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1001. Teaching teamwork

The capacity to work in teams is a vital skill that undergraduate and graduate students need to learn in order to succeed in their professional careers and personal lives. While teamwork is often part of the curriculum in elementary and secondary schools, undergraduate and graduate education is often directed at individual effort and testing that emphasizes solitary performance.

The post Teaching teamwork appeared first on OUPblog.

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1002. Teaching teamwork

The capacity to work in teams is a vital skill that undergraduate and graduate students need to learn in order to succeed in their professional careers and personal lives. While teamwork is often part of the curriculum in elementary and secondary schools, undergraduate and graduate education is often directed at individual effort and testing that emphasizes solitary performance.

The post Teaching teamwork appeared first on OUPblog.

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1003. Last Day of Class

Thursday was our last day of Picture Book Design at Hollins University. Students presented their dummies - the culmination of six weeks of struggles, lost sleep, and exploration. Here I am with all of my students. From the left, Kathleen, Kary, Me, Rebekah, Jennifer and Martha.

We began the day finishing up presentations. Each student gave a 20-minute presentation on an illustrator they admire and are inspired by. Among them were Melissa Sweet, Keith Negley, Cynthia Rylant, etc. Then, after lunch, we munched on bad-for-us snacks and read our final dummies to each other. It was a true moment of victory:
Jennifer read The Owl and the Pussycat

Martha read When Nana Dances (a manuscript donated to our program by Jane Yolen)

Rebekah created an adaptation of Red Riding Hood, now Blue

Kary created our first same-sex Owl and the Pussycat. First she presented her mini flip-book while Martha coaxed a funny smile out of her. (These guys truly bond over the intense summer term.)

And then she shared the full-sized dummy. (Covers were not required to be in color although some students took them there.)
Finally, Kathleen shared her version of When Nana Dances
     Even when they choose to do the same stories, it's amazing how wildly different they turn out. Just goes to show how individual illustrator voices can truly define a story.
     Next, was graduation! More soon...

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1004. Teaching teamwork

The capacity to work in teams is a vital skill that undergraduate and graduate students need to learn in order to succeed in their professional careers and personal lives. While teamwork is often part of the curriculum in elementary and secondary schools, undergraduate and graduate education is often directed at individual effort and testing that emphasizes solitary performance.

The post Teaching teamwork appeared first on OUPblog.

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1005. My tweets

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1006. Our meet

The tickling drops of rain,
Instigates your feel,
Like the fresh dew of morning,
My heart goes to you with a kneel,

Oh! a rainbow of my life,
Your silky hair shines,
The eyes capture the moment,
The hug acts as wines,

Let’s craft a new era of romanticism,
With glued hands & united heart,
Let’s paint a new sky, where,
Every moment, we can flirt.

Those drowsy conversation, 
In the starry night,
Subconsciously boosts me up,
Turns my day bright.

My mood swings as pendulum,
Your touch is so nourishing,
Reborn after every meet,
Had become a phoenix, so cherishing,

The moments fly off,
In the blink of an eye,
And when you walk away shying,
I can’t control the sigh,


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1007. The Worm in the Apple: Part Six of Deedy's TV Interview

Here is part six of the television interview Deedy (that's Dorothea Jensen to you) with Kevin Avard on Gate City Chronicles. Here they are talking about "Taxation Without Representation" and Worms in Apples. (If this video does not show up on your mobile device, go here.)

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1008. What would Shakespeare drive?

Imagine a Hollywood film about the Iraq War in which a scene at a clandestine Al-Qaeda compound featuring a cabal of insurgents abruptly cuts to a truck-stop off the New Jersey Turnpike. A group of disgruntled truckers huddle around their rigs cursing the price of gas. An uncannily similar coup de thèâtre occurs in an overlooked episode in 1 Henry IV.

The post What would Shakespeare drive? appeared first on OUPblog.

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1009. Donner Dinner Party

Donner Dinner Party. (Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales #3). Nathan Hale. 2013. Harry N. Abrams. 128 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Hear ye! Hear ye! Hear ye!

Premise/plot: Nathan Hale returns for this third hazardous tale in this graphic novel. The story that will prolong his life and delay his hanging is the story of the DONNER PARTY. His immediate audience, of course, is the hangman and a British officer. It's very convenient that since being eaten by the large American History book he can see the future and use the future to tell super-entertaining stories. Readers first meet the Reed family led by James Reed. Other families will be introduced as they journey west and join (and quit) wagon trains. The dangers are MANY. Some dangers are unpredictable and almost unavoidable. Other dangers they walk straight into confidently, sweeping away warnings. Usually if not always, always, it's the MEN making the decisions and the women and children who can do nothing but except the judgement of husbands and fathers. The story is FASCINATING AND HORRIBLE at the same time.

