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Author Gail Gauthier's Reflections On Children's Books, Writing, And The Kidlit World
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1. The Weekend Writer: More On Dialogue And Tagging

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote here about dialogue tags, the little bits in a piece of writing that indicate someone has spoken. Author Martyn V. Halm discusses some additional ways to deal with said and tagging in WRITING: Dialogue and the 'Said' Rule.

Also, in The Seven Deadly Sins of Dialogue, pay particular attention to Item 2, Impossible Verbing.

I caught both these articles at a Writer Unboxed Facebook discussion, by the way.

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2. What Did You Do This Week, Gail? February 27 Edition

Goal 1. Mummy Book. Still working on revising early chapters. I am satisfied with what I'm doing, though. Cutting a lot. Cutting is always good, in my experience.

Goal 4. Submissions. I spent time researching agents and have a journal lined up for a submission. I wanted to make it tonight because I have an objective to submit a short piece every month, and I've already missed January and now I'm pretty close to missing February. But this particular journal closes for part of each month, and doesn't open again until the first. So I have to wait until Sunday or Monday.

Goal 5. Community Building. I completed and posted the CCLC and launched the CCLC newsletter. I've been involved with the 10-Minute Novelists this month as well as another Facebook group, and I did some Twitter maintenance. I'm going to look into another Facebook group I heard about this past week. Because you can't be a member of too many, right?

Not a great week, but I'm in a good position for next week. Not so much because of what I did this week, but because we don't have so many nonwriting things going on next week.

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3. Environmental Book Club

 In What is Cli-fi? And Why I Write It in The Guardian author Sarah Golding describes climate fiction as "fiction that foregrounds climate change." Her interest in writing it appears to go beyond using it as a setting, world, or spring board for a plot. She's trying to do something specific with her cli-fi books for young readers. She hopes that her characters' concern for the environment will spread to her readers.

On a related note, you might want to take a look at The Necessary Evolution of Environmental Writing by John Yunker at the Ecolit Books blog. He writes about needing stories "that inspire lasting change and have the power to change our worldview."

So both writers are talking about using environmental fiction in a proactive way, at least, if not one that is actually instructive.


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4. Princely Binge Reading Material

My niece and I started a new series, beginning with The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen. It appears to be a trilogy, not a marathon like the last series we read. I thought it dragged just a liiiittllllle bit, but I definitely like a well done unreliable narrator. The best part? Books 2 and 3 have been published. I can whip through these things the way I like to.

Oh, wait. The best part, really? My niece compared Sage in The False Prince to another character in a book I gave her three years ago. I can't tell you who or what or you will figure out an important, neat thing about The False Prince. I figured it out about two-thirds of the way through the book but it was one of those figure-something-out-in-a-cool way not a oh-my-gawd-why-didn't-she-just-put-up-a-road-sign? way. But my point is, Becki made that connection between those two characters, which I, of course, had already done. She wasn't telling me anything.

But she saw the connection between two characters from two books that I had given her. My work as an aunt is done.

And I will be reading the sequels to The False Prince.

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5. Time Management Tuesday: Guess What Privilege Buys

For the last two weeks I've been writing about physical and temporal space, the connection between where we write and when we write. This whole thing was inspired by an LA Times essay called Susan Straight On Learning to Write Without a Room of One's Own. The A Room of One's Own part of that title is a reference to Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own, a lengthy essay (I still have two sections to read) about women and fiction. A Room of One's Own has a closer connection to another recent essay, "Sponsored" By My Husband: Why it’s a Problem That Writers Never Talk About Where Their Money Comes From by Ann Bauer in Salon than it does with Straight's.

Why? Woolf may have used "room of one's own" in her title, but what she actually said in her essay was "a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction." It's quite a terrific essay, if you can get past her streaming away to discuss eating in restaurants. What she writes about is male privilege throughout history and how it kept women from even being able to put pen to paper. (She does a great sort of historical evolution of women's writing.)

Bauer talks about privilege and writing in our own time, meaning writers of both sexes who have financial support, usually through family. They, or I should say, we, don't have to generate income to provide for ourselves or others. We have the money Woolf said we needed.

