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1. Inspire interest in STEM with science biography picture books

With all of the push to get young children more interested in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) topics, many schools, libraries, and after school programs are integrating these topics into their activities. And, with so many great picture book biographies of scientists available, there is no reason that storytime activities and at-home reading time can’t also complement these activities and help to inspire young children to pursue their interest in STEM topics. Check out some of these books to bring out the inner scientist in your preschool through third grade students.

on a beam of lightOn a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne, illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky
This book starts with Einstein’s childhood and introduces readers to a boy who didn’t talk, but did look with wonder at the world around him. As it progresses through to his later life, the book focuses on the way that Einstein thought and how this led to his contributions to science. The illustrations fit well with this focus as they have a decidedly dreamy quality to them. Perfect for younger readers.

LookUpLook Up!: Henrietta Leavitt, Pioneering Woman Astronomer by Robert Burleigh, illustrated by Raúl Colón
Though Henrietta Leavitt may not be a name that is familiar to most, she made key contributions to the field of astronomy during her time at the Harvard College Observatory during the late 1800s. This biography brings her work to life through a combination of beautiful artwork and a compelling story. Leavitt’s story and the included information about astronomy will inspire young children to study the stars.

TheWatcherThe Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps by Jeanette Winter
Jane Goodall remains one of the most famous primatologists ever and this book tells her life story starting during her childhood in England through to her time working among the chimpanzees in Tanzania with the scientist Louis Leakey. The book also includes Goodall’s important work as an advocate and activist for chimpanzees and, as such, will introduce children who love animals to the world of activism as well.

sisson_star stuffStar Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos by Stephanie Roth Sisson
Another great book for children who are interested in stars and the field of astronomy, this book offers an insight into Carl Sagan’s life and inspiration. Starting with a trip to the New York World’s Fair in 1939 and his nights spent looking out his window to stare at the stars, this book follows Sagan throughout his life and career as a renowned astronomer who worked with NASA. This is a wonderful addition to any collection of science picture books.

ABoyAndAJaguarA Boy and a Jaguar by Alan Rabinowitz, illustrated by Catia Chien
The only book on this list written by its subject, this book tells the story of Alan Rabinowitz, a biologist and conservationist whose love of animals helped him to overcome his stuttering when he found that he could talk to animals without any problem. This winner of the 2015 Schneider Family Book Award will inspire all students to pursue their passions.

This list offers a few suggestions for great science biographies, but there are plenty more to choose from. Let me know in the comments if your favorites didn’t make my list. I also love learning about new science biography picture books!

 

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The post Inspire interest in STEM with science biography picture books appeared first on The Horn Book.

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2. Classic MG Discussion: The Girl with the Silver Eyes

Layla: So glad we read The Girl with the Silver Eyes together! This was one of my favorites as a kid – my memory of finding it in a used bookstore and looking at the cover is very, very strong, because it was an instant hit with me. (Old cover was awesome, you all! Katie looked like such a badass!) I wanted silver eyes and telekinesis as a kid and I think tried to move some books with my mind like Matilda a few times but to no avail. Wendy: One of my enduring favorites, too! I was so sure that if I just concentrated hard enough, maybe I’d find my untapped powers. Alas. Kim: I was totally new to this book! This is very much something I would have loved as a kid. I adored the TV show The Secret World of Alex Mack and this is sort of related in that a... Read more »

The post Classic MG Discussion: The Girl with the Silver Eyes appeared first on The Midnight Garden.

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3. Yes, I AM Terry Hooper and I Live In Ashton Vale -Gangsta's Paradise!


"What are you going to do now?" asked the postman.

I turned to him and gave a creepy smile and said:

"As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
I take a look at my life and realize there's nothin' left
'Cause I've been blasting and laughing so long,
That even my mama thinks that my mind is gone
But I ain't never crossed a man that didn't deserve it
Me be treated like a punk you know that's unheard of
You better watch how you're talking and where you're walking
Or you and your homies might be lined in chalk
I really hate to trip but I gotta loc
As they croak, I see myself in the pistol smoke, fool
I'm the kinda G the little homies wanna be like
On my knees in the night saying prayers in the streetlight"

He backed up. "Yes, but are you going to get a pen to sign for the package cus mine's broken!"

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4. Guest Post and Giveaway: A Taste of Sugar by Marina Adair

 

This morning, Marina Adair dropped by to share a Top 5!  Be sure to enter the giveaway below!

Top 5 Books You’ve Read This Year

1.     Honor’s Splendor by Julie Garwood (I reread this book every year or so)

2.     The Reign series by Joya Ryan

3.     Do or Die by Suzanne Brockman

4.     The Best of Me by Elizabeth Barrett

5.     This Heart of Mine by Brenda Novak

 

About the author:

Marina Adair is a lifelong fan of romance novels. Along with the Sugar series, she is also the author of the St. Helena Vineyard series and the upcoming Shelter Cove series. She currently lives in a hundred-year-old log cabin, nestled in the majestic redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains, with her husband and daughter. As a writer, Marina is devoted to giving her readers contemporary romance where the towns are small, the personalities large, and the romance explosive. She also loves to interact with readers and you can catch her on Twitter at @MarinaEAdair or visit her at www.MarinaAdair.com.

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A TASTE OF SUGAR by Marina Adair (August 25, 2015; Forever Mass Market; Sugar, Georgia #3)

A blast from her past

Charlotte Holden, Sugar’s favorite pediatrician, knows better than anyone that love only leads to heartbreak. Instead, she’s focused on creating the Grow Clinic, an outpatient center for children. All she has to do now is to host the best Founder’s Day Parade in the history of Sugar, Georgia, to win over a big-city donor. Easy as peach pie. Then sexy Jace McGraw blows back into town and utters those three words every woman dreads: we’re still married.

…leads to tantalizing trouble

Jace McGraw was making an offer on his dream business in Atlanta when he was told that his wife had some credit issues. Wait, his wife? The annulment went through years ago—or so he thought.  He’d walked away only to keep his troublemaker reputation from ruining her dreams. But now that they have a second chance, Jace offers Charlotte a deal: he’ll grant a discreet divorce in exchange for 30 days and nights of marriage. Because this time he isn’t going to let her go without a fight.

