Such a long absence (again). I have been loving island life for the first time since getting here since we moved away from the sugar cane fields.
Many mornings I go to the beach, since we live so close now, and I hop onto a stand up paddle board and head out into the inlets around this little island in the middle of the Indian ocean. Last week there was a particularly calm day and as I was navigating the bay out here, a stingray jumped out of the water just in front of me. It was nothing short of thrilling being out in these gorgeous turquoise waters under the billowy tropical clouds.
My afternoons I work. I have a book I am writing and two that I am illustrating and I head up into my studio and close the door for a few hours and focus.
We have found a way to do hot yoga here now too (if you remember I was missing that quite a lot before). There is a building that was used as an office during the construction of the houses in our developement and Fred and I cleaned it up and brought in some heaters and a fan. We call it Hot Dodo Studio.
Right now we are having a ball over here- working hard, but for the first time, playing and relaxing. It's a good balance- I'm sure it won't last, but it is delicious right now and I am enjoying every minute of it.
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Such a long absence (again). I have been loving island life for the first time since getting here since we moved away from the sugar cane fields.
Blog: OUPblog (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: *Featured, Audio & Podcasts, Books, Music, Philosophy, Berit Brogaard, breakup songs, music playlist, On Romantic Love, Philosophy in Action, Simple Truths about a Complex Emotion, Thanksgiving, Turkey-Dumping Day, Add a tag
The last Thursday of November freshmen are returning home to reunite with their high school sweethearts. Except not all are as sweet as they once were. Your old flame may show up with a new admirer or give you trouble because you didn’t spend enough time on Skype on Saturday nights while away at college. Be prepared: pack an arsenal of tunes that catch the sad and sometimes mixed feelings you may have after Turkey-Dumping Day. For your convenience, a list of the 10 great breakup songs for a post-Turkey recovery:
10. Pink’s “Blow me (One Last Kiss)”
One of the more lighthearted tracks to make the list, Pink’s lead single from her sixth studio album The Truth About Love (2012) nonetheless gets the message across: After too much fighting, tears, and sweaty palms, the time comes when turkey is not the only thing you have finally had enough of.
9. Passenger’s “Let Her Go”
Passenger’s second single from the album All the Little Lights (2012) made the list not only because of the soul-wrenching, melodic tune but also because of its spot-on content. Looking into the heart of a dumper, the lyrics forcefully delineate the paradox of love: you don’t really know whether or how much you love someone, until he or she is gone.
8. Christina Perri’s “Human”
The lead single from Perri’s second studio album Head or Heart (2014), this pop power ballad features almost no drumsticks (pun intended). Instead it showcases the American singer’s ethereal voice. And the lyrics hit the nail on the head: Being happier and hotter without your ex may be the best way to get even. But don’t worry if you fail spectacularly, ’cause you’re only a little human.
7. Hilary Duff’s “Stranger”
Tapping into the style and sound of Middle-eastern belly-dance music, Hilary Duff’s single, recorded for her fourth studio album Dignity (2007), is a bouncy yet husky song about suddenly seeing an unkind stranger in the torso of your beloved. After listening to this tune, put on the dumper’s apron before slicing the turkey.
6. Jaymes Young’s “Parachute”
Despite its blunt language, Seattle-born singer Jaymes Young’s fragile ballad made the list because of its lyrics about being lied to and instantly knowing that it’s time to take the “l” out of “lover.”
5. Taylor Swift’s “I knew you were trouble”
Taylor Swift’s bass-heavy dubstep drop, recorded for her fourth studio album Red (2012), is aptly warning us about the trouble-makers–those types that make you fall in love only to leave you behind.
4. Sam Smith’s “Stay with me”
Although it’s not quite a turkey-dumping song but rather a desperate-for-love ballad, this gospel-inspired hit from British songwriter Sam Smith’s debut studio album In the Lonely Hour (2014) still made the list. Critics deemed it overly sentimental, but “brutally honest” is evidently a better description.
3. David Guetta’s “Titanium”
French DJ and music producer David Guetta is hard to pass over when it comes to ferocious breakup songs. This 2012 hit from his album Nothing But the Beat gives you relationship hardship and a shot of resilience to help take the pain out of Turkey-Dumping Day.
2. Fefe Dobson’s “Stuttering”
“Dobson can sing,” say the critic. Yes, indeed. The tune and the debated music video leave you stuttering and wondering: Can the green-eyed monster make you that crazy? Yes, it can, not least when the cheater isn’t your man.
1. David Guetta’s “She Wolf”
Katy Perry’s “Part of Me” gets an honorary mention for its heartening lyrics but it’s David Guetta who takes the first place with another ballad, featuring vocals from Australian recording artist Sia. Reflecting on the most poignant of breakups, this impassioned chorus on the feeling of being replaced takes us inside the mind of someone who is “falling to pieces.”
Blog: Tara Lazar (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: PiBoIdMo 2014, Picture Books, Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy, Heather Alexander, Joanna Volpe, Kathleen Rushall, Kirsten Hall, Rachel Orr, Stephen Fraser, Susan Hawk, Tricia Lawrence, Add a tag
I asked the kidlit agents participating in PiBoIdMo as your “grand prizes” to tell us why they love picture books. Their answers are sure to inspire!
Heather Alexander, Pippin Properties
Picture books are easy to love because they are tiny little windows that offer beautiful glimpses out into the whole, wide, wonderful world, and into hearts like and unlike our own.
