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1. Bluebird by Lindsey Yankey




Bluebird is a beautiful and unusually illustrated children's book. The illustrations are done in a sparse, yet delicate style with the bluebird being one of a few featured colors on each page. The occasional flowery typeface and the collaged images add a touch of whimsy to the whole look. The bluebird is in search of his friend the wind, without whom he's convinced he can't fly. He looks high and low around the city and country encountering dandelion seeds, kites and scarves who also can't fly without the wind. In his search, he realizes that he's flown to the tallest building without his friend the wind. At the end of the book his friend returns, but the bluebird now knows he can also fly alone.

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2. DEATH BY TOILET PAPER by Donna Gephart - Guest Post and Giveaway!

This week, Donna Gephart stops by to talk about her latest novel, DEATH BY TOILET PAPER! I'm just going to leave this one to her...

We Make Our Own Luck

     We were so broke growing up in Northeast Philadelphia that my mom bought my sister and me sneakers from the “So Ugly They’re Cheap” rack, powdered milk was our drink du jour and our toilet paper sometimes had the consistency of gray party streamers.
      Our weekly entertainment came from treasured trips to the Northeast Regional Library, where I relished my time exploring the shelves. The characters in favorite library books like The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes and Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Florence and Richard Atwater became my companions during an otherwise lonely childhood.
      In response to our eternal lack of money, I entered contests, hoping to win what we needed. But all I ever won was $1.98 from a radio call-in talent show set up like The Gong Show and tickets to Great Adventure Amusement Park in New Jersey. The biggest prize I remember winning was a $200 savings bond from a writing contest.
      My sister, Ellen, was the real contest queen.
      Her persistence through the years with contests and sweepstakes netted her a million free air miles, a full-paid trip to New York City for her and her son, a week-long vacation to the island of her choice with her husband and many gift cards, movie tickets, etc.
      But all those winnings couldn’t compare to what happened to my sister on The Price is Right.
      Twenty-five years ago, Ellen was a contestant on The Price is Right when Bob Barker hosted the show. She won a bunch of prizes and the big showcase at the end. Having had so much fun, Ellen was determined to get on the show again.
      So she did!
      Ellen recently won a trip to L.A. for a movie premiere. It had nothing to do with The Price is Right, but while she was out there, she got tickets for her and her friend, Val, to sit in the audience. Three hundred people fill the audience. Nine of those are chosen to come up and play.
      My sister was called to Contestant’s Row . . . exactly twenty-five years after her first appearance on the show. But this time it seemed her luck didn’t hold. She couldn’t guess the right price to get up on stage. Someone else won every time. Drew Carey finally announced, “This is the last item up for bids.”
      Ellen bid and she came closest, charging up on stage and hugging the life out of Drew Carey.
      Then, in a matter of minutes, Ellen guessed the first two and last two digits in the price of a brand new Toyota Corolla. And she won the car!
      I’d never seen her so excited.
      On the way home to Philadelphia, Ellen worried about how she’d pay the taxes on the car. Back home, she played their hotel room number on a lottery ticket and won enough to pay the taxes.
      Some people say my sister is lucky, but I know the truth. She’s incredibly persistent. She enters thousands of contests and sweepstakes to win the ones she does. She subscribes to the SweepSheet newsletter and works consistently at her hobby.
     Donna's favorite writing spot.

      My sister so inspired me that when I wrote my new book, DEATH BY TOILET PAPER, I gave my character my sister’s determined spirit and love for contests and sweepstakes. Twelve-year-old Benjamin Epstein enters the Royal-T Toilet Tissue slogan contest in hopes of winning $10,000 to save his recently widowed mom and himself from eviction. Ben’s determination to help his mom is inspiring, the way my sister’s determination inspired me. If you read the book’s dedication, you’ll notice a familiar name.
      I still enter contests occasionally. A few years ago, I wrote an entry for a contest to celebrate Whole Foods’ 30th anniversary. My husband and I were among thirty pairs of winners treated to a weekend in Austin, TX with dinners out and special events.
      But most of my creative energy goes into writing books for children. Books about kids who enter contests. Books about kids who become famous on YouTube with their pet hamster. Books about kids who get on Jeopardy! And books about kids whose mom is running for president. But each of the books is about something more, something deeper, like dealing with the loss of a parent, being bullied at school or feeling desperately alone.
      And I felt like I’d won the biggest contest of all when I discovered the books I’d written now sit on the shelves of the Northeast Regional Library, waiting to inspire a young person, who like I did all those years ago, seeks companionship and hope.

