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1. 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair

The 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair is, far and away, the world’s largest book fair. In fact, it’s the world’s largest _____ fair, period. Tallying in at just over “7,000 exhibitors from about 100 countries, more than 9,000 accredited journalists, and [including] 4,000 events, the 67th Frankfurt Book Fair is ‘the largest trading place for content worldwide.'”

With that scope in mind, here are a few candids snapped by the University of Chicago Press crew, distributed via social media, on the heels of today’s opening press conference:







To read more about the goings-on in Frankfurt, click here.


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2. How to Make Delicious Fresh Coconut Milk in Minutes

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3. The Pilgrim

Note: Join us on Monday, October 19, at Powell's Books on Hawthorne for a reading with Roy Scranton. A pilgrim arrives on a devastated planet. The destruction has been extreme, the planet's transformation almost complete. Once a gentle, temperate environment in which intelligent, tool-using, bipedal primates thrived, it has become a choking sauna, wet and [...]

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4. Publisher Revenues Declined in First Half of 2015

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5. GLOBAL TALENT SEARCH 2015 - results

I am sure many of you will have already seen this but just in case you haven't heard Lilla Rogers has announced the winner of her second Global Talent Search. This years winner is Kate Mason who wins not only representation from Lilla but also lots of great prizes in the form of licensing projects. I was thrilled to bits to be on the panel of judges and saw some truly fabulous work from all the

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Is it me or are the days just flying by?? Work i did for a greeting card. Have a great one!

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7. Memoir Mini-Reviews: You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) and Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome

Hello, Reader Friends!  We've reached the time of the year when I realize that holy moly it's almost over.  I've got a month and a half or so left of actual review time before I start my December Best of Extravaganza.  This means I have approximately sixty billion backlogged reviews to get through before then.  Time to break out my planner, buckle down, and start serving up some regular doses of mini-reviews.

From Goodreads:
The Internet isn’t all cat videos. There’s also Felicia Day—violinist, filmmaker, Internet entrepreneur, compulsive gamer, hoagie specialist, and former lonely homeschooled girl who overcame her isolated childhood to become the ruler of a new world…or at least semi-influential in the world of Internet Geeks and Goodreads book clubs...
Felicia’s short-ish life and her rags-to-riches rise to Internet fame launched her career as one of the most influential creators in new media. Now, Felicia’s strange world is filled with thoughts on creativity, video games, and a dash of mild feminist activism—just like her memoir.
Hilarious and inspirational, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) is proof that everyone should embrace what makes them different and be brave enough to share it with the world, because anything is possible now—even for a digital misfit. 
Prior to reading this, I was familiar with Felicia Day as a geek hero and presence in general internet and nerd culture, but hadn't seen her show (The Guild) or followed her career.  I do love me some good internet talk though, especially internet-relating-to-women-and-feminism talk, so I knew I'd need to read this one.  She's as funny and quirky as I hoped she would be (in a very down-to-earth, someone you might really know way, not a manic pixie dream girl way) and I was able to identify with a lot of what she wrote about her life (yay homeschool!).

She's honest about her struggles with anxiety and social pressure, which I appreciate, but she maintains a strength and individuality that doesn't descend into self-pity.  I found her to be completely inspiring and likable, and enjoyed her writing enough that I binged The Guild over the weekend (also recommended).  This is a must read for any woman who enjoys geekdom and the internet and pop culture in general and for men who want to better understand issues women face online and in the world...and for anyone who just wants to read a laugh out loud celebrity memoir.

From Goodreads:
Reba Riley's twenty-ninth birthday was not a good time to undertake a spiritual quest, but when chronic illness prompted her to focus on one thing she could fix - her whopping case of Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome - she undertook a challenge: Visit thirty religions before her thirtieth birthday. This was transformation by spiritual shock therapy. Reba would find peace and healing ... if the search didn't kill her first. 

