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Results 26,701 - 26,725 of 154,269
26701. THAT IS NOT A GOOD IDEA! gets Star in PW & on the Spring Indie Next List!

Thanks to the fine folks at Publishers Weekly for their starred review of the upcoming upcoming THAT IS NOT A GOOD IDEA! They say: "Trust Willems to blend silents, animation, and comics for a wickedly droll poultry-in-peril yarn." The whole review is here. Yay!  Also, Indie booksellers put out a list of books their very excited about for every season, and I'm happy to say that

0 Comments on THAT IS NOT A GOOD IDEA! gets Star in PW & on the Spring Indie Next List! as of 2/26/2013 8:13:00 AM
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26702. Coloring Page Tuesday - Ant Chef!

     I'm a lucky woman, I know it. My husband is a fabulous cook. And while he's great at grilling during the warmer months, its his soups in the thick of winter that feed my soul.
     How about you? Do you cook, or have a fabulous chef in your home?
     Click the image to open a .jpg to print and color. CLICK HERE for more coloring pages. And be sure to share your creations in my gallery so I can put them in my upcoming newsletters! (They don't have to be cards - share your kids' art too!)
     Sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and... Please check out my books! Especially...



     Click the cover to learn about my newest picture book - Lula's Brew. She's a witch who would rather be a famous chef!




3 Comments on Coloring Page Tuesday - Ant Chef!, last added: 2/27/2013
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26703. What is the Biggest Animation Project on Kickstarter Right Now?

What is the most funded animation campaign currently running on Kickstarter? Is it:


The answer is none of the above.

The most successful live animation campaign at the moment is Cyanide and Happiness, a long-running webcomic that aims to branch out into a series of long-form animated episodes. In the eleven days since the campaign was launched, over 7,300 backers have contributed $362,000, easily surpassing the project’s original goal of $250,000. It is already the third-highest funded animation campaign in Kickstarter’s history, and could break more records before it’s all over.

The four twenty-something creators of Cyanide and Happiness—Kris Wilson, Rob DenBleyker, Matt Melvin, Dave McElfatrick—are no strangers to animation. Before coming together to make the comic in 2004, they met each other as teenagers doing animation on Newgrounds. In 2009, they began creating brief animated segments based on their comic. Their YouTube channel has amassed neary 200 million pageviews with short-form bits and pieces of animation.

Now, they aim to do something more ambitious: a series of 10-12 minute episodes. Initially, they attempted to negotiate a TV series deal with cable networks. They wrote about the fruitless effort on their blog:

We walked away from the first two [networks] due to rights and creative control issues. We thought that we could settle those issues in the third deal, but things didn’t quite work out as we hoped. We’re starting to realize that TV as an industry just isn’t compatible with what we want to do with our animation: deliver it conveniently to a global audience, something we’ve been doing all along with our comics these past eight years. That’s just the nature of television versus the Internet, I suppose.

Now they’ve turned to Kickstarter to appeal directly to their fanbase:

We firmly believe the entertainment industry is changing, and the Internet will eventually become the only way people watch shows. Especially the people that make up our awesome fanbase. The Internet is already the largest network, available when you think about it. Why go anywhere else? By reading our comics over the years, you folks have given us the careers we dreamed of having as kids, and turned our silly cartoons into something much, much bigger than ourselves. The prospect of doing an uncensored, unaltered Cyanide & Happiness Show and giving it directly to the fans is an incredible opportunity. We’re really excited to see how far we can take things.

Besides the amount of money raised so far, there’s another noteworthy aspect, and that’s that the C&H artists developed their careers entirely online. This is different from many other high-profile animation projects on Kickstarter launched by mainstream artists whose reputations were established in entertainment mediums outside of the Internet.

It still means something to be Ralph Bakshi, John Kricfalusi or Bill Plympton—that is, being the director of numerous theatrical features, the creator of a groundbreaking TV series, or the king of American indie animation has an incalculable advantage over being an upstart. But as the Cyanide & Happiness campaign has shown, lofty reputations from other mediums can’t match the support of a well-established online following.

The C&H Kickstarter already has more backers than the combined totals of the three aforementioned animation legends, and will also achieve a higher pledge dollar amount before the campaign ends. With this success, as well as the success of webcomic campaigns like MS Paint Adventures and Penny Arcade, the once-maligned webcomic is re-emerging as the unlikley foundation of entertainment empires.

0 Comments on What is the Biggest Animation Project on Kickstarter Right Now? as of 2/26/2013 9:49:00 AM
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26704. Agent Looking to Build His List

agentKasdinChuck Sambuchino says Steve Kasdin who joined Curtis Brown in 2012 is looking to build his list of writers. Steve has over twenty years’ experience in books and publishing, beginning his career as the Mystery buyer at Barnes & Noble. He has been a Marketing executive at St. Martin’s Press, Scholastic and Harcourt, an agent at the Sandra Dijkstra Agency and worked on Content Acquisition in the Kindle group at Amazon.com. In addition to representing clients at Curtis Brown, he is also the agency’s Director of Digital Strategy, advising clients on all aspects of electronic publishing.

He is seeking: “The most important thing I’ve learned in over twenty years in publishing is also the simplest: plot sells. And the definition of what makes a great plot is also very simple: interesting, well-drawn characters thrown into unpredictable situations. I’m looking for: commercial fiction, including Mysteries/Thrillers, Romantic Suspense (emphasis on the suspense), and Historical Fiction); Narrative Nonfiction, including Biography, History and Current Affairs; and Young Adult Fiction, particularly if it has adult crossover appeal. I am NOT interested in SF/Fantasy, Memoirs, Vampires and writers trying to capitalize on trends.”

How to submit: skasdin [at] cbltd.com. Responds in 4-6 weeks. Please send a query letter about what makes your book unique, a 1-3 page plot synopsis, a brief bio (including a description of your publishing history, if you have one), and the first 40-50 pages of your manuscript as a Word attachment to the email. “Let me know in your query letter if I am reading your work exclusively, in which case, I shall give it priority. If the book has been self-published or previously published, please let me know all the details – publisher, date, etc.”

Click Here to read Chuck Sambuchino’s article: (Why you should only query 6-8 agents at a time.)

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: authors and illustrators, Editor & Agent Info, opportunity, Publishers and Agencies, Publishing Industry Tagged: Curtis Brown Literary Agency, Sandra Dijkstra, Scholastic, St. Martin's Press, Steve Kasdin

1 Comments on Agent Looking to Build His List, last added: 2/28/2013
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26705. Mould explains the the strange properties of magenta


(Video link) Using colored flashlights, science presenter Steve Mould explains why the color magenta doesn't appear in the rainbow.

---- photo rotating-dots.gif
In this optical illusion, the magenta dots switch on and off in series, producing a green afterimage on the retina. The effect is especially strong if you look at the cross in the center. Via Biotele, thanks, Damian J.

