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Viewing: Blog Posts from All 1547 Blogs, dated 11/13/2012 [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 144
1. PAPERCHASE - xmas cards part.9

here are some more of the lovely card ranges stocked at paperchase this christmas including great designs by 'think of me' and 'belly button'. i loved all the graphic cards below and the simple charm of the tartan check design above. all snapped in paperchase on tottenham court road in london.

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2. PAPERCHASE - xmas cards part.10

and finally i've come to the end of my christmas card round-up from paperchase. the final selection features cute character ruby lou, papercut designs, hand drawn type over woodgrain, and a folky box set. you can see some paperchase cards online and even more in their stores.

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3. Substitutions During the Siege of Vicksburg (Finding My Place facts)

by soommen flickr.com

During the Siege of Vicksburg, the citizens of Vicksburg had to use a lot of substitutes for everyday foods and products because the Yankees were stopping their supplies from reaching them AND the general store had to charge more money for each product, too. In my middle grade historical fiction novel Finding My Place: One Girl’s Strength at Vicksburg, Anna, James, and Sara have to put up with many substitutes when the actual products are running low. So what kind of substitutes will you find in my novel? Each one of these below were actually used in 1863 by the people of Vicksburg:

  • INK: Ink was expensive and/or not available. Instead, people would use berry juice as ink. It was difficult to read and very light on the page.
  • PAPER: The people who ran the newspaper were determined to get it out to the Vicksburg citizens, in spite of the fact there was a paper shortage. They actually printed the news on the back of wallpaper!
  • TEA: Tea was a popular drink in Vicksburg in 1863–but it was hard to get. People used sassafras, and today, that can actually be considered dangerous–to drink sassafras tea.
  • COFFEE: Coffee grinds–nope! But the citizens of Vicksburg were creative. They ground up acorns instead!
  • FLOUR: Flour for bread was in short supply, so people started mashing up dried peas and using that in the place of flour. The bread was hard and often didn’t cook well.
  • MEAT: When fresh meat was scarce, some citizens ate rats to stay alive and in control of Vicksburg!

These are just a few of the substitutes. Do you know of any others or remember anything else from the novel? If you are interested in Finding My Place: please see http://margodill.com/blog/buy-finding-my-place/.

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4. Prize: European Prize for Literature to Vladimir Makanin

       They've announced that Vladimir Makanin has been awarded the 2012 European Prize for Literature (not to be confused with the multi-author European Union Prize for Literature ...).
       "Solzhenitsyn meets Kafka in two novellas of surreal bleakness that mark Makanin's U.S. debut" said Publishers Weekly about Escape Hatch back in 1996 (get your copy at Amazon.co.uk; it seems to be out of print in the US), but he doesn't seem to have really caught on in English. Though The Loss did appear in Northwestern University Press' excellent 'Writings from an Unbound Europe'-series; get your copy at Amazon.com.

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5. Prizes: GGs

       They've announced the winners of the 2012 Governor General's Literary Award winners, one each in English and French in seven different categories.
       Much as I like the abbreviation for this award as the 'GGs', they might be taking this a bit too far when they write:

Your ggreat books of 2012 have been revealed
       Most laudable (and worthy of imitation by one and all), however, is there easy-to-use database of Titles Submitted to the Governor General's Literary Awards. Every book prize needs one of these (yes, I'm looking at you, Man Booker, (American) National Book Award, etc. etc. etc.) !

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6. Woes of the True Policeman review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Roberto Bolaño's posthumous Woes of the True Policeman, just out in English in the US.

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7. New Children's Books from Piñata Books- Arte Público Press

The Poet Upstairs 

By Judith Cofer. Illustrated by Oscar Ortiz     

A young girl learns about the power of poetry in this
 heart-warming tribute to an unnamed poet
Juliana is too sick to go to school one cold, winter day. So she stays at home in bed and looks out her bedroom window. She watches as a tall lady in a red coat and hat carries her boxes of books and papers upstairs. Her mother has heard that the mysterious woman is a poet writing a book. Juliana loves books and can’t wait to meet the poet upstairs.

Juliana listens to the poet’s typewriter clicking and clacking all day long, while outside the snow falls and people rush by bundled up in their coats. She dreams of a tiny tropical island “sitting on the ocean like a green button on a blue dress,” the island home that her mother and the poet share. She dreams of red hibiscus flowers and beaches of white sand.

The next day, she receives an invitation from the poet to come upstairs. Together, they write a poem about a big river that leads to the sea. As they make pictures with words, the walls of the cold apartment become a beautiful vista of mountains, palm trees, birds and flowers. That special day, poetry takes Juliana from her cold and ordinary apartment to a sparkling island habitat.

Invoking Puerto Rican poet Julia de Burgos’ famous poem about the Loiza River, Ortiz Cofer’s lyrical text is combined with Oscar Ortiz’s breathtaking illustrations of the natural world and the animals that inhabit it. This inspiring picture book for children ages 5 to 9 demonstrates the power of the written word as Juliana learns that poetry can change the world.