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this one. It is quite a compelling, absorbing read. You wouldn't think there would be a lot of characterization in a graphic novel, but, surprisingly there is. I had read very little if anything about the Donner Party, and, so I found it really interesting. I knew it was a grim story, but, I had not realized there were survivors too. So it wasn't quite as depressing as I first imagined it to be.

I definitely recommend this series of graphic novels. Even if you don't necessarily love reading graphic novels. The focus on history has me hooked. And I've become quite fond of Nathan Hale and his two would-be executioners.

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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1010. Golden Kite for Picture Book Text – Jessixa Bagley

Jessixa Bagley is by far Seattle's favorite Jessixa, and she'll be yours, too. BOATS FOR PAPA is a beautiful, lyrical book and her fellow Seattleites are thrilled that she/it have received this fantastic award.

In her acceptance speech, Jessixa thanks SCBWI, her lovely agent, Alexandra Penfold, and her stellar editor, Neal Porter. Jessixa got teary as she thanked her artist/author husband, Aaron Bagley, who she says helped her find her voice.

Jessixa says, upon receiving the call from SCBWI that she'd won the Golden Kite for Picture Book Text, that her Illustrator Brain thought, "Text!? Did my illustrations suck?"

But luckily her Author Brain piped up and said, "Hey! This is great!"

Jessixa's always felt much more comfortable calling herself an artist, "Calling myself an author... Author almost seemed like a taboo word... It seems like a dream now to be up on this stage. I went from thinking I'd never be published, to being here. Writing picture books is the hardest thing I've ever done, but also the most rewarding."

I love Jessixa's inspiring, concluding thoughts to us: She says if we haven't found our voice yet, to not be scared, it's there. It might be really quiet, but the more you write, the louder it will become.

Congratulations, Jessixa!!!

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1011. The LGBTQ and Allies Q&A

Always a highlight of the conference, this gathering of people interested in including LGBTQ characters and themes in our work for children and teens was a warm, safe space that brought up some powerful issues and generated enormous good-will. We sat in an large oval and took the time for each person to introduce themselves and share what they were working on, and, if they had one, ask a question of our 'brain trust.'

Faculty guests included Arthur A. Levine, Bruce Coville, Neal Porter, Emma Dryden, Ellen Hopkins, and Laurent Linn.

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1012. Nonfiction social: the real story!

#LA16SCBWI nonfiction aficionados gathered in the ornately walled Athenian room to socialize, network, and talk trade. And this is just a few of them–more people flowed in after the photo was taken! What was the nitty-gritty? You'll just have to be there next year to find out.

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1013. Happy Birthday Neville!

Today is not only an exciting day in the muggle world, what with the book release and premiere of Cursed Child, but it is also Neville Longbottom’s 36th birthday!

His determination to help his friends is seen throughout the series: from trying to prevent trouble in The Philosopher’s Stone, to drastically improving his magic in Dumbledore’s Army in Order of the Phoenix, and finally standing up to Voldemort and destroying Nagini, the last horcrux, in Deathly Hallows.

A true Gryffindor, Neville has the courage of ten lions, and was even complimented by Voldemort once!

‘You show spirit, and bravery, and you come of noble stock. You will make a very valuable Death Eater. We need your kind, Neville Longbottom.’ 

To which Neville (most valiantly) replied:

‘I’ll join you when hell freezes over,’ said Neville. ‘Dumbledore’s Army!’

Pottermore recounts Neville’s journey from a round-faced boy who’d lost his toad, to one of Hogwarts’ most humble heroes. They end with a beautiful tribute to Neville’s story:

“How did the nervous lad with the love of plants grow up to face the Dark Lord? Simple – he never gave up.

Neville didn’t seek sympathy or wallow in despair. Instead he took his pain and channeled it into his training. Spurred by news of the Death Eaters’ escape, he strove to avenge his parents and prevent more innocents from suffering their dreadful fate. The Sorting Hat was right – deep down, Neville Longbottom had the heart of a lion.

Neville’s story is an inspiration to us all. It doesn’t matter how many cauldrons you’ve melted; with hard work and courage, you can still be a hero.”


