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Combine tasty treats, sleek design, and the now famous ‘Sitting Cameramen of Astor Place’ and you get the latest episode of “Cubes.”
In this episode of Cubes, the MediabistroTV crew is invited into the New York Headquarters of AOL and The Huffington Post. Hosted by the founding editor of The Huffington Post and president of HuffPost Live, Roy Sekoff, the crew visits the cavernous Huffington Post newsroom where hundreds of writers sit keyboard to keyboard under the watchful gaze of Arianna Huffington herself who plays the always gracious hostess by offering up some tasty Greek Christmas cookies. After burning through the sugar high, the guys mingle with the ghosts of journalism past in the HuffPost Live newsroom where live news is served up eight hours a day by tables of writers, producers and editors who always know what time it is in Funkytown.
You can view our other MediabistroTV productions on our YouTube Channel.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.Add a Comment
The paper will publish “up to a dozen” Byliner eBooks ranging from 10,000 to 20,000 words apiece and including titles about culture, sports, business, science and health. The series begins on December 17 with the $2.99 “Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek” by New York Times reporter John Branch.
Vook will work on the TimesFiles project, a “curated selections of articles” from the paper. Here’s more about the TimesFiles project, from the release…
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.Add a Comment
|Frances Foster (left) and me|
The fine folks at AudioFile Magazine have named the audio book of KNUFFLE BUNNY FREE, featuring the voices of Trixie Willems, Cher Willems, and myself as a Best Audio Book for 2012! The animated film and audio book are currently available for the school and library market. And thanks to the Goodreads readers who voted THE DUCKLING GETS A COOKIE!? their 2nd favorite picture book of the year,Add a Comment
Revealed in the soliciations for DC’s March, Keith Giffen will be adding an updated version of Captain Carrot to the cast of his new series Threshold. Now called Captain K’Rot, this version of the character will apparently be “a borderline psychotic, booze swilling, whore-mongering rabbit”.
One of the top three intergalactic bunny rabbits of all time, the majority of DC fans had been wondering where Captain Carrot was in the New 52 relaunch. It may well have been the #1 question posed to Dan DiDio at conventions, causing the company to frantically lay a Stephanie Brown-shaped smoke trail across their plans for the burrowing hero, in the hope to distract people away from the floppy-eared protector of the galaxy.
But now, with the help of an apostrophe and some wonky phonetics, the character is returned, and presumably without that dratted hassle of having to pay the creators royalties for their original work. Any day now Marvel are going to announce they’re publishing a M’Arvelman series.
Captain Carrot’s creator Scott Shaw has responded to the redesign on his facebook page:
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As long as it’s not really Captain Carrot, I don’t care. If anything, I’m kinda amused by their rather lame attempt to fit an ‘edgy’ funny animal into the ‘New 52′ universe. Somehow, it reminds me of Warner Bros. Animation’s terrible LOONATICS UNLEASHED SatAM cartoon series. Where’s Ch’p, Thunderbunny, Jaxxon, Bucky O’Hare, Rocket Raccoon and Howard the Duck when we need ‘em?
What an amazing story my friend KM Walton tells here about saving a bullied boy from those who tormented him. She taught empathy. She gave bullies the power of kindness. Listen in.
Please welcome Victoria James to the virtual offices today. She’s here to chat about her holiday themed romance The Billionaire’s Christmas Baby.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.
[Victoria James] Mom, wife, daughter, writer, entrepreneur. I’m loyal, optimistic, a total sap, and a dreamer. Oh, and coffee addict.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Billionaire’s Christmas Baby?
[Victoria James] Jackson Pierce had a perfect childhood-until a death changed everything. The tragedy shattered his family, and he grew to hate the holidays, and everything that reminded him of the people he had lost. Hannah Woods, the woman who is about to challenge all his beliefs, grew up with nothing, with no one. And yet, it is Hannah who teaches him the importance of family ties, and the power of forgiveness. Somehow, the two of them must overcome their pasts and find a way to be the family that both of them secretly desire…
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
[Victoria James] A few years ago, surrounded by my extended family, I started wondering about how much of who I was today was shaped by the people around me. I had always known the love of parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, cousins. But what if I hadn’t? How would that have changed me? And that thought triggered the characters in THE BILLIONAIRE’S CHRISTMAS BABY. How would different people react to the holidays if they didn’t have a family? If they had no one? Would they build walls around themselves? Or would they be in a perpetual search for a soul-mate, for love? The hero and heroine that took shape in my mind became larger than life. Their pain, their need for acceptance and unconditional love tugged at my heartstrings until I was forced to find a way to create a happily-ever-after for the three of them! And of course, it would have to take place during the holidays!
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Hannah?
[Victoria James] Hannah is determined, gutsy, and optimistic.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Jackson had a theme song, what would it be?
[Victoria James] Eye of the Tiger, by Survivor. LOL.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Hannah won’t leave the house without.
[Victoria James] Her BlackBerry. It’s her connection to her job-and she takes her career as a social worker very seriously.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Jackson’s pockets?
