Singapore’s Largest Book Event: BookFest@Singapore 2017 + Tips to Survive a BookFest

Hey guys! If you live in Singapore, take note.

Popular’s BookFest@Singapore 2017 has returned to Suntec Convention Centre from 15 – 24 December 2017!

Sprawling a massive conventional hall, readers can expect a whole host of events, products and bargains. From IT gadgets to books and stuffed whales (I found one and carried it with me during the entire 2.5 hours I spent there. I also named him Billy), this fair, truly has everything.  Whether you are a book lover, tech junkie, music fanatic, bargain hunter or otherwise, this 10-day event will be a one-stop extravaganza.

Trust me, when I was there yesterday, I was blown away by the variety. There was every single book you could ever want. Any candy, assessment book and gadget. There was even a pop-up cafe!

The biggest highlight for literary fans every year is naturally the renowned POPULAR
Readers’ Choice Awards 2017. This will be returning to BookFest for its 6th edition this year.

With a reader- voting system, it is the voice of the public and a huge reflection of the books that made their mark.

30 local works will be vying for the top 3 places in each of the three categories – English (Adult), English (Children), and Chinese.

Additionally, the “Citibank Book Cover Award” will also be presented to the publisher
with the best cover design, based on the use of graphics, creativity and visual impact.

While you’re there, don’t miss the first-ever Gadgets & IT Show housed in BookFest,
where you can get a sneak peek of the hottest and latest technology. From portable chargers to robot vacuums, there’s really something for everyone. Even me, who doesn’t really bother with gadgets of that calibre, found stuff that proved interesting.

And of course, the most important part of BookFest, the crazy deals! The Crazy Auction will be held on 4 different days at BookFest. With Gadgets & IT products with a starting bid as low as $1, gear yourself up to snag some delightful deals.

There are also books going for 3 for $12 or 3 books for the price of 2. For all you hardcore readers out there, nows the time to spend and not feel guilty! Yay!

So if you live in Singapore and have the time, I totally recommend going down.

Also, considering that I went yesterday, I thought I’d give you guys some tips on how to have the best BookFest@Singapore 2017 experience.

1. Go early and avoid peak periods

My best advice is to go early. As in, the second it opens early. When we were there, the crowds were already massive and there were queues to enter the venue. Mind you, it was a Friday morning at about 10am. So you can only imagine what the weekends would be like. So avoid the weekends or peak periods and always go early so you don’t have to waste time waiting in a queue

2. Go alone

Okay this sounds mean but it’s really not. I always feel that book sales or even just book browsing requires one to be alone with themselves and perhaps some music. So either go alone so that you can enjoy every section at your own pace and comfort, or bring someone who is equally passionate about giving all the books their undivided attention and who will be okay with letting you do your thing while they do theirs.

3. Make use of the trollies and baskets provided

Popular has very kindly provided loads of baskets on wheels and trollies to carry your books and gadgets and stationary in. Make use of them. Your stuff will be heavy.

4. Wear comfortable clothes

I cannot emphasis this enough. Wear good walking shoes and comfortable clothes because you will be walking and standing a lot. Additionally, try to eat before you come or have a bite at the pop-up cafe. This is so that your book experience isn’t interrupted by anything at all.

So there you have it. This year’s bookfest. I’m so excited about the selection and I can’t wait to hopefully go back for more.

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SG Book Deals: Books Box Sale 2017

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Hey guys! Guess what! SG Book Deals’s Books Box Sale is back for another year!

This is the third year that they are holding this glorious book sale and if you live in Singapore or will be in Singapore between the 4th to the 13th of August, you should check it out because this is the book sales of all book sales.

What will happen is that you will be given a huge box. You will then be able to pack in as many books as you possibly can. Once you’re done, you just go up to the counter and pay $50 for your giant box of books and you’re done.

How many books you take home completely depends on your packing skills and the size of the books you pick.

I remember I took home so many books last year that I couldn’t even count them.

