money Off Alice Munro. He has a system -- "I tend to make three categories of bet: (1) a likely winner; (2) a writer I really admire who's also a patriotic favorite; (3) a writer I've reviewed negatively" -- which sounds as good as any. (He also thinks Lyudmila Ulitskaya is a "more likely Russophone winner" than current betting-favorite Svetlana Alexievich.)
       In Svenska Dagbladet they offer a list of 12 heta kandidater för litteraturpriset -- most of whom are among the betting favorites, while Folkbladet gets a few wider-ranging suggestions (though Alexievich is also the most often mentioned name).

       Blogger-speculation includes:

       And extensive discussion continues at:        As to those in the discussion, I don't really have all that much to add, but here a few observations regarding some of them:
  • Svetlana Alexievich: is the betting favorite -- down to 3/1 at Ladbrokes as I write this. With pretty much only her Voices from Chernobyl to go on, English-speaking readers might find it hard to judge her (or see what the fuss is about), but it's worth remembering that she is big in Sweden -- a pile of her books have been published there in recent years -- and that her distinctive literary approach (documentary, basically) is a (perhaps welcome ?) change from the usually honored forms. (The prize almost never has gone to a non-fiction author, but the case for her is pretty good.) Throw in the politics -- she's from Belarus, and her critical stance is of the sort that seems to appeal to the Academy -- and the fact that she's a woman (people apparently do keep count, and Danius has mentioned the sex-imbalance among previous winners) and you have a lot of good reasons why they might give it to her. On the other hand, her (relative) overexposure in Sweden the past year or two might suggest it's just her high visibility that's making her all the rage among the bettors.

  • Jon Fosse: was much-discussed last year already, and as an immensely popular playwright (yeah, that doesn't really register in the US/UK, but elsewhere he is, really) as well as novelist is a plausible candidate too. On the other hand, the fact that he's Scandinavian probably doesn't help -- they're probably pretty cautious about giving it to the local authors. I could see them giving it to him -- but I'd be disappointed if he were selected over fellow Norwegian Dag Solstad.

  • Murakami Haruki: has been mentioned as a favorite for years now, but he probably also elicits the most opposition too, considered too lightweight for the Nobel. I think his output is varied and interesting enough to merit consideration, and I wouldn't be shocked if he won, but the Swedish Academy may well be holding out for a slightly weightier Japanese author to give the prize to (though you have to wonder who might be on the horizon -- perhaps A True Novel-author Mizumura Minae, whose attitude towards Japanese literature (which one might sum up as anti-Murakami; see The Fall of Language in the Age of English) might be exactly the sort of thing the Academy is looking for).

  • Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o: well, I've been saying for years Ngũgĩ would/should get the prize, and can still think of no good reason why he shouldn't. You can argue politics regarding some of his work, but I can't imagine that's really much of an issue, and given what he's written, as well as everything else (he's from Africa, writes in Gikuyu, has written significant non-fiction) I'm just surprised they haven't gotten around to giving him the prize yet. Not that that means they'll get around to it this year, but he still seems the obvious choice.

  • Philip Roth: I would be terribly disappointed if they gave it to someone who has stopped writing, as Roth claims he has. Not that he isn't deserving, but they had their chances to reward him and didn't, and I hope that ship has sailed.

  • Amos Oz, Adonis, and Peter Handke: might all be worthy winners -- some more than others -- but all already have piles of awards (indeed have been piling them on in the past few years) and at the same time can't get away from all sorts of controversies, including most recently the fuss about it being announced Adonis was to receive the Erich-Maria-Remarque-Peace Prize. While these choices might be defensible, you really have to wonder whether or not the Swedish Academy wants quite as much fuss as selecting one of them would kick up.

  • Ismail Kadare: has also been in the running seemingly forever, and also would be a bit controversial; still, he seems more likely than any from the Oz/Adonis/Handke group.

  • John Banville: has also received a ton of prizes recently, but I have my doubts that the Swedish Academy wants to honor a very European author who also dabbles in mysteries (as Banville does as Benjamin Black).

  • Krasznahorkai László: I'm warming to the idea of a Krasznahorkai win, but can't imagine this is his year -- the Swedish Academy surely doesn't want to follow the Man Booker International Prize so closely. (This won't be a problem in future years, since they're changing that from an author- to a book-prize.)

  • Joyce Carol Oates, Don DeLillo, Cormac McCarthy, Lydia Davis, Thomas Pynchon, and Marilynne Robinson: are the more or less usual American names tossed in the mix. Yes, they haven't given it to someone from the US in quite a while -- but I can't really see any of them getting it, for a variety of reasons (including simply too much variety (Oates) or relatively too little (Robinson). If anyone has a chance I suppose it might be DeLillo, but I can't really see it

  • Maryse Condé and César Aira: are new names on the betting lists -- something always worth a closer look. Both were also in the Man Booker International Prize running ... which is probably also one of the reasons their names have surfaced, and I don't rate either one's chances very highly.
       And, of course, there are the names that aren't on the lists -- Mahmoud Dowlatabadi, for one, who I would wish was among the favorites.
       If it were up to me I'd have the choice down to one between Ngũgĩ, Dowlatabadi, and the similarly deserving Juan Goytisolo -- but as to what the Swedish Academy might have up their sleeve, I really don't know .....
       Well, there are a few more hours left for speculation ..... Read the rest of this post

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12. The Fox & the Snowman Now Available – $.99 for a limited time


Our latest children’s picture book, The Fox & the Snowman ebook is now available and will be at a special reduced price of $.99 for a limited time during it’s release.  If you prefer to order in paperback please click HERE.

