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Viewing: Blog Posts from All 1562 Blogs, since 1/28/2008 [Help]
Results 42,176 - 42,200 of 547,331
42176. Writer Builds Career With a Subway Poetry Stand

Lynn GentryHow does one build a unconventional career creating poems?

Throughout this winter season, writer and musician Lynn Gentry has been making it a practice to set up a custom poetry stand. It’s located at the Union Square subway station in New York City. Gentry (pictured, via) requires his customers to follow three steps: (1) pick a subject (2) pick a price (3) get a poem.

Here’s more from Business Insider: “Gentry shares that his writing alone brings in an average of $700 per week, and he usually writes about 20 poems a day. He says he earns more in the summer, and estimates that most people pay $5-$10 per poem. The most he’s ever been given for a single poem is $122.”

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42177. Review: Kingsman: The Secret Service, your Millar is showing


Adapted from the Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons’ The Secret Service, the longer titled Kingsman: The Secret Service sees Matthew Vaughn taking on another Millar property, having previously adapted Kick-Ass to some acclaim (before the Jeff Wadlow-directed sequel squashed any and all of that franchise’s goodwill). Whereas the latter film was a subversive take on super-heroes, with Kingsman, Vaughn sets his sights squarely on the spy genre, or more specifically, the Roger Moore-era James Bond films and all of the gadgets, paper-thin female characters, and British patriotism that are hallmarks of that iteration of 007.

For about 2/3rds of its running time, I enjoyed myself. And then the film takes a turn that left me outright hating it. It was a strange experience and left me wondering how I could put it into words.

But let’s get the key details out of the way:

Eggsy (Taron Egerton) is a troubled chap, living with his mother and her thug boyfriend, and finding himself in constant dire straits both with other street toughs and the law. After a particularly damaging incident with the authorities, it seems like Eggsy has reached the end of the line – until he’s saved from imprisonment by Harry Hart (Colin Firth), a gentleman spy. Harry once mentored Eggsy’s now-departed father within an organization of spies, and as with all guilt-debts of this type, Eggsy is intended to replace his father. It’s typical hero’s journey stuff, but Vaughn handles much of this with panache. The film reveals a rich organization, where its members are all named after Knights of the Round-table including Hart’s Galahad, Merlin (Mark Strong, the Q of the group), and their leader Arthur (Michael Caine, another casting coup if you love The Italian Job as much as I do).

Eggsy is forced to compete with a number of other young proteges for the role of “Lancelot.” It’s here where the film shines. We get a number of exciting training sequences and tests for the prospects, and it’s all wrapped together with a fairly knowing wink. This is the point where Kingsman knows exactly what kind of film it is, relishing the old cliches that are inherent within its genre while still declaring itself not that kind of movie. Even the villains are right in line with that formula. Samuel L. Jackson‘s Evan Valentine, a tech mogul that gags at the site of blood (and who has a masterplan that’s about as ridiculous as something out of Moonraker) is workable enough, though the riff on Spike Lee is less funny than Vaughn and co. thinks it is. His having a hench-woman that’s straight out of the Jaws/Oddjob playbook is a good, if obvious, touch.

I also cannot express enough what Firth bring to the proceedings. For my money, he’s one of the best actors in Hollywood and the level of gravitas and authoritative manner that he excels at is right at home in Kingsman. In this kind of film, you need an actor that can exude that debonair quality, especially given how forgettable Egerton is in the lead.

Yet for all the things Kingsman does enjoyably well from its outset, I found myself leaving the theater with a bad taste in my mouth. There’s a point when the film turns from a fun, action-based satire into all out carnage and, from there, it never really lets up. Once that moment comes, and the film shifts its focus to just one character, everything falls apart. It’s here where all of the Millar-isms come into full force, and I was reminded more of the side of Millar’s work that highlights an over-indulgent attitude regarding sex and violence. In one of the film’s worst moments, there’s a scene where we’re forced to endure the mass slaughter of innocents (despite being a group of admittedly awful people), and I was unsure what I was supposed to be feeling. It was clear the film had the same problem, playing to both anguish and glee at the same time.

And the less said about the final pre-credits scene, the better. To be frank, the gender politics of the film are a bit of a mess. Sophie Cookson‘s Roxy really had no reason to exist at all other than to play on the potential of romance with Eggsy and/or her own capability as a rival, though neither really play into the plot in any significant fashion. Like I spoke to above, there’s a point to which this is another cliche of a well-worn genre, but this would have been a great place to transcend that source if Vaughn and Jane Goldman‘s script was anywhere near as clever as it pretends to be.

Kingsman, is at its heart, a film focusing on men celebrating the concept of being “gentlemen.” This is all well and good, except Vaughn and his team defy those very lessons in the final turn, where the overall treatise seems to be more: “A gentleman is all well and good, but it’s better to be a sleaze”. Metaphorically you could even say “they shot their own dog”. If you see the movie, you’ll get what I mean.

Or not. You’d be better off saving your money.


2 Comments on Review: Kingsman: The Secret Service, your Millar is showing, last added: 2/8/2015
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42178. Wade Wilson’s Secret War


If the Marvel Universe, as we know it, ends in this Summer’s Secret Wars then it’s not pulling any punches on the way out. Today the publisher announced ANOTHER tie-in book to its be-all-end-all Secret Wars event. Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars revisits the original 1984 event. Written by Cullen Bunn, this new series will see wade Wilson stick his nose, guns, and blades into the landmark 84′ war. Readers will see just how the Merc With a Mouth shaped events seven years before his first appearance in comics.

As Bunn tells it “Deadpool was always part of the original Secret Wars, it’s just been secret until now.” Details remain scarce outside of the premise, but Bunn had pitched Marvel the idea of Deadpool being part of past events from the shadows before. Secret Wars seems like as good a place as any for an off-beat idea like this to flourish. No artist or length of series was given but we expect to hear more about this and the already announced books in the coming weeks.

Given the recent announcement of the Deadpool’s demise  in April’s Deadpool #250, it may seem odd for the character to appear in more stories right away. So it’s almost certain Wilson’s incarnation in this Secret Wars tie-in would be one from the past instead of already being back from the dead.

Would you be willing to accept such a retcon to an event that shaped decades of the Marvel Universe? 

2 Comments on Wade Wilson’s Secret War, last added: 2/5/2015
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42179. Dark Horse Publisher Mike Richardson is coming right for you…on the side of a bus

Look who's on the buses in #PDX – my old boss at Dark Horse Comics!

A photo posted by Anina Bennett (@bigredhair) on

It’s true! As Instagrammed by Portland resident and Boilerplate co-author Anina Bennett, Dark Horse’s founder and owner Mike Richardson is part of an ad campaign for New Relic, a software development company that counts Dark Horse as a client.

Smart choice, as it allow great use of the Hellboy imagery as well.


