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<<August 2015>>
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1. Emotional Wounds Thesaurus Entry: Infertility

When you’re writing a character, it’s important to know why she is the way she is. Knowing her backstory is important to achieving this end, and one of the most impactful pieces of a character’s backstory is her emotional wound. This negative experience from the past is so intense that a character will go to great lengths to avoid experiencing that kind of pain and negative emotion again. As a result, certain behaviors, beliefs, and character traits will emerge.

Characters, like real people, are unique, and will respond to wounding events differently. The vast array of possible emotional wounds combined with each character’s personality gives you many options in terms of how your character will turn out. With the right amount of exploration, you should be able to come up with a character whose past appropriately affects her present, resulting in a realistic character that will ring true with readers. Understanding what wounds a protagonist bears will also help you plot out her arc, creating a compelling journey of change that will satisfy readers.

NOTE: We realize that sometimes a wound we profile may have personal meaning, stirring up the past for some of our readers. It is not our intent to create emotional turmoil. Please know that we research each wounding topic carefully to treat it with the utmost respect. 


Courtesy: Daniel Lobo @ CC

Definition: Being unable to bear children, either with or without medical interventions.

Basic Needs Often Compromised By This Wound: esteem and recognition, self-actualization

False Beliefs That May Be Embraced As a Result of This Wound:

  • I’m less or a man/woman because of this.
  • This is a punishment for something I’ve done in the past.
  • There must be some reason why I can’t have kids.
  • God knows I would be a bad parent; that’s why he won’t let me have kids.
  • People will pity me if they find out.
  • Without children, I’ll never be complete or fulfilled.
  • Why bother taking care of yourself if things like this are going to happen to you anyway?
  • I’m going to grow old and die alone, with no one to care for me.

Positive Attributes That May Result: discreet, empathetic, optimistic, patient, persistent, private, resourceful, 

Negative Traits That May Result: callous, cynical, evasive, irrational, jealous, martyr, needy, obsessive, pessimistic, resentful, temperamental, ungrateful, withdrawn 

Resulting Fears:

  • Fear of growing old and being alone
  • Fear of one’s spouse dying
  • Fear of what others think
  • Fear that one is incapable of parenting or caring for others
  • Fear of other latent illnesses or conditions within one’s body
  • Fear that one will never find happiness or contentment

Possible Habits That May Emerge: 

  • Becoming obsessed with conceiving a child, regardless of the inconvenience or cost
  • Tirelessly researching and trying new or unusual fertility methods, treatments, and remedies
  • Becoming obsessed with one’s health
  • Lying to others about why one hasn’t had children
  • Struggling with depression
  • Self-medicating
  • Distancing oneself from couples with children
  • Throwing oneself into a job or hobby
  • Clinging to one’s spouse or parents out of fear of losing them and being alone
  • Avoiding children
  • Building relationships with other childless couples
  • Joining support groups

TIP: If you need help understanding the impact of these factors, please read our introductory post on the Emotional Wound Thesaurus. For our current list of Emotional Wound Entries, go here.

For other Descriptive Thesaurus Collections, go here.

The post Emotional Wounds Thesaurus Entry: Infertility appeared first on WRITERS HELPING WRITERS™.

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3. This Bird Has Flown

Bram Stoker had this to say about Chicago: It, “neither fears the devil nor troubles its head about him and all his works.”  So in light of my recent move, and in celebration of this (my first day), I offer the following to you:

Goodbye Library

(With profuse apologies to Margaret Wise Brown, who would find it hilarious that a NYPL children’s materials specialist was referencing one of her books)

Goodbye, branches 89

Goodbye, pretty Lego lions


Goodbye, Winnie. Goodbye, Pooh

Camera- Leaf Aptus22/ Hasselblad H1 Color space-ProPhotoRGB Date- 4/10/08

Camera- Leaf Aptus22/ Hasselblad H1
Color space-ProPhotoRGB
Date- 4/10/08

Goodbye, toys (still missing Roo)


Goodbye, Mary Poppins umbrella

Goodbye to this striking fella


Goodbye, Plaza and Eloise

Goodbye, statue no one sees


Goodbye, Children’s Lit Salon

Goodbye, tourists from Milan


Goodbye, Peter. Goodbye, Willie.

Goodbye, Kid Lit Drink Nights (really!)


Goodbye, overpriced Bemelmans Bar

Goodbye, not having to own a car


Goodbye, Beauty

Goodbye, Truth


Goodbye, Times Square ads uncouth


Goodbye, Fortitude (on right)

Goodbye, Patience and goodnight


Goodbye, city. This Bird is gone

Hello, gorgeous Evanston!



18 Comments on This Bird Has Flown, last added: 8/3/2015
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4. Picture Book Summit 2015

Picture Book Summit FB post

Have you heard? There’s a new online conference in town.

I’d pull up a chair with any of these three authors and illustrators, and so I expect this to be a rich day of learning and creating and basking in the beauty of picture books.

From the Picture Book Summit’s press release:

Three of today’s most beloved and honored picture book authors will headline the inaugural Picture Book Summit, an all-day online writing conference that will take place Saturday, October 3.

Peter Brown (Creepy Carrots, Mr. Tiger Goes Wild), Andrea Davis Pinkney (Martin & Mahalia: His Words, Her Songs, Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up By Sitting Down), and Mac Barnett (Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, Extra Yarn) will be the featured speakers at the virtual conference. The event is the result of a collaboration between longtime industry mainstays Children’s Book Insider, Just Write for Kids, 12 x 12 Picture Book Writing Challenge, and the Institute of Children’s Literature.

A portion of all proceeds will benefit the literary advocacy group We Need Diverse Books.

In addition to live presentations from the superstar picture book authors, Picture Book Summit will also include full, live sessions from four of children’s writing’s most respected educators:

Children’s author, editor, and educator Emma Walton Hamilton will lead Is Your Manuscript Truly Submission Ready? Emma will give attendees the tools to polish their manuscripts until they sparkle, empowering authors to submit (or self-publish) with confidence.

Children’s Book Insider publisher and longtime editor Laura Backes will teach How to Write the 500 Word Picture Book. Laura will show how to write a story in this hot market— complete with fully developed characters, a plot with a beginning, middle and end, and page- turning action — in 500 words.

Picture book author and 12 X 12 Picture Book Challenge founder Julie Hedlund will present Publishing Picture Books in the 21st Century. Julie will help attendees navigate the many publishing choices presented today, including traditional, indie, electronic and hybrid.

 Picture book author and creator of the #1 Amazon Bestseller How to Promote Your Children’s Book Katie Davis will lead How to Get Your First 1000 Followers. Katie will help Picture Book Summit attendees build an effective author platform that sells books.

Picture Book Summit attendees will also enjoy exclusive agent and editor interviews and learn about breaking opportunities in the picture book field.

“This is the biggest day in the history of picture book writing instruction,” said Jon Bard, Children’s Book Insider’s managing editor and emcee for the virtual event. “To have this much talent and knowledge presented in one day is simply mind-blowing. That writers can attend from the comfort of their own homes, with no travel, hotels or time away from family and writing, makes it even more remarkable.”

Picture Book Summit will take place October 3 from 11 am to 7 pm Eastern Time (8 am – 4 pm Pacific). The interactive event (question and answer opportunities will take place throughout the day) will be accessible from any computer, tablet or smart device. A full recording will be available to attendees immediately after the event.

Full details, including instant registration, are available at http://picturebooksummit.com.

And a note: Early Bird pricing ends on August 15th.


PS: Sounds incredible, right? I’ll be back next week with your regularly scheduled picture-book-goodness. Thank you!

