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Results 7,951 - 7,975 of 226,784
7951. In Someone's Shoes

Put yourself in someone’s shoes
And gaze from that perspective.
Doing that may give you pause
Or cause to be reflective.

Judging others isn’t fair
Unless we’ve lived their lives.
What tactics we’d reject might be
How somebody survives.

It’s easy to condemn or praise
From knowledge one construes,
But we might sing a different tune
In someone else’s shoes.

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7952. Things I Love Thursday

I'm often asked by students which of my books is my favorite.

I used to say I don't have a favorite.

I love them all.

Well, I DO love them all.

But then I decided to 'fess up.

I DO have a favorite.

This one:

Greetings from Nowhere

So that's why I LOVE this news:

It will be published in paperback by Square Fish/Macmillan Books.

Official on-sale date: 8/25/15.

So excited, y'all. 

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7953. A Submission Horse named Cripes! Editors run for their lives.

Earlier today I thought of an awesome idea for a blog post. Phew! At last, I would have something to blog about and I'd so wanted to resurrect this blog, or rather, add new content to it.

I've forgotten the awesome idea.

That's okay, I doubt it was awesome or brilliant anyway, more likely random nonsense like this is. But go team me, I'm actually formulating a blog post. Now I figure I should add some actual content because someone, somewhere, in a hundred years from now (or later today) might stumble upon this post.

Scratches chin.

Ah, my thirty-two short story file - yes, that's the place to start.

In the midst of when mum was becoming really ill (for those who don't know, my beautiful mum died at Christmas), I opened a file and listed thirty-two random quotes and started to construct stories inspired by them. I didn't choose to write thirty-two in particular, it was merely the figure I ended up with when I got bored looking for quotes to add to the file. I sometimes think I get bored easily and at other times think I can cope with all of the boredom longer than most. I doubt either is true.

Anyway, back to the file. I started said file because I couldn't concentrate on writing and wanted something I could dip into without pressure. Or at least, without pressure just yet. I thought - honestly thought - that it would be something I could escape into in the weeks following mum's death. I was building a fort for myself*. When it came to it, my mind refused to open the door. It preferred staring into space, crying and making me clean every corner of the house over and over.

This is good. After months of looking after mum, the house needed some TLC.

I've started to dip into the file over the last couple of days. Nothing too wearisome but something; a line here and there. Thirty-two stories won't emerge from the file and at some point I'll have to drag out the ones that could go somewhere - prays for at least ten workable stories. Then, I guess I'll have to get back on the submission horse. I think I'll call him Cripes for no other reason than that's what just came into my head.

*mention of a fort made me think of this picture (taken at Formby). An awesome fort of trees amongst the sand dunes.

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7954. Review Tour: Stefan by V.A. Dold

Disclaimer: I received no compensation from the author or publisher for this honest review.

About the Book

El is a beautiful, successful, plus sized woman suffering a debilitating humiliation that has left her hating all handsome, wealthy men exactly like Stefan Le Beau. Unfortunately for Le Beau, she’s known him since she was sixteen and was totally snubbed by him. To her, he’s a hound dog and a man-whore.

Stefan is a playboy to the extreme with one hard and fast rule: date a woman only once, take her to bed, and be gone before morning. Until El.

Stefan’s dream of finding his mate comes true when he bids two hundred thousand dollars to win a date with El at Simon’s charity ball. Money well spent in his opinion.

Now, if she would only talk to him. Or look at him. Or touch him, or…like him.

Can Stefan convince El he's a reformed man?

Can El learn to trust a man who is the epitome of what she avoids and could shatter her heart?

It will require drastic, strategic measures from the entire family to make this mating happen.

Buy the Book


Other books in the Le Beau Brothers Series

Here's what I'm giving it:

Rating: 4 stars

Here's why:

Stefan is the most intense book in the Le Beau so far. Learning El's trauma and watching her emotional journey as she tries to figure out what Stefan means to her and for her. El is a spunky, honest character and I truly enjoyed reading about her and Stefan.

Stefan was an interesting character unto himself because his "perceived image" and the "real man" were very far apart. Yet when it is time to fight for his woman, he's top notch in my book.

Would I recommend this book? Yes, absolutely! I am firmly on the Le Beau love train.

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7955. Ageism in Kidlit

This blog promotes diversity of and respect for character age. 


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7956. Workspace Pictures & Our 2015 Charity Selection

Boy, there are some great pictures coming in from our 100,000 Book Milestone Giveaway. Have you entered yet? If not, click the link above to fill out the form & possibly win one of 10 print copies of either the Emotion, Positive Trait or Negative Trait Thesaurus books. (Unlike most print book giveaways, this one is open internationally, too!)

It is so neat to peer at your work spaces, meet your pets and see your smiling faces in all of these pictures. Too, the stories are great — so many of you have shared tidbits about how your use our books, what you have accomplished with them and how they are constant writing companions. This is just so gratifying for us to hear, so thank you for this gift!

Here are a few of the pictures rolling in:

Harry OlsenHere we have Harry Olsen working on his latest project of awesomeness.