1 Comments on Dark Horse Publisher Mike Richardson is coming right for you…on the side of a bus, last added: 2/5/2015
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42180. Goodbye, George

Paul Zelinsky, Roger Sutton, George Nicholson at Elizabeth Law's apartment; photo by Elizabeth Law

Roger Sutton, Paul Zelinsky, and George Nicholson at Elizabeth Law’s apartment; photo by Elizabeth Law

…to the sad news that George Nicholson, whom I had first met at an ALA, more than thirty years ago, has died. I first knew George when he was publisher at Dell; he later moved over to Harper and then to a successful second career as an agent, at Sterling Lord Literistic. He was a very kind man, scarily well-read, deceptively soft-spoken, and had great hair. Those Yearling and Laurel-Leaf paperbacks you grew up with? Thank George. Leonard Marcus interviewed him for us back in 2007; go take a look.


The post Goodbye, George appeared first on The Horn Book.

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42181. A Sad Update Thanks to Best Buy and Lenovo Laptops

Hi Everyone!

I’ve commandeered a friend’s laptop to let everyone interested know what is going on in the land of Where’s-Sue-Is-She-Coming-Back. I plan on returning, absolutely. At the moment, I am home, rolling around in a wheelchair, staying off my hip/leg for two more months. Then rehab will begin. I hope. For those who don’t know, my leg was broken while removing the old hip. It had to be screwed and wired together—in a five hour operation–in addition to attaching a new hip. Until the bone heals around the post inside the leg I cannot put any weight on the leg. If I do, the post will ram down into the leg and break it apart, destroying too many things to think about.

You are probably wondering how this keeps my fingers off the keyboard of my laptop. Well, it would not if I had a laptop to use. My new (less than a year old) laptop had a faulty motherboard, according to Best Buy Geek Squad, who replaced it under warrant. Returned in  August, the motherboard went out again in late September. This makes me think the problem is not the motherboard but something else which is causing the board to go bad. What are the odds the a motherboard – the main components of your computer, would go bad twice in a year? This is the first time I have ever had a motherboard go bad in all the computers I have ever used.

None of this matters to Best Buy. Since I did not return the laptop to them, but rather called and had a friend return it, and it was not done by September 5th (30 days past returning the “fixed” laptop) Best Buy blew me off and refuses to find and fix the real problem. The Geek Squad tried to submit my laptop but a manager said “NO!” He wants me to buy a new motherboard – or a new laptop since the cost would be similar. A brand new, top-of-the-line laptop, with solid state drives, destroys its motherboard not once, but twice within its first 8 months.

Thanks a lot Best Buy, for NOT standing behind your Geek Squad service and the products sold to me. I will never again buy even a piece of gum from Best Buy.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Agency is now trying to deal with Best Buy, which no longer is concerned with customer satisfaction or the quality of any service it provides. This is not the first time a Geek Squad agent agrees something should be done and a manager nixed it without regard to the customer, the Geek Squad’s knowledge, or any concern for customer loyalty. There was a time when I would not even look anywhere but Best Buy, mainly because of the customer service and the way the company stood behind the products it sold. NOT ANYMORE! With no competition in my area all the company—the manager at this store—care about is a sale — the managers leading the way.

Until I can get another laptop, I cannot post. Borrowing a friend’s laptop is not a good solution. I apologize to everyone who has sent in a book for review. I am still reading all the books, taking notes, and hand writing the review. Once this is settled, or I figure out how to come up with another $1000 for a solid state, top-of-the-line, don’t-need-to-worry-about-laptop, the reviews will be posted. Please do not send in an books until further notice. If you do, please keep in mind it could be 6 months before a review is posted. Or maybe longer.

I hate this. It makes me angry. I sincerely apologize to every reader and loyal supporter of KLR. This was not how this medical adventure was to have worked out.

Filed under: Children's Books Tagged: AVOID BEST BUY, Best Buy, Geek Squad, Lenovo Laptops, Poor Best Buy Repair Service

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42182. Very Inspiring Blogger - Who Me?!

Look at me, sneakily sliding in a blog post on a Thursday afternoon!

Probably no one will see it, but I really had to post this.  I've let too much time go by already!

Anyone who has spent much time around my blog knows that I am full of ideas and hare-brained schemes and always busy with about 47 more things than I actually have time for because there are just always so many interesting things to do!

This would work out fine if I was one of those hyper-organized types, but alas, I am not.

In my case, creativity comes with chaos :)

And although I can generally pretty much manage the chaos, occasionally things (and when I say things I mean my horrifying email inbox) get the better of me, and something slips through the cracks.

I was going through said horrifying inbox and discovered these lovely gems in the cracks!

In the past month or so, I was very kindly nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award by Rachel Tey over at Reading Rachel, Dayne Sislen at Dayne Sislen Designs, and Linda Eve Diamond at The Beauty Of The Picture Book!  Imagine that!  ME!  A Very Inspiring Blogger!

I am so touched!  And I thank you all so much!  It means a great deal to me that you would bestow such an award on me.

One of the nicest things is that these lovely people have been reading (and apparently enjoying) my blog very quietly in the background and I didn't even know it!  Now I've had the opportunity to meet 3 bloggers I didn't know before :)

Of course as always with these awards there are all kinds of rules.  I'm supposed to tell 7 facts, and nominate 15 more bloggers, and you all know how I feel about that: I can never think of 7 interesting things to say, and I never like to single out just 15 of the many, many bloggers I know and love because I feel like everyone deserves the award.  So if you want it, please help yourself and know that I find you all Very Inspiring!

As for the 7 facts, hmmm....

How about some current stuff?  I don't promise to be interesting :)

1.  I am currently reading Just One Evil Act by Elizabeth George.  It is good, but very long, and I never have enough time to read, so it's taking me a while to get through.  Next on my list is First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen.

2.  My brother gave me a year of Audible for Christmas (awesome present!!!), and the first book I listened to in the car (no trouble finding time for THAT because I am ALWAYS in the car!) was The Baker's Daughter by Sarah McCoy which I loved and highly recommend.  I especially loved the narrator because she did all the voices and accents so well.  If I'd read the book to myself, I would have gotten the names of all those German baked goods completely wrong! :)

3.  I recently discovered that I like avocados - not necessarily plain, but in stuff.  Who knew?

4.  I should never be put in charge of taking care of house plants.  They are way too quiet and fail to tell me when they need attention... which spells their imminent demise.  (And yes, this is unfortunately current.  There's some kind of plant with pink flowers next to the kitchen table which is not looking at all well.  But since it happened to catch my eye, I did just water it.  Maybe I have brought it back from the brink.  There's always hope :))

5.  The most recent movie I watched was Non-Stop starring Liam Neeson.  On DVD of course because it's probably ancient by now.  I literally cannot remember the last time I went to a movie.  It may have been July when I saw The 100 Foot Journey, which I really liked.

6.  I haven't written a new manuscript I like enough to call finished in way too long.

7.  I am ready for Spring.  Right now.  Today! Maybe because the temperature is dropping steadily and is expected to be between -5 and -10 by tonight :)

7.5  Because I just thought of this... :)  I've got a couple of ideas in the works which I'm hoping to share with you all soon... maybe by the end of February?  But one never knows... :)

Many, many thanks to Rachel, Dayne, and Linda for the awards, and to all of you who show up and read faithfully, whether you comment or not.  Knowing you're out there reading makes it all worth while and I appreciate each and every one of you!

