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library, girl, books, Niki
My first professional library job was the one I hold now – young adult librarian in a small to mid-sized public library. It has been a joy to work there. But the administration has changed, and it may be that I won’t be a teen librarian from this summer onward. If that is the case, I want to list what I accomplished in my position over the last twenty years.

  • School – library cooperation:

I got the entire fifth grade to the library to hear Marybeth Weston, a local author, read her play, The Squaw with Blue Eyes.
 Along with the English teachers  in the middle school, I instituted the kid’s choice awards. Children suggested and then voted for their favorite books in a variety of genres, designed bookmarks, and chose their favorite designs. The bookmarks were professionally printed for distribution in the school and the public library. We did this for several years.
 I contacted the high school geology department and arranged for author Mike Mullin to do a booktalk centering on the Yellowstone supervolcano.
 With the middle school librarian's support, I came into the school library every month to do booktalks with the kids. I did this for several years.
 The Interact Club at the high school worked with me to hold a Halloween parade and costume judging every year at the end of October. This, too, was a regular program for many years. This brings me to:Read more...Collapse )

I think we have a winner!

Kiril, Science Fiction, Honor
terri_testing suggested "A Sword Against the Gods" as a possible title. Opinions? Poll #1960395 A Sword Against the Gods
Open to: All, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 6

What do you think of this title?

View Answers
I love it! I'd read that book!
5 (83.3%)
Pretty good
1 (16.7%)
Not sure
0 (0.0%)
Something else, which I'll suggest in the comments
0 (0.0%)
I promise, I'll stop playing with polls now! And I really do appreciate everyone's feedback - especially those of you who haven't read the book. Thanks very much to all of you.

Follow - up poll

kiril sword
So - it seems most people like A Drive of Dragons. Cool! I do, too. But there's a split opinion on a good title for the YA SF book. So here's another poll, because deirdrej and I thought of another option. Here goes: Poll #1959562 Possible Titles for YA SF novel?
Open to: All, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 4

Which title do you like more?

View Answers
His Mother's Sword
1 (25.0%)
To Fight with Heaven
0 (0.0%)
2 (50.0%)
0 (0.0%)
Something else, which I'll explain in the comments
1 (25.0%)

Title problems - a poll or two

Drive of Dragons, Verity, Sigune
Okay - I grant you, there are very few people in the world who have actually read my books! But this isn't about content. It's just about titles, and what you think is evocative or interesting. So here are a  couple of polls.

My first book for which I'm seeking an agent and/or publisher is literary YA SF. The working title is HONOR. It's a pretty good title, I think; it gets at what motivates the MC and drives his actions. But it's also just a little generic, perhaps. So-
Poll #1959242 Possible titles for YA SF novel?
Open to: All, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 8

What's your favorite title?

View Answers
2 (25.0%)
2 (25.0%)
His Mother's Sword
3 (37.5%)
The Five Blows
1 (12.5%)

And for book two - a humorous middle grade fantasy?

View Answers
A Drive of Dragons
6 (75.0%)
The People of Stone
2 (25.0%)

Another Visdare, courtesy of Angela Goff!

Drive of Dragons, Verity, Sigune
This one is called Magic Enjoy!178736678932738663_hJbOWNY3_c

Charles practiced magic every day. The coolest thing was making things disappear, but it bugged him that it was all just illusions. Where were the real powers? Why couldn’t’ he mess with peoples’ heads for real, like Darth Vader and the other Sith?

Then he found it. “Charlene!” he whispered to his twin, “look at this. Look what I can do!”

“What?” Charlene rolled her eyes. She was five minutes older, and a girl besides, and she always claimed to be so much more mature than he was. “Another stupid magic trick?”

Charles didn’t answer. He was focusing too hard. You had to concentrate, to be totally in the moment, or it wouldn’t happen. He pedaled down the sidewalk, leaning back a bit as if he were planning to pop a wheelie. He was so focused he didn’t even hear his sister scream as he began to vanish.
Drive of Dragons, Verity, Sigune
The Desolation of Smaug, as told by Fili and Kili, with help from Bilbo and occasional interjections from other characters-
Or, Wrong Movie, Dude!

After seeing The Desolation of Smaug, I was looking for sporkings, but couldn't find any, so I wrote my own. Note: Fili and Kili are still my favorites of the dwarves; they have been since I was a little girl. There's a wonderful analysis of the characters and their relationship here.
Warning: Spoilers for Peter Jackson's Desolation of Smaug
Read more...Collapse )

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Drive of Dragons, Verity, Sigune
To all who celebrate. This is a small snippet of one of my favorite scenes from Roswell. A girl tries to tell a boy how to buy a present his girlfriend will truly appreciate, but the boy, Michael, has his own ideas -

Too cute! (teen boys on the library)

library, girl, books, Niki
Today, I had to tell two of my 14-year-olds they had to leave the library because we were closing. One boy responded. "Why does something so good have to close?" He also said, "This is the only place I can be myself." Isn't that cool?

Editing today to tell the rest of the story - I think the boys wouldn't mind.

Me: "I really want you on my teen advisory board!"
Boy who'd spoken: "What's a teen advisory board?"
Me: "We get together and share snacks and you tell me what you like about the library, what you'd like us to do, what we're doing right and what we're doing wrong."
Boy: "The library's doing NOTHING wrong."
Me" "Great! I need you to tell the grown-ups that."
Boy: "Don't they know that? Why don't they know that?"
Boy's friend: "Because they're grown-ups."

Wise words. We grown-ups need to be sure we don't forget what it feels like to be a kid, and that we don't forget to listen.

And yes, libraries rock! Just look at the young teen in my icon - she thinks so, too!
Drive of Dragons, Verity, Sigune
Tada! You are the Tardis!
You are a creative soul and more than a little eccentric. You might say your relentless zest for life makes you BIGGER on the INSIDE! Impulsive and curious, you lead the Doctor where he needs to go and not necessarily where he wants to go. You're full of wanderlust, a romantic at heart and irresistibly sexy!

Beware - your passion for raw adventure can make you forgetful. Please call home from time to time!

Find out more:


Drive of Dragons, Verity, Sigune
On Courage in Teen Literature, part 2

Here is a quote that always bothered me:

…courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means, at the point of highest reality. A chastity or honesty, or mercy, which yields to danger will be chaste or honest or merciful only on conditions. Pilate was merciful till it became risky. C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters, cited in

Another well-known author reiterates Lewis’s point in simpler language:

Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can't practice any other virtue consistently. (Maya Angelou, quoted in

What do these authors mean by this? Do they mean we all have to be Gryffindors, or, heaven help us, Dauntless, in order to be good people? And is it even true? Do you have to be brave before you can be consistently loving, or generous, or humble? Couldn’t it work the other way around, so that practicing one of these other virtues could lead you to bravery?

Yes, I think it could. C.S. Lewis himself wrote a remarkable scene in a novel for adults – a scene of resolute heroism on the part of a very young, very frightened woman. It wasn’t until I read another scene, in Elizabeth Wein’s brilliant, harrowing Rose Under Fire, that the scene Lewis had written truly clicked into place for me. Thinking of the two scenes together made me see courage in a new way. Warning – there are some spoilers ahead for both Rose Under Fire and Lewis’s adult novel, That Hideous Strength.A young ATA pilot in WWII Read more...Collapse )


Drive of Dragons, Verity, Sigune

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