50 Points to Gryffindor for managing to take a selfie that gets him, his books, his laptop and his printed work in process ALL IN ONE SHOT!

Leslie ZampettiNext is the talented Leslie Zampetti and her strange electronic device that is actually a portal to another realm. On it, she types magical words that will transport readers into the story world.

Holy zombie cows, I NEED one of these mystical novel-making devices. (And I wish my writing space was as neat as hers too!)

Jan MarkleyAnd here’s Sprite, Jan Markley‘s cat, drinking a mug of whiskey (er, I mean tea OF COURSE!) and likely plotting mayhem that will bring about a fiery apocalypse.

Who killed the Dead Bird Through The Cat Door (Jan’s MG novel on screen?) If it wasn’t Colonel Mustard with a wrench in the library, then my vote goes Sprite, after a drinking and catnip binge.

Lisanne CooperUp next is a picture sent in by Lisanne Cooper, who is obviously a huge fan of the Negative Trait Thesaurus in particular. Why you ask? Because she painted her wall the same shade!



Sabrina RamothAnd sweet lord of chocolate goodness…are those BROWNIES?

Oh, you delicious tease. I wish I was at Sabrina Ramoth‘s house RIGHT NOW.

(Looks like she’s cued up Scrivener and is knee deep in creativity!)

Angie AkerFACT: Angie Aker not only has a fabulous name, she also has a well-loved Emotion Thesaurus.

Bring on the folded corners, the highlights and pen notations! This is what we like to see because it means she is getting serious miles from her book as she uses it.

Janet BoyerBudding writer Noah is taking after his mom Janet Boyer. This means serious lessons in “sharing” as they swap all three books back and forth.

There is a dark side of having a child take on the family business, as illustrated here by the pictures below.

Heather O’Connor sent in these pictures she snapped of a LIVE book theft in action when her daughter Alison got too close to the bookshelf…

(WARNING: Graphic images…writers with weak stomachs may want to look away)

Heather OConnor1 heather Oconnor2HeatheroConnor3

I’m not going to lie…it was a grueling battle. Outside, lightning forked across the sky and booms of thunder shook the house. An orchestra showed up and began to play epic battle music as the tug of war raged on. Alison finally prevailed by throwing a handful of colorful M & M’s into the air. Her mother, as you might imagine, was helpless against their chocolatey power (No one can resist M & M’s).

Heather might not see her books for awhile, but we appreciate the book love, no matter how you slice it.

(And please, keep those pictures rolling in!)

Paying It Forward

Each year, Becca and I choose a charity to sponsor here at Writers Helping Writers. So far we have donated $2500 to organizations such as Heifer International (mission: to End Poverty) and the Polaris Project (mission: to stop Human Trafficking). So know that when you purchase a book of ours, you are also sending along some much needed help to someone else!

farm sactuaryThis year, Becca and I will be donating to Farm Sanctuary. This charity focuses on rescuing animals from cruelty, re-educating people and advocating for humane treatment.

We are able to do this because of your kind support, so thank you so much!

Happy writing!

Angela & Becca

The post Workspace Pictures & Our 2015 Charity Selection appeared first on WRITERS HELPING WRITERS™.

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7957. Why YA? - with Ashley

Why YA? 

Hello, Ashley here! Today I'm going to focus on YA fiction and why we love it. There are a number of reasons why readers love the Young Adult scene- it's action packed, full of captivating plots, and, of course, the love triangles. Oh the love triangles. No matter what your ship or team, there is always room for more on the YA fan-wagon. So, in honor of this magnificent, fiction-filled world, I want to share with you a few of my reasons for loving Yound Adult fiction: 

1. Dystopian Societies to the Max

It's no secret that us YA fans love our dystopian societies- I mean, come on, futurist worlds ravaged by sections and kids with super powers? Freaking. Awesome. So of course one of my main reasons for loving YA is the fact that you can be transported to literally any world you like, and your imagination can run free in it.

2. The Love Triangles. So Much Yes. 

Every love triangle you could ever want, ever. That's what you get when you hop on the YA fan-wagon. Whether it be Katniss, Gale, and Peeta or Juliette, Adam, and Warner...let's face it, that dangerous triangle is anything but equilateral. And it's the most exciting thing ever.

3. The Covers

Okay, so maybe this is a little superficial (not really), but I absolutely adore YA book covers. They're shiny and brand new and sometimes holographic (oh my gosh the holograms). The best part is when you buy a hardcover copy of a new release and the words are raised from the cover like beautiful little cursive mountains. Essentially, if your bookshelf is a rainbow you're doing YA right. 

4. And, Lastly, the Community

The YA community is absolutely fantastic. Whether you're talking about fellow fans or authors, everyone on the scene is full of creative life and kindness. It's basically like this big cloud of awesome, where everyone is always writing and retweeting your EpicReads book nerd posts. Score.

This link says it all:

So there it is, a few of the reasons I absolutely adore YA fiction and the YA community. Below I've posted a few of my favorite reads for you, so you can see what I fan so hard over!

