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1. Benedict Cumberbatch to Play Hamlet at the Barbican

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2. The Return of Query Critiques


I've been remiss in doing critiques. Primarily because, well, they aren't that much fun for me. That being said, I've noticed a definite need for them in my inbox and have been asked by a few of you if I'll continue them. I'm continuing them.


Watch for more critiques throughout the rest of summer. I'll be going through those in my inbox. Keep in mind, if you've submitted in a genre I'm not necessarily comfortable with I will probably skip over your query (unless I can convince some of the other BookEnds gals to take it on).

Read on!

--jhf


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3. My tweets

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4. Ruth Sanderson's CASTLE FULL OF CATS - guest post!

I am thrilled, tickled, elated to have Ruth Sanderson, the Co-director of the MFA in Children's Book Writing and Illustrating Children's Books at Hollins University and also my boss and colleague, here today to talk about her latest picture book, CASTLE FULL OF CATS. Ruth is hands down one of the best illustrators in children's literature, so read and learn!!!

I’d love to share the process for creating the cover illustration of my new book A CASTLE FULL OF CATS, released by Random House this year.
As you can see from my initial storyboard sketch, I envisioned the cover as a view looking out a window with cats watching the outdoor activities from the inside of the castle.
At the next stage, I created a more detailed cover sketch to focus on the queen's "favorite" cat. I also depicted the cats and kittens in a much more active and playful role, indicating the queen and the king outside in the garden. And, I played with how the title of the book might fit on the cover illustration.
In the final cover sketch, I brought the queen's cat closer to the center and looking directly at the reader while still allowing the queen and king to be seen through the window.
In creating the finished illustration for the cover, I wanted the window to really stand out, so I created a maroon wall in the background, actually painting it in acrylic over the watercolor painting to get a really solid effect, and because a dark, even color is so hard to create in watercolor! When I submitted the illustration, the editor and art director felt that it was too dark...
and suggested I make the wall pink…Here is the revised cover, with the pink wall painted in acrylic on top of the maroon color. Yes, it was very time-consuming to paint around all those details. But we are not done yet! After giving the art to the designer, problems arose.
      A note—The marketing folks asked that the title be changed. I coined the word "Castleful," to indicate there were a ton of cats in the castle, and am very proud of it, but apparently anyone searching for a book with "castle" in the title would not find my book, so we had to split my word to "Castle Full." Inside the book it is still "castleful," read as one word, like "spoonful."
The designer was having a very hard time making the type stand out against the background. The art directer even photoshopped the curtains to make it simpler, shown here, but it just looked too busy. In addition, she felt that the pink wall was too bright. When she and the editor approached me about making yet more changes, and major ones, to the artwork, I agreed. The cover was simply too busy, as you can see. I had to fix it! And I decided on a blue for the wall to make it recede more and focus interest on the bright center of the illustration.
I started with the full size digital image of the cover, because changing to a blue wall would not be easy. I really did not want to put a third coat of acrylic paint on that wall! SO, I started in Photoshop with my pink cover image. I duplicated the image as another layer and changed the whole picture to blue, and then painstakingly worked to combine the two layers into one.
I painted a new window with a single sheer curtain in watercolor on a separate piece of watercolor paper, no king and queen, then scanned and Photoshopped it in so the type would hopefully read nicely on top of it.
Above is the final image with the blue wall. I was a bit sad that the king and queen can't be seen outside, but feel the title reading well was the most important concern. And the cats are the stars of the book.
A week later....here was the (almost) final cover design. I loved the new typeface the art director chose. Note the kitten kicking the word "of" in the title! The type color was still under discussion, but this was VERY close to perfect! After some discussion, it was decided that the word “cats” would stand out more in a shade of red that matched the couch, and that was the color chosen for the final design. [See the very top image.] My art director Nicole de las Heras from Random House did such a marvelous job on this, and was so patient and easy to work with, through all these changes. It really helps to have a great team to work with at a publisher, to make a successful cover design.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Ruth! To see more of Ruth's amazing work, check out her blog!

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5. Picture Book Summit 2015

Picture Book Summit FB post

Have you heard? There’s a new online conference in town.

I’d pull up a chair with any of these three authors and illustrators, and so I expect this to be a rich day of learning and creating and basking in the beauty of picture books.

From the Picture Book Summit’s press release:

Three of today’s most beloved and honored picture book authors will headline the inaugural Picture Book Summit, an all-day online writing conference that will take place Saturday, October 3.

Peter Brown (Creepy Carrots, Mr. Tiger Goes Wild), Andrea Davis Pinkney (Martin & Mahalia: His Words, Her Songs, Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up By Sitting Down), and Mac Barnett (Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, Extra Yarn) will be the featured speakers at the virtual conference. The event is the result of a collaboration between longtime industry mainstays Children’s Book Insider, Just Write for Kids, 12 x 12 Picture Book Writing Challenge, and the Institute of Children’s Literature.

A portion of all proceeds will benefit the literary advocacy group We Need Diverse Books.

In addition to live presentations from the superstar picture book authors, Picture Book Summit will also include full, live sessions from four of children’s writing’s most respected educators:

Children’s author, editor, and educator Emma Walton Hamilton will lead Is Your Manuscript Truly Submission Ready? Emma will give attendees the tools to polish their manuscripts until they sparkle, empowering authors to submit (or self-publish) with confidence.

Children’s Book Insider publisher and longtime editor Laura Backes will teach How to Write the 500 Word Picture Book. Laura will show how to write a story in this hot market— complete with fully developed characters, a plot with a beginning, middle and end, and page- turning action — in 500 words.

Picture book author and 12 X 12 Picture Book Challenge founder Julie Hedlund will present Publishing Picture Books in the 21st Century. Julie will help attendees navigate the many publishing choices presented today, including traditional, indie, electronic and hybrid.

 Picture book author and creator of the #1 Amazon Bestseller How to Promote Your Children’s Book Katie Davis will lead How to Get Your First 1000 Followers. Katie will help Picture Book Summit attendees build an effective author platform that sells books.

Picture Book Summit attendees will also enjoy exclusive agent and editor interviews and learn about breaking opportunities in the picture book field.

“This is the biggest day in the history of picture book writing instruction,” said Jon Bard, Children’s Book Insider’s managing editor and emcee for the virtual event. “To have this much talent and knowledge presented in one day is simply mind-blowing. That writers can attend from the comfort of their own homes, with no travel, hotels or time away from family and writing, makes it even more remarkable.”

Picture Book Summit will take place October 3 from 11 am to 7 pm Eastern Time (8 am – 4 pm Pacific). The interactive event (question and answer opportunities will take place throughout the day) will be accessible from any computer, tablet or smart device. A full recording will be available to attendees immediately after the event.