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5. Launching One Stop For Writers: Will You Help?

knotYou know that twisty tightness deep in your core when your release day is approaching, or you’ve just sent your novel to an agent, or you’re submitting to a critique group for the first time? Every nerve feels electrified, you can’t eat and your brain skips backward and forward until it returns to those perennial writerly worries: Did I do good enough? Did I work hard enough? Will readers connect to my book, love it even?

Well, I sit here, chest tight and nerves singing with excitement and anxiety….let’s just say can I relate!

When we released our first book, The Emotion Thesaurus, in 2012, I had insomnia for weeks trying to set everything up to launch it in a way that gave it the best chance. A lot was at stake, and we had a huge task, releasing a self-published book in an area dominated by traditional publishing and highly visible writing experts who were often editors, agents and NYT bestselling authors. Becca and I believed we had something special, yet doubt clawed at us – who were we to challenge the status quo? Who were we to think we could play with the big kids, to change the way people thought about what a writing how-to book was? And yet now here we are with three more books, foreign translations, international speaking invitations…and blessed to have the trust of writers all over the world.

My gratitude, Becca’s gratitude…there really are no words. You guys did this–you helped us bring something to life that changed the way writers write! We can never say thank you enough.

OSLogoFAnd now, Becca, Lee and I are asking for your help again. Our One Stop For Writers™ brainstorming software will release October 7th, and we’re heading into more uncharted territory. It’s exciting to frame our content in a way that transcends books, because the world is changing, and we need to change with it, making sure our resources always align with what writers need. We want to provide you with the tools that will help you write efficiently and creatively, in the format you need, and we believe One Stop will do this best.

Here’s a secret from someone who has needed to step outside her comfort box many times on this crazy ride: those worries, those hooked and fanged doubts? They don’t go away. But with your help, maybe we can mute them and together launch this newest project as best we can.

If you are interested in joining us for yet another adventure, and are willing to help with visibility and discoverability as we launch in October, please fill out this very simple form so we can get in touch. And thank you for always being there for us!


Pic 1: Antranius @ Pixabay

The post Launching One Stop For Writers: Will You Help? appeared first on WRITERS HELPING WRITERS™.

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6. Comics for back to school!

I know, I KNOW. It’s July 29th. It doesn’t feel like it’s time to go back to school.

And for lots of districts, it’s not.

But for huge swatches of the South and the Midwest, it’s happening this week or next week. It’s so early, it’s so hot. The kids are so cranky (I would be, too, if I had to go back to school so soon!)

What’s the solution?


Here’s some great, recent comics/graphic novels to give to your kids. Throw these up on a display, handsell them, or stealthily slide them across your circ counter. Your tweens will thank you.

Gotham Academy Volume 1. Do your kids love Batman? This comic is set in a prestigious prep school right in the heart of Gotham. With great supporting characters, secrets, and possibly a ghost, this hits all the superhero buttons. The mysterious Wayne family might even make an appearance…

Oddly Normal! Image Comics just reprinted this with a new cover. It’s INCREDIBLY fun. Oddly is a half-witch and having a mother from Fignation isn’t always a walk in the park. It’s even less fun when her parents disappear and she has to go live in Fignation. She’s the only being in the whole world that’s even remotely human. Hijinks ensue.

Baba Yaga’s Assistant is out next week. It’s a bit spooky but not outright scary. Masha needs some adventure so when Baba Yaga advertises for an assistant, she decides to try it out. But she has to be clever and wily enough to earn her place.


I am Princess X is actually a novel, but there’s a story-within-a-story here that’s told in comics, and it’s a very cool example of mixed-format storytelling. May’s best friend Libby passed away a few years ago in a really tragic accident, and she’s been lonely ever since. But all of a sudden, she sees Princess X popping up all over Seattle: Princess X was a childhood creation that only Libby and May knew about. As May dives into the world of Princess X and webcomics, she begins to wonder–could Libby be alive?

Enjoy the last part of your summer!


Our guest blogger from YALSA today is Ally Watkins (@aswatki1). Ally is a Library Consultant at the Mississippi Library Commission.

The post Comics for back to school! appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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7. Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr

Wow! It’s week NINE of the Book-Jumper Summer Reading Series! NINE…..where did time go this summer?

As you many already know, this series is my way of inspiring parents who are looking for creative ways to keep their kids reading this summer. All of the books I am jumping into feature protagonists are girls or women and most of our showcased authors are women as well.

I will be offering up a combination of themed weeks, great novels, booklist giveaways, and blog post recaps so be sure and stop by to discover more wonderful ways have A Bookjumper Summer while Exploring Our World and Beyond!

Book-Jumper summer Reading

This week I am jumping into another delightful book from another female author. Eleanor Coerr was a Canadian-born American writer of children’s books, including Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes and many picture books. She was born in Kamsack, Saskatchewan, Canada, and raised in Saskatoon. Sadly, Eleanor passed away in 2010 but her legacy lives on in the wonder books she has written including Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.

The story goes that Eleanor revisited Hiroshima i 1963 and saw the statue of Sadako in the Hiroshima Peace Park. Impressed by the stories she heard about Sadako’s talent for running, courage when faced with cancer, and determination to fold one thousand paper cranes, Eleanor was inspired to find a copy of Kokeshi, Sadako’s autobiography. The book inspired her to create a biography of Sadako Sasaki, on that American children could read and enjoy.

Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes has been translated into many languages and has moved both children and adults to write plays, perform ballets, compose songs, and collect money for peace statues-all celebrating Sadako and her wish for peace. Eleanor has visited schools all around the world encouraging her audiences to work for a nonviolent world. Folded cranes are everywhere, and always underneath the statue of Sadako in Hiroshima’s Peace Park. SOURCE.


Book Review from Hannah Rials
There are many beautiful stories created in this world—stories of love or peace. The story of Sadako Sasaki is a story of love, peace, and hope. Sadako is the best runner in her class, and her greatest wish is to be the best runner in her entire school and to make the junior high team. She is a very superstitious girl who believes strongly in the power of lucky signs—a spider crawling across the floor, a cloudless sky, and paper cranes.
Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes
            Sadako lives in post-World War II Hiroshima, Japan, every day experiencing the effects of the atomic bomb dropped on the city. People are mutilated, and many are now suffering through the “atom bomb disease,” also known as Leukemia. Everyone thinks, especially the children, it won’t happen to me. I’m healthy. I’m strong.
            Sadako is practicing her most favorite activity in the whole world when the dizziness starts, and never gets better, until one day it is all too much to handle. Sadako is admitted to the Red Cross hospital where she is poked and prodded until it becomes routine. Her friends and family visit her every day.
            One day, her best friend Chizuko brings her a beautiful treasure—a golden paper crane. She tells Sadako that if she can fold 1,000 paper cranes, she will get better and live to be an old, old woman. So Sadako sets out, and her older brother hangs the hundreds of cranes from the ceiling of her quiet hospital room, always holding onto the hope that she will recover.
Sadako’s story does not have what everyone would call a happy ending. But everyone who reads her story grasp the hope and love that this dear child felt in a bleak post-war time. Her story is simple and beautiful. I was very much moved by Coerr’s writing. I felt the love and the pain, the strength and the hope. There are always two sides to a story. There is always a consequence to every action. We live in trying times, and history is not a vision of peace and tranquility. But if we hope for peace, and show our love, we can make a difference. Sadako and the testament that she has left in Hiroshima demonstrate that.
Something to Do
1.    In the back of Eleanor Coerr’s book, she gives easy to follow, step by step instructions on how to make paper cranes like Sadako.
paper cranes
2.     Every year during Japan’s memorial peace day, every one comes out and places floating lanterns in the river. Go HERE to learn how to make your own floating lanterns.
3.     Sadako loved her good luck signs. Here are some more to keep your eye out for:
  • Rainbows
  • Crickets
  • If a ladybug lands on you
  • Finding a four-leaf clover
  • A head’s up penny
Sadako good luck signs
What are your good luck signs?

