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Results 20,676 - 20,700 of 470,203
20676. Interview with Erin Butler, Author of How We Lived and Giveaway


[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Erin!  Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Erin Butler] Sometimes neurotic but loving author.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about How We Lived?

[Erin Butler] How We Lived is a story about second chances and forgiveness and learning to live again after a death. Oh, and it’s got a great love story too!

[Manga Maniac Cafe]  Can you share your favorite scene?

[Erin Butler] Mother Nature was a bitch. Really. The whole world couldn’t give a crap about me right now. Or Kyle.


The name pinched my chest so hard I had to take another breath to swallow it down. Hidden beneath the shade of a huge oak tree, I drew my knees up and hugged them to my chest.

Kyle died five months ago, the weather in New England too cold to lay him to rest, the ground frozen and immovable. I once thought my parents’ relationship was as impenetrable as the solid, unyielding December soil. Apparently, I was wrong.

Down a little hill and off to the right, my mother and father sat in fancy white folding chairs dressed in head-to-toe black, stiff as the starch Mom used on their nice clothes—or more like two metal rods had been shoved up their asses. My mother pressed a matching handkerchief to the corner of each eye while my dad stared straight ahead. The distance between them was noticeable, palpable.

Mother Nature drew this whole fucking thing out. If we could have put Kyle in the ground when he died, maybe my dad wouldn’t be sleeping on the couch, maybe I wouldn’t need to take summer courses, and maybe I wouldn’t have had to sit under a massive tree in May while the sun streamed down through the leaves, watching my brother’s casket lower into the ground.

Sunny days were for lying on the beach, taking walks, and kissing boys. They were for happy things, not things that made you want to throw up your heart and toss it into the casket with everything else that had been taken away.

Fuck this. I was done. I’d mourned Kyle already. I hadn’t stopped mourning him. Was some stupid ceremony supposed to make me feel better somehow? Some stupid ceremony that drew out five months of grieving, five months of wondering where Kyle’s body was, five months of feeling like the world was continuously punching me in the gut? I moved to stand, but a hand on my shoulder pushed me down. Chase. I knew even before meeting his big brown eyes.

He was dressed in black, too. A suit and tie. Curls of dark hair wrapped around his ears, and shadows lined his face, but that wasn’t anything new. If anyone held true to the dark, brooding, reckless stereotype, it was Chase. In high school, the girls swooned so much they practically curtsied in his presence. Me? No effect. Not really. I was his best friend’s little sister. Was being the most important word. They weren’t best friends anymore, him and Kyle.

The pressure of his hand dragged me down, down, down. That hand. For twenty-one years it had picked Kyle up, but that night it threw back shots. It turned the key in the ignition. It clasped the steering wheel and numbly maneuvered through the snow and ice. It reacted too late when the car slid. When Kyle needed him the most, that hand was too late.

Chase killed my brother.

He was the reason Kyle’s body lay fifty yards away, shut tight in a wood box.

“Kels,” he said. His lips wrapped around the word, familiar.

Really? Kels? We hadn’t talked in months and my nickname dropped from his lips like it always had. I stared at his hand and tried to decide what to do. Slap him away? Pull him to me and hold him like I missed him? Because I had missed him, if that mattered, if that even made sense. He removed his hand before I could make up my mind and jammed it into the front pocket of his ironed suit pants.

“No one thought you’d come,” I said.

He nudged the two white carnations lying on the ground next to me with his shiny black shoes. “You did.”

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What gave you the most trouble with the story?

[Erin Butler] I think Kelsey gave me the most trouble. I adore her and think she’s so strong and genuine. However, throughout most of the book, I think she straddles a fine line between being frustrating and sympathetic. I wanted her to be that way though. She needed to be real and in real life, it would take a lot to forgive someone for being the reason why your brother died. I tried to portray her struggles but also make her a likeable character too.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Erin Butler] My cell phone.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Erin Butler] Books, lotion, and a picture of me and my sister.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Erin Butler] Hmm, I’ve always wanted to be a princess so I’m going with Duchess Kate.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] You have been granted the use of one superpower for one week.  Which power would you choose, and what would you do with it?

[Erin Butler] I want to fly. I love to travel so if I could fly on my own, I’d go anywhere and everywhere within that week.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Erin Butler] Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout, and In Bloom by Katie Delahanty

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Erin Butler] Twitter would be the best way. I’m @ErinButler on there. Feel free to @ me!

Book Title: How We Lived

Author: Erin Butler

Book Synopsis:

Nineteen-year-old Kelsey Larkin’s parents uninvited her to her brother’s funeral. She just wanted to wear jeans and a T-shirt—the clothes Kyle would’ve wanted her in—not wrap herself up in death. So she watched the funeral from afar, like an outsider. Which is just how she feels. Chase came, though, just like she knew he would. Until a few months ago, the three of them had been best friends, and then Chase made a mistake that shattered both families. But when Kelsey looks at him, she doesn’t see her brother’s killer. She sees the boy next door who’s always taken care of her. She sees home.

When Chase tells her his feelings run deeper than friendship, she can’t help but get lost in him. In Chase, she finally has the closure she’s been unable to find anywhere else. But the boy she’s falling in love with is still hiding secrets about the night Kyle died. Secrets that could destroy everything they have…again.

Goodreads:Amazon: Barnes & Noble: Entangled:

Entangled Embrace:


Twitter: @EPEmbrace  Steals and Deals

Author Bio: Erin Butler is lucky enough to have two jobs she truly loves. As a librarian, she gets to work with books all day long, and as an author, Erin uses her active imagination to write the kinds of books she loves to read. Young Adult and New Adult books are her favorites, but she especially fangirls over a sigh-worthy romance.

She lives in Central New York with her very understanding husband, a stepson, and doggie BFF, Maxie. Preferring to spend her time indoors reading or writing, she’ll only willingly go outside for chocolate and sunshine—in that order.

