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Results 16,801 - 16,825 of 231,959
16801. Schuylkill Banks: remarkably effective and far from done

I walked the new Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk before my river talk last evening. The skies were expressive, pewter and blue, and from this 15-foot-wide float of walkway over the river herself, I saw the city as I had not seen her before. One of the many exhilarating advantages of this new and elevating space.

Another advantage? The joy of it. The Philadelphians who are coming to know, and to better see, their river. The sense that they don't take this for granted, and why should they? It wasn't all that long ago that the Schuylkill was sludge and noxious fumes, dead water, a place to be hurried past. Now, thanks to the Schuylkill River Development Corporation, Fairmount Water Works, Schuylkill River Heritage Area, the William Penn Foundation, the people I have met this week at the 2014 Pennsylvania River of the Year events, and many others, the Schuylkill is the place to be.

I've written here about the Heritage Area. I've written here about Fairmount Water Works. Today, my spotlight is on the SRDC.

Already offering kayaking and river tours, skateboard parks and overlooks, this brand-new boardwalk, and the idea of the bucolic in an urbanscape, the SRDC is hardly done with its quest to build "trails and greenway running along both banks of the Schuylkill River wherever possible between the Fairmount Dam and the Delaware River." Now planned or in play are the Bartram's Mile, destined to run along the west bank between Grays Ferry Avenue and 58th Street (and one-day connecting to the Grays Ferry Crescent by an abandoned railroad bridge); a pedestrian/biking west bank trail; and an east-side trail between the South Street Bridge and Christian.

All I know is words. The SRDC, the organizations mentioned above, the river advocates who work on behalf of tributaries, against run-off, for the future—they are the ones making the physical, even quantifiable difference to our city.

Find a way to thank them the next time you head off toward the river. You wouldn't be there without them.

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16802. The Boyfriend

Last night, Lowell and I were at the pub for dinner—cheeseburgers at the bar!—and in the Ladies a woman I’d never spoken to before stopped me as I was going into a stall and said, “Oh my god, that’s my high-school boyfriend out there talking to my husband.”

She was maybe early 30s, very congenial, and not the type to usually snag a female-friend facsimile in the Ladies (read: not drunk!). It was just that he was *THE BOYFRIEND*—I think she even said this, with quotes around it for emphasis—and she hadn’t seen him in a long time. So we chatted, then she took a deep breath and went back out. And then I went back out, and she and I didn’t make eye contact while I put on my coat, and I tried to not steal any looks at The Boyfriend. Which was extremely hard not to do. (I hope he was wearing a leather jacket and smoking a Camel, though.)

And scene! I don’t know why I love this so much except that I hope someday we are all very old and still having drama in the Ladies bathroom.

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16803. Poetry Friday:

I had for my winter evening walk-
No one at all with whom to talk,
But I had the cottages in a row
Up to their shining eyes in snow.

And I thought I had the folk within:
I had the sound of a violin;
I had a glimpse through curtain laces
Of youthful forms and youthful faces.

I had such company outward bound.
I went till there were no cottages found.
I turned and repented, but coming back
I saw no window but that was black.

Over the snow my creaking feet
Disturbed the slumbering village street
Like profanation, by your leave,
At ten o’clock of a winter eve.

- Good Hours by Robert Frost

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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16804. Comic: Why You Should Always Proofread Your Email Before Hitting 'SEND'

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16805. Troubles


The trouble with writing says the historian who lives next door to me, is that no matter how many times you do it, you start out every time with the sick sense that you don’t know what you’re doing.

The trouble with writing says a novelist friend, is that it never gets any easier. If anything, it gets harder. And if it starts to get easier, you’re probably slacking off or repeating yourself.

The Millions :: The Trouble with Writing

The post Troubles appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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16806. homolampkin: jeeperscreeepers: baturday: Right this way, sir,...




Right this way, sir, your room is ready.


I know I’ve rebageled this before but like I liTERALLY CAN’T HANDLE HOW FUCKING ADORABLE THIS IS


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16807. Guest Post - Amber Schamel Interview

Today we're interviewing historical author Amber Schamel.
Bestselling author Amber Schamel writes riveting stories that bring HIStory to life. She has a passion for history, books and her Savior. This combination results in what her readers call "historical fiction at its finest". A homeschool graduate from a family of 12 children, Amber found her calling early in life. First published at age 21, she has continued to hone her craft. Between ministry, family and working in their family businesses, Amber loves to connect with readers. Find her on the Stitches Thru Time blog, or on any of the major social media sites. 

Amber, can you tell us about your new release, The Messiah's Sign?
Sure! Thanks so much for having me on the blog today. This book released just yesterday, so I'm so EXCITED to share it with readers.
The Messiah's Sign is the second book in the Days of Messiah series. It follows the storyline of Book One, but from the husband's point of view. Here's what it's about:
Dreams…they shouldn’t bother him, but when Tyrus’ worst nightmare is vindicated, he has no choice but to face reality. His wife has been unfaithful, and God has punished her with the most feared disease in the land: leprosy. Banishing her to the leper colony, Tyrus struggles to raise their son alone and protect him from a merciless outlaw. But when Malon begins following the teacher from Nazareth, what remains of their business and reputation is at stake. Can Tyrus save his son from the beguiling lies of a false Messiah before he loses the only thing he has left?