[Victoria James] Cigarettes, pictures of his family, anything Christmas related.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Jackson’s greatest regret?
[Victoria James] Not reconciling with his sister.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?
[Victoria James] Everything around me. I’m one of those people in a crowd who watches and observes-I’m not the talker or the life of the party. I love people-watching and often I get swept away by a scenario or a face, and a whole new story emerges! People’s unique life journeys intrigue me. And I’m always inspired by people’s real-life stories.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?
[Victoria James] Coffee, a quiet space, my laptop.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?
[Victoria James] OK-don’t laugh (well, a little giggle is fine, I guess): Llama Llama Holiday Drama. Seriously, if you have small children you must get this book. I loved all the Llama Llama books, and this one is just so sweet and funny, I love reading it…with the kids, of course.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?
[Victoria James] Well, we’re going back many years here, but I think the first books were the Laura Ingalls Wilder books…and in my genre, once I was older, it was Judith McNaught. I fell in love with her historical books, her heroes and heroines. I was a total historical-romance junkie for years!
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
[Victoria James] Mostly family stuff. We have small children and it seems like there’s always something going on! But when I’m not doing ‘kid-stuff’ I’m putting my interior design background to use-I’m always rearranging furniture and pictures in our house. I still do freelance work as well. I love seasonal decorating. Basically, I drive my husband nuts, because he hates change…and thing are always changing!
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?
Visit Victoria James: www.victoriajames.ca
Facebook Page – www.facebook.com/pages/Victoria-James/412431258807271
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!
You can order The Billionaire’s Christmas Baby from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the link below
About The Billionaire’s Christmas Baby:
About Victoria James:
Victoria James is a romance writer living near Toronto, Canada. Victoria is a mother to two young children, and one very disorderly feline. Victoria attended Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and graduated with a degree in English Literature, where she met and then later married, her own hero. After Queen’s, Victoria earned a degree in Interior Design. After the birth of her first child she began pursuing her life-long passion of writing. Her dream of being a published romance author was realized last February, 2012, when Entangled Publishing bought her manuscript. Victoria is living her dream-staying home with her children and conjuring up happy endings for her characters.Add a Comment
I always knew that my family was a little different, but it wasn’t until my mid-teens that I realized exactly how weird we were. An African-American family living in the suburban greenery of Hollis, Queens, at the outskirts of New York City, we thought little of the fact that my father’s big hobby was hunting game birds. With dogs, no less. Often on horseback. Around the holidays, my Aunt Emma made wonderful chopped liver, and in the springtime, our table was often festooned with matzoh bread. It never occurred to us that these last two items were Jewish food traditions that rarely made forays into our community, and to this day, none of us are sure how they got there.
In a way, I think that this sort of culinary experience is at the heart of being an American, and as I travel the world, it’s one of the things that makes me proud of this country. As I prepare for Hanukkah celebrations with friends, I’m glad to say that beer is very much at the heart of the holiday meals. Some of my friends keep kosher, and many do not, but thankfully most beers are considered “kosher by default” in most parts of the world. Jewish dietary laws, kashrut, is interpreted by local councils of rabbis. In the United States, Canada and Israel, some people only eat foods that are specifically certified as kosher by rabbis, especially around Passover. At my brewery, we actually have some of our beers certified kosher for Passover, and a rabbi comes and blesses the beer!
Unless your own diet is very strict, there are very few beers that would ever cross your table that are off-limits, so you can tuck right into your holiday beer pairings. It’s nice to start off the meal with light, spritzy saisons, the farmhouse ales of Belgium. They’re dry and lively, and often show appetizing peppery and lemony aromatics. Re-fermentation in the bottle gives them a Champagne-like carbonation and texture, which is one reason why we often drink them out of Champagne flutes. Full-flavored beers can work wonders with the classics on the table, especially beef brisket and latkes. Both of these dishes are fatty, a little salty, and typified by caramelized flavors (no wonder we love them!), and beers with caramel and roasted flavors work well here. British and American brown ales are a good place to start, bringing light chocolate, caramel and coffee flavors that harmonize with everything, even sautéed Brussels sprouts. If you want something more complex, go for dark Trappist and abbey ales, where the dark color and caramel flavors come from highly caramelized sugars rather than grains. This translates into dried fruit and raisin-like flavors, along with rum-like flavors that remind me of Cracker Jacks or the burnt surface of a crème brulee.
When it’s time for dessert, beer really does outshine all other beverages. My favorite dessert beer style is imperial stout, a strong dark beer originally made for Catherine the Great. Brewed with large amounts of malts that have been roasted as dark as espresso coffee beans, imperial stouts taste like dark chocolate, coffee and dark fruit, making them a perfect foil for a range of desserts. With chocolate desserts, they play harmony, rowing in with similar flavors. With pastries such as rugelach, the coffee-like character is perfect, and the beer has just enough sweetness to match without becoming cloying. And these beers are a wonder with ice cream too — many people enjoy making ice cream floats with imperial stouts. Just make sure to have a soft-drink version ready for the kids!