Best and happy reading,


Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Gilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodge

Uninvited by Sophie Jordan 

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7958. 50 States Against Bullying: MINNESOTA

Stop number twenty-eight on the 50 States Against Bullying campaign had me in the snow for the third day in a row. This was my fourth time speaking in Minnesota (my next state will be a first), and I love coming back here. This visit let me meet up with friends, which some of you know as members of the paranormal investigating group Ghost Stories, Inc. for dinner. We ate inside the Mall of America, which includes huuuuuge Lego sculptures.

The next day, I spoke at Highland Park Senior High. Here I am with their book club. They're currently reading Thirteen Reasons Why, and will discuss it at their next meeting. The book they just finished was Winger, by cool dude, Andrew Smith.

I spoke in the auditorium to students from the high school and some students from the nearby middle school.

Afterward, Natalie (from GSI), gave me a quick tour of famous St. Paul homes before I headed back to the airport. While it hasn't been confirmed, Bob Dylan reportedly made one of his first recordings in this house.

Since it isn't confirmed, that makes it a rumor. And rumors are bad. But...that's the house.

The next place has been confirmed as one of the many homes where F. Scott Fitzgerald lived. And that means this truly is a cool place rather than just a potentially cool place.

My creative idol, as many of you know, is Charles Schulz. And this is where his family moved when he was four years old.

They moved again to this next house, where he spent much of his childhood. Which means that when Mr. Schulz reminisced about his childhood while creating Peanuts, this is a significant place he thought about. Which makes this one of the most important places in the history of ever! Like, when he created his classic Christmas strips and cartoons, this was his inspiration. How...cool...is...this!?!?

So I had to eat some snow there.

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7959. Guest Post and Giveaway: Rebecca York, Author of Private Affair

Rebecca York dropped by this morning to share a guest post.  There’s also a giveaway for you to enter, so be sure to fill out the widget below!

5 Reasons That Private Investigators Make Great Heroes by Rebecca York

As unlikely as it sounds, the heroes of my Rockfort Security romantic suspense series—Jack Brandt, Shane Gallagher and Max Lyon—met in a Miami holding cell, after they were swept up in a drug raid at a nightclub. There they banded together to keep order among a bunch of drunks and druggies. And after they made bail, they went out for beers. During the night, they’d recognized each other’s strengths and decided to form the Rockfort Security Agency. Jack is a former Navy Seal. Shane was an Army MP. And Max Lyon is a former Baltimore City Police Detective. They each brought their special skills to the detective agency located in Rockville, Maryland, outside Washington, DC. (Hence the Rockfort name.)

When they first formed the agency, these tough alpha males were all at loose ends and looking for an anchor. They found it in Rockfort, where they could pool their resources and talents.

Looking at the Rockfort men, it’s easy to see why these private investigators make great romance heroes.

1. These are the guys you want to have at your back when you get into a tough situation. They have the skills and the courage to take on any threat.

2. They’re all complicated men, wounded by life, which initially makes them wary of relationships. It takes a strong woman to connect with them, but once she gets past that protective wall, she finds out the effort was majorly worth it.

3. Each of these men is an excellent lover, sensitive to his partner’s needs.

4. Each of them has a strong streak of personal loyalty. If you’re their friend—or their woman—you know you can count on them.

5. And they each have a good sense of humor—which they use liberally when they’re in a tight spot.

You can read about the last of the Rockfort man’s romance in PRIVATE AFFAIR, available now.

Book Information

Title: Private Affair

Author: Rebecca York

Release Date: January 6, 2015

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Genre: Romantic Suspense


Model Olivia Winters comes home to escape her job in New York City, and finds herself compelled to investigate the suspicious suicide of a former high school classmate. She enlists the help of private investigator Max Lyon, an ex-detective from a troubled family. Posing as husband and wife, the pair uncovers a grisly trail of murder, and the danger propels them into each other’s arms.
With a murderer on the loose, Max and Olivia realize they’re in too deep, too late. They’re getting close to the truth—and to each other’s secrets.

Buy Links

Amazon – http://amzn.to/125XJbM

Barnes and Noble – http://bit.ly/1wEZf1I

iBooks – http://bit.ly/1tZxiuA

Author Biography

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Rebecca York’s writing has been compared to that of Dick Francis, Sherrilyn Kenyon, and Maggie Shayne. Her award-winning books have been translated into twenty-two languages and optioned for film. A recipient of the RWA Centennial Award, she lives in Maryland near Washington, DC, which is often the setting of her romantic suspense novels.

Social Networking Links:

Website: http://rebeccayork.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8110.Rebecca_York

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rebecca-York/122426234846

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RebeccaYork43

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Guest Post and Giveaway: Rebecca York, Author of Private Affair appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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7960. Want to Meet a Hero of Nonviolence?

Do you know who influenced and inspired Mahatma Gandhi into using nonviolence when dealing with the fight for India’s freedom from British rule ?

Did you know that Gandhi inspired Martin Luther King Jr. in using non-violence in bringing equal rights for African-Americans?

Can you imagine bringing justice, equality, and peace to the world without using violence?

Today I’m sharing a book which shares such a message. Mahavira: The Hero of Nonviolence’ by Manoj Jain and illustrated by Demi tells the remarkable story of a young prince who renounced his wealth and power to become a wandering monk and leader of the Jain religion.


