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1. I suddenly had no What Next

People who know me, know: I am one of those. Give me a project, and I get it done. Tell me I have two months, I work toward two weeks. Give me a house to clean or a home to declutter, and I. Am. On. The. Job. I've managed by way of a sort of strictness toward self. Up before the dawn, give myself no excuses, let nobody down. Snip, snip, I'm cracking.

But lately I have lived in the Land of No Routine. A flutter of many things to do. An absence of systems and governing plans. I've been off to New Haven. Then to Krakow. Then to Bethlehem. Then to Arcadia. I've been writing talks, giving talks, reading books, writing reviews, creating classes and teaching classes, hoping for and hoping against, watching the women play soccer, driving quick to see friends, celebrating 30 years of marriage, planning for next New Year's Eve and now (just now) a blueberry festival. I've been helping to advance a family project, seeing my beautiful brother and his family and forgetting to say goodbye to his son (I fixed that!), cleaning out my basement, cleaning out my shelves, cleaning out my drawers, cleaning and cleaning again, writing for clients.

And then, bam, crash, wait. I suddenly had no What Next. For an hour or two late this afternoon, I had nothing that I had to do.

I sat down. I sat still by a screen door, feeling the breeze. I closed my eyes. I listened to a distant hammer bang. I listened to the one bird in the near tree. I listened to my own heart beat. I fell to deepest sleep.

Sometimes sleep is the best job around.


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2. railhead ambassadors

Yesterday I got to be a RAILHEAD AMBASSADOR at a special early-preview event for Philip Reeve's upcoming novel, Railhead. (Look at me, being all railway and ambassadorial in gold braid and hat. Also slightly overheated.)



Funnily enough, I used to go to lots of ambassadorial events when I first met my husband, when he was working for the British Embassy in Moscow. Back then, I was very studenty and didn't really have any dress-up clothes, so I pretty much wore black jeans, a velvet shirt and Doc Martens everywhere. All the foreign service wives had perfect English-bought clothes for every occasion and I always felt a bit awkward and gauche. So it was nice to be going to an ambassador event when I'd stopped caring about not blending in and could look like a twit with the greatest of joy, ha ha.

Anyway, back to the book, and I'm really excited about this one. Here's a snapshot of one of the posters on display at the event:



'Gentlemen Take Polaroids' is definitely my favourite train name. And here are the other assembled Railhead Ambassadors! Some of them had won a competition to attend, and others were young reviewers for the Guardian Children's Books website.



Here are a few of the tweets from Philip's first Railhead reading:




After the reading and Philip's answers to some very well-thought-out questions from the audience, we had drinks upstairs with Darren Hartwell from BookZone, Caleb Woodbridge and Laura Heath of the aforementioned tweets.



Here's Guardian Chidren's Book website editor Emily Drabble (who, incidentally, commissioned our Seawigs Comics Jam, my How to draw a hungry T-Rex, How to Draw Jampires and How to Draw a Silly Unicorn.)



Then I got to meet some more of the ambassadors while Philip signed advance review copies for the guests. (This version isn't quite finished - there will be a few more tweaks and editions in the final version - but it's ready enough to show to reviewers, to give them an early jumpstart before the book comes out in the autumn.)



These guys made me laugh. They're like, 'REEVE? We are going to CRUSH HIS VERY BONES.'



I'll look forward to reading their reviews! And I'll post a review here nearer to the publication date. But I CAN say that Railhead is ace.







And here's a good showing from the Oxford University Press Railhead publicity team: Keo Baxendine, Liz Scott and Alesha Bonser. You can check out what people are saying over on the #RAILHEAD hash tag.



Funnily enough, on my way to meet Philip, I met a REAL train driver! In fact, I'd met James Bacon before at a comics convention, but I had no idea he drove the Heathrow Express. (How cool is that?)




One more thing: Railhead is Philip's solo book (I'm not a co-author), but there's been a lovely review of our joint book, Oliver and the Seawigs by Stephen Holland of the excellent Page 45 comics shop in Nottingham. Stephen's a legendary reviewer, so I was hugely flattered to see that he'd taken time to focus on Seawigs, which isn't even a comic! I love reading his reviews: they're so exuberant, and he comes up with the most original descriptions and observations. And it's wonderful to see a review that talks so much about the illustrations. Thanks, Stephen! You can read the whole review here (scroll down a bit).

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3. Sincerely, Carter Leads Self-Published Bestsellers List

Sincerely, Carter by Whitney Gracia Williams leads the Self-Published Bestsellers List this week.

To help GalleyCat readers discover self-published authors, we compile weekly lists of the top eBooks in three major marketplaces for self-published digital books: Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords. You can read all the lists below, complete with links to each book.

If you want more resources as an author, try our Free Sites to Promote Your eBook post, How To Sell Your Self-Published Book in Bookstores post and our How to Pitch Your Book to Online Outlets post.

If you are an independent author looking for support, check out our free directory of people looking for writers groups.

Amazon Self-Published Bestsellers for the Week of July 1, 2015

1. Sincerely, Carter by Whitney Gracia Williams: “Arizona Turner has been my best friend since fourth grade, even when we \"hated\" each other. We’ve been there for one another through first kisses, first \"times,\" and we’ve been each other’s constant when good relationships turned bad. (We even went to colleges that were minutes away from each other…).”

2. Dare to Touch (Dare to Love Book 5) by Carly Phillips: “Olivia Dare, executive director of the Miami Thunder, and team travel director, Dylan Rhodes share more than just a passion for football–their chemistry is explosive and their feelings for each other are intense.”