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SUGAR ON TOP by Marina Adair (April 28, 2015; Forever Mass Market; Sugar, Georgia Book #2)

She’s sassy and sweet

The last thing Glory Mann wants is to become chairman of the Miss Peach Pageant in Sugar, Georgia. Spending months hearing nothing but the clinking of pearls and judgment? No thank you! But when Glory is forced to take the rap for a scandal she didn’t commit, the judge sentences her to head the committee. Even worse, her co-chairman is rugged, ripped . . . and barely knows she’s alive.
He’s ready and willing
Single dad Cal McGraw can’t take any more drama in his life. After a difficult divorce, his little girl became a boy-crazy teenager and his hands are full. The last thing he needs is to spend his down time with the town bad girl. Glory is pure trouble-tempting and tantalizing trouble. But he can’t deny the strong chemistry between them-or how her touch turns him inside out. Now as squabbles threaten to blow up the contest and the town of Sugar itself, Cal must risk everything on the sexy wild card to get a second chance at love . . .

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SUGAR’S TWICE AS SWEET by Marina Adair (November 25, 2014; Forever Mass Market; Sugar, Georgia Book #1)

He’s trouble she doesn’t need

Thanks to a cheating fiance, Josephina Harrington’s perfect life just crashed and burned. Moving in with her overbearing parents is definitely not an option. No, she needs to prove she can make it on her own. And she will—by turning her great-aunt’s old plantation house into a destination getaway. She’s just not expecting her contractor to be so hands-on—and so totally irresistible. 

…but everything she wants

Bad-boy golf champion Brett McGraw figured his hometown of Sugar, Georgia, was the perfect place to lay low and get his life back up to par. The leggy blonde with a pint-sized pup is the kind of sweet ’n’ sassy trouble he never saw coming. She doesn’t know a nut from a bolt and before long, he’s renovating her house…as she steals his heart. Can he convince Josephina that his womanizing ways are in the past and he’s ready for forever?

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Excerpt: 

“Morning, Dr. Holden,” he said, unfolding himself from the car.

“You’re late.” Charlotte stood and swished her way down the steps toward him. No good morning, no thanks for coming, just a you’re late as though they had plans, as though he’d disappointed her again.

“Sorry,” he said coolly, tapping the face of his watch. “Forgot to set it to Charlotte Standard Time.”

She stopped a few feet from him, and he could see the hesitation in her expression. Hesitation and something else. Something that looked an awful lot like vulnerability. Oh, there was a good portion of irritation and hostility glaring at him through those baby blues, but behind it all was definitely vulnerability. Interesting.

“You’re the one who said we had to go to Atlanta today.”

“I believe you told me you were too busy to make the time,” he said, not sure how he was going to handle six hours in an enclosed space with her. Just standing downwind taking in her floral scent was making him hard.

“I changed my mind.”

Jace looked at her for a long moment, then laughed. She was serious.

“Darling, you don’t change your mind. Ever.” Charlotte Holden might be a Southern belle, but her Kevlar wall of stubbornness could rival a Southern granny’s—and having been raised by the most mule-headed granny in the world, that was saying a lot. Oh, he believed that Charlotte had changed her mind, he just didn’t know why. “So what happened with your debutante sisters yesterday that has you desperate enough to call me?”

“Sugar Peaches,” she corrected. “And since when do you keep up on Sugar gossip?”

“Since you started calling yourself a Sugar Peach. I mean, weren’t the Peaches your mom’s thing?”

Charlotte had once confided in him that she moved to Atlanta to escape the pressure of following in her mother’s footsteps. The pageants and parties and social ladder climbing were Babette’s dream for Charlotte. Charlotte’s dream was to save lives—and she was a master at it.

“Well, it’s my thing now,” she said, and he couldn’t help but notice the resignation in her voice. He wanted to know what else had changed, then realized it didn’t matter anymore. “And that means I have to be back as soon as possible. Founder’s Day is only three weeks off, and I have a lot to do.”

“Yeah, me too.” He had to get an annulment, convince his buddy to fix Hattie’s car, and secure that loan before Dale pulled his offer.

“Good, because as the current regent of the Sugar Peaches it falls to me to plan the Founder’s Day Fair, so this trip needs to be a quickie,” she said, her bossy, take-charge tone making him smile.

“Quickies aren’t really my specialty,” he said. “But who am I to argue with a lady?”

“Easy and discreet, Jace. The last thing I need right now is to explain this to my parents,” she clarified as though he was slow, as though he didn’t know just how anxious she was to put the past behind them. Which shouldn’t have pissed him off, because that was what he wanted, too. But it did.

“Easy and discreet? Kind of like our marriage?” he mused.

She looked at him for a long moment and then slowly shook her head. “Nothing about our marriage was easy, Jace,” she said, and the absolute certainty in her voice made him want to prove her wrong.

“There was one easy thing between us,” Jace said, stepping into her and closing the distance, trapping her between the car and his body. He reached behind her neck, crushed his mouth to hers, and kissed the hell out of her.

Only one touch, and she was kissing him back. No hesitation, no second-guessing, just—pow —debutante to seductress. Not interested to tongue down his throat in two seconds flat.

And holy fucking God, it was perfect. The way she felt, the way she tasted, the way she crawled up his body and demanded more…How had he forgotten this side of her?

That insane pull between them, which he’d convinced himself didn’t exist, wasn’t only burning a hole through his clothes—and his mission—it also wasn’t one-sided. Which told him that he should a) back the hell up, and b) immediately cancel this field trip they had planned. Before things got crazy.

But then she made this sexy little sound in the back of her throat—the one that used to drive him batshit crazy, that still drove him batshit crazy—and he was a goner.

So he deepened the kiss, because why the hell not? Charlotte had her prim and proper hands all over him, and he was certain that this was the best kiss he’d ever had. Hot and needy and raw and so damn desperate it was like driving down the track at three hundred miles per hour with no breaks.

