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1. Hello, From Your Favorite Nonexistant Blogger

How have you all been?

Here's a random squirrel gif

Aside from catching a miserable cold and a 'flu pretty nearly at the same time, I've been good.

Pretty much just like this

Not too much has been happening.  I have an agent list going for a manuscript.  Once I get an acceptance on that....


...I'll let you know.

We watched the Lord of the Rings this week.

Screaming, crying, perfect storm...

I always forget what an emotional rollercoaster that is.  I cry every single time over every shattering event that occurs, and over the characters:  Frodo and Sam, Merry and Pippin, Aragorn, Gandalf, Legolas, Gimli, Boromir, FARAMIR!!! Eowyn, Eomer, Arwen, Theoden.... If there is someone I can weep for, I weep, and prodigiously.


Fun fact:  One of our bestest friends has never read the books nor seen the movies.  She has only seen the last Hobbit movie (and let's be honest, friends.  Peter Jackson could have done those so, so much better.  What was wrong with keeping it just a bit more to the book?!), but anyway, we have told her frequently that LotR was WAY better than the Hobbit.  So FINALLY we got her to watch the trilogy with us... the extended edition, of course.  REAL fans watch only the extended LotR.


Not only did she cry as prodigiously as the rest of us (and this is a girl who rarely, if ever, cries over shows), but she now wants a cape and has been obsessively pinning Lord of the Rings on Pinterest and is reading the books now.


So I feel like we accomplished something this weekend.

In the meantime, I'm going to going the way I'm going and hope I figure out how to make more time in a single day.  I need a TARDIS and some timey-wimey magic, I think.

You always suspected. :-)

Until my next emergence...

le moi


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2. Therapy Dog

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3. Being a Writer-in-Residence: Pauline Francis

Today, a guest blog from Pauline Francis - many thanks, Pauline!

I’ve just finished a year as a Writer-in-Residence and want to share some of the pain and pleasure (mostly pleasure). It was my first residency - and a learning curve for me as well as the students. I forgot to take my camera on the day, but this is me at home afterwards.


The Residency was at a mixed secondary international college in Hertfordshire, which I visit regularly as a YA author, working with the English and History Faculties as well as the library.


To improve the creative writing skills of the participants, publish an anthology of their work and raise the awareness of creative writing generally.

Value Added?

I live only ten minutes’ walk from the school, so I was able to offer ‘value added’ such as parents’ evenings, book clubs, writing ‘surgeries’ and one memorable World Book Night for the boarders, with cocoa and biscuits, reading from our favourite books (this is a state school that takes boarders from across the world, which made this writing project particularly interesting).

My students?

The college wanted to choose the participating students through a Short Story competition launched at the school’s first World Literature Festival, which included the opening of a new library wing by Kevin Crossley-Holland. He chose the theme for the competition, ‘Where is Home?’ So the residency had a high profile from the beginning.

I judged the stories and chose ten pupils of mixed ages and genders to use those stories for the residency programme, choosing them for potential as well as actual skill, as we all know that sometimes a germ of a good idea is worth more than perfect writing.

We met as a group twice a term and 2-3 times a term individually, in the library, in lesson time.

How to begin?

I wanted our time together to be different from the students’ lessons. I had plenty of ideas about what makes a good short story and I knew that I’d incorporate them into the sessions; but I wanted to make an impact in the first group session. The students were keen but nervous. I was keen but nervous.

Starting the residency was as difficult as starting a new novel!

How could I break the ice? I hadn’t been keen on the idea of a competition for entry and students already thought their stories were good because they’d worked on them for weeks ….

They had to look at my published book and think: if she can do it, so can I.

I decided to expose myself….I took along some old drafts of my novels and compared them to the published versions. There’s an example below. Students said they were surprised (they were probably too polite to say shocked) by my earlier drafts; but it engaged them.


This is an example of a first draft from Raven Queen, when I was struggling to describe the childhood home of Lady Jane Grey (I find descriptions difficult):

“I lived at Bradgate House, a house built by my father’s father, Thomas Grey, who died when I was two years old. He used to boast that the forest beyond – Charnwood Forest- was big and that he had laid water pipes from the stream to the house. The town of Leicesterwas about five miles to the east.”
(Jane is the narrator)

This is the published version:

“Visitors usually gasp with pleasure when they first arrive. It is thought to be one of the finest houses in Leicestershire; but Ned gazed past its red brick towers, past its gardens soon to be brimming with fruit and blossom, past the stream which fed water pipes to the kitchen – to the darkening trees beyond.