Now writers have managed to produce good work without the privilege of possessing money and a room. We need a Room of One's Own type of essay about them. But putting them aside, what, exactly, does privilege do for writers who do possess it?

It buys us time.

Woolf recognized lack of privilege as the problem for women writers that it was in the past and often still is in the present. Bauer recognizes that denying that there are privileged writers today does a disservice to all the writers struggling without it.

I have a new obsession, now. This one is with Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own.

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6. March Connecticut Children's Literature Calendar

To my knowledge, we only had one storm cancellation in February. Since I'm working on this post during the tail end of another snowstorm (Look at the snow blowing past my window!), I should probably suggest that you check with venues if there is any doubt of a March event being cancelled because of the weather.

CCLC News--Starting this month, the Connecticut Children's Literature Calendar is available in a newsletter form. Connecticut residents interested in being added to the newsletter e-mail list may contact me at gail@gailgauthier.com. 

Sun., March 1, Jane Sutcliffe, UConn Coop, Storrs 3:00 PM

Mon., March 2, Leslie Bulion, Durham Public Library, Durham 7:00 PM. Book launch

Thurs., March 5, 12, 19, and 26 (continuing into April) Pegi Deitz Shea, Mark Twain House, Hartford 6 to 8 PM Class on writing children's books. Fee.

Mar. 10, Cindy L. Rodriguez, Town Hall, Tolland 6:30 PM

Sat. March 14, Victoria Kann, Barnes & Noble, Westport 2:00 PM

Sun., March 15, Victoria Kann, R. J. Julia Booksellers, Madison 3:30 PM

Wed., March 18, Lincoln Peirce, R. J. Julia Booksellers, Madison 4:00 PM

Fri., March 20, Jon Agee, R. J. Julia Booksellers, Madison 4:00 PM


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7. Sunday Sentence

A contribution for the “Sunday Sentence” project, a sentence I've read this week, no explanation or commentary.

"Although it is not quite grammatical in English, it can be phrased in three simple words: "How to live." Sarah Bakewell, How to Live: A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer.

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8. What Did You Do This Week, Gail? February 20th Edition

Had a good week until today. So, that's good, right?

Goal 1. Mummy book. Got through a few more chapters of revision. Thinking about doing some planning work next week.

Goal 2. Complete some short work. Worked on an essay, one that I had actually planned on working on. Sometimes I drift onto new things that I don't finish, so staying on task was good, good, good. I also started reading a Virginia Woolf essay as well as How to Live: A Life of Montaigne by Sarah Bakewell, hoping it will enhance my essay writing.

Goal 4. Make submissions. I worked on agent search.

Goal 5. Community building. Worked on address list for initial CCLC newsletter. Posted to my Goodreads blog. I'll spend some time on Twitter this evening and weekend.

Goal 6. Marketing STP&S. Last weekend I finished up e-mails to blogs regarding Earth Day promotions. Tried to come up with some more contacts. If this doesn't work out, I'm toying with some special Earth Day posts here.

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9. Waiting On Everyday

I've never taken part in one of those Waiting on Wednesday type meme things, though a great many people do. Recently I've actually been taking Wednesdays off from blogging. Time Management Tuesday can be exhausting. But I saw a number of books I found interesting in the most recent Horn Book. Waiting on Wednesday seemed a good opportunity to mention them here.

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10. Time Management Tuesday: Obsessing On Physical And Temporal Space

Last week I wrote about the relationship between place and time. "Where we work," I said, "is often related to when we work." Sometimes we don't choose the places we work. Sometimes we work in them because we just happen to be in them when we have time to work.

I have been obsessing about this all week. You're not surprised, you say? Oh. You find me obsessive.

Yeah, well, here's the thing. If we can recognize that we don't have to have a "room of our own" as Susan Straight said in the essay that inspired last week's post, time opens up for us. If you can work on your lunch hour, in waiting rooms, in front of the TV (which I'm doing right now), on vacation, while the baby is sleeping, during your commute, you'll have a lot more time than you will if you can only work in that room of your own.

