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<<July 2016>>
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1. Short Story Competition 2016


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2. SISTERS OF SALT AND IRON by Kady Cross \\ Looking For A Good Scare?

Review by Krista... SISTERS OF SALT AND IRON By Kady Cross Series: The Sisters of Blood and Spirit #2 Hardcover: 352 pages Publisher: Harlequin Teen Language: English Goodreads | Amazon Lark Noble is finally happy. She’s trying to move on and put the events of the past behind her: the people who avoided her because she talked to the ghost of her dead twin sister, the parents who

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4. Final frontier

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5. Jazz Day

Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph by Roxanne Orgill illustrated by Francis Vallejo Candlewick, 2016 Grades 2-6 In 1958, fifty-seven jazz musicians gathered on a street in Harlem to pose for a photo for Esquire. The photo entitled "A Great Day in Harlem" became an iconic image from the 20th century, and the story behind the photograph is amazing. In this extended picture book, Roxanne

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6. Reading Re-Cap - Peter Geye at Nicola's Books in Ann Arbor

Went to see Peter Geye read at Nicola's Books in Ann Arbor last night and it turned PG - Winteringinto a fairly cozy reading. That is, summer in Ann Arbor might not always be the best time for readings, especially right around Art Fair as people are running around, busy, worn out, etc. After those of us that were there for the reading spread ourselves our rather widely in the available seating, the moderator of the event suggested maybe we sit around their (UNLIT) fireplace--couple of couches, some comfy chairs, etc., and so we did.

Peter read the first chapter and then opened things up for questions and as he knew 71.4% of the listeners, I think maybe it opened up for some different types of questions than from a completely cold audience. He had a former student in the crowd, somebody with which he had shared a panel at Voices of the Midwest, another novelist, etc. He also had people that had read all three of his novels and knew of the association between the new one, Wintering, and the last before that, The Lighthouse Road, and those who had yet to read any of them. 

So one or two of the questions were a bit more personal than you might usually see, and at the same time, Peter was doing his best not to release anything that might spoil the reading of Wintering for those that had not yet done. What it was though was enjoyable. The novel is fantastic, Peter's a nice guy who gave very long, thoughtful answers--a couple of the questions were in similar veins to those that he's been asked, but different enough that he had to think a bit about how exactly to answer them. Had it been snowy and cold out and that fireplace lit up might have been a bit more appropriate for this particular author/novel combination, but it was still a very good way to spend a portion of my evening.

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7. स्वच्छता अभियान और मेरे मन की बात

क्लिक करिए और सुनिए स्वच्छता अभियान पर  4 मिनट और 35 सैकिंड की ऑडियो… मेरा अनुभव स्वच्छता अभियान और मेरे मन की बात बात स्वच्छता अभियान के दौरान की है. जब गांव गांव जाकर लोगों को जागरुक किया जा रहा था.लोगो को समझाया जा रहा था कि  खुले मे शौच नही जाओ आसान नही था […]

The post स्वच्छता अभियान और मेरे मन की बात appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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8. Bridging Stories and Communities: The Harlem Book Fair

summer internPia Ceres is LEE & LOW’s summer intern. She is a recipient of the We Need Diverse Books Internship Program grant. She’s a rising senior at Brown University, where she studies Education & Comparative Literature, with a focus in French literature. When she’s not reading, you can find her watching classic horror movies from under a blanket, strumming pop songs on her ukulele, and listening to her grandparents’ stories about the Philippines. In this blog post, she talks about her first book fair with LEE & LOW BOOKS.

By morning, a sticky summer swelter had set in, but the anticipation was unmistakable, electric in the air. They would be coming soon. Across two blocks, along 135th Street and Malcolm X Boulevard, booksellers, authors, and representatives from nonprofits fussed with tents and paraphernalia. Somewhere I couldn’t see, a live jazz band began to practice; its strident trumpet blared the beginning of a celebration. In moments, the hot asphalt would be teeming with families and lovers of literature from around the country gathering for the Harlem Book Fair.

