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1. Mailbox Monday - 1/26/15

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. (Library books don’t count, but eBooks & audiobooks do).

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists!

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia @ A Girl and Her Books, has a permanent home now at Mailbox Monday.
Every week Mailbox Monday will have a new linky posted for our Mailbox Monday links at Marcia's Mailbox Monday blog.

Here’s a shout out to the new administrators:

Leslie of Under My Apple Tree 
Vicki of I’d Rather Be at the Beach
Serena @ Savvy Verse And Wit 

THANKS to everyone for keeping Mailbox Monday alive.
I hope you had a good mailbox.  My mailbox was nice and lean.  :)
On Wednesday, January 21, I received:

1.  THE SECRETS OF MIDWIVES by Sally Hepworth, courtesy of Katie Bassel of St. Martin's.

This was a very nice surprise.  Katie sent me the finished copy in hard back.  

Katie had sent me the ARC for my review which will be on my blog on February 10.

I enjoyed the book.  I hope you can stop back on February 10 to see my review and to see if you may want to read the book.
 How about your mailbox?   

Any titles in your mailbox that you were excited about seeing?

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2. A Visit with Don Tate …


Author-illustrator Don Tate, who visited 7-Imp for breakfast back in 2011, is back today to talk about his upcoming picture books. As it turns out, I had an opportunity to do one of those so-called cover reveals for his book Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton of Chapel Hill, which will be on shelves from Peachtree in the Fall. (Yes, FALL! I know. Seems so far away.) And then it turned into an opportunity to ask him about the book (I read an early PDF version) and to show some spreads from it, and I’m all for that. Even better. To boot, Don is even sharing some images from another forthcoming book, written by Chris Barton, called The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch (Eerdmans), which I believe will be on shelves in April. So you’ll see that below too.

Poet is the story of George Moses Horton, the first African American poet to be published in the South. Horton’s story is a remarkable one, and Don talks a bit below about why. Let’s get right to it, especially so that we can see more of his art.

I thank him for visiting.

Jules: Can you talk a bit about your research for this one?

Don: I had so much fun researching Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton. It was like putting together a puzzle. The first piece of the puzzle began with a simple “budget line,” as they say in the newspaper business: George Moses Horton was an enslaved poet in North Carolina, who became the first African American to be published in the South. Many poems protested slavery. In order to complete the puzzle, I did a lot of research.

“George loved words. …”
(Click to enlarge)

I began by reading Horton’s own autobiography. It’s a very short but detailed account of his life that was published as a prefix in his second book, The Poetical Works of George M. Horton. The book was published in 1845. The archaic language was tough to understand.

Here’s a sample (which is in the public domain):

…Nevertheless did I persevere with an indefatigable resolution, at the risk of success. But ah! the oppositions with which I contended are too tedious to relate, but not too formidable to surmount; and I verily believe that those obstacles had an auspicious tendency to waft me, as on pacific gales, above the storms of envy and the calumniating scourge of emulation, from which literary imagination often sinks beneath its dignity, and instruction languishes at the shrine of vanity. I reached the threatening heights of literature, and braved in a manner the clouds of disgust which reared in thunders under my feet. …


“Then George found an old spelling book. It was tattered and some pages were missing, but it was enough to get him started. …”
(Click to enlarge)

“… George was now a full-time writer, but he was still not a free man.”
(Click to enlarge)

So first I had some deciphering to do. One of my best resources came from a researcher at the University of North Carolina’s Wilson’s Special Collections Library. I can’t emphasize how much researchers there helped me to tell this story. I’d ask a question, and they’d return an abundance of information and sources — about Horton’s life; the clothes people wore; images of the old campus; literacy in slave communities. I had way more information than needed, but it gave me the confidence to tell an accurate story. I also consulted with the Chapel Hill Historical Society and the North Carolina Museum of History, and I studied the poetry from his three books: The Poetical Works, The Hope of Liberty, and Naked Genius.

(Click to enlarge)

“Now it was too dangerous for George to write poems that protested slavery.
But he didn’t stop writing altogether. …”

(Click to enlarge)

Jules: Did you learn anything that surprised you?

Don: Yes. As mentioned in my Author’s Note, George Horton’s life and the things he accomplished as an enslaved man totally surprised me. Horton was likely the best paid poet of his Southern contemporaries, black or white. He made enough money from his poetry to pay his master for his time, which allowed him to live at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a full-time writer. He published two books while enslaved and delivered two commencement speeches to graduates. All of this happened a time when African-American literacy was discouraged, devalued, even outlawed. George’s life was full of surprises.

Don: “This was a sample image used to sell the dummy. I sketched the entire book roughly — but painted this one piece. In the end, I decided to go with a less polished-looking style. I felt the loose watercolor and line worked better.”
(Click to enlarge)

There was another thing that surprised me. Slavery was a peculiar institution, to say the least. But I was surprised to learn that many slave owners in North Carolina viewed their slaves as family members. Is that strange or what? Slaves were considered the property of their masters. They performed day-long, back-breaking work for no pay. Their diet was typically poor and their clothing inadequate. They could be whipped or even killed by their masters for any reason and with no recourse. Some way to treat a family member, huh?

Don: “Originally to be our title page image. But I realized much later that this image would not have been accurate. While George did work alongside his mother, singing songs in a tobacco field, he would have been a toddler. I scrapped this image.”
(Click to enlarge)

Don: “This was another title page sketch. Again, the tobacco field was not accurate.”
(Click to enlarge)

Jules: I like in your closing Author’s Note that you talk about why you wanted to do this book — that you once were adamant about focusing on “contemporary stories relevant to young readers today,” especially given that “whenever the topic of black history came up, it was always in relation to slavery, about how black people were once the property of white people ….” Yet you were moved to tell this story anyway. Can you talk a bit here about why?