By the way, the whole "room of your own" thing is a reference to Virginia Woolf's essay, A Room of One's Own, which appears (I've finished reading half of it) to be about feminism and privilege rather than physical space. Next week I'll be writing about privilege and time because the obsession continues.

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11. Hmm. I'm Interested In Time Management, But Not Time Travel

I found The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare by M. G. Buehrlen on my Kindle. I must have gotten a sweet deal on it sometime last year. I love finding things on my Kindle.

Alex Wayfare is a time travel story. I'm not a big fan of those, mainly because I usually have trouble following the mechanics of how it happens.That's the case with The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare, too. Alex is a Descender who can descend into her former lives. Until she's well into her teenage years, she believes she's just having very unpleasant visions. This part of the book was intriguing. As she begins to learn about who and what she is and starts time traveling, I got lost. The plot involves evil scientists who use Alex and others like her either to manipulate science for the benefit of present day or "base life" research or to steal items and hide them so they can be found in the present day or "base life." There's a lot of "who is this guy?" with a number of characters.

This could have made a TV show with Alex developing a Scooby Gang like Buffy's. Alex suggests as much, herself. Not the TV show part, but the Scooby Gang. I think base life boyfriend interest Jensen and Alex's sick sister, Audrey, should be included.

A sequel to this book was planned for this spring. However, the first book's publisher, Strange Chemistry, Angry Robot Books' YA imprint, closed last summer. I haven't found anything about the second Wayfare book, The Untimely Deaths of Alex Wayfare, being published. Now I will never know if two young characters are one and the same person. That's my theory.

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12. The Weekend Writer: Dialogue Tags


I haven't done a Weekend Writer in quite some time. This week, though, I stumbled upon this post on dialog tags at Page Curl Publishing and Promotion. No idea, noooo idea how I find these things. But dialogue tags can be a problem for new writers, and this Page Curl post makes some good points. Thus, a weekend writer post.

Rule 3 is of particular interest to me. "Dialogue tags aren't a place to break out your thesaurus." Indeed. Fancy synonyms for "said" are distracting. On the other hand, if you've spent much time reading out loud, you know that the repetition of "said," all by itself, becomes distracting, too. This is one of the many cases in life where one must find a happy medium.

Also, it usually isn't necessary to describe how something is said. "...said happily..." "...said sadly..." "...exclaimed in despair..."  Try to show the way these things are said rather than tell your readers about it.



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13. What Did You Do This Week, Gail? Feb. 13 Edition

Goal 1. Mummy Book. Work didn't go as fast this week as I'd hoped, but a discussion of some early work with my writers' group went very well. I think I'm nearly done ridding myself of 14 pages I wanted to get rid of and now things should go faster.

Goal 5. Community Building. Attended that writers' group I mentioned a few moments ago, and took care of today's Twitter work.

Goal 6. Marketing Saving the Planet & Stuff. I spent time this week spreading the word on social media about the publication of an environmental booklist including the hardcover edition of Saving the Planet & Stuff at the Scottish Book Trust. I also researched blogs to approach about guest posts during April for Earth Day and began contacting them. Since we're expecting a storm this weekend and will be sticking close to home, I'll try to get some more of those out Saturday or Sunday. That way I won't have to use writing time next week for this marketing.

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14. The Environmental Book Club

The Scottish Book Trust posted a list entitle 8 Books About The Environment (Teens) at its site.  Included is the hardcover edition of Saving the Planet & Stuff.

One of the interesting things about these books is that the newest title, The Carbon Diaries 2015, by Saci Lloyd, was published in 2008. This is a "deep" list that doesn't just rely on scanning recent publishers' catalogs.


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15. Time Management Tuesday: Place And Time

The LA Times recenly carried Susan Straight's essay On Learning To Write Without A Room Of One's Own. In it, Straight explains that she's written on rocks while on vacation, at card tables in student housing, and in various vehicles while waiting for her children at one practice or another. Allison Williams picks up on the topic of where she writes in a short piece at Brevity. She makes the connection between "physical and temporal spaces." Temporal. Time.