Stephen Fraser, Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency
I do love picture books! There is nothing more satisfying that to find a picture book manuscript which has been carefully crafted to share a story with the youngest readers. The Impressionist painter Pierre Auguste Renoir said that painting is “making love visible” and I can’t help thinking that is why some picture books are so endearing and everlasting. They make the love we feel for our children, our grandchildren, and the children within us very visible. It is a true craft which needs to be learned and practiced. And I honor those who learn this craft and honor children.
Kirsten Hall, Catbird Agency
Picture books pretty much have me wrapped around their finger. I’m obsessed by the story-telling opportunities offered by this highly-visual genre! Picture books (as a format) seem simple at first blush, but they are often in fact quite layered and even poetic, displaying an elegant interplay between text and art. Best of all, picture books are accessible to everyone. You don’t have to be able to read in order to love them. They can be savored for what they offer visually, and when read aloud, until a reader has command over the written word. Simply, what format is better than the first one that takes children by the hand and turns them into book-lovers?
Susan Hawk, The Bent Agency
The best part of picture books, for me, is way words and illustration marry together to create a sum greater than its parts. I love the way art builds meaning in the story, and how the simplest of texts can be full of emotion and heart. I remember so well the picture books that I poured over as a child — mystified and delighted to be invited into the world of reading and books. For me, it’s an honor to represent picture books!
Tricia Lawrence, Erin Murphy Literary Agency
I love picture books because they celebrate a time in our life we all look back on so fondly. I love being a part of helping to create them because we’re creating books for kids who will look back on them for the rest of their lives.
Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary Agency
I became a reader because of picture books, and I became an agent because of picture books. They are one of the richest and most influential forms of literature. So much feeling, so many laughs, in so few pages, meant to be read over and over again!
Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary Agency
I love picture books because they speak to the quintessential child in each of us. They reach across the gaps of age and culture and language and bring us under their spell. A perfectly-crafted picture book is a full-senses experience that can last a lifetime.
Rachel Orr, Prospect Agency
I love the breadth of story and emotion—from clever and comical, to poetic and pondering—that can be found within the framework of a 32-page picture book. I love the right prose, the visual subplots, the rhythm and rhyme and repetition (and repetition, and repetition). But, most of all, I love them because they’re short.
Kathleen Rushall, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency
I love working with picture books because they remind me that the earliest literature we read in life can be some of the most memorable (and the most fun!).
Joanna Volpe, New Leaf Literary & Media, Inc.
I love picture books because they’re fun to read aloud, and they’re meant to be read with someone else.They can’t not be shared! Even now, I don’t have kids, but when I read a good picturebook, my husband gets to be the audience. He’s very understanding. :-)
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Blog: Teaching Authors (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Esther Hersehnhorn, Thanku Haiku, Thankus, Add a tag
When folks ask me how I am, I often borrow the three-word response of former Ambassador Walter Annenberg, philanthropist and founder of the School of Communication I attended - i.e. “hopeful and grateful.”
Each day I awake
who snuggles up to tell me,
“I love you, Vovo!”
****a native of Brazil
*****endearing Portuguese name for Grandmother
Blog: Galley Cat (Mediabistro) (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Adaptation, Children's Books, Alvin Schwartz, John August, Stephen Gammell, Tim Burton, Add a tag
John August has signed on to write the script for a film adaptation of Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark.
August frequently collaborates with Tim Burton. Two of those movies were created for child audiences, The Corpse Bride (2005) and Frankenweenie (2012). At the moment, no director has been hired for this project.
Here’s more from Deadline: “The three-book children’s series that’s sold more than 7 million copies worldwide began with 1981′s Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark, continuing with More Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark (1984) and Scary Stories 3: More Tales To Chill Your Bones(1991). The collection of folk tales and urban legends also memorably haunted generations of youngsters with its surreal and nightmarish illustrations by award-winning artist Stephen Gammell.”
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.Add a Comment
Blog: Shannon Whitney Messenger (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Links, Marvelous Middle Grade Monday, Middle Grade, Add a tag
Finally done with my fall travel (if I didn't come to your area--sorry! Here's hoping for next year! Or you could always talk to your teacher/librarian about setting up a Skype chat). And I will pretty much be eating breathing and sleeping deadlines for the next few weeks, so life shows no sign of calming. But I promise I will do my best to keep up with the MMGM links--and bear with my exhausted brain if there are sometimes mistakes.
Also, make sure you check back on Wednesday, for another awesome giveaway I have planned. But before that--the links!
- Michelle Mason has a middle grade round-up, including EVERBLAZE (eep! thank you!), BALANCE KEEPERS: THE FIRES OF CALDERON, and THE MAP TO EVERYWHERE. Click HERE for all the fun.
- The Bookworm blog is gushing about PRINCESS ACADEMY. Click HERE to see what they thought.
- Suzanne Warr has an interview with Steve Stewart, creator of GEN ONE: CHILDREN OF MARS. Click HERE for all the fun.
- Susan Olson is highlighting TIME HUNTERS: EGYPTIAN CURSE. Click HERE to see why she what she loves about it.
- Rosi Hollinbeck is reviewing--and GIVING AWAY--a copy of POISONED APPLES: POEMS FOR YOU, MY PRETTY. Click HERE for details.
- Greg Pattridge is betting on THE ROOKIE BOOKIE. Click HERE to read his review.
- The BoB is raving about THE 13TH REALITY. Click HERE to read their feature.
