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Happy Valentine's Day! I know it was yesterday, but a holiday about Love should last so much longer than one day....how about every day? No? Well, we can start with a week. ;)
Valentine's Day is all about the love we share and feel towards those most important to us. Love is very important to me, to share with others....especially those that I don't know, because everyone needs it. A truth that is always good to share.
Today I want to share something with you, an original drawing...the first original drawing of my Mermaid Portrait series for my upcoming coloring book.
Here's what you need to do to be entered into the Giveaway:
Title: CIRCLE SQUARE MOOSE Written by: Kelly Bingham Illustrated by: Paul O. Zelinsky Published by: Harper Collins Children’s Books, 2014 Themes/Topics: shapes, moose, zebra, friendship Suitable for ages: 3-7 Opening: Shapes are all around us. We see them every day. Have you ever looked … Continue reading →
In keeping with my blog’s strong support of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign, for a while I have wanted to interview illustrator Yuyi Morales. I think from the words and photos YuYi shares today, you will see the important stories and influences … Continue reading →
Pinterest has become a teacher’s go-to source for all sorts of curation inspiration. If you’re like me, you can browse and pin for hours without even once questioning when you’ll have time to DIY your heart out or eat everything pinned to your food inspiration board.
So, since June is right around the corner we thought we’d help you get a head start thinking about and planning some fun end-of-the-year tokens of appreciation. Whether you’re a teacher, student, or parent, Pinterest has an overwhelming amount of DIY-inspired gifts to celebrate the end of the school year and kick-off the start of the summer.
Teachers: 8 gift roundups (& no apples in sight!)
101 Easy & Creative Teacher Gift Ideas from The Dating Divas. An impressive list of over 100 teacher gift ideas broken down by category: the first day of school, appreciation gift ideas, end-of-the-year ideas, and even 2 bonus gift ideas for the bus driver.
Teacher Gift Ideas in Mason Jars from Mason Jar Crafts Love. If I had to describe Pinterest in two words it might just be mason jar. But dare to challenge their all-inclusive, miscellaneous nature and you’ll surely be disappointed.
28 Pun-Tastic Teacher Gifts from BuzzFeed. A laugh-out-loud collection of “punny” printables and DIY ideas for your “uh-mason” teacher or “berry sweet” students.
DIY Treat Bag Tags-Teacher Appreciation from The Busy Budgeting Mama. You can never go wrong with an edible gift, particularly those made with sugar. Here are 5 printable tags to say thanks in a sweet way.
FREE Teacher Appreciation Cards from The Chickabug Blog. Overwhelmed by Pinterest’s crafting skills? Are you a self-aware last-minute gifter? Or maybe you just have a sarcastic sense of humor? Look no further. This list of printable teacher gift card holders is here to save the day.
The Archives:These blogs are a treasure trove of teacherappreciation gift ideas, many more than can be covered in
thisroundup. Here, you’ll find teacher gifts for any and every occasion throughout the school year.
Teacher Appreciation Ideas from Skip to My Lou. 10 whole pages worth of ideas to thank a teacher. Need I say more? This is one you’ll want to bookmark for later.
Teacher Appreciation/School from Eighteen 25. Printables, printables, printables! This blog is chock-full of cheesy tags & quick DIY gift ideas for teachers that are practical, yummy, and great keepsakes.
Teacher Appreciation Gifts from The Happy Scraps. Teacher gifts for any occasion, these DIY ideas are quick and as simple as possible without breaking the bank.
Students: 8 ways to settle those testing nerves and end the year on a high note with your students.
End of the Year Gifts! from Lessons With Laughter. Your students’ futures are bright! But with cool sunglasses to wear, a survival kit bucket for life by their side, and having had you as a teacher they’re sure to be headed in the right direction.
Smartie Pants from The Muddy Princess. These are the best kinds of “smartie pants.” All you need is some cardstock, brads, glue, and Smarties!
Candy Gram Ideas from Happy Home Fairy. Candy grams are always sweet motivation for either starting or ending the school year.
Graduation Gift Idea Printable Seed Packets from Pre K-Pages. Just as you helped them plant seeds of knowledge, encourage students to keep growing their minds with this gift. Not only perfect end-of-the-year gifts for students and teachers, Forget Me Not seedlings make memorable graduation gifts.