3. Destined Dragons: BBW Paranormal Romance by Terry Bolryder: “Roxy is just a normal girl working hard to achieve her dreams. Until she saves someone’s life, gets on the news, and winds up kidnapped by a group of mysterious men targeting brave-hearted women. Just when she’s about to give up hope, two gorgeous men appear, rescue her and whisk her away to their castle-like mansion to keep her safe.”

4. The Allure of Julian Lefray by R.S. Grey: “Lily, you predictable perv. I knew you’d open this email faster if I tempted you with a glimpse of JT’s “PP”. Well, put your pants back on and grab some bubbly because I have much better news to share.”

5. Sweet Sinful Nights by Lauren Blakely: “Ten years ago, Brent Nichols let the love of his life slip through his fingers. It’s his greatest regret, especially since she’s all but disappeared. But when the gorgeous and captivating woman walks into his life unexpectedly, he’s determined to win her back. Whatever it takes, he won’t make the same mistake twice.”

6. Night with a SEAL by Cat Johnson: “A team of sexy SEALs, a terrorist threat, and an attraction that can’t be denied…Ten years of dedication to the Navy taught SEAL Jon Rudnick one thing—he’s not afraid to risk life and limb for his country. But when navigating military red tape begins to present more challenges than the enemy it makes Jon question his future.”

7. Desired by Dragons: BBW Paranormal Romance by Terry Bolryder: “Drake and Quill are dragon shifters, the big bad protectors of the shifter world, tasked with missions no one else can handle. Though hot, rich and capable, their partnership is held back by their sometimes clashing personalities. When they save a curvy woman named Tara from drowning, they may have just found the one thing they can agree on. They want her. Forever.”

8. Double Dragons: BBW Paranormal Romance by Terry Bolryder: “Draven and Ran are dragon shifters, the fire-breathing enforcers of the shifter world. The ones they call when things go wrong. Strong, sexy and wealthy, the only thing the two partners are missing is a mate to share it all with. But that’s tricky in the dragon world and after years of searching, the dragons have basically given up. That is, until a sexy, reckless human librarian lands in their path during a mission.”

9. Priest: A Love Story by Sierra Simone: “There are many rules a priest can’t break. A priest cannot marry. A priest cannot abandon his flock. A priest cannot forsake his God. I’ve always been good at following rules.”

10. The Island of Alphas: A BBW Paranormal Romance by Amira Rain: “Fertility Doctor Liz Fowler is not having the best of times in life. Her fiance has left her, she is in debt and now she is unemployed. So she cannot believe her luck when she is approached by a handsome and very mysterious man named Eric who offers her a job. A job he describes as being very, very important.”

Smashwords Self-Published Bestsellers for the Week of July 1, 2015

1. Negotiating for Success: Essential Strategies and Skills By George J. Siedel

2. Third Reality Revealed: Vision, Persistence, and Inventing a New Latino Identity by Third Reality Publications

3. Third Reality: Crafting a 21st Century Latino Agenda by Third Reality Publications

4. Stocks on the Move – Beating the Market with Hedge Fund Momentum Strategies by Andreas F. Clenow

5. His Bad Boy Ways By Faye Aden

6. Cunning Plans: Talks By Warren Ellis by Warren Ellis

7. Strong Brains, Sharp Minds: The Definitive Guide to the MINDRAMP Method For Brain Health & Mental Development by Michael C. Patterson & Roger Anunsen

8. Bryony And Roses by T Kingfisher

9. Prodigals Do Come Home by Bob Steinkamp

10. Depth Astrology: An Astrological Handbook – Volumes 1-4 (Introduction, Planets in Signs, Planets in Houses, Planets in Aspect) by Gargatholil

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4. Here’s What A ‘Samurai Jack’ CGI Film Could Look Like

There's no official "Samurai Jack" film coming anytime soon, but that's not stopping fans from creating their own work.

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5. New Zealand Children's Choice Book Awards call for action!


Vote for your favourite New Zealand book . . .

 

Would you like to choose the winners in the 2015 New Zealand Children and Young Adults Book Awards?

Be part of the Children’s Choice voting and have your chance to vote for the New Zealand books you think are the best.

Children and teenagers across the country have been busy reading and reviewing their favourites amongst all the New Zealand books entered in the 2015 NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. Their votes created a list of 20 books they think are the best.

So get voting: we want to know what New Zealand kids think. Choose your favourite in the Top 5 in each category that’s relevant to your age group. (We have adult judges separately deciding on the overall winners, but we also want to know what kids think are the best books.)

Everyone kid who votes (you’ll need to be 18 years old or under) will be in the draw to win some books for yourself and for your school. On the second page we will ask you questions to help us contact you via your school if you win. If you are unsure about anything ask mum or dad or your teacher to help you.

Voting closes at 12 noon on Friday, 31 July.

So vote now and tell your friends to vote too. Just click
here to vote!
 


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6. July Blogging Break

It's time for our annual co-author summer vacation. But wait, we have lots to keep you going in the meantime!

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7. What I Read in June - Half a Year's Reading Progress


I'm not going to lie, Reader Friends - I hate summer.  I love living in Georgia, but June through August is just flat out misery.  It is so hot my body basically just gives up.  I've managed to avoid going outside for the most part, although we did fit in one evening hike to Sunset Rock on Lookout Mountain at the beginning of the month that wasn't too terrible.  And the view was totally worth it:




Other than that, I've been spending all my time indoors, doing everything I can to keep from wilting in the heat.  That doesn't mean I haven't stayed busy, though.  I put in twenty hours of volunteer work processing books at the Chattanooga Public Library, which earned me a library card (those who don't live in the city either pay or volunteer to get a card).  I also had a great yoga month and finally, after seven years as a platinum blonde, returned to my natural hair color.