‘I like the forest best at dusk when birds cloud the sky,’ he said.”

(Jane is still the narrator but the house is seen through a visitor’s eye and linked to an emotion)


The hard work began. Students had to justify every word, every character, every time span, every conflict and every piece of dialogue. They drafted and re-drafted week after week, which they did with amazing cheerfulness. Only one student refused to make any more changes to her story after the first term. Fair enough! Her story was wonderful from the beginning and we discussed short stories in general in our time together.

During the last term, students had to read their stories to me, something that they found very difficult; but it did produce the final burst of creativity needed to polish every story to perfection.

And so we had our stories: heart-breaking, uplifting, depressing and amusing. There were stories of homecomings and leavings set in Africa, Cyprus and Germany, and of lost souls searching for a home after sudden deaths. Every one made me cry.

My husband edited. The students wrote author bios and ‘Where is Home?’ was published in-house and sold for charity at a celebratory tea during the following year’s literary festival.

It was an amazing and bonding experience for us all.


The lowlights ….

  • The programme was run though the library and restricted to a few students, although others had general access to me in the lunch hours.
  •  I had little or no contact with the staff and other Faculties and did no work with them on any other literacy activities.
  • I disliked choosing through a competition.
  • I could not contact the students directly through email, which slowed down the re-drafting.
  • All meetings were arranged through a member of the library staff, which takes more time, however efficiently it is done.
  • I forgot my camera for the final session.

and the highlights….

  • The students gained in confidence generally and this improved their English (some had English as a second language). They also read more.
  • They bonded as a group and met to read aloud sometimes (especially the boarders).
  • Other students became interested and arranged ‘Writing Surgery’ appointments.
  • Parents entered the writing competition (although they were not included in the programme) and this led to increased interest in the library.
  • Students (not just those on the programme) entered other local and national writing competitions.
  • Students on the programme shared their experience during English lessons.
  • Students blogged/tweeted about their experience.
  • The look of pride on the writers’ faces when they saw their work in print.

I’d love to hear other writers’ experiences of any residencies they’ve done – short or long. For me, it was the highlight of my writing career. I’ve asked the students to keep their first drafts as I do…and to look at them from time to time to see how base metal can change into gold.

Pauline Francis www.paulinefrancis.co.uk

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4. 2015 Challenge Completed: Sci-Fi Experience

Host: Stainless Steel Droppings
Name: 2015 Sci-Fi Experience (sign up) (share reviews)
Dates: December 1, 2014 - January 31, 2015
# of books: It's not a challenge, so 1 or more books counts as a success

My thoughts:
I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED watching Babylon 5! I suppose I should say rewatching Babylon 5! My favorite new-to-me book would be Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. Brave New World was interesting, however. But interesting doesn't always equal love. My favorite re-read would probably be The Worthing Saga. 

What I Read:
1) The 5th Wave. Rick Yancey. 2013. Penguin. 457 pages. [Source: Review copy]
2) It's The End of the World As We Know It. Saci Lloyd. 2015. Hachette Books. 288 pages. [Source: Review copy]
3) To Dream in the City of Sorrows. (Babylon 5: Book #9). Kathryn M. Drennan. Based on the series by J. Michael Straczynski. 1997. Random House. 352 pages.  [Source: Bought]
4) The Worthing Saga. Orson Scott Card. 1990. Tor. 465 pages. [Source: Bought]
5) The Infinite Sea (Fifth Wave #2) Rick Yancey. 2014. Penguin. 320 pages. [Source: Library]
6) Station Eleven. Emily St. John Mandel. 2014. Knopf Doubleday. 352 pages. [Source: Library]
7) Brave New World. Aldous Huxley. 1932. 268 pages. [Source: Bought]

What I Viewed:
1) Babylon 5, disc one
2) Babylon 5, disc two
3) Babylon 5, disc three 
4) Babylon 5, disc four and five 
5) Babylon 5, disc six 
6) Babylon 5, season two, discs one and two 
7) Inception
8) Star Wars, Episode 2

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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5. The Accidental Highwayman - an audiobook review

Tripp, Ben. 2014. The Accidental Highwayman: Being the Tale of Kit Bristol, His Horse Midnight, a Mysterious Princess, and Sundry Magical Persons Besides. New York: Tor Teen.

