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1. Adrian Tomine Inks Deal With Drawn + Quarterly

Killing & DyingComics creator Adrian Tomine has signed a deal with Drawn + Quarterly. A release date for Killing and Dying: Stories has been scheduled for October 2015.

Editor Chris Oliveros negotiated the deal with Samantha Haywood of the Transatlantic Literary Agency. Farrar, Straus & Giroux has signed on as the U.S. distributor and Raincoast Books will serve as the Canadian distributor.

Oliveros had this statement in the press release: “D+Q first published Adrian Tomine’s comics in 1995 and in the ensuing two decades it’s been a real privilege to see how he has continued to evolve as an artist, a writer, and overall as a cartoonist. Killing and Dying just might be my favorite book by Adrian. We’ve come to expect from him an eloquent visual sensibility and insightful, complex storytelling, but there’s something else going on here: these stories are darkly funny, and they’re tinged with a very particular acerbic wit that we haven’t seen all too often before this.”

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2. Spotlight and Giveaway: Sweet Surprise by Candis Terry

Today I have a spotlight and giveaway for Sweet Surprise.  I have also cleverly hidden a secret letter in my post for Candis Terry’s Word Hunt.  I bet you will never find my letter! (Just kidding!)
Join the Hunt
(See Details Below)
Playing naughty or nice . . .

Fiona Wilder knows all about falling in lust. Love? That’s another story. Determined not to repeat past mistakes, the single mom and cupcake shop owner is focused on walking the straight and narrow. But trouble has a way of finding her. And this time it comes in the form of a smoking hot firefighter who knows all the delicious ways to ignite her bad-girl fuse. Can lead to heartbreak . . .

Firefighter Mike Halsey learned long ago that playing with fire just gets you burned. He’s put his demons behind him, and if there’s one line he won’t cross, it’s getting involved with his best friend’s ex. But when fate throws him in the path of the beautiful, strong, and off-limits Fiona, will he be able to fight their attraction? Or will he willingly go down in flames? Or a sweet surprise!

Amazon | Barnes | iTunes | Kobo | BAM


Each host will have a different letter placed within their post during the SWEET SURPRISE Release Blast!

Readers, you will have to visit EACH tour stop to find the letters, and then enter the “Secret Word” into the Rafflecopter for more chances to win!  

You can enter ONE WORD per day, five words to find!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Candis Terry was born and raised near the sunny beaches of Southern California and now makes her home on an Idaho farm. She’s experienced life in such diverse ways as working in a Hollywood recording studio to chasing down wayward steers. Only one thing has remained the same: her passion for writing stories about relationships, the push and pull in the search for love, and the security one finds in their own happily ever after.
Find Candis Here

SOMETHING SWEETER by Candis Terry is the
Harlequin Junkie Book Club Read for January!

Mark your calendars for Jan 29th!
(6pm PST/9pm EST)

The post Spotlight and Giveaway: Sweet Surprise by Candis Terry appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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3. Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou Review

Title: Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou Genre: Slice of Life Publisher: Shonen Gahosha (JP), Crunchyroll (US) Story/Artist: Ruri Miyahara Serialized in: Young King Ours Reviewed: Volume 1 of 6 Review copy provided by Crunchyroll. As I mentioned last time, there are many different kinds of slice of life manga out there. Some rely on character growth to move the story along and ... Read more

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4. CJ Omololu - my friend, Top Cancer Ass Kicker, and author of the new The Third Twin - Spread the Word!

I met Cynthia Jaynes-Omololu about 5 or 6 years ago in LA. We'd known each other for years online and built a great friendship. (I think it was in FriendMatch.com that connected us or Blogger :)

When we met, we s sat down to have a drink and I ordered my usual filthy martini. She laughed and said she was surprised. She went on to tell me this story she made up in her head - that she thought I was an Ann Taylor marketing business gal who only wore pink suits with matching shoes and purse who drank pink cosmos.Those who know me know I am far from pretty in pink. I am jeans and boots who drinks filthy martinis and coffee.

A few things stuck out to me that day that made me adore CJ -
1) I had to like her b/c she obviously spent many nights thinking about me ;) so I didn't want to hurt her feelings.
2) She is OBVIOUSLY creative as hell and makes up great stories - she did with me.
3) She's a little wackadoo too. Which sells me even more b/c I am far from normal on the bell curve.
4) She immediately made me feel comfortable and listened to my publishing woes, laughed at my bad jokes, and insisted on being my friend. (She's pushy that way ;)

Since then, we have:
 - Roomed at conferences where she has generously shared her portable Kuerig, flavored cream and strong coffee with me (and yes...she drags that dang thing with her everywhere. Where most people would have loves to snuggle, CJ sleeps with her mini-kuerig. In fact - Kuerig should call her for a commercial and pay all her med bills for the free PR she has given them!)
- Shared stories - funny ones and the ones we write. She has been a great CP in the past, always offering great suggestions (and twists) in my own work.
- Stayed with me at the Writers Police Academy where we fingerprinted each other and tested blood stains ( - so we also share a sick humored mind! only writers will appreciate this part!)
- Shared her lovely home and family with me. Her husband made me coffee too. I swear they probably grow their own coffee beans.
- Made delicious salmon and sauteed green been dinner for me.
- Introduced me to her lovely dog…ok I can't make this all rosy just b/c she's battling cancer! That "sweet" (he would never hurt anyone even if you came in the house with a key) kind of dog chased my butt upstairs and cornered me in my bedroom until Tae had to rescue me! (Thx Tae :)
- She has made me laugh, seen me cry over this strange industry, given me words of encouragement, and stayed up late with me talking b/c I could not go to sleep!

