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Results 7,951 - 7,975 of 215,074
7951. Painting called, Dangers of The Wilderness, New York, 1755 by JD Holiday

This painting will be with a short story for my book. It's called,Dangers of The Wilderness, New York, 1755. It's the last painting for the book.  It will be in black and white in the book.
~JD

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7952. The 12 Top Things I Learned from the A-Z Blogging Challenge


Wow, the A-Z Blogging Challenge has been over for a week, and I'm just now recovered enough to add some of my thoughts to the list of other bloggers' reflections that you can read by clicking here.  

As mentioned on my sidebar, my theme for the challenge was "My Keeper Books," all the books I can't imagine living without. It was a particularly poignant theme for me, because I'm currently living without them! As soon as the challenge was over, I began packing for another move, and I started with my books. After two years of condo-living, I'm off on a new adventure to an unfinished town-house in serious need of renovation. But that's all for another post; today's is about the top 12 things I learned from the challenge. Here goes:
  1. My chosen theme of "keeper books" gave me the opportunity to really examine what books I own and why. It helped me to make some choices for the upcoming move, leaving me with a small pile of "non-keepers" that went off to Friends of the Library for resale.
  2.  I learned that using a set theme for any creative project is an excellent idea to help you stay on track. Whether it's choosing a theme such as "Love conquers all" for your novel, or painting a series of still life pictures only in yellow and green featuring  koala bears, a theme keeps you focused and productive.
  3. For the majority of my A-Z posts I made Polyvore.com digital collages to serve as illustrations. Stretching to include a visual "post" along with the text each day was a bonus that kept me feeling even more committed to the challenge.
  4. I learned that I could write a post without stressing about it. Because I had a deadline to adhere to, I found I was writing more naturally and with a lighter heart--despite the time pressure. Weird.
  5. And with that, somehow, I found the time to post every day! Proving to myself that I will always have the time to write, draw, and create every day if I want it badly enough.
  6. I also found I could be much more open with what I wrote about. When I first started my blog several years ago, my intention was for it to be a "how-to-write" site, an extension of my creative writing workshops and classes. But that often meant I would become overly-focused on the need to teach, leading to more stress: Was I clear in my instruction? Did I make the subject too difficult, or boring? Did I make the reader feel inspired or simply overwhelmed? It was a worry, but one that I've learned to set aside. My posts will still center on writing and creativity, but I plan to share more of my own journey and daily life into the mix as well.
  7. I met a lot of great bloggers. It was wonderful to visit, connect, follow, and comment on so many interesting and varied sites--sites I would never have found prior to the challenge. Can't wait to read more!
  8. Apologies for this rather negative "lesson" but I was astonished at how many blogs I couldn't read! It saddens me to say this, but it was such an important discovery and eye-opener for me. Many, many blogs I visited turned out to be too cluttered or too busy for me to read without getting a serious headache. Most of these had teensy-tinsy fonts on black backgrounds, and quite often with just a "hint" of the post, with no real indication of how to click onto the main body of the post to read what it was supposed to be about. With this was another problem I kept running into--blogs that I DID like very much had no way (at least that I could see) to follow them. So frustrating! In light of this, I hope my blog is easy for you to use and follow. If at any time you have trouble with any of it, please let me know.
  9. On the pleasant and easy-to-use blogs, however, (which were also the vast majority) I started to develop a much-improved habit of leaving comments. In the past I have been a terrible non-commenter, blaming my perpetual lack of time. What I learned to do over the month of the challenge was to simply set aside a few extra minutes each day so I could comment on whatever blog(s) I was visiting. It was a good plan and I hope to continue it.
  10. When I signed up for the challenge, one of my goals was to learn how to blog more frequently--and I certainly did, LOL. Now that the challenge is over, I don't think I will be blogging every day, but a schedule of every 4-5 days is manageable, and more frequent than my past posts of once a week.
  11. Blogging every day came close to being a daily meditation for me. I enjoyed that, and I may continue using my morning writing practice as a way to generate if not actual blog posts, at least the ideas and themes for them.
  12. Prior to the challenge, I kept hearing voices in my head--the nagging ones that come from agents, editors, publishers, etc. demanding that writers "blog, and successfully, too." I guess "successfully" means having a gazillion hits and followers, and a fan list from here to the moon. In other words, blogging was promotion and marketing and something to do with job performance and pleasing other people. The A-Z Challenge turned that all around for me. Now I feel blogging is about community and communication, and sharing what is important in your world. It's not about numbers, it's about conversation and helping each other where and when we can.  
Tip of the Day: One last thing about the challenge, and maybe the most important: I learned to take time off. Sundays were set aside as the "non-blogging" days, and I was amazed at how vital it was to follow that rule. So the next time someone tells you have to write "every day," guess what? They're wrong! Giving yourself necessary, scheduled breaks will help you maintain energy and enthusiasm for even the most challenging project. 

