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1. How One Word Can Impact the Strength of Your Query

When coaching my assistants and other agents on how to approach editors I've always been very particular about word choice. The word "just" has been a pet peeve of mine for a number of years. It's a word I've consciously worked to remove from my vocabulary and a word I've encouraged my team to drop.

Imagine my surprise when I came across this article written about Ellen Petry Leanse and her distaste for the word "just".

I agree with everything she says. Using "just" takes away our power. We're no longer marching into someone's office to tell them we've got something they have to read. We're now slinking in to ask meekly if they think it's worth reading and, frankly, giving them permission to reject it rather than telling them they'd be making a mistake by not reading it.

We are word people, it's our job to embrace the power a single word might have and use it to our advantage. Take a look at some examples of publishing correspondence with or without the word "just." You tell me which is stronger.

Dear Editor:
I'd like to ask if you have just a few minutes to discuss my very important concerns regarding these edits.

Dear Editor:
I'd like set up some time to discuss my very important concerns regarding these edits.


I am writing to tell you about the terrific new thriller I've written.
I am just writing to tell you about the terrific new thriller I've written. 

I'm following up on the submission I sent back in January.
I'm just following up on the submission I sent in January. 

Take a look at your query, at all the professional correspondence you have written. Let's work together to eliminate just from our professional vocabulary.


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2. Liz’s Summer Reading Pick

Squish Rabbit

by Katherine Battersby

            Squish Rabbit is a book that is a perfect read for the youngest in your family because sometimes as adults, I guess we forget how big the world can seem when we were young and small. In mind of that, I recently drove slowly down the street where I grew up. It was a revelation. As an adult everything seemed so small. Driveways I roller-skated down as a child seemed unbelievably wide and steep. But as I looked at them that day through adult eyes, the driveways seemed narrow. And as for steepness, there was barely any elevation at all!

            Well here in Katherine Battersby’s Squish Rabbit, Squish is decidedly at that same stage of life when being small and hard to see makes it seem as if life is passing you by. Everyone is busy with grown up things, so even Squish’s stories are ignored. Being lonely, Squish sews a friend literally out of blue plaid cloth but quickly finds this pretend friendship can only fill half the gap. Trees are nice too as potential friends but somehow fall short of expectations.

            How Squish in a moment of pique kicks an apple and finds a friend echoes the moment of discovery for each child when he or she finds someone to share and play with. And when the friendship starts with a rescue, so much the better. Squish is a gentle book for the shy child who longs to join the group but may have trouble getting his feet wet or making the first awkward moves towards, “Wanna be friends?” Squish can definitely help your child bridge the gap.


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3. "Sunset in Paradise" by Linda T Snider-Ward, Louisiana artist

Sunset in Paradise, a whimsical little watercolor painting, sold a few months ago, so it found a good home. I always love that. More of my artwork can be seen on my website and my Etsy shop

If you're a watercolorist or just someone who likes dappling in watercolor, and you would like to join this site and share your work, send me a link to your blog or website in a comment, and I'll add you to the site.

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4. Open for consumption

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5. My tweets

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6. Dylan O’Brien Takes the Heat in The Scorch Trials Trailer

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7. Joy Ride in a Paint Box

After leading the Allies to victory in World War II, Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965) became an ardent outdoor painter. Never has painting had such an enthusiastic and eloquent champion.

"Painting is a companion with whom one may walk a great part of life's journey."

"When I die and go to heaven, I want to spend the first million years painting – so I can get to the bottom of the subject."

"We must not be too ambitious. We cannot aspire to masterpieces. We may content ourselves with a joy ride in a paint box. And, for this, Audacity is the only ticket."

"Painting is the same kind of problem as unfolding a long, sustained interlocked argument... It is a proposition commanded by a single unity of conception."

"Without tradition, art is a flock of sheep without a shepherd. Without innovation, it is a corpse."

"Armed with a paint-box, one cannot be bored, one cannot be left at a loose ends, one cannot 'have several days on one's hands.'"

"Painting is complete as a distraction. I know of nothing which, without exhausting the body, more entirely absorbs the mind. Whatever the worries of the hour or the threats of the future, once the picture has begun to flow along, there is no room for them in the mental screen. They pass out into shadow and darkness. All one’s mental light, such as it is, becomes concentrated on the task. Time stands respectfully aside, and it is only after many hesitations that luncheon knocks gruffly at the door."
Most of these quotes are from Churchill's slim but inspiring book Painting As a Pastime, and many of them can be found on the website Art Quotes

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8. Informing the Reader without Expo-dumping

...or how much expo-dumping can you do without completely pulling your reader out of the plot. The book I'm writing deals with a brother and sister (16

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9. Round 2 Voting Now Open: Vote for Your Favorite Opening Lines!

Vote for your favorite opening lines below!

Winners of the contest receive critiques from industry professionals, aiding their careers - by spending a couple of minutes voting, you're helping emerging writers!

Voting closes at 11:59pm Eastern Time on Monday 3rd August.

Spread the word using the hashtag #GreenLightWIP. Good luck to all that entered! We'll be contacting those who successfully made it into the next round on Tuesday morning.

The survey will load shortly.