Staying inside apparently also really boosted my appetite for reading, because I read almost as much this month as I did in March. 

Save the Date by Jen Doll
I Was A Child Bruce by Eric Kaplan
Yoga for Your Mind and Body by Rebecca Rissman
Bodies by Si Spencer
100 Skills for the End of the World As We Know It by Ana Maria Spagna
Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore
Irrationally Yours by Dan Ariely
When Books Went to War by Molly Guptill Manning
The Blondes by Emily Schultz
Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb
First Jobs by Merritt Watts
Batman: Earth One by Geoff Johns
Love May Fail by Matthew Quick
The Best American Comics 2013 by Jeff Smith
All The Rage by Courtney Summers
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
The Job by Steve Osborne
Ravensbruck by Sarah Helm
Jackaby by William Ritter
The Evil Hours by David J. Morris
Tomboy by Liz Prince
The Wrong Man by Kate White

Total books read: 22
Total pages read: 5753

I'm thrilled to say that I'm nearing my year-long goal of 150 books and will be boosting my goal to 200 for the year.  I'm also significantly behind on reviews.  I'm going to have a marathon writing day on Friday, but be looking for some mini-review posts as I catch up and try to get my slate clean for the second half of 2015.

What did you read in June?

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8. New York Public Library Hosts a Display to Celebrate July Fourth

nypl logoThe curators at the New York Public Library have put together a display in celebration of July Fourth.

The theme of this program will center on Sparking The Revolution: “No Taxation Without Representation.” The items chosen for this display include Benjamin Franklin’s annotated copy of a pro-Stamp Act pamphlet, an engraving of the Boston Massacre, a copy of the Continental Congress’s Olive Branch Petition, and a rare copy of the first New York printing of the Declaration of Independence.

According to the press release, visitors will see items that that spotlight on “key historic moments surrounding the American Revolution and the Declaration of Independence. A key focus of the display is the 250th anniversary of the Stamp Act, a wildly unpopular British tax on all paper used by the American colonists, and one of the critical sparks that launched the fight for American independence.”

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9. Netflix Shores Up Its Original Preschool Slate With 3 New Shows

Netflix's aggressive expansion into children's TV continues with the announcement of 3 new series.

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10. I.W.S.G. and an excellent way to beat Writer's Block!









It is that time of the month to take stock of  ones writing progress, or the lack of it via Alex's I.W.S.G and this made me think of the main problem of writer's block.
I know much has been written on this subject, however, and in the Summer 2015 issue of the Mslexia, a magazine for women who write, (the magazine is worth its weight in gold), there is a brief and very helpful article by novelist Jenny Alexander, called Moving Images, on removing writer's block and it works for me every time.  
To put this briefly,  it relates to Jung and his images. Jenny writes that there is a connection between the block and your personal life. Jenny says you must think about your work in progress, relax, sink into an inner world and ask for an image. Go with the first image that comes into your head. 
My image was a velvet box. I asked the image what it wanted, how it felt. The immediate reply was that it wanted to be found, to be safe. 
I had lost this velvet box that contained a necklace, and the problem of loss was brought forcibly to my attention. After much thought, I realised that this represented a much deeper loss in my life. I needed to come to terms with this, I wanted to feel safe. Once I was aware of what was causing the block, I was able to write.

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11. When an Editor Wants to See More

When you're asked to submit another manuscript, don't feel like you have to wait a long time before doing so.

https://medium.com/@kelliagodon/submit-like-a-man-how-women-writers-can-become-more-successful-9031ffc6043a

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12. July Reading

Can you believe it’s July already? I can’t. I was just getting used to June, just starting to feel like I was in the June groove, and now it’s time to move on. I am not ready. Can we turn the calendar back to June 15th please? That should be enough for me to get my fill of June and then when July 1st rolls around again I will be ready. Not going to happen you say? Where’s Marty McFly or the TARDIS when you need them?

Well, let’s barrel into July then. What will the month hold for reading? I get a 3-day holiday weekend coming up for Independence Day. Groovy, some extra reading time.

Even though I have been (mostly) good about keeping my library hold requests down to a manageable number, two books I have been looking forward to reading that have long waiting lines have, of course, both arrived for me at once. I now have to either a) rush through The Buried Giant and Get in Trouble in three weeks, or b) choose one to focus on and not worry about the other and get in line for it again if I run out of time. Choice “b” seems the most likely one I will go with which means Ishiguro’s Buried Giant will get my attention first. I am looking forward to it.

Carried over from last month, I am still reading Elif Shafak’s The Architect’s Apprentice. I am enjoying it much more than I was before even though I am making my way through it rather slowly.

In June I began reading Portrait of a Lady by Henry James and The Martian by Andy Weir. Two very different books and I am enjoying each of them quite a lot. James manages to be funny and ironic and ominous and can he ever write! I know people make fun of his long sentences but I get so involved in the reading I don’t even notice the length of the sentences. I do notice sometimes the paragraphs are very long, but that is only when I am nearing my train stop or the end of my lunch break and I am looking for a place to stop reading. And The Martian, is it ever a funny book. The book itself isn’t funny I guess, there is nothing very funny about being left for dead on Mars, the character, Mark Watney is funny; humor as survival tool. Weir, I must say, does a most excellent job of writing about complex science in such a way that is compelling and interesting and makes me feel smart.

I have a review copy of a new book called Miss Emily by Nuala O’Connor on its way to me. The Emily in question is Emily Dickinson. It’s a novel from Penguin Random House and they are kindly going to provide a second copy for a giveaway. Something to look forward to!