Previously on GurneyJourney
Mystery of Magenta

13 Comments on Mould explains the the strange properties of magenta, last added: 2/28/2013
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26706. IF: whisper

A quick sketch for this week's Illustration Friday :)

7 Comments on IF: whisper, last added: 2/27/2013
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26707. Building the Next Generation of YA Stars

I’ve been writing a lot lately about craft and bravery in writing. If you’re in that head space and need to stay there, skip this post, this one is gonna be about…

*cue dramatic music*

THE MARKET!

I recently listened to Publisher’s Weekly’s webinar Building the Next Generation of YA Stars. It was moderated by John A. Sellers, the children’s review editor at Publisher’s Weekly, and featured guests Emily Meehan (Disney-Hyperion Editorial Director) and Natashya Wilson (Harlequin Teen Executive Editor). They discussed trends, how they market their authors, and what new and established authors can do to get in the game and stay on top.

Andrew Rich Photo

These are my notes on the topics they discussed:

How are you working to keep established authors on top?

Natashya:

  • Every book is unique and evaluated on how it will best reach an author’s established audience and a new audience.
  • We partner with an author to reach out to fans, help them build a brand, stress the importance of a website, and keep audiences aware of what is coming out.
  • We do a lot of social networking – cover reveals, trailers, etc.
  • We start to create buzz 6-9 months before a book comes out.
  • The best established brands have a very interactive approach with their audience.

Emily:

  • Ditto.
  • We also have been using short stories and novellas to keep readers in contact with an author’s work when they reader is waiting for the next book.
  • Cover reveals, trailers, chapter teasers!
  • Group bookstore and festival events have also been a great way to draw readers together and introduce them to authors they may not know.

How do you market a debut author who doesn’t have an established audience?

Emily:

  • Because they don’t have an established audience you focus on the content and the book itself.
  • Blog tours work well.
  • We’ve also done some creative marketing with Q&A’s from the book’s editor, author, and even the characters in the book.

Natashya:

  • It’s all about the content and teasing out what the book is about.
  • This process is about establishing the author’s brand.
  • We try to connect authors with reviewers in traditional publications and the YA blog-o-sphere.
  • We try to create multi-forum events with new and established authors, and use the draw of the established author to introduce the readership to the debut author.

What is it about the YA readership that allows you to be more adventurous in your marketing?

Emily & Natashya:

  • Teens are young and creative and we need to be creative so they respond to it.
  • Teens are looking for the exciting next thing. They give us the freedom to experiment and they are receptive to what we try.
  • Get the teens invested and they will drive the campaign themselves. For example: We had teens vote on what cities they wanted an author tour to stop in.
  • We like to try crowd-sourced initiatives and throw the marketing back to the fans. The more interactive it can be the more they like it. For example: Unlocking content with “Likes.” (i.e. X-number of “Likes” unlocks the new cover of the book, etc.)
  • We also like to do cross-publisher events if an author is published with another house. Then both houses benefit.
  • Word of mouth is always your best marketing tool.

Are in-person library or bookstore events still relevant?

Emily & Natashya:

  • Festivals are really important.
  • Traditional events still have their place. Booksellers and librarians are big readers and have direct contact to the market. They will help promote your book and create buzz.
  • We can’t send all our authors on book tours, but we’ve found that Skype visits have been another great way to contact an audience when on a budget.

How has technology changed the marketing game?

Emily:

  • “Sometimes I feel like Twitter is my second job.”
  • Online marketing is really important!
  • We’ve been doing a lotof chat initiatives.

Natashya:

  • The internet is pervasive!
  • It’s a great way to test out new ideas.
  • The internet gives you a huge reach without a huge investment.
  • It causes readers to look for you, and it lets the reader take charge of the content they want to be exposed to.

Tell us about some of the books you’ve got coming out this year that you’re excited about:

Emily & Natashya:

Vanessa PaxtonContemporary Fiction:

  • Contemporary YA is on the rise!
  • There’s a hot trend of “tough stuff” and issue-driven romance.
  • Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland.
  • Dare To You by Katie McGarry (the companion novel to Pushing the Limits).
  • Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott.

Costume Dramas & Historical Fiction:

  • Costume Dramas are all the rage (thanks to Downton Abby).
  • Cinders & Sapphires by Leila Rasheed .
  • Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein (the companion novel to Code Name Verity).

Science Fiction:

  • All Are Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill.
  • Project Paper Doll by Stacey Kade.

Fantasy & Paranormal:

  • Ink by Amanda Sun (urban dark fantasy set in Japan).
  • Iron Traitor by Julie Kagawa.

Dystopian:

  • Puck by Aimee Carter.

What do you think about this “New Adult” Trend?

Natashya:

  • It points to a huge hole in the market.
  • People love it and it’s here. We are definitely acquiring it.
  • It’s about the transition from high school to becoming independent.
  • Lots of edgy authentic stories.

Emily:

  • There are several definitions out there of what “new adult” is. We tend to label books in a way that a reader doesn’t.
  • Older YA has naturally fallen into what might be considered “new adult,” and it’s been doing it all along. Only now we are labeling it.
  • It’s about concentrating on a good story and not salacious content.

Is the market overloaded with Dystopian and Paranormal books?

Emily & Natashya:

  • There’s a lot to choose from in these catagories. Both publishers and readers are becoming more selective of what they want in this area.
  • There’s more competition in this part of the market.
  • Dystopian is still selling well and people are still talking about it.

Are there taboo topics in YA?

Emily & Natashya:

  • No. It’s all about how a story is executed. It’s got to be authentic.
  • The question is about how the story is presented or handled. Is the taboo topic important to the story?
  • Authors are showing us what the “rules” are. They’re blending genres and themes all the time.

How do you find new authors?

Emily:

  • I can’t accept unsolicited manuscripts. Agent submissions only.

Natashya:

  • We also only accept agent submissions. This is because of the sheer volume of submissions.
  • However, we are looking actively online for authors and may contact you.
  • We’ve found some authors through Yahoo Chats or meetings at conferences.

Do you have anything to say about diversity in YA?

Natashya:

  • There’s no limits.
  • We are open to anything, but it has to be a great story. What’s in the market now reflects the best written work. We want a great story from the POV of someone we care about.

Emily:

  • We try for diversity, always.
  • We want content to represent many points of view and stories that resonate with as many readers as possible.

What is on your submissions wish list?

Emily:

  • Funny!

Natashya:

  • Something that feels unique and makes me sit up and read the whole thing.
  • Something that’s not too similar to what we’ve already published.

An archive of this webinar is available at: Publisher’s Weekly Webcasts

Emily Meehan is the Editorial Director at Disney-Hyperion. She has worked in almost every aspect of trade publishing for children: picture books, middle grade, young adult, original paperback series, and in most every genre, from general interest fiction to nonfiction, to fantasy, romance, religious, and historical.

Natashya Wilson is the Executive Editor at Harlequin TEEN. She began working at Harlequin Books in 1996, when she became an editorial assistant for the Harlequin American Romance and Intrigue series. She worked as an associate editor for McGraw-Hill and Rosen Publishing Group, where she edited children’s nonfiction books. She returned to Harlequin in 2004 and later became the senior editor for Harlequin TEEN.

