Anything worth taking
seriously is worth
making fun of


The Difference Between the Almost Right Word and the Right Word….

It is not unusual for people to comment on my vocabulary. Although it is typically not critical, I feel squeamish. How can people not know these — to my mind — perfectly ordinary words and how can they function without them?

Ranking Mind Set Vs Excellence Mind Set

I don't remember how or where I head about this book, Performing Under Pressure. It's not the kind of book I typically am drawn to (give me a de-cluttering book any day!), but there were a few sections that resonated with me so much that I photocopied them and they have been floating around on my desk for months. 

Wishtree: A Tree with a Story to Tell


“It’s hard to talk to trees. We’re not big on chit chat. That’s not to say we can’t do amazing things, things you’ll probably never do. Cradle downy owlets. Steady flimsy tree forts. Photosynthesize. But talk to people? Not so much.”

With that opening, who wouldn’t want to dive into Katherine Applegate’s latest book, Wishtree (Feiwel and Friends)?

Amy Stewart Adds Bling

I am a huge fan of Amy Stewarts Kopp sisters series (Girl Waits With A Gun, etc). If you don't know them, I urge you to check them out. So Amy is one of the few writers I folow on Goodreads. Recently she added this editing tip that I just love! It's about that final edit before you send you manuscript off. Some of her suggestions, like reading each page out loud, I know is spot on but painful. I know to do this but sometimes try not to. Partly I am lazy, partly I hate the sound of my voice but mostly because I know I will discover ugliness that I will have to confront!

Two Stories With Evil Aunts

Recently two different books I read featured unfeeling, tightly wound aunts. That is something I haven’t seen much of and so, for that admittedly feeble reason, I’m going to talk about both books.

In Stitch in Time (by Daphne Kalmar, Feiwel and Friends), Donut’s father dies unexpectedly, leaving her an orphan. Aunt Agnes shows up: all lumpy oatmeal, woody turnips, and the endless clickety clackety of knitting needles.

New Old Friends Bring Surprises

Although I don’t remember who recommended I read Saving the Planet & Stuff (Putnam, 2003) by Gail Gauthier, I am very glad I did. It’s not often these days that you read a middle-grade novel where there are intergenerational friendships. Gauthier does a great job both poking fun at and showing the marvels of friendships like this.

Landing An Agent; You’ve Got One On The Line, Now What Do You Do?

One of the most frequent questions you’ll hear at writing conferences is, “Do I need an agent?”  or “How do I look for an agent?” For many beginning writers getting an agent feels like the Holy Grail. Once you hook an agent, you are on the yellow brick road to fame and success.

March Forward

In my effort to review a range of middle-grade books, this week I bring you a non-fiction story. March Forward, Girl (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) is a memoir by Melba Pattillo Beals.

Wonderfully Disgusting and Adventuresome Books You Might Never Have Heard Of

Meet Mick Bogerman, treasure hunter, zombie fighter and mermaid wrangler. Mick is the narrator of the Slug Pie series, which includes: How to Navigate Zombie Cave and Defeat Pirate Pete, How to Rid Your Swimming Pool of a Bloodthirsty Mermaid, How to Destroy the New Girl’s Killer Robot Army and How to Protect Your Neighborhood from  Circus Werewolves. I file these under “wonderfully disgusting and thrilling books you might never have heard of.”


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