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1. For Those Who Feel All Alone

For the mom who doesn't know where her kid is tonight. The aunt raising her nephew because her sister would rather have a boyfriend than a kid. The parent whose children are using drugs. Or the grandma mommy who has a toddler with anxiety disorders. For the daughter who's been abandoned by her parents. The wife who just received the dear Jane letter from her spouse. Or the teenage girl standing outside the abortion clinic. For those struggling to understand why a loving God would allow such cruelness in the world. 

He hears you.
He knows your pain. 
He is right by your side. 
He knows your every thought 
and loves you anyway.


Jesus went to the cross for you friend. He loved you enough before you ever entered your mother's womb to lay down His life as a sacrifice for whatever you are facing right now. And He will still love you whether you make the correct decisions or not. Whether your faith is of a mustard seed. Whether you are contemplating suicide or checking into the local rehab. Jesus is with you, my darling. And He will not ever go away. Cling to Him. He is right beside you. Close your eyes and allow yourself to feel His presence. He really is right there. I know, because when I am at my lowest of lows, I feel Him when I don't feel as if I am loved by any other. 

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2. James Patterson Author Interview

iFunnyJames Patterson Talks About His Life as an Author!

Q: How many books have you written?
Patterson: I lost count. A little over 100. I write a lot of kids’ books. I write a lot of things that are different — that’s what keeps me excited. The kids’ books range from Maximum Ride, about kids who can fly to I Funny, about a kid who wants to be a stand-up comedian but he can never be a stand-up comedian because he’s in a wheelchair.

Q: Which ones would you like to see as movies on screen?
Patterson: All of them! Maximum Ride is very visual, these flying kids. I hope that will get made. We are shooting Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life at the end of the summer. It’s a cool story about how kids get lost in the education process. This kid in it is bright, brilliant as an artist, but there’s no way for him to express himself in school so he’s looked at as a dummy.

Q: Do you ever get writer’s block?
Patterson: 
No, I don’t. I’m always working on more than one thing. I have a big imagination and I’ll just go to another project. I have a folder this thick of ideas for novels. Writing stories comes very easily to me.

Q: What first inspired you to write?
Patterson: 
I was working my way through school at a mental hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts and I had a lot of free time so I started reading like crazy and then I started scribbling stories. Somebody once told me, you’re lucky if you find something you like to do and it’s a miracle if someone will pay you to do it. I love doing it. I love writing stories. As a kid, I grew up in the woods. I used to wander around the woods and make up stories in my head. I think that talent was there, I just wasn’t aware of it.

Q: You often write with co-authors. Why?
Patterson: 
It allows me to combine strength with strength. I’m a very good storyteller; I’m a little lazy as a stylist. So it allows me to work with a better stylist. Collaboration is OK!

Are you a fan of James Patterson’s books? Tell us which is your favorite in the Comments!

 

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3. Harry is alive

I’m on vacation as I write this. On September 1, students returned to Hogwarts, boarding that scarlet train from Platform 9 3/4.  They’d been to Diagon Alley for new robes, cauldrons, chocolate frogs, and spellbooks. The professors were probably already at the castle, getting ready for another school year.

The Harry Shelf (photo by A. Reynolds)

The Harry Shelf (photo by A. Reynolds)

Lest you think I’ve lost my mind, please note. I. Am. On. Vacation. And I am re-reading all the Harry Potter books, because that is my summer book tradition. They are like mashed potatoes or macaroni and cheese. Comfort food. Yes, I am a 50-something Potterhead. I am admitting it here in a public forum. But, look, folks, I am not the only one. I have at least one Twitter friend that is re-reading Harry Potter this summer, and she’s a responsible adult. I know of two Harry Potter parties that happened in the last few days. Several friends are now reading Harry aloud to their children (they’ve been waiting for their kids to get old enough for this). Harry Potter is alive and well in the hearts and minds of so many of us.

Sybill & Sirius (photo by A. Reynolds)

Sybill & Sirius (photo by A. Reynolds)

How many of you celebrated on July 31? Who watches the Harry Potter movies when you are feeling a little sad or have the flu? Do you have pets (or maybe even children) named for characters in the books? How many of you are planning to take extra vacation days before or after the ALA Conference next summer and make the pilgrimage? Raise your hand if you, too, relish days off, in the most comfy spot in your house, or at the beach, with a Harry Potter book tucked firmly in hand. And now, I need to return to Hogwarts. The Goblet of Fire is calling.

The post Harry is alive appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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4. Thick Skin: The Key to a Writer’s Survival

How many times have you heard the new-writer’s advice: Develop a thick skin.

You’d think this would be even more of a requirement for an agent. It’s good advice for anyone who’s visible on the Internet, frequently giving their opinion on things. So all in all, you probably think I’d be a person with a thick skin.

However, I have a confession: tortoiseI don’t have a thick skin.

Not at all. I have a fragile heart, I take things personally, and I don’t just bounce back right away when I receive criticism.