Don: As a young child, I was often embarrassed when the topic of slavery came up at school. There were many reasons for that, but mainly it seemed that when it came to the history of African Americans, slavery was the only thing ever mentioned. White kids sometimes made jokes about slavery. Black kids insulted each other by saying mean things like: “You look like Kunta Kente,” who was a character from the movie Roots. If someone got called Kunta, a fight was on! That’s sad when you consider what Kunta Kente went through in his lifetime. He was actually a hero.

Don: “This was the original opening illustration for the book. However, I questioned the race of the church congregation. Would George have worshipped with an all-black congregation? Or would he have worshiped together with the whites, but separate? Both scenarios could have been possible; we just don’t know. One of my sources, a curator at the Historic Hope Plantation in North Carolina. advised going with the all-black congregation. North Carolina had one of the largest free black populations in the colonies. It was more likely that he was inspired at church services
while hearing a free black preacher read the Bible.”

(Click to enlarge)

Because of those negative childhood memories, when I first got into the publishing industry, I promised myself that I would not illustrate stories about slavery, that I’d focus on telling other stories of my people. So what changed all of that? It was a journey.

I’m a dad and husband. I’m a provider. First and foremost, it’s my job to earn a living for my family. If I was going to become a published author, I figured that writing stories about apples didn’t make sense if oranges were in higher demand. Know what I mean? So for my first book, I wrote a story about a former slave who became a famed folk artist. I could have written a story about a contemporary African American child who . . . I don’t know, enjoys skateboarding and playing basketball. Which one do you think would have sold quicker?

Don: “This was one of my favorite images from my original book dummy. It portrays a couple reading one of George Horton’s love poems. We decided to nix this one,
opting to show George reciting a poem while a student wrote it out.”

(Click to enlarge)

But here’s the thing: When I wrote that first book, It Jes’ Happened [art here at 7-Imp], and I studied the narratives of other enslaved African American people, I fell in love with their stories of resilience. Slavery, civil rights, “issue” books? Why not? My people have overcome mountainous obstacles. These are stories that everyone can appreciate and relate to — not only African American children. Inspired, I decided that I wanted to focus my career on telling these important stories.

Hope’s Gift (Penguin, 2012), written by Kelly Starling Lyons, was another in that journey for me. It’s the fictionalized story of an enslaved family. The book celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Next up is a story that I illustrated, written by Chris Barton. It is called The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch (Eerdmans). It tells the story of a young man who in ten years went from teenage field hand to United States Congressman. The story is set during slavery and ends during Reconstruction, the era following the Civil War.

This book also presented many challenges. Reconstruction, which promised bright opportunities, was often a dangerous and deadly time for African Americans, who were basically reenslaved under new laws. Chris Barton dealt with the challenging subject matter honestly, and so did I. Some of the images in the book, like a KKK church-burning and others will generate a lot of discussion. Here are a few images from The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch.

(Click to enlarge)

“… Fellow former slaves reveled in the promises of freedom –
family, faith, free labor, land, education.
John Roy wanted to be part of that.”

(Click to enlarge)

(Click to enlarge)

“… Back home, white terrorists burned black schools and black churches.
They armed themselves on Election Day to keep blacks away.
They even committed murder.”

(Click to enlarge)

Jules: What’s next for you?

Don: A lot! Currently I’m illustrating a second book for Chris Barton called Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson’s Super Stream of Ideas (Charlesbridge, 2016). It’s the story of the creator of the Super Soaker squirt gun. I’m also creating thumbnail sketches for a book written by Michael Mahin called . . . get ready for it: Stalebread Charlie and the Razzy Dazzy Spasm Band (Penguin, TBD). Whew! I thought I’d never be able to remember that name. But guess what? I can’t forget it! Next up is another book that I wrote that I’m not ready to talk about. It will be published by Charlesbridge and is out to my editor. I expect revision notes soon. I’m very excited about that project.

* * * * * * *

All images here are used by permission of Don Tate, and the illustrations from Poet are used by permission of Peachtree.

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3. It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - 1/26/15

I hope you had a great reading week.  
This is a weekly meme run by Book Journey!

Post the books completed last week, the books you are currently reading, and the books you hope to finish this week. 


Books Completed Last Week:

WAR OF THE WIVES  by Tamar Cohen for a February 12, 2015, post.

It is a pretty good read.  Humorous at times.

I also finished an e-book...not my favorite way to read.  I like print.

DOCTOR DEATH by Lene Kaaberbol for a February 16, 2015, post.

Set in the 1800's...murders, medical, and an odd ending.


Book Currently Reading: 

THE POCKET WIFE by Susan Crawford for a March 17, 2015, post.

The author told a friend of mine how she got the title for her book, and I love it.  Can't wait to read THE POCKET WIFE.

Books Up Next:   

NIGHT NIGHT, SLEEP TIGHT by Hallie Ephron for a March 24, 2015, post.

WHISPER HOLLOW by Chris Cander for a March 26, 2015, post.

I love this cover. The ARC has a different one.

THE SILVER WITCH by Paula Brackston for an April 16, 2015 post.

TAHOE GHOST by Todd Borg

HIGH SEAS DARKNESS by Burr B. Anderson

THREE STORY HOUSE by Courtney Miller Santo

GARDEN OF LETTERS by Alyson Richman






WOMAN OF ILL FAME by Erika Mailman


PERFECT by Rachel Joyce



The books below are not necessarily in the order I have planned to read them.  

