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1. Comics Friday: Beautiful Darkness by Fabien Vehlmann

From Goodreads:
Kerascoët’s and Fabien Vehlmann’s unsettling and gorgeous anti-fairy tale is a searing condemnation of our vast capacity for evil writ tiny. Join princess Aurora and her friends as they journey to civilization's heart of darkness in a bleak allegory about surviving the human experience.  The sweet faces and bright leaves of Kerascoët’s delicate watercolors serve to highlight the evil that dwells beneath Vehlmann's story as pettiness, greed, and jealousy take over.  Beautiful Darkness is a harrowing look behind the routine politeness and meaningless kindness of civilized society. 
It doesn't get much darker than this story of a group of tiny people who live inside the corpse of a dead little girl.  Until, that is, her corpse starts to decompose and they are forced into the woods where they are threatened by evils both internal and external.  It's horrifying enough when you consider it a grim fairy tale full of butchery and danger, but when you realize that it's a metaphor for the bleakness of life as a human and all its trials and tribulations, you'll just want to lay right down and die.

Except you won't because the art is so beautiful that it completely outweighs the horror of what you're seeing happen to these adorable tiny people.  Which, I suppose, is its own metaphor for the human experience.  Shockingly brutal, but also beautiful beyond words.  It demands to be reread once you get what the author is trying to convey and it's totally worth that reread.

It's certainly  not a book that I'd recommend across the board to everyone, even everyone interested in comics.  It's not for children and it's also not for those who will be appalled at the idea of a precious little race of tiny people being slaughtered by nature and by each other.  Have I mentioned that this is dark?

However, if you can stomach it, I think it's not only a pretty deep and interesting commentary on what it means to be human in our world, but it's also gorgeously illustrated.  I don't frequently reread, even graphic novels, so it's high praise that this one demanded a more thorough second read.  It's just beautifully done, on both a metaphoric and artistic level and I highly recommend trying it.

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2. revision II

I'm just ruminating over my last three poems, where I got going on a set of Spoon, Knife and Fork.  Atypically for me, all three are rhymed, similarly metered, and all share a basic 4-line stanza. I could keep going like this for a while, I guess, picking kitchen items and writing each its little ditty (see all the "Deeper Wisdom" poems featured at Today's Little Ditty, of which "What Does the Knife Know?" is one).

But would that make a readable collection, a saleable collection?  When I started typing this, I was planning for the answer to be "NO; that would be a little boring and samey and in a way unchallenging for both writer and reader," and then I was going to contrast that with any collection of "traditional" haiku, which would be therefore by its very nature boring and samey and unchallenging, and then I was going to wonder why haiku collections don't seem that way.

And then as I entered that second paragraph, I got walloped upside the head by Jack on one side and Shel on the other, and A.A. Milne appeared to wag his clever ghostly finger in my face, reminding me how many, many classic poems and entire volumes of poetry for children are rhymed and metered and kind of about the same things (although not usually kitchen items).

Now I'm wondering what it is that makes me want a new shape, a new rhythm, a new challenge each time I begin a poem. I never cook the same recipe or meal the same way twice, and at school I'm forever devising new greetings, new center activities, new routines (and creating a lot of work for myself).  While I craved novelty as a kid, I understand that for many students, sticking with one thing for longer is what's needed for competent mastery, and that too much "new" can be stressful.

Well, it seems that in the spirit of my OLW for 2015, I'm revising my 2nd-paragraph thinking.  I still think it's important for young writers to learn that poetry is not all rhythm and rhyme, and that for most beginning writers those things are hard to pull off and probably best avoided.  But golly, when 2/3 of a class of kindergarteners need to be TAUGHT to hear rhyme instead of having grown it into their bodies, and in the knowledge that I am not a beginning writer myself and quite enjoy the challenge of hewing to a rhymed and metered form, perhaps Spoon, Knife and Fork are suggesting a less varied--but no less tasty--diet of poetry for now.

