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Hardhands did not like children. This dislike was nothing personal; he didn't like chicken either, or rainy days, or socks that were too tight. In fact, if asked to rank dislikes he would have put these last three higher up on this list, easily. But then that was partially because chicken, rainy days and socks that were too tight intruded more often into his life. Children did not. Still, his little experience with children, confined mostly to Tiny Doom—his two year old neice—had left him quite firm on the matter.
Hardhands did like dogs. He also liked sleeping late, double mochas, and scrambled eggs, particularly the way that Paimon made them, creamy and cheesy, and particular on a late morning after a later night, after a particularly good show. Last night's show had more than particularly good, it had been fantastic, brilliant, fabulous, superlative. The drums had rolled like thunder through the crowded club, crushing all before them, and his voice had balanced perfectly on the knife's edge of the guitar, cutting and quick. The invocation had been so superlatively heavy that the band had managed to manifest the daemon Forneaus, who had produced the most killer bass solo ever heard at the Poodle Dog.The show was so fabulous that half the audience had staggered out into the early morning street with blood streaming from their ears, agog in bliss.
Definitely one for the ages.
He helped himself to more eggs out of the silver chafing dish. He was humming the bass line to Bury Me in Immortal Oblivion. If he had been asked what could ruin his perfectly good mood, he would have said, in between egg and coffee, absofikinglutely nothing.
That was before Tiny Doom joined him at the table, demanding bear-shaped waffles and strawberries.
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for May 05, 2012 is:
putative \PYOO-tuh-tiv\ adjective
Did you know?
1 : commonly accepted or supposed 2 : assumed to exist or to have existed
Corporate restructuring and a need to cut costs were the putative reasons for the layoffs.
"The phrase 'wacky woman' was being tossed about frequently in descriptions of Maryland's putative lottery winner ." From an article by Susan Reimer in the Baltimore Sun, April 4, 2012
There's no need to make assumptions about the root behind "putative"; scholars are quite certain the word comes from Latin "putatus," the past participle of the verb "putare," which means "to consider" or "to think." "Putative" has been part of English since the 15th century, and it often shows up in legal contexts. For instance, a "putative marriage" is one that is believed to be legal by at least one of the parties involved. When that trusting person finds out that his or her marriage is not sanctioned by law, other "putare" derivatives, such as "dispute," "disreputable," "reputed," "imputation," and "deputy," may come into play.
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for May 05, 2012 is:
putative \PYOO-tuh-tiv\ adjective
Did you know?
Our featured illustrator this week is Susan Drawbaugh. She loves to draw and do whimsical illustrations. Early in her art career she was greatly influenced by a man she met while touring the MGM Animation Studios, Ben Washam. As one of the original animators of the Bugs Bunny, Road Runner, and Tom & Jerry cartoons, he ended up passing down the skills of his trade by teaching a small group of aspiring animators from his home. Susan was one of those fortunate students.
Although she never made a career of animation, years later she wrote and illustrated her first children’s book, What Pet Will I Get?, an animated “Flip n Giggle” picture book that was soon published. A mix of creative ventures followed, until she made the decision to become a freelance commercial illustrator.
Her range of work spans from children’s picture books, stationery lines, canvas paintings, infant bedding, and editorial picture puzzles – to humorous wall prints, greeting cards, coffee mug lines, holiday decor, and chapter illustrations. Susan uses the traditional method of illustrating by hand, but throughout the course of every project she puts her digital skills to work, as well.
Surrounded by the coastal charm of Southern California, she creates from my home studio by the port of San Pedro. Take a look. I am sure it will put a smile on your face.
Here’s Susan explaining her process:
"You can see more standing on a ladder than crouching in a ditch."
VERY VERY VERY HOT HOT HOT ONLY HOT
The Hobbit or There and Back Again
J. R. R. Tolkien ~ Houghton Mifflin, 1938
I've never been a Lord of the Rings fan. I've not been a non-fan, I just never really got into them as a young person. I believe I read The Hobbit for the first time in the tenth grade, and although I remember liking it, it didn't stay on my favorite shelf. A story Tolkien originally made up for his own children, The Hobbit is very age-appropriate, though it can be debated that the trilogy books swing more in the adult fantasy direction. I'm not sure why I didn't quite connect with it at the time. Maybe the themes were too sophisticated or I was too much of an airhead to get the deeper meanings and appreciate the poetry. No matter.
What matters is that over the last week, my son and I have been on the wild ride that is reading The Hobbit aloud, and I have to say, after several nights in a row keeping my seven-year-old up til 10 to finish a chapter, we are both sold, hook, line, and sinker.