I normally read in order of publication or tour date.

And....these are not for reading in the upcoming week.  They are books into and including all of 2014.

The "list" is a means of keeping me organized.  A visual display helps a lot for organization along with my Excel lists. 

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4. Penguins Create a Caption

Create a CaptionCreate a Caption for these Stylish Penguins

I love penguins just in their regular tuxedos (a.k.a. their birthday suits!), but these dressed up penguins look ready for a fancy South Pole party! Don’t they look like they could dance the night away?

Stylish Penguins

‘These Penguins Have Style” Flickr photo by Michael Dorausch

What do you think these stylish penguins are saying to each other? Leave your caption in the Comments!

Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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5. Swiss franc/Swiss publishers

       The recent, abrupt pull-back by the Swiss National Bank, allowing the Swiss franc to float freely (and appreciate most dramatically) -- see, for example, Edward Harrison at Foreign Policy on What the Wild Swiss Franc Appreciation Really Means -- has ripple effects far and wide (including in a lot of eastern European countries, where way too many folks somehow got themselves talked into franc-denominated mortgages ...).
       Much of Switzerland's economy is, of course, affected -- including the publishing industry. As Jürg Altwegg reports in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Der Schweizer Buchmarkt schwächelt. Local German-language publishers enjoy most of their sales abroad (Diogenes and Kein & Aber: about ninety per cent, he writes), and that suddenly doesn't work out to nearly as much profit domestically. Worse: Swiss book buyers now have even more of an incentive to purchase via Amazon Germany, paying the euro price (and avoiding any import-duty if they don't buy too much at one time) -- a disaster for local booksellers.
       Canada has faced similar issues in recent years, when the loonie was strong, but the current Swiss situation seems considerably more extreme.

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6. Audio Teaching: The Christian’s Hope: Part One

I hope you’ll take time to listen to these audio teachings, if not here, then perhaps you’ll consider downloading them and taking them with you?


What the Bible really says about Death, Judgment, Rewards, Heaven, and the Future Life on a Restored Earth. God originally planned for mankind to live on earth, and His plan, though postponed by sin, will not be thwarted – it will come to pass in the future when a new earth is created. The Christian’s Hope shows from Scripture that each Christian will be rewarded in the coming world in direct proportion to the quality of how he lives for God in this world.

Click the arrow to listen to the Acknowledgements/Prayer/Introduction.

Click the arrow to listen to Our Valuable Anchor.

Read along here.

A Biblical Look at “Hope”

In order to properly understand the Christian’s hope, it is important to examine the exact meaning of the word “hope.” “Hope” means “a desire for, or an expectation of, good, especially when there is some confidence of fulfillment.” It is used that way both in common English and in the Bible. However, the Bible often uses the word “hope” in another way—to refer to the special expectation of good that God has in store for each Christian in the future. This includes the “Rapture,” receiving a new, glorified body, and living forever in Paradise. Today, the ordinary use of “hope” allows for the possibility that what is hoped for will not come to pass. However, when the Bible uses the word “hope” to refer to things that God has promised, the meaning of “hope” shifts from that which has a reasonable chance of coming to pass to that which will absolutely come to pass. To be a useful anchor, hope must hold fast.


Filed under: Abundant Life

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7. 5 Makanan Khas Bandung

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Sebagai sebuah kota yang cukup maju dan banyak dikunjungi oleh wisatawan, Bandung memiliki banyak kuliner yang rasanya nikmat dan lezat. Jika anda berkunjung ke Bandung, cobalah mencicipi masakan khas seperti bala-bala, karedok, combro, batagor, dan masih banyak makanan khas Bandung yang lainnya.