Some people using Internet Explorer have been having issues with the voting form above. If this is you: don't worry! You can still vote HERE.

If you'd like to read over the rules and see what you're helping our emerging authors win, then click here.

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10. My Thoughts (& Giveaway): Stone Rider by David Hofmeyr

4 soft frosted sugar cookies.

Cover Love:  I like how it is simple but eye catching.  Appealing to many readers.

Why I Wanted to Read This:
This one actually flew under my radar until I was offered a chance to participate in the blog tour.  I looked up the synopsis and decided I wanted to give this one a try.
Here it is from GoodReads:
In the vein of The Outsiders and the early Western novels of Elmore Leonard, this inventive debut novel, a cross between the cult classic Mad Max movie series and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, blends adrenaline-fueled action with an improbable yet tender romance to offer a rich and vivid portrayal of misfits and loners forced together in their struggle for a better life.

Adam Stone wants freedom and peace. He wants a chance to escape Blackwater, the dust-bowl desert town he grew up in. Most of all, he wants the beautiful Sadie Blood. Alongside Sadie and the dangerous outsider Kane, Adam will ride the Blackwater Trail in a brutal race that will test them all, body and soul. Only the strongest will survive.

The prize? A one-way ticket to Sky-Base and unimaginable luxury.

And for a chance at this new life, Adam will risk everything.

Romance?: Not really, although Adam does have a crush during the book.

My Thoughts:

Dystopian books used to be my absolute favorite genre.  There have been some great ones--The Giver, The Hunger Games, Unwind, The City of Ember.  The problem is that The Hunger Games was so successful that the genre got diluted for awhile there.  (This doesn't count the books I consider "apocalyptic," like Rot & Ruin and The Knife of Never Letting Go).  So I have kept away from them for some time.  When I got a chance to be part of this blog tour I read the book synopsis and decided I wanted to give this dystopian book a chance.

And I am glad I did!  t set up a very interesting world, one that I want to learn more about.  Not necessarily the world of the "Left-Behinds" on earth, but the world of the Sky-Base.  That place sounds both amazing and awful.  I have a feeling that anyone who wins the right to move to the Sky Base don't really get to be part of the Sky Base.  I bet there is a lot of dystopia on the Sky Base.  I wouldn't mind a prequel book either.

Back to the story, each person involved in the race own a byke/motorcycle.  But they are made of a material that seems to remember previous riders and that adds to the abilities of the current rider.  Winners of the races win a ticket to Sky Base and the second and third place riders earn points that they can save up to eventually purchase a ticket.

The world Adam lives in before the race is awful and crazy and bleak.  Basically people can be miners (I can't remember the name of what is being mined, but they are pulling it from the earth's core) or have a job in town (and by town I mean old Western type town).  If you are young enough you can ride in the race.  This race reminds me of a novella I read a long time ago that was written by Stephen King back when he wrote under the pen name of Richard Bachman called The Long Walk.  It was the story of boys who walked, just walked, but if you fell or stopped walking you were shot and there could only be one winner.  Not everyone dies, but a lot of people do and it's ok to try and kill other riders.  The strong survive and all of that.

Adam literally doesn't have anyone.  He has no family and no friends.  However, a strange rider named Kane enters his life early on and although they don't connect right away, Kane soon becomes someone Adam realizes he can trust--warily.

The one thing that didn't quite jive with me is that Adam has no confidence, yet he is a really good rider.  One that many consider the one to beat.  And he knows he's good, he feels it.  That should give him some confidence, but he has a hard time making decisions.

To Sum Up:  This is a book that would appeal to many YA readers, especially those that like dystopian.  I have many questions about this world and look forward to book 2.  I will be adding it to my order for the fall!

I am giving away a copy of Stone Rider to one lucky reader from the US or Canada.  Please fill out the form below and I will inform you if you win.  Contest ends on August 12.
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11. Review: The Texas Wildcatter’s Baby by Cathy Gillen Thacker


May Contain Spoilers


Continuing my Harlequin marathon, I discovered that the library has Harlequin bundles in their collection.  BUNDLES! Of HARLEQUINS!  It’s like being a kid in a candy store after hours, with no supervision and nobody to tell you to STOP gorging yourself with all of that yummy candy!  This discovery is the equivalent of finding King Tut’s tomb, so forgive me as I gleefully consume as many Harlequins as I can. Every day I read until my EYES BLEED!

Getting back to the topic at hand:  I borrowed the March 2014 American Romance bundle because it was actually available for check out.  These bundles are very popular, and I am on wait lists for about 4 others.  I love the opportunity to read new to me authors, because when I pick single issue titles, I go by authors I have already read, or a brief perusal of the blurb.  I don’t even look at that with the bundles.  I just start at the beginning and work my way to the end.  I have yet to encounter a title I disliked so much that I didn’t want to finish it, and it’s been fun just reading for the sake reading. 

