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For weeks and weeks, we kept getting teases about Jared Leto‘s hair, his voice, and any other scrap of information that the internet could pull together about what his Joker looks like in David Ayer‘s upcoming Suicide Squad.
The wait is over folks, as Ayer has tweeted out the first official Joker photo in honor of the Joker’s 75th anniversary:
Not sure how I feel about the grille, and some of the tattoos (though they line up pretty well with the rumors that this Joker would look a bit like Jim Lee‘s from All Star Batman and Robin), but there’s something really unsettling about Leto’s appearance here…dare I say, it captures the kind of manic energy I was hoping we’d see in our next on-screen Joker. I’m rather creeped out looking at him, and that may be just the desired effect that Ayer and his team are going for.
Also, while I know that’s a riff on the whole “tear on the face” prison tattoo bit he has going on there…is that maybe a “J” for Jason Todd? Possibly a stretch, but we did apparently see a Robin costume in that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer.
I’m sure this totally won’t dominate the weekend at all.
The growing Austin animation studio is adding more space and employees.
More whining. It's been a rough month with a lot of prepping for family events, three medical appointments during the work week for an elder, and this Annotated Saving the Planet & Stuff promotion I've been doing. That is exhausting. How exhausting? Last week I didn't do a weekly check in on Friday night. I did my nails instead. I kid you not. And, for the first time, I understood why women like doing it. It's a very zenny experience. I'll have more about this next month.
Goal 1. Mummy Book. I have been revising early chapters in an excruciatingly slow manner. However, some things are coming together that will...should...I hope...maybe...make later work easier. Or at least possible.
Goal 2. Short Pieces. I finished an essay I actually started this year! And I submitted it! This evening, so I just barely made it into this week. And I think I may write a writerly piece about NOT finishing a draft before you start to revise. Everyone says we should do that, and as you can see from what I said in Goal 1, I can't manage it. I have never managed it.
Goal 5. Community Building. The May Connecticut Children's Lit Calendar is ready to go next week. I also found my registration material for the New England Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Conference tomorrow and now I know what workshops I registered for! Good work, Gail!
Goal 6. Marketing Saving the Planet & Stuff. Ayup. One week left to go.
OSCAR Needs a Friend
Is my latest Picture Book
It is my FIRST PB that is NOT in rhyme!
Wonderfully talented Ioana Zdralea is again working
on the fun illustrations.
Oscar has a SECRET. . . Can you guess what it is?
Below are some illustrations that might help
you guess what his secret is about.
Illo #1 sketches--plus the finished illo.
Illo #3 - full page spread
ILLO #5 - full page spread
I only hope you love the story as much as I know you
will love Ioana's delightful art work
There will be 12 illustrations + the cover.
I am excited about launching this book in a few months--
when the illos are completed.
It will be in Soft Cover and Kindle Pop-Up
(the same as Dreamtime Man)
Kindle Kids POP-UP Books
are a great way to add extra fun or information.
Just tap the screen, and a small information screen pops up--
Books for Kids - FREE Skype Author Visits
Driving the car when the sun starts to sink Is blindingly glaringly tough. You pull down the visor with Ray-Bans in place But it really is never enough. The traffic starts crawling and everyone brakes ‘Cause they can’t see the road up ahead, So you stop and you start as you stare at a stream Of the brake lights of cars gleaming red. If you’re lucky a building will block out the rays Or the sun will eventually set, But it’s going to take you a much longer timeTo arrive where you’re trying to get.
On my journey up to Alaska, I stopped in Oakland, CA to participate in a heartbreaking yet affirming and inspiring fundraiser called "We Are Here: A Benefit to Raise Hope and Awareness for Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Promotion". The event was prompted by Gayle Forman
's novel, I Was Here
, which was inspired by the events surrounding Suzy Gonzales, who took her life at age 19. Suzy's parents also shared their story with us that evening.
In between our talks, The Bayonettes
played beautiful music.
Early the next morning, I flew up to Alaska, the fiftieth stop on my 50 States Against Bullying
Hold up! The tour is not over yet. Along with the states, I visited a school in Washington, D.C., but 50 States and 1 District Against Bullying was too much of a mouthful. So there's still one to go!
Before officially adding Alaska to the tour, I gave a workshop to the local SCBWI
chapter about adding suspense to their novels. If you've seen me give this talk, you know it requires the help of another author who happens to be terrified of specific types of candy. What does that have to do with suspense? A lot! But I can't tell you unless you attend one of my workshops.