Please join The Leaky Cauldron in wishing Neville Longbottom, Professor of Herbology, a very happy 36th birthday!

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1014. CBCA Shortlist: Finished Reading A Single Stone by Meg McKinlay

Wel, I've completed my read of this particular CBCA shortlist book.

Is it good? Yes. And even if it doesn't win this award, it has already won some others, including one for spec fic. I finished the last chapters quickly, which says something about the readability of the story, and the heroine was good, as was her foster sister and a boy she was friendly with(no romance) but ...

There were some questions left unanswered at the end. I can't go into detail here without spoilers. I described the story outline in my last post on this. It's a dystopia set in a small village where everyone has been trapped for several generations after a rockfall(known as The Rockfall) got them stuck in a valley surrounded by mountains. It has become the ritual to send very slim young girls from seven years upwards to mine mica in the narrow natural passages -men aren't allowed into the mountain or allowed to scoop anything out, because the only survivors of the disaster last time, just after the Rockfall, were women - seven of them, so there is a team of seven girls who are trained to go in and get the mica needed badly for heat and light -only seven at a time, because that's the ritual. And no scooping out anything but what the mountain will allow because that's what caused the Rockfall. I totally understand the point the author is making here.

As I said in my last post, there's no comment on how small the gene pool is in a place where there's only one village - no point in naming it when there aren't any others - although there is a bit on the careful harvests and how happy everyone is when they manage to catch a bird the villagers can share.

But I think the ending let it down. Not so much the discovery of the other people on the other side and that there might be a way to reach them - that's more or less indicated in the scenes from the POV  of a girl called Lia, so not a spoiler. Again, I can't tell you, because spoiler. But I was left saying, "Hang on, there's been this flashback going on through the book and it never quite told us what happened to two of the characters and suddenly we find out what happened to one of them, but not how." 

To be honest, of the four Older Readers books I've read so far, I like two equally best, The Flywheel and Cloudwish. Possibly Cloudwish a bit ahead... Freedom Ride was good for the history it brought to life, though there were some familiar tropes in it I've seen before. This novel is, so far, the one I like the least. And I'm a lover of speculative fiction. 


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1015. Graduation day

So on the hottest day of the year, a couple of weeks ago, we rose at 6.30am, caught a taxi and three trains to the pretty town of Ormskirk, finishing off with a bus journey to Edgehill University campus, where Joe's graduation ceremony was taking place. We were already melting by the time we arrived. 

It's a very impressive campus and has a pleasing amount of topiary trees. Around the back of the historic part, the more modern additions are discreetly concealed.


The first item on the agenda was for Joe to get togged out in his graduation robes, before an extraordinary amount of photos and selfies were taken with his colleagues. Me, I stayed in the background and had a crash course in ladies shoe fashion for 2016. A loose count showed that ankle straps are 'in' this year and that 'flesh' (or as I believe it is called, 'nude') is this season's colour. I was in cheap baseball boots. Not being in heels, I was one of the few females on campus able to walk in a straight line.

At last we were able to head off for the ceremony.

After a long wait for everything to be organized, and having the most fidgety child on the planet next to me, it all got rolling with the expected pomp and ceremony; the procession of the University staff in suitably impressive robes and hats, and a fanfare of trumpets. Literally. 

After several long speeches, the graduation ceremony itself began. Joe was about third from last, by which time people were a little restless. Having patiently waited for nearly two hours for his moment of glory - the shaking of the chancellor's hand - I had my camera poised, zoomed and in focus. 

Then just at the very second of the hand shake, a big bloke in a white shirt came bustling down the aisle stairs behind me and barged right in front of my camera as I was pressing the button. I may have sworn loudly. (OK, I did). So all I managed to get was this...

Then the lovely chancellor made the most interesting speech of the day, cracked a joke about the University board being 'the entire staff of Hogwarts' and everyone waggled their caps in the air. Apparently throwing them up willy nilly is not the done thing anymore. 

After a quick go at the buffet, we started our homeward journey. Did I mention it was hot? And so we got a bus, three trains and another taxi back to the cottage. The English countryside quietly sweltered in the sun. The train guard handed out free bottles of water on our last late, overcrowded train, where we stood in the corridor all the way back to Shrewsbury.

We eventually arrived home, flopping and half asleep, at about 8pm and went to bed almost at once. A long day, but one which Joe worked hard for and despite my humorous tone, I was actually very, very proud of him.  He is now a fully qualified counsellor.