As it turns out, I have read Cathy Gillen Thacker a few times before.  Each title has been a solid read.  The Texas Wildcatter’s Baby featured a great hero, but I had some trouble with Ginger, the heroine.  She is fearful of being betrayed after an unhappy marriage, so she has become super independent.  When she learns that she’s pregnant after a night with her serial hook-up Rand, she’s momentarily panic-stricken.  She is bidding on the biggest oil drilling project of her career, and she only has one shot to get it right.  This is a make it or break it moment for her fledging business.  Now that she’s pregnant, she’s afraid of how it will impact her career.  The oil business is dominated by men, and after her husband’s company humored her ambitions to build a career for herself, she’s afraid of anything that will make her look weak before the competition.

With a plan in mind, she confronts Rand with the news.  Then she proposes a temporary marriage to him, just until the baby is born.  It will be better for her business if she’s married when the pregnancy is common knowledge.  She also wants Rand to be a part of their baby’s life.  They agree to a quickie wedding at the county courthouse, but things don’t go exactly as they had planned.  Instead, they show up at Rand’s family home, where his family has already learned about the marriage and throws them a surprise wedding party.  It’s also a chance to catch up with a few of Rand’s brothers, who have been featured in other books.

Once they’re married, it’s all about work for Ginger.  She has to nail down her proposal for the oil drilling project, and work comes first for Ginger.  She now has a little one to worry about.  Forget about Rand!  He’ll be fine one his own.  That’s what drove me bonkers about Ginger.  Rand is one of the most perfect romance heroes that I’ve come across, and Ginger is too busy maintaining her independence to figure that out.  He’s kind, protective, and helpful.  What woman wouldn’t give her eyeteeth for a guy who FOLDS laundry??  Or lets her sleep in and catch up on her rest?  The list of his positive qualities is endless, but Ginger turns a blind eye to all of them.

To stir up trouble with the couple, they also have to deal with Ginger’s clingy mother and her devious ex.  Through it all, Rand has her back, and eventually, even Ginger begins to appreciate his presence in her life.  She’s just too afraid of losing her independence to admit it to him, let alone herself, so the grade took a knock because I was so frustrated with her.  It’s not until 4 or 5 pages until the end that she gives in to her feelings and confesses her love, and that was cutting it far too close for me.  Otherwise, this was an enjoyable read.

Grade:  C+

Review copy borrowed from my local library

Love Isn’t Part of the Deal

Ginger Rollins can’t believe she gave in to temptation—again! It’s time for her and Rand McCabe to face the consequences. Never mind that the geological engineer and sexy environmental cowboy are on opposite sides when it comes to the Texas land they both love. Now that she’s pregnant, they have one option.

Rand isn’t used to being proposed to by a woman—especially one as gorgeous as Ginger—but he’s all for getting married. Too bad the independent wildcatter sees their union as a nonnegotiable deal. Doesn’t she know they share more than hot chemistry? How long can he keep his feelings—and their baby—a secret? Rand vowed to love and honor Ginger forever. And it’s a promise he intends to keep….

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12. हाल-ए-बीमार


lady photo


कुछ देर पहले मेरी सहेली  मणि घर के सामने से जा रही थी. मैने उसे बुलाया तो वो बोली कि अभी किसी रिश्तेदार की तबियत ठीक नही थी उसे मिलकर वापिस आती हूं तब तक चाय बना कर रखना. आधा धंटा बीता फिर एक फिर दो … पर मणि नही आई … मैने उसे फोन किया तो वो घर थी और उसका मूड बहुत खराब था. मैं तुरंत उसके घर गई कि क्या बात हुई.

वो चुपचाप टीवी देख रही थी. मेरे पूछ्ने पर वो बोली कि रिश्तेदार की तबियत ठीक नही थी. मिलने गई तो पहले तो उलहाना देने लगी कि अब आई है हाल पूछ्ने .. खैर ये भी कोई बात नही फिर  मेरा हाल चाल पूछ्ने लगी और बोली बहुत मोटी हो गई है तेरे को  थाईराईड ही निकलेगा फिर बोली शूगर भी टेस्ट करवा लियो… पता नही शायद वो भी न हो .. और वो जब खडी होने लगी तो बोली तेरे घुटने का भी आपरेशन करवा ले … जबकि उसे तो कोई तकलीफ ही नही थी…

मैने हैरानी से पूछा कि क्या ये वो पूछ रही थी जिसका हाल चाल जानने तुम गई थी या कोई अन्य .. वो बोली कि वही पूछ रही थी जिसका हाल चाल जानने वो गई थी. अब वो काफी ठीक थी शायद मैने मुस्कुरा कर कहा …

मणि बोली कि हां वो तो ठीक हो गई पर उसने उसे बीमार जरुर कर दिया. पता नही पर उसकी बातों से ऐसा लग रहा था कि वो चाहती है कि मैं बीमार पड जाऊं …

मैने मणि को थोडा नार्मल किया और समझाया कि जब कोई लम्बी बीमारी से ठीक होता है तो उसका चिडचिडा होना स्वाभाविक होता है इसलिए ज्यादा महसूस नही करके बात मुस्कुरा कर टाल देनी चाहिए. जब लगा कि मणि अब नार्मल हो गई है तो मैं वापिस घर लौट आई पर  ये जरुर सोच रही थी कि ऐसे लोगो को भी अपना स्वभाव बदलना चाहिए. अगर कोई आपकी बीमारी का हाल पूछ्ने आया है तो उससे बात करो उसकी राजी खुशी पूछो….  ना कि उसे ही बीमार करके भेज दो… हर व्यक्ति अपना भाग्य लेकर आता है इसलिए किसी से कुढने या जलन वाली कोई बात नही करनी चाहिए कि बुरा लगे …

वैसे भी बात कहने से पहले खुद पर सोचो कि अगर ये बात कोई हमे कहे तो कैसी लगेगी … आपको जवाब मिल जाएगा …

वैसे आप तो ऐसे नही होंगें … है ना … अगर हैं तो जरा नही बहुत सोचने की दरकार है …

The post हाल-ए-बीमार appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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13. A natural high

Yes, some of it is green and leafy, but it's not that!

