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About the Book: The Terrible Toads are causing havoc all over Drywater Gulch. They are in need of a hero to solve their toad problem. Enter Sheriff Ryan, riding into town on his turtle. He might not know a lot about robbery and roping, but he sure knows a lot about dinosaurs. And that has to come in handy when catching criminals. GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: This is a perfect picture book pairing bringing together a hilarious duo. Lane Smith captures the Western-style wonderfully with brown and beige hues makes the reader feel as though they've landed in Drywater Gulch. Bob Shea's text is written to be read aloud. This book just begs to be read aloud with various accents and voices.
The reader will laugh along as the oblivious (or is he really?) Sheriff Ryan makes many observations about dinosaurs along the way. The humor comes from the Toads wanting the credit for their crimes and Sheriff Ryan and the Toads each outdoing each other with what really caused each incident.
Is Sheriff Ryan a smart sheriff who knew who to catch the criminals all along? Or does he just love dinosaurs? The book has such a hilarious twist that readers will be laughing and talking about it long after the book is finished. This is the perfect read aloud for school visits!
Full Disclosure: Reviewed from advanced copy sent by publisher for reviewAdd a Comment
I’m posting over on the Emblazoners site today. Come on over to see what I’m thankful for this holiday season :) http://emblazoners.com/thank-your-lucky-stars Tagged: lucky stars, shooting stars, thankful, thanksgiving
Apart from greatly admiring his work, my impulse to interview Olivier was three-fold: firstly, my author -illustrator friend Julie Rowan-Zoch urged me to, secondly Olivier is published in the US by one of my favorite publishers (who are right here … Continue reading →
GIVEAWAY: Lizis excited to give away a free copy of the second edition of her just released book, Food Lover’s Guide to Portland, to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in the US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before.
The summers that I was 6 and 7 years old in early ’80s, I went to a day camp in the woods maybe 30 minutes or so from the suburbs of Cincinnati where I grew up. There were a lot of memorable things about that camp, as there tend to be, but without a doubt the most memorable was Mr. Brady—the camp nature guide whose office was the old barn across the way from the open-air dining hall—and his resident alligators. The seven or eight alligators ranging in age from a couple years to several years lived in a large, maybe 10-foot diameter, round metal trough topped with a piece of plywood.
One day, every summer, Mr. Brady would take the youngest, or maybe just the most docile, alligator out of the trough, put it in the bed of his old beat-up blue pick-up truck and drive it down the hill behind the barn to the creek, where 15 or so of us would be waiting with our counselor. What happened next is not a dream. I am still friends with one of the campers and can verify that Mr. Brady—longish white beard, rubber pants and suspenders, boots—would then spend the next 40 minutes or so of our nature session wrestling with the alligator in the murky creek. Our task: watch. And in the process scream, laugh and hug each other tightly.
I’m sure there were some teachable moments that I’m missing that occurred during the alligator wrestling. There might have been words about habitat and behavior in the wild and maybe even a little bit about how humans are not typically a part of the alligator diet. Of course, all I remember, and all I am sure that most campers remember, is an old man wrestling an alligator in the creek. By choice. He seemed to have no fear, and he seemed to genuinely love doing it.
Although I have changed the names and some identifying details of the alligators what follows is my own story of wrestling with alligators, except that the alligators are humans and the wrestling is being done with writing.
When I first started freelance food writing shortly after moving to Portland, Oregon, in my mid-20s, I said yes to just about anything work-wise that came my way, including waiting tables, nannying and working in a Montessori after-school program. I also covered a lot of writing territory. I wrote a corporate fitness manual without ever having worked in an office, smoking cigarettes and drinking most nights of the week and never setting foot in a gym. Clearly I was an expert. I also wrote website copy for a few hotel and hospitality companies, health and fitness articles for a smaller circulation magazine in Arizona and movie reviews for an online art and culture startup in New York.
I tried my hand at a lot of different types of writing and, in doing so, did the opposite of what most writing manuals tell you to do—write what you know. Instead, apropos of an ambitious 20-something-year-old, I wrote more often what I did not know.