Photos by Andrew Rich and Vanessa Paxton.

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26708. Star Trek, Pixar Style

Phil Postma has re-imagined the Star Trek characters in the style of Pixar. See the rest of the Star Trek characters at Phil's blog. He did the same thing with Star Wars characters.

Thanks, Steve.

3 Comments on Star Trek, Pixar Style, last added: 2/26/2013
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26709. Music Monday - Green Grow the Rushes Oh (FaerieCon Part II)

Felt like we need a little Cherish the Ladies today....  
(So love Aiofe Clancy's voice).

My remaining day at FaerieCon West was full of fun -
 Got to be on a panel with a handful of amazing artists (Julie Baroh, Echo Chernik, Brom, Heather Hudson and Emily Fiegenshuh (you'll have to google them yourself. I'm not looking up that many links tonight).

 Spent a goodly portion of the day helping at the booth. Got to talk to lots of fun people.

 Other lovely people I got to chat with - the etherial Stephanie Pui-Mun Law -

 The adorable Patricia Hedegaard (who taught the gargoyle class the day before)-

 One of my favorite authors, Charles de Lint (and his lovely wife MaryAnn), and Nina Kiriki Hoffman -

 Plus got to spend some time with the always fabulous Brom (here with darling Julie Baroh) -

 And then there were all the fairies -

The performers-

 The pirates!(?)

The babies... :-)

It takes a lot of energy! (I thought these the most practical footwear of the day!)

2 Comments on Music Monday - Green Grow the Rushes Oh (FaerieCon Part II), last added: 2/27/2013
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26710. MaltaComicCon4 - 2012

Part 2 – Cracking Comics Conventions, Company & Karaoke

Hi Guys,

Well, I awoke to the dulcet tones of my mobile phone’s alarm on the dawn of day one of the convention and as usual the first thing I did was to check the weather outside the balcony windows – Sunshine, all was well.

I gave my convention paraphernalia a last minute check before I went down for breakfast and I noticed my pre-printed sketch pages and promotional posters where missing. I had been putting things in and out of the bags as I tried to keep them inside the baggage allowance on the planes. I must have left them behind – Darn I thought!!!

In no time at all I was eating breakfast in the Moiré restaurant with my Fantasy Art Unlimited student, Deej. He had taken the organisers up on their fans convention rates for flights and accommodation.

There was the usual air of anticipation from all the new guests – which doesn’t ever go away, no matter how many times one returns to the convention. The sun was shining, the air was warm and very soon after the buffet-styled breakfast was over I soon found myself in the hotel foyer with Deej, Sean and the other guests.

Dave Gibbons saw my pink “Hawaiian shirt", which has been with me since the mid-eighties and was a part of my early visits to the Marvel offices and to UKCAC – the London comics conventions of the 80s and 90s and said “Nice Shirt”. Now, I know deep down he was being complimentary even though he said he wasn’t… LOL. This was the first time since the nineteen eighties that I had worn the shirt. It is the only relic that remains that I have persuaded Margaret not to sneakily throw out.

My good buddy and one of the MaltaCon Organisers, Chris Le Galle and me have a real laugh both during the convention time and also via email the rest of the year and amongst several running gags “Pink” is the optimum colour. Well, my shirt being pink with black silhouettes of women in bikinis was what I decided to bring to the table at 2012’s event, just for Chris. The shirt had the desired effect and Chris and I had a great laugh about it. Oh, yes and Dave would mention the shirt on more than one occasion throughout the convention too, even when I wasn’t wearing it.

This year, because of the large contingent of guests we were to go to Valletta on a coach and we soon found ourselves en route to the convention. In no time at all we found ourselves in the St James Cavalier setting up and before I knew it I was once again getting myself ready to delivery the first of my children’s drawing workshops. My tables were once more in the charge of one of the organisers; whilst I went next door to greet the folks coming along for the session.

Deej had decided to go for a look around the convention just prior to this and I knew he was in for a great time.

As usual, the workshop was well subscribed and we needed more tables and chairs to accommodate all the children there. It’s always nice to see that the kids like to join in and last year was no exception. As I do with all my workshops regardless of age I take those attending right back to basics and it is hardly any surprise that the children, unbound by the same constraints adults find around themselves, always adapt and “get” the new ways of drawing, even down to the techniques I may show them, pretty much from the off.

It never ceases to amaze me just how creative folks can be given the opportunity, especially when they are told they cannot make mistakes in my sessions. Hands go up eagerly to answer questions and great characters appear as if by magic on the once blank, white pages in front of them. After all drawing and painting is a kind of magic!

The session saw one little boy constantly coming forward to show me his finished work – it was always the same piece, but he was really proud of it and his appearances beside me increasingly endeared him with the adults there.

I started a drawing with some basic circle shapes and placing them strategically on the flip chart I asked who the character was. One Grandma decided it was likely Mickey Mouse, which it was, and after asking her to come and join me at the front of the class I asked her to finish of the drawing – which she did. This went down well with children and adult alike and after taking a bow she rejoined the child she was accompanying who now sported a great big grin – well, after all she was her Grandma.

It’s incredible just how fast the morning goes because of the workshops and I soon found some of the other guests and myself in the Café Inspirations looking at one of the menus, although I needn’t have bothered, as I already knew what I was going to order – a Maltese Pizza.

I sat with Samantha Abela, one of the organisers and Chie Kutsuwada, Inko, Dan Lester and Richmond Clements, with some of the other guests and Sonia Leong joining us a little later.

Well, Pizza eaten and feeling well and truly stuffed and the others looking in pretty much the same state we all made our way back to the tables to sell our wares.

On returning to my table one of the volunteers, young Juan Mario Farrugia, showed me the missing pre-printed sketch pages and promotional posters. He had found them underneath a pile of Worlds End Ashcans. They had been there all along, just hidden. He had saved the day, so I gave him a “Freebie” as a thank you – He was my young hero for the day!!!

The afternoon went extremely well with me selling lots of the new Worlds End Colouring & Storybooks and more of the first volume of the Worlds End graphic novel, producing scores of sketches and autographs on both my books, fans’ autograph books, sheets of paper and Malta’s first graphic novel, the Golden Lizard, for which I produced the cover in 2010.

By mid – late afternoon I was rejoined by Deej, who had been very busy as he looked around the convention, bought books off folks and went for a look around Valletta. Not too long after this we began to pack our wares away until the next day and retired to the Inspirations once more, where Deej and I sat and chatted with Herb Trimpe and his Wife, Patricia. These are the priceless moments we are lucky to share as comic creators where we get to know each other a little. Lots of laughs later and we were Hotel Santana bound once more on the coach. The plan was to return to the hotel, get refreshed, go for something to eat and then join the Saturday evening convention party.