GIVEAWAY!
Donna has graciously agreed to send a free, signed copy of DEATH BY TOILET PAPER along with some bookmarks to one of my lucky followers. Must live in the US to win - enter below.

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3. Revising Too Much

Overworking your revisions can sometimes be as bad as underworking them.

http://scotteagan.blogspot.com/2014/07/dont-over-work-your-manuscripts-you.html

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4. Strike: the farm workers fight for their rights By Larry Dane Brimmer

Strike: the farm workers fight for their rights By Larry Dane Brimmer Calkins Creek. October 2014 ISBN: 9781590789971 Grades 9 thru 12 I used an ARC given by the publisher to write this review. In 1965, a group of Filipino and Chicano farm workers, unhappy with their deplorable working conditions and substandard wages organized a strike against the grape industry. The strike, which

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5. Cartoon-Loving Chinese Boy Attempts to Kill Noisy Construction Worker

A 10-year-old boy in Guizhou, China scored a victory for animation lovers everywhere when he sawed through a construction worker's safety harness rope, leaving the worker dangling 11 stories above ground. The boy had a perfectly reasonable defense.

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6. The burden of guilt and German politics in Europe

Since the outbreak of the First World War just over one hundred years ago, the debate concerning the conflict’s causes has been shaped by political preoccupations as well as historical research. Wartime mobilization of societies required governments to explain the justice of their cause, the “war guilt” clause of the treaty of Versailles became a focal point of German revisionist foreign policy in the 1920s, and the Fischer debate in West Germany in the 1960s took place against a backdrop of the Cold War and the efforts of German society to come to terms with the Nazi past. More recently critics of Sir Edward Grey’s foreign policy, such as Niall Ferguson and John Charmley, are writing in the context of intense debates about Britain’s relationship with Europe, while accounts that emphasise the strength of the great power peace before 1914 are informed in part by contemporary discussions of globalization and the improbability of a war between the world’s leading powers today – the conflict in the Ukraine notwithstanding.

The persistent political backdrop to debates about the origins of the war is evident in the reception of Christopher Clark’s best-selling work, The Sleepwalkers, particularly its resonance within Germany. Clark’s references to the Euro-crisis, 9/11, and the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s, dotted throughout the book, nod to the contemporary relevance of the collapse of the international system in 1914.

While Clark seeks to eschew debates about war guilt or responsibility, preferring to concentrate on the ‘how’ rather than the ‘why’, his conclusion contends that leaders in the capitals of the five Great Powers and in Belgrade bear somewhat equal responsibility for the war. This thesis has attracted considerable attention in Germany, where the last major public reckoning over the origins of the war took place in the 1960s, when Fritz Fischer’s thesis that German leaders planned for war from December 1912 and therefore bore the largest responsibility for its outbreak was the subject of intense and often vindictive debate. Fischer carried the day in the 1960s, but now Clark’s argument, comparative in a way that Fischer did not claim to be, has overturned what appeared to be a publicly accepted orthodoxy.

The centenary debate has also coincided with a particular moment in German political and cultural debate. The post-unification economic slowdown has now given way to a booming economy, while much of the rest of Europe is mired in austerity. In tandem with economic prosperity, German elites are displaying growing political confidence as Europe’s dominant state.

In this context Clark’s thesis about shared responsibility for the war has been read in two ways. One group, whose most notable advocates include Thomas Weber (Aberdeen/Harvard) and Dominik Geppert (Bonn), argue that the ongoing belief in German ‘war guilt’ is an historic fiction that damages both German and European politics. It has contributed to the unwillingness of successive German governments to take on greater leadership within Europe. The marginalization of the German national interest after 1945, they claim, is partly the product of a misinformed reading of history that holds the pursuit of the German national interest as responsible for two catastrophic global conflicts. This has resulted in a damaging approach to European politics, which holds that the national is inherently opposed to the European interest. By neglecting the national interest German leaders are creating instability within Europe and alienating many German citizens from participating in a European project that must take account of national diversity. Hence they welcome Clark’s book and the enormous public interest it has aroused in Germany.