Website Blog Twitter Facebook GoodreadsTumbler

Giveaway Info: (2) $25 gift cards

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Interview with Erin Butler, Author of How We Lived and Giveaway appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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20677. Fictional Reality

Writing Life Banner


Biljana Likic

biljana new picMy growth as a writer included a phase of what might be termed hyper-realism. Or maybe just plain realism, depending on how you define it. Either way, during this phase, my writing was full of overly detailed description to make sure the reader saw exactly what I saw in my mind. Contrived punctuation abounded in attempt to better mimic a person’s speech. Inner monologues of a character took up pages of space that I considered crucial because if I didn’t write them, the reader wouldn’t have all the same opinions on the character as I did.

No surprise that sometimes it read more like a scientific paper than a freaking novel.

It took a while (and a few critique partners) for me to admit to myself that what I write will not always be read the way I want it to be read. Not everybody will catch clues I mistake as universal about a character’s state of mind. To me a blue dress is calming, to another it’s cold, to yet another it’s just a plain blue dress. Once I accepted this, I was able to reign in the amount of banal facts that my obsessive nature had a tough time omitting.

I still wanted my writing to reflect real life, though, regardless of my inability to have it done to my satisfaction. When I felt like life was gritty and unfair, I wrote about people who were forced to cut throats to survive. When I thought generously of thieves, I explored misunderstandings surrounding the events of a theft. When I held love in low regard, I wrote of its talent for cruelty. After all, desperate cutthroats, framed thieves, and twisted romances all exist in real life, which automatically made them fair game.

But damn, was it still limiting. I could write about anything in the world, anything at all—as long as it existed. That was the catch. I used to not be able to write any kind of fantasy. Creating a different world aside from Earth and coming up with altered laws of physics was way beyond anything I could do, because they weren’t real. In my quest for an untarnished mirror of truth, I had boxed myself into a place where nothing could exist that didn’t already exist, and where even if I wrote about it, nobody understood how I meant it, anyways. If I couldn’t accurately write about real things, how was I supposed to write about invented things?

Then it hit me. The most obvious thing about fiction: it’s fiction. Nothing exists in fiction. There is no such thing as real life in fiction. Everything, everything, is a literary construct created by an artist to tell whatever story they think is worth telling in a way they think appropriate.

Here is the single truest thing about the creation and consumption of fiction: There is no such thing as being unbiased.

I couldn’t tell you what it’s like to kill in order to survive. All I know about it is what I’ve soaked up from years of reading, listening, and watching. What I’ve read, listened, and watched was filtered through my life experiences, twenty-two blessed years of living in Toronto with a fine family and great friends. If I’ve ever met a misunderstood thief, I don’t know it, and what cruelty I see in love is likely just a fraction of what some warped relationships out there really experience. That’s not to say I don’t think I can write from these perspectives, but they will definitely be coloured by what I think is reality.

In other words, they will be coloured by my reality. The reason why I will never be able to say exactly, completely, 100% what I want to say when I write is because the thought process that led to it is unique to me. Just as I write with bias, readers read with bias and see things through their customized, one-of-a-kind filter. Now we’re all human, so assuming I have even a modicum of talent, I’ll be able to write in such a way that no matter what, readers will understand and relate to it at least objectively. But this bias is the ultimate source of both conflict and beauty in the relationship between writer and reader: I write what I want to write, you read what you want to read. My reality is not your reality, but since they’re both a reality, that exist here on Earth, no less, we’re able to work together in the giving and receiving of great art to create a new reality. A fictional one.

Once I realized that real life in fiction doesn’t exist, every single closed door was thrown open to me. Letting go of these anxieties, accepting the difficulties inherent in writing, I was finally able to relax into my role as a literal god of my fictional world. Writing fantasy isn’t beyond me anymore. I’m okay with different interpretations of my characters and I’ve come to terms with altered readings of actions and events. In return, I get the most passionate, remarkable, and profound thing that writing fiction has to offer:


Biljana Likic is working on her fantasy WIPs and finishing up her fourth year of university, where she can’t wait till she’s out so she’ll finally have all the time in the world to write. You can follow her on Twitter.

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20678. #zombie Review: Omega Days by John L Campbell

May Contain Spoilers


I just can’t resist zombies!  When I was offered a chance to review Omega Days, I didn’t have to know anything else about the book other than it was full of zombie goodness.  Originally self-pubbed as an ebook, Berkley is releasing it in paperback with expanded material from the author.  Though Omega Days clocks in at over 350 pages, I gobbled it up in two sittings.  I couldn’t put it down!  Well, I did read for a while before I went to bed, which gave me a few nightmares, but that’s why we read these horror novels, isn’t it?

The setup for John L Campbell’s zombie apocalypse isn’t much different from any other, but I liked most of the characters and didn’t want to see them go down under the snapped jaws of a ravenous corpse.  There are plenty of deaths, though, and that is one of the criticisms I have about the story.   After we are introduced to the main protagonists, there is a section of random character intros, and almost all of them are quickly made into zombie chow.  I don’t believe that section added much to the story, and the death of Baxter just pissed me off.  It seemed that the section was more for shock value than to move the story forward, and that is actually the spot that prompted me to close the cover for the night.  The action picks up again with the recurring characters right after, so I did breeze through the rest of the book without a break.

There are multiple protagonists, and the story unfolds through alternating POV chapters as they each have to deal with the new, frightening normal that includes walking corpses, relatives that try to bite your face off, and no safe haven.  It means having to learn to be quiet, to scavenge for vital supplies, and how to defend yourself when one of the walking dead catches you unawares.  But don’t think that the zombies are the only monsters here.  There are plenty of uninfected people who make the zombies look like teddy bears.  During the crisis, everyone’s true colors shine through, and there are quite a few with hearts and spirits as black as coal. 

While I enjoy the zombie mayhem, it’s the survivors’ reactions to the situation that keeps me reading these books.  Let’s face it – it’s rare to find something completely new about a zombie story, so it’s the characters that carry my interest.  It’s a formula that works without too much tinkering; sure, the form of transmission may change, but there’s not much else that does.  The rate of transmission is staggering, the uninfected struggle to stay alive without modern conveniences, and their true selves begin to show.  Will they be willing to help others, despite the danger?  Are they out only for themselves?  Or do they have visions of megalomania, and start taking measures to take over what’s left of the world?  That’s why I read these time and again.  To see how the characters react and I take comfort that no matter how awful conditions become, a handful of people will survive.

