Nathan Bransford, Author

Monday, December 24, 2012

Still Time to Help Raise Money for Heifer!

I have it on good authority that Santa is currently making his way around the world, but you still have time to do some giving of your own!

It's easy: just stop by these eight generous blogs, leave comments, and spread the giving to a great cause!

Catherine Ryan Hyde
Anne Mackin
My Karma Jumped Over My Dogma
T.K.'s Tales
Mira's Corner
100 First Drafts
Tales From the Motherland
Daily Adventures

And don't forget, you can leave comments on my original post, or tweet #NBHeifer with this link: and every one means $2 more for Heifer.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Comments On These Blogs = Money For Heifer!

Our Heifer International fundraiser is in full swing! Here are the participating blogs so far, please stop by them, comment, and spread the word about a really great cause!

Catherine Ryan Hyde
Anne Mackin
My Karma Jumped Over My Dogma
T.K.'s Tales
Mira's Corner
100 First Drafts
Tales From the Motherland
Daily Adventures

Don't forget, every tweet with #NBHeifer and this link: means $2 for Heifer! And you can comment on the original post as well.

There's still time to join the giving with your own pledge, just add a comment with a link to your blog in the main post.

Thanks so much to everyone for participating! Let's keep the giving going!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

4th Annual Heifer International Fundraiser!

Woo hoo! Time for our annual Heifer International blog fundraising goodness where we spread the cheer for an incredibly worthy cause and try to multiple the giving.

All you have to do to enter is to leave a comment on this post OR tweet a link to this post ( and include the hashtag #NBHeifer to help raise money for a great cause.  Then click over to the other participating blogs at the bottom of this post and do the same thing.

And, better yet, to multiply the giving, if you want in on the fun you can do a per-comment pledge on your own blog! It can be any amount, from ten cents to a million dollars. Totally up to you. Just leave a comment with a link to your blog post or tweet announcing your pledge or e-mail it to me and I'll feature it in this post. (Let me know if you need help tracking your hashtag).

You may have already heard of Heifer International, an organization that works to fight hunger by giving needy families around the world and in the United States livestock, training, or other assistance that helps improve their livelihood. Heifer has been recognized for its work in Fast Company and Forbes, among other places.

If you have anything to spare this holiday season I hope you'll consider making a donation. And in order to encourage people to spread the word about this worthy cause, there are two ways to help increase the giving love (and feel free to do both):
  1. For every comment someone makes in this post between now and 6PM Pacific time on December 24, I will donate $2.00. 
  2. For every tweet that includes a) the hashtag #NBHeifer and b) a link back to this post ( I will donate another $2.00. (up to $2,000 between the two) 
We can encourage everyone to stop by so we can multiply the giving! Over the past three years we raised over $5,000 together.

Please click over to these participating blogs:
Catherine Ryan Hyde
Anne Mackin
My Karma Jumped Over My Dogma
T.K.'s Tales
Mira's Corner
100 First Drafts
Tales From the Motherland
Daily Adventures

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Instagram Flap

In case you haven't seen the news, Instagram sent the Internet sputtering when they changed their terms of service that gives them the ability to license photos.

In my take for CNET, I argue that providing the platform shouldn't mean owning the content, and Instagram has reminded us yet again that when the service is free, we are the product.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Heifer International Fundraiser is Coming!

The holiday season is here and it's almost time for our 4th annual Heifer International Fundraiser.

If you're not familiar with this most fabulous event, participating blogs and individuals make per-comment or per-tweet pledges, I list them on the blog, and we encourage everyone to travel through the blogosphere leaving community goodness and spreading the word about Heifer International.

You also end up discovering some great blogs. 

Here's how we did it last year . This year's event will be similar and will start on Wednesday.

Please participate!! 

If you are interested in being one of the participating blogs/individuals, please let me know either in the comments section or via e-mail. Let's spread the cheer for a very great cause.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Living on the Edge of Confidence and Self-Doubt

I was at the Camp Mighty retreat a few weeks back, and one of the best talks was given by Ben Silbermann, co-founder and CEO of Pinterest.

He talked about a journey that I think would be extremely familiar to any novelist. He embarked on many false starts as after he quit his job at Google and built several semi-successful sites before finally arriving at one of the most influential designs in the last five years: Pinterest.

In his talk, he mentioned something that really felt familiar to me as a writer, which was that even after all the success he has had with Pinterest he lives at the intersection of terror and joy.

This struck a chord with me because it gets back to how you have to live as a writer. You have to be strong enough to put yourself out there, brave and confident as you share a part of yourself with the world. You do it because you love it so much you're willing to risk everything negative that can possibly come your way.

But you also have to be self-critical enough to edit your work and fear failure and be worried that your best might not be good enough, which pushes you just that much further. You have to be scared of what will happen if you don't do your best. You can't ever get comfortable.

Terror and joy. Confidence and self-doubt. The best artists live right in that uncomfortable middle.

Art: "The Progress of Poesy" - poem by Thomas Gray, art by William Blake

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Where My Blog Art Comes From

When I decided to start adding art to posts, it was originally because I wanted to be blog- and Facebook-friendly (thumbnails!) while using stuff that is totally in the public domain. Since then I've been getting a lot of questions about where it all comes from.

Pretty much one place: Wikimedia Commons.

It's a treasure trove of basically everything amazing that has ever been painted. Warning: Clicking around and going hunting for art can result in many lost afternoons.

There you have it!

Art: Train in the Snow by Claude Monet

Friday, December 7, 2012

The NY Times is Creating New Middle Grade/Young Adult Bestseller Lists

When I tell people outside of the publishing world that I write middle grade fiction I usually get a blank stare. When I say I write children's books, even children's novels, people's minds go straight to picture books.

So, needless to say, it was with great interest that I saw the NY Times' announcement that they will be splitting the children's bestseller list into middle grade and young adult. Whew! Hopefully this will raise awareness for the wonders of middle grade, which, if you aren't familiar with the term, is for children roughly 8-12 years old.

What do you think of the change?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Which Writers Most Influence Your Work?

No writer lives in a vacuum. We all take inspiration from the people who have come before us. We are moved some of their best ideas, we all start through imitation before we graduate to originality, and it's important to recognize and honor the people who paved the way for your work.

This is an important process, and even as we mature as writers and as human beings we continue to be shaped by those around us and whose work inspires us, just as I've cribbed social media lessons from Tahereh Mafi and The Rejectionist even as they've become real-life friends.

I've asked before who in your life most influenced you on the way but who are the writers who have shaped your work?

For me, it's Bill Watterson, Douglas Adams and Roald Dahl.

Art: Ein Maler bei der Arbeit by Paul Cézanne

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