What sparked this story?
Book one started as a short story, but a lot of people told me I should expand it. I picked up the story and began thinking about what the entire story would be like, and that's when the Lord drew back the curtain to show me not only Aaliyah's story at the leper colony, but also the story of her husband and son. Tyrus—as the heartless husband that banishes Aaliyah to the leper colony—is the villain of book one, so I wanted to show readers his side of the story.

What do you want readers to take away from The Messiah's Sign?
As hard as you try, you will never be sufficient on your own. It takes Christ working in you.
For those that have read volume one, I want them to realize that you cannot hate someone until you de-humanize them. The villain of book one becomes the hero of book two, and we see the motivations behind his 'heartless' acts. In truth, Tyrus was doing the best he could. If we can empathize with people in our lives, it will go a LONG way in keeping the roots of bitterness at bay.

What are you working on next?
I am finishing up a really fun series with three other historical authors on the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
I'm also setting to work on a Christmas story set during the Civil War entitled The Christmas Pardon.
In the aftermath of the Civil War, a young lawyer battles with the U.S. Supreme court. In what seemed to be a Christmas miracle, he had secured a pardon for his friend from Lincoln himself. The army executed the boy anyway. On the fifteenth anniversary of his death, will the lawyer finally clear his friends name and bring justice to his memory?

 I'm running a giveaway for a fan to pick the name of my two main characters! You can enter the giveaway here: http://www.amberschamel.com/contests.html

Thank you for joining us today, Amber.
Thank you for hosting me! It's been a pleasure. I'd like to invite each of you to join me in celebrating my new release on my Facebook Launch party tonight! We'll have trivia, giveaways, behind the scenes tidbits and TONS of fun. Join us tonight at 6pm mountain time! https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAmberSchamel

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16808. My tweets

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16809. Interjections

Interjections are exclamations or parenthetical words that add color to your dialogue or internal dialogue. They are set off from the rest of the sentence with a comma or set of commas. They can be followed by an exclamation point. However, if the sentence is doing its job, you shouldn't need it.

Interjections express a gamut of emotions: surprise, doubt, fear, anger, hate, happiness, joy, glee, disgust, or sarcasm. They insult, incite, and ignite.

Here are a few examples (minus profanity, which is another topic).

All right
Far out
As if
Yeh, right
Dig it
Fair enough
Dang it
For real?
No way
Screw it
Lord have mercy
Big whoop

My YA series Mythikas Island was set in pre-written-history Greece. Not being able to reach for any of the usual curse words, insults, etc. felt like wearing a straight jacket. I ended up typing *insert insult/curse here* and developing a list of options later.

Here are a few tips when revising:

1.  As you go through your rough draft, it is okay to insert placeholders and fill them in later. You may want to put some thought into the types of insults and interjections you characters will use.

2. It is important that the interjections fit the time and place in a historical novel. Look up the first time your word or phrase was used. Nitpickers love to point out errors.

3. When you write fantasy or science fiction, developing unique interjections helps your story world come alive.

4. Avoid overuse. Strings of expletives or exclamation points are annoying. As you read through your rough draft, highlight the interjections. If you have too many packed together, space them out.

5. You can make them character specific. People living in the same place and time with little exposure to the outside world tend to use the same vocabulary. However, each character can have their favorites or quirks.

6. If you have a diverse cast, each can have their own set of interjections, perhaps in different langauges. Avoid stereotypes. 

7. Avoid clichés . You can twist existing interjections in new ways. 

8. Interjections change as time passes. There is no way to avoid dating your book with them.

9. You can't cut them all. Your story would be lackluster without a few strategically placed verbal punches.

10. They can be used for comic relief. Sometimes after a tense moment, you need a little levity.

If you invent unique injterjections, they may become part of our language or at least the language of your fans. They may even be added to the dictionary. You could be the author of a new catchphrase.

For more information on revision, pick up a copy of:



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16810. Social Medai Marketing - Did You Know You Can Now Include a CTA in Your Facebook Cover Photo?

One thing that you as a marketer can count on is online marketing is constantly changing, especially social media. Jeff Bullas has a great article on a new Facebook ruling that marketers will love. You're now allowed to include a CTA (call-to-action) in your header. How 'marketing cool' is that. The first thing a visitor will see when he lands on your page is the header. Now Facebook

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16811. theladymisskier: #ThrowbackT….Om ni ma ray mugler…Paris...


#ThrowbackT….Om ni ma ray muglerParis burned…Narcissis chanting ala absolutely fagulous…1990…warm memories keep me warm.

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16812. Friday Linky List - October 17, 2014

From BuzzFeed via Shelf Awareness: 19 Magical Bookshops Every Book Lover Must Visit. OMG!

