What is JacketFlap

  • JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans.
    Join now (it's free).

Sort Blog Posts

Sort Posts by:

  • in

Suggest a Blog

Enter a Blog's Feed URL below and click Submit:

Most Commented Posts

In the past 7 days

Recent Posts

(from all 1552 Blogs)

Recent Comments

JacketFlap Sponsors

Spread the word about books.
Put this Widget on your blog!
  • Powered by JacketFlap.com

Are you a book Publisher?
Learn about Widgets now!

Advertise on JacketFlap

MyJacketFlap Blogs

  • Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.

Blog Posts by Date

Click days in this calendar to see posts by day or month
new posts in all blogs
Viewing: Blog Posts from All 1552 Blogs, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 901 - 925 of 618,773
901. Save Missouri Libraries

This is a guest blog post by Wick Thomas about the Save MO Libraries rally.

I was the primary organizer of our Save MO Libraries rally in Jefferson City on Wednesday. The Governor is currently withholding 6 million dollars in appropriated funds from the libraries statewide and has recommended the same cuts next year. We decided to get some of our amazing teens together and take them to the Capitol to meet with their legislators to talk about why libraries are so important in their communities. We all had a great day until we got the Governor's office where his staff had us thrown out and threatened us with state troopers...

We had almost 100 teenagers take off from Kansas City for the Save MO Libraries Rally bright and early at 8 a.m. with a great media send off. It is Kansas City Public Schools spring break so we had an especially good turnout!

We arrived at the Missouri River Regional Library at 11:00 a.m. for pizza, to make posters, and to have an orientation for the day. (The Missouri River Regional Library staff is amazing!) Then we headed over to the South Steps of the State Capitol for the rally at 1:00.

We started a few minutes early because it began to rain and we were worried about the sound equipment. The teens decided that the rally should happen regardless of the rain, though. We had library systems from all over Missouri join us! I got to introduce some great speakers: our Library Director Crosby Kemper, noted civil rights activist Alvin Sykes, Camden County Library Director Michael Davis, State Librarian Barbara Reading, and teens from Kansas City Academy, Southwest High, Truman, East High, Northeast High and Van Horn. It was a spirited rally and the teens were especially great.

After that we went to our scheduled meetings with almost all of the senators and representatives from the Kansas City library districts as well as the Secretary of State's office. We split into three smaller groups to be more manageable and so the teens could meet with their specific officials. All of the meetings went very well. Our kids asked good questions and most of the legislators greeted them warmly and thanked them for caring so deeply about this issue.

We then headed to the Governor's office. His staff told us he was currently out of state but knew that we were going to come to his office anyway to speak with them. We got many of the teens into the reception area and then started calmly and respectfully asking them questions. After one of our teen's questions we were told that since there were meetings going on we were being too loud and had to leave. (We have video that clearly shows we were not being loud.) We asked if their staff would come out into the hall with us and talk to us there so we wouldn't bother anyone and they denied that request. Mr. Kemper and myself tried to reason with the staff and were then told that they would have State Troopers escort us out if we didn't leave immediately. We complied and left his office. They then called up extra security to monitor us and had Governor Nixon escorted out with four police officers. (I guess he wasn't actually out of state!) Many of our teens then went up and watched the chamber from the visitor's gallery and then we boarded the buses back to Kansas City.

Needless to say, many of our teens are now especially fired up about this topic. I have never been so disrespected by a public official and am especially appalled they treated our kids that way and then blamed it on them. (When they had already met with a dozen other officials with no problems at all.)

What now?- This is just the start.

*   After the teens were treated so poorly, the hashtag #savemolibraries really took off.

*   The petition to the Governor has received over 300 signatures since yesterday. On it you will find contact information for the Governor and for the House/Senate budgetary committees. Please share it with everyone you know.

*   It is especially important that you contact the Senate budgetary committee members right now as they began their deliberations this week.

*   Follow @kclibraryteens on Twitter and Facebook. (Pics from the rally are there!)

*   Direct people to www.savemolibraries.org for updates on the campaign.

*   This link includes handouts and images you can use at your library!

*   Let me know if you want to get involved so we can make this a more unified statewide effort!

We are going to be meeting with the teens who attended and strategize on what to do next. They are especially fired up about this and want to help lead the charge!

Save MO Libraries!


Add a Comment
902. Required Reading: Books That Inspire Travel

Ahead of a trip, many of us gravitate toward books that depict the history and culture of our travel destination. But it can work the other way around, too. Sometimes a book provides such a powerful sense of place that we find ourselves longing to visit the area we read about. Some of us even [...]

0 Comments on Required Reading: Books That Inspire Travel as of 3/20/2015 2:38:00 PM
Add a Comment
903. WATCH: Marvel’s Sana Amanat and artist Phil Jimenez appear on The Nightly Show

The Nightly Show

Last night’s The Nightly Show, the show hosted by Larry Whitmore, examined nerd culture and diversity. Guests included Marvel’s Director of Content & Character Development. Sana Amanat, artist Phil Jimenez (Spider-Man, Wonder Woman), comedian Mike Lawrence and rapper Jean Grae. The show included a “black Batman” sketch and some other discussion of nerdly topics—including a sick burn of Cyclops. (Rachel Edidin powers unite!)

Amanat and Jimenez acquitted themselves quit well, to no surprise, but Grae’s tale of resisting the rap name “Storm” (as a black woman from South Africa) was also of note.


5 Comments on WATCH: Marvel’s Sana Amanat and artist Phil Jimenez appear on The Nightly Show, last added: 3/24/2015
Display Comments Add a Comment
904. Poetry Friday: If Spirits Walk by Sophie Jewett

If spirits walk, love, when the night climbs slow
The slant footpath where we were wont to go,
Be sure that I shall take the selfsame way
To the hill-crest, and shoreward, down the gray,
Sheer, gravelled slope, where vetches straggling grow.

Look for me not when gusts of winter blow,
When at thy pane beat hands of sleet and snow;
I would not come thy dear eyes to affray,
If spirits walk.