Then he realized that this was not only the best kiss ever, but probably also their last kiss ever, and he slowly pulled back, tugging her lower lip between his teeth as long as he could until the connection finally broke. And damn, he wished he hadn’t stopped.

That one second of uncharged air was all Charlotte needed. Sure, she was breathing heavily, and her gaze was dazed and confused. A mirror image of his own. But within a split second her eyes frosted over and that unflinching fortitude was back.

Not that he was fooled. Jace knew that they had chemistry, remembered how electric they were together, but what had arched between them just now floored him. And it had floored her, too.

Charlotte cleared her throat. “This changes nothing.”

Jace lowered his gaze to her hands, which were resting on the buckle of his belt. “Oh, it changes something.”

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5. Austerity and the prison

Greece is not alone in suffering from budget cuts arising from the era of austerity. In the UK, local councils, libraries, museums – all public services have been cut. Criminal Justice has not escaped this cost-cutting. The consequence has been fewer police officers on the streets, less money for legal aid lawyers, and closures of Magistrates courts.

The post Austerity and the prison appeared first on OUPblog.

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6. महिला सशक्तिकरण

 

cartoon CCTV by monica gupta

 

 

महिला सशक्तिकरण

ये कैसा महिला सशक्तिकरण

बात ज्यादा पुरानी भी नही है जब संसद का मानसून सत्र शुरु हुआ था और ललित मोदी के नाम पर विपक्ष ने हमला बोल कर संसद की कार्यवाही ही चलने नही दी… कारण था ललित मोदी की पत्नी की बीमारी… यानि की एक महिला की वजह से संसद ठ्प्प हो गई.. समय बीता और फिर दर्शन दिए  राधे मां ने जिसने दहेज के लिए एक महिला को तंग किया और अपने मिनी पहनावे की वजह से  सुर्खियां बटोरी … जिसका देश भर मे बहुत गलत संदेश गया.  ये खबर चल ही रही थी कि अचानक इंद्राणी मुखर्जी का अपनी बेटी का मर्डर करने की बात सामने आई और उसे पुलिस ने गिरफ्तार कर लिया ये अपनी ही तरह की पहली मर्डर मिस्ट्री है. इस कहानी मे इतने झोल है कि रुह कांप जाए.. एक मां और अपनी ही संतान का खून कर सकती है  … ये खबर चल ही रही थी कि एक वीडियों ने चौका दिया. बात यूपी के कौशाम्बी के मंझन पुर की है एक बहू अपनी लकवा ग्रस्त सास को बेरहमी से मार रही है और पलंग से भी नीचे गिरा दिया. इसे देख कर भी आश्चर्य की कोई सीमा नही रही कि ऐसा भी होता है.

ये कैसा महिला सशक्तिकरण कहने पर मन मजबूर हो जाता है …

इस तरह अगर महिलाए सुर्खियों में रहेगी तो बहुत गलत संदेश जाएगा … महिलाओं को बहुत सोचने की दरकार है और सम्भलने की आवश्यकता !!!

महिला सशक्तिकरण

अब राखी आ रही है बूढी मां ने तो सीसीटीवी को अपना भाई ही मान लिया है . भगवान से पहले अब वो उसको याद  करती है कि बस उसकी रक्षा करना … सीसीटीवी का डर भी तो बहुत है अच्छाई हो या बुराई सब कैद हो जाती है इसमे…

हैप्पी रक्षा बंधन :)

महिला सशक्तिकरण

 

 

Woman thrashes her paralyzed mother-in-law, video goes viral

Jhallar, resident of Manjhanpur area lives with his wife Sarita and paralysed mother.

He was shocked to see injury marks on his mother’s body everyday.

So, he secretly installed CCTV camera at his home.

What he saw in the footage was something ferocious, Sarita was thrashing his paralyzed mother, choking her and dragging her from the bed to the ground. Read more…

The post महिला सशक्तिकरण appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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7. Popeye Stars in New DGK Fashion Collection

The famous cartoon sailor has inspired a new line of clothing and skateboards.

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8. Blog Vacay!

suitcase-468445_1280

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Well, folks, summer is just about over. Vacations are wrapping up, kids are either back in school or getting ready to go back, parents are rejoicing…

This summer has been nuts for Angela and me, as you may know if you’ve heard us twitching and whimpering on Facebook. It’s a good nuts, since good things are happening, but…nuts, all the same. We’re working hard on our One Stop For Writers product, getting it nice and pretty and ready to launch in just over 5 weeks. But now we’re needing to take a leetle break. Angela is now an INTERNATIONAL SPEAKER, since she’s presenting at the RWA National Conference in Australia, and I’m in the process of moving my family from Florida to New York. Neither of us are going to be reliably online for the next week, so we’ve decided to declare a blog vacay. We’re going to take a week off to focus on what needs doing, and we’ll be back on September 5th with a new Emotional Wounds Thesaurus entry. 

In the meantime, whatever’s going on for you all, make the most of it. Enjoy the weather. Step away from the desk and get some fresh air. Spend time with the fam. And we’ll see you next week.

The post Blog Vacay! appeared first on WRITERS HELPING WRITERS™.

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9. Traveling, Adaptability, and Groceries

One thing that has become abundantly clear to me during our months of living out of suitcases is how amazingly adaptable we are. After all, people need the same things - a place to eat, sleep, poop and bathe. That's it. How those needs are accomplished is where things get different. But I've discovered that when you stop worrying about what your silverware looks like, you realize that if you have a fork, a spoon and a decently sharp knife, you're good. Most beds are perfectly comfortable when you're exhausted. (And you don't notice most nighttime noises or lights for the same reason.)
     Here's an example... Stan is the cook in our family. Not only does he enjoy it, he's downright good at it. But the kitchens since we left Atlanta have been challenging. In Roanoke, we had a dorm-room-style kitchen. In France, we had a kitchen the size of a large closet with steep ceilings and a laundry drying rack in the center (laundry will be its own post). Here in our short-term flat, we have a nice, but small, galley kitchen.
     Add to that, grocery shopping in Europe is downright different. There are grocery stores everywhere, but they're small set-ups where you buy the basics (amazingly, many have plenty of gluten free options). They proudly display their produce outside as enticements to draw you in.


