We Need to Talk About the Mensch on a Bench™

Not-For-Profit Dad

I was not going to say anything.

I mean, there are plenty of products out there on the market that I’m not going to buy for my home, so why go out of my way to pick on the Mensch on a Bench™? If the topic were to come up on conversation, I’d just say, “Not for me,” and change the subject. I would let it go. I don’t disagree with the message to our kids: be a Mensch (a person of high moral character). I say it all the time to my kids because it was said all the time to me by my grandfather (of blessed memory). I think the world needs more menschlichkeit and if some hokey doll can help with that, then what’s the harm?

But I can’t….

mensch on a bench

Image: Gwyneth Anne Bronwynne Jones via Flickr

I mean I could, but then I got a promotional email inviting…

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Introducing Rebecca Jaycox


Today on Paws4Thought we welcome fantasy author, Rebecca Jaycox. Rebecca just released her debut novel, The Other Inheritance, with Rocking Horse Publishing. Tell us a little bit about yourself, Rebecca.

I grew up in a small town—Berryman—in Missouri, but I now live in New York City. Before moving to New York, I lived in France for a year where I taught English at a French high school.

I officially have wanderlust and travel as often as I can, visiting places like France, Turkey, Greece, and Italy. Traveling has given me greater perspective on different kinds of people and culture and has also inspired my writing. If I won the lottery tomorrow, all I would do is travel, write, and eat fabulous food.

I work at the 92nd Street Y, which is one of New York’s premier cultural institutions. I’m the creator and curator of the YA Lit program. Over the past two years, I’ve gotten to meet Veronica Roth, James Dashner (total sweetie!), Susan Ee, Melissa de la Cruz, Chuck Wendig, Maggie Stiefvater, Cassandra Clare and many more! It’s a fun job.

When did you first start writing?

I started writing at a young age; I want to say around 10 years old. My grandmother had all these ancient typewriters that I used to bang out stories on.  As an only child growing up in a rural community, I used my imagination as a way to escape into faraway lands. The Mark Twain National Forest was my backyard; a place where green acorns become emeralds and my cats were generals fighting against dragons.

Who are your favorite authors?

I have a long list, and some authors I find belong more in the inspirational category than favorite: Ilona Andrews (writes one of the best UF series ever), Colleen McCullough (Yes, I loved the Thorn Birds!), J.K. Rowling, Patricia Briggs, Maggie Stiefvater (she’s brilliant), Anne Bishop, Laini Taylor, Neil Gaiman(writing god), Robin McKinley, Susan Ee, Kate Elliot, George RR Martin (that man plays a long game), Meljean Brooks (her steampunk world building is insane!) and Jacqueline Carey. I know I’m missing people!

What inspires you to write? 

Traveling inspires me to write, of course, providing me with great world building ideas, but I also get inspired just by observing the conversations that are happening around me. My NYC subway rides in the morning have given me great character ideas.

Tell us a little bit about The Other Inheritance.

The Other Inheritance is about Reggie, a seventeen-year-old girl who discovers quite shockingly that she can bring dead things back to life. She has a rough home life; her mother is an alcoholic and her father disappeared when she was young. He took a hike in the woods and never came back.  Reggie discovers that her father was from an alternative reality known as the Other and that she’s inherited his magical powers. The bad guy who killed her father is after her, and she has to travel to the Other to find one of her father’s friends who has promised to protect her. Mayhem, danger, romance, and betrayal ensue.

What attracts you to writing YA?

The YA genre has become a wonderful creative playground. Some of the best fantasy is being written in YA. Being a teenager on the cusp of adulthood and trying to find yourself is a universal human experience we can all relate to. Well, most of us are trying to find ourselves well into our twenties, but I digress. At 17, you really are starting to make independent choices about your future, and that makes a fertile writing ground.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently imagining and outlining the sequel to The Other Inheritance. I’ve written a bit on an adult UF that features a dragon that I’m having a lot of fun with (a certain Russian witch will make an appearance), and I’ve also written a few chapters of a YA/NA steampunk novel.

What do you like to do to relax?