During her spiritual sojourn without leaving home, Reba: Danced the disco in a Buddhist temple; Went to church in virtual reality, a movie theater, a drive-in bar, and a basement; Was interrogated about her sex life by Amish grandmothers; Got audited by Scientologists, mobbed by NPR junkies, and killed (almost); Fasted for thirty days without food - or wine, dammit!; Washed her lady parts in a mosque bathroom; Learned to meditate with an Urban Monk, sucked mud in a sweat lodge with a Suburban Shaman, and snuck into Yom Kippur with a fake grandpa; Discovered she didn't have to choose religion to choose God ... or good. For everyone who has ever needed healing of body or soul, this poignant, funny memoir reminds us all that transformation is possible, brokenness can be beautiful, and sometimes we have to get lost to get found.
Having grown up in a fairly conservative evangelical family with missionary parents, it's kind of remarkable that I made it to adulthood before I had my first real church-related traumas.  Churches are full of people and unfortunately people aren't perfect.  If you've spent your entire life in a church and never been hurt by church people, I'd be shocked.  People mess up and hurt other people, but it's especially hard to deal with in a setting where the expectations are based around Christ...so perfection.

I never lost my faith the way the author of this book did, but I did lose my faith in the church body and in a lot of the rules that governed my world and went along with my faith.  Having only returned to church (and a very different kind of church from my Baptist roots) in the last two years, I knew I wanted to read this the moment I read the title.  

Riley knows she needs help and wants to heal from her church traumas, but doesn't know where to start, so she takes on a year long project of sampling thirty religious traditions.  Her ending does involve healing and a return to faith, although in a very different form from that in which she was raised.  I could identify with so much of this book and enjoyed it on a spiritual level and on an entertainment level.  Not only did I learn from it, I also laughed frequently.  Riley is hilarious and her take on religion and faith is irreverant at times, but ultimately respectful as well.  I highly recommend it to anyone struggling with issues of faith or hurt stemming from organized religion.

A major thank you to my local public library for providing me with these titles - if either appeal I suggest you check your own library for availability!  Nothing better than free books, my friends!

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8. Truck Crane Boom with Hook 5 wheeler Business Card Sculpture 1344

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9. Stories for all: author Maya Van Wagenen

I’ll admit, I’m quite proud of the paperback design of my book. My publishers did a fantastic job. I believe the color scheme is really fun, the description is intriguing, and my name is in a funky font that I wish I could use all the time. 

But my name is Maya. 

And my book is pink.  

And for these stupid, irrelevant reasons, boys get teased for carrying Popular around at school. They hide it under their desks or have their sisters check it out for them at the library. My own brother read it at night so his classmates wouldn’t see him with it. This seems to be a recurring theme. 

When Popular came out in the UK, I traveled to London for a three-day publicity tour. I was asked to be on BBC Channel Four news. At the last minute they brought in a well-known journalist to discuss her take on my book after only skimming the synopsis. Her only complaint was that there should be a self-help book directed toward young boys and not just girls. I was fifteen at the time, and terrified to be on television, so I stammered some response about how I hoped my book had messages for everyone who wanted to read it. 

It was only after the cameras stopped rolling that I really thought about what she’d said. And I wished I’d given a different response. I wished I would’ve asked her why.
Why does there have to be an entirely different book devoted to boys when a lot of the advice I gave was convertible if not universal for both genders? Why can’t a boy read a book written by and about a girl when all my childhood I read books written by and about boys? Oliver Twist and The Hobbit weren’t overflowing with female characters, but that didn’t mean I didn’t fall in love with the stories, learn from the male protagonists, enjoy the adventures. Why can’t boys feel confident picking up copies of Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret? by Judy Blume or Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson? If girls can learn things from these books surely boys could too, right? And vice versa! Why is it that there are whole articles devoted to listing “Best Boy Books” and “Best Girl Books” instead of just “Best Books”? Girls can love Lord of the Flies. Boys can be obsessed with Nancy Drew. Why is it such a big deal?

And maybe it’s good that I didn’t say all of this in the television segment, because unfortunately I don’t think there’s an easy answer to any of if, at least nothing that could be resolved in my allotted three minutes. The upsetting thing is that it’s a conundrum with an incredibly simple solution. Let people read what they want to read.  That’s it. 