I always brought my limited life experience and subjectivity to the page, of course, and I researched and dug as deep as my usually too-fast-approaching deadline would allow, but let’s just say I was in all of these writing endeavors far from an expert. And that lack of expertise led directly to lack of confidence. That first year of freelancing I spent a lot of time researching and educating myself, but my primary motivator was a little off. I wanted to know the right things that, in my 20-something year old mind, translated to all of the things that would make me not sound stupid.
Nobody likes a snoop and that’s exactly what I was that first year of freelancing. My regular gig was ghostwriting food and drink pieces for AOL Online. For that, I’d visit restaurants, bars, clubs and markets in and around Portland and then write short profiles of each. I took copious amounts of notes about menus, inventory, décor and service in my tiny black refillable notebook, and if I ever caught whiff that someone was on to me I’d commit the remaining visit to memory as best I could sacrificing any more documentation to save face.
I would only ask one or two questions per visit, and then only if I thought I could get away with it without revealing anything personal. I’d avoid eye contact. My heart would race and my palms would sweat as I took ridiculous notes under the table about things such as the microgreens topping my scallops (“What are the little purpley-green spade-like micros? Mustard?”). If you kicked all that fear-built subterfuge down, I wasn’t being Ruth Reichl-like, in disguise in order to maintain journalistic integrity. I just didn’t want to have a real conversation with anyone that might reveal all that I did not know. Instead, I would go home after dinner and suffer through mind-numbing Google searches of microgreens until I settled on the variety that looked the most similar before ultimately deciding not to use it in the profile anyway. No time wasted at all!
On those rare occasions when I did find myself face-to-face and engaged with folks who I was interviewing or meeting with for some sort of professional reason, I showcased what I knew as best I could and tried to hide what I didn’t know. In other words, I was a bit like 20-year-old Ira Glass in his early interviews with members of the cast of MASH, which he talks about on the “Cringe” episode of This American Life. The worst is when Glass asks Harry Morgan, who played Colonel Potter, a series of needling questions about why he’s never been the lead on any show. So painful.
This sort of bravado is inherently juvenile, but we’ve all done it. Here’s how I got rid of being scared of not knowing: I stopped using my tiny black notebook to take notes in in public and I got a big notebook. I stopped sneaking away to the bathroom to take notes—I’m sure that a few waiters had me pegged as incontinent—and started writing them openly. I stopped muzzling my curiosity and ended more sentences with question marks. I had more and more face-to-face interviews that I needed to conduct for seasonal food stories with weekly deadlines that I was writing—more projects in general. I no longer had time to digest the latest study just enough so that I’d sound smart, to make obscure references that were only tenuously related to the subject at hand (references I’d secretly hope no one would actually try to turn into a real conversation). All of these things that we do from time to time to puff our feathers when we feel intimidated or unconfident, and as a result, hide our truer selves.
After a year of freelancing, I was too busy with assignments to keep up appearances anymore. The real, vulnerable, curious and often ignorant me stepped out into plain view. It turns out that first year of freelancing I’d wasted a whole lot of time getting in my own way. I simply got out of my way and the decade since I’ve been more than willing to often be the fool or even, from time to time, when it seems helpful to the interview and subject at hand, play the fool.
In general, people love to be asked questions—personally and professionally. Ask away. Be brazenly curious. Be proud of not knowing. The less you know means the more you have to learn and that’s a big part of what’s most fulfilling, fun and interesting about writing—the learning. Don’t be a bore and always try to prove yourself and outwit others. No one is impressed and it’s tiresome. Show how ignorant you are—we all are!—and you’ll have a lot more fun and be a much better writer as a result. The best writers are the most curious risk-takers who want to burn and learn and live
life to the fullest. Stop being scared and be one of them. In other words, wrestle those alligators in the creek. By choice. See, I knew I could bring it back to the alligators.
*No alligators were harmed in the writing of this essay.
