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<<August 2015>>
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1. Revolution Books Has 2 Days Left for Indiegogo Campaign

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2. Marvel has entered into talks with Mads Mikkelsen to join Doctor Strange

I seem to recall a few years back that Marvel Studios was really hot on getting Mads Mikkelsen on-board with one of their productions, to the point where he was cast as Malekith in Thor: The Dark World, but had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts with the then-debuting Hannibal. Given what Christopher Eccleston […]

4 Comments on Marvel has entered into talks with Mads Mikkelsen to join Doctor Strange, last added: 8/27/2015
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3. ‘Iron Giant: Signature Edition’ Has An Amazing New Trailer, Blu-ray Release Confirmed

The signature edition of "Iron Giant" will have its world premiere next month at the Toronto International Film Festival.

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4. LOVE arrives (and Temple did such a good job)

In the midst of a busy afternoon, two copies of LOVE arrive in all their hardbound glory.

I have stopped.

I have paged through.

Temple University Press, you did an amazing job. The photos are rich, the paper is kind, the cover broadcasts our love for our city.

Thank you.

LOVE is now officially on sale.

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5. Elena Ferrante Talks Feminism in Vanity Fair Article

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6. Watch for It: Untwine, by Edwidge Danticat

According to the acknowledgments in Untwine, we have our own Lisa Sandell to thank for inquiring whether Edwidge Danticat, award-winning author for adults, might have a YA story to share. With a plot line similar to my own work Hit, I was intrigued and dove straight into the novel.

Watch for this release, readergirlz, and drop into the drama of a teen girl losing her twin sister. Walk with a family looking for answers in the midst of deepest grief. Mourn with Giselle and find hope, beautifully.

Welcome to the YA world, Edwidge!

By Eldridge Danticat
Scholastic Press, September 2015

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

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7. 2016 Tomie dePaola Award Prompt


One of the biggest and most important challenges the Children’s Book Illustrator faces, over and over again, is the UNIQUE VISUALIZATION of the MAIN CHARACTER.


So often, I have seen illustrators resort to generic depictions of the star of the story–too “designed,” too ordinary, too much like characters already seen in media, especially on TV and video games.


The assignment is simply to illustrate a moment from the following passage from Philip Pullman’s version of “Little Red Riding Hood” from FAIRY TALES FROM THE BROTHERS GRIMM (Viking, 2012).  (You may want to read the entire story.  It is an excellent book.)


Once upon a time there was a little girl who was so sweet and kind that everyone loved her. Her grandmother, who loved her more than anyone, gave her a little cap made of red velvet, which suited her so well that she wanted to wear it all the time. Because of that everyone took to calling her Little Red Riding Hood.


One day her mother said to her: ‘Little Red Riding Hood, I’ve got a job for you. Your grandmother isn’t very well, and I want you to take her this cake and a bottle of wine. They’ll make her feel a lot better. You be polite when you go into her house, and give her a kiss from me. Be careful on the way there, and don’t step off the path or you might trip over and break the bottle and drop the cake, and then there’d be nothing for her. When you go into her parlour don’t forget to say, “Good morning, Granny,” and don’t go peering in all the corners.’


‘I’ll do everything right, don’t worry,’ said Little Red Riding Hood, and kissed her mother goodbye.


Her grandmother lived in the woods, about half an hour’s walk away. When Little Red Riding Hood had only been walking a few minutes, a wolf came up to her. She didn’t know what a wicked animal he was, so she wasn’t afraid of him.


Your task is to make me “FALL IN LOVE” with your illustration and especially with Red Riding Hood.  I want to “meet her” for the first time.


This is NOT EASY!  The deadline is tight (on purpose).


The specs are:

            B & W, Limited Color, or Full Color

            8” x 8”


            Any Medium

            Due at SCBWI by December 1, 2015.

            No late submissions will be considered.


Best of luck and good work.  And, as I’ve been saying a lot lately, “COURAGE!”





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8. On Screen

Two newscasters were shot on screen
By some crazed gunman, first unseen;
And all who saw it were in shock,
An image they can never block.

Of course, all horror is a draw
But I am glad I never saw
The bullets hit, the bodies fall;
They pulled the footage, after all.

