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Glamour in Glass: Glamourist Histories, #2, by Mary Robinette Kowal
I loved Shades of Milk and Honey, the first book in Kowal's Regency era fantasy series, and I mostly loved this one, too. Like, 95% loved it.
I continue to adore the magic system: It's quiet and somewhat sedate, but in creative, inventive hands, allows for WICKED COOL USAGE.
I love that in addition to the fantasy, it works very much as historical fiction—Jane and Vincent are in Belgium for their honeymoon, and Napoleon figures in heavily—and as a romance.
More pluses: The language and the writing, the attention to detail and the pure, awesome geekery of the author. In the Author's Note—DO NOT MISS IT—Kowal talks about how she created a dictionary comprised of Jane Austen's books and ran her manuscript of Glamour and Glass against it. She researched the history of every single word that the dictionary didn't contain, and she lists some that surprised her (and some that she kept anyway). She also talks a bit about how her world diverges from our own, and about what anachronisms she knowingly included. (Which is so much cooler than a blanket "IT'S ALT-HISTORY, ANYTHING GOES!" attitude. Ahem. In my opinion, anyway.)
You know that storyline where the heroine gets deliriously happily married and everything is awesome and so on BUT THEN she starts thinking OH NOES, MAYBE HE DOESN'T ACTUALLY REALLY LOVE ME? It's one of my least favorite storylines, and that's much of what goes on with the romance thread in Glamour in Glass. To be fair, Vincent is EXTREMELY withdrawn and irritable and distracted—which is especially bad considering they're on their honeymoon—so it's understandable that Jane would have those feelings, but it's not my fave. That is, of course, MY STUFF, and it totally works in terms of characterization—even drawing on the first book, because for various reasons, Jane doesn't have loads of confidence in herself as A Lovable Person—so really, unless you also dislike that storyarc, it's not much of a Con at all.
Also, while I love that the cover art incorporates bubbles (there's a whole important thread about using spheres of glamour), I can't help but feel that the model is WAAAAAY more conventionally attractive than Jane. I loved the cover art on the first book because I felt that it really captured that. Her dress, though, is BEAUTIFUL, and I have no beef whatsoever with it. Except that I don't own one.
Fans of the first one, fantasy-loving fans of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, anyone who likes fantasy that really delves into the mechanics of magic systems, fans of any of the above who also have an interest in artists and their techniques.
Sapphique: Incarceron, #2, by Catherine Fisher
I finally, finally got around to the sequel to Incarceron! Finn is now outside the prison, but is not really any less of a prisoner: he's suddenly living in a world of strict social protocol and every misstep he makes acts to further convince everyone—including Claudia, who until now has been his strongest supporter—that he's an impostor, rather than a long-lost prince.
Meanwhile, Finn's allies within Incarceron are still searching for a way to escape: they're hunting for Sapphique's magic glove, which might not even exist... but the prison is working against them, and it wants to find a way to escape itself.
Like the first book, the world-building is HUGE and RICH and DARK and COMPLEX. The cultures on the inside and the outside of Incarceron are distinctly different, but it's always clear that regardless of what side of the wall each character resides on, every single one of them is a prisoner in some way. Including Incarceron itself, which is a mindbleep and a half.
In addition to the world-building, the storyline is exciting, and the characters are worth caring about, the pacing is, like, BREAKNECK, and the whole thing is BANANAS in the best kind of way. Incarceron was super, but Sapphique was even better.
Erm. None for me, though it's not going to be an across-the-board crowdpleaser: see above about the DARK and BANANAS.
Fans of the first one. I wouldn't recommend it as a stand-alone.
G&G: Amazon, Publisher.
S: Amazon, Publisher.
G&G: ILLed through my library.
S: ARC provided by the publisher a looooong time ago.
At the New Statesman:
Even picture books that are intended to appeal primarily to boys reflect
the tastes of the mother or grandmother that will usually be buying
them as well as the child they’re bought for. Picture book pirates are
less prone to combat than their counterparts in other media, monsters
and aliens less frightening, vehicles and machines less technically
detailed. Elements of danger and threat are tamed or omitted altogether
on the grounds of being unappealing or inappropriate. In short, picture
books with boy-friendly themes tend to be cuter and tamer than similarly
themed TV shows, films or video games.