So the fact that some asshole named Cancer barges in and wants to take her away from me - pisses me off to no end.

Interrupted by bad movie clip from Independence day! -
"We will not go quietly into the night!" We will not vanish without a fight! We're going to live on! We're going to survive!"

So - a bunch of us are throwing a launch party for her and spreading the word about her new book across the country. It is important that everyone in this world knows about CJ Omololu, The Third Twin, her total wacky awesomeness, and her deep resonating words.

Because as a writing community, that's what we do for friends, authors and books - we support them always no matter what!

So please share this flyer with your community. Join our Facebook page, preorder her new book, and come to the launch party to help CJ celebrate her new baby - The Third Twin.

And while you are at it - a couple prayers couldn't hurt either.

(Take that Mr. Cancer! jerk hat...)

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5. Magneto Meets His Last Days in Secret Wars

By Davey Nieves

LAST DAYS 195x300 Magneto Meets His Last Days in Secret Wars

Marvel pulled another piece out of their Secret Wars puzzle box today when they announced, on Newsarama, the ongoing Magneto book by writer Cullen Bunn and artist Javi Fernandez would be under the umbrella of the Last Days banner during Secret Wars. Starting with May’s issue #18, the master of magnetism faces off against the end of the world in a four issue story the writer described as being about Magneto’s legacy. He’ll see the events leading up to end of the Marvel 616 and attempt to use every bit of his power to halt them.

MAGNETO 018 small 198x300 Magneto Meets His Last Days in Secret Wars

The arc is also set to feature appearances from Briar, the Marauders and various S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who’ve been in pursuit of Magneto throughout the series. Readers will also see a surprise appearance in the form a character related to Magneto with a controversial past. With the terminability surrounding these Last Days tie-in books it would suggest an end to the series and maybe even the character himself upon conclusion. Could Marvel be revealing what characters won’t make it into Secret War? Magneto was a major part of the original 1984 Secret Wars, but it looks also though he may not even make it to this one. When asked if this would be the series finale Cullen Bunn had this to say: “If the book were to end, I think this arc would wrap things up quite nicely,” Bunn explains. “But what I’m doing also positions Magneto for some really exciting stuff that’s coming up. Really, do you think something like the end of the world is going to stop the Master of Magnetism?”

No other story details were revealed but we expect to hear more soon as the rest of the tie-in books are revealed including titles for the other two banners Battleworld and Warzones!.


What do you think of Marvel’s latest tease? Could Marvel leave Magneto out of their new world order?

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6. “Ray Rhamey's book stands head and shoulders above”

Mastering front 100WshadowA new review from Amazon for my new Mastering the Craft of Compelling Storytelling:

5 stars A Must Read

As a fiction writer, I'm always searching for craft-related books, always trying to glean something useful for my next story. I would say Ray Rhamey's book stands head and shoulders above many such books I've read.

Among many topics presented here, the author discusses POV shifts, elements of story, description techniques, and, of course, language. The beauty of it is that the reader is not expected to grasp such concepts based on definitions alone, as we have a multitude of examples resulting in ease of flow and many aha moments.

For anyone who wants to improve and make his/her writing compelling, there is no better guide than Rhamey's Mastering the Craft.

This is not a dry, pedantic `how to' book on writing. It is an entertainingly easy to follow guide on not only what to do, but just as importantly, what not to do.

Signed paperbacks are available on my website (discounted price, free shipping), both Kindle and the paperback are available on Amazon.com.

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7. Wrong!

The storm was called historic
Before it even hit,
The weathermen euphoric,
As reports they did submit.

They closed the subways and the schools;
Prevented cars from driving.
The pols used all their lofty tools
For snow not yet arriving.

The Broadway theaters shut their doors;
Museums followed suit.
The gyms were shuttered and the stores,
Decisions resolute.

And after all was said and done,
The blizzard never came.
Though all were wrong, there wasn’t one
Who’d shoulder any blame.

Defensively the bigwigs boast,
“We made the right decision;”
But I am one of quite a host
Who view them with derision.

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8. My Thoughts: Biggest Flirts & Perfect Couple by Jennifer Echols

4 soft snickerdoodles (for both books)

Cover Love:
Yes, I love the flirty style of both of these covers.

Why I Wanted to Read These:
I love Jennifer Echols and contemporary romances.  How could these be wrong?  Here are the synopsis for each book

Tia and Will’s lives get flipped upside down when they’re voted Yearbook’s Biggest Flirts in this sassy novel from the author of Endless Summer and The One That I Want.

Tia just wants to have fun. She’s worked hard to earn her reputation as the life of the party, and she’s ready for a carefree senior year of hanging out with friends and hooking up with cute boys. And her first order of business? New guy Will. She can’t get enough of his Midwestern accent and laid back swagger.