Diantara makanan-makanan khas tersebut, saya akan mencoba menghadirkan 5 makanan khas yang memiliki keunikan dan rasa tidak biasa. Berikut adalah 5 makanan khas Bandungtersebut, diantaranya adalah:
1.      Ambokueh
Makanan ini adalah makanan yang biasa disajikan oleh mereka yang beragama non muslim. Ambokueh adalah salah satu makanan khas Bandung yang terbuat dari tepung beras, kemudian dicampurkan dengan toge goreng,sayuran timun, dan lain-lain, kemudian dicampur juga dengan cairan bumbu. Ambokueh tidak dimakan dengan nasi melainkan hanya dicemil begitu saja. Makanan ini adalah makanan yang berasal dari warga keturunan Tionghoa.
2.      Bala-bala
Bala-bala adalah makanan yang terbuat dari tepung terigu dan sayuran, dimasak dengan cara digoreng.Bisa dinikmati oleh hampir semua usia mulai dari anak-anak hingga orang dewasa.Bala dalam bahasa sunda artinya adalah “sampah”. Mungkin karena makanan ini terdiri dari berbagai jenis sayuran sehingga terlihat seperti sampah yang campur aduk. Akan tetapi, rasanya sangat nikmat. Makanan khas bandung ini juga biasa di jual dan di sukai anak-anak SD lho.
3.      Combro
Di Jawa Barat atau tepatnya di Bandung, combro biasa disebut comro atau gemet. Ini adalah salah satu makanan khas yang rasanya sangat unik.Berbahan pembuatan combro adalah singkong yang kemudian dibentuk menjadi bulatan-bulatan sebesar bola pimpong dan diisi dengan sambal oncom. Biasanya dimasak dengan cara digoreng. Menurut orang sunda, combro adalah singkatan dari oncom di jero yang artinya adalah oncom yang ada didalam. Baik combro dan gamet memiliki kesamaan dan biasanya sangat enak apabila dinikmati saat masih hangat.
4.      Karedok
Jika anda adalah seorang pencinta lalapan, maka karedok adalah pilihan tepat yang bisa anda cari jika anda kebetulan berada di Bandung. Karedok atau disebut juga keredok adalah salah satu makanan khas dari Bandung yang terbuat dari beberapa sayuran mentah seperti kacang panjang, touge, mentimun, kol, terong, dan kemangi.
Lalapan ini biasanya disajikan dengan bumbu kacang,yang terbuat dari cabe merah, kacang tanah, kencur, gula jawa, air asam, bawang merah dan bawang putih.
Bahan-bahan pembuatan karedok di atas, tidak ada yang dimasak. Namun rasanya tentu saja sangat nikmat. Anda bisa memakannya tanpa nasi atau menggunakannya sebagai lalapan ditemani dengan ikan atau ayam goreng.
5.      Gepuk
Makanan yang satu ini memang sedikit jarang terdengar akan tetapi makanan yang terbuat dari daging ini rasanya sangat nikmat dan unik. Selain itu tentu saja makanan ini banyak mengandung gizi. Gepuk atau empal adalah makanan khas yang berasal dari Bandung. Dan di daerah asalnya, makanan ini menjadi salah satu favorit warga sunda.
Gepuk biasanya terbuat dari daging sapi tanpa lemak. Gepuk memiliki cita rasa yang gurih dan manis dan warnanya biasanya sedikit coklat kehitamanm dan daging sapi yang disajikan berbentuk irisan tipis. Pembuatan gepuk sangat unik karena terlebih dahulu harus di pukul atau ditumbuk kemudian direndam di dalam bumbu.Ini dimaksudkan untuk menjadikan daging sapi lebih empuk.
Gepuk sangat nikmat apabila disajikan dengan nasi yang hangat serta sambal yang sedikit pedas.

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8. Monday Poetry Stretch - Three Letter Word Poems

To villanelle and back, an article in James Fenton's poetry masterclass, looks at a variety of forms and the challenges they pose. I particularly love this excerpt.
John Fuller, in response to a competition challenge, set out to write a poem consisting only of three-letter words. And in order to add to the interest, he decided on a form in which there were three three-letter words per line, and the lines came in groups of three.
What an interesting idea! Here is how the resulting poem begins.
The Kiss
by John Fuller

Who are you
You who may
Die one day

Who saw the
Fat bee and
The owl fly

Read the poem in its entirety (scroll down the page to find it).
This amazing poem has me wondering what kind of poems can be crafted using only three-letter words. That is your challenge. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.

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9. Thoughts in the necropolis

One of Glasgow’s best-known tourist highlights is its Victorian Necropolis, a dramatic complex of Victorian funerary sculpture in all its grandeur and variety. Christian and pagan symbols, obelisks, urns, broken columns and overgrown mortuary chapels in classical, Gothic, and Byzantine styles convey the hope that those who are buried there—the great and the good of 19th century Glasgow—will not be forgotten.

But, of course, they are mostly forgotten and even the conspicuous consumption expressed in this extraordinary array of great and costly monuments has not been enough to keep their names alive. And, of course, we, the living, will soon enough go the same way: ‘As you are now, so once was I’, to recall a once-popular gravestone inscription.

Is this the last word on human life? Religion often claims to offer a different perspective on death since (it is said) the business of religion is not with time, but with eternity. But what, if anything, does this mean?

‘Eternal love’ and ‘eternal memory’ are phrases that spring to the lips of lovers and mourners. Even in secular France, some friends of the recently murdered journalists talked about the ‘immortality’ of their work. But surely that is just a way of talking, a way of expressing our especially high esteem for those described in these terms? And even when talk of eternity and immortality is meant seriously, what would a human life that had ‘put on immortality’ be like? Would it be recognizably human at all? As to God, can we really conceive of what it would be for God (or any other being) to somehow be above or outside of time? Isn’t time the condition for anything at all to be?

Entrance to the Necropolis. Photo by George Pattison. Used with permission.

If we really take seriously the way in which time pervades all our experiences, all our thinking, and (for that matter) the basic structures of the physical universe, won’t it follow that the religious appeal to eternity is really just a primitive attempt to ward off the spectre of transience, whilst declarations of eternal love and eternal memory are little more than gestures of feeble defiance and that if, in the end, there is anything truly ‘eternal’ it is eternal oblivion—annihilation?

Human beings have a strong track record when it comes to denying reality.

One fashionable book of the post-war period was dramatically entitled The Denial of Death and it argued that our entire civilization was built on the inevitably futile attempt to deny the ineluctable reality of death. But if there is nothing we can do about death, must we always think of time in negative terms—the old man with the hour-glass and scythe, so like the figure of the grim reaper?

And instead of thinking of eternity as somehow beyond or above time, might not time itself offer clues as to the presence of eternity, as in the experiences that mystics and meditators say report as being momentary experiences of eternity in, with, and under the conditions of time? But such experiences, valuable as they are to those who have them, remain marginal unless they can be brought into fruitful connection with the weave of past and future.

From the beginnings of philosophy, recollection has been valued as an important clue to finding the tracks of eternity in time, as in Augustine’s search for God in the treasure-house of memory. But the past can only ever give us so much (or so little) eternity.