Full details, including instant registration, are available at http://picturebooksummit.com.

And a note: Early Bird pricing ends on August 15th.

ch

PS: Sounds incredible, right? I’ll be back next week with your regularly scheduled picture-book-goodness. Thank you!

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6. Revision: How Many Crititiquers Spoil the Book?

I'm emerging from an intensive round of revisions on my middle-grade-novel-in-progress. I truly don't think I've ever worked harder in my life, though admittedly, as an hour-a-day writer, it doesn't take much for me to exceed my usual self-imposed limits. But for the past several weeks, I've been working five hours a day, frantically, obsessively, wanting nothing more in my life than to FIX THIS BOOK.

This is the third round of revisions on this particular title. I did the first last December in response to extremely thoughtful comments from my new Boulder writing group, who dazzled me in the thoroughness of the amassed comments from the six of them. I sent it to my editor on New Year's Day and received comments from her in April, via a lengthy phone conversation. They were . . . sobering. The thing she liked least about the book was the thing I consider my greatest strength: characterizations. I moped, I sulked, I pouted, and then I sat myself down and revised.

As I was waiting for her response to the new, deeper, richer characterizations, I had two other writer friends read the manuscript; we had formed a little critique group last summer when we taught together in the graduate program in children's literature at Hollins and decided to reconvene in virtual form this summer. They had plenty to say. Plenty. As I was moping, sulking, and pouting again, I heard from my editor. The characterizations were so much better this time! Whew! But . . . the book still wasn't working. The three different story lines didn't connect. It didn't build to one clear climax. Readers wouldn't be able to know what the book was about. In other words, the problem with the book lay with what I consider my greatest strength of all: structure.

In despair, I forwarded her comments to my two Hollins friends and got back MORE critical feedback from them. One of them even told me kindly that she had experienced similar problems in one of her "early books" (this is my 57th!!!).

I considered asking another writer friend to read it. I considered hiring the brilliant Plot Doctors to give me their consultation.

But then I decided: I had already had TOO MUCH CRITICISM.

For better or worse, now I needed to fix the book MYSELF. I poured myself a glass of orange juice, with a generous shot of vodka. I barricaded myself in my bedroom with a pad of paper on my knees, and then and there I made a plan to provide the structure the book currently lacked. As soon as I made the plan, I knew it was a good one. I sent it to my editor, and she agreed.

So all I had to do was toil mightily for weeks to implement the plan. Which I did.

And, oh, the improvement! That is why I was able to work so long and so hard, because I could see before my eyes dazzling improvement in every deleted scene, every added scene, and most of all, every rearranged scene. I was ashamed I had ever let anybody read it in its previous incarnations. I was a writer on fire!!

I sent the book off two days ago, with the conservative estimate that it is now a million times better. In the revisions, I made use of comments from every single critiquer who read it along the way. Each one contributed something of genuine value to the revision.

So: how many critics are too many? How many critics are just the right number? I do believe that every good, smart, thoughtful reader has some insight worth having. And yet. . . .it's so easy for a writer to feel despair at the volume of negative comments on one little book (even, or especially, extremely valid negative comments).

I've tentatively decided, now, after the fact, that the only limit to the number of critiques that is helpful is the mental fortitude of the writer: how much she can stand hearing. In this case, I was done after getting comments from two editors (Margaret and her assistant, Susan, twice), and eight other writers. That was all I could take: stick a fork in me, I'm done!

But I have to admit the book is better for every single one. After all the moping, sulking, and pouting comes gratitude. Thank you, dear critics, for every line of criticism, even if at some point I needed to stuff my ears and move on.

Thank you.

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7. Harts Pass No. 260

It seems like my dog is constantly cleaning. Something that I usually associate with cats. Perhaps wolverines are a bit neat freakish as well (just guessing)... and I'm absolutely sure that they love ZZ Top. Anyway, I colored today's strip while waiting in a car dealership and watching some smooth sales dudes in action as well. Cheers!

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8. Happy Birthday Beatrix Potter! And a Magical Visit to Remember

Happy belated birthday to Beatrix Potter!  This week Tuesday July 28th marked the 182nd birthday of this beloved and influential storyteller. Her books are well-loved favorites in our house and the milestone of her birthday reminded me of a lovely guest post from a Jump Into a Book reader that I felt was worth revisiting. Enjoy!

Beatrix Potter

Hello Jump Into A Book Readers!

My name is Karen Meacham and my blog is called Little Acorns.

Little Acorns

I am a PreKindergarten teacher at an independent school in the United States, and a mother of three children, ages 14, 12, and 6. As a teacher and parent I am passionate about outdoor education, time for children to play, and reading to children.

In the Spring of 2008, our family had the opportunity to spend a semester in England while my husband was teaching at a local university. We had a fantastic time, and truly felt the semester was a life changing experience for our whole family. Not only did we get to immerse ourselves in a new culture, meeting many kind and helpful people, but we got to see many wonderful places as well.

One weekend in early March, my husband very kindly kept the children, and my best friend Trish and I ventured to a place I have longed for ages to visit, the Lake District. We took the train, with a day stop in Chesterfield, to Windermere Station. Our bed and breakfast was only a few blocks and a short walk away. After a good night’s sleep and a delicious breakfast, we headed out to one of my most anticipated destinations, Beatrix Potter’s home, Hill Top Farm!

To get to Hill Top Farm we strolled through the town of Bowness-on-Windermere and then took the ferry across Lake Windermere. Despite the fact that it was fairly chilly and raining, we decided to take the footpath the couple of miles up to Hill Top Farm. We like hiking and were not going to be deterred by a little rain. Plus we figured Beatrix Potter certainly wouldn’t have had the option to take a shuttle bus, and we wanted to see the area as much the way she did as we could.

The permitted path led us through some lovely wooded areas, along the road briefly, through some farmland, and up the hill (as the house’s name would suggest) to Hill Top Farm! Upon arrival, Trish and I headed over to purchase our tickets for the house. To keep the numbers of visitors inside the house at any given time, manageable, the National Trust sells timed tickets to Hill Top. Trish and I purchased our tickets and spent the half hour or so until our time to enter the house, strolling around the grounds and exploring a bit of Beatrix Potter’s gardens. It even stopped raining long enough for me to take my hat off for a picture!

Permitted Path

We enjoyed exploring the gardens a bit, but because of the time of year, not too much was going on above the surface of the ground. I read that visiting the gardens in the summer is wonderful (late June and early July are said to be the best times to see the garden in its full glory), and that it has a large variety of flowers and vegetables. If you are interested in seeing pictures of Beatrix Potter’s gorgeous garden, there are many available online or you may simply peruse your copy of The Tale of Tom Kitten. Miss Potter used her own garden as a model for the garden in the story!