I think my best days in the studio start when I allow myself the opportunity to go on a nice walk or bike ride in the morning. I am really lucky to live in an area that's so beautiful. I'm surrounded by wineries and horse farms and there are several trails for me to go and enjoy nearby. Since I usually go alone I try to go at times when I know that there will be other people on the trails. Not that I live in an unsafe area but you just never know.

  A beautiful day never fails to disappoint. There usually are an assortment of runners, joggers, bike riders and walkers out but not to the point of ever being crowded.  One of my favorite spots is White Clay Creek preserve which sprawls across both Pennsylvania and Delaware. There is a parking area on the Pennsylvania side where I live where I can park and avoid the 8$ out of state usage fee if I wanted to start from a different point in Delaware. From my starting point in Pa a walk to the Delaware line on the trail is only about 1 mile. 

The creek is a beautiful site on those God given sunny mornings. I really get inspired by the glistening water and the leaves on the trees and even the shapes of rocks and small plants

 I don't go out and paint them in landscape form the way some artist do but the leaves and flowers and branches and even the people walking turn up in my paintings and pottery sometimes as a motif, sometimes as a realistic design and sometimes as dream like imaginings of exploding flowers all around happy couples in the trail.

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14. Cover Revealed for New Kerry Kletter Novel

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15. To Be Read: Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella



From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Shopaholic series comes a terrific blend of comedy, romance, and psychological recovery in a contemporary YA novel sure to inspire and entertain.

An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.

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16. Trello for Writers: Using Templates in a Project

Trello is as flexible as you need it to be. The way you set up your project really depends on the way you work. In this tutorial, I'll assume that one story or book is one project. I'll also assume that you've set up template cards as shown in a previous tutorial.If you haven't set up template cards, it's no big deal. Those templates make it so you don't have to re-create similar cards for each character, for example, or for each scene.

Create Project

In the previous tutorial, we created a Trello board to hold our templates. Because we want to be able to use those templates in multiple projects, we don't want to use that same board as our project board, so we'll create a new one.

  1. Open Trello.
  2. From your Boards menu or on the Boards screen, click Create New Board.
  3. Name the board. For this example, I'm calling the board for my project "Jack and Jill."
Create Lists

A story consists of several elements. For my Jack and Jill story planning, I want to create lists called Characters, Settings, and Scenes. Eventually I'll create another list to track submissions, but let's not get ahead of our selves.

On your new project Trello board, create a list called Characters. Conveniently, there's already a box to help you create your first list. Just type "Characters" and click Save. A new box automatically pops up for the next list, so call it "Settings," then do this one more time for Scenes."

Copy Templates to Project

The next thing we need to do is copy cards from our Templates board to our project board.

From the Boards menu, pick your Templates board. Next, click your Character template card, then click Copy.

Change the Title field to your character's name. Then, in the Board field, select your story project, and select the Characters list. Then click Create Card. This creates the card based on the template and puts in the right place. If you switch back to your project board, you'ss see the character card you just created in your Characters list.

Repeat this for each template you want to copy. Remember to set the name, board and list for each card. But if you forget, it's no problem. You can easily change all of that stuff later.

Edit Cards

Once the cards are where you want them,you can edit them.

For example, my Character card includes a comment with some basic info about thecaracter. In the template, I just have headings for the info, but I can go into the card and add the details now that it is is in my project.

Next Steps

That's most of the basics for creating your project and starting to plan your story. Next we'll go into some deeper information, like using Trello to manage actual writing.

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17. मेरी गुडिया

मेरी गुडिया

cartoon doll by monica gupta

मेरी गुडिया… मेरी गुडिया, प्यारी गुडिया, गुडिया रानी … पहले बच्ची को इसी नाम से सम्बोधित किया जाता था. किसी से नाम भी पूछ्ना होता था तो यही बोलते थे गुडिया तेरा नाम क्या है पर आज विडम्बना  देखिए  गुडिया कोई नही कहलवाना चाहता क्योकि आज गुडिया के मायने बदल गए हैं आज गुडिया पीडिता निर्भया, ज्योति के नाम से जानी जाती है … यही इसमे दिखाने की कोशिश की है कि मासूम बच्ची को अहसास करवाया जाता है और उसे बता दिया जाता है कि (उस रेप  हादसे के बाद से) जो भी उसे पुकारेगा वो वो गुडिया या निर्भया या पीडिता की पुकारेगा…

बेहद दुखद

The post मेरी गुडिया appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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18. The BIG Posting Is On Its Way...