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Books Box Sale 2017 (Public Sale)

Date: 4-13 Aug 2017

Mon-Fri: 1pm-6pm

Sat, Sun, PH: 10am-6pm

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Free Books for Students:

This year, in an attempt to get people into the habit of reading, SG Book Deals is giving away 100 books per day to students. You can get one book per student and it can be redeemed using your student pass.

Book Genres You Can Get:

  • Adult Fiction
  • Young Adult Fiction
  • Baby Toddler
  • Early readers for children
  • Intermediate readers for children
  • Activity/Novelty books for children
  • NonFiction
  • Selfimprovement
  • Business
  • Health Wellness
  • Parenting
  • Crafts Hobbies
  • National Geographic
  • Cookbooks
  • History
  •  Music
  • Academic
  • Christian

For more information, you can visit their socials here:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/SGBookDeals
Instagram: www.instagram.com/sgbookdeals

I will be down for the sale and I hope to see you guys there!

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Guest Post: Putting the Readers Back in Charge of Publishing

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Imagine a YA publishing process without gatekeepers.  One where editors and agents read the manuscripts that readers love, not vice versa.  One where anyone with a knack for writing, a passion to succeed, and a little flair for self-promotion, has a fair shot at being published.

All too frequently, this isn’t the case.  Books often get rejected for reasons beyond authors’ control.  One editor turned down an ultimately successful book by saying, “The girl doesn’t, it seems to me, have a special perception or feeling which would lift that book above the ‘curiosity’ level.”  The book in question?  The Diary of Anne Frank.  Furthermore, according to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, only about 10% of all YA books accepted for publication feature “multi-cultural content.”  Clearly, there are some blind spots that need addressing in the publishing industry.

It’s with this vision in mind that Publishizer is launching its YA book proposal contest called Plot Without a Cause.  Publishizer is a startup seeking to fill a hole in the publishing industry through crowdfunding.  It works like this:

You write the book proposal.  You know the book proposal I’m talking about.  The one you’ve been daydreaming about for years.  The one that just popped into your head last week and you haven’t stopped thinking about since.  The one for the manuscript that’s been dearly loved by you but maybe not so much yet by the publishing industry.  That one.  Then you register (for free!) on Publishizer’s website and post your proposal in the Plot Without a Cause section (again—for free!).

Now this is when you’ll have to start hustling.  Crowdfunding runs on pre-orders, so you had better start promoting that proposal.  Reach out over social media, post on your blog, email your old roommates—whatever it takes to start building buzz.  If you get the most preorders by the time the contest ends, you’ll win $1000 dollars.  And if you don’t have the highest number of preorders, don’t worry—you’ll still be queried to major publishers who fit your proposal.

Previous Publishizer contest participants have gotten interest and landed deals with a variety of traditional publishing companies, including Harvard Square Books, She Writes Press, and Weiser.  Publishizer takes a small commission on pre-orders when you choose a publisher at the end.

Every year, thousands of books are rejected by the publishing world for reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of the book—they’re too mainstream or not mainstream enough, too similar to books already being published or too different from books already being published.  Or the literary agent just doesn’t stand to make much money on the deal so they pass on a perfectly good book!  Imagine how many brilliant YA manuscripts go unpublished every year thanks to frustrating rejections.  Imagine how many hugely talented authors quietly give up on their dreams, just because the gate to a traditional publishing path isn’t open to them.

With their new YA book proposal contest, Plot Without a Cause, Publishizer is seeking to level the playing field.  Publishing decisions shouldn’t be based solely on a literary agent’s judgement or how many friends you have in the industry. They should be based on quality of writing and how many readers the book attracts.

Great books get overlooked all the time, and this is an opportunity to show acquiring editors that yours is worth paying attention to.  Not to mention the readership and funds you could gain in the process.  Crowdfunding (or crowd-publishing, in this case) is growing in popularity and brings a personal touch back to book sales—for readers and publishers.  Are you in?

Spotlight: Ten Organisational Tips From Professional Organisers + Giveaway

Do you want to be more organised this year? Well keep reading and you might actually achieve it.

Top Ten Organisational Tips

1. Knowing who you are is the key to organization mainly because if you’re pretending to be someone else, it’s hard to remember where that pretend person put something!