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The post Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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8. Mind Your Manners….

Is Our Culture Coarsening?



I have been thinking about posts on some topics such as this for some time. And in writing it, I have been pondering, what has so radically changed in the culture that has brought it, in the minds of many, to a nearly unrecognizable tipping point.



Our children, and ourselves are “plugged into” the world, and one another, via the Internet and our devices, on a 24/7 basis. Some of this information and communication is unfiltered and unmonitored in a vacuum like environment where young children take it in, sometimes, with little or no guidance.

This, in itself, can be pretty overwhelming for young minds that have no larger frame of reference and experience to draw from, as adults do. And even we sometimes struggle with info overload.

Very little of what they take in on the Internet in vetted in any way. Yet they perceive it as true and accurate. And from it, they form assumptions and judgments on what is proper and true.

If you doubt me, ask any teacher that has read a child’s research paper with reference materials downloaded from the Internet. It may be filled with inaccuracies lacking critical analysis, let alone primary sources, yet it looks to their young minds as gospel, because “It was on the Internet.”


Today’s culture:


Let’s face it, both celebrity and notoriety pass for achievement today. Rock stars and sports figures are the heroes of the culture in the minds of the young.

Where are the heroes for this generation? Some may not agree, but to some degree it can be seen in the faces of those who have faced separation from family, and their own safety, in the preservation of our way of life. You may not agree with every encounter our military has engaged in, but they go because it in their job description and they believe in what they do, for the most part.

I’m also willing to bet that not many children today, of a certain age, are familiar with the names of many or any Nobel prize winners for peace, yet they probably know every nuance of the lives of Kanye West, Beyonce and the Kardashian clan. Very sad.




The philosopher, Marshall McLuhan said it best in the late 60’s, “The medium is the message.” He probably, if what I have read of him is accurate, was pretty prescient in predicting the World Wide Web before it came to be. And it’s putting out plenty of messages, whether it’s to your liking or no. He, among other things, examined the effects of media on society. He was one of the first to predict a sort of “global village” as technology’s instant information transfer makes the world smaller.

Walt Disney and his Mouseketeers would probably be a tad overwhelmed at what passes for family entertainment today in the global prime time village of TV.

So much of what is seen in movies is conceived and produced on the west coast, while advertising, TV, music and print media is largely east coast driven.

Yet, there is a whole middle of the country that is perhaps not as open to the “new normal” being conceived, and fed content, from these two coasts. And it may not necessarily agree with its options, except to turn it off!

Can we undo what has occurred in the culture over the last 30-40 years in a day?

Certainly not, because the arc of change in a culture usually is complete before people, who are actually living their busy everyday lives, even realize it’s occurred!

But, we can effect small changes in small ways, within the strongest sphere of influence you and I have, in the basic building bloc of any culture, and that is – the family.

And so, that is where I choose to center my attention -  and first attempt at change – in children’s manners – using one of the earliest and best forms of entertainment and teaching – the picture book!

Remember Munro Leaf of “The Story of Ferdinand” fame? He and Robert Lawson conceived the idea of a bull who would rather spend his time sitting under his beloved cork tree, smelling the flowers, than listen to the “ole” thrown his way, in an arena.

But did you know that he had also  written a trio of books on manners that have been reissued? Their titles are:


“How To Behave and Why”


“How To Speak Politely and Why”


“Manners Can Be Fun”


There are so many small niceties in our culture lately that seem to be taken for granted, or lost entirely. And the teaching of common civility seems at the top of the list. Well, it’s still at the top of my list, I guess.

It’s easy and fun – with the right accompaniment for a helpful tutor.

And here, Mr. Leaf comes to the rescue for parents of young readers with picture  books that are fun, and full of facts, on how to be, well, genial, pleasant, and polite.

Even Ferdinand the bull knew how to refuse to fight -  politely! He was the first bull to discover the sit-in!

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9. Finding the Funny: The Newbery Award and Various Works of Hilarity

Do funny books get short shrift when award season comes ah-knockin’?  It’s not a ridiculous notion.  After all, the Oscars are notorious for consistently promoting and lauding saddy sad performances and films over their funnier contemporaries.  So I took a gander at some of the recent winners of the Newbery Award (and Honors) and determined that while humor isn’t the most lauded quality in “distinguished” works of children’s literature, neither is it a true detriment.  Some funny winners that come immediately to mind might include:

  • El Deafo by Cece Bell
  • Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo
  • The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes
  • Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos
  • Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
  • Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage
  • Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm
  • One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
  • The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick
  • Surviving the Applewhites by Stephanie B. Tolan
  • Everything On a Waffle by Polly Horvath
  • Joey Pigza Loses Control by Jack Gantos
  • A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck
  • Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
  • The Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis
  • Catherine Called Birdy by Karen Cushman
  • Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
  • Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary
  • Ramona and Her Father by Beverly Cleary

Naturally there are more out there that I’m not thinking of.  There’s also the fact that humor is naturally subjective.  While one person might find Catherine Called Birdy a hoot, another might prefer the works of Jack Gantos.  Whatever the case, I’m happy to see such a strong showing and hope to high heaven we get a little more of this in the future.

Note: If someone wants to ascribe dates to these books, we could try to work up some kind of algorithm that determines whether humor has been lauded more within one particular time span or another.


2 Comments on Finding the Funny: The Newbery Award and Various Works of Hilarity, last added: 7/30/2015
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10. Emotional Wound Entry: Infidelity

When you’re writing a character, it’s important to know why she is the way she is. Knowing her backstory is important to achieving this end, and one of the most impactful pieces of a character’s backstory is her emotional wound. This negative experience from the past is so intense that a character will go to great lengths to avoid experiencing that kind of pain and negative emotion again. As a result, certain behaviors, beliefs, and character traits will emerge.

divorceCharacters, like real people, are unique, and will respond to wounding events differently. The vast array of possible emotional wounds combined with each character’s personality gives you many options in terms of how your character will turn out. With the right amount of exploration, you should be able to come up with a character whose past appropriately affects her present, resulting in a realistic character that will ring true with readers. Understanding what wounds a protagonist bears will also help you plot out her arc, creating a compelling journey of change that will satisfy readers.

NOTE: We realize that sometimes a wound we profile may have personal meaning, stirring up the past for some of our readers. It is not our intent to create emotional turmoil. Please know that we research each wounding topic carefully to treat it with the utmost respect. 



  • a spouse engaging in a one-night stand after a fight or arguement
  • a partner who gives in to desire after drug or alcohol use
  • one’s husband or wife having an affair with someone at work
  • discovering one’s spouse is cheating through online chat rooms or sites
  • a partner who confesses he’s in love with more than one person
  • a partner discovered with a prostitute
  • a partner who visits an ex and old feelings rekindle, leading to intimacy
  • discovering a spouse has multiple relationships on the go or even a second family
  • a partner who believes in an open marriage when one does not
  • a spouse who turned to one’s friend for companionship as well as advice
  • a spouse struggling with sexual identity who chooses to explore it while married
  • a spouse who cheats with an old flame from school to relive glory days
  • a partner who accepts the sexual advances of another from a strong need of approval
  • a partner who finds satisfaction elsewhere because of a lack of intimacy at home
  • a partner who emotionally cheats (sharing intimate feelings) with someone else that leaves one feeling betrayed
  • a partner having an affair out of loneliness due to a prolonged absence (frequent or long term work travel or deployment, for example)
  • discovering a spouse has profiles on social dating sites
  • discovering one’s partner has cheated with a family member (a sibling, cousin, parent, etc.)
  • rebuilding a marriage after infidelity only to discover them cheating again

Basic Needs Often Compromised By This Wound: physiological needs, safety and security, love and belonging, esteem and recognition

False Beliefs That May Be Embraced As a Result of This Wound:

