Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day!

Thank you to those of you who serve our country, and those of you who have family and loved ones in the service. May we help to bring about a free world where wars are only distant memories.

Friday, May 28, 2010

I've officially lost it

Tip of the day: Have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend.

Lost what, you ask?

That loving feeling.

Oh yes. I have.

Last week, I asked the question, if a writer is struggling, REALLY struggling with a story, does it mean something?

Replies were mixed, and I don't know that anyone can know the right answer, because each book is different and each writer is different.

I kept going for a few more chapters, and then I threw my hands in the air and said, "Enough!" Or maybe I said, "I need cupcakes!" I'm not sure. It's all a blur now.

I'm setting the story aside for now. Because I decided, the biggest problem with the story is, I just don't care. There's nothing there to make me want to care about the story, the characters, any of it. And until I can figure that out, and make it something I do care about, what's the point? Because if I don't care, you can bet no one else is going to care either.

The good news?

I've already started a new story. One that is going to make me stretch as a writer. One that scares me, because it's complex in a way, and really different, and I don't have everything quite figured out yet. But guess what? I ALREADY CARE. This is a story I want to tell. A story that could fly or flop, depending on what I do with it. That excites me. Can I do it? Only time will tell.

So lesson learned this week - I *have* to care. What about you?

~Lisa, Miss Crafting a Career

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Why Write YA?

Tip of the Day: Check out author Carrie Ryan's blog post from yesterday-- she very nicely outlines the process of a book going from author's head to in your hands.

This topic fits in perfectly after Deena's great post yesterday about why she loves to read young adult fiction. And it's also been on my mind because in a little over a week Kristin Walker and I are going to be giving a presentation together at a local library and one of the things they'd like us to talk about is why we write young adult fiction. I think this is really good question and I bet there would be lots of different answers from YA writers. As for me, I never thought I'd write fiction let alone write young adult fiction books. I always loved writing and got my Masters in Writing and wanted to teach writing at the high school and college level. And I did a lot of technical writing and magazine writing. But YA writing was never on my radar. Around five years ago I had an idea for a book and it happened to take place in a high school with four girls. I wrote the book and discovered, WOW, I love this! And then I just kept doing it and I'm working on my eight book now. It's kind of like dating a bunch of schmucks and then finding Mr. Right. You just know when he's the right one. And that's what happened with me and YA writing. Something clicked when I stumbled upon it and I knew it was the right fit. I think a lot of it has to do with my voice being a good fit for the genre. And I like that a lot of firsts happen at this age so I get to sort of re-live things through my characters. It's a time of big dreams and hopes and the idea that anything is possible so it's a lot of fun to write for this age group.

So tell me writers, why do YOU write YA?

Kristina, Miss See Me on the Shelves

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Reading Like a Grown-up (or Can I Handle the Truth?)

Tip of the Day: Even if you don't usually read adult books or non-fiction books, I highly recommend THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS by Rebecca Skloot. You can learn about science while seeing how real people are often the best characters.

I am a huge reader of YA fiction. Some may say I am obsessed with the genre. They may be right -- but let me explain WHY:
1. Part of my YA Librarian job is to buy all the library's YA titles so I'm constantly reading reviews of these books.
2. Part of my YA Librarian job is to recommend YA titles to teens so I have to keep up on reading them.
3. The YA Librarians in my county lib system put together a Best Of list of teen fiction every year, so I have to keep up on my reading.
4. Because I read so many reviews of YA fiction for my job, I'm enticed into reading some of the titles based on good reviews.
5. As a YA writer, I read a lot of YA writer blogs and industry news, which entice me into reading even more YA titles.
6. To keep up on the YA fiction industry and to see what is selling, I skim the jacket flaps of many YA titles at the lib and am enticed into reading them.
7. I love the immediacy, the pace, the voice, the relatability of just "growing up" and learning about yourself and others of YA fiction and will never stop reading it.

In slightly lesser amounts I read MG fiction, and in even lesser amounts, adult fiction and non-fiction. But the proportion of adult books I start to finish is higher than that of YA or MG bc there are just a ton of great adult titles out right now. And no matter what genre of kidlit you are writing, it is important to read books for adults.


In addition to just hitting on some great stories, often trends that hit in kidlit are trickle-downs from popular or notable adult works. There are also substantial adult non-fiction titles that can get your wheels turning for kidlit fiction ideas.

