Start the Weekend with a Smile (10/31)

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I’ve decided to do a new thing here on Fridays: share stuff that made me smile or made my geeky heart happy during the week. What better way to start the weekend than with a smile, right?

Here we go.

First up is Teddy Bear the Porcupine’s Halloween Feast:

Next up, Levitating Superconductor on a Mobius Strip:

And finally, What News Anchors Do During Commercial Breaks:

Have a great weekend everyone!

Happy Halloween!

This year’s family pumpkin creations

“In the mountains, there you feel free.” (T.S. Eliot)

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We recently took a trip into the mountains in Colorado to see the fall colors. Here are some photos I took along the way. Enjoy!

On Not Getting It Right the First Time

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This post is dedicated to a couple of young people I know who struggle with the idea of having to get things right the first time.

file000947770525I’ve been taking a ceramics class for fun and to explore another creative outlet. For the last few weeks, we’ve been hand building different kinds of vessels and forms. But on Monday, we switched to throwing on a pottery wheel. My instructor made it look so easy, demonstrating how to center the clay and pull the sides up into a cylinder.

Then it was our turn.

We sat at our wheels and tried to coax cylinders out of our own lumps of clay.

And we tried.

And tried.

To be fair, a couple of people did quite well. But most of us…well, it took several attempts before we got anything not wobbly, let alone cylindrical.

It was frustrating. Humbling. More than once I thought, There’s no way I’m going to be able to do this.

But each time my walls grew too thin or my cylinder lost its center, I crumpled the clay back into a lump, scraped the excess from the wheel and started again.

It took a few tries, but finally, working slowly, I threw a cylinder.

Will I be able to do it again next time? I don’t know. But I’m willing to keep trying until I learn.

That’s what it’s like for starting any project. Writing a first draft of a story. Starting a new painting. Sculpting clay by hand or on the wheel.

You don’t have to get it right the first time. Few people do. The magic happens in the revisions and later attempts.

So go easy on yourself. Give yourself the freedom to try and grace when you fail.

And never, ever stop learning.

Cover Reveal: THE SUMMER AFTER YOU AND ME by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

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I’m excited to be part of a cover reveal for my fellow YA Outside the Lines blogger, Jennifer Salvato Doktorski. Her new novel, THE SUMMER AFTER YOU AND ME, will be published by Sourcebooks Fire in Spring 2015, and the cover is soooooo nice.

But before we get to the reveal, here’s a little about the book:

Sunbathing, surfing, eating funnel cake on the boardwalk—Lucy loves living on the Jersey Shore. For her, it’s not just the perfect summer escape, it is home. And as a local girl, she knows not to get attached to the tourists. They breeze in over Memorial Day weekend, crowding the shore and stealing moonlit kisses, only to pack up their beach umbrellas and empty promises on Labor Day. Lucy wants more from love than a fleeting romance, even if that means keeping her distance from her summertime neighbor and crush, Connor.

Then Superstorm Sandy tears apart her barrier island, briefly bringing together a local girl like herself and a vacationer like Connor. Except nothing is the same in the wake of the storm. And day after day, week after week, Lucy is left to pick up the pieces of her broken heart and broken home. Now with Memorial Day approaching and Connor returning, will it be a summer of fresh starts or second chances?

Sounds good, doesn’t it? Ready to see the cover?

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Isn’t it pretty? Congratulations, Jen!

Be sure to add THE SUMMER AFTER YOU AND ME to your Goodreads bookshelf:

And here’s where you can find Jen online:

Twitter: @jdoktorski


★ Publisher’s Weekly gives NOW THAT YOU’RE HERE starred review!

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This news is a wee bit late, but I’m still excited to tell you that Publisher’s Weekly gave NOW THAT YOU’RE HERE a starred review! *happy dance*

Here’s what they had to say…

NowThatYoureHere_AmyKNichols_sm“Danny Ogden is a graffiti artist for an extremist sect when an explosion thrusts him into a Phoenix classroom on a parallel Earth—ours. Eevee Solomon, 15, is his only connection to home; a romantic acquaintance in his semi-totalitarian dimension, she’s a brilliant science nerd in this one, and perhaps the only person who can help him return to his world. Debut novelist Nichols explores this jarring turn of events from both characters’ perspectives as a disoriented Danny muddles through a world where his parents are dead while Eevee must reconcile that the Danny who tormented her best friend has been replaced by a boy with whom she’s falling in love. Nichols infuses the story with a smattering of science fiction and science fact, while making a welcome departure from the stereotype of the book-smart outcast trying to fit in. These geeks own their intelligence like a badge of honor, using science to help a friend and explore strange new worlds. Riveting in its own right, the story sets the stage for a mirror-image sequel, which will follow the other Danny and Eevee. Ages 12–up. (Dec.)”

Here’s the link to the review: Publisher’s Weekly.

Remember if you haven’t preordered your copy yet, you can do so at any of these fine booksellers.

Thanks for your support!