Parade of Cuirassier Guards Marching to the Parade Ground, Berlin, Germany. Keystone View Company, copyrighted Underwood & Underwood Public domain via via Wikimedia Commons.
Parade of Cuirassier Guards Marching to the Parade Ground, Berlin, Germany. Keystone View Company, copyrighted Underwood & Underwood Public domain via via Wikimedia Commons.

However Clark’s thesis has not met with universal approval. Leading critics include Gerd Krumeich and John Röhl, both representatives of a generation of historians who came to the fore during and soon after the Fischer debate. They criticize Clark for downplaying the responsibility of German political and military leaders for the war, both by stressing the comparatively restrained character of German foreign policy up to the July crisis and by his criticisms of the aggressive nature of Russian, French, and British foreign policy before 1914. Not only do they take issue with Clark’s arguments, they also express concern that the ‘relativizing’ of German responsibility for the outbreak of the war will lead to a recrudescence of a more assertive German nationalism, undoing the successful integration of the Federal Republic into a community of democratic, European nations. From their perspective, a more assertive German nationalism, freed from the historic burden of war guilt, constitutes a potential danger.

The debate blends divergent generational perspectives on German national identity and European politics, as well as different interpretations of the sources and methodological approaches to studying the origins of the war. For the record, this author finds Clark’s account persuasive. On balance there is a greater risk in Germany not playing a leading role in European politics than there is of a re-assertion of a muscular German national interest and identity. Yet both groups may overestimate the significance of the “war guilt” in shaping perspectives in German and European politics. While the centenary has created a privileged space for the first world war in public discussion, the politics of history within Germany remain firmly fixed on the crimes of the Third Reich. When Europeans today think of Germany’s historical burden, they think primarily of the Nazi past. After all, disaffected protesters in countries hit by austerity after 2008 compared current German policies to those of the Third Reich, not the Kaiserreich. Grotesque and unfounded as the comparison was, it was striking that protesters did not think about Wilhelm II. While historians may revise their views of German responsibility for the First World War, no serious historian disputes the primacy of the Hitler’s regime in starting a genocidal war in Europe in 1939.

The post The burden of guilt and German politics in Europe appeared first on OUPblog.

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7. Look Inside the $8 Million Apartment of ‘Simpsons’ Voice Actor Hank Azaria

It may not pay to be an artist on "The Simpsons," but it definitely pays if you're a voice actor on the show.

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8. My tweets

  • Fri, 13:31: I currently can't tell if the kids playing down the street are having an amazing time or reenacting DELIVER US FROM EVIL.

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9. Wild flowers

2014-08-30

Wild flowers | This year I planted a big chunk of my backyard into wild flowers. I highly recommend it. The seeds were a Western wild flower mix. It has been fun to see what comes up. I have more seed to plant this Fall.

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10. still gone

Yup, I'm still on vacation.


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11. DC and Marvel Comics. Dead In The Water.

Well, I've given it a bit of thought and to be honest both DC and Marvel -DISNEY Comics are so far beyond redemption it really is no longer worth covering either of them. I was a Marvelite from about 6-7 years old so 50 years later to just look at what has happened....sad.

The thing is, though, I predicted all of this at the time Disney took over "Marvel UK"/Pannini and warned that UK creators would be out of work.  No one listened.  I demonstrated the history of what Disney does. "Total rubbish!"  When all those long faces came up to me with "Marvel UK arent giving us any more work" I could have laughed. But its wrong to laugh at morons.

I actually posted that Disney were buying Marvel MONTHS before it was officially announced and where were those "nay" sayers when it happened as I said it would?  Convenient amnesia.  When I told everyone that Disney "promised" (did anyone check for crossed fingers?) NOT to interfere in any way with Marvel comics I pointed out the history again and that Disney WOULD be controlling everything from day one...and yet Marvel COULD have purchased Disney.  Sheesh.

Disney Comics is a huge cash-cow. Marvel is dead.  Long live the memories!


Image result for marvel comics

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12. Inspiration Must be Cultivated

Hi folks,

Inspiration doesn't just show up when you want it to.It's something that must be drummed up from the earth of you. Imagine you are a garden --Butchart Garden, a Japanese tea garden, a rose garden-- you pick.  This garden did not just happen. It took planning, work, and weather to create this dazzling place. A cultivated garden bursts with inspiration. The ground of you is the same and to be a place of inspiration, you'll have to work at it.