The Tale of Tom Kitten

 

My name is Karen, and I am a PreKindergarten teacher at an independent school. In our class, we use some Montessori materials and methods, some Waldorf-inspired materials and stories, and some aspects of the Reggio Emilia approach. We also spend lots of time outside in nature, learning and playing! This blog Little Acorns is about my ideas and inspirations, my classroom, and my lovely family! I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it.

The post Happy Birthday Beatrix Potter! And a Magical Visit to Remember appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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9. Diner Portrait in Gouache

This guy eats his bacon at a diner table near me. 

Gouache, 4 x 5 inches
There's a soft light from the right, and a bright edge light from behind. He has a dark mustache, dark eyebrows, graying hair, no teeth. Maybe he's on his way home from the Hemingway Lookalike Contest.

Art Sperl Disposal: "You propose it, we dispose it."
I lean over my coffee and shoot a glance from under my hat brim. This is portrait painting in the wild. The guy never looks up. He doesn't notice me painting him.
----
Previously: Portrait Noir

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10. FREE Webinar: Creative Playgrounds

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While making notes for Salli’s upcoming class – BUILD A FREELANCE ILLUSTRATION BUSINESS – she realized that one topic was worthy of it’s own session: Creative Playgrounds, which Salli and her brother/business partner Nate Padavick believe can energize your career. What IS a Creative Playground and why are they so important? Join us for the FREE webinar August 10th at 4:00 EST (or watch any time after the live class).

Take it from Albert Einstein “Play is the highest form of research.”

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11. Micro Reviews: Pop Stars, Cowgirls, Zombies, and Beasties!

 

I have been reading up a storm, but I’ve been lax on writing reviews.  Here’s a quick catch up post with short reviews.

Hello, I Love You by Katie M Stout

C-

This dragged for me, and I didn’t think there was any chemistry between Grace and Jason. I read this mainly for the setting, but the school might as well have been anywhere, which was a big disappointment. Cultural details were sparse and shallow.  I didn’t get a feeling that Grace was in a foreign country, and the fact that everyone she interacted with spoke English didn’t help make this unique or different. It also bugged me that Jason and his sister were the only Koreans to use Korean names.

 

The Surgeon and the Cowgirl by Heidi Hormel

C / C+

Both protagonists were all about “Me, me, me!” and it felt like it took forever for them to mature. I’m not completely convinced that they will ever effectively communicate, which made the ending rushed and not completely believable.

What Once We Feared by Carrie Ryan

Not enough here to even call this a short story. Lots of potential, but it fell flat because it felt so incomplete. This should have been called a teaser, not a short story.

 

Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire

B/ B-

Fun, quirky read that somehow combines ballroom dance with mythological critters.

Verity comes from a long line of cryptozoologists, but her true passion is for competitive dance. She’s spending a year in Manhattan to pursue her dance career, as well as to keep an eye on the beasties living in the big city. When Dominic, a member of Covenant, arrives in town, his kill all non-humans before even asking them how their day is going attitude gets on Very’s nerves. Both Dominic and the sudden appearance of a snake cult in the sewers under the city have made her life extremely complicated.

Though it got a little draggy in places, and was over the top in others, overall Discount Armageddon was a fun adventure.

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12. Launching One Stop For Writers: Will You Help?

knotYou know that twisty tightness deep in your core when your release day is approaching, or you’ve just sent your novel to an agent, or you’re submitting to a critique group for the first time? Every nerve feels electrified, you can’t eat and your brain skips backward and forward until it returns to those perennial writerly worries: Did I do good enough? Did I work hard enough? Will readers connect to my book, love it even?

Well, I sit here, chest tight and nerves singing with excitement and anxiety….let’s just say can I relate!

When we released our first book, The Emotion Thesaurus, in 2012, I had insomnia for weeks trying to set everything up to launch it in a way that gave it the best chance. A lot was at stake, and we had a huge task, releasing a self-published book in an area dominated by traditional publishing and highly visible writing experts who were often editors, agents and NYT bestselling authors. Becca and I believed we had something special, yet doubt clawed at us – who were we to challenge the status quo? Who were we to think we could play with the big kids, to change the way people thought about what a writing how-to book was? And yet now here we are with three more books, foreign translations, international speaking invitations…and blessed to have the trust of writers all over the world.

My gratitude, Becca’s gratitude…there really are no words. You guys did this–you helped us bring something to life that changed the way writers write! We can never say thank you enough.

OSLogoFAnd now, Becca, Lee and I are asking for your help again. Our One Stop For Writers™ brainstorming software will release October 7th, and we’re heading into more uncharted territory. It’s exciting to frame our content in a way that transcends books, because the world is changing, and we need to change with it, making sure our resources always align with what writers need. We want to provide you with the tools that will help you write efficiently and creatively, in the format you need, and we believe One Stop will do this best.

Here’s a secret from someone who has needed to step outside her comfort box many times on this crazy ride: those worries, those hooked and fanged doubts? They don’t go away. But with your help, maybe we can mute them and together launch this newest project as best we can.

If you are interested in joining us for yet another adventure, and are willing to help with visibility and discoverability as we launch in October, please fill out this very simple form so we can get in touch. And thank you for always being there for us!

 

Pic 1: Antranius @ Pixabay

The post Launching One Stop For Writers: Will You Help? appeared first on WRITERS HELPING WRITERS™.

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13. Retro Inspired Illustrations by Jennifer Dionisio

judy-garland-A3-jennifer-dionisio-illustration_670

fruit-dove-jungle-revised-low-res_670 Jennifer-Dionisio-High-res-One-Thing-I-Know-copy-illustration Ann-Francis-Jennifer-Dionisio-2015_670 Tomorrowland-Jennifer-Dionisio-Low-res_670

Jennifero Dionisio Website >>

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14. Spotlight and Giveaway: Wolf Trouble by Paige Tyler

I have a spotlight and giveaway to celebrate the release of Wolf Trouble by Paige Tyler.  You can win a complete set of her SWAT series!

Title: Wolf Trouble

Author: Paige Tyler

Series: SWAT, #2

Pubdate: August 4th, 2015

ISBN: 9781492608509

He’s in trouble with a capital T

There’s never been a female on the Dallas SWAT team and Senior Corporal Xander Riggs prefers it that way. The elite pack of alpha male wolfshifters is no place for a woman. But Khaki Blake is no ordinary woman.