     Inside, you're most likely to find what you need, but there won't be many choices. You know that overwhelming aisle of various toilet paper brands you're used to? I used to have melt-downs trying to decide if I need soft or two-ply or recycled or, or... Well, not here. They offer one kind, that's it. In France, it happened to be pink. And it was fine.
     I've actually been thinking about that a lot. Pardon the toilet paper analogy, but it works. In America, we have the wonderful option of choices. So many choices! But maybe that's not always such a great thing. I have wasted so much brain time on what type of toilet paper to buy. I just don't care! And yet, the American commercial engine used commercials, ads, billboards, packaging, etc. to force me to care about the silliest minutia - which brand, style, 2-ply, 3-ply. After all, when several yards of grocery store floor space and shelves upon shelves are dedicated to the various papers you use for the most base purpose, it must be important - right? Hm.
     Anyhow, you get the picture. Not having all those choices over mundane products has freed my brain to think about the choices I do care about. Like, which wine or cheese to buy.

Gruyere from an Italian vendor in Grassmarket - displayed proudly in our little short-term let kitchen, which also has a steep ceiling.
     If you want specialty items, you have to remember which stores carry what. And while there are some amazing produce stands and specialty stores like the boulangerie, fish monger, butcher, etc., the most fun shopping options are the weekend farmers markets. Here was the market in Blois:



With bubbles from the adjacent toy store!
    It's where people gather, catch up with friends, and enjoy a festival atmosphere for a day. Edinburgh has them too (more pictures soon). Between Saturday and Sunday you can find farmer's markets at Castle Terrace (the foot of the castle where J.K. Rowling's husband reportedly shops), the Grassmarket, and Broughton. On Sunday, you can find them in Stockbridge and other areas. Stockbridge and Broughton will be our closest ones.
    So rather than climb into a hot car, fight traffic, and load up with everything you might need for the apocalypse, here, you walk to a nearby specialty shop, farmers market, or small grocery store (with your own bags - they charge for them here), and you see what looks good for the next day or two.
     Last weekend, we headed to a few of the Saturday farmers markets and purchased amazingly fresh produce. Most had been grown, butchered, fermented, or aged nearby. Stan made an amazing soup with all of it in this tiny kitchen. More proof that he can create miracles in any kitchen. But truly, it's all he needed.

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10. Ask a Pub Pro: Author Bethany Hagen on Series, Deep POV, & Book Trailers

We are thrilled to welcome author Bethany Hagen to the blog this month as our columnist for Ask a Pub Pro! Bethany is the author of the Landry Park "Downton Abbey dystopian" series with her newest book, Jublilee Manor, just released. She's here to answer your reader questions on how to work necessary backstory into a series, deciding whether to use deep POV in a large-scale book, mistakes in queries, whether book trailers are worth it, and do we really need to know what your characters are wearing? Be sure to check out Jublilee Manor below!

If you have a question you'd like to have answered by an upcoming publishing professional, send it to AYAPLit AT gmail.com and put Ask a Pub Pro Question in the subject line.

Ask a Pub Pro: Author Bethany Hagen on Series, Deep POV, Book Trailers, and What Your Character is Wearing


1) In writing a series, what's the best method for working in the necessary information from a prior book into the next one?


Did you ever watch Lost? Lost was one of those shows (and Game of Thrones is currently another) that have those "Previously on" bits at the beginning. And of course, you always know what the show is going to be about based off the clips they show...like, "Oh, they showed Hurley winning the lottery, so it must be another Hurley episode." What I like about the "Previously on" bits is that they only reveal relevant information--and information that maybe wouldn't be apparent throughout the course of the show. For example, they didn't need to show us clips of Jack and Kate kissing for us to know that they have A Thing. While watching the episode, it would be pretty obvious that there's some serious romantic tension. Instead, they only remind us of the previous plot beats that would be essential to our understanding the plot developments of the current episode without being totally confused.

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11. Welcome

Welcome

Add your name to the birthday chart.
Look--on Wednesdays we have Art.
Choose three books for your reading box.
Let's all get ready 'cause Second Grade Rocks!




Not my very best little ditty, but it conveys the message:  I am no longer a kindergarten teacher.  I loved kindergarten and I'm sorry to leave it...but now that it's real and the room is set up (just about) I'm getting excited about 2nd grade.  The one thing I'm really grieving is that first-day-of-school Swimmy-Makes-us-Mighty-Minnows tradition.  I have some of the same kids I taught, and they are bigger and more grown up.  I don't think they want to be Minnows any more.

So, I'm starting the year with Sylvester and the Magic Pebble instead, because we have some rocks-and-soil science in the first few weeks to connect to, and we'll also be reading and working with Roxaboxen and If You Find a Rock, books I adore.  But I haven't figured out yet what we will become as a group.  "Magic Pebbles" doesn't capture the characteristics I want to emphasize, and "Mighty Magnets" is a bit of a stretch....I'm hoping it will come to me over the weekend, but if you have any suggestions, PoFolks, I'd welcome them.

The round-up today is hosted by Sylvester I mean Sylvia Vardel at Poetry For Children--enjoy the welcome there too, from Sylvia and my geographic neighbor Linda Kulp!

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12. Friday Linky List - August 28, 2015

From The Guardian (via PW): From Harry Potter Latin to Hunger Games Rome: the classical jokes hiding in your favorite children's books

From Brightly (via PW): 26 Picture Books You Won't Want to Miss This Fall

At Picture Book Builders - Lisbeth's Colors (Lisbeth Zwerger - LOVE her work!)