As the sparks start to fly, Will wants to get serious. Tia’s seen how caring too much has left her sisters heartbroken, and she isn’t interested in commitment. But pushing Will away drives him into the arms of another girl. Tia tells herself it’s no big deal…until the yearbook elections are announced. Getting voted Biggest Flirts with Will is, well, awkward. They may just be friends, but their chemistry is beginning to jeopardize Will’s new relationship—and causing Tia to reconsider her true feelings. What started as a lighthearted fling is about to get very complicated.

As yearbook photographer, Harper is responsible for capturing those candid moments that make high school memorable. But her own life is anything but picture perfect. Her parents' bitter divorce has left her wondering what a loving relationship would look like. And ever since the senior class voted her and star quarterback Brody the “Perfect Couple That Never Was,” her friends have been on her case to ask Brody out.

Brody doesn’t lack in female admirers, but Harper can't see herself with him. He seems confused about why they were matched together, too. They’re total opposites—the last people in the world who would ever be compatible, let alone the “perfect couple.” Yet ever since the class paired the two of them, they've found themselves drawn together--first by curiosity, then by an undeniable bond.

The trouble is, though they're very attracted to each other and both of them admit this, they have a hard time getting along or even communicating clearly. If they’re the perfect couple, this shouldn’t be so difficult! Soon it becomes clear their class was wrong, and they throw in the towel. But after they walk away, both of them feel so changed from making the effort that they can’t forget each other. What if that means this match made in hell is the perfect couple after all?
Romance?: Of Course!

My Thoughts:
First off, I don't like either of these summaries because it gives so much away.  These have all the same earmarks of contemporary romances--misunderstandings, listening to rumors over your own instincts and heart, flirting and experimenting.   But they have one more thing that helps so much, Jennifer Echols is great at writing chemistry.  You can't help but root for both of these couples to get together!

I took a longer time getting into Biggest Flirts because I didn't like Tia in the beginning at all.  It was hard for me to root for her to get with Will because she shirked from everything. I understand her reasoning for not wanting to get close to boys, but for someone who so desperately didn't want to follow in her sisters' footsteps, she was really irresponsible.  I would've expected her to be way more straight edged, kind of like Harper.

I really liked Will and did root for Tia to calm herself down enough to see the good in front of her.  And I adored Harper and Brody, all the way through.

Kind of off topic: When I was in high school we didn't do superlatives, however, I am not sure I would've won anything.  They do them now and next year my son will be a senior and I gotta say, I kind of want him and his girlfriend (if they are still a thing next fall) to win cutest couple.  They are so darling together!

Anyway, these are two sweet books, romantic but typical.  Getting close, misunderstandings, not listening enough to your own heart and listening too much to other people, but with good endings.  Not anything too out of the ordinary, except the chemistry.  And that is enough to keep me going!

To Sum Up:  Just a bit mature for my middle school library, however, I could see many 8th grade girls getting into them.  Love these kind of romances!

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9. Gingerbread Spies and Magic Pencils - Two Book Birthdays!

Mara Rockliff's latest picture book, GINGERBREAD FOR LIBERTY, is the delicious (and true!) story of the baker who helped save the American Revolution.

Christopher Lutwick was a German immigrant and, in the 1770's, a vocal advocate of revolution as well as possibly the most celebrated and popular baker in Philadelphia. When the war broke out, though he was too old for fighting, he was determined to help, and his friend George Washington made him the "baker general" of the army. He also had an even more significant, albeit more secretive role... to talk starving Hessian soldiers working for the British into abandoning the King. And he could do it because he was a former starving Hessian soldier himself.

This remarkable tale shines a light on a little known figure of the Revolution who worked alongside George Washington and the other heroes we all know about. And the scrumptious illustrations by Vincent X Kirsch are the icing on the gingerbread!

"This appealing concoction is a powerful reminder of the good one person can do." -- Kirkus

"A sweet addition to Revolutionary War units." --School Library Journal, starred review

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10. Crunchyroll launches original webcomic by Hiroyuki Takahashi

HYPERSONIC main image Crunchyroll launches original webcomic by Hiroyuki Takahashi

Streaming anime service Crunchyroll is getting into the original webcomic game with a new “Crunchyroll Originals” program, and it kicks off with  HYPERSONIC music club by artist Hiroyuki Takahashi, with a story by Patrick Macias . The story line involves world of tomorrow young cyborgs fighting a mysterious conspiracy led by monster girls. Just a day at the office. Takahashi’s work is a mix of manga and music influences, and his work has a colorful explosive effect just right for HD computer screen.

According to Crunchyroll GM, Japan Channels, Vincent Shortino, “The Crunchyroll Originals line represents an opportunity to develop new and compelling content for users in addition to our licensed anime and manga offerings. Combining forces with artists like Hiroyuki Takahashi underscores Crunchyroll’s commitment to Japanese pop culture and pursuing innovation in the digital media space.”

The comic will be free to read and launches this Friday, January 30th. You can follow along on tumblr here and see more of Takahashi’s work here.