This is a story of a lone fox and his journey through a year of changing seasons. He discovers friendship and family in this colorful winter tale. The beautiful woodland illustrations are sure to capture the attention of young readers.

We hope you’ll add this new story to your collection and let us know what you think.

Also available at Barnes & Noble, KOBO, & iBooks

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13. How a Tiny Buddha Keeps Growing: An Interview with Lori Deschene About Blogging, Book Authoring, and Beating Writer Stress

Tiny Buddha CoverI was so happy to be able to talk with Lori Deschene. As the founder of Tiny Buddha, she’s helped more than 1,200 people (including me!) share their stories and lessons with more than 60 million readers (as of June, 2015). She’s the author of Tiny Buddha: Simple Wisdom for Life’s Hard Questions, Tiny Buddha’s Guide to Loving Yourself, and her newest release: Tiny Buddha’s 365 Tiny Love Challenges.

Lori, I know you’ve written for girls’ magazines, and many of The Renegade Writer’s readers want to write for magazines themselves. How did you get into that?

I found my first magazine writing opportunity on Craigslist in the gigs section—something that doesn’t happen all that often! I didn’t actually have much professional writing experience at that time, but I did have the right experience.

The magazine was a new middle grade publication, for girls aged eight to twelve, and they were looking for witty, upbeat articles on friendship, self-esteem, and surviving embarrassing moments.

Prior to finding this opportunity, I’d worked in mobile marketing, taking promotional campaigns from city to city. My last tour was a walk across the country to promote a variety of health and fitness-related products. As the tour’s dog walker, I wrote a “dog blog” that chronicled my canine companion’s adventure.

These were all light, funny posts that fit the exact tone the magazine was looking for. They loved my writing samples and hired me to write an article for the first issue, which led to more than a dozen more.

Eventually, I submitted some of those articles to a bigger, more established middle-grade magazine and went on to contribute over fifty articles and quizzes.

I also wrote for a real estate magazine briefly that, once again, I found on Craigslist. It was also a new magazine, and I don’t actually know much about real estate. But I was looking to build a body of work, and I was open to any opportunities I could find!

In retrospect, I realize I could have been more proactive and targeted. I could have identified more magazines that I wanted to write for instead of taking any writing gig I could find on Craigslist (including a job writing travel guides for $6/hour).

But I think there’s something to be said for being hungry, and being willing to take whatever you can get to hone your craft and build your resume.

Then you started the Tiny Buddha site. What inspired you to do that?

Prior to starting the site, I’d spent more than a decade struggling with depression, bulimia, shame, and self-loathing. For years I felt alone with my challenges—like no one knew me, and no one would love me if they did.

After making tremendous progress with my personal struggles, I wanted to create a place where people could share what they’ve been through and what they’ve learned, to help themselves and others.

My hope was that this would help readers feel less alone with their challenges and more empowered to overcome them. And though I didn’t realize this at the time, I eventually recognized that starting Tiny Buddha was a big part of my own healing journey.

There’s something cathartic about leveraging your pain for something useful and valuable—and there’s little more valuable than making a positive difference in someone else’s life.

How has the Tiny Buddha blog helped your career? Do you earn money from the blog through ads, selling books…?

I earn money from a combination of:

  • Banner ads
  • Book/eBook sales
  • eCourse sales
  • Affiliate marketing

I’m also planning to launch some products soon, including journals, gratitude journals, and calendars.

I launched my first eBook roughly a year after the site launched, and it sold regularly, but I was still working another full-time online writing job. I also dabbled with blog coaching and blog review reports—something I didn’t really love and only did briefly.

It really wasn’t until the three-year mark that I felt comfortable depending solely on Tiny Buddha for my livelihood. In retrospect, I’m glad I never felt pressure to earn a specific amount from the site. If I had felt that pressure, I may have said yes to opportunities that didn’t feel right for me.

There are a lot of ways to make money online, or to leverage your online presence to make money. Not all are good for each of us individually — or for our brands.

I also see you have a forum, a widget that lets people post quotes from the site on their websites, and much more. You accept guest posts, do blog tours… that all sounds like a lot of work! How difficult is it really to start and run a successful blog? I think so many writers believe they can just start a WordPress site and start posting their thoughts, and the readers (and money) will come flying in.

It is a lot of work! And I’ve been feeling that a lot more lately, as I don’t have an assistant or any employees. That being said, it wasn’t always a lot of work.

When I first got started, I devoted just a few hours each day to running the site. At the time, it was just a quote and blog feed, and I wrote very short posts (some of which, I now realize, weren’t all that compelling).