On the coach Deej and I along with Sonia decided we would go for a Chinese meal at the nearby Great Wall Chinese Restaurant. So after dropping our gear off in our respective rooms the three of us met up in the hotel foyer and set off for some food. We had gone but a few steps away from the hotel when Deej noticed a sign above a local bar, The Little Waster Pub Diner, it read KARAOKE… he pointed it out to me and I remember saying something along the lines of, well we’ll have to eat up quick then because we’ll be singing tonight and then laughing along with Deej, who agreed. Neither Sonia nor I knew each other loved to sing and so it was a great surprise when she agreed and said we simply had to go. So the mood of the rest of the evening was set for us and we continued on our way to the restaurant.

The meal was, as usual, fantastic, as was the service. We had a starter and main course each. I had hot and sour soup, followed by sweet and sour chicken, all helped down with a pint of Cisk. The meal was accompanied with some great conversation and an air of expectation for what might be to come.

We arrived at the Karaoke bar and ordered our drinks; Sonia being pregnant was drinking fruit juice. We looked at the long list of folks already scheduled to sing and decided to get our names and songs down quick to see if we had time before going along to the convention after party.

Name, rather then clock watching became the order of the day as we drank, chatted and checked our positions on the Karaoke board, as slowly our names came closer to the head of the list.

And then it happened; our names reached the top!!!!!!

We were about to make headline news at the convention. I was first up and did Meatloaf’s Bat Out Of Hell. Sonia was next with Evanescence’s Bring Me To Life, which was magnificent and sounded just like the real singer, Amy Lee. Next up was Deej and his version of Glenn Campbell’s Rhinestone Cowboy, which got all the regulars in the groove. The scene was set; this was the precursor of the Comics and Karaoke Conventions – you heard it here first!!!

All three of us got rapturous applause, which was gratefully accepted, but looking at the time; it was already after half past ten and having a party to attend, we now, in singing mode, reluctantly prised ourselves away from the bar and proceeded back to the hotel to join the others.

Upon arrival at the hotel, however, it soon became apparent that all was not as well as was expected. Everyone, rather than being in the upstairs bar area, was in the downstairs Castagna café part of hotel as the hotel has not ordered drinks to stock up the bar upstairs. So in somewhat more cramped circumstances than was customary at the convention we set about ordering drinks at the small bar.

Sonia was busy telling of the exploits of the aforementioned Miss Lee, Monsieur Campbell and Maltloaf to anyone that would listen, whilst Anthony Pirotta and Mark Ellul regaled Deej and I with explanations about the lack of drinks upstairs and tales of Hamsters, which due to good taste, must remain amongst our mutual memories of the evening. Suffice it to say the evening continued for the next hour with hysterical bouts of uncontrollable laughter from the four of us. Echoes of 2011’s David Lloyd episodes I hear you say.

Eventually the bar closed – after all it was now long past 2:30 a.m. so everyone now congregated in the small reception area where the hotel held it’s tours and information guides. The whole scene must have seemed rather cramped to anyone looking in on things, but to everyone there it just made the evening just that bit more intimate. As the talk on comics, conventions and family began to peter out, so too did the folks as they started to slowly drift off as well.

It took several attempts by the organisers to leave the hotel – 2013 saw them mostly going home rather than staying at the hotel, although I think Fabio, Chris and his wife Joanna stayed for the night, as they were early birds at breakfast the following morning. They would say their goodbyes to all in the small room outside of the bar area and then finding themselves back at the start of the list of folks they were saying their goodbyes to find themselves repeating the process.

Eventually all of us retired to our rooms and our beds for some much needed sleep – we would be at breakfast in around four hours time getting ready for day two of MaltaCon…

I awoke to both of my alarms going off almost simultaneously. I had left them purposely one on the bedside cabinet at the side of the bed and the other at the end of the bed on the dressing table.

So it was that I arose, feeling like I hadn’t slept in a week, but nothing that a shower and a Moiré breakfast wouldn’t mend. I sat with Deej, who wasn’t eating too much that morning and began to wade through the plateful of food in front of me. The legend of the “Karaoke Kids” was already rife by the time I was eating. Dez told me how he had heard that Meatloaf was in town – I told him it was “Maltloaf” and that was to be the way of things for much of the next twenty-four hours. I told him all about Sonia and Deej and it fast became apparent that a new legend was being born right in front of us… LOL.

Breakfast eaten, we all met up in the foyer, where the talk of Karaoke continued and we soon found ourselves once more on the short trip on the coach. Here Dave Gibbons mentioned that Sonia had been telling he and his wife all about the night before and our exploits in the Karaoke bar. It wouldn’t be the last time Dave and I spoke on the subject and by the end of the convention trip he would be lined up to practise at home so that the next convention we attended together we would both get up and sing.

In fact, so successful was the creation of the legend that Mike Quinton said that after discussing it with the other guys 2013 would see the after party held in a Karaoke bar… Now, by now, Mike should know that they guys never have to bribe me in this way to get me to go over once more… but as the Tesco advert says on TV, I suppose – “every little helps!”

The talk continued with folks asking about our three’s singing exploits and then suddenly we were back in Valletta once more. It was a lovely morning with the sun shining down on us all, so it became a mass photography shoot with folks snapping away at the battlements and other sights that greeted us all as we alighted from the coach.

An hour after setting up the table again I was bound for the children’s workshop once more. This time Deej manned the table for me, which was very kind of him. Again there were plenty of takers for the workshop, but this time there were equal amounts of adults who also wished to take part, which was great. There were some folks arrived a little after I had started and provision was once more made for the extra bodies.

Just like the day before I had someone come up to the flip chart to finish off the basic drawing, which was again recognisable as Mickey Mouse. Everyone was very enthusiastic again with adults encouraging the children and vice versa. So much so, that at the end of the session I was asked if I taught in Malta. When I explained that I was a resident of the UK and only visited for the conventions they asked if I would be able to set up some kind of course there – something I am still working on at the moment – stay tuned, as they say on TV.

At 2 o’clock I was part of the discussion panel Building Atmosphere through Art, moderated by Chris Thompson of Orbital Comics fame. I joined Chie Kutsuwada, Inko and Guillermo Ortego as a panellist. After our introductions we discussed how we each try to create atmosphere in our work. The hour passed by very quickly and enjoyably as we each answered Chris’ questions in turn. It’s always great to listen to how other creators work and indeed how they think and each, in turn, resolve the same problems.

The discussion was then opened up to the audience and we were asked some great impromptu questions. You can hear the entire discussion here in Chris’ Podcast on Orbital Comics’ website.

I had a brief chat with a few of the audience members as I made my way to leave to return to my table and upon arriving back there saw a queue of people waiting for books signing and sketches too.

The rest of the day saw pretty much a repeat of the previous day with time spent signing and selling books, sketching and signing some more – so much so that by the time I realised I had missed lunch it was almost the end of the event for another year.

Like the first day people came up to me and asked how book two was doing. I had lots of interest in the second volume and showed some of the artwork produced up to that point, which also went down well with those seeing the new stuff.