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11. Wizard World announces Fan Fest for Rosemont, IL in March

201501271414 Wizard World announces Fan Fest for Rosemont, IL in March

WizardWorld has announced a new Chicago-based show with the Wizard World Comic Con Presents Fan Fest Chicago on March 7-8 at Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont. In contrast to pricier Wizard shows, the event will be $25 for the weekend and $15 for either day, and people who sign up for VP or four day registration at the regular August show get in free.

Although Bleeding Cool originally positioned this show as a “Con Wars” shot across the bows to Reed’s C2E2 show held just a month later in Chicago proper—and we like a good con wars story as much as the next guy—the real reason was more prosaic: Wizard had originally booked the venue for these dates for Bruce Campell’s HorrorFest. However Campbell had to pull out due to filming on the new Evil Dead TV show (YYYAYYYYYYYY!) and since the dates were booked, Wizard put on another show rather than eat the costs of renting the venue.

Pretty simple.

The Campbell event has now been moved to co-locate with Wizard World Chicago in August. WWC is generally held to be a pretty busy and profitable show for all, and the Chicago area can probably support a whole bunch of events. Parking not included, of course.

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12. Avon & Powell’s Curate Romantic Reading List

Powell’s Books has teamed up with Avon Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, to create a book recommendation platform curated by romance authors.

The program is called \"Mutual Attractions,\" and includes four romance novel selections which will be promoted in Powell’s Books stores as well as on social media for two month periods. Each collection will be chosen by a bestselling romance author.

The first collection was put together by author Julia Quinn and goes live today. Her choices include: Something New by Tessa DareRecommended Read from Julie Anne LongNew Discovery by Loretta Chase; and Desert Island Keeper by Eva Ibbotson.

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13. Coping with Reviews and a Reader Appreciation Giveaway Blitz

I just read a post by Jody Hedlund about coping with reviews, and I was struck by a couple of things that she said.

  1. Reviews are for readers, not for writers, and
  2. If, as an author, you choose to read your reviews, be prepared for open, honest feedback.
Having just gone through this with an author friend who is getting her first reviews, and having dealt with my share of stinging reviews as well--ALL authors get them--I've given this some thought.

My conclusions? (And yes, I'm going to share them, even though talking about reviews in public is scary as hell.)

Found on Thought In A Bubble

Reviews Can Force You to Examine Your Writing Choices

I wrote a guest post for one of my favorite writing sites yesterday (it will be out soon!) and I mentioned that one of the things that makes me grateful for editorial feedback is that it forces me to understand the choices that I make in my books.

There's a reason I choose to pace my stories the way I do; there's a reason the scenes are layered the way they are; there's a reason I choose the characters I chose. But not everyone will understand those choices. Not everyone will love any book or read it the same way.

I wrote about my main character, Barrie, because I want a dialogue about strength. About bravery. About women and our roles in society. (My theme song for Barrie--for all girls--is "Truly Brave," the collaboration between Sara Bareilles and Cyndi Lauper, which is an incredible anthem for women and artists and victims and anyone who struggles. Barrie is so lost at the beginning of the trilogy. But it's a trilogy, and she's got a huge arc. Her "brave" is big. And although there are people who don't love Barrie, there are many more people who do love her and "get" her.

Reviews Tell Us Whether We've Done Our Job As Authors 

Just today, right after I started this post, a reader Tweeted a post about Compulsion, and I stopped over to see if I could use it as an example. It happened to talk about the fact that the blogger is a tutor and that she's "had some intense talks [with her students] about Barrie as a female protagonist."

As a writer, I can ask no more than that. And I wouldn't have known that I had made that connection unless I read that review or the many letters I get privately from girls and women who have made similar points.

Getting that affirmation isn't about vanity. It's about making sure I'm doing the job that I set out to do and finding out what else those readers need. Reader reviews are like a giant focus group. They're gold for writers--provided the writer is able to set aside the occasional "ouch" factor that's involved.

Reviews Are Not Always About the Book 

Obviously, not every book is going to be for every reader. I've been very fortunate with Compulsion, and I'll admit I've stopped stalking my reviews the way that I did when they first started coming. It took me a long time to get "zen" about reviews, or to be able to laugh about some of them. Some of them still make for very brittle laughter.

Even people who review because they love books and want to share great books with others won't love every book. A reader brings her own life and life experience into each book she reads. That's the magic of reading.

As a writer, finding out what a reader brought to my book is one of the greatest and most unexpected joys I've experienced since being published. Whether it's about my book or someone else's story, I appreciate knowing why a plot or character does or doesn't work for someone. Negative reviews can be good reading. I enjoy a well-phrased bit of sarcasm, a bit of political-correctness policing, a bit of humor--until it crosses the line and becomes bullying.

As with the Kathleen Hale scandal, reviewers can become extreme with bashing a book, and that can drive authors crazy and destroy books that took a lot of time and resources to bring to market. There are various reasons that happens. In some cases, there's truly a problem in the book. But all too frequently, it's because a book hits a trigger and the reviewer stops being rational or even considering whether the book is making a point about the very thing that the reviewer abhors. Character arcs exist for a reason--characters learn as they go, but sometimes they have to begin in places that some people don't like in order to get to a better place.