  • I am unworthy of love
  • I am an unsatisfactory lover
  • I am better off alone
  • No one could ever be attracted to me
  • This is my fault for not being good enough
  • There is no such thing as a committed relationship
  • All (men, women) cheat and I am better off alone
  • If I let people in, they only hurt me
  • If I want a relationship to last, I have to become someone better

Positive Attributes That May Result: analytical, cautious, disciplined, funny, honest, honorable, independent, introverted, loyal, nurturing, merciful, perceptive, private, proactive, protective, sensible, supportive

Negative Traits That May Result: catty, confrontational, controlling, cynical, grumpy, humorless, impatient, inflexible, irrational, insecure, jealous, needy, obsessive, possessive, resentful, self-indulgent, suspicious, vindictive, withdrawn

Resulting Fears:

  • fear of intimacy
  • fear of love
  • fear of betrayal
  • fear of making another life-impacting mistake
  • fear of relationships
  • fear of trusting the wrong person
  • fear of being alone forever
  • fear of not being in control

Possible Habits That May Emerge:

  • avoiding dating and close relationships
  • second guessing one’s actions and choices, especially revolving around trust and relationships
  • keeping one’s emotions close to the vest
  • looking for signs of deceit when one is around potential romantic partners
  • following up or questioning someone to try and suss out whether they are telling the truth
  • general trust issues, becoming evasive
  • wanting to account for a partner’s time when not with them
  • control issues and difficulty in giving a partner privacy
  • wearing clothing that hides (body issues emerge or grow)
  • obsessive dieting or worrying about one’s weight and appearance

TIP: If you need help understanding the impact of these factors, please read our introductory post on the Emotional Wound Thesaurus. For our current list of Emotional Wound Entries, go here.

For other Descriptive Thesaurus Collections, go here.

Image: StevePB @ Pixabay

The post Emotional Wound Entry: Infidelity appeared first on WRITERS HELPING WRITERS™.

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11. The well of studiousness


Pride 2015

My relative quiet is because my life has been divided for a while between work and studying for exams. But I share this photo by former PUBLIB colleague and retired librarian Bill Paullin from the 2015 Pride March in San Francisco, where I marched with my colleagues in what suddenly became an off-the-hook celebration of what one parade marshal drily called, “Thank you, our newly-discovered civil rights.”

I remember the march, but I also remember the  hours before our contingent started marching, chatting with dear colleagues about all the important things in life while around us nothing was happening. It was like ALA Council, except with sunscreen, disco music, and free coconut water.

Work is going very well. Team Library is made of professionals who enjoy what they do and commit to walking the walk. The People of the Library did great things this summer, including eight (yes eight) very successful “chat with a librarian” sessions for parent orientations, and a wonderful “Love Your Library” carnival for one student group. How did we get parents to these sessions? Schmoozing, coffee, and robots (as in, tours of our automated retrieval system). We had a competing event, but really — coffee and robots? It’s a no-brainer. Then I drive home to our pretty street in a cute part of a liveable city, and that is a no-brainer, too.

I work with such great people that clearly I did something right in a past life. The provost wrote me today to ask me to make sure the budget officer had a copy of that special budget request I made. SIR YES SIR! Every once in a while I think, I was somewhere else before I came here, and it was good; I reflect on our apartment in San Francisco, and my job at Holy Names. I can see myself on that drive to work, early in the morning, twisting down Upper Market as the sun lit up the Bay Bridge and the day beckoned, full of challenge and possibility. It was a good part of my life, and I record these moments in the intergalactic Book of Love.

And yet: “a ship in port is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.” I think of so many good things I learned in my last job, not the least of which the gift of radical hospitality.  I take these things with me, and yet the lesson for me is that I was not done yet. It is interesting to me that in the last few months I learned that for my entire adult life I had misunderstood the word penultimate. It does not mean the final capper; it means the place you go, before you go to that place.  I do not recall what made me finally look up this term, except when I did I felt I was receiving a message.

Studying is going very well, except my brain is unhappy about ingesting huge amounts of data into short-term memory to be regurgitated on a closed-book test. Cue lame library joke: what am I, an institutional repository? Every once in a while I want to share a bon mot from my readings with several thousand of my closest friends, then remember that people who may be designing the questions I’ll be grappling with are on the self-same networks. So you see pictures of our Sunday house meetings and perhaps a random post or share, but the things that make me go “HA HA HA! Oh, that expert in […….redacted……..] gets off a good one!” stay with me and Samson, our ginger cat, who is in charge of supervising my studies, something he frequently does with his eyes closed.

We have landed well, even after navigating without instruments through a storm. Life is good, and after this winter, I have a renewed appreciation for what it means for life to be good. That second hand moves a wee faster every year, but there are nonetheless moments captured in amber, which we roll from palm to palm, marveling in their still beauty.

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12. 4 Questions for Barney Saltzberg


Barney Saltzberg is the author and illustrator of close to fifty books for children, including Beautiful Oops!, Arlo Needs Glasses, Andrew Drew and Drew, and the best-selling Touch and Feel Kisses series with over one million copies in print. Additionally, he's recorded four albums of music for children.   


When an illustrator has an idea for a book with a non-traditional format, what is the first thing they should do?

Check the marketplace to make sure this idea hasn't already been done. Build a book that reflects what you are thinking so people can see what you have in mind. Or, if you don't have the paper engineering skills, draw a detailed vision of what you are thinking.


What is the biggest difference between submitting a book to a publisher that has a traditional format vs a novelty format?   

It's really not that different, aside from have either sending in a working interactive dummy or the details of how it works along with a storyboard.


I would imagine some book dummies you make are somewhat intricate. Do you mail your dummies to publishing houses or do you photograph them?

If it's an editor I have worked with before, sometimes I video the book with my phone and send that. Otherwise, I send a dummy via mail.


What is your best advice for SCBWI members who are interested in exploring novelty formats?

Make sure there is a different slant to what you are submitting. There are a gazillion touch and feel books. What is different about what you are submitting?  I have a series of touch and feel books that are all based on kisses, Animal Kisses, Peekaboo Kisses. It helped create a brand.  As a side note, I realized I needed to build my books while I was conceptualizing them.  My book, Andrew Drew and Drew wasn't something I could just write about.  I had to start folding paper and drawing simultaneously.  The same is true for Beautiful Oops! and Chengdu Could Not, Would Not Fall Asleep. When I find a piece of paper a certain way, I have an "ah-ha" moment. I know what I can do with this!  I call it thinking with my hands.


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13. SCBWI Exclusive with…Jordan Hamessley


Jordan Hamessley is editorial director at Adaptive Books; A Division of Adaptive Studios. Founded in 2013, Adaptive secures orphaned content from feature film studios, award-winning playwrights and bestselling authors then works to create new value in these revitalized projects while allowing our studio partners to significantly participate in our success and reformat for a more traditional, film/TV version.


How does Adaptive Studios work?

Adaptive Studios is a production studio that develops industry-vetted abandoned intellectual property to create products for multi-media distribution in areas such as film, television, apps, social media storytelling, and digital & traditional publishing.  Upcoming projects include the re-launch of Project Greenlight on HBO.


Can you tell us about the publishing arm, Adaptive Books?

Adaptive Books, the publishing imprint of Adaptive Studios, publishes eight to ten titles each year, from middle grade and young adult novels to adult fiction. Our mission is to find under-appreciated and abandoned Hollywood content and find new mediums for those works. We typically buy unproduced screenplays from film studios and then determine what works in the property and then develop it as a book. Once we know what the book property looks like, I reach out to agents and authors who might be a good fit to tell that story. My goal at Adaptive is to breathe new life into abandoned content and then find the perfect author to tell that story. Every project is a true collaboration with the author. They aren't simply novelizing a script, they are bringing their own voice and ideas to the table. In fact, in most cases I never share the original script with the author. Each book is given a strategic marketing plan using innovative digital marketing techniques, as well as traditional methods. Our current books in the market include the critically acclaimed YA novel The Silence of Six by Andre Norton Award Winner E.C. Myers; YA novel Coin Heist; middle grade novel Shadow of a Doubt; and The Adventures of Black Dog: Beached Whale, a picture book based on the iconic Black Dog Tavern on Martha's Vineyard.