I want to thank the organizers of the challenge--as you can see, I learned a lot from them. I also want to congratulate everyone who completed the challenge. Wishing you an entire dictionary of future blog post ideas!

And we have a winner for the giveaway copy of OVERTAKEN!
Congratulations, and happy reading!

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7953. Why May Is Like December

Tree Costume

Well hello again! I’m sorry I’ve been away so long. It’s been a very busy month with not much promise of getting less busy anytime soon. Is it the same for you? I’m betting yes.

I’ve decided that the end of April through May is really just December all over again, with better weather. All the end-of-year events, school testing, gift-buying obligations opportunities, etc. etc. etc. General nuttiness. With that in mind, I’m trying to give myself permission to buy some ready-to-eat meals, to not bargain-shop every last little thing, to split infinitives, and to volunteer at the school only sometimes and not for every single event.

That said, I do love the weather, the flowers coming up, the outdoor meals, and time with extended family. Our daughter also (10) had her theatrical debut in a full-length play at our church, which was so, so fun to see. My most recent sewing project was tree costumes for the play. In the rush I forgot to take a photo of the finished costumes, but the photo above gives you an idea of the look.

Meanwhile, I’ve been very serious about moving forward my nonfiction book and my YA novel. Nose still to grindstone! Both are going well, but I’ve got a few more goals to reach before school lets out. Wish me luck.

Currently reading Little Failure by Gary Shteyngart. Such an interesting and funny read with a quirky, wry voice that I love. It’s a memoir detailing the author’s move from the Soviet Union to the U.S. in 1978, when he was a child. Thanks, Christina, for the loan!

Also, listening to Pop Culture Happy Hour podcasts and now All Songs Considered and Tiny Desk Concerts.

If you’re a kidlit person, maybe you followed the uproar over the lack of diversity at BookCon and the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign that followed on Twitter and Tumblr. One of the coolest things to come out of it was a lot of buzz for a forthcoming book by Varian Johnson, The Great Greene Heist. Billed as Ocean’s Eleven meets middle grade, it sounds like such a fun read and *bonus* has a diverse cast of characters. So excited for Varian, who is a fellow Florence, SC native (though we’ve never met in person, only virtually). I’ve read one of his previous books (My Life as a Rhombus) and was very impressed. If you want to diversify your shelves, join the #greatgreenechallenge and pre-order Varian’s book from your local bookstore.

Hope to see you here again soon before long.

 

 

 


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7954. Guest Post & Giveaway: Elizabeth O. Dulemba on What To Do When The Story Finds You

By Elizabeth O. Dulemba
for Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations

I’ve heard authors say they didn’t feel like they wrote their story—more like they were a conduit to some greater force writing through them.

It sounded like a bunch of hooey until it happened to me.

They say you write what you read. Well, I grew up reading fantasy. I called it my brain candy.

So why was I suddenly writing this historical fiction middle grade, A Bird on Water Street (Little Pickle Press, 2014)?