The great thing about serving and bringing beer to the holiday table is that it’s fun. Everyone’s had one at some point or another, and though wine is great and has a wide range of flavor, it rarely surprises people. Beer, however, can be very surprising, because it can tastes like almost anything, from lemons and bananas to chocolate and coffee. Some friends and family might even leave your holiday table having discovered something brand new to like, and wouldn’t that be cool? This time of year I can’t help wishing that my Aunt Emma was still here; I’ll bet that Belgian abbey ales would have been great with her chopped liver, but I never learned how to make it. So among the other things you do this Hanukkah, teach the kids how to make your latkes! Though I’ll bet they’re not quite as good as mine.
Garrett Oliver, editor of The Oxford Companion to Beer, is the Brewmaster of the Brooklyn Brewery and author of The Brewmaster’s Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food. He has won many awards for his beers, is a frequent judge for international beer competitions, and has made numerous radio and television appearances as a spokesperson for craft brewing.
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The Oxford Companion to Beer is the first major reference work to investigate the history and vast scope of beer, featuring more than 1,100 A-Z entries written by 166 of the world’s most prominent beer experts. It is first place winner of the 2012 Gourmand Award for Best in the World in the Beer category, winner of the 2011 André Simon Book Award in the Drinks Category, and shortlisted in Food and Travel for Book of the Year in the Drinks Category. View previous Oxford Companion to Beer blog posts and videos.
There's a cute new Christmas book available this year called SANTA'S HAT, written and illustrated by Linda Bleck (Running Press). What is Santa to do when he can't find his hat? I asked Linda about her new book...
Q. Linda, how did you come up with the idea for SANTA'S HAT?
A. Santa's Hat was initially conceptualized from a piece of art I created to build my children's work portfolio about 10 years ago. The picture was Santa standing in front of a Hat shop and he is looking at a boy. There were all kinds of hats in the window. My agent informed me that the editor asked if there was a story. I never say no and quickly over the next year I attempted to write a story. It was rejected, but I didn't give up. I rewrote the story several times and Lori Nowicki from painted-words.com continued to show it around. Over time the story evolved and my writing became better. Marlo Scrimizzi form Running Press liked the story—and so there you have it, Santa's Hat.
Q. I LOVE the endpapers - all the different hats. I would have stared at them for hours as a kid. How did you come up with so many hats and do you have a favorite?
A. Oh I love those end papers too. I took some of the hats from the story and then I created several more as individual pieces of art. I love to design pages as my background was in graphic design initially. It took me about two days to compile the grid and get everything lined up so I was pleased how it looked in the cropped state. The page was assembled in Photoshop and I used several repeat and paste steps. It gave me an opportunity to introduce those hats I couldn't make pages for. Too bad picture books are not 64 pages. It is hard to choose a favorite but I think I like the one Mrs. Claus knitted for Santa. It was inspired from a hat that my sister Cathie had as a teenager except hers was fake fur. The other favorite hat is called a "Stormy Kromer" which is a regionally Midwestern-made hat. A good friend requested that I make that one in the book.
Q. What is your medium? I'm guessing watercolor?
A. My medium is an opaque watercolor called gouache. Many find the medium hard to control, but I have worked with the medium for almost 30 years and now understand how the paint reacts. You can make it more solid or transparent. It really is a wonderful medium. Interestingly many of the Impressionists used the medium for on sight color sketches, as they found the oil sketches hard to transport.
Q. Please share your path to publication with my readers - many who would love to write or illustrate books of their own!
A. Oh my path to publication is a long one. This was my first picture book and my previous books were a series of pop-up books based on Pepper the Dog, printed in 2005 for Simon and Schuster. I started as an editorial illustrator in 1987, creating art for many types of publications, mostly business and science journals as well as corporate identity, packaging, exhibits, logos, and many other applications. My work was rather technical. The transition to the children's market was a challenge for me and for my buyers. I decided to try to break into the market around 1999, after the birth of my second child. My children were very inspiring and they had changed my artistic sensibilities. I wanted to create work that wasn't temporary. My work tended to be stilted and editorialized. Children's illustration requires many nuances, such as using strong characters, expressions, active based illustrations with lots of details, characters that interact. It's rather like setting a stage for a play. When I create my scenes I am always thinking in that way. How does this look as a whole? Will it stand alone without text? Does each picture tell its own story? But over the years I really worked hard at developing that craft and I continue to strive to be even better today.
My biggest break was a series of books I created for Sterling Publishing in New York. I was asked to create a series of four books based on traditional rhymes, songs, lullabies, and prayers. It was so successful they asked me to do two more books based on poems and Mother Goose writings. It was in this series I really pushed and learned so much. I had no time to think; the images just flowed and I painted after a very short approval stage. I created four books in 5 months. My work has a somewhat “Little Golden Book” look which they found worked well. The series is called The Children's Treasury of Poems, Rhymes, Songs, Lullabies, Prayers, and Mother Goose.
Over the last 4 years I created a few other picture books by other authors, Moon Shines Down by Margaret Wise Brown and The City Kid and Suburb Kid by Deb Pilutti. My ultimate goal was to do a picture book written and illustrated by myself.