First up, you have to be rich ground.  You will enrich your ground by reading books -- lots of books, all kinds of books. This adds nutrients to the soil of you. You will absorb fantastic ways of approaching stories. You'll find rhythms, turns and surprises that will inform your work. You'll become of aware of things that don't work. Books will take you on life changing journeys. Without this influx of story, you will struggle to find inspiration.

There is more to the enrichment process than simply reading. You will open up to experience.  Douse yourself with regular bucketfuls of the arts. Engage your senses. Participate in the art. Draw, sing, dance--. If you like to bake culinary masterpieces, go for it. Don't let anyone sniff down their nose at your lowbrow pursuits. If some bachelor reality show inspires, watch it. If some monster truck rally appeals, go. Allow yourself freedom, and you will be welcoming inspiration into your life.

Another important enrichment step: go on adventures. Don't let anyone define what an adventure is to you. If you find visiting tiny off-the-road museums meaningful, huzzah! If you like a walk on the beach, huzzah! If you want to jump out of an airplane. OK. If your idea of adventure is shopping in the garment district in New York, go for it. If your idea of adventure is visiting a website like Atlas Obscura and heading out, so be it. Allow yourself to follow your heart, and you will be opened up for inspiration.

There is more to the cultivation process. All this enrichment will help you on your inspiration road but you must also work. You must work regularly in your creative area to easily access inspiration. This requires you to open up your definition of what work is. Work for me isn't just writing. It's staring out the window. It's taking a nap perchance to dream. It's moving through the manuscript backwards looking for typos. All this work helps prime me for inspired moments.

You've added nutrients to the soil, you've been working, but you need the right weather to make this garden thrive. You know certain things grow in the desert. Certain things grow in the rain forest. Your climate is important. Are you hanging out with a bunch of folks who have no artistic vision? Is anyone supporting you as an artist? No? You MUST expand your circle of friends. Surround yourself with the best and the brightest. Be sure you are in the right climate for this garden to thrive. This is a necessary element for inspiration.

Work on the garden of you this week and you will find that inspiration springs up. It just does! I will be back next week another series on Writer Myths. :)  

Here is a doodle:


Here is a quote for your pocket.
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart. Helen Keller

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13. Huzzah, huzzah

"How about a story? Spin us a yarn,” says Grams. And so Sharon Creech does in Walk Two Moons. And it’s a thumpingly good one, as the main character Sal would say.

Writers should read, we’ve been told that. They should be literary carnivores. According to author Roz Morris, “reading—the good and the bad—inspires you. It develops your palate for all the tricks that writers have invented over the years. …there’s no substitute for discovering for yourself how a writer pulls off a trick. Then that becomes part of your experience.”

Elmore Leonard says writers should decide which books they like and study that author’s style. Then, you should take that author’s book or story and “break it down to see how he put it together.” The thought was echoed by Jennifer Nielsen at a recent 2014 Professional Writer’s Series event at the Pleasant Grove Library. 

Fine, I’ll do that. Since I want to write like Carol Lynch Williams, Matthew J. Kirby, and Sharon Creech, placing Walk Two Moons under the microscope is a good place to start.

What works so well in this story? Quite simply, everything. 

Creech has plot, two of them in fact. Sal is traveling with her grandparents to Lewiston, Idaho to learn why her mother abandoned the family and went there. Along the way, she shares a story of her friend, Phoebe, whose mother also has disappeared. Sal admits that uncovering Phoebe’s story was a lot like discovering her own. The road trip to find her mother becomes a journey of acceptance and understanding for Sal.

Plot involves characters. Creech delivers not just Phoebe and Sal, but a multitude of others, each richly drawn, each deserving of a book of their own. Sal’s mother had her reasons for leaving. Phoebe’s mother is multi-layered with a lot of stuff going on. Other memorable people include Sal’s father, Mrs. Cadaver, Mrs. Partridge, Ben, and Grams and Gramps. Creech seamlessly weaves all of them into the story without any sense of it being clunky. It’s most definitely a character-driven plot. But there is so much else going on in this book.

The title is from the Indian saying about not judging another man until you walk two moons in their moccasins and the metaphor is used effectively. Creech layers numerous subplots. Inspirational, secret messages, including the one about the moccasins are left on Phoebe’s doorstep and come into play throughout the story. Phoebe’s wild imagination conjures up lunatics and ax murderers. There is a kiss just waiting to happen. Creech twists and turns the story arc over upon itself revealing the multiple layers. She wraps up every loose thread and ties it with a bow. And she keeps you guessing, keeps you hoping, even though she drops hints along the way. It is masterfully told. 