If I’d thought to myself back then, “I have to build a site with forums, daily guest contributors, a fun & inspiring section, multiple books, a widget, an eCourse…” I likely would have felt too overwhelmed to start. But I’ve added layers to the site over time.

I think the most important thing is that you show up each day and do something. You remain consistent and keep learning.

This guarantees that you’ll keep growing, slowly, bit by bit, over time.

Writers are always asking me, “I want to start a blog, but I don’t know what to write about.” I think you’re living proof that you don’t decide to start a blog and then cast about for a topic…you have something burning in you that you want to share so much that it can sustain thousands of posts and years of work. Do you agree?

Yes, absolutely! This comes back to what I wrote before, about having a mission. You have to have a compelling “why” behind your blog—some reason you have to explore this topic. Otherwise, you likely won’t have a reason to stick with it if and when progress seems slow. And you’re absolutely right—you likely won’t be able to write for years on the topic.

Every now and then, someone submits a post to Tiny Buddha starting with “I wasn’t sure what to write about this week…” Those are usually the least compelling posts because it’s clear the writer was looking for something to say, as opposed to having something to say.

If you don’t have something you have to say, readers won’t feel compelled to listen.

What are your top three tips for writers on how to build a successful blog?

1. Consistently publish value-packed, personally relatable posts.

I believe you need all three to build and maintain an audience—you need to deliver with consistency, solve problems readers are facing, and reveal your own humanity in doing so.

2. Foster a sense of community.

We all want to be part of something larger than ourselves, and we want to be where other people are congregating and connecting.

The first step in building a community is to have a compelling reason for its existence. People can “hang out” on any site—why yours specifically? What’s the movement they’re joining?

Is it a group of people committed to changing the world through meaningful work? Is it a group committed to sharing themselves vulnerably and learning from each other? When you have a strong mission for your site, community engagement becomes more than comments on isolated posts. It becomes about people supporting each other in working toward a common goal.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt to end posts with questions. And if you can involve the community in a post in any way, that always helps.

Formerly, I asked questions on Facebook (such as “How do you help people who won’t help themselves?”) and then incorporated the responses into posts. I’ve also asked readers to submit pictures and videos for different purposes. An involved community is an engaged community!

3. Focus on building relationships.

Behind the most popular blogs you’ll find people who weren’t afraid to reach out to more established bloggers to learn from them, and to other new bloggers to work with them.

This might mean asking to guest post on a larger site to introduce new readers to your blog. It might mean working on a product with another blogger to launch to both of your communities simultaneously. It might mean building a blog support network with lots of bloggers in the same niche.

The more people you connect with, the greater the odds your blog will grow. And the more people you help, the more people will want to help you.

And you’re the author of three traditionally published books too! How did you get into writing books? Did you find an agent, or were you approached by one? Did you have to write a proposal?

I first started working on a proposal a year after I launched the site, and I sent that to an agent who’d reached out to me. He wasn’t thrilled with my idea, but he gave me some feedback that helped me come up with a new one. Shortly after, a small publisher contacted me after seeing me speak at a conference.

I published two books with them, without an agent. And then for my most recent book, Tiny Buddha’s 365 Tiny Love Challenges, I got an agent and attracted a larger publisher.

The most helpful advice I got when writing my first proposal was to ask myself, “Why would readers buy this book from me specifically?” My first idea was something anyone could have written, and I didn’t have anything in my background that would have positioned me as an authority on this topic.

Each of my three books makes sense from me specifically, because they’re all extensions of Tiny Buddha, including both my own personal experience and insights from the community.

So you’ve written for magazines, and you run a blog AND write books. Do you find there’s some value for writers in diversifying? If so, what is it?

I’ve enjoyed the variety because I find it more stimulating—and challenging. Whereas I could write a blog post in a couple hours, a book is clearly a long-term project. And it’s something that’s far more involved, especially when you’re working with dozens of contributors, like I do.

There’s also a certain level of satisfaction that comes from stretching yourself and trying to do something new. Especially if you’re writing about the same topic every day or every other day, it can help tremendously to mix things up.

What are your top two tips for writers who would like to write traditionally published books?

Aside from answering the question “Why me for this book?”:

Get an agent with success in your niche.

While you could send your proposal to smaller publishers without representation, an agent knows what makes a strong proposal, and which publishers would be best for your book. As I mentioned before, I’ve gotten a book deal with and without one, and the latter was a far superior experience, on every level, and totally worth the money.

Create a solid marketing plan for your proposal.

Publishers are looking to work with authors who can sell books. If you have an established platform, great! If not, do you know any other high-profile bloggers who will help promote your book? Are you willing to invest your money in a book trailer, a blog tour, or a publicist? Do you have any ideas for creative social media campaigns?

Since the Tiny Buddha blog is all about topics like happiness, motivation, inspiration, and letting go…I’d like to talk about two emotions writers feel a lot — fear and stress. Do you have any advice for writers on getting over their fears of rejection, failure, and even success so they can start pitching and writing?