Mahavira imagined a world where no one gets hurt, a world where no one is teased or bullied, a world where there is no fear or anger.

Today, more than 2,500 years later, over 10 million Jains follow Mahavira’s example.

Mahavira: The Hero of Nonviolence is brought to life in exquisite detail by award-winning illustrator Demi.  I especially love Demi’s details and her use of color and gold. Simply stunning.

Though I had heard of Jainism throughout my travels until I read Mahavira I didn’t know any details about the religion or what they believed in. Mahavira: The Hero of Nonviolence is a perfect beginning book into the world of the Jains. The front section of the book tells the story of Mahavira himself. The story then moves seamlessly and simply into what Jains believe. The word usage and difficulty is appropriate for the age group which is for ages 6 and up. This is a beautiful and captivating book which is a brilliant introduction to one of the worlds oldest religions.


Something To Do


What do the Jains believe ?

There is no supreme creator god in Jainism. Instead Jains believe as do the Buddhists and Hindus in a cycle of birth and rebirth. This cycle is influenced by the effects of good and bad deeds and ones attitudes. This is accomplished by following ‘The Jewels’ of Jain belief and ethics.

The Jewels of Belief are:

  • The first belief is nonviolence or love. It is not to cause harm to any living being. It is to have love and compassion for all living things. Avoiding anger and practicing forgiveness are essential.
  • The second belief is non-absolutism. One is to tolerate and accept another person’s view, to keep an open mind.
  • The third belief is non-possessiveness or detachment. It is to separate true needs from false desires. Avoid greediness and be generous and charitable.

Did You Know….

  • Jainism is one of the world’s oldest religions, with its original roots in India?
  • Mahavira lived at the same time as the Buddha during the 6th century?
  • There are 10 million Jains in the world?
  • There are 125,000 Jains in the United States?
  • Jains who are inspired by the example of Mahavira, live a life of compassion and forgiveness?
  • Jains are vegetarian?
  • Green !!! That’s right, Jains practice a sustainability and are custodians of the earth?


Discussion Questions:

1. Have you come across any of these rules in other religions or cultures you’ve studied ? Which ones ? Where are they located on the planet?

2. Remember or imagine a difficult situation such as bullying, hitting, grabbing a toy, stealing, unkindness, cheating etc. Write a short paragraph or two about a non-violent solution to this problem. Share your solution with others such as classmates, friends, or family.

3. It is important to Jains to avoid violence in the work place. List 3 professions a Jain could choose that would be good for them and their Jain practices. List 3 professions which wouldn’t be good for a Jain to choose and why.

Snakes and Ladders

Did you know the game of Snakes and Ladders originated in India? There are HIndu, Muslim, and Jain versions of the game. The Jains call their version of the game “Gyanbaji” which means “Game of Knowledge’.

Look at the photo of Snakes and Ladders. It is made up of 84 numbered squares. Each square represents a steps and progress in one’s life. The words on each square point out good and bad traits and conduct along with the consequences for them.

Snakes and Ladders Jain Version

The ladders are linked to good behavior and the snakes are linked to bad.

1. Count the snakes and then the ladders. Why do you think there are more snakes than ladders ?

The pavilion at the top of the game represents the heavens. Jains believe all people should aspire or work to go to heaven.

Below is a template for you to make up your own version of Snakes and Ladders.

  • Using ‘Jain’ rules, think of five actions which would cause a player to ascend a ladder and eight actions that would cause a player to go down a snake.
  • You can also design a Snakes and Ladders game using study habits, school rules, house rules, chores and rewards, society rules and morales, your own religious values and beliefs.
  • Or you can simply use the numbers, dice and some markers such as paperclips or coins.

Rules to Snakes and Ladders

  • Decide which player is going first.
  • Roll the dice.
  • Move the counter or marker
  • If you land on a snake you go down it and if you land on a ladder you go up it.
  • When you get to the top you’re the winner.

snakesandladders template

A Little Celebration

On the day of Mahavira’s death, Jains celebrate the festival of Diwali eating tasty sweets and singing religious songs. They also visit family and friends and exchange gifts. For a further look at the celebration of Diwali, have a look here.

Don’t forget to grab your FREE copy of my Read Your World Multicultural Booklists and Activities for Kids.

Read Your World Multicultural Booklist and Activities for Kids

The post Want to Meet a Hero of Nonviolence? appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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7961. Comment on Mayes’ days by Gina Freschet

Robbie’s sharp mind and eye kept me on point. My respect for him inspired my best work. In truth, I haven’t found anyone that can replace him. Robbie,
we love you, Gina and Steve

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7962. January 15: Happy Birthday, Dad!

My Dad, Ben Bursztynski, in his younger years

Today would have been my father's 90th birthday if he had still been alive. I miss him terribly, even after five years. My brother and his family returned from their overseas trip yesterday and today we drank to Dad in whiskey, a drink he loved.