A recent French philosopher has proposed that time cannot undo our having-been and that the fact that the unknown slave of ancient times or the forgotten victim of the Nazi death-camps really existed means that the tyrants have failed in their attempt to make them non-human. But this is a meagre consolation if we have no hope for the future and for the flourishing of all that is good and true in time to come. Really affirming the enduring value of human lives and loves therefore presupposes the possibility of hope.

One Jewish sage taught that ‘In remembering lies redemption; in forgetfulness lies exile’ but perhaps what we it is most important to remember is the possibility of hope itself and of going on saying ‘Yes’ to the common, shared reality of human life and of reconciling the multiple broken relationships that mortality leaves unresolved.

Pindar, an ancient poet of hope, wrote that ‘modesty befits mortals’ and if we cannot escape time (which we probably cannot), it is maybe time we have to thank for the possibility of hope and for visions of a better and more blessed life. And perhaps this is also the message that a contemporary graffiti-artist has added to one of the Necropolis’s more ruined monuments. ‘Life goes on’, either extreme cynicism or, perhaps, real hope.

Featured image credit: ‘Life goes on.’ Photo by George Pattison. Used with permission.

The post Thoughts in the necropolis appeared first on OUPblog.

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10. This Doesn't Sound Good

Last Friday I was concerned that I wouldn't get much done this next week because of various appointments. As recently as this morning I was planning what I would concentrate on with the work time I did find myself with.

Ah, those were the good old hours.

I live in that part of the country that's expecting the snow devil to descend upon us sometime tomorrow. I've got an elderly family member moving in with us tomorrow and expect her to stay until at least Wednesday, depending on what happens with power. She'll be bringing a cat. At the very least, I'll be shoveling snow. At the worst, I'll be dealing with preparing food without power, keeping the woodstove fed, working out where we'll sleep, bringing in firewood, and shoveling snow.

If this blows out of the state by Thursday? I have appointments on Thursday and Friday.

My storm prep tomorrow morning should include some work-in-the-storm prep. We'll see how I do with that.

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11. Eugowra Story - First Draft Finished!

After having missed out on Cranky Ladies Of History because my heroine might not have qualified as a lady(I think she did, but never mind. I'm thinking of ways to turn the story into fantasy and try selling it elsewhere) I allowed myself to be sucked into historical fiction again, because Ford Street has published two pieces of historical fiction by me and if Paul Collins wants a bushranger story, I am willing to have a go at writing one. I think I've posted about this before, but today I finished my first draft of a children's story about the robbery of the gold coach near Eugowra Rocks in NSW in 1862.

The thing is, I wrote about the Eugowra gold robbery in Crime Time: Australians Behaving Badly. I did a bit of research for that. It was one of fifty main stories and around the same number of "Did You Knows?" and each story was researched as well as I could, at least two sources, if not more.

And I still got a bit of it wrong. I can only plead that I did read more than one source and that there were around a hundred stories to look up!  If you read the book, you will see me mention a farmer and his son whose dray was used to block the road during the robbery. Well, the son was there, a young boy called George Burgess, who was given some money by the bushrangers after the robbery and spent the lot on sweets, which lasted him two weeks. But he wasn't there with his father - his father sent him along with a driver called Richard, or Dick, Bloomfield. When George was an old man, long after the event, he wrote about it. It was a short, very matter-of-fact, account, but it was definitely straight from the horse's mouth, even describing what Frank Gardiner the bushranger was wearing.

I used that, of course. This story is surprisingly well documented. There's not only George's account, but newspaper reports of the trials of the men who did the holdup, from almost right after the event onwards. So I will be going back to read the newspaper articles again, in case I missed something, before I hand in my story.

What fascinated me is that bushrangers weren't necessarily out in the bush all the time. I have no doubt that there were members of the community who wandered off to commit a crime now and then, and I bet everyone knew it. There were also those who didn't actually go out and rob, but who were well paid to pass on information to the robbers.

How to make the story interesting to a child reader? I don't know. I hope I have, but that's why I want a few days before I submit. I tried to put in a touch of humour - after all, no one actually died during this robbery, though some of the bushrangers were executed, but that was later. And the bushrangers gave each of the seven men/boys they had stopped before the robbery a pound and something to drink. Okay, the money and the grog were ill-gotten gains, but they didn't have to. And I don't know about you, but if I had just been held up and forced to wait through a crime, I'd be needing a drink too! Apparently, one of the men was a swagman, presumably one who had asked someone for a lift and was regretting it. Whether or not this was the case, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time - maybe if he was on foot, he would have been behind the coach.

The odd thing is, there were two mounted troopers who might have defended the coach, but they were a few miles ahead and didn't find out about the robbery till they reached Orange. That's what George Burgess says, anyway.

So, the story goes away for a day or two, even though I'll be back at work, so I can look at it with fresh eyes, and fingers crossed that Paul takes it, because I really don't see how I can make this one into fantasy or SF in hopes of selling it elsewhere! 

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12. IF: Passion

As kids my friend and I had a passion for catching turtles…
Combined with a lasting fixation (passion) for sumo style ink painting - and adding to that SAV5 vector paints…
We would see the turtle head peeking up. You could tell how big the turtle was from the head and shadow of its body - sometimes.

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13. "Bothersome Words" And Fan Fiction

While Googling today, I came across an article about lessons you can learn from writing fan fiction. I have written about the subject before, but this lady - I have met her at a con or two, but can't recall her actual name, though I follow her on Twitter - has written such a very good post on the subject of what professional writers can learn from fan writers that I think I will let you check in out through this link. She does say that quite a lot of professional writers are doing this anyway, but in general, it's a good thing todo, and, at its best, fan fiction does it.

