Category Archives: Writing

2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,300 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 4 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.


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Best of the Blog V: Post Face Off

Product Details

For this last installment of The Best of the Blog (next week I will start writing new posts again), I was torn between one that had a large number of visitors the first time around, and one that I wrote when the blog was young and not many people saw it. Then I thought, “Why not both?”

• It Was the Worst of Times

• Scrabbling for Success: 10 Helpful Hints for the Querying Process

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Best of the Blog III: Clay Pots

June sixth is coming closer; here’s another “Best Of” to tide you over.

Clay Pots


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Best of the Blog II: Considering Asynchronous Development in Book Selection

Here’s another installment of Best of the Blog. I’ll be back on June sixth with something new. See you then…

Considering Asynchronous Development in Book Selection

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Best of the Blog I: In Defense of the Adverb

Although life should slow down after June 6th, the time I usually devote to the blog has been extremely limited lately. Rather than let it lie fallow, I have decided to post a few Best-of-the-Blog links. Enjoy.

In Defense of the Adverb

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YA Book Review: Ty Roth’s So Shelly

So Shelly

Life has finally eased up enough for me to write a review of So Shelly (Delacorte Press), the highly anticipated and recently released novel by Ty Roth: young-adult author, high school literature teacher and all-around good guy.

Other than the book-jacket tease about two friends swiping a drowned teen’s ashes to spread as she would have wished, and that the personas of the three main characters are based on Romantic poets Byron, Keats, Shelley and his wife Mary, I had no idea what to expect. The mention of freedom fighters and the phrase “lurid but literary,” were intriguing tidbits from the Kirkus review, but when I opened the book, I was a blank slate.

The first thing that struck me was how funny the novel is. The story is a serious one, but the way that the narrator phrases things left me rotfl. Quickly absorbed in the compelling story-line, I didn’t want to put it down while I was reading and found myself dwelling on it at odd moments after I’d finished — my favorite kind of book.

The vocabulary is enjoyably advanced, with no glaringly absent adverbs or “dumbing down” for teen readers, and I was pleased in four cases to expand my own command of the language. (It must be confessed that I’m still wondering what a “stinky pinky” is, but am pretty sure that I don’t really want to know.)

So Shelly is not for the callow, with topics such as incest (involuntary and otherwise), teen pregnancy, abortion, sexual abuse and graphic violence (not necessarily in that order). Although frequently cringe-worthy, none of it is gratuitous in nature. Some reviewers have recommended the book for ages fourteen and up, but Ty himself has said that sixteen and older is the intended readership, and I wouldn’t disagree.

Ty has mentioned a few times on his blog and in interviews that future titles might be set in the same Lake Erie locale, with a focus on minor characters from So Shelly. If so, the one I hope to see more of is Tammy Jo Hogg, the overweight but pretty girl with the good PR skills who was used and abused by Gordon. (Well, really, who wasn’t?) I want her to grow up, become successful and then leave Gordon with the broken heart.

My only concern with the novel is what seemed to be a somewhat casual view of suicide. At the time of our interview, Ty was confident that modern teens are sophisticated enough to deal with the content of the book, and that to think otherwise is an insult to the reader. I hope he’s right. Other than that, great book.

Layinda’s Blog Rating: ¶¶¶¶(But only because I’m saving the 5 for Jim and Jack. 😉 )

Note: Although I am acquainted with Mr. Roth, this is an unsolicited review, and I paid for my own copy of So Shelly. Actually, two copies. Unwilling to sully my signed-by-the-author first edition, I also purchased the Kindle version.

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The Roots of Genius

Ever notice anything funny about a lot of literary icons?







Dodgson (aka Carroll)






Just saying.


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