Honestly.  Keep the faith as it is turning into a whopper.

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19. Prehistoric Times Reviews "Tyrannosaurs"

Prehistoric Times, the magazine of all things dinosaurian, reviewed my recent tutorial video Tyrannosaurs: Behind the Art. 

"Jim's new video tutorial gives you front row seats at the creation of two Tyrannosaur paintings for Scientific American magazine, including one. Super talented illustrator James Gurney fully explains his process as he reconstructs two recently discovered relatives of Tyrannosaurus rex, as if you were sitting right there with him. Working closely with scientist Stephen Brusatte, who discovered one of them, he shows his process including thumbnails and color comprehensives. He shows how he uses photos and models, as well as outdoor studies, as he moves ahead to the final oil illustration."

"He explains both his methods and his thinking with an emphasis on the techniques for portraying feather and foliage textures, thereby creating a believable reconstruction of a scene that is imagined based on scientific evidence. Jim Gurney shows how he chooses his colors, what brushes he uses at each stage, and how he prepares his board for painting. The production is packed with information that will fascinate dinosaur artists as well as all other artists. I promise you will be most impressed."

—Mike Fredericks, editor, Prehistoric Times
Available as an HD download from Gumroad (credit cards) or Sellfy (Paypal).
and as a DVD from the manufacturer Kunaki, or on Amazon.com

0 Comments on Prehistoric Times Reviews "Tyrannosaurs" as of 7/29/2015 7:44:00 AM
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20. Riverhead Books to Publish Anthology: ‘Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It’

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21. Life in Publishing: Seven Things I’ve Learned So Far

Hello Pub Crawlers! I’ve put off writing this post as long as I could, because I’ve just had so much fun with you all over the years! From the wonderful conversations we’ve had in the comments, to the smart and thoughtful questions that prompted many of my posts, I’ve learned a lot in the time I’ve spent as a part of this wonderful group.  I mean, there aren’t many places on the internet where you actually should read the comments! But all good things must come to an end, and it’s time for me to say my goodbyes. By way of saying farewell and thank you, I thought I’d follow in the footsteps of Alex Bracken, and share with you a few things I’ve learned so far in my publishing journey — some solid, concrete tips, and a few that are less so, but just as important!

1. Take care of your back. I’m serious! This is one of my most heartfelt, and least heeded pieces of advice! Put any group of authors in a room, and pretty soon you’ll find at least a couple discussing back stretches, standing desks and physical therapists. There’s a reason for this. Keep up your core strength, make sure you have a good chair and good posture while you’re writing, and pause regularly to stretch. If you can try a standing desk, go for it. This one really matters!

2. Take care of your tech. While we’re being practical, let’s add this one to the list! Put a password on your phone–your contacts may hold numbers that the owners might not want shared. Your email will hold manuscripts that the owners absolutely won’t want shared. Back up your computer regularly. Back up your computer. Back up your computer. (Click here for some suggestions on how, and check out the comments for lots more ideas.)

3. Think before you speak. To put this one really bluntly: don’t gossip. I don’t want to be a downer, and I’m not saying you should never talk about the industry, and I’m not saying you should never vent to friends, of course. You’re human. But don’t carry stories around, especially if they’re less than complimentary. For a start, you have no idea if they’re true (and there’s ALWAYS more to the story than you know), and if nothing else, you’ll get a rep! Now, writing is a solo sport, and needing to vent and debrief is totally normal. So here’s what you do: find a couple of friends you truly trust, and trust them with the stuff you need to discuss, wonder about, get off your chest or analyse. That’s healthy, normal and helpful, and you won’t be sorry you did it later. Gossiping with the whole world works about as well as it would in any workplace!

4. Cultivate a life. No matter what stage you’re at in your writing journey, you need things that will make you happy outside the writing world — tying your happiness to writing and publishing only is dangerous. Whether it’s time with your kids, your weekly game of basketball, making time to attend that BBQ on the weekend, make sure you do it. It will help with perspective more than anything can. Getting away to your day job doesn’t count, if every minute you’re not there, you’re writing. Leisure activities will help you relax, work more efficiently, and remind you that there’s life away from your computer. Sunshine and fresh air are good for you! Laughing and the company of friends–good for you. Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare? Writing is a long career, and you need to make sure you’re resting under a tree along the way, tortoise style.

5. Just do the work. Don’t talk about doing the work more than you do it. Don’t tweet about doing the work more than you do it. Don’t play endless games on your computer, then later feel you’ve had a long day because you were at your screen the whole time. If you have to unplug the router, do that. If you have to install a program to block the internet, do that. In the end, all that platform-building, networking and sky writing will mean nothing if you didn’t get the words on the page. And most of all, don’t just nod in agreement to this point — pause and think about what concrete steps you can take to make sure you really do the work!