- Sally's Bookshelf is spreading some love for FRANK EINSTEIN AND THE ANTIMATTER MOTOR. Click HERE to see why.
- The Mundie Moms are always part of the MMGM fun (YAY!). Click HERE to see their newest recommendations. And if you aren't also following their Mundie Kids site, get thee over THERE and check out all the awesome!
- The lovely Shannon O'Donnell always has an MMGM ready for you! Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time!
- Deb Marshall is a MMGM regular. Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.
- Pam Torres always has an MMGM up on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's spotlighting this week.
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.
If you miss the cutoff, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you, but I will not have time to update the post. Same goes for typos/errors on my part. I do my best to build the links correctly, but sometimes deadline-brain gets the best of me, and I'm sorry if it does. For those wondering why I don't use a Linky-widget instead, it's a simple matter of internet safety. The only way I can ensure that all the links lead to safe, appropriate places for someone of any age is if I build them myself. It's not a perfect system, but it allows me to keep better control.
Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome meme, and spreading the middle grade love!
Blog: GreenBeanTeenQueen (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: picture book month, picture books, Add a tag
Mac Barnett is having a very good 2014! He has three picture book releases this year, all of which are delightful! Be sure to check them out!
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About the Book: Sam and Dave are digging a hole and they won't give up until they find something spectacular.
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Mac Barnett teams up with Jon Klassen for another winner. Klassen's illustrations match the text perfectly and gives the feel of an outdoor adventure. Readers will spot the spectacular treasure that is hiding just out of Sam and Dave's reach and are sure to laugh when the get so close but then change directions. They'll also be sure to notice the dog is the only one who seems to have a nose for treasure hunting. A fun tale that is sure to inspire some digging of your own.
President Taft is Stuck in the Bath
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About the Book: President Taft is stuck in the bath! How will he get out?
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Mac Barnett takes on a presidential tall tale with humorous results. The president is stuck in the bath and everyone has an idea of how to help. The ideas get more and more ridiculous, from butter to explosions. There are also plenty of textual humor from the secretary of the treasury who responds with "throw money at the problem" to "the answer is inside you" from the secretary of the interior. Chris Van Dusen's illustrations are cartoonish and add to the humor of the tale. The end of the book provides some historical facts about President Taft and his bathtub. This would pair with King Bidgood's in the Bathtub for a silly bathtime storytime.
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About the Book: It's time for Peter to fly home, but his message about dinner gets scrambled along the telephone line.
GreenBeanTeenQueen: Remember the game telephone? Where what you start out saying ends up completely different? Mac Barnett and Jen Corace re-imagine the telephone game with a flock of birds on a telephone wire with hilarious results. Each new message gets more and more mixed up which is sure to leave young readers howling with delight. Each bird hears something new that makes sense to them and matches their own interests and hobbies. The illustrations reflect the each birds interests and helps the reader find clues as to why each bird heard what they did. A hilarious take on a the game of telephone perfect for reading aloud.
Full Disclosure: Sam and Dave Dig a Hole and President Taft is Stuck in the Bath reviewed from finished copies sent by the publishers. Telephone reviewed from library copy.
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Blog: Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: article reprints, content marketing, duplicate content, Google Panda, search rankings, your website, Add a tag
Although Google’s newest algorithm update had to do with Penguin (website links), Panda is something you should also be paying attention to. Panda was developed to make sure sites produce high-quality content aimed to benefit the reader with new or fresh information. ‘Poor’ (fluff or no-value) quality content will cause a drop in search ranking for the site. This ‘poor’ quality contentAdd a Comment
To men who study war, and Col. Baron Patrick Callahan had been a student all his life, these great conflicts have a definite pattern. In the beginning, it is all hearts bursting with pride and dreams of glory. Too soon the gleaming brass buttons on crisp uniforms tarnish. Feet that marched smartly to a vibrant, tattooing, drumbeat grow weary and plod from one battle to another, scuffing up puffs of dust or sucking through mud deep enough to bury a good size mule and wagon. The days of family picnics on the hillsides as opposing armies gathered below to deal death were long over and the reality, the work, of war had set in.
Callahan had settled into war easily. It was as if something he had waited for all his life had finally arrived, wide-eyed and faunching at the bit to be off on the grand adventure. He would have loved it more, if that were possible, if its arrival hadn't also delayed something he had waited for just as eagerly, his marriage to Lorena Dobbs McKenzie.
I’m preparing to query my second novel, a mystery, which features the same main character as my first novel. I made clear in the queries for the first novel that it had series potential, but both novels stand alone. I sent out about 40 queries for the first novel, with 5 requests for fulls and 3 for partials.
I plan to query four of the agents who read the full and gave me some useful feedback. I know they will remember the first novel and I feel I have enough of a relationship with them to let them know the situation. What I’m not sure about is how to approach agents who rejected the first novel at the query stage, some of whom I would like to query again.
The main character has a distinctive name and a memorable background, and I want to make clear that this is neither a revision nor a sequel. If I ignore the first query, I’m afraid they will think they’ve already seen (and rejected) it. But if I explain that this is a different, better novel, they might think it’s stupid to expect them to be interested in a concept they already rejected. Do you have suggestions as to how I can address this?
And yeah, I know I should have written something completely unrelated, but this wouldn’t go away, and I just decided to write what I wanted to write. I’m glad I did.
You're operating under the assumption that agents who rejected that first novel at the query stage will remember it, and that's probably not accurate.