The Harlem Book Fair is the largest African-American book fair in the country. With the aim of celebrating literacy within the Black community, the fair, held annually, offers a full day of presentations and rows of exhibition booths. Although it kicked off its 18th successful year last Saturday, this was my very first time participating in a book fair. Helping Keilin and Jalissa represent LEE & LOW and sell some of our books, I was open to every possibility.

The challenge came early on: Someone asked me to find a book for her niece, then added, “She hates reading.” Yikes. Sounds like a tall order, but not surprising. Most of the educators and families who stopped by our booth were concerned that their kids didn’t see themselves in the books assigned at school. It reminded me of when I was a kid and had to read about primarily white boys and the wilderness or dogs or something. For this woman, I suggested The Hula-Hoopin’ Queen. Maybe, I hoped, this would be the book that would start to change things.

At a book fair, one sees firsthand that books, particularly children’s books, are a meaningful part of relationships – an aunt wishing her niece a story that reflects her. I spoke with a dad who wanted an exciting bedtime story; a soon-to-be teacher, eager to fill her first classroom with books as diverse as her students; a mom who wanted to share her native language, and her young daughter who wanted to read it. As I listened to people’s requests, the book fair revealed a striking truth: For a lot of folks, books are expressions of love.harlem book fair

Of course, the day ended with a sudden and cinematic downpour, with jabs of wind that caused our white tent to take to the air like a storm-battered sail and had Keilin, Jalissa, and I drenched, scrambling to protect the books! Because if any day reminded us that books are precious, it was this one.

If books bridge worlds, then book fairs are a space for bridging those connections. The Harlem Book Fair allows diverse stories to come into people’s hands and helps create a world-full of readers – reflected, interconnected, loving and loved.


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9. Coloring Page Tuesdays - Reading Bench

     It's time for summer reading. Read, read, read everywhere you go. It's a contagious act.
     CLICK HERE for more coloring pages!
     CLICK HERE to sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and... Please check out my books! Especially...
my debut novel, A BIRD ON WATER STREET - winner of six literary awards. Click the cover to learn more!
     When the birds return to Water Street, will anyone be left to hear them sing? A miner's strike allows green and growing things to return to the Red Hills, but that same strike may force residents to seek new homes and livelihoods elsewhere. Follow the story of Jack Hicks as he struggles to hold onto everything he loves most.
     I create my coloring pages for teachers, librarians, booksellers, and parents to enjoy for free with their children, but you can also purchase rights to an image for commercial use, please contact me. If you have questions about usage, please visit my Angel Policy page.

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10. The Hotel Mystery

The Hotel Mystery. (Whodunit Detective Agency #2) Martin Widmark. Illustrated by Helena Willis. 2002/2014. 80 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Every year, on the day before Christmas Eve, nearly everyone in the little town of Pleasant Valley does the same thing: They all head to the holiday buffet at the town's hotel, where they find turkey, ham, roasted carrots, and mashed potatoes and gravy, all served on big platters in the beautiful dining room.

Premise/plot: Jerry and Maya are friends and classmates who formed the Whodunit Detective Agency. Over Christmas vacation, these two are working at the town's hotel. (Jerry's uncle works there.) The hotel is in great excitement because the hotel's best and most expensive suite has been rented out to a family, the Braeburn family. Making the new guests HAPPY is to be their top priority. But their stay is not uneventful, and before the book ends, Jerry and Maya will need to solve a crime.

My thoughts: This is the second book in the Whodunit Detective Agency series. It is an early chapter book with a lot of colorful illustrations. These mysteries are simple and straightforward. The characters aren't exactly complex and intriguing. But. I think for the intended age group, these mysteries are fine reading material.

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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11. National marketing in a global market

Marketing as a business function has swept the world. It is the fastest growing global business activity. It has infiltrated all aspects of life, not just the economic - but also the political, social and personal.

The post National marketing in a global market appeared first on OUPblog.