The Da Vinci Initiative - Online Skill-Based Art Classes - Kickstarter project. This is so incredibly important and yet doesn't exist in most if not all schools. Art ties together all the other course studies, so why it's deemed less important is beyond me.

From PW: Hachette Launches Author & Agent Portal: "The portal will provide self-service, updated information for agents and authors, including confidential sales data, for all titles published by HBG." What a GREAT idea!

Little Known Punctuation Marks: Infographic. Why can't I find these on my keyboard, hmmmm?

At lifehack: 25 Common Words That You've Got Wrong

At PW: The National Book Award Finalists have been named! I'm thrilled to see Deborah Wiles' REVOLUTION on there!

At The New Yorker (via PW): S.E. Hinton and the Y.A. Debate

Diversity in YA is hosting a Middle Grade Month Giveaway!

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16813. Read Between The Lines

A big thanks to wordsrmylife for the very thoughtful review!


"One of this novel's great beauties is that the many different perspectives allow us to view one relationship--say the cheerleader who dates the closeted basketball star--from multiple perspectives. The reader, unlike the character, is able to understand how tricky and difficult a situation is for all involved."

Thank you Kathy!!

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16814. Across the Desk: Thoughts from An Author-Editor by Kate Brauning

I am beyond excited about the post we have for you today. It's a little different, but the insight into the mind of both an author and an editor is information you can't pass up. Kate Brauning is the debut author of HOW WE FALL, releasing on November 11th! Read on for an amazing guest post!

Across the Desk: Thoughts from An Author-Editor by Kate Brauning 

Hello, Adventurers! It’s Kate Brauning here, and I’m finding myself in an interesting position this year. I’ve worked in publishing for about four years now (still just learning), and as an editor with first Month9Books and now Entangled Publishing, I’ve worked with a lot of clients on a lot of books. But this year, my debut novel is being published (How We Fall, Merit Press 11/2014). I’ve been working toward being an author since I was a teen, so this is really a dream come true for me—but it also means I’m on the receiving end of what I’ve been handing out to my clients. Because I’m getting to see across the desk a bit, I’m here to chat about how editors and authors see the same issues.

The Manuscript:

Author:  When my agent first offered me representation, and when the offer for How We Fall came through, I was so nervous. What if they didn’t love my book as much as they said? What if they liked my book, but not me? And what if later on, my book got lost in the shuffle? Of course, I worried through all these things with my critique partners (and my poor agent), and I’ve seen the same fears go around in the writing community. They’re pretty normal concerns—and it’s great for authors when an editor recognizes that and reaches out to help stabilize those concerns. My own editor has made a point to congratulate me on good news and keep up with issues, even though we’re long past edits, and it really helps assure me that they still love my book and they’re working hard to make sure it does the best it can.

Editor: In my experience, an editor will almost never acquire a book he or she doesn’t love. Publishing is a business, but it’s a business that requires passion. We have to advocate so hard and so long for our books, and even read them 5+ times, that it’s not smart business to acquire a book we don’t genuinely love. And it’s not smart business to work with an author we can’t work with, either. We love you and your book, and even if we have other books and authors on our lists, working hard for your book is what we signed up for.

Editorial Letters:

Author: Getting your editorial letter can be exciting and terrifying. But it can be tough to hear what needs to be improved in our books—chances are we’ve been through multiple heavy rounds of revisions already. We may even be working a newer project that has grabbed us. Switching back and forth between projects can be tough, and along with handling the editorial letter itself and knowing how to apply the changes our editor is asking for, comes the insecurity of wondering how much our editor could really love the book if it has all these flaws. Positive comments and support are really helpful to us, both in the edit letter and in general, even just to help us know that yes, this part works. (If my editor sends me an encouraging note or tells me something she loves about my book, it makes my day.) Editorial letters can even be confusing, or contain notes that we might agree with, but can’t see how to apply. When revising How We Fall, I had notes I knew how to apply, but it meant I had to make other changes I didn’t know if my editor would like. Beyond being stressful, those edits can raise a lot of questions and tough issues.

Editor:A good editor breaks down both what works and what needs to be sharper in a manuscript. I want my clients to know the positives in the story so they can see why I love it, to help them see the book in a balanced manner, and to help offset how tough it can be to hear what needs to change. But it’s also the editor’s job to point out what needs cleaning up and sharpening. A heavy edit doesn’t mean we don’t like the book or that we think you did a lousy job revising. We’re working hard on your book because we love it. We’re helping you figure out how to get your vision on the page. It’s tough to see your own work objectively—we know that. It can be hard to see your own way out of plot or character issues. And we know you’ve been over this book many times, and it gets harder and harder to tell what’s working and what isn’t. Our focus is on balancing all that out and helping you make this book the best it can be. Because we love it. We’d be doing our jobs poorly and harming both the book and your career if we weren’t honest, so believe the compliments we give you, because we mean them! And if you need clarification or want to discuss ideas, let your editor know. We actually prefer it! We don’t want you floundering and confused. Definitely reply to the edit letter, after you’ve had the chance to think about it. We want to know what you’re thinking about the notes, and if you have questions or if the notes bring up other issues. We’re doing this with you.