The next two or three hours flew by as with Deej now at my side pretty much all of the time I sold books and sketched for the fans. I even got Deej sketching too, which was great and he seemed to really enjoy himself too once the nerves had settled.

The rest of the convention was slowly packing away and I was still busy sketching, with several still in the pipeline to do. Eventually I managed to finish them all and was soon packed away myself, another convention done for another year… phew!

Then it was down to the Inspirations for a final time. The café itself was full to bursting and so we found ourselves outside the café sat at the tables in the corridor.

The usual journey back to the hotel ensued and then the three of us made our way to the Karaoke bar again. I was due to be picked up at 9:00 p.m. by Joanna to go along to hers an Chris’ home once again, this time with Chris Thompson and Herb Trimpe and his wife Patricia. That meant we had to, figuratively speaking, barge our way into the Karaoke in order to get a song in each before I had to leave them.

Once again there were a great number of folks already up on the digital board set to sing. We spoke to the owner and mentioned our plight and we soon found ourselves with a microphone in our hands again. This time Maltloaf sang, “Heaven Can Wait,” Sonia sang a beautiful ballad, I can’t remember what the track was, but it was lovely, whilst Deej sang the Dubliner’s “Seven Drunken Nights” complete with Irish accent and the jig too. Once more the reception we each got was great and just as Deej finished his little ditty along came Chris to say, Joanna had just arrived – it was now 9:00 p.m. So, telling Sonia I would see her on the trip in the morning and wishing Deej a safe trip that same morning and all the best until I saw him in back in Blighty I rushed off with Chris to meet up with the others.

On the way to Joanna’s home we all chatted and discussed all manner of things, as though we had all known each other for years, it was great. The roads were lined with Christmas decorations and I knew we were in for a fun evening.

After the grand tour of their home we sat and chatted over a bottle of wine, whilst the meal was put before us and what a lovely meal it was. It’s always great to share time with friends, especially when accompanied with wonderful food and drink.

The night passed so quickly as Herb and I discussed our mutual careers in comics. Everyone chatted about the differences in comics nowadays, anecdotes, the digital age, families and all manner of other stuff – all in just a few hours.

My Granddaughter, Phoebie was mentioned a lot during the convention and that night was no different with me showing them photos of her from my phone like any proud Granddad would. With Christmas just around the corner, children were in all our thoughts.

All good things come to a close, however, and so it was that Joanna drove us back to the hotel and our beds. Tomorrow was the official last day for the guests, although I would not be leaving until Thursday. Monday was also the day of the annual trips around Malta, so we were not finished with all the fun just yet.

Joanna was waved off and every one of us feeling exhausted were quite ready for some much needed sleep. Tomorrow was a later start for us. We did not need to leave the hotel until ten o’clock, but it was now gone 1:30 a.m. so it wasn’t many hours until breakfast.

I packed my convention gear back into my travel luggage, as I would need it no longer and then lay my head on the pillow…

And now for some more photos - enjoy:

































And now, here are some extra photos, used with her kind permission and expertly provided by Photographer, Aniko Boholy:









Until next time, have fun!

Tim Perkins…
February 26th 2012

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26711. I am probably the last person to have seen this but I am glad that I did!

Great little article as well.

http://www.fastcodesign.com/1671941/why-this-oscar-nominated-disney-short-looks-like-nothing-made-before?goback=%2Egde_2724799_member_216700069#1

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26712. Wrestler


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26713. Illustrators' Day Wrap-up!


This was our first year to combine our SCBWI Southern Breeze Illustrators' Day with our annual Springmingle conference and I have to admit, it was a complete success! The Century Marriott is lovely, a definite notch up on the woosie scale. Our speakers were fantastic: Chad Beckerman, Abrams Creative Director; Dianne Hess, Scholastic Executive Editor; Mark Braught, Illustrator Mentor; and Will Terry, who wowed everybody's socks off with his insightful presentation!

     Chad definitely sold me on Instagram. Apparently he finds artists there sometimes. How's that for a new and innovative way to search for talent?

     Will gave us a quick history of how the business has changed over the last decade or so, and where he believes it's going. Truly - he is an entertaining and great speaker. I wish I could fly to Utah and take his class. His talk was one of the best I've ever heard.
     Dianne went over illustration advertising postcards and websites, giving us a peek into what jumps out to a publisher - invaluable! As was the portfolio reviews session.
     At only 2 minutes per portfolio, it goes quickly, but everybody's work gets seen, and the commentary is a learning experience for everybody.

     The results of Mark's mentoring project were also outstanding! The 12 folks who signed up early enough to work with Mark definitely ended up with some new portfolio pieces! (Click the photo to see it larger.)
     I have to say, the quality level of the portfolios shown during Illustrators' Day gets better and better every year. Along with our Scholarship Winner, Denise Plauché, we had Lori Nichols who has won two runner-ups at the SCBWI National conference portfolio shows, and Heather Lund, the SCAD student who provided our wonderful signage (above).
     The Cocktail Party (sign by Brian Prince) was a hit as well. As I expected, the visitor list was small for our first year, but I have a feeling word is going to spread about this one. (I kept getting emails from folks saying "I want to come!") It was such a great opportunity to mingle and talk shop. All while admiring attendee portfolios and the example portfolios Stuart Shapiro brought from Binders Art Supply to show attendees the sort of options they have.
     Thanks again to Binders for generously hosting the Cocktail Party. I think it was definitely worth their time, as well as ours. I look forward to this becoming an Atlanta industry event! (CLICK HERE to put yourself on the invite list for next year!)
     Be looking for announcements about next year's Illustrators' Day in November or December of this year. This has become an event you don't want to miss!

PS - If you took some great photos of Illustrators' Day, please email them to me at elizabeth at dulemba dot com and I'll include them in this post!

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26714. Building the Next Generation of YA Stars

I’ve been writing a lot lately about craft and bravery in writing. If you’re in that head space and need to stay there, skip this post, this one is gonna be about…

*cue dramatic music*

THE MARKET!

I recently listened to Publisher’s Weekly’s webinar Building the Next Generation of YA Stars. It was moderated by John A. Sellers, the children’s review editor at Publisher’s Weekly, and featured guests Emily Meehan (Disney-Hyperion Editorial Director) and Natashya Wilson (Harlequin Teen Executive Editor). They discussed trends, how they market their authors, and what new and established authors can do to get in the game and stay on top.

Andrew Rich Photo

These are my notes on the topics they discussed:

How are you working to keep established authors on top?

Natashya:

  • Every book is unique and evaluated on how it will best reach an author’s established audience and a new audience.
  • We partner with an author to reach out to fans, help them build a brand, stress the importance of a website, and keep audiences aware of what is coming out.
  • We do a lot of social networking – cover reveals, trailers, etc.
  • We start to create buzz 6-9 months before a book comes out.
  • The best established brands have a very interactive approach with their audience.

Emily:

  • Ditto.
  • We also have been using short stories and novellas to keep readers in contact with an author’s work when they reader is waiting for the next book.
  • Cover reveals, trailers, chapter teasers!
  • Group bookstore and festival events have also been a great way to draw readers together and introduce them to authors they may not know.