By the end of Omega Days, there were characters I loved, and characters I hated.  There are actually two that I want the zombies to tackle to the ground, rip up, and rend to pieces, and I want this to happen now.  I was caught up in the action and the fear, and I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.  If you are a fan of zombie stories, this is right up your alley. 

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

When the end came, it came quickly. No one knew where or exactly when the Omega Virus started, but soon it was everywhere. And when the ones spreading it can’t die, no one stands a chance of surviving.
San Francisco, California. Father Xavier Church has spent his life ministering to unfortunate souls, but he has never witnessed horror like this. After he forsakes his vows in the most heartrending of ways, he watches helplessly as a zombie nun takes a bite out of a fellow priest’s face…
University of California, Berkeley. Skye Dennison is moving into her college dorm for the first time, simultaneously excited to be leaving the nest and terrified to be on her own. When her mother and father are eaten alive in front of her, she realizes the terror has just begun…
Alameda, California. Angie West made millions off her family’s reality gun show on the History Channel. But after she is cornered by the swarming undead, her knowledge of heavy artillery is called into play like never before…
Within weeks, the world is overrun by the walking dead. Only the quick and the smart, the strong and the determined, will survive—for now.

The post #zombie Review: Omega Days by John L Campbell appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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20679. Trust your Readers

Guest post by Melinda Brasher One of the hardest writing skills to master is the art of knowing what to take out.  Many rough drafts are guilty of repetition and over-explanation.  Consider the dangers of spoon-feeding your readers.  At best, you'll come off as lacking subtlety.  You'll rob your readers of the chance to exercise their brains.  At worst, you'll annoy them or insult their

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20680. NJLA Annual Conference

One thing I like about the New Jersey library community:

They know how to throw a good conference!

The New Jersey Library Association is having their annual conference June 2 to 4 in Atlantic City.

I'll be involved in the following sessions:

The Who/What/When/Where/How of Successful Online Book Discussion: a Panel Discussion Tues, 9:00-9:50

Best of the Best Fiction for Young Adults Tues, 11:30-12:20

Book Buzz for Young Adults and Children Tues, 2:00-2:50

I.D. Required - Books Beyond the Drinking Age Wed, 11:30-12:20

Apps, Audiobooks, and Libraries – Oh, my! Wed, 2:30-3:20

Yes, that sounds like a lot -- and, well, it is five -- but all are panels, so it's not five solo programs. They are all group efforts.

I will have time for actually attending programs!

Top of my list are What Is This? Middle Grade? YA? New Adult? Top Authors Address Category Crossover Confusion and the Garden State Book Awards Luncheon with Daniel Kirk.

Hope to see some of you there!

Amazon Affiliate. If you click from here to Amazon and buy something, I receive a percentage of the purchase price.

© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

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20681. Picture books for launching mathematicians

My school uses a play-based approach to teaching math, which is advantageous because as an early childhood teacher, my students still love math and they love to play games. They enjoy learning and working with numbers and I can build on this through math games.

For me, teaching math is often challenging because my own mathematical background emphasized “doing” math over understanding with drills, formulas, and math algorithms rather than reinforcing why we use specific math procedures. Add to this the new Common Core Math Standard’s focus on conceptual understanding, fluency, and application and you get a recipe for highly reflective lesson planning!

One way to bridge this gap between doing and understanding math is with picture books. They provide purposeful ways to ground students intuitive use of math and easily get them using and talking about the most effective strategies.

There are so many wonderful math concept and picture books out there, yet selecting books that effectively support mini lessons and launch play requires a bit more searching. The books need to interest students, embed rather than simply present math concepts, lend themselves well to differentiated extension activities, and of course, be fun!

Some books I’ve successfully used and that meet these criteria are:

I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean — This is a Kevin Sherry’s story about a giant squid who thinks he’s bigger than everything in the ocean. He’s very big, but is he the biggest? This book is great for introducing relative size, comparisons. This is an alternative text for introducing standard measurements as well as scale when students are challenged to rank by size or to think of reliable ways to determine how much bigger he might be than other animals.

roostersofftoseeworld 218x300 Picture books for launching mathematicians Rooster’s Off to See the World — This classic Eric Carle book can help launch math activities about number sets. In the book, Rooster seeks company as he travels around the world. Along the way, he encounters different types of animals and invites them along. The best part of this book is that every time he meets a new animal, the number of them increases. It’s a great way to introduce students to counting in groups and helps students to distinguish between total numbers and sets of numbers. With this book, students played sorting games and counted number sets.

Ppigswillbepigs 300x259 Picture books for launching mathematiciansigs Will be Pigs — This is the hilarious tale of a family of pigs who need to find enough money to pay for dinner at a restaurant. The author Amy Axelrod wrote this book to teach explicitly about money and she does a fabulous job. I especially love this story because it can also be used across the curriculum. I’m connecting this to a social studies unit on access to healthful food. Grocery store or restaurant math games using coins are natural extension activities with this book.

alexanderwhousedtoberich 300x229 Picture books for launching mathematiciansAlexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday — Judith Viorst’s Alexander tales normalize my students’ every day experiences and emotions. This one is no different. Alexander has just spent every cent of the money his grandparents gave him. As he recounts how he spent it, students add up how much he spends or can subtract from the initial total. I love this one because a few of the items have prices that some students might find awkward to work with. As with Pigs Will be Pigs, it also lends itself well to cross-curricular connections, especially the basic economic principle of scarcity: Alexander had to learn the hard way about saving versus spending his limited income. For this book, a game to help Alexander save is also a next step for money.