Have a happy rest of Thursday, and if you live in my neck of the woods, STAY WARM! :)

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42183. Review: Getting Hit By Stray Bullets Has Never Felt This Good





Story & Art: David Lapham

Publisher: Image Comics/El Capitan





It’s no secret that Stray Bullets is one of the best comics being published today, possibly ever. David Lapham’s latest Sunshine and Roses remedies the missing gratuitous violence of Killers at the cost of diverting from that arc’s engaging plot. However, this is the most brutal and meaty the Stray Bullets series has been in awhile, and that speaks volumes for what you’ll find in these pages.

Linear storytelling has never been Lapham’s aim for the series. It’s allowed him to take chances and experiment with the world he’s created. David Lapham has done some traumatic breaking of characters, jumped time periods on a whim, and killed his cast in ways that haven’t even been invented yet. Stray Bullets Sunshine and Roses #1 follows the story of Kretchmeyer, a suave would be gangster trying to get in the game. He begins a romance with a feisty east coast woman named Beth. Unknowingly, the secrets of their lives begin to intertwine and unravel in a crime/love story that hasn’t been told this well since True Romance.

Black and white comics might not be for everyone but if they’re done right you hardly notice the lack of color. Laphan does it right. His art has a way of simplifying the complexity of the narrative down to raw emotion. It’s a treat to ride this tense roller coaster of lust and violence because each page is more striking than the one before it.

If you’ve never read Stray Bullets, the beauty of the series is its never closed nature. Almost every issue is a self contained story. Whether you start with the original number one or this latest Sunshine and Roses arc you’ll never feel as though you’re in a story that’s already years in unfolding. For long time Stray Bullets fans… rejoice! It’s back and it’s just as good as ever!


Dave currently playing :Grimm Fandango, currently eating: cereal, currently complaining about: fat free milk @bouncingsoul217

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42184. Suede & John Henric day @johnhenric #meermin #meerminshoes #meerminmallorca #rapellosuede #menshoes

Suede & John Henric day @johnhenric #meermin #meerminshoes #meerminmallorca #rapellosuede #menshoes #classic #classicshoes #flanell #tweed #menstyle #mensfashion #menswear #meermin #meerminshoes #shoeaddict #shoegazing by aleksjj

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42185. A Conversation with Sharon M. Draper About Stella by Starlight | Interview

In this conversation, we talked to Draper about the inspiration behind Stella by Starlight and the basic goodness in humanity.

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42186. Best Kept Secret (2014)

Best Kept Secret. (Family Tree #3) Ann M. Martin. 2014. Scholastic. 224 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Better To Wish, the first in the series, introduced readers to Abby. The Long Way Home, the second in the series, introduced readers to Dana, Abby's daughter. Best Kept Secret, the third in the series, introduces readers to Francie, Abby's granddaughter, Dana's daughter.

This is Francie's novel. The book spans a little over a decade. Francie's first grade year through her arrival at college her freshman year. (1977-1988) Each chapter captures something significant about her growing up. A chapter could be good and happy (getting a puppy, finding a friend, going on vacation). Or a chapter could be sad and depressing (finding out a loved one has cancer, a funeral, learning your parents are getting divorced). One chapter was even traumatic.

The book as a whole has a heavy feel to it. Yes, I know there are a few good things in Francie's life, and Francie herself seems to be at peace--mostly--with everything that has happened. But. It felt like it was weighed down with dozens of issues. Perhaps because the chapters tended to focus more on the dramatic, and not enough on the day-to-day, ordinary moments where you just are.

The last chapter or two had a different feel to them. The chapter where she goes to college seems over-the-top rosy and optimistic. (Perhaps how a ten year old might fantasize about college?)

Because of how this one unfolds, it seems almost impossible for any character to be truly developed except for the main character. The characterization lacks something, in my opinion. It's not that I didn't like Francie. I did. But I wanted more depth and substance in general to all the people in her life.

For readers who love, love, love drama and more drama, this series may be a must. Each book tackles an issue or two or three. The good news is that if you hated The Long Way Home, there is a chance that you might still enjoy Best Kept Secret more.

The book is set primarily in New Jersey. 

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 Comments on Best Kept Secret (2014) as of 2/5/2015 3:16:00 PM
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42187. GKIDS To Release ‘Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet’ In The U.S.

GKIDS will release the mixed-media film "The Prophet" in the U.S. this summer.

0 Comments on GKIDS To Release ‘Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet’ In The U.S. as of 2/5/2015 7:11:00 PM
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42188. Millennium Snow Review

Title: Millennium Snow Genre: Romance Publisher: Hakusensha (JP), Viz Manga (US) Story/Artist: Bisco Hatori Serialized in: Lala in 2001, Lala DX in 2013 Original Release Date: June 3, 2014 Review copy provided by Viz Media Bisco Hatori’s name may not be well-known in the west but her most famous work, Ouran High School Host Club, still finds new ... Read more

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42189. Thank You Comics in Highland Park to close


This is a major bummer. Thank You Comics, the spinoff of Silverlake’s very successful Secret Headquarters, is closing at the end of the month according to their home page.

We appreciate your patronage the last couple of years. We have loved being a part of the neighborhood.

Make sure to visit our sister stores, Secret Headquarters (Silver Lake) and Dungeon Dungeon (inside The Last Bookstore) for all your comic book needs.

The space will be available on March 1st. For lease information please call (323) 570-2202.

Catch you on the flip,

Gift certificates are redeemable up until the closing.

Thank You opened in 2012 as a store focused on indies and GNS, and as you can see from their twitter background photo, they supported all the best stuff. Highland Park is a fairly trendy LA neighborhood so without knowing more about the situation it’s impossible to speculate on what closed the store.

As mentioned, Secrete Headquarters is still going strong though.


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42190. David Greene & Mo Willems Take on the First Book Speed Reading Challenge

Two writers, David Greene and Mo Willems, have taken on the First Book speed reading challenge. The video embedded above features Willems’ reading—what do you think?

Greene narrated 69 words from the first chapter of his nonfiction book, Midnight in Siberia, in 10 seconds. Willems only managed to utter 1 word from his picture book, Pigs Make Me Sneeze.

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42191. Worksheets for Writers

Here are links to worksheets and checklists of use to writers.


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42192. Will Whoopi Goldberg announce a Star Wars/Marvel Secret Wars tie in tomorrow?

Oh no, I have to watch the View again! Tomorrow Friday, February 6th, at 11AM EST, the latest SECRET WARS news will be announced on The View, ABC’s highly rated yenta-fest.

The announcement is billed as a “Forceful one” so COULD IT BEStar Wars related?


Or just knowing we’d all think that, Marvel just used a trigger word? MEAN.

