Monday, December 31, 2012

December Carnival of Children's Literature

The monthly Carnival of Children's Literature is UP!  Click on over to see the goodies that Zoe has gathered for you to explore -- books and essays about all things KidLit.  I love how she has displayed the book covers clipped onto clotheslines.  (Does anyone use clotheslines anymore in this age of electric dryers?)

And to add to the fun, Today is also Nonfiction Monday.  You can find that roundup of children's nonfiction books over at Prose and Kahn.  More links will show up all during today, so keep checking back to that blog -- or wait until tomorrow to see them all.

Enjoy your last day of 2012 and don't stay up too late tonight celebrating the advent of the New Year.

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Turning of the Tide

I love being on the beach when the tide turns.
When the water stops retreating and begins attempting to eat up the shore again. Lapping higher and higher.

Some years ago I was at Nags Head, North Carolina at the turning of the tide.  For several minutes there were NO Waves. The sea's edge remained still and the ocean looked like a lake.

However, I've not seen this at Del Mar beach in California.  Probably because I do my walking where the San Dieguito River pours into the ocean, pushing the waves further and further away from the shore until there is only the river streaming into the ocean.

However, the ocean fights back. The tide always returns, pushing back, fighting back, sweeping over the newly exposed sand where dogs and people are playing.  This isn't a gradual creeping up the sandy slope.  No. It's surge and retreat, surge a bit more and retreat, throwing a Surprise Wave (yes, it's really called that) or two way up the sandy beach then dragging whatever it found back into the sea. For the next time.  For the next wave, which tries to reach even higher.

At low tide, the beach is 50 to 100 yards wide.
At high tide, the waves lash against the pilings and rocks protecting the seaside homes, curling over the first four, the first six steps leading from the houses (or from the public access road) down to the sand. At high tide the waves have conquered the river and are roaring up stream, under the bridge to splash against the Coastal Railway embankment where the river turns.

The best time to go to the beach is at low tide, so you can dance with the waves coming ever closer and closer, higher and higher up the beach.

We did this today.
The 13-year- old was taking pictures of the sunset with her brand new camera.
In bare feet.
I was standing further away from the waves, warning her when a big one was coming, hoping she could dance away from the cold, cold water sweeping higher and higher.
She had bare feet.
I had shoes.
I didn't get wet, but she did.  She did.
And she didn't care.
At all.
(You should see the wonderful sunset pictures she got.)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merrie Christmas

I hope everyone had a Happy Christmas Day.


We began with opening presents with my oldest daughter, her husband and almost 2-year-old son. Then they went north to Oceanside to have Christmas Lamb dinner with her father-in-law.


Meanwhile my younger daughter brought her husband over to our house to have Christmas Roast Beast dinner with the 13-year-old (yes, she had a birthday) and me.

The topper was when my oldest daughter shared leftover lamb with us in the evening.  We had the best of both families this year.

I hope your day was stress-free and full of joy.
wo

Monday, December 24, 2012

Nonfiction Monday

Yes, I know you're too busy to read this today, but I wanted to post the location of the Nonfiction Monday roundup just so that you can amuse yourself later during the holidays by exploring this link.  The Jean Little Library blog has collected links to great articles about children's nonfiction for both last week and this week.  click on through and enjoy.

Each blogger list the books in their roundup collection differently -- The Jean Little Library blog has listed them in Dewey order!  But you don't have to be a librarian to appreciate that arrangement.

And if you want to see every last Best Of list available for 2012 children's books, check out this post at Chicken Spaghetti.



    Sunday, December 23, 2012

    Happy Festivus

    Today is Festivus
    which means it's also time for the annual Airing of the Grievances.
     MotherReader has the skinny on this over at her blog.
    There's also info about it in another blog entry of mine.

    You can add your grievance to her blog -- or post it right here if you wish.

    I'll start:
    My biggest gripe right now is teenagers who think they can stay up at night watching Charmed or some other TV show playing on their iPhone and think they'll be able to get up in the morning in time for school.
    or in time to go Christmas present shopping.
    or in time for anything any event happening the next day.

    What's yours?

    Friday, December 21, 2012

    The end of the World -- NOT

    Well, if this is the end of the world, it didn't work.
    Instead, it was the shortest day/ longest night.
    Which means that everything will get brighter from now on.
    (days getting longer/ sun getting stronger, etc.)

    It's actually the winter solstice -- time to celebrate new beginnings.

    Wednesday, December 12, 2012

    What happened this year in Children's Literature?

    Travis Jonker has gathered up ooooodles of miscellanea about the events in Children's Literature this year and has posted it on his blog, 100 Scope Notes -- with pictures!

    Click on over and enjoy.
    (Being a guy, he begins with a gross picture book illustration, but keep on keeping on -- it gets better.)

    Tuesday, December 11, 2012

    What makes you think you can write for kids?

    Another thoughtful post from Marion Dane Bauer on her blog: Just thinking.

    Monday, December 10, 2012

    Gifts for Writers

    Here's another list of possible Holiday Gifts. (pick your own holiday)

    This time it's Gifts for Writers over on the Vermont College of Fine Arts Writing for Children and Young Adults' blog.  (all posts written by the faculty -- check it out -- it's called Write At Your Own Risk.)  

    I see that she recommends a dog, but if you don't like the doggy smell and all the training involved with living with a dog, I recommend a cat, myself.

    And for another list of good books, check out the NonFiction Monday roundup at the Wrapped in Foil blog.

    Tuesday, December 4, 2012

    Happy Birthday Sweet 13

    Yup.
    The 12-year-0ld is finally officially a teen.
    She turned 13.

    She is old enough to have a Facebook Account.
    (However, when she tried to get an account, she got the same answer that I got when I first tried -- Facebook thinks that anyone with such a short last name must be giving a fake name.
    Sorry Facebook.
    Our name is real.

    What a birthday party on Saturday!
    It's been years since I drove a bunch of teens to a movie.
    The noise of happy chatter in the back seat was almost overwhelming.
    But the Movie complex was nice and easy to move around and to find where we needed to go, and the movie -- Rise of the Guardians -- was fantastic. We highly recommend it.

    The rest of the day the teens talked (naturally), ate ice cream cake and pretzels, talked, watched videos, played board games (remember them?), played the piano, and talked and talked. Since it was a multinational group of teens, the videos varied from Bollywood dancers/ singers to clips from Les Miz.  (another movie that the teens can't wait to see.)

    Happy Birthday Sweet 13-year-old.

    Friday, November 30, 2012

    Famous Last Words

    On November 30, 1900 the playwrite Oscar Wilde died at age 46, after declaring his famous last words: "Either that wallpaper goes, or I do." 

    Tuesday, November 27, 2012

    150 Ways to give a Book

    Okay folks.  It's time to put your thinking caps on.  How many of you still have people on your list to buy gifts for?  (putting up my own hand)  Don't be shy.  I know there has to be more people out there who are procrastinators like me.

