What is JacketFlap

  • JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans.
    Join now (it's free).

Sort Blog Posts

Sort Posts by:

  • in
    from   

Suggest a Blog

Enter a Blog's Feed URL below and click Submit:

Most Commented Posts

In the past 7 days

Recent Posts

(from all 1562 Blogs)

Recent Comments

JacketFlap Sponsors

Spread the word about books.
Put this Widget on your blog!
  • Powered by JacketFlap.com

Are you a book Publisher?
Learn about Widgets now!

Advertise on JacketFlap

MyJacketFlap Blogs

  • Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.

Blog Posts by Date

Click days in this calendar to see posts by day or month
new posts in all blogs
Viewing: Blog Posts from All 1562 Blogs, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 2,000
1. Summer Reading from A to Z

I wrote about my slump yesterday and I'm still struggling with reviews, but I've decided to make an effort to keep blogging, even if I post less reviews and more just stuff.  Bookish stuff, of course, but more thoughts and ideas and less reviews.  We'll see how it goes.  

Anyway, I figured a book list is a good way to start and I was inspired by Hoopla's collection of A-Z Summer Reads.  I love me a good book list, so I thought I'd share with you what I think are the essential summer reads for each letter of the alphabet.  There are a billion ways to define a summer read, but I'd say that these books are united in my mind in that they both captured my attention completely and left me feeling at least somewhat intellectually stimulated.

A: About a Boy by Nick Hornby

B: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

C: Christy by Catherine Marshall

D: Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells

E: Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn

F: Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

G: Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson

H: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

I: I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

J: Jackaby by William Ritter

K: The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner (I'm cheating a bit here - this is the third in the series and you really need to read the whole series in order, but I'm short on K books I love and find summer-appropriate)

L: The Little Friend by Donna Tartt

M: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

N: Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

O: On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

P: The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Q: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a Wold That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

R: Rex Libris by James Turner

S: The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz

T: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

U: Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer

V: Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell

W: Watership Down by Richard Adams

X:  The Execution of Noa P. Singleton by Elizabeth L. Silver (cut me some slack, X is hard)

Y:  Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Z: The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman


0 Comments on Summer Reading from A to Z as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
2. Deep Point of View

What is deep of point of view and how do you write it?

https://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2016/03/09/introducing-deep-pov-wth-is-it-can-we-buy-some-on-amazon/
https://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2016/03/13/getting-in-character-deep-pov-part-two/
https://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2016/03/16/want-a-page-turner-you-need-deep-pov/

0 Comments on Deep Point of View as of 5/25/2016 4:35:00 PM
Add a Comment
3. Neil Gaiman Quote: True Fact!

12108712_974147955971550_2142756678354341231_n

Add a Comment
4. Haven't I seen you someplace before? More dueling covers of falling cutouts

Add a Comment
5. Featured Review: The Hunt (The Cage #2) by Megan Shepherd

About this book:The Maze Runner meets Scott Westerfeld in the second novel in this gripping and romantic YA series about teens abducted from Earth by an otherworldly race—from Megan Shepherd, the acclaimed author of the Madman’s Daughter series. They’ve left the cage—but they’re not free yet. After their failed escape attempt,...

0 Comments on Featured Review: The Hunt (The Cage #2) by Megan Shepherd as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
6. StoryMakers | Jennifer Oxley & Billy Aronson

STORYMAKERS - Jennifer Oxley & Billy Aronson (Peg + Cat) Featured Image

We’re trying to make math cool … It’s for everybody
and it’s everywhere. It’s a part of your life.
— Billy Aronson

Jennifer Oxley and Billy Aronson are the team behind the award-winning PBS series “Peg + Cat”. Peg is a little girl whose life is a big math problem, which she solves with her best friend, Cat. Her world looks like math as the backdrop is graph paper and various items are made from simple shapes. The animated television series Peg + Cat has won seven Daytime Emmy Awards including Outstanding Pre-School Children’s Animated Program, Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation (Jennifer Oxley), and Outstanding Writing in a Pre-School Animated Program.