When using picture books to teach math, pre- and post-assessment of student understanding can easily get lost. Talking to students about the math concepts in the books before sending them off to play math extension games can give you a sense of their thinking. For post-assessment, reviewing student work and requiring them to either to write or share out their strategies for success on the games lets them talk about their math knowledge and provides natural entry points for correcting misconceptions or pushing learning.

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The post Picture books for launching mathematicians appeared first on The Horn Book.

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20682. Heads-up Reminder for Children's Book Week Kid Lit Giveaway Hop...

CBW Kid Lit Giveaway Hop 2014 - Banner - FINAL

Are you a children's book or teen literature blogger, an author, a publisher, or a publicist looking to share copies of a fabulous book? Mother Daughter Book Reviews and Youth Literature Reviews are joining forces to provide you with the opportunity to take part in a Blog Hop featuring links to giveaways for fabulous children/teen's books, gift cards, cash, or other prizes. What better way to celebrate Children's Book Week?

How Does it Work?

Dates: May 12 to 18, 2014

  • Posts must go live at 12:01AM (EST) on May 12, 2014
  • Giveaway must end on May 18, 2014 @ 11:59PM (EST)
(If using Rafflecopter, set your widget to end on MAY 19th at 12:00am)

Cost: FREE!

Prize: Children/Teen's Book and/or a Gift Card

If your prize consists of a book, it must be one appropriate for children/youth under the age of 18. You can also offer an Amazon gift card, a credit at the Book Depository, or PayPal cash as a prize (minimum $10) in conjunction with a book OR in lieu of a book, but your post MUST discuss children's books or literature. Links to posts just offering a gift card or cash with no mention of children/teen's books or literature will be removed from the linky list. If unsure, email me!

Posting Requirements:

Posts must be published no later than May 12, 12:01 am, 2014 ~ Posting early is ok. Posting late is not ok.
Your post must contain the following information (clearly visible):
  • Event Button
  • Giveaway Details
  • Links to the Hostesses (Mother Daughter Book Reviews and Youth Literature Reviews)
  • Giveaway Linky List
The event button, links to hostesses, and linky code will be emailed to you on Monday, May 5, 2014.
Please send me your direct URL once your post goes live, or if possible you can send me your permalink ahead of time. Failure to send me your link within 24 hours of the start of the Giveaway Hop will result in the removal of your link from the linky. If you send me the direct link after the 24 hours deadline, it will be added to the bottom of the list.

Adding a Link to the Linky:

To enter the Giveaway Hop, you simply have to enter the home page of your website followed by the country restrictions (i.e., Who can enter? US; US/CAN; WW; other). Once your post is ready you can send me the permalink as described above.

Deadline for Sign-Ups: May 9, 11:59 pm (EST), 2014

The linky will close and no additional links will be accepted.

Promoting the Kid Lit Giveaway Hop

We need YOUR help in spreading the word about the Kid Lit Giveaway Hop. You are certainly not required to do anything other than sign up if you wish to participate, but we would sure appreciate your help by either posting about the sign-ups, tweeting about it, or sharing the information within your circles or even popping the event button up in your sidebar. We are also happy to provide you with the full post HTML code if you would be willing to post about this sign-up. Just email Renee @ Mother Daughter Book Reviews. The more sign-ups the better for all of us!


Please feel free to contact either Renee [renee (at) motherdaughterbookreviews (dot) com] or Katie [YouthLitReviews (at) live (dot) com]. We are here to answer any questions you may have.

Sign-Up Below

You will be asked to enter the title you want displayed in the linky list (please add country restrictions in brackets), a link to your home page (or direct URL if you have it), and your name and email address.

* Like our fancy event banner? We used designbox1 from Fiverr to create it. Ask me about it!*

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20683. Summer Writing Projects in the Upper Grades

Channeling students to write over the summer can generate loads of independence and engagement. Read on for tips on how to get started.

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20684. Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 261

Whew! After poeming every day in April, it feels a little awkward going a whole week without a prompt and poem, doesn’t it? But that’s okay, we’ve still got Wednesdays!

For this week’s prompt, take the phrase “The Boy Who (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Feel free to replace the word “boy” with “girl.” Possible titles include: “The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” “The Girl Who Knew Too Much,” “The Boy Who Walked Into a Bar,” and so on.


Blog your way to writing success!

Click here to learn how.


Here’s my attempt at a The Boy Who Blanks poem:

“The Boy Who Wrote a Poem”

Wrote another poem and another
until he filled notebooks with them,
stuffed them into his mattress
and pasted them on his walls.
Everywhere he turned his words
surrounded him until he could
no longer find the words to keep
the poems coming, and then,
he bought a new notebook.


Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems. He has a bad habit of writing poems about writing poems when he’s having trouble writing poems. Sooo…that pretty much explains today’s poem.

Learn more at www.robertleebrewer.com.


Find more poetic posts here:

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20685. Some New Favorite Verse Novels

Like Carrot Juice on a Cupcake
by Julie Sternberg
illustrated by Matthew Cordell
Harry N. Abrams, March 18, 2014
review copy purchased for my classroom library

This is my favorite of the three books in this series so far. Eleanor and Pearl's friendship is really put to the test (a new girl comes between them), and at the same time, Eleanor has some trials of her own (getting over stage fright, her puppy going away to a two-week training camp, and her first crush). 

by Kwame Alexander
HMH Books for Young Readers, March 18, 2014
review copy purchased for my classroom library

I can't wait to preview this book with my class. I don't think I'll see if for a while after I do! The poetry is a nice blend of edgy and rap-like, plus deep and thoughtful. The main story line is junior high basketball, but along the way there is what it's like to be a twin, young love, and a father who is a basketball legend, and who has health problems.

by Margarita Engle
HMH Books for Young Readers, March 19, 2013
review copy purchased for my classroom library

This book was fascinating to read as I'm listening to THE INVENTION OF WINGS. The story of Tula, in Cuba, parallels the story of Sara Grimke in the United States with amazing similarity.

The Lightning Dreamer belongs in a text set with other biographies and historical fiction about early abolitionists around the world. It is important for our children to know the stories of these people who fought against all odds for what they believed in, and especially the stories of the women who fought for others' freedom while having relatively none of their own (not even the right to vote in the US for another 100 years).