Dad was a true "silver surfer" who discovered and adored the Internet in his later years. He was trying to write his memoir, but kept saying, "Oh, I just need to check up this or that thing I can't quite remember." He never got far with the memoir, but he had a wonderful time with the World Wide Web. Every morning he got up early to read the world's newspapers online. Every time I visited, he would be telling me something exciting he had read online that day. 

He learned to Google very quickly. Any member of his family who might be mentioned online he'd look up. I had to be careful what I posted, because he'd find it.

Dad was the head of my fan club and set up a "shrine" of book covers, newspaper articles and illustrations from my works. Once, when lining up to do a colour copy, he asked the lady in front of him for help in copying my book cover; she was Mitch Vane, my illustrator! How cool is that, eh?

He came along to my book launches, of course. I remember his enjoying the free food and booze at the Ford Street launch of Trust Me! and his cornering Kerry Greenwood at the launch of Crime Time, to talk about me, me and me again. Lucky Kerry is such a nice lady.

Anyway, today is his birthday and I had to celebrate it here.

January 15, 1925, was a Thursday, as it is this year. "Thursday's child has far to go" and yes, Dad went a long way from his birthplace in Poland, first to Germany, where he met and married my Mum, then to Israel, where the family lived for six years, finally to Australia. 

On This Day: 

Nothing literary. A lot of horrible stuff, including battles.
However, this day in 2001 was the birth of that very useful research tool, Wikipedia! 
1559: Crowning of Elizabeth I
1759: Opening of the British Museum. If you're in Melbourne go check out the State Library; it's designed to look like the BM. I remember when I was in London many years ago, I thought that the building, even inside, looked familiar...


1622: Moliere, that wonderful comic French playwright. 

1929: Martin Luther King! No explanation needed of who he was.

1935: Robert Silverberg, science fiction writer. My sister is a big fan of his. I've read some of his books, including Up The Line, a time travel story seen from the viewpoint of a time travel tour guide - great fun! The one I like best of those I have read is Gilgamesh The King, which I thought fascinating. 

1944: Jenny Nimmo, children's writer. I read and enjoyed her Snow Spider novels, one of which was made into a TV miniseries.

Happy birthday, Dad!

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7963. A murder mystery in Key Largo, Florida. Started at sunrise on a Sunday, and will end at sunset sometime towards the end of the book!

Question: I'm trying to write a murder mystery with 3 murders being committed. One in the 1st chapter, one in the middle and a surprise squeeze in murder

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7964. Clearing the Creative Cells

Author Kim Siegelson and I went hiking the other day. She's a member of a hiking club in Atlanta and knows all sorts of fun, unknown gems. She goes regularly as she says it clears her head and calms her nerves. It used to do that for me too when I lived in Chattanooga, but I haven't been hiking in ages. (Not since my woodsy excursion at Highlights Foundation at Boyds Mills.) In fact, I was thrilled to pull out my old hiking boots - the ones I wore on our honeymoon, hiking through Kenya. As you'll see, those didn't work out so well.
     Kim and I used to have a critique group together - the Cheese Whizzes. We met for a few years before graduations, colleges, moves and general mayhem made it like herding cats to get together. Some of us meet up for stuff now and then, but I miss my cheese whizzes.
     It's winter here in Georgia, which means drizzly, gray and dreary cold. But I love winter hiking. Your body warms up quickly, you seldom run into other hikers, there are no bugs or snakes, and the views go on forever. In no time, I was back into the swing of it. We saw deer (who ran across our path), a great blue heron, cormorants, ducks, and beautiful scenery!

It's wasn't sunny when we got to Laurel Creek, so Kim shared a photo from a previous hike:

     While we hiked, Kim and I talked about writing, of course, about retreats and goals and challenges. We've both reached most of our publishing goals (except for the BIG awards), so it's a matter of 'what now?' Kim likes to challenge herself with different writing styles like flash fiction and such. I like writing and illustrating without tremendous pressure - everything is gravy from here on out! But we both agreed we want folks to enjoy our work, for our peeps to respect what we create, to do a good job with our craft.
     We stopped at a bluff overlooking the Chattahoochee River to soak in the view - Atlanta is in the background.

     Writing isn't just about the act itself, it's also about the life that surrounds it. I've found that most writers are very interested people - all sorts of topics fire up their brains. So they are interesting people to be around. They also tend to have flexible schedules for the most part (when not on deadline, at which point you won't see them for months). I love getting together with my writer and illustrator friends - they keep me sane and feed my soul!
     Click the image to see a larger version in a new window of this panoramic shot:

     Speaking of soles (not souls)... yeah. The old hiking boots didn't hold up so well. The soles started coming apart a few miles in and just disintegrated from there.

     I guess they won't be going to Edinburgh with me after all. *le sigh*
     After our hike, we had lunch at Arepa Mia near Agnes Scott - delish. Then we popped into the bakery and a dress shop next door. Kim bought cupcakes, I bought a new dress. Truly, we did it all in a few short hours! What a fun get-together!

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7965. The Single Best Resource for Picture Book Authors

12 x 12 new bannerPicture Book writers of the world, listen up!

The single best resource that I know of for picture book writers is — for a very limited time — accepting new registrations.