But when, in June, the pines are whispering low,
And when their breath plays with thy bright hair so
As some one’s fingers once were used to play-
That hour when birds leave song, and children pray,
Keep the old tryst, sweetheart, and thou shalt know
If spirits walk.

- If Spirits Walk by Sophie Jewett

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

Add a Comment
905. Louise O’Neill Wins YA Book Prize

Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill has won the Bookseller.com’s YA Book Prize 2015.

The new prize is given to the best Young Adult fiction from the UK and Ireland. O’Neill’s described her book to the website as “The Handmaid’s Tale meets ‘Mean Girls,'” in an interview in which she was asked to tell why she should win. Her reason? “Because my Granny Murphy will be very proud of me; and that’s pretty much all I care about in life,” said the first time novelist in the interview.

The book was one of 10 titles shortlisted for the prize. Books were chosen by  a judging panel of five teenage book fans and a team of “book trade gurus.”

Add a Comment
906. My Twitterized INSURGENT Movie Review

[View the story "Insurgent Movie Review" on Storify]

0 Comments on My Twitterized INSURGENT Movie Review as of 3/20/2015 12:46:00 PM
Add a Comment
907. Connor Willumsen on Marvel’s ban on implying “a blast in the can”


One of today’s most iconoclastic cartooning voices is Connor Willumsen, a traveling ninja who periodically busts out experimental and beautiful comics. He’s also known for turning his back on mainstream work, including a run on Punisher Max that he left early on. Prompted by Ronald Wimberley’s powerful “Lighten Up” about being asked by a Big Two editor to make a mixed race character lighter, Willumsen has followed up with “Penetrating Rule,” about Marvel’s ban on showing anal sex. (Although…Alias #1…) I highly recommend you read both pieces, as they show why…well, let’s be honest, we need indie comics and indie comics that pay living wages.

I can understand why showing Wolverine giving a lady a blast in the can may have aroused alarm bells, but it’s certainly worth discussing.

Link a bit NSFW, especially if your W does not like the sight of Wolverine’s hairy ass.

10 Comments on Connor Willumsen on Marvel’s ban on implying “a blast in the can”, last added: 3/22/2015
Display Comments Add a Comment
908. Flogometer for Tony—are you compelled to turn the page?

Submissions Wanted... If you’d like a fresh look at your opening chapter or prologue, please email your submission to me re the directions at the bottom of this post.

The Flogometer challenge: can you craft a first page that compels me to turn to the next page? Caveat: Please keep in mind that this is entirely subjective.

Note: all the Flogometer posts are here.

What's a first page in publishingland? In a properly formatted novel manuscript (double-spaced, 1-inch margins, 12-point type, etc.) there should be about 16 or 17 lines on the first page (first pages of chapters/prologues start about 1/3 of the way down the page). Directions for submissions are below—they include a request to post the rest of the chapter, but that’s optional.

A word about the line-editing in these posts: it’s “one-pass” editing, and I don’t try to address everything, which is why I appreciate the comments from the FtQ tribe. In a paid edit, I go through each manuscript three times.

Mastering front 100WshadowBefore you rip into today’s submission, consider this checklist of first-page ingredients from my book, Mastering the Craft of Compelling Storytelling. While it's not a requirement that all of these elements must be on the first page, they can be, and I think you have the best chance of hooking a reader if they are.

Download a free PDF copy here.

Were I you, I'd examine my first page in the light of this list before submitting to the Flogometer. I use it on my own work.

A First-page Checklist

  • It begins connecting the reader with the protagonist
  • Something is happening. On a first page, this does NOT include a character musing about whatever.
  • What happens is dramatized in an immediate scene with action and description plus, if it works, dialogue.
  • What happens moves the story forward.
  • What happens has consequences for the protagonist.
  • The protagonist desires something.
  • The protagonist does something.
  • There’s enough of a setting to orient the reader as to where things are happening.
  • It happens in the NOW of the story.
  • Backstory? What backstory? We’re in the NOW of the story.
  • Set-up? What set-up? We’re in the NOW of the story.
  • What happens raises a story question—what happens next? or why did that happen?

Caveat: a strong first-person voice with the right content can raise powerful story questions and create page turns without doing all of the above. A recent submission worked wonderfully well and didn't deal with five of the things in the checklist.

Tony sends the first chapter for Lights Out. The rest of the chapter after the break.

It was more than the conviction in Dr. Payson's voice that made Danny squirm against the red vinyl upholstery. More than just the way Payson kept his eyes leveled at Danny as he spoke—completely oblivious to the carnival of light and sound bursting from the dozens of flat screens that were plastered across the walls of The Fours Bar & Grill. And it was more than the casual description that Payson gave, between sips of his dirty martini, of the satanic ritual he planned to perform for Danny's benefit.

More than any of that, it was the goddamned look on Payson's wrinkled face. Danny couldn't decide if the guy was bat-shit crazy or just plain dangerous, but either way one thing was clear; Richard Payson truly believed every word he said. And that, more than anything else, was what made Danny uneasy.

Danny sloshed around the last of his bottle of Sam Adams, turned it up, and took a swig to steady his nerves. His fingers tingled so badly that he could barely hold the bottle. He chose his next words carefully. “You’re saying you can bring me back from the dead?”

“Most of what will happen depends greatly on you." Payson drained his glass. “But I don’t believe it will come to that.”

“And if it does?"

“There are precautions we can take." Payson propped his elbows on the table and (snip)

Were you compelled to turn Tony's first page?