As someone who’s pursued both theater and writing—two incredibly competitive industries—I know all about rejection! Three things that have helped me are:

Not taking rejection personally.

It can be tough to do this when you put your heart into your writing. But agents and publishers aren’t rejecting you. They’re rejecting the idea—and at that specific time.

There are plenty of times when contributors submit posts to Tiny Buddha and they’re very similar to posts I’ve recently accepted. That actually means they’re strong posts, but my job as a site editor is to offer variety and look for varied themes and perspectives.

I always encourage writers to submit again. Not all editors do this, but submit again anyways.

Think of it as a numbers game.

When I worked as a telemarketer, I knew that every twenty calls would likely lead to one sale. Knowing this made it easier to face those nineteen rejections because I knew I was getting closer to closing a deal.

It’s not quite the same with writing, but it can help tremendously to think of every “no” as one step closer to a “yes.” Challenge the belief that “no” is proof you’re not good enough. If you need a reason to believe you can still succeed, despite rejection, check out this article or this one or this one.

Realize you have far more options now than writers once did.

If you have something to say, you can find a way to put it out there. You can start a blog. You can write an eBook. You can self-publish a print book. And if you do self-publish a print book, you could then leverage that to get a deal with a traditional publisher. (I know several authors who’ve done this!)

We’re fortunate to have so many options available us writers today. Knowing this somehow takes the sting out of rejection because you know that no isolated rejection can crush your dream, or prevent you from honing your craft and getting your work out there.

I absolutely hate sending rejection emails because I’m both sensitive and empathetic, and I never want anyone to think I don’t admire and respect both them and their work. If I’ve rejected posts from the same writer a few times, I might offer extra feedback and end the email with “I hope I’m not discouraging you!”

Not too long ago, a writer responded, “No worries—you’re not! I have a whole list of sites I submit to, so I’ll just submit this to one of them.”

It’s something I’ll remember next time I’m feeling rejected. There are other sites. There are other magazines. There are lots of other ways to get my work out there.

And stress…we writers feel that a lot! We’re running our butts off pitching, interviewing, networking, writing. We have tons of deadlines, client demands, and other stressors. How can writers become more calm and centered so they can work more productively?

The best advice I can offer any writer is to get out of your head. There were many times in the past when I sat at my computer for ten+ hours, when on a deadline, with only short breaks to eat or use the restroom. This was a surefire path to stress and burnout!

I used to think taking a break for a walk or a quick meditation was wasting time, but I’ve since learned than fifteen to thirty rejuvenating minutes are actually huge time savers. I come back to my work refreshed, recharged—and in some cases, particularly if I’ve been in nature, inspired.

Then I have much calmer, and much more positive energy, to bring to my work.

Some ways to clear your head:

  • Meditation/listening to guided meditations (you can find a ton of free ones on YouTube) [Note from Linda: Or the Positive Thinking for Writers guided meditation, which is Pay What It’s Worth in the Renegade Writer Store?]
  • Yoga or Tai Chi
  • Deep breathing
  • Taking a walk outside
  • Doing something childlike, like hopping on a swing
  • Dancing to your favorite music and releasing pent up energy

Tell us about your latest book, Tiny Buddha’s 365 Tiny Love Challenges. What inspired you to write it, and where can readers buy the book?

As someone who’s felt alone at various points in my life, I understand the value of strong relationships. I also know we’re living in an increasingly disconnected world, despite being more connected than ever.

We all need to feel seen, valued, appreciated, and loved. We’re social creatures, and we need to feel like we belong, like people get us and will be there for us. We also need to know people trust us and depend on us to be there for them.

Of course, these things are far more easily said than done. Tiny Buddha’s 365 Tiny Love Challenges can help.

The book offers a year’s worth of simple daily challenges to help people give more love in their relationships, treat themselves more lovingly, and put more love into the world.

Some of the challenges are active, some are reflective, some involve having conversations with other people, and some are writing exercises.

Each month has a different theme, including:

  • Kindness and Thoughtfulness
  • Compassion and Understanding
  • Authenticity and Vulnerability
  • Releasing Anger and Forgiving
  • Attention and Listening
  • Honesty and Trust
  • Kindness and Thoughtfulness
  • Acceptance and Non-Judgment
  • Releasing Comparisons and Competition
  • Support and Encouragement
  • Admiration and Appreciation
  • Giving and Receiving

And every week starts with a relevant story or two from members of the Tiny Buddha community, illustrating the power of applying these principles in daily life.

The challenges are all little things, and some might seem simple, but the simplest things are often the hardest to do consistently—like putting your phone down and giving someone your full attention, or looking a stranger in the eye and smiling.

Relationships have never been my strong suit, but I feel much closer to people, and much better equipped to give them the love they deserve, since incorporating these tiny actions into my daily life.

Readers can learn more about the book at http://tinybuddha.com/love-book.


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14. New Life for an Elf Alien

Outsider Artist, oil by James Gurney
This oil painting of a frog-like alien artist currently appears in the museum exhibition "The Art of James Gurney." He holds a palette and a paintbrush loaded up with paint, while behind him is a dark fabric background.

