Shame On You**

A few months ago I read Daring Greatly by Brene Brown and at one point she explains the difference between “shame” and “guilt.”  We feel guilt when we do something “bad,” which one can apologize for and move on. But we feel shame when we think we are bad. When we feel that as people we are not worthy, not enough. Brown says the shame armour begins to go on around the middle grades when we begin being shamed by others for who we are. We internalize it to mean: I shouldn’t be this way, if I am, I’m not enough. I’m too fat, too skinny, not cool enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough. The armour is new and awkward at first. As we grow into it, we get better at hiding. But even at 40, 50, 60 years old, our...

The Drama of Packing Books and The Year of the Bookshelf

I’ve been told before that “How you do one thing is how you do everything.” If packing to move were compared to my general flight path in life, I’d have to agree. What takes my far more focused husband a few hours, will take me days as I flit around and get distracted, inspired, or pulled into a side-project. I started reading a fabulous book called THE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. In her book she advises to do all your discarding first before any organizing, and to do it by one of five categories, rather than by room. She even suggests the order in which you discard (from “easiest to hardest”) starting with clothes. I loved that part. Giving away clothes that weren’t “bringing me...

A Better Beta Read: Guest Post by Ev Maroon!

Since today is my birthday, I’m taking my Weekly Writing Workout day off. Everett Maroon has stepped up to put a post in my place. I had the pleasure of working on Ev’s book The Unintentional Time Traveler, which is set to be released at the end of this month. It’s the story of an epileptic boy who begins to travel through time via his seizures, only to find himself in a completely different body—a girl, Jacqueline, who “defies the expectations of her era.” There’s some serious trouble brewing, and when he, as Jacqueline, falls unexpectedly in love with a boy in that past, Jack/Jacqueline is caught between two lives and epochs. I really enjoyed working with Ev on his book and invited him to post in my absence. Have a great...

Middle Grade Monday: Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead

Middle Grade Mondays happen… well, every Monday. See what others have posted this week on Shannon Messenger’s blog. ~     ~     ~ You don’t need me to sing the praises of this NY Times bestseller by Newbery winner Rebecca Stead. But I’m going to anyway because it caught me off guard. from GoodReads: Georges (the s is silent) has a lot going on. He’s having trouble with some boys at school, his dad lost his job and so his mum has started working all the time – and they had to sell their house and move into an apartment. But moving into the apartment block does bring one good thing – Safer, an unusual boy who lives on the top floor. He runs a spy club, and is determined to teach Georges everything he knows. Their current...

Middle Grade Mondays: Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

Every culture has its rules of storytelling. Books that are more “literary” often break those rules, which either serves to irk readers or intrigue and impress them. Cloud Atlas, for instance, caused a flurry of commentary when it ended chapters in the middle of a We don’t often expect middle grade literature to break the “rules,” we expect it to be linear and simple enough to be understood by children. BREADCRUMBS, a beautifully written book by Anne Ursu, not only breaks a few rules, the journey has so many layers I’m beginning to think this is really a story for adults in the guise of a fairy tale for children. At the very least, it’s a book for highly literate children, as it has so many nods to other books (Narnia, Coraline, Harry Potter, and When You Reach...

Near + Far Launches Today!

I’d like to put a plug in for another writer’s work today. Cat Rambo‘s book of science fiction short stories NEAR + FAR has been released by Hydra House today. First, the trailer: Second: I just ordered this book myself. I’ve heard Cat read twice and immediately bought one of her books. When she read her work, it had the rhythm and language of poetry and I was immediately drawn in. Great characters, too. Third: The print book brings something you can’t get in an e-book. It’s a “double” book (I just learned this is called a tête-bêche format, also known as the Ace Double), one cover on one side of the book and flip it over for the second book. The two books meet in the middle. Fourth: I’m very happy to say I...