With my agent’s encouragement, I began working on the Santa's Hat book. I would guess the book evolved over a period of about 6-7 years until I felt it was worthy of showing. I had actually shelved the idea after the first round because I just did not have to time to rewrite. Lori (my agent) showed it to many editors and it was rejected. Some liked the concept, but they already had competing Santa stories so I was really glad Marlo liked it.
I always accept criticism and try to use to my benefit. I ask many questions about why someone doesn’t like a book or what they thought was working in the story. I never give up! I keep a sketch book handy in case I have an inspiration. I am currently working on another pop-up book for Scholastic which I think is going to a nice addition to the collection. I just love what I do and when I see children happy when they read my stories or look at my pictures it makes me feel so wonderful inside. I love being a positive force.
My mother was my biggest advocate and she herself was a wonderful illustrator and writer, although her stories were never published. We lost her this year and she will be missed! She was my best teacher and always instilled in me that when you draw or paint make your pictures move.
Q. Finally, this is a wonderfully festive book for the holiday season, and I love Bell and Bow. How's it feel to have a Christmas book? (And are those your dogs?)
A. I do not have any pets, believe it or not. We live in the woods so we have many creatures outside. My husband’s family has pets and their dog’s name is Bow. I just thought the dogs were such a nice addition and allowed me to write in a visual subplot. I like to subtly layer my stories with extras.
It feels fantastic to have a Christmas story! My mother was happy to see a Christmas story, too.
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Review copy provided by the publisher.
I recently had the privilege of listening to Sara Pennypacker, author of the Clementine series of early-chapter books. Her books are widely recognized as a forte in capturing the reader and drawing them in. The opening scene of Book 1 has Clementine, a third grade dynamo, sitting in the principal’s office and a frequent comment is that the scene is hilarious (I’ve written about how well this scene orients the reader, too.)
But Pennypacker says she didn’t write it humorous. Rather, the reader wrote it funny. What does she mean?
Consider this line:
“Someone should tell you not to answer the phone in the principal’s office, if that’s a rule.”
It’s funny. You know from this line that Clementine has answered the principal’s phone line and it resulted in disaster. Even without details or without the usual “Tell-Don’t-Show,” it’s funny. But the humor is created in the reader’s mind, by your imagination.
The technique of leaving out the most dramatic part in favor of letting the reader create meaning is useful, especially in opening lines. The danger is when it’s used too often or if it is used as a lazy crutch or excuse for not Show-Don’t-Telling. In other words, most of the time, the important details should be shown, not told. But sometimes, leaving out details and letting the reader fill them in is OK. It’s effective in Clementine’s opening page because it fits Clementine’s voice as a naive character and because Pennypacker already gave the reader specific details: Hamburger Surprise at lunch, Margaret’s mother coming to get her and so on.
Also, while what is left out is not specific, it is absolutely clear. The reader is not confused by having something left out. Clarity rules.
Notice, though, that this introduction is swiftly followed by a conventional scene with a stricter adherence to the Show-Don’t-Tell maxim. Used too often, leaving out the most dramatic part would just confuse the reader.
Another place to leave out the most dramatic information is when you set up a new scene. The tendency is to provide a summary–that holdover from having to write a thesis statement, probably.
Emily knocked on Bruce’s door. She just had to make it through his Christmas party.
Here, we’re told in a summary statement what the upcoming scene will entail, “making it through his Christmas party.” Instead, you could use a scene cut and let the reader experience the party for themselves.
Emily knocked on the door.
* * *
Emily wanted to plug her ears against the jazzed up Christmas carols that blasted above the crowd noise. She edged around the edge of the room toward the punch table, avoiding an elbow here and barely keeping a cowboy boot from stomping on her foot, hoping to find someone familiar.
Here, we are experiencing the party with Emily. Leaving out the summary statement about making it through the party strengthens the reader’s curiosity about what happens next. That’s the only thing we leave in question: what happens next? Don’t undercut this natural curiosity by summarizing the action before you present it. Time enough later for Emily to gripe to Joe about the lousy party.
Pennypacker had a hard task, to introduce a specific scene, to set up a voice, a character, a situation, and eventually a series of books about this endearing third grader. She succeeded by letting the reader participate in creating humor.Add a Comment
One of the ways authors try to get a little extra attention at an event like Bouchercon, Malice Domestic, or Crime Bake is to put something in the bag o'swag given to all attendees.
I spent some time stuffing those bags at two recent conferences (a good way to meet the people who make the conference happen by the way) and a lot of years getting them at conferences and cons.
Mostly I throw the stuff away. Sorry. I know it pains your heart and wallet to hear. I toss postcards, pens (I have a certain kind of pen I like) and gum. I toss the flyers after a quick once-over. And I mostly leave the books on the give-back table cause I don't want to pay to ship them, and I don't want to haul them.
In this I am probably an anomaly.