Watch the Walking Dead! Weird way to relax, but I like it. I also read all of the time! The more I read, the better I write. And I love reading. I’m a gym addict. My life is so stressful that going to the gym keeps me sane.

If you could have any superpower what would choose?

The ability to control time like Hermione had with the Time-Turner. I would be able to write as much as I wanted and have a full-time job without the stress!

How can readers connect with you?

Readers can connect with me through my author page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RebeccaLJaycox.

They can also follow me on Twitter, my handle is @rebeccajaycox, and my website is www.rebeccajaycox.com.

other inheritance

Read Tuesday

P.A.W.S., Fauxpocalypse, and Sins of the Past are all going to be part of Read Tuesday this year.


rt-banner-240x400Well, it’s that time of year again.

The Holiday Season, which means the Retail Shopping Season.  No matter how one feels about it (I, myself, lean toward the pre-ghost Scrooge side of the scale) the fact is that in much of the world a disproportionate amount of money is spent on gifts during these two months.

This will also be the second year for Read Tuesday, which is the brainchild of Chris McMullen, independent author and promoter.

The idea behind Read Tuesday is simple.  It’s a day for independent authors to pool their resources to form a major promotion.  Chris has made signing up as an author very easy. You simply set up a promotion on whichever retailer(s) carry your books that will take place on that day, then fill out a few forms.

Then, once you are part of the promotion, you share it with your social media…

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Cover Reveal: The Other Inheritance – by Rebecca Jaycox

other inheritance

Chapter 1

“Did anyone ever tell you that you’re a cliché?” seventeen-year-old Reggie Lang asked. She was scrunched in an antique, high-backed chair. Her chestnut hair spilled over her shoulders, her splattering of freckles barely visible in the firelight.

“Am I?” he said.

The man on the other side of the hearth stretched his long legs out toward the fire. A scar puckered his right cheekbone slanting down to the sharp blade of his nose.

Reggie took in his tough leather boots and duster. “The Hell’s Angels called. They want their motorcycle back.”


Coming Soon

Check out Rebecca Jaycox on Facebook

And Twitter.

Ready, Set, NaNo!


Ever since I was small, I’ve always written. As a child, I filled notebooks. At one time, I had a whole series of school stories, each in own exercise book. Somewhere in my basement, these books still sit (I rarely throw anything away), and along with them is my first attempt at a novel. It was a kid’s fantasy book. I remember it had a rather cool ogre in it. I wrote it in my twenties, in exercise books. At the time, I was living in Israel in a tiny one-room flat. I scribbled away in those notebooks, but somewhere along the way, I got lost. Life took over and I stopped writing.

I moved to America, got married, had two children, and finally found a career I love (I write puzzles for puzzle magazines). In the back of my mind, I knew I still wanted to write a novel but I thought I had plenty of time. When the kids are grown perhaps, then I would have time.

Then, about two and half years ago, I found a lump in my breast. Cancer. I was terrified. But it is amazing what you get used to. I went through chemo, surgery, and radiation, and today I’m happy to report that I’m cancer free. But my cancer taught me something: if you truly want to do something, you shouldn’t wait. You never know how long you have.

In October 2012, the idea for P.A.W.S. came to me in a flash. I clearly saw a young girl being handed a silver cat amulet by her dying grandmother. I knew that her story and that of her grandmother were important and something I had to tell. I told my daughter the story, and she said, “Mom, you have to write that.”

But how? How would I keep on track, what with my kids, my puzzle work, and the housework? For me the answer was NaNoWriMo. Every year since the year 2000, November has been designated National Novel Writing Month. During that month, writers from all around the globe take on the challenge of writing 50,000 words of fiction in one month.

I understood that 50,000 words would not get me a complete novel, but it would give me my best chance to keep on track. I set myself a daily target of 2000 words and just sat down and wrote. No editing, no distractions (I forced myself NOT to go on the Internet each day until I was done with my daily words).

Along the way, NaNoWriMo sent me encouragement: pep talks from published authors who had taken this road before me. My word count grew and I was amazed with myself. I could do this! It felt like the whole world was cheering me on.

You can do it too! November is here. Join me!