Whatever it is, based on the previous announcement—Lady Thor— this one will include Whoopi Goldberg hyping up the PR and Rosie O’Donnell and Nicole struggle with the phrase “616 universe incursion.” I think I may have seen Rosie Perez at Comic-Con once so she may be the secret weapon here.
At any rate, Marvel is making another play for the adult women demographic—or else just using a Disney owned platform for a synergistic purpose.

2 Comments on Will Whoopi Goldberg announce a Star Wars/Marvel Secret Wars tie in tomorrow?, last added: 2/6/2015
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42193. Entertainment Round-up: Amy Pascal out at Sony, Robotech, Astro Boy, Visual Effects Society Winners


As per usual, the Entertainment side of things often seems to a be little slow post-New Comic Book Day, but a couple of headlines have hit the wire that are worth noting:

– It was probably an inevitability, but Sony co-chairman Amy Pascal announced that she will be stepping down from her post and taking on a production role within the studio. While this is surely in response to the devastating Sony hack (which unveiled some very candid emails between Pascal, producers, and top talent), Sony has been in need of a correction course given their struggles of late to launch big picture franchises and the mishandling of the Spider-Man films. Regardless, Pascal leaves a heck of a resume behind her, and I’m sad to see one of the top female creative forces in Hollywood vanish under these circumstances.

– Does the idea of a Robotech movie excite you? After about 8 years of development purgatory, the property may finally see the light of day again. Warner Bros has enlisted 300 screenwriter Michael Gordon to tackle the project and according to Deadline, they have their eyes set on Mama director Andy Muschietti.

– Or how about a live-action Astro Boy? Despite the fact that we had an animated feature in 2009 that barely made a dent in the box office, Animal Logic Entertainment is teaming up with Tezuka Productions to bring Osamu Tezuka‘s creation to life yet again. Here’s what producer Zareh Nalbandian said the studio is aiming for:

We’ve seen him as a manga, an anime and an animated movie but we’ve never seen him as a live-action movie or him as a superhero. We actually see him in the same league as an Iron Man.

Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive) had long wanted to cast Christina Hendricks (Mad Men) as Wonder Woman in a proposed adaptation of the DC Comics property. Obviously, Warner Bros went another direction entirely, but that hasn’t stopped Refn from working with the actress as he’s cast her in another of his films. This time they’ll be teaming up for The Neon Demon, his first outright horror film, and she’ll be joined by Keanu Reeves, Jena Malone, and Elle Fanning among others. Hopefully it’ll be more appealing to audiences than Only God Forgives, a film that I’m one of the lone defenders of.

– Last night, the Visual Effects Society held their big awards ceremony and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes took home the award for Outstanding Visual Effects while Birdman took home the award for Best Supporting Visual Effects. Big Hero 6 was the talk of the night though, taking 5 awards in total including the award for Outstanding Animation.

1 Comments on Entertainment Round-up: Amy Pascal out at Sony, Robotech, Astro Boy, Visual Effects Society Winners, last added: 2/5/2015
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42194. Review: crime makes a strange exit to Eden in Postal #1


postalcoverWritten by: Bryan Hill, Matt Hawkins

Art by: Isaac Goodhart

Colorist and Editor: Betsy Gonia

Letterer: Troy Peteri

Publisher: Top Cow

Strange small towns commanded by dogmatic despots have long been a staple of post-apocalyptic fare like The Walking Dead. So when Postal #1 opens on a church sermon delivered by a preacher waving a gun at a man who is bound at the foot of the altar, it seems a familiar scenario. Perhaps this is what the comic wants us to think, lulling us into a false sense of narrative security to contrast with it’s intriguing final pages.

The sermon is cut short by a turn of the page and text that reads: 24 hours earlier. We are in the town of Eden, Wyoming and at it’s post office we meet Mark: a mail carrier who takes his job very seriously, with ritualistic attention to detail. He leads us through his day, which apparently includes transcribing letters that are damaged at his mother’s behest, calling it “policy.” Somehow I don’t think the USPS would agree. In this case, Mark transcribes a damaged letter that implicates a shady Eden resident in a drug operation. Wanting to “help” the man, Mark ends up stumbling right into the middle of his meth lab.

As the issue unfolds we meet a host of characters that border on cliches: A tall, “injun” man who speaks in an accent straight out of a John Ford western; the beautiful, sad, yet caring waitress who Mark yearns for; a cantankerous chef who only speaks French. Those cliche’s grind to a halt when we meet Mayor Shiffron, who also happens to be Mark’s mother. The Mayor lays out some of the rules of Eden to an overly muscled white-power newcomer and they aren’t exactly what you’d expect. This piqued my interest. The Mayors tense, cold relationship with her son was also a surprise. By the time I reached the books’ ending which recalls the strange, small town of Twin Peaks, I found myself wondering what the next issue would bring.

Postal #1 offers well-rendered characters, different in their build, height and affect which are colored nicely. The gray and pastel palate gives the effect of isolating the town, making it feel as if it exists outside of the world we know. The end of the book includes a dossier on the important characters we’ve met so far and provides some further clarity while also expanding the mystery of Eden. If Postal #2 avoids the pitfall of piling too many mysteries on top of each other, it could prove to be a solid new series.

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42195. Blog Tour: ARES: BRINGER OF WAR (Olympians #7) by George O'Connor

click to embiggen.Summary: Ares is the seventh book in O'Connor's very successful Olympians series of graphic novels. In fact, I was amazed to see that we've already gotten to book 7, because that means I've missed quite a few in the middle. For... Read the rest of this post

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42196. For Better or for Wolf

My latest column is available at Luna Station Quarterly.

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42197. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Stephen Douglass, Author of Kerri's War


Many thanks to Shelley Workinger for inviting me to contribute a post in connection with my novel, Kerri’s War, to her wonderful blog: But What are They Eating? I was honored and thrilled that she had given me an opportunity to expose Volume Three of The King Trilogy to readers in a very unique fashion. I accepted the invitation without hesitation.

Even though my post would chronicle an event close to the end of the third volume of an epic trilogy, the invitation still struck me as a fascinating idea. “Everybody eats,” I said to myself. “Surely it must follow that readers would be interested in what the main characters of their chosen novels are eating,” I further concluded that Shelley was way ahead of the curve when she initiated her blog. Clearly, she was thinking outside the box. Her timing was perfect. I had just finished reading an historical fiction novel, set in the sixteenth century, in which the Spanish conquistadors, determined to relieve the Central American natives of their gold, were perpetually preoccupied with finding sufficient food to remain alive. There were no grocery stores or restaurants, conveniences we take for granted today.

The King Trilogy is a thrilling epic, spanning four decades and featuring the trials and tribulations of the King family and their connection to an inconvenient fortune. It is stolen and it is cursed. It ruins the life of everyone who touches it. The Bridge to Caracas, Volume One of The King Trilogy, is the story of how the inconvenient fortune was accumulated. Using the Peace Bridge as a fulcrum, an audacious criminal stole $325,000,000 via the mechanism of gasoline tax evasion. The Tainted Trust, Volume Two of The King Trilogy, is the story of what happened to the stolen fortune and its devastating affect on everyone who knew of its existence.