So, on the one hand, I know that it would raise my hackles if an awards committee was comprised of all male judges.
On the other, I wanted to punch this article in the face. It's so, so entrenched in gender binarism and the idea that women are somehow incapable of appreciating books that incorporate elements of "combat, peril, villainy and technology". Barf.
This is about the ongoing SFWA flap, though much of it could be applied to the article I linked to earlier today.
From Terrible Minds:
All this shit starts when we humans are tiny. I have a two-year-old son. Boys get the BLUE STUFF. Hard. Steely! Naval. Girls get the PINK STUFF. Soft. Squishy! Fleshy. Our son loves trucks. You think, “Oh, this is genetic. Boys are biologically attracted to boy things.” Until you see him playing with little girls and the girls are all like, “YEAH TRUCKS ARE AWESOME, MOTHERTRUCKER,” and that dashes that idea into itty-bits. Then you go to buy books and you see it translates there, too: the blue, the pink, the trucks, the dollies. So you realize, this boy/girl thing starts early in terms of writing and publishing. And that means it’s where you have to do some damage control early. Let your boy play with dolls. Let your girl read about trucks. Teach them early on to respect each other and everybody else. (AKA: “Hey, kid, don’t be an asshole.”)
And now I shall go out and read everything Wendig has written.
Which I'm pretty sure is a promise I've made before, but sometimes these things take time to stick.
There are only 6 hours left in my Lilly Badilly Literacy Project. I did not meet my goal, but I am thrilled to have raised enough to give 300 books and CD’s away to needy young readers! I am so looking forward to the author visits.
Thank you everyone for your support!
By: Joy Chu,
Blog: got story countdown
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* NOTE: The above is from an interview that was featured in UCSD Extension's Blog last fall, just before I began teaching the on-line version of my class, "Illustrating Books for Children"/Winter 2013 Quarter. — JC
Howdy, Campers and Happy Poetry Friday!
I stress when I have a blog post to write on a favorite online writing resource and no time to write it. Can you relate? In that case, it's nice to have a caring blog-buddy name Carmela who has extra resources in her big floppy bag and tosses me one as I frantically run by.
In the spirit of generous blogging, Carmela has handed me 20 Inspirational Apps and Online Resources for Writer
s. How cool is that for a hot summer writing resource?
Yep, there are lots of great resources on that link. However, may I express a nagging uneasiness about certain apps? Based on several friends' recommendations, I downloaded Evernote
, which is included in this list. I was looking for a useful To Do List app and this apparently fits the bill.
What creeps me out was that in order to access this marvelous and free app, you have to allow it to access all of your contacts.
ALL OF MY CONTACTS? Evernote wants the phone number of my vet? Of my dead podiatrist who I loved so much I cannot bring myself to delete from my phone? Of Uncle Davie?
Uncle Davie and Eli.
Evernote wants/GETS all these precious people?
I couldn't do it. I couldn't surrender my peeps for a free app.
by April Halprin Wayland
I'm not openin'
my phone book
And I'm hopin'
your phone book
poem © 2013 April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved
Now I'm off to my critique group. Wish me luck! And if you find that one of these resources is particularly wonderful, please let us know...and
remember to enter our contest to win a copy of our very own Jill Esbaum's
newest book! Click for all the dino details: Angry Birds Playground: Dinosaurs
. You still have time--the contest ends June 18th!
Dive into your summer writing!
drawing © 2013 April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved
April Halprin Wayland
If you were eleven years old, would you pass up a trip to India with your parents to visit your relatives and instead choose to stay with an uncle on a small island off the coast of Washington State? The girl in this book, Poppy Ray, does exactly that. Her uncle is a veterinarian and Poppy thinks that she wants to be a vet when she grows up. She even has her own veterinarian medical kit which she takes with her. Unfortunately, when she actually gets there, she finds out that it is a lot tougher than she thought it would be. Her uncle is great and she loves the animals but she finds out that the sight of blood makes her sick and she has some trouble with the owners of the pets.