Ruth McNally Barshaw grew up in the Detroit area. When she was little she wanted to be an artist. She thought books were written by companies, not real people, so she didn’t want to write books. She changed her mind in 2002, and three years later connected with a fabulous agent who sold the first Ellie McDoodle book to Bloomsbury Children’s Books. Then it became a series.
She is the author-illustrator of the six Ellie McDoodle Diaries (often compared to Diary of a Wimpy Kid). She’s the illustrator of Leopold is Lost, by Denise Brennan-Nelson, due out in 2015 with Sleeping Bear Press. And she is author-illustrator of several other picture books currently in various stages of development.
She and her writer-husband Charlie frequently take their story creation workshop on the road to schools, libraries and conferences. Otherwise you can find them at home or at a local bookstore, writing.
Tomorrow we celebrate Thanksgiving here in the US so of course I had to come up with a list of things I'm thankful for. Instead of the usual list of my clients, my BookEnds team or all of the blog readers, writers and editors who make me better at my job (see how I slipped that in) I thought I'd put together a list of characters who helped shape the me I am today.
Like anyone in the publishing business I spent most of my childhood with my nose in a book. I went to bed reading, falling asleep with the light on, and spent Saturday mornings curled up under a blanket reading a book from beginning to end. I'd actually hide in the corner so my parents wouldn't notice me and force me to go outside. During those years there were so many characters who shaped me and who I wanted to be like, characters who refuse to leave my head and in many ways have become my role models. People (because that's how I think of them) I still think of today.
Anne Shirley, that tenacious, spunky redhead who wanted to be a writer. I loved Anne of Green Gables and really, really wanted to be her. Well, honestly, I think I wanted to be all of these characters. Anne always said what she believed and despite so many obstacles that would make many sad, Anne was optimistic and confident. She was also determined and wanted to be a writer. Who wouldn't be inspired by that?
Jo March, if you read this blog you'll see Jo's name (or at least Little Women) come up again and again. In some weird way I feel like Jo is a good friend, someone I haven't seen in a while and miss dearly. Jo, like Anne, was spunky, tenacious, brave and determined to be the woman she wanted to be and not the woman everyone thought she should be. It broke my heart when Jo said no to Laurie, but part of me cheered her on. It was a shocking bit of bravery for anyone who dreamed of romance (which I did).
Betsy. I know Betsy has a last name, but I swear I have no idea what it is. Betsy was very similar to Anne and Jo. She wanted to be a writer, she spoke her mind and she stood up for what she believed. Betsy also had a thrilling imagination that often got her and her best friend Tacy, and later Tib, in loads of trouble. It reminded me a lot of me and my own best friend growing up. In the end though Betsy excelled and achieved her dreams. If you're unfamiliar with the Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace please check it out.
Meg Murry is a little different from my other characters. Meg didn't want to be a writer, she wanted, if I remember correctly, to be a scientist. At least that's what her parents were in A Wrinkle in Time. Meg was one of the bravest characters I have ever known and everything she did she did for the love of her family. She was an adventurer, an explorer and such a cool nerd. Who wouldn't want to be Meg?
This power-packed marketing strategy involves sprinkling links throughout your emails.
The idea is to make sure your CTA link is not just at the end of your email. You need one or two earlier on, for those readers who don’t read to the end of the content. It’s important to give them the opportunity to see your links by having another one or two within the email.
A lot of readers are ‘skim
Sylvia Day’s new book, Captivated By You, has joined Apple’s Top Paid iBooks in the U.S. at No. 1.
Apple has released its top selling books list for paid books from iBooks in the U.S. for week ending November 10, 2014. David Baldacci’s new thriller, The Escape, and Gillian Flynn’s suspense novel, Gone Girl, are occupying the second and third spots on the list this week.
We’ve included Apple’s entire list after the jump. (more…)
One of my blogging besties, Jenn, over at Jenn's Bookshelves, is hosting her annual Thankfully Reading Weekend (starting tomorrow!!)
and I just signed up! I wasn't sure if we'd be traveling for the holiday, but since we're just staying at home and eating with friends, I know I can spend some time relaxing and reading. I'd love to get another 10 books or so read before the end of the year and this is a great, laid-back, way to starting that challenge off.