2. Change is hard, so be honest about organizing tasks. People who never hang up their coats in a closet, probably never will; get a coat rack and call it a day.

3. Perfect isn’t real. Magazine perfection is styled by a professional whose job it is to make everything perfection for the millisecond it takes to snap a photo.

4. No shame, no blame! You liking clear, spotless surfaces doesn’t make you OCD (it’s not a personality disorder), it’s your personality type.

5. Later Box It. When you can’t part with a useless item, store it away in a box and revisit that box in a few months (a year), whatever you missed keep, whatever you forgot … dude, let it go.

6. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Change is hard (see #2!) so if storing TP right next to the toilet works for you, do it, but for heaven’s sake try to make it look nice—unless you live alone on Antarctica then who cares.

7. Organizing at its core is about retrieval. Period. Can you easily find and get things when you need them. Everything else is an argument about aesthetics.

8. One-step solutions are golden. Hanging up your coat is a five-step process whereas popping it on a hook is one-step. Light bulb (at least it was for us!)

9. Be loud & proud. So, you write important To Do’s on your hand in a pinch. Who cares? Don’t apologize, defend it and tell any scolds where they can go.

10. There’s no best way to organize—just the best one for you!

Their book

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Stressing over the mess? Discover YOUR personal organizing style—and stay organized forever!
Organization isn’t one-size-fits-all. Different people need different solutions. Fortunately, Katie and Kelly McMenamin—the organizing gurus behind PixiesDidIt!®—have found the key to making organization stick, with strategies that work for every personality.Whether you’re OCD or a little less fastidious, Katie and Kelly will help you discover your organizational style, using unconventional approaches or sticking to what already works. Along with personality-based solutions for every space in your home, they offer advice on solving strife between different “PixieTypes.” So you can keep the stuff you love . . . and the peace!

Author Biography

Katie McMenamin and Kelly McMenamin are sisters, professional organizers, personality-type experts, and founders of PixieDidIt! Their business is an outgrowth of buttoned-up hedge fund analyst Kelly spending 30-odd years trying and failing to get her messy older sister Katie, a writer, to be more organized. Countless fights ensued until they had an idea: What if there is more than one way to organize? Today, they spend the bulk of their time organizing for clients, writing for their website, and giving talks on how to organize according to your personality type. Kelly lives in NYC with her husband and three sons and Katie lives in their hometown, the Land of Champions, aka Cleveland, OH, with her husband and three daughters.

Giveaway:

https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js” target=”_blank”>1 Finished Copy of ORGANIZE YOUR WAY (US Only)
 

Unboxing: The December Book Boyfriend Box 

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Let me just start by saying that I know this unboxing is coming late. I am aware of that. It’s just that the box arrived quite late because of where I live and by the time it had come, I was swamped with assignments and exams and life was so hectic that I just had no time to sit down and write it.

I did unbox it on my Instagram though so if you were following me (@twentythreepages) you might have seen it on my story.

But since the Book Boyfriend team very kindly sent me a box, I wanted to still put up a full review. So here it is:

We Are Tornados By Michael Kun and Susan Mullen

It’s the summer of 1982, and for Scott and Cath, everything is about to change.

Growing up across the street from each other, Scott and Cath have been best friends for most of their lives. Now they’ve graduated high school, and Cath is off to college while Scott stays at home trying to get his band off the ground. Neither of them realized that their first year after high school would be so hard.

Fortunately, Scott and Cath still have each other, and it’s through their letters that they survive heartache, annoying roommates, family dramas, and the pressure of figuring out what to do with the rest of their lives. And through it all, they realize that the only person they’ve ever wanted to turn to is each other. But does that mean they should think about being more than friends? One thing is clear: Change is an inescapable part of growing up, and we share unbreakable bonds with the friends who help us navigate it.

Goodreads

The book that came with this box was We Are Tornados by Michael Kun and Susan Mullen.

It’s a young adult contemporary book and it looks so good!

I’ve actually heard so much about this book before it was even published and I’m sure it had a lot to do with the gorgeous cover. Anyway, this is a hardback copy (you guys know I have a soft spot for hardbacks) and I literally can’t wait to start reading it.