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20686. Press Release Fun: Kids Author Carnival in NYC – Read. Connect. Party.

Here in New York City the Teen Author Carnival gets a lot of attention. Now there’s going to be a Kids Author Carnival chock FULL of middle grade authors. Check out this jaw-dropping line-up and mark your calendars:

JMRCarnival Press Release Fun: Kids Author Carnival in NYC   Read. Connect. Party.

share save 171 16 Press Release Fun: Kids Author Carnival in NYC   Read. Connect. Party.

3 Comments on Press Release Fun: Kids Author Carnival in NYC – Read. Connect. Party., last added: 5/8/2014
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20687. Some highlights of the BPS conference 2014 Birmingham

By David Murphy and Susan Llewelyn

Psychology must be one of the most diverse disciplines there is; it encompasses understanding language development in infants, techniques to help sports competitors improve performance, the psychology of conflicts, therapy for mental health disorders, and selection techniques for business amongst many others. The BPS Annual Conference is probably the best chance to witness the breadth of the discipline each year in the United Kingdom.

Things to do at the conference

This year’s conference in Birmingham has some fantastic highlights. The session on psychology in the military is highly topical and has some leading figures in the world speaking such as Keynote speaker, Professor Simon Wessely. There is a great deal of research looking at aspects of parenting throughout the conference  as well as  sessions covering a range of areas including mental health, diet, managing physical illness and educational attainment among others. Professor Sergio Della Sala is a neuropsychologist who has a great ability to communicate information about brain functioning in an easily understandable and entertaining fashion; his talk is sure to be a high point.

However, sometimes at the BPS conference its worth just going with the flow and attending talks in areas that you aren’t very familiar with, you will hopefully find them very interesting, and they may well give you new ideas which could even be a turning point for your career to go off in a new direction, or help you think in a new way about your own area of research or study.

Things to do in Birmingham

Birmingham has a range of extraordinary heritage, so the Museum & Art Gallery should be top of the list for those wanting to fully appreciate the scope of the city’s history.

It is also thought that some of Birmingham’s sights and history inspired the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. The Hobbit fans among us might want to take the Tolkien Bus Tour the weekend after the conference.

We hope to see you at the conference this year, do come up and say hello if you are attending.

Susan Llewelyn is Professor of Clinical Psychology at Oxford University, and Senior Research Fellow, Harris Manchester College, Oxford.  David Murphy is the Joint Course Director of the University of Oxford Clinical Psychology Doctoral Training Programme. They are co-editors of What is Clinical Psychology? 

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Image Credit: St Martins church and Bullring -Birmingham -England (G-Man).  Public domain.

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20688. Summer Writing Projects in the Upper Grades

Channeling students to write over the summer can generate loads of independence and engagement. Read on for tips on how to get started.

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20689. Spotlight and Giveaway-The Bottom Line by Sandy James


THE BOTTOM LINE by Sandy James (May 6, 2014; Forever Yours E-Book)

When life gets tough and love is hard to find, four friends take their troubles to lunch. Surviving a failed marriage and an illness that almost takes her life, high school teacher Mallory Hamilton needs the Ladies Who Lunch more than ever . . . 

After a year of upheaval, Mallory has had her fill of change-with one exception. Her house is a disaster, and she wants it fixed. Hiring a contractor to finish the projects her ex-husband started will help her banish the past so she can return to the life she had before everything went awry. But her contractor is sexy, sweet, and single, which threatens the peaceful, solitary life Mallory has planned for herself.

Ben Carpenter has had a hard time raising his daughter without his ex-wife’s help. His new client’s projects will give him the extra income he needs, not to mention afternoons alone with a gorgeous woman. Though their attraction is undeniable, Ben sees the fear and pain hiding in Mallory’s beautiful eyes. But how can he help her if she won’t let him in? Ben can fix just about anything-but can he fix Mallory’s broken heart?

Buy Links:

Amazon – The Bottom Line (The Ladies Who Lunch)



About Sandy James:

Sandy James lives in a quiet suburb of Indianapolis with her husband. She’s a high school social studies teacher who especially loves psychology and United States history. Since she and her husband own a small stable of harness racehorses, they often spend time together at the two Indiana racetracks.

Social Media Links:






“How old are you, Mallory?”

“You really aren’t afraid to ask questions, are you?” Trying to lighten the somber mood that always accompanied a discussion of her disease, she grinned. “How old do I look?”

Was he growling? Good Lord, that’s all she needed: a guy with a bad temper and no sense of humor. “Do we really have to talk about this?” she asked.

The waiter interrupted, bringing them their entrees and grating more cheese on her fettuccine and Ben’s spaghetti Bolognese. She’d had no idea what “Bolognese” was when he’d ordered it, but from the looks of the food, it was a lot like regular meat sauce.

“Is there anything else I can get for you?” the waiter asked Ben.

“Mal?” Ben asked. “Need anything?”

“No, thanks.” She twirled her fork around, gathering the fettuccine into a small ball. “This looks wonderful. Nothing like fresh pasta. The box stuff always comes out kinda clumpy when I make it.”

“You need to add some olive oil to the water and wait to drop the pasta in until the water is already boiling. I always make my own pasta instead of using the crap they put in boxes.”

“You really do know how to cook! Most guys can only do one dish. Figured chili was yours.”

“You doubted me?”

She put her fork down against the side of her plate. “Look, Ben… I’m not sure exactly what I believe about you.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“We’ve known each other a couple of months, but we don’t really know each other.”

“That’s why we’re on another date. To talk. To see if we click. After those kisses—”

So that was the catalyst, the kisses they’d shared. The ones she’d let get entirely out of hand.

Why were all men so preoccupied with sex?

Her heart sank at the thought that he’d only asked her out to get in her in bed. “I’m not having sex with you.” The words came out much louder than she’d intended, and a few heads turned their way. “Sorry. I just… If the only reason you asked me out again is because of kissing—”

“Hotter-than-hell kissing,” Ben corrected. “But that’s not why we’re here. You’d recognize that if you’d drop your firewalls long enough to—”

“Firewalls? What firewalls?”