I loved THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS, and am also really enjoying Elizabeth Gilbert's latest, COMMITTED. On deck I have Peter Lovenheim's IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD. When I'm feeling the glut of YA paranormal romance and dead sibling books, I need to remember to kick up the adult lit.

What recent adult novels or non-fiction are you reading and loving right now?

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

...think positive

Tip of the Day: have you ever read a book and then thought that there is no way on earth my book is as good as this authors? Well….stop thinking negative, and think of all the wonderful things your book has that the one you are reading doesn’t :)

Due to a lack of TV choices, I’ve been watching a lot of shows on the Ion Network lately. This morning, I happened to catch a show called Positive Living. The show features visits from several life coaches. This particular episode featured Bob Proctor who talked about the law of attraction and how it pertains to our dreams, goals, and attracting people that can help make those happen.

His presentation was very The Secret-esc, but there were two interesting points he made that could be applied for those of us in the writing trenches waiting for success.

First, he mentioned that it order to make your goals happen, you should try to state something positive about what you want to achieve. And then believe it! So instead of just saying, “I’d like to have a book published,” you’d say something along the lines of “I love when people read my book and laugh or get into the characters and I’d love to be able to share that with more people by having my book published.” And repeat it every, single, day!

I guess phrasing it as a positive is supposed to not only give you positive reinforcement for all the good you are doing so far, but encourage you to strive harder for the next step.

Makes sense.

Second, he mentioned that the biggest obstacle for people achieving success is that we focus on the “obstacles” themselves when they come up. So instead of focusing on all those rejections from agents, editors, or maybe even a reviewer, try to focus on all the positive instead. Basically, just visualize your successful, while forgetting about all the barriers preventing you from getting there.

I’m all for trying new things and do thing I could use a dose of positive thinking!

--Emily, Miss Querylicious

Monday, May 24, 2010

What Are You Packing?

Tip of the Day: Thanks to Car for sending me this link to YA writer Kathleen Wall's blog post on getting readers to root for your main character.

Remember when your Facebook friends posted Top Fives instead of Mafia Wars updates? One of the most popular was "Top 5 things I never leave home without." Okay, quick, name five things you never leave home without: but not for you, for your main character.

Any of those five things can be used in your plot. The house keys can be used to stab someone in the eye. The gold necklace can be hocked. The iPod can be used to shut out an ugly conversation.

Or maybe your main character carries something special, like Miranda in Rebecca Stead's WHEN YOU REACH ME carries a copy of A WRINKLE IN TIME. Remember the magic glacial water the main character in the movie The Waterboy always had with him? That ended up being important. I love that movie.

So feel free to plant something in the first chapter or two for your main character (or any important character) to never leave home without. After all, you don't walk around without your baggage. Everyone carries something. Even Neanderthals probably wouldn't leave the cave without their special rock and sharpened stick.

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages

Friday, May 21, 2010

When writing is hard, what does it mean?

Tip of the day: I'm giving away four amazing YA ARCs on my personal blog - go HERE for all the details.

I like writing when it's fun. You know - when I'm excited about the story, about the characters, when the words flow like water, and I can't wait to get back to the page.

But what about when it's not fun? When you've written and rewritten and started over and done this and done that, and you're just tired of the stupid story? How do you keep going?

I'm not talking about the muddled middle in a story, where you just have to grit your teeth while you're writing, and keep going. I'm talking about the story you've been working on off and on for months or years and you're just SO DAMN SICK OF IT!

I tweeted last week that I wondered if Sheryl Crow was singing about writing when she wrote the lyrics, "If it makes you happy, then why the hell are you so sad."

I love being an author. I really do. But some days, some stories, some agonizing sentences, it almost makes me cry out in pain.

Part of me wonders - if an author is struggling that much with the story, is there something wrong? Should it be *that* hard? Does it make any difference in the end whether a story was easy to write or terribly, terribly difficult to write? When I look at all of the books I've written, I feel like most of the time, the ones that flowed easily and didn't cause me huge amounts of agony are the ones that have been published.

What do you think? And do you think it's worth it to keep going, that an author should keep trying to make it work, no matter what? Or is there a point where you need to say, enough, and put the thing away for good?

~Lisa, Miss Crafting a Career

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sick Day

Bad News: In the game of FLU TAG circulating throughout the Springer household since Monday, number six just got tagged.