12 x 12 is a year-long writing challenge, where members aim to write 12 complete picture book drafts, one per month, for each 12 months of the year, with advice, encouragement and submission opportunities along the way. Created by author Julie Hedlund, 12 x 12 is now in its fourth phenomenally successful year, and provides all the motivation, support, and accountability you need to help you write, submit and get published.

Imagine a 24/7 writing community where, if you have a question, you can receive answers almost instantly from a network of over 750 authors. Imagine having curated resources for planning, writing, revising, submitting, and promoting picture books at your fingertips, every day. Imagine a picture book playground where you can meet other writers & illustrators, talk shop with people who “get” you, give/receive feedback on your manuscripts & queries, form critique groups, and tap into an endless supply of inspiration. This is 12 x 12.

But it’s ONLY for picture book authors – and registration is ONLY open in January and February, so don’t wait.

Here’s my personal affiliate link to get more info:


To your success!

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7966. Limited characters in a scene or even in the story

Question: My question concerns the situation where you have a (main) character off by him or herself for an extended period. Perhaps the character falls

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7967. "Lady Middleton was equally pleased with Mrs. Dashwood. There was a kind of cold hearted selfishness..."

“Lady Middleton was equally pleased with Mrs. Dashwood. There was a kind of cold hearted selfishness on both sides, which mutually attracted them; and they sympathised with each other in an insipid propriety of demeanour, and a general want of understanding.”

- Jane Austen is my favorite mean girl. (From Sense and Sensibility.)

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7968. Stuck a heating pad under the cardigan today. It was A BIG CAT...

Stuck a heating pad under the cardigan today. It was A BIG CAT HIT.

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7969. 2015 Winter TBR List

I still have tons of books on my “To Be Read” (TBR) list but I can’t seem to stop myself from adding even more books to my leaning pile. There are lots of new lovelies coming out.

Here are just a few books that I plan to read this Winter:


The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds
Fairest by Marissa Meyer
Please Remain Calm by Courtney Summers
Vivan Apple at the End of the World by Katie Coyle
Hold Tight Don’t Let Go by Laura Rose Wagner
The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
When by Victoria Laurie
When My Heart was Wicked by Tricia Sterling

How about you? What have you read lately? What do you plan to cozy up and read before the Spring thaw?

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7970. One Thing Stolen: what I'm learning as Glenda Cowen-Funk reads the book

There must have been some magic involved.

There (on a dark street at the National Harbor on a cold night) I stood with Ginee Seo and Sally Kim of Chronicle Books; we'd just emerged from a wonderful meal. There, coming toward us, was Paul W. Hankins, whose Twitter handle reveals him to be a "reader, writer, wonder-er, and teacher of English/AP English Language/Composition at Silver Creek High School," though everyone already knows him for his passionate advocacy of youth, words, and innovative teaching. A conversation that began (in person) that night continued on Twitter and Facebook and soon the conversation was embracing one Glenda Cowen-Funk, a supreme teaching goddess and master/mistress, who began to tell me stories about the way she teaches her high school students in Idaho.

You want to know how to teach The Great Gatsby? Ask Glenda. You want to see Beowulf come to life? Rush travel your way to her classroom. You want to know how lucky I am? Glenda has been reading One Thing Stolen. She's been reading, she's been musing, and I've been learning from her.

Yesterday I asked if some of Glenda's beautiful musings about the book might be shared more broadly. Generously, Glenda said yes. And so, with deepest appreciation for teachers who bring such enormous creativity to the classroom and such kindness to writers, I share Glenda's thought-provoking words.

One Thing Stolen is a nest of words, pieced together to build a shelter. Like Laurie Halse Anderson does in SPEAK, Kephart has created a character who cannot speak, only she does, punctuating streams of consciousness." 

— Glenda Cowen-Funk, NEA Master Teacher Project, NBCT, Teacher at S. D. # 25, Highland High School, Pocatello, Idaho

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7971. Blackberry has a few questions for Jane Kelley


JK:  Yes! It's the advanced review copy. The real book will be available on July 14, 2015. Six months from today!


JK:  Her name is Mau.


JK:  Val and Lanore have been friends forever. Val expects thir relationship to stay the same. But after they start middle school, Lanora decides to reinvent herself. Her parents have split up, and she wants to rise above that. Unfortunately Lanora's choices lead her into trouble. Val hates watching her friend lose her way. She wants to rescue Lanora, but how? Val doesn't know what to do until a stray cat . . .


JK:  I beg your pardon. A SELF-RELIANT cat leads Lanora to a strange boy who lives in an even stranger bookshop. Together they embark on a quest. Will they be able to save a lost friend? Will they get lost themselves? Or will they find a way to help each other become who they want to be?


JK:  I guess you'll have to keep reading the book to find out.


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7972. Go and open the Door by Miriam Halahmy

I have been running workshops with asylum seekers from teens to adults for several years through English Pen who champion literature and human rights. One of the most successful texts I have used is the poem 'Go and Open the Door' by Miroslav Holub,  This poem can help to change lives.