Where we work is often related to when we work. For instance, writing in a car because you have to wait for your kid to finish soccer has far more to do to with when than where. You aren't working in your car because you like working in your car. You're working in your car because you have some time to use while you're in your car. The car is kind of beside the point. Working in doctors' waiting rooms (as I wish I had this morning--I ended up with forty minutes in one), in the evening in a vacation motel room, or on your sister's couch after you get her kids to sleep all happen because that's where we happen to be when we find ourselves with time for work. We didn't seek out those places. We were just in them.

Which leads me to wonder, which is more important? Place or time?

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16. Connecticut Children's Literature Calendar Update

Sat., Feb. 28, Lesa Cline-Ransome and James E. Ransome, Pequot Library, Southport 2:00 to 3:30 PM

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17. A Writer Gets All Techie About Her Website

This weekend we relaunched my website after some work that I originally thought would "just" be cosmetic. Cosmetic. That's tweaking, right? How long can that take? Well, it took about two-and-a-half weeks, though we're not talking two-and-a-half weeks of eight-hour days. My computer guy ended up using a lot of his snowdays on this project.

Many of the issues we ended up dealing with in this revamp are the same kinds of things we'd be considering if we were starting a website from scratch. So if you're thinking of getting started with a site or you've been wondering if it's time to do some touch-up work, yourself, you may be interested in what we've been doing these last few weeks.

What Got Me Started


My website is quite old, going back to 1998. We've made many changes since then, of course. Recently, though, I'd been feeling that my site was very white. That's not ethnic commentary. My website was very white meaning that its pages seemed to spread across computer screens, which are now often quite wide, in an unattractive manner. But what to do about it?

Last month I happened to read some articles in More on personal branding. The two issues I was particularly interested in:
  • Using color to help brand. Color has attributes it communicates when it comes to branding. Yellow is supposed to communicate creativity and intellect, as well as energy. I most definitely am not a pastel person. Any pastel. But I thought I might like some kind of gold in my website, maybe an autumn-type color. Yellowish.
  • Finding ways to unify your brand message across your social media platforms so readers/viewers begin to recognize you, wherever you are. Color can be a unifying element. 

 

What We Did And Why It Took So Long


Originally, all I wanted to do was create a colored border around the pages of my website. Because I was interested in gold, which is similar to the theme of this Blogger blog, we would immediately be providing some unity between these two platforms. But once we placed the gold color around each page, the color we'd been using for the hyperlinks clashed. All the color on all the links had to be changed. (By  the way, we changed the theme on my Twitter page to conform with the color of my website's hyperlinks, thus creating some uniformity with that platform ,too.) Then Computer Guy started really getting into this and gave the space behind the text a little hue-like color, so we really were rid of the white. This was also more in keeping with the blog's appearance.

All this had to be done to every single page in the site. In case you weren't aware, I have a very big website. It's deep, meaning it's multi-leveled. A link from the homepage leads to another page and there are links there that lead to still more.

While we were touching everything, anyway, we were careful to bring any outdated material up to 2015.

And, Then, Fonts


Things were looking better, but now I wasn't happy with the font. Fonts, it turns out, have attributes, just as colors do.

Serif fonts, for instance, are associated with artistic, intellectual, and warm attributes. Sans serif fonts  are considered technical looking. Computer Guy loves sans serif fonts, which are very straight and have little embellishment. I, however, have always been a Times New Roman woman because it looks like the text in a book. TNR is a serif font. Serifs have little extra bits at the end of letters and, like TNR, look like what we'd expect to see in books and other publications.We decided to go with a serif font for the text, which would require more reading, and a crisp sans serif font for headings.

Sounds as if we're done with fonts, right? No! Why not? Because a certain number of fonts are preloaded onto every computer making that computer capable of rendering text accessed from the Internet onto its screen. There are fonts that are commonly used. If I were to choose an uncommon serif font for my website, one that many computers couldn't render, they would have to use a fallback font that may or may not look the way I planned it to. Thus, I needed to choose common fonts.