A Signed Book Plate

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Inside the book, I found a signed bookplate by Michael Kun and Susan Mullen, the authors of the featured novel. So that was really cool. I’ve actually only ever gotten one other signed postcard so this was cool.

Other Cool Paper Things

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In addition to the signed book plate, there was a postcard with a playlist from the book, a handwritten letter from Michael Kun and Susan Mullen to the Book Boyfriend subscribers, a card with readathon dates, a postcard with February’s theme on it and a signed postcard by R.S. McCoy, the author of Blossom and The Beast.

Literary  Tea

The next thing in the box was a packet of tea from the First Edition Tea Co. The tea was Pride and Prejudice themed and it was a citrus-y type of tea that honestly tasted amazing. As tea goes, I never really get how they can be literary except for the packaging but I thought this was super cute.

A Jane Austen Notepad

Next, we have a notepad with a Jane Austen quote on it as well as some blue roses. It’s absolutely gorgeous and I have literally fallen in love with it. And the best part is that it goes perfectly with the next item in the box.

A Feathered Ink Pen

In the box, there was a plastic quill pen that is actually a ball point pen. Mine was gold though I think some people got different colours. Regardless, how cute is it? I can’t wait to use it to write on my notepad.

Pride and Prejudice Soap

Now this was my absolute favourite part of the entire box and I have to say that I could smell this soap before I even opened the  box and after that, all I wanted to do was to sit there and sniff this beauty.

So in the box, I found a lavender soap from The McBath. They do really natural soaps with quotes on them. This quote was obviously from Pride and Prejudice. The soap was lavender and it had little exfoliating things in them.

Now usually, I hate bar soaps but with this one, I have been absolutely obsessed and I’ve been in love with it since receiving it. I use it almost everyday actually.

A Literary Coaster

The final item in the box, and another favourite, was this cute coaster. It’s a solid coaster with a page from a book in it. What I really like about it is that it is very sturdy and will not spoil if you put a cold drink down. It’s very durable and I love it. It looks gorgeous on my night stand.

So there you go! Everything that was in the December Book Boyfriend box. I apologise that this is coming late but guys, Book Boyfriend literally have the best boxes that I have ever received. They really provide you with value for money. I mean just the hardback alone is worth the price you pay.

If you would like to find out more or to order your own box, visit The Book Boyfriend’s website. Their June box will be going on sale on April 12th. You can also use my special discount code, ’23PAGES’, to get 10% off of your first box at checkout.

Once again, a huge thank you to The Book Boyfriend Box team for sending this treat my way!

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#BuySingLit

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What is the #BuySingLit Campaign?

#BuySingLit is a campaign to get Singaporeans to read more local literature. Through book sales, book signings and events, the National Arts Council is hoping that more Singaporeans will take an interest in local literature so that we can push our authors up and encourage more people to write.

How Does HYPE Magazine Fit Into This?

If you guys have been following me on my other social media, you would know that I spent the last five months (my final semester) working with the editorial team to put out the February 2017 issue of HYPE magazine.

Now the unique thing about this issue is that it coincided with the #BuySingLit campaign that most of the major local publishers, authors, editors and the National Arts Council are backing right now.

So of course we did a whole huge spread on SingLit in the magazine.

I was privileged enough to be assigned the cover story of our SingLit feature with another writer and because of that, I ended up organising the interviews of nine differnt local authors with our team of writers, I organised each of these author’s individual photoshoots (logistical nightmare, I swear), I organised and planned the HYPE cover shoot with these authors and in the end, thanks to a flaky writer, I got to take over the individual interview of Daryl Yam.

I’m pretty proud of this okay don’t begrudge me my spotlight 🙂

What about the National Book Development Council?

A while ago, The National Book Development Council reached out to me. They wanted to send me a press kit as well as to host a giveaway.

In the press kit, they sent me some local reads as well as a press release about all the events that will be taking place.

I will be reviewing some of those books in the days to come to get you psyched for #BuySingLit so keep an eye out for that.