6. Stop comparing. It will kill you. It will kill your creativity. It will make you jealous. It will make you sad. It will make you angry. And you’ll probably be wrong! To paraphrase a Louis CK quote I’ve always liked: “Never look into your neighbour’s bowl, unless you’re checking they’ve got enough.” Every minute you spend wishing you had someone else’s agent, book deal, marketing plan, tour, fancy embossed ARCs, foil cover, panel appearance, etc is a moment you could spend doing something that’s good for you. You also have no idea what’s going on for them. Perhaps they have the agent of your dreams, and it isn’t working out at all. Perhaps they have the book deal you always wanted, and it was the wrong decision for them. Perhaps they got the panel appearance you’d love, but didn’t get the support they needed to organise a bumper launch party in their home town, and they’d trade with you any day. Even if this isn’t the case, envy will eat you up. Someone else’s success is not your failure. Every reader who enjoys a book is just looking for the next book to read. A rising tide lifts all ships.

7. Have fun! For my last piece of advice, I’m going to echo the very wise Alex Bracken — publication is just one day of your journey, and the rest of the trip takes a long, long time. So make sure you enjoy yourself! Read great books, take joy in your writing, enjoy your friends and your community. Thanks for all our time together, and here’s to everything you’re yet to write!


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by Jean-Marc & Randy Lofficier and Manuel Garcia, Fernando Blanco, Javioer Pina, Eduardo Alpuente, Peru Bros, cover by Manuel Garcia
 US$34.95/GBP 22.99 
 7x10 tpb, 
160 p. color

- Foreword by J.-M. & Randy Lofficier
- #1. Like an Angel, Feral-Eyed
- #2. In the Shadows of the Night
- #3. Caresses such as Snakes Give
- #4. The Livid Daylights
- #5. Icy Till the Evening
- #6. Rule with Fear
- Portfolio by Alfredo Macall

Homicron, a NASA physicist whose body is inhabited by an alien intelligence, Starlock, the fugitive servant of awesome cosmic entities, Jaydee, a teenage alien metamorph abandoned on Earth, Jaleb, the telepathic agent of the Galactic Federation and Futura, a mysterious woman from another dimension, are gathered together by Tanka, a former jungle lord and agent of Earth's farthest future, to help save our planet from the deadly threats of Astaroth, the Necromancer and Duke Oxian.

Check out all Hexagon titles here:

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23. कलाम को सलाम

कलाम को सलामApJ by Monica gupta

बात परसों रात की है जब मैं टवीटर पर कुछ पोस्ट कर रही थी. अचानक मेरे देखते ही देखते टवीट पर टवीट  होने लगे कलाम साहब की तबियत को लेकर… मैनें उस पर ध्यान इसलिए नही दिया कि कुछ दिनों पहले भी ऐसी अफवाह थी और छतीसगढ की एक 22 july की ये खबर


Jharkhand education minister pays floral tribute to APJ Abdul Kalam, pictures go viral | The Indian Express

http://indianexpress.com/article/trending/jharkhand-education-minister-pays-floral-tribute-to-apj-abdul-kalam-pictures-go-viral/Jharkhand Education Minister Neera Yadav has landed into a controversy after she reportedly paid floral tributes to former President APJ Abdul Kalam at an event. The pictures which appeared on a local daily have gone viral on social networking sites.

The pictures, shot during a school event, show the minister offering a garland on a photograph of the former president.

After the pictures went viral, twitterati slammed the minister for the blooper. Here are some of the tweets:

Our beloved, and breathing, Dr Kalam just after a tilak was applied on him by the BJP minister in fond remembrance. pic.twitter.com/70fy9WV9pk               See more…

इस खबर ने बहुत धक्का पहुंचाया. इसके इलावा पहले भी बहुत बार टवीटर पर उनके शीध्र स्वस्थ होने की कामना की गई और ये कहा गया कि वो अस्तपाल मे भर्ती हैं जबकि वो भले चंगे थे…!!

खैर, इसके बाद टीवी चलाया तो स्क्रोल पर चल रहा था कि वो कलाम साहब गम्भीर … शिलांग की खबर थी और सुनते ही सुनते … बस एक ऐसी खबर आ ही गई किसकी भरपाई कभी नही हो सकेगी… खबर थी उनकी मौत की..

फिर खबरों में सुना उनके अंतिम शब्द … धरती को रहने लायक कैसे बनाया जाए … संसद का डेडलाक कैसे खत्म किया जा सकता है वो परेशान थे कि जिस तरह से संसद ठप्प हो जाती है… उनकी मंशा ये थी कि वो आईआईटी  शिलांग के बच्चों से ही इस बारे में विचार लेंगें कि उनकी इस बारे में क्या सोच है…

अब मैं अपनी असली बात पर आती हूं …इन दो दिनों में इतना सब कुछ होने के बाद भी ससंद वासी हंगामा ही करते रहे. बात उस दिन सुबह  की है जिस दिन पंजाब मे आतंकी हमला हुआ था मैने सोचा शायद हमले से कुछ सीख कर चुपचाप सत्र चलने देंगें पर बडे शर्म की बात है कि एक तरफ हमारे जवान पंजाब में आतंकियों का सामना कर रहे थे और  उसी  दिन संसद में हमेशा की तरह तू तू मैं मैं और हो हल्ला होता रहा.  सोचा तो था कि जिस तरह से आतंकवादी हमला पंजाब में हुआ है उसे मद्देनजर रखते हुए शायद मानसून सत्र में कोई हंगामा नही होगा और सत्र चल जाएगा पर खबरों में फिर, एक तरफ सत्र का हंगामा दिखा रहे थे तो दूसरी तरफ आतंकवादी हमले ही तस्वीरे… मन बेहद खिन्न हो गया और कलाम साहब की मानसिक परेशानी जो सत्र के न चलने को लेकर थी काश सांसद उन्हे सच्ची श्रधांजलि यही दें कि सत्र आराम से चलने दे …