When I receive a query that seems familiar, I look up the author's previous emails to me. (Yes, I keep ALL the queries and replies)
I look at the TITLE first. If it's a different title from a writer, I assume I have not seen the book, and read the query. If it's the same title, I look at both queries to see if it's the same book. If it is, I mention that I've already responded to this project on such and such a date. If it's NOT the same book (ie the query is substantially different) I read the query.
Here's what you need to remember first and foremost: we're all looking for work we can sell. If the book sounds interesting NOW I don't care if you queried me 500 times before for the same title that DIDN'T.
So, the answer to your question is make sure the title is different, and write the query so it is clear this is a new project.
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Blog: Laura Bowers (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: twitter, Add a tag
Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling :: Ragan’s PR Daily
The Love for Children :: Avi
Ten Tips for a Perfect Author Visit :: Nerdy Book Club
On Getting to Work :: Dani Shapiro
Querying 101 :: Ingrid’s Notes
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|This is me as a four-year-old in Los Angeles, California*|
Thanksgiving is only a few days away here in the U.S. plus, as I'm writing this, my Dad is in the hospital. So I won't be visiting blogs today. My apologies.
And I may take a few weeks off from blogging after that to get ready for Christmas. Yeah, I know, I should have done that in August when the stores began stocking holiday wrapping and lights and candy. Grrr. Doesn't it seem that all of the holidays, whatever you celebrate, get rolled into one giant commercial? They skip right over Thanksgiving because it's not commercial enough. But it's one of my favorite holidays.
And despite my Dad being very ill, I have a lot to be thankful for right now. Here are just three reasons:
1) My older son has been cancer-free for five years. This is a huge relief for all of us.
2) I finally finished the rough draft of my fourth novel. Yay! Only took me a year.
3) Excited to announce that two of my short fiction pieces will appear in the print version of Best of Vine Leaves Literary Journal 2014, available for purchase starting December 1.
Hope your holidays are sweet and I wish you the best for 2015.
*I live in Pennsylvania, but we visited my grandparents for Christmas that year and I was thrilled to receive this Disney Sleeping Beauty doll. It must have been my favorite movie that year. Add a Comment
Blog: Write What Inspires You (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: 101 ways to jump-start your intuition, Donna McDine, John Holland, positive thinking, Add a tag
The word "positive" keeps popping up in my daily meditation and journaling and it's no wonder when I opened up to #61 in John Holland's book, 101 Ways to Jump-Start Your Intuition it read...
There is more to this quote and I highly recommend you purchase Holland's pocket book. It's beyond worth it!
Cheers to positive thinking!
Donna M. McDine
Multi Award-winning Children's Author
Ignite curiosity in your child through reading!
Connect with Donna McDine on Google+
A Sandy Grave ~ January 2014 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2014 Purple Dragonfly 1st Place Picture Books 6+, Story Monster Approved, Beach Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Reader's Favorite Five Star Review
Powder Monkey ~ May 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review
Hockey Agony ~ January 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Story Monster Approved and Reader's Farvorite Five Star Review
The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist Add a Comment
Blog: Beth Kephart Books (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Chronicle Books, Debbie Levy, NCTE 2014, Add a tag
For the quick lobby Lisa embrace. For the spontaneous crisp-night-air talk with Paul. Because Mark stops when you call his name. Because Michael is there. Because Ilene finds you, and Mary does. Because Susan is there, right there, in the atrium. Because a Freckled Librarian brings her megaphone. Because a friend from long ago surprises you. Because Joan has another Ted Hipple Special Collection book for you to sign. Because Jennifer and Susannah are in the house. Because Edie tells you stories and because Melanie really does have that color hair and because you have found Liz weeks after the panel she moderated and you can tell her (again) how intelligent she was. Because Michaela and K.E. are so talented, and because you have much to learn from Christine and Shanetia (and because you will come to covet Christine's coat and Shanetia's easy dancing heart). Because your sister is there.
Because Chronicle Books is that kind of company, the kind of company you deeply want to keep.
And because Debbie Levy is in the mix—Debbie with her wide intelligence and big heart, who drives you, when it is all said and done, to the shadows of the Capitol and to a reservation she has made in a restaurant called (appropriately) Art & Soul. Debbie, who has given you two of her most recent books—the award-winning We Shall Overcome: The Story of a Song, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton and utterly smart as it offers the biography of a rich and prevailing song; and Dozer's Run, illustrated by David Opie, the adorable true story of a dog that ran a marathon, and then ran home. Debbie, who has given you, as well, "Dark Lights," the original jazz recordings of Alex Hoffman, her very talented son.
We go to NCTE for the people we find there. Add a Comment
Blog: OUPblog (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: *Featured, America, Books, History, A Same-Sex Marriage, american history, Benjamin Franklin, Charity and Sylvia, eighteenth-century, Rachel Hope Cleves, Thanksgiving, Add a tag
“A Full Belly is the Mother of all Evil,” Benjamin Franklin counseled the readers of Poor Richard’s Almanack. For some mysterious reason this aphorism hasn’t had the sticking power of some of the inventor’s more famous sayings, like “he who lies down with dogs shall rise up with fleas.” Most of us are more inclined to see a full belly as one of life’s blessings. The offending epigram, however, can’t be described as an aberration. Franklin’s writings are filled with variations on this advice: “A full Belly makes a dull brain”; “The Muse starves in a Cook’s shop”; and “Three good meals a day makes bad living.” It’s no wonder that one canny writer has taken advantage of the unquenchable American appetite for both the founding fathers and diet books to publish The Benjamin Franklin Diet, a complete guide to slimming down, eighteenth-century style.