Parents and teachers who want to continue the STEAM fun offline can turn to the Peg + Cat books written by the series creators. In this episode of StoryMakers Rocco Staino, Billy Aronson, and Jennifer Oxley discuss the creative vision for the series and several themes central to the  series of books. Fun, simple mathematics, diversity, and a seamless flow are essential to the success of the books and television series.

Oxley and Aronson offer encouraging messages about mathematics that will inspire children, parents, and teachers alike.

We’re giving away three (3) sets of books for this episode of StoryMakers. Each set includes a of copy of Jennifer and Billy’s picture book, PEG + CAT: THE PIZZA PROBLEM and PEG + CAT: THE RACE CAR PROBLEM. The giveaway ends at 11:59 PM on June 7, 2016. ENTER NOW!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

LIKE IT? PIN IT!
StoryMakers - Jennifer Oxley & Billy Aronson (PEG + CAT) Pinterest Image

 

ABOUT THE BOOKS


Peg + Cat: The Pizza Problem
Peg + Cat: The Pizza Problem - Jennifer Oxley & Billy Aronson
By Jennifer Oxley and Billy Aronson
Published by Candlewick Entertainment

What do fractions have to do with pizza? The stars of the Emmy Award winning animated series “Peg + Cat” serve up a delicious new episode.
It’s lunchtime at Peg’s Pizza Place. Peg and Cat are excited to take their first order from the Teens only to learn that some of their customers want a whole pizza while one of them wants half a pie. How can Peg and Cat make half a pie when they don t know what “half “is? Luckily, Ramone and Mac are there to help, with a slice up the middle of the pizza. As more customers come in, things get entertaining, with Peg singing a jazzy song and Cat doing a dance. But soon there’s another problem: four orders, but only two and a half pizzas left. Peg is totally freaking out until Cat reminds her that when it comes to halves and wholes, it’s all in how you slice it.


Peg + Cat: The Race Car Problem - Jennifer Oxley & Billy AronsonPeg + Cat: The Race Car Problem
By Jennifer Oxley and Billy Aronson
Published by Candlewick Entertainment

Peg and Cat, stars of their own Emmy Award winning animated TV series, zoom into a picture book and put math skills to the test in a lively racing adventure. Peg and Cat have built an amazing car out of things they found lying around. They’ve named her Hot Buttered Lightning (since she’s built for speed), and they plan to win the Tallapegga Twenty. If they can make it out of the junkyard, that is. It’s a good thing Peg knows the best shape to use to make wheels and how to count laps to see who is ahead. And it’s lucky that Cat reminds Peg to keep calm when she’s “totally freaking out.” Will Peg and Cat be the first to complete twenty laps and win the Golden Cup? Or will it be one of their quirky competitors? Count on Peg and Cat to rev up young problem-solvers for an exciting race to the finish.

ABOUT JENNIFER OXLEY

Jennifer Oxley was born in Hollywood, California and caught the filmmaking bug early – she made her first film at the age of seven. Since then she has directed fifteen short films for Sesame Street, as well as the award-winning adaptation of Spike Lee and Tanya Lewis Lee’s children’s book, Please, Baby, Please.

Her latest film, The Music Box, was acquired by The Museum of Modern Art for their permanent children’s film collection. Her work in children’s television includes directing and artistic credits. Jennifer is the recipient of an Emmy Award for her role as director on Little Bill, and she created the look and animation style of The Wonder Pets!, which won an Environmental Media Award and the prestigious Japan Prize.

Most recently Jennifer teamed up with Billy Aronson to create Peg + Cat for PBS Kids, and is co-founder of 9ate7 Productions.

Source: 9ate 7 Productions

CONNECT WITH JENNIFER OXLEY
Website | Facebook | Twitter

ABOUT BILLY ARONSON

Billy Aronson is a playwright and writer. Aronson is probably best known for creating the original concept behind the Tony award-winning rock opera Rent. He’s written several plays and musicals. Also, he’s written for popular children’s shows, and cartoons including Courage the Cowardly, Codename: Kids Next Door, The Backyardigans, The Wonder Pets, and Beavis and Butthead.