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12. What's On Your Nightstand (July)

The folks at 5 Minutes For Books host What’s On Your Nightstand? the fourth Tuesday of each month in which we can share about the books we have been reading and/or plan to read.

Currently reading:

Johnny Cash: The Life. Robert Hilburn. 2014. Little, Brown. 688 pages. [Source: Library]

Why the sudden interest in Johnny Cash? I have no idea really except perhaps my discovery of "Music on Murder Row," and the question what IS country music? I am finding this a very interesting read.

Testament of Youth. Vera Brittain. 1933/2015. Penguin. 672 pages. [Source: Library]

I've been wanting to read this since watching the movie. It's good, but, the chapters are LONG. 

Golf Without Tears: Stories of Golfers and Lovers. P.G. Wodehouse. 1999. 320 pages. [Source: Library]

I am reading this for the VT Reading Challenge (aka Challies) for the "sports" category. For the record, I don't like golf....but I do love Wodehouse. So it is working for me.

Man in White. Johnny Cash. 1986/2006. WestBow. 194 pages. [Source: Library]

I haven't gotten very far in this one. But it's a fiction novel about the Apostle Paul...and I'm interested in reading it in the weeks ahead.

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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13. 14 Minecraft Books for Kids

**some of these links are affiliate links
minecraft booklist

Last week we had some much fun digging into the Minecraft Lab book from John Miller and Chris Scott. So much so, I decided to roundup a Minecraft booklist just for the Minecraft fans in your life! Here are 14 Minecraft Books for Kids to inspire reading and creativity.

Minecraft: The Complete Handbook Collection by Stephanie Milton and Paul Soares Jr.

Minecraft books
Minecraft: Ultimate Handbook, Master Minecraft Secrets by Kwick Reads

minecraft books
Diary of a Minecraft Zombie by Zack Zombie (multiple books)

minecraft books
Ultimate Minecraft Secrets: An Unofficial Guide to Minecraft Tips, Tricks, and Hints You May Not Know by Zack Zombie Books

minecraft books
Minecraft Creative Handbook by Steve Builder

minecraft books
Amazing Minecraft Activity Book by Gameplay Publishing

Minecraft: The Ultimate Survival Handbook by William Herobrine

minecraft books
Ultimate Book of Traps by Minecraft Books

minecraft books
Minecraft Book of Mysteries by Minecraft Library

minecraft books
Minecraft: Kids Stories by Minecraft Books

minecraft books
Diary of a Steve Trapped in Minecraft by Minecraft Books

minecraft books
Minecraft Short Stories by Minecraft Books

Diary of a Minecraft Creeper by Minecraft Books

minecraft books

Diary of a Wimpy Minecraft Herobrine by Minecraft Books

minecraft books

See any “must-haves” in this booklist? Happy Reading!

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Breaking News! Proof that Dragons are indeed REAL!

My newest book, Dragons are Real is available and the excitement is almost blowing the roof off at Jump Into a Book/Audrey Press headquarters!
Dragons are real
SO…what if I told you that all of the fairy tales, myths and legends that have been told about dragons over the years are WRONG. What if I told you that Dragons are indeed Real and that they are different than you’ve ever imagined?
This fairly true story is based on the author’s childhood friendship with a REAL live Dragon; a very special Dragon that she and her brother spent two magical summers with.

As readers turn the pages and learn the truth about Dragons, they will see that the fiercest beasts in known history can actually be the best of friends. It’s a lesson in finding companionship in the most unusual of places. Dragons are Real is a magical book filled with stunning illustrations and hints that dragon are indeed all around us :)

Dragons are Real is now available for purchase on both Amazon and Gumroad! We are also offering a special free bonus gift of a Dragons Are Real Inspiration Activity Guide when you purchase your copy of this enchanting picture book.

The post 14 Minecraft Books for Kids appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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14. When did the Granite State get its name? TV Interview Part 5

Excerpt # 5 of my interview with Kevin Avard on "Gate City Chronicles". Here I talk about the song in which New Hampshire was first called "The Granite State".