At School Library Journal, Travis Jonker's 100 Scope Notes: It Ain't Easy (Books on waiting)

From The Picture Book Den (via SCBWI British Isles): What's in it for the Adults? (on Picture Books)

At Michelle4Laughs - It's In The Details (via SCBWI Belgium) Editing Tip: Compound Adjectives

At H20 (via Bookshelf: Roundup) An interesting architectural remodel for book lovers in Paris

From Justine Musk's Tribal Writer: You are the power you don't give away

From PW: Hobbies & Crafts 2015: Adult Coloring Books

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13. Interview and Giveaway: Fire Me Up by Rachael Johns

 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Rachael! Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Rachael Johns] Cheerful, optimistic, friendly, crazy and loud.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Rachael Johns] My iPhone

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Rachael Johns] Empty Diet Coke cans, my diary, decks of FIRE ME UP cards, which I’m planning to use for giveaways.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s your favorite snack when you’re working on a deadline?

[Rachael Johns] Does Diet Coke count as a snack? If not, pretty much any chocolate I can get my hands on.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Rachael Johns] Nora Roberts

[Manga Maniac Cafe] You have been granted the use of one superpower for one week.  Which power would you choose, and what would you do with it?

[Rachael Johns] Is flying a superpower? I’d really love to be able to fly!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Rachael Johns] Maisey Yate’s Part Time Cowboy; Always a Bridesmaid by Lindsey Kelk; Fiona’s Flame by Rachael Herron.

 
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FIRE ME UP
Deacons of Bourbon Street #2
Rachael Johns
Releasing Sept 1st, 2015

 
Can a scorching affair with a bohemian beauty tame a motorcycle man with a dark side? Rachael Johns takes the wheel in the sexy series co-written with Megan Crane, Jackie Ashenden, and Maisey Yates.

Travis “Cash” Sinclair values only two things from his days with the Deacons of Bourbon Street: his prized Harley Davidson and the man who gave it to him. But now Priest Lombard is gone, and Cash has inherited the Deacons’ clubhouse—not to mentions its unexpected tenant. She’s exactly the type of woman he tries to avoid: all incense and art, with a sharp tongue that promises trouble. So why does Cash want to push aside those flowing skirts and lose himself between her legs?

Billie Taylor fled a bad marriage to start a new life among the grit and glamour of the French Quarter. She refuses to let another man distract her from her dreams, especially an outlaw biker with nothing to offer except hot sex and an eviction notice. Cash is dangerous, with an untamed streak he tries desperately to conceal. He drives Billie wild, sending her too close to the edge for her own good. And she won’t fall under his spell—or into his bed—without a fight
.
 
EXCERPT:

“This room is mine,” she said, folding her arms and glaring at him with more bravado than she felt as he turned to look at her with his dark, smoldering eyes. She shivered despite herself and almost forgot to add, “If you insist on staying, you’ll have to choose from one of the others.”

He took his time replying, his gaze sliding downward, scalding her body as if he’d actually touched her. For a moment she thought he was going to object—tell her that not only would he share her house but also her bed—but eventually he shut her wardrobe and nodded. “I always preferred the one next to this anyway.”

She swallowed. Of all the rooms in the house, he wanted to choose the one right next to hers? How would she sleep knowing he was mere yards away? Still, she was hardly in a position to argue, and if it would get him out of her personal space, well, that was a start.

“Fine.” She stepped back and gestured for him to leave. The only good thing about having Travis right next door was that she could keep an eye on him. Or was that a bad thing? Argh.

Surprisingly, he obeyed, stalking past her and smirking again as he did. She hated that she caught a waft of some raw, masculine cologne, which sent ripples of need through her body, rousing places she’d given little thought to over the last year. How ironic that the first sign of life down there had sparked because of a man who seemed intent on messing up her life. Why were the sexiest guys, the best-looking ones, always the biggest jerks?

He didn’t head straight for his room, instead going into the kitchen, and she found herself following. Her hackles rose as he opened the refrigerator and leaned inside, giving her a perfect view of his perfect butt. Oh help me, God! Had any guy she’d ever known looked so damn fine in faded jeans? Her thighs involuntarily clenched.

“No beer,” he said as he straightened.

Despite the traitorous hormones rushing through her body, she shook her head. It went against the grain of every single cell in her body not to be hospitable, but then again she hadn’t invited him to stay here with her. “Nope. Sorry. But there’s a bar next door.”

She wished he’d go back to it. He had to be one of the Deacons that had been hanging around The Priory the last few days. Sophie had given her a brief history of the motorcycle club—apparently it had disbanded around the time of Katrina—and informed her that it would be unlikely any of its members would hang around after her father’s funeral. But, dammit, it looked like she’d been wrong on that account. Billie needed to go see Sophie, make sure this guy was for real. For all she knew he could be anybody. He hadn’t shown her any proof that he owned the building, but something—maybe the way he’d leaned into her face when he told her no one tells him what the fuck to do—made her cautious. He was like a wild animal, and she didn’t want to make any sudden moves.

He smiled wickedly and leaned back against the counter, looking her over again, making her feel aroused and insulted all at once. “I know it. The bar and this place used to be my home.”

“Is that right?” She wondered about Travis Sinclair. He had the leather jacket, the swagger in his step and the don’t-mess-with-me attitude of a biker, but there was something about him that didn’t fit the image. He wore no patches like a couple of other guys she’d seen hanging around next door, but that wasn’t it. There was something else she couldn’t quite put her finger on. “And where is your home now?”

She waited for him to tell her it was none of her fucking business, but he shrugged off his jacket, hung it over one of the odd chairs that sat around her kitchen table and then pulled back the seat and straddled it. “Tallahassee,” he said as he leaned down and yanked a laptop out of his pack. It was a flashy MacBook Air—not at all the type of computer she’d expect of a biker. He didn’t even glance her way as he put it on the table in front of him, lifted the lid and tapped his boots against the tiled floor as he waited for the computer to spring to life.

No idea where Tallahassee was—geography had never been her thing—she vowed to google it later. Leaning back against the kitchen counter, she wiped her palm across her brow, feeling hot and more than a little bothered. Being warm in itself wasn’t unusual in New Orleans or in Western Australia where she came from, but the weather had nothing to do with the rise in her body temperature. And that disturbed her.