Level Up / Paso de nivel

 By Gwendolyn Zepeda. Illustrated by Pablo Torrecilla.   

This entertaining bilingual picture book 
will encourage kids to go outside and play

David is obsessed with reaching the next level in his favorite video game. Whether he’s playing BunnyBot Fighters or Ultimate Rhino Races, he’s so single minded in his pursuit of reaching the next level that he turns down invitations from friends to play outside. But one day, his game quits working, and he’s on “Level Sad.” So, with nothing else to do, he reluctantly goes outside to play.

“Today I’m trying to skateboard. I have to learn to stand on the skateboard while it rolls, without falling off. It feels like I’m on Level One of a really hard game.” But if he can master staying on the board, his friend Michael will show him how to do turns, and “that’ll be like Level Two.” Soon, David is doing turns and is ready to learn how to do jumps!

Still unable to play video games, David lets his friend Bianca convince him to try playing basketball. Dribbling is hard, but David wants to level up so he’ll get a new red jersey. Pretty soon, he’s on Level 12 of skateboarding and Level 8 of basketball, and he’s ready to try diving and dirt biking. Eventually his video game is fixed, but by then he has discovered that leveling up in real life is more exciting than leveling up on the screen.

Popular kids’ book author Gwendolyn Zepeda teams up again with artist and illustrator Pablo Torrecilla to create a lively story that will have young readers laughing in commiseration with a kid consumed by imaginary goals. Following up on their acclaimed I Kick the Ball / Pateo el balón, this talented pair has once again crafted an appealing bilingual picture book that will encourage kids ages 5 to 9 to get off the couch and get moving.


My Big Sister / Mi hermana mayor 
By  Samuel Caraballo. Illustrated by Thelma Muraida.   

A young boy's loving, poetic ode to his older sister
In this tender, bilingual tribute to his big sister, Pablito recounts all the things she does for him while their parents are at work, sewing “jeans for the whole world.”

Anita wakes him up and makes his breakfast, “Yummy! Yum! / Hot, creamy oatmeal / topped with blueberries and raisins.” She holds his hand while walking him to the bus stop, and when the bus arrives, “I wrap my arms around her. / She tattoos a red kiss on my cheek.” Anita is there to greet him when the yellow school bus drops him off in the afternoon, and she helps him with his homework, “just like Mom and Dad.”

When Pablito’s homework is done, they go outside and play soccer. Then it’s time for dinner, a shower and a book in bed. And finally, their parents are home. “They praise my sister / because she is that big sister any brother would wish for!” And affectionate Pablito is surely the younger brother all kids want.

Caraballo’s sweet lyrical ode to an older sibling, warmly depicted by illustrator Thelma Muraida, will resonate with young children ages 3 to 7 who rely on brothers and sisters to help with meals, homework and fun!



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8. Mayakovsky's room - Lily Hyde

Like Andrew Strong in his great post yesterday, I thought I knew what I would write for this post. It was going to be about a very unusual literary house museum I recently visited: the revolutionary poet Vladimir Mayakovsky’s in Moscow.


Then, stricken with doubt about what I wanted to say and how to say it, I decided to do some extra research on Mayakovsky.


Thanks to the wonders of the internet I was sidetracked into comparing translations of ‘The Cloud In Trousers’ (or should it be ‘A cloud…’? Or just get rid of the article altogether…?); got distracted by glorious Bolshevik agitprop posters and wondering what seeing landowners impaled on bayonets illustrated on their toffee wrappers did to a generation of impressionable young minds; found Mayakovsky for the psychedelic seventies on YouTube and of course had to watch it again, and then I turned up the utterly wonderful and lunatic Velimir Khlebnikov and zaum – and that was it, I was gone for the rest of the day. Now it’s midnight and the post still isn’t written, let alone that novel chapter I was supposed to be revising.

Oh cursed Internet! I could cry. Why haven’t I got that app that turns it off for me? Why haven’t I got enough willpower not to need an app? Why am I writer with a writer’s squirrelly mind, that can’t stop searching out and storing away all these nuts of information for my imagination to greedily feed on? Now my mind is as surreally cluttered and skewed as the Mayakovsky museum, full of way too much unbelievably interesting information, mostly in a foreign language, and policed by ineffective and grumpy old ladies who have to be charmed into maybe possibly finding the guidebook.

Ideological sweet wrappers designed by Mayakovsky
At the heart of the Mayakovsky museum is a closed door, and behind it is a quite different space. It is small, neat, spartan, almost characterless. The air in here is very still. There’s a desk, a chair, a bed. A few carefully chosen books and a single unframed photograph. 

(Everything in this room is original, exactly as it was in 1930, one of those grumpy old ladies says in a reverential voice. Except the carpet. It had blood all over it and had to be thrown away.)

Mayakovsky's room
At the heart of all the wonderful terrifying squirrelly chaos of ideas and half-digested facts, blind alleys and blinding inspirations, YouTube videos and other people’s stories that fill a writer’s mind, there’s the closed room where the writer actually writes. I think it’s like this; very still, small and neat, quite bare, a bit lonely. You can’t tell if the stillness is breathless anticipation, or the shocked aftermath of a disaster.