Franklin’s antipathy to a full belly reflected his Puritan upbringing, which stigmatized gustatory pleasures as low or impure. When he was growing up, he recalled in his Autobiography, “little or no Notice was ever taken of what related to the Victuals on the table, whether it was well or ill dressed, in or out of season, of good or bad flavour, preferable of inferior.” Franklin claimed to have thoroughly adopted this legacy of indifference to food, but there is good evidence to the contrary. He abandoned an early commitment to vegetarianism when, on board the ship that carried him away from bondage to his brother in Boston, he succumbed to the temptation to indulge in a catch of cod. As he confessed, “I had formerly been a great Lover of fish, & when this came hot out of the Frying Pan, it smeled admirably well.” Reasoning that fish ate other fish, and thus why shouldn’t he, the pragmatic Franklin “din’d upon Cod very heartily.” The famous portrait of Franklin by Joseph Siffred Duplessis, painted decades later in France, suggests that he gained no better control of his appetites as he matured. Not even a hero worshipper could call the man thin. A second chin falls heavy below his jaw line, his belly strains against the buttons of his sumptuous waistcoat, and his arms bear a resemblance to fattened sausages.
Not a total hypocrite, Franklin did include passages in his writing that treat the pleasures of the table more positively. Poor Richard’s advice that “Fools makes Feasts and Wise Men eat them” suggests that frugality, more than distaste, motivated Franklin’s advice be temperate. During his embassy in Paris, when Franklin sought to win France over to the American cause, he ate out six nights a week. And without a doubt he enjoyed many of the nice things he was served, such as îles flottantes and champagne.
A proud American, Franklin also sought to introduce his French friends to some of the glories of his native cuisine. He insisted that American corn flour could make a sweeter bread than wheat alone (several of the philosophes were engaged in pursuit of a more nutritious bread recipe to improve the condition of the peasantry, who derived the majority of their calories from the staff of life). Later, after his return to Philadelphia, Franklin sent his friends shipments of Pennsylvania hams – remarkable for the sweetness of their fat, which he attributed to the pigs’ subsisting on corn.
If you want to try Benjamin Franklin’s recipe for corn bread you can find it in the appendix to Gilbert Chinard’s wonderful 1958 essay “Benjamin Franklin on the Art of Eating.” This little pamphlet, printed by the American Philosophical Society, contains a number of recipes found among Franklin’s papers, few of which could be described as dietetic. Franklin’s recipe for roasted pig pays great attention to producing a delicious crackling. His oyster sauce is heavy on the cream. And his puff pastry, recommended for encasing his apple pudding, calls for a pound of butter. Frarnklin’s apple pudding makes a tempting proposition for a food historian on the eve of Thanksgiving, especially since, like many eighteenth-century recipes, Franklin’s terse instructions offer just enough detail to inspire certainty that the end result would be inedible by twentieth-century standards. What better reason could there be to break out the mixing bowl!
* * * * *
To make an apple pudding.
Make a good puff-paste, roll it out half an inch thick, pare your apples, and core them, enough to fill the crust, and close it up, tie it in a cloth and boil it. If a small pudding, two hours: if a large one three or four hours. When it is enough turn it into your dish, cut a piece of the crust out of the top, butter and sugar it to your palate; lay on the crust again, and send it to table hot.
* * * * *
The sense of the unfamiliar has always been what compels me about history, it gives me the feeling of discovery and assures me that I am not just finding my own reflection in the sources. I, for example, do not bring a love of boiling to my reading of dessert recipes. Baking I expect – hours of boiling, not so much. I boil few foods, and those only briefly. I boil pasta 7 to 12 minutes, always anxious to drain the pot while the noodles are still al dente. Sometimes I boil green beans, but just for a couple minutes and often I steam them instead. I boil eggs, but I like the yolks soft so I don’t leave them in for more than six minutes. I never boil dessert pastries. But Benjamin Franklin told me to, so for the sake of historical knowledge I threw all my cooking know-how to the wind and set out to slavishly follow his orders.
Difficulties confronted me long before I arrived at the boiling. To begin, Franklin directed that I make a puff pastry, mixing four pints, or a quarter of a peck, of flour with half a pound of butter. How much did eighteenth-century dry pints weigh? And did they weigh the same in the colonies as they did in England? Today the imperial wet pint is four ounces more than the American wet pint (20 oz vs. 16 oz). One thing is for certain, whatever the exact weight of an eighteenth-century dry pint might be, four of them is a whopping amount. I made the executive decision to weight a pint at 16 oz and cut the recipe in half so that I didn’t completely empty our flour bin. Halving the butter as well, I ended up with a very dry mix:
The next direction was to add cold water until a stiff dough formed. Having spent the past twenty-five years of baking trying to add as little water to my pie dough as possible to prevent it turning tough, I needed to tamp down all my better instincts to pour in the cup and a half of cold water that my dry mix required to come together.
The brick of paste that resulted was so hard that it had to be beat into submission to follow the next directions, which called for the dough to be rolled out, buttered, rolled up, rolled out, and buttered again, nine to ten successive times until another half pound of butter had been added.
After an hour of buttering and rolling, I was left with a lovely, pliable, yellow dough, which I rolled out “half a thumb’s thickness” and set on a cheese cloth.