When Khaki walks through the door attractive as hell and smelling like heaven, Xander doesn’t know what the heck to do. Worse, she’s put under his command and Xander’s protective instincts go on high alert. When things start heating up both on and off the clock, it’s almost impossible to keep their heads in the game and their hands off each other…

Paige Tyler is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of sexy, romantic fiction. She and her very own military hero (also known as her husband) live on the beautiful Florida coast with their adorable fur baby (also known as their dog). Paige graduated with a degree in education, but decided to pursue her passion and write books about hunky alpha males and the kickbutt heroines who fall in love with them. Visit www.paigetylertheauthor.com.

***

Paige Tyler’s sexy, action-packed SWAT series is back this August with the release of Wolf Trouble! To celebrate this latest release, Corporal Xander Riggs has agreed to sit down for a Q&A with us:

What was the biggest difference between Kansas City and Dallas?

The people I work with. Back in KC they weren’t a team and that cost them. Here we’re a Pack. We don’t do anything without thinking how it’s going to affect the other members.

An Excerpt:

Xander had to pick his jaw up off the floor of the training room when Gage introduced the newest member of the SWAT team. He didn’t know what to expect, but it sure as hell wasn’t Officer Khaki Blake. Tall with an athletic build and just enough curves to fill out the SWAT T-shirt, she had the biggest brown eyes and softest looking lips he’d ever seen. She had her dark hair back in a bun, so he couldn’t tell how long it was, but he’d bet money it fell past her shoulders. She smelled way too good to be believed, too—like a slice of frosted spice cake in a uniform.

Shit. He was practically panting. If he didn’t get a grip soon, he was going to start drooling.

He gave the other guys a covert glance to see how they were dealing with her scent and was stunned to see that none of them reacted at all. Why not? His nose wasn’t that much better than theirs. He knew for a fact that several of the other guys—Cooper Landry and Jayden Brooks specifically—could smell a hell of a lot better than he could.

Maybe everyone was so mesmerized by finally getting to see a female version of their kind that the rest of their senses had stopped working.

Gage had left it up to Xander to fill the guys in on what had gone down at the meeting with Deputy Chief Mason while he’d headed home to get ready for his trip to Washington State. While the guys had been pissed that the top brass was playing politics with the team, they’d been intrigued at the idea of adding a female werewolf to the Pack.

They’d bombarded him with dozens of questions, none of which he could answer. Was she as fast and strong as they were? Did her abilities manifest themselves in completely different ways? Would she be as aggressive as they were and able to handle herself in a fight? Were there more like her out there, or was she the only one?

Not all the questions were so general. Brooks wondered what she would look like, Max Lowry wanted to know if she would smell like them, and Eric Becker… Well, Becker just wanted to know if she liked to wear yoga pants. God, that kid had an obsession with those things.

Xander had told them what he knew—that no one except Gage knew a damn thing about female werewolves. And Xander wasn’t so sure how much their commander knew, either.

While Xander was lost in thought, Gage turned the floor over to Khaki, who was currently explaining how much she appreciated the opportunity to be in SWAT.

“I know I won’t be handed anything, but I look forward to proving to every one of you that I belong in the Pack and on the team.” She spoke in a light, lilting voice that surprisingly filled the large classroom. Xander could definitely pick up the Midwest accent, so she probably wasn’t originally from the Pacific Northwest. “I’m not asking for anything from you but a chance to do prove myself.”

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1EnYbgA

Apple: http://apple.co/1EnZg8a

BAM: http://bit.ly/1JHEAiD

B&N: http://bit.ly/1PBe0MW

Chapters: http://bit.ly/1F1zirI

Indiebound: http://bit.ly/1SoHn3R

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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15. Va Va Vavoom!

Like the photo I'm using on this page?

It's from this year's birthday present to me: I did a pinup photo shoot at Vavoom Pinups in Chicago.

Vavoom Pinups is about "empowering vintage photography" and I can say that description? Is totally, a thousand percent true.

I had heard about Vavoom Pinups from friends; I was wanting to do something for me. And I was thinking about my younger self, and how sometimes I just wanted to go back in time and say you look amazing, you're not fat, wear that bikini. And I can't go back in time, but I wondered, twenty years from now am I going to be saying the same thing? So forget the self doubt and all that.... and get my picture taken.

I recommend the experience to anyone! It began with hair and makeup, and wow, it takes a while to look that good. No, seriously -- I had no clue that it would take as long as it did. I loved the results.

Vavoom Pinups provides the clothes; and perfect fits don't matter because it's about the photos. So if there are gaps, are things that need to get pinned up, that's all fine because it's about looking right for the photo.

Here are the results:








 
 
One of the reasons the photo shoot was so fun was I didn't do it alone. Kelly Jensen of Book Riot and Stacked also got her photos taken -- and we had some taken together. It was a blast.
 
 


It was so much fun, and it showed, that Vavoom Pinups used one of the photos on their Facebook and Instagram.


Since I did this for my birthday, it only seems right to post about it on my actual birthday.

This was my extravagant gift to myself: and I have no regrets. I love the photos; and I love the experience; and I can't wait until I'm in Chicago again and can do it again.




Amazon Affiliate. If you click from here to Amazon and buy something, I receive a percentage of the purchase price.

© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

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16. Fearful Fathoms



Found this interesting submission call while trawling the internet.

Fearful Fathoms: Collected Tales of Aquatic Terror
Looking for stories set in or around water that are dark, atmospheric and chilling.
Submission Period: August 1st to August 31st
Word Count: 2000 to 5000 words
Payment: 1 cent per word with a maximum payment of $50

Full details (including some very specific formatting) can be found at Scarlet Galleon Publications.


And if you're stuck for watery inspiration, you could read this British Fantasy Award nominated novella, Water for Drowning by the awesome Ray Cluley. See how I slid that in there. I am so tricky.

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17. Saint Anything, by Sarah Dessen | Book Review

Fans of Sarah Dessen will not be disappointed by this expertly-written and perfectly paced summer read.

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18. Orpheus in the Underworld by Yvan Pommaux, 56 pp

Yvan Pommaux, beloved, multiple award-winning author and illustrator in France, has a detailed research and illustration style that we were treated too on this side of the Atlantic when TOON Graphics published  Theseus and the Minotaur last year. Pommaux's books are a very welcome addition to the shelves of graphic novels and Greek mythology. George O'Connor's graphic novel series The

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19. AW15 PREVIW - paperchase : vision

My final day for previewing Paperchase's Autumn Winter collections has arrived and we finish with a more grown up collection called 'Vision'. This sophisticated range featuring lots of gold has a Peacock with floral and birdcage motifs as it's main print and includes a peacock feather repeat for gift bags and boxes. Designed for more grown up gifting it features on more feminine products such

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20. AW15 - paperchase : notebooks

And we end the round-up of what we can expect from Paperchase next season with some of their new notebook designs. I snapped these at their Autumn Winter 2015 press show a couple of weeks ago so apologies for some of the low light. Good things to look out for included colourful mice and sausage dogs, cute woodland characters, and a dark mystic rose.

