Quotes with Halloween Imagery

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat’s Halloween without a few zombies, witches, ghosts, and monsters? What great images those words invoke! Happy Halloween! Enjoy these quotes with Halloween themed imagery.

Quotes for Halloween

The past is a ghost, the future a dream, and all we ever have is now.
— Bill Cosby

When, however, one reads of a witch being ducked, of a woman possessed by devils, of a wise woman selling herbs, or even of a very remarkable man who had a mother, then I think we are on the track of a lost novelist, a suppressed poet, of some mute and inglorious Jane Austen, some Emily Bronte who dashed her brains out on the moor or mopped and mowed about the highways crazed with the torture that her gift had put her to. Indeed, I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.
― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

The real world is where the monsters are.
― Rick Riordan, The Lightning Thief

I like the ephemeral thing about theatre, every performance is like a ghost – it’s there and then it’s gone.
— Maggie Smith

I love zombies. If any monster could Riverdance, it would be zombies.
― Craig Ferguson

We make our own monsters, then fear them for what they show us about ourselves.
― Mike Carey & Peter Gross, The Unwritten, Vol. 1: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity

 

 

 

 

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Best Sellers and Super Stars

nikkiWhen I go to a Book Festival, I always go see the headliner, even if they write in genres other than my own (and they always do). So at the 2012 SC Book Festival, I sat in on Zane’s talk. If you don’t know her, Zane is the best-selling author of erotica, which is hugely different from the books I write, where terms like “making out”  and “hot” are considered a little too racy!

Another best-selling author I’ve made a point to see is David Baldacci, who writes crime fiction, and whose books have been made into blockbuster movies like Absolute Power. I’ve stood against a wall in a standing-room-only crowd to see poet Nikki Giovanni, even though I’ll never publish a book of poems like hers, and it was an amazing experience. I’ve sat dry-eyed in a room of teary women listening to Richard Paul Evans discuss his bestselling book, The Christmas Box.

Bottom line: I will go see the keynoters, the authors who have catapulted above the rest of us, even if they are speaking at the same time as someone else I really want to hear, whose work is more relevant to my own.

For this same reason, I went to see This is It, the movie documenting what would have been Michael Jackson’s last tour. Believe it or not, I also watched Justice Bieber’s Never Say Never, which tracked his rise to stardom.

When Duck Dynasty became a household name, I watched my first episode. I read Twilight when I couldn’t go two steps without hearing the word.

Why?

I think it is because I want the answer to that very question. Why? What quality do these authors and artists (or their works) have that sets them apart from others — often others who seem to have equal talent? I’ve made a hobby of trying to put my finger on that quality with each artist, and my finger rarely points to the word luck.

My most recent fascination is with the Grammy-winning band FUN., whose hit singles include Carry On, We Are Young, and Some Nights. There is something about all three of those songs… I wasn’t sure what, but a definite something that makes us want to listen to them again and again. It took me a day or two of thinking about it to put my finger on it, but I finally managed.

In a word: Solidarity.

We work to make ourselves stand out from the crowd. We strive to be unique individuals. But we still want to know we’re not alone. We want to know we’re in this together. And Carry On, allows us to sing along and feel like we are. This is what FUN. offers the masses: the feeling of solidarity.

Creative types, and others with products to sell, need to ask themselves: WHO is my audience and WHAT am I offering them? It doesn’t have to be solidarity. But you have to offer something – and if it’s just the right thing, you might find yourself on the best seller list (or the American Top Forty) too.

Here’s Carry On. Go ahead, sing along!

Kathy Temean: Author, Illustrator, Consultant

Today’s interview is a bit of a collaboration…SCBWI (Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) is doing new “Author Spotlight” pieces to highlight authors and illustrators everyone should know about. The Regional Advisor of the New Jersey SCBWI chapterLeeza Hernandez (an author/illustrator extraordinaire and a Nerdy Chick herself! If you missed Leeza’s interview one this site, click HERE to check it out) featured the wonderful, energetic, fabulously nerdy Kathy Temean, and to go with that profile, we’ve got an interview of Kathy here at Nerdy Chicks Rule!

kathyTemean_headshot1Kathy is an author/illustrator and retired New Jersey SCBWI Regional Advisor. She is the author/ illustrator of Horseplay and many magazine articles and artwork. Individuals, major corporations, and businesses have commissioned her artwork. Kathy is the owner of Temean Consulting, www.temeanconsulting.com, a company that creates websites and helps writers and illustrators market themselves.  She publishes a daily blog WRITING AND ILLUSTRATING www.kathytemean.wordpress.com, which offers valuable tips on everything you need to know about writing for children. She also conducts interviews with agents, editors, authors, and illustrators in the field. Kathy writes MG and YA novels and illustrates children’s books. Yogi Berra written by Tina Overman and illustrated by Kathy came out in September. Welcome, Kathy!