Jane Austen writing on her ‘small sheets of paper’ in the corner of the dining room, daily life babbling on all around her – she’s in that room. Keats scribbling in Rome, the tuberculosis doctor at the door – he’s in that room. That woman in the crowded coffee shop this morning, intent on her laptop – she’s in that room. 

(In 1930 Mayakovsky shot himself in this room. His books were out of print; impatient students had booed him off stage; he’d been accused of Trotskyism, that inevitably fatal Soviet disease.

He stopped writing. The door opened. The chaos came in and the carpet was ruined.)
 


 There might be index cards and post-it notes and unpaid bills and souvenirs and talismans and coffee cups and newspaper clippings all over the writing desk. Children clamouring at the knee and cats walking over the keyboard. Poverty and fear of critical failure prowling at the window. The Internet, with all those bookmarked pages that are so very interesting, just a click away (stillhaven’t got that app) –

But in the moment of actually writing, I am in that room.

Not contemplating blowing my brains out, no. It was an effort to get in here, shut out all the delicious distractions and the horrible fears of failure. But now the door is closed. This is the space for creating that special secret lonely thing, alchemised, distilled from a hoard of lovely terrifying chaos: words on the page. 

www.lilyhyde.com
http://rambutanchik.wordpress.com

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9. Scott Esposito on Wayne Booth


Why do university presses matter? That’s what’s at stake for AAUP’s University Press Week, a celebration of the Association of American University Presses’ 75 years of commitment to promoting the work and interests of nonprofit scholarly publishers. At some point, the answer to that question was more or less obvious; in 1937, when the AAUP was founded, it’s mission was inferred from a decade’s worth of cooperative activities—a joint catalog, shared direct mailing lists, cooperative ads, and an educational directory. Since then, scholarly publishing has become tantamount to the production of knowledge it chooses to disseminate—it’s diverse in its platforms; complex in its shepherding and inclusion of disciplines; rich in its roster of scholars, critics, editors, and translators; and acute in its responses to the shifting parameters of technology, the auspices of funding, and the risk of institutionalization. No static thing, this.

We asked editor, writer, and literary critic Scott Esposito, whose online journal the Quarterly Conversation bears significant responsibility for the discovery of Sergio De La Pava’s self-published debut novel A Naked Singularity (republished by the University of Chicago Press in 2012), to help us fly our flag. Over conversation at a dim, happy-hour bar in San Francisco’s financial district, we asked Esposito: if given the choice, is there a particular work we’ve published that you feel has contributed to your own engagement with criticism? Esposito’s answer was swift and definitive. When you read his riff on Wayne C. Booth’s Modernist Dogma and the Rhetoric of Assent below, you’ll be illuminated as to how this “philosophy of good reasons,” first published in October 1974, continues to assert the formidable and irreplaceably eloquent role Booth held as both a literary critic and scholar of rhetoric in the twentieth century. It suffices to say that he wrote some of the most influential criticism of our times, and we couldn’t think of a better reason for why university presses matter than their continued commitment to foster thinkers like Booth and to take pride in watching their ideas blossom for another generation.

***

I find it impossible to read Wayne C. Booth and not come away illuminated. Though he’s generally classified as a literary critic, Booth was really much more than that. He was an amazingly well-read, dedicated thinker who showed how questions about literature were really questions about human perception and the philosophies with which we approach life.

As a writer, Booth was never showy, and his style is anything but ostentatious. One imagines that, instead of trying to produce catchy one-liners, he strove most of all for clarity in his writing, trusting in the depth of his thoughts and originality of his arguments to provide that added zing that so many lesser thinkers attempt to contrive through cloying prose and overzealous forms. Reading Booth, one feels in the presence of a mind whose remarkable honesty and humility is rewarded with great rigor—just try and read him and not feel that your own reading has been dwarfed by his. (As an added treat, many of Booth’s footnotes feel more like miniature essays than extended parentheticals. They are paragons of the form.)

Booth turned his mind to some of the biggest questions in literature—how it works, whether or not it is moral, why irony had gained such ascendance over it by the middle of the twentieth century—and I feel that he made lasting contributions. Reading his books as much as fifty years later, they still feel relevant, their thought capable of shaking you out of complacency. Though it is not uncommon to find critics who can give erudite, nuanced readings of texts, it is almost impossible to find critics who can credibly do what Booth did, again and again: take literature and make it feel essential to life’s big questions.

For a while now, I have felt that Booth’s Modernist Dogma and the Rhetoric of Assent (one thing Booth lacked was a gift for titles) was extraordinarily ahead of its time. Booth published it in 1974, just as it seemed US politics and society were reaching a nadir of cynicism and irony, and the book is an all-out assault on the doctrine of doubt, which he associated with the teachings of modernism that he argued were predominant in Western society. In the book Booth himself admits to having once been in thrall to doubt (his conversion toward, and then away from, Bertrand Russell is documented here), and his explanation of why he changed his mind forms the cornerstone of an edifice of belief. Though history proved that Western culture could fall to far greater depths of cynicism and irony than was possible even in 1974, I would argue that the turn toward belief that Booth hoped for in this book is now underway. His reasons for believing, as well as his advocacy of the American pragmatist philosophers’ thoughts on those matters, are now hugely relevant.