Tony has a voice I like and good, clean writing. The scene is well set, something is happening, and there are good, strong story questions, especially the line about being brought back from the dead. Spoiler alert: that’s not literally what this is about--I think. Caveat: "back from the dead" doesn't seem to be what might happen from what's in this chapter, but I don't know what happens later. I take the "dead" he refers to as about bringing back his career as a pitcher from being moribund because he can't pitch anymore. If so, the reference to coming back from the dead is a bit of bait-and-switch, and I don’t think misleading the reader is a good idea. Tony, let us know if I got this wrong. A few notes:

It was more than the conviction in Dr. Payson's voice that made Danny squirm against the red vinyl upholstery. More than just the way Payson kept his eyes leveled at Danny as he spoke—completely oblivious to the carnival of light and sound bursting from the dozens of flat screens that were plastered across the walls of The Fours Bar & Grill. And it was more than the casual description that Payson gave, between sips of his dirty martini, of the satanic ritual he planned to perform for Danny's benefit. A strong opening paragraph with the mention of the satanic ritual.

More than any of that, it was the goddamned look on Payson's wrinkled face. Danny couldn't decide if the guy was bat-shit crazy or just plain dangerous, but either way one thing was clear; Richard Payson truly believed every word he said. And that, more than anything else, was what made Danny uneasy. Later I got the idea that it is what he says that gives Danny trouble, not in his belief in what he says. Isn’t Danny’s trouble that he’s afraid of what it means if what the Dr. says is true? So is this statement accurate?

Danny sloshed around the last of his bottle of Sam Adams, turned it up, and took a swig to steady his nerves. His fingers tingled so badly that he could barely hold the bottle. He chose his next words carefully. “You’re saying you can bring me back from the dead?” I think there’s a missed opportunity to help the reader understand more about Danny—how about a little more on the fingers? For example: The fingers of his pitching hand tingled so badly that he could barely hold the bottle—or a baseball. On the “back from the dead” line—rather than promise something that the narrative doesn’t deliver, maybe there is something equally intriguing. For example, bring in the mention of the demon here, maybe the idea of a demon as his savior?

“Most of what will happen depends greatly on you." Payson drained his glass. “But I don’t believe it will come to that.” This refers to being brought back from the dead, but I didn’t see anything in the first chapter that suggests he will become dead. If that happens in a later chapter, then disregard this concern.

“And if it does?"

“There are precautions we can take." Payson propped his elbows on the table and (snip)

Comments, please?

For what it’s worth.


Submitting to the Flogometer:

Email the following in an attachment (.doc, .docx, or .rtf preferred, no PDFs):

  1. your title
  2. your complete 1st chapter or prologue plus 1st chapter
  3. Please include in your email permission to post it on FtQ.
  4. Note: I’m adding a copyright notice for the writer at the end of the post. I’ll use just the first name unless I’m told I can use the full name.
  5. Also, please tell me if it’s okay to post the rest of the chapter so people can turn the page.
  6. And, optionally, include your permission to use it as an example in a book on writing craft if that's okay.
  7. If you’re in a hurry, I’ve done “private floggings,” $50 for a first chapter.
  8. If you rewrite while you wait for your turn, it’s okay with me to update the submission.

Were I you, I'd examine my first page in the light of the first-page checklist before submitting to the Flogometer.

Flogging the Quill © 2015 Ray Rhamey, story © 2015 Tony



. . . steepled his fingers. "But understand, what I propose will require your full commitment. If you give yourself over fully then we can control it, harness its power. But once the demon has been summoned if you fight against it, it will fight back and you will lose.”

The outside door swung open, allowing a flood of afternoon sunlight to momentarily pour in off of Canal Street. With it the barely tolerable humidity, that was the fingerprint of a July Bermuda High in Boston, followed close behind. Danny's head snapped around at the movement and froze. A trio of beer-bellied guys wearing Red Sox jerseys spilled in from the street. The cigarette smoke that wafted in with them made Danny's nose twitch. Danny doubted that they could see him, but wasn't taking the chance. He turned towards the wall and pulled up the hood of his sweatshirt to hide his face, anyway. He had to get out of there before someone recognized him. “Okay.” Danny nodded his head and slid to the edge of the booth. “I'm pulling the ripcord, this is not what I came for.” He dug in his pocket, peeled off a twenty, and tossed it on the table. “Thanks for the drink.”

“What did you come here for?”

"Not this," Danny scoffed. "This is insane."

A flicker of anger flashed across Payson's otherwise emotionless eyes, then passed just as quickly. He sat stone-faced. "You don't believe me?”

Danny motioned toward the vodka. "I think you've had one too many."

"Fine." He reached into the inner pocket of his sports jacket, fished out a pen, and scribbled on a cocktail napkin. "Here."

"What's this?"

"A contact of mine at a laboratory in the Bay Area."

"For what?"

"He specializes in a more traditional method of performance enhancement."

Danny Hamil waved him off. It wasn’t the first time in his career that someone had offered him a performance enhancer, and his answer was always the same. "No drugs."

"It won't be nearly as effective and I can't guarantee the results," he said. “In fact, it probably won't help you at all. Not in your condition."

Danny’s tone sharpened. "My condition?"

Payson ignored the question. “Besides, at the rate players have been caught testing positive for performance enhancing drugs, you'll probably be suspended before you even see any meager benefits from using.”

"I told you, no drugs.”

“You aren’t leaving me many options.”

“So, that’s it? That’s all you got?” Danny flexed his pitching hand. It was ice cold and clammy—not good. "The Haitian said you could help me."

“That is precisely what I am trying to do.”

“No, you’re wasting my time.”

“You came to me.”

“For a real solution.”

“I’m offering you a real solution.”

“You call this real? Satanic rituals? Demonic possession? That’s real to you?”

“And why do you think the Haitian sent you to see me?"

The jumbo flat screen mounted directly behind him boomed with the sound of two ESPN talking heads jabbering about the top ten current Boston athletes; a list Danny didn’t belong on anymore. Danny searched Payson’s face for a glimpse of the truth behind the lie, but there was nothing in his eyes that betrayed his words. Not a damn thing. "I thought you were a doctor."

“And I thought that someone in your position wouldn’t slap away a helping hand.”

“Someone in my position?” Danny crossed his arms and leaned back, rigid against the booth. “You think I want this? You think I want any of this? You don’t know me,” he said. “You don't know anything about me.”