Aronson attended Princeton University. He counts several plays by Shakespeare, Looney Tunes, and The Brothers Grimm among his influences. Billy Aronson is a co-creator of Peg + Cat for PBS Kids, and is co-founder of 9ate7 Productions, with Jennifer Oxley.

Learn more about his playwriting, television work, and  here.

CONNECT WITH BILLY ARONSON
Website | Facebook

CONNECT WITH KidLit TV
Facebook Group Facebook Page Instagram | Newsletter | Pinterest | Twitter YouTube

StoryMakers
Host: Rocco Staino | Executive Producer: Julie Gribble | Producer: Kassia Graham

Did you like this article? Leave a comment below.
We love hearing from you!

This post contains affiliate links.
All Rafflecopter entrants must reside in the United States and be at least 13 years old.

The post StoryMakers | Jennifer Oxley & Billy Aronson appeared first on KidLit.TV.

0 Comments on StoryMakers | Jennifer Oxley & Billy Aronson as of 5/25/2016 5:33:00 PM
Add a Comment
7. Poetry contest with $1500 first prize

PRISM InternationalPRISM International invites entries for the inaugural Pacific Spirit Poetry Prize. First prize: $1500 grand prize ($600 runner-up, $400 2nd runner-up. Up to three poems per entry (100 lines max per poem). Entry fees: $35-$45 (includes subscription). Deadline: October 15, 2016.

Add a Comment
8. What a fantastic way to start summer vacation!

Hi Friends,

Many celebrate this upcoming Memorial Day holiday in the US by heading to the local pool or beach. Some go camping and enjoy family time. But I also don't want to forget the reason for the Memorial Day holiday. Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country's armed forces. I am so grateful to the men and women who serve our country and sacrifice so much for our freedom.

To help celebrate Memorial Day I am offering 20% off everything in the shop! Starts now and runs through May 31, 2016. Be sure to enter the coupon code MEM2016 at checkout. Start shopping now!
Thank you for being a part of our wonderful community. I am so grateful for each and every one of you!

Phyllis

Gifts that give back
Phyllis Harris Designs & You – Giving the gift of love and healing

Every purchase of a heart-warming Phyllis Harris Designs illustration print donates 5 percent of every illustration print sold from our website to Children's Mercy Hospital. 

FOLLOW ME ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PhyllisHarrisDesigns
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PhyllisHarris
Instagram: http://instagram.com/phyllisharrisdesigns
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/phyllisha/

0 Comments on What a fantastic way to start summer vacation! as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
9. Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at   Breaking the Spine   and spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.       Kayla's choice for Waiting On Wednesday (Blog Manager for YABC) REPLICA by Lauren Oliver ~10/4/16 Author: Lauren Oliver Book: Hardcover, 544 pages Expected publication: October 4th...

0 Comments on Waiting On Wednesday as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
10. Funko Pop! Announce Hogwarts Express and Harry Potter Mystery Minis

Funko Pop! Rides will soon be releasing their newest addition: The Hogwarts Express!

The train comes in three separate sets: the front engine (which comes with a Harry Potter figure) and two carriages, which come with Ron and Hermione. The complete train measures 45cm in length.

Get your hands on the Funko Pop! Hogwarts Express this June!

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 22.06.30

 

 

13260268_1134422693268694_6655741835642450810_n

Harry Potter figures will also be released as Mystery Minis in July, starting at 6cm tall. When ordering a Mystery Mini, Funko will send you a random mini figure from a set of your choosing. As part of the Harry Potter set, you could receive a mini of one of the newer releases, including Hedwig, Dumbledore, Fawkes, Voldemort, Nagini, Malfoy, Dobby, Hagrid, Crookshanks and more. Read more here.

849803096571-2

Add a Comment
11. ‘Beauty’ by Alice Lemma

Graduation film made by Alice Lemma at Sheridan College.