There's one swag item I've actually used a lot since I got it and I think it's a terrific item for swag bag:
Students’ informational writing can change dramatically when we include an extra step in between: 1) take notes, 2) experiment with those notes by teaching-through-writing, 3) write a draft.Add a Comment
‘So in order for Julie to believe, I had to make the reader believe it, too.’
From UK blogger Bookwitch’s interview with Cody Name Verity author Elizabeth Wein – Careless Talk Costs Lives. (Warning: read the book before the interview.)
An Interview with author, Helen Ginger:
Dalkey Archive Press director John O’Brien caused controversy this week with a difficult job posting, setting an impossible set of demands for his future employee.
In an interview with Irish Times, O’Brien explained: “The advertisement was a modest proposal. Serious and not-serious at one and the same time.” What do you think? You can compare the ad with Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal,” one of the most famous pieces of satire ever written.
The job posting included this challenging set of requirements: ”Any of the following will be grounds for immediate dismissal during the probationary period: coming in late or leaving early without prior permission; being unavailable at night or on the weekends; failing to meet any goals; giving unsolicited advice about how to run things; taking personal phone calls during work hours; gossiping; misusing company property, including surfing the internet while at work; submission of poorly written materials; creating an atmosphere of complaint or argument; failing to respond to emails in a timely way; not showing an interest in other aspects of publishing beyond editorial; making repeated mistakes; violating company policies. DO NOT APPLY if you have a work history containing any of the above.”
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.Add a Comment
Students’ informational writing can change dramatically when we include an extra step in between: 1) take notes, 2) experiment with those notes by teaching-through-writing, 3) write a draft.Add a Comment
Turtle and Snake and the Christmas Tree. by Kate Spohn. 2000. Penguin. 32 pages. ISBN: 9780670888672
Do you remember that moment in the film version of The Princess Bride where the grandfather is trying to convince his stubborn grandson that the book he’s about to read is fantastic? He lures the kid in by saying the book contains, “Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles.” If I had a kid standing in front me right now looking at Splendors and Glooms with equal suspicion I would probably tell them that the book has a witch, an evil puppet master, transformations, a magical amulet, small dogs, orphans, lots of blood, and Yorkshire pudding. And just as the grandfather’s description fails to do The Princess Bride justice, so too does this description just wan and pale in the presence of Laura Amy Schlitz’s latest. This is a book infused with such a heady atmosphere that from page one on you are so thoroughly sucked into the story that the only way to get out is through.
The witch is dying. The girl is lonely. The children are hungry. Four people unconnected until the puppet master Grisini brings them, in a sense, together. Lizzie Rose and Parsefall are orphans who have lived with the man for years, doing his puppet work with him, received almost nothing in return. When they perform for Clara Wintermute, a rich little girl who requests a performance for her birthday, they are unprepared when the next day policeman come around asking questions. Clara has disappeared and Grisini is under suspicion. When Grisini himself disappears, Lizzie Rose and Parsefall find something that makes Clara’s fate seem out of the ordinary. All the more so when they are summoned by a witch to a beautiful distant estate and everyone, even Grisini, is reunited once more for a final showdown.
As odd as it is to say, what this book reminded me of more than anything else was A.S. Byatt’s Angels & Insects. To be fair, I felt that way about Ms. Schlitz’s previous novel A Drowned Maiden’s Hair too. Though written for adults, Byatt’s novel consists of two short stories, one of which concerns séances and a woman with multiple dead children in her past. Thoughts of that woman came to me as I read more about Clara’s story. At first glance a spoiled little rich girl, Clara is cursed in a sense to be the one child that survived a cholera epidemic that wiped out her siblings when she was quite young. Forced to honor them at her birthday (not to mention other times of the year) she is understandably less than in love with their figurative ghosts. Like Byatt, Schlitz taps so successfully into a time period’s mores that even as you wonder at their strangeness you understand their meaning. You may not agree with them, but you understand.
Where A Drowned Maiden’s Hair was a self-described melodrama, Splendors and Glooms is Victorian Gothic. It brings to mind the dirty streets of London and books by authors like Joan Aiken. In Lizzie Rose and Parsefall’s world you can get dirty just by walking through the yellow fog. Never mind what you encounter on the street. The first three chapters of the book are split between three different characters and you go down the class ladder, from upper-upperclass to kids who feed only when they can get away with it. It’s a distinctive period and Schlitz is a master and plunging you directly into that world. I am also happy to report that her ear for language is as pitch perfect as ever. She’s the only author for kids that I know of that can get away with sentences like, “Lizzie Rose corrected him, aspirating the h.”
At the same time no one acts the way you would expect them to. You walk into the novel thinking that orphans Lizzie Rose and Parsefall will be perfect little pseudo-siblings to one another and you’re repeatedly surprised when Parsefall rejects any and all affection from his devoted (if not doting) friend. In fact he’s a fascinating character in and of himself (and at times I almost had the sense that he knew himself to BE a character). He has only one love, one devotion, one obsession in this world and it’s difficult for anything else to make a dent in it. Likewise, when Lizzie Rose interacts with the witch you expect the standard tale where she melts the old woman’s heart against her will. Schlitz doesn’t go in for the expected, though. You will find no schmaltz within these pages. Though the characters’ expectations may line up with the readers’, beware of falling too in love with what somebody on the page wants. You might find your own heart breaking.