“Oh, I know a great deal about you,” Payson said. “I know you're on the last year of your contract. I know your fastball velocity has dropped and your ERA has risen every year for the last five years. I know that you’re one bad game away from being released. I know there’s a limited market for a pitcher your age." The old man leaned forward and eyed Danny's right hand. His ring finger was a bluish white. “And I know you wouldn't be here if you weren't completely out of options.”

“What do you want from me?”

“To take your situation a little more seriously, for starters.”

“You don't think I'm taking this seriously?”

“I think you're letting fear cloud your judgment.”

Danny settled back into their padded corner booth and let Paysons' words sink in. The booth was less comfortable then he remembered, but apart from that, the place looked much like it did the last time he'd been there—although it must have been at least ten years. The red-tin vintage Ted Williams Moxie Beer sign still hung proudly on the wall by the entrance. Flat screens covered the walls at every imaginable angle. Two of them bookended the Fenway panoramic that loomed over the bar. Everywhere else, photos covered nearly every inch of the taupe-painted walls. And hidden in the corner, nestled between a Wade Boggs poster and an autographed Clemens jersey, hung a familiar, faded photo of a young red Sox rookie sensation that fizzled out too soon.

One of the obnoxious Sox fans left the table and walked past Danny towards the men's room. Danny pulled the drawstring of his hood tighter and buried his head in a menu.

Payson raised his empty glass and waved at the waitress for another round. "It must be difficult being such a hated man in such a passionate sports town,” he said. "You just might be the most hated man in Boston."

Danny sneered. "I hadn't noticed."

“You’re quite unpopular on sports radio, these days, as well. Fans calling in to WEEI want your head on a platter. It’s been going on for weeks, months even. They say you’re everything that’s wrong with the Red Sox, right now. Or have you not noticed that, either?" Richard Payson seemed to relish his own words. "Everyone on sports radio says you’re washed up, and there’s one overnight host in particular seems to be hell-bent on running you out of town. How does that make you feel?"

"Like I should watch more T.V."

"It doesn’t bother you at all?"

“That’s a good answer, let’s stick with that.”

A pretty brunette waitress in a slinky black top brought the next round of drinks and a basket of buffalo wings. The tang of spicy chicken filled the air. “On the house, boys.” She dropped the check and smiled at Danny. She touched his hand and winked. “We take care of our own here, especially one as cute as you.”

Danny probably would’ve flirted back if his attention hadn’t been drawn to one of the TV’s across the room by the bar. A breaking news report about the Red Sox manager, Art Coley, being under investigation by major league baseball for allegedly betting on games interrupted the top-ten show. Danny strained to hear the report. It couldn’t be true, had to be a mistake. Coley had his problems, but that was years ago, and Danny had helped him through it. Sure, he was known for blowing a few bucks on the ponies, back then. But betting on baseball? That wasn’t like him. And why wouldn’t Coley come to him if he needed help? He pulled out his cell phone and looked at the time. He needed to find out what the hell was going on. He forced a smile, muttered an absent thank you to the waitress, and turned to Payson. “It’s late,” he said. “Gotta get to the ballpark.”

Payson raked his fingers through his scraggly beard and held Danny’s gaze. “I can help you if you let me.”

“I don’t think so. The kind of help you’re offering,” Danny said. “I don't need."

"Then why are you here?"

It had been more than three months since Danny had first felt his pitching hand go numb. Three months since the Haitian had given Danny the talisman. Three months since the voodoo blessing that was supposed to save his career. Three months, and still nothing had changed. Instead, things were only getting worse. He never really believed in what the Haitian had said, but times were desperate, and it seemed like a good idea at the time. He scooped up the fresh bottle and raised it to take a much needed drink, but stopped. In the cold mirror of the brown glass he saw his reflection, and he couldn’t put the bottle down fast enough. Danny stepped away from the table. "Have my reasons."

Payton nodded. “I’m surprised you’re not more open to the possibility of the paranormal.”

“Been in this game long time,” Danny snapped. “Seen a lot of strange shit.”

“And still you don't believe?

“If I can’t see it, I don’t believe it.”

“Some things need to be believed to be seen,” Payson said. “Besides, I thought ballplayers were superstitious.”

"Not all of us.”

"Superstition is just as much a part of the game as hitting and fielding, is it not?"

"Just like it’s a part of witchcraft, voodoo, cults—"

 “You mean that in all your years in uniform, you’ve never once appealed to a higher power for help during a cold streak, or relied on a good luck charm to get you through a slump?”

"What do you want me to say?"

“How about the truth?”

“Look,” Danny said. “Superstitions are one thing, but what you're talking about… that’s something else."

“You can't deny that those superstitions make players better.”

”Some guys will believe anything.”

“But not you?”

“That's what the game does to us. We're all screwed up,” Danny said. “But I ain't screwed up enough to believe this.”

“That’s your problem, you don’t believe,” Payson said. “And that’s why you'll fail.”

"Fine.” Danny leaned over the table, pounded his fist on the table, and jabbed a finger at Payson. "You know what I believe? Superstitions are a waste of time. Yeah, some guys rely on it. But that’s what the game does to you. It’s cruel and it’s hard and it screws with you. Makes you desperate. Makes you try anything to avoid offending the baseball gods. But it's not about hocus-pocus, it’s about preparation. And it’s not about lucky charms. It’s about routine, concentration, staying on the field, and finding a way to cope with the shit-load of pressure we face on a day by day, inning by inning, pitch by pitch basis.”

Danny's face reddened and he fell back into his seat. His outburst was drawing attention from the folks at nearby tables, but he didn't notice. “You know why players cling so desperately to our superstitions? Confidence. Because we have so fucking little of it, and what little we do have can vanish in a second. So yeah, we do our rituals and stick to our routines to feel like we’re in control,” he said. “But we’re not.”

"Let’s talk about the powers you’ll gain when—"

"And you're going to sit there with a straight face and tell me that you can solve all my problems and all I have to do is pull an Ozzy, bite the head off a bat, dial up Satan on the oujia board, sell my soul to the devil and poof? I get magical powers that will make me an all-star pitcher again?! And all I have to do is believe? I don't think you realize how truly full of shit you are."

