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This is Gossamer, the cat who is looking for that hour we lost this morning. It might be hiding under the fridge.
Running presents a very simple goal…
Keep pushing through to that other side my Runner Friends. It makes us feel alive!
More Running Motivation Art Posts
More Motivation Posts
Posts with Racing Tips
1) Did you race this weekend?
2) How did you stay mentally tough in your last race or workout?
3) The last time you weren’t so mentally tough, why, and what are you going to do to be tougher next time?
Book: The Winner's Curse
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Published: March 4. 2014
Source: ARC from a friend
In the Herrani city conquered and occupied by the forces of the Valorian empire, everything and everybody has their place. Kestrel knows what's expected of her, as General Trajan's daughter. She will either join the military or she will marry. Either way, she will take a predetermined place in the adult world by her twentieth birthday.
Unfortunately, at seventeen she's miserably unsuited for either. In spite of her clever strategic mind, she's only okay at actual combat with actual weapons after years of training. And she can't think of a single Valorian man she's willing to marry. The only thing she truly loves is music, and making music is not a suitable pastime for a Valorian lady. It is the business of slaves.
It's music that prompts her to purchase Arin, a Herrani slave. But he refuses to sing. In spite of that, the conquerer's daughter and the conquered man find themselves drawing closer to each other. And it's getting noticed, by Herrani slaves and Valorian high society alike.
But Arin is embroiled in a plot to rescue his homeland from the iron grip of the Valorian empire. When the revolution explodes, the only safety for the conquerer's daughter is with the man who betrayed her country.
And maybe not even there.
Before I delve into this book, I'd like you to have a look at that cover. Go ahead. Study it hard. That girl in a pretty dress, swooning, clutching onto the lettering for dear life, letting a dagger slip from her fingers. Is that Kestrel? To me, it wasn't, and thus I spent most of this book in a quiet simmer of WTF over that cover, while enjoying what was beneath it very much.
Honestly, I was so put off by this cover (I'm really really over the swoony girls in opulent dresses thing, guys) that it was only a cover blurb from Kristen Cashore that got me to try it. I'm so glad I did. It's a love story, true, but it's also about power and politics and rebellion and strategy.
It starts small and intimate (here's a girl, out of place; here's the boy who sees her real self) and grows into a story that concerns itself with the fate of not only countries, but empires. And yet never loses sight of the small and intimate. That's quite a trick.
The love story at the center is also more than your usual love-at-first-sight. In spite of surface differences, Arin and Kestrel are very much alike. Besides music, they both have brilliantly strategic minds, watching the world and people from the outside and seeing game pieces that can be played. They are also both terribly lonely. More than anything else, this loneliness pulls them toward each other.
As they grow closer, they play emotional chess with each other and with themselves, examining their own behavior and each other's at every turn. In this book, love does not switch off the strategic mind. It becomes another game piece, another lever, another way to twist the world into your control or to see how and why it's twisting out of it.
This is (of course) the first of a trilogy. But it's a trilogy that's going on my auto-read list, especially after the end of this book. I just hope the next two covers are better.
Blog: The Children's Book Review
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, Ages 4-8
, Author Showcase
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In her latest addition to the fun and educational series “If You Were Me and Lived In …,” award-winning author and former social studies teacher Carole P. Roman introduces young readers to the country of India.
The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba of The Caffeinated Book Reviewer. This is a weekly meme where we can share news of the week and highlight new books received.
This polar bear is enjoying the snow. I am not. At least the temps were above freezing for a few days, so the dreaded stuff of my nightmares is starting to melt.
We had a thankfully uneventful week. Bumble’s intestinal woes seem to be improving – he was diagnosed with IBS. He is currently on a prescription dog food, probiotics, and medication to keep his condition under control, and so far, he is doing much better.
Check out my current contests! See the Contest Widget on the Sidebar to enter!
Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews to share new additions to our library. Click here to learn more about it.
New Arrivals at the Café:
Kindle Paperwhite – I bought this because we are going out of town in a few weeks, and the light weight and long battery life finally made me click the buy button. Well, that, and it was $20 off last week! I’ll have a review soon – so far, I like this!
Omega Days – ZOMBIES!
Blood and Iron
The Garden of Darkness
Deadman Wonderland V1
Phantom Thief Jeanne V1
Wish You Were Italian
A great big thanks to the publishers for their continued support!
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I was very pleased to contribute a few drawings/GIFs to Goreyesque. Goreyesque is an online literary journal featuring work inspired by the spirit and aesthetic of Edward Gorey. Goreyesque was designed as an anthology celebrating the Chicago debut of Gorey’s work at the Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA) in Chicago, Illinois. Elegant Enigmas: The Art of Edward Gorey(organized by the Edward Gorey Charitable Trust and the Brandywine River Museum, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania) and G is for Gorey (a companion exhibition from the Thomas Michalak Collection) can be seen at LUMA from February 15 to June 15, 2014.
By: Julia Callaway,
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dictionaries in law
, lynne murphy
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, Oxford Dictionaries Online
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By Lynne Murphy
For 20 years, 14 of those in England, I’ve been giving lectures about the social power afforded to dictionaries, exhorting my students to discard the belief that dictionaries are infallible authorities. The students laugh at my stories about nuns who told me that ain’t couldn’t be a word because it wasn’t in the (school) dictionary and about people who talk about the Dictionary in the same way that they talk about the Bible. But after a while I realized that nearly all the examples in the lecture were, like me, American. At first, I could use the excuse that I’d not been in the UK long enough to encounter good examples of dictionary jingoism. But British examples did not present themselves over the next decade, while American ones kept streaming in. Rather than laughing with recognition, were my students simply laughing with amusement at my ridiculous teachers? Is the notion of dictionary-as-Bible less compelling in a culture where only about 17% of the population consider religion to be important to their lives? (Compare the United States, where 3 in 10 people believe that the Bible provides literal truth.) I’ve started to wonder: how different are British and American attitudes toward dictionaries, and to what extent can those differences be attributed to the two nations’ relationships with the written word?
Our constitutions are a case in point. The United States Constitution is a written document that is extremely difficult to change; the most recent amendment took 202 years to ratify. We didn’t inherit this from the British, whose constitution is uncodified — it’s an aggregation of acts, treaties, and tradition. If you want to freak an American out, tell them that you live in a country where ‘[n]o Act of Parliament can be unconstitutional, for the law of the land knows not the word or the idea’. Americans are generally satisfied that their constitution — which is just about seven times longer than this blog post — is as relevant today as it was when first drafted and last amended. We like it so much that a holiday to celebrate it was instituted in 2004.
Dictionaries and the law
But with such importance placed on the written word of law comes the problem of how to interpret those words. And for a culture where the best word is the written word, a written authority on how to interpret words is sought. Between 2000 and 2010, 295 dictionary definitions were cited in 225 US Supreme Court opinions. In contrast, I could find only four UK Supreme court decisions between 2009 and now that mention dictionaries. American judicial reliance on dictionaries leaves lexicographers and law scholars uneasy; most dictionaries aim to describe common usage, rather than prescribe the best interpretation for a word. Furthermore, dictionaries differ; something as slight as the presence or absence of a the or a usually might have a great impact on a literalist’s interpretation of a law. And yet US Supreme Court dictionary citation has risen by about ten times since the 1960s.
No particular dictionary is America’s Bible—but that doesn’t stop the worship of dictionaries, just as the existence of many Bible translations hasn’t stopped people citing scripture in English. The name Webster is not trademarked, and so several publishers use it on their dictionary titles because of its traditional authority. When asked last summer how a single man, Noah Webster, could have such a profound effect on American English, I missed the chance to say: it wasn’t the man; it was the books — the written word. His “Blue-Backed Speller”, a textbook used in American schools for over 100 years, has been called ‘a secular catechism to the nation-state’. At a time when much was unsure, Webster provided standards (not all of which, it must be said, were accepted) for the new English of a new nation.
American dictionaries, regardless of publisher, have continued in that vein. British lexicography from Johnson’s dictionary to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) has excelled in recording literary language from a historical viewpoint. In more recent decades British lexicography has taken a more international perspective with serious innovations and industry in dictionaries for learners. American lexicographical innovation, in contrast, has largely been in making dictionaries more user-friendly for the average native speaker.
The Oxford English Dictionary, courtesy of Oxford Dictionaries. Do not use without permission.
Local attitudes: marketing dictionaries
By and large, lexicographers on either side of the Atlantic are lovely people who want to describe the language in a way that’s useful to their readers. But a look at the way dictionaries are marketed belies their local histories, the local attitudes toward dictionaries, and assumptions about who is using them. One big general-purpose British dictionary’s cover tells us it is ‘The Language Lover’s Dictionary’. Another is ‘The unrivalled dictionary for word lovers’.
Now compare some hefty American dictionaries, whose covers advertise ‘expert guidance on correct usage’ and ‘The Clearest Advice on Avoiding Offensive Language; The Best Guidance on Grammar and Usage’. One has a badge telling us it is ‘The Official Dictionary of the ASSOCIATED PRESS’. Not one of the British dictionaries comes close to such claims of authority. (The closest is the Oxford tagline ‘The world’s most trusted dictionaries’, which doesn’t make claims about what the dictionary does, but about how it is received.) None of the American dictionary marketers talk about loving words. They think you’re unsure about language and want some help. There may be a story to tell here about social class and dictionaries in the two countries, with the American publishers marketing to the aspirational, and the British ones to the arrived. And maybe it’s aspirationalism and the attendant insecurity that goes with it that makes America the land of the codified rule, the codified meaning. By putting rules and meanings onto paper, we make them available to all. As an American, I kind of like that. As a lexicographer, it worries me that dictionary users don’t always recognize that English is just too big and messy for a dictionary to pin down.
A version of this article originally appeared on the OxfordWords blog.
Lynne Murphy, Reader in Linguistics at the University of Sussex, researches word meaning and use, with special emphasis on antonyms. She blogs at Separated by a Common Language and is on Twitter at @lynneguist.
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Enter to win a full set of the “If You Were Me and Lived in …” series; including the newest title If You Were Me and Lived in … India: A Child’s Introduction to Culture Around the World.