So, Kathy, you’ve been involved in children’s publishing for a very long time. How do you see the books that are being published today as helping to empower girls to be smart (or, as we like to call it, nerdy)?
Girls are very lucky today. The books written today for them are excellent and there are so many good choices for teens. I think they are reading more because of the great books and writing that reflects their world and the type of strong girls they want to become.

Very, very true. Tell us about a fictitious nerdy chick you admire and why you admire her.

I have a lot of nerdy real life chicks I admire, but I guess for a fictitious one, I would chose Lily Hancock from “Lies Beneath” written by Ann Greenwood Brown. Lily never gives up, even when she falls in love with a murderous merman who is planning to kill her father to revenge the death of his mother. She works through all of it to find a way to make things work.

51uKvEvPtmL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_We agree — more people should understand how important creativity is to success. Now, in addition to being an author and illustrator, you are also an art educator. How do you see arts education as being important for today’s kids?

I feel any kind art builds creativity. Creativity helps in everything you want to do in life and spurs new ideas to get you where you want to go. Most people don’t give that any thought, but I have used all the creative things I learned in art with every job I’ve had to be successful, so “Yes,” I think the arts are just as important as the rest of the curriculum in school and is especially important to children who may not excel in other subjects.

What’s something you like to do that might be considered a little bit nerdy, but is actually really fun?

I collect cows. Yes, cows, but not real ones. Ever since I was in Chicago and saw ‘Cows on Parade,’ I have been into cows. I would like to buy a big concrete cow for my front lawn and decorate it each month, but I know my neighbors will go crazy and torment me about it. Is that nerdy enough? Perhaps someday, I will do it in my backyard.

What is one of your favorite achievements that you can credit to being a Nerdy Chick?
Years ago when I worked for Kraft Foods, they were giving away a Lincoln Continental as a prize, so I talked a car dealer into letting me take one of their cars into an Acme Food Store and building a big display of Kraft Food around it. There was a lot of coordinating to pull that off. We even had to take the front windows out of the storefront to get it inside the store. I won a big award for that accomplishment.

Thank you, Kathy, for being with us here today, and for sharing your thoughts. To learn more about Kathy, visit her website (www.kathytemean.com), her blog (www.kathytemean.wordpress.com) or follow her on Twitter: @kathytemean. And to read Kathy’s interview with SCBWI, click HERE, and to learn more about SCBWI, click HERE.

99 Years—A Picture of My Mother

On October 5, my mother turned 99 years old. She lives in a nursing home, comfortable and clean. Her mind is in a different world, going places and doing things not possible from her wheelchair. She loses words and I don’t always understand the words her mind invents. She always gives me a big smile of recognition and love.

When I think about how much the world has changed in her lifetime, it’s as if her life has mirrored the history of photography.

M_mayflower

A sepia-toned studio portrait shows my mother as a baby, the first of her family born in America, with a boatload of Italian immigrants—her parents, sister, cousin, aunt, and uncle. No, they didn’t arrive on the Mayflower, but passed through Ellis Island to New York City for a better life, living in a tenement apartment with a toilet down the hall, and communal baths down the street.

M_lenore_flapers_poconos My mother’s family managed to survive the Great Depression. Her father was a tailor and her mother was a seamstress—two needed professions in NYC. Out of high school, my mother worked as a secretary six days a week for $7 (weekends hadn’t been invented yet).

MnP_wedding_glamIn the early forties, she met a funny, bespectacled young man and married him before he was shipped out to India during World War II. She sent him a Hollywood-style glam portrait, so he would hurry back home to her.

M_williamst_fairLike many post-war young families, we followed the American Dream and moved into a brand-new suburban split-level house in a neighborhood with dozens of other split-level houses. My mother was the model housewife, with a tidy, fashionable home and spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove for hours on Sundays. Photography turned colorful. My mother nurtured and supported me, encouraging my creativity (even letting me paint flowers on her car in the sixties).

MnP_catherdral M_anna2Seemingly in no time, my parents celebrated 50 years of being married to their very best friend. When I hadn’t found a best friend to marry, I knew I still needed to be a mom. My mother was the loving voice of reason when I decided to adopt a child. I cried to her about the photograph of a sad little cross-eyed Russian girl with a buzz cut who might become my daughter. “She just needs a mother to put a smile on her face,” my mother wisely said. And she was right. She became a doting grandmother to my Anna. Even in her present, confused state-of-mind, she lights up with a big smile when she hears Anna’s name.

In 2002, both my parents had emergency surgeries at the same time, landing them in adjoining rooms in the intensive care unit. My father recovered, but my mother was on a ventilator and feeding tubes for four months. In rehab, she was unable to sit up or speak, but she kept fighting. Then, her dear husband died of a heart attack, but I know it was a broken heart.

thanks_christ That was 11 years ago. My mother’s tenacious will to live got her out of a hospital bed to a wheelchair to using a walker in assisted living. She had many years of activities, family holiday dinners.