I will also begin reading Elizabeth Bishop this month. I’m still reading Keats letters and biography and poetry but he will get a bit less attention as I start to focus on Bishop. Much as I wanted to like Keats, it seems I like the idea of Keats more than the actuality; enjoy his letters more than his poetry. Not that his poetry isn’t very good, it is, at least some of it because there is quite a bit of mediocre stuff he wrote to/for friends that makes me wonder why I decided to read the collected rather than the selected. Hindsight and all that. But even the really good Keats poetry left me with mixed feelings. I mean, I appreciate it and sometimes I have a wow moment, but it generally doesn’t give me poetry stomach (the stomach flutters I get when I read a poem I really connect with). We’ll see how it goes with Bishop. I have her collected as well as her letters to work my way through over the coming months.

Without a doubt there will be other books that pop up through the month, there always are! The unexpected is all part of the fun.


Filed under: Books, In Progress Tagged: Andy Weir, Elif Shafak, Elizabeth Bishop, Emily Dickinson, Henry James, John Keats, Nuala O'Connor

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13. The Canadian Option

We were sweating. Thank God for the tunnels. They had been a product of forethought by Canadians of the 2010's. The way we had cut down trees, maybe President Reagan had been wrong, they figured. The desert sands were endless. We could only survive underground. There was the odd palm tree but they were few and far between. The Star of the East shone brightly. The cow jumped over the moon. All was quiet. The air had to be pumped in. We didn’t know how or whence, we were just glad of it. If we could make it to the oasis, we’d be ok. There’d be water there. It was like a Frank Herbert experience except that we didn’t read much science fiction. Didn’t have time to. The digging took days and nights. Christmas season was still celebrated. Ersatz boughs of holly, but we retained some of the rituals. The prairies had been a desert for years. There was an impenetrable dome over Alberta. Toward the Dawn was what the powers that be had decided and Toward the Dawn was where we were digging. Toward the Sunset was another matter. It was about this time that I became separated from the main party. I don’t know how it happened. I couldn’t help myself. Down the gleaming crystal hallways I was drawn. It was like deja vu all over again and it was over as soon as it started. I found myself in a vast meadow of flowers. Butterflies were flitting past; colourful trees swaying in the blue sky. A dusty oil lamp of foreign origin lay in the grass at my feet. I bent over, picked it up, rubbed some dirt from its side. I felt it jump. The lamp seemed to move of its own volition. I rubbed dirt from the other side. A Genie popped out. He was dressed in traditional Genie garb, sat crosslegged on the grass. He brushed dust from his voluminous sleeves, coughed a little. A strong smell of mothballs accompanied his presence. “Well” he said, “You have set me free so I owe you a wish” He looked up at me with impatient eyes that had been too long in the lamp. I couldn’t think of anything at that moment except for getting to the oasis. I blurted it out and watched him run, the lamp in hot pursuit. He zigged and zagged, disappeared into the forest. The crystal hallways drew me back to the diggers in the main party. They were asleep at their posts on the assembly line. When I woke them up by banging the new shovel the Genie had thrown in out of the goodness of his heart, they looked around in wonder. I looked around in wonder, too. The tunnel was finished. We started walking toward the oasis. There’d be water there.

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14. Down the Rabbit Hole Leads iBooks Bestsellers List

Down the Rabbit Hole by Holly Madison has debuted on the iBooks bestsellers list this week at No. 2.

Apple has released its top selling books list for paid books from iBooks in the U.S. for the week ending on July 1, 2015. Grey by E. L. James is No. 1 on the list and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins is No. 3.

We’ve included Apple’s entire list after the jump.

iBooks U.S. Bestseller List – Paid Books 7/1/15

1. Grey by E L James – 9781101946350 – (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group) 2. Down the Rabbit Hole by Holly Madison – 9780062372123 – (Dey Street Books) 3. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins – 9780698185395 – (Penguin Publishing Group) 4. Paper Towns by John Green – 9781101010938 – (Penguin Young Readers Group) 5. The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand – 9780316334501 – (Little, Brown and Company) 6. Truth or Die by Howard Roughan & James Patterson – 9780316408738 – (Little, Brown and Company) 7. Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll – 9781476789651 – (Simon & Schuster) 8. The Martian by Andy Weir – 9780804139038 – (Crown/Archetype) 9. Fifty Shades Darker by E L James – 9781612130590 – (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group) 10. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – 9781476746609 – (Scribner) 11. Fifty Shades Freed by E L James – 9781612130613 – (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group) 12. The Melody Lingers On by Mary Higgins Clark – 9781476749136 – (Simon & Schuster) 13. The President’s Shadow by Brad Meltzer – 9780446553957 – (Grand Central Publishing) 14. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah – 9781466850606 – (St. Martin’s Press) 15. Tom Clancy Under Fire by Grant Blackwood – 9780698404861 – (Penguin Publishing Group) 16. Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James – 9781612130293 – (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group) 17. Wicked Charms by Janet Evanovich & Phoef Sutton – 9780553392722 – (Random House Publishing Group) 18. Finders Keepers by Stephen King – 9781501100130 – (Scribner) 19. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn – 9780307459923 – (Crown/Archetype) 20. In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume – 9781101875056 – (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group)

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15. Martha Brockenbrough Summer Bulletin

As writers and illustrators of children’s books, we have the cutest fantasies. Who else dreams that their work will someday be decorated by a sticker?

And then there’s the conference fantasy, where the agent or editor of your dreams holds your manuscript overhead and says, “This is brilliant!” and she just happens to have a contract in her pocket, which you sign on the spot. It’s almost better than the sticker.

But here’s the thing. People are sometimes asked to send off stories or art, and there are similarly wonderful career-transforming moments. Usually, though, nothing quite so dramatic happens.