Giveaway begins March 9, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends April 8, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.
posted by Neil Gaiman
Yesterday I got up early, left the new house I'd barely settled into, and hit the road with the kind of overstuffed suitcase you pack when you'll be on the road for a couple of weeks and you aren't quite sure what you'll need to wear, and you'll be in three completely different climates during that time.
I flew to Philadelphia and went to Rowan University in southern New Jersey, where I met photographer Kyle Cassidy
(aka my friend Kyle Cassidy). We did a Master Class together, answering questions, talking about what we do and how we do it, and, at one point, reading stories and showing photographs from Who Killed Amanda Palmer
. Then I gave a talk that was also a reading as part of the Rowan University Presidents' Lecture Series, that was as much fun as the talk/readings I did in Billings and Calgary, and the audience seemed to like it, and I loved how comfortable I'm starting to feel on stages in universities and such. I no longer feel, when I'm out on the stage, like I'm faking it, or that I'm there under false pretenses.
As Kyle and I were walking through the campus he pulled out a camera and took these photos...
It was windy. My hair does not normally try to escape.
I look like I was living out in the frozen wilderness, where I was panning for adjectives or something else that wild writers do.
If you go to http://thedeanblog.com/kyle-cassidy-and-neil-gaiman-bring-the-creative-to-ccca/
and read about the day from the Dean's point of view, you'll see a photo she took of Kyle taking the bottom photograph. How unusually recursive.
(The first question to be asked at the talk was "What's up with the beard?" and I expained it was my hiding out and being anonymous beard, but has survived because Amanda wanted to see it when she returns from Australia.)
Then I flew to San Francisco (I finished Monica Byrne's lovely THE GIRL IN THE ROAD on the plane and also proofread the second GRAVEYARD BOOK graphic novel, and went over J. H. Williams' breakdowns for the third part of SANDMAN: OVERTURE.) It was a mostly quiet flight, although it was also the first time I've ever seen the pilot of a plane come out and explain to drunk and unpleasant passengers that if they didn't stop being unpleasant he would have them arrested.
Let's see. Important things... apologies to Detcon 1, I'd wanted to post about their nomination process for their YA and Middle Grade Fiction Award, but I missed the deadline.
I very nearly missed the deadline to tell you that the Coraline
ebook is an Amazon US GoldBox special tomorrow (Sunday), and it will be Very Cheap Indeed. (I think the link is http://amzn.to/1fO9R5X
but that might possibly be the wrong ebook edition.)
The folk making the Wayward Manor
video game have let me know that the pre-order site, http://whohauntsneil.com
, is coming down in a week. So if you want to pre-order the game, the t-shirt, or even attend the pricy and exclusive but incredibly cool haunted Magic Castle dinner with me, you should click over to http://whohauntsneil.com/welcome/#shop
and buy all the things with alacrity.Wayward Manor
has just gone up on the Humble Store,
where you can also preorder it, and it will remain there for the couple of months until its actual release.
The Guardian has a photoset of the 26 Characters for the Story Museum. You've already seen me as Badger here on the blog, but this is your chance to see Hanuman and Till Eulenspiegel and the Wicked Witch of the West
On April 4th, cartoonist, designer, artist, writer and teacher Art Spiegelman and I will be in conversation at Bard College, NY state. We will talk about comics and MAUS and music and art and being Jewish and life and everything I have ever wanted to ask Art. (Or he will ask anything he's ever wanted to ask me.) Tickets are available now
. Please come: It's a big hall and we will be lonely if it echoes.
This week my son was in his basketball playoffs – five games in four days. And since it was the play-offs, these games weren’t at the elementary school gym. Oh no, we were traveling 20 minutes to the “big” gym at the high school. So we logged a lot of car time and passed the time posing questions to each other. One of my son’s questions was: If you could have any wish, what would it be? My answer was three months of uninterrupted writing time. No job, no laundry, no walking the dog. Oh, the luxury!
In light of my wish, when I received an email from Louisa Stephens of the Associates of the Boston Public Library about their Writer-in-Resident program I couldn’t resist learning more about it. According to Stephens, the fellowship provides a $20,000 stipend, an office in the library and nine months of writing time to a children’s writer. Now, the commute from Pennsylvania to Boston would be a bear for me but for another WOW reader out there it could be a possibility. If you could see yourself as the eleventh Children’s Writer-in-Resident, applications are open until April 1. You can find the application here. And if not, why not start searching for writing fellowships in your state? I know I am!
To learn a little more about what it’s like to be a Writer-in-Resident, I interviewed Annie Hartnett, the current Writer-in-Residence and Elaine Dimopoulus, a former Writer-in-Residence.
WOW: Tell us a little about what you were doing before winning the Writer-in-Residence award with the Associates of the Boston Public Library?
ANNIE: Before the fellowship, I was studying for my MFA in fiction at the University of Alabama. Before
Alabama, I got a MA in English literature from Middlebury College's Bread Loaf School of English, and I worked several odds jobs, including one at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston, which ended up being a big inspiration for my novel.ELAINE:
I had earned my MFA in Writing for Children from Simmons College, and I was teaching children's literature as an adjunct professor at Boston University and Simmons.WOW: How did you come to apply for the Associates of the Boston Public Library Children's Writer-in-Residence appointment?ANNIE:
During my thesis defense at Alabama last spring, there was some talk by the professors on my committee as to whether my novel-in-progress, Rabbit Cake, was for a young adult audience or not. My MFA program was not targeted at writers of young adult literature, so it was an interesting conversation, one I hadn't had before. Then I saw the fellowship with the Associates of the BPL posted on Erika Dreifus's blog and thought: why not throw my hat in? Let someone else tell me whether it's a young adult book! (And actually Rabbit Cake probably isn't going to end up as a young adult novel, but more on that in a moment…) I'd also been to a psychic who told me there was a big creative opportunity coming my way soon, which I know makes me sound totally nuts. Still, it would only be really nuts if she'd been wrong...right?ELAINE:
I had previously earned an emerging artist grant from the St. Botolph Club in Boston. My writing teacher and mentor at Simmons, Hannah Barnaby, was the inaugural writer-in-residence at the Boston Public Library. She encouraged me to apply to the residency and recommended me. I owe her a huge debt of gratitude!WOW: Walk us through your average day as the Writer-in-Residence.ANNIE:
The fellowship requires me to spend nineteen hours of the week in the office at the library, divided however I choose. I'm also a bookseller at Newtonville Books, so I work around my schedule there.
The office is magical. It's a quiet, beautiful room, with a marble staircase and mahogany panels. And a window! Plus a computer and a desk. The resident before me (Hollis Shore) kept a bean bag in the corner, but I can't imagine bring a bean bag on the subway with me, so I just sit at the desk. No one can see me working, which is how I like it. I need absolute quiet to work. I don't even listen to music. I never write in public spaces, because I hate talking to people when I'm in the fog of my own world. Before you think I'm a big grouch, I do go into the main library often, but only to read.
As for community outreach, I am going to be holding a free workshop for teens at the library during the month of June. (if you or someone you know would like to participate, please email me: email@example.com
). I am also teaching some classes this spring at Grub Street, including a six-hour course called "The Adult in Young Adult: Writing Sex and Violence for Teens." I'm excited about that one! I'm trying to incorporate more teaching into my writing life.ELAINE:
I would take the train in after rush hour -- usually around 10 a.m. -- and write until 3 or 4 p.m. I usually ate lunch in the BPL's Map Room Cafe. It's quite delicious! I changed offices midway through the year, but both were fairly secluded. I did participate in outreach, though: I met with the head YA librarian and conducted some college essay writing workshops for teens, at the main branch and at a Roxbury branch. I also held "office hours" in the teen room, so I could chat with some of the kids.WOW: How do you feel the award has helped with your novel? Was it mainly having the financial aid or did having that title give you additional motivation to finish your novel?ANNIE:
The financial aid was great, I'm not going to lie. It's given me a lot of time to write that I would not have otherwise been able to afford. But the title of writer-in-residence was motivating, and very validating. It gave me hope that someday people other than my own mother would want to read my book. The welcome reception the Associates of the BPL held for me in October was so wonderful too. It was so fun to hear people laugh at all the parts of the book I read that I wanted them to laugh at.ELAINE:
The title was amazing -- I felt like Miss America for the year. The accountability piece, having to hand over a completed manuscript at the end of the residency, applied a gentle pressure, but the most valuable way in which the residency helped my novel was making me come in every day to get it done.WOW: What is your novel about? Can you tell us how the idea for this novel evolved?ANNIE:
Rabbit Cake is a darkly comic coming-of-age novel. It is narrated by Elvis Babbitt, a very precocious ten-year-old girl obsessed with animals. The book begins as the Babbitt family copes with the strange and tragic death of the mother, who recently drowned while sleepwalking. Elvis’s older sister, fifteen-year-old Lizzie, is a sleepwalker as well, with tendencies towards nighttime violence. When the father sends Lizzie away to a mental hospital, Elvis find solace at the zoo where she volunteers. Lizzie is released from the hospital three months later, her wild spirit seeming broken. With Lizzie on the couch all day, Elvis tries on the “bad sister” role, until the day Lizzie reawakens, emerging badder than ever. The novel ends two years after the mother’s death, when Elvis is twelve. It is a novel that plays with the concept of a “normal grieving period” after a loss.
Some of the novel came from my own obsessions, with animals, and with Elvis Presley. When I was little I used to say my prayers to Elvis. I don't know why my mother didn't have me locked up then.ELAINE:
Eco Chic is told from the points of view of two characters – Ivy Wilde, a Miley Cyrus-type manufactured pop star, and Marla Klein, a talented fashionista who has been elevated to being an arbiter of taste and trends for the masses – the story explores high fashion and the cult of celebrity, in a world where staying young and trendy are the keys to success.