Of course, as a student of Kafka, Beckett, Mann, Bernhard, and so many others, I understand the allure of doubt and, indeed, its relevance to a world still very much built on individualism, spiritual uncertainty, and political misdirection. Yet Booth’s book is one of a few key reads that have oriented my mind toward belief and, I think, shown me ways to take the next step beyond what Booth called the “modernist dogmas.”

Wayne Booth should most definitely continue to be read. To be blunt, his thoughts are simply indispensable to any serious student of literature. And anyone who is curious about the world and seeks to live an examined life will find his thoughts almost equally necessary.

Scott Esposito is the editor of the Quarterly Conversation, a web journal of literary reviews and essays, and the coauthor (with Lauren Elkin) of The End of Oulipo?, available from Zero Books in January 2013.

***

Up next? Jason Weidemann, senior acquisitions editor in sociology and media studies at the University of Minnesota Press, on a recent trip to Cape Town—and the implications for scholarly publishing. For additional information about #UPWeek and to see the full schedule for its associated blog tour, click here.

 

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10. Bluerock Design Co.

bluerock design co

I like the scope and style of this branding project from Boston-based Bluerock Design Co. With the honorable aim of introducing kids to cycling and nutrition, the cleanliness, simplicity and boldness of this campaign are spot on. It feels like the overall aim of this project is inform and inspire, and the bright, crisp graphics really help in that cause. They’ve obviously had some fun in applying the concept to jerseys, bottles, shirts and tickets. A lot of times it feels like branding projects cover a familiar gamut of surfaces: letterheads, cards and websites. It’s nice to see this work on something a little more unique.

bluerock design co

bluerock design co

bluerock design co

bluerock design co

bluerock design co

bluerock design co

bluerock design co

—–

Also worth viewing:
Herman Miller: Design For You
Matte Stephens Studio Visit
Marius Roosendaal

Not signed up for the Grain Edit RSS Feed yet? Give it a try. Its free and yummy.

A Huge thanks to Chronicle Books for sponsoring this week’s RSS Feed!


©2012 Grain Edit - catch us on Pinterest , Facebook and twitter



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11. I had the strangest mix of experiences the other day, collapsing...



I had the strangest mix of experiences the other day, collapsing together not only my interests with my four-year-old daughter’s, but we also ran a technological gamut in order to assemble the experience’s various components.

We began with a walk through a local antique store, and for the first time my daughter seemed ready to explore the shelves for something of her own to covet and purchase. When we discovered a pile of Jack and Jill magazines from the late 1960s/early 1970s, I was attracted to the great illustrations, and my daughter was looking at all the interesting puzzles and mazes. As a kid, I was always a Ranger Rick kind of guy, since I was interested more specifically in animals and nature, but this particular Jack and Jill issue from May 1969 may have converted me. We bought the above copy, and two other Jack and Jills.

When we got home, my daughter, having noticed my interest in this particular issue, asked me to read about the picture on the cover. The cover story is something of a self-interview of Walt Kelly and the history of the Pogo comic strip, told through the eponymous opossum, Pogo. In addition to a somewhat detailed, high-level summary of the plate-making and printing process, full of toxic chemicals like zinc and asbestos and all, the article taught me a few things: the strip originally focussed on a little boy and Albert Alligator in a fiercer form, with Pogo playing a smaller role; the comic spent six years in books before it became a syndicated newspaper strip in 1949; Kelly created over 150 different characters for the strip; and on May 18, 1969, NBC aired a cartoon of all these wonderful critters, in a story about celebrating whatever your favorite holiday is, any time of year.

Our interest was peaked. The future has arrived, so I pulled my phone from my pocket and searched for “Walt Kelly Pogo animation”, and sure enough, this wonderful Chuck Jones-directed story popped up right at the top.

So: my daughter and I wandered through an antique store, found a musty, 43-year-old magazine, read about the history of a newspaper comic strip that was once made into an animated cartoon, which we looked up and watched on my phone, and we both loved every second of it all. It was a far better weekend outing than I expected.



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12. Flipped Readalikes

If you loved Flipped, read these other realistic stories of friendship, family, and being true to yourself for ages 10-13.

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13. Connecting to Nature's Rhythms

Jim Murphy's recent post connected us to the familiar and mundane aspects of our daily lives, those frustrating moments that can crush our creativity.  When we can get away from our routines and experience something different, our creativity can be inspired and renewed.

This Saturday, my husband and I traveled from our home in Missoula, MT, where the temperature was 19 degrees, through Salt Lake City, where the snow fell fast enough to delay our flight by 1 1/2 hours, through sunny LA and on to the Garden Isle of Kauai'i, where it rarely gets below 75 degrees or over 84.  Jeans are traded in for shorts and shoes for sandals.  The phone doesn't ring, and meals become simple.  The seashore calls, and the warm breeze welcomes.  Nature is up close and personal.