In Kerri’s War, the subject of this post, and Volume Three of The King Trilogy, Kerri King, a thirty-three year old woman, goes to war against Enerco, a corrupt Houston based conglomerate. At the outset of her conflict, she meets and falls in love with Steve Monteith, a perfect ten in her mind. Unfortunately, he is engaged to marry Christine Stewart, a Toronto socialite. Kerri’s dream is shattered when Steve marries Christine, but it is rekindled when he ends the marriage, in dramatic fashion, at the lavish Naples, Florida wedding reception. Once again Kerri’s dream is shattered when Steve is involved in an horrific automobile accident, resulting in a near life ending coma. The two become inseparable as Kerri nurses Steve back to health. Late in the story, Steve invites Kerri to join him in a wine tour of the Niagara Region. He plans to ask her to marry him.

It is at this point in the novel that I wanted the two lovers to be in a very romantic setting, one befitting a marriage proposal. Having endured so much adversity, the two deserved nothing but the best. I chose Niagara on the Lake, in Ontario, Canada, one of my favorite places on the planet. The happy couple have enjoyed the tour, blissfully unaware that they are being followed by a professional killer, contracted by Enerco to kill Kerri.

Following the tour and prior to dinner, Steve led Kerri to the cosy and beautiful Churchill Lounge at The Prince of Whales Hotel.. It was there that he asked her to marry him.

A stunningly beautiful five star hotel at the corner of King and Queen Streets, The Prince of Whales was one of the finest in the entire Niagara Region. Its rust and white brick exterior walls and cedar shake mansard roof line with dormer windows made it look like it had been transplanted from downtown Paris. Its false porch and pillars were festooned with hanging baskets containing thousands of local flowers of every color of the rainbow. It was a destination for tourists wishing to stay and enjoy the visual and gastronomic delights of the area.

Instead of the intimate privacy Steve had anticipated for his proposal, the two quickly became the focal point for everyone in the Churchill Lounge. The happy couple was besieged by well wishers and curiosity buffs, all anxious to congratulate them and interrogate Kerri. The session continued to grow in intensity until Steve raised his hands and formed a T. “Timeout,” he shouted as loud as he could. “Thank you all for your kindness. I wish we could stay longer, but we have to be at the Shaw Theatre at seven, so we have less than an hour for dinner. We really must leave now.” He reached for Kerri’s hand and led her to Escabèche, the hotel’s famous dining room.

HERE IS WHERE I NEARLY MESSED UP. I won’t bore you with the original manuscript text, but I will admit that it failed to describe what Kerri and Steve ate for dinner. When my wife, one of my strongest critics, read this part of the manuscript, she frowned and said, “How can you have your novel’s principal characters, newly engaged, eating in one of the most famous restaurants in the world, and not tell your readers what they ate? You’d have to assume that many of them would want to know.” She was right. How could I have made that omission? My only excuse is that I eat to live. By contrast, many people live to eat.

Armed with my wife’s rebuke, I climbed into my automobile, drove to The Prince of Whales Hotel, reviewed its amazing menu, made my selection, then re-wrote the dinner scene.

Here it is, as it appears in the novel:

They were warmly greeted at the dining room’s entrance by the maître d’hôtel. “Congratulations, Mister Monteith and Miss King. Dinner is on us. Our sommelier will see to it that you have a bottle of our finest champagne to assist your digestion. Please follow me,” he said, then led them to their table. They were treated to a dinner consisting of roast carrot and leek soup, Escabèche Caesar salad, and Northern Canadian elk, with creamed potatoes, sautéed mushrooms, and heirloom spinach. Even if there was enough time for desert, (apple trifle with Mascarpone cream, vanilla and orange juice), both would have declined. They were full and had thirty minutes to curtain time at the Shaw Festival Theater, one kilometer from the hotel. It was time to see Pygmalion.

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

You can find Steve here:

Author Bio:
I was born, raised and educated in Canada. I spent the first half of my career working for the two largest oil companies in the world: Exxon and royal Dutch Shell. I spent the second half working for one of the smallest oil companies in the world; my own. We have three sons and one daughter, all of whom are grown and “off the payroll”. Now retired, I spend summers with my wife, Ann, and our two cats, Abby and Samantha, at our Canadian home near Niagara Falls. We winter at our Florida home in Port St. Lucie. When I’m not writing, I’m reading, traveling, or playing horrifying golf. I plan to write until the day I die, probably longer.

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42198. Feb- Storytellers, Books, Kids, Dogs and Movies


   Töölö 2015 015

                            Storytellers and The Oral Traditon

The photo is of a statue of a woman who could recite (sing) 32,000 verses of poetry
from the Kalevala, the Finnish national epic. Her name was Larin Paraske (1833-1904), one of the last Finnish Rune singer-storytellers. During  the Finnish renaisance of the nineteenth century , artists, writers, and composers (including Jean Sibelius) listened to her interpretation of the Kalevala. The Kalevala was passed on for centuries by rune singers. In earlier times, there were hundreds of Rune singers in this land of lakes and forests.


Cinderfellas: The Long-Lost Fairy Tales

Here are excerpts from an excellent article about the soon to be published (February 24), The Turnip Princess. The article is a preview from the New Yorker of Franz Xaver von Schönwerth's "Lost" Fairy Tales. It was written by Maria Tatar, who also wrote the English translation of the new book.

..."Schönwerth’s tales have a compositional fierceness and energy rarely seen in stories King-Golden-Hair-008gathered by the Brothers Grimm or Charles Perrault, collectors who gave us relatively tame versions of “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Snow White,” “Cinderella,” and “Rapunzel.” Schönwerth gives us a harsher dose of reality than most collections. His Cinderella is a woodcutter’s daughter who uses golden slippers to recover her beloved from beyond the moon and the sun. His miller’s daughter wields an ax and uses it to disenchant a prince by chopping off the tail of a gigantic black cat. The stories remain untouched by literary sensibilities. No throat-clearing for Schönwerth, who begins in medias res, with “A princess was ill” or “A prince was lost in the woods,” rather than “Once upon a time…”

This fascinating article continues, describing the cultural shifts that resulted in the softening of Franz_Jüttner_Schneewittchen2these folk stories, and noting many instances where stories that were originally about boys, became stories about girls.

" ...Boy heroes clearly had a hard time surviving the nineteenth-century migration of fairy tales from the communal hearth into the nursery, when oral storytelling traditions, under the pressures of urbanization and industrialization, lost their cross-generational appeal. Once mothers, nannies, and domestics were in charge of telling stories at bedtime; it seems they favored tales with female heroines."

Tatar offers several examples of these changes. Here is her summary of a change in role that struck me as a vivid example, a precurser of the Princess and the Frog...

"Equally charming is the  story about Jodl, a boy who overcomes his revulsion to a female frog MaxfieldParrishFrogPrinceand, after bathing her, joins her under the covers. In the morning, he awakens to find himself in a sunlit castle with a wondrously beautiful princess..."