Can I tell you how much I like this book?  I reviewed it several months ago for AudioFile Magazine and could hardly wait until they published my review so that I could freely blog about my affinity for it!  Although "swashbuckling" is the term I've seen most often in reviews of The Accidental Highwayman, I would characterize it as a mix of daring deeds and derring-do, of historical fiction and magical conviction.  You can read my official review here, I listened to the audio version, but would guess that the printed copy is equally enjoyable.

To summarize:

Amidst a grim 18th century English setting arises the accidental highwayman, Whistling Jack.  Teenager Kit Bristol makes the unlikely yet unavoidable transformation from circus performer to manservant to famous highwayman tasked with the rescue of a mysterious princess from an enchanted coach.  Narrator Steve West employs the English "standard accent" for his presentation of the gallant robber.  He delivers non-stop action and suspense while maintaining an air of wise contemplation suited to this retrospective narrative of daring deeds from a magical past.

This is the first in an expected series. Judging from the effort expended on the series' official website, http://kitbristol.com , they knew right out of the gate that this one would be popular!  Enjoy the goofy trailer (there are two more on the site).


As a fledgling ukulele player myself, I love that Ben Tripp plays the ukulele in this trailer.

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6. Strike Three review (link)

Here's a recent review of Strike Three: http://www.longandshortreviews.com/book-reviews/strike-three-by-joy-v-smith/


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7. profile?

profile? by dibujandoarte
profile?, a photo by dibujandoarte on Flickr.

Temperas on paper.

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8. Listen to Gerald McBoing Boing Rapped

Throughout the history of rap and hip-hop, musicians have tackled a dizzying array of subject matters and themes, yet no one has ever rapped a UPA animated short. Until now, that is.

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9. Nice Art: Clowes’ cover for The Complete Eightball is revealed

daniel clowes body image 1422612789 Nice Art: Clowes cover for The Complete Eightball is revealed

Let’s leave off this week with a glorious image. Eightball ran for 18 issues from 1989 to 1997 and was the medium for such classics as “Art School Confidential”, “Live a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron,” “Ghost World” Dan Pussey and more more more. Traversing the gulf from rough humor comics of the 80s to the intimate details of the 90s, it’s an essential for the smallest comics shelf possible. The book drops in June and Vice talks to The Man

“We came out of an era that was just moribund in comics.” Clowes says over the phone from his home in California. “The original guys who’d revitalised Marvel in the 60s had faded, and they were replaced by guys imitating them, who were then replaced by guys imitating them, it was this fourth generation of boring, awful comics. At the same time all the head shops, all the drug paraphernalia shops were being closed down – and they were where underground comics by the likes of Robert Crumb would be sold, so that was disappearing as well. There was nothing, it felt dead. But there was a whole generation of us who’d grown up on Mad magazine and National Lampoon and the comedy of Monty Python and Richard Pryor, and we wanted to do good comics. All of a sudden these people started to appear all over the country, trying to do something different, it was a miracle that we got an audience. We were a very, very small offshoot of the comics industry – it didn’t feel like we were taking over anything…”

daniel clowes body image 1422612809 Nice Art: Clowes cover for The Complete Eightball is revealed

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10. Alina Bronsky on writing in German

       At PEN Atlas Broken Glass Park-author Alina Bronsky writes about belonging to: "the subset of authors who write books in a language that is not their native tongue", in You speak such good German.
       This is neither a new nor very uncommon phenomenon -- though in recent years English has, of course, been by far the most popular secondary language that writers have turned to. But quite a few have adopted German too (many from eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, but also from other languages -- e.g. Tawada Yoko (e.g. The Naked Eye) -- while French also continues to be a popular second choice.