At its worst, of course, that's another matter. And there is quite a lot of "worst". As a lover of history, I remember cringing at some of the Robin Of Sherwood fan fiction I read. And sometimes the authors found a historical nugget and forced it into their otherwise not-very-good story. And the number of writers who did the White Goddess thing made me roll my eyes.

But still, there are a lot of positive things about how people work on fanfic, so wander across and read this article. I put in a couple of comments at the time, several months ago. :-)

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14. 2015 Mock Newbery discussions at Emerson, part 4: Magic in the Mix + Nest + The Night Gardener

getting ready for book club -- each week, I took notes
What draws us into great stories? Is it the chance to see a glimpse of ourselves in other people? Is it getting lost in another world, so far from our own? Or maybe it's getting swept away by an exciting plot, full of suspense and danger. As we met each week, I loved listening to my students recommending books to one another each week during our book club lunches, hearing what they loved and what captured their interest.
Magic in the Mix
by Annie Barrows
Bloomsbury, 2014
Your local library
ages 8-12
Many kids are drawn to stories with characters that inspire them because of their courage and bravery. Molly and Miri return from The Magic Half, but they are the only ones in their family who know that they haven't always been twin sisters. Molly and Miri's brothers always annoy them, but when the brothers stumble through the time portal that Molly and Miri have opened, the twin sisters know that it's up to them to rescue their brothers.

Our 4th and 5th graders all commented about how much they could imagine these characters, how the story pulled them through, and how they liked the mix of time-travel fantasy and historical fiction.
"I liked learning a little bit about the Civil War, but not too much."
"I could really see Molly and Miri and how brave they were helping their brothers."
"When they were scared, walking through the forest, I could feel like I was right there."
In the end, Magic in the Mix was read and enjoyed by many students (our two copies have circulated 25 times already!), but it didn't rise to the top of many final voting lists.
by Esther Ehrlich
Wendy Lamb / Random House, 2014
Your local library
ages 10-14
Eleven-year-old Naomi "Chirp" Orenstein is devoted to her mother, but life starts to fall apart when Chirp's mother is hospitalized for depression. When I first read Nest, I wasn't sure if it was right for an elementary school library, but several of my early readers were adamant that it was an amazing book that should be in our library. Angel and Corina wrote in their nomination,
"It's not a happily ever book, but it shows how much a girl and her family care and love each other after various tragedies.They may not end up with a perfect life but I found it was even better that way."
Nest is suited for students who like heartfelt stories that linger with you. Some students who like realistic fiction could tell that it was too sad, and stopped reading. Speaking with middle school librarians, it's finding a wider audience there. This is definitely a story that makes readers think long after they've turned the last page. What I loved about my students' reactions is how much they related to Chirp's inner strength as she copes with her mother's illness.
The Night Gardener
by Jonathan Auxier
Amulet / Abrams, 2014
my full review
Your local library
ages 10-14
Students who read The Night Gardener held it up as an example for masterful plot, setting and character development. "I could see how the tree was built right into the house," said Amelie. "I really imagine the house, seeing how it was old now, but also how it used to be." The setting was integral to creating the frightening tone for the story, especially the suspense that kept students reading. Kaiyah specifically mentioned that she felt right in the forest when Molly and Kip were in their wagon heading toward the Windsor's estate.
friends discussing books for Emerson's Mock Newbery
It's interesting -- I think both The Night Gardener and Nest might be seen as "more appropriate" for middle school students, but are ones that my students advocated strongly for including in our library. They are both emotionally intense stories, but I've found that students will stop reading them if they aren't ready for them. Both have depths in their treatment of different themes that I would love to talk more about with small groups, and both would stand up well to rereading. I was very happy to see both of these excellent books part of our discussion.

The review copies came from my home collection and our library collection. Early review copies were also kindly sent by the publishers, Abrams and Bloomsbury. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2015 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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15. Indiegogo and Vimeo Form Partnership to Support Filmmakers

Crowdfunding platform Indiegogo announced a partnership with Vimeo last weekend at Sundance that will make the video-hosting site as the preferred distribution platform for films funded on Indiegogo.

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16. The Equality Standard (newsletter link)

50/50 Leadership: Promoting Women's Equal Leadership.  Here's their newsletter: The Equality Standard: http://5050leadership.com/PDFnewsletters/January%202015.pdf

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17. The Case of the Vanishing Little Brown Bats

The Case of the Vanishing Little Brown Bats: A Scientific Mystery  by Sandra Markle Millbrook Press, 2015 ISBN: 9781467714631 Grades 4-7 Sandra Markle's third book in the Scientific Mystery series is just as engrossing as The Case of the Vanishing Golden Frogs and The Case of the Vanishing Honey Bees.  In The Case of the Vanishing Little Brown Bats readers are introduced to a problem: bats are

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18. 4 Tujuan Wisata Pantai di Bali yang Terkenal

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Setiap kita mendengar kata “Pulau Bali”, maka yang tersirat tentu saja keindahan pantai, budaya, dan tariannya. Tahukah anda bahwa di Bali terdapat banyak sekali pantai, yang bahkan mencapai ratusan pantai?

