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Viewing: Blog Posts from All 1547 Blogs, since 12/19/2007 [Help]
Results 37,176 - 37,200 of 162,048
37176. Zombie Books

With all the interest about zombies, I decided to compile this list of suggestions, add to and tweak it a little, and post it just in time for Halloween! Check out the trailers with the Youtube links : )

My Boyfriend is a Monster: I Love Him to Pieces (graphic novels)

Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey

Can You Survive the Zombie Apocalypse? By Max Brallier

Bad Taste in Boys- Carrie Harris

Zombies Vs Unicorns- Holly Black

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies—Seth Grahame Smith

The Forest of Hands and Teeth. The Dead Tossed Waves. The Dark and Hollow Places. by Carrie Ryan.

The Zombie Survival Guide: How to live like a King after the Outbreak. by Etienne Guerin DeForest

World War Z by Max Brooks

Boneshaker by CheriePriest

Generation Dead series by Dan Waters

Zombie Haiku by RyanMecum

The Maze Runner series by James Dashner

Rot and Ruin; Dust and Decay by Jonathan Maberry

Z by Michael Thomas Ford

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

Never Slow Dance with a Zombie by by Ehrich Van Lowe

The Cellar by A.J. Whitten

Dust by Joan Frances Turner

The Boy Who Couldn't Die by William Sleator

The Enemy by Charlie Higson

The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell

The Zombie Autopsies by Steven Schlozman

I Kissed a Zombie and I Liked it by Adam Selzer

Zombie Blondes by Brian James

3 Comments on Zombie Books, last added: 10/21/2011
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37177. Hosie's Alphabet

Hosie's Alphabet
Leonard Baskin ~ words by Hosea, Tobias, and Lisa Baskin ~ Viking, 1972

American artist, sculptor, print maker and friend to the Plath/Hughes family, Leonard Baskin was known for his dark and sometimes strange etchings and paintings. Here, at the urging of his family, he created an alphabet book (his first work for children) in collaboration with his wife and sons. A Caldecott Honor book, each spread pictures a single illustration with appropriate alphabetic explanations, as the "mole in a hole" pictured above.

Also featured are such eclectic delights as...

A ghastly garrulous gargoyle

The rhinoceros express

A Scholastic Toad

and the invisible unicorn

Some everyday. Some outlandishly twisted. All very much the sons and daughters of an artist who once said, "Art is man's distinctly human way of fighting death."

1 Comments on Hosie's Alphabet, last added: 10/19/2011
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37178. New Beginning 894

They burned Master Harim’s body at dusk. I watched, hidden, my body wedged into a wide crack of the decaying yellow wall. Consul Dalric told me to stay put; Scholari were not allowed out after dark. But I had to come. I had to see.

I am to blame.

If the Masters discovered that a twelve-year old student – and a girl, no less – was to blame, then they would send me away from the Halo and away from the Academy forever.

My past reared its ugly head and a shudder cut my thoughts short. I recalled so few pleasant memories of before and none as pleasant as after.

This is my home. I will never go back. I will die first!

My stomach fluttered. Eleven dark-robed masters might tell me otherwise.

My ped slipped on a geo-lumpi, and peblie rained down, giving away my hiding spot.

Consul Dalric turned and saw me. Then, he raised one skeletal, black-robed arm, pointed his finger and screamed: “Scholari outa da dormitori!”

I fell at his feet, begging him not to send me away from Halo. He responded: “Your stomachi non flutteri, young Scholari. Thiso waso noto youro faulto, and weo know thato.”

But, then he added: “Deus Ex Machina!” And a large mechanical bird swept down, grabbing me in its talons—cutting short my pleasant memories of after.

Opening: Pam LaFollette.....Continuation: Dixon Hill

9 Comments on New Beginning 894, last added: 10/20/2011
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37179. Mappish Sketch...

... from the Sled Ride book.

(We'll be sledding soon enough around here, I'm sure!)

1 Comments on Mappish Sketch..., last added: 10/19/2011
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37180. The Cute Photo Approach to Speaking

Is it wrong to pull out cute photos of your kids when you're speaking in public?

That's me, showing the adorable baby passport my daughter, Rebecca, was issued before she left Japan at four weeks old. In my defense, I was talking about military families and how much we move.  And how story can help. How "doing something" is better than pretending these families are invisible in our classrooms and in our literature.