Her eyes zoned in on the bad-boy ink that traveled the length of his sculpted and tanned forearms, and the heat that had been simmering inside her boiled over.

Until this moment she’d have said she wasn’t a fan of body art—personally, she preferred her art on walls or in gardens—but Travis’s tattoos changed her opinion. And that was bad, because with her divorce only recently official, the last thing she wanted in her life was another man who thought he could walk all over her.


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Rachael Johns is an English teacher by trade, a mum 24/7, a supermarket owner, a chronic arachnophobic, and a writer the rest of the time. She rarely sleeps and never irons. She writes contemporary romance for HQN and Carina Press and lives in rural Western Australia with her hyperactive husband and three mostly-gorgeous heroes-in-training. Rachael loves to hear from readers and can be contacted through her website at www.rachaeljohns.com
 

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14. Take down the wall: a Q&A with Michael Dear

We asked Michael Dear to describe his day-to-day experiences of borderland communities. Most of my travel time is devoted to listening to people, observing, and trusting to serendipity. People on both sides of the border are generally helpful and friendly. Once I got lost in fog on my way to the mouth of the Rio Grande at the Gulf of Mexico, and pair of Mexican cops offered me a ride along the beach in their truck. And they came back later to pick me up!

The post Take down the wall: a Q&A with Michael Dear appeared first on OUPblog.

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15. China Bookworm Literary Award

       With judges including A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers-author Guo Xiaolu and translator (e.g. Running Through Beijing) and editor Eric Abrahamsen, the China Bookworm Literary Award seems well-positioned to select worthy new Chinese fiction deserving of translation -- and now they've announced the first winners of the award, with the winner getting 5000RMB, and both the first and second place titles to be published in English translation.
       Hard to judge based on the brief descriptions available here, but second-place-winner Li Ziyue's I Am in the Red Chamber, You are on the Journey to the West is one of the best titles I've heard this year.

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16. Five Resources To Charge Up Your Writing Conferences

Knowing what to teach is just as important as knowing how to teach. Here are five resources that will help with the what. Bonus: some are free!

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17. Welcome to the Poetry Friday Neighborhood

I just returned from Cape Town, South Africa, where I attended the IFLA conference (for librarians worldwide) and had the opportunity to do several talks about poetry in a variety of locales (including for the newspaper and national radio). One thing that was universally popular was the whole idea of Poetry FRIDAY! The idea of pausing for poetry at the end of the week just grabbed everyone across the board. And I just love that! So here we are celebrating another Poetry Friday. Welcome, everyone!

Here's a poem that I shared several times that was a always a big hit-- along with the "Take 5" activities for introducing and sharing this poem, "Welcome" by Linda Kulp Trout. It's from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations, of course! And all these images are available on Pinterest, too.



And if you'd like to share the poem in Spanish, here is "Bienvenido" too.

Now you're all set for celebrating Good Neighbor Day next month (on September 28). Meanwhile, dear poetry neighbors, please add your link to your Poetry Friday post this week below. 

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18. Straight Outta Ashton Vale

Just continuing the gangsta theme.  Mind you, I am currently listening to the fantastic Christine and the Queens, from France.

I ramble in the bramble while others scramble. Kah-chaaa!

Only problem cosplaying Tarzan when you walk to the shops or sit on a bus is the willy tends to pop out a lot.

Ahhhh.  Yes, scarily, not in a great deal of pain at the moment but I'm sure that will change when I wake up properly.

AAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!!!

ah. There we go.

So, before anyone calls the police and tells them I'm sitting naked on the roof singing let's get to the point.  Hang on.....YES!  Yes got the postman with a piece of the chimney.
Vintage-Hollow-Lead-cowboy-damage-To-Gun-Britains-Ltd
above; 54mm Britain's hollow lead
 

Anyway, it has been pretty grim on the comics front for a while and so I've been relaxing by painting up some old toy soldiers and finding out what makes they were -I've had some of these things 40 years and last night I spent three hours trying to identify cowboys.  My old hollow lead ones are, of course, Britain's.  I also have a couple of the 1960s plastic Crescent cowboys.

below 1960s Crescent 60mm
 
But the biggest pain-in-the-arsch was a set of seven figures (one without a horse but I have that in a box).  I looked for every make and type of plastic cowboy from the 1950s to the 1960s made in the UK. Nothing.

There was, however, a distinctive look.  With most cowboy figures the neckerchief has the main part usually at the front or to the side (figures 4 and 6 above).  However, with the tie-knot and 'tails' at the front is a mainly European look such as from Elastolin (and, no, I do not have these!):
Europeans seem to like this more formal look -even tewart Granger, actor and man of style displayed this -here Winnetou has a chat with Old Surehand (oo-er!) Stewart Granger who has his knot and 'tails' proudly on show!

But these were not Elastolin.  Then I had this idea: "Terry, why not turn them over and look at their bases?"  and I then banged my head repeatedly on the table -that might explain why this post started the way it did.  Bugger.

So, the blue plastic cowboy (the paint hardly existent on it now) base had "W. Germany" stamped on it.  d'uh!  The others, in a cream plastic, had numbers -1, 3 and 5 (I know there are others here "somewhere"!).  And "Made in Hong Kong" which confused me.  However, with "made in W. Germany" stamped on them I had a clue -I've written books on things that started out with less!

Jean Höfler.  A German manufacturer of Burghaslach in "Middle Franconia". Renamed BIG in 1962.  1960s and it seems some production may -well, obviously!- have gone to Hong Kong though I am not sure if this was legit the figures WERE sold in Germany in the 1960s and that would not have been allowed (legally) without BIG permission.

Miniatures.de has some info on these: http://www.miniatures.de/jean-hoefler-421-cowboys.html

So, I have figures from Set 1 (below) and here is the Winnetou link because the second figure (blue) in row two was rumoured to be based on Granger -it's stated that a lot of figures seem based on stills from Western movies so......?
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And set 2 -brother Mike did a nice paint job on my version of the first figure in row one  -with checked shirt (cowboy not Mike).
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You want to grovel to me then send me Höfler  (one US site writes it "Hoeffler") figures!  I also have a few other figures including knights that seem to be Höfler.