The Giveaway

The giveaway ended up being put in HYPE magazine so look out for that also if you live in Singapore and want to win $100 worth of #BuySingLit vouchers. There will be five winners and you can spend that money on our local literature at the book sales. Very cool stuff.

Till then, don’t forget to check out #BuySingLit’s Facebook page. You can find out all about the events that are happening over there.

And of course, come and support our local authors especially if you live in Singapore. I know we Singaporeans can sometimes have a bit of a stigma against local books. We never think that they are good enough especially compared to international books but I’ve had the immense pleasure of reading some local books as of late and I have to say that they are actually really good.

Some of our local authors can really go head to head with some of today’s most popular international authors but the only reason why they are not topping charts is because their very own people, us Singaporeans, refuse to support them. And that is honestly so sad. I don’t know about you but I want to see a Singaporean author on the NYT bestseller list one day. It just will never happen if we don’t lend them our support and promote and rave and recommend their books.

So because of that, over the next few days, I will be putting up some reviews of local books that you can check out and hopefully that will inspire you to get some local books either from the sales or online (if you live overseas).

Till then, keep reading!

Photo credit: #BuySingLit

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Unboxing: Carpe Librum’s November Book Box

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Hey guys! It’s that time of the month again where Carpe Librum releases yet another one of their amazing book subscription boxes!

So if you didn’t know, Carpe Librum is a bi-monthly book subscription service that costs $35 (including local shipping)and comes with a paperback novel and a number of other little bookish goodies.

This time, as a Christmas special, Carpe Librum gave us the option of choosing between two themes (or getting both). The themes were: Happiness & Love Yourself. I got the Love Yourself box because obviously.

Anyway, today, I will be unboxing it and reviewing each item.

1. Holding Up the Universe By Jennifer Niven

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Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Following her mom’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for every possibility life has to offer. In that moment, I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything. 

Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin, too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the impossible art of giving people what they want, of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a newly acquired secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone.

Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game—which lands them in group counseling and community service—Libby and Jack are both pissed, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world, theirs and yours.

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Okay I’ll be honest, I read this book and finished it in the week that it was released. But, I read the ebook so I don’t actually have the physical copy and I have been trying to decide if I should just buy the physical copy for the longest time.  So this completely solved that problem for me. I can’t wait to put in my shelf right next to my beloved All The Bright Places.

Also, if you’re wondering, the book is incredible and a review of it will be going up on Youth.SG next month so I’ll certainly link you guys up as soon as it’s out.

2. A Tote Bag

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Do you even know how much I love tote bags? I love them. And this one is so adorable. I won’t lie, I did wish it came in black because black goes with everything but I love it all the same.

And, if you look closely, you’ll see Carpe Librum’s little stamp at the bottom because they actually came up with this themselves. I feel like a proud mama not gonna lie.

3. A Mug

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Ever since Carpe Librum put in a mug in their May book box, I’ve been waiting and waiting for them to put in another mug. I mean I used the last mug religiously every single morning.

So I was so excited to open my box and to find a cute little mug. It’s adorable and my only problem is that now I’m going to have such a hard time figuring out if I should use this mug or the mug from May in the mornings.

*tea not included

4. Six quote cards

This month, we got six little quote cards with a little wooden stand to prop them up on. I really love these cards. Especially the one that says ‘Eat like you love yourself’. I think that was the best and most powerful line out of all the cards. I don’t know I guess a lot of times we need to remind ourselves that we do actually love ourselves and we should treat ourselves like we would someone we love.

I don’t know about you but I would never withhold food from someone I loved. I would never beat someone I loved over the head for a small mistake. So just remember to love yourself. It was such a great reminder.

5. Drink coasters

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I love coasters and I was so excited to see two of these bookish ones in the box this month. However I am concerned about the quality. The coasters were a little sticky like the paint hadn’t dried properly yet and it just doesn’t look very durable. They are gorgeous no doubt but I don’t think they are too functional.

So there you have it. Everything that was in Carpe Librum’s November box. I am honestly so impressed with this month’s selection. I’m so glad that they finally delved into the young adult genre because I’ve personally really been wanting to see that show up in the boxes.