There are heartwarming moments and heartbreaking moments and some wonderful characters in this book. How do you think Poppy will do with the trials and tribulations of a busy veterinarian’s office? I guess you will have to read it for yourself to find out!
Posted by: Fran W.
Over the past few weeks, we have experienced a lot of showers and storms rolling through the Mount Pleasant area. Lucky for us, we have been busy inside the office, but it brings up the question what happens to the animals during or after a storm?
A recent news article from FOX 25 in Oklahoma City discusses one organization, Wild Care Oklahoma, that has taken in over 700 animals since the end of May. Wild Care has stepped in to provide care for many animals directly affected by the damaging tornadoes, many of which were babies. The recent storms hit during the peak of “baby” season. This left many young animals orphaned in the aftermath of the tornadoes. A litter of skunks, two racoons, and species of birds, turtles, coyotes, and foxes have been taken in by Wild Care after the destructive storms hit. The organization’s Facebook page frequently posts pictures and videos of their in treatment or newly released animals each day. I highly recommend checking out this page and all the adorable animal babies! You can also check-out ways to help Wild Care or their upcoming events.
Also, Author Patti R. Zelch in her book Ready, Set…Wait!, illustrated by Connie McLennan, gives insight into what happens to animals during storms. This picture book follows nine different wild animals as they sense, prepare, and react to an approaching hurricane. Definitely a good read for a rainy day inside!
Link to the Wild Care Oklahoma Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/WildCareOklahoma
Wishing everyone a good day and stay dry wherever you are!
Edyth Bulbring will be a speaker at an SCBWI event to be held at the Sandton Public Library on 2 July 2013.
Edyth comes from the Eastern Cape where she attended Collegiate High.
She completed a BA at UCT and an MBA at Wits Business School.
She has worked as a journalist and political correspondent.
She lives in Johannesburg with her partner, three children and dog.
Head on over to Alexander London's letter at Dear Teen Me:
You didn’t kiss anyone for two years. When you got back to the states, you even dyed your hair back to brown. You stayed in a closet of your own making. You got angry and seethed in silence. You hid behind your eyes and watched reality happen to other people.
When you eventually did kiss a guy and let life open up to you, it really was all you hoped it would be and more. It wasn’t just the kiss or coming out, though that was part of it. It was realizing you could be your whole self.
Blubbering all over my desk.
Here's my favorite one, but check out the rest here:
(via Book Patrol)
...I wrote about Dianne K. Salerni's The Caged Graves, which I LOVED.
Jodi Picoult's first YA novel—which she co-wrote with her daughter, Samantha van Leer—is $1.99 today.
I bought it, because A) I've never read a Jodi Picoult book, which seems vaguely silly as she's so popular with the teen demographic, B) even if I detest it, I'm out less than $2, and C) because of this.
WIN WIN WIN!
...have been announced, and the YA winner is Flesh & Bone, by Jonathan Maberry.
See the rest of the winners here, and the other YA finalists here!
On her inspiration for Fudge's Turtle Incident:
Read it in a newspaper. No kidding -- a real toddler swallowed a tiny pet turtle. Wrote a picture book about it and got back great rejection letters. "Very funny but this would teach small children to swallow turtles." Great editor suggested writing a longer book (chapter book) and using that story as the last chapter.
On how to get kids to read:
If you want them to read my books don't tell them so. Maybe just leave around a paperback with a new cover and say, "I'm not sure you're ready for that."
On her favorite books as a child:
The Betsy-Tacy books by Maude Hart Lovelace. Still wonderful books.
And at one point she answered "Have you ever gotten high with Gordon Korman and hooked up?" with "Not yet."
Judy Blume, you rule.
Click on through for loads more!
...Alexander London letter, let's about-face and guffaw over the Smart Bitches' review of the Jude Deveraux, The Raider - Barbie® and Ken® Doll Giftset.
SO. MANY. PICTURES. DEPICTING. SO. MUCH. HILARIOUSNESS.