The post ‘Beauty’ by Alice Lemma appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

0 Comments on ‘Beauty’ by Alice Lemma as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
12. Memory of Light: Francisco X. Stork



Just finished The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork. The exploration of depression is honest and may give words as well as hope to those within the condition. Learning to exist in the midst of the trial is displayed with a tender compassion.

Watch for Vicky's story of crisis and recovery. It may help you find your own memory of light or assist another along the path beside you.

The Memory of Light
by Francisco X. Stork
Arthur A. Levine Books, Scholastic, 2016
Edited by Cheryl Klein

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz


Add a Comment
13. The Dead Ladies Art of Memoir Writing

9780226278452

From “Live through This,” by Catherine Hollis, her recent essay at Public Books on how much of our own lives we construct when we read and write memoirs:

In The Dead Ladies Project: Exiles, Expats, and Ex-Countries, Jessa Crispin, the scrappy founding editor of Bookslut and Spolia, finds herself at an impasse when a suicide threat brings the Chicago police to her apartment. She needs a reason to live, and turns to the dead for help. “The writers and artists and composers who kept me company in the late hours of the night: I needed to know how they did it.” How did they stay alive? She decides to go visit them—her “dead ladies”—in Europe, and leave the husk of her old life behind. Crispin’s list includes men and women, exiles and expatriates, each of whom is paired with a European city. Her first port of call is Berlin, and William James. Rather than explicitly narrating her own struggle, Crispin focuses on James’s depressive crisis in Berlin, where as a young man he learned how to disentangle his thoughts and desires from his father’s. Out of James’s own decision to live—“my first act of free will shall be to believe in free will”—the rest of his life takes shape. Crispin reconstructs what it might have felt like to be William James before he was William James, professor at Harvard and author of The Varieties of Religious Experience. If he can live through the uncertainty of a life-in-progress, so too might she.

But not before checking in with Nora Barnacle in Trieste, Rebecca West in Sarajevo, Margaret Anderson in the south of France, W. Somerset Maugham in St. Petersburg, Jean Rhys in London, and the miraculous and amazing surrealist photographer Claude Cahun on Jersey Island. Through each biographical anecdote, each place, Crispin analyzes some issue at work in her own life: wives and mistresses, revolutionaries with messy love lives, and the problem of carting around a suicidal brain. Crispin travels with one suitcase, but a good deal of emotional baggage. While she focuses on each subject’s pain, what she’s seeking is how these writers and artists alchemized their suffering into art, and how that transmutation opens up an individual’s story to others. . . .

In the end, learning how other women and men decided to live helps Crispin decide that suicide is a failure of imagination. “Here is something else you could do,” Crispin’s ladies tell her; here is some other way to live.

To read the piece in full at Public Books, click here.

To read more about The Dead Ladies Project, click here.

Add a Comment
14. J. Bears Wilson’s face gets all screwed up when he’s...


0 Comments on J. Bears Wilson’s face gets all screwed up when he’s... as of 5/25/2016 3:05:00 PM
Add a Comment
15. Presidential Polar Bear Post Card Project No. 157 - 5.24.16


If polar bears were farmers, I'm pretty sure they'd work in eastern Washington.

0 Comments on Presidential Polar Bear Post Card Project No. 157 - 5.24.16 as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
16. Under Earth, Under Water

Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizieliński (@hipopotam) started a revolution here in the UK, with the publication by Big Picture Press back in 2013 of their now famous Maps. With that beautifully produced book we started to see something of new departure for children’s non-fiction, with publishers realising that there was an appetite for gorgeously illustrated and finely produced information books which didn’t look or feel like school textbooks.