My heart goes out to kin and friends,
Who’ll see a scene that never ends –
Their loved ones taking one last breath,
All future plans cut short by death.

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9. First Second Books to Launch the Science Comics Series

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10. Dream Inside A Dream

So I asked the little girl, "What happens when you close your eyes?" She said, " In my dreams I am a princess trying to escape my palace room where they make me stay all day and all night. I can only get away when I close my eyes and fly. I fly right out of the window in the dark blue night. Fluffy clouds swirl around me and bright blue stars light up the nights sky. The air is light and I am even lighter. My long braids fly in the soft wind like wings taking me higher and higher. I feel God and the angels. They whisper sweet healing words to me. I feel better. I feel like I don't want to ever go back, but then He says,"You have a purpose and I have a plan. Run to your destiny for you are safe in my hand. Safe in my hand." When I wake I am back in my room safe and sound. I have a good feeling inside my tummy. I know that everything is going to be alright cause I have a purpose and He has a plan. I will run to my destiny cause I am safe in His hand. I am safe in His hand.

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11. If Claire Kirch was Kate Gale's editor...

Dear Claire Kirch,

In your article, today, you wrote this about Kate Gale's essay in Huffington Post:
The article--which can be seen in full in these screen shots captured by PW--attempted to defend AWP against recent complaints about the lack of diversity represented in its programming, as well as the lack of transparency in its actions. Gale's article, however, featured inflammatory language that drew its own backlash. (Among other things, the article referred to Native American as Indians.)

Really, Claire? If you were Kate Gale's editor, you'd suggest she change this sentence:

I pictured David Fenza saddling up a horse, Stetson in place, going out to shoot Indians.

 so it reads like this:

I pictured David Fenza saddling up a horse, Stetson in place, going out to shoot Native Americans.

Really? I'm astounded. Tell me, Claire, why you think that's better. Seems to me you're as clueless as Gale. I hope you'll take time to read what I wrote yesterday: About Kate Gale's post, "AWP Is Us." But even if you don't read what I said, please tell me why you think it would be better if Gale had used Native American instead of Indian. 


Debbie Reese
American Indians in Children's Literature

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12. The Guardians Family Welcomes an Infinite Amount of Heroes

Marvel is mixing up the publishing line with the surprise addition of another book in the Guardians of The Galaxy family: Guardians of Infinity. ComicBook.com broke the news. Previous Guardians author Dan Abnett is returning to the franchise with an art team including Marvel star Carlo Barberi on art. The roster includes new and old Guardians favorites: Drax, Rocket Raccoon, […]

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13. Check Out Who’ll Be Fighting Whom in “Captain America: Civil War”

Some big news came out of Marvel Studios today as they unveiled some concept art from next year’s Captain America: Civil War.  The art confirms the members of each side in the film’s hero on hero war and gives us some new information about the movie’s major players. Of note is Agent 13 Sharon Carter, who made her […]

4 Comments on Check Out Who’ll Be Fighting Whom in “Captain America: Civil War”, last added: 8/27/2015
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14. St. Honoré

A hat tip to the fictitious island of St. Honoré (because I just finished reading A Caribbean Mystery).

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15. First Second announces Science Comics line

“Applied comics” — using the words and pictures combination for education and non fiction — is a growing field, especially as comics become more accepted in educational uses. And First Sceond is going all in with a new line of Science Comics that launches with three books: Dinosaurs (MK Reed and Joe Flood; Spring 2016) Coral Reefs […]

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16. Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind

Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind. Suzanne Fisher Staples. 1989. 240 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]

Did I enjoy reading Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind? Not really. This Newbery Honor book doesn't fit my idea of what a Newbery or Newbery Honor book should be. I'm not sure that's fair on my part, and it could be a good thing to be a shockingly different children's book.

Shabanu is the young heroine of the novel. She's eleven or perhaps twelve. On the verge of "adulthood" in her culture, she's almost of marriageable age. Her wedding has already been arranged--a cousin--but it is about one year away still. Her sister's wedding, her sister is about thirteen, is months away when the novel opens. The arranged marriages for both of them are with their cousins. (I think one is 15, one 17. They are brothers). The novel is set in Pakistan. (I'm assuming contemporary-to-the-publication Pakistan). Shabanu and her family live in the desert, and live a more nomadic lifestyle. They travel from place to place depending on the time of year and the amount of water. Shabanu loves, loves, loves, LOVES tending the camels, and, she has definite favorites among them. She does not envy her sister being "all grown up." She enjoys the freedom she has as a child. Though it's not complete, absolute freedom ever. (I'm not saying it should be necessarily.)