Finally, if you’re a fan of Pinterest then we want to connect! Follow Lee & Low Books on Pinterest here.
Veronicahas a degree from Mount Saint Mary College and joined LEE & LOW in the fall of 2014. She has a background in education and holds a New York State childhood education (1-6) and students with disabilities (1-6) certification. When she’s not wandering around New York City, you can find her hiking with her dog Milo in her hometown in the Hudson Valley, NY.
Social media–what a controversial topic among writers!
You have the social media mavens, who are everywhere on every platform.
And you have those who espouse the WIBBOW test: “Would I be better off writing?”
You’ve decided that you want to raise your social media profile as an author. There are a couple compelling reasons to turn to Pinterest. Yes, Pinterest. I like the way my daughter, Sara, describes the difference in Pinterest and Facebook. She says to look at Facebook to see what she’s DOING; look to Pinterest to see what she’s THINKING about. Other say that Pinterest is aspirational, which means these are things the pinner would like to do. She’d like to decorate her house like this, would like to get this haircut–or would like to read this book.
Your audience is there. Known to be an audience of 80% women, Pinterest is a playground for women on a number of topics: Food & Drink, DIY & Crafts, Home Decor, and Holiday & Events. Photos of interest can be repinned thousands of times–which puts the image in front of many viewers. For example, the image for this Fiction Notes post about villains has been repinned over 19,000 times. Check the widget in the sidebar to see other popular posts on Fiction Notes. (And hey, we always love more repins!)
You have book covers–which fits the visual medium of Pinterest. Images rule on Pinterest, just like they do for book covers. It’s a natural fit.
Pinterest can become one of the best sources of traffic for your website. I recently looked at my website statistics. I’d been beating the Facebook drum, trying to find an audience; instead, Pinterest referrals had quietly racked up 10% of my overall traffic. For some pages, the percentage is much higher, like the villains post mentioned above. That woke me up; if I was just casually playing with Pinterest and could manage 10% referrals, what could happen if I concentrated on the platform?
Pins keep on giving: repins give your content new life, over and over and over again. You Pin an image to a board on Pinterest. Then, someone sees the image and re-pins it to one of their boards. From that board, it gets repinned; and the process can continue. Pinterest likes to say that, “Pins are forever.” You may pin something this week that gets ignored; but something might revive it in three months or six months–perhaps an appropriate event or current news event. A pin can take off at any time and go viral.
Get a Business Account. As an author building a platform, you need access to the goodies available on a business account. You’ll be able to promote pins, create rich pins and much more. Follow Pinterest’s instructions here.
Fill in Every Blank.
YOUR PROFILE. When you set up a social media account, you’ll need to fill in a profile. Please do yourself a favor: fill in every blank possible. The platform didn’t put that data slot there for nothing. They USE the data to help people find you. You want to reach the right audience with the right message, and it’s impossible for the platform to send you those folks if you don’t help them out. They aren’t mind-readers.
YOUR IMAGES ON PINTEREST. Likewise, you’ll need to start paying attention to the metadata (data about the data) for your images. When you load an image onto your website, fill in every blank. The Caption is the only thing optional. And make sure the data you use is useful. For photos, there are three blanks: Title, Alt Text, Description.
IF you have all three filled in, Pinterest will pull in the Alt Text as the description of the image. If there’s no description or alt text, it will use the title of the image as the description.
When uploading an image, the title defaults to the name of your file. So, if your photo is named 123XX.jpg, then the Title will default to 123XXX. Bad news for you on Pinterest. Every time someone repins your image, the description will read 123XXX.
Instead, create a description (500 characters or less) and Copy/Paste that into all three fields. I find that’s the easiest, to just repeat the info over an over. If at some point, Pinterest (or another social media platform) decides to use a different field, I’ll have the description in place.
Finally, you can always manually edit the metadata when you pin/repin. It’s just easier to take care of it upfront.
Comparing the different social media platforms:
Instagram: square images (1:1 ratio), hashtags are the metadata.
YouTube: horizontal images (16:9 ratio). If you’re shooting still images to add to a video slideshow, always shoot horizontal.