To read all the lyrics of the song click here.

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15. Goats!

I've been continuing to struggle with the same work/life balance issue ever since I returned home from Indiana two months ago: how do I find any time at all for my early morning writing and walking while living with a beloved little girl who tends to wake up VERY VERY EARLY - while one of her parents has left for work well before dawn and the other is zonked out exhausted after a night of sleep interrupted from bouts of nursing? 

I still have no good solution except to note that the earlier I get up, the better the day goes. Plus, sometimes willful toddlers don't get their own way and have a good ol' tantrum about it, and that's okay. And sometimes, I learned recently, I don't get my own way - and the results can quite wonderful.

The other day Kataleya got up just as I was about to leave at 5:30 a.m. for my cherished hour-long walk with poor little Tanky the dog who lives for our outings. (In houses with new babies, older siblings aren't the only ones temporarily dethroned). But there Kat was, doing what she always does whenever I prepare to leave the house: running to get her shoes, as if they were some magical talisman to ensure that she can come, too. "Shoes on! Shoes on!" she wailed inconsolably. 

Oh, well. Often I come up with some excuse she will accept: Mimsie has to go to work, Mimsie has to go to that mysterious thing called "a meeting." This time, I sighed, loaded child and dog into the car, and drove down to Viele Lake. Because this time, I had something splendid to share with her: goats!!!

The city of Boulder has decided to control noxious weeds on public lands not with environmentally toxic herbicides but with a traveling herd of goats accompanied by a guard llama. They are currently down by the lake in the park where I walk, behind an electric fence just a foot or so away from the yellow-net fence beside the path for cyclists, pedestrians, and their companion animals,

What a magical half hour the three of us had, in that crisp, cool dawn air, so close to two dozen goats that we could practically reach out to touch them.

I didn't get a proper walk that day.  I missed getting it desperately. Those of us with Fitbits hate sacrificing any chance for steps!! But I shared sweet companionship with an enthralled toddler. (And don't you love the purse?)

Before she became an acclaimed novelist, Elizabeth Berg was a frequenter contributor of personal essays to the women's magazines I love to read. I still remember one from decades ago. She wrote about attending an elementary school music program and looking at her watch to make sure she wouldn't be trapped there for too long. Then she had a revelation: if she didn't have time to hear little children playing Mozart, what more important thing did she have time for? Her answer: nothing.

Ditto for spending the first, best hour of the day with a two-year-old and a flock of hungry goats.

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16. Return to the Journey

This fall Aaron Becker and Candlewick Press will deliver the conclusion to the gorgeous Journey trilogy.

Remember Journey? It begins with a young girl sitting outside a house with rooms full of people: a sister playing with a tablet, a multitasking mother on the phone and cooking dinner, and a father at work in his office. Though family is home, the girl feels alone.
Can I have a bite?
What are you working on?
Can I have a turn?
Alone in her room, when even her cat abandons her, she discovers a red crayon. And draws a door. An escape. Thus begins the journey.

When we meet the girl again she has with her the friends she made on her journey. In Quest the friends set out to collect the crayons needed to free a captive king. He provides them with a map and clues, the rest is up to the friends' imaginations.
Color, action, danger and quick thinking! Gratitude, magic, perseverance and wonder.

Return opens with the same busy father, and the same girl. This time when she returns to her magic world, her father follows! Readers with a sharp eye will enjoy spotting connections to the first two installments.

Books with no words can say so much to us. Perhaps they can say more than books full of words.
What I perceive and what you notice can be wonderfully different.
Beyond enjoying this book alone, consider delving in with one or many children. Writing teachers will see worlds of possibility between the pages. I know I do.

Pre-order Return, or order any of Becker's other books-signed(!) here.
And be sure to enter below for a chance to win the first two books in the trilogy, Journey and Quest!
Thank you to Candlewick press!
Contest closes Tuesday, August 2nd.