Granted, at one point, deep in the mountain at the tail end of the riddle contest between Gollum and Bilbo, my "precious" voice was so awesome, the boy made me stop because it was scaring the crap out of him. However, we were back at it the next night when I promised to tone down my theatrical stylings. I was deeply impressed that my son was actually answering some of the riddles on his own, including this one.
Alive without breath,
As cold as death;
Never thirsty, ever drinking,
All in mail never clinking.
Now, for those of you that have been living under a rock your whole life, I'll give you just a short gist as I am hardly a Tolkien scholar... The Hobbit is a classic (check out what a signed first edition was appraised for on Antiques Roadshow) and a prequel to the three books referred to as The Lord of the Rings that include The Fellowship of the Ring, 1 Comments on The Hobbit, last added: 5/7/2012
Everybody can stop writing fan letters now. We've summited:
Through in modern usage our planet’s Latin name, Terra, appears only in science fiction, the adjective terrestrial is often employed to refer to phenomena associated with Earth or with land as opposed to water. It is also the root of extraterrestrial, the term for any (so far conjectural) life-form that does not originate on Earth, or for anything existing or occurring beyond the planet.
Terrestrial also refers to the inner planets of the solar system as a category. (See the next entry for the classification for the outer planets.) It can also mean “mundane,” as does terrene, which has the additional sense of “earthly.” (Terrene is also a noun referring to the planet or its terrain — and that word, like terrarium, also stems from the Latin term terrenum.)
Jovial means “jolly, convivial” — not traits associated with a god normally generally depicted with a stern visage. However, this is the word medieval astrologers used to describe those characteristics, which they ascribed to the influence on the planet on human behavior. The adjectival form for referring to the god or to the category of gas giants typified by the planet Jupiter is Jovian; this is also the term for referring to the planet’s natural satellites in fact and fiction and to fictional inhabitants.
Because of its belligerent-looking red glow, Mars was associated in ancient times with conflict, and the Romans named it after their god of war. The adjective martial (“martial law,” “martial arts,” court-martial — the hyphen in the last word is a holdover from the term’s French origin) refers to war and fighting.
Someone with an unpredictable or volatile personality is said to be mercurial, thanks to an association with Mercury, the swift messenger of the Latin gods. (The liquid element mercury, also known as quicksilver, was perhaps given that name because of its rapidly free-flowing quality.) But the adjective is also associated with eloquence and ingenuity, as well as larcenous behavior. Why? The god Mercury was considered the protector of thieves as well as merchants and travelers, who would appeal to the deity to favor them with speed. The planet Mercury was so named because of its fast orbital velocity.
Like Terra, Luna, the Roman name for the Moon, seems to appear only in science fiction these days. But lunatic, meaning “foolish” or “insane,” is common, albeit mostly in the nonclinical sense. (Lunacy, another word for insanity, and the adjectival form derive from the onetime notion that phases of the Moon affect mental instability.) Lunar, however, is the adjectival form for scientific references to Earth’s natural satellite.
The Roman god said to have been the father of Jupiter was associated with traits opposite to those of the scion who usurped his rule; a saturnine person is gloomy, sardonic, and surly, as opposed to the jovial type, though the adjective also has the neutral sense of “sluggish” and “serious.” This temperament was said in the Middle Ages to be the influence of the planet farthest from the Sun (or the one believed at the time to be the most remote) and the slowest.
But the god was also identified with justice and strength, as well as with agriculture, and later was celebrated in the weeklong winter-solsticAdd a Comment
The Best Translated Book Awards were announced yesterday; I was one of the judges for the fiction prize.
The very worthy Stone Upon Stone, by Wiesław Myśliwski and translated by Bill Johnston won the fiction category. Embarrassingly, there's no review of it up at the complete review yet, but see the Archipelago publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
Spectacle & Pigsty by Nomura Kiwao and translated by Kyoko Yoshida and Forrest Gander won the poetry category. See the Omnidawn publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
They've announced the shortlist for the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize (given for: "book-length literary translations into English from any living European language").
The shortlist was selected from (only) 102 books; two of the shortlisted titles are under review at the complete review:
The German Internationaler Literaturpreis - Haus der Kulturen der Welt has announced its shortlist.
Curious fact: all except one of the authors' names have diacritical marks in them (and the American author isn't the exception).
In China Daily David Bartram finds Writers' careers found in translation, with several translators -- including Julia Lovell -- weighing in on the subject.Add a Comment
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Jan Wallentin's Strindberg's Star.