Since then we’ve seen several new non-fiction imprints established, dedicated to bringing us eye-catching, unusual and sumptuous non-fiction for children and young people, such as Wide Eyed Editions and 360 Degrees. This is great news, especially for younger children who report choosing to read non-fiction (42% of 7-11 year olds) almost as much as they do fiction (48.2% of 7-11 year olds, source), though you’d never guess this from the imbalance in titles published and reviewed.

underearthunderwatercoverIt’s wonderful to see the return of the founders of the non-fiction revolution with a new title, Under Earth, Under Water, a substantial and wide-ranging exploration of what lies beneath the surface of the globe.

Split into two halves, allowing you to start from either end of the book by turning it around to explore either what lies beneath the earth, or under the oceans, this compendium of startling facts and quirky, fresh illustrations makes the most of its large format (a double page spread almost extends to A2), with great visual and verbal detail to pour over and a real sense of going down, down, down across the expanse of the pages.

The Earth pages cover everything from burrowing creatures to plant life in the soil, via extracting natural resources to industrial underground infrastructure. Tunnels, caves, digging up fossils and plate tectonics are all included in this rich and varied buffet brought together though a simple concept – simply exploring what is underneath our feet.

underearth1

The Water pages explore aquatic life right from the surface down to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, ocean geography, human exploration with the aid of diving equipment, the history of submarines and even shipwrecks.

underearth2

Lavishly produced, with gorgeously thick paper it is a delight to hold this book in your hands. Wonderful design, featuring lots of natural reds and browns in the Earth section and soothing shades of blues and green in the Water section, ensures exploring the diverse content is a visual treat as much as it is a spark for thinking about the world around us in new ways.

My only question mark over Under Earth, Under Water is the lack of an index. Maybe this makes it more like a box of treasures to rummage in and linger over, the sort of space where you can’t be sure what gems you’ll dig up. Although perhaps not a resource from which to clinically extract information, Under Earth, Under Water offers a great deal to explore and a very enjoyable journey to the centre of the earth.

burrow

There’s so much we could have “played” in Under Earth, Under Water. We toyed with making submarines, visiting caves, planting seeds to watch roots grow, but in the end the animal burrows won out, and we decided it was time to make our own. This began with papier mache and balloons…

burrow8

…which when dry were set into a cardboard box frame, and surrounded by layers of “soil” i.e. different coloured felt, to recreate the layering of different soil and rock types.

burrow5

burrow6

Then the burrows needed filling! Sylvanian families came to the rescue, along with nature treasures gathered from the garden.

burrow7

And soon we had a dollshouse with a difference! (Can you spot the bones and other archaeological finds waiting to be dug up from the soil??)

burrow1

burrow2

burrow3

burrow4

Whilst making our underground burrow we listened to:

  • Underwater Land by Shel Silverstein and Pat Dailey
  • Underground Overground Wombling Free….
  • Going Underground by The Jam

  • Other activities which might work well alongside reading Under Earth, Under Water include:

  • Watching live video footage from NOAA’s Okeanos Explorer in the Mariana Trench!
  • Reading Above and Below by Patricia Hegarty and Hanako Clulow. This books explores similar territory to Under Earth, Under Water – but for slightly younger children – and makes great use of split pages.
  • Digging to see what’s under the earth in your garden. We did exactly this, as a mini archaeological excavation inspired by Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen
  • Creating your own underwater volcano
  • If you’d like to receive all my posts from this blog please sign up by popping your email address in the box below:

    Delivered by FeedBurner


    Disclosure: I was sent a free review copy of this book by the publisher, Big Picture Press. The book was translated by Antonia Lloyd Jones although she is not credited in the book.

    0 Comments on Under Earth, Under Water as of 1/1/1900
    Add a Comment
    17. Book Review: Shade Me by Jennifer Brown

    Title: Shade Me
    Author: Jennifer Brown
    Published: 2016
    Source: Edelweiss

    Summary: When the popular girl is murdered, Nikki feels strangely drawn toward the case, even getting entangled with the girl's sexy older brother.

    First Impressions: Meh. I know she's supposed to be Tough and Independent but she was awfully cagey with the cop for no reason. And the book treated synaesthesia like a superpower or something. Just weird and unsatisfying.