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17. हमारी आवश्यकता – बिजली और फोन

हमारी आवश्यकता – बिजली और फोन देखो आसमां में खिलकर सूरज निकल रहा है, देश का परचम अब ऊँचा उड़ रहा है ! वर्षो का अँधेरा रोशन हो रहा है,. गरीब की रसोई से धुआं हट रहा है ! मेरा देश, मेरा देश, मेरा देश…. मेरा देश बदल रहा है…आगे बढ़ रहा है… अचानक मुझे […]

The post हमारी आवश्यकता – बिजली और फोन appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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18. The Biggest Little Brother - A picture book for siblings!

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19. oh, the places I'll go

Last evening, between storm surges and convention watching, Bill and I finished filming the sixth video in our memoir series (see our introductory video here). We put the finishing touches on the packet we're about to send to the first dozen writers (we love them all already) who will be joining us for our five-day workshop on the old farm in September. We looked, again, ahead.

Here's where I'll be (when not in this house reading and writing memoir) over the next few months:

On August 4th, I'll be at the Stone Harbor Yacht Club in Stone Harbor, NJ, sharing my Jersey Shore novel, This Is the Story of You and reading some of the Jersey Shore pieces I've written over time (a chapter in Small Damages, a chapter in Love: A Philadelphia Affair). We'll also have some memoir writing fun. The event begins at 3:30.

On September 4, I'll be in Decatur, GA, for that most amazing AJC Decatur Book Festival, sharing a panel with young adult writers Alexandra Sirowy and Ami Allen-Vath.

On September 11, I'll be on a farm with the incredible memoirists who have said yes to the inaugural Juncture Workshop series

On October 15, I'll be joining fiction writers Angela Flournoy and Toni Jensen, poets Robin Coste Lewis and Chloe Honum, YA fantasy writer Brenna Yovanoff, mystery writer Will Thomas, and romance author Sherry Thomas at the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma for the Nimrod Conference Readers and Writers.

On November 1, I'll be in Cape May, NJ, for the second Juncture Workshop.

On November 8, I'll be conducting training for the T/E School District.

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20. Lafayette's Imprisionment

Lafayette's Imprisonment

“Joss and I hope to glimpse him on the road tomorrow,” said Father. “After all, it is not often we meet someone who has sacrificed so much for his belief in liberty.”
Elder Putney nodded. “Yes, after helping us gain our freedom from England, the poor man did his best to put France on the path to liberty, too. Instead, he ended up imprisoned for more than five years. And his wife and two daughters chose to suffer through that with him. They stayed at his side in a dungeon cell for a couple of those years.” - A Buss from Lafayette © 2016 by Dorothea Jensen

My Bublish discussion of this excerpt:  Lafayette returned to France after the American Revolution hoping he could help secure some "liberty" for his own country. Unfortunately, the goal he chose was a middle path: a limited constitutional monarchy similar to that of England. Because of this, he was hated by not only those who wanted no change (to keep the absolute monarchy intact) and also by those who wanted total change (to get rid of the monarchy altogether). Of course it was all much more complicated than this simple statement, but it could be said that this was essentially the reason he ended up in a dungeon cell.
To learn more about Lafayette's imprisonment, visit the Lafayette College webpage about it, here.

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21. Notable Women: Author Linda Sue Park

Is summer flying by or WHAT?! Goodness, before we know it we will be reading about “first day of school” booklists!

I’ve been having so much fun with my Notable Women series these last few weeks. I kicked things off American Revolution hero Sybil Ludington, then moved on to favorite author Pam Muñoz Ryan. This week I want to focus on the wonderful works of author Linda Sue Park.