He leaned back in his chair and simply stared at her for a moment. “You’ve been through hell this year, haven’t you? Maybe I’m expecting too much too soon.”

That made absolutely no sense to Mallory. “What exactly were you expecting, Ben?”

“A chance.”

“A chance to do what?”

“Make you love me.”

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20690. The Black Beetle Bug: Tongue Twisters for Toddlers | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of The Black Beetle Bug: Tongue Twisters for Toddlers, by Kim Kailuweit, illustrated by Diana Smith. Giveaway begins May 7, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends June 6, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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20691. A Prayer Journal: Review Haiku

Remarkable insight
into the spiritual mind
of a genius.

A Prayer Journal by Flannery O'Connor. FSG, 2013, 112 pages.

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20692. Lots of Spots by Lois Ehlert

<!-- START INTERCHANGE - LOTS OF SPOTS -->if(!window.igic__){window.igic__={};var d=document;var s=d.createElement("script");s.src="http://iangilman.com/interchange/js/widget.js";d.body.appendChild(s);} <!-- END INTERCHANGE --> Lots of Spots by Lois Ehlert first appeared as a picture book in 2010 and is now making its debut as a board book. With the uniting theme of animals with spots,

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20693. Guest Post-ML Buchman, Author of Pure Heat

ML Buchman dropped by the virtual offices to share the contents of Carly’s PG bag.  Check it out!

CARLY’S PG BAG with M.L. Buchman

Wildland firefighters always have a PG bag with them, Personal Gear. If they’re a Hotshot they’ll have a chainsaw, a Pulaski (a specialized axe that half axe and half adze—a sharp hoe), and a PG bag. If they’re a smokejumper, they’ll have the same thing plus a parachute.

Carly Thomas doesn’t fight fire on the ground, she fights it from the air from the observer seat of a Firehawk helicopter. She is the top-rated Fire Behavior Analyst and her reputation reaches far and wide through the firefighting community. The Flame Witch—she knows more about what a fire is doing than the fire does—flies to kill the demon. Over the years fire has taken too much from her; it will never get another soul if she has anything to say about it. She is one driven woman as Steve Mercer a former smokejumper turned observation-drone pilot is going to find out when he faces Carly’s Pure Heat.

Her PG bag is like no other. Of course it has a foil shelter, though that didn’t save her fiancé when he panicked. And she keeps a fire axe close at hand in case a falling tree again traps and threatens to kill someone as it did her father. The normal food and water are just like everyone else’s.

But Carly carries several unique things:

A heavily highlighted and thumbed copy of the “Wildland Fire Incident Management Field Guide.”

A packet of “Wildland Fire Risk and Complexity Assessment” forms.

A photo of Ham Thomas, her dad, a lead smokejumper for over twenty years. The man she has spent her life trying to honor with her actions, even at the cost of her own heart.

A tablet computer that displays the infrared data information from Steve Mercer’s high-flying high-spying drone. He can spot fire by its heat signature, though he can’t see the fire he’s rekindling in a heart she long thought dead.

A picture of Steve Mercer at a quiet moment between fires, leaning back against his classic, flame-painted Firebird Trans Am, grinning that smile that he thought was oh-so-charming, and actually turned out to be just that.

To not miss a thing, sign up for my newsletter at http://www.mlbuchman.com.



Thanks, Matt!

Pure Heat received STARRED reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist!

These heli-aviation firefighters battle more than flames.

The elite fire experts of Mount Hood Aviation fly into places even the CIA can’t penetrate.

She lives to fight fires

Carly Thomas could read burn patterns before she knew the alphabet. A third-generation forest fire specialist who lost both her father and her fiancé to the flames, she’s learned to live life like she fights fires: with emotions shut down.

But he’s lit an inferno she can’t quench

Former smokejumper Steve “Merks” Mercer can no longer fight fires up close and personal, but he can still use his intimate knowledge of wildland burns as a spotter and drone specialist. Assigned to copilot a Firehawk with Carly, they take to the skies to battle the worst wildfire in decades and discover a terrorist threat hidden deep in the Oregon wilderness–but it’s the heat between them that really sizzles.

Praise for Wait Until Dark: “High-energy military suspense at its best…this book has it all.”–RT Book Reviews, 4 stars

About the author

M.L. Buchman’s romances have been named in Booklist’s Top 10 of the year and NPR’s Top 5 of the year. He has also published science fiction and fantasy under the name Matthew Lieber Buchman. He is happiest, no matter how cliché it may seem, when walking on the beach holding hands with the mother of his awesome kid… or when he’s writing. In addition to his career as a corporate project manager, he has rebuilt and single-handed a fifty-foot sailboat, both flown and jumped out of airplanes, designed and built two houses, and bicycled solo around the world. He is now making his living full-time as a writer, living on the Oregon Coast. You can keep up with his writing at www.mlbuchman.com.

Giveaway – USA/CAN shipping addresses only, please

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20694. Illustrator Interview – Jacque Duffy

I met Jacque Duffy in our lovely 12×12 community last year. She was one of the most committed participants last year and her enthusiasm and vivacity was and is contagious.  I am very happy to be interviewing another Australian on … Continue reading

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20695. Can we finally stop worrying about Europe?

economic policy with richard grossman

By Richard S. Grossman

Because Europe accounts for nearly a quarter of the world’s economic output, this question is important not only to Europeans, but to Africans, Asians, Americans (both North and South), and Australians as well. Those who forecast that the United States’s relatively anemic five-year-old recovery is poised to become stronger almost always include the caveat “unless, of course, Europe implodes.”

So, can we stop worrying about Europe?

Recent signs have been encouraging.

Consider the following graph, which shows the spread between the yields on the 10-year bonds of several European countries and those of the German government. Because the German government’s finances are relatively healthy—and Germany is thus viewed as being quite likely to pay back what it owes—it is able to borrow money more cheaply than most of its neighbors. For 10 years loans, the German government pays interest of about 1.5%, which is among the lowest rates in Europe.