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11. Sony picks up Lemire & Nguyen’s Descender after a “competitive bidding war”

descender cover Sony picks up Lemire & Nguyens Descender after a competitive bidding war
People in Hollywood are STILL liking indie comics. Descender, one of the mighty Image armada by Jeff Lemire and Dsutin Nguyen, has just been picked up by Sony after what THR called “a competitive bidding war.” That could be only four figures…but probably much more figures. The book comes out in March. I’m running out the door so here’s the PR:

Sony Pictures Entertainment announced today that it acquired the feature film rights to Descender, the forthcoming comic book series from New York Times bestselling author Jeff Lemire and New York Times bestselling comic artist Dustin Nguyen. Josh Bratman will produce the film with Lemire and Nguyen attached to executive produce. The first issue of the eagerly awaited series will be published by Image Comics on March 4, 2015.  

“It was a competitive situation for Descender, and we are thrilled that it ended with Sony Pictures acquiring the series,” said Lemire and Nguyen. “We know that their film translation will do justice to the original comics, and we are thrilled with their belief in the franchise potential.”

A sprawling, science-fiction space opera full of mystery and adventure, Descender is a rip-roaring, heart-felt cosmic odyssey about a little boy looking for home in a universe that hates and fears him. The incredibly lifelike artificial boy, TIM-21, may hold the secrets deep in his machine DNA to the origin of robots that have decimated entire planets. As a result, he is the most-wanted robot in the universe. Before long the entire galaxy is looking for TIM-21 and his rag-tag group of unlikely companions, as they make their way from one exotic planet to the next with new foes advancing on them at every turn.

Lemire is the creator of the acclaimed graphic novels Sweet Tooth, Essex County, The Underwater Welder and Trillum. His upcoming projects include the original graphic novel Roughneck from Simon and Schuster, as well as Black Hammer with Dean Ormston for Dark Horse Comics, Plutona with Emi Lenox and A.D. with Scott Snyder. In 2008 and in 2013, Lemire won the Schuster Award for Best Canadian Cartoonist. He received The Doug Wright Award for Best Emerging Talent and the American Library Association’s prestigious Alex Award, recognizing books for adults with specific teen appeal. Lemire has been nominated for 8 Eisner awards, 7 Harvey Awards and 8 Shuster Awards.  He has also written such titles as Green Arrow, Animal Man and Hawkeye for DC and Marvel Comics.

Nguyen is best known for his work on American Vampire along with numerous Batman titles including: Batman Eternal, Batman: Streets of Gotham, Detective Comics, and most recently, Batman: Li’l Gotham, which has spawned its own line of toys, of which Nguyen is the designer.

Lemire and Nguyen are represented by Angela Cheng Caplan of Cheng Caplan Company, Inc. and represented legally by Allison Binder of Stone, Meyer, Genow, Smelkinson & Binder.

Michael De Luca and Rachel O’Connor will oversee the project for the studio.  

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12. Chinese literary philately

       At China Daily they have a slideshow (yeah, sorry ..) of examples of how Stamps celebrate masterpieces of Chinese literature -- some pretty nice pieces.
       And, of course, anything honoring/highlighting classics like Dream of the Red Chamber (i.e. The Story of the Stone) is worth a mention ..... Read the rest of this post

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13. Mosaic Imps Sweater

Yoo hoo, knitters! Jeanette says: "I began this sweater in 2011, and almost frogged it, but I persevered and 4 years later it’s done.

I usually knit in the round, and this flat knitting really slowed me down! Mosaic knitting requires flat pattern pieces, done on straight needles. But I HAD to do that tessellated imp mosaic pattern!

The tessellation pattern includes both white and black imps. The imps are both right side up and upside down.
I was intrigued by Barbara Walker’s “shadow patterns” in her book “Mosaic Knitting”, and I chose to use her little black and white imps for my fabric. She was a genius.

I adapted a basic modified drop-shoulder pullover pattern, by Heather Lodinsky in Knitter’s Mag.#57, winter 1999. She named it “Woven Weekenders”, and also used a mosaic stitch pattern, but I wanted those imps. I used her pattern schematic as a base, for stitch counts and measurements.

I did corrugated ribbing (red and black) on the cuffs, bottom hem, and neckline, because the sweater needed a red color accent. The rest of the sweater is garter stitch in black and cream. The mosaic imp pattern is all slip-stitch. The sweater is heavy and warm, but not as impossibly heavy as stranded worsted-weight would have been.

Today when my husband wore it into the library, it stopped the librarian in her tracks. She was a knitter, and those imps definitely got some attention."