Some Things We Didn't Change

 

Believe it or not, I have some very specific views on websites. These views are related to communicating messages and making communication easier for people receiving my messages.
  1. My homepage, my users' first stop when they come to my website, includes real content. I want my users to get something immediately for having made the effort to come to www.gailgauthier.com. I don't want them to have to click again to "enter website." I don't want them to be faced with just a menu.
  2. I'm not into bells and whistles. Things that move and pop are slow to load. I value my users' time. As a user, myself, I sometimes leave sites while I'm waiting for gimmicks to load.
  3. I avoid distracting clutter. I want to make the reading experience on my pages comfortable.
  4. I try to keep content short. I believe the reading experience on the Internet is supposed to be different from other kinds of reading experiences. Is is supposed to be fast. That is not a bad thing. We can read long in other places. That's true of blog posts, too, by the way. If I can't keep a blog post short, I use sub-headings, the way I am today, so users can pick and choose what they want to focus upon.

In Conclusion


This was a fun thing I hope we don't have to do again for a while. "A while" meaning "years."


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18. Should You Go Snowshoeing After Reading A Review Of "Mort(e)?" Maaaybeee Not.

We're expecting a snowweekend here in Connecticut, so the Gauthiers planned to get a little more snowshoeing in. We headed off into the woods behind our house, even though I'd seen a coyote bounding through the snow headed the same way. But that was a week or two ago, and there's a lot of ground out there.

So the whole coyote thing hardly bothered me at all. What got me thinking, once we were a little distance from my house and my neighbors', slowly breaking a trail through the snow, and viewing signs of other kinds of life, was that the last thing I read before I suited up was a review of Mort(e) by Robert Repino.

Mort(e) is about a cat who becomes sentient. More than just sentient, he, and all other animals, are suddenly able to walk upright, carry weapons, and use them. Well, of course, they revolt against us. Their leader is a bobcat.

I haven't seen any bobcats out in back of my house, but that doesn't mean they aren't there. This trail we crossed, it could have been made by a bobcat. And what if it was a coyote trail? A coyote has as much chance of rallying the troops as a bobcat. Coyotes are tricksters.

What was really disturbing was the top of this knoll where the wildlife had obviously been gathering.





The knoll was covered with all kinds of spots where your larger animals of the wood had been lying down. Resting up for something, no doubt.


 

The size of the trail leading to this spot was impressive. Disturbingly so. Deep and wide. A lot of beasts had been using it. It takes some organization for a group to create infrastructure like this.

Obviously, we got back safely, or I wouldn't be writing this now. However, remember I mentioned earlier something about "slowly breaking a trail through the snow?" Once a trail has been made, anyone can use it. All those woodland creatures have access to it.

And where does it lead? Directly to my home. We've made it easy for them.
 

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19. Why I Can Never Benefit From Groupie Groups

Literary crushes and book boyfriends--they're a thing. I was kind of stunned when I first heard about them a few years ago. Various bloggers would carry on about their book boyfriends, a popular one being Mr. Darcy, that narrow-minded stick-in-the-mud, from Pride and Prejudice. Crushes, I always thought, were sort of shallow, not something anyone would admit to. Especially crushes on imaginary people. Especially if you were an adult.

But book people do enjoy them and do like to talk about them, and writers can talk about theirs in Special Features that will get shared on social media and everyone will love reading it. And I will never be able to be part of that because I don't do crushes particularly on imaginary people.

And when I like a really terrific character I don't crush on them, I want to be them. But not Mr. Darcy. And not Elizabeth Bennet, either. Jane Eyre, okay. Jo Bhaer in Little Men, not Jo March in Little Women. I wanted to be Sherlock Holmes when I was a kid. Not so much now.

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20. Book Launch For Lynda Mullaly Hunt's "Fish In A Tree"

This afternoon I attended Lynda Mullaly Hunt's book launch for her second book, Fish In A Tree, which goes on sale in four days. The event, which included a number of games set up at staffed stations as well as at least a half dozen raffle items, a book sale and signing, and a quite marvelous short talk, ran from 2 to 4:30.