Revision (with apologies to A.A. Milne)

Heidi Heidi
Mordhorst Mordhorst:
As teacher and poet she
Took great
Care to seek freedom,
Craving the novelty.
Heidi Heidi
Said to herself,
"Self," she said, said she:
"You must never get stuck at the end of the town
  called Free-Verse Poetry."

HM 2015
all rights reserved

Today's Little Roundup is with Paul at These 4 Corners.  Hope to see you there!

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3. Yolanda the Yeti Yogi

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 7.40.19 AMThis is  work-in-progress. I am developing a yeti character (abominable snowman) for a "contest" Chronicle Books is having.  I wrote a little rhyme to go with Yolanda. As you can see the face still needs rendering. One leg and one arm still need work too.


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4. bon voyage

Hello little blog, how've you been? I just wanted to pop in and tell you I've packed up my things and will be traveling for a while. I'm still drawing and exploring, but very excited to be on the move again. If you want to see glimpses of my adventures, look me up on Instagram.

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5. Flash Fiction Contest this weekend!


To celebrate the imminent publication of Loretta Ross's debut novel DEATH AND THE REDHEADED WOMAN, it's time for a flash fiction contest!

Winner receives a copy of the book! Trust me, you WANT this book. I loved Loretta's voice the minute I read her query and I could not be happier that you all will now get to enjoy her work too. 

The usual rules apply:

1. Write a story using 100 words or fewer.

2. Use these words in the story:

3. You must use the whole word, but that whole word can be part of a larger word. The entire word must appear intact if it's part of a longer word:
red/redhead is ok. 
red/ready is not

4. Post the entry in the comment column of THIS blog post.

5. One entry per person. If you need a mulligan (a do-over) erase your entry and post again.  It helps to work out your entry first and then post.

6. International entries are allowed, but prizes may vary for international addresses.

7. Titles count as part of the word count (you don't need a title)

8. Contest opens: Saturday 1/31/15 at 10am

9. Contest closes: Sunday 2/1/15 at 10am

Questions? Tweet to me @Janet_Reid

Ready? SET?
NOT YET! Contest opens on 1/31 at 10am.

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6. New Insurgent Trailer Unveiled

A new trailer has been unveiled for the Insurgent film adaptation. Deadline reports that this trailer for “the Summit Entertainment sequel will be one of the Hollywood studio ads showing during the Super Bowl this weekend.”

The video embedded above offers glimpses of Shailene Woodley and Kate Winslet reprising their roles as Beatrice “Tris” Prior and Jeanine Matthews. The movie c

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7. Ask a Pub Pro - Lisa Colozza Cocca on POV and Trends & Originality

Today is our first Ask a Pub Pro response post! This is the first of a monthly feature where writers can ask specific craft questions regarding their work in progress and get a response from a publishing professional.

Joining us today to answer your questions is Lisa Colozza Cocca, author of Providence, a YA novel from Merit Press/F&W Media plus almost a dozen nonfiction titles. We appreciate Lisa guiding us through our first post as she takes your questions and answers them with her warmth and insight. Plus, she's giving away a copy of her book! Check the Rafflecopter at the end!

Remember to get your questions in for next month's Ask a Pub Pro column. Just send an email to me, Susan Sipal, at AYAPLit AT gmail and put "Ask a Pub Pro Question" in your subject line. And thank you, Lisa!

Ask a Pub Pro - Lisa Colozza Cocca Responds to Questions on POV and Trends

 Question: POV in YA:

I've written my first three YA\MG novels in first person past and first person present tense. While I enjoy first person, I'd still like to switch to third person with multiple POVs. Does the average YA reader insist on first person? I'm sure there are third person YAs out there, but I can't recall the last time I've read one.


-- Ron Estrada, author of: Now I Knew You, contemporary YA with a touch of the supernatural -- What if you visited heaven and everything you thought important turned out to be meaningless? And that you've ignored all that truly is important.