Paradoxically, I truly appreciate helpful critiques of my work,or advice on how to improve any area of my life. I crave it. I value the input of others. Yet at the same time, if it’s not always positive, I have a hard time getting over the hurt feelings (or the knee-jerk angry reaction) and moving on to actually learning from the criticism.

The reason I’m telling you this is because I know people are telling you “develop a thick skin” and I know some of you are thinking, “I don’t know how to do that.” And I’m here to tell you: Some of you will never develop a thick skin.

But the important thing is: You’ll survive.

If I’ve survived all these years in the competitive environment of publishing, and previously, five years in the extremely dog-eat-dog world of network television, you will survive, too. You survive by first, allowing yourself to experience the pain. You find ways to express it in a healthy way, perhaps by taking a day to cry, or talking it over with your best friend, or calling your mom because she’s the one person who always supports you no matter what.

Then, you turn it around. You ask yourself if the criticism came from someone to whom you should listen. If the answer is yes, then you begin looking for ways to learn from what they said. You ask yourself whether you disagree or agree with what they said. (You give yourself permission to disagree with at least part of it.) Then you take what you can learn from, and discard the rest. Move on to the next thing.

Easier said than done, of course. And I admit, it sometimes takes me awhile to work through this process!

So what about you? Are you thick skinned? If not, how do you handle criticism? Are you able to learn from it anyway?

The post Thick Skin: The Key to a Writer’s Survival appeared first on Rachelle Gardner.

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5. ‘Little Door Gods’ To Be Released in China by Alibaba Pictures

The debut feature from Light Chaser Animation now has the backing of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.

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6. Assessing July & August on the resolution scale (Special Denali Edition)

denaliFirst let’s, bask in the restoration of the mountain’s original name of Denali, shall we? So happy about this – so so so so happy!!!!! (I took this picture from the window of an Alaska Airlines flight that was captained by an old friend; he gave us the “Denali tour”. It was awesome – perfect day to see forever.)

Now, moving on to what was accomplished this summer on a personal level, here’s what I did in July & August:

1. For Booklist, I reviewed Boundless, Jimmy Bluefeather, Jewel (memoir by author of the same name), White Eskimo, Howl, Greening Death and What We’re Fighting For Now is Each Other. (Whew! That was a lot!)

2. For Locus, I reviewed the Twinmaker series by Sean Williams, Hollow Boy (the new Lockwood & Co book) by Jonathan Stroud and The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey.

3. I have several articles pending with ADN, (lots of things are delayed due to coverage of the President’s visit), but the biggest one that ran was a piece on the four companies who operate on Denali. It was in the Sunday supplement for the paper, “We Alaskans”, which is the first time I’ve made it in there.

4. An essay was accepted and edited for Narratively – it should run sometime this month.

5. Editing on our upcoming book from Shorefast Editions: From Cannery Row to Sitka, Alaska.

6. And a lot of conversations and emails for my current work-in-progress. The biggest accomplishment there was that I completed the first draft chapter and turned it in to my agent early in August. There is still a lot of research I need to do but I’ve been getting a lot of leads and pretty amazing results so far. This month I’m working on the second chapter which includes some geography/history of Denali and I’m able to do that without the kind of archival access I will need for later chapters. The biggest thing for me on this project is momentum; I can’t lose sight of the goal which is a very good book about a small but significant and interesting and tragic piece of history.

All in all, this summer has been one of the most significant for me writing-wise in a long long time. I have to stay on top of it all and keep my priorities in order but I’m sure I’m not the only writer with this issue. I also have to stay off the damn internet – I think one of the things I will do this month is sign up for Freedom and just accept that I don’t have the willpower otherwise.

 

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7. Publishing Jobs: Penguin Random House, Amazon

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8. Spotlight and Giveaway: Bold Seduction by Karyn Gerrard

 
Enter to Win a
$15.00 Amazon eGift Card

 
BOLD SEDUCTION
The Hornsby Brothers #1
Karyn Gerrard
Releasing Sept 1st, 2015
Lyrical Press
 

No offer is more daring…

BOLD SEDUCTION

An Intriguing Proposition

Passion. Seduction. Pleasure. These are the qualities of any courtesan worth her salt. As owner of The Starling Club, London’s most notorious house of ill-repute, Madame Philomena McGrattan has seen it all, heard it all, done it all. There is little that surprises her anymore, and even less that excites her. So when she is presented a chance at an irresistible seduction, she can’t help but rise to the challenge.

A Dangerous Game

Studiousness. Practicality. Discipline. Such are the attributes of a good scholar, and such are the principles Lord Spencer Hornsby has built his life around. Alone in the Welsh countryside, with only his wolfhounds for company, Spencer has thrown himself into his work. There is little time for the pleasures of society, not even to think of the joys of the fairer sex. But when an unexpected guest arrives at his isolated hunting lodge, Spencer cannot help but be baffled by the presence of this dangerously beautiful woman. And when he discovers the reason for her arrival, and the pleasures she promises, he cannot help but find himself irresistibly intrigued . . .
 
EXCERPT:

Finally, he asked, “And who are you, her replacement?”