The setting is interesting. Readers definitely get exposed to a whole new world, a camel-centric world. I thought there were at times a little too much information about the camels. (Warning: there's CAMEL SMUT)

If life had gone according to plan, the novel would not have taken a decidedly dark and depressing turn. But things went horribly wrong before her sister's wedding, and, Shabanu herself pays the price though she is not responsible or to blame for the souring of events. It seems most all the characters have a happier end than she herself does. That may or may not be completely realistic, but, it certainly isn't fair. It may push the extremes of what children consider NOT FAIR.

I'm not sure what response readers are to have with a novel like this. Shabanu may be the first or one of the first books readers come across that either a) stars a Muslim family, features a Muslim heroine, OR b) is set in Pakistan. I doubt the impression of either will be a good one, if that makes sense. Especially considering the ending.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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17. writing the 'loglines'...

Question: Is this the appropriate place to put a question for 'Step by Step Novel Planning Workbook' question? Following in your workbook pages I have

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18. Disney TV Animation Solidifies Exec Ranks with Key Hires and Promotions

Eric Coleman will continue to lead Disney TV Animation in his new role of senior v-p of original programming.

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19. Coming Attractions: Marvel Announces Graphic Novels for Early 2016!

Civil War Box Set! (Shipping three months after Christmas. Yeah, it ties in with the movie, but why not offer it for Christmas? Has Marvel solved their movie backlist problem? Do the reprints/tie-ins sell? Is there a Batman Effect for Marvel’s MCU?) Color Deadpool! Color Civil War! Deadpool Omnibus! (which starts in the middle?) Marvel […]

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20. Why Do I Write?

As I turn 53 today, several recent events converged to make me examine why I write and whether I want to continue writing.

I wrote and published 8 books between 2007 and 2012. I have not written a book in a while and Create Space sent me an email asking if I was still writing.

I had lunch with a friend and we talked about my dry spell and she asked me what would make me passionate about writing again. I have suffered health crisis after health crisis since before I wrote Mythikas Island, which has resulted in a roller coaster of frenzied work and months living as a cat. Health woes certainly contribute to the ambivalence.
I began writing poetry and journaling as a young girl. I did not attempt fiction until I was middle-aged. So as I explored the reasons why I started writing books in the first place, a theme developed.

I wrote the Mythikas Island series (I: Diana, II: Persephone, III: Aphrodite, and IV: Athena) for my daughter Anna. She was a teenager and was sick of love triangles in YA books. She said some girls wanted stories that didn’t revolve around guys. Ideas for stories about goddesses and girl power had been percolating for a while and that became the impetus for the Mythikas Island series. Four girls are groomed to be leaders and must save themselves and fight for their future.

I wrote the Story Building Blocks (I: The Four Layers of Conflict, II: Crafting Believable Conflict, III: The Revision Layers, IV: Build A Cast Workbook) because I couldn’t find them anywhere when I needed them. I was tired of reading about the story arc and all those motivational tomes. I wanted nuts and bolts and tools for developing plots and characters. 
I wanted advanced craft lessons. I also wanted to centralize all of my notes on revision, editing, and proofreading. So, I spent several years learning, reading, dissecting stories, and researching. I developed a story architecture theory that made sense to me. This blog, Game On, is an extension of the desire to share what I learn. I also guest post on The Blood Red Pencil, another blog devoted to the craft of writing.

I have studied interior formatting, cover design, and website building. Although far from expert, I have added those skills to my tool kit.

Then I was blindsided with the misdiagnosis of a mystery muscle disease. That led to a year of research and another year of developing that research into a website for the rare disease, Stiff Person Syndrome, which became The Tin Man. It not only has up-to-date information on SPS, but a large section on how to cope with debilitating diseases and resources for patients with rare diseases. Again, things I couldn't find that I needed.