Franklin’s recipe calls next for chopped cored apples to be placed on the dough. No seasoning is done at this stage: no spices added to the apples, no sugar, no butter, no lemon. Just apples. How big? How many? Over how much of the dough? It doesn’t say.
Nor did the recipe explain how to seal the dough. I went for crimping and ended up with something that looked like a giant Cornish pasty.
At least until I wrapped it up in pastry and began the boiling, whence it commenced to look more like a brain. It was hard to commit willful destruction of this beautiful pasty, rather than pop the parcel into a hot oven where it might grow golden and crisp. What was the purpose of building up 10 layers of lamination only to melt out all the butter in a bubbling pot? Again, Franklin was mute.
The cooking instructions said to boil the pudding from two to four hours depending on its size. Unsure of the standard of measurement, I decided on three hours. There were no further cooking directions and perhaps I should have just let it be, but worried that the pudding wasn’t getting cooked on the top, which bounced above the bubbling water, I flipped the package each hour. Perhaps if I hadn’t, the pudding would have developed more of a crust.
For the final step, Franklin directs that the top of the pudding be removed, sugar and butter be mixed in with the apples, then the top replaced and the whole served immediately. When I cut away the muslin and lifted the soggy lid I found that the apples inside had reduced to a beautiful sauce within the boiled pastry casing. I added some chopped butter and brown sugar, then closed the pudding back up and let the flavors meld. I can’t say the result would win first prize in a pie contest, it wouldn’t even win honorable mention. But I can report that the mess tasted quite nice in a bland, comforting, soft, sort of way. Not a bad match for turkey at all.
Featured image: “The First Thanksgiving,” Jean Leone Gerome Ferris (c. 1912). Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
Blog: Shelf-employed (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: digital audiobook, E, J, Keith Richards, memoir, music, musicians, nonfiction, picture books for older readers, Add a tag
Richards, Keith. 2014. Gus & Me: The Story of my Granddad and my First Guitar. Hachette Audio.
Keith Richards, the rough-edged, raspy-voiced, Rolling Stones guitarist, is hardly the man that comes to mind for a picture book writer and narrator, but then again, who better to tell the story of his first guitar?
Richards wins the listener over immediately with his folksy, working class Estuary English accent (think dropped h's and "intrusive" r's) and unmistakable fondness for his topics - his first guitar and his beloved Granddad, Gus. It was the musically talented Gus who introduced a young Keith Richards to the guitar, teaching him how to 'old it, and suggesting the classical Malagueña(r) as the pinnacle of guitar mastery.
I have yet to see the print version of this story, but I don't believe it could surpass the audio book. A story with music at its heart needs music to be understood. Richards plays bits from Malagueña in appropriate spots throughout the story, and during a visit to a music shop in London, we hear Steve Jordan on drums. Once, the listener even hears a little chuckle - not musical, but surprisingly sincere. Richards collaborated with other authors, but this is obviously his story, and he delights in telling it.
(Run time: about 7 minutes)
My review of Gus & Me for AudioFile Magazine appears here with a small excerpt. Take a listen!
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Blog: OUPblog (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: *Featured, Books, Geography, Place of the Year, Social Sciences, atlas, Atlas of the World, Oxford Atlas of the World, Place of the Year 2014, POTY 2014, POTY2014, Ukraine, Add a tag
With only one more week left until we announce Place of the Year 2014, we’d like to spotlight another one of the places on our shortlist: Ukraine. The country entered the news early in 2014 when a referendum held in Crimea resulted in the peninsula uniting with Russia. As the twenty-first edition of the Atlas of the World notes, Crimea currently remains under Russian control, though this union is not internationally recognized.
For a little more information about Ukraine, take a look below at the eight facts we compiled about the country’s history, places, and people.
1. According to OxfordDictionaries.com, the origin of the name “Ukraine” is “from Old Russian ukraina ‘border region,’ from u ‘at, beside’ + kraĭ ‘edge, border.’”
2. Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, has been an important settlement since the Middle Ages, when it was the capital of early Slavic civilization, Kievan Rus.
3. Out of all the countries in Europe, Ukraine is second only to Russia in geographic size, with an area of 233,089 square miles, or 603,700 square kilometers.
4. The most common religion in Ukraine is Ukrainian Orthodox.
5. An overwhelming 78% of the country’s population is ethnically Ukrainian, with the next largest ethnic group in the country being Russian (17%).
6. Prypiat, Ukraine remains a ghost town to this day as a result of the Chernobyl disaster in 1986 that left the city uninhabitable.
7. Although he is often grouped with Russian authors like Alexander Pushkin, Leo Tolstoy, and Anton Chekhov, Nikolai Gogol was born in Velyki Sorochyntsi, modern-day Ukraine, and is ethnically Ukrainian and Polish.
8. Ukraine has been independent since the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991. Currently, Ukraine’s government is a multiparty republic, and Petro Poroshenko is president.
Do you think Ukraine should be Place of the Year? Cast your vote!
Don’t forget to vote and follow along with #POTY2014 until our announcement on 1 December to see which location will join previous Place of the Year winners.
Image credit: Flag of Ukraine by UP9. CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
Blog: PW -The Beat (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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§ In case you missed it, that half million dollar Tezuka Kickstarter missed the mark by a huge margin. Johanna Draper Carlson has commentary. DMP publisher Hikaru Sasahara will probably have more to say about his, as they are examining their whole Kickstarter policy.