M_baby_99 From a seemingly-ancient sepia photograph to a color digital image of a smiling, 99-year-old birthday girl, my mother has been the picture of a full and loving life. Happy birthday, Mama. I love you.

Working With Guilt (Not Anymore!)

CIMG2157I always thought I would be a mother who worked, but I never imagined I would be a working mother. And being a working mother has caused me some guilt over the years.

Now, before we go any further, I have to say something very important: in my opinion, all mothers are working mothers. The idea that the only mothers who work are the ones who earn money outside of the home is insulting and shows a marked lack of understanding of a mother’s roles and contributions. But in the interests of keeping to the traditional use the term and staying consistent with the research I want to share today, I’m going to refer to those mothers who work outside the home as “working mothers.”

When I first had my children, I imagined spending my days with them, enriching their lives through lessons, crafts, activities, long philosophical discussions… I figured I would write, but I would only do so after they went to bed or while they were at school. My life would be about my children first, and about my career second. Life had a different plan for me though.

bella mamma 3If you are a mother like me and you work, you probably feel a little guilty for having to work, or for wanting to work. Over the years, I’ve learned that that is completely normal. Mothers live in a guilty place. We know we’re making all sorts of mistakes, and while we are trying to do the best we can for our kids, we rarely meet the impossible standards we set for ourselves. I remember years ago seeing a cartoon that said something like, “The Nature versus Nurture debate is finally resolved: It’s all MOM’S FAULT.”

I have often felt like a bad mother because, instead of being there for every moment of my children’s lives, I am working.

What if the guilt is misplaced?

A few months back, while I was probably supposed to be working on novel revisions or a new book (or cleaning my kitchen), I came across a website that held the documents from a 1998 conference in Madison, Wisconsin called “Parenthood in America.” There are a lot of great articles at this site, and I encourage you to read them and consider the research that was done.

There was one article in particular that touched me. It was called “The Effects of the Mother’s Employment on the Family and the Child,” and it was written by Dr. Lois Wladis Hoffman, PhD, a Professor Emerita in the Department of Psychology at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. Dr. Hoffman wanted to understand how children were affected by their mothers working, so she and her team examined a sample of 400 families with children in the third or fourth grade who lived in a large industrial city in the Midwest. In other words, average American children. The families in Dr. Hoffman’s study were single-parent households and two-parent households. They spanned many races and economic backgrounds.

Her results helped me feel less guilty.

If you want to read the study for yourself, you will find it here. But let me give you some of the highlights:

  • a plus“Daughters of employed mothers have been found to have higher academic achievement, greater career success, more nontraditional career choices, and greater occupational commitment.”
  • “The children [sons and daughters] of employed mothers obtained higher scores on the three achievement tests, for language, reading, and math, across gender, socioeconomic status, and marital status, middle-class boys included.”
  • “Daughters of employed mothers have been found to be more independent, particularly in interaction with their peers in a school setting, and to score higher on socioemotional adjustment measures.”
  • “Daughters with employed mothers, across the different groups, showed more positive assertiveness as rated by the teacher (that is, they participated in class discussions, they asked questions when instructions were unclear, they were comfortable in leadership positions), and they showed less acting-out behavior. They were less shy, more independent and had a higher sense of efficacy.”

Before you think I am trying to say that all women should work, let me share one more bit of Dr. Hoffman’s study. The researchers examined not only employment status but also the mother’s sense of well-being. In other words, how happy is she with her life? They basically found something in the research that we could have figured out with our common sense – that when mothers feel good about themselves, when they are happy, when they have a positive sense of self, their children succeed. This is true of all mothers, across all criteria.

At the beginning of this post, I said that I never planned to be a working mother. I certainly didn’t. But the truth is, my career makes me very happy. I feel fulfilled, I feel strong, I feel accomplished. And that’s possibly what made me feel the most guilty – that I enjoyed something that took me away from my children. Now I know that I did the right thing for me and for my family by pursuing something that made me happy – that it actually helped my kids be happy, too.

So no more guilt. Well, not about working. (But about that ice cream container that “disappeared,” maybe a little guilt….)

 

Pop over to Tara Lazar’s blog if you get a chance to see my newest cover reveals and enter the giveaway contest!

Books for Everyone

worst case scenerio collegeEver stumble upon something that unexpectedly brought you a lot of joy? Maybe even some laughs? And that thing was FREE? It made my day when that happened to me last week on the way to the Shrimp Festival. Yes, there is a Shrimp Festival. (Ironically named, when you think about it, because it isn’t much of a party for the shrimp.)