    Well, MotherReader has a blog post that will help give you ideas.
    She calls it -- 150 ways to Give a Book.
    Great title.
    Great ideas.
    Click on over and take a look.
    wo

    Monday, November 26, 2012

    Why read nonfiction?

    A great article spelling out why it's important for students to read compelling narrative nonfiction has just been pointed out to me.  It's called, What Should Children Read?, produced by the New York Times writer, Sara Mosle.

    You may be aware that there's a new push in education circles to have students reading and studying great nonfiction as well as great fiction, called The Common Core State Standards which is being adopted by school systems across the country.  (maybe not in Texas, but that's their loss)  By the time they are Seniors in high school, their reading should be half fiction and half nonfiction.

    This article makes a great case explaining just WHY it's important for children to read nonfiction and to learn how to write it well.  I recommend that you click on over to read it.

    Much thanks to Roberta Gibson who writes the Wrapped in Foil blog for the link.

    For some more great children's nonfiction, click on over to the Nonfiction Monday roundup at The Miss Rumphius Effect blog today.
    wo

    Saturday, November 24, 2012

    The search for green, and apple pies in Julian, CA


    Friday we drove an hour into the mountains East of San Diego to Julian, CA.  The twisty, cliffhanging roads reminded me of some in West Virginia and the town reminded me of Harper's Ferry and other historical towns in the Maryland/ Virginia area that are now so touristy.

    One of the 12-year-olds I took with me had been there before, so she enjoyed showing us the best stores and restaurants. The girls came home with jewelry from a craft show and teeny marbles from a store. (they both had brought money, so the only thing I had to pay for was parking and food.)

    Even though the town was above 4,500 feet in the mountains, there weren't many trees that had colorful autumn leaves; everything was green -- California long needled tree green.  We did see some autumn leaves at about 3,000 feet as we passed through another town.  (Every time my 12-year-old had complained about there not being any fall leaves here in San Diego, people had told her she needed to go to Julian to see them.  Not true.)

    The thing that stood out in my mind was the difference in the Mountains.  Mountains in the east are made up of solid upthrusts of granite mixed with layers of coal and a variety of other hard stone.  They are covered in either pasture grass or shaded with trees.  Solid green, in other words, with only an occasional outcropping of solid rock.

    California mountains, on the other hand, seem to have huge boulders sticking their bare bones all over the hill -- like the lumps on the back of a toad.  Huge things.  With nothing but brown-ish growth in between.  

    We arrived too late to do much driving around Julian, so we walked the few blocks of tourist stores, instead.  There may be more green forest around the town that we missed. And maybe even some autumn leaves somewhere.

    We were hoping to see snow in Julian, after all it's late November and we were high in the mountains.  (and I had seen snow in some mountains as I flew home from Maryland last week.)  But no snow, either.  The temperatures were only about 10 degrees cooler than at our San Diego condo. But as the sun set, it did get cold and we were glad we had sweatshirts with us.

    The stores in San Diego had been flooded with "JULIAN PIE COMPANY" pies before Thanksgiving and people had told us they were delicious.  However, the only pie store we found in Julian was MOM's pies. The 12-year-old friend told us that those pies weren't very good and that she knew where one of the Julian Pie factories was located.  We never found the factory in Julian, but on the way home she located the other one and we bought a pie there. Cooked it tonight.  It's yummy.  (Deutsch Apple Pie) Just as good as people has said it would be.
    wo

    Friday, November 23, 2012

    Black Friday Shopping Tips

    My sister posted some tips on Facebook that she received in an email from a place called LIFESPAN on how to be a better (and safer) shopper on this most horrible of shopping days -- Black Friday.  (of course, if you were in line last night, all this won't help you, but might be something to think about for future holiday shopping trips.)

    Five Things Not To Do At The Mall

    Thieves are suffering during this economy just as much as the rest of us. They’re more brazen than ever so it pays to take some precautions. Read on for LifeSpan’s Financial Counselors’ shopping do’s and don’ts for a safer and “on budget” holiday season:

    · Don’t carry your checkbook or more credit cards than you will use during that shopping trip. If your wallet is lost or stolen, this will limit the damage. Do: Make a copy of the front and back of all credit cards, and put the list in a safe place at home so if a card is stolen you can report it immediately.

    · Don’t carry large amounts of cash. Even if you are committed to paying for your purchases with cash, be aware that pick-pockets take advantage of crowded areas and distracted people. Do: Break up shopping trips, replenishing cash for each trip.

    · Don’t shop while in a hurry or at the last minute. You’ll end up spending more than you should so mark the item off your list. Do: Block out a specific time for shopping.

    · Don’t shop without a list. Santa thinks it’s a useful tool, and so should we. Do: Make your list specific: recipient’s name, gift idea and what you’re going to spend. Having an overall holiday budget floating around in your head isn’t good enough. Without a plan, you’ll likely get caught up in the hype and overspend.

    · Don’t pile new debt on top of old. Some of us are still paying for 2011 holiday expenses. Do: Think about it. You’re buying for friends and relatives who will understand if you need to cut back. Tell them! Then do something personal such as writing a heartfelt note or offering to do something – clean, babysit etc.


    I added these tips to her list:

    This list should also have mentioned safe and proper ways to carry your purse to discourage thieves.  If you carry it with the strap across your body from one shoulder to the opposite hip is best.  Always make sure the zipper of your purse is closed after every transaction to discourage thieves dipping their hands into it in crowded areas. (open purses that can't be closed should be left at home.)

    Don't use purses made of fragile material that could be easily cut open.

    The bags the APPLE store give you have a lovely string handle.  However, don't carry your APPLE purchase by this string around your arm or wrist because a thief can grab it and break your wrist getting it.  APPLE products are a favorite goal of thieves because there is such a demand for them and they can easily be sold.  Grab the Apple bag by the neck, or carry the purchase in your arms, or put this bag into another shopping bag if possible, or into your purse if your purchase is small.

    Don't overload yourself with open store bags.  At some point, take all your goodies back to the car, place them hidden in your trunk (not on a car seat), then MOVE your car.  Thieves also watch the parking lots and rob cars if you simply walk back into the mall.  Driving away and finding a new parking place makes them think you've left the area.

    Above all BE SAFE -- You are the only you that you have.

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

    It's Time to Bake the Pies

    First you gather the ingredients:

    Then you make the pies:

    Oh dear, Someone's already tasted it.
    Probably me. My family likes it cold, but I'll eat it warm or cold.

    This year I won't make as many pies as in years past, which I talked about here, and here.

    Do you always make pumpkin pie in November?
    If not, then what is your favorite fall pie?
    wo

    Monday, November 19, 2012

    NonFiction Monday

    Today's Nonfiction Monday roundup is at Perogies & Goyoza.
    Click on over and discover interesting nonfiction books.