I think it went well.  In fact, I think it all went well at the new Joy of Children's Literature Conference held in Williamsburg this past weekend. I especially enjoyed the other presenters' sessions which I was able to sneak into, including one by teacher Amy Moser, who recounted how her class embarked on a study of Ellen Potter's middle-grade novels, which culminated in a Skype visit with the author. Amy had the foresight to interview her students right after the visit, to document their reaction. I wish I could show you that video----talk about cute. And smart. And wonderful.

Handouts from the presenters (including mine) can be found here.  You can read about the conference here----and note that organizer Denise Johnson has already set the date for next year: Oct. 12, 2012, with headliner, Lester L. Laminack.  Denise is a firecracker of a person---determined to champion children's books in the classroom---and if you ever doubt that teachers and writers belong on the same team, read her blog.

Here's another shot of me at the conference---this time during my afternoon workshop, talking planning and improv.  That's an actual planning sheet used by my cousin, Chris, (also a military spouse) in preparing for her move to Egypt.  It's not as cute as a baby, but at least the picture isn't of me wearing a clown nose. (Yes, I put one on, briefly.)  Many thanks to all for a great day!

1 Comments on The Cute Photo Approach to Speaking, last added: 10/19/2011
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37181. Book Review: If I Tell by Janet Gurtler

Title: If I Tell
Author: Janet Gurtler
Release Date: October 1, 2011
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Jasmine Evans knows one thing for sure... people make mistakes. After all, she is one. Jaz is the result of a onenight stand between a black football player and a blonde princess. Having a young mother who didn't raise her, a father who wants nothing to do with her and living in a small-minded town where she's never fit in hasn't been easy. But she's been surviving. Until she sees her mom's new boyfriend making out with her own best friend. When do you forgive people for being human or give up on them forever?

Janet Gurtler is a phenomenal writer of Young Adult contemporary fiction.  Her book I'm Not Her was a very realistic portrayal of life with cancer.  If I Tell delves into so many topics it almost sounds like a soap opera: teen pregnancy, homosexuality, biracial issues, depression, betrayal, teen drinking & drugs, romance, secrets... However the novel is not soap opera like at all, it has a very realistic feel to it.

The characters are quirky, likable and easy to relate to in this coming of age story. Valuable lessons about trust, choices and rising above difficulties are taught. The subjects dealt with in this book are not light and fluffy but I didn't find anything to be over descriptive.

Source: Netgalley

Rating: 4 Stars - Great Book

Content: a little bit of just about everything but not enough of anything to make me quit reading.

2 Comments on Book Review: If I Tell by Janet Gurtler, last added: 10/19/2011
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37182. Where I complain About My Eye

Well, there's nothing a like a medical scare to get you moving in the morning. I woke up Monday morning blind in my left eye. I didn't notice at first because I wake up before dawn and it was dark, but as soon as the sun started to come up I realized I could barely see out of my left eye. After washing my glasses repeatedly and administering that ocular cure all Visine, I decided it was definitely my eye and nothing else and it was now appropriate to panic.

Henry was still asleep and he had to be brought to daycare in some way. Luckily my father in law was around. Unfortunately there's no car-seat in his car. Which means I had to weave my way 10 blocks pushing a stroller. Which gave me plenty of time for panicky consideration. I was even making plans on how to finish my books with one eye. Ugh. So, my father in law met me at the day-care and drove me to emergency. I happened to be reading tom Sawyer that day, which is a fantastic book to have on hand to distract yourself from any terrors. It was the graveyard scene, if you know the book, which is an amazing scene. Spooky and funny and thrilling. I must have looked funny sitting there with a book about two inches from my face with one eye squeezed shut.

Through some amazing fate related thing there happened to be an ophthalmologist on hand to give my eye a thorough look. This all happened in the surgery department so I was expecting that any moment i would be on a gurney and wheeled frantically through the hospital in order to have my eye extracted before it exploded like an appendix.

The very practical Dr Smith (really!) explained to me that I had an ulcer over my eye as a result of an infection and it would clear up after a few days if I'd just put some drops in it.

Dr Smith, it seems, knows what he's talking about, as I lay here watching an Orsen Welles movie on TCM my vision is finally clearing up, instead of foggy Plexiglas it's more like rain on my glasses.

This was a couple of days ago, and things are getting better. Still not great but better. What's pretty amazing is I feel like I've barely missed a step. Who knew I could draw with one eye?