With the changing climate of Children’s book publishing, where does Adaptive Books fit in?

Adaptive Books is constantly seeking new ways to reach our readers. Due to our founders’ experience as film, tv, and digital content producers, as well as our relationships with many of the filmmakers from Project Greenlight, we create film quality level book trailers that feel more like short films than a trailer. We’re very active in the social media sphere and are always learning about the latest apps and websites that teens and media fans are using. On the day-to-day publishing side, I see Adaptive Books as the perfect home for that mid-list author who is looking to break out. Our list is small, but mighty with a full marketing plan behind each title. There’s no getting lost on this list.


How does your team work?

I’m based in New York City and the rest of the Adaptive team is based in Los Angeles. We spend a lot of time on the phone and Skype talking through the latest scripts we are reading, the proposals we’re working on, and the latest updates from our authors. We’re a very collaborative team. Most members of the Adaptive team read every sample that we get for a new project and offer feedback from that point until an author is hired and we finish the editorial process. We bounce ideas back and forth when it comes to which authors should write a certain book, cover design, and putting together our marketing plans. 


Once you have found a property that your team loves, how do you find writers?

Once we’ve decided on a project to move into the publishing program our first step is putting together a “spark page.” That is a three to five page document that outlines the major characters and plot of the book. Sometimes we have a particular author in mind for a project and we’ll reach out to them through their agent to gauge their interest. Other times, I reach out to agents who I know have authors on their list that fit the project and see if they have someone who would be interested.


After the book is written, how is it published?

Every book published by Adaptive is published traditionally and digitally. We are distributed by Ingram Publisher Services and our books make it into all of the major accounts.


How did you arrive at Adaptive?

Adaptive was the perfect next step for me after spending time in the traditional world at Penguin Young Readers and then Egmont USA. While at Penguin, I acquired original chapter book and middle grade series and also led multiple licensed publishing programs. My licensing experience working on film and tv properties is used daily at Adaptive. I also developed several IP projects while at Penguin and that experience is key to working with my team in developing our “spark pages” and matching the perfect author with the right project. When I was at Egmont, I was primarily editing original middle grade and YA fiction, working closely with my authors throughout the editorial process. In my career as an editor I have made it my goal to make my relationships with my authors true collaborations. I give detailed feedback and I’m always happy to get on the phone and talk through any questions or issues they may have as they work on their books. 


How can our members submit to you to be considered for one of your projects?

For submissions, I'd like to see the first ten pages of a YA or MG novel, along with a bio of the author and their preferred genre. I'll read the subs and keep the authors in mind for future projects. You can send the above to her at jordan@adaptivestudios.com  Be sure to include "SCBWI Submission" in the subject line so it is filtered correctly.


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14. On the Shelves…BookPeople


Meghan Goel, Children's and Young Adult Book Buyer of BookPeople in Austin, Texas, tells us what's on the shelves.    


What trends do you notice in children's book sales? What are the current hot reads?


I would say that the most interesting trend we've seen recently is the re-invigoration of the picture book category. Sales have certainly been driven by some key bestsellers over the last few years like I Want My Hat BackDragons Love Tacos, The Day the Crayons Quit, and The Book with No Pictures, but the trend reaches beyond those key titles leading to very healthy sales across the board. Current hot reads in our store would include What This Story Needs is a Pig in a Wig and Last Stop on Market Street in picture books, Echo and Circus Mirandus in middle grade, and Ember in the Ashes and Challenger Deep in YA.

How do you choose what books to order? Do you use a publishing rep?

I meet several times a year with sales representatives for almost all of the publishers we do business with, whether that's a dedicated in-house rep for a publisher or a commission rep who handles a number of different houses. In terms of how to decide what to order, obviously some numbers are driven by an author's sales track and some are motivated by trends or genre, but really it comes down to a gut reaction to what I like a lot and want to put in front of our customers.


What would you like to see more of from authors/illustrators in terms of community involvement?

I think that the community of authors and illustrators we work with in Austin is wonderful and does a lot. Really I just encourage authors and illustrators to just keep us in the loop about upcoming releases, pull us into their launch events so we can help make them special, to stop by and sign stock, and to be open to ideas. I love pulling local authors into programming we're developing instore or with schools!


How do you handle author/illustrator visits? Can authors/illustrators contact you directly?

We host a large number author and illustrator events throughout the year both instore and at schools. The best person to start with for an instore event would be our Marketing Director. 


What is your favorite part of being a bookseller/manager/librarian?

I love finding creative ways to help engage kids in our community and inspire them to grow into enthusiastic readers.


Personal book recommendation?

My favorite new book to recommend right now is Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan.

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15. Bologna International Children’s Book Fair


By Annina Luck Wildermuth

January 2012; My artwork made it into the SCBWI Illustration Gallery at the Bologna Book Fair! Wow! Maybe I should go?! It was on my bucket list. Not sure if I could justify /quantify expense vs. opportunities… but heck. I was going to make it happen and see what happened! At this late date, hotels weren’t available; flight prices were ridiculous. But my dear stewardess friend arranged a standby seat on the less traveled flight to Venice and shared the frugal traveler’s option of monastery lodging. I flew to Venice, took the train to Bologna and bunked at the monastery.

I’m a worrier. If you’re one of those supremely confident travelers; STOP right here! This article’s not for you. If, however, you are a little bit scared, but intrigued and determined to see what the Bologna Book fair is all about, then read on.


My worries:

Navigating foreign systems; money, trains, buses, taxis, hotels

Blowing my budget

Being alone in a foreign country

Navigating the Fair

Making the most of my opportunities



Purchase some Euros through your bank before you leave the states. The fees may be higher, but worth it to avoid exchanging currency at the airport in your jet lagged state.

Once there: ATMs are your friend.



Book flights early. The 2016 Fair is April 4 -7. Start looking in August. Here’s an article about timing:



Also check prices to Venice, Rome or Milan with train fares to Bologna. Flight plus train ticket may not be cheaper but if you plan to tack on some sightseeing it gives you an extra city to explore. Train reservations are available online.



Once there: Get city and bus maps and bus tickets at Tourist Info in the Neptune Fountain Piazza. http://www.bolognawelcome.com/en/


Punch your ticket when you enter the bus. You may be tempted to ride for free. Only Jiminy Cricket and the occasional ticket checkers can help you decide if the fine and a public scolding are worth the risk.

There’s also an unreliable Fair shuttle, which will sometimes surprise you by showing up. Or double up with a friend or three and taxi to the fair.



Book early! There are apartments, hotels and my favorite, the monastery.



The Fair:

Illustrators can submit five illustrations for consideration in the Mostra degli Illustratori and receive free fair admission whether your illustrations make the short list or not. (NOTE: This is NOT the SCBWI BIG gallery.)



Even if you don’t submit, Illustrators get a reduced price.



Writers need to buy a pass:



All alone:

NOT! The SCBWI booth is your hub, and home away from home. You’ll be surrounded by friends you’ve never met before.


Making the most of your opportunities

Apply for a personal or regional showcase with Chris Cheng

Schedule portfolio reviews

Bring promo materials

Read the program. Attend the talks.