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21. Reading in ... Zimbabwe

       In The Herald Stanely Mushava writes about the situation in Zimbabwe, in Cry our beloved reading culture.
       The lament is common enough -- though rarely is the fault ascribed as here:

Writers, publishers and literary academics that attended the ZIBF Indaba blamed schools for the country's love-hate relationship with books.
       And:
[V]eteran author Aaron Chiundura Moyo said it was clear that schools had destroyed the reading culture.
       Harsh. (And, yeah, there may a few more issues locally .....)

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22. Man Booker Prize longlist

       As reported everywhere, they've now announced the thirteen-title-strong longlist for this year's Man Booker Prize.
       They were selected from 156 submissions -- though, alas, the Man Booker folk don't reveal which titles were actually in the running. (Publishers are limited as to how many titles they can submit, a complex formula determining how many each is allowed to submit, so it is likely prominent and promising titles were never even considered for the prize -- but they won't tell us which ones. People should find this more disturbing than they seem to (most of you don't seem to mind at all).)
       The Telegraph has the main points covered in various articles: American dominance of Man Booker Prize longlist 'confirms worst fears' and Men and women take equal share in the Man Booker Prize longlist pretty much sum things up.
       Prominent authors whose books missed the cut (but, after all, may not have even been submitted ....) include those by Kazuo Ishiguro, Jonathan Franzen, Salman Rushdie, and Pat Barker.
       Unsurprisingly, none of the longlisted titles are under review at the complete review -- sorry.

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23. Open Letter profile

       A nice long profile of publisher Open Letter Books by Rebecca Rafferty in the Rochester CITY Newspaper, Found in translation (arghh ...).
       Lots of interesting background, so check it out.

       (See also the Open Letter titles under review at the complete review.)

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24. Cruel Tales from the Thirteenth Floor review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Luc Lang's Cruel Tales from the Thirteenth Floor, just out in English from the University of Nebraska Press.

       This was translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith -- who won this year's (well, the 2014, awarded this year) French-American Foundation and Florence Gould Foundation Translation Prize for his translation of Jean-Patrick Manchette's The Mad and the Bad, and also translated, among other titles, the similarly cruel Mygale (also published as Tarantula, and as the film tie-in The Skin I Live In) by Thierry Jonquet -- so, yeah, the right man for the job.

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25. Patrick Osborne, Director of ‘Feast,’ Will Direct ‘Battling Boy’

It's the second high-profile feature directing gig for Patrick Osborne this year.

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26. “Career of Evil” Available for Pre-Order

This spring, J.K. Rowling announced that her good pal, Robert Galbraith, would be releasing his third Cormoran Strike novel. Though the other novels in the mystery series were released during the summer season, Career of Evil will be hitting shelves this fall (October 20th in the US, and October 22nd in the UK).

Amazon has recently made the new mystery novel available for pre-order. Hardcover copies of the novel, Prime eligible for free shipping October 20, have already been marked down 37% on the American Amazon. The cover price of the novel is $28.00, saving consumers $10.22 before the book is even published. Amazon has also made the Kindle format available for pre-order.

The summery on Amazon (from Galbraith’s website) reads:

When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman’s severed leg.
Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible–and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality.
With the police focusing on the one suspect Strike is increasingly sure is not the perpetrator, he and Robin take matters into their own hands, and delve into the dark and twisted worlds of the other three men. But as more horrendous acts occur, time is running out for the two of them…
Career of Evil is the third in the highly acclaimed series featuring private detective Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin Ellacott. A fiendishly clever mystery with unexpected twists around every corner, it is also a gripping story of a man and a woman at a crossroads in their personal and professional lives.

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27. J.K. Rowling on TLC’s “Who Do You Think You Are?”

An episode of the genealogy show, Who Do You Think You Are?, featuring J.K. Rowling will make its American television debut this Sunday, August 2 at 9 PM EST on TLC.  While TLC is touting this as a premier, it is actually a reworking (if not a complete rerun) of an episode that debuted on BBC One on August 17, 2011.

According to the New York Times, the TLC episode will investigate Rowling’s family history in France, on her mother’s side.

She learns, among other things, that a family story about a grandfather who won a high honor in France wasn’t quite right.

This sounds strikingly similar to an account of the episode from BBC One’s Who Do You Think You Are? from The Daily Mail in August 2011.

Her great-grandfather then led the small team tasked with protecting the rest of the unit in retreat. Miss Rowling said she was ‘proud’ of Valont, ‘a waiter’ who had little more than two weeks training but became a ‘war hero’.

The Telegraph also wrote an extensive review of the BBC One episode that mentions the mistaken family legend.

Rowling did, however, consent to appear on BBC One’s genealogical series Who Do You Think You Are? In it she learnt that her French great-grandfather had not, contrary to family legend, been awarded the Legion d’honneur, but had none the less been decorated for his bravery in the First World War…

Anyone who saw an online video of the original episode (J.K. Rowling had a link on her website) can probably miss the one on TLC on Sunday; but then again, it may be worth another look.  Rowling saw the BBC One episode as momentous, and a follow-up article in Who Do You Think You Are? magazine mentions a part of Rowling’s story that was left on the cutting-room floor.

When I asked Jo if there’s anything she wishes the programme had followed up, she says: “Yes, I would love to know who my great grandfather’s father was.  He was illegitimate, but his mother fell pregnant while working as a maid next door to the notoriously promiscuous French writer Guy de Maupassant.  A girl can dream…”

Perhaps something new has been added in four years.  The cut scene was made available to magazine subscribers; maybe TLC viewers will get to see it too.

Find out more about the TLC program here and learn about the BBC One program here.

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28. Ottawa 2015 Selections Announced

Seventy-nine animated films were selected for competition at Ottawa this year.

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29. Through The Green Rez to Flagstaff
















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30. Oculus Creative Director Saschka Unseld: “It Feels Like We’re in Film School Again”

After directing Pixar's "Blue Umbrella," Saschka Unseld has moved into the world of VR filmmaking.

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31. Three chances to win a signed copy of Green Valentine!

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To celebrate the release of #GreenValentine I am giving away three SIGNED copies – one each on Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter!

Official publication page.

In Melbourne? Come to the launch and get a signed book and free organic vegetable seedlings!

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32. Ways of Giving Your Readers Information

MQR - winter 2007Reading the short story "Missionaries" by Jeremiah Chamberlin (truly a great story, very hard to believe the Author Notes that it was his first nationally published story) in the Winter 2007 issue of Michigan Quarterly Review, the first page alone had me realizing there are different means of offering information to your reader and Chamberlin had used a couple quite well already.