I also really like how Carpe Librum experimented with making their own products this time. They usually do a lot of collaborations but this time, I was very excited to see their own little stamps on some of the items.

If you want to get your hands on the next box, you can visit Carpe Librum’s Facebook page or their Instagram page to find out more.

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Guest Post: The Sioux People By Andrew Joyce

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My name is Andrew Joyce and I write books for a living. I would like to thank Camillia for allowing me to be here today to promote my latest, Yellow Hair, which documents the injustices done to the Sioux Nation from their first treaty with the United States in 1805 through Wounded Knee in 1890. Every death, murder, battle, and outrage I write about actually took place. The historical figures that play a role in my fact-based tale of fiction were real people and I use their real names. Yellow Hair is an epic tale of adventure, family, love, and hate that spans most of the 19th century.

Now that the commercial is out of the way, we can get down to what I really came here to talk about: the Sioux people. The people we know as the Sioux were originally known as the Dakota, which means ally. The name Sioux came from the Chippewa and the French. The Chippewa called them Nadonessiou, which means adder, or enemy, and then the French shortened the name to Sioux.

Every culture has an origin myth. We in the West have Adam and Eve. The Ancient Greeks had Gaia. According to the Norse people, Odin and Ymir founded the earth. If you will allow me, I’d like to tell you the creation story of the Dakota.

In the beginning, before the creation of the earth, the gods resided in the sky and humans lived in darkness. Chief among the gods was Ta՜kuwakaŋ, the Sun, who was married to Haŋyetuwi, the Moon. He had one daughter, Wohpe. And there was Old Man and Old Woman, whose daughter, Ite, was wife to Wind, to whom she gave four sons, the Four Winds.

Of the other spirits, the most important was Iŋktomi, the devious trickster. Iŋktomi conspired with Old Man and Old Woman to increase their daughter’s status by arranging an affair between the Sun and Ite. His wife’s discovery of the affair led Ta՜kuwakaŋ to give the Moon her own domain, and by separating her from himself, created time.

Old Man, Old Woman and Itewho was separated from Wind, her husband—were banished to Earth. Ite, along with her children, the Four Winds, and a fifth wind—the child of Ite but not of Wind—established space. The daughter of the Sun and the Moon, Wohpe, also fell to earth and later resided with the South Wind. The two adopted the fifth wind, who was called Wamŋiomŋi.

Alone on the newly formed Earth, some of the gods became bored. Ite prevailed upon Iŋktomi to find her people, the Buffalo Nation. In the form of a wolf, Iŋktomi went beneath the earth and discovered a village of humans. Iŋktomi told them about the wonders of the Earth and convinced one man, Tokahe, to accompany him through a cave to the surface. Tokahe did so and, upon reaching the surface, saw the green grass and blue sky for the first time. Iŋktomi and Ite introduced Tokahe to buffalo meat and showed him tipis, clothing, hunting clubs, and bows and arrows. Tokahe returned to the underworld village and appealed to six other men and their families to go with him to the Earth’s surface.

When they arrived, they discovered that Iŋktomi had deceived Tokahe. The buffalo were scarce; the weather had turned bad, and they found themselves starving. Unable to return to their home, but armed with a new knowledge about the world, they survived to become the founders of the Seven Council Fires.

The Seven Council Fires . . . or Oćeti Šakowiŋ . . . are the Mdewakanton, the Wahpeton, the Wahpekute, the Sisseton, the Yankton, the Yanktonai, and the Lakota.

After Tokahe led the six families to the surface of the earth, they wandered for many winters. Sons were born and sons died. Winters passed, more winters than could be counted. That was before Oćeti Šakowiŋ. But not until White Buffalo Calf Woman did the humans become Dakota.

Two scouts were hunting the buffalo when they came to the top of a small hill. A long way off, they observed the figure of a woman. As she approached, they saw that she was beautiful. She was young and carried a wakiŋ. One of the scouts had lustful thoughts and told the other. His friend told him that she was sacred and to banish such thoughts.