Danny leaned back and glared at Payson. "Seven hundred fifty five major leaguers and they all got their own superstitions and routines. They all believe.”

Danny clenched his jaw. “When I played with Todd Helton, he'd shave off his beard whenever he took an o-fer. Wade Boggs ate chicken before every single game. Turk Wendell pitched without socks and chewed licorice between innings. Guy I played with in Detroit pulled out the Mr. Bubble and cleaned his shoes between innings if there was a speck of dirt on them. I’ve seen guys wear two-month-old socks, shit at the same time every day, wear the same dirty underwear for weeks, avoid stepping on foul lines… Hell, I’ve even seen guys piss on their hands before the game for luck—because they believe."

Danny slipped his hand into his hoodie pocket, cradled the talisman that the Haitian had given him. He stared into the distance, took a deep breath, and exhaled. The edge left his voice. “I used to believe. I worked hard. Played the game right way. Trusted in my ability. Even had my superstitions.”

Danny pulled out the talisman and set it on the table. “Kept this in my back pocket when I pitched.” He traced his finger over the charred bones strung together by mottled twine. The crudely carved orange skull wore a look of perpetual surprise. The hollow bones rattled in his hand. “I still do." 

Payson raised an eyebrow at it but kept any thoughts he had to himself.

“Thought it helped me concentrate; took my mind off the game. Made me feel like I wasn’t alone out there, for a while—like it wasn’t all on my shoulders." He tossed the talisman on the table. Then the surgeries robbed the life from my fastball, age stole what little ability I had left...” Danny picked at the label of his brown bottle. “Didn’t help that I burned a lot bridges."

"Who needs bridges when you can walk on water?” His silvery baritone was almost comforting.

“C’mon,” Danny said. “There are no magic trinkets or secret rituals that can fix things. I’ve made that mistake before. None of those superstitions made a difference. None of it was real," he said. "Truth is, the hits aren’t in the gum. The strikeouts aren’t in the chicken. None of it changes anything, or guarantees you’ll get that hit in the ninth, or strike out the cleanup guy with the bases loaded. None of it helps." Danny shook his head. "Not really. Doesn’t help you, doesn’t help the ball club, and it sure as hell doesn’t help the people who count on you the most. No, my problem isn’t that I don't believe. Problem is that I did—for way too long, and now look where it got me.”

Payson cleared his throat and nodded. Then he smiled, stood, and buttoned his sports jacket. "I understand. You’re not ready,” he said. “You don’t believe. It’s alright,” Payson placed a reassuring hand on Danny shoulder. “There are others who will.” He handed Danny a business card. “If you change your mind, that’s where you'll find me."

Add a Comment
909. forward...hatch!

Here in Bethesda, we are having a wintry start to spring with 1-3" inches of snow predicted...but the new season is hatCHing out no matter what (so say I!).  This is my day to pull something out of the files, and I surprised myself by remembering this one that has not seen light of day in 15 years.  It's a teacher poem rather than a kid poem, but here goes:

For the Hatching of the Heart

Today the 4’s made scrambled eggs.
Each took a turn to crack a shell,
and each one of the group of twelve
did it just the same:

grasped the egg
in one hot hand, not gingerly,
but with a grip that would have
crushed it,
smearing egg and bits of shell
all over palms and shirts,
had the teacher not explained
how to hold it carefully
between the fingertips;

raised that hand
to whack the egg against the bowl
with force that would have
shattered it,
spraying egg and bits of shell
all over cheeks and hair,
had the teacher not explained
how to tap assertively
but gently on the rim;

laid both thumbs
against the break, preparing to release
it with a squeeze that would have
smashed it,
dripping egg and bits of shell
all over shoes and floor,
had the teacher not explained
how to pry the jagged halves
apart with one swift pull.

When all the eggs were in the bowl,
the tricky part was done.
Not one of a dozen children
had trouble with the whisk,
with beating all twelve eggs into
one deep yellow froth.

Today the 4’s ate scrambled eggs,
and every one insisted:
they liked the crunchy bits the best.

Heidi Mordhorst 2000
all rights reserved

And I can't let this post go by without mentioning my very favorite Valentine's Day story and possibly my favorite Eileen Spinelli work, Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch.  If you don't know this book, run right out and get a copy today. And look what I found!

<!--[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 <![endif]-->Let's see what's hatCHing out of you today!


0 Comments on forward...hatch! as of 3/20/2015 12:05:00 AM
Add a Comment
910. Ginger the Cat and Benny the Bee

Attempting some basic animation!
I might try to animate my picture books, eventually.

0 Comments on Ginger the Cat and Benny the Bee as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
911. Romance Author Adds Book Trailer to Tweets

Donna Thorland, author of the Renegades of the Revolution series from Penguin NAL has taken advantage of Twitter’s new native video platform to promote her latest book.

By uploading a trailer for the book from her phone, she was able to tweet the trailer directly to her audience from within the social network. “I actually repurposed an existing trailer for one of my books to fit the 30 second time frame,” Thorland explained in an email to GalleyCat.

We’ve embedded the tweet below to inspire other authors. Notice the Amazon link in the tweet as well.

The stage is set for a revolution. http://t.co/FM7EcwvFFq pic.twitter.com/ElXiphTPO8

— Donna Thorland (@DonnaThorland) February 25, 2015

Add a Comment
912. Little City Books Launches Indiegogo Campaign

The owners of Little City Books have launched an indiegogo campaign. They hope to raise $22,000 through this crowdfunding venture to build a literary and cultural community space in Hoboken, New Jersey.

The video embedded above features the story of how a banker, a singer, and a literary agent came together as collaborators for this independent bookstore. Once this establishment has opened, the trio plans to host readings, parties, musical event, book club meetings, workshops, and author appearances.

Here’s more from the indiegogo page: “Indie bookstores are making a comeback. Print sales are up and stores are opening around the country. They operate on tiny margins, but after two years of research, we’re confident that we can run a great indie bookshop in Hoboken — with an enthusiastic landlord, frugal planning, and community support.”