§ A misleading headline obscures the fact that a piece of Corto Maltese art sold for a record amount—a record for a piece of HUGO PRATT art. A page from “Les Ethiopiques” sold for €391,800 ($485,500), more than twice the estimate.
§ John Kane looks back at TWILIGHT, a “prestige” mini series that came out from DC back in 1990, written by the greatHoward Chaykin and drawn by the great Jose Luis Garcia Lopez. DC is releasing a collected edition next month, and you may just want to pick it up.
TWILIGHT is the story of a bunch of people who all get what they want and it ends up doing none of them any favours whatsoever. The bunch of people in question are mainly rejigged DC sci-fi characters who had lain mostly fallow since the ‘50s and ‘60s. Tommy Tomorrow, Star Hawkins, Manhunter 2070, Space Cabbie, etc. Even Chaykin’s own Ironwolf appears briefly, and his ridiculous wooden space ship proves pivotal to events. (If Adam Strange seems conspicuous by his absence; Richard Bruning had first dibs there). There are plenty of new characters but the gist of the thing was that these were yesterday’s characters of tomorrow, today. Oh, you know what I mean.
So yeah, Watchmen for Adam Strange. In all the talk last week about Morrison and Quitely’s Pax Americana, I recalled that there have been a LOT of Watchmen-type reëxaminations of the superhero. Rick Veitch’s Brat Pack, John Ridley’s The American Way, Dawryn Cooke’s The New Frontier, The Twelve by J. Michael Straczynski. NOT all of them are even negative. CALLING ALL THESES.
§ First Second editor Calista Brill remembers late copy editor Manuela Kruger.
§ Juliet Kahn interviewed Noelle Stevenson who will probably be an even bigger breakout comics star in 2015.
I don’t think that webcomics and Kickstarter and Patreon have made print comics obsolete by any means; god, no. If anything, we just have so many more paths to succeed. We’re defining this new wave of comics for ourselves. How can you not see how exciting that is? There’s no right or wrong way to do it. That’s why I like comics! They are limitless. There are people with webcomics who are pushing the limits of what comics can be — Emily Carroll, Ava’s Demon, etc. Some comics are made to be displayed digitally and it doesn’t degrade them. And there are innovations happening in print comics too. Anyone resisting that, clinging to some kind of idea of a golden age that we’re defiling somehow… well. That’s what’s becoming obsolete. Also I think one of the big sore points that the Sturm comic inspired — and honestly, the comic itself referenced this, so I think this may have been the point that it was trying to make — is that this idea of competition isn’t actually healthy for creativity. Someone else who succeeds isn’t ‘stealing’ your success. You gotta keep your eyes on your own board and do the best you can. The more good stuff exists, the better we make the field, and the more people can succeed within it.
§ I’m not sure if I linked to this before, but Megan Byrd has a very useful The Do’s and Don’ts of Pitching Your Comic For Review
§ Tom Spurgeon interviews Andrew Farago about his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles book and Farago touches on not TMNT affected so much of late-80s-early90s comics history
I could have spent a lot more time talking about the black-and-white publishing boom of the 1980s, but had to settle for making sure that I fit Dave Sim and Wendy and Richard Pini into the book. There was probably another full chapter to be had on the dual influences of Jack Kirby and Frank Miller on Eastman and Laird. And Tundra! Can’t forget about that. I’d have loved an entire chapter on Tundra and The Words and Pictures Museum and all of the fun stuff Kevin Eastman did during the Turtles’ biggest years. Every cartoonist I know swears that if he had millions of dollars, he’d start a publishing house and give all of his buddies all the money they needed so that they could focus on making comics without having any financial worries or editorial interference. And Kevin Eastman actually did that, and it was a wonderful, amazing, chaotic mess. A few all-time great comics came out of it, at least. Thank Kevin Eastman the next time you read From Hell or pull a copy of Understanding Comics off your bookshelf.
§ This interview reminded me that TMNT co-creator Peter Laird has a very active blog.
§ The Comics Reporter also ran one of those weekend listicles about Howard the Duck and I was reminded that the above comic is the favorite comic of 13 year old me until the universe ends.
§ Speaking of Howard the Duck, Steve Murray, whose pen name is Chip Zdarsky, get the Hometown Hero story of the weekend with “Marvel revives Howard the Duck with help of Toronto artist/”
§ Many people in my social networks were sharing this Name that Comic Book Artist quiz. I got 21/25 which, considering m profession, is pretty bad. I confess, I guessed the ones I wasn’t certain of by thinking “Who would be most likely to make that drawing error?”
§ Along similar lines, CBR is poling people on their all time favorite Wonder Woman artist. The top vote getters will Shock you! NOT REALLY.
As a comics critic, I never quite know what to do with terrible comic books when I come across them. I never go out of my way to read a comic book that I suspect will be terrible without any mitigating circumstances, and, when I do read one, I then wonder if it’s better to just not mention it anywhere at all, under the ignore-it-and-it-will-go-away school of thought, or if I should go out of my way to discuss the book and its negative qualities, so as to not let the only reviews of the book to get written by positive ones.