Author: Sometimes I need a good, tight deadline to really make me tackle revisions. If I can dabble at it, it probably won’t get done. My revision rounds for How We Fall were incredibly tight, and I basically lived in my book until they were done. And my critique partners and writer friends went through the same thing when their edits came. Sometimes it went just fine and we tackled those revisions and got them sent off on time. But sometimes the deadlines went over a child or spouse’s birthday, or we got sick, or had crises at day jobs. Even more often, we floundered with how to apply the editorial notes, or discovered more that needed to be revised once we dug in. A caffeine-fueled, sleep-deprived stupor doesn’t make for smart, thorough revisions. But can you tell an editor that? Can you ask for an extension, or does that make you a “difficult author”? Should we tough it out, or talk to our editor?

Editor: Deadlines are a necessary part of the publication process, and it can cause problems with production and vendors if we have to move them around too much. However, we know you’re human, and life happens. I don’t know of anyone who would label an author “difficult” if a problem crops up during edits. The earlier you let us know, the better. It’s much easier to adjust earlier on than a few days before your deadline. Honest, upfront communication with your editor is always best. Of course, your editor may say, “sorry, there’s a big immovable reason we need it by X date,” but we’ll usually try to work with you! Rushed edits from a stressed author usually aren’t the author’s best work, and we want those revisions to be solid. The key is to communicate with us. We’ll try to reply in kind, and work out the issue together. It’s what we’re here for! Communication, really, is one of the biggest things I’ve learned from seeing both sides of the desk. Honest, open communication. Be respectful of your editor’s time, of course, and realize they have other clients they need to be fair to, too, but communicate. Ask the questions you have. Editors sometimes don’t realize what it is you might not know. Get clarification on edits—they’re trusting that if you’re confused, you’ll come back to them. They want you to! Great books take collaboration, and both the author and the editor are in this together, to make that book the best it can be and to help it reach its audience.

About The Author

Kate Brauning grew up in rural Missouri and fell in love with young adult books in college. She’s now an editor at Entangled Publishing and pursues her lifelong dream of telling stories she'd want to read. Visit her at her website, on her blog, on Twitter, or on Facebook

About The Book

Ever since Jackie moved to her uncle's sleepy farming town, she's been flirting way too much--and with her own cousin, Marcus. Her friendship with him has turned into something she can't control, and he's the reason Jackie lost track of her best friend, Ellie, who left for...no one knows where. Now Ellie has been missing for months, and the police, fearing the worst, are searching for her body. Swamped with guilt and the knowledge that acting on her love for Marcus would tear their families apart, Jackie pushes her cousin away. The plan is to fall out of love, and, just as she hoped he would, Marcus falls for the new girl in town. But something isn't right about this stranger, and Jackie's suspicions about the new girl's secrets only drive the wedge deeper between Jackie and Marcus--and deepens Jackie's despair. Then Marcus is forced to pay the price for someone else's lies as the mystery around Ellie's disappearance starts to become horribly clear. Jackie has to face terrible choices. Can she leave her first love behind, and can she go on living with the fact that she failed her best friend?

Amazon | IndieBound | Goodreads

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16815. Book Beginnings - 10/17/14

*Please join Rose City Reader every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author's name.  *Taken directly from Rose City Reader's Blog Page.

There is a giveaway on my blog for TWO e-books - The Labryinth House if you want to stop by.
This week's book beginnings comes from AN UNSEEMLY WIFE by E. B. Moore.

"A shadow on the sun should have marked the day the way God marked Cain, a warning to Ruth her quiet world would soon be cast asunder."

I am almost done with AN UNSEEMLY WIFE.  It is great historical fiction, but a bit slow.  It is sad too.

Books From The Last Two Weeks that I wanted to share.  


Not the greatest book, but not bad.  Review is in the book's title.

CROOKED RIVER by Valerie Geary

I LOVED this book...read it if you can. 
Review is in the book's title.
What are you reading that you can't keep to yourself?  :)


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16816. More Translation Chuckles!

So we Izzy Elves cannot resist playing with the "translate" button (see it on the right??).

We just tried translating our names into Portuguese (because Deedy speaks it a bit - she was in the Peace Corps in Brazil 45 years ago!)

Guess what?  Just like in French, Frizzy's name is the only one that is changed into something else. Here's the list:

Cabelo Crespo
(e Deedy)

It's always fun to see how similar words can be in these Romance languages:

French Cheveux Crépus = Portuguese Cabelo Crespo.

We prefer the Portuguese, because we don't have to hunt all over the keyboard trying to figure out how to put in the  ´.  (Which we just did anyway, which kind of defeats the purpose. Oh, well.)