The woman came up to them and said to the one with the lustful thoughts, “If you would do what you are thinking, come forward.” The scout moved and stood before her and a white cloud covered them from sight.

When the woman stepped from the cloud, it blew away. There on the ground, at the beautiful woman’s feet, lay a pile of bones with worms crawling in and among them.

The woman told the other scout to go to his village and tell his people that she was coming, for them to build a medicine tipi large enough to hold all the chiefs of the nation. She said, “I bring a great gift to your people.”

When the people heard the scout’s story, they constructed the lodge, and put on their finest clothing, then stood about the lodge and waited.

As the woman entered the village, she sang:

‘With visible breath I am walking.

A voice I am sending as I walk.

In a sacred manner I am walking.

With visible tracks I am walking.

In a sacred manner I walk.’

She handed the wakiŋ to the head chief and he withdrew a pipe from the bundle. On one side of the pipe was carved a bison calf. “The bison represents the earth, which will house and feed you,” she said.

Thirteen eagle feathers hung from the wooden stem. White Buffalo Calf Woman told the chiefs, “The feathers represent the sky and the thirteen moons. With this pipe, you shall prosper. With this pipe, you shall speak with Wakaŋ Taŋ՜ka (God). With this pipe, you shall become The People. With this pipe, you shall be bound with the Earth for She is your mother. She is sacred. With this pipe, you shall be bound to your relatives.”

Having given the pipe to the People, and having said what she had to say, she turned and walked four paces from the lodge and sat down.

When she arose, she was a red-and-brown buffalo calf. She walked on, lay down and came up as a black buffalo calf. Walking still farther, she turned into a white buffalo and stood upon a hill. She turned to bow in the four directions of the four winds and then she vanished.

Because of White Buffalo Calf Woman, the Dakota honor our mother the Earth; they honor their parents and their grandparents. They honor the birds of the sky; they honor the beasts of the earth. They know that Wakaŋ Taŋ՜ka resides in all animals, in all trees and plants and rocks and stones. Wakaŋ Taŋ՜ka is in all. They know that Wakaŋ Taŋ՜ka lives in each of us.

Because of White Buffalo Calf Woman, they have become Dakota.

 

My Dream LootCrate

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Hi guys! So recently, I learned that Loot Crate is looking for people to participate in a cool project that they are doing.

If you don’t know, Lootcrate is a subscription box that targets gamers and geeks (their words. Not mine). They have a lot of very cool items in their boxes and they have their boxes monthly.

So this month, LootCrate is are basically giving people the liberty to create their own dream Lootcrate.We get to choose the theme and the items and they will be picking the best one to turn into a real life crate! How exciting!

So the theme that I decided to choose for my box is very simple one: Netflix Originals.

Basically it would be a box that contains stuff related to some of the famous Netflix originals that we have.

Gilmore Girls: In Omnia Paratus Necklace

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You guys know that any box of mine has to include anything and everything Gilmore Girls. So I’ll start with an In Omnia Paratus necklace from Shopkreativestudios on Etsy. If you didn’t know, In Omnia Paratus is what they say in the Life  & Death Brigade which is a group that Logan is a part of and that Rory was in for the duration of a weekend. It essentially translates to ‘ready for all things’.

I chose this particular necklace because I think everyone needs to remember that they are capable of anything and everything. When I see that quote, I think of Rory standing on top of that huge structure with an umbrella. I think of how if she let her rational side win, she would have missed out of this amazing opportunity and I think everyone needs to remember what they could stand to lose once in a while.

Gilmore Girls: Stars Hollow Candle

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In my opinion, no subscription box is complete without a scented candle. So I think a Stars Hollow scented candle from InTheWickOfTime is perfect. It’s a vegan and soy handmade candle and according to the description, it smells like maple leaves, apples, toasted marshmallows and fall spices. All my favourite things and all the things I associate with Stars Hollow.

Stranger Things: Mug

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Stranger Things! We have to have something to honour Netflix’s best original show to date! So we have this adorable but hopelessly accurate mug from Frenchteese. It’s just essential okay. Don’t even question it. I mean how cool would you look sipping from this in the morning?