It began during a meeting between copper miners and the company owners who wanted to open a scenic railway going from a Southern Appalachian mining town north to a rare and interesting turn-around at the top of a mountain. The company wanted to fund the railway by reopening the mine and shipping out one load of sulfuric acid per week. The miners said "no way."

They stood like gnarled oak trees in denim and flannel telling stories of lost friends, family, and coworkers to injury and illness, all because of the mine. They made thinly veiled threats that if the company’s plans went forward, the railroad tracks would be sabotaged.

I sat in the meeting feeling like a Muse had put her hands around my throat. She whispered, “You’re a writer. I need you to write about this.”

But I was a picture book author. I had no idea how to tackle such a complicated and very real topic. I tried to write the story in a format I knew, but of course it wouldn’t fit. I did research and interviews, and the story grew bigger. My agent sent it out as a chapter book, but the Muse wasn’t satisfied.

Although I received lovely compliments on my writing, it didn’t sell.

And then I remembered... I loved Wilson Rawls’ Where the Red Fern Grows (1961). I loved Linda Sue Park’s A Single Shard (Clarion, 2001).

Maybe historical fiction middle grades weren’t as alien to me as I believed. I realized that each of those stories had a believable and likable boy in the center of bigger things. So I met my boy (I don’t say I created him), Jack, and I set out to tell this enormous story through his eyes.

It took ten years. It went into a drawer for a while. But the Muse wouldn’t let me forget or give up. I owed the people living in the Copper Basin community to complete the story.

This wasn’t a creative endeavor for me. This was a responsibility.

Then one day, while talking to my now publisher about a picture book project, she said, “You know, we’re really looking for an environmental novel. You don’t have one of those lying around, do you? Ha, ha.”

The story sold.

My wonderful editor helped me take the story apart like a puzzle and put it back together upside-down and backwards, but better.

I gave it the best I had, for I’d grown in my skills over the years.

Finally, the Muse was pleased. An enormous weight has been lifted from my shoulders. A Bird on Water Street will be released on May 7, 2014. I have fulfilled the purpose I was assigned.

How the story goes from here—well, I suppose that’s up to greater forces than me.

Cynsational Notes

From the promotional copy of A Bird on Water Street (Little Pickle Press, 2014):

When the birds return to Water Street, will anyone be left to hear them sing? 

A miner's strike allows green and growing things to return to the Red Hills, but that same strike may force residents to seek new homes and livelihoods elsewhere. 

Follow the story of Jack Hicks as he struggles to hold onto everything he loves most.

Elizabeth O. Dulemba is an award-winning children's book author/illustrator with two dozen titles to her credit. She is Illustrator Coordinator for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Southern Breeze region, a board member for the Georgia Center for the Book, and a Visiting Associate Professor at Hollins University in the MFA in Children's Book Writing and Illustrating program. She speaks regularly at schools, festivals, and events, and her "Coloring Page Tuesday" images (free to parents, teachers and librarians) garner around a million hits to her website annually with over 3,000 subscribers to her newsletter.

A Bird on Water Street (Little Pickle Press) is her first novel. It's a SIBA (Southern Indie Booksellers Association) Spring Okra Book Pick, a (Gold) Mom's Choice Award Winner, and the 2014 National Book Festival featured title for Georgia.

Scroll past gallery (below) to enter the giveaway!

Cynsational Gallery

Photos shared with permission.



Cynsational Giveaway


Enter to win a signed copy of A Bird on Water Street by Elizabeth O. Dulemba (Little Pickle Press, 2014).  Author sponsored. Eligibility: North America.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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7955. The Book Review Club - Cinder, Scarlet & Cress (The Lunar Chronicles)

Cinder, Scarlet & Cress
Marissa Meyer
YA

This review has me torn. On the one hand, I really enjoyed the first book in this series, Cinder. On the other hand, I had a hard time moving from book 1 to book 2 because main protagonists change. Is this a revolutionary way to avoid the sequel slowdown? Or does it kill the reading momentum?

But one thing at a time. First, Cinder.