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

    Writing for a living

    Without going into whether or not you actually CAN earn a living with your writing, much-pubhished author Marion Dane Bauer has written a blog post (on her blog, Just Thinking) about HOW to organize your life when you write for a living. Click on over.  Words to think about.
    wo

    Monday, November 12, 2012

    Bookcases. Bookaholics can't live without bookcases.

    Some years ago I attended Science Fiction Convention, one of many that I attended during that time period.  Late on the last day (it always was held during a 3-day weekend), there was a panel discussion about -- Bookcases.  Being a bibliophile myself, who lived in a house with built in bookcases, plus being a librarian, naturally I was interested.

    Bookcases.
    Everyone on the panel agreed that you never have enough of them.
    (so did everyone in the audience)

    We were entertained with the tales of
    -- how they managed to squeeze in 'just one more' bookcase into their tiny apartments.
    -- how they struggled to transport them when they moved.
    -- types of bookcases
    -- and so on.

    Well,
    when I moved to California this past August, I did a horrible thing. I went through the whole collection of books (many left to me from previous generations), boldly making decisions as to what I'd bring and what was going to be left for the booksellers.  (the very HAPPY booksellers, I might add) And I chose which free-standing bookcases to bring.

    Weight was a problem. (did you know that movers charge by WEIGHT?) I knew that moving across country was going to be very expensive. (didn't know it would be almost $10,000, though.)
    So I chose only two tall bookcases. And one short bookcase for the 12-year old's collection of books.

    Now, I can see you shaking your heads. You know already that this is going to end badly, don't you?  It was not enough bookcases. Once I unpacked and loaded one bookcase with nonfiction and the other with fiction, I was left with more boxes of books.

    Off to Ikea.  A large bookcase made of cubes made a dandy place for my collection of picture books.  Easy-peezy.
    A small, 4-cube bookcase became filled with CDs and DVDs.
    Okay.
    I decided I was a wiz at putting these together.  Now to put two small 4-cube ones together upstairs. But one wouldn't go together.  I tried and tried, but the middle shelf was a quarter inch too large making the screws in the top shelf unable to find their holes.  They just ground sawdust.

    After sitting unfinished in my bedroom for several weeks, I finally gave up and returned the complete, but not yet finished bookcase to Ikea -- and they took it back.  Crossing fingers and toes that the replacement box has shelving the exact size and I get this new one together, so that I can unpack the last of my books.

    Hey!  It's Nonfiction Monday and the roundup of interesting nonfiction books   Is being held at Lizann Flatt's blog, The Flatt Perspective.  Click on over and enjoy.
    wo

    Monday, November 5, 2012

    Nonfiction Monday

    I have two messages today.


    Number 1 = Tomorrow is Election Day.  Please Vote.




    Number 2 = Today is Nonfiction Monday and the roundup of delicious nonfiction book reviews is located at Anastasia Suen's Booktalking blog.  Click on over.

    Friday, November 2, 2012

    I voted

    This is a very important election.

    I voted.

    Did you?
    wo

    Thursday, November 1, 2012

    Writing by Water

    Busy
    Busy
    I love living near the ocean (even if it is on the wrong side -- I'm not used to the ocean being WEST of me and I still tend to head East to get there -- which makes me end up in the desert, not the ocean -- but that's another story.)

    I love sitting in my car, by the water, working on manuscripts on my laptop while watching the tide roll in.  One of my favorite spots is by Dog Beach (an area where dogs are allowed on the sand, off leash)  in Del Mar where the San Dieguito River flows into the Pacific.  It's a real water fight when the tide is roaring in and the river tries to push out against the tide.

    Where do you like to write?

    Tuesday, October 30, 2012

    Six ways to catch the eye of an agent

    Mima Tipper, MFA, advises "Be the Lemon Square."
    What does she mean by this?

    Well, this busy writer worked as an assistant to an agent and discovered six amazing tips to make YOUR manuscript stand out from the pack.
    Want an agent to represent you?
    Want an editor to love your manustript?

    Read these tips and apply them to your writing life.
    You'll be glad you did.

    Wednesday, October 24, 2012

    November is Picture Book Month

    2012 Picture Book Month Champions Announced

    "Picture books are here and they're important. I have yet to meet a three-year-old person who didn't know what to do with a crayon. You make pictures with it," declared Chris Raschka, 2012 Caldecott Winner, in his Picture Book Month Essay.

    Once again, November has something to look forward to. Across the globe, schools, libraries, booksellers, and book lovers are coming together to celebrate the print picture book.  First celebrated in 2011, Picture Book Month was a resounding success. It went viral through social media and was even featured on Oprah.com.

    The website, PictureBookMonth.com, features essays from "Picture Book Champions" -- people who are leaders in the children's literature community. Each day in November, a new essay will be posted from the following notable contributors: Alma Flor Ada, Kathi Appelt, Sergio Bumatay (Philippines), Doreen Cronin, Kelly DiPucchio, Tony DiTerlizzi, Jackie French (Australia), Brett Helquist, Stephen Michael King (Australia), Uma Krishnaswami, Tara Lazar, E.B. Lewis, Tom Lichtenheld, Pat Mora, Margie Palatini, Emma Quay (Australia), Chris Raschka, Jean Reidy, Adam Rex, Peter Reynolds, John Rocco, Robert D. San Souci, Dan Santat, Jon Scieszka, Don Tate, Joyce Wan, Bruce Whatley (Australia), Karma Wilson, Kari-Lynn Winters (Canada), and Paul O. Zelinsky

    This year, the celebration grows bigger with new partners such as The American Booksellers Association and The American Association of School Librarians. The Children's Book Council, Reading is Fundamental, and the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators continue their support of the literacy initiative. A downloadable promotional kit is now available as well as certificates, posters, and bookmarks. A readathon and blogathon
    are planned.  Brain Burps About Books Podcast, the #1 kidlit podcast on iTunes, is dedicating the entire month of November to Picture Book Month.

    Founder Dianne de Las Casas said, "I'm excited about this year's Picture Book Month. We have an incredible line-up of Picture Book Month Champions and their essays are a wondrous testament to the power of picture books."

    Join the celebration! Visit www.picturebookmonth.com

    Follow @PictureBookMonth on Twitter 
    or use the #picturebookmonth hashtag. 
    Visit our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/picturebookmonth

    "Picture books are the connective tissue between a parent and a child. You stop everything, snuggle up on the couch or the floor and share a story," John Rocco, 2012 Caldecott Honor Winner, wrote in his Picture Book Month Essay.

    Doreen Cronin, *New York Times* #1 Bestelling Author, wrote, "Picture books bring the world to children, one tiny piece at a time,"

    Tune in and read these inspiring essays during the month of November at Dianne de Las Casas's website.

    November is Picture Book Month! Read * Share * Celebrate!