Netflix: Button

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This was just a cheap little something to throw in because how cute would this little button from LazyMiceLazyMice look on your tote bag?

Gilmore Girls: POP Funkos

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One of the most exciting things to ever happen in the whole universe was POP Funko announcing their Gilmore Girl’s funkos that were coming at the end of the year. So in my dream LootCrate, I would put in the funkos. I would alternate between Rory and Lorelai so that some people will get Rory and some will get Lorelai. I’m excluding Sookie because I mean the girls are the stars and realistically, they are the ones that people (me) would want to receive.

So there we go! The contents of my dream LootCrate! I’ve probably gone hopelessly over the budget but apparently, sky was the limit. Honestly if this box came to life I think I would cry because how amazing a curator am I? Just kidding (not really) but yeah. It’s pretty awesome no?

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The Art of Book Cover Creation By Kristin Bartley Lenz

Hey guys! Today I have something a little different for you. The author of The Art Of Holding On And Letting Go, Kristin Bartley Lenz is here today to talk about how book covers are designed and created! I’m sure you guys will love learning about how your favourite covers have come about just as much as I enjoyed it. So here’s Kristin!

As a reader who is also a writer, I tend to be as interested in the summary, blurbs, and reviews as much as a book’s cover. But I’ve watched my daughter scan the shelves of bookstores and libraries choosing and rejecting books by their covers alone. Social media has opened up new avenues for publishers to tailor their cover designs, such as Swoon Reads/Macmilllan, which asks readers to vote for their favorite of several cover directions for their debuts. https://www.swoonreads.com/blog/category/cover-creation/
It wasn’t until my own novel entered the publishing process that I truly saw the behind-the-scenes making of a book cover. I was fortunate to be involved in many of the cover decisions, including choosing from four initial cover concepts, all very different.

Here’s what my cover designer, Amanda Schwarz, shared about her initial process with my book:

“When designing a book cover I search for a way to visually represent the emotion of the novel while not outright telling the audience what it’s about. After reading the book I realized that the heart of the story is the lead character coming to terms with where her life has taken her and accepting change. In particular the Annie Dillard quote at the end of the novel struck me, “Mountains are giant, restful, absorbent. You can heave your spirit into a mountain and the mountain will keep it, folded, and not throw it back as some creeks will. The creeks are the world with all its stimulus and beauty; I live there. But mountains are home.” To me, this sums up the feelings of the book. Cara, by the end, comes to realize that no matter where she is in her life, the mountains, along with Uncle Max, will always be a part of her. They are inside of her and a life that she can return to one day.

So while not referencing climbing directly, I felt having mountains represented in the covers somewhere is very important as Cara comes to hold on to the important aspects of her previous life, but also learns to let go of others as she grows in the story. It captures the tone but there is also the mystery of what exactly the mountains represent to the story.

While working on the preliminary designs I also decided to use handwritten or script text for the covers. Since we spend the entirety of the book seeing the events from Cara’s perspective, anything that isn’t handwritten felt too impersonal for a very personal story. I chose fonts that have similar characteristics but also contrast to emphasize the emotions of the title especially “Holding On and Letting Go.”

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More layers were added after the initial direction was determined – the images of the mountains, trees, the cityscape, and starry night sky. Later, there were more choices with colors and fonts, and the back cover design as well. Mysterious notes play a role in Cara’s story, so the back cover blurbs are featured on a sheet of wrinkled paper to correspond with this aspect of the plot. If you look closely, you’ll also see the mountains on the back cover carrying over from the front.

I was delighted by other little details right through to the finished design. There’s a small image of a carabiner on the book’s spine, and the inside of the front cover is green to match the trees on the front.

Now that my eyes have been opened to the possibilities, I look at book covers with a new appreciation and notice details I previously overlooked. Even more fun, my publisher is tweaking the cover of The Art of Holding On and Letting Go for a second printing, and this time we get to include a shiny gold sticker thanks to the Junior Library Guild!

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Want to learn more about the art of book covers? By the Cover is an ongoing feature at Book Riot, and Publishers Weekly has a new column devoted to book covers.