SCBWI Bologna Website:



For a pageful of tips contact me at claythings@susaneaddy.com

For a blow-by-blow account, here are my Bologna Sketch Travel blogs:








Finally, was it worth the money, time and worry? For me, YES! The opportunity to illustrate My Love for You is the Sun by Julie Hedlund, was a direct result of my 2012 trip.  You NEVER know where connections will lead. But even if a book hadn’t come to fruition, the inspiration and knowledge gained by being in the heart of the Children’s Book World forever changed my outlook and was worth every penny, and even the wringing of hands.


I hope to see you in Bologna in 2016!


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Today we have the honor of revealing the cover for THE FIRST TIME SHE DROWNED by Kerry Kletter, forthcoming from Philomel/Penguin on March 15th, 2016. I met Kerry when I was in Los Angeles and she is an A++ human and I’m positive her book is A++ too. Before I charge into Penguin HQ to find a galley let me share the A++ cover in addition to some A++ insight from Kerry’s editor, Liza Kaplan, as to how this cover came about. Oh, and get to e-meet Kerry yourself with a brief interview!




The beautiful sad struggle of a girl desperate for the relationship that has caused her the most pain.

Cassie O’Malley has spent her whole life trying to keep her head above water—literally and metaphorically. It’s been two-and-a-half years since her mother dumped Cassie in a mental institution against her will for something Cassie claims she didn’t do. Now, at eighteen, Cassie enrolls in college, ready to reclaim her life and enter the world on her own terms.

But as she struggles to find her way forward, the startling truths she uncovers about her own family narrative make it impossible to cut the tethers of a tumultuous past. And when the unhealthy mother-daughter relationship that defined Cassie’s childhood and adolescence threatens to pull her under once again, Cassie must decide: whose version of history is the truth? And more important, whose life must she save?

A bold, literary story about the fragile complexities of mothers and daughters and learning to love oneself, The First Time She Drowned reminds us that we must dive deep into our pasts if we are ever to move forward.


When I first read THE FIRST TIME SHE DROWNED on submission, I knew it was a special find because the characters continued to live and breathe in my head long past the point of the novel’s end. The characters were so beautifully flawed and skillfully nuanced, the writing so gorgeous, and the story so emotionally charged and complex that, initially, finding a way to adequately telegraph all these things through one cover image seemed like it could be a real challenge. But it was such a thrilling process, and I love the final image we landed on!

There were various incarnations along the way; at first we tried something much more literal that played to the character’s experiences in a mental institution and therapy as well as her connection to the ocean. It was lovely, but felt a bit too squarely YA, and as this book has such crossover appeal, we didn’t want to cut out any potential readers. When the designer presented us with this image, my publisher and I knew it really hit the mark: It was a visually striking nod to the idea of drowning from within that felt both symbolic and truthful to the story, and captured a wild and chaotic energy that dominates the main character’s emotional life for much of the novel. I’m so glad we pursued other directions first because it just made all the more clear that this image is truly the one.


ADAM: Tell us a bit about the moment you first received your cover on the inbox. Did you have something else in mind originally? Did this cover beat your expectations?

Author Photo For The First Time She DrownedKERRY: At first it was just shock—this is my book cover! I had never dared to imagine what it might look like. But I knew pretty quickly that it was perfect. The image really captures both the vulnerability and self-protection of the main character as well as the haunting mood of the story as it pertains to water and struggle and beauty in a way that I never imagined possible. I love the details— the double exposure and the water spots and the sense of movement. I’m so grateful to both my editor Liza Kaplan and the cover designer Lyndsey Andrews who I know put so much work into getting it right.

ADAM: Okay, okay. So Penguin sold me on the cover. Now kindly sell me and our readers on the heart of the book, please!

KERRY: I think at the heart of this story is hope. Hope in the capacity to climb out of a dark past, to trust that small voice in your head and that little firefly of light in your gut that says you’re okay and you matter and you’re worthy even when you’ve been made to feel otherwise. It’s about choosing to believe, in the face of love’s absence, that love is still possible—not just romantic love, but friend love too—and about what can happen when you find the courage to allow love in, even when it seems the riskiest choice of all.

What do you think of the cover? I always love hearing from the editor, too! 

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18. Summer Reading Lists: Worst Titles Ever

Recently I was admiring two different but certainly related articles online.  The first was Mike Lewis’s Non-Required Summer Reading List, which is just the loveliest little PDF of fun summery read titles.  A great list in and of itself.

The second piece was the infinitely useful article How Teachers Can Create a Summer Reading List That Won’t Make Librarians Die or Children Cry: Unsolicited Advice from a Public Librarian.  That public librarian is Miss Ingrid Abrams, and when she talks about summer readings lists I know from whence she speaks.  You see, here in NYC, there is no over arching summer reading list.  Each individual teacher can come up with their own individual lists.  Sometimes, they’re brilliant lists of titles.  Well researched, fun, smart pairings of fiction and nonfiction.  But oftentimes you get something like this:

Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 10.28.58 PM

This year THIS list is the bane of my existence.  This is one page of several from this school, and of those lists this is the good one.  The fact that Ms. Hesse’s Brooklyn Bridge is in the nonfiction section isn’t a surprise to me because it was in the nonfiction section last year and the year before that.  Yes.  I’ve seen this same list for three years in a row.  I don’t mind the fiction on this one, but the nonfiction titles slay me.

Or, as Ms. Ingrid puts it:

“Often, parents hand me lists so outlandish I’ve considered whether I was being featured on a really bad hidden-video reality show. They’re either really poorly organized or they contain titles that I know just by looking at them that we just don’t have. I’ve tried contacting schools and teachers, either by phone, email, or in person, and have had absolutely no luck. We have pre-written form letters that we send home with the parents (we call them “Dear Teacher” letters: Dear Teacher, Name of Child was unable to obtain this book due to 1) lack of copies 2) high demand 3) plague of locusts 4) flood of librarian tears, etc.) so that their children won’t get in trouble for not being able to access the books on the list. The letter has our contact info on the bottom, so the teachers and librarians can talk before the next summer comes around.”

We’ve tried our own strategies for combating problem before the summer hits, all to no avail.  Every year we see the same out-of-print books over and over again.  Birdland by Tracy Mack is unavailable people!!

After reading Ms. Ingrid’s post, though, I got curious.  Is this just a New York thing or do other public librarians around the country also find themselves in the weird position of having to check and see how many copies of The Well by Mildred Taylor are in the warehouse at Ingram?

So I put it to you, public librarians.  What are the most annoying titles to show up on a summer reading list?  Here’s a list of some of my own favorites that I’ve seen pretty darn recently:

Birdland by Tracy Mack


Back in 2005 I could have gotten you any number of copies!  Today?  Not so much.

The Acorn Eaters by Els Pelgrom


It came out in 1997.  It disappeared.  And then suddenly folks decided they just couldn’t get enough of it.

Sultans of Swat: The Four Great Sluggers of the New York Yankees

by The New York Times


Nope.  Can’t get it.  Just cannot.

Maxx Comedy by Gordon Korman


Surely Korman himself would admit that he has published books just as amusing, if not better, than this one.  Surely.

Those are my top four at the moment.  Any of your own bugging you?


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19. Second Novels We Wish We Could Read

Like the rest of America I have watched, enthralled, the debate going on at the child_lit listserv as to whether or not folks should/are choosing to eschew reading Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman.

I’m sorry, what that?

I’m being informed that despite my opinions on the matter, America does not collectively read child_lit.  I find this version of the facts suspicious and will look into it further, later.

In any case, here at NYPL, Gwen Glazer came up with an interesting idea.  She wrote, “we’re thinking about other authors we wish would suddenly come out (some posthumously) with another novel many years after their first—and only— full-length works of fiction.”  Of course, considering the backlash against Lee’s book, one wonders if such sequels would be as desired by the masses as they might once have been.  Glazer’s list is fun, so I wondered about what children’s novels we might want to see sequels to.  Some already have perfectly good, if not particularly well known sequels, of course.  Harriet the Spy, for example.  But others might do well.  I’m going to try to eschew those books that have had posthumous novels already written by others (Peter Pan’s, Pooh’s, Wind in the Willow’s, A Little Princess’s, etc.) and stick with some that have worlds I’d like to return to.  Books like . . .