To better understand the craft, I revisited this story over the summer. I read it as a writer but still managed to get choked up about it, even after sharing it multiple times with students when I was teaching.

Huzzah! Huzzah! The story works on so many levels.


What works have inspired you?

(This article also posted at http://writetimeluck.blogspot.com)

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14. Karla Mialynne's Photos of Realistic Drawings

Karla Mialynne makes realistic renderings of animals using colored pencils and markers, and photographs them with the tools she uses to create them. The photos give us an intriguing hint of scale and process.

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15. the very height of things, the end of summer




You know summer is ending when the flowers at Chanticleer are taller than you, when the pods are mostly empty, when the petals have mostly blown away, when the cardinal flowers light the bendy paths.

You stand at the crest of the hill. You consider the months that are now tucked inside your history.

There's a breeze out there. A stirring.

Next week, or the week after, I will drive to the beach and stand on the shore and talk to the sea. Because the end of summer also means a little reckoning with the salt and the churn of the sea.

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16. For Subzero -a FULL Version!


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17. Hidden

Inside a "rock" that's very fake,
We hid our extra key
And there it sat with real rocks 'round
Beneath a nearby tree.

We've never used it; all the same,
It's comforting to know
It's always there, though sometimes topped
With leaves or rain or snow.

A landscape crew came by last week
To neaten up our land.
Today we saw the work they did
And they deserve a hand.

Except those stones all disappeared,
With mulch piled there instead.
The missing rock with key
Made paranoia rear its head.

They'll break into our house, I thought,
Since often we're away.
Of course they'd recognized
That plastic rock where real ones lay.

But then I got my trusty rake
And moved that mulch around
Until my bogus rock ( with key!),
Surprisingly, I found.

A jump to a conclusion
Often's quite a foolish thing
And isn't worth the stress and worry
That it tends to bring.

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18. Waily, Waily, Laptop Wailies

Updates have been spotty at OC this past week because we're experiencing laptop woes here at Chez Gauthier. My laptop didn't actually start smoking earlier in the week, but the noise it was making and the message that appeared on the screen suggested that it could happen. It has gone off to my computer guy's computer guy. This is one of these deals where Computer Guy #2 must be contacted in some mysterious way and then have the laptop passed on to him by Computer Guy #1 with great amounts of e-mailing and computer talk following.

I've always tried to blog after my workday was over to avoid using creative day time for blogging/marketing. (This is like a Time Management Tuesday post, but different.) Since I've had my laptop, I've fallen into blogging in the evenings while sitting in front of the TV. So last night I tried to work with another family member's laptop. I spent half an hour or so just trying to get on-line and to Blogger. I wonder if Computer Guy #2 gives discounts?

While I am a TV viewer and don't care who knows it, I rarely just watch TV. What, you may wonder, is Gail going to do if she can't find a laptop to use in the living room to blog and read blogs and articles? Well, last night I hemmed pants for one of the elders.

What am I working on now? We have a number of desktops in various stages of life. I don't believe we have any dead ones, anymore.

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19. AL PACINO Dazzles at Venice Film Festival

Al Pacino in Venice (Photo: David Azia)
(Venice, Italy) Al Pacino looks and acts like the legendary movie star he is. Pacino is 74-years-old, but has the energy of someone 30 years younger. One of the things that makes Al Pacino so unique is that he is a movie star from New York, not Hollywood. During one of his two press conferences today, when he was asked to comment on Hollywood, he said, "I don't know and I never did know what Hollywood is." He said he had a relationship with Hollywood that was not unfriendly, but not really clear. He said the people who were running the studios these days were different -- not better or worse, just different, and that times had changed. He said he had even gone to see an action figure flick (I forget which one) with one of his kids, and really enjoyed it.

Al Pacino & Chris Messina (Photo: David Azia)
Al Pacino likes to talk. He gives even the simplest questions long, complex answers, winding paths through a forest of riches, which is fascinating to experience firsthand. It is like going to the theater. 