This book isn't an example of everything that's wrong with publishing, but it is an example of one particular area where they go dreadfully wrong (and throw out a lot of money in the process). Strindberg's Star is one of these über-hyped novels where the hype comes before there's even a book. With its photogenic author (never mind that he'd never written a novel ...), and a few buzzwords -- ancient symbols and mythology, conspiracies, Nazis -- this thing was able to ride the whole if-it's-a-Swedish-thriller-we-gotta-have-it wave. As Bert Menninga reported for the folks who unleashed this on the world, the Bonnier Group Agency Sweden, Swedish Debut Novel Destined to be Blockbuster.
How destined ? Well, when Menninga reported this, rights had been: "sold in 12 countries before it has even come out in Sweden" -- indeed, at the time it was: "still in the final stages of being polished and fact-checked" (fact-checked ! this thing ? that's so funny I can only cry ! and the idea that this was polished ...). Way to go, publishers -- buy a book pretty much sight unseen. (Yes, I know that's pretty common -- but given how American publishers always seem to wait ages before publishing anything in translation, making sure its has come out and done okay elsewhere before daring to buy the rights, what happened here ?)
Of course, some couldn't be more thrilled by how this worked out:
"The international response has been absolutely fantastic and the total advance sum is record breaking as well !" says Jenny Thor, CEO for Bonnier Group Agency.Which counts for something. Perhaps the sum that publishers (everyone except Bonniers, who are rolling in the foreign-rights money) will write off on this heap will also be record breaking .....
He’ll be on the panel of authors critiquing first pages at the upcoming SCBWI Schmooze in Raleigh, NC, May 20th, 2012. And for anyone who wishes to make sure that Stephen knows how to write a good first page, I suggest an immediate trip to Amazon.com to read the first pages of Windblowne and Yorik Mortwell. J I was hooked at line 1 with: “Twelve year old Yorik Mortwell lay on the hard, cold ground, dead.”
4 stars Everything frightened Harry. A true scaredy-cat he was . . .Until one day an unexpected journey led Harry deep into the ocean where being scared was no longer an option for him. He had to be brave, very brave. Risking his own life to save another fish in desperate need of help, his [...]Add a Comment
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I've been seeing this badge and posts for this group for a while now. This week I decided to joined the Insecure Writer's Support Group, which was created by Alex Cavanaugh. All writers experience doubts, and I'm going to share mine the first Wednesday of every month from now on.
The biggest full moon of the year, a so-called "supermoon," will take center stage when it rises this weekend, and may interfere with the peak of an annual meteor shower created by the leftovers from Halley's comet.
The supermoon of 2012 is the biggest full moon of the yearand will occur on Saturday (May 5) at 11:35 p.m. EDT (0335 May 6), though the moon may still appear full to skywatchers on the day before and after the actual event. At the same time, the annual Eta Aquarid meteor shower will be hitting its peak, NASA scientists say.
MoCCA Art Fest in NYC, sharing the table with my great partners-in-crime, Doreen Marts and Becky Munich. We had a great time last year so we decided to do it again! Being in Michigan, it was a great excuse to go back and see friends and family, and also to show off my little Nugget (who is 4 months old now, time is flying by!)
This book, like her others, is hysterical. Poppy Wyatt is about to be married. She and her friends are out at a fashion lunch and, after letting her friends try on her engagement ring, she loses it. She, not surprisingly, freaks out. While she is trying to find it, her purse is stolen and with it, her phone. Luckily, she finds a phone in the garbage. That is when the fun starts as the phone belongs to the assistant to a hot shot executive. She quit and tossed the phone in the garbage where Poppy finds it. Poppy refuses to give up the phone and what ensues is a witty exchange of texts, emails, phone calls, and an in person meeting between Poppy and the exec. She won’t give the phone up because of the ring, but promises to pass on all information. I laughed so much when I read this book. Kinsella has a way of making the most unlikely of scenarios delightful and engaging. If you enjoy chick lit, you’ve got to check this one out.
I’ve had a busy spring so far, and so has my chapter book character, third grader Marty McGuire.Here’s a Marty update:
The second book in the series, MARTY MCGUIRE DIGS WORMS, came out April 1st, and there have already been some super-nice reviews, including this one (that came with a star!) from Kirkus:
Floca’s cheery black-and-white illustrations match the upbeat theme of the tale, and with at least one per brief chapter, they break up the text pages nicely. Marty’s first-person commentary, sometimes just a tiny bit sarcastic, splendidly conveys the eroding innocence of middle-graders.A quick, amusing read with an easily digestible environmental message; it is a perfect match for its young intended audience.
School Library Journal called Marty a “spirited youngster” (she liked that) and said this:
Packed with eco-friendly ideas, this realistic, plot-driven early chapter book is a welcome addition to Earth Day or environmental units.
And I especially loved this review in a Washington Post round-up of Earth Day books
Away, but not idle... not that there is anything wrong with idleness. Please remember to stop and smell the roses fellow creatives!