Are you in suspense now? That's because I've got this thing mastered!
In Alaska, I used Jolene Perry
's irrational fear of M&M's as my example.
Then I went to the Anchorage Museum
, which tells the fascinating and changing story of the people who call this home, and how heavily the environment plays a part in their lives. Miniature scenes depicted how Native Alaskans lived in various regions.
Newspapers proclaiming Alaska's entry into the U.S. were displayed, as well as the compelling history of the Alaska pipeline.
In the children's area, always the most fun area of any museum, I took my first infrared selfie.
Finally, it was school time. I spoke at West Anchorage High School, and was welcomed by a large banner and the school librarian, Stacie Cox.
The students, as usual, were wonderful to speak with. But, the entire time, part of me was freaking out on that stage because there aren't many places to perform in Anchorage, so I was giving my anti-bullying talk in the same place Led Zeppelin played!
All around the school, students had filled out and posted cards describing why they matter. Reading their reasons is one of my favorite parts of visiting schools on this tour.
Their words get me right where it counts.
Then I had lunch with several students who won a "Reasons why I want to have lunch with Jay Asher" contest. One of the students, Ariella, did a project on teen suicide that inspired her to create a club on campus called You Are Not Alone. (When I was in high school, I joined the ski club but didn't know how to ski and didn't learn for another ten years.) The room where we ate, the classroom of Temperance Tinker(!), was so cool. She even had a record player next to the classroom toaster(?), and she let me choose the music.
One student, unbeknownst to me, was sketching me as I answered their questions. She then filled the page with things I said during our conversation. For example, "I wanna form a punk band called The Wet Koalas."
After that came a beautiful drive to Girdwood. I mean, it was so beautiful. Everywhere I looked!
Unfortunately, I never got to see any beluga whales. My 4-year-old would have been so impressed by that.
Question: I'm planning on writing a little fiction story revolving around senior high school students. It's basic gist is that a new girl transfers to
Donald L. Levine (1931–2013), the Peter B. Ritzma Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Chicago (where he served as dean of the College from 1982 to 1987), passed away earlier this month at the age of 83, following a long illness.
Among his significant contributions to the field of sociology were five volumes (The Flight from Ambiguity, Greater Ethiopia, Powers of the Mind, Wax and Gold, and Visions of the Sociological Tradition), an edited collection (Georg Simmel on Individuality and Social Forms), and a translation (Simmel’s The View of Life), all published by the University of Chicago Press.
As chronicled in memoriam by Susie Allen for UChicagoNews:
Over his long career, Levine published several works that are now considered landmarks of sociology. His “masterpiece,” according to former student Charles Camic, was Visions of the Sociological Tradition, published by the University of Chicago Press in 1995.
In that book, Levine traced the intellectual genealogy of the social sciences and argued that different traditions of social thought could productively inform one another. “It’s a brilliant analysis of theories and intellectual traditions, but also a very thoughtful effort to bring them into intellectual dialogue with one another,” said Camic, PhD’79, now a professor of sociology at Northwestern University. “The beauty with which it’s argued and the depth of his knowledge about these different intellectual traditions are astounding.”
Levine was also influential in promoting the work of German sociologist Georg Simmel and translated several of Simmel’s works into English. “He brought Simmel to awareness in the U.S.,” said Douglas Mitchell, a longtime editor at the University of Chicago Press, who worked with Levine throughout his career.
Executive editor T. David Brent noted, “I thought that if immortality were a possibility it would be conferred upon Don.”
To read more about Levine’s work, click here.
In this video I discuss what I think is the best way to get a smoking fast computer at the lowest price possible. Macs are great - no doubt about it - but can a cheaper and faster PC do the trick?
Our 3rd grade teachers are also focusing on persuasive writing this month, and they are asking kids to identify problems and suggest solutions. The challenge for kids is to explain how their solutions will work and persuade others that it's a good idea. We read The Soda Bottle School
as an example of how kids and teachers in one community identified an important problem and led the way with a creative solution -- and the kids loved it.
The Soda Bottle School
by Seño Laura Kutner and Suzanne Slade
illustrated by Aileen Darragh
Tillbury House, 2014
Your local library
The town of Granados has a problem: they don't have enough room in their school to teach all the kids. But they have another problem, too, that kids can relate to: there is too much trash all around their community. One day, teacher Seño Laura notices that a soda bottle is the same width as the beam of an unfinished school building. She has a crazy idea: what if they used empty soda bottles to create walls for a school? It could take care of two problems at once!