    Tuesday, October 23, 2012

    Ladies, If you use a credit card make sure YOU are the primary account holder

    Ladies, keep checking the status of your checking and charge card accounts.

    It turns out that someone (Republicans?) passed a bill recently (date corrected to 2009) that stipulates that when the primary holder of a credit account dies, the account closes. It used to be that if you had a joint account with your husband, you were still part of that account, but no longer.  He's dead, so you are legally dead, as well and you can't use the store credit account.

    Another anti-women action.  For years we had equal rights with checking accounts and they didn't have to be in the man's name, but no longer.  And here I thought that battle had been fought already in the 1970s and won, darn it.

    Good-by Macy's credit account.  No, I don't want to begin a new account.
     I had an account with you/ I was the only person using the account/ I had a good credit record with you, but you have declared me a NON-person and closed the account.

    Therefore ladies, you need to get yourself placed as the primary account holder if it's an account you usually use.
    Do it NOW.

    Monday, October 22, 2012

    Nonfiction Monday -- Where to satisfy your nonfiction needs

    The Nonfiction Monday roundup of blog posts about interesting Nonfiction books is at Hope is the Word, today.  She's still gathering her links, so I suggest you click on over to that page later in the afternoon.

    And,
    if you'd like to read posts written by nonfiction authors about their writing process (or anything else that pops into their heads), click on over to one of my favorite blogs, INK -- Interesting Nonfiction for Kids. 

    Or
    go check out Nonfiction Matters.  Unfortunately, Marc Aronson (no relation to lovely, talented author Sarah Aronson) has stopped writing this blog in order to have more time for working on his own books and his monthly column for the School Library Journal magazine, but you can still browse through his older, very thoughtful posts.
    -wo

    Sunday, October 21, 2012

    Checklist for your Plot

    Did I ever tell you how much I admire the editor, Cheryl Klein?
    (I did?  sure I did.  Just do a search on my blog and you'll see.)

    Well, She realized that her Plot Checklist, which she uses every time she critiques or edits a manuscript, had changed from the original list she had on her website and in her book, Second Sight.
    In her Brooklyn Arden blog today she points out the changes in her thinking and what's different about her new Plot Checklist.

    Check it out.

    Monday, October 15, 2012

    Bruce Coville's 13 Rules for Writers

    Sayantani DasGupta over at the Stories are Good Medicine blog has written a summary of a speech the well-known author, Bruce Coville, gave at the Rutgers' Council on Children's Literature conference a few days ago.  Click on over to see Bruce Coville's 13 rules for writers.

    While you are reading it, keep in mind that Patricia Wrede insists that "there is no One True Way to write."  Ah, Bruce says the same thing -- see number 9.
    enjoy
    wo 

    oh, by the way, it's Nonfiction Monday again.  
    (happens every Monday)
    Today, Nonfiction Monday is at the Capstone Publisher's blog.

    Sunday, October 14, 2012

    Interview with Jane Yolen

    A little background note here.  Jane Yolen, author of over (way over by now) 300 books, was one of my first mentors when I began writing seriously. We met on the Children's book writer's area on an internet bulletin board called, GEnie.  (Yes, the spelling is correct.)  Then we met in person while she was teaching children's book writing at CENTRUM in Washington State. (only published people eligible and luckily I had had one or two books published by then.)

    If you happen to stop by my website (which will be overhauled sometime early next year, I promise), you'll see a quote from her there:
    "Love the writing, 
    love the writing, 
    love the writing 
    ... the rest will follow," 
    -- Jane Yolen

    Now, if you click on over to this website called Before It's News, you'll find an interview with her and many more quotes that you'll probably want to treasure, yourself.  Here's one of my favorites from this article: "You have to live life to have something to write about. You can always find time to write, but you first have to do some living as well."  

    I call that, "filling the well."  
    The 'well' being the source that feeds your writing.

    She was interviewed on this website, because she's giving the next Andrew Lang Lecture at St. Andrews in Scotland on November 1st.  Wow, I wish I could be in that audience.

    After you read this interview, do click on over to her website and explore.  I love checking in with her by reading her Journal entries, so do stop back every few days to read it, too.

    Saturday, October 13, 2012

    The Writing Life -- Exposed

    There's a new post up at the Blogging Authors' blog, describing and demolishing a lot of those myths that non-writers have about writers and authors.
    (Writers being the term for all of us who put words down and try to make them sparkle enough to insure our manuscript will attract readers.  Authors being those lucky enough to not only get published, but who also are read and enjoyed by others. -- my definition.  The older definition used to be -- we are writers/ authors are those dead white guys studied in schools in English class.)

    Anywho --
    Click on over and find out why Oprah won't call you about your book, and other facts of the writing life.

    Tuesday, October 9, 2012

    KidLitCon 2012

    Every year (for the past 6 years) there is a gathering -- in person -- of bloggers who write about children's books.  This year it was in New York City, hosted by the wonderful Fuse #8, otherwise known as Elizabeth Bird, head of Children's Librarians at the New York City Public Library and co-hosted by Monica Edinger who blogs at Educating Alice.  (click on their names to get directly to their conference reports/ click on their blog names for their latest blog entries.)

    Where was it held?  At the world famous New York City Library central branch.  You know -- the one with the Lions? (yes, the last time I was in NYC, the first thing I did was get a picture of me standing by one of those lions -- it's required.) Click over here to get a peek at all the wonderfulness of the conference.

    A few years ago I attended and spoke on a panel at the KidLitCon gathering in Washington, DC when I used to live near there, and can't wait until they hold one in or near San Diego where I now live.  If you blog, read blogs, or are an author, this conference always offers interesting and useful discussions.  So do plan to go next year.

    Monday, October 8, 2012

    Nonfiction Monday is HERE!

    If you are a fan of nonfiction, keep checking back to this blog post.
    All day long I'll be collecting links to posts all over the KidLithosphere that you can click on to reach all sorts of interesting nonfiction -- books, articles, and blog posts.

    By Tuesday morning, I should have quite a long roundup here.
    Enjoy.
    -wo

    To kick us off, Lisa at Shelf Employed is relieved that Finally there's a New Book featuring the career of Librarianship -- A Day with Librarians by Jodie Shepherd, coming out from Scholastic 2013.

    Tara at A Teaching Life shares two books she uses all the time:
    1)  Shh! We're Writing the Constitution by Jean Fritz, illustrated by Tomie de Paola originally published by Harcourt Houghton Mifflin, which shows all the juicy backstabbing stories, the secret agreements and deals (you wanna know just why certain things were left out of the Constitution?) and the heated arguments... Hey, it sounds just like politics today.

    2) She uses Pricilla Cumming's Red Kayak to teach many strategies of reading realistic fiction and recognizing plot structure. (available in paperback from Puffin Books.)

    Poet Laura Salas reviewed a poetry book (of course) on her blog -- Eight Days Gone by from Charlesbridge, 2012.  Its a rhyming picture book that tells the tale of the first lunar landing and is perfect for any kids who are nuts about science.