I got there around 3:30. When I arrived, there was the kind of crowd I'd expect to see at a group appearance. I was told it had thinned out. Earlier in the afternoon, the Barnes & Noble staff person running the book sale had been worried about running out of books.

This was a hugely successful launch. Book launches/publication parties are far more common than they were the last time I published a book. My guess is that there's a lot of risk involved in putting on these things, because there's a lot of risk involved in putting on any kind of party. (Or is that just an introvert speaking?) I would like to impress upon my readers how much effort, time, and expense went into planning this one. The games were related to Fish In A Tree. Some of the raffle prizes related to the book. Did I mention the t-shirt sale? Yes, there were book-related t-shirts, too. Lynda pulled this thing off in a big way.

This year I have to do a birthday luncheon, Easter, a rehearsal dinner, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Lynda, Lynda! Come quickly!

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21. What Did You Do This Week, Gail? Jan. 30th Edition

Not a stellar week. However, I did work on:

Goal 2. Short Work. Knowing that I was going to lose a lot of time this week to blizzardlyness and eldercare, I planned to work on short pieces, hoping that that would be a more efficient use of my limited time. I ended up focusing on one and even checking out a potential market for it. The market I'm interested in requires a number of either interviews or examples of some sort. I spent time collecting some on the topic I was interested in, then got diverted on the issue of getting permission for using quotes from published sources. I finally started writing yesterday and kind of broke down after para one. This morning I got an idea for going about things differently.

I'm going to save this project for weeks like this one or at the very least I'm going to be careful to commit only a few days a month to it. I don't want to commit a lot of time to this the way I did with a piece of flash last year that I haven't been able to publish.

Goal 5. Community Building. I completed and posted next month's Connecticut Children's Lit Calendar and did some networking with the Connecticut Women Writers Facebook group. I posted to a community on Google+, and I'll try to do some Twitter work this evening.

Goal 6. Marketing STP&S. This isn't so much marketing STP&S as marketing me. We're working on a cosmetic tweak of my website that's turned out to be quite a bit of work for Computer Guy and requires decision making of me.

As I said, not a stellar week. But what time I had for work I managed to commit to goals and objectives. So, hurray me.

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22. But Jo March Wasn't Hunting Werewolves

I am a big fan of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith. I thought the literary mash-up of Austen and zombies worked "very well in the context of the original Pride and Prejudice story because in Austen World the hunt for a husband is life and death, much like encounters with zombies." In Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, the Bennet daughters had pledged to fight zombies until they were "dead, lame, or married." Marriage is pretty much the end for the Bennets in whatever universe they're part of. And the book is funny.

I didn't run out to read other classic/horror mash-ups because I thought it was a situation that would get old fast. Little Women and Werewolves by Louisa May Alcott and Porter Grand jumped out at me at a library book sale, though, and now I have, indeed, read it. The situation isn't old in this book. It just doesn't work the way it did with Pride and Prejudice.

Little Women and Werewolves follows the original book very closely, but with werewolves slipped in. Instead of fighting the werewolves, the way the Bennets fight zombies, the Marches are far more passive, being merely sympathetic to the werewolves' plight, seeing as they have to live in hiding or they'll be hunted down by members of the bullyish Brigade. The March girls have learned from their minister father to be tolerant of werewolves.

But here's the thing: The werewolves are cold-blooded killers. When the moon is full, they kill and eat innocents. They feel no remorse. The Marches have no problem with this. They are not horrified. That doesn't seem to make sense logically in the context of this story about these sensitive, gentle, spiritual people. I wondered if some of the gory scenes were supposed to be funny, but if so, I totally missed the humor.

Little Women wasn't my favorite Alcott book when I was young. (I am a Little Men fan.) As I was reading Little Women and Werewolves, I started wondering what the original book's attraction is. There isn't a lot of story here. Even with werewolves. I may try to reread bits and pieces of it to compare them to the werewolf version.