The novel's title is now Material Girls. The idea originated observing fashion trends at a private girls school in Pennsylvania where I taught... and watching a lot of Project Runway!WOW: Was your novel started before you began the writer-in-residence program? Where are you in the writing process? ANNIE:
Rabbit Cake was my MFA thesis at Alabama, and when I defended last April, I had 40,000 words completed, and a rough narrative arch. Last year it was a finalist for the McSweeney's Amanda Davis novel-in-progress award, which was another big motivator for me to keep working on the book. As it stands now, the novel is 80,000 words, and it's been rewritten and overhauled several times. I signed with an agent this January--Katie Grimm at Don Congdon Associates--and she helped me revise again and now the book is nearly ready for submission. I feel a little sheepish about this, but my agent hopes to sell Rabbit Cake as literary fiction, and not as a young adult novel. I trust she knows what she's doing, of course, but I certainly am hoping it will have crossover appeal to teens. I think I would have loved this book when I was sixteen, and I hope other sixteen-year-olds that share my weird, dark, sense of humor will love it too. Rabbit Cake is sort of similar in some ways to Carol Rifka Brunt's "Tell the Wolves I'm Home," which is a great novel for either teens or adults. I think teens should read adult books, and adults should read young adult books. The categories are not exact prescriptions, just a shelving category in the bookstore.
Truly, one of the best things the fellowship has done for me is that I've read so much young adult fiction this year, which I wasn't doing during my MFA. One of my favorite recent reads was "No One Else Can Have You" by Kathleen Hale. It's so dark and funny and smart. It's about the murder of a teenager girl in Friendship, Wisconsin. Five stars.
Oh and as for the question if would I be at the same place in my writing process without the fellowship? No way! Finding an agent in itself was a full time job. Anyone who is querying agents right now, my heart is with you.ELAINE:
I had written six chapters before I started the residency. I finished the draft in March or April of my term, revised it, and submitted it to agents. I was offered representation, and the novel went through two further rounds of revision before being picked up by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for publication in Spring 2015. I'm thrilled. It's hard to say whether I'd be in the same place had I not earned the residency, but the confidence of knowing that esteemed writers and editors believed in the project was a huge boost.
Now I’m preparing for my book launch! And writing and teaching, still. I primarily teach courses in writing for children and young adults at Grub Street, Boston's nonprofit creative writing center. I'm working on a picture book and a middle grade novel, which I'm hoping will be published after Material Girls!WOW: What did you learn during the writer-in-residence program? ANNIE:
I can write a book! That was a great surprise!ELAINE:
I would say the best benefit was that the award taught me how to be a writer. I had to come in and write even if I wasn't in the mood, even if I had no idea how to begin a scene, even if I would rather have stayed in bed. Because of this training, I don't fear writing the way I used to, and I don't procrastinate as much. I know if I sit down in front of my computer, I can find my way around problems in my writing projects, and I know that I will, eventually, finish them. It's empowering.Jodi Webb is still toiling away at her writing in between a full-time job, a full-time family and work as a blog tour manager for WOW-Women on Writing. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. For Jodi's take on reading and writing (no 'rithmetic please!) stop by her blog Words by Webb.
Pretty much the only thing writers love as much as books and writing is talking about books and writing. So each week (or so) here at Adventures in YA Publishing, we’ll post a question for you to answer. The questions cover all topics important to writers: craft, career, writers’ life, reading and books. Together we’ll become better writers by sharing tips and discussing our habits and practices.
Last week, my dad told me that my step-mom regularly borrows twenty or more library books a week. I asked how she can possibly read that fast, and he said that she doesn’t: if she likes the cover, she will borrow the book. When she gets home, she reads the first page, and if she likes the first page, then she reads the last page. If she finds the last page satisfying, then she will read the entire book. On average, she reads about two books a week. Which leads me to the…
Question of the Week
March 9, 2014
Do you peek at the last page before you finish the book?Martina
: Maybe three or four times in my teens and early twenties, when I was afraid that something horrible was happening to a romantic lead I was particularly attached to. On all but one of those occasions, I checked the last page, saw that the name of the character was still there, and flipped back to where I'd left off in the book. Once, I flipped to the end, discovered something horrible really had happened to the character, and abandoned the book completely. I internalize characters as I read. I feel like they are alive for me, and having them die is like losing a family member. It takes an enormous emotional toll.Jan
: I may have done this a few times, but only when I knew it was a “did not finish” anyway and just wanted to know the ending.Clara
: No. No, no, no. Never. I don’t ever recall a time when I read the last page before I finished the book. *Note: My step-mom waited to read RUN TO YOU until all three parts of Book 1 came out, so she could read the entire book at once. This was the one time she didn't read the last page until she got to the end. :-)Alyssa:
Yes! Most of the time it really doesn't ruin the book for me, it just gets me even more excited to get to the part. But every once in a while it will spoil it. I find that I only peek when i'm not totally invested in the book 100%. But if it's a book that I can't even put down, I generally don't peek.Lisa:
I never read the last page first. I used to, long ago, read the last sentence. But I've definitely stopped that habit. I want to enjoy the journey so to speak. And yeah, it's probably because I'm a writer. Don't get me wrong! I still get sucked in when the book is good, and there is temptation, but I've been good for the last several years at least. WHAT ABOUT YOU?
Do you peek at the last page? If so, why? Do you do it to determine if you want to read the book, or is your curiosity simply too much to contain?
By: Olga Garcia Echeverria,
Blog: La Bloga
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Olga Garcia EcheverriaReal, old-fashioned mail can brighten even the gloomiest of days. The parcel that arrives is the size of a record album, the weight of a sturdy book. It’s traveled all the way from Mexico City to Lincoln Heights. It’s littered with cool rows of orange Día de Muertos stamps and numerous black postal seals, faded and smeared. The envelope is made of brown paper bag, its edges beaten and gnawed. It's obviously been "manhandled" on both sides of the border. The calendars inside, though, are remarkably unscathed.
This is Rotmi Enciso and Ina Riaskov’s 2014 calendar project, VIVAS, where women who love women and women who love words are featured in every month of the year. The cover of the calendar is a lucha-libre-masked mujer running in a blur. She's zooming by in a white nightie, hot pink fishnet stocking, a black and gold cape, matching botas and fingerless arm-length gloves. Me gusta. Run, Lucha Libre Mujer, Run!
I open up the calendar to February. A black and white profile of an older woman stares back. There is some kind of fierceness in her face. No Botox. No airbrush. No commercial standards of youth and beauty. Yet, she’s beautiful, her skin weathered and sculptured by time--the same way wind and sun carve out the face of the earth.
When I turn to March, I see that my friends in Mexico have gifted one of my poems a page, “Vuelo.” It’s a poem close to my heart, about my maternal grandmother, who many moons ago in Mexico is said to have lost her mind. “Perdió la razón” is how the story goes. I like to envision it as a wondrous flight instead of madness. Vuela, abuelita, vuela!
In August, cumulous clouds and a poem by tatiana de la tierra greet me, “Prisionera de tu perro.” My heart warms and I laugh aloud, remembering this querida amiga, bloguera, escritora. It’s a true story, the poem. tatiana once got dumped for a dog. She was indignant when it happened. “Can you fucking believe it? A dog! A cat maybe, pero un perro comemerida?” Her revenge was to write a poem-song (with a loud barking chorus) to the ex-lover. “You don’t seem too heartbroken,” I said to her once while she was practicing the poem with a yowling gusto. She barked, and then kept on singing.
Gracias Ina and Rotmi. Your international parcel is greatly appreciated. Las mujeres en este calendario están VIVAS.
Calendario de mujeres opportunity: I have two extra VIVAS calendars to share. It's bilingual queer word and mujer visual art to hang on a wall porque every day is a good day to celebrate International Women's Day. If you'd like a calendar, email me at email@example.com and I'll send the first two people who respond a cool parcel in the mail.
Rotmi Enciso & Ina Riaskov: Artistas, Activistas, Femenistas, Revolucionistas, Lesbianistas, Internacionalistas.
To learn more about VIVAS contact Rotmi and Ina via Producciones Y Milagros Agrupacion Femenista, A.C. firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter: @prodymil
The London Review of Books is certainly among the more interesting literary periodicals appearing in print in English -- certainly always worth a look (I have been an occasional subscriber, though I am not currently one) -- but Elizabeth Day's rather fawning profile in The Observer seems to be reaching in asking Is the LRB one of the best magazines in the world ?
For all the impressive writing they've published, it's still hard to overlook one of the basic bottom lines; Day decorously notes: "For all its success, the London Review of Books struggles to make money", which is a rather strong bit of English understatement: as she then admits: "in January 2010, the magazine was estimated to be £27m in debt" (to the trust which generously supports it -- though if it: "never has to worry about paying back its loans" I would/imagine hope the tax authorities have something to say about what sounds like a bit too dodgy a tax dodge).
LRB publisher Nicholas Spice is also quoted:
"It loses a lot of money," he continues cheerfully.
The most important thing is that it has always had very generous support from its shareholders.
There is, of course, nothing wrong with such vanity-publishing: any number of fine publications -- especially those with a focus on the arts -- are generously subsidized and supported (though admittedly few have anywhere near this cushy an arrangement) and admirably, in the case of the LRB
, that benefits their writers (paid: "at a base-rate of 30p a word (rising by a considerable margin if the article is longer than average")) and, to some extent, subscribers (cheap subscription rates).
Still, given this very uneven playing field, one wonders how the unsubsidized The New York Review of Books
and the Times Literary Supplement
manage what the LRB
Read the rest of this post
Splash, the mermaid romantic comedy directed by Ron Howard and starring Tom Hanks, Daryl Hannah, and John Candy, was released on 3/9/84.If it has been a while since you’ve seen it, you may have forgotten just how funny it is.In honor of its 30th anniversary, here is the first-ever interview with David Kreps and Shayla MacKarvich Wingfield, the actors who played Hanks and Hannah as kids in the flashback opening scene.
Photos of them today are below.(After conducting this interview, I learned that David grew up living down the street from a friend of mine who currently lives down the street from me.)How old were you when you appeared in Splash?
Shayla: I celebrated my 7th birthday while shooting in the Bahamas! How many 7-year-olds have Tom Hanks, Daryl Hannah, John Candy, and Ron Howard at their birthday party? Well…they didn’t throw me a party, but I celebrated it in their company. I don’t remember what I did for my 6th or 8th birthday, but I sure remember my 7th!
Where were you living at the time?
Shayla: Miami, FL; born and raised.
David: Miami Beach.
How were you cast?
Shayla: I had been doing print modeling and TV commercials pretty much my whole life and heard about the casting call through my agent. Well, through my mom from my agent. Having attended many casting calls before from my experience in commercials, I didn’t think much of it. But I vividly remember arriving at the hotel where the casting call was being held and being amazed by how many people were there! I had never seen that many people before for a casting call.