Let me know if you decide to sign up!
I recently received a couple of books from BookLook to review and I wanted to sneak them in here before Thanksgiving.
The first, Every Bitter Thing is Sweet by Sara Hagery is one I'll be giving to several of my friends this Christmas! Her writing, reminiscent of Ann Voskamp, made me tear up in the middle of every chapter, speaking truth to my soul. Despite every setback - no matter how big or small - the hope the author exhibits is both intense and inspiring. She constantly recognized that God was present in her life and helped lead her to the adoption of her beautiful children. If you have a friend going through a rough patch (or you are!), read this book and it will change your heart. The First Christmas Ever, illustrated by Dennis Jones, a book sent for Elliott to "review," unfortunately didn't please either of us. Though he seemed intrigued by the silly illustrations, the text was much too wordy to hold his attention. I was disappointed in the writing style, as the words and message seemed too 2014 (possibly to reach for higher appeal...?) and dumbed down. There are lots of excellent books on the Christmas story out there, so we'll pass on this one.
It's time for the new episode of the Dinotopia audio podcast adventure. Just click below or follow this link.
Arthur and Will Denison continue their adventures in Dinotopia. Lee Crabb tells them about his sneaky plot, and they follow him to Volcaneum.
Arthur meets Tok Timbu and learns about the ways of the island where people live alongside dinosaurs.
...and they meet again someone they saw when they first arrived.
The Podcast Series This acoustic adventure was produced by Tom Lopez, mastermind of the ZBS Foundation, with an original music track by composer Tim Clark.
Episode 4 arrives in one week— Tuesday, December. Each 10-minute episode will only be live online for one week, and then it will disappear. So tell your friends, and be sure to check in to this blog each week. That way you'll be able to hear the whole production for free.
If you'd like to purchase the full two-hour Dinotopia podcast right now and hear all twelve episodes back to back in a feature-length production, check out Dinotopia at ZBS Foundation website for the MP3 download.
Writing is a solitary endeavor, but that doesn’t mean we do it all alone. We have writers’ groups, beta readers, crit partners, and online friends to help motivate and support us. And since it’s the time of year to be thankful for things, now’s a good day to let those folks know how much you value them.
Give hugs to all your writer pals, especially the ones who have stood by you through rejection after rejection, bad reviews, or terrifying bouts of writer’s block. Celebrate their successes and remind each other of the victories you’ve had along the way.
Tell your critique partners why you find their feedback so helpful and how much it aids you in making your stories the best they can be. Be specific about their strengths and what unique view they bring that no one else can. Make sure they know their value, both to you, and as a critiquer.
Let your beta readers know their insights and observations are always just what you need to fix the problems in your manuscript. If they’re not writers, they might feel they have little to offer, and knowing that a reader’s opinion can be even more valuable than another writer’s can make them feel appreciated and confident.
Thank your online bloggers for their advice and generosity, as most of them blog because they love it and enjoy helping their fellow writers. Let them know they’re appreciated and how their words have helped you (and how many of their posts you might have saved or bookmarked).
Show a little love to your commenters. Let them know that they brighten your day with their questions and comments, and that you look forward to those daily (or weekly) discussions.
And last, but not least, give thanks for those in your life who don’t understand this whole writing thing but stick by you anyway, give you time to write when you need it, don’t mind when you drop everything to scribble down a plot idea or a great piece of dialog, who don’t even roll their eyes anymore when you rip apart a bad plot on TV.
It’s easy to get caught up in our work and our lives, so sit back, take a look around and see all the wonderful people you have by your side.
Thank you all.
Who are you thankful for?
Janice Hardy is the author of the teen fantasy trilogy The Healing Wars, where she tapped into her own dark side to create a world where healing was dangerous, and those with the best intentions often made the worst choices. Her novels include The Shifter, Blue Fire, and Darkfall from Balzer+Bray/Harper Collins. The first book in her Foundations of Fiction series, Planning Your Novel: Ideas and Structure is out now. She lives in Georgia with her husband, one yard zombie, three cats, and a very nervous freshwater eel. Find out more about writing at her site, Fiction University, or find her on Twitter @Janice_Hardy.