While I haven’t been entirely slothful, there was no book at the end of those two-plus years. Create Space had no way of knowing that, hence the gentle reminder.

It turns out, I am motivated by writing things that benefit other people. It is the sharing information and helping that bring me joy. If I inspired one teenager, helped one writer, or educated one patient, I consider all that time well spent.
I’ve always joked to my critique group that my biggest problem is that I don’t need the money and I don’t want to be famous. I admit to being turned off by the business and promotional aspect of publishing, as necessary as it is to being a lucrative independent author. It is an area I would need to research and I’d have to overcome my natural resistance to being in the spotlight and sales promotion. I would also have to work around my physical limitations. I’d much rather sit in a room churning out work and let others worry about what to do with the end product. Alas, successful writer-preneurs are not built that way. So, I have to decide if that is the way I want to spend time.

I attended a funeral yesterday for a friend that made me ponder what I want to do with my remaining time. He died during the adventure of a lifetime, checking off a big item on his bucket list. This led me to examine what I am still capable of and prioritizing my bucket list.
The hubs is going to retire next year in August. After our relocation from Windyana to Adult Disneyland, I don’t know what my days will be like. All those long hours I spent working or sleeping while he was at the hospital will now be filled with different things.

My muses still visit and my characters still chime in with ideas of where they'd like to go, especially my goddess girls. I have more ideas for the Story Building Blocks series. I have a draft of a YA story, and first chapters of many others that I call my Widows & Orphans file including a mystery called The Wicked Stage.

But will they ever see print? Who knows? Once the reno nightmare of the new house and trauma of moving are over, I may put fingers back to keyboard. If for no other reason than to free the characters that haunt me like trapped ghosts seeking the light.

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21. ‘Angry Birds’ Maker Rovio Will Lay Off 260 People

The layoffs will not affect anyone working on "The Angry Birds Movie," which the company hopes will be a big hit.

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22. Please Welcome Alisse Lee Goldenberg, Author of Bath Salts


Canned foods, freshly grown vegetables, arctic goose, caribou, and fish all caught and hunted by the characters are what is being eaten in the zombie novel Bath Salts. It is the middle of the zombie apocalypse and two women living in Toronto, Canada see the reality of the situation around them. They pack up friends and family and run off to the heart of Nunavut where they set up a compound built out of two tiny trailer houses surrounded by a metal fence.

There, they now have to focus on survival. Naturally, the subject of food comes up a lot. Food, is a basic necessity for a person to live, and as such, the characters don’t want to merely get by. They set up a hydroponics shed in which they grow their own vegetables and fruits, as well as whatever herbs they can to make what they manage to trap and hunt more palatable. They keep a couple of mating gorals as livestock to provide them with milk and cheese.

The character of Ali takes on the role of mother for the entire group. She sees there survival as being about more then just living. For her, survival is keeping the humanity of the group intact. As such, she focuses on making their meals about more than just food. It’s about finding a way to make a birthday cake out of old cake mix and goose eggs. It’s about marking the holidays with the appropriate feast, substituting goose and caribou for turkey and roast beef. She sees the food she prepares as comfort and familiarity; something for the group to cling to and keep their spirits alive.

In contrast, An takes on the role of the hunter. She goes out, armed and ready, killing zombies and animals for their meals with relative ease. She believes that survival means staying alive, no matter what. Her attitude is reflected in her actions, and while she is a part of the group, her beliefs keep her as somewhat apart from it all. She will partake in their meals and their attempts to keep the past alive, but her heart isn’t in it like the others.

With two differing viewpoints, how will this group keep together, when their survival against bandits, zombies, and the elements counts on them being a team? Find out in Bath Salts.

Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Ali!

You can find Alisse here:


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23. It Was A Historic Day For Comic Fans

Monday, 1st November, 2010.  That was the date of the first ever posting on the Blogger CBO after I decided that the constant problems with WordPress might eventually see the site vanish -with no back-up or posts archive.

What was that first post?  A posting about the up-dated edition of Reverend Merriwether -God's Demon-Thumper, which had first been published in 2009.

The site got a few postings so I had back-up and when the WordPress CBO was snatched from me (long story) this became the permanent home that over 2 million views proves people have grown to know and love!