    Wow, did you know that there are people who run shelters for abused city chickens? Louise at Nonfiction Detectives discovered that this is what the book, City Chickens, by Christine Heppermann (Houghton Mifflin, 2012) is all about.

    Amy at Hope Is the Word talks about Island, a Story of the Galapagos written and illustrated by Jason Chin, a new book at Roaring Brook Press, 2012.  Fascinating story of the evolution of these islands from their volcanic birth to their eventual disappearance, including the development of variations of life on them.

    Two books about Abraham Lincoln are reviewed by Alice at Supratentorial. Lincoln Tells a Joke by Kathleen Krull and Paul Brewer focuses on Lincoln's sense of humor while What Lincoln Said is a picture book biography.

    Jennifer at the Jean Little Library blog brings our attention to Moonbird by Philip Hoose which follows this bird's year long trip as it flies practically around the world -- from Tierra del Fuego near the South Pole all the way to the Arctic in the north.

    Although most sea birds lay their eggs on a rocky shore or in a burrow, author/ illlustrator Joan Dunning discovered one that does not.  Deborah at The Swimmer Writer blog reviewed Joan's book: Seabird in the Forest, the Mystery of the Marbled Murrelet, published by  Boyds Mill Press, 2011.

    Oh boy.  I love holidays, don't you?  Then you might enjoy the gorgeous Lighting Our World:  A Year of Celebrations by Catherine Rondina illustrated by Jacqui Oakley, published by Kids Can Press, 2012. You'll find Perogyo's review for it over on the Perogies and Gyoza, adventures in books and bilingualism blog.

    Sue at Archimedes Notebook checked out tales of animal tails today with What Do You Do with a Tail Like This? by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page. Houghton Mifflin, 2003. Sounds like FUN.

    Over at True Tales and a Cherry on Top, Jeanne features the impossibly wonderful Magritte's Marvelous Hat which was inspired by a real person -- the surrealist artist Rene Magritte. Written and illustrated by J.B. Johnson, Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2012.

    Lynn Rutan at the Bookends blog reviewed How to Raise Monarch Butterflies: a Step-by-Step Guide for Kids by Carol Pasternak, published by Firefly, 2012.  Like her, I also tried getting butterflies to hatch in my library and would have found this book to be very useful to have on display near the cocoons while we waited, and waited, and waited for them to hatch.  (We gave prizes to the people who guessed the closest to the date when the butterflies would emerge.)

    Shirley at the Simply Science blog didn't just review a book -- she asked the author, Darcy Pattison to be a guest blogger today, TALKING about how she researched her book, Desert Baths (Sylvan Dell, 2012 illustrated by Kathleen Reitz), and the animals she met. How did she manage to include the desert Tarantula in her book even though it never needs to take a bath?  Click on over to see.

    All About the Books with Janet Squires reviews The 13 Nights of Halloween, written and Illustrated by Guy Vasilovich (Harper, 2011).  Inspired by The 12 Days of Christmas, Vasilovich gives his young readers a ghoulish countdown to Halloween. "On the first day of Halloween, my mummy gave to me...."  Ooooh, I like it already.

    A review of The Emily Sonnets: The Life of Emily Dickinson by Jne Yolen and Illustrated by Gary Kelley is at the Wrapped in Foil blog today. This is a lovely book of 16 sonnets that reveal the life of poet Emily Dickinson.  Should this book be shelved in biographies (a picture book biography), or in the poetry section of your library?  Roberta's review makes the case for both.  What do you think?

    Just in time for the World Series playoffs, Iron Guy Carl has reviews of two baseball books on his Boys Rule Boys Read blog:
    1) Ballpark written and illustrated by Lynn Curlee, Athenum, 2005. Are all ballparks the same?  Not according to this book. Ballpark stadiums are a vital part of baseball and yet they are hardly ever shown or mentioned on TV. But your avid baseball fan will love knowing all the background facts revealed here.

    2) Heroes of Baseball: The Men Who Made It America's Favorite Game by Robert Lipstye, Athenum, 2005. Why did nobody like Ty Cobb, even though he was probably the greatest baseball player who ever lived? Hey, did you know that Yogi Berra was not his real name.  You can find this out and much much more in this book about famous and not-so-famous baseball players.

    That's All Folks.  Thank you for coming.
    wo

    Saturday, October 6, 2012

    What makes a book SELL?

    Agent Jill Corcoran talks at Jill Corcoran Books about the book market and how you can write a book to not only sell to an agent, not only sell to an editor, but that the public will buy and enjoy and want more, more, more.

    Friday, October 5, 2012

    What's a "Trade" book? Educational Market book?

    Confused about the difference between the Trade market and the Educational market for books?
    Laura Purdie Salas explains it all in this post on her blog Writing the World for Kids.

    Oh, she's also written many poetry books and since today is Poetry Friday, and since Laura is also the host for Poetry Friday, Check out the Friday roundup of Poetry at Laura's Friday post which should be here.
    (if not, then move around her website until it appears.)
     - and check back again this evening when all of the poetry blogs have checked in to the roundup.
    Enjoy

    Thursday, October 4, 2012

    Authors of Banned Books

    It's Banned Books Week.
    A week when we take a look at the most banned books in this country and ask ourselves, "Huh?"

    Well, here at Flavorwire are responses from some of the most banned authors.  Something to think about.

    Skip on over to your public library and check their list of banned books.  You're certain to find one you really enjoy.  After all, the very best libraries contain lots that will offend someone, somewhere.  Mine did; doesn't yours?

    Wednesday, October 3, 2012

    Apostrophe Problems?

    Confused about apostrophes?
    Well, here's some help over at the Blood-Red Pencil blog.

    Tuesday, October 2, 2012

    Nonfiction -- Informational v. Narrative (or is there any difference?)

    There has been lots of discussion of the Common Core standards for nonfiction books.  Here's another aspect/ definition / whathaveyou....  from famed nonfiction writer, Melissa Stewart on her blog called Celebrate Science: Behind the Books.

    Which kind of nonfiction do you like the best?  Narrative or Just The Facts.
    What about the idea that you can get lots of facts from narrative nonfiction?

    Monday, October 1, 2012

    NonFiction Monday -- It's October. Are you Ready for Halloween?

    It's October. The harvest month in many parts of our country.

    Did you see the full moon, the Harvest moon, last Saturday and Sunday nights? The Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the autumn equinox. The full moon at the end of this month, is called the Hunter's Moon and will come on October 29th.  Watch it rise. It should rise even more orange in October, probably from the mist caused by the cooler nights and from the dust from the crumbling fallen leaves rising with the mist.

    The full moon in October will make it easier for auto drivers to see the Trick or Treaters walking from house to house on Halloween evening. 