The natural world is both my personal beat and my professional one, so I really 'dig' this place.  I believe that when we are close to nature we are closer to our fundamental, creative selves.  On this island, residents and tourists alike are drawn to the natural rhythms of sun and sea, moon and tide.  Every evening, people flock to the sea wall on the west side of the island in hopes of seeing a great sunset.

 And when the full moon rises out of the ocean, families and neighbors gather in the park to watch as the moon spreads its silver mantle over the dancing waves.  No wonder this island is home to many artists and writers.

I don't write about Hawai'i, but I do renew my creative batteries here, not only because of the closeness of nature, but also because being here brings a shift in my daily life, and being jogged out of our routines helps nudge our creativity.  At home in Montana, summer days stretch on deep into what is black night in Hawaii, and winter days end while the tropical sun is still shining.  Here in Hawaii, the record high and low temperatures throughout the year don't vary as much as they do over a normal 24 hour span at home.  Everything is different, and the differences bring about a shift in my being.  I do work here--one of the perks of being a writer is that you can carry out your craft wherever you are--but I try to keep that to a minimum.  I want those batteries to be chock full of creative energy when I return to the deep, dark cold of winter, when writing is the one thing I can do, no matter what nature has to offer my spirit.

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14. A ROW 80 Update and Happy Launch Week to M. Pax

This round of A Round of Words in 80 Days runs from October 1st to December 19th. Here are my goals for this round, all involving YA manuscripts. Abbreviations are used for the titles. My updates are in red.

A) Revise and edit TWILAMPH, a manuscript I've been working on for several ROW80 rounds, and send it back to my agent. I'm done with this goal!
B) Edit EK, which I started late last year, and get it to beta readers. I'm almost done with this goal. I just need one more round of edits and then I'll contact my beta readers. 
C) This is optional and only if I finish A and B firstpull out a manuscript I haven't worked on in a while, KMK, and rewrite it. I already wrote notes for this, but I need some more time to gather my thoughts. I haven't started on this yet, but if I pace myself writing one chapter a day after Thanksgiving, I know I'll be done before ROW80 ends. 

***
The Renaissance of Hetty Locklear

A New Adult Urban Fantasy, The Renaissance of Hetty Locklear is the first book in a new series. And it’s now out! The main character, Hetty, is a twenty-two-year-old, stumbling about in an effort to become a full-fledged adult. She struggles with self-esteem, weight, relationships, and making the transition between college and the real world.

Graduation from community college isn’t the magic elixir Hetty Locklear counts on for becoming an adult. Her parents, who work the Renaissance fair circuit, insist she spend part of the summer with them. Hetty doubts pretending to live in the Middle Ages will help her find her way.

To make it worse, an entity haunts her at her dead-end job, warning her of a dangerous man she doesn’t know. The ghost leads her to a lover who has a lot of secrets. He pulls her farther into peril and into a strange, hidden world of genetic experimentation.

New Adult Urban Fantasy with a contemporary sci-fi twist. Mature content.

Available as an ebook at Amazon / Amazon UK / Smashwords / iTunes/ Kobo
Visit www.mpaxauthor.comfor more links.

M. Pax is celebrating her latest release with a jousting tournament and contest at www.mpaxauthor.com. Cheer for the knights to help them win the grand prize, and you’ll be put in a drawing to win an ebook copy of The Renaissance of Hetty Locklear. Five will be given away. Huzzah!

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15. Classics Illustrated Deluxe #9: Scrooge: A Christmas Carol & A Remembrance of Mugby by Charles Dickens

5 Stars Scrooge: A Christmas Carol & A Remembrance of Mugby Charles Dickens Papercutz 96 Pages   Ages: 8 and up   Scrooge is actually two books in one. In addition to the traditional Dickens classic  A Christmas Carol there is also another Charles Dickens classic, A Remembrance of Mugby. Chances are good you have not [...]

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16. Book Review: Vanguard Prime, Goldrush by Steven Lochran

Elite superhero team Vanguard Prime has a new recruit . . .

Sam Lee was just a normal teenager . . . until the disastrous emergence of his superpowers. Now he has the chance to join his childhood heroes and become the youngest-ever member of Vanguard Prime. But when the time comes, will Sam have what is takes to save the world?

Goldrush is an interesting meld of traditional comic book archetypes in a traditional novel format. I like when new formats and forums for stories are explored, as I always see it as an opportunity to bring an established audience into a new mode of reading. For your stringent we-only-read-comic-book readers, it is a chance to explore the familiar tropes and story lines (good versus evil, superheroes versus villains) found in their favourite comic, but in a novel-based format. The familiarity of the story, and character types, go a long way to lessening the initial ‘overwhelming’ feeling a comic reader could possibly experience with the novel format. The same can be said for traditional novel readers; comics often seem a foreign land too scary to make that first dip into.