एक अन्य बात की धरती को रहने लायक कैसे बनाए…  आज मैं इस बारे में बाहर  बैठ कर सोच रही थी. तभी माली आ गया क्योकि घास बहुत बढ गई थी तो वो उसे काटने लगा. अचानक मैने देखा सामने सडक पर गाय आ रही है मैने सोचा अरे वाह…. आज तो गाय को ताजी ताजी घास खिला देती हूं पुण्य का काम हो जाएगा… इसलिए खूब सारी घास उठाई और गेट के बाहर सडक पर डाल  दी. पहले तो गाय ने  लेफ्ट राईट देखा …फिर अपनी गर्दन झटकते हुए भवें हिलाई  शायद हैरान हो रही होगी क्योकि मैंने कभी उसे घास नही डाली … हा हा यानि कभी कुछ खाने को नही दिया और वैसे भी  सडक पर कुछ भी डालने के हमेशा से ही खिलाफ रही हूं पर उस दिन शायद  मेरा कोई पुण्य जाग उठा था.  उसने घास खाना  शुरु ही किया था कि उसकी चार पांच सहेलियां भी आ गई जिसमें भारी भरकम बैल भी थे. मैने मन ही मन सोचा रे वाह … आज तो सारी घास इन सभी को ही खिला दूगी तो देवी देवता सब प्रसन्न हो जाएगें… माली घास काटता रहा और मैं बाहर डालती रही. कुछ ही पल में बाहर देखा तो मेरी वजह से सारी सडक घास युक्त हो चुकी थी और तो और गाय अपनी सहेलियों समेत सडक के बीचोबीच आसन जमा चुकी थी और  बैल  महाराज जी  तो वहां मजे से  गोबर भी कर रहे थे….  जिस वजह से , शायद नही, यकीनन ही  आने जाने वालो को परेशानी भी हो रही होगी…  एक मोटर साईकिल वाले ने वहां से जाते हुए मुझे ऐसे गुस्से से  देखा मानो कह रहा हो ये क्या हाल बना रखा है … अरे बाप रे ..!!!

मैं टेंशन में आ गई पर भगवान का शुक्र है कि उसी समय  सडक साफ करने वाली जमादारनी आ गई और उसने बची घास  एक किनारे पर रख कर सडक साफ कर दी  तब तक घास भी खत्म हो गई थी और उसने और माली ने मिलकर जानवरों को भगा दिया … उस समय मेरे मन में फिर आया कि धरती रहने लायक तभी बनाई जा सकती है जब हम उसे साफ सुथरा रखेंगें और ऐसे गंदा नही करेंगें भले ही पुण्य का कार्य हो जैसाकि हम हरिद्वार या गंगाजी जा कर करते हैं… वहां अस्थियां बहाते हैं लिफाफे बहाते हैं जिसकी वजह से गंगा व अन्य पावन नदियां प्रदूषित हो रही है…

पुण्य के चक्कर में सडक पर भी बचा खाना फेंक देते हैं जिससे जानवर टूट कर पडते हैं और कई बार हिंसक भी हो जाते हैं और  हमें और सडक पर आने जाने वालो को  नुकसान भी पहंचा सकते हैं

पता नही मेरे यह लिखने की क्या वजह है… है भी या नही पर इतना जरुर है कि धरती रहने लायक तभी बन सकती  है जब वो स्वच्छ हो, साफ हो और  गंदगी से कोसो दूर हो…



भारत के पूर्व राष्ट्रपति डॉ एपीजे अब्दुल कलाम ने एयरोनॉटिकल इंजीनियर के रूप में अपने करियर की शुरुआत की थी.

वो हिन्दुस्तान की दो बड़ी एजेंसियों डिफ़ेंस रिसर्च एंड डेवलपमेंट ऑर्गेनाइज़ेशन (डीआरडीओ) और इंडियन स्पेस रिसर्च ऑर्गेनाइज़ेशन (इसरो) के प्रमुख रहे थे.

दोनों एजेंसियों में उन्होंने बहुत उम्दा काम किया.

हिन्दुस्तान के पहले रॉकेट एसएलवी-3 को बनाने में उन्होंने अहम भूमिका निभाई. पोलर सैटेलाइट लॉन्च वेहिकल (पीएसएलवी) बनाने में भी उनकी प्रमुख भूमिका थी.

हिन्दुस्तान के पहले मिसाइल पृथ्वी मिसाइल और फिर उसके बाद अग्नि मिसाइल को बनाने में भी डॉक्टर कलाम का अहम योगदान रहा है.