    A good book for this month is The Halloween Book of Facts and Fun, by Wendie Old (ya -- that's me),  illustrated by Paige Billen-Frye (the lady sitting next to me up there, at the top of my blog), published by Albert Whitman.  If your bookstore doesn't have it on display, they'll order it for you.  

    If you are looking for a scary book, try another one.  The pictures in this book are fun, not scary. (Frankenstein and Dracula sitting side by side reading each other's story?) The information is informational, not hyper-hysterical. And there are jokes -- some groaners, but lots that are funny.

    It's an "everything you wanted to know about the holiday, but were too scared to ask."
    The history of the event -- religious and nonreligious.
    Why we carve faces and designs on pumpkins.
    A folk tale.
    Why Mary Shelley (she was Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin then, not yet married to Shelley -- yes THAT Shelley) wrote the scary story, Frankenstein.
    Is there a REAL Dracula? (yes, I do mean in the present day)
    Halloween jokes.
    Plus --
    There are Halloween party plans in the back of the book, with food of course.
    Have a fun and spoooooky halloween.

    Today is Nonfiction Monday. 
    Click on over to the Shelf-Employed blog where she has gathered many other blog reviews of great children's nonfiction books.

    Friday, September 28, 2012

    Carnival of Children's Literature

    The September Carnival of Children's Literature is now available for your enjoyment at the Picturebooks in ELT blog.  Click on over and watch out -- the owner of that blog got so excited by the books mentioned in all these blogs that she waaaay overspent buying them for herself at a bookstore!

    Tuesday, September 25, 2012

    AT&T Charges $1500 to Delete a Name

    I normally try to keep this blog full of cheerful and positive comments, BUT...

    Dear AT&T,

    My family has used your service for years. (and years and years.  In fact, we had one of the first telephones in town way back when you knew the lady at the switchboard and everyone shared party lines.)  Even when all the Baby Bells broke up and upstarts were created, we stayed with AT&T for our long distance service.

    Naturally when we got our iPhones, we signed up with AT&T.  (guess who was paying the bills -- on time -- ME!)

    So, when my husband died, I set about changing all the family bills from his name as head of household (but didn't you notice who was the finance manager of the household?), from my husband's name to my name.

    How-Ever
    when I asked AT&T to change our family's iPhone account name from my husband's to mine -- there were problems.  (I've had no problems with every other account where I've made that request. Many of them didn't even ask to see a death certificate.)
    Such a simple request.
    Just delete and replace a name, right?

    Nooooooooooooo.
    It took them one and a half hours to do it AND they required me to contribute a $1500 deposit.  Why?  They couldn't explain it.  Just needed to do it.  (Didn't I already say that we've hardly ever missed a bill payment?)  (and, when I checked my credit rating a few weeks ago, it was 903, which they tell me is quite good)

    Not to worry, they said.
    You'll get the money back -- NEXT YEAR.
    Well.
    You can believe that I've made a note in my calendar on September 2013 to expect a check for $1500 from them.

    signed,  Not a Happy Customer

    Monday, September 24, 2012

    Nonfiction Monday

    More information about the new Common Core standards:  At Bookends this morning, Cindy and Lynn share what they are doing to supporting Common Core implementations and they list some helpful resources from Booklist magazine.

    Links to other Nonfiction Monday book reviews are being gathered at A Teaching Life blog today.  Click on over and see what's there.

    Monday, September 17, 2012

    Nonfiction Monday

    Nonfiction Monday is being held at the Wrapped in Foil blog today.
    Click on over and see what's new.

    Thursday, September 13, 2012

    Writers need connections

    Think all writers are shy, introverted people busily tapping away in some small room in their home?  Think again.  Writers need connections with other writers.  (They're the only people who understand our joys and sorrows as we celebrate our tiny steps forward -- we finished a draft of our story, yea! -- or backwards -- but I'll have to cut out one of the characters to make the story make sense, ouch.)

    Anne Marie Pace talks about how she wrote picture books wrong and other aspects of her writing career plus how she connects with other writers, on the Cynsations blog.

    Monday, September 10, 2012

    Today's job -- Drive the Rover Curiosity on Mars


    News article dated -- September 8, 2012

    Mow Yard. Drop Off Kids. Take a Drive on Mars.