Hi Ron,

Since you’ve been thinking about exploring new-to-you POVs, you’ve probably Googled the topic and found thousands of posts on the subject. Most advocate first person for YA, because of the intimacy it builds between the reader and the character telling the story. This is a good reason to use first person, but by no means are you limited to that point of view. I think the only thing YA readers insist upon is a story they can connect with.

One advantage of third person over first person is it gives readers a broader view. This can be especially important if you’re writing fantasy and building a new world. Are there things in your story you want your readers to see or know that your main character does not notice or know? Third person narration can fill in the gaps. Have you read Ann Brashere’s Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants? It’s been quite a while since I read it, but if I remember correctly it is written in third person with multiple viewpoints. There are plenty of teens who read the Harry Potter series too. That series is another example of third person point of view.

I do think though you have to start with the story. Let the story you want to tell determine the point of view. Don’t pick a point of view and then shape a story around it. Story always comes first.

Of course, knowing how that story wants to be told isn’t always easy, is it? Try writing the first 1-3 chapters in first person. Then go back and write the same chapters in first person alternating viewpoints. Make a third run through the same story points, but from third person alternating viewpoints. Finally, try it with third person omniscient. Read through all versions several times. With the omniscient version, note how many times you ask your reader to flip from one character’s head to another. Is there time for the reader to develop a sense of loyalty to any one character?

If you’re just looking to explore POV, you could do the above exercise with an existing YA written by someone else. Rewrite the first chapters from different points of view and compare them.

Good luck with your next novel and with discovering how your story wants to be told.

 -- Lisa

Question: Trends & Originality:

As I've been writing my story, so many of the plot points that I thought were fairly original have come to the public consciousness recently in other ways: controlling ones dreams (Inception), ley lines (The Librarians), Scotland (Outlander, and other books/shows set there). My question has to do with "riding the wave of popularity." I'm worried that by the time my WIP is polished and sent to an agent, the answer I'll get back is "it's too derivative, we need something fresher." What do you suggest?

-- Suzanne Lucero, her WIP: In Dreams Unbidden, a YA novel. When an American teen visits Scotland for the first time she starts catching glimpses of the future in her dreams, some harmless, some deadly.

Hi Suzanne,

I suggest you finish writing and polishing your story. What you’re experiencing is pretty common – that feeling of ‘that’s my idea!’ while reading another book or watching a show. I understand your concerns. If an agent or editor has already received fifty queries for books on Celtic trails will she even consider query 51? Maybe not, but maybe she will if it is a really well-written query. Maybe she will because even though you imagine she has received countless queries on the topic, in reality she hasn’t. There are so many ‘maybes.’

The point I’m trying to make is you can’t predict what an agent or editor will be looking for at some point in the future. I think that can be a good thing. It gives you the freedom to write the story inside of you. As writers, we have to let go of the things we have no control over – like shifting markets. We have to focus on what we do control. So push those little doubtful voices out of your head. Make your manuscript the best story you can write and then send it out into the world. Once you have, start writing your next great story. Take each hurdle as it comes and don’t give up until you’ve reached your goal.

 -- Lisa

About the Author:

Lisa works full-time as a freelance writer and editor of curriculum materials. She is also the author of a dozen books for the school and library market. Her personal goal at the moment is to have three days in a row where everything on her to-do list actually gets done. PROVIDENCE is her first trade novel.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads 

http://www.amazon.com/Providence-Lisa-Colozza-Cocca/dp/1440569274/About the Book:

Providence – Sometimes you have to run away from home to find it.

Teen runaway Becky is hiding out with a baby who isn’t hers. Although she found newborn Georgia in a duffle bag in a train car, Becky is as fiercely protective of her as if she were her own.

In the small town where she passes for a teen mom, she finally happy. Then, people start to ask questions, and Becky doesn’t know whether to stay and fight, or run toward an unknown future.