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1016. What would Shakespeare drive?

Imagine a Hollywood film about the Iraq War in which a scene at a clandestine Al-Qaeda compound featuring a cabal of insurgents abruptly cuts to a truck-stop off the New Jersey Turnpike. A group of disgruntled truckers huddle around their rigs cursing the price of gas. An uncannily similar coup de thèâtre occurs in an overlooked episode in 1 Henry IV.

The post What would Shakespeare drive? appeared first on OUPblog.

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1017. Dramatica "this scene represents" and creating scenes..but what about Sequels

Question: After months of creating my elements for my novel in Dramatica I'm finally up to creating scenes. I've read countless materials from a variety

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1018. डाइट – वजन नियंत्रित करने की टिप्स

 डाइट – वजन नियंत्रित करने की टिप्स  डाइट – वजन नियंत्रित करने की टिप्स How to Maintain our weight.. some helpful tips हम जिम जाकर या अन्य तरीके अपना कर अपना वजन कम तो कर लेते है पर उसे नियंत्रण में नही रख पाते और जिम छोडते ही या सैर करना छोडते ही दुबारा अपने […]

The post डाइट – वजन नियंत्रित करने की टिप्स appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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1019. Not Think

We escaped the desperate hordes of Bangkok to the small island of Ko Samui in the Gulf of Thailand. Its main industry was the export of copra from the millions of coconut trees on plantations. The labourers earned a dollar and a half American per day. There was a little tourism, a little fishing, a lot of houses with self contained environments. Each house had pigs, chickens, water buffaloes and a garden. There were free coconuts: pineapples and bananas cost pennies. We headed across the island to a village called Tongkien where you could sleep for free under a bamboo canopy in front of a restaurant. You ate whatever the fishermen came up with that day. A few kilometres away was Lamlamai, the beach. It had pure, white sand, warm, light blue, translucent water. In the sun it was almost too bright to look at. There were sand dunes between the sea and the coconut trees. The Thai sun baked everything in vibrating shimmers, the sea breeze blew. The only people who didn’t seem to be affected by the blazing sun were the fishermen who stalked invisible prey with their coolers, Chinese hats and wet sarongs. They stood still, waded in the shallows with their nets, looked like outgrowths of the shore. The Thais appeared out of nowhere, two of them, sat beside us in the sand. The sun, breeze and salt water dehydration drove us up into the trees to sit in the shade and drink coconut milk Sante, “peace” in Thai, and Anothai, hacked some coconuts open, we all drank. Joyce liked the mature yellow coconuts, I preferred the yellowish brown ones, older. Some people liked the young, green coconuts, no one ate the old, brown ones. Anothai, tall, well developed above the waist, skinny below, challenged me as we sat. He was dark skinned, full of energy, knew English because he worked for the Americans who were stationed there. I was forced to respond to his pushing me, using me for a Thai boxing punching bag. The kids in Thailand knew Thai boxing like Canadian kids knew hockey. It was their national sport, on tv all the time. He flopped out some lazy jabs, then surprised me with combinations of whirling knee kicks and high kicks. Most of them landed on my shoulders and upper arms. My rudimentary karate training bluffed Anothai into giving up after a long sparring session. Sante and Joyce watched with forced smiles until we mutually backed off. I made sure our hatchet was in plain view in our pack when Anothai flourished his curved coconut knife. Sante said that he was educated in Bangkok, taught school on Ko Samui, but decided to give it all up and grow coconuts instead. We sat in the sand facing the beach, comfortable in the shade and the breeze. Sante and I talked of education, work, money, our respective countries, considered religion and meditation. Sante exclaimed “Ah, not think!” He demonstrated by sitting up straight, looking ahead with eyes closed, pointing with his index finger from the middle of his forehead to the horizon. He wore an intense expression of concentration and made no sound until he was finished. He said that meditation was taken for granted in Asia, everyone knew how to meditate. It was simply the emptying of the mind, the absence of thought. We slept under the canopy of the restaurant that night, returned to the ferry dock in the morning. Anothai was after our money, Sante tried to cadge whiskey. We bought coconut palm bongs from them, went back to the ferry dock. A man on a neighbouring island grew powerful ganja, the Ko Samui crop was rough, less powerful, plentiful, cheap. Two brothers, trying to escape the heroin addictions which they had picked up in Bangkok, stayed at the same hotel. They were from New York City, wired to China White and oriental women. Both swore they would take an oriental woman over a westerner any time. They apologized to Joyce, told me of the wonders of living with a Thai girl. They knew that they had to get out as soon as possible. They knew that they would inevitably be statistics on the list of heroin casualties if they didn’t. They smoked a lot of local weed to help them get through their withdrawals. We rested, let the tension of Bangkok drain away. We walked down long, white beaches radiated by the sun. The salt water and wind sucked the moisture from us beneath the blazing sun. We drank soft drinks constantly. Heavy punching bags tied to trees in back yards and farm yards were used for punching and kicking practice. The whole country was filled with Buddhist monks who survived on what the population gave them every day.