Good News: The weight loss is really picking up this week! LOL!

I'll be back next week!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Goals, Revised (or Crank It Up)

Tip of the Day: Check out Lisa's blog post about her day at the Rochester Teen Book Fest here!

I am moved into my new house.

The weather is warmer and the idea of writing on my new deck is calling to me.

I am still waiting to hear back from editors on my revised MG novel.

I have a writing retreat day with my CPs in a couple weekends.

I had Writer's Group last night with my CPs and am psyched to dive into more WIP revisions.

My WIP is really fun to write -- and I want to know what happens next.

I told my agent I'd have my wip ready for her this summer.

What does all this mean? TIME FOR A NEW WRITING GOAL! And if I write it here, I'll be bound to it (instead of to my New Year's goals that were usurped by, well, life and a different WIP).

I, Deena Lipomi, will have a presentable draft of my YA WIP ready by August 1, 2010.

Hold me to it, folks. Hold me to it.

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Patience sometimes is your friend

Tip of the Day: strawberry smoothies make for a great summer writing break treat!

Previously on the blog, I’ve tackled the question of determining when your manuscript is ready to be queried to agents.

Even though I have several more gray hairs since that post, I’m not entirely sure I have any better answers. But because I’m to this stage in my writing career again, I’ve been thinking about this a lot.

Right now, in a tough market, I think more than ever you have to make sure your project is as best as it can possibly be before sending it to agents and editors. Over on the Teen Lit Authors Yahoo Group there’s been a discussion going on about how many published authors are being advised to write full manuscripts for editors, instead of selling on partial. The thought is unless you have an established relationship with an editor or are a big-named author, then it’s much harder to sell right now and editors are requesting full, cleaner manuscripts.

As a debut author, you don’t have to worry about the full/partial debate, since it’s highly unlikely you’d sell on a partial (unless you have a lot of writing creds). But if published authors are struggling more than normal, then debut authors have even more of a mountain to travel over to publication.

With that being said, before you submit to agents, it’s probably best to take a double look, then a triple check just to make sure you have no unanswered questions. Also, keep an eye out for anything (even something small) that feels a little off, either with a character, the setting, plot, etc. And you also need to make sure that the plotting and character growth makes perfect sense. Because if you have a nagging feeling about one small part of your manuscript, then editors and agents are probably going to be even more confused.

Because in this tough market, it doesn’t hurt to give yourself all the legs-up you can get :)

--Emily, Miss Querylicious

Image from:

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Absolutely Most Important Thing You Should Know About Writing a SciFi Novel

Tip of the Day: Applications are due for the Rutgers One-on-One Conference on June 15.

Here is the absolutely most important thing you should know about writing a science fiction novel.

Your brain will try to trick you. It will tell you that you can't do this. You don't know enough about physics, or chemistry, or genetics. You don't know how to world build on a grand scale--heck, you can't even give good directions to the nearest parking garage, how did you expect to world build?

What you need to know is that this is no different than the fear of failure associated with writing a picture book, or a book in verse, or a romance. This is the same fear of inadequacy every writer feels with every book. Oh, it's dressed itself up in science fiction trappings (I don't know, maybe a homemade Star Trek uniform?) but it's the same monster, you betcha.

I'm writing my first science fiction novel, and it took me a while to understand this. But after a bit (OK, a few months) I realized that I recognized this beast who told me I wasn't smart enough to make this world work. This was the same beast who told me I wouldn't ever figure out pacing. The same beast who told me I couldn't plot my way out of a paper bag. The same beast who says to me, even as I type this, "You know, Kate, maybe you only think you've gotten better at pacing, and who says you figured out how to plot your way out of a paper bag? Nobody's bought one of your novels yet, have they? And now you've decided to write something more ambitious?"

The monster of fear can only be killed by writing word after word. But whatever you're writing, if it's a new genre for you, don't let the monster fool you with tricky disguises. For goodness sake, don't let it distract you with your lack of knowledge of electronic engineering or fishing in medieval times or maritime law or iambic pentameter.

Can someone send me some fear of success to balance out my fear of failure? Wait, it doesn't work that way? Sigh. I guess it's back to sheer stubbornness and coffee.

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages

Friday, May 14, 2010

Why writing for me can't be a solitary profession

Tip of the day: I am HERE this weekend, talking about me, my writing, and my books. Please, come and see me!!