Pinterest: vertical images (4:6 ratio), metadata comes from the image’s original upload, or it’s manually edited.
Creating Great Images
This means that you should know where you plan to use images when you create them. My favorite place for editing images for Pinterest is Canva.com. Use their Pinterest template to get the size right; upload your own images or buy one of theirs for only $1; edit as needed. For more, see below.
Links to Tutorials for Pinterest
You’ll find tons of tutorials and classes to help you get up to speed on this platform. Like all social media channels, best practices change often as a platform adds new tools, policies, etc. Be sure to look for recent material.
Relationships. It’s all about relationships. Social media is just our virtual pub or café or bookstore or our neighborhood park. It’s about introducing yourself, & maybe your dog and making friends. That’s really all it is for me. I try and help people out and people help me out all the time. When I have questions about things I get great advice and when someone has some good news we all celebrate.
I hang out where I feel the most comfortable, like in real life. Social media really isn’t any different. The cool thing about it is that you can make friends and even keep up a friendship that starts at a conference or vacation…where ever. It’s pretty cool to have friends all over the world and really cool to discover and read stories I might never have had the chance to without social media.
As an author, I’m most comfortable using Twitter ( @Laurawriting ) and Facebook. Facebook is a little harder for me. I’ve got two pages…one for my personal life and one for my readers and I try to keep them separate, but it’s a little like trying to take the chocolate out of a banana split LOL. So that confuses me a little, to be honest. I do love Pinterest because it’s so visual. My favorite boards are book swag I love, food that I love and of course the YA Indie Carnival I wish I knew how to converse with my Goodreads fans better. I have an automatic feed which posts my blog posts there, but I find it a little more challenging to have a dialog with my fans there. I love discussing books and so I look forward to people who post with questions/comments about my books or reviews.
Social media is just the modern word of mouth. And that’s the way books have been recommended to readers for hundreds of years. It’s just more exciting now. But it is super confusing sometimes, especially for authors who are just getting into it. At UtopYA, I can’t remember the author, but she was so sweet and walked up to me and said she just didn’t know where to begin. I hear that a lot. The advice I gave when she asked me is the advice I heard when I was getting started. Pick one place, it doesn’t matter where, if Facebook feels good to you pick that, if it’s easier for you to post in 140 characters then use Twitter, if you’re visual maybe Tumblr or Pinterest is for you. Just pick one and use it and start to meet people the old-fashioned way in a high tech pub/café/bookstore/park Twitter confused the heck out of me when I first used it…I was like what is this thing? But it’s been a great way to meet amazing friends, whether they’re dog lovers, book bloggers, readers, other writers, artists, screenwriters…you name it. (hint: it’s all about the # hashtags )
I sat in on one of the panels and the fabulous Kallie Ross, an awesome YA Fantasy writer/incredible panel mediator/one smart cookie, mentioned that youtube is the most searched place on the Internet. So it’s a great place to make friends. I have a channel there and post videos I use in my research and my book trailers and follow channels that make me laugh, have something to do with food and books too. I definitely could do more with my channel. Click here to swing by sometime if you want to see how I use it.
Wattpad is another site that Amanda Harvard, talented author/incredible musician/and all-around fun person, talked about on one of the UtopYA panels. Loads of authors and readers love that site. I might get my feet wet there next. But, enough about my take…what works for you?
See what the other amazing carnis have to say about it too And check out YA Author Club for upcoming carnival topics!
This is a sponsored post by Grammarly. I use Grammarly for proofreading because some cool guy named, Nikolas Baron from Grammarly’s Online Partnerships Team invited me to coffee. I drink coffee. He wrote, “If you ever find yourself in foggy San Francisco; I’d love to grab some coffee .” Nick had me at coffee.
If you are a friend of mine on Facebook, then you’d know that I live my life fairly openly and somewhat transparently. I’m the first to laugh and poke fun at myself when something humorous has happened to me by attempting to be witty on my wall. I revel in it when I make you laugh because I like to be funny. When you laugh at something I’ve done or said; you have paid me the biggest compliment of all. By the same token, I have no problem posting some ridiculously stupid thing I did, (like the time I pumped unleaded fuel into my Diesel tank), and have no qualms plastering that on my wall where it might seep permanently into the bowels of the internet, perhaps into perpetuity, and for the world to see. I’m okay with that because I want you to know who I really am, not some person I want the world to see.