    Later On: Generally I really like Jennifer Brown's stories. She focuses tightly on characters and character development, and how relationships grow and change, especially under the pressure of horrible situations.

    This shift to a more plot-heavy mystery didn't work at all for me, especially since the things that were so strong in her other stories suffered for Plot Reasons. We never meet the murdered girl, but somehow Nikki felt a connection, even though her assessment of the murdered girl before she was murdered was decidedly negative. There was a romantic subplot and I know I was supposed to feel a connection to it and to the romantic lead (whose name I can't even remember), but I really didn't.

    I know it's fashionable, especially in noir stories, to mistrust the police, but I couldn't figure out any earthly reason for her not to bring the cop in on her suspicions, even partially. He wasn't actively undermining her, gaslighting her, or at any time seemed to be one of the bad guys. In fact, he kept coming around to say, "Look, can I help? I'm doing this; this is my actual job and I'm really trying to do it here. I have information, do you have information?" And she would say no because . . . suspense?! It was unsatisfying.

    Finally, my issue with the use of Nikki's synesthesia. Brown did acknowledge it as something that has given Nikki learning difficulties, but it also functioned as a magical signpost to Things That Were Important to the mystery, and a connection to the murdered girl, who (minor spoiler) had synesthesia herself.   But my understanding, which because I'm not a neuroscientist is not exactly thorough, is that synesthesia works differently for different people. How could the dead girl possibly have known what would jump out at Nikki and what wouldn't? Just a little too convenient.

    I'll read Brown's next book, but only if it's not a noir mystery.

    More: Kirkus Reviews
    Disability in Kidlit on repackaging disabilities as superpowers, which is not always a bad thing, but annoyed me in this book

    0 Comments on Book Review: Shade Me by Jennifer Brown as of 5/25/2016 3:39:00 PM
    Add a Comment
    18. Rare Prisoner of Azkaban Poster to be Auctioned in Watford

    Excalibur Auctions will be selling off a Sirius Black ‘wanted’ style poster from the promotion of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban film in just a few days time.

    blog.php

    The promotional poster is one of less than ten of this kind known to be produced for the film, leading Excalibur Auctions to call this ‘one of the rarest posters ever produced to publicise the films’.

    It is particularly unique due to its lenticular design, meaning that the images changes depending on which angle you view it from. Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) is in the shot if you view the poster from head on, and he disappears if you angle the poster slightly differently. Clearly this format was much more expensive to produce, leading to the remaining posters being coveted!

    The poster is predicted to sell for £4,000-£6,000, and the auction will take place at The Village Hotel in Elstree, Watford on Saturday 28th May 2016 at 10:30am. Live bidding will occur in the room, with internet bidding available at The Sale Room and Invaluable.

    The auction will also feature a Star Wars Episode II Yoda lenticular poster, a 1920s Sherlock Holmes window card and many James Bond themed items (including original Quad posters from Dr No and From Russia With Love.

    More information can be found on the Excalibur Auctions website, here.

    Add a Comment
    19. The shady lowlands


    0 Comments on The shady lowlands as of 1/1/1900
    Add a Comment
    20. Alcon Plans A Series of Fully-CG ‘Garfield’ Features

    First rule of Garfield: You can never have enough Garfield!

    The post Alcon Plans A Series of Fully-CG ‘Garfield’ Features appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

    0 Comments on Alcon Plans A Series of Fully-CG ‘Garfield’ Features as of 1/1/1900
    Add a Comment
    21. Author Top Five--Twinned Enchantment with L.E. Sterling, Plus Giveaway!

    Today's AUTHOR TOP FIVE comes from L.E. Sterling, and because True Born, the story of Lucinda Fox, whose twin sister Margot gets kidnapped in a plague-ridden world, the author decided to write her post about the magic of twins!     First meet L.E. Sterling! L.E. Sterling had an early obsession with sci-fi,...