हमें ये भी नहीं भूलना चाहिए कि भारत ने 1998 में जो परमाणु परीक्षण किया था उसमें भी डॉ कलाम की विशिष्ट भूमिका थी. उस समय वो डीआरडीओ के प्रमुख थे. – BBC

कलाम जी के विचार अगर हम सभी( हम सभी यानि की हम सभी… जिसमे नेता भी हों आम आदमी भी हों पुलिस भी हो  और प्रशासन भी हो) अपनी जिंदगी में अपना लेंगें तो शायद इससे अच्छी और सच्ची श्रधांजलि और कोई हो ही नही सकती…

The post कलाम को सलाम appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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24. Open Mic Wednesday - Welcome

Welcome to Open Mic Wednesday everyone. So glad you could join me.  Today's guest blogger is my friend Teddy O'Malley.  

Thank you so much Teddy for consenting to be my guest here on Storywraps. Teddy is going to talk to you about bullying,  a very important topic that needs to be addressed with your kids.  I appreciate your input friend and the mic is all yours...

Bullies can come in all shapes and sizes. From a young age we're told what a bully is. Maybe you have a mental image of the typical t.v or movie bully who steals a kid's lunch and knocks him over. Maybe your cousin who took your toys and made you cry when you were little comes to mind.

The dictionary defines a bully as a person who uses strength or power to harm or intimidate those who are weaker.

In the book, Nicu: The Littlest Vampire by Elias Zapple, the bullies are the kids at school and Nicu's brother. They are the types of bullies almost all of us have dealt with at some point in our lives. They mock us or push us around. Nicu's parents are even bullies, something that kids who have been abused or bullied by their own parents will be able to empathize with.

Nicu, the protagonist, is an empathetic character. Most of us see ourselves in him. We don't want to be the older brother who pushes Nicu around. We don't want to be Nicu's mean parents. We don't want to be the kids at school who endlessly harass Nicu. We all want to be the good guy.

What if you thought you were the good guy, but you weren't.

In my own book, Cool Kids Wear Glasses, the bully is less obvious, at least to the protagonist, Mandy Harper. Mandy is an insecure 8-year-old who believes that she is in charge of the popular kids and that she has created and maintains the school's hierarchy.  When she is called out by a “less popular” girl, Kayla, Mandy responds by treating Kayla as if she is the bully.

Kayla demands Mandy to stop bullying. She tells Mandy that what she has done could just as easily have happened to her. But Mandy doesn't see it that way.

But, but, but...

She's just trying to be helpful. Or perhaps, she's trying to justify her actions.

Have you ever felt like you may have left someone out? Have you ever wondered if you have treated somebody in a way that you wouldn't want to be treated? I think we all have at some point. If you've asked yourselves these questions then you may have wondered: Am I the bully?

Whenever you are about to do something that may exclude someone or hurt their feelings, stop and think. Would I want this done to me? Why am I doing this? If the answer is no and you can't come up with a good reason why you are doing it then you may be a bully or at the very least, an unkind person.

Remember, every new encounter is a chance to be kind.

Unwrapping Teddy's latest book...

According to Amazon...

Mandy Harper, one of the meanest girls ever, viciously ruled the school. She decided who was in and who was out. At least until Kayla Littlebe started standing up to her. 

But one day Mandy found out she might need glasses. Would she still be able to rule the school or would her new glasses help her see the error of her ways? 

Lessons taught in this adventure include: 
The importance of being kind to others 
Standing up for others 
Not judging a book by its cover

About Teddy...

Teddy O' Malley was born in in Saint Louis, Missouri. She has traveled all over the United States and enjoys learning about new things and other cultures. She has enjoyed studying Spanish, German, and now Italian as well. She dreams of visiting a foreign country. Teddy O'Malley has also worked as a nurse assistant, aiding the disabled and the elderly.

Read on and read always!

It's a wrap.

Contact me at storywrapsblog@gmail.com

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25. The Super-Secret Key To Publishing Success by Erica O'Rourke

We're excited to welcome author Erica O'Rourke to the blog today. Erica's Resonance is the thrilling follow up to Dissonance. Today she's going to share with us the key to becoming a publishing success.

In Which I Reveal The Super-Secret Key To Publishing Success by Erica O'Rourke

As a published author, one of the most common questions I hear is, “Which conferences/classes/websites/resources do you recommend to aspiring authors?”

It’s a list I’m happy to provide. So many people have taught me essential things about the craft and business of writing on my path to publication, and I want to pay it forward.


None of those resources are a magical key that will unlock the door to publication – because there isn’t one. There’s only the real key, and it’s not on any list.

The real key – the single biggest factor that helped me become a published author – was this: I got serious about writing.

If you’d asked me the year before I sold my first book, I would have said, “Yes! I am serious! I belong to a writers’ group, I read lots of books on craft , I attend conferences, I talk to my writer friends all the time! I’m polishing my elevator pitch and follow important people on Twitter! I am super-serious!”

Except… all the books and classes and meetings and writerly coffee dates…weren’t writing. Analyzing episodes of Lost wasn’t adding words to my story. Polishing my pitch wasn’t the same as polishing my own prose.

And then one day, I decided to enter a contest, and it required a full manuscript.

Which I did not have.

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