But then again, I was blessed with great parents and open-minded librarians who never told me “That book is not for you” and handed me something “more appropriate for a girl.”  So I never felt limited in my literary options. I could read stories about princesses or monsters or both! And I loved every second of it. But unfortunately that isn’t the case for every kid.  

So for all the girls whose backpacks are full of sports novels and scouting adventures, for all the boys who read Popular and any book with pink on the cover, don’t let anyone convince you that what you want to read wasn’t written for you. Because as an author, I can tell you that we write for whoever pulls that book off the shelf. And young or old, girl or boy, we’ll always be happy you enjoyed it. Promise.   


Maya Van Wagenen is seventeen years old. At age 15 she published Popular, her New York Times bestselling memoir of her 8th grade year. Maya was named one of Time Magazines most influential teenagers. She currently lives with her parents and two siblings in rural Georgia.

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10. Executive at Desk Business Card Sculpture 931

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11. Dodgy troll

New cintiq pen still hasn't arrived-
will it all work when it does?  :(

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12. Photo

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13. Garth Risk Hallberg: The Powells.com Interview

"Ambitious" is the word that keeps cropping up in reviews of City on Fire — understandably so, as the novel clocks in at 944 pages, features at least 10 major characters' perspectives, and melds so many different worlds — punk rock, visual art, journalism, drugs, wealth, anarchism — with astonishing skill. At its center is [...]

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14. Guitar Business Card Sculpture 1195

Made from 20 cards you send

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16. Goodreads Giveaways

What's the best strategy to use in planning a giveaway on Goodreads.


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17. ‘Now I Hate to Draw Cars:’ An Interview with ‘Carface’ Director Claude Cloutier

"The car is a tool of freedom, but it’s also destroying the planet," says Claude Cloutier about the subject matter of his new animated short.

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18. Sewing Pop-Up Card 1351

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19. Stories for all: bookseller Suzanna Hermans

Suzanna Hermans, co-owner of Oblong Books & Music in Rhinebeck, NY, shares her thoughts on #StoriesForAll! 


Customer: "Hi, I'm looking for a book for a 3rd grade girl."

Bookseller: "Sure! Has she read the Humphrey series by Betty Birney? It's about a classroom hamster who has lots of adventures and gets to go home with a different student every weekend."

Customer: "Um, no. That's a boy book."

Bookseller: "Well, the hamster is a boy, but the kids in the classroom are a mix of boys and girls."

Customer: "No, I want a girl book. How about this book about fairy unicorns?"

This happens ALL THE TIME in our bookstore. Last week, one of our booksellers had a customer turn down a board book about an owl because obviously owls are only in boy books.

As booksellers, we want our customers to go home with the perfect book for their child, but we also feel a responsibility to expand kids' minds and expose them to stories about a broad range of experiences. The books you read as a kid help shape who you will be as an adult. How can you become an empathetic, well-rounded person when you've only read about people just like you?

We make a concerted effort to stock books for all readers across the gender spectrum and strongly believe there is no such thing as a "boy" or "girl" book. Unfortunately, there are times when it's not that simple.

There is definitely more pushback when trying to sell a book with a girl protagonist to a parent of a boy than vice versa. Actually, many boys are happy to read books about girls, but their parents can be hesitant to buy these books for them. I try to find creative ways to handsell "girl books" to the parents of boys. Instead of describing the book as being about a "girl," I will say it's about a "kid." I'm sure my gender neutral word doesn't fool them once they've picked up the book, but it does seem to have some subliminal impact.

Handselling YA books is harder, because so often their covers look intensely feminine or masculine, which can really impact the appeal to certain readers. I do see this getting slightly better as I am buying publishers' 2016 lists - there seems to be a shift toward covers that are more about typeface and bold design choices and less about girls in big ballgowns.

Of course there are books that transcend the gender of their characters to become massively popular among kids of all stripes (thank you, Rick Riordan, Raina Telgemeier, & Marie Lu!) but these are the exceptions, not the rules. Luckily these books act as touchstones for parents, and can be used to persuade them to buy something outside their comfort zone. Oh, your son loves Percy Jackson? Has he read the Pegasus series?

Progress is slowly being made, and in the meantime I'll just keep selling El Deafo to every 11-year-old kid who walks through our doors, regardless of their gender. Just you try and stop me.