The whole community pulled together to support the teachers and children, gathering thousands of empty plastic bottles and stuffing them with trash to create “eco-ladrillos” (bricks). These bricks were stacked between the framing for the building, held in place by chicken wire fencing. A thin layer of concrete was slapped on top as a final layer.
Slade and Kutner draw young readers right into the story, helping them relate to the protagonist, young Fernando. My students especially liked the photographs and authors note included at the end of the story. I just found this news clip that would be another great way to share this story.
My students were interested and inspired to think of problems they would want to solve around our school. I especially liked this example because Kutner and Slade emphasize the importance of teamwork and thinking outside the box.
The review copy came from our school library collection. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.©2015 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books
They've announced that A Sheltered Woman, a story by Yiyun Li, has won the 2015 Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award.
At £30,000, it pays out more than most US novel awards .....
Read the rest of this post
Yiyun Li has been named the winner of the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award 2015. For this accomplishment, Li will receive £30,000 in prize money which is “the world’s richest prize for a single short story.”
Li has become the first female winner in the award’s history. She beat out five other writers on the short list with her piece, “A Sheltered Woman.” The New Yorker published it back in March 2014.
Li gave a statement in the press release about the inspiration behind her story: “A couple years ago, while rummaging through old things, I found a notebook that I had bought at a garage sale in Iowa City when I first came to America—I had paid five cents for it. The notebook was in a good shape; though it remained unused. A character occurred to me: she paid a dime and asked if there was a second notebook so she did not have to have the change back. Such greed, the character said, laughing at herself. From that moment on I knew I had a story.’
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Éric Chevillard's The Author and Me.
This is one of the titles on the Best Translated Book Awards longlist -- and next you week you can read me argue 'Why this book should win' at Three Percent .....
Read the rest of this post
Always three there are…for many months rumors have been swirling about Frank Miller penning, at least, a third volume in his Dark Knight series, and it’s now been confirmed via the above tweet. It’s the 30th anniversary of the original Dark Knight in 1986 so how better the celebrate than with a NEW DARK KNIGHT!
While Miller’s health has been in question in recent years, we’re told he remains sharp as a tack and eager to take on this project. Given the controversy over his recent Holy Terror, the title—referencing The Master Race—could presage even more controversy.
Brian Azzarello will be the co-writer on the projects, which will come out twice monthly, run for eight issues and start in late fall 2015. The art team has yet to be announced.
“Batman remains my favorite comic book hero and a sequel to Dark Knight is going to be daunting,” said Miller, “but we’ll do our best.”
“We are thrilled to have Frank back home at DC writing Batman,” according to Dan DiDio and Jim Lee, Co-Publishers for DC Entertainment. “The story he and Brian have crafted is an astounding and triumphant conclusion to this seminal body of work which influenced and shaped generations of readers and creators alike.”
According to Azzarello, “It’s been an amazing experience collaborating with Frank these past six months. I think we have an epic story that these characters truly deserve.”
UDPATE: This was announced on a panel at C2E2 by Azzarello, according to CBR:
“For the past six months, I’ve been working with Frank Miller to bring the next chapter in the ‘Dark Knight’ to light,” he said. It’s been humbling. I’ve learned a lot, and I call him sensei. It’s a really, really big project.”
Miller confirmed the news himself via Twitter (his first tweet in three and a half years), releasing promotional art from the story and stating, “I hope that by now my silence is deafening.” In the official press release, DC Comics billed the story as “the epic conclusion of the celebrated ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ saga.”
Some depressing graphs and charts at The Washington Post's 'Wonkblog', where Christopher Ingraham reports that Poetry is going extinct, government data show [via]
The statistics certainly do not look good.
(I struggle to review a reasonable amount of poetry at the complete review -- but, honestly, it's hard to get me interested in anything other than novels.
Of course, there are those novels in verse .....)
It's Friday -- jazz hands!
And I've just finished restocking my Etsy shop
-- there's a few new prints over there, including this woodland maid.
What not to do when using social media.
I write YA books; that is true. But I never write strictly and only of teens. I care about the sweep of generations. I think generations are relevant. Some of my very favorite characters are women even older (believe it!) than me. My Mud Angel and physician Katherine of One Thing Stolen
. Stefan's East Berlin grandmother in Going Over
. Old Carmen, the rugged beachcomber, of This Is the Story of You
(due out next spring). And, of course, my Estela, the old Spanish cook in Small Damages
—a character I lived with for a decade before she found herself inside that gorgeous cover.