And yet… conferences are magic. Truly. Every picture book I’ve ever sold has come directly from my time at an SCBWI conference, specifically the one in Los Angeles. I’ve sold four picture books and have interest in a fifth; each one sprang from an idea or conversation I had at that summer conference, starting with my first one in 2008.

My future editor, Arthur A. Levine, had been in Seattle that spring for a conference, and through a happy accident of seating, we’d chatted through the evening, and he invited me to submit something to him someday. At the time, I was writing an epic novel about a pirate in part because I’d given up on picture books, and in part because, well, I can’t really remember why, which was ultimately the problem with that novel.

At our local spring conference, Arthur had offered sage advice from his then four-year-old son. “When in doubt, write about dinosaurs.” At the time, this didn’t strike me as anything other than adorable. (Who was I to write about dinosaurs, anyway? At the time, I was merely thirty-seven.)

When registration opened for the summer conference in Los Angeles, I really wanted to go. But I couldn’t. We had a family reunion that weekend. And what kind of jerk puts anything in front of family? As it turns out, I am that kind of jerk.

In Los Angeles, Arthur reassured us about the picture book market, which at the time was feeling kind of battered. On the flight home, I resolved to send him a thank-you note for being so encouraging. I looked out the window, and I thought about dinosaurs, and specifically their teeth, and even more fantastically, about who might love their teeth most of all.

Arthur ended up publishing the answer to that question—The Dinosaur Tooth Fairy—five years later. A year or two after I sold The DTF, I mentioned to Arthur at another Los Angeles conference a letter I’d written to my daughter when she asked for the truth about Santa. He said he thought it sounded like a picture book as well. A dear friend I’d met at the Los Angeles conference, Samantha Berger, gave me an idea for how it might be done. I wrote it. Arthur bought it.

Last summer, Samantha and I came up with an idea at the conference while we were eating pizza poolside. So far that has turned into a two picture book deal with Arthur.

These aren’t the sort of things you can predict when you’re thinking about going to a conference. The standard fantasy—that someone might love your work and buy it on the spot—pales in comparison to what really can happen. You go to these conferences and meet people who inspire you. You make friends. You hear words you didn’t know you needed to hear, things that make you laugh and cry, things that feed your mind in ways your everyday routine might not. All of this becomes the fuel of story.

I’d never thought to dream about what comes from inspiration and connection and friendship. And yet this combination is so much better than any contract, and why I’ll go to every SCBWI conference I can.

Fantasies are great and all. But real life? It’s better.

 

Martha Brockenbrough is the author of the YA novels The Game of Love and Death and Devine Intervention, and The Dinosaur Tooth Fairy, a picture book. Both are with Arthur A. Levine at Scholastic, as is her forthcoming picture book, Love, Santa, as well as two Bigfoot picture books written jointly with Samantha Berger. Martha also wrote the nonfiction middle grade Finding Bigfoot for Feiwel & Friends. In addition to her work on SCBWI's Team Blog, she is the founder of National Grammar Day and author of Things That Make Us [Sic]. Visit www.marthabrockenbrough.squarespace.com and on Twitter @mbrockenbrough.

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16. It's Now July

Oh me, oh my! It’s now July!
The months are flying fast.
The summer days, with sun and haze,
Will soon be in the past.

The calendar cannot defer
To what we may desire,
That time would pause a bit because
The days too quick expire.

So we must take each day and make
The effort to embrace it,
Before July is kissed goodbye
And August does replace it.

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17. Summer Fun recipe

 
Thought I'd pop in here and share a recipe I created for the awesome website, They Draw and Cook. You can see this, in a larger version, on there, along with other illustrated recipes I've created, on my artist's page.

http://www.theydrawandcook.com/artists/nina-seven

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18. I feel like a proud parent

When I first left my day job and was scrambling a bit for money, I taught an 8-week mystery-writing class at my local bookstore, Annie Blooms Books.  I've also taught one-off classes here and there for a long time, more as a way to give back than to make money.

Sometimes i don't even make any money. For example, on July 18th I'm teaching a class on plotting as a fundraiser for Write Around Portland.  It costs $35 and all the money goes to the organization.

This year, I've also taught that class for Left Coast Crime and for Oregon Literary Arts.  A few years ago, I taught a class on how to start a series.

Well, one of the guys who was in that class, Curtis C. Chen, came up to me after my signing at Powells, and told me he had just made a two-book deal and had been going over the old notes from my series class to help him approach his series.



And then today, I saw that another one of my old students, Lisa Alber, had also made a deal:



And last year, Cindy Brown, a woman from one of my original classes who went on to be my friend, made a three-book deal.  The first book, MacDeath, is laugh-out-loud funny (a rare thing) and I'm in the middle of reading an advance copy of her second, The Sound of Murder, which is even funnier.

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19. The Scarlet Rider by Lucy Sussex. Ticonderoga Pulications, 2015



Mel, an unemployed young woman not long out of university, is offered a job by a small press dedicated to women writers, especially women crime writers. They need her to do some research for them. They have a wonderful Victorian mystery novel set on the goldfields and first published as a serial in a small local newspaper. The problem is that the book was published anonymously. The publishers believe the author was a woman, but can't be sure and if the novel wasn't written by a woman, they can't publish it. It's up to Mel to find out, using the public library, old police files and her aunt's expertise in history and genealogy. While following the trail of the mysterious novelist, Mel must handle a lot of personal and family problems, not to mention some strange dreams and the uncomfortable feeling that she's being haunted, perhaps even possessed...

I read this book when it was first published by Tor, back in the 1990s. The original edition didn't do all that well, I believe, for reasons unconnected with its quality. Not in the US, anyway, though it received a Ditmar Award here. Apparently, it was hard to place on bookshop shelves, due to being cross-genre - fantasy, history and mystery.