When I’ve had a bad day, I try to seek resolve and clarity in what happened and hopefully teach myself or others a thing or two so that maybe, together, we can even learn from my mistakes. Know that I am learning from yours. If you really understand who I am as a person, then you’ll distinguish that I always try to keep things as positive as possible because I never want my problems to become yours, but if I’m going through an especially tough time, you can count on the fact that I’m going to share it. Friends are healing and words are powerful. Equally, I hope I can be there to ease your pain in your time of need. The weight of the world is too big to carry it alone.
Know that I’m visiting your wall as often as I can, or I’m picking up stories from the newsfeed and working hard to discover who you really are, too because I want to hear about your life, and read about your achievements. I’m going to miss some big things in your life because I wasn’t ON when you mentioned them. If it’s something you really want me to know about, and I haven’t commented, please pick-up the phone and call me. Sadly, because of where you live, I may have to admire you from afar, and the phone or Facebook is our only real means of communication. If you’re in San Francisco when I meet with Nick from Grammarly, please join us for coffee. That’s how you build your network, and I also don’t know if he’s an axe murderer or not, so you’d be helping me out. Protection in numbers, I always say.
Facebook is a journal. When you make a post, you are chronicling your life in some way, and chances are if we are “friends,” I respect or admire you. By living your life well, or at least as best you can, you can count on me to appreciate and never judge the things you have to say. I hope you respect and admire the life I lead as well, but be sure that I know that I can’t please everyone, nor will everyone “like” me or what I have to say, and that’s okay. Kindly also note that, although few and far between, some of you may have turned me off by posting negative comments about the people in your life who came into yours with some degree of baggage. I can’t help worry that if you discard some fallible, vulnerable human for being fallible and vulnerable, and you did this publicly, you might discard me just as carelessly too. I’m not too keen on public embarrassment, and the good Lord knows, I’m fallible and vulnerable, too. All humans are. If you are one of these people who like to air your dirty laundry on Facebook, please stop it. Smack your face until it turns blue the next time you contemplate doing it again. Facebook is not a platform for this, the Jerry Springer Show is. Public humiliation is a low blow, and I could harp on this all day. At least be kind enough to judge or admonish others quietly, and to yourself, or more politely by considering doing it directly to their faces. I can admire someone who stands up face-to-face to others for being personally wronged.
I’m a boastful mother, and I know this. I brag about my children when they’ve reached a milestone or accomplished something in their lives. They are a cornerstone in mine and frankly, I am smitten and consumed by them. It’s true; I’m proud of myself for raising them well , and for—I’m going to say it, and I knock on wood, for getting them through life so far, pretty much unscathed. Truth be told, from where I sit, if they fart, they might as well be sprouting cute, furry bunnies from their adorable, round little rumpuses. They are perfect in my eyes. I made them, and I am proud of Hubs and me for that. Again, I can’t help being boastful. Please do me a favor and brag about your kids more often, so that I can feel better about myself.
I celebrate big, too. I work hard, and I love to talk about the milestones or accomplishments I’ve made in my life because since an early age, I had to advocate and pat myself on the back. I grew up knowing that I have to love myself first, so I can learn to love others more. Here again, when you pat me on the back and say, “Good job,” that’s one of the highest compliments you can pay me. If you knew my background, as some of you do, you would know that I’ve had to overcome much to be where I am today, and well, darn it, I’m proud of whom I have become. Perhaps I do push myself too hard, too often. But, if you are “friends” of mine on Facebook, please believe me when I say that I love to hear all about your accomplishments, where you’ve been, where you’re going, and what you’re doing—as much as I like to talk about my own. I see it every day on Facebook, there are people reaching out and looking for words of encouragement. I’m blessed. I have lots of great friends who support and encourage me often. Every now and then give someone with fewer “friends” that all important nudge of encouragement. Consider your life to be enriched when someone shares their blessings with you.
I believe that Facebook, at least for me, has become my conduit for self-expression. So, I just really try and be myself. As a public speaker who sometimes talks about advocating Social Media, I have heard all sorts of philosophies on what works and what doesn’t. I understand the “Do’s and Don’ts” and all about meeting expectations on how to express oneself correctly when using social platforms. But, what I’ve really learned is this: There is no perfect, in a nutshell, way to lead your live socially. Not to sound cliché, but I encourage you to just stay true to yourself without bashing other people. (I told you, I could go on and on about this.)
Below are my personal, albeit essential, Social Media Strategies on How I Like to Conduct Myself on Six Social Media Platforms:
LinkedIn:Be Professional, Build Your Network and Explore. The days of the job hunt and cold call are over if you use the network wisely.
Facebook:Be Discriminate about Whom You Let into Your Network, So You Can Be Personal. I posted about errant panties ending up the laundry tonight. It’s a funny story.
Twitter:Be Personal and Professional. Be Professional Most of the Time. Post frequent and meaningful content that appeals to a wide audience. Follow people smarter than you.
Pinterest:Pinning is loads of fun. I advocate having loads of fun.
Instagram:Have Fun. Show the World Your Inner-Photographer and Videographer. Note: I’m personally bored with cat posts.
WordPress:Life’s a Crazy Journey, So Write about It. Start a Blog.
This is the terrible problem that was an ACCIDENTAL mistake by a programmer several years ago, was not picked up by other code checkers, and now has major sites and providers over a barrel. Read more about how to protect yourself from Heartbeat on my "TECKIE NEWS and Help" board on Pinterest: <!--[if gte mso 9]>Normal0falsefalsefalseEN-USX-NONEX-NONE<![endif]--> http://www.pinterest.com/margotfinke/
Norton has sent me a link to a site where I can check all my most used web and blog lings to see if they are infected, or NOT with Heartbeat. A 2 second click, and you can reassure yourself about any site: <!--[if gte mso 9]>Normal0falsefalsefalseEN-USX-NONEX-NONE<![endif]-->
I recommend KIM KOMANDO'S daily updates and website for advice on new purchases, scams, virus protection, and everything technical to do with computers and e-readers etc. Her Radio Show is nation wide.
KIM KOMANDO WROTE:
Just when you thought things couldn't get any worse with 'Heartbleed' ... they do. The "Heartbleed" bug that has floored Internet experts around the world just got worse. Cisco and Juniper, two of the largest network equipment makers, said today that the vulnerability, which exposes encrypted data like passwords, is present in their routers, switches and firewalls.
For a complete guide toKim Komando’s "Heartbleed" coverage and help, click here
You need super reliable virus protection at any time, plus one other program that sweeps your computer's floor after your protection has done the rounds - just in case!I have used NORTON for years, and it keeps me safe. I also have Win Patrol - a nifty little program that among many other things warns me whenever anything wants to alter or add to my Registry. COOL!!
The main thing for whatever virus protection you use, is to keep the program updated, do regular computer scans, and download the latest virus protection fixes daily. Keep other programs, like Quick Time, Apple and Microsoft programs etc updated as well. You can set these things to be done automatically.
Playing ostrich will not stop something bad happening if you don't do YOUR part in protecting your computer.
I have added a BONANZA of pins to the following boards:
For kids and adults who battle to overcome, subdue, or work around the life altering symptoms of Aspergers, Dyslexia, Autism, ADHD etc. I was thrilled to add many new pins that tackle all of these problems, as well as offer hope and enthusiasm for the future.
Today I pinned you a big bunch of brainstorming help. Some really terrific ways for teachers to find help, advice, and new ideas. You teachers carry a huge responsibility on your shoulders, and you often get a kick in the pants, rather than the bouquet of roses you deserve. Many kids spend more time with you than they do with their parents. They look up to you. Yeah, I know, some of the little !@#% don't.
HEY! You need all the help you can get, and this board has you covered!
CRITTER FRIENDLY Board (from land, sky and ocean)
These unique and fun bug, critter, animal. bird and undersea pictures could form the basis of a wonderful class project. The most awesome array of critters from every corner of our earth. Terrific for a class project that lets kids each choose one or two animals to research. Are they rare? Are they endangered? where do they live? What do they eat, etc? Then, write an essay on what they discovered about these critters while doing the research.
My mouth actually watered as I pinned some of these luscious and taste tempting goodies!
Talk about every picture being worth a thousand words - some of these pictures were worth 1,000 calories - at least!! I can see diets flying out the window ASAP. Only kidding. There are lots of low calorie, low carb, and low fat recipes on my YUMMY board. . . Just no low taste ones!!
And if you still have a moment to spare ( several moments in actual fact!), do visit:
More links and pins are coming to the ALSC and Día Pinterest accounts!
Photo by Katie Salo
In an effort to increase the material pinned to the Pinterest account, all ALSC committees will have the opportunity to maintain their own boards and content. ALSC committees will then be able to share relevant blog posts, links, and resources that relate to their committee’s work and charge. Committee chairs that are interested in using social media should contact Amy Koester, chair of Public Awareness Committee at amy(dot)e(dot)koester(at)gmail(dot)com.
ALSC’s Public Awareness Committee will continue to maintain the Día page, but with more regularly pinned content. Look for new ideas and inspiration to bring your Día programming up to the next level.
We’re looking forward to the changes that will be taking place and hope that members will find loads of useful information about the work that ALSC is doing! If you have any suggestions for boards or pins that should be on the ALSC Pinterest board, please feel free to leave those in the comments.
Katie Salo is an Early Literacy Librarian at Indian Prairie Public Library in Darien, IL and is writing this post for the Public Awareness Committee. You can reach her at simplykatie(at)gmail(dot)com.
In other best books areas, over at Tablet we have the best kids books of 2012 containing Jewish themes and characters. How Marjorie Ingalls finds them all I do not know, but she is meticulous! I thought I’d seen everything but there were definitely a couple titles in there that flew under my radar (Sons of the 613, anyone?). Horn Book also came up with their Fanfare Books of 2012, and I was very very pleased to see Jimmy the Greatest on there. Woot! PW separated their top children’s books into the categories of Picture Books, Children’s Fiction (YA is sorta just crammed in there), and Nonfiction (only four titles?!?). Finally there was the Notable Children’s Books of 2012 list by the New York Times which has some truly eclectic ideas.
By the way, if you want to see other best children’s book lists in this vein, there’s a Pinterest page of them up and running.
I don’t usually do this but once in a while you meet a new or upcoming author who just catches your attention fully. I met a 6th grade schoolteacher in town the other day by the name of Torrey Maldonado. Torrey’s the author of the YA novel The Secret Saturdays. Knowing he worked in a public school I asked what he knew about Common Core. Quite a lot, it seems, since he created an entire page on his website dedicated to the Core and how to teach his book using it. To top it off, I’ve gotta say that I haven’t met an author with the sheer levels of enthusiasm and charm of Mr. Maldonado in a long time. Keep your eye on this fellow. I predict big things.
Newsflash: Young Latinos don’t see themselves in books. Duh. Duh duh duh duh duh. It’s a really weird fact, and absolutely true. You go out there and find me an early chapter book series starring a Latino girl and I will give you a cookie. Go on. I’m waiting. I’ve got all day.
Okay. Now I’m officially depressed. I was sorting through some books earlier today and I discovered the most recent “Amelia Rules” by Jimmy Gownley called Her Permanent Record. I own all of the Amelia Rules books except this one so I was pleased to down it during my lunch break. Then I went online just now to see when the next book in the series will be out . . . only to find that that was the LAST ONE. Hunhuna? Now that is depressing. I’ve deeply enjoyed this series for years and years now, and to think that it’s over fills me with a kind of strange dread. Gownley hasn’t entirely ruled out the possibility of more Amelias in the future . . . . but still, man. It’s kinda hard to take.
The Dudes of YA, a “Lit-Erotic” Photo Spread. We would have also have accepted the term “The Hot Men of YA Literature”, but I suppose that would be copyright infringement or something, eh long-time readers who get my reference?
Look me in the eye. Now tell me this amazing new invention will not now appear in hundreds of middle grade spy/mystery novels. A pity you can’t get them in time for Christmas.
Friend and YA author Daphne Benedis-Grab writes an excellent article over at She Knows about raising a girl in a day and age where beauty standards have never been more impossible to attain. It’s called Raising a girl to be more than a pretty face. Testify!
PW Children’s Bookshelf linked to some pretty thought provoking articles this week. My favorite: Leonard Marcus at Horn Book talking about book jackets . . . for picture books!
In other news, PW did a very strange bit of reporting. It mentioned the recent 90-Second Newbery at Symphony Space, which was a packed house and a big success. However, there is a VERY odd lack of any mention about the organizer, YA author James Kennedy. Read the piece and you’ll have the distinct impression that it happened spontaneously and without his back-breaking work. Reporting fail, PW my dear.
I got the following message from Jane Curley of the Eric Carle Museum and I am passing it on because it sound bloody blooming amazing: “I’m giving a talk for the Victorian Society on 19th century British picture books. It’s on Tuesday, December 11 at 6PM at the Dominican Academy, 44 East 68th St.It’s free, no reservations required, and I’ll be showing some gorgeous pictures! The link is below. Cheers, Jane http://metrovsa.org/calendar.htm“.
I ran about the internet trying to find the perfect thing for today’s post but in the end I had to come back to the washable keyboard. The perfect gift for your favorite hypochondriac this holiday season.
Way back in March, I wrote a post about Pinterest. At that time, I had been contemplating using it to save images to use in my research. Given potential copyright issues, I decided it just wasn’t worth the bother.
That was then. This is now.
I still don’t use Pinterest to save images found while researching various writing projects. Instead, I use it to pick new topics. After these projects are published, I use Pinterest to attract new readers.
If you aren’t familiar with Pinterest, members visit this site to do image searches on anything that interests them. There are categories for Animals, History and Science and Nature. You can also do keyword searches.
When I am researching new topics, I click on “Popular.” Granted, this isn’t as focused as a search on Photography or Weddings, but it does tell me what people are Pinning (this is the Pinterest term for copying an image to your own page, called a Board).
One of my primary writing gigs is for Education.com. If I click on Popular and see numerous pins that involve initials or various words or blocks of text used in craft activities, I brainstorm something along these lines for grader school students. The same goes for string art, polymer clay and food served in ice cream cones.
Pinning Down New Readers
Once Education.com publishes my activities, I Pin the images back to my own boards. I have a board for Activities and Crafts and another for Science Projects. Because I took the photos and link back to Education.com, with their permission, there aren’t any issues with who owns what and thus no copyright hang ups. And, if someone repins an image to their own board, that’s more traffic driven our way.
I don’t stop there. I’ve been taking a lot of nature photos to use in my blog posts about writing. A board labeled, obviously enough, Nature Photos links back to my personal blog. Another board, What I’ve Been Reading, links back to either my book review blog or my personal writing blog. On days someone repins one of my photos, I see a bump up in traffic.
What if you don’t write book reviews or crafts? Then think about what you do write. If you write fiction, where is your novel set? If it is a real place, and it is someplace that you visited and took research photos, then put up a board.
Maybe you took scads of photos of clothing and furniture so that you’d be certain to get period details right. Create a board.
Food. Animals. Health and Fitness. Geek. All of these and more are categories on Pinterest. Not that this has to limit you in any way. After all, people can find you with a keyword search.
Get out your camera. Brainstorm about your book and start promoting yourself.
It sort of makes my reviews and "best books" lists redundant. No worries. I still have a lot to say.
Stuff I've read recently. One Year in Coal Harbor by Polly Horvath. I love Polly Horvath. This book includes romantic schemes run awry, environmental concerns, money problems, and the ever-popular recipes from the fishing town of Coal Harbor. (ages 10 through me)
The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann. Steam punk/fantasy (Wait, Isn't most steam punk fantasy? Or is it more science fiction?) OK, this steam punk-ish novel includes fairies, goblins, and other magical creatures alongside automatons and utilities formed of mechanical and magical substances. A boy born of a magical father and a human mother - these despised children are known as Changelings - and a young member of the House of Lords are caught up in a mystery surrounding the deaths of several Changelings. Touches of horror echo through this suspenseful novel. (Ages 11 through adult. The writing is that good.)
Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz. Children trapped inside marionettes; An aging witch and a magic jewel; cruelty; grief; class snobbery; escapes and captures. And three very engaging children who form the nucleus of this action packed adventure. ( 12 and up. But a good 10-year-old reader who is not squeamish might really like this.)
Goblin Secrets by William Alexander won a National Book Award this Fall. Rownie, one of the witch, Graba's, "children", looks everywhere for his older brother, Rowan. Rownie lives in a world where many people have clockwork limbs and organs and where humans are not allowed to wear masks or perform in theaters. Goblins, discriminated against, travel through the city with their theater on wheels and perform wonderful shows. Rownie steals from Graba so that he can see one of these shows in hopes of finding Rowan, who was a gifted actor. This is the set-up of this spell-binding book. If you like fantasies, and other-worldly settings, close-knit clans and secret societies, corrupt government and underground resistance, you will enjoy this book. (ages 14 and up)
Summer of the Gypsy Moths by Sara Pennypacker. Foster kids and a dead foster parent. Yep. That's what this book is about - along with summers on Cape Cod, blueberry bushes, interdependence and learning about asking for help. Two 12 year old girls decide to hide the sudden natural death of their care taker. One girl just doesn't want to go through the exhausting changes of yet another foster home. The other girl is related to the dead woman and hopes to make a home for herself and her irresponsible mother on Cape Cod. How they survive the summer and learn to tolerate and then value each other makes a good story. (ages 11 and up)
I am in the process of finishing Jepp Who Defied the Stars by Katherine Marsh. This one is historical fiction. It is amazing how many books with similar themes crop up every year. This book also concentrates on performances. These are the performances of dwarves who live to amuse wealthy nobility. More on this one later. This is for 14 and up.
Yep! I did it! I made it through another colonoscopy with flying colors! I will let you in on a little survival secret. How to drink the yucky liquid without tossing your cookies.
Try this method. This is all you need:
1. 9 – 8 oz paper cups with straws
2. “The drink”
3. A timer
4. A computer and the Pinterest website
My colonoscopy required me to drink 9 glasses of “the drink”. One glass every 10 minutes! EEeeeek!
Simply pour the liquid into the 9 cups. Next, go to the Pinterest website. Most of you who know Pinterest, know, that it is a great sucker of time. That is what you want, you want to be taken away to Pinterest Land and lose track of what you are doing until the timer goes off! Soon you will be ready for cup #2, then #3 and on to # 9! Viola! You are done! Thank you Pinterest!!!! …. and yes, everything came out just fine! haha!
Lyra McKen launches a new blog tour with us today. She has a little something to say about her chosen craft. It is a good message for any writer!
But, I'm a Writer
I have made this the title of one of my boards on Pinterest, which is totally addictive by the way, because I think it adds up to the struggle writers have on a daily basis. That struggle is just believing in yourself.
I have a mild panic attack when I upload to Amazon. I briefly think to myself that it isn’t good enough, it needs ten more beta reads, or a fourth edit, but I just have to let go…
I have that struggle to believe in myself daily when I write a new chapter, or someone reads my book. I feel like I am just pretending to be good at writing and they are going to hate it. That nagging little voice in the back of my head says, "But, I'm a writer." This is when I snap out of it. I am a writer because I write. It's the same thing that happens when an editor sends me my work back covered in comments and corrections. "But, I'm a writer." I know they make it better, and my editors do an amazing job, but it still gives you that momentary what am I doing feeling.
Putting yourself out there and being vulnerable is hard, your work is your baby and you are metaphorically feeding it to the wolves. I have learned a lot about the writing process over the year I have been working on it and I am beyond thrilled to have great friends and publishers that have helped me along the whole way.
So when you find yourself knee deep in edits or someone gives you a two star review and you say, “But I’m a writer,” remember that we all struggle with the same feelings of inadequacy. You just have to suck it up and take out the ‘but.’ Declare it loud and believe in yourself.
“I am a writer!”
Lyra McKen (aka, Emily Walker) resides in the mountains of North Carolina. She lives on top of a mountain quite literally with her other half of nine years and her fur baby, Rebel. After a couple of jobs ghost writing for other successful authors she embarked on her own journey to write a novel.