For more info about yarns and needles on this sweater, visit this page of Jeanette's Ravelry account

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14. 'Emerging Voices'

       The Financial Times tries to pay some attention to 'Emerging Vocies' with a couple of pieces, including Literature has liberated Africa's authors by Maya Jaggi and Arab writers begin to make their mark by Hannah Murphy.
       Well-meaning, no doubt, but ..... Read the rest of this post

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15. On The Downwards Trail...Reading The Last Of The Aurealis Entries

I'm reading Carole Wilkinson's Shadow Sister, fifth in the Dragonkeeper Chronicles. Halfway through, I'm thinking, after this the only thing I have left to read will be the last few pages of a novel I've left as a treat to myself in case there were some books I didn't much care for - and there were, though I won't say what they were, of course.

In a way, it's kind of sad, though I do have other stuff that needs reading - several review books from Bloomsbury, including a Mark Walden book and the second half of Neil Gaiman's Graveyard Book graphic novel, some books by Alice Pung to help me when the lady visits my school in a few weeks to speak to the Year 9 and 10 students, slush for ASIM...

The task won't be over by any means; in a few days we will be communicating to work out a short list, then a winner of the children's section of the 2015 Aurealis Awards. And there will be some disagreement. We're all very different except in our love of books for young readers. I am a writer and teacher-librarian in a secondary school. That might suggest I'd be better in the YA section, but I've been writing for primary school kids for years and we have a lot of students who aren't quite ready for YA anyway. The Year 7 kids are not much past primary school anyway, and some a bit older  are still reading books for younger readers. And there are entries that are on the edge of YA and have probably been entered for that section anyway. Jordi is at the Centre for Youth Literature, so does both kinds. Sarah Fletcher is in publishing and, in fact, worked with me on Wolfborn. The other Sarah, Mayor Cox, is a big name in children's books and education.

And we don't agree about many of the books. Some, yes. I think there are some we all agree are truly dreadful, making it easy to leave them off the short list. A very few we all like. Others we will no doubt argue about. We all have our favourites. Yes, it will be interesting to see what happens in the next few days. We have a number of criteria - worldbuilding, characterisation, plot, spec fic elements, etc. - but I think once we have a short list I, at least, will be asking myself, which of these would my students love?  Because in the end, that should surely be what it's about. Year after year I've seen CBCA shortlists in which there are books that kids wouldn't read in a fit. And schools buy them in class sets to be studied. In all fairness, there are also books that kids have nominated on their own lists. But they don't tend to be the winners. Strange, really, because I know that the judges are passionate lovers of youth literature and some are teacher librarians themselves; I've interviewed two on this blog, Miffy Farquharson and Tehani Wesseley.

Anyway, we'll see how it goes and when there is an offical short list I will be adding it to this blog as soon as it's been announced on the AA website. Keep reading!

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16. Trio Gili yang menawarkan Keistimewaan Berbeda, Anda Pilih Yang Mana ?

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Di Pulau Lombok ada terdapat banyak gili. Jika kita berbicara mengenai gili, pasti angan kita langsung menuju ke pergi berlibur atau melakukan berbagai kegiatan seperti diving, menikmati keindahan pantai,  berenang dan snorkeling. Ada terdapat banyak gili yang bisa kita tuju di Pulau Lombok ini, yaitu  Gili Meno, Gili Trawangan, dan Gili Air.


Lalu gili mana yang cocok bagi anda? Karena setiap giri memiliki sensasi serta keindahannya masing-masing. Berikut adalah gambaran Gili Trawangan, Gili meno, dan Gili Air. Sehingga, nantinya anda bisa menentukan sendiri gili mana yang cocok untuk menyegarkan pikiran anda.