Before the European sovereign debt crisis erupted 2009, spreads were not especially wide. In 2008, the Greek government paid between 0.25-0.75% more to borrow money for 10 years than the German government. When the sorry state of the Greek government’s finances became public, however, the spread between Greek and German yields soared to more than 20% and the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) were called in to bail out the Greek government. Ireland, Portugal, and Spain also received rescue packages (as did Cyprus), while Italy appeared to be headed down the same road. Note the wide spreads between these governments’ borrowing costs and those of the fiscally virtuous Germans.

During the last year or so, Greek, Irish, Portuguese, and Spanish spreads have shrunk considerably — not to their pre-crisis levels, but far below their sky-high levels of 2010-2012 — suggesting that doubts about the sustainability of European governments’ debts is receding. The decline in spreads is due in part to the austerity measures adopted as a condition of the EU/IMF bailouts, which have improved the budget outlook among the fiscally weaker countries. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s April visit to Greece was widely seen as an effort to show support for fiscal austerity and economic restructuring adopted by the Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

Angela Merkel - Αντώνης Σαμαράς, 2012. Photo by Αντώνης Σαμαράς Πρωθυπουργός της Ελλάδας. CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Angela Merkel – Αντώνης Σαμαράς, 2012. Photo by Αντώνης Σαμαράς Πρωθυπουργός της Ελλάδας. CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

In other positive news, Markit’s European purchasing manager’s composite index for March (released on 23 April 2014), which is considered a proxy for economic output, rose to a nearly three-year high. The index shows a continuous expansion of business activity since last July and forecasts that a backlog of work will lead to further growth in May.

Despite these positive signs, Europe is not out of the woods.

Unemployment remains stubbornly high, due, in part, to austerity: over 25% in Greece and Spain; over 15% in Portugal and Cyprus; and over 10% in France, Ireland, Italy, and a number of other countries.

Although prices are rising slightly in the European Union on average, Greece, Spain, Portugal and a few other European countries are experiencing deflation. Moreover, overall inflation in the EU is below that in the United States, leading the euro to appreciate by between 2-3% against the dollar since the beginning of 2014 and putting a crimp in European exports. Further, Europe’s flirtation with deflation increases the real burden on debtors. During inflationary times, debtors are able to repay their debts in money that is losing its value; deflation forces debtors to repay in money that is gaining in value.

The European economy is improving. But several indicators show that plenty can still go wrong. So let’s not stop worrying yet.

Richard S. Grossman is Professor of Economics at Wesleyan University and a Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University. He is the author of WRONG: Nine Economic Policy Disasters and What We Can Learn from Them and Unsettled Account: The Evolution of Banking in the Industrialized World since 1800. His homepage is RichardSGrossman.com, he blogs at UnsettledAccount.com, and you can follow him on Twitter at @RSGrossman. You can also read his previous OUPblog posts.

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Image credit: Graph courtesy of Richard Grossman. Used with permission.

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20696. Getting back in the saddle


It's taken me a long time to get my lovely push bike (Marjorie) out and about. The day Andy surprised me with her was one of the happiest days of my life, to know that he loved me so much - as I loved him.

Since he died, even though she is my only form of transport  - and the nearest shop being two miles away - I haven't been able to face riding her, a unbearable reminder of what precious thing I have lost.


But this spring I felt able to get her out of the shed and dust her off. Brian-next-door pumped her tyres up for me and we have been having little adventures, finally exploring the gorgeous landscape around us.

We're never far from a view of the Shropshire Hills.

We even found an egg honesty box a few miles away. 

It's hard sometimes, to allow myself to enjoy all of this, knowing that Andy never got the chance to see that we made the right choice after all. How he would have loved it.


Shropshire is proving to be more uppy and downy than the Cotswolds, but Marjorie and I are learning to tackle the hills.


 It's nice to see my little cottage with its cream chimney stack, nestling in the landscape as we return home.

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20697. The Machine to Be Another Project

I just was listening to the BBC this early, early morning and they caught my attention by introducing a segment with a bit from one of the Freaky Friday movies. (For those who don’t know them, these are movies based on the Mary Roger’s book, Freaky Friday, where a girl and her mother swap bodies with somewhat predictable, but amusing results. The two movies reflect their time periods — might be interesting to do it again and see how it might look today. But I digress.)

The feature was about the BeAnotherLab in which a group of Spanish artists are trying to have people experience something of the body/mind swap that the mother and daughter in the Freaky Friday movies and books experience.  Using low tech equipment they have been doing this with as an art project rather than a science one.  Their goals being the laudable ones of encouraging empathy and the sense of literally being in someone else’s shoes.  On the site they describe it as:

an interdisciplinary art collective dedicated to investigate embodied and telepresence experiments. We believe that the understanding of the “self” is related to the understanding of the “Other” and that more than individuals, we are part of a broader system called humanity. Under this perspective, we search for innovative possibilities on the concepts of embodied interaction, extended body and extended mind by mixing low-budget digital technology with social relations, Web and also neuroscientist methodologies.

We develop Creative Commons tools based on OpenKnowledge and are collaborating with experimental psychologists and neurologists to develop usage procedures to ‘the machine’ as a low-budget rehabilitation system, and also as an immersive role playing system.

Intriguing. Here’s a video they made about it:

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20698. Dante and the spin doctors

OUP-Blogger-Header-V2 Flinders

By Matthew Flinders

First it was football, now its politics. The transfer window seems to have opened and all the main political parties have recruited hard-hitting spin-doctors — or should I say ‘election gurus’ — in the hope of transforming their performance in the 2015 General Election. While some bemoan the influence of foreign hands on British politics and others ask why we aren’t producing our own world-class spin-doctors I can’t help but feel that the future of British politics looks bleak. The future is likely to be dominated by too much shouting, not enough listening.