There's a definite feel of reality about the research, not surprising with the author's academic background. It's slightly dated, of course, because while there is still plenty of research done by reading primary - physical - documents, there is also a lot you can do online, not available at the time when the novel was written. Also, Mel would have been spared a number of troubles if mobile phones had been as common in the 1990s as they are now.

 But this is not a story that can be updated much; it would lose a lot of the suspense and drama if Mel could simply Google something or pull out her mobile phone to make an emergency call instead of having to find a phone booth and the right change. It makes me think of Josephine Tey's Daughter Of Time, published back in the 50s, when the hero solves a mystery from his hospital bed, with some help from a researcher - in the 21st century, Inspector Grant would probably be carrying on with his paperwork with a borrowed laptop or iPad, but could also Google information about Richard III -  if he even bothered to do something not work related. 

It's great to see this wonderful novel back in print, and well done to Ticonderoga for not only publishing it, but giving it a much better cover than the Tor original. I can only hope that there will be an ebook edition at some stage, making it available around the world, but meanwhile, you can buy it from the publisher, Ticonderoga Publications, here or, if you're in Australia, ask your local bookshop to order it.


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20. Love Wins - Free Printable

 
I created this free printable, in honor of the historic decision by the Supreme Court to legalize same sex marriages in every state in the US. Love Wins! Yes, let people love who they want to love. When more people love and are loved, we all win. You can download a high quality print of it, right here.

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21.


I have ten photographs with mixed mediums. Please join us. Thanks. Mary Nida Smith






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22. Marvel Announces 45 -yes, 45- New Titles and everyone cheers..but it is KILLING comics!



I think the headline on Comic Book.Com says it all:

 Marvel Announces 45 All-New All-Different Series

Yes, 45 new comic series. I'm not really sure whether I need to say this but with comics already struggling and achieving not even cover price value just what good are 45 new first issues going to do? Oh, "morons all buy first issues -they're the ones pull in the cash!"

No, no,no, no no, no.  The whole Secret Wars was a con trick.  I wrote so.  It was going to sort out continuity and make a fresher Marvel with nothing old surviving from the 1963 Marvel.  Sorry, how many Avenger titles and Avengers linked titles?

Clench your teeth and try to hold down your anger.  Here goes:




Invincible Iron Man #1
W: Brian Michael Bendis A: David Marquez
“Upgrade.”


 
A-Force #1
W: G. Willow Wilson CA: Victor Ibanez
“A-Force to be reckoned with…”


 
 All-New All-Different Avengers #1
W: Mark Waid A: Adam Kubert, Mahmud Asrar CA: Alex Ross
“Earth’s mightiest most dedicated heroes.”
Team consists of Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, Vision, Ms. Marvel, Miles Morales, and Nova.


 
Uncanny Avengers #1
W: Gerry Duggan A: Ryan Stegman
“Fighting for Humanity, Inhumanity, Mutants…and Deadpool”
Team consists of Spider-Man, Quicksilver, Brother Voodoo, Steve Rogers, Rogue, either Inferno or the Human Torch, a new female character, and – you guessed it – Deadpool.



 
New Avengers #1
W: Al Ewing A: Gerardo Sandoval
“Avengers Idea Mechanics. We A.I.M. To Help.”
Team consists of Sunspot, Squirrel Girl, Hawkeye, Songbird, Hulking and Wiccan.


 
Ultimates #1
W: Al Ewing A: Kenneth Rocafort
“Ultimate problems need Ultimate solutions.”
Team consists of Black Panther, Monica Rambeau, Blue Marvel, Miss America, Captain Marvel, and Galactus(!?)


 
Doctor Strange #1
W: Jason Aaron A: Chris Bachalo
“Some surgery requires a scalpel – some, an axe.”


 
Captain Marvel #1
W: Tara Butters & Michele Fazekas A: Kris Anka
“Captain Marvel rises.”



 
Sam Wilson, Captain America #1
W: Nick Spencer A: Daniel Acuña
“Who do you stand with?”
The cover shows a torn photo of The Falcon and Steve Rogers as Captain America in the background. Rogers and Wilson as Captain America walk in opposite directions in the foreground.



 
The Totally Awesome Hulk #1
W: Greg Pak A: Frank Cho
“Who is the Hulk?”
The hulks face and left hand are blacked out on the cover.


 
The Mighty Thor #1
W: Jason Aaron A: Russell Dauterman
“The flash may be weak but the thunder is strong.”



 
Scarlet Witch #1
W: James Robinson A: Kevin Wada
“Seeing red…”


 
Ms. Marvel #1
W: G. Willow Wilson A: Takeshi Miyazawa & Adrian Alphona CA: Takeshi Miyazawa
“CRUSHED IT.”



 
Illuminati #1
W: Josh Williamson A: Shawn CA: Riley Rossmo
“Forever evil.”
The team clearly features the Red Hood. Other members are smaller and silhouetted. Absorbing Man is recognizable by his ball and chain. Other members appear to be Black Ant, Titania, and…Mr. Hyde?



 
Hawkeye #1
W: Jeff Lemire A: Ramon Perez
“Hawkeye vs. Hawkeye”
Both Hawkeyes appear noticeably aged on this cover. Clint, in particular, is sporing a white beard and several new lines on his face.




Ant-Man #1
W: Nick Spencer A: Ramon Rosanas CA: Mark Brooks
“Once a criminal…?”



 
The Vision #1
W: Tom King A: Gabriel H. Walta CA: Marcos Martin
“A bold new Vision for the Marvel Universe.”