Greta Gerwig & Al Pacino in The Humbling
Pacino is here in Venice with two films this year, David Gordon Green's MANGLEHORN and THE HUMBLING, directed by another legend, Barry Levinson, based on the Philip Roth novel. The storyline is:

"Simon Axler is a famed stage actor who becomes depressed then suicidal when he suddenly and inexplicably loses his gift. In an attempt to get his mojo back, he has an affair with a lesbian woman half his age. Before long, the relationship causes chaos as people from the romantic duo's pasts resurface in their lives."


The character, Simon Axler, has isolated himself in the country, and someone asked if Pacino had based the character on his own life. Pacino said, "Of course it's based on my life. Once you're famous anonymity goes up in value."

Barry Levinson said it was it was literally like making a home movie because they shot the movie in 20 days in and around his Connecticut home. I thought the film was terrific, and that Pacino hasn't been in such fine form in years. I pretty much agree with the review in Variety, which said: "Pacino, who seemed to have awakened from a long acting coma when he played Dr. Jack Kevorkian in Levinson’s 2010 HBO movie, “You Don’t Know Jack,” seems similarly rejuvenated here, in what’s easily his best bigscreen performance since Christopher Nolan’s “Insomnia” in 2002."

Simon Axler may have lost his mojo, but Al Pacino most definitely has not.

Ciao from The Venice Film Festival,
Cat
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

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20. Pug

I thought it would be fun to draw a pug!

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21. On Sudden Hill – Review + Q&A with Linda Sarah & Benji Davies

On Sudden Hill – Review + Q&A with Linda Sarah & Benji Davies.


Filed under: children's illustration

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22. I Know


I know we will,
Fly light as feather,
Made for each other,
Sharing delicate moments together,

I know we will,
Drink our wines of passion forever,
Sharing that same glass,
Rising high as ever,

I know we will,
Melt inside each other sighs,
Marking presence for life,
In all lows and highs,

I know we will,
Turn every single moment as best,
Our symphonic relation,
Will surpass every test,

I know we will,
Love each other till eternity,
Hugging each other with love,
Counting seconds till infinity

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23. The Southern Sweethearts Blog Tour

I’m so excited to be part of the Southern Sweethearts blog tour!  I asked Sandra Hill, Marilyn Pappano, and Laura Drake how they survive the pressure of their deadlines.  Check out their answers, and then enter the giveaway below.

Top 5 items in your deadline survival kit

Sandra Hill:

1. Jelly beans

2. Coffee, but no more than two big cups

3. Alarm clock (I usually get up no later than 4:30 a.m.)

4. Ear plugs (I need quiet.)

5. Comfy clothes (usually lounging pj’s)

Marilyn Pappano:

1. Lots of Diet Dr. Pepper

2. My ancient, tee-tiny computer that I can tuck away and take anywhere

3. Snacks that won’t transfer too much gunk to the keyboard

4. A bathroom (see #1)

5. My husband, who keeps life on track, reminds me to sleep, looks up any and all information I need, and makes food runs

Laura Drake:

1. A husband who runs interference with everyday things, and doesn’t expect that I’ll remember a conversation we had, just yesterday.

2. Protein. The only thing that satisfies me.

3. Coffee. Unending gallons of it.

4. My bicycle. It’s where I work out all my plot problems!

5. A schedule. I work backwards to figure out how many words I need a day, and I don’t quit until I’ve written them. Sometimes takes 2 hours, sometimes (like yesterday) 15. But I typed ‘The End” this morning! Whew!

SWEET ON YOU by Laura Drake (August 26, 2014; Forever Mass Market; $8.00)

A Love as Bold as a Texas Sunset . . .

Ex-army medic Katya Smith has always healed other people’s pain. Now she has to deal with her own. Taking a job as an athletic trainer on the Pro Bull Riding circuit seems like the perfect escape from her grief-except Katya doesn’t know anything about bulls, and even less about the tough men who ride them. She doesn’t expect to fall for the sport, or for one tantalizing cowboy who tumbles her defenses.

For rodeo champion Cam Cahill, fifteen years of bucking bulls have taken their toll on his body. Before he retires, he wants a final chance at the world title-and he doesn’t need some New Age gypsy telling him how to do his job. But when the stunning trainer with the magical hands repairs more than his worn muscles, everything changes. Soon Cam finds himself trying to persuade Katya to forgive her past so she can build a future . . . with him.