How do you market a debut author who doesn’t have an established audience?

Emily:

  • Because they don’t have an established audience you focus on the content and the book itself.
  • Blog tours work well.
  • We’ve also done some creative marketing with Q&A’s from the book’s editor, author, and even the characters in the book.

Natashya:

  • It’s all about the content and teasing out what the book is about.
  • This process is about establishing the author’s brand.
  • We try to connect authors with reviewers in traditional publications and the YA blog-o-sphere.
  • We try to create multi-forum events with new and established authors, and use the draw of the established author to introduce the readership to the debut author.

What is it about the YA readership that allows you to be more adventurous in your marketing?

Emily & Natashya:

  • Teens are young and creative and we need to be creative so they respond to it.
  • Teens are looking for the exciting next thing. They give us the freedom to experiment and they are receptive to what we try.
  • Get the teens invested and they will drive the campaign themselves. For example: We had teens vote on what cities they wanted an author tour to stop in.
  • We like to try crowd-sourced initiatives and throw the marketing back to the fans. The more interactive it can be the more they like it. For example: Unlocking content with “Likes.” (i.e. X-number of “Likes” unlocks the new cover of the book, etc.)
  • We also like to do cross-publisher events if an author is published with another house. Then both houses benefit.
  • Word of mouth is always your best marketing tool.

Are in-person library or bookstore events still relevant?

Emily & Natashya:

  • Festivals are really important.
  • Traditional events still have their place. Booksellers and librarians are big readers and have direct contact to the market. They will help promote your book and create buzz.
  • We can’t send all our authors on book tours, but we’ve found that Skype visits have been another great way to contact an audience when on a budget.

How has technology changed the marketing game?

Emily:

  • “Sometimes I feel like Twitter is my second job.”
  • Online marketing is really important!
  • We’ve been doing a lotof chat initiatives.

Natashya:

  • The internet is pervasive!
  • It’s a great way to test out new ideas.
  • The internet gives you a huge reach without a huge investment.
  • It causes readers to look for you, and it lets the reader take charge of the content they want to be exposed to.

Tell us about some of the books you’ve got coming out this year that you’re excited about:

Emily & Natashya:

Vanessa PaxtonContemporary Fiction:

  • Contemporary YA is on the rise!
  • There’s a hot trend of “tough stuff” and issue-driven romance.
  • Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland.
  • Dare To You by Katie McGarry (the companion novel to Pushing the Limits).
  • Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott.

Costume Dramas & Historical Fiction:

  • Costume Dramas are all the rage (thanks to Downton Abby).
  • Cinders & Sapphires by Leila Rasheed .
  • Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein (the companion novel to Code Name Verity).

Science Fiction:

  • All Are Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill.
  • Project Paper Doll by Stacey Kade.

Fantasy & Paranormal:

  • Ink by Amanda Sun (urban dark fantasy set in Japan).
  • Iron Traitor by Julie Kagawa.

Dystopian:

  • Puck by Aimee Carter.

What do you think about this “New Adult” Trend?

Natashya:

  • It points to a huge hole in the market.
  • People love it and it’s here. We are definitely acquiring it.
  • It’s about the transition from high school to becoming independent.
  • Lots of edgy authentic stories.

Emily:

  • There are several definitions out there of what “new adult” is. We tend to label books in a way that a reader doesn’t.
  • Older YA has naturally fallen into what might be considered “new adult,” and it’s been doing it all along. Only now we are labeling it.
  • It’s about concentrating on a good story and not salacious content.

Is the market overloaded with Dystopian and Paranormal books?

Emily & Natashya:

  • There’s a lot to choose from in these catagories. Both publishers and readers are becoming more selective of what they want in this area.
  • There’s more competition in this part of the market.
  • Dystopian is still selling well and people are still talking about it.

Are there taboo topics in YA?

Emily & Natashya:

  • No. It’s all about how a story is executed. It’s got to be authentic.
  • The question is about how the story is presented or handled. Is the taboo topic important to the story?
  • Authors are showing us what the “rules” are. They’re blending genres and themes all the time.

How do you find new authors?

Emily:

  • I can’t accept unsolicited manuscripts. Agent submissions only.

Natashya:

  • We also only accept agent submissions. This is because of the sheer volume of submissions.
  • However, we are looking actively online for authors and may contact you.
  • We’ve found some authors through Yahoo Chats or meetings at conferences.

Do you have anything to say about diversity in YA?

Natashya:

  • There’s no limits.
  • We are open to anything, but it has to be a great story. What’s in the market now reflects the best written work. We want a great story from the POV of someone we care about.

Emily:

  • We try for diversity, always.
  • We want content to represent many points of view and stories that resonate with as many readers as possible.

What is on your submissions wish list?

Emily:

  • Funny!

Natashya:

  • Something that feels unique and makes me sit up and read the whole thing.
  • Something that’s not too similar to what we’ve already published.

An archive of this webinar is available at: Publisher’s Weekly Webcasts

Emily Meehan is the Editorial Director at Disney-Hyperion. She has worked in almost every aspect of trade publishing for children: picture books, middle grade, young adult, original paperback series, and in most every genre, from general interest fiction to nonfiction, to fantasy, romance, religious, and historical.

Natashya Wilson is the Executive Editor at Harlequin TEEN. She began working at Harlequin Books in 1996, when she became an editorial assistant for the Harlequin American Romance and Intrigue series. She worked as an associate editor for McGraw-Hill and Rosen Publishing Group, where she edited children’s nonfiction books. She returned to Harlequin in 2004 and later became the senior editor for Harlequin TEEN.

Photos by Andrew Rich and Vanessa Paxton.

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26715. New sketch






Today I'm having good fun developing developing some new picture book ideas. One involves drawing people, something I haven't done in a long, long time! Here is a sneak peek:

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26716. Day 26: Chudney Ross

lonebeanBusiness Owner. TV Host. Model. Chudney Ross has many amazing accomplishments. But she reveals on Social Butterfly that her proudest one is getting her book deal. Chudney, the youngest daughter of Diana Ross, made her kidlit debut last year with middle-grade novel,  Lone Bean. HarperCollins calls it: “. . . an entertaining read about spunky Bean Gibson and how she learns what it means to be a good friend. And that it’s possible to have more than one.”

Long dedicated to children, Chudney shares on her site that teaching led her to writing. A former preschool and elementary school teacher, she is owner of Santa Monica shop Books And Cookies, a bookstore, bakery and enrichment center.

Lucky for us, Ross has more books in the works. Lone Bean is the first of her series, Bean’s Books. We can’t wait to see more.

The Buzz About Lone Bean:

” . . . Ross, the youngest daughter of singer Diana Ross and the owner of the California children’s bookstore Books and Cookies, creates a relatable protagonist with gumption, whose insights into others’ feelings make her an empathetic friend (“Now I know Tanisha is a meany and a bully, but something in my insides makes me feel bad. I mean, she has no friends, and no sisters and no ice cream”). Things wrap up neatly, leaving the door open for further tales.”