Reviews Are Not Always Fair

If someone abandons the book and then writes about it, as may have been the case with the Kathleen Hale scandal, they're not getting the whole picture. And that's okay, too--as long they make that clear in the review. I'm all about free speech. My family and I came to this country because it was a place where we could speak our minds, and I would defend that right to my dying breath.

But I'm also an advocate for justice. I would prefer that the world of reviewing was perfect, and that if a reviewer didn't finish a book, or only skimmed it and assumed that gave them the same interpretation as a full and careful reading, that they would mention that in their review. I would prefer that if someone reviews YA books from an adult perspective and dings the characters for making teen choices, they not write up a one-star review. I would prefer fairness from all reviewers, for every book, for every author, but I still defend every reviewer's, and every author's, right to write whatever they damn well want.

Reviews Need To Be Viewed in Context 

Jody Hedlund mentions that reviews are open, honest feedback. That's not always true, unfortunately. There are as many different reasons that reviewers write reviews as there are reasons why authors penned the books they have written.

If, as authors, we are going to read reviews, then I think that we need to learn to recognize the type of review, the type of reviewer, and take what we can from the feedback.

Bulling Shouldn't Be Dismissed As Free Speech 

I chaired an advisory council on school safety for the second largest school district in Virginia for many years. In that capacity, I focused on bringing anti-bullying programs into the schools and creating safer school environments. I recognize bullying when I see it. And I am seeing it online. Fortunately, I've not really been a victim myself, and I'm probably making myself a target by writing this. That's unfortunate, but here goes anyway.

It worries me to hear authors and bloggers -- even huge authors and huge bloggers -- say privately that they do not feel that they can speak freely in defense of the victims of online bullying. Let me clarify here. I am not speaking about defending stalking or bad behavior, as in the case of Kathleen Hale. I'm saying that over and over again, I see female authors treated differently than male authors, and I see female authors get bullied in a way that makes me feel like I am back in middle school. There's a cult of extreme behavior going around the internet that makes me want to cry.

Bullying begins with individuals. It grows because people let themselves become bystanders. But kindness begins with individuals, too, as does responsibility.

Take What You Can From Reviews and Move On 

As authors, I believe we have a responsibility to our readers. For that reason, I do think that reviews are helpful. The vast majority of reviewers are responsible, lovely, incredible people who review books because they love books and want to share that love with others.

Found on WoodleyWonderWorks

I Have WONDERFUL Readers 

I am so grateful that I have the readers I have. Compulsion has gotten such wonderful support--more than I ever dreamed--and I have met so many incredible readers along this journey that I am truly, truly overwhelmed. Not all of my reviews have been favorable. Duh. But my favorite reviews aren't always five star, or even four star reviews.

My favorite reviews are the ones that are honest. That make me think. That make me grow as a reader and as an author. There have been many of those.

And I thank everyone who has taken the time to read Compulsion and think about it. I thank you for your letters, and emails, and messages, and reviews, and tweets, and support.

Which brings me to this week's giveaway!


You'll find this giveaway on a lot of sites this week, and if you'd like to share it on your site, please email me at ayaplit (at) gmail dot com. I'd love to spread the word. The cover reveal for Persuasion will be next week. Next week! Yikes. And for anyone who would like a good deal on Compulsion, this is the final week it is available for Kindle, Nook, and iBooks for $1.99!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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14. Write: For Those Writers Out There That Need to Know About the Decomp Process

I looked this information up when I wrote this short piece the other day. Then I thought, “why not share this information with other writers?” Because at some point, you need to know about dead bodies, right?

Or is it just me? :-D

By the way, word to the wise, DON’T Google images for decomp. You’re welcome.

Believe it or not, decomposition begins as soon as you die; it starts deep into the digestive system, where the intestinal flora [bacteria that live in our intestines and that are crucial for the proper functioning of the gut] begin to multiply exponentially and to feed on your internal organs, the same organs they helped protect when you were alive. This process is called autolysis and it begins as the dead body begins to cool off, a few minutes after death. The external signs of putrefaction [bloating, marbling of the skin tissue, swollen and protruding tongue, seepage of fluids from every imaginable orifice, odor of rotting meat] may start to show as soon as a few hours after death, depending greatly on the environmental factors surrounding the corpse. In general, a corpse lying out in the open and exposed to high temperatures and humidity can become completely skeletonized in as few as 10 days to a month, at the most. Areas of the body which have sustained injury or trauma decompose much more rapidly than those which are not injured. However, a corpse that’s been carefully embalmed, put into a sealed casket and interred in a place where there’s little moisture can be exhumed and still be nearly intact several months or even years after the demise.

The following is a copy/paste of an article called “The 26 Stages of Death”, the original of which is located at here.

Moment of Death:
1} The heart stops
2} The skin gets tight and grey in color
3} All the muscles relax
4} The bladder and bowels empty
5} The body’s temperature will typically drop 1.5 degrees F. per hour unless outside environment is a factor. The liver is the organ that stays warmest the longest, and this temperature is used to establish time of death if the body is found within that time frame.