Gili Trawangan
Gili Trawangan adalah gili yang terbesar diantara 2  gili yang lain. Di Gili Trawangan terdapat lebih dari 100 hotel besar, penginapan dan resort. Selain itu terdapat juga bar dan gubuk-gubuk yang terletak di pinggir pantai.
Di Gili Trawangan anda bisa menemukan banyak fasilitas serta hotel  yang sebagian besar berada di dekat pelabuhan utama. Selain itu bar dan pusat pusat hiburan yang menyajikan pesta saat malam mulai datang, serta biaya murah adalah beberapa kelebihan yang dimiliki oleh Gili Trawangan.
Tunggu dulu, yang dimaksud dengan harga murah di Gili Trawangan adalah harga berkisar antara Rp.200.000 hingga Rp.300.000 untuk menginap per malam terutama pada high season. Untuk bungalow yang memiliki fasilitas biasa-biasa saja, biasanya dihargai Rp.600.000 hingga dua kali lipat.
Jika anda menginginkan suasana yang lebih ramai dengan berbagai liburan seperti bar dan yang lainnya, cobalah untuk memilih penginapan yang terletak di dekat dermaga. Akan tetapi jika anda ingin suasana yang lebih tenang dan lebih nyaman anda bisa mencari penginapan yang lebih kedalam.
Beberapa kegiatan yang bisa anda lakukan di Gili Trawangan diantaranya adalah seperti snorkeling, menyaksikan penyu yang bertelur dan menetas di pulau ini, berjemur di pantai  dan diving. Yang berbeda, anda bisa berpesta setiap hari saat malam mulai menjemput.
Gili Meno
Gili Meno adalah gili yang terkecil dari tiga gili yang ada di tempat ini. Di pulau ini suasana sangat tenang dan damai. Boleh dikatakan pulau ini adalah pulau yang memiliki suasana paling tenang. Akomodasi di tempat ini sangat terbatas, selain itu penginapan dan pusat hiburan juga tidak terlalu banyak seperti yang terdapat pada Gili Trawangan.
Akan tetapi Gili Meno memiliki kelebihan tersendiri yaitu  tempat yang paling ramah terutama jika anda berlibur bersama keluarga. Tidak banyak tempat ramai di Gili Meno, akan tetapi pantai dan pemandangan yang ditawarkan oleh tempat ini sangat indah dan menyenangkan. Bukan hanya itu,  untuk berenang dan bermain di pasir juga sangat aman. Gili Meno juga memiliki beberapa spot snorkeling dan beberapa tempat diving yang  tidak kalah menarik dengan apa yang ditawarkan oleh Gili Trawangan.

Gili Air
Gili Air adalah gili terpopuler kedua setelah Gili Trawangan dan merupakan satu satunya dari tiga pulau yang memiliki dihuni oleh penduduk pribumi. Di pulau ini anda akan melihat lebih banyak pepohonan hijau dan terlihat lebih alami. Yang lebih penting dan berbeda dari dua Gili sebelumnya, di Pulau ini memiliki pasokan air.
Gili Air  memiliki alat transportasi yang lebih canggih diantara pulau-pulau yang lain. Pantai yang paling indah yang terdapat di Gili Air adalah pantai yang berada di sisi sebelah barat. Selain itu pantai ini juga adalah tempat yang paling banyak dikunjungi oleh wisatawan.
Akan tetapi, perlu anda tahu bahwa tempat ini sangat tidak layak untuk anak anak. Karena Gili Air banyak digunakan oleh orang dewasa untuk bersenang senang.
Sekarang, Gili mana yang akan anda kunjungi ?

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17. Watch: Seth MacFarlane’s ‘Ted 2′ Trailer

Here's the trailer for Seth MacFarlane's "Ted 2," which will be released by Universal on June 26.

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18. January issue of Asymptote

       Just in time for the weekend -- though really stretching it, as far as the issue date goes -- the January issue of Asymptote is now available online: wall-to-wall international literature goodness, from fiction/non/poetry translations to reviews and Q & As.
       See for yourself -- just make sure you actually have time to explore for a while: there's a great deal of worthwhile material here.

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19. profile?

Temperas on paper.

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20. Give Books NOT Roses Giveaway - January 31 - February 14

  Books For Your Valentine!!

One Lucky Valentine will receive TWO books and chocolate!!

Best of Luck!!  

USA Entries Only

Enter HERE

Dear  Reader:

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! The crisp, cool air feels a little

sweeter and stores are filling their shelves with greeting cards and

candies. But instead of sharing the usual gifts, the way to someone’s

heart can be through a story (and maybe a little bit of chocolate).

Hachette Book Group is offering a “Give Books, Not Roses” Valentine’s

Day giveaway for those of you who want to express your admiration for

friends, family, and loved ones.