Publishers Weekly

“This was a delightful story about the joys and perils of third grade. Fans of Sarah Pennypacker’s Clementine, Beverly Cleary’s Ramona and Megan McDonald’s Judy Moody will love Bean Gibson. Lone Bean is a great classroom read aloud. I can’t wait to share this book with my third grade teachers so they can share it with their students . . . “

– Mrs. Archer’s Book Notes

Read an interview with Chudney Ross at Crayons and Croissants.

Find out more about her here.


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26717. Brillustration at The Southville Centre

I am exhibiting originals and prints at an exhibition in The Southville Centre, with 'Brillustration'. It runs between 1 - 29th March, and coincides with the centre's two special events in partnership with The Bristol Festival of Literature. Artwork is individually priced for sale.


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26718. 826 Valencia and Let's Go, Hugo! is almost Here!

I'm delighted to say that I will be illustrating the upcoming 826 Valencia Tenth Anniversary Quarterly. It's wonderful book that showcases young writers from the 826 writing workshops and events. The foreword will be written by Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler) with the introduction by Dave Eggers.

More details soon, but I have a few things in development with TR!CKSTER Gallery in Berkeley. 


Most importantly, please save the date for Book Launch Party on March 8th at Books Inc (Opera Plaza) in San Francisco at 5pm for Let's Go, Hugo! For more information visit: www.letsgohugo.com. 

Loose sketches from a little story I'm working on.





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26719. Vatican 'Gay lobby'? Probably not






STORY HIGHLIGHTS


  • Benedict XVI not stepping down under pressure from 'gay lobby,' Allen says

  • Allen: Benedict is a man who prefers the life of the mind to the nuts and bolts of government

  • However, he says, much of the pope's time has been spent putting out fires




Editor's note: John L. Allen Jr. is CNN's senior Vatican analyst and senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter.


(CNN) -- Suffice it to say that of all possible storylines to emerge, heading into the election of a new pope, sensational charges of a shadowy "gay lobby" (possibly linked to blackmail), whose occult influence may have been behind the resignation of Benedict XVI, would be right at the bottom of the Vatican's wish list.


Proof of the Vatican's irritation came with a blistering statement Saturday complaining of "unverified, unverifiable or completely false news stories," even suggesting the media is trying to influence the papal election.


Two basic questions have to be asked about all this. First, is there really a secret dossier about a network of people inside the Vatican who are linked by their sexual orientation, as Italian newspaper reports have alleged? Second, is this really why Benedict XVI quit?



John L. Allen Jr.

John L. Allen Jr.



The best answers, respectively, are "maybe" and "probably not."


It's a matter of record that at the peak of last year's massive Vatican leaks crisis, Benedict XVI created a commission of three cardinals to investigate the leaks. They submitted an eyes-only report to the pope in mid-December, which has not been made public.


It's impossible to confirm whether that report looked into the possibility that people protecting secrets about their sex lives were involved with the leaks, but frankly, it would be surprising if it didn't.


There are certainly compelling reasons to consider the hypothesis. In 2007, a Vatican official was caught by an Italian TV network on hidden camera arranging a date through a gay-oriented chat room, and then taking the young man back to his Vatican apartment. In 2010, a papal ceremonial officer was caught on a wiretap arranging liaisons through a Nigerian member of a Vatican choir. Both episodes played out in full public view, and gave the Vatican a black eye.









Pope Benedict XVI































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In that context, it would be a little odd if the cardinals didn't at least consider the possibility that insiders leading a double life might be vulnerable to pressure to betray the pope's confidence. That would apply not just to sex, but also potential conflicts of other sorts too, such as financial interests.


Vatican officials have said Benedict may authorize giving the report to the 116 cardinals who will elect his successor, so they can factor it into their deliberations. The most immediate fallout is that the affair is likely to strengthen the conviction among many cardinals that the next pope has to lead a serious house-cleaning inside the Vatican's bureaucracy.


It seems a stretch, however, to suggest this is the real reason Benedict is leaving. For the most part, one should probably take the pope at his word, that old age and fatigue are the motives for his decision.


That said, it's hard not to suspect that the meltdowns and controversies that have dogged Benedict XVI for the last eight years are in the background of why he's so tired. In 2009, at the height of another frenzy surrounding the lifting of the excommunication of a Holocaust-denying traditionalist bishop, Benedict dispatched a plaintive letter to the bishops of the world, voicing hurt for the way he'd been attacked and apologizing for the Vatican's mishandling of the situation.


Even if Benedict didn't resign because of any specific crisis, including this latest one, such anguish must have taken its toll. Benedict is a teaching pope, a man who prefers the life of the mind to the nuts and bolts of government, yet an enormous share of his time and energy has been consumed trying to put out internal fires.


It's hard to know why Benedict XVI is stepping off the stage, but I doubt it is because of a "gay lobby."


Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.


Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion.


The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of John L. Allen Jr.






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26720. Kendrick Kidd

kendrick kidd

Kendrick Kidd is a freelance designer out of Jacksonville, Florida, whose work spans type, identity, packaging and editorial. His work is playful and fun, yet skillfully executed.

kendrick kidd

In his most recent collaboration with the Texas Monthly, Kidd creates beautiful, custom seals for each major Texan city.

kendrick kidd

kendrick kidd

kendrick kidd

Check out Kidd’s work on his site and dribble.
—–

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26721. Blackhawks win in overtime, extend streak to 19









Nikolai Khabibulin stumbled coming out of the tunnel from the Oilers' dressing room to start the second period before steadying himself on the bench and taking the ice.


Then the Oilers goaltender was tripped up by the Blackhawks, and the longest streak in NHL history to start a season without a regulation loss lives on at 19.


Marian Hossa scored the winner in overtime to lift the Hawks to a 3-2 victory over the Oilers on Monday night at the United Center. Patrick Kane and Viktor Stalberg had goals in regulation and Ray Emery earned the win in goal as the Hawks improved to 16-0-3 this season. Dating to last season, they have gone 25 consecutive games with at least one point.








Jeff Petry and Nail Yakupov scored for the Oilers, who kicked off a 17-day, nine-game trip with the loss.


The Oilers came out with the speed and determination they displayed last season against the Hawks when they won three of four games with a 24-15 goal advantage. Emery was tested early but came up big when he dropped to his pads to smother an attempt from the slot by Ales Hemsky.


A delay-of-game penalty on Magnus Paajarvi for flipping the puck into the stands produced offense from both sides. Edmonton got on the board while short-handed as Lennart Petrell raced into the Hawks' zone on a breakaway after defenseman Duncan Keith fell down. Emery made a strong save on Petrell's attempt, but the rebound was ripe for the picking and Petry fired it into the open net.


With time running out in the penalty, the Hawks displayed the resiliency that has been a key to their points streak as Kane worked his way into the slot and slid a backhander past Khabibulin for his 10th goal of the season and a 1-1 tie.