I remember I had an interview in front of the camera, then had to get in the pool and pretend to swim like a mermaid. I would like to think I was cast because of my acting skills, but I actually think it was how well I could swim like a mermaid that sealed the deal.
David: My mom was a stylist so would always drag me to sets and castings. Most of the agencies in Miami knew us, so when Splash was looking for a young Tom Hanks, they called us to try out. I went on a couple auditions and had to show that I could swim.
Shayla and her mom
Do you remember what your reaction was when you were cast?
Shayla: I remember being surprised. There were so many people at the casting that I knew it was a long shot. I was only six at the time, so although I knew being in a movie was a big deal, I don’t think I fully grasped it. I was excited for sure, but I remember my family being really excited. Especially my mom—she had spent so much of her time taking me all over town for casting calls, fittings, photo shoots, etc. while I was modeling and doing commercials, so to get cast in something as big as a feature film was definitely very exciting!
David: Incredibly happy and excited. Especially loved that they picked me over my older brother.
Where was your scene filmed?
Shayla: Nassau, Bahamas (Paradise Island, Nassau, I think).
How long was the shoot?
Shayla: I was there for about a week but the weather was bad so they sent us back to Miami for about another week until the weather cleared. The second shoot was about five more days. What I remember most was that my scenes were actually some of the final ones shot for the whole movie so they wrapped the shoot while I was down there and I got to go to the wrap party! I thought it was cool to get to go to a big party with all the big movie stars, but I was only seven, so I remember mainly just having fun with my co-star (David) while all the adults had fun together!
David: Around a week, but not positive.
How did you feel being a part of the movie?
Shayla: I was definitely very excited and thought it was super fun getting to go to the Bahamas with my mom to shoot the movie, but it mostly just felt like another fun day at the beach with a bunch of people I didn’t know. All of the crew was so nice though and really made me feel special which made the shoot memorable. It did not really hit me how big of a deal it was to actually be in the movie, though, until it was released in theatres.
David: It was awesome. No one was really famous at the time of shooting so it was more about being able to miss school and play around in the Bahamas.
What was the hardest part of the shoot?
Shayla: Definitely being topless! I hated wearing bikinis when I was little. I was even self-conscious of showing my belly button. I knew ahead of time I would have to be topless since I was playing a mermaid and I was terrified!
David: Can’t remember there being any hard parts. It was probably harder on them trying to control me. How were the underwater shots filmed? Not really in the ocean, I presume?
Shayla: Actually, all scenes were filmed in the ocean! We were right off of the beach in Nassau, and they had scuba divers all around us that we could go to for air if we needed to. Just another day at the beach for a Miami native.
David: They shot some of the underwater scenes in the pool as well as the ocean. Being from Miami, I grew up on the water swimming, fishing and diving, so it wasn’t challenging for me.What do you remember about working with Ron Howard? Did you know him from Happy Days?
Shayla: I knew that Ron Howard was in Happy Days and that it was a very big show, but I was too young to really watch the show. I remember being confused why he was the director instead of an actor, but I do remember that he was incredibly nice to work with.
David: I had no idea who he was. He did get upset with me once for not showing enough sadness when the mermaid left. I kept on laughing.
Tom Hanks is on the right (in the blue Speedo).
What do you remember about your interactions with Tom Hanks, John Candy, or any of the other stars who were not in your scene?
Shayla: I met Tom Hanks, John Candy, Daryl Hannah, and Eugene Levy. I knew who Tom and John were, but not Daryl and Eugene. All of them were amazing!
But I will never forget meeting Daryl Hannah. As I mentioned before, I was very self-conscious about not wearing a top, so the crew took me to meet Daryl for the first time while she was in makeup—which was a major process. She actually had to swim in that mermaid tail, and was in makeup for hours to glue all the pieces onto her belly to make it look natural. Then they put gold makeup all over her chest and arms with an elaborate shell necklace.
The first time I met her, I might as well have been meeting a princess! I couldn’t believe it when I saw all that beautiful long blonde hair and that mermaid tail. She also had to be topless, which is why they took me to see her. She was so sweet and showed me the big necklace and all the gold makeup that had been put on her, and told me that I would be getting the same thing. She assured me I would be just as covered up as if I had a bathing suit on, only way prettier! She was so incredibly sweet.
David: I just met Tom and Daryl. Clearly we are on first name basis.
Any funny stories from the shoot?
Shayla: Back to the topless thing again…I was playing on the beach on the set knowing I was about to be called to shoot one of my scenes. I was ready and happy. Then all of the sudden Ron Howard yells into his bullhorn (megaphone…whatever you call it), “Okay, Shayla, we’re ready for your scene. We need you to take your top off now.” I instantly started bawling crying; I was completely terrified.
Next thing I know I was in the water and the camera was shooting me while I was crying the whole time, and all I wanted was my mom! Fast forward to the movie’s release, and everyone remembers me as the little Madison who was crying as Allen was taken away. Everyone complimented me on what a wonderful actress I was because my crying was so believable. Little did they know…
David: One night John Candy and I went out boozing. I wish. Don’t really remember any funny stories worth retelling.
Anything go wrong on the shoot?
Shayla: Just the weather causing delays.
David: Not that I was aware of.
What did you think of the movie?
Shayla: I really and truly absolutely loved it! I remember my family and I being so surprised when it came out. We didn’t realize at the time I filmed just how funny this movie really was. We still laugh when we see it on cable today, and I know we would feel the same even if I wasn’t in it. Truly a timeless film and I am so honored to have been a part of it.
David: I remember going to the theatre to see it with all my friends and family. We waited to see my name in the credits. It was great.
What did your parents think of it?
Shayla: Same as above, but my mom also thinks so fondly of the whole experience since the whole cast and crew were all so great.
David: What parent wouldn’t love seeing their kid on the big screen? They loved it and bragged about to all of their friends.
What did your friends think of it?
Shayla: My close friends absolutely loved it and thought it was so cool I was in it and wanted to know everything about my experience. Unfortunately, later, when I was in about 4th or 5th grade, some kids found a way to tease me about it which actually made me self-conscious about it for a while. Even though they didn’t know me, I was labeled as a snob because I was in a movie. I went through a stage where I didn’t want people to know I was in it because I didn’t want them to think I was a snob. Kids can be so mean sometimes and it is so sad that has to happen.
David: Not many kids get to do this so they thought it was the coolest thing ever. They still bring it up to this day…but more in a teasing manner.
Did you attend the premiere, and if so, what do you remember about it?
Shayla: This part is definitely the most memorable for me. Although I didn’t attend the premiere, I did [go to the movie] opening day at my local theatre, The Falls in Miami. I went with my family super excited to see it, but thought our trip to the movies would otherwise be like every other trip to the movies. When we showed up to the theatre, there was a huge line so my family and I took our place in the back of the line.
My parents asked the people in front of us what movie the long line was for and they said Splash. My parents then told them that I was in the movie and somehow that news ended up making it all the way to the front of the line. Next thing I knew, someone from the theatre came up to us in the line and invited us into the theatre, gave us popcorn and drinks, and let us take our seats.
After the movie, as we were in the lobby, all these people started coming up to me asking me for autographs. I went to the bathroom and literally as I was in the stall, I could hear a girl telling her mom, “Mommy, Madison is in the potty next to me.” I couldn’t believe it! All these people wanted to meet me and it was exciting, but very strange to me at the same time.
David: Didn’t attend a proper premiere. But went to the opening night in the theatre.
Did the movie ever affect your dating life in any way (i.e. when you first told boyfriends you were in it)?
Shayla: Not really. I kind of kept it quiet after some kids had made fun of me for it during my later years in elementary school.
David: The girls loved it. Splash was a serious panty dropper. Ha ha.
Did you receive fan mail? If so, do you still have any of it?
Shayla: I don’t think I ever did. I do not remember any. But I do get people who contact me via Facebook from time to time.
What were you paid?
Shayla: No idea! My mom said I was paid SAG movie scale…whatever that means!
David: I honestly don’t remember exactly what I got but to this day receive residual checks for every time it plays.
Were you ever recognized in public? How often and when last? Any stories about that?
Shayla: I don’t think I have ever really been recognized in public, but people who already knew me but didn’t know I was in the movie would come up to me and ask me because they happened to see my name in the credits.
Did you appear in other movies after that?
Shayla: No—well, not really. I shot a scene for another one, but it was never released and I can’t even remember the name anymore. As a Miami native, I did appear in two segments on Miami Vice. That was pretty cool and it felt like being in another movie.
David: Small part in Police Academy 5. But mostly did commercials.
Did you two keep in touch, and if so, when were you last in touch?
Shayla: We remained friends for several years after the movie as we were both in the modeling and commercial world, and our moms also became friends so we did get together socially from time to time. I think I lost touch with him toward the end of middle school, but I have great memories of him and his family. Would love to reconnect, if even just to be friends on Facebook! He is definitely one of the more memorable friends from my young childhood. I feel like I remember hearing he planned to study film in college?
David: We kept in touch for only a couple years. Growing up, I would always see her at castings. We actually used to do a lot of print work together.
If you went to college, where and what did you study?
Shayla: I thought I was destined to be a University of Florida girl, but moved from Miami to Atlanta during my senior year of high school. Visited the University of Georgia campus and fell in love instantly. I had a great four years in Athens, GA and got my bachelor’s degree in marketing. GO DAWGS!
David: Business at Babson College.
What are you doing these days?
Shayla: I own a children’s store in the Buckhead area of Atlanta called Pretty Please (Instagram: @loveprettyplease). It is an upscale boutique that offers whimsical children’s apparel, décor, accessories, and gifts for newborns through tweens. I own the store with my sister, Keely, who started the store in 2004 in Destin, FL.
There are times when I find my mind drifting thinking of what my life would be like if I had pursued an acting career, then I realize what it means to me to be working with my best friend and be part of a local, family-owned business, and I realize I am doing exactly what I am meant to do!
We both have so much fun with all the whimsy and imagination involved in finding unique products for children. It is our dream to have a TV show about all the ways kids can express their personalities through creative décor and fashion…we are both huge HGTV fans and would love to do something similar that focuses on kids. David: Real estate development.