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Laura Drake grew up in the suburbs outside Detroit, though her stories are set in the west.  A tomboy, she’s always loved the outdoors and adventure. In 1980 she and her sister packed everything they owned into Pintos and moved to California. There she met and married a motorcycling, bleed-maroon Texas Aggie and her love affair with the West was born. Laura rides motorcycles: Elvis, a 1985 BMW Mystic, and Sting, a 1999 BMW R1100.

In Texas, Laura was introduced to her first rodeo, and fell in love. She’s an avid fan of Pro Bull Riding (PBR,) attending any event within driving distance, including two PBR National finals. She is hard at work at her next novel.

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SNOW ON THE BAYOU by Sandra Hill (August 26, 2014; Forever Mass Market; $8.00)

THE BAYOU’S BADDEST BAD BOY IS BACK!

Joining the Navy was the second best thing that ever happened to Justin “Cage” LeBlanc, the rebel son of a no-account convict. The first was Emelie Gaudet, the love of his life . . . until he was forced to leave town and swore there would be snow on the bayou before he ever returned. Now, only his mortally ill grandma can bring the injured Navy SEAL back to Terrebone Parrish, where he must face his past-and Emelie, who’s even more beautiful than she was all those years ago.

Bourbon Street blues singer Emelie is once bitten, twice shy. When she learns that Justin is back in town, she wants nothing to do with the once wild Cajun teenager who fled with the law on his tail-and broke her heart. But she can’t deny the red-hot attraction between them . . . or his efforts to prove he’s finally changed his hell-raising ways. Can she trust that this time the bad boy of the bayou will be the best man for her?

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About the author:

Sandra Hill is a graduate of Penn State and worked for more than 10 years as a features writer and education editor for publications in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Writing about serious issues taught her the merits of seeking the lighter side of even the darkest stories. She is the wife of a stockbroker and the mother of four sons.

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A LOVE TO CALL HER OWN by Marilyn Pappano (August 26, 2014; Forever Mass Market; $ )

It’s been two years since Jessy Lawrence lost her husband in Afghanistan, and she’s never fully recovered. Drowning her sorrows didn’t help, and neither did the job she’d hoped would give her a sense of purpose. Now trying to rebuild her life, she finds solace in her best friends, fellow military wives who understand what it’s like to love-and lose-a man in uniform . . . and the memory of one stolen night that makes her dream of a second chance at love.

Dalton Smith has known more than his fair share of grief. Since his wife’s death, he revels in the solitude of his cattle ranch. But try as he might, he can’t stop thinking about the stunning redhead and the reckless, passionate night they shared. He wasn’t ready before, but Dalton sees now that Jessy is the only woman who can mend his broken heart. So how will he convince her to take a chance on him?

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About the author:

Known for her intensely emotional stories, Marilyn Pappano is the USA Today bestselling author of nearly eighty books. She has made regular appearances on bestseller lists and has received recognition for her work in the form of numerous awards. Though her husband’s Navy career took them across the United States, he and Ms. Pappano now live in Oklahoma high on a hill that overlooks her hometown. They have one son and daughter-in-law, an adorable grandson, and a pack of mischievous dogs.

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24. Gordon

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Title: Gordon (A tale of a baby American bison)

Author/Illustrator: Martha Mans

Publisher/Year: WinterBird Press/2014

 

Children’s picture books are works of art. Gordon, written and illustrated by the incredibly talented Martha Mans, is proof. Hold it in your hands. Look at the front cover. Turn is over and look at the back cover. Open it up and flip through the pages. Let your eyes take in all the majestic beauty of life on a Colorado ranch.

Then start at the beginning and read about Gordon, a young American bison, and his animal friends. Follow along as he is rescued from a creek, meets new friends, and finally discovers what he is and where he belongs. Gordon is an endearing story based on true events and it really brings to life, especially through Martha Mans’ amazing watercolor paintings, a part of America that many people may not be familiar with.

I really like how this story introduces readers, young and old, to the animals and wildlife that can be found in the gorgeous state of Colorado, particularly the bison. Did you know that back in the 1800’s, bison were on the brink of extinction? But thanks to the efforts of many, bison are no longer in danger of disappearing, at least for now. And thanks to Martha Mans and Gordon, the majestic bison will not soon be forgotten.   


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25. Top 10 War Novels: A Response

You might have seen the great post by Jon Page entitled My Top 10 War Novels. Like most people I was entertained and added more books to my ever growing ‘to be read’ list. I was also thinking about all the great war novels that were missed; in fact I made a mental list of […]

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