After 30 minutes:
6} The skin gets purple and waxy
7} The lips, finger- and toe nails fade to a pale color or turn white as the blood leaves.
8} Blood pools at the lowest parts of the body leaving a dark purple-black stain called lividity
9} The hands and feet turn blue {because of lack of oxygenation to the tissues}
10} The eyes start to sink into the skull

After 4 hours:
11} Rigor mortis starts to set in
12} The purpling of the skin and pooling of blood continue
13} Rigor Mortis begins to tighten the muscles for about another 24 hours, then will reverse and the body will return to a limp state.
After 12 hours:
14} The body is in full rigor mortis.

After 24 hours:
15} The body is now the temperature of the surrounding environment
16} In males, the spermatozoa die.
17} The head and neck are now a greenish-blue color
18} The greenish-blue color continues to spread to the rest of the body
19} There is the strong smell of rotting meat {unless the corpse is in an extremelly frigid environment}
20} The face of the person is essentially no longer recognizable

After 3 days:
21} The gases in the body tissues form large blisters on the skin
22} The whole body begins to bloat and swell grotesquely. This process is speeded up if victim is in a hot environment, or in water
23} Fluids leak from the mouth, nose, eyes, ears and rectum and urinary opening

After 3 weeks:
24} The skin, hair, and nails are so loose they can be easily pulled off the corpse
25} The skin cracks and bursts open in many places because of the pressure of Internal gases and the breakdown of the skin itself
26} Decomposition will continue until body is nothing but skeletal remains, which can take as little as a month in hot climates and two months in cold climates. The teeth are often the only thing left, years and centuries later, because tooth enamel is the strongest substance in the body. The jawbone is the densest, so that usually will also remain.

Filed under: Just Write, Writing Stuff

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15. Emma Watson to Star in a Live-Action Beauty & The Beast Film

Emma WatsonOn the heels of completing live-action versions for Cinderella and Maleficent, Disney has announced that it will create a live-action adaptation of Beauty & The Beast. Like the 1991 animated movie and the hit Broadway musical, the story for this project will be based on Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont’s beloved fairy tale “La Belle et la Bête.”

Actress Emma Watson announced on her Facebook page that she will play Belle; the post has drawn more than 1.1 million “likes.” Watson feels that her “six year old self is on the ceiling – heart bursting” and plans to prepare for this part with singing lessons.

BuzzFeed reports that no actor has been cast as The Beast. Who would you nominate for this role?

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16. Happy Birthday Mozart!

I'm one of those people, like Einstein or Maurice Sendak who think of Mozart as being close to a deity.  It's because Mozart creates worlds undreamt of in this mortal's philosophy and his message of genius seems to be love and forgiveness.

So Happy Birthday Mozart!

One shudders to think what classical music would be if it was all Pachelbel or Boccherini!

I like doing up digital photoshop collages - some day I might get around to painting them on canvas when I have a spare month of leisure.  This one was especially fun.

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17. Coherence

The second stop in my short trip through 2014's lesser-known genre filmmaking is James Ward Byrkit's Coherence.  Which turned out to be fortuitous, as the comparison between Coherence and The One I Love revealed some interesting similarities, as well as telling differences.  On the surface level, the two films feel very different--The One I Love is intimate and tightly focused, while Coherence is

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18. Dear Editor; the Tao of Manuscript Submission 2015

Somewhere around mid-December a word will pop into my head that symbolizes the year ahead for me. December 2013 brought me the word "Completion." It was a good word for 2014, encouraging me to finish, polish, and prepare my novel The Abyssal Plain for 2015 submission. The year before that, the word was "Focus," another good direction that brought me to where I am today. 

This year, for some mysterious reason, my word is "Tao" as in Taoism. At first I thought it had something to do with my upcoming trip to Taiwan, but then I thought it might be connected to my current art project of sketching and painting doors, i.e., Tao being related to "the way," or "the door." Whatever the reason for it coming into my life, I like it. 

To me, the Tao means "go with the flow," a much-needed quality as I begin submitting my manuscript. It's a scary process and I need all the help I can get, from chanting "nerves of steel" as I seal up my envelopes, to occupying my waiting time with revising and polishing yet another WIP.

This morning as part of my daily morning pages routine I brainstormed some of the ways using a Taoist approach could help me get through my submission angst. My biggest fear is getting to the post office and then tearing open the envelopes because I'm certain I've "done it wrong" and have to check everything one more time. After all, submission holds so much baggage: fear of rejection, bending one's will to another, even the idea of "breaking your spirit" altogether. Except, according to my brainstorming, it doesn't have to be any of those things. Rather than believing that submission is about being meek, mild, and a total  doormat, it's about saying "Yes!" with total confidence. It's about believing that:
  1. Yes, my work is finished to the best of my current ability.
  2. Yes, my work is sale-worthy. If I were a publisher, I would pay to have it published.
  3. And, yes, I can let this piece go because I have many, many more books and stories to write and prepare for publication. So, let it go!
It's a whole new publishing world out there, with new editors, agents, and publishing houses. As modern writers and authors, we really do have a myriad of fresh opportunities at our fingertips, e.g., e-books, serialized novels, on-demand printing, audio-books. The idea of allowing the Tao to support and maintain our submission efforts is an attractive one, helping me to remain (relatively) calm and centered, the very best way, I would think to approach any task, starting with writing those manuscripts in the first place!