Amazon |  Goodreads


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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8. "A Perfectly Messed-Up Story" book trailer

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9. Aim Higher: The Rest of the Story

Earlier in the week Anna talked about making goals visible. This is so true. When we make goals visible for students they are able to go back to that visual multiple times and… Continue reading

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10. Judicial resistance? War crime trials after World War I

There was a great change in peace settlements after World War I. Not only were the Central Powers supposed to pay reparations, cede territory, and submit to new rules concerning the citizenship of their former subjects, but they were also required to deliver nationals accused of violations of the laws and customs of war (or violations of the laws of humanity, in the case of the Ottoman Empire) to the Allies to stand trial.

This was the first time in European history that victor powers imposed such a demand following an international war. This was also the first time that regulations specified by the Geneva and Hague Conventions were enforced after a war ended. Previously, states used their own military tribunals to enforce the laws and customs of war (as well as regulations concerning espionage), but they typically granted amnesty for foreigners after a peace treaty was signed.

The Allies intended to create special combined military tribunals to prosecute individuals whose violations had affected persons from multiple countries. They demanded post-war trials for many reasons. Legal representatives to the Paris Peace Conference believed that “might makes right” should not supplant international law; therefore, the rules governing the treatment of civilians and prisoners-of-war must be enforced. They declared the war had created a modern sensibility that demanded legal innovations, such as prosecuting heads of state and holding officers responsible for the actions of subordinates. British and French leaders wanted to mollify domestic feelings of injury as well as propel an interpretation that the war had been a fight for “justice over barbarism,” rather than a colossal blood-letting. They also sought to use trials to exert pressure on post-war governments to pursue territorial and financial objectives.

The German, Ottoman, and Bulgarian governments resisted extradition demands and foreign trials, yet staged their own prosecutions. Each fulfilled a variety of goals by doing so. The Weimar government in Germany was initially forced to sign the Versailles Treaty with its extradition demands, then negotiated to hold its own trials before its Supreme Court in Leipzig because the German military, plus right-wing political parties, refused the extradition of German officers. The Weimar government, led by the Social Democratic party, needed the military’s support to suppress communist revolutions. The Leipzig trials, held 1921-27, only covered a small number of cases, serving to deflect responsibility for the most serious German violations, such as the massacre of approximately 6,500 civilians in Belgium and deportation of civilians to work in Germany. The limited scope of the trials did not purge the German military as the Allies had hoped. Yet the trials presented an opportunity for German prosecutors to take international charges and frame them in German law. Although the Allies were disturbed by the small number of convictions, this was the first time that a European country had agreed to try its own after a major war.

General Stenger. Public domain via the French National Archive. http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b53063910x.r=Stenger.langEN
General Stenger. Public domain via the French National Archive.

The Ottoman imperial government first destroyed the archives of the “Special Organization,” a secret group of Turkish nationalists who deported Greeks from the Aegean region in 1914 and planned and executed the massacre of Armenians in 1915. But in late 1918, a new Ottoman imperial government formed a commission to investigate parliamentary deputies and former government ministers from the Turkish nationalist party, the Committee of Union and Progress, which had planned the attacks. It also sought to prosecute Committee members who had been responsible for the Ottoman Empire’s entrance into the war. The government then held a series of military trials of its own accord in 1919 to prosecute actual perpetrators of the massacres, as well as purge the government of Committee members, as these were opponents of the imperial system. It also wanted to quash the British government’s efforts to prosecute Turks with British military tribunals. Yet after the British occupied Istanbul, the nationalist movement under Mustafa Kemal retaliated by arresting British officers. Ultimately, the Kemalists gained control of the country, ended all Turkish military prosecutions for the massacres, and nullified guilty verdicts.

