Sunday Morning Open Thread: It’s A Gift

Okay, it’s a box. But all boxes belong to cats, by divine right.

Betty had a wonderful thread earlier this week asking for gift ideas and highlighting the artists among us, but Sunday morning tends to be a quiet time for those of us who’re still contemplating our options.

There are a bunch of Balloon Juice jackals who have books to sell, among them Dorothy A. Winsor, who taught me something I didn’t know:

…If you read something and enjoy it, you give the author a big gift by reviewing the book on Amazon and/or Goodreads. The review can be very short (I enjoyed this book). It doesn’t have to 5 star. The issue is that Amazon uses the sheer number of reviews as part of its algorithm for which books to promote. Also some sites ( Book Bub, frex) require that a book have a certain number of reviews before you can promote on there.

So… Who’s got works to promote (yours or others?)

What other great gift ideas should we know about? (Out-of-the-ordinary good causes to support, for instance… )

Gift Ideas and Jackal Maker Showcase Open Thread

First, check out this fabulous Red-Shouldered Hawk who visited earlier this week and was kind enough to hang around for a photo-op:

I think it’s a juvenile. It was engaging in obnoxious youngling behavior like flying at similarly-sized wading birds and generally disrupting its fellow fauna. Plus, I think I spotted a helicopter-parenting adult nearby.

Anyhoo, holiday gifts: Since I put out a call for gift ideas the other day (and thank you for the many great suggestions), I’ve had a couple of requests to put up a thread where people can discuss gift ideas and where jackals who create nifty things can HAWK their wares. (Get it? No need to jostle; I’ll show myself out, thank you.)

So, have at it. Also, open thread!

Artists In Our Midst

Big Bunny Linocut by linocutboy on Etsy

As promised, herewith your Artists In Our Midst thread.

If you are any kind of creator – artist, writer, blogger, photographer, musician, inventor, designer, sex toy entrepreneur, gardener, whatever – professional or otherwise, and you want to give yourself or your stuff a plug, please do so.

If you’re not and you know someone who is, get in a plug for them, or ask one of our talented creators to make you something you never thought you wanted, but which would bring a bit of joy into your life.

Don’t forget our Balloon Jobs thread. There are all sorts of clever people who might be perfect for your business, and all sorts of job opportunities and suggestions on offer.

My plug is for the Etsy shop of linocutboy, whose work is just lovely, and includes the magnificent big bunny above.

Writing Productivity Class and Meet Ups (NY & NJ) Comin’ Atcha!

Hey Everyone – I’m going to bigfoot myself to announce that I’m teaching an online writing-productivity class starting 10/31. It’s great for any writer (creative, academic, business, etc.) trying to boost his or her output, overcome procrastination and perfectionism, and/or finish a project. (Actually for anyone with those goals, in any crazed-turquoise-bowl-6afield, but the examples and discussions will all be writing-focused.) The classes are four weeks long, and the format is bloggish, so you can be located anywhere. Normally $50, but the host, SavvyAuthors, is offering a discount of $5 just for Juicers—so $45. Click here to register. (Note: the class dates are wrong on that link but rest assured you will be registering for my class.)

More info below the fold. Another perk, btw, is that we typically get many romance writers in the class, and they are interesting people who tend to occupy the sweet spot at the intersection of “kind and supportive” and “publication focused.” (Oh, and in case you’re interested, here’s a piece I did a few years back on romance fiction and social justice.)

In other news, JT and I are hitting the road again and I’d love to meet up with any Juicers in either New York City (Nov 21 – 23) or Montclair, NJ (Nov 25-26). (Pre- and post-Thanksgiving.) Please email me at (Also email me if questions about the class.)

Illustration: gorgeous Kintsugi pottery by Lakeside Pottery Studio in Rehoboth Beach, DE. Per Wikipedia: “Kintsugi (“golden joinery”), also known as Kintsukuroi (“golden repair”), is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum… As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.” Hillary’s note: in other words, Kinsugi exemplifies the virtues of nonperfectionism, one of the main topics we’ll discuss in class. (Image reproduced with kind permission of Morty Bachar and Patty Storms.)

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Shameless self promotion thread


I can’t see that we’ve done an Artists in our Midst thread, or a job thread, for quite a while. Then again, I may just be too drunk to find them.

Anyway, lets combine the two and have a free thread for Juicers – artists, Etsyists, writers, job seekers, freelancers, businesses seeking workers, community groups seeking assistance, whatever, lurkers more than welcome – to give themselves a plug.

[Image – Francisco de Goya (1746-1828) The Pottery Vendor]

Late Night Graphic Artists Open Thread

First, artist and commentor Larime could use a little help:

My wife, Sylv Taylor, is bed-bound with Lupus and her laptop is the only link she has to the outside world. That laptop is also what she uses to create art, including coloring comics. It’s dying – it shut off 10 times in 3 hours today – and when it’s dead she’ll be utterly isolated and unable to create.

PLEASE consider helping in getting her a new laptop. If you can’t pledge, PLEASE share this on your journals and tell your friends. If her laptop dies and I can’t replace it, she’s going to have nothing to do and no one but me to talk to, all day, every day. This laptop is literally her life and her world.

The Indiegogo campaign is here. Thank you!


Second, a documentary we can look forward to:

(Via Sharan Shetty at Slate)

In theatres November 15.

Artists In Our Midst Open Thread

First things first- just furminated the boss, and let me tell you what- Steve loves being furminated so much that he is actually hard to brush because he keeps head-butting the brush and doing circles instead of holding still (which was never an issue with Tunch- holding still was a lifelong goal that he marvelously achieved). But he just loves it. Furminated him, then brushed him with a regular brush, and it is amazing how quickly his coat is getting better. Even the bald areas, where I had to delicately cut out mats so he would stop being Boss Marley with dreadlocks everywhere, is growing back and feels silky and soft to the touch.

Back to the thrust of the post, it’s been forever since we have one of these, and I know how many creative people we have commenting and lurking, so let’s do one tonight. If you are an artist/crafter/musician/carpenter/whatever, and you have some wares to share with the rest of us (of if your spouse or friends or basically anything cool you want to share), throw it in the comments so we can decide if maybe you have something that would make our days a little brighter and happier.

Some of my most prized possessions are things you all have made, whether it be my GD portrait, the picture of the beautiful sunflower fields I bought, etc.