Her? A housekeeper? Should she pretend to be a servant? Bugger that. “Hardly. I believe the old hag had plans to leave anyway as her bag was packed and at the ready. I’m here at the invitation of two of your acquaintances. Mr. Jacob Williamson and Mr. Clive Christopher.”

The professor frowned. At least she thought he did. It was hard to read his expression under the wiry thatch of hair surrounding his mouth. He rifled through a pile of unopened correspondence. “Oh? I do not recall any recent note from those gentlemen.”

“I believe I am to be a surprise present for your birthday tomorrow.”

His owl eyes blinked rapidly as if he could not process what she said. “I do not require a maid, though you tell me Mrs. Brickell has departed. It appears I could use a housekeeper…”

He had absolutely no idea why she came to him. His mind did not even consider the fact it could be for carnal reasons. What a sheltered life he must lead. “I’m no servant, though you need tidying up as much as your home does. You bear a striking resemblance to a painting of a French Canadian trapper I saw in a book once. All wild and shaggy—all that is missing is the plaid coat and the beaver pelts.” She gave him a sweet, smug smile.

With his lips pressed into a straight line, he sat back and regarded her. “Oh? You read a book once?” His elegant voice dripped with self-righteous sarcasm.

“Touché, Professor. Well aimed. A direct hit.” Phil pointed to the dogs who still stared at her. Their unblinking attention followed her every minute move. “Should I be afeared for my life? Your animals are intimidating.”

“Justinian. Theodora. Easy.” The hounds relaxed at his command, laying their heads on their paws. “They are Irish Wolfhounds. ‘Gentle when stroked, fierce when provoked.’”

Phil placed a hand on her hip. “Does that saying apply to you as well, Professor Hornsby?”

Did he smile slightly? Again, hard to tell under the facial hair. Phil pulled a chair toward the desk and placed it a few feet away. She raised one leg to the chair.

“Now, I don’t claim to be a blue-stocking, but I am able to read.” Phil grasped the hem of her green striped gown, and with a slow, deliberate movement, raised it past her ankle boots. She glanced at the beast behind the desk. His gaze remained steady as it slid down to where she continued to raise her petticoats to reveal one of her shapely legs. At least she’d been told they were shapely. No matter. Running her hand over the sheer white stocking, she lingered near her silk garter. “I do not think they are blue. You better come closer and inspect the shade of my stockings for yourself…Professor.”

He coughed and looked away. She made him uncomfortable, and she would wager to guess–a little aroused. No sound could be heard in the room except a whimper from one of the dogs and the huge clock in the corner ticking away the awkward minutes.

Hornsby faced her. “Who are you, madam, and why are you here?”

She continued to fondle and caress her leg, and having the unkempt man watch her caused a slow roll of heat to travel through her. Again, his voice. Like molten gold or a cello played by a master that vibrated with life, power, and resonance.

“My name is Philomena McGrattan. I am indeed a madam and hired to relieve you of your virginity.”

There was no further reaction from the professor whatsoever. This did not bode well.


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Karyn lives in a small town in the western corner of Ontario, Canada. She whiles away her spare time writing and reading romance while drinking copious amounts of Earl Grey tea. Tortured heroes are a must. A multi-published author with a few bestsellers under her belt, Karyn loves to write in different genres and time periods, though historicals and contemporaries are her favorite.

As long as she can avoid being hit by a runaway moose in her wilderness paradise she assumes everything is golden. Karyn’s been happily married for a long time to her own hero. His encouragement keeps her moving forward.

 
 

 

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9. Disney Infinity 3.0 Giveaway!

 

Disney Infinity 3.0 came out this week!!

infinity-30-starwars

It was mostly Star Wars-themed.  I love Star Wars…so working on this was a kick!

I boarded a lot of the cinematics between the gameplay.

StarWarsGif_02

These boards did not make the cut…for obvious reasons.

I also wrote lines for some of the characters!  One of these characters was Olaf.

FullSizeRender

Isn’t he adorbs??

I think so :) :)

Do you want this sweet little figure?  I’m doing a giveaway in celebration of the game release!  Enter your name and email below {the email won’t show up} and comment with the word “WANT!”, and you’ll be entered in the drawing!  {If you’re reading this from tumblr, you’ll want to toddle on over to the blog, here at story-monster.com!}

The drawing closes on midnight, September 8th!

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10. Reading Roundup: August 2015

By the Numbers
Teen: 9
Tween: 1
Children: 3

Sources
Review Copies: 5
Library: 8

Standouts
Teen: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Although there's not so much a plot as a set of loosely connected events, this story broke a major reading drought for me, sucking me right in to Ari's world and his blossoming understanding of love, family, identity, and sexuality.
Tween: The Adventures of Beanboy by Lisa Harkrader
Okay, fine, so there's not much competition for this slot this month. But I did adore this story of a kid in a struggling family, learning to see the world differently. I also loved his sorta? kinda? friendship with Sam, who was all prickles and combat-boot ferocity.
Children: Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family's Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh
Brown v. Board of Education gets most of the attention when you talk about school integration, but not many know there was another, earlier landmark case in California, when the Mendez family fought for their children to go to the better equipped and funded white school. Tonatiuh's narration and illustrations guide you through this story without sugar-coating the struggle, before or after the decision.