I first used the poem with a group of teenagers in a project based at the Tricycle Theatre. We read the poem and then I literally opened the outside door and said, "What if you opened the door and outside was Africa?"
Ahmad from Kuwait wrote,
Go and open the door..../maybe you will see death and war/ maybe you will see guns, bullets, bombs and terror/ But no matter what, you will see happy, helpful, handsome people/ So go and open the door...
Then he said, "This has been the best day of my life!" His voice had been heard at last.

In this time of uncertainty, after the attacks in France last week and the sense that all our freedoms are under threat, there are voices which we generally don't hear - those of asylum seekers. These are people who have already been through our worst nightmares and are trying to build a new life in a strange country so far from home, where they often feel silenced and misunderstood.
But we can learn so much from them if we are only willing to listen.

I have just completed an 8 week course with asylum seekers at the MRCF in Ladbroke Grove.  The theme of my workshops was 'Writing for Health and Well Being.' My aim was to provide a toolbox to dip into and to experience how writing can help express the whole spectrum of experiences and feelings.  I used simple poetry devices to get started.

I want/ I don't want ( Martha)
I want to start my new life with courage and
I don't want to be stuck anymore because
life is beautiful.
I want to run and buy what I like.
I don't want to lose time with my life.
I want to go to the sky and see how far it is
I don't want to stop dreaming in the night.

As the weeks progressed the participants began to feel that writing could be a part of the lives as a way of helping to deal with their experiences and how everything had changed for them.

Kanchana wrote, "Writing helps a lot to relax the mind and can express feelings in writing. I hadn't thought of writing like this before."
Florence felt that when she first joined the class she was quite uncertain how writing could help with improving her life. But by the end of the course she was writing longer and longer pieces and declared, "Asking us to answer the question, Who am I? is simple words, a simple question, but it is really very big. Doing this writing for me has been very positive and it has changed everything for me."

Who am I  by Florence 
I am a midwife.nurse
I am not practising.
I am married
I am not a mother.
I am very active
I am not doing anything now.
You can't judge a book by its cover by Florence
I might be short but I am complete,
am black but still human
I can't read and write but I understand
don't judge me by first sight
but after hearing my views.

I brought in a set of objects and the participants chose things to write about. They went on to take photographs in the neighbourhood and wrote texts to go with the pictures. These have now been made into posters and will be exhibited in the local community.  Here is some of the writing and photos I took in the workshop.

Power over my life   by Abrehet
I have the power of reading the bible and following my religion
I have the power to do volunteering.

I shall stay out late by Grace
because I need to see a friend
because both of us need to talk
because I need my status to change
because her advice is so important to me

After these preliminary sessions I felt that the group had come to see how writing could have a role to play in health and well being. The participants were much more relaxed and confident about their writing. Florence began writing at home and bringing in pieces to read out to us. 


Power is that inner most energy within you
Over the world. People express different views on this. Some are
Weak and some strong. But we all need
Encouragement  in life to
Respond to.

Other things but that also
Varies although
Every time and again on
Resting and thinking about power and aware that

Money is good but its personal and its
Yours but never

Love money only
Interestingly try to
Everything that needs fixing.

I decided it was a good time to work on the Holub poem, Go and Open the Door.
This was the poem which lit up the room. "Writing opens doors and gives us whole new possibilities in our lives." Faranak.

After our writing session the group worked with  musicians who took lines from the poems they had written and composed a song which we sang, hummed and quoted for the rest of the course. Here are the opening lines :-

Go and open the door
Why are you calling me?
This is the time for me
Why are you calling me?

Go and open the door
Maybe it's good for you
A surprise, it could change your life.

I loaded the song onto Sound Cloud  - click here to listen.

Our course ended on December 5th 2014 and we finished with a celebration. The participants read out extracts from their work and were presented with certificates by English PEN. We all sang our beautiful song together and despite sadness at having to part company, the participants took away with them a notebook with their writings and a toolbox of ideas.

Because I know what is beautiful and is write and I try more confident myself. Martha
Writing can help in expressing yourself when in distress or in a happy mood. Grace
Miriam reaches our hearts and feelings and because of that I hope we were success in the workshop.
If I have some problems writing it can help me and I am very happy with the class. Abrehet
I enjoy everything. Abbas
Writing is very powerful to inspire confidence and self esteem in people who have lost it. Matilde
When I come here I forget about my troubles and my pain. Amina
I am a book. Some chapters are good and some are really terrible. But it is not finished yet. Thuri
I am a scientific person and I never wrote poetry before. Kanchana.

So go and open the door - it could change your life!
Happy writing!!

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7973. Photo: {Sexy Son}


Blake is so sexy. LOL

Bring on the girls!

Filed under: Photos, {this moment}

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7974. 40 Questions to Ask When You Get THE CALL from an Agent

Writers who want to take the path of traditional publishing all dream of that magic phone call when an agent offers to take them on as a client. It’s the first of many magical moments en route to seeing your book on a shelf in an actual bookstore.

image via Judy_and_Ed
For me, the two years between “the call” and the publication of COMPULSION publication have been a steep learning curve, and there isn’t nearly as much written about any aspect of that period as there is about the process of learning to write a book or craft an effective query letter. Even the questions authors suggest you ask during “the call” don’t go far enough. I have constantly come across terms and issues that are unfamiliar and that I have no idea how to handle.

