Christmas Book Recommendations

Ah, what better gift to give and receive than a book? At least, that’s what all the bookstores and publishers are telling us lately. I’m not including the obvious, such as the Twilight series, or Harry Potter, since I’m sure nearly everyone in existence has already read them (and seen the movies). Here are a […]

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No NaNoWriMo For Me

NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, occurs every November. The goal is to write 50,000 words throughout the month, which would serve as a rough draft, or put you well on your way toward completion of one, depending on the age group you write for. I decided 50,000 words in one month was too daunting […]

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Graceling

I just finished reading GRACELING, by Kristin Cashore. Even though I’m not a big fantasy reader, I decided to give it a try because of the great press it was getting. Boy, am I glad I did! It’s one of the best YA’s I’ve read. Ever. It’s got everything–a strong, vibrant main character, plenty of action […]

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The Red Queen’s Daughter

I recently finished The Red Queen’s Daughter, a YA historical with significant fantasy elements. The author is Jacqueline Kolosov. The story centers on Mary Seymour, daughter of Catherine Parr, the sixth wife of Henry VIII. After his death, Catherine married Thomas Seymour. The Author’s Note at the end of the book explains that after her […]

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Shakespeare Trivia

Here are some fun facts about Shakespeare I’ve learned in recent research: Other than his christening in 1564, there is no recorded information about Shakespeare until his marriage. He married a 26-year-old woman named Anne Hathaway when he was 18, in 1562. They had a daughter, Susanna, and twins, Judith and Hamnet. Shakespeare left Stratford-upon-Avon, […]

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Catcher in the Rye and High School English

Recently on Weekend Edition, Scott Simon interviewed a professor from Oberlin, Anne Trubek, about an article she’d written for Good magazine. She believes The Catcher in the Rye should be retired as part of the English/Language Arts curriculum in high schools. Today’s students no longer identify with Holden Caulfield, a white, upper class, prep school […]

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Gossip Girl?

I’ve never watched Gossip Girl before, but I’m watching it tonight. Right now. Since I’m writing for tweens and YA’s, I thought I should check out the show whose characters seem to be all over the internet. What’s all the fuss about? Despite the show’s pretty glaring flaws–everyone’s rich, there’s not a person of color […]

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Teenage Shakespeare

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of research into Shakespeare’s young adult years. From the time he would have finished grammar (elementary) school, until he began to write and act in London, next to nothing is known about his life. (See my post “Shakespeare at Hoghton Tower.) This opens new opportunities for fiction writers who may […]

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Review of Crooked River

I’m posting from Chicago, where I’m visiting my daughter for a few days. While it rained yesterday, today is supposed to be warmer and sunny–so I’m hoping for a walk along the lake to get my creative juices flowing! I recently came across a really impressive middle grade historical novel. It’s CROOKED RIVER, by Shelly […]

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Tudor Books

I recently finished reading Trust and Treason, by Margaret Birkhead. Originally, I intended to use it as a reference for Elizabethan language, grammar, phrases, and word usage, since I’m in the middle of researching that period. However, the story was so captivating, I was quickly drawn in.

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