As I've posted before, when this became CBOs permanent home there had only been 80+ views but that climbed up, up and away.

So THANK YOU for dropping by and even though 99.99% of you are unknown to me -I love you all (except the "usual suspects")!

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24. research: book 3 sixties trilogy (TRIBE)

I'm gonna do occasional posts on research as I move deeper into Book 3 of the Sixties Trilogy. I house research links on my Pinterest boards, but I also want to document my process, thinking, and resources here. I'll label all research posts as such.


Full disclosure: I am stuck with book three. I don't know my story. I'm frustrated. So I'm contenting myself with research, which I've been doing intensely (ebb and flow) for about a year now, which has been mostly reading, and with no real focused objective but to understand the late sixties.

I did this with REVOLUTION and COUNTDOWN as well -- I read for about a year. You can find my bibliographies on Pinterest -- they are incomplete but will be added to as I can get to it.

So I'm working on scrapbooks today -- the non-fiction pieces of the documentary novels. I need about seven songs, one to anchor each scrapbook. They will change as the story is known and changes, but I need something to get me started, and I'm wondering if listening to the songs of the late sixties might also help me with finding my way into the story itself.

I spent most of my research day listening to the Billboard hits of 1967, 1968, and 1969. I dipped into 1970 as well. I want book 3 to be (in part) about ROCK-AND-ROLL. We've not had the chance to really do rock-and-roll with COUNTDOWN and REVOLUTION, so here is the chance to Go Big Or Go Home, and I want to revel in the music. Maybe I have a character who does the same (that's what I've been playing with, anyway).

This is the kind of day where I have 24 windows open online at once and jump back and forth between YouTube and Wikipedia for lyrics and cursory information about The Rascals, Chicago (can only use their first album), Buffalo Springfield ("For What It's Worth" is perfect, about the Sunset Strip riots in 1967 -- I can use it for larger meaning), Jefferson Airplane (which leads to a lengthy side-trip down the "San Francisco Sound" tunnel), The Fifth Dimension, The Isley Brothers, Steppenwolf -- yes, I can use "Born to be Wild," now that I have moved book 3 from 1968 to 1969.

Last year, anticipating the long flights to Hong Kong and back, I invested in Bose noise-cancelling headphones, and they are perfect for this task. I'm listening a lot right now, trying to find a way in, and pulling out a line here, a line there, of select songs (not scrapbook anchors) for inclusion somehow -- don't know how yet. I'm going on faith here that I'll figure out a way to do this, and if I don't, it's not time wasted.

Delicious lines like "It appears to be such a long long long long time before the dawn." Know it? "And the beat goes on." "The past is just a goodbye." "All the world over it's easy to see, people everywhere just got to be free." And many more.

I've been wondering if I can put more of myself into this book, like I did with REVOLUTION and COUNTDOWN. I've said I'm going to the Bay Area for book 3, but I lived in Charleston, South Carolina in 1969, my dad flew into and out of Vietnam, our high school was integrated - in spite of Strom Thurmond's defiance - by the National Guard, boy picketed to grow their hair long, girls picketed to shorten their skirts, and I loved Crosby, Stills and Nash and the Beatles and many more... the music was fresh, new, energizing, and amazing.

I was 16 years old and wanted to see the film Easy Rider. I didn't have the $3 it cost for a movie ticket. My dad said, "I will not give you three dollars to support Peter Fonda's drug habit." He forbid me to see Easy Rider. So I told my parents I was off to somewhere or other on a date with Jim (that took care of the $3, and besides, it was JIM), and instead went into downtown Charleston, South Carolina to see Easy Rider.

It. Was. Thrilling. Imagine sitting in the theater, a sheltered child of strict Southern, military parents who didn't even want rock-and-roll in the house -- I'd had to "audition" rock-and-roll in order to be allowed to play it -- I chose my 45 of "We Can Work It Out" by the Beatles and got a reluctant okay.

Imagine this kid sitting in the theater and watching Easy Rider unfold. Born to be Wild indeed. Here is the beginning of the movie with Steppenwolf's signature anthem (if you can call it that):

That's it for today. I've listened until my ears hurt. And we've got to get myself back to the garden....

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25. Terry Pratchett’s Final Novel on Sale in U.K.

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