Basic premise: A retelling of Cinderella as a cyborg/lunar girl living in a future Beijing in which the Queen of the Moon threatens to attack and enslave (or destroy) earth. Cinder, a mechanic and adopted daughter of the archetypically evil stepmother and one evil stepsister and one nice stepsister, is (spoiler alert!) secretly the rightful heir to the lunar throne. She doesn't know it yet. She thinks she's just a mechanic, who is also partly cyborg, and thus despised by most. Cyborgs are considered de-humanized by the cybernetic parts. Add to that, earthens suffer a plague caused by a viral strain introduced by runaway lunars.

As Fate would have it, the crown prince, Kai, is looking for the lost lunar heir, and comes to Cinder to repair  a broken android that may hold the answers to the lost princess's whereabouts. Cue: meet-cute.

The rest of the book is action-packed unraveling of the plague, who the princess is, the love interest between Cinder and Kai that all lead up to the annual ball where (spoiler alert!) the princess does not get her prince. In fact, he sacrifices her to the Lunar Queen to save earth.

Despite how much is going on in this story, it held my attention and was a fun read. Definitely a dessert book. My youngest loved the book so much, she asked if we could get the second book. We listened to both as audio books. We got it. We almost didn't get through.

Scarlet begins with a wholly different protagonist, namely, a character based on Little Red Riding Hood, with a parallel story about the people who helped Cinder escape from the moon, hide her and transform/heal her as a cyborg. It was very jarring to trade out one main protagonist for another, and in this instance, Scarlet is a very angry 18 year old, which makes it hard to feel empathy for her. She constantly lashes out. But we stuck with it (partly due to a very long car ride) and eventually, about halfway through the book, were able to listen without checking the clock.

I'm not sure I'd have bought the third book, but Scarlet ended in the middle of said long car trip, so we did. Cress follows the same pattern as Scarlet, introducing yet another new main protagonist and another retelling of a fairy tale, Rapunzel.

All of the main female lead's stories are connected and interwoven. The writing is tight and filled with action. And I admire Meyer for coming up with a novel way to avoid the sequel slowdown. I'm not sure introducing a new protagonist as the lead works particularly well. The reader is forced to alter heroes from one protagonist to another, while also following the original protagonist's main story as it unfolds in a sort of b-story role.  Clearly, these books have sold exceptionally well, so something is working. Maybe it's my misperception that I'm getting hung up on. This isn't a trilogy. These are chronicles, loosely related stories that are nevertheless connected and do move forward toward a common goal. Still, it was jarring to move from book 1 to 2. And yet, here I am on book 3. Like I said, these books have me torn.

For other great May treasures, click on over to Barrie Summy's website. Happy reading!

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7956. Editing for Agents

Many times an agent will give you feedback and suggest revising before offering representation. 

http://www.literaryrambles.com/2014/04/agent-tina-wexler-skila-brown-guest.html

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7957. Writing Page Mermaid

Debbie Dadey is the author, with co-author Marcia Thornton Jones, of such best-selling reluctant readers children's series as The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids, The Swamp Monster in Third Grade, Slime Wars, Ghostville Elementary, The Bailey School Kids Junior Chapter Books, the Keyholders series and the Mermaid Tales series from Simon and Schuster.

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7958. Bill Bos

The Board by Bill Bos

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7959. Shirley Gerald Ware

Deported by Shirley Gerald Ware

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7960. James H. DeGerome, MD, FACP, FACG

The Cure for the American Healthcare Malady by James H. DeGerome, MD, FACP, FACG

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7961. Writing Page Mermaid

Debbie Dadey is the author, with co-author Marcia Thornton Jones, of such best-selling reluctant readers children's series as The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids, The Swamp Monster in Third Grade, Slime Wars, Ghostville Elementary, The Bailey School Kids Junior Chapter Books, the Keyholders series and the Mermaid Tales series from Simon and Schuster.