But that’s beside the point. What’s on point is that you have to park a mile away from the festivities if you plan to attend. And I just happened to pass the library going from my car to the tents, loud music, and dead shrimp. While I like a good party, nerd that I am, I like a good book more. So I took a detour into the library where they have more good books than I have time to read. They also happened to have a shelf of FREE books.

This shelf is always there, so I almost walked on by, but something grabbed my eye and soon I’d found a book for everyone in the family.  This in and of itself is not that amazing. What’s amazing is that when I brought the books home, EVERYONE loved what I put in their hands. How often does that happen? Seriously? I mean, Santa Claus can’t even work that kind of magic at this address anymore.

For my husband I found a 1930s leather- bound hymnal. He collects old hymnals, and this is one he didn’t have. For my daughter, I grabbed SMILEYS. Don’t know what IMG_20131017_103301_466Smileys are? Let me give you a few visuals:   *<:-) That was a Smiley in a party hat. How about the Smiley who lost a fight?  %+{  The baseball player smiley? d:-) You get the picture. My thirteen year old liked the book so much that when I asked her to borrow it to write this post she said, “Be sure to give it back.” Highest praise!  (For me, the best part of the Smiley book was the blurb on the cover, hailing the volume as the “Noah Webster of Smileys.” Really? I thought Noah Webster was a person. The blurb wasn’t attributed to anyone in particular, by the way.)

For myself, I found Politically Correct Bedtime Stories, which I began reading as soon as I got home. I was just getting into the story of the young person named Red Riding Hood, who ended up feeling affronted by the woodsman who tried to save her from the wolf, when my son shoved the free book I’d found for him into my hands. It was The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook: College. Since he’s headed to college next year, the title seemed perfect for him!

The page he wanted me to read was titled How to Tell Your Parents You’ve Been Expelled. (Considering he should have been working on college essays at the time, expulsion seemed to be the least of our problems.) I read the page, which was formatted as a sample letter you could send your parents if such a problem ever did arise.

It started out like this: “Mom and Dad—I’ve got something big I need to tell you. Your baby boy/girl is coming home!”

I know that being expelled is no laughing matter, but this didn’t keep me from laughing until I cried.  My seventeen year old son was laughing too and it was a feel-good family moment. We’d already laughed at the directions for turning a pile of dirty laundry into a beanbag chair, and the illustration of how to use a child size life preserver as a seat protector for dorm toilets. I handed him back the book and we spent the next few minutes laughing back and forth about various college scenarios.

The laughter stopped when I got this question: “What’s the Walk of Shame?”

Hmmm. Maybe I should have read the book before putting it into my child’s hands and having a read-aloud session.

Oh well. Censorship has been dead in this household ever since my son started out-reading me, which happened when he was back in elementary school. I still give the day an A+ thanks to the FREE book shelf.

Got to go… the story of The Three Codependent Goats Gruff is calling my name.

 

 

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Quotable Nerdy Chick: Elinor Smith

Last week, I interviewed Tami Lewis Brown, author of picture book, Soar, Elinor! Today the subject of that book, aviator Elinor Smith, is our quotable nerdy chick.

28smith_CA0-popupIn 1927, Elinor became the youngest licensed pilot in the world. She was only 16. During her flying career, she set multiple solo endurance, speed, and altitude records, and was named by fellow fliers the 1930 female pilot of the year. Amelia Earhart was in the news, but pilots considered Elinor a better flier. Celebrated as “the flying flapper,” Elinor was the first woman featured on a Wheaties cereal box.

Elinor retired from flying at age 29 to focus on her family, but resumed flying after her husband died in 1956. In 2000, at age 88, she became the oldest pilot to complete a simulated shuttle landing.

Elinor Smith Quotes:

• Children must be allowed to dream and have a horizon to work toward. For me there was only one path: I knew from age six that I wanted to fly. Flying was the very breath of life to me and I was successful because I loved it so much.

• I remember so vividly my first time aloft that I can still hear the wind swing in the wires as we glided down. By the time the pilot touched the wheels gently to earth, I knew my future in airplanes and flying was an inevitable as the freckles on my nose.

• I had been brought up to think that anyone could do anything he or she put his or her mind to, so I was shocked to learn that the world had stereotypes it didn’t want tampered with. In an age when girls were supposed to be seen and not heard, look beautiful, and occasionally faint, I didn’t seem to fit in anywhere.

I love this one:

• It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”

 And some tongue-in-cheek words about motherhood:

• It sometimes happens, even in the best of families, that a baby is born This is not necessarily cause for alarm. The important thing is to keep your wits about you and borrow some money.

• The day I need a television puppet or clown to tell my children what’s right and what’s wrong, I’ll bow out as a mother.

You can read more about Elinor Smith here and here.

Even if you have never piloted a plane, have you gone out and “happened to things?”