Because I Want To Awards
He Picked the Wrong Victim: Ruthless by Carolyn Lee Adams
When a serial killer kidnaps Ruth, he doesn't know he's met his match. The resident mean girl at her family's stables, Ruth comes by her nickname of "Ruthless" honestly, and it's her cold determination and dispassionate survival skills that will not only keep her alive, but enable her to come out on top.
Didn't Go the Way I Thought It Would: Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George
Two cousins discover magical family abilities and obligations. To my delight, it was shy and obedient Lou who immediately rose to the occasion, and willful, wild Dacia who needed some time to come to grips with the situation - a reversal from what I expected.

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11. All-New By Its Cover Special (Season Finale)

This will be the final installment of By Its Cover for 2015. Don’t be alarmed, it’ll probably return in 2016. Having a day job at a major online Halloween costume retailer means the second half of my year is always busier than the first, which makes it a little harder to keep up. While each column might […]

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12. Reading in ... France

       BVA surveyed French reading habits in Les Français et la lecture and offer some of the summary-results there.
       That Victor Hugo remains the most popular author isn't that surprising; that Marcel Pagnol ties him perhaps is. But domestic tastes are often ... idiosyncratic. And the double bill of Jean de Florette and Manon of the Springs (get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk) certainly has more than just name-recognition even in English (helped by the film versions ...)
       Interesting also that Emile Zola is cited as the next-most-popular -- ahead of the similarly prolific Balzac, and also Flaubert ..... Jules Verne, on the other hand ... no surprise.
       (And as far as the foreigners go: Agatha Christie, followed in popularity by Stephen King, and Mary Higgins Clark. Which reflects the bestseller-lists pretty well, so at least the respondents seem to be honest with their answers (always a question with these 'who do you read'-surveys).)

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13. #727 – The Perfect Percival Priggs by Julie-Anne Graham

cover
The Perfect Percival Priggs
Written and Illustrated by Julie-Anne Graham
Running Press Kids       5/26/2015
978-0-7624 -5506-5
32 pages      Age 4—8

“Percival Priggs wants to be the perfect child in order to please his seemingly perfect parents. But even when Percy gets his family into a mess of a situation, his parents’ love for him remains absolute perfection.” [front jacket]

Review

“Percival Priggs was perfect.
His parents were perfect.
His grandparents were perfect.
Even his pets were perfect.”

Wow! The Priggs are a tremendously perfect family. This puts a lot of pressure on young Percy to be perfect in everything he does. Both parents are professors with shelves of awards between them. Percy has his own shelf that is nearly as filled with shiny trophies and perfect straight-A report cards. But Percy is finding it is tiring to be so perfect all of the time. If he told his parents this, would they love him any less? Percy is afraid they might, and so he keeps his feelings to himself.

2One weekend, Percy has so many competitions to complete he has no idea how he will ever finish on time. He isn’t thrilled about many of the competitions he is entered in, but he must to find a way to finish perfectly before the weekend is over. Percy comes up with a plan to finish faster, only making one small miscalculation . . . that sends everything into a disastrous cavalcade of humorous tumbles. He just knows his parents will be furious. What will happen to Percival Priggs now that he is no longer a Perfect Percival?

ill1_planI love this story. How many of us think we must be perfect and perform all our duties perfectly, never giving ourselves a break? Count me in. Yet, what does that teach our children? I love that Percival’s parents finally open up to their son, showing him that they were never always perfect (and maybe still not). This takes a load off young Percy’s shoulders. The illustrations (pen and ink on drafting film, with textures and backgrounds in Photoshop), are goofy with an old-fashioned sense of style and are extremely appealing. Oddly, there are words embedded in the character’s head, face, and eyeglasses (which all three wear). I’m not sure, but are these people so intent on perfection that they actually were their thoughts? It is an interesting idea and illustration technique.

I love the message from these two imperfect parents: They love Percy for who he is, not what he wins, and they keep on trying for perfection because they love what they do, not because they want to be perfect. They let Percy off the hook, telling him to find out what it is he loves to do, and then do that, no matter the imperfections or failures he will encounter along the way. Percy does just that in a humorous attempt to find out what he loves to do.

percival_spread2Roller-skating . . . nope, he falls too much. A rock star . . . well, no, not a rock star. In the end, Percy’s trophy shelf is as full as ever, but looks a whole lot different. It starts representing the real Percy. And his best trophy, the one he adores the most? Nah, not telling. Read The Perfect Percival Priggs to find out.

THE PERFECT PERCIVAL PRIGGS. Text and illustrations copyright © 2015 by Julie-Anne Graham. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Running Press Kids, Philadelphia, PA.

Purchase The Perfect Percival Priggs at AmazonBook DepositoryIndieBound BooksiTunes BooksRunning Press Kids.

Learn more about The Perfect Percival Priggs HERE.

percival-priggs-activity-pack.

Find The Perfect Percival Priggs Activity Pack HERE.

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Meet the author/illustrator, Julie-Anne Graham, at her website: http://www.julieannegraham.com/
.           .  Twitter: @Ja_Illustrator
Find more picture books at the Running Press Kids’ website: http://www.runningpress.com/rpkids
.             . Running Press Kids is an imprint of Running Press Book Publishers, and a member of the Perseus Group.

.

Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

.

Full Disclosure: The Perfect Percival Priggs by Julie-Anne Graham, and received from Running Press Kids, (an imprint of Running Press Book Publishers), is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Filed under: 5stars, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Debut Author, Debut Illustrator, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: family, Julie-Anne Graham, parent-child relationships, perfection, Perseus Group, pressure, Running Press Book Publications, Running Press Kids, The Perfect Percival Priggs, winning

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14. Best Selling Picture Books | September 2015

This month, our best selling picture book from our affiliate store is the uber entertaining Press Here, by Herve Tullet.

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15.

This was a proposal I had done for High Five magazine, part of the Highlights company, they passed.
But I thought it would be interesting considering this months blog theme. I illustrated this with FW acrylic transparent paints on Arches Bright White paper. But then I was able to change things a bit with Photoshop. The poem would have gone in the middle.

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16. September Words without Borders

       The September issue of Words without Borders is now up, dedicated to the: 'Geography of the Peruvian Imagination'.

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17. Between You and Me

Get it?

Get it?

I believe it was Joan who prompted me to get myself in the library hold queue for Between You and Me by Mary Norris and I am glad I did! Norris has spent over thirty years as a copy editor for The New Yorker. She has stories! She also knows her grammar. Although she frequently recognizes that New Yorker style and the grammar everyone else uses don’t always align. And yes, she reports people being afraid her at parties, worried they are going to say something incorrect and that she will judge them. Norris insists she has no time or inclination for that malarky yet however reassuring she tries to be, there are some who can’t believe she isn’t silently ripping them to shreds.

A pity too because if she is anything in person like she is in her book, she has a great sense of humor. Though as a grammar geek she does have issues as anyone who is geeky about something will. Like the time she read Light Years by James Salter. She had been hearing about how good he is for a long time and finally decided to read one of his books. She loved it but was pulled up by one sentence, particularly a comma in that one sentence, that seemed to her unnecessary. It bugged her so much she wrote him a letter asking about it. Salter kindly wrote back to her and explained why he used a comma where he did and Norris was completely satisfied with his answer. How many of us would write an author about a comma?

The book is part memoir, part grammar lesson, and sprinkled with the occasional hint of annoyance over all the mistakes people make on a daily basis. There is an entire chapter on “you and I” versus “you and me” and why most of the time “you and me” is the correct usage. Another chapter discusses the problem of there being no gender non-specific pronoun in English that accounts for he and she, him and her, forcing people into terrible grammar contortions and even prompting many to suggest such near atrocities as “ne, nis, nim” or “shi, shis, shim” or “mef” or “hu.” She acknowledges most people have thrown in the towel and settled for “they” and “their” and while she can manage to not be too upset by “they,” “their” is completely unacceptable in her book.

Other things we learn are the correct usage of “which” and “that.” While I was reading it I felt I would never forget the rules but if you ask me right now I will mumble something about restrictive and nonrestrictive clauses and oh, I’m sorry, I have to go take this phone call. I know I get these mixed up all the time but it is hard to make myself care. Should I?

One of my favorite chapters is on dashes, semicolons, and colons. I love dashes and once, long ago, after reading all of Emily Dickinson’s poems over the course of a month, I became a dash maniac. I have since tempered my usage but —oh! — I love them so. I used to be terrified of semicolons and would do my best to avoid any sentence that might need one. But a few years ago I read something, I can’t remember what, that gave me the confidence to start using them. And once I began I decided I really like semicolons even if I am never actually certain whether I am using them correctly. In her chapter Norris does a marvelous analysis on how Henry James uses semicolons. You will not be surprised to know he is absolutely brilliant at it. I am shy about colons and will probably always remain so. I had a writing teacher once drill into my head that a colon was like a big neon sign and that if I ever used one, what came after it had better be good. I guess you could say my shyness of colons stems from a fear that I could never say anything good enough to justify a neon sign. Norris is more reassuring on the matter but I believe I have been scarred for life.

At times I felt like Norris comes across a teeny bit condescending and know-it-all. Perhaps given her position at the New Yorker she really does know it all, but no one likes that especially when it comes to grammar. She has a light, breezy style and is witty and funny, but sometimes her jokes fell flat with me, particularly in her chapter about profanity. However, Between You and Me is overall a fun and enjoyable book that includes some of the most pleasant grammar lessons I have ever had. I highly recommend it should you ever need something to fill an empty spot in your TBR pile.


Filed under: Books, Reviews, Writing Tagged: Grammar, Mary Norris

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18. KIDS DESIGN - the land of nod

Just the one post on P&P today whilst I sort through yesterday's book entries. Today we have a celebration of all that's new at the Land of Nod. This season they are working with some great designers, all of which are familiar to us having been featured in the Print & Pattern books or blog. I love the way they seem to commission artists rather than produce designs 'in the style of'. We begin

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19. still life with mirror

acrylics on paper-  35 x 50 cm approx.

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20. Birth Of A Literary Baby

I've been following Lan Chan's blog, The Write Obsession, for some years now. We've even met, since we both live in Melbourne. And I have to say, I really admire someone who manages to write a novel a year for NaNoWriMo. In the end, the only way to be a writer is to write, which makes Lan very much a writer. 

Isn't that a great cover? Unlike those of us who write for regular publishers, Lan got to choose her artist and commission exactly the kind of cover she wanted. I have had some wonderful covers, but some not so crash hot, so I'm kind of envious!  

I am giving you the blurb below. Lan was too modest to do a guest post, but the offer is open any time. Congratulations on the birth of your literary baby, Lan, and I hope it sells masses of copies! 


                                                      
    

Since the night her mother was murdered, sixteen-year-old Rory Gray has known one truth: There are no good Seeders. 

In post-apocalyptic Australia, the scientists known as Seeders have built a Citadel surrounded by food-producing regions and populated with refugees from the wars and famine. To maintain their control, the Seeders poisoned the land and outlawed the saving of seeds. 

It’s been six years since Rory graced the Seeders’ circus stage as the Wind Dancer and still the scars on her body haven’t healed. Even worse are the scars on her heart, left by a Seeder boy who promised to protect her. 

Now the Seeders are withholding supplies from Rory’s region for perceived disobedience. Utilising the Wanderer knowledge she received from her mother, Rory must journey to the Citadel through uninhabitable terrain to plead for mercy. 

However, the Citadel isn’t as Rory remembered. The chief plant geneticist is dying and rumours fly that the store of viable seed is dwindling. The Seeders are desperate to find a seed bank they believe Rory can locate, and they will stop at nothing to get it. 

To defy the Seeders means death. But Rory has been close to death before--this time she’s learned the value of poison. 

Recommended for fans of The Hunger Games, Divergent, strong protagonists, minority characters, circuses and nature! 

Appropriate for readers 13+

Buy at these addresses:

Amazon: 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B014R11EV6?*Version*=1&*entries*=0


Kobo: 

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/poison-wind-dancer-1

And Smashwords: 

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/570637

It's also available on IBooks if, like me, you hate the idea of handing over your card details online and you have an iPad. The price is only $3.99!


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21. Boomerang Book Bites: Undermajordomo Minor by Patrick deWitt

Patrick deWitt’s follow up to the brilliant The Sisters Brothers is just as described by the publisher on my advanced reading copy, “incredible”. Continuing on with the subversiveness that made The Sisters Brothers such a magnificent and unique take on The Western, deWitt turns his hand to another genre to create a darkly comic romp […]

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22. Illustrator Cristina de Lera

ALBERTSARA-final-portafoli_670 santjordi-nom womensday2015-quadrat_1139_c_670

Cristina de Lera Website >>

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23. Writer Wednesday: How to Land in an Editor's "No Way!" Pile

Today's topic came from Sherry Alexander, who wanted to know what lands and author in an editor's "No Way!" pile. These are things that I've seen that got the author's automatic rejections or caused me to delete their submission without reading it.

Beginning your query with "I know you're not open to unagented submissions, but I'm hoping you'll make an exception for me."
This one really gets me, and here's why. You are making it clear that you believe you're somehow better than all the other authors who want to query me. Grr. Don't ever disrespect another author in front of me. Just don't do it. I hate to see any author putting another author down. And if you think you deserve an exception to the rule but others don't, that's exactly what you're doing. Automatic delete without even reading the query.

Claiming you met me at a conference and that I welcomed you to submit your book.
This was a bad year for me, in that I didn't get to attend any conferences. However, I've gotten queries from people claiming they met me at conferences. Now maybe it's a simple case of mistaken identity. Maybe the editor you met has a similar name. (There are no other Kelly Hashways. I've checked.) But, I'm kind of thinking this person decided to gamble and assume I was at a big SCBWI conference and was busy meeting so many authors I wouldn't remember them all by name. Don't start a relationship off on a lie. Just don't. I don't like liars. Automatic delete without even reading the query.

Forgetting to tell me about your book in your query.
This is your big chance to wow me. You get one page to grab my attention. Why on earth wouldn't you tell me about your book? Editors are very busy. I won't tell you how many books are sitting on my Kindle waiting for me to read them. I'm embarrassed by it. But we are so busy! Your query is what tells me if I'm interested enough in your story to read some of it. Form letter rejection.

Saying your book is better than "Insert Best-seller Title Here"
Again, do NOT put down another author in front of me. I don't care if you're the best writer in the world. Don't do it! Form letter rejection.

I'm sure I'll come across other things the longer I edit, but please for the love of books do not do any of these things when you query. Editors WANT to find books they love in their query inboxes. We do. We want to love you and your book, but our time is very limited. Don't get yourself rejected before we even get to chapter one.

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24. Review: Ransom Canyon by Jodi Thomas

 

This morning I have a review of Jodi Thomas’ Ransom Canyon, but first, Jodi dropped by the virtual offices with a special greeting for all of you!

Greeting from Jodi:

The idea for RANSOM CANYON came from living in the Texas Panhandle.  I wanted to write about the real west of today.  I wanted my people to be like the men and women I grew up with, honest and true.  Not the cowboy on a book cover who has never been on a horse, but the cowboy who gets up at five to load his own horse and make it to the ranch before dawn.  He doesn’t work by the hour, but by the day.

As I began my first book in the series Staten Kirkland jumped off the page.  He’s strong and good, a rancher everyone looks up to, but he’s broken and only one woman can calm his heart. Shy Quinn asks nothing of him.  She offers understanding amid the storm of his life.

Their friendship develops into a gentle, loving affair that grows to rock both them with its depth.  Staten will have to learn to love again and Quinn will have to open up to someone.  The whole town watches the birth of passion and love as Staten stands beside her letting her be strong and quiet Quinn discovers one man’s love can wash away all the pain in her past.

Readers will feel, not like they came to visit, Crossroads, Texas, on the edge of Ransom Canyon, the town will start to feel like home.  My goal as a writer is to keep you up late reading because you have to know what happens next.

So come along with me on a series set in today’s West.  You’ll love it.

Jodi Thomas

www.jodithomas.com

www.facebook.com/jodithomasauthor

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

One of the aspects of a Jodi Thomas novel that I enjoy is getting to know all of the characters.  There are usually 5 or 6 major characters, and their personal stories are told from alternating points of view.  Because of the small town setting, their lives often intersect, so we get so see how others perceive them, too.  Ransom Canyon takes place in Crossroads, Texas, a tiny town that most people just pass through without a second glance.  Staten Kirkland’s family has lived there for generations, running a large cattle ranch and investing their time and money supporting the small, close-knit community.  The story is mainly Staten’s struggle to learn how to live again after the tragic deaths of his beloved wife and teenage son.

Staten wasn’t my favorite character.  He’s emotionally detached because of his heartbreaking past, and I thought he was just taking advantage of Quinn, a childhood friend who has become his buddy with benefits.  Quinn was his wife’s BFF.  After Staten’s wife succumbed to cancer, and his son died in an accident just a few years later, his world crumbled.  He found himself seeking comfort from Quinn, a reclusive woman he’s known all his life.  Whenever the weather turned dark and stormy, just like the night his son was taken from him, he visits Quinn.  She never turns him away, and more times than not, they end up in bed.  Then Staten steals quietly from her small house and heads back home, firmly putting any feelings or deeper meaning to their hookups out of his mind. 

Quinn has loved Staten since grade school.  She has kept it a secret, because her best friend and Staten had already formed an unbreakable bond.  After Staten loses his family, Quinn is content to give what comfort she can, knowing that Staten will never return her feelings.  When unplanned complications arise, their friendship is put to the test.  This is when I decided that I really didn’t like Staten all that much.  The guy is completely clueless. Quinn lives like a hermit, and she is uncomfortable around other people, so for him to voice his doubts like he did got him exactly what he deserved.  While he eventually manned up, I wasn’t completely won over by his contrite apology.

The other characters are Lucas and Lauren, high school students who both have their stuff together.  Lucas wants to make something of himself, so he works on ranches, moving the cattle from one pasture to another, riding fence lines, and saving every penny he earns.  He has big dreams, and he’s not going to let anything get in the way of them.  He has a crush on Lauren, the sheriff’s daughter, but because she’s younger than him, and because the timing isn’t right, he decides that their friendship is going to be more important, right now, than dating her.  Lauren’s also an intelligent, caring young woman, and she agrees with Lucas.  They both have things to accomplish before they can even consider a romantic relationship.  Sometimes you meet the right person at the wrong time, and that is the theme of their relationship.  Of all the couples in the story, though, I thought they have the soundest foundation for a lasting relationship, and I hope we see more of them in later installments.

Yancey rounds out the cast.  He’s a young ex-con, in town looking for an opportunity to score a little cash and move on.  His plans are interrupted when his backpack and all of his meager possessions are stolen, and if it weren’t for the kindness of the small local retirement community, he’d be up a creek without a paddle.  Yancey is a fun character because he has so few practical life experiences.  He’s spent most of life on the wrong side of the law, in and out of jail because he can’t catch a break.  When the seniors take him under their wing, he finally discovers a sense of belonging that had been missing in his life.  It helps to ground him, and finding steady employment and a group of people who care for him make all the different in the world.  He’s goofy, naïve despite his rough edges, and he was probably my favorite character.

If you are a fan of Jodi Thomas, Ransom Canyon won’t disappoint.  If you haven’t read her yet, give it a try.  I find her books fast, soothing reads.  Despite how messed up a character’s life may appear at first, you can be confident that they will find the right person to love them and give them their HEA.

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher

About the book:

From New York Times bestselling author Jodi Thomas comes the first book in a compelling, emotionally resonant series set in a remote west Texas town—where family can be made by blood or by choice

Rancher Staten Kirkland, the last descendant of Ransom Canyon’s founding father, is rugged and practical to the last. No one knows that when his troubling memories threaten to overwhelm him, he runs to lovely, reclusive Quinn O’Grady…or that she has her own secret that no one living knows.