    0 Comments on Author Top Five--Twinned Enchantment with L.E. Sterling, Plus Giveaway! as of 1/1/1900
    Add a Comment
    22. Equipment for a Free Range Artist – Part 2

    I’m back from my free range field test: a weekend trip to Fruita, Colorado for some plein air mountain biking fun. (If you missed the first post about all of my new plein-air equipment, you can read all about it here.)

    First stop were the Kokopelli trails, which take you along the edge of the Colorado river. There are gorgeous vistas at every turn, and I hiked a few meters off trail and painted one of my favorite views of the canyon. If I’d been walking, it would have probably taken about four hours to get to this spot (and another four to hike back!) but with the bike I could get there in no time.

    Plein air painting along Steve's Loop

    Most bikers on the path below didn't even see me.

    The equipment really improved the experience. Not only was I more comfortable, but I had a much easier time judging color and value with the help of my shade umbrella.

    Watercolor painting of a sandstone canyon

    The final painting

    One benefit of combining mountain biking and painting was that my husband could do extra laps while waiting for me. Sometimes he had a good view of my painting spot:

    cliff-painting-setup

    See the white dot of my umbrella?

    Watercolor painting of a sandstone cliff in Fruita, CO

    I was painting this interesting rock formation. So many holes!

    So, you ask, how was all the equipment?

    The Umbrella (Bestbrella white)
    Pros: Provided a neutral, even light. I found it easy to set up and relatively stable. It even protected my painting against the odd sprinkle of raindrops.
    Cons: I’m not sure I’d use it in a downpour or high winds, but that’s not really what it’s for. When the sun was at certain angles (like right behind my head) it was difficult to properly position the umbrella because the easel got in the way of the tripod pole. I think this is actually a problem with the tripod, not the umbrella: if I had a taller tripod I could have clamped the umbrella lower on the leg in order to miss the easel.

    The Easel (En Plein Air Pro Traveler Series)
    Pros: Easy to set up, lightweight, simple.
    Cons: The easel is fitted with holes to hold your brushes, but a lot of my brushes are either too big or too small to fit in these. Some slide all the way down to the ferrule, while others stick out quite a bit. On more than one occasion I’d absentmindedly put down a brush only to have it slip right through.

    The Stool (Walkstool Comfort)
    Pros: Durable, easy to set up, pretty comfortable.
    Cons: You can only use it with the legs fully extended when it’s on level ground.

    The Backpack (Camelbak Motherlode)
    Pros: Spacious, durable, well-balanced, lots of convenient pockets.
    Cons: It’s not designed with women in mind, and was wide and bulky on me, particularly around the shoulder area. But the width makes it perfect for holding the easel, so I’m not complaining.
    Other notes: It can also throw off your center of gravity while biking, which makes technical terrain very difficult. I wouldn’t recommend this for beginners. In fact, I made my husband carry it most of the time so that I wouldn’t mess up and fall off the cliff.

    I'm just posing. I gave it back to my husband right after this photo.

    I'm just posing. I gave it back to him right after this photo.

    The tripod (an old mini travel tripod–I have no idea what brand or model.)
    Pros: Very small, compact and lightweight.
    Cons: My mini tripod is clearly not meant to hold a bulky plein air easel and umbrella. It’s unstable, and is so small that there’s no way you could use it while standing. The short legs make it difficult to level on steep slopes. It’ll do for now, but I’m going to start saving up for something a little more versatile for the future.

    Watercolor painting of two utah junipers and a high desert view beyond

    We also visited 18 Road, on the other side of the valley.

    Conclusion:

    All in all, I’d call it a success! If you’re thinking of doing more “free-range” painting and are hesitating about investing in equipment, I recommend that you go for it. No matter where you go to paint–be it far off the beaten path or as close as your back yard–it’s a fun challenge and a great way to improve your painting skills.

    Add a Comment
    23. A tour! A tour! My first tour in 14 years!

    This month began with the most amazing thing ever: a book tour for The Girl I Used to Be! The last time I had a tour was in 2002. As the economy crashed, independent bookstores folded, and newspapers cut back, tours faded right along with them.