The Secret Garden


Purging from our brains the lamentable Hallmark version of The Secret Garden which took it upon itself to stage the book as a flashback (the WWI present day bring to mind rejected sequences from Downton Abbey and included such terrible ideas as a Mary/Colin romance and a dead soldier Dickon) I’m not saying that a sequel to this book would be a good idea.  Just an interesting one.  I mean, you have a house with a hundred empty rooms.  Forget the garden, I wanna know the house’s history.  But maybe that’s just me.



Yeah yeah yeah.  Look, you can tell me all day long that Small Steps was the sequel, but it wasn’t.  It was a companion novel and what I want is more Yelnats.  Gimme more of that guy.  I liked that guy.  I want to know where that guy’s going.

The Phantom Tollbooth


Admit it. It writes itself.

Stuart Little


People always put down Anne Carroll Moore for not loving this little mouse. Well I can attest that in 3rd grade I became appalled by the ending of this book.  Stuart sets off in his canoe to find his delightful bird friend and . . . the end.  Open ended finales were never for me.  I was just so mad when I found out that there wasn’t a sequel.  So I’m in the Moore camp.  Stuart’s not my favorite but maybe that’s just because I needed more of him.  And while we’re at it.

Charlotte’s Web


Sacrilege!  Horrors!  It would be the worst idea of all time.  But . . . come on.  I wanna know about those three spider sisters that stay with Wilbur.  Forget the rest of the farm, what adventures do they get into?  Oh, fine.  Bad idea.  But I’m still curious.

Any bad ideas/impossible to resist curiosities to share?


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20. One Stop Adventures: Choosing The Right Name

We all know the struggle of naming a novel: trying to think of something catchy, something that aligns with current trends in our genre, but is also highly unique. A title that pops. Of course, our title should also convey the “feel” of our book, the theme that weaves through it, and give potential readers an idea of what the book is about…you know, in only a few words, or even just one, whichever the case may be.

Sounds…er, simple? Yeah, right. Naming a book is a lot like writing that query pitch: not at all easy, and a ton of pressure to hit a home run.

hello CCSo, you can just imagine the jittery stress that cropped up when Becca, Lee and I knew we couldn’t keep calling our brainstorming software “the product.” We needed a name, and a good one. Something that stood out, was professional, and hinted at what the software will do. A name that conveys our desire to help writers in areas where they need it most so they feel empowered to write their amazing novels.

And so the agony began. Here’s a few of the original ideas:

  • Writer’s Genie
  • Creative Genie
  • Descriptive Genie
  • Word Wizard
  • Descriptive Wizard
  • Creative Wizard
  • Imagination Box
  • One Stop
  • Writing Muse
  • Muse for Writers

After much debate and research, we thought maybe it might be better to go with a single word, something punchy that represented inspiration. Because at the heart of One Stop, that’s what we’re doing–offering writers that spark, that brainstorming nudge, that sends their fingers tapping like mad across the keyboard. Our goal is to get writers actually writing, rather than spinning their wheels as they think about what to write. Of those, we came up with:

  • Activate
  • Flare
  • Blaze
  • Boost
  • Spark
  • Burst
  • Inspire
  • ESP

sparkWe all really connected with Spark. In fact we loved Spark. Spark for Writers. Cue singing, the glorious shaft of white light, all that. We imagined logos and letterheads. This was it, our name which would infuse us with purpose!

But of course, we needed to remember we weren’t in the land of book titles any more. This was software, a product/service. In any business, there’s the legal end of things, like copyright and trademark. Loving a name isn’t enough–you have to actually make sure you CAN use it, or risk a lawsuit. If someone has secured a trademark for the same name, or even if there is an existing company or product with a name that is very close in the same industry, a person is rolling the dice to also try and use it. We started researching writing software and related services and took the name to our IP (Intellectual Property) lawyer.

And…it turned out that Spark for Writers was too close to something else out there. So, we had to let this name go.

(You guys know when you love, love, love a book title and then boom, an agent or publisher tells you to change it? Yeah, that feeling.)

We flirted with a few others, like Boost, and ran into more trademark issues. Finally we circled back and asked ourselves, how could we instill a sense of place with our product name? Because that’s what we wanted–a destination, a home. Somewhere for writers to come and get help when they got stuck or needed a spark of inspiration.

We looked at One Stop For Writers again (Becca’s brainchild) and realized this gave us both a sense of place, and told people exactly what they would find: a wonderful array of resources to help them write compelling stories. We decided to go with it. While there were a few similar names out there, we found nothing for writing software or trademarked within that realm, so our IP lawyer deemed we could file for it ourselves. Whoo-hoo!

informationOf course, this brought us to needing a logo designed, and in doing so, the question of what people might assume our name means came up. Our designer asked, “What is One Stop For Writers? In addition to it being creative brainstorming software, does it help writers publish books? Understand platform building? Give them a place to type their story out? Something else?”

These were good questions, and made us realize we needed to be careful about how we market One Stop For Writers. Because while we see ourselves as a one-stop destination for creative tools and descriptive brainstorming that will allow writers be more efficient while improving their writing craft, we aren’t a one-stop for publishing or self-publishing help, we aren’t teaching platform or social media or marketing or any other aspects of being an author. We are only about the creative end of the writing process and getting the right words, ones that paint vivid imagery and create powerful fiction, on the page.

After discussion, we decided to add a tagline to our One Stop For Writers name: elevate your storytelling. This helps to clarify exactly who we are and what we do (empowering & helping writers to craft strong fiction) while also saying what we don’t do: anything not about creating powerful stories. We’re glad our designer asked us these questions because now we can infuse this sense of specific identity in all our marketing moving forward.

The takeaway? Little things are sometimes big things, so don’t be afraid to take the time to get it right. Our name is a big thing–it is who we are and what we do. While it took so much longer to find one than we expected, we are all so happy with how it all worked out.

We hope you like it too. :)

Did you know there’s a new One Stop Newsletter out with instructions on how to apply as a Beta Tester? You can read it here.

Pic #2: Foundry @ Pixabay
Pic #3 Geralt @ Pixabay

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21. The Early Childhood Programs and Services Committee would love to hear from you!

Hello everyone!

My name is Brooke Newberry and I am the new chair for the Early Childhood Programs and Services Committee. This year our major project, “Babies Need Words Every Day” finally launched. This project has been in the works for over two years and seeing the final product and the reaction to it has been amazing. We hope everyone has printed out these posters for their libraries and community partners.

This committee year we have some more big ideas in the works, everything from revamping our charge to expanding our “Babies Need Word Every Day” toolkit. We’re also working on new partnerships both within ALSC and the community. Make sure to keep your eyes open for future announcements from the committee!

We had an amazing committee year in 2014-205 and we want to keep the momentum going. We would love to hear any ideas the membership has in mind with regard to early childhood programs and services. What’s at the top of your mind right now regarding library services to young children? What is your biggest concern regarding early literacy?

The committee is proud to serve the membership and we look forward to this next committee year!


The post The Early Childhood Programs and Services Committee would love to hear from you! appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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22. Update: Everything You know about Copyright


I’ve noticed the video I posted earlier this week pertaining to new potential copyright laws and the changes that might incur has stirred up a bit of controversy.


If you watched the video I posted here on the site you’ll understand the cause for alarm and why I felt it was important to share the information right away. Since I’m not an expert on copyright law and have very little experience with law of any kind I decided to reach out to an expert to try and learn more.