Greater Understanding of Fairy Tale Magic  

...Here at last is a transformation that promises real change in our understanding of fairy-tale magic, for suddenly we discover that the divide between passive princesses and dragon-slaying heroes may be little more than a figment of the Grimm imagination."

The illustration of Snow White is by Franz Juttner. The illustration of the Prince and the Frog is by Maxfield Parrish.


Tales Told by People 

 "...Von Schönwerth spent decades asking country folk, labourers and servants about local habits, traditions, customs and history, and putting down on paper what had only been
passed on by word of mouth.
In 1885, Jacob Grimm said this about him: "Nowhere in the SnowWhiteWalterCranewhole of Germany is anyone collecting [folklore] so accurately, thoroughly and with such a sensitive ear." Grimm went so far as to tell King Maximilian II of Bavaria that the only person who could replace him in his and his brother's work was Von Schönwerth."

This excerpt is from an early Guardian article by Victoria Sussens-Messerer reporting on the discovery of a trove of "new Fairy tales" by Franz Xaver von Schönwerth

The illustration of Snow White is by Walter Crane.


The Original Tales of the Brothers Grimm

OriginalFolkandFairyTalesBrothersGrimmZipesJack Zipes has translated into English, for the first time, the original volumes (1812-1815) of folk and fairy tales collected by the Brothers Grimm. 

Zipes, a pioneering scholar and prolific author of books relating to folk tales, fairy tales, legends and myths, has also written an insightful and  informative article on the Brother's Grimm, their motivation, methodology, and the world in which they lived and worked. The article, The Forgotten Tales of the Brothers Grimm, was published in the The Public Domain Review.
Here are excerpts...

"...Turning to the tales of the first edition the first thing a reader might notice is that many of the stories...were deleted in the following editions for various reasons, not because they were poorly told but because they did not meet some of the requirements of the Grimms... 

The second thing a reader might notice about the tales in the first edition is that most of them are shorter and strikingly different than the same tales edited in the later collections. They smack of orality and raw contents. For instance, Rapunzel reveals that she has become impregnated by the prince; Snow White’s mother, not her stepmother, wants to kill the beautiful girl out of envy... 

...The literacy of the informants, however, did not diminish the folk essence of the tales
that, as the Grimms and other folklorists were to discover, were widespread throughout Europe and told more often than not in dialect. The tales came to the tellers from other tellers, or they read tales, digested them, and made them their own. Indeed, we always make tales our own and then send them off to other tellers with the hope that they will continue to disseminate their stories...

And yet, the Grimms, as collectors, cultivators, editors, translators, and mediators, are to be thanked for endeavoring to do the impossible and to work collectively with numerous people and their sources to keep traditional stories and storytelling alive. In this respect their little known first edition deserves to be rediscovered, for it is a testimony to forgotten voices that are actually deep within us. Hence, the irresistibility of the Grimms’ tales that are really not theirs, but ours. "

The illustration of the wolf about to eat Little Red Riding Hood's grandmother is by Gustav Dore. 



Grimm Legacies: The Magic Power of the Grimms' Folk and Fairy Tales      by Jack Zipes was published in December, 2014 (Princeton University Press) as a complement to his translation of the Original Fairy Fairy Tales (above). Here is a review: 

GrimmLegaciesDec2014Princeton"In this landmark work of fairy-tale scholarship, Jack Zipes comes to grips with the multiple legacies of the Brothers Grimm in German and Anglo-American cultures. With nuance and inexhaustible insight, Zipes shows how mythmaking, marketing, hype, Americanization, the appeal of collective action, and utopian longing have sustained 'the magic spell' of the Grimms' tales throughout two centuries of use and abuse. Anyone seeking to understand the popularity of the Grimms' fairy tales or their richly diverse reception will do well to begin here."--Donald Haase, editor of The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Folktales and Fairy Tales


The Rune Singer Storyteller begins Poem 1 of the Kalevala... 

AkseliGallenKallela-KullervoDepartsForTheWar"It is my desire,  it is my wish
to set out to sing,  to begin to recite,
to let a song of our clan glide on,  to sing a family lay,
The words are melting in my mouth,  utterances dropping out,
coming to my tongue,  being scattered about on my teeth."

Translation by Francis Magoun from the Kalevala poems compiled by Elias Lonnrot (1802-1804)

The illustration is from a painting by Akseli Gallen-Kallela


PawsForAutismPaws 4 Autism is "helping families help their kids connect to the world 4 Paws at a time." 

The following excerpt is from the Planet Dog Foundation  (PDF) which provided a Grant to help Paws 4 Autism fulfill their mission.

"Paws 4 Autism utilizes specially trained dogs to help children with autism and their
PawsForAutism.4families. The PDF grant will specifically fund the Canine Assisted Social Skills in Education Program (CASSIE) which provides social and communication skills training for individuals aged 6-14 who have autism...Paws 4 Autism is 100% staffed by volunteers."

Visit the Paws 4 Autism website to learn more:

"Paws 4 Autism CASSIE program is currently working with 32 families in Kansas City, with a wait list of over 200 and growing..."



World Read Aloud Day is March 4, 2015

WRADNepalWorld Read Aloud Day is LitWorld's Celebration of reading. In 2014, over 75 countries participated. 

This photo is from Nepal

Every year, on the first Wednesday of March, World Read Aloud Day calls global attention to the importance of reading aloud and sharing stories.

 "World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words and creates a community of readers taking action to show the world that the right to literacy belongs to all people. By raising our voices together on this day we show the world’s children that we support their futures: that they have the right to read, to write, and to share their stories.

WRADPhillipinesWorld Read Aloud Day allows members of our year-round programs to invite more people into their literacy community and brings LitWorld’s messages to the rest of the world. World Read Aloud Day is now celebrated by over one million people in more than 80 countries and reaches over 31 million people online. The growth of our movement can be attributed in large part to our network of partner organizations and “WRADvocates” – a group of reading advocates and supporters taking action in their communities and on social media. "

Here is the link for more information or to be a part of this wonderful event, LitWorld.

The photo on the lower left is from a World Read Aloud Day group in the Phillipines.


"When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me that any talent for abstract, positive thinking.
Albert Einstein~(1879-1955)


  IntlChildrensDigitalLibraryThe International Children's Digital Library (ICDL)

 Free Children's Books on the Internet in a huge digital library. Many of them appear to be from another era.  From their site...

AesopFables.jpg1"The ICDL has been visited by over three million unique visitors since our launch in November, 2002.

  • The ICDL collection includes 4619 books in 59 languages.
  • Our users come from 228 different countries.

Free access to high-quality digital books from around the world. Browse by age, genre, book length, character types, or even the color of a book's cover."

Here is the Link: ICDL



Tell Me A Story 

SurLaLune , Heidi Anne Heimer's website for Fairy Tales and Folklore is a veritable constellation of fairy tale books, information, annotations, illustrations, and links. Here is a excerpt from an article she posted on folklore, fairy tales and the oral tradition of storytelling.    