But he didn't begin life that way. The earlier version of the oil painting was commissioned for a paperback cover about intergalactic war. It had a tighter cropping on his face, with a row of warriors painted in front of him.

I didn't really like the montage or the tight cropping or the warrior theme. I wanted to explore the little guy's character more. I figured that with those amazing eyes he would see the world differently from the rest of us. Maybe he could be an artist, the ultimate outsider artist.

Luckily I painted him on a white canvas panel with quite a bit of extra margin. So I sanded out the figures and the edge where I had taped off the rectangle.

To understand that froggy hand better, I sculpted a reference maquette out of Sculpey polymer clay over a framework of aluminum armature wire. I also sculpted the half-figure of the creature (below).

I could have just invented the hand from my imagination, and it might have been 95% as good, but it was that last 5% I was determined to get.
"The Art of James Gurney is an exhibition of about 25 original paintings on the UARTS campus in Philadelphia, through November 16.

The finished painting was published on the cover of Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist. The original paperback was called The Fleet: Sworn Allies by David Drake.

Previously on GurneyJourney: Elf Alien (Sketches and head maquette study)

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15. Shadra Strickland and Sally Derby Discuss Their New Book, Diversity in Publishing, and More

sunday shopping coverReleased this past May, Sunday Shopping tells a whimsical story of a girl and her grandma who go “shopping” through the newspaper ads every Sunday. We interviewed author Sally Derby and illustrator Shadra Strickland about their creative processes, the children’s book publishing industry, and encouraging children to write more.

sally derbySally Derby, author

1. Sunday Shopping is not exactly a story about economic need, but the book subtly suggests that the family doesn’t have a lot of disposable income. Why did you decide to address this subject in this particular way? Are there any picture books that address poverty in a way you really love or admire?

As long as your basic needs for food and shelter are met, then poverty is a point of view and no matter what anyone else thinks, if you are happy with what you have, you are rich. In this country, so many of us have so much. I wanted to show a child who is happy without all the possessions many other families take for granted. In this regard, I have always loved Nikki Giovanni’s poem “Nikki-Rosa” about growing up in Woodlawn, a suburb of Cincinnati near where I lived. Just listen to the last lines of that lovely poem:

because they never understand

Black love is Black wealth and they’ll

probably talk about my hard childhood

and never understand that

all the while I was quite happy

I wasn’t Black, but I was a child of the depression, and I spent some of the happiest days of my childhood in my great-grandparents’ house in Elkhart, Indiana, outdoor plumbing and all. If that house had been set down next door to Nikki Rosa’s it probably would have fit right in.

2. Although you are white, many of your books (including Sunday Shopping) are told from the perspective of black characters. Why do you decide to write cross-culturally, and what kind of research do you do to make sure you get it right?

no mush today coverI know my answer will sound unbelievable to many, but I don’t “decide” to write cross-culturally or any other way. When I start to write a story I usually have only a fragment of something in my mind—a scene, a character, a scrap of conversation. But as soon as my fingers touch the keyboard I’ll hear a voice saying the words I type, and that voice determines everything that follows. As I listen, the story becomes clearer to me and as long as I don’t start sticking in my own words I have to trust that the story is going where it’s meant to go.

I feel very lucky that many of the voices happen to have come from Black characters. I always love listening to and learning from vernacular speech—Yiddish, Pennsylvania-Dutch, Appalachian, Urban Black. Before the Dictionary of American English went on line, I saved and scrimped to buy all six volumes for my own bookshelves. I could spend hours every day browsing in DARE and thoroughly enjoying myself.

I know many people think no one should write outside their own culture. But I think I have the right to write any way I want about anything I want. After I’ve written it, if I didn’t get the voice “right” people are free to say so and explain what is lacking or wrong.

I have had to do very little research for the three “cross-cultural” picture books I’ve written for Lee & Low, because the books’ narrators are talking about their experiences as little girls who just happen to be African American, experiences they might just as easily have had if they were Asian or Caucasian or . Of course, they will have had experiences peculiar to children of their race, but they are not speaking of those. If they had been, I would have had much more research to do.

3. What advice do you have for other authors who are writing stories cross-culturally?

I have no advice about writing cross-culturally that differs from what I’d advise about any sort of writing. No matter the subject, approach your writing honestly and humbly. Treat your characters with respect. When adverse criticism comes (as it will, no matter who you are or how well you write) try to evaluate it honestly. If it’s worthwhile, learn from it, and if it isn’t, disregard it.sunday shopping spread 1

We are limited by our experiences and we tend to judge everything from our own point of view. We learn by allowing ourselves, and being allowed, to see through the eyes of people unlike us. Reading can expand our worldview by introducing us to those we are unlikely to meet, even sometimes to those we wouldn’t want to meet.

4. Many people feel that libraries are becoming obsolete, given the Internet and the wealth of information that exists now. As someone who has seen publishing evolve over the years, what is your opinion on the relevance of libraries in the “age of information”?