Young Lucas Reyes has his eye on the prize—college, and the chance to become something more than a ranch hand’s son. But one night, one wrong decision, will set his life on a course even he hadn’t imagined.

Yancy Grey is running hard from his troubled past. He doesn’t plan to stick around Ransom Canyon, just long enough to learn the town’s weaknesses and how to use them for personal gain. Only Yancy, a common criminal since he was old enough to reach a car’s pedals, isn’t prepared for what he encounters.

In this dramatic new series, the lives, loves and ambitions of four families will converge, set against a landscape that can be as unforgiving as it is beautiful, where passion, property and pride are worth fighting—and even dying—for.

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25. Fusenews: Anagnorisis, Masks of the Oculate Being, and More . . .

  • DearMrPotterMorning, folks. I’ve been looking to expand my knowledge beyond just children’s literature, so I figured a good podcast would be the best way to go.  After reading Bustle’s 11 literary podcasts to get your bookish fix throughout the day I settled on Books on the Nightstand as the closest thing out there to a Pop Culture Happy Hour of books alone.  Yet even at that moment I couldn’t escape the world of kidlit.  The aforementioned Bustle piece also recommended a podcast called Dear Mr. Potter, described as “an extremely close read of J. K. Rowling’s series, starting with book number one. Host Alistair invites comments and thoughts from readers as he dissects each chapter, (there are live YouTube and Twitter chats before the audio is archived for the podcast) and is able to do some bang-up accents of beloved characters like Professor McGonagall and Hagrid.”  Well, shoot.  That sounds good too.
  • Speaking of podcasts, you heard about The Yarn, right?  That would be the podcast started by Travis Jonker and Colby Sharp that follows a single book through its creators and helpers.  Having finished Season One, our intrepid heroes had a Kickstarter, met their goal, and are now soliciting ideas for Season Two.  Might want to toss in your two cents or so.  Such an opportunity may not arise again.
  • So I say “Proust Questionnaire: Kidlit Edition“, and you say, “Come again?” And I repeat, “Proust Questionnaire: Kidlit Edition”, and you say, “I’m sorry, but you’re just putting a bunch of random words and names together higglety-pigglety.” At which point I direct you to Marc Tyler Nobleman and his interview series. The questions are not too dissimilar from the 7-Impossible Things interview questions, which in turn were cribbed from Inside the Actor’s Studio, (though I forget where they got them before that). For my part, I read the ones up so far and I am now entranced by Jonathan Auxier’s use of the word, “anagnorisis”. Proust would approve.
  • The Bloggess likes us, we the librarians.  We could have guessed that but it’s nice to have your suspicions confirmed from time to time.
  • Kidlit TV: It’s not just videos!  Case in point, a recent interview with my beloved co-author Jules Danielson in which she says very kind things about myself and my fellow Niblings.  She is a bit too kind when she says that, “Betsy never whines or feels sorry for herself.”  This is the advantage, dear children, of co-writing a book with someone in another state.  They will not see you whine or kvetch in person, thereby leading them to believe that you are better than you are.  Learn from my example.
  • As ever, Pop Goes the Page takes the concept of activities in a children’s library (or, in some cases, a museum) to an entirely new level.  Good for getting the creative juices flowing.
  • And now it’s time for another edition of Cool Stuff on the Internet You Didn’t Know and Weren’t Likely to Find By Browsing.  Today, the Kerlan Collection!  You may have heard of it.  It’s that enormously cool children’s book collection hosted by the University of Minnesota.  Cool, right?  You may even have known that the doyenne of the collection is Lisa Von Drasek, who cut her teeth at the Bank Street College of Education’s children’s library for years n’ years.  Now she’s given us a pretty dang cool online exhibit series tie-in and if you happen to know a teacher in need of, oh say, primary sources and picture book nonfiction titles, direct them to the Balloons Over Broadway site.  Explore the links on the left-hand side of the page.  You won’t regret the decision.
  • Here in Evanston, October will bring The First Annual Storytelling Festival.  A too little lauded art that can be sublime or painful beyond belief, the festival will be quite a bit of the former, and very little of the latter.  If you’re in the area, come by!
  • We all know from Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle that it’s the daddy seahorses that shoulders the bulk of the parenting responsibilities in the wild.  Now travel with me over to Portland, Oregon where the husband of a buddy of mine just started Seahorses, “Portland’s first dad and baby store.”  I helped them come up with some of the good daddy/kid picture books they’re selling there.  If you’re an author in the area with a daddy/child title to your name, consider contacting them.  They’re good people.
  • Lucky, Baltimorians.  You get to host Kidlitcon this year.  I would go but my October is pure insanity, travel-wise.  You go and write it up for me, so I don’t feel like I’m missing anything.  I don’t mind.  Really.
  •  Daily Image:

And finally, this is precisely what you think it is.

GoodnightConstructionPJs

Yep. Goodnight Goodnight, Construction Site PJs.  Awesome?  You betcha.

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