Luckily, Dizzy seems to have learned his lesson about teasing Frizzy about this. Just in case, Bizzy looked online and found out that Dizzy in Portuguese is "Vertiginoso". We're all ready to start calling him that if he starts calling Frizzy "Cabelo Crespo". 

Deedy (that's Dorothea Jensen to you) has been pestering us lately asking our opinions on which of Bizzy's "adventures" (or misadventures) she should put in the next Izzy Elves story. (It's going to be about Bizzy, obviously.) She says she won't start writing it down until after Christmas—which is just as well because we are all slammed with work here at the Pole until then, of course, and don't have time to chat with her.

Meanwhile, Bizzy is looking a little nervous. We tell him not to worry, Deedy won't put anything in his story that will embarrass him—too much!

Much Love,

The Izzy Elves (and Deedy)

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ (♥)

(Whizzy likes this picture because his name is first! Because his name starts with "W" he's usually at the end of the list!)

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16817. Cynsational News & Giveaways

Scary & diverse
By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Thirteen Scary YA Books: Diverse Edition from Lee & Low. Peek: "Halloween is right around the corner. There’s no better way to celebrate than by reading books that will scare you to pieces!"

Green Earth Book Awards from The Pirate Tree: Social Justice and Children's Literature. Peek: "Part of this celebration included a donation of 10,000 environmental books to schools. Each year Green Earth Book Awards are given to books in five categories: picture book, children’s fiction and nonfiction, YA fiction and nonfiction."

Talents and Skills Thesaurus Entry: Strategic Thinking by Becca Puglisi from Writers Helping Writers. Peek: "The ability to accurately view and assess present-day reality in order to plan for and create the future that one desires (winning a game, reaching a personal goal, growing one’s business, etc.)."

A Checklist to "See" Race/Culture in Kid/YA Books by Mitali Perkins from Mitali's Fire Escape. Peek: "Pay attention to how beauty is define." See also The Coretta Scott King Book Awards Book Fair by Julie Danielson from Kirkus Reviews.

Two Pages to Tell a Story by Yona Zeldis McDonough from Writer Unboxed. Peek: "If a short story is a babe in arms, a novel is like a grapefruit balanced on the back of an ant." See also Gender Bias in Writing & Publishing: Fact or Fiction by Julie Munroe Martin from Writer Unboxed.

An Author's Journey to Getting Back into Print by Eleanora E. Tate from The Brown Bookshelf. Peek: "...Phoenix Films adapted it into a television film in 1983 and it aired on Nickelodeon and PBS’s Wonderworks all over the country. I don’t remember which year the hardcover went out of print, but it did, and without even going into paperback!"

Metis characters & gender-expectations theme
Girls Dance, Boys Fiddle by Carole Lindstrom: a recommendation from Debbie Reese at American Indians in Children's Literature. Peek: "...I was swept into the story and curious to know more about the Red River Jig."

Historical Accuracy in Illustration: Shifting Standards or Stubborn Uncertainties? by Elizabeth Bird from A Fuse 8 Production at School Library Journal. Peek: "Can illustration ever really and truly be factual, just shy of simply copying a photograph? Should we hold historical fiction and historical nonfiction to different standards from one another?"

At Age 91, Island Artist Ashley Bryan Still Trying to "Tap That Inner Mystery of Who I Am" by Bill Trotter from The Bangor Daily News. Peek: "Born in the summer of 1923 in Harlem, New York, to a large family that traced its roots to the Caribbean island of Antigua, he could not escape the conflicts of the era."

Boo Hoo from Marion Dane Bauer. Peek: "Was I still grateful that night to be published and well enough regarded to be on the road? Of course. But that didn’t keep the night from being dark." See also The Key to Rejection by Shannon O'Donnell from Project Mayhem.

Celebrate Yourself by Kathryn McCleary from Writer Unboxed. Peek: "...we can get so focused on what recognition and success look like in the world around us that we forget what success looks like to each of us, on our terms."

National Book Award finalist; learn more.
Get to Know the Finalists for the National Book Award from National Public Radio. Peek: "The National Book Awards shortlists — for fiction, nonfiction, poetry and young people's literature — were announced Wednesday on Morning Edition...." Note: scroll for Young People's Literature. 

Thoughts from an Author-Editor by Kate Brauning from Adventures in YA Publishing. Peek: "I’ve worked in publishing for about four years now (still just learning), and as an editor with first Month9Books and now Entangled Publishing, I’ve worked with a lot of clients on a lot of books. But this year, my debut novel is being published (How We Fall (Merit Press,  November 2014))."

How True and Factual Does Your Memoir Need to Be? Five Principles by Brenda Peterson and Sarah Jane Freymann from Jane Friedman. Peek: "What is the memoirist’s responsibility in telling the truth, the whole truth? What is our responsibility to others who share our story?"

A Writing Retreat Re-Defined by Kristi Holl from Writer's First Aid. Peek: "...let loose all those old ideas about what is nec­essary for a writing retreat to be 'real,' and open your mind and heart to another way of giving yourself this gift of self-care."