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23. Time Management Tuesday: Productive Procrastination

Last week I forgot to bring a book with me to the Laundromat. What to do so I wasn't wasting that precious wash time looking at old magazines? Why I whipped out my trusty iPhone and looked up one of my favorite will power people, Kelly McGonigal. iPhones are wonderful, by the way. So is the Internet. Don't let anybody make you feel guilty about loving those things.

Anyway, it turns out that McGonigal was interviewed at Life Hacker for a series called How I Work. One of the things she was asked was "What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?" Her response was, "Productive procrastination. Often when I should be writing a chapter or preparing a talk, I decide instead to do a deep dive on some random scientific topic..." And that topic may led to her writing articles or starting some sort of project.

I looked at Ira Glass's How I Work interview and saw something similar.  At one point, he says, "I procrastinate by working." By which he means he'll look over contracts or make business calls that aren't as important as the writing he needs to be doing.

If I had all the time in the world (ha-ha), I'd skim all the How I Work interviews to see how many of these people talk about productive procrastination.

Now, when you have a big job with a deadline, you have to find a way to stay on task and get through it. However, we're not always on deadline. When McGonigal and Glass are off task, they still manage to crank out a lot of work. What I find interesting is that when they procrastinate, they are not checking out Kate Middleton's maternity clothes or trying to figure out who the actress was who had a nonrecurring role in the TV show they were watching the night before. They are, in McGonigal's case, researching something like "What’s the latest animal research on the brain’s default mode network?" or, in Glass's, doing some other type of work, work that does need to be done. They are both working when they procrastinate. They do something with their procrastination.

The trick here, I think, is to train yourself to work when you just have to take a break from the main event. Writers, particularly published writers who have to market themselves, have plenty of work they can be doing. The problem is making sure that "other" work doesn't then become the main event. You don't want productive procrastination to become an excuse to avoid a major project.



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24. I'm Kind Of Late With This...Wait! No! It's Never Too Late.

Last month, while I was on retreat, I read some back issues of my sister's magazines. You may remember that she subscribes to Oprah? Yes, well, she also subscribes to Redbook.

So, the December issue of Redbook (I think it was December. Could have been November.) had one of those lists of Christmas gift ideas you see in magazines at that time of the year. Ten items were on the page that said "Delightful treats for the tots (and rowdy rascals) in your world." One of them was...Little Miss Bronte Jane Eyre!!


Now, as you can see, I am a fan of Little Miss Bronte Jane Eyre by Jennifer Adams with illustrations by Alison Oliver. But that's not why I'm making a point of mentioning Redbook including it on its Christmas list. No, I'm doing that because Little Miss Bronte JE was published nearly three years ago. Three book years is like thirty human years, if you're talking about the Middle Ages when thirty was old age. Usually only the shiny new books that have just come out or even haven't come out yet get coverage in the press. So it was really notable to see an older book being promoted.




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25. What Did You Do This Week, Gail? February 6 Edition

I was pleased with this week, particularly the early part.

Goal 1. Mummy Book. I've been working on getting rid of a fourteen page second chapter by threading maybe a page and a half of its content into Chapter One. I'm very happy with how that went and expect revision of the new Chapter Two, which used to be Chapter Three, to go much faster. I have new motivation for the main character now, which I think could make the writing go easier over all. Huzzah!

Goal 2. Short Work. I did a little research on doing research for short articles and managed to do some short reading. But not much.

Goal 5. Community Building. I reposted one of my Original Content posts at my Goodreads blog, which I do every week. I also did some nurturing of my Twitter account, which I also do every week. And I worked on developing a mailing list for the Connecticut Children's Literature Calendar e-mail newsletter we're planning.

Goal 5/6 Community Building and Marketing Saving the Planet & Stuff. We're doing what I thought was going to be a quick cosmetic revision of my website, which is certainly part of marketing STP&S. I'm also considering it part of community building because part of what we're doing is creating some uniformity across my social media platforms. The website's color scheme is similar to this blog's, and those colors will also be used in the CCLC's newsletter. This website work turned out to be more than I thought it would because the website is large. You'll be hearing about the new look when we're done. 

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