Even as a child I had a strange habit of falling in love with storytime’s villains. Captain Hook most notably, but others followed suit. That was part of what was so interesting about the villain Grisini in this book. By all logic I should have developed a crush on him of some sort. Yet Schlitz manages to make him wholly reprehensible and just kind of nasty to boot. He actually doesn’t appear in all that many pages of the book. When he does you are baffled by him. He’s not like a usual villain. He’s almost impotent, though his shadow is long. He also suffers more physically than any other bad guy I’ve encountered in a book for kids. If you’ve ever worried that a no goodnik wasn’t paying sufficiently for their crimes you shall have no such similar objections to Splendors and Glooms. The wages of sin are death and perhaps a bit of bloodletting as well.
I admit (and I’m ashamed to say so now) that when I first read this book I thought to myself, “Well that was delightful but I’m sure I’ll have a hard time persuading other folks to like it as much as I do.” Chalk that one up to my own snotty little assumptions. I’m sure the underlying thought was that I was clearly the right kind of reader and therefore my superior intellect was the whole reason I liked what I had read. Fortunately I was to find that I was nothing more than a snobby snob when it became clear that not only did other librarians love it (librarians who would normally eschew most forms of fantasy if they could possibly help it), kids were enjoying it too! As of this review there are twelve holds on my library’s print copies of Splendors and Glooms and six holds on our two ebook editions! So much for lowered expectations. It is exceedingly rare to find an author who hits it out of the park, so to speak, every single time she writes. Ms. Schlitz has written six published works for children and not one has been anything but remarkable. As adept at fairy stories as fairytales, at straight biographies or melodramatic ghost stories, at long last we see what she can do with a Dickensian setting. Result: She does wonders. Wonders and splendors with just a hint of gloom. The sole downside is sitting and waiting for her next book. If it’s half as good as this one, it’ll be worth the wait.
On shelves now.
Source: Finished copy sent from publisher for review.
Like This? Then Try:
First Sentence: “The witch burned.”
Notes on the Cover: Hands down brilliant. Bagram Ibatoulline (the artist behind it) spends so much time being sweet and meaningful that it’s almost a relief to watch him doing something adequately creepy. Be sure to spot that wonderful skeleton marionette on the back cover. Worth discovering, certainly.
I was also unaware of the British change to both the cover and the book’s very title:
|By 2012 debut author Lynne Kelly|
|By 2012 debut author Gwenda Bond|
Our fascination with creativity is a timeless and universal phenomenon. Since Greek antiquity, its most telling embodiment has been Prometheus: that heroic benefactor of humanity who stole the fire whose vital sparks sustain science and the arts. In more modern times, it is the fire of the imagination that is understood to illuminate and guide the creative mind, transforming the conventions of culture. For Ludwig van Beethoven, at the threshold of the nineteenth century, the challenge retained its force: his first major piece for the stage was the ballet music to “The Creatures of Prometheus,” op. 43. That work in turn became the stepping-stone to a pivotal masterpiece of fiery daring: the Eroica Symphony, completed in 1804.
In the world of art, the notion of a work emerging through long toil and unfailing vision is perhaps most readily associated with sculptors such as Michelangelo or Rodin. A prolonged creative process with intermediate stages in the form of models, studies, sketches, and earlier versions, is illustrated in the work of Leonardo da Vinci and many others. Among writers, one thinks of Goethe’s long preoccupation with Wilhelm Meister or Faust, or Jean Paul Richter’s prolonged work on his novels.Beethoven’s labors on major projects could extend over many years and even decades of his life, with certain compositions serving as stepping-stones toward larger comprehensive efforts. Thus the Choral Fantasy, op. 80, from 1808, acted as a springboard in the achievement of the choral finale of the Ninth Symphony, completed in 1824. Beethoven himself pointed out the affinity, describing the finale as “a setting of the words of Schiller’s immortal ‘Lied an die Freude’ in the same way as my pianoforte fantasia with chorus, but on a far grander scale.”
In the age of Romanticism, the emphasis on originality and the cult of genius raised the stakes of artistic creativity, and propagated the image of the suffering artist-hero. Beethoven’s reputation for defiant independence fit this heroic image and his handicapped status as a “deaf seer,” in Wagner’s words, made it stick. With Beethoven’s worsening deafness came an inevitable retreat from the concert platform as well as an increasing social isolation. His loss of hearing also impacted his composing methods. As he grew older, Beethoven relied more on written musical sketches and drafts. As a young composer who was also an active keyboard virtuoso and skilled improviser, Beethoven could immediately test ideas at the piano. Increasingly, such exploratory activity was transferred from the piano to his sketchbooks and thereby captured on paper, with the musical sketches sometimes taking on the appearance of notated improvisations.