I think I've talked here before about how one of my writerly weaknesses is coming up with ideas. I really have to work hard to come up with my book ideas. Whenever I hear authors say they have entire notebooks filled with ideas, I secretly want to break into their house and steal them. I mean, to me that would be better than a treasure chest full of gold!

Even when I have an idea, sometimes the specific plot points that need to occur in the story trip me up. It seems like I'll get stuck on one thing and I'll try to figure out how to make it work, even though it really is just NOT working and I should come up with something else entirely. But it's SO hard for me to do that.

I'm in the process of doing a total rewrite on a book, and pretty much everything has had to change. One crucial element in the story that worked in the first version is just not going to cut it this time around. And I kept trying to think of how else things could play out and nothing made sense. I was to that point where I was ready to just give up. I mean, you've been there, right? It's so frustrating!!

It reminds me of a really hard puzzle and there's one piece you can't find and you look and you look and you look and finally, you think, why am I still looking, this is not fun anymore!!!

And just like with a puzzle, a new set of eyes or ears can make ALL the difference. Writing friends have pulled me from the pit of despair probably a hundred times. Sometimes you just need someone to play the what if game with you. Our own Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing, recently helped me pin down a plot element for a new story I was working on recently, and what she came up with was PERFECT.

At first, I'm like, duh, why didn't I think of that? But then I get over myself and am just SO grateful that I have people I can turn to who are willing to listen or read a bit and help out.

Some writers can write a book beginning to end all by themselves. And occasionally, I do that as well. But more often than not, it takes a village to finish one of my books. I can look at each of my books and think of at least a couple of places where it made ALL the difference having input from a writer friend or two on what should be there.

Sometimes I just can't find the missing puzzle piece, and want to smash thing to bits all over the floor. But now I know, before I do that, I should call in a friend. Because most times, they point RIGHT to it, and the picture is much clearer as a result.

~Lisa, Miss Crafting a Career

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Skype School Visit=Cool!

Tip of the Day: Download Skype for free here.

I had my first ever Skype school visit yesterday and it rocked! Two seventh graders from Mission Valley Middle School in Praire Village, Kansas, e-mailed and asked if I would chat with their class and I thought sure-- why not.

And let me say this now, the skype school visit is the writing mom's best friend! I can't tell you how many times I've felt terrible because I had to say no to a daytime school visit. It's just impossible with the crazy daily schedule of driving my four kids back and forth to their various schools and activities. I've been able to do after school visits but that's only when I can secure a babysitter and still, there is some rushing around to get the last kid from school beforehand. But this skype school visit thing? Brilliant. This morning I got home from dropping off my oldest son and then the girls, and fifteen minutes after walking through the door I was doing a skype visit from my dining room. The seventh graders I chatted with were awesome! They each prepared questions and took turns sitting in front of the web cam to ask. They were a great, bright group of kids with a lot of interesting questions. And the visit flew by. The only snafu was near the end my baby insisted on getting in on the chat and climbed up on my lap to talk too. But no one seemed to mind.

Now that I know how easy and FUN these Skype visits are I'll happily do more with any classes that want to contact me (Kristina at KristinaSpringer dot com). And, last summer Kate Messner (author of The Brilliant Gianna Z.) wrote a fabulous article about skyping with authors and included a giant list of authors who skype for free. Check it out.

Kristina, Miss See Me on the Shelves

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

When Real Life Gets in the Way of Fake Life (or "I Guess This is Growing Up*")

* With apologies to Blink 182

Tip of the Day: If you are trying to limit your chocolate intake, do not buy a bag of Dove Dark Chocolate Promises.

Since January, I've been an inconsistent writer. I'm jonesing for some solid writing hours to tear back into my WIP, but I went from traveling in Jan/Feb to house searching, to house buying, to apartment cleaning, to packing.... Even right now as I write this on Monday evening and have some potential writing time between dinner and bed, the thought of opening my Word doc makes me want to curl up and nap.

Somehow the thought of cleaning out and packing up my pots and pans cupboard seems less exhausting. How is that possible?

My guess is that my brain is overloaded and exhausted from the thinking, planning, and number crunching of the last 3 months -- more exhausted than my physical body, hence the odd preference of evening activities. Hopefully once I move, my physical body will be tired and my brain will be rejuvenated, ready to write write write on the deck with lappy and some tea!