12 Comments on Where I complain About My Eye, last added: 10/22/2011
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37183. Win an ARC

Want to win an ARC of a book, MY VERY UNFAIRYTALE LIFE, that sounds like loads of fun and has an aWesomE cover as well? Of course you do!

go to Anna Staniszewski's blog to enter! Click here!

1 Comments on Win an ARC, last added: 10/20/2011
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37184. More Monster app!

Having a blast working on this little project - I don't sleep much anymore but as I get older I realize that we only have a short window to make it happen - whatever "it" is. I love the challenge of developing good instruction for my college classes, pleasing my freelance clients, pleasing myself on personal projects and my continued involvement on the day to day workings of Folio Academy.

I think I've found a programer and animator to help me see this vision through - I'm having so much fun - at work!!!

1 Comments on More Monster app!, last added: 10/20/2011
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37185. Mini-Audio reviews

Ok, I've been crazy for the audiobook for years now, but with the long commute to and from work and the fact that we only have one television in our house, plus the long walks I've been taking with the pup, I've been listening to more and more of them in recent months. And have yet to write about most of them. Blogger fail. Therefore, here are a few super-quick, thoughts-only, reviews for you on whether or not I liked the plot/narration.

The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen; narrated by Karen White

I was impressed with how the tiny bit of "magic" involved in the story was woven in and fit perfectly. Not many authors could pull that off, but Allen definitely did. I really liked each character in their own way, though I did find Willa a bit stifling at times. The Southern setting was great and the book was a nice choice for reading during the summer. 

Narration: White's voice was perfect for describing the sweet smells of peaches in the air and the manner in which she changed tones for Willa and Paxton was seamless. I really liked her reading. 

The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright; narrated by Pamela Dillman

This was my first jump into an Elizabeth Enright book (I know, GASP!) and though I enjoyed it well enough, I think I'm partial to The Penderwicks for wholesome stories about siblings making their own fun. I did really like the concept of this particular story (haven't read the rest of the Melendy series yet) and the interaction between the kids was sweet, though not always believable.

Narration: I don't think I've ever experienced this narrator before, but she did a nice job distinguishing between the children. Her voice would be great for bedtime reading!
Red Hook Road by Ayelet Waldman; narrated by Kimberly Farr

The story is so beautifully done in so many ways, though it definitely fa

3 Comments on Mini-Audio reviews, last added: 10/21/2011
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37186. Ghost Hunt, and Ghost Hunt 2 --Chilling Tales of the Unknown

If you are looking for a good Halloween read for you middle school kid (or for yourself), I heartily recommend Ghost Hunt: Chilling Tales of the Unknown (Little Brown 2010) and its sequel, Ghost Hunt II (2011). These books, written by Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, the ghost hunters of the television show Ghost Hunters, are fictionalized accounts of actual investigations. It's not clear exactly where the line between "fact" and "fiction" lies, which I found a tad vexing, but what is clear is that these are exciting and spooky stories, guaranteed to make the young reader shiver!

Stories include a ghost ship, wrecked anew every August of the coast of Maine, a drowned boy anxious to reveal where his body lies tangled underwater in the roots of tree, restless prisoners of Alcatraz, and many, many more. The framework for these stories is the investigations conducted by the Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS). Free of charge, TAPS investigates ghosts--answering calls for help from those who are troubled by restless spirits. They arrive on site, set up their ghost hunting equipment, and conduct their paranormal detective work...uncovering many poignant, and scary, stories in the process.

What makes the fictionalized stories included in these two anthologies more than just creepy ghost tales is that TAPS actually adopts a scientific approach to the question of ghosts. Efforts are made to rule out natural explanations for creepy phenomena--small critters rustling in the walls, banging shutters, strong electromagnetic fields generated by appliances that can make people feel ill. The TAPS team does their field investigations first, and then the historical research, so that suggestions from the latter don't influence what they see during the former. The techniques they use during their investigations are presented in detail at the end of the books, along with step by step instructions on how to conduct a ghost hunt, and test cases where the reader can put the knowledge and tips provided by TAPS to work. My own scientifically-minded 11 year old ate up these parts of the book (and he enjoyed the stories as well).

I still don't believe in ghosts (although I certainly can't offer rational explanations for some of the phenomena reported in these stories). But these spooky encounters did make for gripping reading. I just wish that it had been made clearer in the text that the stories are fiction--it says "fiction" on the front flap, but you wouldn't know from reading what's inside that these weren't entirely factual accounts.

Here's the Ghost Hunt website, where you can peruse more ghostly evidence at your leisure....

(another one for me to contribute to

1 Comments on Ghost Hunt, and Ghost Hunt 2 --Chilling Tales of the Unknown, last added: 10/20/2011
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37187. Armoured Pencil Box

You may recall that a year ago I dressed up my Japanese metal pencil box as a Mac iBox. But it started to get cruddy looking. It was time for a facelift.

So I asked my friends Tony Swatton and Jacques Louis David of Sword and Stone Armoury to help out. They make swords, weapons, and armour for movies like Blade, Zorro, and Pirates of the Caribbean.

We decided to give it an ancient Dinotopian vibe. In a makeshift workshop in the catacombs of the Mission Inn in Riverside, California, (above, right) they cut out a dinosaur footprint shape from brass. They hammered it into shape and riveted it to the lid. A little bleach helped oxidize the brass and some sandpaper and patina paint did the rest of the job.

Now I can take my sketch kit into the Rainy Basin and not have to worry about a Carnotaurus biting through it.

Here's a video to show what it's like in Tony's shop.

Sword and Stone Armoury website
Previously: The new Mac iBox

9 Comments on Armoured Pencil Box, last added: 10/20/2011
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37188. Construction

Our kitchen is under some construction.  Really it’s just a little leak, but it’s in behind the wall, so men with tools came.  They drilled and hammered and moved stuff and carried stuff.  The noises were scary, so I mostly waited in the bathroom when they were here. 

Yesterday, when I came out of the bathroom, the sink, countertop, and silverware drawer were in the living room!!  I never really saw these things before, and I kind of like them down here where I can smell them and taste them. Mom says, “Keep away.”  Has she ever met me?

One of Mom’s stories is under construction, too.  It isn’t leaking or anything, but it needed work.  Mom talked about it at her writing group named David.  David said, “Too many details.” and “Trust the illustrator.” and “Summarize.” Mom said, “Summarizing is tough.” and “You’re too big to sit in the sink.” and “Stop licking the silverware.”

When Mom works on her story construction, it’s not as loud as when the kitchen guys work.  She mumbles a lot and reads out loud to herself, but there’s no scary banging or rumbling. 

The leaky pipe went from drippy to dry.  The men will work some more today to fix up the wall.  The story went from 962 words to 651.  Mom will work some more today to summarize away some of her details.  She said, “I don’t like this.”

Neither do I…

4 Comments on Construction, last added: 10/22/2011
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37189. The Terror Within: A Hypothetical Look at Changing Agents PART II

Today, we're turning WOW Wednesday back over to Georgia McBride. You all know Georgia, or you should. She's the genius and inspiration behind #YALITCHAT, and if you don't know what that is, go there now. Also be sure to follow her on Twitter. You'll very quickly understand why that's a good idea. Also since this is Part II, you might want to read Part 1 first.

The Terror Within: A Hypothetical Look at Changing Agents
by Georgia McBride

WOW. After Part I of my post I received thirteen emails, five direct messages on twitter, seven private messages on Facebook, four texts to my phone and two phone calls. Everyone wanted to know if the post was about me and whether I had crafted a fictional tale of my own personal experience. A few of those inquiries came from literary agents, all very well-meaning of course. Let me just say this. First, thank you all for your concern. It is very sweet. But, the post was actually something I’d been meaning to write about for some time. I only hadn’t had the time and wanted to make it special and interesting, not depressing and boring.

So, when I was asked to do this guest blog post, I decided now is the time. Why? Since January 2011, I have personally spoken to eight writers published and non, who have left their agents for various reasons THIS YEAR and three well-published writers who have offered their support and sharing how they have left agents in their careers. Some of you already know that I too have had an agent change this year. BUT, before I tell you my personal story, let’s get back to our heroine and find out what’s happened since we last saw her.

Betty (bet you had NO idea that was her name) has spent two weeks crying into the phone, drunk tweeting and eating chocolate faster than Willy Wonka can produce it. Even Renesme (I know this isn’t the correct spelling, but she is so worried about plagiarism that she insists on spelling it this way) the cat is sick of looking at her and runs away at the sound of her voice. Betty’s kids have moved in with neighbors since she resembles Zombie Mom more than the mom they remember. And hubby? Oh crap. She kind of remembers something about leaving him at Costco a week ago but can’t be sure, so she dials his number at work only to be stumped on the fifth digit. So she calls the only friend whose number she can recall to ask if she can help her find her husband and she reminds Betty that they are in fact divorced and have been for two years. Ugh.