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7962. Gabriel Fortune Charles

Passion for Mary by Gabriel Fortune Charles

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7963. Morning Coffee





















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7964. Christine A. Gibbs

Before You Judge Me by Christine A. Gibbs

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7965. Revision is an essential (and fun) part of the process, says Simon & Schuster art director Lauren Rille

In KidLitArtists.com today, I interviewed Lauren Rille, who was my art director on the Judy Blume project.

I asked her what common misconception aspiring or new children's book illustrators tend to make. Her answer applies as much to writers as well as illustrators, I think: That some people misinterpret a revision request as an indication that they're doing something WRONG.

Do read Lauren's full reply on the KidLitArtists blog for more details.

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7966. in which Diane Keaton writes to me. yes. me. thanks to my friend, the clay artist, Karen Bernstein


Remember that Going Over vase of last week? Given to me on the day of my book party, also known as the day of one of the worst spring deluges ever to hit my area, a deluge that closed the street in front of the library, where my event was being held? Yes. That gorgeous, gorgeous graffiti vase. Made especially for me by my friend, Karen Bernstein.

Well, Karen was fighting the torrential downpour in NYC that very night, where she had gone to see Diane Keaton, whom she adores. Karen had, in her hands, a copy of Handling the Truth: On the Writing of Memoir, which celebrates Keaton's Then Again. Miss Keaton said yes to accepting the gift and then inscribed a book for me (a gift from Karen).

In case there is any doubt in your mind about what Miss Keaton wrote, please let me translate:

Beth! Hope to meet you someday.

I mean. Really.

Really!!

That is Diane Keaton, signing my book. That is my generous and talented friend Karen, standing by. This is my life, which is very small and very big at once. I share it, gratefully, with you.

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7967. How to Make a Friend in 1 Easy Lesson

A million, trillion years ago (okay, okay, 9 years ago), I received the following letter:

Dear Ms. O'Connor [that just kills me],

I just finished Taking Care of Moses and, after also reading Moonpie and Ivy and Fame and Glory in Freedom, Georgia, I had to write a fan letter! 

I love the immediacy of your writing and the Southern settings and sensibilities of the stories that entrance rather than overshadow the situations your characters find themselves in.

Thank you for caring so much about writing good books for kids.

Warmly,
Kirby Larson

I had no idea who Kirby Larson.

But I was, of course, touched by this letter. [Side note: a handwritten letter....not an email....big difference]

I put her info into my contact list on my computer and in the "notes" section I wrote: Writer who wrote me a nice fan letter.

Fast forward two years: Kirby Larson won a freaking Newbery honor for Hattie Big Sky.

I loved that book so much.

Now Kirby was one of my writing idols.

The following year, I like to died (as we say down South) when I saw this interview online.

When I saw my name there as a "Literary Crush", I was floored.

I confess that I clicked on the link to my name because I couldn't believe it was really me.

*Swoon*

Call me mushy, but that was sort of a turning point for me with regard to how I viewed my own writing career.

I saw myself through the eyes of someone whom I admired and respected. 

I will be forever grateful for that.

Over the next few years, Kirby and I stayed in touch via email.

Finally, in 2010, we met in real life at a conference in Orlando.


She was horrified by my Cafe Francais addiction but agreed to remain friends.

We hugged and gushed and chatted like old friends.

From that point on, Kirby has been my go-to gal in my writing world. 

If I snivel and gripe via email, she picks up the phone and calls me.

If she knows I'm struggling with a writing issue, she picks up the phone and calls me.

When I've hit some bumps in the road, she picks up the phone and calls me.

When I got a new puppy, she sent puppy gifts.

She sends heartfelt, hand-written notes of encouragement when least expected and sorely needed.

This past November, we presented together at NCTE in Boston with our mutual idol and friend, Karen Cushman.


I call Kirby The Great Connector

She is forever connecting writers to teachers to librarians to writers to teachers, etc. etc.

So, what's the 1 Easy Lesson?

Do what Kirby does: Write. Call. Connect.

P.S. I still have that note about Kirby being "the writer who wrote me a nice fan letter" in my contacts info on my phone. 