I’m an optimist. Movies didn’t replace books, and television hasn’t replaced books, and I don’t think the Internet will replace books either. Kindles have their place, but it’s still more satisfying to close the cover of a book than to push a button that returns you to a black screen. And besides the enjoyment of books, especially picture books, that you can touch and hold, I don’t think we can overestimate the value of being able to wander through a library when you are researching a subject. If you confine yourself to a Google search, you may be offered a plenitude of sources, but the order in which they are presented will necessarily influence your choice of what to read. What you write then may be solid and factual, but it won’t be nearly as interesting or original as it would have been if your eye had been caught by that odd little volume with the faded purple color on the bottom shelf of the 590’s.

Sally Derby is the author of books for children including the popular NO MUSH TODAY and MY STEPS, published by Lee & Low. Her books are notable for their heartfelt family stories told from a spot-on childlike point of view. The mother of six grown children, she lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband.

shadra strickland Shadra Strickland, illustrator

1. What was your process for creating the unique and playful art in Sunday Shopping?

The art was made in many stages. The vignettes of Evie and Grandma in the bedroom were done in watercolor and gouache. I made line drawings of the imaginary scenes and scanned those in along with separate acrylic paintings of Evie and Grandma along with hand painted textures.sunday shopping 3

  1. Do you have a similar childhood experience to Evie, who pretends to go shopping with her grandma every Sunday?

I do! When I was little, I would ride the bus to my grandmother’s house after school while my mom was still teaching during the day. After my grandmother would finish her “stories” on television, most days I’d watch cartoons, but sometimes the JCPenny or Macy’s Wish Book would come in and we would spend hours looking through to pick out the things we wanted to buy. Often times, I would cut out the items I wanted to do my own shopping just like Evie. My grandmother is well into her 80s now and collects all of my books. When I shared Sunday Shopping with her, she gave a big laugh out loud and said, “This is you and me, aint it?”. It was the best validation I could ever get.

  1. You use a wide variety of media in your illustrations that vary from book to book. Do you have a favorite medium to work with? How did you decide which media to use for Sunday Shopping?

I love working in watercolor and gouache mostly, but when I read a manuscript, I usually have very strong visions of what it should look and feel like. Most stories have a strong visual element that is carried throughout. For Bird, it was his line drawings and MArcus’s hat. I knew from the start that Sunday Shopping would be driven by collage, but when I sat down to try and make collages, I failed miserably. It wasn’t until I found a youtube video of Michael Jackson and Roberta Flack singing “Free to be You and Me” that the idea of cut outs and digital collage came to the surface.

  1. Children are often encouraged to seek fields to go into other than art and other creative fields. How would you encourage a child who wants to become an artist or a writer?

I would give them opportunities to create. My mom made sure I always had lots of paper and pencils around and she would pose for me when I asked to draw her. Once she noticed how captivated I was with drawing, she gave me full reign to do so. She introduced me to the art teacher at the high school where she worked, bought me lots of how-to books on how to draw, and enrolled me in art classes at one of our local community art centers. I never will forget taking a portraiture class at Callenwolde Art Center when I was around 11. I was the youngest artist there in a room full of grown ups. It completely changed my life. It was my first time having a real professional teach me how to draw.sunday shopping spread 2

  1. What were your favorite picture books as a child, and what are a few of your favorite picture books as an adult?

I read a lot of instructional books as a kid. Things like, “Where Does Rain Come From?”, and he like. I remember being completely enchanted by “The Snowy Day”. A little later on when Reading Rainbow was popular, I fell in love with “Just Us Women” by Pat Cummings. Now, as an avid pupil of picturebooks, it is hard to say which ones are my favorites. I do still love “Bird”. Everything about that book came together so perfectly. I also, love looking through all of Mirislov Sasek’s “This is…” books. What an amazing life! To be able to travel and draw and share that work with readers for years to come…amazing.

  1. Lee & Low Books has the New Voices Award to create opportunities for new writers of color. What would be a good way to create more opportunities for illustrators of color and illustrators from other underrepresented groups?

That’s a tough question. Though competitions are wonderful ways for I also think that inspiring and encouraging kids to tell their own stories is a great way to get them started on a long road to storytelling. As artists and writers of color, I believe that we must be examples for future writers and artists. School visits is still a great vehicle for this.

Being active in our communities is also important ways to motivate, and teach through example. Recently I volunteered to bring the Ezra Jack Keats Bookmaking Competition to Baltimore City this fall. My hope is that it will help connect multiple community organizations committed to literacy and the arts and inspire young writers and artists to take their work seriously at a young age so that they will continue to develop and pursue their talents as they get older. The winners will receive cash prizes and have their work displayed across city libraries in the summer.

I think that exposing people to what we do as artists and authors is the best way to help keep them inspired. I also believe that now with technology becoming more and more accessible to everyone, it has become much easier for artists and authors to get their stories out into the world.

Shadra Strickland is the illustrator of several children’s books including Lee & Low’s BIRD, winner of the Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award and the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent in Illustration. Along with illustrating and writing stories, Strickland loves to make drawings during her travels around the country and the world. She lives in Baltimore, where she also teaches illustration at Maryland Institute College of Art. Her website isjumpin.shadrastrickland.com.