 
Contest of Champions #1
W: Al Ewing A: Paco Medina
“When heroes gather…”



 
Amazing Spider-Man #1
W: Dan Slott A: Giuseppe Camuncoli CA: Alex Ross
“Your friendly neighborhood just got bigger.”
Spidey’s got a tweaked suit with a redesigned symbol and glowing green parts. Also, it looks like the Spider-Mobile may be back.



 
Carnage #1
W: Gerry Conway A: Mike Perkins CA: Mike Del Mundo
“Descent into madness…”



 
Spider-Woman #1
W: Dennis Hopeless A: Javier Rodriguez
“Parent by day. Hero by night.”
Jessica Drew is noticeably pregnant on the cover.



 
Spider-Man #1
W: Brian Michael Bendis A: Sara Pichelli
“Welcome to the Marvel Universe, Miles Morales. Hope you survive the experience!”



 
Spider-Gwen #1
W: Jason Latour A: Robbi Rodriguez
“The Secret History of Gwen Stacy and Peter Parker!”


 
Silk #1
W: Robbie Thompson A: Stacey Lee CA: Helen Chen
“The Sinister Silk”
Silk appears to be robbing a bank on the cover.


 
Spider-Man 2099 #1
W: Peter David A: Will Sliney CA: Francesco Mattina
“Smack to the future.”


 
Web Warriors #1
W: Mike Costa A: David Bildeon CA: Juian Totino Tedesco
“Defending the Spider-Verse
Cover features several characters from Spider-Verse, including Spider-Gwen, Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Ham, Spider-Man: India, Spider-UK and Spider-Girl (Anya Corazon).


 
Daredevil #1
W: Charles Soule A: Ron Garney
“The devil’s apprentice”
The cover shows that Daredevil’s apprentice is Gambit.



 
Guardians of the Galaxy #1
W: Brian Michael Bendis A: Valerio Schiti
“The raccoon’s in charge.”i
The team consists of Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Drax, Venom, The Thing, and a woman in Star-Lord’s costume, most likely Kitty Pryde.


 
Drax #1
W: CM Punk with Cullen Bunn CA: Ed McGuinness
“Best in the galaxy



 
Howard the Duck #1 (yes, again.)
W: Chip Zdarsky A: Joe Quinones
“Howard, uh, gets a new hat…”



 
Nova #1
W: Sean Ryan A: Cory Smith CA: Humberto Ramos
“The family business…”
Cover shows Sam Alexander with an adult Nova, possibly his father.


 
Star-Lord #1
W: Sam Humphries A: Dave Johnson
“Feels like the first time. Feels like the very first time.”


 
Venom: Spaceknight #1
W: Robbie Thompson A: Ariel Olivetti
“Sometimes a hero needs a little space…”


 
Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1
W: Frank Barbiere A: Brent Schoonover
“To fight the monsters of the world…We need the monsters of the night!
Team consists of Dum Dum Duggan, Hit-Monkey, Man-Thing, Werewolf by Night, Manphibian, zombie Jasper Sitwell, and a few others.


 
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1
W: Marc Guggenheim A: Mike Norton
“Keeps your friends close and your enemies closer.”



 
Uncanny Inhumans #1
W: Charles Soule A: Steve McNiven
“The silence is broken.”
Team consists of Black Bolt, Medusa, Reader, Triton, the Human Torch, and Beast.


 
Karnak #1
W: Warren Ellis A: Gerardo Zaffino CA: David Aja
“The flaw in all things”


 
Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #1
W: Marguerite Bennett A: Kim Jacinto & Stephanie Hans CA: Julian Totino Tedesco
“Hel hath a new fury.”


 
Squadron Supreme #1
W: James Robinson A: Leonard Kirk CA: Alex Ross
“Sole survivors of their own worlds, they’ll do ANYTHING to protect this one.”



 
Extraordinary X-Men #1
W: Jeff Lemire A: Humberto Ramos
“Still hated. Still feared. Still standing.”
Team consists of Storm, Iceman, Colossus, Magik, Nightcrawler, Jean Grey (still young), and Old Man Logan.


 
Uncanny X-Men #1
W: Cullen Bunn A: Greg Land
“Bigger threats require more threatening X-Men.”
Team consists of Magneto, Psylocke, Sabretooth, Mystique, and Fatomex.



 
All-New X-Men
W: Dennis Hopeless A: Mark Bagley
“On a mission to make their own future”
Team consists of Wolverine (X-23) and young Cyclops, Angel, Iceman, and Beast.


 
Old Man Logan #1
W: Jeff Lemire A: Andrea Sorrentino
“Older. Wiser. Sharper.”


 
All-New Wolverine #1
W: Tom Taylor A: David Lopez
“Best there is at what she does”


 
Deadpool #1
W: Gerry Duggan A: Mike Hawthorne CA: Tony Moore
“More Deadpool than you wanted”


I have to say movie and TV franchise based comics do well here.  This is just way too much.  It's like loading up a tipper truck with as many titles as you can and dumping them in a shop doorway and seeing what happens. 

Disney is going for, hoped-for, fast bucks and screw the fans and comic industry.  DC is rumoured to be planning something similar but I hope not.  As it is the Disney empire is going to oversee the collapse of comics and it will not care so long as the movies make money.

Awful.  And rather than asking about the effects of this glut of titles, comic book sites -almost as one- are simply asking: "Which titles are you excited about?

I guess if you are just fan-boys pushing PR from Marvel (or DC) you don't really give a feck what shit they are feeding you.  Questions should be getting asked but they just aren't.  It's just the usual cheer of "Hooray! Marvel Disney are ripping us off again!"

50 years a Marvelite and True Believer.  I see this shit and I see.....nothing.

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23. Digital India Weak

Digital India Weak /week ???