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1020. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Release TODAY!

Today is the day. This is not a drill. Today is the first time in nine years that Harry Potter fans get a full Harry Potter story (in the form of a play) about the Trio and the rest of the gang as adults, 19 years later. WHO ISN’T EXCITED?

All the excitement, all the buzz, massive country-wide costume contests, breaking best-selling records (even though it is a play script!), it is happening again! Three turns of a time turner, and we find Harry Potter release parties happening all over the world, tonight. Barnes and Noble is hosting midnight release parties in almost all of its stores, and if you are in the Orlando area, we highly encourage you to join some of the biggest Harry Potter fans at GeekyCon with a day pass.

The GeekyCon party will be hosted by classic Potter podcast MuggleCast and PotterCast, and many others with experience and knowledge of Pottermania. The fun will start at 7 PM with the convention’s traditional Esther Earl Rocking Charity Ball. Starting at 10:00 PM, festivities will convert themselves into a huge Harry Potter and the Cursed Child midnight book release . In tried and true Harry Potter Book Midnight Release party fashion, there will be a set of games, activities, and events to take part of–including, but not limited to:

  • Costume Contests
  • Sorting
  • Trivia and other games
  • Wizard Chess
  • Quidditch
  • Wizard Rock performances
  • Face painting and other crafts
  • Video retrospectives
  • Appearances from special guests
  • Put your name in the Goblet of Fire! (Submit your predictions, and we’ll go through them together at Sunday’s programming!)
  • Share in the Pensieve: Submit memories about Harry Potter and your experiences; we’ll be sharing them throughout the night.
  • And a lot more!

At midnight, everyone will begin to receive their book copy of the Cursed Child script! You must reserve a copy online (here), and purchase will happen on site. Full, detailed instructions will shortly follow this announcement.

Fans in the Florida area, and maybe those who want to apparate further, can choose to come to just the party (which includes the ball) for $20, to enjoy the night’s festivities.

It isn’t only the script that is released today. The Cursed Child is a play, and it’s official opening night is tonight.

The Pottermore Twitter is being continuously updated by the minute, as the Cursed Child gala unfolds in front of the Palace Theater. J.K. Rowling and the creators of Cursed Child are greeting fans, and introducing opening night to the public.



In addition to covering the gala and the premiere, Pottermore will be following Sam Clemmett, who is playing Albus Severus) the star of the show, possibly the Cursed Child), behind the scenes.


The Harry Potter Play London Twitter will be doing a similar Twitter series, but following Anthony Boyle, who is playing the role of Scorpius Malfoy. Anthony will be showing fans what it is like behind the scenes of Cursed Child with his daily routine.

Pottermore released an article this morning, detailing when Jo Rowling met the Cursed Child cast–watching her Boy Wizard, his friends and family, come to life in their adult form. Everyone gather into a large circle to introduce themselves to the group by giving their names and the roles that they played. Pottermore reports:

When the circle of induction finally reached J.K. Rowling she said, ‘I’m Jo… Well, you know what I did.’

There was a long, sweet, earnest pause as we all stopped to think about exactly what she has done and why we were all here. Excitement unfurled across the party.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story – the story that fans have wished, dreamed and begged to have since Deathly Hallows. It’s an adult life for Harry, Ron and Hermione that, until now, we’ve only been able to imagine for ourselves. They’re really back.


J.K. Rowling has always enigmatically said ‘never say never’ when asked about the prospect of a new Harry Potter story. ‘…Until these two came to me,’ J.K. Rowling said, with a look of fond incredulity toward producers Sonia Friedman and Colin Callender.

It was Sonia and Colin, of course, who did the unimaginable: They helped J.K. Rowling to bring her characters back and released them on stage, in a two-part play directed by the brilliant John Tiffany. Together they assembled this group of gifted creatives – starting with writer Jack Thorne.