Where do you live?
If you are/were married, what was your future husband’s reaction when he learned you were in this movie?
Shayla: I married a wonderful man seven years ago. We met when I was working in real estate in my late 20s. It’s funny because he is a huge movie fan, especially ‘80s movies. Shortly after we started dating, I came home only to walk in the door and see my scene from the movie freeze-framed on the TV. He immediately started laughing…“It’s you! On the 20th anniversary edition!” I had no idea it was the 20th anniversary, but he had bought it and surprised me.
David: My wife was impressed and thought it was the coolest thing ever when she was in elementary school (we are old family friends). Now, probably not so much. However, my wife and mom are ready to put our son to work.
Shayla: I have a beautiful 5-year-old girl. She absolutely loves to perform! She is very drawn to singing and drama. My family is the most amazing blessing and they bring me so much joy.
David: Six-month-old boy.
Shayla, does your daughter know about the movie yet?
Shayla: She gets excited when daddy shows her mommy on TV. She’ll ask me questions about being a mermaid like, “Could you breathe underwater?” or ask me why I was crying, but I’m not sure she fully understands since it doesn’t really look like me.
What did you think when you first heard from me?
Shayla: That you were possibly a stalker. Sorry… Then when I realized you probably weren’t, I actually thought it was odd that you would want to talk to me. I know the movie was a huge hit in the ‘80s but my part was so small, it was hard for me to believe you would want to interview me!
David: Surprised…wasn’t sure many people would be interested, but flattered.
Has anyone else ever interviewed you about this? If so, when and for what publication?
Shayla: Some local newspapers and magazines did shortly after the movie came out, but I really can’t remember what they were.
David: No, but I’ve been waiting 30 years for this. LOL.
How do you look back on the experience?
Shayla: I have to say, answering your questions was very fun and I appreciate you reaching out to me since it helped me stop and think about what an awesome experience the whole thing was. Thirty years is a long time, but taking a moment to really look back on it, I am so grateful that I got to be a part of this fantastic movie!
David: It was a great experience. Can’t believe I played a part in a movie that has turned out to be one of the biggest of the ‘80s.
Anything you’d like to add?
Shayla: I think you pretty much covered it…great questions!
All photos courtesy of David and Shayla; please no reuse without permission.You may also like my interviews with women who starred in iconic 1980s music videos, from a-ha to ZZ Top.
By: Bruce Luck,
Registration is now open for one of the finest writing conferences in the state. Carol Lynch Williams’ annual WIFYR conference runs the week of June 16. It is one of the best things you can do for yourself as a writer.
Several things happen at WIFYR. If you go for the full package, your mornings are spent with an established author aware of what it takes to move your story through to publication. These talented people share what they know about the craft, dispensing expertise on setting, story arc, character development, dialogue, and much more. The real growth comes in the critique sessions. Your story improves as others point out areas of weakness. By participating in the critique of others, you see examples of excellence in writing to emulate and become aware of pitfalls to avoid. Learning to critique will make you a better writer.
Afternoon sessions offer a smorgasbord of presenters to instruct and inspire. Topics this year include voice, pitching your novel, killer openings, characters, blogging and author websites. Writers with limited time or funds may find just the afternoons a better fit. It is included for morning session participants.
Every year Carol brings in people from the publishing world. This year she has an editor and three agents lined up. Not only do they provide insight to what it takes to get published, but give your their contact info and instructions for submitting. Just your attendance at WIFYR shows them your commitment to writing excellence and places your submissions above those in the slush pile.
But WIFYR is more than critiquing and learning the craft and getting a step closer to publishers. There is a collegial atmosphere at WIFYR that Carol has established. It is as though a hundred other people just like you, stuck with this obsession for writing who are cheering for you to produce your best writing.
There is just something magical in surrounding yourself with other writers for a week.
(This article also posted at http://writetimeluck.blogspot.com)
This weekend's The New York Times Book Review-Q & A features Teju Cole: By the Book.
Among the questions he's asked is: "What books are you embarrassed not to have read yet ?" to which he responds:
I have not read most of the big 19th-century novels that people consider "essential," nor most of the 20th-century ones for that matter.
But this does not embarrass me.
He's right not to be embarrassed by that of course -- life is, indeed, too short, and time is easily filled with any number of worthwhile things; not having read book X or Y is hardly shameful.
On the other hand, it does throw into a different light an earlier statement he makes, claiming that:
"the novel" is overrated, and the writers I find most interesting find ways to escape it
Since he goes on to admit he's actually not engaged with what are considered the exemplary novels of the 19th and
20th century, surely his dismissal comes far too rashly .....
Maybe it's a good idea to read what are considered the 'essential' novels, to see what all the fuss is about, and only then make a grand pronouncement as to whether or not the genre as a whole is over-rated .....
(As someone who considers 'the novel' -- in all its many forms -- the be-all and end-all of literature, art, human thought, and human experience, I am, of course, biased.
But even I am careful about dismissing any specific (other) form as over-rated.)
And at least he does give a shout-out to what is a very fine novel indeed (though, yes, one for which he wrote the Introduction): Ivan Vladislavić's Double Negative
I have been thinking about ways to use digital tools in authentic ways in literacy workshop. With a few laptops and a couple of iPads in the room, I am finding some challenges. Recently, I read Katharine Hale's post "Digital Corkboard: A Game Changes for Readers
" on her fabulous blog, Teachitivity. We don't have Corkulous on our student iPads but I put it on my teacher iPad and decided we'd use it for read aloud. I have the board on my iPad and I am projecting on to the Smartboard with Air Play/Air Server.
We started out on Day 1 previewing our new read aloud How to Steal a Dog
by Barbara O'Connor. We started off with 2 columns--things we know after previewing and questions we have.
It was on Day 2 of reading How to Steal a Dog that I saw the possibilities of a tool like Corkulous. I've always believed strongly in charts and writing to deepen thinking while reading. And I've been thinking hard about how to make charts better after reading Smarter Charts. But as we started talking on Day 2, I realized that even though this chart wasn't "up" all day, kids were using it differently as we talked. Kids started connecting comments we made on stickies and I was able to move those around/rearrange them so threads of conversation emerged. That's always happened a bit with traditional charting during read aloud, but in a traditional way that makes it harder for kids to follow. With Corkulous, I could move and change our thinking as we went.
Since kids had no experience with Corkulous, I was playing with sticky color, arrows, labels, etc. just so they could see all that was possible. With the projection, they could see the way I used the tool AND the way it was supporting our thinking. By later this week, our board continues to change. In the bottom right, you'll see the arrow stickies listing Georgina's possible character traits. This started as a conversation about Georgina being sneaky . Then one day, a student decided we should take one of the traits off because the more we read, the more we realized it didn't describe her anymore. Then kids started talking about which words described her best so we rearranged the arrows--those few on the left are the ones that seem to capture Georgina at this point in the story, based on what we know about her.
Read Aloud is a huge anchor in our classroom. It is the time that we come together as a community and dig into one book, learning from everyone's thinking. For that reason, charting has always been key. But with Corkulous, even after just a week of Read Aloud. I am seeing that yes, this is a game changer.
First of all, the size of the chart makes it very engaging. I could technically create something like this on chart paper or a board but the size of the Smartboard makes it readable to everyone. And I can zoom in to the section of the board we are talking about. I can arrange and rearrange thinking and kids are seeing how writing and talk change thinking and how our thinking changes over a book. Kids are not only adding to the conversation about the book, but they are suggesting things that should do with our board--"Move that orange one that says....to the place where we are thinking about Georgina." or "I think we should delete the sticky that says Georgina is naughty.".
I've always believed strongly in Readers' Notebooks as a way for students to capture their thinking in writing. Now, there are so many other options available with digital tools. I love this tool for the conversations and understandings that are happening because of it. And I also love that it is modeling another tool that supports readers in digging deeper in their reading.
I continue to find that when I play with new digital tools, focusing on the learning makes it almost risk-free. I know my focus is on reading and thinking so if this tool hadn't worked so well, it would have been okay because my focus was on the literacy learning, not the tool. Although the tool is very cool, the power has been in what it has done for our conversations and how we've been able to capture that as a community.
(I'm hoping to have Katharine's students talk to my students after we've played with this a bit--to share ways that they are using the tool to clarify and deepen understanding.)
Blog: Kid Lit Reviews
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, children's book reviews
, Donna Shea
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, guide for parents
, Nadine Briggs
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, social situations
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How to Make & Keep Friends: Tips for Kids to Overcome 50 Common Social Challenges
by Nadine Briggs & Donna Shea
Age 8+ 142 pages
“Donna Shea, Director of The Peter Pan Center an Nadine Briggs, Director of Simply Social Kid are passionate about helping kids make and keep friends. They have spent years working with children who experience mild to moderate social difficulties and understand that social nuances can and should be taught. Parents and kids often need quick social skills advice that is easily understood and even easier to do in the moment. How to Make & Keep Friends provides 500 tips for children to learn how to manage 50 common social challenges in easy to digest top-ten lists. For parents and professionals check out How to Make & Keep Friends: Coaching Children for Social Success”
Introduction for Parents & Educators
“Welcome to How to Make and Keep Friends! Many kids struggle with social nuances which can make it difficult for them to form lasting friendships. Our tips have been successful for children with mild to moderate social challenges.”
Introduction for Kids
“Welcome to our book, How to Make and Keep Friends! We wrote this book for kids because we understand that making and keeping friends can be really hard to do sometimes. We help lots of kids learn how to get better at making and keeping friends, and with this book, we can help you too.”
About the Book
There are four sections in the book, each specializing in one particular area. The first contains tips for normal social situations and the common problems that can occur, including making new friends and figuring out body language and other non-verbal communications. The second section contains tips to help kids enjoy social success, such as knowing the difference between sharing something as opposed to bragging and handling embarrassment, anger, and impulsiveness. Section 3 covers the tough subject of being a good friend. This includes playing fair, playdates, proper etiquette, and even good table manners. The final section has suggestions for handling social challenges such as bullying, jealousy, and knowing when and how to get adult help.