Linda Sue Park

Linda Sue Park is the author of the Newbery Medal book A Single Shard, many other novels, several picture books, and most recently a book of poetry: Tap Dancing on the Roof: Sijo (Poems). She lives in Rochester, New York, with her family, and is now a devoted fan of the New York Mets. For more infromation visit www.lspark.com

Here are a few of my favorite Linda Sue Park books for kids:

A Long Walk To Water

A Long Walk to Water

The New York Times bestseller A Long Walk to Water begins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about two eleven-year-olds in Sudan, a girl in 2008 and a boy in 1985. The girl, Nya, is fetching water from a pond that is two hours’ walk from her home: she makes two trips to the pond every day. The boy, Salva, becomes one of the “lost boys” of Sudan, refugees who cover the African continent on foot as they search for their families and for a safe place to stay. Enduring every hardship from loneliness to attack by armed rebels to contact with killer lions and crocodiles, Salva is a survivor, and his story goes on to intersect with Nya’s in an astonishing and moving way.

A Single Shard

A Single Shard

In this Newbery Medal-winning book set in 12th century Korea, Tree-ear, a 13-year-old orphan, lives under a bridge in Ch’ulp’o, a potters’ village famed for delicate celadon ware. He has become fascinated with the potter’s craft; he wants nothing more than to watch master potter Min at work, and he dreams of making a pot of his own someday. When Min takes Tree-ear on as his helper, Tree-ear is elated — until he finds obstacles in his path: the backbreaking labor of digging and hauling clay, Min’s irascible temper, and his own ignorance. But Tree-ear is determined to prove himself — even if it means taking a long, solitary journey on foot to present Min’s work in the hope of a royal commission . . . even if it means arriving at the royal court with nothing to show but a single celadon shard.

When My Name was Keoko

Linda Sue park

Sun-hee and her older brother, Tae-yul, live in Korea with their parents. Because Korea is under Japanese occupation, the children study Japanese and speak it at school. Their own language, their flag, the folktales Uncle tells them—even their names—are all part of the Korean culture that is now forbidden. When World War II comes to Korea, Sun-hee is surprised that the Japanese expect their Korean subjects to fight on their side. But the greatest shock of all comes when Tae-yul enlists in the Japanese army in an attempt to protect Uncle, who is suspected of aiding the Korean resistance. Sun-hee stays behind, entrusted with the life-and-death secrets of a family at war.

The Kite Fighters

Linda Sue park

In a riveting narrative set in fifteenth-century Korea, two brothers discover a shared passion for kites. Kee-sup can craft a kite unequaled in strength and beauty, but his younger brother, Young-sup, can fly a kite as if he controlled the wind itself. Their combined skills attract the notice of Korea’s young king, who chooses Young-sup to fly the royal kite in the New Year kite-flying competition–an honor that is also an awesome responsibility. Although tradition decrees, and the boys’ father insists, that the older brother represent the family, both brothers know that this time the family’s honor is best left in Young-sup’s hands. This touching and suspenseful story, filled with the authentic detail and flavor of traditional Korean kite fighting, brings a remarkable setting vividly to life. AUTHOR’S NOTE.

Project Mulberry

Project Mulberry

Julia Song and her friend Patrick want to team up to win a blue ribbon at the state fair, but they can’t agree on the perfect project. Then Julia’s mother suggests they raise silkworms as she did years ago in Korea. The optimistic twosome quickly realizes that raising silkworms is a lot tougher than they thought. And Julia never suspected that she’d be discussing the fate of her and Patrick’s project with Ms. Park, the author of this book!

**some of these links are affiliate links

Something To Do

In honor of the amazing Linda Sue Park book Project Mulberry, here are some fun ways to bring this book to life.
As we stood under our mulberry tree remembering this great story, we decided right then and there that we had to grow our own silkworms. I must admit to you that we are at the beginning of this process and are waiting for our little silkworm eggs to arrive. We promise to keep you updated on our progress.

Would you like to join us in growing silk worms? Just leave a comment below and let us know if you will share this experience with us.

Here’s where you can order the silkworms:

The Carolina Company has a silkworm farm kit.

Silkworm kit

They also offer silkworm eggs and food.

A few weeks ago I saw the most interesting TED talk about what they are now using silk for. It’s amazing and is being used in ways one could not even imagine. It is taking science and technology to a new level. This is a great video for kids probably age 8 and older.