Purchase a copy of Sunday Shopping here.

1 Comments on Shadra Strickland and Sally Derby Discuss Their New Book, Diversity in Publishing, and More, last added: 10/7/2015
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16. Don’t panic: it’s October

t the conclusion of the mid-September meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the Federal Reserve announced its decision to leave its target interest rate unchanged through the end of this month. Although some pundits had predicted that the Fed might use the occasion of August’s decline in the unemployment rate (to 5.1 percent from 5.3 percent in July), to begin its long-awaited monetary policy tightening, those forecasts left out one crucial fact.

The post Don’t panic: it’s October appeared first on OUPblog.

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17. Gwelf Travel Update - The Teasel Leaf Tavern

via Mythwood - The Art of Larry MacDougall http://ift.tt/1OlI91r

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18. Welcome to the monthly installment of #IWSG

Welcome to the monthly installment of the Insecure Writer's Support Group - #IWSG! Can you hardly believe it's October already! The year is flying by and I wish it would slow down a bit!

The awesome co-hosts for the the October 7 
posting of the IWSG are:

TB Markinson

Tamara Narayan

Shannon Lawrence

Stephanie Faris

Eva E. Solar! 

Be sure to stop by and visit with them!

For a full listing of #IWSG participants, visit here.

I've been thinking about the word courage and what it means and what it takes to invoke it in one's life. 



the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face 
difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear;bravery.
Becoming an author takes an immense amount of courage. It's one thing to write our stories, it's a whole other thing to share our writing with our critique groups and eventually to an editor, agent or publisher. 

To me it's like releasing my children to school for the first time. It's heart wrenching watching our children go off on their own for the first time. Our writing is much like our "babies" being released into the world. Self doubt often creeps in, but don't let it wash away your courage. 

For without courage, your words will never be published. 

Wishing you much courage and success on the roller coaster ride of publishing! 

Don't go yet... Take a gander at the new book trailer for my latest children's book... 

Dee and Deb Off They Go Kindergarten First Day Jitters

Coming December 2015!!

Pre-order at www.donnamcdine.com

Wishing you a grand day!


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

Ignite curiosity in your child through reading!

Connect with

A Sandy Grave ~ January 2014 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2014 Purple Dragonfly 1st Place Picture Books 6+, Story Monster Approved, Beach Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Powder Monkey ~ May 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2015 Purple Dragonfly Book Award Historical Fiction 1st Place, Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Hockey Agony ~ January 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2015 Purple Dragonfly Book Award Honorable Mention Picture Books 6+, New England Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

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

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19. Eye Candy for Today: Botticelli idealized portrait

via Lines and Colors :: a blog about drawing, painting, illustration, comics, concept art and other visual arts http://ift.tt/1VsDJKq

Idealized Portrait of a Lady (Portrait of Simonetta Vespucci as Nymph), Sandro Botticelli Tempera on wood panel, 32×21 in (82×54 cm) Link is to zoomable version on Google Art Project; downloadable file on Wikimedia Commons; original is in the Städel Museum, Frankfurt. There is also an article devoted to the painting on Wikipedia. This exquisite […]

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20. Leonard Marcus – Children’s Literature Interview

I met Leonard Marcus three years ago, shortly after arriving in New York. An author/illustrator friend who gives wonderful kid lit parties in her small New York apartment was gracious enough to invite me to one. Thoroughly new to writing … Continue reading

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21. Orbiting Jupiter

Orbiting Jupiter. Gary D. Schmidt. 2015. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 160 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Orbiting Jupiter is a great book: an emotional, compelling, coming-of-age story with an incredible focus on friendship and family and what it means to love someone.

Jack is the narrator of the book, and I absolutely loved, loved, loved him. I loved him from the start. Here's how the book opens: with Jack and his parents getting ready to welcome a very troubled boy into their home. Joseph, Jack's new foster brother, isn't like other eighth graders. He has a daughter he's never been allowed to see. He has a history of violence. And because of the institutions he's been in, he can freak out and overreact a bit. But Jack's family, well, they are good, solid, dependable, patient, heart-wide-open people ready to love and accept. From the day he walks into their home, they see him as family. And there's nothing Jack won't do to help his brother--sometimes that means giving him plenty of space, and not pushing him to talk, sometimes that means reassuring him that he's there for him, that he has his back, that he is not alone anymore.

But not everyone in the community is ready to welcome Joseph. In particular, some of the people at schools--some who should know better, others who probably don't--are not ready for Joseph. Some are openly hostile and just MEAN. Others treat him not as another human being, but, as a spectacle, a freak. But several teachers see through Joseph's past and come to really LOVE him and see that he's more than the choices he's made, that, he is in fact, really smart and capable of good. I both loved and hated the school scenes. There were a few times I was just so angry--like Jack--in Joseph's defense. And there were a few scenes I just found sweet.

Joseph's story slowly but surely unfolds, and, it is intense. I couldn't help liking Joseph and just caring for him and wanting the best for him.