There's the simple idea of what is currently going on given to us by the narrator's thoughts:

"I'm pumping the gas. My brother-in-law, Chris, is washing the windshield."

There's information from the past given, again, through the thoughts of the narrator:

"Chris was born again in high school, though he isn't any more."

There's observation of what others are doing and possibly thinking, again, through the thoughts of the narrator:

"Then she turns to her blonde friend and they laugh, as if we'd taken some kind of bait."

And there's also via dialogue, which can also be used to give some information from the past, though more in the line of the action, as opposed to from somebody's recollection:

"'Holy shit,' he says. '1979 Pontiac Phoenix. This was my first ride.'" (from Chris).

Each of these, and there are others, just not from the first page of this short story, have their reasons for being used. The current through the narrator's thoughts is a simple and easy way to catch the reader up to what is going on and get the story started. Some of that information from the past can be filled in through the current action (Chris pointing out the girls are driving in the same model as his original car) and other material from the past, if it's necessary for the reader to know, might need to be dropped in through the narrator's thoughts if there's no clean way of doing so in the current action. It seems most frequently this type of information will be useful as a bit of foreshadowing that maybe could have been slipped in through current action later in the work, but then it might seem almost too conveniently brought up.

I think Chamberlin has made great choices with all of these examples and again, hope to see this story in a full collection in the future if this, again, his FIRST, is any indication of what other stories he's written might be like.

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33. a most incredible Bank Street Book Fest

How lucky am I?

What an incredible line-up.

I will learn so much.

I am grateful.

Thank you, Jennifer Brown, Bank Street, and all those writers, reviewers, librarians, teachers, thinkers that I will learn from soon.

You can register at Bank Street College. And I hope you will.

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34. Hamilton, the Play

All the buzz is justified;
If I’d said different, I’d’a lied.
A slice of history unfurled
Like nothing else that’s in the world.

Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote
The lyrics, book and every note
Of music, all in hip-hop time
With such creative, perfect rhyme.

For everyone who has the chance,
Go see it, for it will enhance
Your theater props, with bragging rights
(And more if you’ve seen “In the Heights”*).

*Lin-Manuel Miranda’s previous play

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35. How I lost over 20 pounds without going on a diet or going to the gym (more)


Me, a year ago (left) and me now (right)

A year ago, a reader at an event asked to take a picture with me and posted it on Facebook. When I saw it, I didn’t look at our happy faces. I focused on the roll of fat around my waist.

I hadn’t been happy with my weight for a long time, but that really struck home.

Things I had tried to lose weight


  • Weight Watchers. This actually mostly worked, but I was always hungry and I got tired of constantly counting points. Due to some quirks of the time period I attended, I cooked atrocious things like Black Bean Brownies (just because they are the same color doesn’t mean they taste like brownies - but WW used to give you lots of credit for fiber). Once at a family reunion we all got food poisoning and took turns hurrying to the bathroom. But the next day I had my lowest weigh-in ever at WW, so food poisoning FTW!

  • Being mindful of every bite, taste, sensation. I actually think this is a good thing, but I usually read when I eat, so my concentration is fragmented.

  • Eating 35 grams of carbs a day, two days a week. I remember sitting with my friend Amy every Thursday for 17 weeks when she did her chemo treatment and glumly regarding my turkey breast and hard boiled eggs. It turns out all kinds of high protein or high fat things have some carbs in them - and they add up fast.

  • Living on 600 calories two days a week. A friend did this and lost eight pounds. I would pour over the menus and wonder how I could possibly do it since I am so active.

And that’s the thing. Even though writing is a sedentary occupation, I have always been otherwise active. I was fit AND fat, or mostly fit and fat. Last fall I had had to switch to walking instead of running, after having been diagnosed with moderate to severe arthritis in both knees. I asked my doctor if I could run again if I lost 20 pounds. You could practically see the thought bubble over his head: Like that will ever happen. Despite my knees, I was still active: walking, jiujitsu, kung fu, and weight lifting. However, study after study will tell you that you can’t lose weight through exercise.

But….

I had heard of friends of friends who lost a lot of weight once they started using a treadmill desk. And last fall I unexpectedly got some German money for Shock Point, which nearly ten years later still sells well over there.


So I bought a LIfeSpan treadmill desk, found an old computer (from 2008, but still runs what I need) and started using it when I wrote (and sometimes when I watched Netflix). I wear a Fitbit and went from putting in 12K steps a day to 25—30K. In the first eleven weeks, I lost eight pounds.

The pace has slowed now, but I’m still losing a pound every couple of weeks. Not that much different from Weight Watchers, but I am eating whatever I want! (Caveat: I mostly eat healthy.) I’m running again, and my knees feel fine. Every pound less is 3-4 pounds less on the knees.

And this morning I was down 22 pounds!

How to replicate this yourself

  • Get a Lifespan desk

  • Or try making one yourself (google DIY Treadmill Desk)

  • Or try housewalking.

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36. Oculus TD Max Planck: “We Want to Inspire the Virtual Reality ‘Citizen Kane’”

Challenges and lessons learned from interactive animation storytelling.

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37. elements of choice for how to start the writing

Begin -- and find the personality
Last week one of our leading authors of fiction died--E. L. Doctorow.  He was noted for creating fiction in a historical setting and mingling real persons of the period along with his fictional characters.  For example, in his novel, Ragtime, he has a fictional episode with Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, sharing a ride at Coney Island.  NPR aired an earlier radio interview with Doctorow in which he said he preferred to think of such writing as 'national' fiction, instead of historical fiction.  Perhaps because he veers more widely from the known historical script for the characters and period, though he captures the true characters and place settings of the era all the same.

In the radio interview, Doctorow discussed his writing of Billy Bathgate.  He had spent a lot of time thinking out the character of Billy and the elements of plot and motif, but was having a difficult time getting started with the actual writing.  It wasn't until he wrote out the first line of Billy himself telling us who he was, that Doctorow knew where he was heading and what Billy was to be about.  From there on it was a process of learning from his characters what had to follow, and how best to get there.  The method strongly suggests a process of listening to some inner muse, or the author's subconscious, to commune with the characters in writing the most authentic, compelling fiction.

This process is at the other end of a writing spectrum for starting a work of fiction, wherein it has been suggested to first develop a written outline of the novel before beginning to write, and maybe even a preliminary storyboard (a graphic, sequential display of the principal plot elements, as was discussed in an earlier post.)