    By BROOKS BARNES
    PASADENA, Calif. — Matt Heverly, 36, started a recent workday as any young father might: up at 5:30, gulping coffee, fixing a bottle for the baby. He threw on jeans and a T-shirt and drove his two sons to day care. He stopped to get the brakes on his Toyota checked and swung by the bank.
    Then he went to the office ... to drive a $2.5 billion robot on Mars.
    Mr. Heverly leads a team of 16 drivers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory here. Together, they are responsible for steering a six-wheeled, plutonium-powered rover called Curiosity across the Red Planet’s Gale Crater. Equipped with futuristic tools like a laser that can vaporize rock, the 2,000-pound robot arrived on Mars on Aug. 6, and Mr. Heverly took the wheel — or computer keyboard, actually — on Aug. 22.
    “Driving” a rover might be a misleading term. There is no joystick or accelerator, for a start. Mr. Heverly and his teammates tell the vehicle where to go next by entering hundreds of computer commands.
    Also, the driving is not done in real time: during the Martian night, the team plans where to send Curiosity next and sends instructions via radio transmission as the Mars day begins. Then the drivers go home, back to life on Earth, with all of its “don’t forget to take out the garbage” mundanity.
    “You have to try not to think about what’s happening out there, which is, of course, completely impossible,” Vandi Tompkins, 39, one of the drivers, said with caffeinated exuberance.
    “The rover may be executing a successful drive based on your instructions,” she said, “or you may have just sent a national asset over a cliff.”
    Or, as Mr. Heverly put it, “Last night I drove on Mars, today I mowed the lawn — it’s completely surreal.”
    Curiosity’s drivers are only a small group within NASA’s Mars exploration program, which investigates the Martian climate and geology and oversees an older, more rudimentary rover, Opportunity. Several thousand people work on the Mars program, but it was 30 or so Curiosity team members who struck a worldwide chord last month when NASA shared video of their reaction to the rover’s landing.
    Wearing matching blue polo shirts for the occasion, the team members were seen listening for a mission controller’s confirmation of success — “We are wheels down on Mars. Oh, my God!” — and breaking out in raucous cheers and high-fives. Bobak Ferdowsi, a flight director who sports a mohawk with red, white and blue streaks, now says, wincing, “We all looked like Smurfs.”
    Maybe a little. But it was the group’s esprit de corps that left the lasting impression. A spoof video, “We’re NASA and We Know It,” recorded to the beat of the song “Sexy and I Know It,” now has 2.4 million views on YouTube. Mr. Ferdowsi, now known online as Mohawk Guy, has 53,000 Twitter followers, up from a couple of hundred before the mission. (The Martian landscape is “pretty amazeballs,” he wrote in a post on Aug. 23.)
    People inside Building 264 here, part of the Space Flight Operations Facility, have long had a sense of humor about themselves — at one rocket launching, a group of scientists wore Spockears. “It’s just that before social media, nobody was really watching,” Mr. Ferdowsi said. “I’m still kind of amazed at the attention. I don’t think there’s anything all that interesting about me.”
    In many ways, this is like any other office: gray industrial carpeting, fluorescent lighting, cramped cubicles that are mostly undecorated, unless you count empty cans of Red Bull. A small pantry has packages of dried fruit snacks. There is the occasional potluck dinner and an office softball team; at a recent game, everyone wore fake mohawks to tease Mr. Ferdowsi.
    On the elevator, people say things like “Can you press seven? I’m going to Jupiter.” They are not kidding. The seventh floor is home to Juno, a mission to the solar system’s largest planet. (Mars is on six and four.)
    There is also a quiet cockiness. “We definitely win the coolest job contest at cocktail parties,” said John Wright, 56, a Curiosity driver who had reported to work in a baseball cap, a T-shirt and shorts.
    “What do you do? Oh, you’re an investment banker? Isn’t that special,” Mr. Wright continued. “I drive on Mars.”
    The job can be grueling. For at least the first three months of Curiosity’s multiyear exploration, the drivers will be living and working on Mars time. The Martian day, called a Sol, is longer than a day on Earth by 39 minutes and 35 seconds, which adds up quickly; morning on Earth becomes night on Mars within a couple of weeks. For the drivers, keeping this schedule is like moving two time zones to the west every three days, tossing them into a perpetual state of jet lag.
    “I’m kind of so sleep-deprived at this point that I’m beyond the point where caffeine helps,” Mr. Heverly said.
    Mr. Heverly became a driver in an amusingly simple way. He started working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory seven years ago after obtaining a master’s degree in robotics from Boston University. “And one day they literally sent out an e-mail that said, ‘Does anybody want to drive a rover?’ ” he said. He raised his hand (“Like, duh”) and, after a year of training, began commanding Opportunity. He worked with that rover for four years before switching to Curiosity.
    Who decides who gets to drive and when? Drivers are scheduled by supervisors several weeks in advance, with attention paid to having some of each of people who specialize in certain rover functions: mobility, arm, turret. Up to half a dozen drivers work any one shift.
    Workdays have a rigorous time structure. Curiosity beams down a report at 4 p.m. Mars time (one recent Thursday, that meant 1:44 p.m. Pacific time) of how its drive went. A group of analysts has 15 minutes to figure out if everything succeeded, a self-imposed deadline to get the planning for the next day’s drive moving quickly.
    Scientists — there are about 400 working on the Mars mission — evaluate the data, which usually includes pictures from onboard cameras. Drivers arrive and meet with scientists to discuss where the rover should head next, perhaps 15 feet toward an indentation in the soil that looks interesting. Because they are essentially driving Curiosity blind, they initially have to move slowly, a maximum of 30 feet a day; eventually they will be able to cover about 300 feet a day.
    Once a plan has been formulated, drivers stare at the images they have of the Martian terrain with 3-D glasses to scout for potential pitfalls (“How afraid are we of that rock?”) and use computer animation to simulate a route. Then they enter hundreds of commands to execute the next day’s drive, which can require calibration of movement in gradations of centimeters. They message the rover, hoping that it understands and that no one entered an incorrect code.
    Mr. Heverly, turning white, recalled “a nightmare scenario” with Opportunity. One day, scientists decided that they wanted the rover to back up. Based on the commands Mr. Heverly entered, Opportunity understood that it needed to return to a spot a few feet back.
    “But instead of simply backing up, it decided to drive around the entire planet to get there,” Mr. Heverly said. Luckily, an automated safety function kicked in and stopped the rover before it could go very far.
    “It was a really scary and really humbling day,” Mr. Heverly said. “It gives a whole new meaning to ‘What did you do at the office today, honey?’ ”

    Nonfiction Monday is being held at the BooksTogether blog today.  Click on over and enjoy reviews of great nonfiction books.

    Thursday, August 30, 2012

    Take a peek into an editor's mind

    Ever wonder what's in an editor's mind when they look over a manuscript?
    Editor Cheryl Klein, in her blog Brooklyn Arden, describes her own editorial process -- how she examines the work sentence by sentence, even word by word.

    Fascinating.
    wo

    Tuesday, August 28, 2012

    Carnival of Children's Literature

    Hey, the August Carnival of Children's Literature is up.  Click on over to proseandkahn and enjoy!

    Monday, August 27, 2012

    Nonfiction Monday

    School has started in many places around the country.  Time to start checking out some of the newer nonfiction books out there to spark your children's interests.  (Hey, go ahead and read them for yourself, too.  Some of the best books around are in the children's department.)

    Click on over to Simply Science and find today's links to children's nonfiction.

    Thursday, August 23, 2012

    A Flash Mob of Writers

    Oh my.
    Look at the fun everyone was having while I was busy sorting through four generations of "stuff" and packing for my move to California.  Linda Sue Park organized a Flash Mob at the National SCBWI conference held the beginning of August.   Fun!

    Saturday, August 11, 2012

    You CAN read an eBook without an eReader

    This blog post about reading eBooks without having an eReader at Laura Kaye Author is aimed at Romance Writers, but I would think these links would be useful for readers of all types of books.  Check it out.

    Hey, she also has links to getting Kindle or Nook eReader software on your smartphone!

    Friday, August 10, 2012

    Hints for a Novice Speaker


    (If you've never given speeches before and now have to face an audience, this is for you. If you've done speeches before, feel free to skip this post.)

    
--Once you think your speech is written as well as you can do it, change the typeface to a large font. 20 or 30 point. That way you can see phrases easily.

    --practice your speech in front of your dog or cat. or some appreciative audience like that. Not people at first. (actually, I don't even do this. But I do read it aloud to make sure that what I have down on paper is word for word the way I'm comfortable speaking.

    --once you are confident you know your speech, you might not need every word typed out. Retype it with key phrases which will get you going on the idea you want to convey. You only have to deliver things word-for-word when you are doing a "reading" of your creative work. Speeches should look and sound as if you were talking off the cuff to friends. Comfortable/ informative/ etc.



    -- Double space. Indicate what powerpoint slide should appear at this point. 
    double space. back to your typed lecture.  It's like dialogue. It breaks up the blocks of typeface with white space and makes the whole thing easier for you to read and follow. Oh, and remember to number your pages, so that when you gather up the sheets of paper you can put the speech back into its original order. 

    

-- Before your lecture, warm up your voice/ vocal cords. 
Don't sing scales -- hum them -- up and down. 
Then do some tongue twisters to get your lips and tongue active and flexible. The one I was taught was -- One little eagle slipped out of the nest while another little eagle slipped in. It exercises all parts of the mouth. Pick those pickled peppers, too.