While I finish repricing books on the online store and sort out the total **** up lulu.com has made of some files and not even told me about (nice) time for an interlude. Normal service will resume as soon as possible.
Throughout the year, we receive countless thank you notes from children across the country who receive books of their very own thanks to generous support from friends like you. We hope you enjoy this note of thanks from Patricia, a student at Adrian Elementary in South Euclid, Ohio.
On behalf of all our young readers, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and a wonderful holiday season.
I have been struggling with this review, and I don’t know why. I thoroughly enjoyed Sweet Cowboy Christmas, but I just can’t seem to put my thoughts down in any coherent manner, so I will instead give you my Top 5 reasons why you should read it
1. This romance will put you in the mood for the holidays. I read it last week, and afterwards, I was geeked for the holiday season. Christmas plays a big part in the story, because Chase lost his father on Christmas years ago. He’s still not over his loss, and he dreads the holidays, because he certainly doesn’t share in the holiday cheer that surrounds him. Faith loves Christmas and giving to others, so she wants to help Chase regain his love for the holidays
2. Both Chase and Faith are running unsuccessfully from their pasts. Chase can’t get over the loss of his father, and now he’s just had a health scare himself. He’s not sure who he is anymore, because he’s been told he has to give up his fast-paced, stressful life or he’s not going to be around much longer. Faith is still smarting from a romance gone bad. Her ex belittled her and she still hasn’t recovered her confidence after his contemptuous treatment of her.
3. Chase is a caring guy, who realizes a good thing when he sees it. When he learns that Faith’s confidence is still suffering from her past disastrous relationship, he isn’t shy about letting her know how special she is.
4. The interactions between Chase and Faith are humorous, sweet, and romantic. The ranch setting is the perfect backdrop for their budding romance. How can galloping across a field and then sharing a kiss not be romantic?
5. Sweet Cowboy Christmas is a novella, so you don’t have to invest a lot of time to reach the happy ending. This is a great choice if you have some free time in between your own holiday preparations. Who knows? It may even get you in the mood to put out some extra Christmas decorations.
Review copy provided by publisher
Mistletoe, holly, and cowboys, oh my! Christmas in Texas has never been sweeter.
Years ago, Chase Morgan traded in his dusty cowboy boots for the shimmering lights of New York City and a fast track up the corporate ladder. But when his shiny life is turned on end just in time for Christmas, Chase knows he needs to reevaluate—even if that means going home to Texas to endure his least favorite holiday.
When Mr. Tall, Dark, and Smoking-Hot walks through her door at the Magic Box Guest Ranch, Faith Walker sees just another handsome, rich exec looking to play cowboy for a week—at her expense. She’s sure the grumpy-but-sexy-as-hell Scrooge will put a crimp in her holly jolly plans. Until a sizzling kiss has her seeing him in a new light.
Chase is haunted by secrets, and even though it goes entirely against her “hands off the guests” rule, Faith is tempted to help him leave the past behind. As the magic of the season swirls around them, she is determined to succeed, because now she is certain one sweet cowboy Christmas will never be enough.
Warner Bros. Pictures has unveiled a new teaser trailer for Pan. Deadline reports that “the fantasy actioner retells the tale of an orphan boy snatched from turn-of-the-century London and transported to a magical land ruled by a moustache-twirling pirate.”
The video embedded above offers glimpses of Hugh Jackman as Blackbeard, Amanda Seyfried as Mary, Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily, Garrett Hedlund as Hook, and Levi Miller as Peter Pan. This movie will hit theaters in July 2015.
For over 2,000 years the civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome have captivated our collective imagination and provided inspiration for many aspects of our lives, from culture, literature, drama, cinema, and television to society, education, and politics. With over 700 entries on everything and anything related to the classical world in the Oxford Companion to Classical Civilization, we created an A-Z list of facts you should know about the time period.