Happy Reading!


Looking for more ways to not only get your youngsters reading, but get them OUTSIDE as well? Enjoy more month-by-month activities based on the classic children’s tale, The Secret Garden! A Year in the Secret Garden is a delightful children’s book with over 120 pages, with 150 original color illustrations and 48 activities for your family and friends to enjoy, learn, discover and play with together.


Grab your copy ASAP and “meet me in the garden!” More details HERE.

A Year in The Secret Garden

The post Notable Women: Author Linda Sue Park appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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22. My tweets

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23. Indigenous Comic Con! November 18 to 20 in Albuquerque

In children's and YA literature, we know that comics and graphic novels are a growth area. We know that there's momentum, too, to provide children and teens with work by Native people and people of color.

With that in mind, I hope that representatives from large and small publishers will head to Albuquerque in November of this year for Indigenous Comic Con. The list of special guests includes people who are very popular in Native circles. That means their work resonates with Native people, which means their work is legit. People within the industry who pay attention know that we love the 1491s! And, Arigon Starr! They are among the special guests for the conference.

Indigenous Comic Con is being organized by Native Realities publishing. People often ask me to recommend a publisher who they can count on for authentic and accurate books about Native peoples. I'm usually hesitant to recommend one because some who publish books that I recommend also publish books that I find problematic. Native Realities is the one exception. So far, I haven't seen anything from them that is problematic.

Lee Francis is a key figure at Native Realities, and a leader in the comic book genre. He, and the work he does, was featured on PBS News Hour in 2015. Here's an excerpt:

Most (all?) publishers tell us they want diverse voices. With this post, I'm looking at publishers and editors who proclaim their interest in Native voices. Indigenous Comic Con is an opportunity to meet Native writers and bring their work into greater visibility. Register (get your tickets). An early-bird three-day pass is $45. Look at all the things you can do while there!

Attend Indigenous Comic Con. Get to know Native people there who are creating terrific comic books, videos, and games.

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24. Her World

"Her World" (ink & watercolor on paper). 7" x 5"

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25. Summer Check In + Writing Links


A long way from home!

Hi everyone! I hope everyone is getting some good R & R in during these warm, flower-filled summer months. In fact, I thought it might be fun to post a check in, to catch up on how everyone’s summer is going.

As some of you know, I’ve been out of the country for the last 3 weeks, visiting Malaysia, Thailand, and Korea. I love travel, and I am sure some of you do too, so here are a few highlights of the trip. These pictures are untouched (sorry Instagramers!)


Yep, I climbed all those stairs!

When we travel to these far-flung locations, we usually go on a group tour, one that really immerses a person in the culture while taking care of the flights, transfers, hotels, and many of the activities, so you can just enjoy, participate, and soak everything in.

We started off in Malaysia, checking out local markets, visiting war memorials, the palace, Muslim temples & Buddhist shrines…and so much more.


The Gibbon babies are orange when born, and slowly turn black. The cuteness!

We also hung out with monkeys and gibbons, saw fireflies, visited a tea plantation, ate some crazy stuff like jellyfish (like eating cartilage…not a repeat!), learned how to shoot darts with a blow gun, and went on a jungle hike to find a rare fungus-flower.

(The hike in the jungle was tough, and I’m pretty sure I got heat stroke–it was incredibly hot out. I also fell off a 5-foot high boulder and bashed up my legs quite bad, but luckily no broken bones.)


The main house

The highlight of Malaysia was a “home stay” visit where we lived with a Muslim family for a few days at the Suka-Suka Lake Retreat, where they owned some lovely property at the edge of the water.

You could swim, fish, kayak, walk the nature trails or hang out in a hammock and read (which I did and it was BLISS).

IMG_2999My oldest son and I did a cooking lesson here and learned how to create some popular Malaysian dishes. Later, we dressed in sarongs and ate dinner in the traditional style: on the floor, using only our right hand. Messy, but fun!