Having come through these two years, I’d like to share what I’ve learned in the form of additional questions to consider asking a prospective agent. Some of these are questions that I asked myself, some are questions I’ve since heard were asked by other authors, and some are questions that, having gone through the process, I believe would have helped me to manage expectations, smoothed communication, and resulted in less uncertainty on my part.

Does this mean you have to ask each of these questions according to a checklist? No, of course not.

Make the call a conversation. But do make sure you can answer the bulk of these questions before you sign an agency agreement. And here's a red flag to consider. If you're not comfortable asking the questions, or you're not comfortable with the answers, don't sign.

You and your agent are going to be working together closely, not just on this book but on many different books. You're going to have great news, and not so great news, and news that you don't understand. You need to be totally comfortable with the lines of communication, and you need to be sure that you're getting answers in a way that fits your communication style.

The Basic Questions

These are the defaults. You’ll find them suggested by almost every author, and you must force yourself to be your own advocate and ask them when the call actually happens.

  1. What do you like best about my manuscript?
  2. What do you like the least?
  3. How much editorial feedback do you like to provide?
  4. Do you think the manuscript ready to submit to publishers, or does it need revisions before submission?
  5. How extensive are the revisions you envision, and specifically what kind of changes are we talking about?
  6. Did you have particular editors in mind for submission as you read?
  7. What publishing houses do you think would be a good fit and why?
  8. Where do you see this book positioned on a publisher’s list? Lead title, mid-list, etc.
  9. What authors or books do you think are comparable and where do you see this positioned in a bookstore or categorized on Amazon?
  10. Who do you see buying this book at a bookstore or online? How would you describe those people as a category?
  11. How many editors do you envision sending it to in the first round of submissions?
  12. What does your standard submission packet include and what is your submission process
  13. How many rounds of submission are you willing to do before you consider a project “dead”?
  14. Are you interested in representing only this project or do you want to represent future work with a career perspective?
  15. Is there any work of mine, genre, age range, etc., that you would not be able to handle?
  16. What sort of a path would you like to see with my career? How many books per year, what type of books, etc.?
  17. Do you use a written agent-client contract?
  18. How does your agency handle digital rights, foreign rights, and other subsidiary potentials?
  19. How often do you provide updates on submission status?
  20. Do you send copies of the editor’s responses?
  21. Do you prefer to correspond by email or phone, and how often do you like to touch base verbally?
  22. What sorts of things do you want to hear from me about and at what stage would you want to be involved in a new project?
  23. What would be your ideal client relationship?
  24. What is your standard agency royalty percentage?
  25. How, and how often, is money distributed by your agency?
  26. What would happen if you decided to leave the agency? Would I be able to stay with you, or would I be assigned another agent?
  27. What are your standard termination provisions if either of us decide the relationship isn’t working?
Beyond the Basics

Initially, I thought the above questions were more than comprehensive. But there’s a great deal to working with an agent beyond the initial submission, and going through the process myself, listening to author friends, and meeting other authors since I embarked on the publication process, I have discovered that managing expectations for all concerned would have been much easier with additional information up front. The answers we get early on provide us with a basic foundation of information. They set the foundation. And without that foundation, it’s too easy to spend time floundering and wishing for knowledge.

To that end, here are some additional things you might ask your agent and consider:
  1. How involved do you expect to be in the editorial process once the book is purchased by a publisher? Do you ask for updates and gauge satisfaction from both author and agent?
  2. How would you handle editorial differences of opinion between an editor and author?
  3. How would you handle differences of opinion on titles or covers, etc?
  4. How and when do you explain the various stages of the publication process or do you leave that to a publisher?
  5. How would you handle a request for help if I need additional information, education, or intervention in the publishing process?
  6. What do you see as the agent’s role when it comes to marketing or publicity decisions, mine or those of the publisher, and to changes or shifts in marketing or publicity plans for the book?
  7. How do you handle foreign and subsidiary rights?
  8. What do you see as your role, if any, if the publisher retains subsidiary rights, and what do you see as your role or process for checking/advocating for those rights?
  9. If the book sells as part of a multi-book contract, what role do you expect to play in the editorial process for subsequent books?
  10. How far in advance of the contractual submission deadline do you want/expect/need to receive subsequent contracted manuscripts?
  11. At what point do you want to consider additional work to be submitted for “option” books or outside of an initial contract?
  12. What sort of timeline do you envision needing before getting back to me when I submit future projects for potential submission?
  13. How would you envision handling the situation if I love a project that you did not feel was salable or that you couldn’t market enthusiastically?
Remember, the right agent isn't scary. She or he is your business partner, and you will both be more likely to make money and have a solid, prosperous career if you can be open with each other about what you need.

This post first appeared on the QueryTracker blog.

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7975. Oh, say, have you seen...

*... Zetta-E's list for African American authored books published by mainstream press in 2014? On one hand, it's good to see so many I missed. On the other... hm. Wrack your brains for more with me. * ...the"It's Possible" pieces on Walter Dean... Read the rest of this post

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