    -- also HUFF. blowing air from your lungs, past your vocal cords, and out your mouth. This will blow any accumulated gunk off the vocal cords.
    
-- drink only water that day and during your speech. (no milk. no soda) Water lubricates your vocal cords and also dissolves that gunk. 

    

-- The lectern is your friend. It holds your speech papers at the right angle for you to see it easily.
    
-- Glance down at your speech paper. Grab that phrase/ thought/ sentence with your mind. Then look straight at your audience and deliver the sentence/ paragraph/ the ramble that the phrase has keyed in your mind. You may think that this will make a huge pause/ white space in your speech, but the audience will NOT notice.
     
-- in fact, short pauses like this helps the audience catch up with you, digest what you said the moment before, and react to what you just said.

    -- Deliver your phrases to different parts of the audience. Right/ left/ center/ back of the room.



    -- It helps to keep your finger on the speech paper so that when you actually do return your eyes to the next paragraph/ thought, you will be in the right place instead of skipping an important point.

    --That being said, it also helps to occasionally move away from the lectern/ turn away from the audience in order to gesture or show/ demonstrate something/ to point at something on the screen of your powerpoint with your little laser pen. This keeps the audience from being bored. 

    

-- Try to believe that the people who attend your speech are on your side. They Want you to succeed. They came because they wanted to hear or see You. They also are hoping to learn something. 

    Okay, if this is a visit to a school, they were probably told to come, but hey, it's a break from their schedule and they are prepared to enjoy it.

    Tuesday, August 7, 2012

    Write a Better Cover Letter

    WOW.  I just found some great advice about writing cover letters when you submit to publishers. Check it out on the Literally Advice blog.

     (How quickly did it take you to realize that this person lives in Great Britain?  But the writing advice is still spot on.)

    Monday, August 6, 2012

    Nonfiction Monday -- Mars Lander Lands

    There's great information all over the internet today about the landing of the new Mars unmanned explorer, Curiosity.  You can read about it here on Ana's Nonfiction Blog, and on YouTube, and here on the NASA website.  The exciting thing is that I know a writer who was in the NASA ready room in the midst of cheering scientists as Curiosity landed.

    For more Nonficiton Monday connections, click on over to Shelf Employed today.

    Thursday, August 2, 2012

    August?

    August?
    Already?

    Longer post later.
    wo

    Monday, July 23, 2012

    Murphy's Laws of Combat Operations

    I'm cleaning out my office and I discovered this -- from a discussion group in 1994 -- sayings gathered by and posted by Michael Tauson,  This is for those of you who write (or like to read) stories set in combat zones -- in any time period of history or the future:

    You are NOT superman
    Keep it simple stupid (K.I.S.S.)
    Automatic weapons -- aren't
    Recoiless weapons -- aren't
    Suppressive fire -- won't
    Incoming fire has the right of way
    If the enemy is in range, so are you
    Don't look conspicuous, it draws fire
    If it's stupid and it works, it ain't stupid
    When in doubt, empty your magazine
    The easy way is always mined
    Try to look unimportant, they may be low on amp
    Professionals are predictable, it's the amateurs that are dangerous
    Teamwork is essential, it gives them somebody else to shoot at
    Never draw fire, it irritates everyone around you
    Anything you do can get you shot, including doing nothing
    No combat ready unit ever passed inspection
    No inspection ready unit ever passed combat
    Never share a foxhole with someone braver than you
    If your attack is going really well, it's an ambush
    No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy
    Your weapon was made by the lowest bidder
    The enemy diversion you're ignoring is the main attack
    The only thing more accurate than incoming fire is friendly incoming fire
    When you have secured an area, don't forget to tell the enemy
    Make it tough enough for the enemy to get in, and you won't be able to get out
    A sucking chest wound is Nature's way of telling you to slow down
    If you're short on everything but the enemy, you're in a combat zone
    The enemy invariably attacks on only two occasions -- when you're ready for them and when you're not
    Know your enemy-- the first law of war. RAH
    There is nothing more accurate than friendly fire
    Anything that must be together to work can never be shipped together
    Murphy was a grunt.

    (Added later -- If you are wondering just what "Murphy's Law" is and how it got it's name, click on over to Fred Bortz's webpage and read the prologue to his book, Catastrophe! Great Engineering Failure and Success. It turns out that Murphy was a real person.  How about that?)

    What is "Murphy's Law?"
    "If there's more than one way to do a job and one of them will end in disaster, then somebody will do it that way."
    or, as he rephrased it later,
    "If something can go wrong, it will."

    If you'd like to discover all sorts of newer nonfiction books, click on over to Perogies & Gyoza.  You'll find links to all sorts of children's nonfiction books there.

    Saturday, July 21, 2012

    Pictures on your blog. Are you violating copyright?

    Interesting post over on the blog, For the Fearless Romantic.  She has been sued for using a picture from Goggle Images.
    really?
    yes.

    We all know that using pictures in your blog posts makes them more attractive, more interesting to read. So we all jump over to Google Images to find one. A simple click or two and -- presto change -- it's imbedded into your blog entry.  I mean, why would a picture be there if it wasn't being offered to others?  Well, she doesn't know the answer to that, but she does provide a lot of answers about how you can avoid violating the copyright of the photographers who posted the pictures.

    Tuesday, July 10, 2012

    Nonfiction Monday

    I'm a bit busy this week and haven't reviewed a book here, but if you want your nonfiction fix just click on over to the blog -- A Curious Thing -- which is hosting Nonfiction Monday this week.  enjoy.
    She also has a nice set of links to "authors on the web" down the side of her blog.  (Interesting, I'm not in that list.  Oh well. I guess I'm only famous to my family and a few select readers.)

    Saturday, July 7, 2012

    Hot, Hot, Hot

    weather.com's report for Parkville, Maryland today (Saturday): 
    "Today's High was 105°F at 3:45pm when conditions were Partly Cloudy."


     Unbelievable. 
    (and our 35 year old air conditioner is still going strong -- yeah!)


    Similar prediction for tomorrow, but a cold (?) front coming through with thunderstorms toward evening is supposed to whap that hot spell down to more normal temperatures. 
    whew!

    Wednesday, July 4, 2012

    Happy Fourth of July

    Fireworks to the South of us and a full moon rising in the east, 88 degrees with no mosquitoes, watching the fireworks with my two grand-girls -- what could be nicer on the Fourth of July?

    Monday, July 2, 2012

    Disaster on the east coast this week

    A Derecho hit the east coast a few days ago.

    What's a Derecho?
    Here's a link that explains why many parts of the east coast are still without electricity -- in 100 degree weather!  We were lucky -- most of the problems with trees down and loss of electricity were south of us.  We just have lots of twigs and branches all over our property -- plus one large tree limb which is currently crushing some yew bushes. Our house and cars were not damaged, thank heavens.

    Wednesday, June 20, 2012