Add a Comment
913. Cynsational News & Giveaways

By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Congratulations to Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong on the release of The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations (Pomelo, 2015) from Janet Lee Cary at Library Lions Roar! Peek:

JW: There are two huge differences between this book and our other books. First, the subject matter: 156 holidays. Second: it’s bilingual! The 156 English poems all appear with Spanish versions alongside them.

SV: There’s another big difference. The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations highlights picture books alongside the poetry. Each of 156 holiday poems (in English and Spanish) has a picture book pairing in Tip #4 of the Take 5! section.

More News & Giveaways

Consulting Services & Lecture Fees for Debbie Reese from American Indians in Children's Literature. Peek: "Do you have a Native character in your manuscript? Is the character the main one? Or a secondary one? Are you, in some way, incorporating Native content? A character's ancestry, perhaps? If you want me to give you feedback on your manuscript, let's talk."

Why I Love to Read Sad and Dark Books to Children (and Why You Should, Too) by Jill Eisenberg from Lee & Low. Peek: "Using books with dark themes or settings in the classroom can give students the language to express their emotions, models for how to discuss and engage on these topics with adults and peers, and a safe space to explore difficult topics."

You Don't Have to Like Them and Other Truths About Characters and Storytelling from Joy Preble. Peek: "I don't have to like Alice for me to read and enjoy and savor this book. I don't have to like her for me to think that Julie Murphy's written an awesome novel. I simply have to find her authentic and consistent within the fictional boundaries and character arc Murphy has created. And I do."

Categorizing the Human Condition: Redefining Who We Think We Are by Ann Dye form CBC Diversity. Peek: "'Why do we assume that the natural response from adults who don’t share a commonality with a diverse character in any respect aren’t hungry to expand their horizons a bit through their nighttime reading?'"

Black Authors and Self-Publishing by Zetta Elliott from School Library Journal. Peek: "Newbery Medal winner Kwame Alexander self-published his first thirteen books and acknowledges that there’s a 'long history' of self-publishing in the Black community."

Brian Yansky on Novelists & Passion for Writing by Brian Yansky from Brian's Blog - Writer Talk. Peek: "The praise a person gets in school isn't going to sustain him/her as a writer once out and the teacher and student audience is gone and the larger one not yet materialized. What sustains a writer is that passion, that learned love of the act of writing."

To Save Yourself from Marion Dane Bauer. Peek: "We latch onto story ideas because there is something about an idea that draws more ideas the way a magnet pulls in iron filings."

April Is Autism Awareness Month: Partner Up to Reach Families in Your Community by Ashley Waring from ALSC Blog. Peek: "One way to get families with children with all types of disabilities into your library is to offer an informational program for parents and caregivers."

The Role of the Professional Reviewer in Today's Publishing World: Interview with Henrietta Verma of Library Journal by Samantha Knoerzer from Bibliocrunch. Peek: "...87 percent of its (ALA) members are white. A majority of that size of any ethnicity is of concern. It affects which books are bought for libraries and, I’m sure, how welcome minorities who are under-represented in librarianship feel in in the profession and as patrons, and which direction library hiring committees, subconsciously or not, lean."

On Illustration Notes by Liz Garton Scanlon from Eastern Penn Points. Peek: "Why the general no-no vibe around authors peppering their manuscripts with helpful hints for would-be editors and illustrators?"

Cynsational Giveaways

Enter Diversity in YA's 2015 Anniversary Giveaway. Peek: "With generous donations from publishers and authors, we are thrilled to be giving away 100 books with main characters who are of color, LGBT, and/or disabled."

This Week at Cynsations

More Personally

I'm deeply honored to have been featured in a personality profile by editor Sterling Cosper that appears in the latest issue of my official tribal newspaper, The Muscogee Nation News:

Citizen Leaves Legal, Journalism Professions to Pursue Literary Career. Peek:

"Eat while you’re listening—everything is better with home-cooked food. Connect with a creative and personal community. It’s all about the tradition and circle of storytelling; not just your one voice in it,' Leitich Smith said."

Thanks to everyone who turned out for (or stopped by) my signing table at Costco in Selma, Texas; last Saturday! I was charmed by the warmth and friendliness of the community, and it was a delight to connect so many Feral novels--include numerous full trilogy sets--to teens!

Congratulations to author-illustrator and fellow Austinite Salima Alikhan on being admitted to the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults!

Link of the Week: We Need Diverse Books -- Movers & Shakers 2015: Change Agents from Library Journal.

Personal Links

Cynsational Events

Now Available
Cynthia will appear from April 14 to April 17 at the 2015 Annual Conference of the Texas Library Association in Austin.

Join Cynthia from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. May 2 at Saratoga Springs Public Library for a celebration in conjunction with Saratoga Reads! at Saratoga Springs, New York. Note: Cynthia will be presenting Jingle Dancer (2000), Rain Is Not My Indian Name (2001) and Indian Shoes (2002)(all published by HarperColllins).

Cynthia will serve as the master class faculty member from June 19 to June 21 May 2 at the VCFA Alumni Mini-Residency in Montpelier, Vermont.

Cynthia will speak from June 25 to June 30 on a We Need Diverse Books panel at the 2015 Annual Conference of the American Library Association in San Francisco.

Add a Comment
914. Chart: Lady Thor outsells Male thor


Fusion’s Danielle Henderson runs some numbers and shows that New feminist Thor is totally outselling old Thor. Of course, we know all about first issue bump, standard attrition and all that, but obviously the book launched with a high degree of interest.

Our own Xavier Lancel wrote that “It’s still a little too early to tell where this one is gonna go but its sales level is quite high so far. I would have expected a sales bump with this male VS female Thor issue. Did you check how awesome this male Thor by Russel Dauterman on the cover is? Big nipples, hairy chest, it was time for Thor to enter the realm of masculine hairy guys!”

Which really gets to the heart of the matter.