But now look at the silver wing near the right upper edge of that cover. That is Estela herself, who came to me this afternoon by way of my husband's cousin, Myra. Estela in real life was my husband's father's mother—a loved, buoyant, life-affirming General Counsel in the United States who had also served as the Philippine ambassador to Portugal. I wear her ring as my engagement ring. I hear stories. And today I received this bookmark, which once clipped the pages of the books Estela read.
Myra's words (in impeccable handwriting):
This is an antique silver bookmark from El Salvador my grandmother Estela picked up—probably 50 years ago.... I decided it was time to send you this now. I always thought this should go to you—since you are the writer in the family and it came from William's home country.
I am so in love with this gift. This piece of then. A bookmark shaped like a coffee bean that might as easily mark my third memoir about my marriage to this Salvadoran man, Still Love in Strange Places.
I thank you, Myra.
There is a new genre emerging..."New Adult" fiction for older teens aka college-aged readers. You never stop growing up, but little in the market seems to address the coming-of-age that also happens between the ages of Nineteen to Twenty-six. Life changes drastically once high school is over, you have college, first jobs, first internships, first adult relationships…Part of the appeal of NA is that the storylines are about characters who are taking on adult responsibilities for the first time without guidance from their parents. And the storylines generally have a heavy romance element.
Keep this in mind as you revise your wonderful story, New Adult books are mostly about that specific time in every person's life—the time when the apron strings are cut from your parents, you no longer have a curfew, you're experiencing the world for the very first time, in most cases, with innocent eyes. New Adult is this section of your life where you discover who you want to be, what you want to be, and what type of person you will become. This time defines you. This is the time of firsts, the time where you can't blame your parents for your own bad choices. An NA character has to take responsibility for their own choices and live with the consequences. Most storylines are about twenty-something (18 to 26) characters living their own lives without any parents breathing down their necks, and learning to solve things on their own as they would in real life. New Adult fiction focuses on switching gears, from depending on our parents to becoming full-fledged, independent adults.
I am a firm believer that if you’re going to write a certain genre that you should read it, too. So I’m going to recommend that you start devouring NA novels to get a real sense and understanding of the genre before you write one.
Here are some great recommendations: https://www.goodreads.com/genres/new-adult-romance and http://www.goodreads.com/genres/new-adult and https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/new-adult-romance
Just as YA is fiction about teens discovering who they are as a person, New Adult (NA) is fiction about building your own life as an actual adult. As older teen readers discover the joy of the Young Adult genres, the New Adult—demand may increase. This, in turn, would give writers the chance to explore the freedom of a slightly older protagonist (over the age of 18 and out of high school, like the brilliant novel, "BEAUTIFUL DISASTER" by the amazing talents of author, Jamie McGuire) while addressing more adult issues that early 20-year-olds must face.
Older protagonists (basically, college students) are surprisingly rare; in a panel on YA literature at Harvard’s 2008 Vericon, City of Bones author talked about pitching her novel, then about twenty-somethings, as adult fiction. After several conversations, Clare realized she had to choose between adults and teens. She went with teens.
Quote from the publisher, St. Martin’s Press: We are actively looking for great, new, cutting edge fiction with protagonists who are slightly older than YA and can appeal to an adult audience. Since twenty-somethings are devouring YA, St. Martin’s Press is seeking fiction similar to YA that can be published and marketed as adult—a sort of an “older YA” or “new adult.” In this category, they are looking for spunky but not stupid, serious but not dull, cutting-edge, supernatural stories.Quote from Georgia McBride, author (Praefatio) and founder of #YALitChat and publisher at Month9Books: "New Adult is a fabulous idea in theory, and authors seem to be excited about it. But in a world where bookstores shelf by category, to them, it is either Adult or Young Adult. Some booksellers even call their YA section “teen.” And when you have a character who is over a certain age (19 seems to be the age most consider the start of New Adult), it is received as Adult. In some cases, the designation by publishers causes more confusion than not.Let’s face it, YA is associated with teens, and at 19, most no longer consider themselves teens. So, it would support the theory of placing these “New Adult” titles in the Adult section. However, with the prevalence of eBook content, it would seem that the powers that be could easily create a New Adult category if they really wanted to...." There’s also a list on goodreads of New Adult book titles. These books focus on college age characters, late teens to early twenties, transitioning into the adult world.