What a long way she and I have come! 

Kirby? *fist bump*

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7968. NAKED! Book Tour (Part 2): Finally meeting Michael Ian Black in person, NAKED! at Barnes & Noble, talking with young readers

Continued from NAKED! Book Tour (Part 1)

Jeff and I had breakfast on Wednesday morning in the hotel restaurant. If I wasn't so distracted about the upcoming event B&N that day, I'm sure I would have appreciated the restaurant decor much more. VERY shiny:

Restaurant at Dream Hotel New YorkWe checked out and then waited in the hotel lobby until we were told that our ride (a Music Express van) had arrived. And then as the driver was loading our luggage, MICHAEL IAN BLACK GOT IN THE CAR. After giving him a big hug, I immediately forced Jeff to take this photo on my iPhone:

Then I noticed Michael's cool socks, and asked if I could take a photo of those. Without hesitation, Michael said "sure."

I can't remember what we chatted about during the ride to B&N, but I'm sure I was babbling. To Michael's credit, he didn't freak out or roll his eyes or run screaming from the van. Instead he was such a sweetie, nodding and occasionally inserting a comment when I paused in my babble to take a breath, and eventually I calmed down and we started having a normal conversation. 

And then we were at B&N! 

Katy Hershberger (our Simon & Schuster Children's publicist) was waiting for us, and we were introduced to Jennifer Stark, the Community Relations Manager. While Jeff took my laptop and projector to test the setup, Michael and I began signing books.

The students coming to see us had a chance to pre-order books from B&N, and we could sign/personalize each one ahead of time (the little post-it notes you see above have the names of the children) so that they didn't have to wait in line.

If I was going to do a book tour on my own in the future, I would definitely try to arrange this if there was a large group. It's not so much an issue for smaller groups plus I would have loved to chat with each child, but for bigger numbers it's much more efficient for everyone, plus ensures that each child who wants a signed book will get one.

Jennifer (the B&N Community Relations Manager) was smart. She didn't put ALL the books in front of us at once but one small pile a time, so that we didn't feel overwhelmed. Each time we finished signing a batch, more appeared. When the pre-ordered books had all been signed, we signed stock.

Then the kids started arriving. I think there were several classes from different schools at each presentation. Or maybe each presentation was for a specific school? I'll have to check with Katy.

One of the classes was late, though, and the waiting children were getting restless. I forgot that I was supposed to be nervous and got up on stage, started drawing a bizarre creature with the help of the kids:

As soon as I started interacting with the children and drawing, my nervousness dropped away and I began having fun. Their enthusiasm was infectious. Wings or arms, I asked. WINGS! they yelled.

I soon realized, of course, that I needed to ask for a show of hands instead of just having them yell things out -- the latter got way too loud and chaotic. Finally the last class arrived, and Michael did a reading of NAKED! while I controlled the pace of the slides showing the illustrations. The kids LOOOOOVED both the title and story, YAY! And I so enjoyed watching Michael read the story aloud.

Then some of them starting calling out "Read I'M BORED!"

Michael and I hadn't planned that, but I happened to have my copy of the book with me (which I asked Michael to sign) so he read aloud from that (see above). Again, I was thrilled to see him read this story out loud for the first time. He had such a great rapport with the audience; you can tell he has kids of his own. :-)

Another personal highlight: seeing some of the kids MOUTH THE WORDS along with Michael as he read I'M BORED. They had it memorized! Awwwww...

After the readings, Michael talked about how he wrote the book and I talked about how I illustrated it. With Michael's help, I had put together a slidehow with some fun photos and sketches. Here's an example of one of the slides I created, for when Michael was talking about waiting to hear whether his editor (Justin Chanda) at Simon & Schuster Children's liked his revisions or not:

And here's a photo of Michael asking his cat for advice during one particularly challenging revision period:

Photo: Ruthie Black

Not surprisingly, a bunch of the questions in the Q&A focused on Michael's cat. :-) Michael took each question seriously, and I loved how he answered the kids. I was also touched by how he'd direct some of the questions my way (not the cat questions, though), to make sure the children got to hear the perspective of the book's illustrator.