Interestingly, the subjects in each section have suggestions and tips in lists of ten, rather than explaining problems or solutions. The idea is to allow kids and parents to open the book, find the problem, look through the ten suggestions, then go out and immediately use the chosen tip. Number one is not necessarily better than number ten, nor is ten better than one. What works best depends upon your child, and the situation. Most of the tips are great, though some—mostly verbal suggestions are not kid-friendly.
For example, in “How to Greet Others and Enter a Room or Place:” one friend greets another—your child—by saying, “Hello, how are you today?” Not many kids speak like an adult. They will say, “Hi,” or maybe “What’s up?” or “You okay?” but not “Hello, how are you today?” Even if they did, any kid who responds, “I’m fine, thanks, and how are you?” will be met with a funny stare and maybe a laugh. Leave out “and how are you” unless it was Aunt Mildred who asked. Parent’s need to make sure their child still sounds like a kid.
I like that How to Make and Keep Friends is for the parent as much as it is for the child. Under the heading Working Things Out, adults are reminded that when they tell their kids to “just work it out,” their child may not know what to do. Without a parent’s help, a child may end up in worse shape than before. For this reason, I think parents need to read this before or, preferably with, their child. Doing so might help the parent understand their child’s difficulties. Parents need to know when to help and when to step back.
The writing style of Ms. Briggs and Ms. Shea is conversational. A few sentences need a good editor’s pen, but overall this is a well-written guide kids and parents will find easy to read. There are no illustrations. I think a few, maybe at the head of each chapter, would have punched up the text and made the book look more like a guide for kids. And, admittedly, I like illustrations in books for kids. They give the eye a nice break, especially when the subject becomes emotional.
I truly like How to Make and Keep Friends. Kids need somewhere to turn and many of the suggestions are excellent.
“Being impulsive means doing or saying things without stopping to think first.” (tip 1) “When you have strong feelings like excitement or anger, breathe slowly and deeply to calm yourself down, since these are times when you might be impulsive” (tip 10)
Bad Peer Pressure:
“If someone is doing something wrong (like swearing) and wants you to do it too, you have the choice to say no. Remember choice is power.” (tip 3)
“The best thing to do is to not make a big deal—if no one says anything, just be quiet and let it go” (tip 2) “Try to remove yourself from the situation. Take a break, especially if you feel like you might cry.” (tip 6)
The book is dedicated to “the “what” to do rather than the “why” it needs to be done.” Hence, the ten tips for each problem. I am not a fan of “do” without knowing “why.” I never found this to work long term, yet How to Make and Keep Friends, with the tools and suggestions they do give kids, is impressive. Included is a reading reference guide for both kids and parents, a glossary of terms, and five ways to draw sides when choosing sides or deciding who plays first. Adults can incorporate most of the tips and suggestions into their own life. Bullying, making new friends, and not knowing what to do in social situations does not stop once someone reaches the age of 18. Until then, How to Make and Keep Friends will give kids a treasure of social tips and suggestions to guide them through the perilous seas of sticky social situations.
Learn more about How to Make and Keep Friends HERE!
Purchase a copy of How to Make and Keep Friends at Amazon—B&N—Book Website—ask your local bookstore.
Donna Shea is the director of The Peter Pan Center. Learn more about her and her center at: Ms. Shea’s website—linkedin—facebook—twitter & The Peter Pan Center’s website—G+—facebook—twitter
Nadine Briggs is the director of Simply Social Kids. Learn more about her and her center at: Ms. Brigg’s website—linkedin—facebook—twitter & Simply Social Kids’ website—blog—facebook—twitter
ALSO AVAILABLE FROM BRIGGS & SHEA
How To Make And Keep Friends: Coaching Children For Social Success
HOW TO MAKE & KEEP FRIENDS: TIPS FOR KIDS TO OVERCOME 50 COMMON SOCIAL CHALLENGES. Text copyright © 2011 by Nadine Briggs and Donna Shea. Reproduced by permission of the authors, Donna Shea and Nadine Briggs.
Filed under: 4stars
, Debut Author
, Library Donated Books
, Middle Grade
Tagged: children's book reviews
, Donna Shea
, guide for children
, guide for parents
, Nadine Briggs
, nonfiction kids book
, Simply Social Kids
, social situations
, The Peter Pan Center
Inspired by Pop Culture Junkie and The Story Siren, Stacked
is our sister-site's weekly post where we share with you the books that we've bought, borrowed or received for the week.
This is actually an Unstacked post since the ratio for books bought to books given away was 1:50 this week. As you may have read recently, my mom had a stroke and I went home to the Philippines to help out. My dad, brother, and aunt all work during the day, and my little sister isn't 100% capable of watching over our mom and doing all the chores etc. (Though she is a hero, since she figured out how to call for help when Mama passed out in the hallway. For someone who is considered to be fundamentally a toddler all her life, she's one smart cookie.)
Anyway, I was checking on my mom when I happened to open my dad's closet and notice that there were a ton of dusty, moldy books in the back. The closet had been built on top of a bookshelf in my mom's signature, just put it on top of everything else style of interior decorating.
I was really sad to see lots of my favorite books pretty much begrimed and crumbly due to the terrible sun/air conditions in Manila, as well as my family's low-level hoarding tendencies, but what can you do? Keep them in plastic tubs? (Actually, that's a good idea, but plastic tubs weren't exactly common when I left the books here.)
Anyway, I figured now is as good a time as any to let some stuff go. You can see some of my favorites in the Unstacked image above. My uncle has a school in the province, and my aunt is coming by tomorrow and will be passing the school, so I'm sending them away. There's some great stuff in there: classics like P.G. Wodehouse, James Thurber, Douglas Adams, and Chinua Achebe; the occasional anthology, random old ARCs. I saved one book from the pile: A Woman Named Smith
by Marie Conway Oemler
. It's so old that the cover has long since disintegrated. It's a fun romance and it used to belong to my grandfather, so I'm hoping it's not too far gone to repair, or reproduce in some way. If you're curious, you can get the Kindle copy
for free. (Yes, it's that
The one book I picked up was actually an eBook, The Shadow Society
by Marie Rutkoski
. The Kindle edition
was on sale for $2.99. Marie's new YA novel, The Winner's Curse
, is out now. I didn't particularly enjoy it, but I recognize that there will probably be quite a few people who will like it a lot better than I did. I like her writing style, but I didn't care for the plot and characters in The Winner's Curse
. I'm hoping that The Shadow Society
will be a bit more like my cup of tea.
It looks like I will be here a while, so I'll keep you posted regarding further hoard management and possibly a YA author event
I will be attending. Anyway, that's it for me and book acquisitions/donations this week. If you want to catch up with what I've been doing in the Philippines, follow @frootjoos
Last but not least, Pasadena Teen Book Festival
is coming up! We are now on Facebook
, and you can still get free tickets at Eventbrite
. Blogger friends, more info on the upcoming blog tour is on the way, I promise! I was just really hard at work to get the tote bag design done so we can order them from the screen printers. The first 100 people to arrive at the event will get the tote for free :)
|First successful book! our version|
doesn't have the touchy-feely stuff
I have a tiny grand-daughter who has just started taking an interest in books. She is 12 weeks old. My first success at grabbing her attention with a book came at 10 weeks (have to nurture new customers!) We'd been to the garden centre and looked at the tropical fish. When we came home, I showed her a book by Lucy Cousins with a picture of a fish in it. She loved it. We're on the way.I showed her some picture books and while she can't follow the story she liked looking at the pictures - all vigorously waving arms and legs and gurgling!
|The best of the cot books|
So in town yesterday I looked at board books for small babies. Oh my. There are the usual rather dreary picutres of objects, colours, numbers, etc - and some livelier ones such as the much-favoured Lucy Cousins series about animals. There are 'cot books' which unfold into a strip to fasten up inside the cot so the baby has something to look at. That's great, but not for sharing. Still, it's important for a baby to develop skills in independent reading, so we'll get one of those.
|You can't be too young for Judith Kerr|
Board books for the youngest children don't have a narrative. They are theme-based: animals, vehicles, number, colours, etc. - like our Farm Animals, Pet Animals and Garden Animals titles from Lucy Cousins. But there are some that introduce characters the child will encounter when she starts on stories. These are rather a cunning marketing move - the toddler who recognises Mog from Mog's Family of Cats will want to read the Mog books. No complaints from me - the Mog books are excellent.
On the whole, board-book prequels tend to be of the Peppa Pig &co merchandising category. I'd be wary of buying into something quite so commercial, but I guess if the baby has an older sibling who has Gruffalo and Peppa stuff around it makes sense. Here's a Thomas the Tank Engine title that introduces the engines that will feature in the child's coming Thomas TE experiences.
I think I might get the Moomin introductions to colours and numbers, though. Fostering an interest in moomins is, like fostering a liking for vegetables, a good investment in future health.
Here's the surprise discovery: board books for the children of literary parents. Now, it's one thing to introduce your baby to Peppa and Mog, protagonists of stories they can engage with pretty soon.
|More for the grown-ups than the babies|
But how about Pride and Prejudice? Anna Karenina? Moby Dick? Pride and Prejudice turns out to be a counting book (four stately houses, etc). Not a fan: how to build an interest in the trappings of capitalism and elitism.
|Might well buy this one|
Moby Dick I rather liked. It calls itself an 'ocean primer' and introduces ideas such as whale and anchor. I don't recall there being a harpoon page, fortunately.
|Seriously? Clothes to die for?|
Anna Karenina? Wow. Adultery and suicide for the under-twos. But it's massively disappointing. Look closely. It's the Anna Karenina fashion primer. Can you identify Anna's earring? Where is her hat? FFS. Does her handbag hold a one-way train ticket...?
I can understand that Pride and Prejudice and Moby Dick might appeal to parents who like those novels. It's a bit far-fetched to suggest that they will lead young readers to those titles 14 years later, but if they did there would have been no serious misrepresentation. But if you turned to Anna Karenina expecting fashion to be a big part of it, you'd be in for a shock. (I do remember some referenc to Kitty's striped silk dress; but I don't think fashion was a theme, as such.)
I'm going back to town to look for more boards books - any favourites to suggest? Without a narrative, for now.
Today I have a spotlight and giveaway for the By Invitation Only series by Kate McKinley! You can enter to win a special bound galley of all three novellas in the series!