The legacy of Beethoven’s sketchbooks offers us a rare opportunity to gaze into the workshop of one of the greatest artists. Beethoven made thousands of pages of sketches and drafts for his music in addition to the finished scores, many of which are also full of his changes and corrections. This process of writing traced both the swift arc of the imagination and the very conscious deliberation demanded by specific compositional problems. His unusual and consistent reliance on these papers and attachment to them after use have preserved a detailed record of the creative process.
Beethoven’s commitment to sketching his music was noticed and remarked upon by his contemporaries. Ignaz von Seyfried, for instance, reported that Beethoven “was never found on the street without a small note-book in which he was wont to record his passing ideas. Whenever conversation turned on the subject he would parody Joan of Arc’s words: “I dare not come without my banner!”
How can we best do justice to Beethoven’s legacy and influence in the present day? One imperative is to seek to overcome narrow or overspecialized approaches that sever history from theory, and performance from aesthetics. Such pigeonholing is often encouraged by institutional structures, but often does not help us to grasp the magnitude of Beethoven’s achievement and continuing cultural importance. Beethoven once wrote characteristically about the need for “freedom and progress. . . in the world of art as in the whole of creation.” To refer to his own artistic goal in this context he coined the term Kunstvereinigung or “artistic unification.” Today, two-hundred forty-two years after his birth, Beethoven scholarship is entering its most vigorous stage yet, influencing our contemporary musical and cultural life.
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William Kinderman is Professor of Musicology at the University of Illinois – Champaign-Urbana. His books include Beethoven’s “Diabelli” Variations (OUP, 1987), ed., Beethoven’s Compositional Process (Nebraska, 1991), Beethoven (OUP and California, 1995), ed., The Second Practice of Nineteenth-Century Tonality (Nebraska, 1996), Artaria 195: Beethoven’s Sketchbook for the ‘Missa solemnis’ and the Piano Sonata in E Major, Opus 109 (Illinois, 3 vols., 2003), ed. (with Katherine Syer), A Companion to Wagner’s “Parsifal” (Camden House, 2005), ed., The String Quartets of Beethoven (Illinois, 2006), and Mozart’s Piano Music (OUP, 2006). He is also an accomplished pianist whose recordings have been met with global acclaim; his CDs of Beethoven’s last sonatas and Diabelli Variations have appeared with Arietta Records.
The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) is inviting librarians to register their 2013 El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day) programs in the 2013 National Día Program Registry.
By registering their Día programs held throughout the year in the national registry, libraries build a national database that showcases all types and sizes of Día programming. The information will display on the website, in both the map and database format, allowing you to share program information with other librarians and the public interested in learning more about Día programs happening around the country. Libraries that register will also receive Día stickers and bookmarks (while supplies last).
ALSC also is pleased to announce this year’s slogan Día: Diversity in Action. Día is a nationally recognized initiative that emphasizes the importance of literacy for all children from all backgrounds. It is a daily commitment to linking children and their families to diverse books, languages and cultures.
“As the most important celebration for multicultural children’s library services, Día truly is Diversity in Action,” said ALSC President Carolyn Brodie. “We’re proud to offer this registration as a way of promoting local events on a national level. With every registration, we’re showcasing the reach of Día, allowing ALSC to expand the experience and support of this great initiative.”
“Literacy is essential in democracy and what a diverse country we are,” said Día founder Pat Mora. “Those of us lucky enough to be readers and wanting to share bookjoy can help link all children to books, languages and cultures through Día, day by day, día pro día. Promote your April Día celebration on this helpful ALSC registry. Help illustrate and generate Día excitement nationally.”
Libraries can register at the Día website, where ALSC also offers a resource guide, booklist and logos for download.
The Día celebration was founded in 1996 by children’s book author Pat Mora, who proposed conceptually linking the exisiting El Día del Niño with literacy. The founding partner of Día is REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking. For more information on Día, please visit http://dia.ala.org.
ALSC is the world’s largest organization dedicated to the support and enhancement of library service to children. With a network of more than 4,000 children’s and youth librarians, literature experts, publishers and educational faculty, ALSC is committed to creating a better future for children through libraries. To learn more about ALSC, visit www.ala.org/alsc.
The world is flat, asserts Thomas L. Friedman, the New York Times‘ Foreign Affairs columnist and the author of the bestselling book by the same name. Never before in the history of the world have opportunities been distributed so evenly between people of colors, countries and gender. This is certainly true in freelancing. You could live anywhere in the world, never have stepped foot in New York City, but still have a fantastic career writing for some of the most respected names in the business.
I know of what I speak. I started my career ten years ago from New Delhi, India, writing for small publications around the world, including in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Bahrain, France, Germany, Sweden, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, and of course, India. I’ve now lived and worked in four continents and written for The New York Times, Time Magazine, Marie Claire, The Christian Science Monitor, The International Herald Tribune, Ms. magazine, Vogue, Glamour, and many more.
I have also come full cirlce and wound up where I began in India and even today, 95% of my income comes from publications that are based outside of my home country.