Later in the first, Emery kept it even when he stoned Corey Potter from in close with the Oilers on the power play.


In the second, Daniel Carcillo, who was the most physical player on the ice for both sides with booming hits throughout the game, had a chance offensively from the slot but couldn't solve Khabibulin.


Brandon Saad's second penalty of the game for the Hawks led to the Oilers' second goal. Edmonton moved the puck nicely and Sam Gagner hit an open Yakupov with a pass and the rookie unloaded a one-timer past Emery.


Stalberg pulled the Hawks even early in the third when he stuffed a shot under the pad of Khabibulin from the crease. A video review confirmed the puck crossed the line and the score was 2-2.


The close game was nothing new to the Hawks, who entered the game with a 9-0-3 mark in one-goal games.


"The whole league is close," coach Joel Quenneville said. "When you aren't playing … you're watching and it's a one-goal night and you're hoping it's not a three-point game. Everybody keeps themselves in games."


ckuc@tribune.com


Twitter @ChrisKuc





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26722. Here Comes Everybody. 8)

©2013 Dain Fagerholm

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26723. Italy faces stalemate after election shock


ROME (Reuters) - Italy faced political deadlock on Tuesday after a stunning election that saw the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement of comic Beppe Grillo become the strongest party in the country but left no group with a clear majority in parliament.


The center-left coalition led by Pier Luigi Bersani won the lower house by around 125,000 votes and claimed the most seats in the Senate but was short of the majority in the upper house that it would need to govern.


Bersani claimed victory but said it was obvious that Italy was in "a very delicate situation". Party officials said the center-left would try to form a government but it was unclear what its options would be.


Neither Grillo, a comedian-turned-politician who previously ruled out any alliance with another party, nor Silvio Berlusconi's center-right bloc, which threatened to challenge the close tally, showed any immediate willingness to negotiate.


World financial markets reacted nervously to the prospect of a government stalemate in the euro zone's third-largest economy with memories still fresh of the financial crisis that took the 17-member currency bloc to the brink of collapse in 2011.


Italy's borrowing costs have come down in recent months, helped by the promise of European Central Bank support but the election result confirmed fears that it would not produce a government strong enough to implement effective reforms.


Grillo's surge in the final weeks of the campaign threw the race open, with hundreds of thousands turning up at his rallies to hear him lay into targets ranging from corrupt politicians and bankers to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.


In just three years, his 5-Star Movement, heavily backed by a frustrated generation of young Italians increasingly shut out from permanent full-time jobs, has grown from a marginal group to one of the most talked about political forces in Europe.


Its score of 25.5 percent in the lower house was just ahead of the 25.4 percent for Bersani's Democratic Party, which ran in a coalition with the leftist SEL party and it won almost 8.7 million votes overall, more than any other single party.


"The 5-Star Movement is the real winner of the election," said SEL leader Nichi Vendola, who said that his coalition would have to deal with Grillo, who mixes fierce attacks on corruption with policies ranging from clean energy to free Internet.


RECESSION


"It's a classic result. Typically Italian," said Roberta Federica, a 36-year-old office worker in Rome. "It means the country is not united. It is an expression of a country that does not work. I knew this would happen."


A long recession and growing disillusion with mainstream parties fed a bitter public mood that saw more than half of Italian voters back parties that rejected the austerity policies pursued by Prime Minister Mario Monti with the backing of Italy's European partners.


Berlusconi's campaign, mixing sweeping tax cut pledges with relentless attacks on Monti and Merkel, echoed many of the themes pushed by Grillo and underlined the increasingly angry mood of the Italian electorate.


Stefano Zamagni, an economic professor at Bologna University said the result showed that a significant share of Italians "are fed up with following the austerity line of Germany and its northern allies".


"These people voted to stick one up to Merkel and austerity," he said.


Election rules give the center-left a solid majority in the lower house, despite its slim advantage in terms of votes, but without the Senate it will not be able to pass legislation.


Calculations by the Italian Centre for Electoral Studies, part of LUISS university in Rome, gave 121 seats to Bersani's coalition, 117 to Berlusconi, 54 for Grillo and 22 to the centrist coalition led by Monti.


That leaves no party or likely alliance with the 158 seats needed to form a Senate majority.


Even if the next government turns away from the tax hikes and spending cuts brought in by Monti, it will struggle to revive an economy which has scarcely grown in two decades.


Monti was widely credited with tightening Italy's public finances and restoring its international credibility after the scandal-plagued Berlusconi, whom he replaced as the 2011 financial crisis threatened to spin out of control.


But he struggled to pass the kind of structural reforms needed to improve competitiveness and lay the foundations for a return to economic growth and a weak center-left government may not find it any easier.


(Additional reporting by Naomi O'Leary and Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Doina Chiacu)



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26724. Songs

Ocee was singing this morning and it made me think of all the songs our parents and grandparents sang to us as children and now I’m singing them to my kids. This is a regular one we sing. If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s from Guys & Dolls. Her’s Doris Day’s version:

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26725. AP source: Tom Brady gets 3-year extension


Tom Brady will be a Patriot until he is 40 years old.


Brady agreed to a three-year contract extension with New England on Monday, a person familiar with the contract told The Associated Press. The extension is worth about $27 million and will free up nearly $15 million in salary cap room for the team, which has several younger players it needs to re-sign or negotiate new deals with.


The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the extension has not been announced.


Sports Illustrated first reported the extension.


The 35-year-old two-time league MVP was signed through 2014, and has said he wants to play at least five more years.


A three-time Super Bowl champion, Brady will make far less in those three seasons than the going rate for star quarterbacks. Brady currently has a four-year, $72 million deal with $48 million guaranteed.


Drew Brees and Peyton Manning are the NFL's highest-paid quarterbacks, at an average of $20 million and $18 million a year, respectively.


Brady has made it clear he wants to finish his career with the Patriots, whom he led to Super Bowl wins for the 2001, 2003 and 2004 seasons, and losses in the big game after the 2007 and 2011 seasons. By taking less money in the extension and redoing his current contract, he's hopeful New England can surround him with the parts to win more titles.


Among the Patriots' free agents are top receiver Wes Welker and his backup, Julian Edelman; right tackle Sebastian Vollmer; cornerback Aqib Talib; and running back Danny Woodhead.


Brady has been the most successful quarterback of his era, of course, as well as one of the NFL's best leaders. His skill at running the no-huddle offense is unsurpassed, and he's easily adapted to the different offensive schemes New England has concentrated on through his 13 pro seasons.


The Patriots have gone from run-oriented in Brady's early days to a deep passing team with Randy Moss to an offense dominated by throws to tight ends, running backs and slot receivers.


Brady holds the NFL record for touchdown passes in a season with 50 in 2007, when the Patriots went 18-0 before losing the Super Bowl to the Giants. He has thrown for at least 28 touchdowns seven times and led the league three times.


Last season, Brady had 34 TD passes and eight interceptions as the Patriots went 12-4, leading the league with 557 points, 76 more than runner-up Denver.


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