Alexander the Great: He believed himself the descendent of Heracles, Perseus, and Zeus. By 331 he had begun to represent himself as the direct son of Zeus, with dual paternity comparable to that of Heracles.
Baths: Public baths, often located near the forum (civic centre), were a normal part of Roman towns in Italy by the 1st century BC, and seem to have existed at Rome even earlier. Bathing occupied a central position in the social life of the day.
Christianity: By the end of the 4th century, Christianity had largely triumphed over its religious competition, although a pagan Hellenic tradition would continue to flourish in the Greek world and rural and local cults also persisted.
Democracy: Political rights were restricted to adult male Athenians. Women, foreigners, and slaves were excluded. An Athenian came of age at 18 when he became a member of his father’s deme and was enrolled in the deme’s roster, but as epheboi, most young Athenians were liable for military service for two years, before at the age of 20, they could be enrolled in the roster of citizen who had access to the assembly. Full political rights were obtained at 30 when a citizen was allowed to present himself as candidate at the annual sortation of magistrate and jurors.
Education, Greek: Greek ideas of education, whether theoretical or practical, encompassed upbringing and cultural training in the widest sense, not merely school and formal education. The poets were regarded as the educators of their society.
Food and drink: The Ancient diet was based on cereals, legumes, oil, and wine. Meat was a luxury for most people.
Gems: Precious stones were valued in antiquity as possessing magical and medicinal virtues, as ornaments, and as seals when engraved with a device.
Hephaestus was the Greek god of fire, of blacksmiths, and of artisans.
Ivory plaques at all classical periods decorated furniture and were used for the flesh parts of cult statues and for temple doors.
Juno was an old and important Italian goddess and one of the chief deities of Rome. Her name derives from the same root as iuventas (youth), but her original nature remains obscure.
Kinship in antiquity constituted a network of social relationship constructed through marriage and legitimate filiation, and usually included non-kin — especially slaves.
Libraries: The Great Roman libraries provided reading-rooms, one for Greek and one for Latin with books in niches around the walls. Books would generally be stored in cupboards which might be numbered for reference.
Marriage in the ancient world was a matter of personal law, and therefore a full Roman marriage could exist only if both parties were Roman citizen or had the right to contract marriage, either by grant to a group or individually.
Narrative: An interest in the theory of narrative is already apparent in Aristotle, whose Poetics may be considered the first treatise of narratology.
Ostracism in Athenian society the 5th century BC was a method of banishing a citizen for ten years. It is often hard to tell why a particular man was ostracized. Sometimes the Athenians seem to have ostracized a man to express their rejection of a policy for which he stood for.
Plato of Athens descended from wealthy and influential Athenian families on both sides. He rejected marriage and the family duty of producing citizen sons; he founded a philosophical school, the Academy; and he published written philosophical works.
Quintilian, a Roman rhetorician, advised that children start learning Greek before Latin. The Roman Empire was bilingual at the official, and multilingual at the individual and non-official, level.
Ritual: The central rite of Greek and Roman religion is animal sacrifice. It was understood as a gift to the gods.
Samaritans, the inhabitants of Samaria saw themselves as the direct descendants of the northern Israelite tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, left behind by the Assyrians in 722 BC.
Toga: The toga was the principal garment of the free-born Roman male. As a result of Roman conquest the toga spread to some extent into the Roman western provinces, but in the east it never replaced the Greek rectangular mantle.
Urbanization: During the 5th, 4th, and 3rd centuries, urban forms spread to mainland northern Greece, both to the seaboard under the direct influence of southern cities, and inland in Macedonia, Thessaly, and even Epirus, in association with the greater political unification of those territories.
Venus: From the 3rd century BC, Venus was the patron of all persuasive seductions, between gods and mortals, and between men and women.
Wine was the everyday drink of all classes in Greece and Rome. It was also a key component of one of the central social institutions of the élite, the dinner and drinking party. On such occasions large quantities of wine were drunk, but it was invariably heavily diluted with water. It was considered a mark of uncivilized peoples, untouched by Classical culture, that they drank wine neat with supposed disastrous effects on their mental and physical health.