Cynsational Screening Room

Check out the book trailer for Imani's Moon by JaNay Brown-Wood, illustrated by Hazel Mitchell (Charlesbridge, 2014).

Via A Fuse 8 Production at School Library Journal:

Cynsational Giveaways
Enter to win.

The winner of a signed copy of Atlantis Rising by T.A. Barron is Elaine in Missouri.

Enter to win a copy of the 2015 Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market, edited by Chuck Sambuchino (Writer's Digest) from Carmela Martino at Teaching Authors.

This Week at Cynsations

More Personally

Great news! The Austin SCBWI chapter has instituted a scholarship for Writers of Diverse Characters. I hope that our example will lead other chapters and writing organizations to take similar action.

My children's books Jingle Dancer (Morrow, 2000), Rain Is Not My Indian Name (HarperCollins, 2001) and Indian Shoes (HarperCollins, 2002) join Joseph Bruchac's The Heart of a Chief (Dial, 1998) as companion books to Louise Erdrich's The Round House (Harper, 2012) for Saratoga Reads!

I look forward to traveling to Saratoga Springs, New York to celebrate! See more information.

Do you like my Cynthia Leitich Smith author page at Facebook? I'm somewhat stunned to report that I've passed 5,000 followers (and counting) over there, and the comments section is pretty lively.

Reminder: my e-edition of Blessed (Candlewick) is on sale this month for only $1.99. A perfect Halloween read--check it out! See also Blessed: A Conversation with Cynthia Leitich Smith.

Congratulations to fellow Austinite Christina Soontornvat on the sale of her debut picture book to Nancy Paulsen Books!

New logo!
We Need Diverse Books Announces Walter Dean Myers Awards and Grants by Claire Kirch from Publishers Weekly. Peek: "The Walter Dean Myers Award...nicknamed The Walter, will recognize published authors from diverse backgrounds who celebrate diversity in their writing... In addition...grants will be awarded to up-and-coming, unpublished writers and illustrators who are creating diverse works and require financial support...." Note: I'm an advisory board member of WNDB.

Personal Links

Cynsational Events

Cynthia Leitich Smith will speak on a panel "Where Are the Heroes of Color in Fantasy & Sci Fi Lit?" from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 15 at YALSA's YA Literature Symposium in Austin.

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16818. Interesting blog posts about writing – w/e October 17th 2014

Here’s my selection of interesting (and sometimes amusing) posts about writing from the last week:

How to Tell If Your Story Idea Is Mediocre—And How to Improve It (Laurie Scheer)  Jon’s Pick of the week

Between a Blog and a Hard News Cycle (Porter Anderson)

Query First? The Query as a Plotting Tool (Janice Hardy)

Getting Published: The Genre-Concept Connection (Larry Brooks)

Celebrate yourself (Kathleen McCleary)

Stop Social Media, I Want to Get Off!  (Kerry Gans)

Bad Advice (Wendy Lawton)

What You Pay for When You Hire a PR Firm (Sharon Bially)

How Not to Register Copyright (Victoria Strauss)

If you found these useful, you may also like my personal selection of the most interesting blog posts from 2013, and last week’s list.

If you have a particular favorite among these, please let the author know (and me too, if you have time).  Also, if you've a link to a great post that isn't here, feel free to share.

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16819. 19th Annual Rockland Literacy Extravaganza Professional Conference - October 18, 2014

I'm over the moon to be participating in the 19th Annual Rockland Literacy Extravaganza Professional Conference - October 18, 2014 at 7:45-2:30 pm!


Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Multi Award-winning Children's Author

Ignite curiosity in your child through reading!

Connect with

A Sandy Grave ~ January 2014 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2014 Purple Dragonfly 1st Place Picture Books 6+, Story Monster Approved, Beach Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Powder Monkey ~ May 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Hockey Agony ~ January 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Story Monster Approved and Reader's Farvorite Five Star Review

The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

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16820. Fairy & Empath Online School Friday

Lessons going out this morning on this lovely, but a little cloudy October Fairy Friday. Energetically, that’s been one hell of a week, hasn’t it? We need a vacation! Some place warm and happy. For today, I give you a little excerpt from the Fairy Healing the Feminine class, which was one of my favorites to create. (By the way, another session starts this weekend and sign-ups open here).



This one is so timely for me, as I found myself giving too much out and not getting even the basics of what I needed. When that happened, I came to the conclusion that I would have to give out much less AND that when I don’t have what I need, I am at such a disadvantage to be able to give out at all. Time to scale back.

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16821. Book Signing Event in Northville Michigan

Hello Everyone,
I will be at Barnes and Nobles in Northville Michigan this Sunday October 19th, 2014 at 2pm to celebrate the release of my new book, The Mystery of the Circus For Hire. I will be talking about the new cipher I use and will be demonstrating it as well. I'm really excited about it. In celebration of the new release I am offering my newest book in my Joe-Joe Nut Series, The Secret of the Missing Arch, for .99 on Amazon Kindle. I hope you enjoy it. Thanks so much and hope to see you there.