Some popular authors of the NA category include:
- Jamie McGuire
- Jessica Park
- Tammara Webber
- Steph Campbell
- Liz Reinhardt
- Abbi Glines
- Colleen Hoover
- Sherry Soule
Would you buy New Adult books?
Does the genre appeal to you?
Does it sound better than YA (teen novels)?
Or are you happy with YA as it stands?
Do you consider YA to include characters that are over the age of eighteen?
ROLY the Anzac Donkey, by Glyn Harper illustrated by Jenny Cooper (Puffin)
If you've read 'Simpson and his Donkey' you'll know about an Australian soldier's work rescuing the wounded with the aid of his donkey in Gallipoli. It's a gorgeous tale and now considered a classic. There have been several versions - the latest being Mark Greenwood's book published by Walker Books in 2009. Over the years I had heard that New Zealand stretcher bearers used donkeys too. Military Historian Glyn Harper has uncovered one of those stories and we now have a true New Zealand story about a soldier and his donkey.
Glyn tells the story in Roly, the donkey's voice. On the opening page we're introduced to Roly and he tells us he hasn't always worked on a farm (shown in the background illustrations), he once worked in Gallipoli helping rescue soldiers who had been hurt in battle. Glyn most likely started the story this way to reassure young children - the donkey makes it. This will help sensitive children not feel anxious for the donkey while they're listening to the story being read to them. It's a gentle opening for the story. It's needed because the following pages jump into a hard time for the donkey.
Through words and pictures we find out that Roly grew up on a Greek farm until English soldiers captured and loaded him onto a ship destined for Gallipoli. Unfortunately for Roly his first driver was cruel. He made Rory work long hours carrying heavy loads, gave him little food and water, and beat him. One day Roly escaped but returns when he's hungry and misses the other donkeys. On his journey back he meets a man who changes his life for the better.
Glyn does not try to romanticise Rory's work in Gallipoli. He carries soldiers whose blood sometimes trickles down his back, and they have to run for it when there is fire charging back and forth. It's important children grow up realising war is not one big adventure and shooting guns is fun. But juxtaposed with this realistic story are the warm illustrations that show the love between animal and human. If you've owned a dog you'd recognise the look that Rory shows for Richard - it's utter adoration, and Jenny Cooper has captured it so expertly.
Rory and Richard's heart warming tale, Glyn's excellent storytelling abilities, and Jenny's stunning illustrations make this a winner for children (and adults). It's a story that won't just come out during ANZAC celebrations, it will be read all year round. Highly recommended for home, school and public libraries.
ISBN: 9780143506638 RRP $19.99
Other Glyn Harper ANZAC stories illustrated by Jenny Cooper you will also want to read are:Le Quesnoy: The Story of the Town New Zealand Saved
Other ANZAC stories:The ANZAC Puppy
by Peter Millett, illustrated by Trish Bowles (Scholastic)The Red Poppy
by David Hill, illustrated by Fifi Colston (Scholastic)Caesar the ANZAC Dog
by Patricia Stroud, illustrated by Bruce Potter (Scholastic)ANZAC Day - The New Zealand Story
by Philippa Werry (New Holland)Best Mates
by Philippa Werry, illustrated by Bob Kerr (New Holland)The Last ANZAC
by Gordon Winch, illustrated by Harriet BaileyMeet the ANZACs
by Claire Saxby, illustrated by Max Berry (Random House)Meet Werry Dunlop
by Claire Saxby, illustrated by Jeremy Lord (Random House)
The French-American Foundation and Florence Gould Foundation have announced the finalists for their Translation Prizes.
Only one overlap with the Best Translated Book Award longlist -- Pierre Michon's Winter Mythologies and Abbots -- but several others are under review at the complete review:
- Limonov, by Emmanuel Carrère; tr. John Lambert
The winners will be announced 9 June.
Blog: Perpetually Adolescent
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Book Reviews - Fiction
, Billy Graves
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It has been seven years since Richard Price last published a novel and it has been worth the wait. Writing under the transparent pseudonym Harry Brandt, Richard Price again demonstrates he truly is a master when it comes to crime and American life. Price delivers a multi-layered, slow-burning portrayal of friendship, justice and revenge and […]
A Vin Diesel-voiced superhero is here to dish out justice. With his fists.
By: Paula Becker
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Cartoons & Comics
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Below is a sample (in my cartoon-style) of a spot for the “Heartmatters” column I create illustrations for bi-monthly. All of these stories are uplifting and faith-building. I am blessed to be able to read this and then created illustrations to enhance the story.