RapunselbyGeoCruickshank"...Then there is the whole explanation of how folklore comes from oral storytelling tradition. Be aware that this website and most fairy tale studies deal with literary fairy tales, tales that are once removed from oral tradition, set down on paper by one or more authors. Once the story is written down, it becomes static in that version. It is no longer only folklore, but part of the world's body of literature. In contrast, the beauty of storytelling is how the same story is slightly different each time it is told, even by the same storyteller. Oral fairy tales are elusive creatures that folklorists study, record and try to trace through history. It is an invigorating field of study, but not the one I have pursued on SurLaLune. Note that sometimes the literary fairy tale came first and was then absorbed back into oral tradition, such as with 'Beauty and the Beast.'"... 

The illustration of Rapunzel is by George Cruickshank.

The Planet of the Dogs, as the Story Was First Told

POD-Daisy&Bean-blog sizeDaisy and Bean,
who lived on a farm near Lake Falls Village (on planet Earth), found themselves on the Planet of the Dogs. They were the first humans to be there. This was long, ago, before there were dogs on planet Earth.

They had been chosen as emissaries, to help with a transition --  the dogs had decided to come to earth to help people learn again about loyalty, courage and love. And they needed to learn how non-violent solutions could turn back invaders. .

The following excerpt takes place following a huge gathering of the dogs,who had come to hear the decision, by Miss Merrie, Queen of the dogs, and the Dog Council, about helping people on earth....

"Rex, a big shaggy dog -- bigger than Buddy, and very old -- then spoke. 'You must not tell anyone about visiting the Planet of the Dogs.  People won’t believe you, and they’ll think that you aren’t telling the truth, or that it was just something you imagined. And some will become frightened and tell false stories about you. And this will interfere with our efforts to help people. You must keep your visit here a secret. Can you do that?' ”

To read more, visit the Planet Of The Dogs


Free Books for Therapy Reading Dogs

JezebellPOD00000005Therapy reading dog owners, librarians and teachers with therapy reading dog programs --  If  you email us at planetofthedogs@gmail.com , we will send you free reader copies from the Planet of the Dogs Series...Read dog books to  kids and dogs.

The photo is of therapy reading dog Jezebell, seen here with a reading student friend. They were part of teacher Julie Hauck's pioneering Pages for Preston reading program for second and third graders in the Longfellow Elementary School, Sheboygan, WI.



Up On the Woof


 "I’ve been accused of treating my dogs like children, but I honestly see that as more of a badge of honor than a criticism. After all, the more science learns about dogs, the more ArielWaldoapparent it is that they are like children. They are as bright as any toddler, and because they are completely dependent on us, it means they stay babies all their lives. That means it’s our responsibility as pet parents to make sure their physical (food, water, shelter, safety, hygiene, play, medical) and emotional (love, encouragement, comfort) needs are met. It means teaching them, and seeing that their lives are enriched and that they are intellectually stimulated."

The excerpt above is by C.A. Wulff, from her Up On The Woof blog. Wulff is a dog loving animal advocate/activist; book reviewer and columnist (Examiner); yelodoggie artist; author of dog world books; and associate publisher at Barking Planet Productions.

In the Spring, Barking Planet Productions will publish an updated and revised edition of Wulff's fascinating memoir, Born Without a Tale. 


Your off to great places,

Today is your day!

Your mountain is waiting,

So...get on your way!



New Cinderella from Disney opens March 13.



Cinderella returns.. Will it be Sugar Coated Survival Skills or will the spirit of Malificent return?

After the success of Frozen, which glossed over Hans Christian Anderson's Snow Queen, it's no telling. However, the director (Kenneth Branagh) is excellent, as is the cast (Kate Blanchett, Lily James, Helen Bonham Carter, Richard Madden).

Frozen, with its romantic music and sugar coated romance, is a favorite to win an Academy Award (February 22).

Here is a link to the trailer: Cinderella


In Defense of Little Girls Who Like Princesses

Lizzy Burns wrote a caring, thoughtful, and very lively blog defending little girls who like playing princess. Here is an excerpt... 

"There is nothing wrong -- absolutely nothing wrong -- with your young child liking princesses. ClioApril-2012Any princess...I get annoyed at the gendering of toys and books -- Legos and science are for boys, feelings and dress up are for girls -- but that is because Legos and science and feelings and dress up are for any child, boy or girl, and problematic messages are sent by calling one "boy" and one "girl."

Princesses (especially pink sparkly princesses) can be problematic not because they are pink sparkly princesses but because what it means to be a princess, to want to be a princess, and how society views that, along with misunderstandings about the nature of play and imagination (and I'd add, that goes for children, teens, and grown ups.)

I'm not the first person to talk about princesses, what they mean, what they don't mean, and the depth and substance that is needed for the "princess talk..." 

Here's a link to read it all: Lizzy Burns


The Tin Man Returns in a theatrical perfomance piece invoving actors, puppets, a musical soundscape and innovative staging. Here is an excerpt from the New York Times Review by Laura Collins Hughes...

Led by a Tender Heart, Before It Is Ripped Out

‘The Woodsman’ Tells the Tin Man’s Tale

"Using words is dangerous in this eastern corner of Oz, yet sound is everywhere: the mournful music of a violin, the rasp of a witch, the spooky wind of the woods.


Woodsman2A movement piece with puppets, James Ortiz’s “The Woodsman” is an elemental reimagining of L. Frank Baum’s world of Oz. The spectacle is handmade, infused with breath and light...
This is the Tin Man’s back story: how a regular human named Nick Chopper (Mr. Ortiz) came to be a rusting pile of metal in need of a heart. The story, laid out in a spare spoken prologue in this largely wordless piece, involves the witch who rules this part of Oz. Her only apparent vulnerability is an aversion to sunlight..."

Here is a link to the full review: Laura Collins-Hughes


How to Create a YA Phenomenon, in Nine Easy Steps by Amanda Dobbins

Humor, Irony, tongue-in-PC, and truth mix in this article from New York Magazine's Vulture Website. Here's an excerpt...

"The Divergent series has sold 5 million books and is regularly called 'the next Hunger Games' or 'the next next Twilight.'Interested in writing the next next next teen franchise? Here’s a step-by-step guide. 

DivergentBookCover1. Start a blog.
Early online readers got to watch Roth write Divergent, find an agent, and sell it to HarperCollins—all in real time on her website. By the time the book was published, “she was already a social-media phenomenon,” says editor Katherine Tegen. 

Pro tip: Blog about lots of things!
A list of non-writing topics mentioned on Veronica Roth’s blog: dead raccoons, traffic lanes, sweet-potato soup, spiders, a OneRepublic CD. 