I see some of the gufflegobbers out there are using Lady Thor as an example of how the wimmens have ruined the masculine hairy guys of comics. If only these ceaseless watchdogs of objective thinking had been around when the Hulk was grey—can you imagine the horrors we’d have been spared?

8 Comments on Chart: Lady Thor outsells Male thor, last added: 3/23/2015
Display Comments Add a Comment
915. Mummy Fun

It turns out that you are never too old to have a birthday--as in a 3,000-year-old birthday!!!

That's right. A mummy at the St. Louis Museum of Art will celebrate his birthday next month. His name is Amen-Nestawy-Nakt, and he lived in 900 B.C. He was a priest at the Temple of Karnak and must have done a good job to merit such a fancy mummy case.

Perhaps you'd like to celebrate mummies too. A great way to do it would be to explore a few books on the topic. There are a great many good ones out there at your school or public library or your local bookstore.

Here are a few I found:

This is a Level 4 reader that presents mummies from around the world.

Ten of the creepiest mummies and information on how the whole mummification process works.

Another Magic Treehouse Mystery--this one finds Jack and Annie in Ancient Egypt encountering lots of adventures.

Who knew mummies and math go together? Well, it seems very beneficial to know division in order to embalm a mummy. Find out how it all works with this math challenge story from iMath Readers.

Hope you find someMUMMY special to hang out with!
Happy reading :)

0 Comments on Mummy Fun as of 3/20/2015 12:50:00 PM
Add a Comment
916. 21st Century TANK GIRL will be published by Titan in June

21st_Century_Tank_Girl_1_Cover_ATitan announced today they are serializing the Kickstarter-funded 21st Century Tank Girl, which saw artist and Co-creators Jamie Hewlett and Alan Martin returning to the character which made them famous in the 80s and 90s.

Last April, the Tank Girl Kickstarter campaign smashed it’s intended goal of $94, 839, raising nearly $300k to fund Hewlett and Martin’s return to the franchise. The project also brings on board celebrated indie artists Philip Bond and Jim Mahfood. From Titan:


This June, Titan Comics are excited to announce they are serializing Kickstarter Smash Hit 21st Century Tank Girl!

After a break of more than 20 years, artist extraordinaire Jamie Hewlett has returned to the
iconic character which made his name. Co-created in the late 80s by Hewlett and writer Alan Martin, Tank Girl quickly became a household name and revolutionized British comics industry. This landmark publication reunites the two collaborators for all-new original material!

Titan will publish 21st Century Tank Girl as a 3 issue mini-series written by Martin and illustrated by a stellar line-up of stalwarts and newcomers including Philip Bond (Kill Your Boyfriend), Jim Mahfood (Miami Vice), Brett Parson, Jonathan Edwards, Warwick Johnson Cadwell, Craig Knowles and more!


21st Century Tank Girl #1 will be issued with two Jamie Hewlett covers, and will be ready for pre-orders in the April edition of PREVIEWS.

Are you excited for Tank Girl’s return? Let us know in the comments!

1 Comments on 21st Century TANK GIRL will be published by Titan in June, last added: 3/22/2015
Display Comments Add a Comment

I guess you know I'm not a "real" old-school Science Fiction person - "real" Science Fiction people can make it through H.P. Lovecraft. I can't. I've tried. It's not his labyrinthine sentence structure and 19th century word choices - I've read a lot... Read the rest of this post

0 Comments on TURNING PAGES: HARRISON SQUARED by DARYL GREGORY as of 3/20/2015 3:22:00 PM
Add a Comment
918. SEA BATTLE! "King Bronty"

King Bronty is over the "Dino Flu", his head's "Back in the Game" and the great battle at sea continues!

 I hope you enjoy this blog. Though I truly enjoy making "King Bronty" please join in and  encourage it's continued creation by support for art supplies, coffee, etc.  JRY


0 Comments on SEA BATTLE! "King Bronty" as of 3/20/2015 11:40:00 AM
Add a Comment
919. Kirkus Reviews “DRAGONS BEWARE”

Here are a couple fantastic nuggets from the Kirkus review of our book #DRAGONSBEWARE

“This rowdy adventure is sure to be a crowd pleaser.”

“Rafael Rosado’s expressive art, with its heavy lines and cartoonishly exaggerated figures, highlights the humor of Aguirre’s script…The warm palette, courtesy of colorist Novak, helps bring …medieval setting to life.”

Read the whole review HERE.


Add a Comment
920. Oral history online: blogging to reach new audiences

I am a child of the internet age. I have never not had a computer in my house. Being in Columbia’s Oral History Master’s Program (OHMA), I’ve read articles for class that describe how oral historians recorded and edited audio in the past. Every time I read one of those articles, I call my mom, who used to work editing tape in the 70s and 80s. “How did you do it?” I ask. “How did you edit with a razor, with no undo button? If it was still like that, I would never have entered this field.”

The post Oral history online: blogging to reach new audiences appeared first on OUPblog.

0 Comments on Oral history online: blogging to reach new audiences as of 3/23/2015 2:18:00 PM
Add a Comment
921. Hopeless Savages is back with Break


More Oni Press news! Jen van Meter’s Hopeless Savages, a family drama about the kids of a punk rock family growing up and coming of age, has run since 2000, a very early example of a comics genre now far more common. Along the way it picked up some pretty amazing artistic collaborators in Christine Norrie, Chynna Clugston, Andi Watson, Bryan Lee O’Malley, and Vera Brosgol. Now it’s back in an updated story with older character. Van Meter writes, Meredith McClaren draws, and original artist Christine Norrie does the flashbacks. The book is back in August.

Oni Press, Portland’s premier independent comic book publisher, announced today Hopeless Savages: Break, a new chapter in the Hopeless Savages story, by original series creator Jen Van Meter and artist Meredith McClaren (Hinges), featuring art by original series artist Christine Norrie. Hopeless Savages: Break will release on August 12th, 2015.