But you sit there asking what this has to do with comics?

Well, in the photo I uploaded to Army Men Home Page, I have my (re-issued) Timpo Cowboys on a shelf next to my Charbens 60mm "Ancient Romans" and next to those are 1990s 50mm astronauts and behind them is the Deluxe Edition of Winnetou starring Pierre Brice and Stewart Granger and that was sent to me by German blogging supremo Subzero!

You see? Synchronicity, man.  Synchronicity (and I don't mean that 1980s album by The Police).

Off for a coffee....then finish off the zombies...toy zombies obviously.
 

 

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19. Nice Article about My Book Illustrations


Back in February this year, I travelled to Lincoln to do a couple of days of lectures and workshops for Bishops Grosseteste University. I was a little nervous, as it was a bit different to what I normally do, since I was working with trainee teachers. I have worked with teachers and librarians before, but not for a while. It turned out to be a smashing job though, as everyone was so lovely and everything went down well. 

As an little added extra, I did an interview with a couple of 2nd year students for the university's magazine Hullabaloo! I then forgot all about it until a copy arrived through my postbox. It is a really nice article, in a special English Literature edition. 


I am hopefully enjoying my well-earned week off at the moment, having a relaxing time, drawing and painting in the wonderful Lake District landscape. I do hope it's not been raining too much! 

Anyway, I thought that I would post the Hullabaloo article to give you something to look at while I am away (hope it's clear enough to read when enlarged).

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20. Common infectious diseases contracted by travellers worldwide [infographic]

This summer intrepid travelers everywhere are strapping on backpacks, dousing themselves in mosquito spray, and getting their inoculations -- ready to embark on journeys that will take them into contact with some of the most virulent viruses and nastiest bacteria on the planet. Even those of us who aren’t going off the beaten track may end up in close quarters with microbes we’d rather not befriend. Explore some of the most common infectious diseases around the globe and how to identify them in this infographic.

The post Common infectious diseases contracted by travellers worldwide [infographic] appeared first on OUPblog.

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21. Mogadishu International Book Fair

       Great to hear that they're holding the Mogadishu International Book Fair (see also the write-up by Warka at Mareeg, Literary feast in Mogadishu as Mogadishu International Book Fair opens).
       Or is this just a reaction to the Hargeysa International Book Fair they held earlier this month (see also Nyabola, H. Nanjala's write-up at Quartz, Somaliland's book fair opens the country to the world) ... ?
       Still, holding book fairs has got to be a good sign, right ?

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22. Free 1st 5 Pages Workshop Opens Saturday, September 5!

I was sad to see the 1st 5 Pages August Workshop come to an end – we had such a great group of talented and supportive writers! A big thanks to our guest mentors, the amazing Lori Goldstein was our author mentor (and workshop alum!), and our agent mentor was the fabulous Caitie Flum of Liza Dawson Associates. They both provided terrific comments and suggestions. And as always, thank you to all of our fabulous permanent mentors!

Our September workshop will open for entries on Saturday September 5, 2015, at noon, EST. We'll take the first five Middle Grade, Young Adult, or New Adult entries that meet all guidelines and formatting requirements. Click here to get the rules. I will post when it opens and closes on Adventures in YA Publishing and on twitter (@etcashman), with the hashtag #1st5pages. In addition to our permanent mentors, we have author JJ Howard and agent Danielle Burby!

And we have a new format! The workshop is three weeks, but the third week will now include a pitch. And Danielle will select one participant as the “workshop winner”- and the prize is that she will review and comment on the first chapter of the manuscript! So get those pages ready!

September Guest Mentor – JJ Howard

If you’re looking for J. J. Howard, you’ll probably find her in Central Florida, but she wishes you’d find her in New York City. NYC, along with books, TV, music, coffee, and her mini-dachshund Willow are on top of her list of favorite things. By day she teaches English and Humanities at a small private high school, and by night she writes, edits, or Netflixes.

Howard’s debut YA, That Time I Joined the Circus, tells the story of Lexi, who accidentally joins the circus (and falls in love) while searching for her missing mother. Her second YA, Tracers, follows Cam, a NYC bike messenger who meets a beautiful stranger named Nikki who pulls him into the world of parkour. Her debut Middle grade, Sit, Stay, Love is coming from Scholastic this January.


TRACERS


Cam is a New York City bike messenger with no family and some dangerous debts. While on his route one day, he runs into a beautiful stranger named Nikki—but she quickly disappears. When he sees her again around town, he realizes that she lives within the intense world of parkour: an underground group of teens who have turned New York City into their own personal playground—running, jumping, seemingly flying through the city like an urban obstacle course.

Cam becomes fascinated with Nikki and falls in with the group, who offer him the chance to make some extra money. But Nikki is dating their brazen leader, and when the stakes become life-or-death, Cam is torn between following his heart and sacrificing everything to pay off his debts.

In the vein of great box-office blockbusters, the high-stakes romance here sizzles within this page-turning thriller that will leave readers feeling like they are flying through the streets of New York.

Purchase it at your local bookstore, or online at Amazon or Barnes and Noble

September Guest Agent – Danielle Burby

Danielle graduated from Hamilton College with honors and a double major in Creative Writing and Women’s Studies. Before finding her home at HSG, she interned at Writers House, Clarion Books, Faye Bender Literary Agency, Dunow Carlson and Lerner, John Wiley and Sons, and SquareOne Publishers (along with stints as a waitress and a farmers’ market vendor).

Her passion lies in YA, Women’s Fiction, and mysteries. She gravitates toward stories with a strong voice and particularly enjoys complex female characters, narratives that explore social issues, and coming-of-age stories. Genres that appeal to her include contemporary YA, medieval fantasy, historical fiction, cozy mysteries, and upmarket Women’s Fiction. She finds it hard to resist gorgeous writing and is a sucker for romantic plotlines that are an element of the narrative, but don’t dominate it. You can follow her on twitter at @danielleburby.