Orbiting Jupiter is a bittersweet coming-of-age story that worked for me for the most part. But oh how I wish I could rewrite the ending! Not because this one doesn't feel good-enough or that it feels completely out-of-place, but, because it's just so achingly bittersweet.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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22. Picture Book Roundup - October 2015 edition

This edition of the Picture Book Roundup features three funny books, a hilarious cautionary tale, and a sweet bookish story to melt your heart. Enjoy!

Review copies of Night Animals by Gianna Marino (Viking, 2015) and In! Over! and On! by Ethan Long (Penguin, 2015) were provided by the publishers at my request. The Good Little Book by Kyo Maclear (Tundra, 2015), Everyone Loves Bacon by Kelly DiPucchio (Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 2015), and Ragweed's Farm Dog Handbook by Anne Vittur Kennedy (Candlewick, 2015)

If you can't access the slide show with reviews below, you can see it on RiffleBooks at this link. [https://read.rifflebooks.com/list/185319]

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23. Nominate Your Favorite Children’s Books of 2015 for State Awards


Author Kate Messner recently shared this on Facebook. I thought it might interest readers here.

What 2015 books did you love to pieces? Have you suggested them for your state’s children’s choice awards? These state lists make a huge difference for authors.

Click through to find out how to nominate books in your state:

Ohio’s Buckeye Award (students)

Pacific Northwest Young Readers Medal (children, teachers, parents, & librarians)

Hawaii’s Nene Award (teachers & librarians)

Maine Student Book Award (teachers & librarians)

Florida’s Sunshine State Young Readers Medal (teachers & librarians)

California Young Readers Medal (kids, parents, teachers, and librarians)

Grand Canyon Reader Award (students, teachers, & librarians in Arizona)

Colorado Children’s Book Award (teachers send students’ nominations!)

Georgia Children’s Book Award (teachers, kids, librarians, and parents)

Rebecca Caudill Young Readers Book Award (must be registered to nominate)

Kentucky Bluegrass Award (any adult, with Kentucky teachers and librarians especially encouraged)

New Hampshire Great Stone Face Award (teachers, librarians, students)

New Mexico’s Land of Enchantment Book Award (librarians and teachers)

North Carolina Children’s Book Award (kids only!)

Oregon Readers Choice Award (students, teachers, and librarians)

Texas Bluebonnet Award (students, teachers, parents, librarians)

Vermont’s Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award (nominations from teachers and librarians; nominations from students)

Virginia Readers’ Choice (teachers, students, and librarians)

This list is by no means exhaustive. If you know about other state award requirements, please share them in the comments section below.

The post Nominate Your Favorite Children’s Books of 2015 for State Awards appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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24. E.H. Shepard's WWI Illustrations

via Gurney Journey http://ift.tt/1O8cw9Y

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25. Using Fair Assumptions in Nonfiction

Nonfiction is the truth, facts, and nothing but the facts. Right?  So, is there ever room for conjecture if it is based on those very facts? This question inevitably comes up during a writing workshop, and it is hard to explain, but yes, you can make certain assumptions if the facts support it.

I first heard the term "fair assumptions" during a talk given by Susan Campbell Bartoletti and Elizabeth Partridge.  The example given involved a scene in which a gas lamp hissed. "How do you know the gas lamp hissed?" a student asked. Elizabeth explained that the details of that scene were taken from a photograph that showed a gas lamp hanging in the background. Elizabeth had used that kind of gas lamp and she'd heard it hiss. She made a fair assumption that all gas lamps hiss therefore the lamp in the photo hissed and the people in the photo would have heard it, even though nowhere in any written historic document had anyone mentioned the noise the gas lamp made. 

Last week I mentioned Erik Larson's book Isaac's Storm, and he, too, makes a few fair assumptions which he notes in the back matter. Some are based on photographs. With a magnifying glass Larson picked out specific items like a hat, clothing, etc,strewn in the debris that Isaac would probably have seen although he never wrote about them in any letter or journal.

Another refers to his description of Isaac's family going to either the Murdoch's bath house or  the Pagoda bath house on Sunday.  Larson admits that he found no documentation proving this, but asserts that the close proximity, and the "communal character of the time -- and the absence of television -- it is all but certain that the Clines did so."

Another example is Larson's assumption that venomous snakes competed with people for space in trees to escape the flood and bit people who then may have fallen and drowned. No one knows if this really happened in Galveston, but the phenomenon has been reported elsewhere. Snakes most certainly would have crawled to higher ground, but would they have bitten their competitors? I know I would out of fear and survival instincts. 

The most understandable assumption involves dreams.  As Larson says, "I base this observation on human nature. What survivor of a tragedy has never dreamed that the outcome had been different."

Would you make the same assumptions?  Every writer is different. 

Before you include a fair assumption in your own text ask yourself: Does it change the story? Does it change the reader's perception of the event? If so, don't do it. 

This tool should also be used judiciously.  In Larson's 300 page book, which includes 15 pages of notes, I found only 7 instances where he had to explain his use of fair assumption.  

And like Larson, explain your reasoning in the back matter. Don't let your reader assume you made anything up.

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