The expert I consulted was Zack Strebeck an attorney who specializes in just this sort of thing. Zack and I have known each other for many years and worked together for Vivendi Universal at Funny Bone in Canton CT during the late 90s and early 2000s. After the company closed its doors in 2002 I continued with my art career while Zack pursued a degree in law. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Zack and have come to know him an excellent authority on such matters.

Earlier this week I reached out to get Zack’s opinion on what was happening and to see if he knew anything more about the issue. I shared the link to the video interview I posted as well as several others I found on both sides of the fence. I found it confusing to see two sides so far apart and I felt I needed some help clarifying the issue. I wanted a better understanding of how it might effect me and others in the illustration community.

Here is a link to Zack’s post and his observations on the matter. Please take a moment to read and observe all sides of this issue and then draw your own conclusion.

I know this topic has ignited a lot of passions so please be respectful when leaving comments


The post Update: Everything You know about Copyright appeared first on Bob Ostrom Studio - 919-809-6178.

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23. This is Not a Valentine, but it is a new book!

Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 9.05.04 AM

You guys!

I’m so happy to work on another book with my editor at Chronicle. This one is special, even though it is most definitely not something special. No way.

Stay tuned for more book-goodness, and thank you for taking it easy with me this summer.


P.S.–What have you been reading? I was lucky enough to get an ARC of Rebecca Stead’s latest middle grade, Goodbye Stranger, and it was fantastic!

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24. Bees in the City Workshops

Bee Comb

Bee Comb

Workshop 1, Wednesday July 29 : 10am – 12pm : Culpeper Community Garden, Islington.

Heriades Bee

Heriades Bee

Workshop 2, Wednesday July 29: 2pm – 4pm: Roots and Shoots Garden, Kennington.
We’ll seek out some rare bees like this Heriades. Be inspired to design and make your own solitary bee home by witnessing the largest manmade solitary bee home in London the Trellic Tower.

Wild Bee Comb

Wild Bee Comb

Workshop 3, Friday July 31: 10am – 11.30am : Pop Brixton, Brixton

Join us in the Greenhouse at POP Brixton. We’re going to build a giant wild comb and make your own designer solitary bee house. Bring your purse and get a delicious juice and stay for a delicious healthy lunch from HOME GROWN.

Bees pollinate our fruit and veg

Workshop 4, Friday July 31: 2pm-3.30pm : Calthorpe Project, WC1X 8LH
Heloise from Bootstrap Bees will share the sounds from inside her honey bee hive. Bring a picnic and enjoy the afternoon in this enchanting urban garden.

Bee tower

Trellic Tower for Bees

Working with Secret Seed Society, the Museum of Architecture has designed four workshops aimed to teach children – and their parents and carers – how bees in the city live and show how their lifestyles are similar to those of people. Secret Seed Society’s Amy Cooper  will describe the importance of bees in our ecosystem and where you can find them in London. This interactive workshop is full of experiences, games and crafting which will grow you and your child’s knowledge and appreciation for bees and their vital role in our ecosystem. The second half of the workshop is your chance to use some of your new knowledge and creative flair to make your own designer solitary bee home, to take away and hang in a tree near where you live. Materials and supplies for bee house designs are included in the ticket price. Children must be accompanied by an adult with no more than 3 children per adult.

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25. Diversity: What Can We Do About It?

The movement to increase diversity in children’s books is on. 

As a community, it’s taken us too long to get here, but today, our industry is at last engaged in an ongoing conversation to ensure that the lives of all young people are reflected and honored in their literature.  Such diversity, which includes people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities, LGBTQIA, and ethnic, cultural and religious minorities, serves not just to mirror our readers’ lives, but to offer all young people a window into the many experiences that make us human.  What could be more important?

That we have recognized the urgent need for more diversity is a crucial first step.  But it’s just a first step.  We can’t sit back and congratulate ourselves when there is so much to be done to implement our goal.  We need to expand the universe of diverse authors, illustrators and editors, and create more opportunities for them.  We need to assess what each of us can do to help the effort.  For some of us, that will be primarily a support role, helping to change and elevate the diversity conversation.  Others may choose to study how to write cross-culturally with responsibility and authenticity.  We need to learn how to make diverse books successful in the marketplace.  Author Andrea Pinkney, who founded the Jump at the Sun Imprint at Disney, says, "Right now, the publishing industry has an auspicious opportunity to redefine the success model for diverse books. Let’s consider success as more than just sales figures, but include how well a book impacts a community or addresses a timely issue.  Let’s look at a book’s entire life and achievement, not just immediate sales figures.”

Your membership in the SCBWI automatically puts you at the heart of this conversation.  As an organization, we have been in the forefront of supporting diversity efforts, by offering grants that celebrate diverse authors, establishing partnerships with organizations such as We Need Diverse Books and The Children’s Book Council Diversity Board, and by populating our conferences and Board with talented people from diverse backgrounds. But as individuals we can all do more.

I’ve surveyed many of our industry leaders and asked them what each of us can do to promote diversity.  Here are a baker’s dozen of concrete and specific suggestions.

  1. Offer support to aspiring writers and illustrators from diverse backgrounds. (I.W. Gregorio, VP Development, We Need Diverse Books)
  3. If you are judging a contest or award, look for diverse stories that can open up opportunities for writers and illustrators not to feel pigeonholed. (Jenn Baker. VP Social Media/Diversity Festival, We Need Diverse Books)
  5. Politely point out to organizers of book fairs, festivals and panels when their participants are overwhelmingly white or male or abled or straight. (I.W. Gregorio)
  7. If you are planning any kind of book event, do not ask diverse authors to only appear in presentations focused on diversity.  (Hannah Ehrlich, Director of Marketing, LEE & LOW BOOKS)
  9. If you are a bookseller, teacher or librarian, do not pigeonhole diverse books by bringing them out only for “themed months” or holidays.  All displays should have a diverse component.  (Hannah Ehrlich)
  11. In your conversations with peers and the public about diversity, shift the paradigm from “the difficulties and challenges” of selling diverse books to a positive focus, emphasizing the opportunity to redefine the success model. (Andrea Pinkney, author)
  13. Be active on social media about this issue.  Follow authors, agents, publishers, librarians and teachers who are succeeding in moving the diversity needle. (Andrea Pinkney)
  15. Make a conscious, strategic decision to buy and/or support more diverse books, and do it in a sustained fashion.  Be conscious of supporting books whose covers represent diverse content and characters.  We need to give diversity a face.  The more we show diversity, the more it becomes the norm.  (Andrea Pinkney)
  17. Talk about these books (on social media and elsewhere) when they resonate with you.  Passionate word of mouth is the best bookseller!  (SCBWI)
  19. When you are visitng schools, libraries and kids, talk about more than your own books.  Promote a diverse reading list.  We are all book-talkers and your positive talk helps get these books into the hands of readers.  (SCBWI)
  21. If you are a diverse author or illustrator, get on the road and make your books visible.  You presence can help win fans across the spectrum of diversity. (Justin Chanda, VP and Publisher, Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers)
  23. If you chose to integrate diversity into your own writing and illustrating work, do it in an authentic, respectful, accurate manner.  Research needs to be done, experts consulted, text and illustrations vetted.  This is especially critical if you are choosing to work cross-culturally. (Louise May, Editorial Director, LEE & LOW BOOKS)
  25. Check out these two important links: weneeddiversebooks.org and cbcdiversity.com and make them part of your regular online reading. (SCBWI)

There is much still to be done to establish true diversity in children’s books.  As with any important task, it may seem overwhelming to us, and the tendency is to leave it in the hands of decision makers and  policy setters.  But nothing is farther from the truth.  As one of my heroes, the Dalai Lama, once said…“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”  Let’s each one of us be the mosquito!   



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