Scrolling her email Betty clicks on the latest deal news from Publishers Marketplace and reads lazily until she notices a deal made by her former agent in the genre in which she writes – or rather used to write, since she hasn’t written a single word other than drunk tweets in the past two weeks. Some BITCH got HER DEAL. Oh man. Betty takes a deep breath and tries to be the bigger person when all of a sudden she realizes she IS the bigger person. In fact, she must have gained like seven pounds since the whole leaving her agent thing started. Then it hits her, something has to give. She can’t live like this. She need to reclaim her life starting with figuring out how she will move on, maybe find a new agent and get the darn cat to love her again.

Betty takes a seat and begins to think about what went wrong with her last agent. Is there anything she could have done that would have resulted in a different outcome? Anything? She wonders if former Awesome Agent is thinking of her, if perhaps she might be having similar thoughts, maybe even regrets. Well. Not the ones abou

10 Comments on The Terror Within: A Hypothetical Look at Changing Agents PART II, last added: 10/21/2011
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37190. National Day on Writing: Hoping for the Unexpected

If you're one of our regular followers, you know we're currently featuring a series of posts in honor of the Third Annual National Day on Writing, which will be celebrated here in the United States tomorrow, October 20. Here's an excerpt from the official website explaining why the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) founded this event:
"In light of the significance of writing in our national life, to draw attention to the remarkable variety of writing we engage in, and to help writers from all walks of life recognize how important writing is to their lives, NCTE established October 20 as The National Day on Writing."
Last year, when I posted on the actual day of the Second Annual National Day on Writing, I blogged on the topic of "Why I Write." My answer then had to do with having an inner calling to write, as Padgett Powell says, "in the closet of my soul." But that's not the only reason I write. The April 2011 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, included a quote from former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins that captures another of my reasons. Collins says:
"The hope for the unexpected is so essential to my process. I wouldn't start a poem if I already knew the ending. The pen is not just a recording device; it can also be an instrument of discovery."
I share Collins' "hope for the unexpected." For me, writing, especially fiction writing, is an adventure. I never know where a story will lead me. But I always learn something in the process. Even when I've plotted out a story and know the ending, I often encounter surprises along the way. And when I'm struggling with a piece and don't know where it's going, hoping for the unexpected is what keeps me at it.

After this post goes live, I plan to also publish it to the National Gallery of Writing. I encourage all of you readers out there to also celebrate by submitting a piece of your own writing. If you need help finding a topic, see the Writing Workout below. And if you're looking for other ways to celebrate tomorrow, visit NCTE's page on getting involved in the celebration.

Speaking of celebrations, I'd like to acknowledge a couple of milestones here on our blog: Welcome to our 400th Google follower: Soma Mohapatra! She happened to join us the day after our 400th post, which was Jeanne Marie's kick-off of this series about the National Day on Writing. A HUGE THANK YOU today to all our readers!      

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37191. Wildwood (the book) inspired sketch

A quick sketch made this rainy morning while waiting for a phone meeting to start. If you, or your kid (reading level 8 years or older is my guess) has not yet read Wildwood by Colin Meloy and illustrated by Carson Ellis, you should.

1 Comments on Wildwood (the book) inspired sketch, last added: 10/20/2011
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37192. Round Owl

Wood sculpture made from a broken banister knob (body), a coat hanging rod (eyes), and a fence post (perch).

20 Comments on Round Owl, last added: 10/22/2011
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37193. What to consider when creating other formats?'

First, I all of a sudden looked up and realized it was Wednesday and I had not posted this week.


The biggest problem with ebooks (besides the slew that are low quality and printed at Kinkos) is distribution. If people can't get access to your books then why sell them at all?

Today, I wanted to quickly go through how to decide what format to choose for your indie published book. But how do you know what format to do them in?

1) Think about whether you just want digital or also want a physical copy.
Some people only want to go digital in indie publishing and they make great money and have little hassle. Indie writers don't make much off paperbacks. With Amazon's 70% royalty (if your list price is 2.99 or above - you can make about $2 on every 2.99 book sold. That's great compared to most publishers. I think we will see a time in the future where authors will try and keep their digital rights b/c the royalty rate is low and put out the ebooks themselves once the physical book is available.