A DUCHESS IN THE DARK (Forever Yours E-Novella; $0.99)
Miss Daphne Hayward is on the hunt for a safe, honorable husband and she has set her sights on the perfect target. She plans a full-scale seduction that will bring him to his knees, and have him begging for her hand in marriage. But when she mistakenly slips into another man’s bed, the passions that quickly ignite threaten to send her well-laid plans up in smoke.
Ashton Fitzgerald, Duke of Claymore has never been for want of a willing woman in his bed and his rakish ways have become legend in boudoirs and dark corners all across London. But not even Ashton can account for the powerful desire that surges through him when a mysterious woman pays him a clandestine midnight visit. As dawn breaks, his goddess flees before he can learn her identity. Now Ashton will stop at nothing to unmask the identity of the woman who bewitched him body and soul and make her his . . . Forever.
A COUNTESS BY CHANCE (Forever Yours E-Novella; $0.99)
A gambler’s daughter, Sophia Weatherby knows her way around a deck of cards. So when her family estate becomes threatened, she has no choice but to use her skills at the gaming tables to save herself from ruin. A lavish house party affords her the perfect opportunity-until the newly minted Earl of Huntington arrives. Adam Greyson has never forgotten the day Sophia rejected his proposal. Now to even the score, he challenges her to a shocking wager-his two thousand pounds against the one valuable commodity she has left: her virtue.
A NIGHT WITH THE BRIDE (Forever Yours E-Novella; $0.99)
While at a lavish house party, Gabriella Weatherfield confidently bets her friends that she can convince the “unseducable” Duke of Somerset to kiss her. But Gabriella’s innocent wager turns wicked when faced with the duke’s intense blue eyes and talented hands. Nicholas Montgomery usually strives to stay away from society, yet there’s no denying Gabriella’s wild beauty or the way she makes him want to lose control for once. Will the fire between them burn out when Gabriella uncovers the inner demons haunting Nicholas?
About Kate McKinley: KATE MCKINLEY writes Regency and Fantasy Romance. When she’s not staring at her screen, dreaming up delicious heroes, she’s a wife, mother and part-time assistant.
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Excerpts from the BY INVITATION ONLY series by Kate McKinley
A DUCHESS IN THE DARK
The memory of their first meeting was still vivid in his mind, and it swirled to life more often than he cared to admit. He could still remember the emerald gown she’d worn to James’s wedding, the delicate, slightly breathless look about her when James had introduced them. She was beautiful, with wide blue eyes and fiery red curls, and a smile that had stricken him silent. If she were any other woman, he’d have pursued her relentlessly, but her innocence and her connection as James’s sister-in-law had placed her far beyond his reach.
“You can’t possibly mean that.” She scrunched her face in disbelief. “Now let me go before someone catches us.”
“The door is locked. We are quite safe. Unless you wish for someone to happen upon us.” He flashed her a wicked smile.
“Of course not!” Shock looked rather fetching on her. Cheeks flushed, eyes brightened, she was a prime article indeed. Marrying her might not be quite the trial he’d feared. In fact, he rather liked the idea her filling the role as Duchess of Claymore. More than that, he liked the idea of claiming her in every way imaginable.
“Then I’d advise you to lower your voice. The whole house is liable to hear you.”
She pressed her lips together and glared.
“Now,” he said, “where were we?”
He’d had enough women to know what desire looked like and Daphne had it written all over her pretty face—she was just too afraid to admit it. The way she trembled, the way her gaze licked him from head to toe, the way her breath hitched when he drew in close. Oh yes, she was hungry for him indeed.
“I don’t believe you are unaffected by me.” He had her pressed against the bed, so she scrambled atop the mattress and faced him on her knees. “Perhaps I shall prove just how affected you are.”
“Completely unnecessary, Ashton, I assure you,” she said. “I’m perfectly willing to admit you have a certain…appeal, but it’s Edward I intend to…” Her words trailed off as he reached out and brushed a silky tendril of hair off her shoulder, exposing the mark on her neck again. His mark.
“Do you want me to leave? Say the word and I’ll go.”
Boldly, her gaze raked down his bare chest, down to his straining erection. He needed to be inside her, filling her, taking her to the very edge of ecstasy. She licked her lips and shook her head, just a slight movement, but it was all he needed. Triumph shot through him. She wanted him; she was just too frightened to admit it.
“What do you need, Daphne? Tell me.” He needed to ease her into this, seduce her with his words, his tongue, and then perhaps she’d be willing to admit the truth.
Their eyes met and held, before her gaze suddenly flicked away. “I don’t know.”
He advanced, pushing her back against the pillows. Her lips were red, plump, ripe for his kiss. He itched to tear at the fabric of her nightgown and push into her tight, welcoming heat. To bury himself inside her so deeply he’d be a part of her forever.
“Let me show you.”
A COUNTESS BY CHANCE
“Why on earth would you consent to such an outing when you clearly have no talent for riding? You would have done better to stay home.”
She stiffened, indignant. “I ride exceptionally well, thank you kindly.”
He smiled, flashing that damnable dimple in the side of his cheek. “I think we both know you can ride only marginally well. I wouldn’t even venture to call your
skills on a horse sufficient. Certainly not well enough to be traipsing through muddy fields alone.”
Her cheeks heated. How dare he! The truth of his statement was of little consequence. Her pride flared, and before she could think better of it, she said, “My skills can hardly be measured while riding such an impossible creature. This horse is unnaturally ornery. I venture to say that even you, my lord, couldn’t command her.”
“You are wrong about that, Miss Dewhurst. I can be quite persuasive when the mood strikes.” His hot gaze raked down her body, briefly stopping at her breasts, then meandering down to the V between her thighs. His lips twisted into a delicious, knowing smile. “Or don’t you remember?”
Heat surged through her like a cresting wave. Of course she remembered. One didn’t easily forget passion so potent, so unyieldingly intense.
Swallowing, she glanced away. “You seem quite sure of yourself.”
He shrugged. “I’m capable enough.”
She licked her lips. “In that case, how about a little friendly wager?”
Her father, a retired gambler, had taught his only child a great many things. First among them, strike quickly when you have the advantage. Huntington would be fortunate to get Chocolate to move, let alone run.
His lips twisted into that arrogant smirk that had never failed to annoy her. “That all depends on the prize, Miss Dewhurst.”
“Two hundred pounds says you cannot outrun me with this horse.”
With his sleek gelding, she was sure to win. And two hundred pounds would be enough to pay for her father’s medicine, and a little extra besides. She smiled sweetly.
He leaned in, his big, imposing body impossibly close. “Two thousand.”
Her breath caught. She had no hope of paying him two hundred pounds if she lost, let alone two thousand. “You know I don’t have two thousand pounds.”
It was no secret. While she and her father struggled to conceal the true desperation
of their situation, all of England knew the money—everything—was gone. Only the family estate remained, derelict and neglected, but untouched by creditors.
Boldly, he reached out and traced her lips with the tip of his finger, a barely there touch that sent shivers of awareness skipping down her spine. She should push him away. It was the proper thing to do. Instead, her eyelids fluttered closed as she absorbed his touch. It took every drop of self-control not to reach out and pull him into a deep, delicious kiss. She still remembered the feel of his lips against hers, the fierce, unrelenting need that followed in the wake of his touch.
“As it happens, you do have something I want.” His voice was low, seductive, and it reminded her of the warm afternoons they’d spent together, talking, laughing, kissing…
His hand fell away and she opened her eyes, blinking. That she had something he wanted seemed impossible. She was destitute, on the brink of ruin. She had nothing.
He leaned in closer, his warm breath brushing over her cheek, and whispered in her ear. “Two thousand pounds if you win.”
She swallowed. “And if I lose?”
“I get you.”
A NIGHT WITH THE BRIDE
“There is rumor that you are looking for a wife. Is that true?”
His gaze turned wicked. “Indeed, I am. Are you volunteering, Miss Weatherfield?”
Oh! Is that what he thought—that she had designs to become his wife? “No, no,” she said quickly. “No.” She shook her head. “I am most certainly not volunteering. No.”
He lifted a brow. “You follow me out onto the terrace, alone, your gown enticingly tight, and ask me if I am in the market for a wife.”
She glanced down at her gown and frowned. It was perhaps a little tight, but not improperly so. She looked up at him. “I am not in want of a husband, I can assure you—”
“Then what is it you want?”
She stepped forward, her gaze fixed on his mouth, mesmerized by the perfection of his lips. “A kiss.” The words slipped out, a whisper, and she blinked.
Oh, dear God, she’d said that out loud. She hadn’t meant to blurt it out so abruptly.
“Young women don’t make such admissions, and certainly not to men they’ve just met.” He laughed and the rich, heady sound made her heart flutter wildly. “Miss Weatherfield, you are playing a dangerous game.”
She swallowed. “You’re a duke of the realm and trustworthy, by all accounts.” Rumored to be mad as well, but it seemed unwise to mention that just now. “Surely I have nothing to fear from you.”
Again, not entirely true, but she was perfectly safe on a terrace, outside a house
that was filled to the brim with people. No harm would come to her, she was sure of it.
“You seem so certain, yet you know nothing of my character.” With every word, he inched closer. She took a step back, then another, until she was pressed up against the granite banister with nowhere to go. “Do you?”
She swallowed. He was so close she could smell the mint leaf on his breath, feel the intense heat of his body. “I have nothing to fear from you,” she repeated, infusing her tone with confidence she didn’t feel.
Something dark flickered in his eyes, and she felt a moment of apprehension. His gaze was intent, predatory, and her body hummed with anticipation.
He brushed a gloved finger down her bare arm, causing tingles to spread in its wake. “Don’t you?”
Yes, perhaps she did. This man was quite dangerous, in all the most tantalizing ways. Those intense blue eyes, that smooth, enigmatic charm, did things to her—wicked, delicious things.
With one step closer, he pressed against her intimately, his lower half pinning her to the banister. He stretched an arm out on either side of her, caging her in. He was all warmth and decadence, all powerful male virility.
In that moment, she realized what had been missing with all those other gentlemen—why she’d never felt compelled to accept their proposals. It was this. Unlike the other men, Somerset made her feel vibrant, unrestrained. He made her feel alive.
“If you want a kiss, Miss Weatherfield, you’ll have to earn it.”