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16822. Snapshot Sketches

I did these watercolor sketches when I was exploring Salida, Colorado. Each sketch is 3 inches across and took 5 or 10 minutes. 

I might do a few of these to explore possible motifs. The main thing I'm looking for is the basic value organization. Painting a small monochromatic "snapshot" helps me cut through the clutter to see the essence of the image.

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16823. Interview with Rebecca James, author of Cooper Bartholomew is Dead

Rebecca James' debut YA novel, Beautiful Malice, was an international publishing sensation, selling in 52 countries. Her third novel was released this month, Cooper Bartholomew Is Dead. It's terrifically gripping - I read it all in one sitting. Spoiler: it's about Cooper Bartholomew being dead (even though it opens with Cooper's death, we actually get to know Cooper pretty well... as Rebecca says, it's a backwards mystery. Okay, I should probably stop talking about it. I might genuinely spoil it. More info on it here).

I was on a panel with Rebecca at Somerset Writers Festival in 2011 (There's a photo of that panel in this post, where we appear very solemn, obviously because we were being serious thoughtful writer types. My blog is very helpful for remembering things - including my polka-dot dress phase). As well as being a sensational writer she is lovely in real life. So it was terrific to have the chance to interview her about Cooper Bartholomew Is Dead, her writing process, genre (NA vs YA) and her publishing journey!

Steph: In Cooper Bartholomew Is Dead, we get to see the story from four different perspectives - primarily Libby's (Cooper's girlfriend), but also Cooper's, Sebastian's (Cooper's best friend) and Claire's. Each of these characters are  well-developed, but there's also a wide cast of secondary characters with similar authenticity - what made you decide to write the story from four different perspectives, and how did you manage to develop distinct voices and characterisation?
Rebecca: When I started writing this book and started thinking about the characters involved I quickly realised that it would be more interesting and satisfying to include all four perspectives. One event can be described so differently depending on who's telling the story. It's one if the fascinating things about human beings  --- the way we all see things from our own point of view, the way we're all the centre of the story. Having the four different voices, each with their own individual take on the situation, allowed me tell four versions of the same story --each of them equally valid.

It's always hard trying to make different characters have different voices and I'm very glad to hear you think I've succeeded in this. First of all, I guess, I just try and exist in each characters head as I write their scenes. I try to think and feel as I imagine they might feel. In a more practical way I try to vary sentence length, dialogue tics, vocabulary, things like that. 

Steph: The novel is also incredibly suspenseful and well-constructed - do you plot your stories out before writing them, and do you have any specific strategies for generating suspense and increasing tension in a story? Do you have any advice for people wanting to write suspense?
Rebecca: Thank you. After many years of saying that I'm a a complete panster I've come to realise that's not entirely true. It's not that I've been fibbing all this time, it's just that when I wrote my first published book, Beautiful Malice, I had no idea what was going to happen from page to page, scene to scene, and I think I decided then and there that "This Is How I write." But when I wrote my second and third books (Sweet Damage and Cooper Bartholomew Is Dead) I definitely had a rough outline of the plots in mind before I even started. I even wrote a synopsis for Sweet Damage. (I altered it dramatically, but still, I don't think I can claim to have been completely winging it.)  My plots are very loose and unstructured -- major plot points always change, unexpected things always happen -- and there are certainly no spreadsheets involved, but I do have a general story arc in mind before I begin.  

Hmm. How do I create suspense? I'm afraid I don't have any brilliant or insightful answers to this. I write quite intuitively, I think, ploughing on without thinking too hard about the mechanics behind it all. If I have to stop and think about it though, I guess suspense is all about withholding information, tantalising the reader with different possibilities and clues, forcing them to turn another page and then another so they can find out what happened or is about to happen. 

Steph: The central characters in Cooper Bartholomew Is Dead are university students, a bit older than traditional YA characters (I suppose you could call it New Adult Suspense?), and it's a novel I can imagine being read by both older teenagers and adults. Do you have a specific age range or reader in mind as you write? Is fitting into a genre or subgenre something you consider at all?
Rebecca: Since getting a publishing deal with Beautiful Malice I do think about what category I'm writing for, yes. I have to because I'm contracted to write YA books for Allen and Unwin. I couldn't really write a book about a middle aged man contemplating a career-change for example. (Well, I could I guess, but they probably wouldn't publish it!) So, yes, I think about the category in that I consciously keep my characters young. Having said that, in both Sweet Damage and Cooper Bartholomew is Dead my characters are in their late teens and early twenties which makes them a bit older than many traditional YA characters, as you noted. 

But Allen and Unwin publish my work as YA fiction, so I guess it still qualifies! (Maybe when and if NA becomes more firmly established in Australia this might change? I don't know.) In any case kids and teenagers like to read up, so an older teenager who is finishing High School may well be very interested in a story about young people moving out of home, starting university, getting a job, falling in love for the first, second or third time. (I know I certainly would have been!) I try not to get too hung up on categories and publishing definitions. I suppose I trust that I can leave that side of things to the professionals? Some reviewers have called my work NA fiction, others upper YA, some people describe it as crossover fiction. I don't mind how it's categorised, I try to concentrate on writing engaging stories. 