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23. Baba Yaga's Assistant by Marika McCoola, illustrated by Emily Carroll, 136 pp, RL 4

Baba Yaga's Assistant is the superlative new graphic novel written by Marika McCoola and illustrated by Emily Carroll, who brought us the eerily wonderful graphic Through the Woods. I am a HUGE fan of fairy tales (my secret dream is to get a PhD in fairy tales and write a killer dissertation...) and always excited to see a story that features one of the lesser known (to Americans) characters

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24. Poetry Friday -- as the hummingbird sips the nectar


Flickr Creative Commons photo by Bill Gracey

Jan Burkins, Steve Peterson and I have collaborated on another renga. Our first renga (and notes about the form) are here. Here's our second renga:



as the hummingbird sips the nectar

I.
round moon not yet full
finds my cracker--full ‘til bitten
life full with roundness

sharp as a wheel of cheddar
smooth and creamy as brie

under the gnarled oak
an old couple tosses
dry crusts to the pigeons

we become what we take in
fresh foods, sour moods, vast ideas


II.
mountain peaks tower
above the endless plains
full -- sharp -- old -- vast -- inspiring

toward evening, golden sunlight
settled on her wrinkled face

inside she’s a girl
surprised by her reflection
in her dreams she runs

river carries silt downstream
building up the new island


III.
sweet alchemy --
orchard apples filled
by the light of a star

loose tooth lost with first bite
red orb of bittersweet

cold front passes through
scrubs away humidity
wren sings from the fence

once, he learned to see rainbows
in the oil on a street puddle

a skill important
for grownups who are often
too busy measuring

too concerned with to-do to
barter duty for beauty



When we chatted via conference call about the finished poem (on the afternoon before Steve's first day back), I loved what Jan said about the process, how it's like laying one stone out at a time, building a path as we walk forward. 

As we talked about our inspirations for each of our stanzas, or the stories behind our words, it was amazing (again) to learn from where in our lives these words had come.

I was the one who divided the poem into sections this time. I was working (probably too left-brainedly) to find a flow of meaning throughout the whole poem. While I couldn't find it throughout the whole, I did find it in these sets. 

Steve gave us our title, and I think it's quite brilliant. 

This is what I'm learning from Steve and Jan as we write together -- how to string pearls.



Sylvia has the Poetry Friday roundup this week at Poetry For Children.


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25. Index Card of Power

Hi, everyone! It’s Stacey here, with fellow pub-crawler, Stephanie Garber to talk about surviving the grueling journey that is known as publishing.

Getting published is an exercise in patience and perseverance. It is a punishing, bone-wearying journey comparable to climbing up a fog-covered mountain. Each step is an effort and though you know you will eventually reach the top, you don’t know when, or whether you will run out of juice before you get there. (And even when you do reach the top, you might find that the view up there isn’t enough, and that there are even more mountains to climb beyond.)

Stacey: Fifteen years ago, my older sister shared with me the power of the index card. At the time, she was single, thirty-ish, and had been looking for Mr. Right for a long time. At church, her pastor gave a sermon on how God wanted us to have the things we wanted. He suggested listing these wants on an index card, in specific terms, and then letting God take care of the rest.

So my sister wrote down ten things she was looking for in a Mr. Right, qualities as specific as “a healthcare professional,” “Chinese American,” “patient,” and “at least four inches taller than me.” Hey, if you’re going to wish, might as well include everything. After writing them down, she tucked away the card, and stopped worrying.

Within the year, she was engaged to a man with all ten of the attributes she had listed.

Because I am a skeptic and generally a suspicious person, I chalked it up to luck, and thought nothing more of it. I was just happy for her and her new husband (who, it should be noted, is an amazing brother-in-law.)

Fast forward. When Under a Painted Sky went on sub, I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy journey. My agent informed me that it would take a year to sell if it sold at all—editors weren’t clamoring to buy historical fiction. As rejections piled up, I happened to have lunch with a friend, who was finally in her third trimester of pregnancy, after a decade of unsuccessful fertility treatments.

When I asked her how she had come by this miracle, she revealed that she had gone to this new-agey seminar about the power of the index card. To my surprise, she told me she had been advised to write down, in very specific terms, her wish. She wrote that she wanted a baby girl, and stopped worrying.

Within two months, she was pregnant. With a girl.

I decided maybe there was something to the power of the index card that seemed to work for both believers and non-believers alike, and even if there wasn’t, what did I have to lose? It was better than fretting over something that was out of my control. I took out an index card.

The best part of the index card is that it gives you the power to let go of something not in your control to influence (and I’m pretty sure it doesn’t have to be on an index card). True, my sister couldn’t just sit at home and wait for Mr. Right to dig her out of the sofa, just as my friend couldn’t give up on doing that deed that leads to babies if she wanted to conceive.

Stephanie: Stacey told me this story last fall, when I was struggling with my writing.

I was on submission with a book I knew wouldn’t sell, and it was killing my creativity. I was putting all kinds of pressure on myself to produce something really good that would totally sell when I went on submission again, which is a terrible way to write.

So, after listening to Stacey’s story about the magic of the index card I decided to give it a shot. Instead of stressing over my hopes and dreams for this book I wrote them out on a piece of binder paper, and just that act alone taught me something interesting.

As I expressed all my hopes and wishes for this book, I didn’t say that I wanted to write a really good book—because really, what does that even mean? Instead I found myself writing things like, I hope to write a story that feels magical and mysterious. I want to keep readers guessing and sweep them into another world. I want this book to feel big and bright like Baz Luhrmann movie.

I’m not even sure I knew that I wanted to write all of those things until I put them on paper, but once I did, it was as if all my creativity flooded back. For some, I think using an index is an exercise in letting go. But for me this activity ended up showing me what I really wanted, and my true desire had nothing to do with pleasing editors and everything to do with writing a story for the sake of creating a certain type of experience for the reader.

Have you ever tried something like this? And if you haven’t, it might be worth giving it a shot.

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