Brain v. body opinions anyone?

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Life without TV

Tip of the Day: click here for some good tips on polishing your manuscript and making sure it can be the best it can be before submitting to an agent or publisher.

Two of the biggest obstacles that prevent me from making time for writing are being distracted by the Internet and TV. So a few weeks ago I decided to lesson those obstacles and get rid of cable and Internet at our house.

Gone is my beloved DVR.

Gone is my instant access to information at any time of the night (although, technically I still have Internet on my phone, but my fingers aren’t nearly as good at finding information on a small hand-held device yet).

Have I thought on more than one occasion that I might go insane when I didn’t have access to the Real Housewives or the finale of Project Runway? Sure.

Have I thought about caving and getting it again? Every second.

But my husband and I are trying to live lighter in preparation for a big move, and this makes it easier. And I have to tell you that my writing life has been better than ever as a result of the Big Purge.

Not only do I have fewer distractions to writing, but I have more time for reading. And when I have to research for my current book, I get out of the house and go to the library, which makes actually getting work done much easier.

As a result, I’ve almost completed the latest revisions to my current book. A few more tweeks and incorporations of critique partner comments and I’m about ready to send to agents.

I owe it all to life without the Real Housewives of Orange County, New York, New Jersey, and Atlanta! :)

But if anyone wants to update me as to what's going on this season...feel free!

--Emily, Miss Querylicious

Monday, May 10, 2010

SciFi Kaos: Get the Info Dump out of Your System

Tip of the Day: This Saturday is the Fifth Annual Rochester Teen Book Fest! Check out the lineup and drool with envy (and be there if you can)!

First Draft

The red light on the Navitech 2000 control panel, which monitored the core temperature in the nuclear reactor, blinked menacingly. Melina fought her panic. The switch from fission to fusion power had taken twenty years. Fusion type nuclear reactions definitely put out more power, but nobody had figured out how to control these random temperature fluctuations. The First World countries had spend decades controlling the temperature in fusion type reactors with cooling rods. But the fission reactions had a nasty tendency to bounce the rods out of place.
"Oh no," Melina said. She was on duty this rota to go into the core and adjust the position of the rods. Despite the fifteen pound radiation suit she was required to wear, she'd still get a blastback of radiation that could put her in the hospital for weeks.
"Is that the temperature light?" asked the head of maintenance, Rovy Silverman. Rovy was influential in the Nuclear Workers Union formed in 2022.
Melina ran to her heavy radiation suit. She would need Rovy's help to get into it, especially to don the helmet. And she couldn't do much in the clumsy gloves, manufactured in a special facility in Antarctica. "Hand me the 12 inch spanner."
"Will you use the spanner to reconnect the end of the rod to the main array?" Rory asked.
"No," Melina said, "I think I can put it to better use slamming it into this stupid keyboard!"

Second Draft

The temperature gauge blinked red. "Oh no," Melina thought as she picked up the spanner.

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages

Friday, May 7, 2010

Why do I have to be so BORING?

Tip of the day: Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there! Hope you are spoiled rotten.

A week from today I will be in Rochester, NY for the Rochester Teen Book Festival. Or, at least, on my way to Rochester after my first ever red eye flight (by the way, if you have any tips on how to get as much sleep as possible on a red eye, I'd love to hear them). I heard today I'll be joining Barry Lyga and Robin Brande on the second flight and a kind librarian will be picking us all up and taking us to our hotel. It makes me a little sick to my stomach that they will meet me for the first time after I've been traveling all night and look like death warmed over, but oh well, what can I do?

Anyway, this week I've been working on the presentation I'll be giving three times during the day of the festival. And it's hard, because I don't have any cool background stories for my books, or anything funny I can share about growing up, or horror stories about how much I hated high school (I actually loved high school. Go figure).

So, what in the heck do I talk about for 50 minutes? I decided to tackle some of the "why" questions I get a lot from readers. Why do I write in verse? Why are my books about death? Why do I write, period?

I'm really afraid it's going to be BORING! Quick, tell me some funny stories I can throw in there to liven things up. Who cares if they're not mine, no one will know, right??

Please. I need some funny. Help!!

~Lisa, Miss Crafting a Career

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Revision Provisions

Tip of the Day: Feeling bogged down by your blog? Author Hillary Wagner gives some great tips from blogging experts here.