Suzanna Hermans is a second generation bookseller and co-owner of Oblong Books & Music in Millerton & Rhinebeck, NY. She was recently completed her term as President of the New England Independent Booksellers Association, and serves on the Advisory Council of American Booksellers for Free Expression. Follow her on Twitter: @oblongirl.

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20. NerdCon Stories, Day Two

Yesterday I told you about the first day of NerdCon. How about the second day?

There were two morning panels that looked interesting, No Pressure: How to Keep Creating Once You’ve Technically Succeeded and Life Online: Putting the Meme in Memoir. We decided to go to the Life Online panel. It was moderated by Maureen Johnson and the panelists were Hank Green, Maggie Stiefvater, John Scalzi and John Moe. And it was hilarious! Maureen Johnson is one funny woman. She was particularly freaked out by the steep seating in the auditorium and kept saying funny things about how she was concerned about all of us falling down on top of her. I also learned that Hank Green apparently invented the internet in 1996. And we all thought it was Al Gore! Amazingly, John Scalzi began his personal website two full years before the internet was invented.

All of the panelists remarked in various ways that being online is not the same as being offline. Scalzi stressed that his online self is always mediated and tuned to the context and audience. John Moe said he finds that increasingly his online and offline lives are merging. Both Scalzi and Stiefvater commented on this as well and remarked that they have both been freaked out by people showing up on their doorsteps wanting autographs. Hank Green noted that he wasn’t interested in being an online personality, his goal was simply to make good stuff that people like because it is good not because he did it. All of them also noted that while they may put personal stories online, there is always a line they will not cross when it comes to their children or arguments with significant others, etc. Also, all of them agreed that Facebook was stupid but that once you have created an account you can never leave.

The early afternoon session on writing about sex I was not able to get into and I wasn’t interested in the other two sessions. Bookman and I took the opportunity to tour the very small vender area and decide we did not want an overpriced NerdCon t-shirt or any Cthulhu or Lord of the Rings jewelry. We found a semi-quiet place and enjoyed the lunch we had brought. After that we sat in on the last fifteen or so minutes of the Welcome to Night Vale panel Q&A. Do you all know about Welcome to Night Vale? I had never heard of it before. It is a twice-monthly podcast of updates from the fictional desert town of Night Vale. Bookman and I listened to the pilot podcast after the convention and it is pretty good. Since it has been going since 2012, we have a lot of catching up to do!

The final panel of the day we attended was But it’s Just a Story: The Moral Responsibility of the Storyteller. Patrick Rothfuss was the moderator and the panel was Paolo Bacigalupi, Nalo Hopkinson and Lev Grossman. The topic of the panel was actually proposed by Rothfuss because, he explained, it is a topic that he thinks about and wonders if others thought about it too. Because it was something he was so interested in himself, he ended up doing quite a bit of talking which was fine because he is interesting and personable.

Rothfuss thinks writers do have a responsibility and he told us about his dilemma when he was writing Name of the Wind and realized he had just written a big scene in which his male protagonist rescued a woman in peril. He tried to rewrite the scene with his character rescuing his male best friend but it didn’t have the same impact. Yet he did not want to perpetuate the women-need-to-be-rescued trope, so he rewrote the scene to show the female character trying to save herself from the fire but she ended up trapped by the flames. Then he made sure that after the rescue, she and the male character had a conversation about what had happened and made it clear she was not helpless but circumstances had required rescue. It was really interesting to hear this and how deeply concerned he was about it. I have read the book and knew exactly the scene he was talking about and I appreciate the thought he put in about it behind the scenes as it were.

Hopkinson views stories as a discussion and she tries to put many types of people and many types of experience in them. That is how she understands her moral responsibility, beyond that — in one of her stories she has a character kill his father and it is represented in the story as a good thing — she can’t be responsible for other people’s actions.

Grossman said this is an issue he has never thought about before. I was surprised, but not really as I had some issues with how a few of his female characters were represented in The Magicians. He said he wanted to be on the panel because he was interested in what other people thought about the topic. He therefore didn’t really have much to contribute.