    I was determined to make the most of it. So I said yes to everything. Yes to speaking to kids from four different schools in a day. Yes to doing a bookstore event that same night. Yes to flying to a different city after that.

    And I had a great time! But I did pick up some tips I’m going to pass along for the next person who wins the tour lottery.

    The last time your clothes fit in your carryon is the day you pack it at home. Don’t overpack! If you’re willing to wear the same black polyester (and thus unwrinkle-able and basically indestructible) top in every city you visit, you can save some space in your suitcase. And you need to leave room, because every school will want to give you a coffee mug, T-shirt, and pen emblazoned with the school’s logo. I have also gotten a tea towel, “genuine sand,” a plaster hand missing fingernails like one of my characters, and reusable grocery bags.

    And you’ll also end up with treats: chocolate in the shape of the Alamo, pralines so sweet they make your teeth ache, Kind bars, chocolate covered almonds, a package of Oreos, caramel toasted coconut chips, mini Kitkats, homemade cookies, Lindor balls, and occasionally fruit. Those who follow me on social media often give me potato chips. I actually carried a full bag of chips from Milwaukee to Chicago where I ate them at midnight when I finally checked into my hotel. My advice is to avoid the crab-flavored ones.

    In fact, for your waistline, dump all the treats into the nearest garbage can as soon as you are out of eyesight. Otherwise you will end up in your hotel room eating a piece of really bad candy that tastes like chocolate-covered perfume, wincing, and then opening another wrapper.

    All the candy did come in handy when Alaska ran out of meals on a flight from Chicago to Seattle. For breakfast, I ate a peanut butter cup that had been rattling around in my backpack. Loose. By the time I found it, half the chocolate was missing. But at least it didn’t have anything stuck to it. And I figured the peanut butter counted as protein.

    If you’re ever wondering what to get an author, Starbucks cards are small and endlessly useful. Also those grocery bags, especially if they are emblazoned with something local, are a fun gift and pack flat.

    My other tip would be figure out the shower while you are still sort of awake. Do you raise the handle, spin it, press it? Is there a separate piece you need to engage first? Otherwise you’ll end up after four hours sleep phoning the front desk and begging them to reveal the secret. And they in turn will send up a maintenance man, who will turn it on with ease, and look at you in your shortie PJs with barely concealed disgust.

    And then after you take your shower you will realize you have no idea how to turn it OFF. Resist the urge to leave it running for four hours until housekeeping shows up.

    I also stayed in a hotel hosting the a conference for the White Shrine of Jerusalem, a Masonic organization that seemed to be made up of white ladies over the age of 80 and wearing formal polyester gowns with corsages even for the 6 am breakfast buffet.

    I visited more than a dozen schools and talked to over 3,000 kids. One girl who wanted to be a writer was shaking so badly it looked like she would fly apart. I held one of her hands with my left hand while I signed her book with my right. One teacher worried that her pizza lunch wouldn’t be “sophisticated enough” for me. I had a wonderful time, and even though I came down with a weird kind of strep normally only seen in cows, I would do it again in a heartbeat!

    Add a Comment
    24. Looking for bravest moments (YA anthology)

    Annick PressChildren’s publisher Annick Press (Canada) is seeking true stories of bravest moments for a YA non-fiction anthology. The format of the testimonial can be in one of many different mediums (prose, poetry, photography, illustration, etc.). Contact Robbie Patterson at robbiep@annickpress.com for full details.

    Add a Comment
    25. It's Disney Channel Movie Time!

    Need something to do this weekend? Good news - the Disney Channel is having a marathon of their Original Movies all weekend long. So you can watch Alley Cats Strike (every word of which is mine, for better or worse), Quints (on which I share credit), and The Other Me (on which I did the final draft from fine work before mine)... plus a whole lot more, of course.

    You should set those DVRs and enjoy some classics!

    0 Comments on It's Disney Channel Movie Time! as of 1/1/1900
    Add a Comment

    View Next 25 Posts