Like the German and Ottoman situations, Bulgaria began a rocky governmental and social transformation after the war. The initial post-war government signed an armistice with the Allies to avoid the occupation of the capital, Sofia. It then passed a law granting amnesty for persons accused of violating the laws and customs of war. However, a new government came to power in 1919, representing a coalition of the Agrarian Union, a pro-peasant party, and right-wing parties. The government arrested former ministers and generals and prosecuted them with special civilian courts in order to purge them; they were blamed for Bulgaria’s entrance into the war. Some were prosecuted because they lead groups of refugees from Macedonia in a terrorist organization, the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization. Suppressing Macedonian terrorism was an important condition for Bulgaria to improve its relationship with its neighbor, the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. In 1923, however, Aleksandar Stambuliski, the leader of the Agrarian Union, was assassinated in a military coup, leading to new problems in Bulgaria.

We could ask a counter-factual question: What if the Allies had managed to hold mixed military tribunals for war-time violations instead of allowing the defeated states to stage their own trials? If an Allied tribunal for Germany was run fairly and political posturing was suppressed, it might have established important legal precedents, such as establishing individual criminal liability for violations of the laws of war and the responsibility of officers and political leaders for ordering violations. On the other hand, guilty verdicts might have given Germany’s nationalist parties new heroes in their quest to overturn the Versailles order.

An Allied tribunal for the Armenian massacres would have established the concept that a sovereign government’s ministers and police apparatus could be held criminally responsible under international law for actions undertaken against their fellow nationals. It might also have created a new historical source about this highly contested episode in Ottoman and Turkish history. Yet it is speculative whether the Allies would have been able to compel the post-war Turkish government to pay reparations to Armenian survivors and return stolen property.

Finally, an Allied tribunal for alleged Bulgarian war criminals, if constructed impartially, might have resolved the intense feelings of recrimination that several of the Balkan nations harbored toward each other after World War I. It might also have helped the Agrarian Union survive against its military and terrorist enemies. However, a trial concentrating only on Bulgarian crimes would not have dealt with crimes committed by Serbian, Greek, and Bulgarian forces and paramilitaries during the Balkan Wars of 1912-13, so a selective tribunal after World War I may not have healed all wounds.


Image Credit: Château de Versailles Hall of Mirrors Ceiling. Photo by Dennis JarvisCC BY-SA 2.0 via Flickr.

The post Judicial resistance? War crime trials after World War I appeared first on OUPblog.

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11. Choose Your Own Autobiography: Review Haiku

To adore this book
as much as I did, turn to
page one. Keep going.

Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris. Crown, 2014, 304 pages.

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12. Friday Linky List - January 30, 2015

From The Telegraph: Most authors break through in middle-age

From Brain Pickings (via PW): Peanuts and the Quiet Pain of Childhood: How Charles Shulz Made an Art of Difficult Emotions

From Digital Synopsis: 27 Funny Posters and Charts That Graphic Designer Will Relate To (NSFW)

At The Guardian (via PW): A response to terror by Chris Riddell and Neil Gaiman - in pictures

At Huff Post (via PW): 20 New Classics Every Child Should Own

At Freelancers Union: 10 Reasons why freelancing is like dating

From Salon: "Sponsored" by my husband: Why it's a problem that writers never talk about where their money comes from

At The Atlantic: From Annihilation to Acceptance: A Writer's Surreal Journey - The author agreed to publish three novels in one year - and then things got weird.

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13. Elizabeth Buzzelli's Cozy Reading Corner

As you can see by the photo, I've got to find a new favorite reading place pretty quick.  Another blizzard coming today so it's a great time to read.  Maybe the cat's chair will do.  

SNOOP TO NUTS, the second in the Nut House Series from Berkley is just out so I'm doing Blog Tours, but looking fondly at the Christmas stack of books.  SNOOP TO NUTS is written under my pen name: Elizabeth Lee.  The next book in the series comes out the end of 2015.  

You can find me on Facebook
My Website

--Elizabeth Buzzelli

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14. STAR STUFF: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos is a NCTE Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children Honoree

I am happily floored at the new that Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos is one of only FIVE books given the honor. Here is the link to the National Council of Teachers of English. Feeling proud- thank you NCTE!