The hazard of starting a new work without a well developed outline can lead beginning writers to "spaghetti-ing,"  a term coined by Jon Franklin, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, in his book, Writing for Story.  Franklin's book is honed toward creative non-fiction writers, but he stresses his advice is meant as well for fiction writers, too.  His point being that as any story moves along, more and more complications can arise; precedents that have been established seem to be falling by the wayside; motivations seem to be clashing; and so, the flow "is taking on the consistency of horse-hoof glue."  Seems like an apt description for a manuscript in trouble, nonetheless, one can allow that a writer as gifted as Doctorow may avoid such calamities, even without an outline, by being truly in communion with the characters, and practiced enough to consult his muse at key points about where the ongoing plot may be leading.  I've usually been a follower of Franklin's advice, but I think I might have written enough over the years to dare taking Doctorow's approach, even if just occasionally.  It certainly seems a bit more exciting and perhaps more creative--in skilled hands.

So, we have Doctorow's concrete example of how he began a specific, highly acclaimed novel (which led to a movie of the same name, featuring Dustin Hoffman); Doctorow had his character tell us who he was and what he was about.  This also presented an early opportunity to establish a unique voice for Billy, an eventual 'must' for any character in a compelling piece of literature.

  Another often used competing motif is to start with a description of time and place setting for the story.  The thought being these are principal screening criteria for many readers trying to decide whether to go any further before choosing a book.  Recalling another frequent advisory, there are arguably only three to five pages to capture a reader, agent, or editor.  Although place can indeed be an important element in a story, almost as compelling in stature so as to be a 'character' in itself, this choice might also easily devolve into some static, overly wrought descriptive language for opening a story.

 A closing thought on choosing a beginning motif is to consider the use of in medias res (into the middle of a narrative, into the midst of things.)  It might also provide a good opportunity for incorporating voice and place setting together, and right up front.  Select some dramatic scene that was visualized for later in the story and bring it forward, perhaps a scene that shows the principal character in action and speaking in his own, unique voice.  Keep in mind, three-to-five pages, at most, before your reader might, perchance, add the book to his cart and proceed to checkout. 

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38. for Brian Tappin ~ joy and sparrows, seagulls and sky and hope and… ~ part one

Sometimes we’re lucky enough to fleetingly meet a someone who changes us, bursts heart open, adds three feet to your height and shows you where your forgotten wings are buried. And it’s mutual. The following (and the rest of the song which I need to illustrate) are for you Brian Tappin ~ roaring lion, gentle angel, boy I miss you right now, dude! xx

for brian - july 29 2015


Filed under: Brian Tappin, flying, journeys, love, sea, songs

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39. Marciarose Shestack, broadcast pioneer, will join me at the Free Library, to launch Love: A Philadelphia Affair

This, up there—the gorgeous woman seated beside Tom Snyder—is Marciarose Shestack.

The first woman to anchor a prime time daily news show in a major market (famously rivaling Walter Cronkite in the ratings). The face of ABC, KYW, Noon News, and her own "Marciarose Show." A film and theater critic. A woman who regularly sat with presidents. A credible and beloved analyst of culture, history, and politics.

Marciarose—still gorgeous. Once my mother's friend, and, today, my own.

How grateful I am to her, then, that she has accepted my invitation to join me on the Free Library of Philadelphia stage as I launch Love: A Philadelphia Affair (Temple University Press) on October 7, at 7:30.

I hope that you will join us—and take this opportunity to meet this Philadelphia legend on a night dedicated to Philadelphia love.

With thanks to Andy Kahan, always, for opening the door.

Love will go on sale on September 7.

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40. New Photos Released of Emma Watson in ‘Colonia’

Earlier this week, Toronto International Film Festival website announced a large portion of its official line-up for the festival starting on September 10. Included in the line up is Colonia, a thriller directed by Florian Gallenberger, starring Emma Watson and Daniel Brühl.

Playlist writes that Colonia:

“tells the story of Lena and Daniel, a young couple, who become entangled in the Chilean military coup of 1973. Daniel is abducted by Pinochet’s secret police and Lena tracks him to a sealed off area in the South of the country, called Colonia Dignidad. The Colonia presents itself as a charitable mission run by lay preacher Paul Schäfer but, in fact, is a place nobody ever escaped from. Lena decides to join the cult in order to find Daniel. “

The script for Colonia is co-written by Gallenberger and Torsten Wenzel. The film is produced by Benjamin Herrmann and Nicholas Steil. Colonia will premiere as part of the TIFF Special Presentations Program.

Both Playlist and Firstshowing.net have released three first look photos from the film.

colonia1 colonia2 colonia3

 

Earlier this year, we reported that Emma Watson shared her experience of playing this role in Colonia. She talked of how the role challenged her as an actress. For more information on Colonia, visit the official TIFF page designated for it.

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41. Aula com Antônio Pedro sobre o ECA – Estatuto da Criança e do Adolescente

Anotações feitas durante a aula dada por Antônio Pedro Soares, da Comissão de Direitos Humanos e Cidadania da ALERJ aos membros do DDH.
Rio de Janeiro, julho de 2015.















Foto da Laíze Benevides (?):


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42. Book Titles

Though your publisher will likely change it, it's still worthwhile to choose the best title you can.

http://annerallen.blogspot.com/2015/05/10-tips-for-choosing-right-book-title.html

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43. Oculus Debuts ‘Henry,’ An Immersive Virtual Reality Short

Interactive, immersive animation experiences are now a reality.

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44. 48 days, day 44-46: almost time

{{ I am chronicling 48 days of writing before my July 31 travel. If you are chronicling your summer writing/days and would like to share, please link or comment so we can all cheer one another through. Strength to your sword arm!}}

The Year of Exploration is here.
On Being a Late Bloomer is here.
My speech at Vermont College (moments, memories, meaning) is here.

It's that no-man's place where I've got one foot in the work I'm trying to do, and one foot in my suitcase, trying to make sure I remember to pack everything I'll need in California this weekend... not very effective for doing anything requiring concentration, but it is always like this before travel. We leave Friday morning and return late Monday night. Then it is August. How did that happen?

I took 7 weeks this summer to write, just write, and to see what it might bring me to have no outside obligations or travel. I haven't read back through these entries, but I will at some point, and I bet I'll see a trajectory of some sort.. something that happens when we give ourselves the time it takes and aren't pushed by deadlines of any sort.

Life still happens, of course. This last few days it has been hard to concentrate on anything for long, so I sat with my work -- all these stories I've dragged out in this seven weeks -- and said, "what would just plain make me happy?"

A story about a little girl who is full of the joy of living -- that's what grabbed me. And so I began playing with her story. One morning when I woke at three, wide awake, I went through old mss and found her. It's been so long that I've been writing about her -- let's call her Cambria -- that I'd forgotten all the little vignettes and all the beginnings and all the possibilities I'd sketched out for her over the years.