Yes, I'm still revising. Yes, it's still hard. Yes, I desperately need chocolate.

So today I thought I'd share the top five things I need while revising:

1) Yummy coffee drink.

2) Pen, preferably pink.

3) Post-its. Lots and lots of colors.

4) Notebook paper.

5) My pink laptop.

What five things do you need?

Kristina, Miss See Me on the Shelves

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Collector of Words (or a Hoarder of Paragraphs?)

Tip of the Day: For a great YA read on a teen with a mother who hoards, check out DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS by C. J. Omololu. I couldn't put this book down!

I recently attended a workshop by a woman who is a professional declutterer. People call her and she helps them organize their homes/offices, and decide what to keep and what to toss from their living spaces.

As I get ready to move to my new house, one thing that she said about how to decide what to keep and what to toss particularly struck me. She said if you come across an item that you kept because a) Great Grandma Bernice gave it to you, b) it's from elementary school and is cool bc it's really old, c) it might be worth something some day, or d) insert some other random reason here, ONLY hold onto it longer IF YOU HAVE A POSITIVE MEMORY/STORY ASSOCIATED WITH IT.

Sure, you might love the memory of Great Grandma Bernice, but if the item in your hand doesn't help to conjur up or enhance those memories, if there's no story to share about the item and GGB, then let the item go.

If, however, the item is directly related to the time GGB visited with her new puppy that peed on the living room couch and had the family in hysterics and that story is one to be told over and over again, keep it.

How is this related to writing? I'm getting there, I swear.

As I revise my latest WIP, after seeing some of my words as part of the story for so long, it's hard to think of parting with them. How dare my CPs suggest that I mention food too much in my book that has nothing to do with food and that I cut some of the references! These words BELONG with the book! They ARE the book!

Wait -- maybe they aren't.... Do the food references enhance characters/plot elements/symbols in the book? Do the food references remind the characters of specific stories that are relevent to the plot/characterizations in the book? Or do they just clutter up the pages? Hmmm....

Are you a page pruner or a stubborn clutter bug? :)

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Tip of the day: join me in a pseudo-vacation. We can all pretend we are here today!

Monday, May 3, 2010

SciFi Kaos: Because Not All of Us Aced High School Physics (or Even Walked Near the Classroom Where They Taught It)

Tip of the Day: Congratulations Angie for winning our Spring Cleaning contest and five new novels! And thanks to all of our new followers!

This week, I continue with SciFi Kaos, the tribulations and lessons learned on writing a science fiction novel. If you're thinking of writing a science fiction novel, there's probably a technology or scientific concept you find very interesting. But interesting doesn't equal easy to understand. So how do you teach yourself, let's say, how to launch a satellite if all you're confident that you understand about launching technology is "throwing things up in the air really hard"?

If only you had the equivalent of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Well, Don't Panic! Here are some research tips:

1. Children's Nonfiction. Hit the nonfiction stacks of your library. Huzzah for children's nonfiction writers, whose job is to make difficult scientific concepts easy to grasp.

2. DVDs. While you're at the library, search the catalog for DVDs. Programs like Nova and The Universe are designed to make science accessible to the average person, right?

3. Science Magazines. Discover Magazine is my favorite source. Their website is fantastic. Popular Science is a little more gadgety, but it's hard not to get story ideas looking at articles on helper robots washing dishes and serving cocktails. There are lots more, but which magazines will appeal to you has a lot to do with what you're trying to find out. Search for articles on the internet. Fortunately, science writers dig that internet thing.

4. Wikipedia. Really? Yes, really. Type in "satellite" and you get an article with hundreds of hyperlinks and 41 linked research references at the bottom. Yikes! Oh, and a link to called How Satellites Work.

5. NASA. Hey, they're supposed to spend some of my tax dollars explaining what they do. And actually, they do a very good job of it on their website.

Make a note of where you find things out. I use a Word document with links to Discover and NASA articles. I enter the title and author, the link, and a note like "Has list of names of Russian satellites." I'll need to be able to look them up when I have to spell them.

Now comes the part when you barrage your family with interesting "Did you know?" facts. Don't worry, they'll get you back someday when you least expect it.

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Spring Cleaning Winner Is.... (or The Random Number Generator has spoken)

Please check your email and reply to the message from me with your snail mail addy. Congrats!

Thanks, everyone, for reading and entering. Have a great weekend!

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing