Monthly Archives: December 2010

Wishing you a starry night and a happy 2011

As drawn by Kyra:

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Write into the new year: story contest for girls

Hey, it’s time to start the new year “write.” (Sorry. I should resolve not to pun this year.)

Below are two writing contests for girls 7-12 (chixLITtle) and 13-17 (chixLIT).

chixLIT and chixLITtle, literary ‘zines by and for girls, are looking for the good things that come in small packages. Our motto is, “Words are powerful, and they can make you powerful too.”

Each ‘zine will publish winners plus a selection of finalists. The winning story in each category will receive a cash prize! Additional prizes may be awarded at judges’ discretion. Decision of judges is final.

Submission Guidelines:

  • Stories must be 100 words or fewer. Title does not count toward total.
  • You can submit as many stories as you want, but each entry must be submitted separately via US mail. NO EMAIL ENTRIES.
  • Include writer’s name, age, and postal mailing address plus email address if available.
  • $5 entry fee required. Entries without fee will not be considered.


  • SASE for reply.
  • Entries must be postmarked by March 1, 2011.
  • Every entry will get a FREE issue.
  • Send to: chixLIT story contest, PO Box 12051, Orange CA 92859

Visit chixLIT for information.

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Filed under Reading & Writing, Writing

BTT: The Year in Books

From Booking Through Thursday:

What’s the best book you read this year?

So many books (I’m at sixty for the year, not sure I’ll make it to sixty one). But let’s drop them into a hat and pull out some winners.

Best book goes to: War by Sebastian Junger.

Worst book goes to: one I read for the Ritas that I cannot (fortunately) disclose. Sorry, I’m not allowed to. Honest.

Favorite book goes to: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. Yes, it’s a re-read. I read it last year. In fact, I’m thinking of making it a traditional December read, I love it so much.

Other great books I read this year:

Young adult fiction:

What I Saw And How I Lied by Judy Blundell Post WWII. Deception! Lies! Best meeting the love interest scene ever!

Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta I think I liked Jellicoe Road a little bit better but I ❤ Melina Marchetta.

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson Road trip romance! Inner and outer journeys! Good stuff!

Young adult fantasy:

Plain Kate by Erin Bow Make this my second favorite book of the year. Loved it. Loved. The. Cat. Cried like a baby at the end. *Sigh*

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta. Melina Marchetta does fantasy! Is there nothing she can’t write? Excellent fantasy.

Incarceron (Incarceron, Book 1) by Catherine Fisher More good YA fantasy. I’m looking forward to book 2.

Young Adult mystery:

The Agency 1: A Spy in the House and The Agency 2: The Body at the Tower by Y.S. Lee. Victorian era young adult mystery with an intriguing and smart heroine and the swoon-worthy James. And yes, I’m looking forward to book 3.

Other good books:

The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott by Kelly O’Connor McNees Intriguing, and now I’m on a LMA kick, so naturally I had to read:

Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women by Harriet Reisen

I read all three Tana French novels this year:

In the Woods
The Likeness
Faithful Place

I think Faithful Place was the best written of the three, but I enjoyed all them.


Filed under Book Review, Books, YA

Holiday pets

Because pets love the holidays, too.


Below, I give you holiday pets, as captured on film by Andrew:

Sparky clearly loves the Santa hat. Her enthusiasm is contagious.


Oreo, in the tree, for the third year in a row.


Extreme close up.

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Filed under Kids, pets, The cat

Wishing you …

A very merry

And all the joy in the world.

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Looking around the web this week

Amazon, in a never-ending quest to bring authors more crack information, launched access to Bookscan numbers. The LA Times has an article on it here. In a related note, Darcy and I would like to thank the City of Angels for its apparent love of Geek Girl.

Google, in a never-ending quest to bring everyone more crack information, gives us the Google Books Ngram Viewer. Not impressed? Just watch. Let’s search on Geek Girl:

It doesn’t look like it, but let me assure you, it’s the time suck of the day. Have fun.


Filed under Books, Reading & Writing

With apologies to Neil Gaiman

So last night, we dashed into the library (on our way to Sports Authority, where we had to dash in to pick up new swim goggles for Andrew) and Kyra picked out the graphic novel version of Coraline.

She started reading in the car and was entranced. She stumbled along behind us and read while we navigated Sports Authority. She kept reading at home. Until she hit this panel:

Yeah, the mom with the creepy button eyes. Kyra immediately halted all reading activity. She made me check the other pages to see if creepy button-eyed mom is part of the story or simply an anomaly (okay, so she didn’t really use the word anomaly).

Verdict: She now wants to return the book to the library at the earliest possible moment, because even having it in the house is far, far too creepy.

I know what we’re doing on Saturday. And I have the feeling we won’t be checking out anything by Neil Gaiman. Apologies to Mr. Gaiman. Perhaps in a few years.

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Filed under Books, Kids, Reading