Love Gently Falling written by Melody Carlson is a romantic novella

about the power of Valentine’s Day and how one woman discovers love

while at the same time saving her family’s business. Successful

hairstylist to the stars Rita Jensen returns to her hometown in Chicago

after receiving news that her mother has suffered a stroke. Though Rita

must come up with a plan to save her mother’s salon, the oncoming

holiday and her undeniable feelings for an old classmate become quite a


Keys of Heaven is the second book in Adina Senft’s Healing Grace trilogy.

Amish widow Sarah Yoder helps her community by creating teas and

tinctures from the herbs she grows. She struggles to find love with an

Amish man, and she doesn’t know what to do about her attraction to her

friend Henry Byler, who has turned away from her beliefs. Sarah’s story

will show anyone that romantic love is not the only love that matters.

Valentine’s Day is an internationally celebrated day of romance, dating

back to the 5th Century. But today, love touches our lives in so many

different ways. Whether you are dedicating the day to your good friends

or your life partner, treat them to these wonderful stories of courage,

kindness, and love.


Christina Boys



Rita Jansen is living her dream in Hollywood when her father calls with news that her mother is sick. When she gets home to Chicago, Rita finds her mother is facing a long recovery and could lose the family-owned salon. As Rita takes her mother's place at work, she also finds herself renewing a friendship with her classmate Johnny and is surprised by how far he will go to help her.

Sarah Yoder is learning to help the people in her Amish community as a Dokterfraa, creating teas and tinctures from the herbs she grows. But her latest patient seems to have a problem that can't be resolved. Meanwhile, Sarah's relatives attempt a little matchmaking between her and a new visitor. This is the second book in the Healing Grace series (the first, Herb of Grace, received a 4 stars from RT Book Reviews!).

You can buy either book at the sites below:

Books-A-Million:  http://bit.ly/1xu5YKK
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1xX5cWD
ChristianBook.com: http://bit.ly/1yuAhiW




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21. Game of Thrones trailer: Bowie and Blood and Beards, oh my

Game of Thrones fans –  your official season five trailer is here! Can we talk about that choice of music? The use of a “Heroes” cover here is basically perfect.

HBO published the official version of the trailer, previously only seen in the nation-wide IMAX showing, after a bootleg version made its way around the internet. The show’s fifth season premieres on April 12, on the heels of the current IMAX event, which put the show in the history books as the first TV series to be broadcast in IMAX format.

As a fan of the book series, I have concerns about the show’s fifth season based on the source material – the fourth book was the most difficult for me to digest – but between the depictions of Littlefinger, Tryion, Daenerys, and Cersei, there’s enough here to draw my attention.

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22. A Dozen Cousins, by Lori Haskins Houran | Book Giveaway

The Children’s Book Review | January 31, 2015 Enter to win a hardcover copy of A Dozen Cousins (Sterling Children’s Books, February 3, 2015), story by Lori Haskins Houran and illustrations by Sam Usher. One (1) winner receives: A hardcover copy of A Dozen Cousins Age Range: 4-6 Giveaway begins January 31, 2015, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends February 28, 2016, […]

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23. Crazybusy Week

But in a good way. It’s always nice to be busy with work. Especially the paying sort. Of course, I suppose if I didn’t enjoy the non-paying kind, I wouldn’t make time for it. Well, I guess this week I didn’t find time for it (Downton recap is way late, etc), but that’s okay. It all balances out in the long run.

Something I did do this week—and had a blast at—was give a talk on poetry to a group of mothers from my local homeschooling group. My friend Erica invited me, and our friend Lisa hosted the gathering, and I got to talk about poetry nonstop for 90 minutes! Which is pretty much heaven. I shared my approach to the poetry workshops I do with kids. Their kids, actually—the talk came about after one of our Poetry Club meetings, when I was filling the moms in on what we’d discussed, and someone joked that she could use a refresher course in this stuff herself. :)

So we set aside an evening and had ourselves a nice long chat about types of meter, literary tropes, and poetry analysis. Did close readings of a couple of poems, including my favorite of Shakespeare’s sonnets: #29,

