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Girls invent the neatest things!

I am continually amazed at the wonderful content the A Mighty Girl team comes up with, curating from all over the web but also adding in links to resources and additional information. They’ve become one of my primary go-to sources for great stories about girls doing awesome things all over the globe. This latest story of theirs is no exception. Girls from Zagreb, Croatia, have invented a teddy bear embedded with sensors that can be given to children in the hospital. When the children interact with the teddy bear, it records vital signs and sends them wirelessly to smartphones or…

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Dear World — about kids and science

Dear World: I want you to know that the effort required to get children, in particular girls, interested in science is really rather basic. Engage with them. Talk to them like they are real people instead of very small idiots, and answer their questions. Even using humor is fine, as the Australians have done (those Aussies are good at humor.) Just engage. Please. Our future depends on this. Love, me.

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LEGO robotics and girls and awesomeness

This past fall I had the opportunity to coach a LEGO Robotics team through the FIRST LEGO League, aka FLL. In short, it was *awesome.* I coached a team of 7 girls, all Girl Scouts with the Girls Scouts of Northern IL, all fourth grade students at Da Vinci Academy in Elgin, IL. The Girl Scouts of Northern IL had received a generous grant from the Motorola Solutions Foundation to sponsor this kind of STEM activity for girls (please tell me you know what STEM stands for. Please? Okay, I’ll tell you *again* — Science Technology Engineering Math. Sometimes you’ll…

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Media and Design Club for Kids Meeting 2

Media and Design Club for KidsMeeting 2 Activity 1: Door InvestigationActivity Objective: Evaluate design choices by touring the school and counting the different types of door styles we encounter. Discussion: This was a hands-on exercise where we walked around the whole school and noted and counted the different door designs we saw. I had the kids bring notepaper and pencils so they could keep track. Some drew the doors, some wrote down descriptions of key features. Before too long we had amassed a list of 30 different door types in our very small school! This gave rise to the opportunity…

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Media And Design Club: Meeting 1

I’ve started a Media and Design Club for students at my children’s school. It’s an idea that started out of a desire to get the kids involved with the creation of the school yearbook, which has previously been done by parent volunteers who are more time-constrained this year than usual. Rather than just doing a “Yearbook Club” though, I wanted to aim a little broader. We have a lot of time before the school yearbook needs to be completed (I am starting the club the first week in January that we’re back in school.) I also have this not-too-secret goal…

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How I wrote a novel in 20 minutes a day (and you can, too!)

I just wrote “the end” today on my middle-grade science fiction novel. I wrote it over the course of forty days, with a short break in the middle to finish a novelette that was burning on me (so forty non-consecutive days.) I’m somewhat astonished with this fact, as it didn’t feel hard. I’ve written four National Novel Writing Month (nanowrimo) novels, and they all felt hard. Hard to find the time, hard to catch up when I fell behind, hard to stay on top of, a race to the finish. True, this one was shorter. It’s complete at 44k words.…

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Indie ebook publishing links and website recommendations

Independent Publishing Links and Website Recommendations I was asked to sit on an author’s marketing panel tonight with my writer’s group. We got together with a group that’s more focused on book marketing (our group is a “writer’s support group” – we talk about craft and do writing exercises and cheer each other on. It’s a little different spin than many critique circles you’ll hear about.) I represented the indie epublishing point of view, and knowing I was likely to be in the minority (I was) in terms of doing the ebook formatting and watching the ebook industry, I put…

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CONVERGENCE – by Karen T. Smith, a YA Sci-Fi novel

Desperate for something new to read? My young adult (young end of YA, perfectly appropriate for most middle-grade readers) science fiction novel CONVERGENCE by Karen T. Smith is now available on all ebook platforms (amazon kindle, barnes and noble nook, smashwords for most other e-readers. Note: Kobo and Sony Reader distribution should be within the next 1-2 weeks. Apple mail trail a bit longer.) Paperback available at most e-retailers and First of all, isn’t the cover gorgeous? I had a fantastic cover model (one of the kids’ babysitters!) and my really awesome friend Renee of The Cover Counts worked…

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E-book Formatting Checklist

How to Format your e-book for independent publishing In formatting ebooks for independent publishing, I’ve found that the detailed information offered in the Smashwords style guide, while top-notch and something that EVERY indie publisher needs to read, is a bit hard to parse when you’re going through the routine of formatting another book/story for publication, so I (with the help of my 9 year old son) documented the process in a simple(r) checklist, so I could be sure I was following the correct steps as I went. This is heavily based on that Smashwords style guide, so you really need…

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