Win a special galley with all three novellas in the By Invitation Only series bound together! US/Canada addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Author Jack Gantos offers tips to students at the International School of Kuala Lumpur. Welcome to Day 9 of the Classroom Challenge.
Today I have a spotlight and giveaway for Kelli Maine’s Give & Take series. One lucky winner will win the entire series! That might keep you reading until the spring thaw! But first, Kelli has 5 fun facts about her series to share with us.
5 Fun Facts about The Give & Take Series
It’s the end of an era. Okay, not an era, but it feels like one to me. Writing the last novel and novella, GIVEN and TAKE THIS MAN, in the Give & Take Series has been rewarding and bitter-sweet. Here are 5 fun facts about writing the series.
Fun Fact #5!
Kelli Maine is a pen name I came up with for writing TAKEN using the Find Your Stripper Name method. First Pet’s Name + First Road You Lived On. Mine would be Missy Main. That sounded a little too porn star to me, so I used my sister’s first name, Kellie. (Turns out there’s an actual porn star named Kelly Main – I’ve tried to Google her and can’t find her, but people like to tell me she exists! Who knew?) On the cover, my designer, Rachel Marks (who is amazing) asked if I would put the E in Kellie on the end of Main instead for a better balance in the design. I said sure! And that’s how my pen name came about.
Fun Fact #4!
TAKEN was a revision of an urban fantasy novel I wrote five years earlier titled, Taken By Seven. I kept Rachael and Merrick and one plot, her kidnapping. Over the five years between the two versions, I kept thinking about Rachael and Merrick and would joke to friends who loved Taken By Seven that the two of them were on Misfit Character Island until I could rescue them. Turns out Misfit Island was Turtle Tear Island and Rachael and Merrick were waiting for me to come visit and see what they had going on all those years instead of waiting to be rescued.
Fun Fact #3!
TAKEN was inspired by Lucy Christopher’s Stolen, an award winning young adult novel written in second person. I was blown away by this book and wanted to try something similar. Since I already had my own kidnapping story, I dove right in and began writing Taken. Second person POV is always a risk, but in romance it is especially risky since there are very rigid guidelines and expectations in the genre. Not being a romance reader—I’d read a handful before writing Taken—I wasn’t detoured. While the novels in the Give & Take series are erotic romances, I think of the whole as a family saga laced in mystery that could stand on its own without the sex scenes.
Fun Fact #2!
The Give & Take Series has a foundation that could be its own historical romance series. I had an old map of Turtle Tear Island drawn, a historical plantation in Florida identified for inspiration, a family tree going back to the eighteenth century and plotted out lives for the founders of Turtle Tear Island, Ingrid and Archibald Weston, and their children. Ingrid and Archibald are mentioned in every book and I consider them the Romeo and Juliet of the Civil War south. I’ve never written anything historical before, but I’m considering giving it a shot!
Fun Fact #1!
Since writing the prologue for TAKEN, I’ve known how the end of Merrick and Rachael’s story would go in TAKE THIS MAN. Their story has always paralleled that of Archibald and Ingrid, so it only made sense to bring it full circle with their wedding. Without giving too much away, in the story of Archibald and Ingrid, he propped a ladder at her window, climbed up and swept her away!
TAKE THIS MAN (Forever E-Novella; $1.99).
It’s finally here. After many twists and turns and shocking revelations, it’s time for Merrick and Rocha to declare their love for one another in front of their family and friends. And what better place than the historic island where their love first began?
GIVEN (Forever Trade Paperback; $14.00).
For Merrick and Rachael, Turtle Tear Island has become their own private paradise with days of unimaginable bliss and sizzling nights in the bedroom—and beyond. But Rachael and Merrick’s happiness is shattered when his daughter, Nadia, suddenly becomes increasingly demanding of his time and devotion. It soon becomes clear that Merrick will have to make an agonizing choice: the woman whose love saved his tortured soul or the daughter he never knew existed…
Rachel can’t stand the thought of losing Merrick after everything she’s sacrificed to be with him. She had thought she and Merrick were done with secrets, that the passion that burned so brightly between them had forged an unbreakable connection, but she begins to wonder if she ever really knew the man at all. Now the love they’ve fought so desperately to protect may not be enough to save them…
TAKE ME BACK (Forever E-Novella; $1.99)
Rachael DeSalvo is haunted by the past. She’s come home to her beloved Turtle Tear Island, where she looks forward to happy days and bliss-filled nights in the arms of Merrick Rocha. But when she finds a trunk full of old photo albums and handwritten notes, Rachael soon realizes that the island has not given up all its secrets…
For long before Rachael and Merrick made Turtle Tear Resort their home, this historic island was a haven for sensual, forbidden affairs. As Rachael and Merrick work to restore the grand hotel to its former glory, they will be caught in the perfect maelstrom of conflict and desire.
TAKEN BY STORM (Forever Trade Paperback; $14.00)
Maddie Simcoe knows the devastation that comes from keeping secrets. Now, she’s desperate to move on from the heartbreak that almost destroyed her— trading wild passion that once made her knees weak for a life of comfortable stability. But before Maddie can start over, she must return home to put the past behind her once and for all…
When Maddie blows back into MJ Rocha’s life, nothing will stop him from proving to her that walking away from him was the biggest mistake of her life — not even the engagement ring she wears. Her every look, every touch tells MJ that the fire that once raged between them still burns hot, and MJ won’t give up until Maddie gives in to the inferno.
No Take Backs
NO TAKE BACKS (Forever E-Novella; $1.99)
The man Rachael DeSalvo loves more than anything is suffering in silence. The grand opening of Turtle Tear Resort should be a time of celebration for Merrick Rocha. But he’s suddenly intent on selling off the business he built from the ground up-and Rachael’s hell-bent on finding out why. Only one man can give her the answers she seeks, but meeting with him would be the ultimate betrayal to Merrick. Merrick once asked Rachael to trust him against all odds…can he do the same?
TAKEN (Forever Trade Paperback; $13.99)
He steals her away to a deserted island, to the one place she’s dreamed of being-the one place she can’t go. He’s used to buying whatever he wants, but he can’t buy her. How can she resist the magnetism of his body, the longing ache deep inside her? She wants him to take her-on her terms. Every attempt he makes to love her only hurts her. How can they go on like this? This is the story of how she was . . .
About Kelli Maine
USA Today bestselling author of TAKEN and its sequel, No Take Backs, Kelli Maine watches entirely too much reality TV, which led to her compulsion to write dramatic romance novels. Blessed with a unique ability to bond with difficult people, she’s convinced she could win Big Brother. Her deathly fear of heights would keep her from completing half of the detours on The Amazing Race, and she’s shocked nobody has ever penned The Survivor Diet Plan: Eat One Cup of Rice for Thirty-Nine Days and Lose Fifty Pounds! Kelli lives in northeast Ohio with her family and a crazy cat that broke into their attic and refused to leave.
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Excerpt – TAKE THIS MAN -
He slowed to a stop beside the large, dangling frame. There was nothing fancy about it. It was black—and empty other than a white mat. From the right bottom corner of the matting, a black ink tree was sketched, jutting up with branches sprouting over the right top corner. On the tree trunk was drawn a heart, and inside that heart was written Merrick and Rachael Rocha, and the date.
The handwriting was familiar. I couldn’t believe he’d done this. “Merrick… you drew this?”
His dimples and the gleam in his eye couldn’t be contained. “I did. It’s the start of our family tree. We’ll put our wedding photo in it and eventually a family photo and then a photo with our grandkids.” He took me by the chin. “And in fifty years when we’re old and gray, we’ll renew our vows here on the island and have a new wedding photo to frame.”
Merrick kissed me then, a firm kiss, full of confidence, promises that would be kept, a lifetime of adventures to share and a family to love. My heart was on a precipice, ready to fall over the edge and burst with its fullness.
He took my face between his hands and nuzzled my nose with his. “Are you ready to get married now? To become my wife?”
I almost laughed with so much joy inside. “I’ve been ready!”
Then we did laugh and held each other until our giddy excitement was interrupted by the squawk of a walkie-talkie clipped to the visor followed by MJ’s voice. “NBT to Big Papa, what’s your ETA?”
Still chuckling, Merrick closed his eyes and shook his head. “NBT?” I asked. “Big Papa?”
“MJ’s idea,” he said. “He says he’s the NBT—Next Big Thing—and that even though he’s my little brother, he’d always think of me as Big Papa.”
I slid my hand up his thigh. “Big Papa, huh? I’ll have to remember that.”
“I want to hear you scream it tonight.” He shrugged his eyebrows up and down.
“Big Papa,” MJ said into the walkie-talkie. “Come in, Big Papa. Looking for an ETA here. Riley’s got his thong in a knot about putting the cake out too soon.”
“Forget the damn cake.” Beck’s voice now, fainter than MJ’s. “I’ve got a gator fifty yards from the gazebo. Get it gone—now!”
“Fine!” Riley’s voice now. “You fly in the cake from L.A. next time, tough man, and figure out how much defrosting time it needs so it’s not frozen solid or a ball of mush for photos.”
Beck let out a bark of laughter. “Yeah, that will always be all you.”
“Don’t act all muscles and tats with me. You’re in touch with your feminine side, Mr. Cello.”
“Big Papa!” MJ yelled this time. “ETA.”
Merrick and I couldn’t stop laughing. “You put those three stooges in charge of my wedding?” I gave him a playful whack on the arm.
He rolled his eyes. “Trust me, my selection of helpers was limited. Maddie and Shannon are around somewhere, though. Never fear.” He pressed his foot to the accelerator and picked up the walkie-talkie. “Big Papa to NBT. ETA five minutes.”
Five minutes and I’d be walking down the aisle.
Five minutes and this man beside me would be mine forever.
Five minutes and I’d become Mrs. Merrick Rocha.
Ready for your chance to win the full GIVE & TAKE series by Kelli Maine? This includes a mix of e-book and print titles -(US/Canada only)
TAKEN (trade paperback)
NO TAKE BACKS (e-novella)
TAKEN BY STORM (trade paperback)
TAKE ME BACK (e-novella)
GIVEN (trade paperback)
TAKE THIS MAN (e-novella)
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We "spring forward" today. Therefore, please remember to link your slice of life story post before 11:59 p.m. EDT today.