Identifying with the protagonist is essential for any reader, regardless of format. Lochran does a fantastic job of leaving Sam Lee, our protagonist, completely description-less. I don’t know what colour eyes he has, or the colour of his hair, or indeed the colour of his skin. He is any boy (alas, we haven’t found ourselves in a genderless literary world just yet), at any moment, in any place. This is incredibly powerful, both in avoiding ‘othering’ in the literary form, and in enabling the reader to imagine themselves in the starring role. I was, therefore, disappointed that the front cover for Goldrush gives Sam a face.  To be fair, anytime I see a face on a children’s book I’m disheartened. (I’m further disheartened by the amount of blond-haired blue-eyed white female protagonists in the world, but that’s a discussion for another day.)

As well as a traditional good-versus-evil story, Goldrush explores a different coming-of-age story, where a teenage boy is thrust from the world he knows into a (very adult) world of superheroes. Very akin to how high school feels to those of Sam’s age after the safety of primary school. The uncertainty of your surroundings brings forth doubts of the self. Questions of who am I? what am I? am I a good person?  are particularly relevant to teenagers as they navigate the murky waters of morality in teen life. Take the ‘origins’ story of Sam’s powers: they manifest in a public space, beyond his control, where he accidentally hurts those close to him. While a great analogy to any early teenager, awash with rioting hormones. Sam is also forced to question whether he can ever perceive himself as a good person after this incident, however accidental. Does one act define him for the future? Thankfully Sam learns that this one incident does not define who he is. Rather a good lesson for any teen.

Goldrush is a very accessible novel for middle grade and young teenage readers. The story line is clear, familiar and contains enough life lessons to ensure the readership is learning along the way. All wrapped up with a great sense of humour.

 

Steven Lochran is November’s Writer-in-residence for inside a dog.

You can also enter the competition to win a signed copy of Vanguard Prime, Goldrush on inside a dog.

 

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17. PiBoIdMo Day 14: Tamson Weston Says “It’s a Book, Not a Unit”

I’ve often heard people—Publishing Professionals—talk about wanting to “publish books that stand the test of time.”

There’s something unnerving about the way the phrase is used. As though it were written into their code, rather than contemplated carefully and reevaluated case by case. It’s a slogan, rather than a creed. And there’s a reason for that.

While it sounds good to be the publisher known for publishing books that “stand the test of time,” publishing is a business. And in order to be successful, units need to be moved. Not books. Units. Units do not stand the test of time.

Now, it’s true, publishing professionals often come to their jobs with a love of books. And for that reason, they often sell books in spite of their better judgment. They sell them out of love. Sometimes the PP will wake clear-eyed at a meeting a year later, looking at some abominably small number in a column and wonder what they ever saw in that silly little volume.

But sometimes that love will win the day and that number will not be small. It will be large. If it is large the first year, it will, perhaps, continue to be large the second year (this is often the case with the books that are loved very well). In fact, it will sell year after year. And we will, indeed, end up with a book that stands the test of time.

Friends, this is where you come in. When you look at a bestseller list of picture books, you are often—not always—looking at a list of units. When you look at shelves of sparkly pink princesses and less sparkly dumptrucks, you are looking at units. So, as you are making lists of ideas, I want you to consider the following five point entreaty:

  1. Don’ t pull your ideas from the bestseller list. Pull them from your soul. What combination of experiences, relationships and ideas has come together to make your thoughts what they are? This is the same equation that should make your book. Don’t try to insert some new variable derived from market research.
  2. Don’t follow the rules. At least, don’t follow them just *because* they are the rules. Use them as guidelines. Mitigate them thoughtfully with your own point of view.
  3. Your structure is a springboard. If you are using a traditional structure, of the kind that Tammi Sauer recommends in this post, great! But don’t use it as a fetter, let it be the springy energy beneath your feet (or keyboard, as it were).
  4. Don’t be afraid to steal. But if you’re going to steal an idea, make it good. Pay tribute to something that you’ve been in love with for some time and can’t seem to forget. Don’t riff on something because it’s marketable. Do it because it’s good and you love it.
  5. Be giddy. You know those ideas that are so good you can’t believe that they came from your brain? The ones that make you do a little dance and clap your hands with glee? Those are books. Use them.

There are a lot of wonderfully quirky picture books that are having their day out there. And you can bet that these books are not a result of market research. They are a result of love.

Tamson Weston is a published children’s book author, founder of Tamson Weston Books, and an editor with over 15 years experience. She has worked on many acclaimed and award-winning books for children of all ages. When she doesn’t have her nose in a book, Tamson likes to run, bike, swim, lift heavy things and, most of all, hang out with her family in Brooklyn, NY. Visit her online at www.tamsonweston.com.


10 Comments on PiBoIdMo Day 14: Tamson Weston Says “It’s a Book, Not a Unit”, last added: 11/14/2012
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18.

LATEST NEWS

Artie’s poem Ceiling to the Stars was published in the November print edition of California Kids! To read the poem online, please click on the illustration below.

Artie’s children’s story The Hummingbird Who Chewed Bubblegum is being published in a book collection by the Oxford University Press in India. More to come.