Walau demikian tidak semua pantai-pantai tersebut terkenal, walaupun sebenarnya pantai-pantai yang tidak terkenal tersebut memiliki keindahan dan keunikan tersendiri, bahkan bisa dikatakan jauh lebih indah dari yang sudah dikenal oleh masyarakat luas.
Nah, bagi anda yang belum pernah berkunjung ke Pulau Bali terutama belum pernah berwisata ke pantai-pantai pulau Bali, berikut adalah beberapa pantai yang cukup terkenal dan bisa anda masukkan ke dalam list tujuan wisata anda berikutnya :
1.       Pantai Kuta
Tidak sulit untuk menempatkan Pantai Kuta di list pertama “Tujuan Wisata Pantai di Bali yang Terkenal”, karena Pantai Kuta adalah ikon wisata pulau Bali.
Keindahan pantai ini sudah tidak diragukan lagi. Selain itu, letaknya yang tidak terlalu jauh dari pusat kota Denpasar, merupakan nilai plus yang dimiliki oleh Pantai Kuta. Di sepanjang jalan menuju pantai kuta terdapat berbagai pusat perbelanjaan serta hotel yang tertata rapi dan akan memanjakan anda dengan menyediakan segala sesuatu yang anda butuhkan.
Hard rock café, dan beberapa hotel, bar, pusat hiburan ada ditempat ini. Pantai kuta memiliki ombak yang tidak terlalu besar dan pantai yang cukup landai. Tidak hanya itu, pantainya sangat bersih dan terawat sehingga banyak digunakan oleh turis maupun pelancong dari dalam negeri untuk bersantai dan menikmati suasana mulai dari pagi hingga malam hari ini.
2.       Pantai Sanur
Tempat yang kedua adalah Pantai Sanur, yang merupakan salah satu pantai terkenal di Bali. Pantai ini terletak di sebelah timur kota Denpasar Bali. Jika anda ingin ke pantai ini, anda hanya membutuhkan waktu sekitar 10 hingga 15 menit dari pusat kota. Pantai ini terkenal sebagai salah satu pantai yang menawarkan keindahan sunriseatau matahari terbit, karena terletak di sebelah timur.
Di pantai ini bisa anda temukan banyak pepohonan rindang yang bisa dimanfaatkan untuk berteduh. Terdapat juga beberapa bale-bale atau rumah singgah yang bisa anda manfaatkan untuk berselonjor sambil menikmati suasana pantai.
3.       Pantai Dreamland
Pantai ini terletak di daerah pecatu dan merupakan salah satu pantai yang memiliki warna dan keunikan tersendiri. Pantai ini dikelilingi oleh tebing-tebing yang menjulang tinggi. Untuk turun ke pantai ini anda harus melewati tangga batu karang yang sangat unik. Anda akan menemukan rumah-rumah dan penginapan yang berdiri di atas batu karang sepanjang perjalanan menuju ke pantai. Dreamland memiliki pantai yang tidak terlalu luas akan tetapi sangat indah sehingga terkesan seperti pantai privat.
Debur ombak yang menghantam batu karang serta suara burung camar yang bersahut-sahutan merupakan pemandangan yang jamak anda temukan di Pantai dreamland.
4.       Pantai Lovina
Pantai yang berasal dari bahasa asing ini memiliki keindahan dan keunikan tersendiri, dimana pantainya memiliki pasir berwarna hitam dan alami. Di pantai ini biasanya pengunjung sering menjumpai lumba-lumba. Ada banyak lumba-lumba yang sering muncul dan bisa disaksikan oleh para wisatawan setiap hari di tempat ini. Waktu yang tepat untuk mengunjungi tempat ini adalah pada 06.00 hingga 08:00 pagi.
Di kawasan ini sudah banyak terdapat akomodasi seperti hotel dan warung makan atau restoran sehingga anda tidak perlu khawatir dengan berbagai hal. Selain itu, nilai plus yang bisa anda dapatkan dari berkunjung ke pantai lovina adalah Hutan Lindung Bedugul yang letaknya tidak terlalu jauh dari tempat ini. Di sana anda bisa menyaksikan pemandangan alam yang luar biasa indah dengan suasana dingin khas pegunungan.

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19. American book sales by category, 2014

       In Publishers Weekly Jim Milliot reports on The Hot and Cold Categories of 2014 in the US, looking at the "print book unit sales among adult segments in 2014" ("at outlets that report to Nielsen BookScan").
       On the positive side, "Occult/Psychological/Horror" showed the biggest drop among adult fiction categories (-26%). On the other hand, "Graphic Novels" showed the biggest increase (+13%). (That's in 'adult fiction'! Oddly, this isn't even a category in 'juvenile fiction' ....)
       The only other adult fiction category with any plus ? "Western".
       Amusingly, "Religion" was minus 15% in adult fiction -- but plus 12% in adult non-fiction. (No comment.)

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20. Calling sibling "Brother" instead of by his name

Question: My story takes place in an underground clan society. My main character has a brother that he is very close too. He almost always calls his brother

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21. The Role of a Writer…

Recently, my son-in-law (SIL) told me about this documentary he watched in his university course about the penal system in the 1950s. He’s studying law enforcement and this documentary was a case study where they took students to live in a prison-like setting. Half the students were told that they were the prisoners and the other half were the guards. The take home message from this case study was that ALL the students fell into their roles and didn’t veer from them. If they were prisoners, then they were stuck in character. If guards, that’s who they became. This got me thinking. Our thoughts are so powerful. If we BELIEVE we’re writers, and practice this ROLE, then by God, we begin to FEEL like writers.

Sometimes it’s a matter of unplugging from the hard-wiring we’ve had growing up. As children, we fall into roles quite easily and sometimes are stuck in these roles for the rest of our lives. An ‘A’ student will always be the smart one. The ‘C’ student won’t. When I began the journey to be a published author, at first I thought only teachers or people with masters in English or in creative writing were good enough to be authors. It was a huge obstacle to overcome for me mentally, but overcome I did. I broke the mold that I was stuck in for years.