When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
(Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
       For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
       That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
I adore this one because first of all, it sounds like something Scott would say (in slightly more contemporary language, mayhap*). And also because I find it hilarious—and absolutely true to form—that Shakespeare of all people is bemoaning his own talent, wishing he could write like some other guy. Nearly every writer and artist I know feels that same way. You always wish you were better, faster, more lyrical, more succinct, more visionary, something.
*”Slightly” because we do seem to have a taste for archaic language in this household. “Mayhap,” for example. A total Scott word.
 And tonight I’m off to a fun event: the Local Authors Reception at the San Diego Public Library. Every year the library organizes a display of books published in the past year by authors who live in the area. Last time around, a stomach bug hit my gang on the day, and I had to miss the event. So tonight will be my first time. Looking forward to it! Have no idea what to wear.
Posts look weird in readers now if you don’t include an image, so here’s a picture of some color therapy I indulged in last night after the week’s deadline was met. Paint = magic.
Bad lighting but swoony colors nonetheless. The stripes at the bottom are mixes I was playing with. I find I’m most enchanted by the grey at top right, a blend of Burnt Sienna and Phthalo Blue. On the page it separates out in places to tiny swirls of rose or blue. Swoony. I quite like the leaf green in that right column, too, a mix of Hansa Yellow Medium and Phthalo Green (blue shade).
But all those “FU” abbreviations are making me giggle. French Ultramarine, of course.
Sheesh, I’d better get going or I will have to show up at the reception tonight in ripped jeans and dripping hair. Offscreen life takes so much effort!

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24. Zeroes

My next book comes out September 29, 2015. Eight months from now!

It’s called Zeroes. Like heroes, by not. It’s about six kids with superpowers that kind of suck. It’s the first of a trilogy.

I wrote it with Margo Lanagan and Deb Biancotti, two Australian writers who are close friends of mine. We were all keen to make our writing a more social process, so we started meeting at a pub every Thursday, where we talked about superpowers and how to make them fresh and interesting. For us anyway.

Two years later, Zeroes is the result.

Collaborating on a novel with other writers was a new thing for me. I’ve worked with illustrators, of course, and with another writer to produce the Uglies graphic novels. But this was different and fascinating, and I think I learned a lot. I’ll leave it to others to judge the results.

Here’s an article on Tor.com about the book.

We won’t have a final cover yet, but it’s coming along. It will appear here and elsewhere in a couple of months. It’s pretty cool so far.

Zeroes will be published simultaneously in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. (By Allen and Unwin in Australia and S&S in the other territories.) Rights have been sold in several foreign markets as well.

Okay, that’s all I got. Do you guys have any (non-spoilery) questions?

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25. Announcing a New Series Set in the Seven Realms

Yes! I am under contract with HarperCollins for four new novels, set in the world of the Seven Realms. Though it was announced in Publisher's Weekly back in September, and I announced it on Facebook and Twitter as well as my website, I'm still getting these emails saying, Slacker! Don't you know we're waiting for more books?!

More?! You want more?! I'm so glad.

Frequently Asked Questions about The Shattered Realms

Q: What's the publication schedule for The Shattered Realms?

A: The first book in the series, Flamecaster, is scheduled for spring, 2016.  The plan is to release a  book a year.
Q: Do I need to read the Seven Realms in order to dig into The Shattered Realms?

A: No, The Shattered Realms stand alone, so they are totally accessible if you've not read the first series. Of course, I'd love it if you read SR1 while waiting for the arrival of SR2. You could even read the Heir Chronicles, which have nothing to do with these stories except that they all involve wizards behaving badly.

Q: Will these books feature all of the characters I know and love?

A: These books are set twenty-five years after the action in the Seven Realms. So some of the characters you know and love will appear in these stories, but they'll be, um, well you do the math. The focus will be on the teenage children of some of the Seven Realms characters. I know that you will welcome these tormented young people into your hearts.

Q: Are you ever going to publish The Star Marked Warder ?

A: Some sharp-eyed readers know that I wrote my first stories set in the Seven Realms in a fantasy series for adults called The Star-Marked Warder http://cindachima.com/Resources/FAQ.htm#SR2 . That series was never published. Some of the ideas, characters, and story lines in the Shattered Realms come from the Star-Marked Warder. Rules for Writers--never throw anything away.

Q: How can I keep up with what's going on with the series, e.g. covers, release dates, and the like?

A: I'll be posting updates regularly on my author Facebook page  https://www.facebook.com/CindaWilliamsChima on Twitter @cindachima, and Instagram. You'll find the covers, history, background, and other series info on my website at www.cindachima.com

I'm looking forward to returning to the Seven Realms! I hope you'll come with me and share the ride.

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