I still love her. So much! And so she has been keeping me company today, while I write a while, pop up to put in a load of laundry; write a while, go get the dry cleaning; write a while, clean up this section of my office; write a while, go water the tomatoes.

The days are also somehow filled with Vaporwave music, bathing caps, goggles, and ear muffs and laughter. It's all good. We have beans, sweet peppers, tiny tomatoes, and new haircuts.

It's almost time to go. Almost. Almost...




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45. Planet Waves Considered

“In this age of fibreglass I’m searching for a gem” Planet Waves B. Dylan I don’t know who started it or how it started but it became a tradition and a ritual. We (Dave, Robin, Frank, Norm, Paul, Al and Mike to name some of the main participants) lived in a house on the corner of 4TH Ave and Balaclava in the Kitsilano neighbourhood of Vancouver. They say it has become very exclusive and expensive there now. Then we had a single mother with an almost teenage daughter living next door to us. She was convinced that the RCMP (she called them “The Horsemen”) had killed her husband who had been a heroin dealer. The tradition was turning a Saturday (if we were working or any afternoon if we weren’t) into a Tequila Sunrise or Bloody Caesar or Harvey Wallbanger day. We all supplied the ingredients if we could plus whatever beer and smoke were available, threw open the doors and windows and cranked up the stereo. It is incumbent upon residents of Vancouver to take advantage of every sunny day there. Even the British climate doesn’t seem as depressing as the long, grey, cold, wet stretches of days and weeks which occur in Vancouver winters. Maybe it’s not so bad for natives but we weren’t natives and knew very few. Everyone was from somewhere else. I remember Meddle and Band on the Run and Peaceful Easy Feeling blaring out across the postage stamp lawn as we played frisbee or catch with a football. The one which was played the most on those days was Planet Waves. It was the last time Dylan recorded in a studio with The Band. They had already toured with him as The Hawks and they toured again in support of Planet Waves. Not a bad backup band. They honed their chops in Toronto backing up Rompin Ronnie Hawkins, The Hawk. In The Last Waltz (1978) Robbie Robertson describes Ronnie Hawkin’s pitch upon hiring the talented teenagers as something like, “the money ain’t great, but you’ll get more pussy than Frank Sinatry”. The Hawk was from the southern US and had plenty of experience in small bars there where the band onstage was separated from the audience by chicken wire to protect them from missiles like beer bottles thrown their way. He says he was a hard taskmaster. He didn’t want a backup band which learned songs on stage or made a lot of mistakes. He made them practice and practice hard. The Hawk was recently interviewed by George Stroumboulopoulis on Canadian tv about his miraculous recovery from pancreatic cancer. A young healer (an underground healer, one not recognized by the established system) heard of his plight and helped him recover. Now he’s still laughing about the miracle and, as he tours, sharing his joy. The best known song on Planet Waves is Forever Young. It’s obvious when you listen to the lyrics why Rod Stewart covered it. I don’t know whether he added some words of his own, but every parent, rock star or not, can understand the sentiment behind the lyrics of the song. On side 2 of Planet Waves The Band whipped up one fast version with their electric jug band style, but the slow version on side 1 with Robbie Robertson’s tasty licks is one of the best rock songs ever written in my opinion. I know some people can’t stand Dylan’s music and his voice even though it’s in key and timed properly, but anyone who admires the power of the English language has to, at least, respect him as a writer. “Twilight on the frozen lake, North wind about to break...” are ten words which open Never say Goodbye and an instant image is conjured up in the listener’s mind. Planet Waves also contains Going, Going, Gone which is another song created with great lyrics and the collaboration of musicians which doesn’t overpower the lyric content. It is a good example for all bands who have realized that the most beautiful music is created by individuals contributing to the song, not trying to stand out from everyone else. There were a lot of women around that house but, unfortunately, one look at the state of the kitchen and bathroom discouraged most from living there. I have to admit that someone only making it to the kitchen sink before they threw up on a Tequila Sunrise Day was a little much. Naturally, none of us had washed any dishes for a long time and that made it worse. The sunny days got fewer when Fall hit and gradually petered out. The occupants reached a low point in January when we watched the Superbowl on acid with no food and the sound turned up to drown out the sound of the wind and rain lashing the street outside. Then someone got out of jail and landed there, bringing quick visits from cops when he ran outside and threw beer bottles at motorists passing by on 4th Ave. The carefree, sunny days of Planet Waves were gone. “My dreams are made of iron and steel, with a big bouquet of roses hanging down, from the heavens to the ground” Planet Waves B. Dylan

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46. New Beginning 1048



Sir Lancelot Knights Academy, New Camelot. Final examination for junior level of knighthood. Please, answer the following questions with clear and short sentences. You have two hours to complete the test.

Cedric took a deep breath and looked at the parchment with the academy’s emblem, a golden dragon wielding a sword.

This is it.

His last written exam as a cadet. If everything went fine, he’d be a knight in a few days. Well, not exactly a knight but a junior one, which meant more years of training. Not that he would complain. He looked forward to it.

He dipped the quill into the ink bottle and wrote in big, bold letters:

Name: Cedric William of Locksbay.

He skimmed through the long parchment. It contained sixty-three questions about every subject he’d studied at Sir Lancelot’s in the past five years. A test easy only for those cadets who had spent the last few weeks cramming. Not Cedric. He’d had other things to take care of.

The first question was about weapon-keeping. Good. Not a problem.

1. Weapon-keeping: The sword of a knight is his most precious ally.

Yes, true enough. Except that for now Cedric used one of the standard blades of the academy. Not a proper one. Anyway. Question number one…

A princess is trapped in a gaping cavern, beset by filthy orcettes, demon women, and dragon ladies 45 miles away. You and your horse can travel eighteen miles per hour. How long before you thrust your sword into hot, throbbing flesh? Show your work. 


Opening: BA.....Continuation: khazar-khum

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47. Paradise Falls Holds Top Slot on Self-Published Bestsellers List

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48. Europa Editions to Publish Novella by the Grandson of Che Guevara

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49. Abnett and Ross give Marvel’s Hercules “consideration” and a New Costume

Dan Abnett and Luke Ross are bringing Hercules back to the Marvel Universe with a new title named after the titular hero. The series will be available for purchase in local comic book shops in November and will feature the Olympian attempting to atone for some of his previous mistakes. Hercules, a key ’70s Marvel […]

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50. Monsters In My Pocket -and that is NOT a euphemism it is a request!

Anyone know of -non-rip off- sellers of the Gen2 Monsters In My Pocket playing cards?  Let me know -THANKS!

That's THIS series:

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