‘None of this would have been possible without that man,’ J.K. Rowling said, as she pointed across the room to Jack, a very tall man trying to hide behind two much shorter women. He beamed at her with a sweet modesty that belied the gargantuan task he had just completed. Jack is, after all, the only person in the world who has been trusted to write Harry, Ron and Hermione back into life.


To read the article in its entirety, read here.

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1021. Golden Kite for Middle Grade/Young Reader: Kate Hannigan

This year's Golden Kite Award for Middle Grade/Young Readers is Kate Hannigan for THE DETECTIVE'S ASSISTANT.

"How many of you have received rejection notices?" Kate asks.

Hands shoot in the air.

Kate shares her 65 feet of rejection. With help, she rolls it out like a red carpet!

Look at that. That's how you get applause for rejection. 

Kate share that in 2004, a year into being involved with SCBWI, she started receiving notices about winning awards and receiving invitations to speak at school, when she hadn't yet published. People were confusing her, Kate Hannigan, with Katherine Hannigan. THE DETECTIVE'S ASSISTANT also came out within days of Katherine's latest book. Kate found she had to make her own mark and break through with her own voice. 

"I wrote and wrote like a pack of wolves was at my heels," Kate says.

Kate describes writing the book as "a giddy wind in a hair thrill."

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Bienvenidos - Benvenuti - Bienvenus - Welcome

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1023. The Emotional Wound Thesaurus Is Retiring Soon

Becca and I have been profiling Emotional Wounds for quite a while now, and it’s getting to the point where we need to retire this thesaurus and start a new one.

I know some of you might be upset. The Emotional Wound Thesaurus is truly one-of-a-kind, tackling a topic that is difficult to master in writing.

The good news is this: while we’re retiring the thesaurus, it’s for a good reason…so we can develop it further into a full-fledged book.

So, think of this thesaurus as merely being “on hold.” Down the road we’ll have a new resource for you that will be unlike anything else in your writing toolkit. 🙂

Before we wrap things up, we want to give everyone an opportunity to let us know what wounds they wish we would cover. This is your chance to let us know what wounds you want to see in the book!

Here’s another reason to leave us a wishlist of Emotional Wounds in the comment section:

Becca and I are going to create a short list from the ones left in the comment section and let you vote on the final entries we profile on the blog before we retire the thesaurus.

So, release the hounds! Er, the Emotional Wounds.

Tell us which wounds you would like to see us tackle, which wounds are difficult for you to portray on the page. Maybe we can help!





The post The Emotional Wound Thesaurus Is Retiring Soon appeared first on WRITERS HELPING WRITERS®.

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1024. Singalong Saturdays (Summer Songs, Again)

Today's prompt: Songs that remind you of summer. I'm adapting it a bit to focus on songs that remind me of a particular summer--1997.

This meme is hosted by Bookish Things & More.

I'm choosing to focus on the Backstreet Boys. I remember going shopping for school clothes and getting a sampler of their music--maybe even on cassette--from a department store. It was love at first listen. And when their album released that August, I believe, I bought it.

Hearing any of these songs brings back that summer and COLLEGE.

Also I can't help including Sugar Ray's Fly.

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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1025. The 2016 Golden Kite Award-Winner For Fiction: Neal Shusterman for Challenge Deep

Neal accepting his Golden Kite Award

Neal Shusterman is the New York Times best-selling author of the National Book Award-winning Challenger Deep; Bruiser, which was a Cooperative Children’s Book Center choice, a YALSA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults pick, and on twelve state lists; The Schwa Was Here; and the Unwind dystology, among many other books. He lives in California with his four children. Visit: www.storyman.com

Neal's "Challenger Deep" is the winner of this year's 2016 Golden Kite Award for Fiction.

Neal tells us about where "Challenger Deep" came from. About his son's mental illness and struggle and ultimately rising above it. Not a story about his son, but inspired by thing things his son went through. He took the artwork his son had created while he was in the emotional depths, the mental depths, and built a story from that.

"Challenger Deep frightened me. ...I wanted it to be emotionally honest," and something that his son would be proud of. It took him four years to write. How he was so nervous about his editor's response, and how gratified he was by her response that it was "a masterpiece." And then he gets a great laugh when he says that praise was followed by a ten-page editorial letter!

"Challenger Deep is a call to action. To talk openly about mental illness."

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