Dante is a fifteen-year old African-American teenager with a big Afro hairstyle. He looks into the camera and with a timid voice tells the viewer ‘Bill de Blasio will be a Mayor for every New Yorker, no matter where they live or what they look like – and I’d say that even if he weren’t my dad’. This was the advert that transformed Bill de Blasio from a long-shot into a hot-shot and ultimately propelled him into office as the 109th and current Mayor of New York. De Blasio also benefitted from a well-timed sexting scandal and an electorate ready for change but there can be no doubting that the advert in which his son, Dante de Blasio, featured was a game changer. Time Magazine described it as “The Ad That Won the New York Mayor’s Race”, the Washington Post named it ‘Political Advert of 2013’ — “No single ad had a bigger impact on a race than this one”.

Ed_MilibandSuch evidence of ‘poll propulsion’, ‘soft power’ and ‘data optimization’ has not gone without notice on this side of the Atlantic and a whole new wave of election gurus have been recruited to help each of the main three political parties (Nigel Farage, of course, would never recruit such blatant overseas talent, ahem). The Liberal Democrats have recruited Ryan Coetzee who played a leading role significantly increasing the Democratic Alliance’s share of the vote in South Africa. The Conservatives have appointed the Australian Lynton Crosby with his forensic focus on ‘touchstone issues’, while last month the Labour Party revealed they had hired one of President Obama’s key strategists, David Axelrod, to craft a sharp political message and re-brand Ed Miliband.

It was David Axelrod’s former Chicago firm — ‘AKPD Message and Media’ — that had made the Dante advert for Bill de Blasio.

Of course, such spin-doctors, advisers, and consultants have always and will always exist in politics. The existence of new forms of off-line and on-line communication demands that political parties constantly explore new techniques and opportunities to improve their standing but I cannot help feel that with the recruitment of such powerful electoral strategists we risk losing touch with what politics is really about. We risk widening the worrying gap that already exists between the governors and the governed. ‘Resilience’, it would appear, seems to be the buzzword of modern party politics as a General Election approaches. It is about who can promote a powerful narrative and deliver an aggressive onslaught; it is about a form of ‘attack politics’ in which a willingness to listen or compromise is derided as weakness, and weakness cannot be tolerated; it is a form of politics in which family and friends become political tools to be deployed in shrewd, cunning and carefully crafted ways.

But does turning to the masters of machine politics from Australia and America bring with it the risk that the campaign will become too polished, too professional, too perfect?

David Axelrod’s role in relation to Ed Miliband provides a case in point. Apparently opinion polls suggest that poor Ed is viewed as too ‘nerdy’ and more than a little bit ‘weird’. The strategists suggest that this ‘image problem’ is a weakness that must be addressed through a process of re-branding. The danger, of course, of course is that by knocking-off all Ed’s quirks and peculiarities you actually end up with just another production line professional politician. Personally, I quite like politicians that are a bit different, even weird. Isn’t that why people find Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage so annoyingly refreshing?

A really smart election strategist might dare to think a little differently; to turn the political world upside-down by focusing not on who can shout the loudest for the longest but on the art of listening. As Andrew Dobson’s brilliant new book — Listening for Democracy — underlines the art of good listening has become almost completely ignored in modern politics despite being prized in daily conversation. Were any of the foreign election gurus employed for their listening skills? No. And that’s the problem. That’s why the future feels so bleak.

Matthew Flinders is Founding Director of the Sir Bernard Crick Centre for the Flinders author picPublic Understanding of Politics at the University of Sheffield and also Visiting Distinguished Professor in Governance and Public Policy at Murdoch University, Western Australia. He is the author of Defending Politics (2012).

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Image credit: Ed Miliband. UK Department of Energy. Crown Copyright via WikiCommons.

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20699. Love or Market: Which is More Important? Agents Reveal Their Thoughts

Hi! Lisa here. It's time for our May Agent Round Up.

The question this month is:

Given how often you have to read a manuscript that you take on, how important is marketability versus connection? Are you more likely to offer representation on a manuscript that you love in a genre that may not be selling well at the moment, or a well-written manuscript that you know editors are hungry for, but that you don't necessarily connect with as strongly? 

And here are some thoughtful answers from 3 awesome agents!

Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary and Media 

The number one most important thing for me is to love the work and love the writing. Obviously, in a perfect world I'll find something that I love and something that is very marketable, but I would much rather have a manuscript I love and that I'll have to work hard to sell than one that's trendy. I'd rather hold out for the best of both worlds.

Jordy Albert of  The Booker Albert Literary Agency

I think marketability and connection are both incredibly important. However, I'd be more likely to offer representation on a manuscript that I love and connect with strongly. Even though that genre might not be selling well at the moment, doesn't mean it won't in a couple of years. Also, I'd be signing the author on the strength of his/her writing and storytelling ability, so I would definitely want to see more of their work, even if we aren't able to sell the manuscript I signed them for right away.

Sarah Davies of Greenhouse Literary

This is a smart hypothetical question, yet somehow doesn’t quite reflect how things work with me! I never take on a manuscript with which I don’t connect strongly. My fallback position is always, “If I see something to love here, if I respond emotionally, then I believe there will be an editor who feels the same way.” I find it impossible to somehow project myself into the mind of an editor loving something that leaves me cold (even though of course that happens occasionally; we all watch deals in Marketplace!). That kind of second-guessing feels like very wobbly grounds for decision making. I don’t think I’ve ever been in the position of loving a manuscript and turning it down simply because of genre. If a genre is currently really over-crowded it tends to mean I’m seeing tons of submissions in that area, and I’m instinctively raising the bar very high and reacting negatively to anything that feels derivative. Like many things in life, it’s a question of balance. Ideally I’ll find something great within a genre to which editors are open. But at a deeper level I’m looking for that moment when my heart surges with engagement, with a desire to throw myself into the ring for this author and their story. I believe a lot in my gut instinct, and I have learned to listen to it and treat it with respect!

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20700. HANDS: Growing Up to Be an Artist AND The Scraps Book: Notes from a Colorful Life by Lois Ehlert

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