Once I retrained my mind, I developed a positive mental attitude, and I found that I started to feel free from the limitations I grew up with. It really didn’t matter if I didn’t possess an English degree or MFA, I knew I could learn to become a published author by sheer determination, perseverance, patience, and practice. I had the time to invest in following my heart, and I did.

I made a commitment. I scheduled my time. And I asked for support from my family or friends when I needed it. Remember the only thing holding you back from your writing aspirations is YOU. Break out of the role that’s keeping you from your dreams. You’ll be happier and healthier in the long run.

Thanks a heap for reading my blog. If you have time, please leave a comment and share what YOU do to create the role of writer for yourself. Cheers!

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22. Children's Book Series is going to Kindle

The Adventure of Beatrice was released fall of 2001 by Concordia Publishing....author Pam Halter and I have decided to take lovable, curious, fiery and creative little Beatrice to Kindle for a whole new generation of wee ones to enjoy. Here are the beginnings of what will be revisions for the e-book series...

The Adventures of Beatrice, Written by Pam Halter
Illustrated by Kim Sponaugle Published in 2001 by
Concordia Publishing House.

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23. Chanticleer and The Fox, Barbara Cooney

Today's vintage children's book is a repost from April of 2012, a wonderfully illustrated book by Barbara Cooney. It would have to be in my top ten of children's picture books.

To view that post, click here.

To read a lovely post done at Anemotion in 2010 on Cooney, click here.

Barbara Cooney was a very skilled draftsman and had a beautiful style.

The link above to Light and Shade has a good post on Barbara Cooney. I have to agree with Vincent Desjardins about Cooney's work in black and white. I think those illustrations and others with limited color schemes really showcase her skill as an artist.

To view other posts I did on Barbara Cooney books:

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24. Which health messages work?

Is it better to be positive or negative? Many of the most vivid public health appeals have been negative – “Smoking Kills” or “Drive, Drive, and Die” – but do these negative messages work when it comes to changing eating behavior?

Past literature reviews of positive- or gain-framed versus negative or loss-based health messages have been inconsistent. In our content analysis of 63 nutrition education studies, we discovered four key questions which can resolve these inconsistencies and help predict which type of health message will work best for a particular target audience. The more questions are answered with a “Yes,” the more a negative- or loss-based health message will be effective.

Is the target audience highly involved in this issue?

The more knowledgeable or involved a target audience, the more strongly they’ll be motivated by a negative- or loss-based message. In contrast, those who are less involved may not believe the message or may simply wish to avoid bad news. Less involved consumers generally respond better to positive messages that provide a clear, actionable step that leaves them feeling positive and motivated. For instance, telling them to “eat more sweet potatoes to help your skin look younger” is more effective than telling them “your skin will age faster if you don’t eat sweet potatoes.” The former doesn’t require them to know why or to link sweet potatoes to Vitamin A.

Is the target audience detail-oriented?

People who like details – such as most of the people designing public health messages – prefer negative- or loss-framed messages. They have a deeper understanding and knowledge base on which to elaborate on the message. In her coverage of the article for the Food Navigator, Elizabeth Crawford, noted that most of the general public is not interested in the details and is more influenced by the more superficial features of the message, including whether it is more positive or attractive relative to the other things vying for their attention at that moment.

Is the target audience risk averse?

When a positive outcome is certain, gain-framed messages work best (“you’ll live 7 years longer if you are a healthy weight”). When a negative outcome is certain, loss-framed messages work best (“you’ll die 7 years earlier if you are obese”). For instance, we found that if it is believed that eating more fruits and vegetables leads to lower obesity, a positive message (“eat broccoli and live longer”) is more effective than a negative message.

Is the outcome uncertain?

When claims appear factual and convincing, positive messages tend to work best. If a person believes that eating soy will extend their life by reducing their risk of heart disease, a positive message stating this is best. If they aren’t as convinced, a more effective message could be “people who don’t eat soy have a higher rate of heart disease.”

These findings show how those who design health messages, such as health care professionals, will be impacted by them differently than the general public. When writing a health message, rather than appealing to the sentiment of the experts, the message will be more effective if it’s presented positively. The general public is more likely to adopt the behavior being promoted if they see that there is a potential positive outcome. Evoking fear may seem like a good way to get your message across but this study shows that, in fact, the opposite is true—telling the public that a behavior will help them be healthier and happier is actually more effective.

Headline image credit: Newspaper. CC0 via Pixabay.

The post Which health messages work? appeared first on OUPblog.

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25. Monday Mishmash: 1/26/15

Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Scholastic Book Fair  I'm working the Scholastic Book Fair this week at my daughter's school. I know Stephanie Farris's book will be there, so I'll be talking it up to the kids. Anyone have a book that's part of the fair? I'll be sure to showcase it if so. :)
  2. Editing  I'm working on client edits this week.
  3. Snow  This stuff needs to go away for good. I'm done with winter.
  4. Drafting  I'm doing something I rarely do. I'm slowly drafting a book here and there between other projects. I don't really like to work like this but sometimes it's necessary, and to be honest, I love what I've written so far, so maybe this is what this book needs.
  5. Looking For Love Cover Reveal Signups  I'm looking for people to sign up for the Cover Reveal of the final installment of the Campus Crush companion series (New Adult contemporary romance). Interested in helping out? Oh, and the form has a spot if you're interested in reviewing an ARC. Sign up here: 
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    That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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