Bacigalupi on the other hand, thinks about it a lot. It sometimes keeps him up at night and it is something he really worries about. He said that we can’t just say “it’s only a story” because stories are important. He worries that people of the future will look back at the mythologies/stories we have created about ourselves and say, “wow, they were really fucked up.”

A really interesting panel to conclude the convention with!

I have found a couple pretty decent videos on Youtube to give you a flavor of what the event was like. One of the main stage happenings was several authors reading something the wrote as a teenager. David Nadelberg told us he had decided as a teen he was going to be “sensitive poetry guy” and he was not going to write about sex. However, he wrote a terrible poem about bag pipes and reading it as an adult he realized it was filled to the brim with sex. The poem was so bad and he was so embarrassed as he read it he had the sign language interpreter laughing so hard he could barely continue signing. Unfortunately no one seems to have got it on video. Someone did get Holly Black though. She too was hilarious and so embarrassed by how bad her story was that she had to keep stopping because she was laughing so much:

And as I mentioned yesterday, the morning and afternoon main stage gatherings had various people talking about why stories matter. Here is John Green who also discovers his fly is down and tells a very funny story about another time he was in front of an audience with his pants unzipped:

I’d say the event was a success and I hope they do it again next year and I hope it is in Minneapolis. And maybe some of you might consider coming too! Wouldn’t that be a hoot!

Filed under: Books Tagged: NerdCon Stories

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21. Writer Wednesday: Authors Are Crazy

At YA Fest last weekend, I met a reader who made a very interesting comment about writers. My table mate and I were talking about how we always get nervous we'll mess up someone's name when signing a book to them. (I always confirm spellings, no matter how common the name, for this reason.) This reader laughed and said that before she attended any author signings she thought authors were these people who were nearly perfect and regular people couldn't talk to. 

Then she laughed and said, "But you guys are all crazy. You have to be with everything you go through to get a book published." I laughed too, because she's right. We are in a tough field. One that means constant rejection at every stage. In a way, we are crazy for putting ourselves through it. 

I loved that this reader understood how tough it really is. She admitted that she's become friends with several authors so she hears about the process and knows the level of difficulty. I really wish more readers did.

So here's to us, the crazy writers who keep going despite all the rejection. And here's to the readers who truly get us.

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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22. Bird Globe with red heart 7847

Folds flat to mail.

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23. Hiker Business Card Sculpture 8903

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24. Mark Your Calendars, Set Your Alarms: Registratoin for #NY16SCBWI Opens at 10am PDT on Monday October 19, 2015

It's the 17th Annual Winter Conference, held February 12-14, 2016 in New York City!

With keynotes from

2 Keynote Panels featuring leading Publishers, Editors and Agents:

The Presidents' Panel: The Big Picture with Jon Anderson (President and Publisher, Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing Division), Jean Feiwel (Senior VP and Director, Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan Children's Publishing Group), Mallory Loehr (Vice President, Publishing Director, Random House/Golden/Doubleday Books for Young Readers), and Adrea Pappenheimer (SVP, Director of Sales/Associate Publisher HarperCollins Publishers.)


Acquisitions Today: Opportunities and Challenges with Alessandra Balzer (Balzer + Bray), Liz Bicknell (Candlewick), Ginger Clark (Curtis Brown LTD), Sarah Davies (Greenhouse Literary) and Alvina Ling (Little, Brown Books.)

There will also be:

22 interactive breakout sessions with Editors, Art Directors and Agents!

The Portfolio Showcase

The Art Browse

The Saturday Night Party

The Autograph Party

and A full Friday of optional pre-conference activities, with your choice of:

I. Writers' Roundtables

II. Writers' Intensive: The Big and the Small: A Novel Revision Intensive

III. Published Authors' Discussion

IV. Illustrators' Intensive: Work Long and Prosper: Career Longevity for Illustrators

Keep in mind, the Friday pre-conference activities always sell out fast, and the conference itself has sold out for the last four years running. Visit http://www.scbwi.org/ for registration and all the conference information.

It's going to be amazing, and we hope you will join us!

Illustrate and Write On,


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25. Bird Poem Pop-Up Card

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