2) Going Digital? Decide what ebook formats. 
If you just want your book available on Amazon - it will only go to those people with Kindles. B&N has Pub it, which only goes to Nooks. So - do you want all the other ereaders to have access? I say why not? Smashwords will sell your book in most formats for Sony, or iBooks etc. So why not. I think it will cost you extra time and probably under $50. So what do you have to lose. I will say about 80% of sales come from B&N and Amazon (mostly Amazon) so it might not be worth it to you.

3) Want physical copies? Understand your royalties first!
Okay so this is where indie published authors vary. Some only do digital, others do paperback while some do hardback (only Lightning source offers that). The problem is the royalty - I mean if you are not smart - you will end up paying for people to buy your book, which sucks. So it comes down to money.(doesn't everything?)

Theer are tons of POD companies - LuLu,  iUniverse etc - but I have heard CreateSpace and LS are the best from reliable sources so I don't have time to research all of them.

7 Comments on What to consider when creating other formats?', last added: 10/21/2011

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37194. So that happened . . .

News about Lauren Myracle’s Withdrawal from The National Book Award Continues to Garner National Media Attention.

Amulet; $16.95; May 2011; 9780810984172

About the book
When her best guy friend falls victim to a vicious hate crime, sixteen-year-old Cat sets out to discover who in her small town did it. Richly atmospheric, this daring mystery mines the secrets of a tightly knit Southern community and examines the strength of will it takes to go against everyone you know in the name of justice. Against a backdrop of poverty, clannishness, drugs, and intolerance, Myracle has crafted a harrowing coming-of-age tale couched in a deeply intelligent mystery. Smart, fearless, and compassionate, this is an unforgettable work from a beloved author.

On Wednesday, October 19th, NPR’s “All Things Considered” will be interviewing Lauren Myracle during the program, which airs on WNYC-AM at 7:00pm.
1 Comments on So that happened . . ., last added: 10/19/2011
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37195. 1-The final day of the countdown!


Just one more day!! It's the final day of the countdown...tomorrow is the release of the Emma and Brandy stamps with all new sentiments from Unity Stamp Company!

Here is a peek of a couple cards that were made by some fantastic designers for Unity!

5 Comments on 1-The final day of the countdown!, last added: 10/19/2011
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37196. Scenes from Sheboygan Children's Book Festival 2011

Reading books opens new worlds. Meeting the authors and illustrators that create those worlds is an even more exciting and eye-opening experience. This past weekend my family had the opportunity to meet a few children's book authors and illustrators at the 2nd annual Sheboygan Children's Book Festival.

Illustrator Open Studio with Tom Lichtenheld - Lichtenheld gave the kids two words and challenged kids to create their own drawings using the words as inspiration.

Warming up.

Discussing art with Tom Lichtenheld.

Angry boy drawing.

Hiding boy drawing.

We met Tom Lichtenheld, Candace Fleming, Liz Garton Scanlon and Jerry Pinkney at the book festival.

Contemplating Mark Fox's "Dust" exhibit at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center. Kind of blows your mind away.

7 Comments on Scenes from Sheboygan Children's Book Festival 2011, last added: 10/19/2011
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37197. sign & doodle

I sign and doodle on the title page of each copy of The Hidden People. Each is unique though each is usually some variation of one of the tree people, some old tree man. He's quick to draw and I have fun.

I particularly enjoyed a couple with my last order and took some pictures.


You can pick up The Hidden People from my shop.

4 Comments on sign & doodle, last added: 10/19/2011
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37198. When Phobias and Fiction Collide

I have a strange phobia. Really, it's an odd one. Ready? I hate belly buttons. Yep, that supposedly innocent body part that little kids love to show you. I can't stand them. I hate talking about them, looking at them, touching them-they really gross me out! Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, I've learned that my phobia is called omphalophobia and I guess it's a rare but real phobia.
But bellybuttons are so normal, right? Who would be afraid of them? I can't explain it, but I've always been freaked out by belly buttons. Which makes my strange phobia even more weird when it comes to reading. I'll be innocently reading a book and then out of nowhere comes a belly button and my mind is distracted and I'm grossed out. Or there's a book that's all about belly buttons that really creeps me out.