COPYRIGHT © 2012 ARTIE KNAPP

Use of any of the content on this website without permission is prohibited by federal law


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19. TRAILER: “El Santos vs. la Tetona Mendoza” (NSFW)

Animators in Mexico don’t appear content to simply copy the predictable, formula-ridden animated features of their American neighbors. The trailer above is for El Santos vs. la Tetona Mendoza (The Saint vs. The Busty Mendoza), which judging by its trailer, is a refreshingly crude, raunchy and cartoony use of hand-drawn animation. Based on a comic by Trino Camacho and José Ignacio Solórzano (aka Jis), and directed by Alejandro Lozano and Andrés Couturier, the film opens on November 30th in Mexico. It was animated by Átomo Films (a subsidiary of Ánima Estudios).

0 Comments on TRAILER: “El Santos vs. la Tetona Mendoza” (NSFW) as of 11/13/2012 11:03:00 PM
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20. Guest Post: Amy Lignor


What’s the Real Selling Point of Your Book?
The Cover!

We are a completely visual society. From computers to phones to iPods to all the vibrant colors coming at us from almost every direction, we usually make our decisions based on how the ‘scene’ effects us. Colors, pictures - these are used in many different ways: From scaring us on the news with graphic images to making us fall in love with a product because a cute, white, fuzzy puppy was on the commercial, and we can’t forget about it. This is how heavily we rely on images to find out what we really love or hate.

When it comes to the literary world, cover art is one of - if not THE most important - part of selling your book. Millions will buy a book written by Stephen King, JK Rowling, Tom Clancy, Dean Koontz, J.D. Robb - and it’s because they already know the ‘name.’ They are already a fan because these writers have been doing this a good, long time and have built a fan base that is completely loyal. In fact, they don’t much care what’s on the cover of the latest Stephen King book; just as long as his name appears on the cover that’s good enough to make the sale.

But for smaller, unknown, or debut authors, cover art is sometimes more important than plot. Now, don’t get me wrong, the story has to be great in order to get the wonderful reviews you need to build a reading list of loyal fans, but the very first thing a reader will judge about your book is the cover. It has to be outstanding. It has to grab the attention of the reader and make them want to research the title further. They need to be lured into the story, and once the book is purchased, THEN it’s up to you to thrill them and excite them with your characters, storylines, etcetera.

Finding a cover artist who can take a book and literally create the image that YOU know you want because, as the author, you’ve been thinking and dreaming about it for years, is difficult. A lot of cover artists don’t even read the manuscript, which I find hard to understand seeing as that they have to have some background about the book and what you’re trying to say in order to even begin to work up a design. But, what can I say? There are some designers out there who work as if they’re on an ‘assembly line’ and just cannot put in the time it takes to understand or even like your story.

I say all this because I was one of the lucky ones. When The Angel Chronicles found a home with Tribute Books, I was introduced to their cover designer - a woman by the name of Emma Michaels. (http://emmamichaels.blogspot.com)

Emma is not just an artist who draws what the author wants. She is one of those rare people who read the book cover to cover, comes up with ideas about various scenes, and discusses options and paths to take in order to create the perfect cover. She takes suggestions, ideas and really works with the author to make the book a unique masterpiece that fans really take a shine to.

Emily and Matthew have been in my mind since I was thirteen years old. Seeing as that I was born when Jesus was just a boy, that’s a long time to have these imaginary people in your brain. Emma Michaels had the amazing skill and unwavering talent to take my ideas and my story and draw the characters as if she was looking at them face to face in my own head.

So, remember, whether you go the self-publishing route, sign on with an independent, a small press - whatever it may be - make sure to remember that the cover of your book is the very first thing readers will see. And if the cover doesn’t ‘speak’ to them, the book is automatically dead in the water - even if the next Gone with the Wind or Harry Potter awaits the reader inside.

Until Next Time, Everybody,
Amy

Here's the synopsis for Gilded Wings:
When Matt and Emily are sent on their second mission they have no idea how truly dark human nature can become...

Emily never wanted to face humans again. With the heartache that went on down below, she’s still trying to figure out how to save souls that don’t deserve saving. The only one she wants to see again is Jason - the young man she fell in love with who became the soulmate she simply can’t forget...

Matt was trained to protect and defend the souls down below. Longing to feel the heartfelt emotions that come from being human, Matt wants nothing more than to have just one life - one chance - to live and love the girl of his dreams...

The powerful team find themselves in a brand new century, living in the Gilded Age of New York City. Emily takes over the body of Anya, a young Russian girl who arrives on Ellis Island after a hideous tragedy. There she meets up with a strangely familiar young man by the name of Drew Parrish, who helps Anya survive in an unknown world of luxury, snobbery and…obsession.

What Anya’s inner angel doesn’t know is that the soul she loves is also back. This time around Jason goes by the name of Max Carrow. Once a quiet and kind boy, he’s now part of the ‘Four Hundred Club,’ and wants nothing more than to be among the most admired as he climbs the shaky ladder of society’s elite. 