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15. Classic Readalong Discussion: Tuck Everlasting

Welcome to The Midnight Garden discussion of Tuck Everlasting, which is posted to coincide with the 40th Anniversary Blog Tour. This book has been a special favorite of mine since one of my best friends pressed it into my hands in 5th grade. At the tender age of 10 fiction suddenly posed me with the question: “What if you could live forever?” There is such  a unique relationship with stories you loved specifically as a child. I’m so glad I read this at the age of 11 when the magic of the book couldn’t escape me. But we certainly hope to hear all of manner of opinions about this book! We’re also so excited to be giving away a beautiful hardcover of the special anniversary edition, which includes a foreward by Gregory Maguire. Did you know that this book has never been out of print in all that time? Let’s discuss why... Read more »

The post Classic Readalong Discussion: Tuck Everlasting appeared first on The Midnight Garden.

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16. this ORQ – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: this ORQ (he cave boy.) Written by: David Elliott Illustrated by: Lori Nichols Published by: Boyds Mills Press, 2014 Themes/Topics: pets, cave boys, cave moms, wooly mammoths Suitable for ages: preschoolers Opening:  This Orq. He live in cave. He carry club. He cave boy. … Continue reading

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17. A Perfectly Messed Up Story

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18. Poetry Friday -- The Best of It

Flickr Creative Commons Photo by Heinz-Eberhard Boden

The Best of It 

by Kay Ryan

However carved up
or pared down we get,
we keep on making
the best of it as though
it doesn't matter that
our acre's down to
a square foot.

My acre is feeling like it's down to more like a square inch, but I'm making the best of it.

Paul has the Poetry Friday roundup at These 4 Corners.

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19. Why We Read


[D]on’t ever apologize to an author for buying something in paperback, or taking it out from a library (that’s what they’re there for. Use your library). Don’t apologize to this author for buying books second hand, or getting them from bookcrossing or borrowing a friend’s copy. What’s important to me is that people read the books and enjoy them, and that, at some point in there, the book was bought by someone. And that people who like things, tell other people. The most important thing is that people read…
—Neil Gaiman

The post Why We Read appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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20. Best Novel of the Year: The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain

Okay folks, I'm calling it now--The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain (translated by Emily Boyce and Jane Aitken) is the best novel I'm going to read this year. A perfect follow-up to Laurain's delightful The President's Hat, this upcoming release has the most common of set-ups and yet becomes the best meet-up story ever. That it manages to be a fairly traditional romance that is not the slightest bit mushy but rather the very definition of wit and smarts and downright cool is proof positive that any tale can be retold in a refreshing way. I knew there would be a happy ending here as I knew the protagonists would meet (beyond that we can't know), but the journey was so lovely; I'm still trying to figure out just how Laurain accomplished so much in so few pages.

Book of the year, folks. Book.Of.The.Year.

The plot is straightforward: Laure is mugged on her doorstep returning home late one night, losing her purse and getting hit in the head in the process. With no way to get into her apartment, she walks across the street to a hotel, convinces them to let her have a room for the night and then, more injured than she realized, slips into unconsciousness overnight. She is rushed to the hospital in the morning and her part of the story is thus paused.

Divorced bookseller Laurent comes across a discarded high quality purse while out getting breakfast and impulsively picks it up and even though it lacks identification, decides to try and find the owner. Going through the contents, an image forms in his mind of the woman who owns them and he can not resist the allure of the mystery she poses. Laurent thus becomes an amateur detective and even though the reader already knows about Laure, it's impossible to resist Laurent's search for clues and be cheered by his every success.

Slowly, Laurent finds his way to Laure's life just as she reenters the story through her friends and co-workers and recovery. Laurent's daughter and ex-wife are introduced, readers learn more of his life and Laure's own past is revealed as well. They are two extremely ordinary people--there are no tales of horror and high drama to force the plot along. But Laurain is such a great writer that these characters become more and more compelling the more they are on the page. Laurent's previous career, Laure's job, their mutual love of books (bibliophiles will rejoice!), their families, their hopes, their dreams and of course, the red notebook.