To a typical reader this wouldn't be a distraction, but for me, in some ways I think it taints my reading of the book.

Take Sandra Boynton's Belly Button Book:

I adore Sandra Boynton and love her books. But I can't read Belly Button Book! Too much to creep me out. And yes, they are cartoon animals with belly buttons, but they're still there! Nope, can't do it!
I was recently reading My Beating Teenage Heart. Good book and I'm enjoying the story until I realized I had skimmed a couple of lines. I backed up, re-read the lines only to realize they contained a character crooking her finger into her boyfriend's belly button!  Completely normal, but to me? Gross!! Total reading distraction!

The worse was when I was reading Girl of Fire and Thorns only to discover the main character has a stone located where? That's right: her belly button! I had to put the book down for a bit and come back to it later it was so distracting to me! I'm sure the author didn't think it would freak people out to have a stone there-I mean, people pierce their belly buttons, right? But for me, that was a distraction as I read that I had to let go of before I could pick the book up again.
OK, so these are extreme cases and I know, my phobia is a little (alright, A LOT) weird. Most of the time I can overlook it, be temporarily grossed out and move on. But it does take away from my enjoyment of the book and my reading fog for a moment because I'm jarred back to the real world. 

Reading these books recently got me thinking. Are there things that you're afraid of that distract you when you're reading? Do you have a quirk that

5 Comments on When Phobias and Fiction Collide, last added: 10/21/2011
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37199. Auction Preview: Signed copy of WE'VE GOT A JOB: THE 1963 BIRMINGHAM CHILDREN'S MARCH

Item Details: Cherish this important story in recent U.S. history. This signed copy of WE'VE GOT A JOB: THE 1963 BIRMINGHAM CHILDREN'S MARCH is Cynthia's debut book (you heard me - you'll be in on the beginning of what's sure to be her amazing author career) about the role children played in desegregating the most racially violent city in the country. ITEM NOT AVAILABLE UNTIL JANUARY 2012.

From the book:
On Thursday morning, May 2, 1963, nine-year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks woke up with freedom on her mind. But, before she could be free, she knew she had to go to jail.

“I want to go to jail,” Audrey told her mother.

Since Mr. and Mrs. Hendricks thought that was a good idea, they helped her get ready. First, her father bought her a game she’d been eyeing. She imagined that Operation, in which you take the bones out of a plastic figure and put them back together, would entertain her if she got bored during her week on a cellblock.

Then, her mother took her to Center Street Elementary so she could tell her third-grade teacher why she’d be absent. Miss Wills cried. Audrey knew she was proud of her.

Read more about Cynthia and her books at  www.cynthia.levinson.com.

This is only a preview of one of the many amazing items I'll be featuring at my LIGHT UP THE LIBRARY auction 11/7 - 11/18. And I've got something for everyone. To learn more, please stop by my auction website at http://lightupthelibrary.blogspot.com.

Get excited!!!    

2 Comments on Auction Preview: Signed copy of WE'VE GOT A JOB: THE 1963 BIRMINGHAM CHILDREN'S MARCH, last added: 10/19/2011
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37200. On the Advice to, "Write What you Know."

by Deren Hansen

Doubtless you've heard the advice to, "Write what you know." It's at least as old as L. M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables, in which the precocious red-head publishes a story about Avonlea after all her high-minded romances have been rejected.

"But," you object, "we wouldn't have hobbits and Narnia if we only wrote what we know."

That might be true, if you take the advice literally.

Like the gossip game, where players relay whispered messages and then laugh at the garbled version that comes out of the end of the chain, I suspect we've received only a degenerate version of the advice.

We should say, "Write what you know, not what you think you know."

L. M. Montgomery's Anne thought she knew the style in which she should write. Contemporary writers often think they should write in a particular genre (sparkly vampires) or to a particular audience (YA) because they know those are hot.

Distinguishing between what you know and what you think you know is often difficult because most of what we know is actually what we think we know.

Perhaps it would be less confusing to say that writing what you know isn't about the facts and information at your command, or even about your experiences. Writing what you know is fundamentally about what you understand.

The advice to "write what you know" should also be understood as advice to, "Write what you love." Sometimes your heart knows what you know better than your reason.

That's why, if you love a world no one else has seen yet, you can honestly say you're writing what you know.

Deren blogs daily at The Laws of Making.

5 Comments on On the Advice to, "Write What you Know.", last added: 10/20/2011
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