As two worlds merge, Emily and Matt struggle under the weight of their “Gilded Wings.” Not only will they have to figure out who they should fight to save, but they must also face a romantic choice that could destroy them both. 

And here's an excerpt for you:
Emily rocked quietly, staring at Gabriel sitting stoic on his tall stool. His elbow rested on his knee, his fist supported the weight of his chin, and the old spectacles set crookedly on his angular nose. Gabriel was an avid reader, always studying. He worked hard to understand the paths that were being chosen by the humans below.

Emily tried not to laugh as she studied the face that was pulled into a deep frown. His eyebrows looked stuck together, glowering as he concentrated on the real life story of
yet another partnership that had been below and brought back their report on what they had seen.

“Something wrong?” Jerking his head up, Gabriel’s book went flying off his lap, and his glasses hit the floor.

Out of the corner of her eye, Emily noticed that the long, dark hair of the sleeping Russian girl, Anya, had transformed back into her own trademark auburn curls. She smiled at Gabriel’s annoyed expression. “Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you.”

“You’re getting quieter as you get older,” he grunted. 

“Well, you always said we should be seen and not heard,” Emily grinned. 

Gabriel’s eyebrow climbed up his forehead. “Exactly when have you ever listened to anything I say?” 

“I’m like a sponge. I remember everything.” 

Gabriel snorted his agreement and crossed his arms over his broad chest. “Why back so soon?” 

“I’m confused.”

“Already?”



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21. SkADaMo Day 13

………………………..

Miles and Becky couldn’t quite put their finger on it, but there was something just a little bit different about Great Aunt Mildred today.

………………………..

Hey, it’s lucky day number 13! This came to me while PiBoIdMo-ing this morning.

Be sure to stop by and check out the other fabulous SkADaMoer’s links here.

Oh, and while you’re at it, stop by PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month) for some very inspiring posts. It may be too late to join this year, but if you are interested in writing and or illustrating a picutre book, think about it next year. It’s amazingly inspiring!

Cheers!


12 Comments on SkADaMo Day 13, last added: 11/15/2012
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22. SkADaMo Day 13

………………………..

Miles and Becky couldn’t quite put their finger on it, but there was something just a little bit different about Great Aunt Mildred today.

………………………..

Hey, it’s lucky day number 13! This came to me while PiBoIdMo-ing this morning.

Be sure to stop by and check out the other fabulous SkADaMoer’s links here.

Oh, and while you’re at it, stop by PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month) for some very inspiring posts. It may be too late to join this year, but if you are interested in writing and or illustrating a picutre book, think about it next year. It’s amazingly inspiring!

Cheers!


0 Comments on SkADaMo Day 13 as of 11/14/2012 2:02:00 PM
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23. You read it first in Bartography Express. Unless you didn’t, in which case…

I’ve got news! And it’s good news, too, especially for those of you looking forward to seeing another playful picture book from me in the vein of Shark Vs. Train.

As I shared earlier today with subscribers of my Bartography Express newsletter, Disney-Hyperion will be publishing my not-yet-titled picture book in which a hapless hawk’s attempts to catch a not-so-helpless bunny are thwarted again and again. We don’t yet know who the illustrator will be, but I’m beyond excited that I’ll be working with editor Kevin Lewis.

I went on a bit more about this in Bartography Express, where I also featured a quick Q&A (and book giveaway) with Deborah Underwood, author of the new Christmas Quiet Book. There are a few other goodies in there, too, and you’re welcome to read the newsletter through the links here. But to get it in your inbox (and be in the running for book giveaways and occasional other freebies), you’ll want to sign up here.

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24. Tea (Rex) and… Crumpets? Cake? Cookies?

Last month I asked- "How do you take your tea?"

This month, with all of the holiday goodies being shared, I'm wondering... What do you like to nibble in-between sips of your favorite brew?

I'm a huge fan of anything chocolate! So when my friend Dominique, sent me the link to these scrumptious chocolate dipped shortbread cookies shaped like tea bags... Well, I just couldn't resist- I had to share it too!

A good recipie, like a good story is always better when you share it with a friend. And if that friend is Tea Rex? Well... Maybe you'd better double the recipie.

And speaking of sharing a good story...

If you are in the San Diego area this weekend, you can share both a good story, and a cuppa tea at Mysterious Galaxy Books! They will be hosting a Tea Rex Tea Party for young readers at noon on Saturday November, 17- click here for more information.
Two lucky tea party guests will win a framed, signed print from Tea Rex!

Can't make it to San Diego this weekend? You still have a chance to win a signed print right here...
Simply post a comment here naming your favorite tea time treat!
Two winners will be chosen at random from all of the entries on December 10, 2012.

Cheers!

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25. Music Monday - Song of Lonely Mountain


Sorry I'm running behind. But *today* the Hobbit soundtrack has been released in a sneak peek, er, listen. You can hear it in its entirety here.

Or if you'd just like to hear the Neil Finn ballad of awesome, try here.

You can pre-order the soundtrack now, although it won't be officially ready until next month. Looking forward to it!

3 Comments on Music Monday - Song of Lonely Mountain, last added: 11/30/2012
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