The visit was extra special as we arrived at the end of Ramadan which is also the beginning of the Muslim New Year. So there was much celebrating, fireworks, and socializing, and what a treat to be invited into the locals’ homes and experience another culture’s celebrations first hand.


Railay beach…usually the water is crystal clear, but we’ve come during the rainy season.

In Thailand, we started out at Krabi, just beating out a monsoon that showed up after we left. We traveled to the world-famous Railay Beach, and loved all the rock formations that reminded us so much of Halong Bay in Vietnam.

Ironically, while in the water here I was stung by a jellyfish…I guess it was karma for eating a relative a few nights earlier!


Hubs with one big Buddha!

We also saw a ton of Buddhist temples and ruins, often traveling around on tuk-tuks or by boat.

We stopped to see the famous bridge on the River Kwae and swam in a 7 level waterfall filled with fish (the small ones liked to go after our feet in a “Au natural” fish massage, lol). It was hilarious to see the reaction of our tour mates who have never felt fish nibble at their feet!

One night we stayed on a floating house that was pulled out by tugboat to a private island on a lake. We swam, kayaked and drank Chang beer as the sun went down.


Very tranquil

There were geckos EVERYWHERE too, living on the floating house, chomping down on all the mosquitoes. I’d fall asleep watching them skitter back and forth across the ceiling of the boathouse, chasing their dinner.

At the end of our time in Thailand, we spent a day at an Elephant Rescue Park, one that was truly a rescue, with no riding, no tricks for tourists, just a sanctuary for elephants to roam and live free.


They would nuzzle our pockets, trying to grab the sugarcane we had there, haha!

The elephants there were purchased by the sanctuary’s owners from circuses, tourist riding attractions, and illegal logging camps, saving the elephants from a lifetime of misery and abuse.


This one loved it when I scrubbed his trunk!

We spent the day feeding three young elephants bananas and sugarcane, accompanying them on a walk, and finally bathing them in a river.

It was something I will never forget.

After this, it was time to leave our group and set off for Korea, then home.

IMG_3589We arranged a 10 hour layover, enough time to see a bit of Seoul.

While we didn’t have time to visit the DMZ, we did venture into the city for a bit of site-seeing.

All of us enjoyed the time we spent there and I could see us heading back again for another trip.


Because, Korea!

I tooled around the market too, and found these gems:

We continued our marathon travel back home, (about 38 hours all told). Exhausting.

I came home to roughly 1000 emails, and a nice surprise…more foreign editions from Japan, this time, The Positive and Negative Trait Thesaurus books.

IMG_3600While the covers seem unusual to me, I know they must make perfect sense for that market.

Our Japanese publisher made us two beautiful books–they are just incredibly well laid out in the interior, and you can feel the quality.  I’m really happy with them and hope they are as popular as the Emotion Thesaurus is over there.

WestWordAnd, as if this coolness wasn’t enough, I also came home to The Writers’ Guild of Alberta’s magazine…and a familiar face on the cover. Crazy right?

Inside there’s an interview with me written by phenomenal YA author Janet Gurtler, and what’s so fun is that they used a bunch of my photos from my last big trip (Australia) in the article. Seeing this sort of made my vacation feel like it had come full circle! Such a wonderful homecoming.

So, that’s been my summer so far! What about you? Are you relaxing? Gardening? Traveling? Writing? Reading? Let me know all about it!

I managed to get a few books read during my trip–the second and third book in the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series (so terrific!), and also the mammoth novel Dune (an oldie but a goodie.)

Your turn. Fill me in on your summer plans! 🙂

Oh and before I forget, a few guest posts published while I was out and about. So, if you’ve ever struggled with Describing a Setting in a Place You’ve Never Visited, you’ll want to check out the advice and mother-lode of helpful researching links at Romance University.

Also, if you’re wondering How To Show Readers What Your Character Is Hiding, Be It A Secret or Emotion, I hope you’ll stop by The Romance Times’ Author Portal.

Happy Summer!

Angela 🙂













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