Xanthus was called the largest city in Lycia (southern Asia Minor). The city was known to Homer, and Herodotus described its capitulation to Persia in the famous siege of 545 BC.
Zeus, the Indo-European god of the bright sky, is transformed in Greece into Zeus the weather god, whose paramount and specific place of worship is a mountain top.
Featured image: Colosseum in Rome, Italy — April 2007 by Diliff. CC-BY-SA-2.5 via Wikimedia Commons.
Well I am guessing that my postings and reviews from Saturday to last night have left the comics industry in a whirlwind of-of......
Let's face it: no one was interested. I try and try and postings on the comics industry -the troubles and tribulations- do appear to be popular. They tend to get very high viewing figures. But thoughts? Responses? Not a one. You do know that I could just as well go sit in the bathroom and say these things aloud to myself which is satisfying but does not take a lot of typing/editing?
Hmm. From now on I am going to review books while seated 'pon the lavvie. You don't hear my reviews then that is your fault.
Honestly. Burned out. Type/post and just watching the visitor numbers climb is boring beyond belief. Should be a lesson there for me. My books go the same way. Years of research, editing, typing, editing and then design followed by publishing and...no one reads them.
Turkey Day is just around the corner and families are already making plans to gather.
Thanksgiving is a time of giving thanks for the many blessings we enjoy – our homes, our harvests and the time we spend with our families. In our current culture, that time seems increasingly to be disappearing with the rapidity of cranberry, turkey and stuffing off a Thanksgiving platter.
Many stores today are impinging on that ever closing window of family time, even on traditional family holidays such as Thanksgiving. They are opening on Thanksgiving Day itself to get a jump on the traditional kick-off of the holiday shopping season, termed by retailers as “Black Friday.” I often wondered why that particular term was adopted, but I guess it’s because retailers have a grand opportunity to get into “the black” or plus side of the profit ledger on THAT day, if they haven’t been all year. I am certainly NOT against retailers, profits by any means, nor a vigorous economy, but can we hold the cash register “ka ching” till AFTER the turkey has at least cooled?
Stores are starting to try and outdo themselves with earlier and earlier opening times on Thanksgiving Day. Macy’s may have been one of the first to kick it off following its grand daddy of all Thanksgiving Day Parades, with the air barely let out of those lofty balloons of Superman and Snoopy, than the doors of Macy’s swing open at 6pm, two hours earlier than last year, to shoppers jamming their store for bargains!
ToysRUs is opening at 5pm not to be outdone. Best Buy will open also at 6pm on Thanksgiving Day and here’s one I had to blink to believe was true. Kmart shoppers attention: IT will open at 8am! That’s right, they will open in the morning, in case you would like to pop the bird in and then get a little shopping done BEFORE the guests arrive.
Maybe I am sounding just a mite peevish over this, but sometimes BIG changes in a culture happen so gradually, we rarely take issue until it’s a done deal. All right maybe this might be an over reaction on my part, and people should have the right to shop when they want to, even at the cost of family time. BUT, those stores must be staffed with OTHER people that might not have had the option to work on a day they might have preferred to lie on the couch after the turkey, and be lulled with tryptophan from the bird – with a good book. Great idea! and here’s a thought: maybe that shopping time could be better spent reading to a captive audience of small children gathered, and now sated at the feast, that famous six stanza poem by Lydia Maria Child, “Over the River And Through the Wood”. Plus, here are a great selection of others to choose from:
The Night Before Thanksgiving – Natasha Wing
In Every Tiny Grain of Sand – Reeve Lindbergh
Balloons Over Broadway – Melissa Sweet
Turkey Riddles – Katy Hall
I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie – Alison Jackson
One Little, Two Little, Three Little Pilgrims – B.G. Hennessy
The First Thanksgiving Day: A Counting Book – Lauren Kraus Melmed; illus. Mark Buehner
Thank You Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving – Laurie Halse Anderson
The Firefighters’ Thanksgiving – Maribeth Bolts; illus. by Terry Widener
And so, as Dickens’ Bob Cratchit intoned to his family on another holiday, “To the founder of the feast!”, and as far as I’m concerned, those founders would probably agree with me, and ask us to put off our shopping for just one more day!!