Selling work to countries outside your own isn’t just an ego boost (though it can be one when you get fan mail from Malaysia). With editors increasingly demanding more and more rights and your income threatening to dwindle, selling reprints in different countries and non-competing markets can be a fantastic solution. Even if you simply resell your pieces to different markets in various countries, you’ll earn substantially more.
Pitching to a foreign magazine is no different from pitching publications at home. Just be careful of cultural differences though. What works in the West may not necessary be right for, or even acceptable in, the East and vice versa. You can find international publications pretty easily these days. Just enter in keywords of your choice with country names into Google and just watch those babies pop up!
Here are a few more good reasons why you should be writing publications outside your own country.
1. Better pay.
Publications in the US typically pay a lot better than publications in Asia. Publications in Europe typically pay a lot better than publications in the US or Canada. Publications that are in foreign languages will translate your work and pay you for doing no extra work. Publications that are outside of the English-speaking world that need good writers in English will come back to you repeatedly for more work.
There is immense opportunity out there if you’re willing to look, do a bit of legwork, and keep your eyes open for opportunites beyond your newsstand. I get e-mails on a weekly basis from editors in European countries from publications I’ve never heard of asking me to write for them. If I do a good job, repeat work is almost inevitable. And my income has soared as a result. These aren’t the sexy gigs, but they’ll keep you in business.
2. Less competition.
Most writers — new or experienced — will usually look for publications in their own countries to pitch story ideas to. This means that there are editors in about 200+ other countries that may not have regular reporting or analysis from your country. That’s a very fertile market with very little competition.
For instance, I currently write for two construction trade magazines, one in the UK and one in the US. Both pay well, give me regular work, and have no other correspondents based in my country. They’re eager to hear about new developments from my part of the world, and I’m more than happy to provide it. Because I’m the reporter on the ground, I’m the eyes and ears for these publications and hence my relationship with my editors is much more involved and friendly than it would be if I were just another one of a group of writers they hire in their own country. I bring a specific part of the world to them and that’s what makes me stand out.
3. Less legalese.
American writers are often so used to 10-page contracts that will ask for everything but the deed to your house that when a publication doesn’t offer up a written contract or just, you know, wings it, they balk at this idea and think it must be some sort of scam. Sometimes, it is. But in much of Asia, and a lot of Europe, this is the way business is done. “We’re going to buy your article, we’ll have first rights, we’ll pay you £1,000 for it. Deadline is end of this month. Capiche?” How simple is that?
4. Extra income for work already done.
As I alluded to earlier, if you’re smart enough to hold on to your rights (and admittedly, it’s getting harder these days), you have 200+ more opportunities to sell that piece for first rights in specific territories. And that’s just in the English language alone. Then there are translations, audio rights, all sorts of rewriting opportunites, and don’t forget reslanting that information.
You’re obviously not going to go all that far with each piece — you chose this career because you found it exciting to write and report new things, after all — but even if you follow up on 1 percent of those opportunities, you’ll have a better income and more credits.
How do you get paid by all these publications? Wire transfer is my method of choice, but checks should work, too. Paypal works. Talk about tax with European publications — some like to deduct at source, which means they might lop off a third of your paycheck before it even gets to you even though you’re not paying tax in that country. You can get that money back, but it’s a headache. So discuss these things beforehand so there are no nasty surprises.
5. Higher readership.
If you’re looking to sell e-books or products from your own website, bringing international readers into your fold can substantially increase your readership and your market.
And why just e-books? You might end up selling international rights to your paperbacks, Kindle versions are now available all over the world, and Friedman’s flat world is especially becoming a reality in publishing where readers have always been open to new ideas, new authors, new cultures.
By consciously making an effort to include international readers in your work, you make fans for life. And how do you find these readers? By publishing in newspapers, magazines, and websites in their countries, of course.
6. Short lead times.
You know the women’s magazine that has been sitting on your FOB for about six months and has just now slated the piece for March next year? That doesn’t usually happen with non-US publications. Lead times around the world are far, far shorter than those for US magazines, so if you’re looking to beef up your resume with a few quick clips and credits, look to publications in Asia, where the lead time is the shortest I’ve ever seen. There — I think I just answered the age-old question of “How do I get published quickly?” that every new writer seems to ask. Tell me you don’t love me.
7. Makes you an expert.
Writing for international markets is a fantastic way of becoming a specialist in a certain topic. Say you’re an IT expert. If you can say you’ve been published in IT magazines around the world (or in X number of countries), that immediately lends you credibility and boosts your perceived experience on the topic. This, in turn, brings you more opportunities for speaking, presenting, teaching, and, of course, more writing. So if you write because you’re a specialist in a certain subject (or have a book out on a specific topic), writing internationally can be the key that unlocks many potential opportunties.
How about you? Do you regularly publish outside your country? Do you have any additional tips to add to the Comments?
Mridu Khullar Relph is an award-winning freelance journalist who has written for The New York Times, Time magazine, The International Herald Tribune, Marie Claire, Ms., Elle, and hundreds of other national and international publications. Check out her tips for writers on her blog and connect with her on Twitter or Facebook. She’d love to hear from you.Add a Comment