Laure keeps a notebook in her purse where she writes lists of what she loves, what she's afraid of, what she longs for. Here's a bit:

More things I like:

Summer evenings when it gets dark late.
Opening my eyes underwater.
The names 'Trans-Siberian Express' and 'Orient Express' (I'll never travel on either).
Lapsang Souchong tea.
Haribo Fraises Tagada.
Watching men sleep after making love.
Hearing 'Mind the gap' on the tube in London.

The Red Notebook resonated with me for several reasons, I think but mostly it was the extraordinary appeal of these characters who managed to sneak up on me and settle into my heart. This book could have been so many things--it seemed destined to be Meg Ryanesque* more than anything else--but it's a thoroughly grown-up story about how two adults come to know each other. That it is remarkably literary as well is just a huge bonus.

Don't miss this one; it's really something special.

*Not that there's anything wrong with that!

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21. A LIterary Apprecitation of Dragons 2015 – Part 4 of 4

Far too soon, we've come to the end of the Third Annual Bugs and Bunnies Literary Appreciation of Dragons Series. Anyone needing some backstory, or a refresher, can click on the link in the first sentence and get caught up quite nicely. But don't forget to come back here to catch this last literary dragon post for the 2015 series.

Drawing courtesy of Chez Wheedleton's resident Dragon Expert: Lovely Girl

So far, we've read our way through three Fridays of dragon book fun:


And for today's post, we've got something really fun:

Drawing Dragons

That's right! We here at Bugs and Bunnies were delighted to find this little collection of books, so we could learn how to draw the dragons we love to read about! We hope you enjoy them, too:

1-2-3 Draw: Knights, Castles, and Dragons: A step by step guide
By Freddie Levin
Ages 5 - 10

This one is great for the beginner level artists out there. It starts with a list of very basic tools you will need - all things you probably already have around the house. The book is separated into several sections, starting with drawing basic shapes. As you move through the book, these basic shapes are used to guide you through drawing a variety of medieval-type things, starting with a basic person, and moving through to specific ones (king, queen, prince, princess). There are sections for drawing castles, heraldry, knights, and of course dragons. And there are other sections, too, each related to knights, castles, and dragons, plus an index.

How to Draw Dragons (Drawing Fantasy Art)
By Jim Hansen and John Burns
Ages 9 and up

This one is great for those who want to both learn a little about dragons as well as draw them. The Introduction section explains the equipment you may want to have on hand before you begin. (Some of the supplies listed are more advanced equipment, but you will still be able to use this book with just the basics - pencil, paper, eraser.) Then there's a short lesson on Perspective. And then there's the instruction, separated into types: Western Dragon, Eastern Dragon, and North American Dragon. The book also contains a glossary of art-related terms, as well as a section on suggestions for further reading. The instructions start basic and work up to the details fairly quickly, so this book will be most helpful to those who already have a good base of drawing skills.

Draw! Medieval Fantasies: A Step by Step Guide
By Damon J. Reinagle
Ages 8 - 14

This one starts with a list of basic drawing tools, and a few "Common Sense Drawing Rules" to get you started. It is for those who are a little more advanced in drawing skill, yet still starts with Basic Shapes, then moves on to sections showing you steps for how to draw Rods and Joints, Dragons, Castles, and Heroes and Villains. Then there is a section on adding Textures and Patterns to your drawings, and finally, one on Putting It All Together.

Ralph Masiello's Dragon Drawing Book: Become an artist step-by-step
By Ralph Masiello
Ages 8 - 12

As with the others, this one also starts with a section on the drawing tools you may want to use. It is also for those who know a little about drawing already. There are step-by-step instructions for drawing eleven different types of dragons, from all over the world. For each dragon, you'll be shown one detailed step at a time, using just the drawings to guide you - no text instructions. You can easily tell which is the new line to add for each step, because it is shown in red.