Before I go on, I'd like to reiterate how NICE Michael was. Those who expect that Michael is always like his public comedy routine persona may be disappointed but I found Michael to be an incredibly sweet, low-key, self-effacing and generous individual. And you can never quite tell what he's going to say next. :-)

Photo: Ruthie Black

As Marcie Collen pointed out in her article on ChildrensBookAcademy.com, Michael Ian Black knows how to connect with young readers. "Bottom line," says Marcie, "Black didn’t just take his established comedy set and smack it down in a 32 page format and call it a day.  No. He uses his talents to create some really fun, silly and engaging books that are suited to a kid’s sensibilities." Also see my Nerdy Book Club guest post about so-called "celebrity books."

Plus Michael's a wonderful writer. Not just of picture books, but nonfiction as well. His YOU'RE NOT DOING IT RIGHT is a deeply personal memoir, and (at the risk of sounding clichéd) made me both laugh out loud as well as weep. The voice is wonderful, and I can't wait for Michael to write YA. I told him this but then quickly backtracked because I don't want him to write YA instead of picture books. :-)

But I digress. 

I asked Michael to pose with I'M BORED. I was supposed to be looking bored as well, but I couldn't stop smiling!

Between presentations to school children, Michael and I did more book signing but also had a chance to chat with Katy Hershberger, Barry Goldblatt (Michael's literary agent, see above) and Jeff. Or I should clarify: I didn't need to chat with Jeff, but it was so great that Jeff had a chance to meet Michael as well as Katy and Barry.

Thanks again to Jeff for being our tech support for the slideshow segment! For those curious, I used a Keynote presentation on my MacBook Air with an Epson PowerLite 1761W. For future presentations, I'm considering also taking my travel Wacom Intuos Artpad so I can show kids how I draw on my computer, and they can watch via the projector on a screen. Or maybe I do what my friend Kevin Sylvester does and draw on my iPad. I must do some experimenting, I think.

So pleased that Ginger Knowlton dropped by! Ginger's my agent from Curtis Brown, and she's amazing

Anyway, our B&N presentations went really well. My terror level dropped hugely after the first few minutes, when I realized everything was going to be okay. Michael and I were having fun, and the kids could tell. Our second presentation went even better than the first because we had a better idea of what the other was going to say/do.

I know I've said it before, but I have to say again that it was MUCH more fun that I had expected. And I so enjoyed finally meeting Michael.

This post is already way too long, so I'd better stop. Next post, I'll talk about the Simon & Schuster Children's meet and greet and my trip to Boston.

 

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7969. Blog Hop to Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations! GIVEAWAY!

To kick off the Southern Appalachian Book Tour for A BIRD ON WATER STREET today I hop over to Cynthia Leitich Smith's blog, Cynsations, to discuss "What To Do When A Story Finds You."

"I’ve heard authors say they didn’t feel like they wrote their story—more like they were a conduit to some greater force writing through them. It sounded like a bunch of hooey until it happened to me."
     And one of the commenters at Cynthia's blog will win a FREE, signed and dedicated copy of A BIRD ON WATER STREET! I hope you'll hop on over! (And look for more blog hop giveaways over the next few weeks!)

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7970. Find Your Favorite Atria Author On Twitter


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Did You Know Atria Authors Are Very Active On Twitter?  

Seek Out Your Favorites From The Twitter Handle List Below!

Happy Following And Re-tweeting!