Digital India  week by  monica gupta   Digital India Weak / week ??               बेशक देशवासी Digital India week  को लेकर बेहद उत्साहित हैं सब कुछ नेट से जुड जाएगा और आराम ही आराम होगा … पर मूल भूत समस्या का क्या करें समस्या है नेट का न चलना या नेट का बेहद धीरे चलना !!!  तभी तो आज  Digital India week ???मनाए  या Digital India Weak !!!

 

PHOTOS: Digital India Week: PM Narendra Modis 15 point dream | The Indian Express

“I dream of a digital India where 1.2 billion connected Indians drive innovation.” (Express photo by Anil Sharma)

“I dream of a digital India where knowledge is strength and empowers people.” (Express photo by Anil Sharma)

“I dream of digital India where quality healthcare reaches right upto the remotest areas through e-health care.” (Express photo by Anil Sharma)

“I dream of digital India where cyber security becomes an integral part of national security.”

“I dream of digital India where there is mobile and e-banking for financial inclusion.”

“I dream of digital India where e-commerce drives entrepreneurship.”

“I dream of digital India where the world looks to India for the next big idea.”

“I dream of digital India where netizens are empowered citizens.” See more…

‘M-Governance (Mobile, Not Modi),’ Quips PM at Digital India Push: 10 Facts

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launching the Digital India Week. See more…

The post Digital India Weak appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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24. Anime Collection Development & Programming: Part 1 – Anime Collection Development

Anime – it is a term that I have learned makes many librarians cringe. As soon as the subject is broached, they immediately pawn it off on a younger clerk or page who knows about such things. And you can't really blame them! The titles can be nearly impossible to spell and that's assuming the patron says it right. Between “seasons”, “collections”, and “OVAs” (Original Video Animation; basically straight to DVD without a theater or television release), each series has multiple versions. To top it off, since they aren't rated by the Motion Picture Association of America, it is hard to figure out what is appropriate for whom.

So when it comes time to do the collection development, this portion of the collection can be neglected and dated. Beyond this, librarians may be ignoring it as a useful programming tool to bring in one of our hardest demographics, the teens!

The good news is, you don't need to know much about anime to get started. In my job interview, I was asked what kind of programs I would like to implement for teens. I dug back into my days interning in grad school and helping their teen librarian host their wildly popular anime club. At the time of the interview, I had seen maybe 2 or 3 anime films. Suddenly, now I was “the anime guy” at my new job. I was asked to order all the anime movies for 10 branches.

First lets talk about what expectations you have with ordering this genre. Anime refers specifically to Japanese animation. For the most part, it is the same as any other movie or television show. You are still going to look at cost. You are still going to have to pick what format works best for your library. You are still going to be making judgment calls on what will circulate and what won't.

Unfortunately, quite a few titles are only available on Blu-ray right now, so if your library doesn't offer that you are just out of luck. Many of them come as Blu-ray/DVD combos. One possible problem with these, at least that I've noticed with our vendor, Midwest Tapes, is that they include the DVD “while supplies last”. I have not yet encountered a situation where they only sent me a Blu-ray and not the DVD, but they post it is a possibility.

Also, with these, if you don't normally circulate Blu-rays, you are paying Blu-ray price for just the DVD. You have to decide if that is worth it for your collection. I will skip over many of the Blu-ray/DVD combo packs unless it is an incredibly popular title. For example,  Attack on Titan came like this. Based on its popularity, I knew the library had to add it, so I bit the bullet and paid the price for it.

If your library is just starting to develop its collection, another factor to consider is how to display it. Are you going to interfile it with your other titles or is it going to have its own display? We recently decided to make our shelf locations uniform across all branches. At the time, some of our branches had an anime section and some did not. We debated briefly whether or not to interfile them with the other DVDs.

Here's my argument for anime having its own shelf location: People looking for anime typically just want anime and maybe manga (Japanese graphic novels). Not having that shelf location eliminates the browsing potential for them. At my branch, we have about 25,000 DVDs. Of those about 500 are anime. I don't think people picking up Sleepless In Seattle are going to think, “Oh and here's Sailor Moon! I've been meaning to watch that!” But if they have that dedicated shelf location, they very well may think, “While I've got Attack on Titan, I might as well get some Dragon Ball Z, oh and Fairy Tail too!”

Interfiling anime creates some problems of its own. Many of them are television shows, many are movies, so that further spreads them out. Also, most of them are in Japanese. So do you put it with your foreign collection?

That should give you some ideas to think about when ordering your anime collection. In the next part, I will talk about language selection, how to judge whether a title is appropriate for your teens, and give you a few helpful resources to help make title selection easier.

Jonathan Davis is the assistant branch manager and teen librarian at a large Indiana public library system (Lake County Public Library). He has ordered anime DVDs for 10 branches for nearly two years and has been running a successful teen anime club for most of this time. He received his MLS at Indiana University.

These articles are written in conjunction with a seminar on anime collection development and programming that were certified by the Indiana State Library that he presented in conjunction with his fellow teen librarian at Lake County Public Library, Jennifer Billingsley. This seminar will be presented again at the Indiana Library Federation Annual Conference in Indianapolis this November.

 

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25. Me at SDCC

I’ll be talking about my next novel, ZEROES, at San Diego Comic Con next week, in company with my co-authors, Deb Biancotti and Margo Lanagan. We have our own panel to discuss the book!

We’ll have swag and chapter samplers there as well. The details:

“From Zeroes to Heroes”
Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, Deb Biancotti
Thursday, July 9, Noon
Horton Grand Theater
444 4th Ave.
San Diego, CA

Please share this graphic with ALL YOUR SDCC-GOING FRIENDS!

ZeroestoHerossmall

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