Once you've been guided in drawing the dragon, the next page for each one shows what the fully-complete drawing could look like, with all color and pattern added, as well as some information about the type of dragon you just drew, and hints for how to create the patterns you see in the finished drawing example. At the end, you'll find a section on Resources for you to learn even more about dragons, as well as a Pronunciation Guide, so you'll know how to pronounce the names of the dragons you've just learned how to draw.

* * *

And so, we've reached the end of our series for this year. We hope you enjoyed this Third Annual Bugs and Bunnies Literary Appreciation of Dragons Series as much as we did, and we hope you'll come back again next year to celebrate a whole new bunch of fabulous dragon books with us!

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22. Is Social Sharing the No. 1 Ranking Strategy? List of WordPress Plugins Just in Case

What’s the number 1 online marketing strategy today? It’s social media sharing. Uh, well, maybe . . . most probably. Rumors and murmurings are filtering through the internet world insinuating that ‘sharing’ is now more powerful than backlinks. I did some research as to whether this is true or not, but couldn’t find any concrete evidence. But, if it’s not true yet, it probably will be the

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23. Poetry Friday: Of so divine a loss by Emily Dickinson

Of so divine a loss
We enter but the gain,
Indemnity for loneliness
That such a bliss has been.
- Emily Dickinson

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

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24. Fluorescent proteins and medicine

Fluorescent proteins are changing the world. Page through any modern scientific journal and it’s impossible to miss the vibrant images of fluorescent proteins. Bright, colorful photographs not only liven-up scholarly journals, but they also serve as invaluable tools to track HIV, to design chickens that are resistant to bird flu and to confirm the existence of cancerous stem cells. Each day, fluorescent proteins initially extracted from jellyfish and other marine organisms illuminate the inner workings of diseases, increasing our knowledge of them and providing new avenues in the search for their cures.

It is important to realize that these incredibly useful and now very common tools might not have been found if it were not for decades of basic research funded by the US government — research that would probably not be funded by most current funding agencies as the research would be deemed too fundamental in nature and not applied enough to qualify for funding. This fundamental research that formed the basis for all the fluorescent protein based technologies, such as super-resolution microscopy and even optogenetics, was performed by Osamu Shimomura.

Aequorea victoria emitting fluorescent light. Image credit: This photo has been used courtesy of Steven Haddock.
Aequorea victoria emitting fluorescent light. Image credit: This photo has been used courtesy of Steven Haddock.

While a research scientist at Princeton University and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Shimomura spent more than 40 years trying to understand the chemistry responsible for the emission of the green light in A. victoria, and in the process, he caught more than a million jellyfish. Every summer for more than twenty years, Shimomura and his family would make the 3,000-mile drive from Princeton, New Jersey, to the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor laboratory, where they would spend the summer days catching crystal jellyfish from the side of the pier. For 20 well-funded years at Princeton and an additional 20 years at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Shimomura spent his days, and sometimes his nights, unraveling the mysteries of the jellyfish’s glow.

The crystal jellyfish was the first organism known to use one protein to make light, aequorin, and another to change the color of this light, GFP. There was no precedence in the scientific literature for this type of bioluminescence, and so Shimomura had to break new ground. Additionally it was laborious and painstaking work to isolate even the smallest quantities of GFP. Fortunately Shimomura had both funding and a purist’s fascination with bioluminescence to unlock the secrets of GFP.

Although he was the first to discover GFP and isolate it, he was not interested in the applications of this protein. Doug Prascher, Martin Chalfie and Roger Tsien were responsible for ensuring that the green fluorescent protein from crystal jellyfish, Aequorea victoria, has been used in millions of experiments all around the world. They took the next step, but without Shimomura’s first essential step there may have been no flourescent future.

Featured image: Aequorea victoria by Mnolf (Photo taken in the Monterey Bay Aquarium, CA, USA). CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

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