Steph: You mention on your blog that you started writing Cooper Bartholomew Is Dead in 2009, and you've published two novels in the meantime, so I imagine it was a challenging novel to write - what was your process like for this novel, and how did it change and evolve over that five year period? Were there any particular inspirations for this novel?
Rebecca: I started writing Cooper Bartholomew is Dead  after I'd finished writing Beautiful Malice but before I'd sold anything to a publisher. When I sold Beauitful Malice I also  sold Cooper Bartholomew is Dead as the second book in a two-book deal. Sadly, when I handed the first draft of Cooper B in to my publishers I got a very lukewarm reaction. I was told it needed a lot of work. I was shattered. Deflated. I cried for a day or two and then had a bright idea! I'd dump Cooper and work on something else. (This something else eventually became my second book, Sweet Damage.) 

Easy peasy! I promised to have the new book done in two months. Ha! Sweet Damage took two years and in hindsight, dumping CooperB was a crazy decision. I now know that it always seems easier to start something fresh. The new shiny idea always looks so glittery and tempting. Problem is the new shiny idea soon becomes the difficult book, the work that needs a major restructure and a good polish. There's simply no getting away from the fact that there is hard work involved. 

Steph: Your debut novel, Beautiful Malice was published in a whole lot of countries and there was a great deal of hype around it, which is what I think a lot of aspiring (and published) novelists dream of, but obviously there's a huge amount of pressure. What was that experience like for you, and did it make writing your second and third novels more challenging, with that level of expectation and scrutiny?
Rebecca: It was very exciting to have my first book sell all over the world but in all honesty it wasn't an entirely positive experience. I think my reaction had a lot to do with my own fears and my own (common, I think, among writers) feeling of being a fraud. (Surely I was just an imposter dressed up in a fancy writer's costume?) 

For a long time I worried that I'd been given more than I deserved. I suddenly had a lot of unexpected attention (not all of it positive)  that I really wasn't ready for and hadn't in any way anticipated.  And all the time I was afraid of seeming ungrateful, afraid of feeling ungrateful. It was a strange time and I learned a lot. About people. About publishing. About myself. 

Steph: Imagining you could travel back in time and meet your slightly-younger self without tearing the fabric of the space-time continuum and what-not, is there any advice you would share with her about writing and publishing?
Rebecca:  If I could go back a few years and talk to myself when I was just selling Beautiful Malice to publishers I'd have quite a lot to say.  I'd definitely tell myself not to feel guilty or ashamed of success. I'd tell myself to ignore online negativity and unkindness, to let it wash over me. I'd train myself not to be terrified of attention and not to take it all too seriously.  

I'd also tell myself to grow a thicker skin and not to feel too intimidated: all writers feel slightly fraudulent. I'd explain that publishing is a very fickle industry, that there will be highs and lows, times when writing will seem like the worst job in the world, days when it will seem like the best. I'd stress the fact that, ultimately, it's the work that counts --  which is a good thing, because it's the only part the writer can control. 


Thanks, Rebecca! For more info on Cooper Bartholomew Is Dead, check it out on the publisher's website (you can read an excerpt! You will almost definitely want to read more!)I also love Rebecca's blog - she writes very honestly and insightfully about being a writer and her experiences. And she twitters!

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16824. Nicholson Baker Preview

Join us Tuesday, October 21 at the Columbus Museum of Art for an evening with New York Times bestselling N Baker webauthor, Nicholson Baker. Baker’s character, Paul Chowder, has won over readers with his eccentric and witty poetry over the course three books, all of which are being published for the first time in an original omnibus. A lover of books and knowledge, Baker is also the writer of the award-winning book, Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper. In conjunction with that publication, he also created a non profit organization in 1999 that works to rescue old print material from destruction by libraries. As lovers of books and knowledge ourselves, we are excited to welcome Nicholson Baker to Columbus and celebrate the joining of Paul Chowders adventures for the first time.

Click here for more information about this event, or to purchase a ticket.

If you’re interested in a more personal experience with Nicholson Baker, consider attending out Author’s Table Dinner! This opportunity allows you to sit down for a catered dinner with the author, receive reserved seating at the event, and get your book signed ahead of time. For more information about the Author’s Table Dinner, please call Anne Touvell at Thurber House, 614-464-1032 ext. 10.

As a gesture of respect to our authors and guests, the event will begin promptly at 7:30 p.m. with no admission allowed past 7:45 p.m. We thank you for your understanding on this matter.

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16825. Sequoia – Perfect Picture Book Friday

This is the fifth picture book illustrated by Wendell Minor that I have reviewed! It has just recently been published and I thought it would be a great follow-on from last week’s review on A GRAND OLD TREE. It is, after … Continue reading

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