    Tip of the Day: Okay, so what if a manuscript submission really does "go wrong"? It happens: a typo in the cover letter, addressing an editor who left the house long ago, sending the manuscript to the wrong department, a confusing pitch. Believe me, I've been there, and more than once. But none of these things are worth agonizing over. A mistake is a chance to learn and get it right next time. Do your best to move on and . . .  let it go . . .

    P.S. Over the next few months I'll be examining and reporting on my experiences of working with the Tao as a writer and artist. Stay tuned--and be sure to drop me a line if you have any questions or thoughts to share on the subject. Thanks!

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    19. Heavy Metal locating its comics in Portland

    deadline death 01 Heavy Metal locating its comics in Portland

    Since relaunching early last year, the new Heavy Metal has been relatively quiet, relaunching Hoax Hunters under their banner and pursuing their multi media plans mostly behind the scenes. However, a recent appearance at Wizard World Portland has revealed plans for locating the comics operations of the company in Portland, OR where they’ll pursue a model that takes advantage of their well known branding:

    “We’re looking at (comics) properties in the same way we look at television and film,” says Krelitz, who attended Wizard World Portland last weekend.

    “We have a much better economic model than anyone will offer in the marketplace.  We have a merchandizing company that’s one of the biggest in the world.  Not only are we not going to fleece you to get your self-published book, we’re going to help your brand building.”

    The new Heavy Metal is run by film producer Jeff Krelitz and former music exec David Boxenbaum, with comic only part of a film, tv and licensing model. According to the piece, they plan to launch eight titles this year, 12 more next year and more than fifty over five years. “We’re positioning to be a premiere publisher,” Krelitz told Steve Duin, author of the above piece.

    While things ramp up, the regular Heavy Metal website is publishing some short comics such as “Deadline of Death” by Jason Paulos, (shown above) a satisfyingly ECish tale of a deal with the devil to work for Marvelous Comics. Short version: do not make a deal with the devil.

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    20. Teaser Trailer Unveiled For ‘The Fantastic Four’ Reboot

    A new trailer has been released for The Fantastic Four movie. The video embedded above offers glimpses of Miles Teller as Mr. Fantastic, Kate Mara as the Invisible Woman, Jamie Bell as The Thing, and Michael B. Jordan as The Human Torch.

    Yahoo! reports that Josh Trank served as the director and Simon Kinberg took on the dual-role of screenwriter-producer for this rebooted film adaptation. Follow this link to watch the teaser with commentary from both Trank and Kinberg—what do you think?

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    21. Top Ten Tuesday: Book Clubs

    Hello blog readers!

    I know I’ve been a bit absent lately. Still struggling to find internet access. But my goal is to work myself towards more active participation over here. Thanks to all of you who’ve stuck through these ups and downs with me over the last few months. And welcome to any new readers too. :)

    Anyway, moving on to today’s post. In addition to getting back to regular posts, I just discovered this way cool weekly event called Top Ten Tuesdays hosted over at The Broke and Bookish. They post a book related question each Tuesday, and participants have the chance to come up with a list of 10 books that answer that question.

    Sounds like fun. So although I don’t know how often I’ll participate, I thought it would be fun to do so today anyway. Today’s question is: Ten Books I'd Love to Read With My Book Club/If I Had A Book Club.

    Interesting question for me, since for the first time ever in my life, I actually am a member of a book club. I found out in November that a group of ladies from my church do participate in a monthly book club and they invited me to join. Of course, that being said, most of the books we’ve read so far totally aren’t my thing. But since we take turns choosing books, this is actually something that I’ve thought about (for when my turn comes around).

    When choosing a book for book club, I think it’s better to choose something that you’ve already read, since that way there’s no surprises content-wise that you can’t warn people about before they start the book. As a result, I’ve approached this question narrowing it down to books I’ve already read.

    So here’s 10 books I’d like to read with my book club (in no particular order):

    Austenland: A Novel by Shannon Hale - Normally I don’t like adult contemporary romance, but I picked this one up because it’s Shannon Hale and Jane Austen mixed together, what could go wrong? And I loved it. This is a book that everyone who I’ve ever passed it onto has liked. And the movie isn’t bad either, even though it doesn’t follow the book exactly.

    The Host by Stephenie Meyer - Okay, I know full well I’m going to catch flack for this one because Stephenie Meyer has kind of become a cliché name due to the Twilight books. And yes, I enjoyed the Twilight books. Never a big fan of them, but they were fun to read the one time. However, I really liked her book The Host (her adult book) a lot more. But most of the people I talk to won’t give it a try because of how they feel about Twilight etc. So I wish more people would try this one so I could discuss it with them.

    We Bought a Zoo - Also a cute movie. Although the movie is pretty much nothing like the book. The actual book is a non-fiction memoir about the opening of Dartmouth Zoological Park in England. It’s a little slow to start because there is a lot of background information to slog through before you get to the specific anecdotes about owning/refurbishing a zoo, which is why those I’ve shared it with have had a hard time with it in the past. But I love re-reading this one, because the stories are quite funny if you can get through the background information, and it’s wonderful to think that they all actually happened to someone somewhere. Definitely an escape book for me.