§ KONVENTION KORNER. Rob Kirby went to Short Run in Seattle and wrote a super chatty, comprehensive piece for Festival Season:
Tabling for me is above all a social event – I don’t make a living through my comics so I can be a little more relaxed and less mercenary about the money thing than others (though perhaps I could stand to be a little more mercenary, but let’s not talk about that now). MariNaomi and I have been friends for several years now, having met at APE back in 2008. She’s great to table with. She brought an extra tablecloth (I hadn’t thought to bring one) and shared snacks with me. She helped me through a couple of Square mishaps: I kept swiping the card wrong before finally getting the hang of it. I hadn’t tabled since SPX last year and was a little rusty. She didn’t mind if took off to take photos and hobnob a little (like John Porcellino, Zan Christensen and other cartooning people I know, Mari doesn’t like to leave her table too much). What more can I say, she’s the best. Her new book, Dragon’s Breath and Other True Stories (2D Cloud & Uncivilized Books), did brisk business all day long and yay, because it’s one of the finest books of the year and you should totally get it. And just because I’m biased doesn’t mean you shouldn’t listen to me on this.
§ BTW someone once complained to me about a con report here that began with getting up and getting to the train on time, and what he ate for breakfast and all that stuff. I find this kind of quotidian minutiae boring in most cases but for con reports it seems traditional! What do you think, readers?
§ Maia Kobabe has a list of Small Bay Area Comic Conventions that shows that the region isn’t entirely comics free.
§ 35,000 attended a comic in in Birmingham, UK that had nothing to do with comics, but did include stars from Red Dwarf and Breaking Bad. NEWSPAPER EDITORS: please include some teeny tiny mention of comics in your coverage of “COMIC CONS”.
§ Finally, according to my ancient obsolete RSS feed, John Jakala blogged for the first time in 10 months. Combine this with a coffee I had the other day with Matt Maxwell and the dream of the Aughts is alive in cyberspace.Display Comments Add a Comment
Blog: Carrie Jones (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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- Mon, 02:05: Whenever I watch the #WalkingDead, my dog stares out the front window... like she's waiting... And then she moves to the back door and barks
I don’t really talk a lot about my personal life on here. Sure, I talk a lot about my thoughts on writing, and little anecdotes sneak through as I’m discussing various concepts. But it’s not like I’m on here spilling my guts about what goes on at home. However, since this is a week for gratitude and family, I wanted to share that I got married in October to a great guy named Todd who I’ve known since 2011. We met in our Brooklyn neighborhood of Carroll Gardens, and it turned out that we’d been living just a block away from one another for years! The night our paths crossed, I was coming home from the tremendous Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers conference in Utah, so I have them to thank!
Todd is a very talented chef, and in 2013, we moved back to his hometown of Minneapolis to buy a house, start a family, and open a restaurant. We bought our own slice of south Minneapolis in July, and are still working on the other two. We got married October 11th, 2014 down in New Orleans, one of our very favorite cities in the entire world. The whole thing was such a blast, and I’m very excited that the excellent photographer Sarah Becker Lillard was able to capture our day. You can see her blog post with some favorite shots here.
So far, 2014 has been the best year of my life personally, and professionally as well. I am wrapping up my busiest months as a freelance editor and novel coach. I’m very grateful to all of my clients for allowing me to come into their writing journeys, guide them, and get to know their work. I’m currently considering expanding my business to add some different services that writers have shown a lot of interest in. Stay tuned for that!
This week, I’d love to thank everyone reading this for your support. It has been an amazing journey to be able to bring you this blog for going on five years now. Wow! Have a wonderful holiday with your loved ones, and I’ll be doing the same over here. It’s such an amazing gift that we have all been brought together by the love of story and the written word. Thank you, thank you, thank you!Add a Comment
Blog: Storywraps-Wrap your mind and heart around a good story (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Blog: Through the Looking Glass Book Review (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Many children's book authors and illustrators visit schools, and when they do the eager students often ask a lot of questions. One of the most commonly asked questions is some version of "Where do your stories come from?" In today's picture book this question is answered in a clever and often amusing way.
For ages 7 and up
Groundwood, 2014, 978-1554983827
Marie-Louise Gay is a much loved author whose books have delighted children (and adults) for many years. When Marie-Louise goes to talk to children in schools and libraries, they do what all children do. They ask questions. A lot of questions. Often the children want to know about Marie-Louise and her life, and then there are the questions that pertain to her stories and how she creates them. One of those questions that is often asked is, “Where does a story start?”
A story always starts with a blank page. If you stare at the page long enough, “anything can happen.” You might think that a blank piece of white paper cannot possibly inspire anything, but this is not true. For example, it can give birth to a scene that is full of a snowstorm. If you start with a piece of paper that is old looking and has a yellow tinge to it then you might end up telling a story about a time when dinosaurs walked the earth. Blue paper can lead to an underwater adventure and green paper can be the backdrop for a story about a jungle.
Sometimes stories don’t start with a color at all. Instead, “words or ideas” come “floating out of nowhere.” Bit by bit pieces of paper with words and thoughts written on them are collected and sorted, and then they are joined by “little scribbles and doodles,” which is when the kernel of a story starts to grow. Of course, sometimes an idea pops up on the page that simply does not work at all. When this happens an author has to search around for something that does work, which can take a little (or even a lot) of time to happen. These things cannot be rushed though, and eventually the right piece of story comes along and the author is off and running.
In this wonderful picture book, Marie-Louise Gay explores the writing process, answering questions that children have asked her over the years. She shows us how a story is built, how it unfolds, and we see, right there on the pages, how she creates a magical story out of doddles, scraps of ideas, and tidbits of inspiration. The little children and animals characters who appear on the pages interact with the story, questioning, advising, and offering up ideas.
This is a book that writers of all ages will love. It is funny, cleverly presented, and it gives writers encouragement and support.
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