Hopeless Savages: Break continues the story of fan favorite protagonist Zero and her punk rock family. Zero finds herself in college and thoroughly hating it, though an upcoming tour with her band The Dusted Bunnies promises to rejuvenate her spirits. A rival band threatens to end the tour early, and without her family, Zero is in no position to fight back. Meanwhile, the rest of the Hopeless-Savages are dealing with their own problems, including babies, contracts and drug addictions. If there’s one family who can pull it all off, it’s this one.

“The first Hopeless-Savages story came out in 2000,” Jen Van Meter notes. “Fifteen years! And for every one of them, I’ve been so grateful for the support of Oni Press and the work of every one of the many amazing artists who’ve helped me bring this family to life. It took a really, really long time to write Break–largely for personal reasons; I was growing up along with the characters, and I felt a disconnect I couldn’t articulate. When James Lucas Jones–doing what a great editor does–suggested I run toward that, I finally found the emotional center for this story; then Meredith McClaren came aboard and brought beautiful storytelling, great instincts about the characters, and a wonderful sense of humor, making everything I wrote a thousand times better.  The icing on the cake, for me, was when Christine Norrie was able to make time to do the flashback sequences; she’s been with me, Zero, Twitch and the rest of the family since the beginning, and I’m thrilled she was able to continue on this strange road trip with us.”

1 Comments on Hopeless Savages is back with Break, last added: 3/20/2015
Display Comments Add a Comment
922. Get ready to #rockthdrop for Teen Literature Day 2015!

It's under a month away! It's coming! Operation Teen Book Drop, 2015, also known as #rockthedrop. For right now keep an eye for that YA book, or several, you own and want to leave in a public place on Thursday, April 16th. We'll be celebrating YALSA's Support Teen Literature Day. Happy finders will be enriched by your beloved reads.

This year instead of a book plate, we are going with a bookmark by Little Willow. Placed in the book, all will know you are leaving a FREE gift. You can print your own bookmarks! Right-click on one of the images below, save the file, print as many as you want, and get ready to Rock the Drop on Thursday, April 16th!

Add a Comment
923. Spring Break

Creative Commons Search Crystal Ball Take #3, by Isabel T

Creative Commons Search Crystal Ball Take #3, by Isabel T

While I listen to the meteorologist telling me to expect snow tomorrow, and see the pictures of my friends’ vacations on Instagram, I find myself reflecting on my library year and the changes that I want to be making.

When I first started in the school library, the culture shock was fresh and up front. I was used to working in a large public library with a population ranging from babies to teens in my section. We rarely saw parents. We rarely questioned book choices. We were always running. Finding books, readers’ advisory, RIF programs, lapsits, story-times, loads of programs and lots of desk time.

When I started at school I had a full compliment of classes, but the collection I was working with was a fraction of the size.  Parents were always in the library.  This was different.

Anyone who has worked both in school and public libraries understands that the charges of the jobs are different. As a school librarian, my main role is to support the mission of the school. I also support the classroom teaching and of course all of the readers. It is wonderful really getting to watch students grow into readers and scholars.  But there seemed to be an element of fun that was missing at school that was always present in the public library.

As I have spent time at school (13 years and counting), I find myself adding elements of my old public library life into my school library life.  Crafting and making, heart throb biographies, and DEAR are all making their way into my curriculum. Puppets may be next.

So as I look back at this year and at the soft goals that I try to have most if not all of my work with the students connect to, I have figured out one more to add.


The post Spring Break appeared first on ALSC Blog.

0 Comments on Spring Break as of 3/20/2015 2:03:00 PM
Add a Comment
924. Interesting blog posts about writing – w/e March 20th 2015

Here’s my selection of interesting (and sometimes amusing) posts about writing from the last weekabout writing from the last week:

The Benefits of Smaller Writers’ Conferences (Rachel Kent)

Grappling with the Facts (Elle Carter Neal) http://bloodredpencil.blogspot.com/2015/03/grappling-with-facts.html

4 ways to avoid screenplayizing your novel (Nathan Bransford)

Beginner's Luck (Kristine Kathryn Rusch)

What Do Your Readers Know and When Do They Know It? (Dave King)

Should you self-publish or traditionally publish? 7 questions to ask yourself (Nathan Bransford)

Useless Humor: Fun With Words… (Larry Brooks)

4 Ways an Agent Helps You–but Makes No Money (Janet Kobobel Grant)

If you found these useful, you may also like my personal selection of the most interesting blog posts from 2014, and last week’s list.

If you have a particular favorite among these, please let the author know (and me too, if you have time).  Also, if you've a link to a great post that isn't here, feel free to share.

Add a Comment
925. Dennis Lehane & Anna Dewdney Debut on the Indie Bestseller List

llama llama easter eggWe’ve collected the books debuting on Indiebound’s Indie Bestseller List for the week ending March 15, 2015–a sneak peek at the books everybody will be talking about next month.

(Debuted at #4 in Young Adult) Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman: “The kingdom of Goredd: a world where humans and dragons share life with an uneasy balance, and those few who are both human and dragon must hide the truth. Seraphina is one of these, part girl, part dragon, who is reluctantly drawn into the politics of her world. When war breaks out between the dragons and humans, she must travel the lands to find those like herself—for she has an inexplicable connection to all of them, and together they will be able to fight the dragons in powerful, magical ways.” (March 2015)

(Debuted at #7 in Hardcover Fiction) World Gone By by Dennis Lehane: “Ten years have passed since Joe Coughlin’s enemies killed his wife and destroyed his empire, and much has changed. Prohibition is dead, the world is at war again, and Joe’s son, Tomás, is growing up. Now, the former crime kingpin works as a consigliore to the Bartolo crime family, traveling between Tampa and Cuba, his wife’s homeland.” (March 2015)

(Debuted at #12 in Children’s Illustrated) Llama Llama Easter Egg by Anna Dewdney: “In Llama Llama Easter Egg, the Easter Bunny brings lots of treats for Llama Llama: jelly beans, colorful eggs, and a fluffy surprise!” (February 2015)

Add a Comment

View Next 25 Posts