    Agatha H. and the Airship City by Phil Foglio and Kaja Foglio - This one is a little weird, because I actually read the graphic novel version of it first. But knowing it might be hard to entice people to read graphic novels if they’re not used to it, there’s also a book version which pretty much follows the comic word for word. If you like steampunk, this is a great series for you. And a good introduction to the idea of steampunk if you’re not familiar with it already. I love the characters and the mystery of the whole plot of this series.

    So here’s where I get into trouble. My book club is made up of adults, and although we have read one YA book since I’ve joined (Graceling by Kristin Cashore, which was excellent, by the way, and I don’t know why it took me so long to read it) but most of the books I read are YA ones. So the above four are my “adult” choices. But if I could, I would share these YA/Kid titles with my book club too.

    Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede - This one lands firmly in the “kid” category, but it has been one of my favorite books since childhood. Who wouldn’t want to share one of their favorites with others? No brainier for this list.

    The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde - Fforde normal writes adult novels, so although this book is marketed as YA (probably because the main character is 16) I think it’s very translatable to adult readers. I love the inventiveness of the world created in this one, as well as the spunky main character, and I enjoyed the sequel a lot too. Hopefully I will be able to get my hands on the third one soon.

    A World Without Heroes (Beyonders) by Brandon Mull - I love pretty much everything Brandon Mull does, but I think the Beyonders series grapples with more larger and complex issues than his Candy Shop War and Fablehaven series do. I’ve always been disappointed that this one is billed as middle grade level, as I really think it would appeal more to YA readers because of its complexity, and I think most teens won’t give it a chance because it’s usually shelved in the kids section. I think this one could spark lots of great discussion with a book club.

    Heist Society by Ally Carter - Again, I love pretty much everything Ally Carter does, but Heist Society has a special place in my heart among her books. I don’t know why this particular one resonated with me so much, but it is another one of those books that everyone I recommend it to loves. I even got my brother to read it (and its two sequels) and he doesn’t read “girl books”. So that’s a success story right there.

    A Long Way From Chicago by Richard Peck - I think this one is considered a “modern children’s classic”. I picked it up because it was required reading for my YA lit class in college. Even though it’s a relatively short children’s book, the merit of this one is definitely high. It’s a great collection of connected short stories about growing up during the years of the Great Depression. Seriously, if you haven’t read this one yet, you should.

    Holes by Louis Sachar - If you haven’t read Holes yet, you need to. End of story. Yes, it’s a kid’s book, but it’s great anyway. Like Harry Potter. I’m serious, go read if you haven’t. Now.

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    22. It seems unfair whenever Freedom shuts off and your inbox fills up&#8230; and instead of a lovely...

    It seems unfair whenever Freedom shuts off and your inbox fills up… and instead of a lovely email newsletter filled with amusing gossip and compliments there’s just bucketloads of spam.

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    23. Report: Disney have their hearts set on Chris Pratt as the next Indiana Jones

    chris pratt 1000x667 Report: Disney have their hearts set on Chris Pratt as the next Indiana Jones

    Between Guardians of the Galaxy and The Lego Movie, Chris Pratt was probably THE action/adventure star of 2014. With Jurassic World coming up in June and The Magnificent Seven about to begin shooting, that momentum doesn’t look like it’s slowing down anytime soon.

    If Disney has their way, we may very well see Pratt attached to another big franchise: The Indiana Jones series.

    Ever since acquiring the rights to the swashbuckling archaeologist from Paramount in 2013 (who had held onto film rights even after the Lucasfilm purchase by the House of Mouse), the studio has been looking to reboot after the moribund reaction to Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. There were rumors floating around that Bradley Cooper would get the nod that were eventually dismissed, but now Deadline is hearing that Pratt is their go-to guy.

    Its still a rumor at this point, but something to keep an eye on in a world where we’re about to get a Mad Max revival (and I call that a great thing, by the way).

    1 Comments on Report: Disney have their hearts set on Chris Pratt as the next Indiana Jones, last added: 1/27/2015
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    24. OMG, I’m Flying!



    I thought this was funny, so I’m sharing. The truth is that I am not at all an optimist. If I was that turtle, I’d be looking at the situation much differently. I appreciate that some people are glass half-full types, and that they are fueled by that positivity, but it’s just not in me. I’m more in the Dark Irish tradition.

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    25. The Daily Sketch

    Yesterday I started a new semester at The Des Moines Art Center, teaching teens fantasy art. I've taught there for over a decade now ( O_O ) and I tried something I've never done before! It was super fun too, at least it got more interaction and conversation from the teens than usual.

    I made three categories: symbol/animal/fantasy figure

    There were ten in each category, folded up and placed in three cups. The kids divided a large sheet of drawing paper into eight sections and then drew whatever I pulled from the cups. Finally they picked one they liked and elaborated for the final.

    I didn't draw with them during the eight, but I did sit and draw with them during the final. My personal favorite was

    leaf + rabbit + elf

    • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

    Although I didn't get to draw this weekend, here are a few highlights from around our home.

    Little bird added to our bathroom, next to his new buddy the Goldfinch.

    New amazing rug found on craigslist for the living room. In LOVE!

    • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

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