Tonya Kupper is the debut author of ANOMALY, which just hit shelves yesterday! Tonya is here today to share her experiences dealing with something every writer struggles to get past and her advice is something I think we can take beyond writing and into our every day lives as well.
Conquering One of the Biggest Obstacles in Writing: You by Tonya Kupper
I’ve been writing for five years and my first published book just released so I’ve had my share of ups and downs, rejections and successes, breakthroughs and slumps. The path to publication, no matter what that path looks like, is riddled with road blocks, sink holes, and a host of other obstacles. Sometimes though, the biggest obstacle is you – the writer.
One of the hardest things to do as a writer is checking our ego and expectations at the door. For some of us, myself included, we need to set attainable goals and this helps with our continued success moving forward as a creative person. But there is a difference between setting goals and expecting to be a best-seller right out the gate. As writers, we’re also often our worst critiques. As we craft, I think we need to let those expectations of writing the cleanest first draft or whatever “our thing is” go. Along with unreasonable expectations, the ego seems to get in the way. Sometimes us writers like to compare ourselves to others. DON’T. Our work, whatever it may be at the time, is OUR work. We don’t need to figure out if: we’re better at <insert craft skill> than our critique partner, if someone in our agency has a better platform, who sold more, who got what reviews, and so on. It works the opposite way, as well. We’re not “better” than anyone else just because we’re with a particular agency our publishing house. What matters is that we are continuously growing as a writer.
As writers, our discipline practices can get in our own way. If we don’t make the time to write the dang story, someone isn’t going to write it for us. Sometimes it might come down to consistency, a chunk of time like a writing retreat, a writing/accountability partner. We have to figure out what we need to do in order to reach our goal. And sometimes, it’s as simple as sitting our butts in a chair and making ourselves write.
One of the biggest challenges I, and many other writers, face is the gnarly beast of Self-Doubt and his little weasel friend named Fear. That duo can drag down self-esteem and amp up the anxiety like nothing else. It’s almost impossible to be creative when we question our skills and abilities. We can’t let self-doubt and fear cripple our ability to do what we love to do – write. It takes strength and determination to move past self-doubt. Sometimes that strength comes in the form of taking time off and sometimes the determination is writing when you know you could delete it all the next day. It’s going to be different for all of us. No matter what, we need to be aware of our doubt and fear and face it, head on.
For me, I’m still learning how to get out of my own way. If I let go of my ego, stay disciplined, and squash my self-doubt, I will allow myself to be the best writer I can be. And I have to remind myself of this. Every. Single. Day.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Anomalyby Tonya KuperPaperback
Entangled: TeenReleased 11/25/2014
Reality is only an illusion.
Except for those who can control it… Worst. Birthday. Ever.
My first boyfriend dumped me—happy birthday, Josie!—my dad is who knows where, I have some weird virus that makes me want to hurl, and now my ex is licking another girl’s tonsils. Oh, and I’m officially the same age as my brother was when he died. Yeah, today is about as fun-filled as the swamps of Dagobah. But then weird things start happening…
Like I make something materialize just by thinking about it.
When hottily-hot badass Reid Wentworth shows up on a motorcycle, everything changes. Like, everything. Who I am. My family. What really happened to my brother. Existence. I am Oculi, and I have the ability to change reality with my thoughts. Now Reid, in all his hotness, is charged with guiding and protecting me as I begin learning how to bend reality. And he’s the only thing standing between me and the secret organization that wants me dead…
Tonya Kuper is a young adult author living in Omaha, Nebraska with her two cool boys and husband. ANOMALY, the first in the Schrodinger’s Consortium trilogy, is her debut novel and releases November, 25, 2014 by Entangled Teen. Tonya is a music junkie, Star Wars dork, and Sherlock lover.