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Lee Goodman — @leedgoodman

Paul Cleave — @Paulcleave

Richard Doetsch — @richarddoetsch
 
Isaac Marion — @Isaacinspace

William Kent Krueger — @WmKentKrueger

John Lescroart — @JohnLescroart

Brad Thor — @BradThor

John Connolly — @JConnollyBooks

Dwayne Smith — @writtenbysmith

Simon Kernick — @simonkernick

Jamie McGuire — @jamiemcguire

Colleen Hoover — @colleenhoover

Abbi Glines — @abbiglines

Gail McHugh — @gail_mchugh

Spencer Quinn – @chetthedog

Lisa Jewell — @lisajewelluk

Genevieve Valentine — @GLValentine

Lucinda Riley — @LucindaRiley

Sabine Durrant — @SabineDurrant

Douglas Nicholas — @DouglasScribes

Elizabeth Reyes — @AuthorElizabeth

Malla Nunn — @MallaNunn

Abigail Tarttelin — @Abigailsbrain

Ronlyn Domingue — @RonlynDomingue

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7971. A Children’s Book That Left a Lasting Impression

I was recently contacted by a journalist for a national newspaper who wanted me to name a book I read as a child that left a lasting impression.

That’s a tough question for me, because I sense that my answer is never exactly what the questioner is seeking. I don’t have a poignant story about Charlotte’s Web or Harriet the Spy, that glorious day when I suddenly knew that reading was for me, and forever. I can’t describe in loving detail the book I encountered as a fresh-faced welp. (Though I do recall loving Splish, Splash, and Splush.)

Nonetheless I did somehow grow up to become an author, and therefore my answer is, I guess, legitimate. It’s the only story I’ve got.

Here’s how I replied, limited to 150 words:

Born in 1961, I have no memory of my parents reading to me. That’s not a complaint, by the way. I grew up surrounded by six older siblings and they were (mostly) all readers. I guess I got the message by sheer proximity. As a baseball-mad boy in a world without ESPN, I devoured the sports pages in the daily newspaper. Those were the first writers I desperately needed. By age 13, I encountered Kurt Vonnegut’s “Breakfast of Champions.” It was funny and easy to read. There was no YA back then, my generation naturally graduated to Steinbeck, Bradbury, Brautigan, Vonnegut, Plath, whomever. “Breakfast” blew me away. Here was something as devilish as the kid in the back row, irreverent, rebellious, hilarious, wild. In a word, subversive. In those pages I first recognized the possibility that a book could be supremely cool. Thanks, Kurt.

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7972. Erich Welling

A Marriage of Philosophy and Music: A Pianist’s View by Erich Welling

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7973. Journey Upward With ‘Maggie Vaults Over the Moon’

Maggie says, “I’m knowing the Highest and Best for the brave and daring pole-vaulters competing in league, regional, and state championships this week. Believe in yourself! Hang on tight! Have fun! And I will see you, over the moon!” ABOUT … Continue reading

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7974. For Those Of Us Who Think We Don’t Like Math

Math is on my mind lately as I wrap up the Parallelogram series. (Yes, Dear Readers, Book 4 is coming! There are just so many words.) I, like my main character Audie in the series, enjoy quantum physics but do not enjoy the math. Or, to put it less charitably, cannot do the math.

But I can’t help wondering if I would have had a completely different attitude toward math in school if I’d had a teacher like this. Or at least seen a demonstration like this. Because there’s no doubt Arthur Benjamin makes math FUN. (Although no matter how fun it is, I still think there’s no way mere mortals could do what he does.)

Enjoy!

7 Comments on For Those Of Us Who Think We Don’t Like Math, last added: 5/8/2014
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7975. Little Passports Teacher Appreciation Crafting Ideas

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Little Passports Teacher Appreciation Crafting Ideas

It’s time to appreciate those amazing teachers who take care of our children at school every day! Little Passports is sharing some fun crafting ideas that will get your kids excited to share their love for each and every teacher. If you are wildly impressed by your child’s instructor, why not give a subscription to Little Passports for their classroom! You could even get a group of other moms at school to pitch in on the subscription to make it very reasonable. A classroom subscription is the perfect way to give your favorite teacher a new way to share fun facts about the USA and the rest of our world with students. If you need some more creative inspiration, click on the links below!

Little Passports Pinterest Board
Teacher Appreciation Crafting Guide
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