2. Don’t be afraid to be trendy.
The Hunger Games was big at that point, but there were a couple other books that were on the cusp of the dystopian-sci-fi trend—Matched and The Maze Runner. But the timing just worked so that Divergent ended up...Read it all: Amanda Dobbins


WCDogsLogo"How to find the best vet for your pooch
is about providing the best care for your dog. Dogs have a way of working their way into our heart and becoming more than just an everyday pet. If you have a pet dog then the chances are that they have become a firm member of your family. For this reason alone you are going to want to make sure that they receive the best veterinary care, which involves the best choice of vet. You probably wouldn’t visit a doctor with a bad reputation, and you will want the same for your dog..."

Read more on Nancy Hauser's Way Cool Dogs: Best Vet


Motherless Child Project.

The voice of Emily Amber, a 16 year old girl in South Carolina, pulls you in. I rarely read YA MotherlessChildProjectbooks and I'm still in the process of reading The Motherless Child Project. However, I can report that a compelling momentum drives this story. Here is an excerpt from early on in the book...

"...In my house, no one talks about anything concerning my mother, not dad, not Jon, Nicky nor me. The best way I can explain it is like this - when it's a fact in your life that your mother is MIA, and you know you'll never get anywhere by asking where she is because you tried numerous times with bad or worse results, you just move on with your life. What else can you do?..."

I'm looking forward to reading all of the Motherless Child Project and reporting on Emily Amber in the next Barking Planet blog. For more information, visit author Janie McQueen.


SheSpeaksBark-Logo_HorizontalOn Jan 29, Kaitlin Jenkins, posted an article  on her blog, She Speaks Bark,  about National Seeing Eye Dog Day. I found her article to be warm-hearted and informative. Here is an excerpt... 

"Guide Dogs, or Seeing Eye Dogs as they’re often called, provide support and independence to
GuideDogsforBlindClickerImage2014visually impaired individuals. Often, the companionship of the seeing eye dogs allows a visually impaired person to take many of their daily tasks back into their own hands. Suddenly a world that was always limiting a person is once again re-opened, and they’ve got a constant companion who is looking out for them at all times. The partnership between a trained guide dog and their person is something to behold, and it’s something I’ve always found incredibly powerful and fascinating."

GuideDogsBlindLogoHeaderHer article led me to Guide Dogs for the Blind. This outstanding organization, located in San Rafael, CA, and Boring, OR, offers a lifetime of support to visually impaired people. In their own words...

"We are a passionate community that serves the visually impaired. With exceptional client GuideDogs2services and a robust network of trainers, puppy raisers, donors and volunteers, we prepare highly qualified guide dogs to serve and empower individuals who are blind or have low vision. All of our services are provided free of charge; we receive no government funding."

Here is a link to their humorous guide to Blindness Etiquette video...I smiled, laughed and learned.

The photo of the woman and her dog is courtesy of Guide Dogs for the Blind


CinderellaRackham"She was made to work like a slave from morning to night. She had to get up at daybreak, carry water from the well, clean the fireplace and the fires, cook all the food and wash all the dishes. But that wasn't all, because the sisters did everything they could to make things worse for the poor girl...And when she was done at the end of the day, could she look forward to a comfortable bed? Not a bit of it. She had to sleep on the hearth, in among the ashes and the cinders..."

Cinderella - from Philip Pullman's Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm


A Dog's Life, Outside and Inside

Anna Nirva,in her Sunbear Squad blog, discusses how dogs are
Sunbearsquad-logosocial animals who are happier, and usually healthier, when they live inside. There, they can be part of a pack (people are also members of their pack). Often, however, dog owners choose to keep their dogs outside and this can necessitate -- if humane conditions are to prevail -- the need for a proper doghouse. Here is a brief excerpt: 

"If you must keep your dog outdoors, construct an excellent dog house and kennel based on considerations of your dog’s breed, age, 5 Doghead 7-1.457 by 1.68 inches
health status, your climate and environment, and safety and health features. Schedule daily activities so that your dog doesn’t become depressed or frustrated, leading to difficult behaviors. Never chain your dog..."

Anna offers detailed, comprehensive, information and considerations ranging from the dog's physical limitations and the local environment to design features that will help the dog to stay safe and healthy. Here is a link to read it all: the Humane Dog House. 

The illustration by Stella Mustanoja-McCarty is from Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale.


A man may smile and bid you hail
Yet wish you to the devil;
But when a good dog wags his tail,
You know he's on the level.
--Author unknown





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42199. Nathan Lane to Host Children’s Breakfast at BEA

Nathan Lane will be the Master of Ceremonies at the Children’s Breakfast at Book Expo America (BEA) this year.

At the event, Lane will discuss his new kids book, which comes out in the fall of 2015. Oliver Jeffers, Rainbow Rowell and James Patterson will join Lane on stage, to discuss their own upcoming books.

The breakfast will take place on Friday, May 29th at 8:00am at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City.

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42200. Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs app review

pterosaurs menuThough the American Museum of Natural History‘s Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs exhibit closed a few weeks ago, those of us who missed it can learn about these fascinating animals with the associated app (2014).

The first section, “What Is a Pterosaur?,” introduces this prehistoric creature, which lived for 150 million years, going extinct about 66 million years ago. Related to both birds and dinosaurs, the flying reptiles were the first vertebrates to develop flight and have “no modern analogue.” (One of many reasons pterosaurs were unique: though their wings look similar to bats’ on the surface, only one digit — a very long fourth finger — supported their membranous wings. In bats, four of their five fingers spread across the membrane to support it.) Thus far, pterosaurs are not well-represented in the fossil record, with only a small number of species discovered, and mostly coming from regions with similar types of habitats. This first section also covers some of pterosaurs’ adaptations to flight: hollow bones that were light but strong, powerful hind limbs for launching into flight, airfoil-shaped wings which maximized lift.

Five additional sections highlight various species of pterosaurs:

  • “Big Head, Long Tail: Dimorphodon
  • “Covered in Fuzz: Jeholopterus
  • “Extreme Size: Pteranodon
  • “Dramatic Display: Tupuxuara
  • “Tons of Teeth: Pterodaustro

Each section opens with the featured pterosaur’s scientific name with its pronunciation and meaning; its era, region, wingspan, and diet; plus a simulation of its flight and a graphic showing its relative size to humans or modern-day birds. Subsequent pages in each section relate the story of the species’ discovery (often including a diagram or photo of the first discovered fossil in situ) and give an in-depth look at one of its characteristic features, such as how Dimorphodon‘s long tail may have helped it balance on the ground and in flight. Other pterosaur species with similar features are introduced as well.

Integrated into the sections are many well-chosen and high-quality images (dynamic illustrations, diagrams, and photos of fossils and dig sites), videos, animations, and maps.

pterosaurs size chart

Occasionally users even get a glimpse of the ANHM’s real-life premises. This includes a look at their 1940s-era mural of pterosaurs — alongside updated info and illustrations correcting the many inaccuracies of “what scientists thought about pterosaurs at that time.” Good on ya, ANHM!

Available for iPad (requires iOs 6.0 or later); free. Recommended for intermediate users and up. A free companion app, Pterosaurs: The Card Game, is also available.


The post Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs app review appeared first on The Horn Book.

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