This clever rhyming picture book will have you jumping along too! Each little animal is just minding their own business, when along comes a bigger animal that makes them JUMP! Well, wouldn’t you jump if you were a cat, a fat little cat and were sleeping on a mat, and then you see a hound?? – wouldn’t you JUMP? The simple sing-songy rhythm of the story is infectious, and I think little kids and grown-ups will love it!
Posted by: Mary
As of November 20, 2012 (that is, Midnight Eastern Time tonight) I am closed to queries. I will reopen to queries January 7, 2013.
If I already have your work, you should hear from me by January 7. (That's the point of taking the break, I have to catch up!)
I'm sorry to say that I cannot respond to new queries sent during this time.
The exceptions will be: work that I've requested -- conference material -- client or editor referrals -- and people I actually know in real life. If this is you, please be sure you've said so, along with the word Query, IN THE SUBJECT LINE of your email. Otherwise, your query will be deleted.
For all other regular queries, please feel free to try any of my colleagues at Andrea Brown Lit, or else try me again in January.
Thanks again for thinking of me in regard to your work.
Wishing you all the best, and Happy Holidays,
Andrea Brown Literary Agency
This is a time where my tactile creative projects have stilled. In terms of the doll-shop, I have some custom orders in the works, but the time in which I sit down at the desk to sew is scattered. I currently have a completed Goth Queen, but the pattern pieces for a Snow-White inspired doll are waiting for me to bring them together. I enjoyed making a fireworks doll a few years ago, and want to make another one, as that doll sold quickly before most people had time to see her in the shop.
Therefore, I am gratified and honored that Jama Rattigan of Jama's Alphabet Soup featured my shop in her Indie Artist Spotlight series. Those of you who know Jama personally or through her blog are aware of how vibrant and passionate she is about books, food, textiles, films, authors, illustrators, and bloggers. I hope to meet her in person someday, and make both sweet and savory æbleskiver/ebelskiver, as promised.
In the meantime, here is the post:
Indie Artist Spotlight: Farida Dowler of Alkelda Dolls
|Who knows what's in the bag?|
Rgz SALON member Lyn Miller-Lachmann has been the Editor-in-Chief of MultiCultural Review; the author of the award-winning multicultural bibliography Our Family, Our Friends, Our World; the editor of Once Upon a Cuento, a collection of short stories by Latino authors; and the author of Gringolandia, a young adult novel about a refugee family living with the aftermath of the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile. Her most recent novel, Rogue--has a very cool Cover Story, and she's here to share it:
"My YA novel, Gringolandia, had an unusual and powerful cover closely connected to the story, and I was heavily involved in the design process. A small press published the novel, and in general, small presses do give authors far greater input than large corporate publishers. Thus, when I signed the contract for Rogue, I knew I’d get a chance to see the cover beforehand but I’d have little or no role in the ultimate decision-making.
"That said, the result exceeded my wildest expectations. My wonderful editor, Nancy Paulsen at Penguin, commissioned Marikka Tamura, whose work has appeared in The New Yorker and other prestigious venues. We all agreed that the cover of Rogue needed a bicycle, because bicycles of all kinds play an important role in the story. Once we decided on the title of 'Rogue,' after the X-Men superhero with whom my main character, Kiara, is obsessed, we all knew the cover needed a comic-book superhero motif.
"When I first saw the cover design, the only thing that concerned me was the thought bubble that contained the novel’s first line: 'It usually took the new kids two weeks to dump me, three weeks at the most.' The reason is that when I was in school, I used to descend on the new kids, to make them my friends before the more popular kids stole them away. It never worked, and my own friendships never lasted more than a few weeks. So I was nervous about advertising unpopularity—Kiara’s and mine—on the cover.
"My editor did not agree with me. The one change that the publisher made from the galley to the finished copy was to change the thought bubble from pink to blue (see galley cover on the right). And here’s where we did have outside input—not mine, but my seventh grade student’s recommendation.
"When I told my seventh graders that my novel had been accepted, under the title KIARA RULES, and read them the first chapter, a student named Dan said, 'This is the kind of book I’d read, but not if it has a girl’s name in the title and pink on the cover.' So KIARA RULES became ROGUE, but the graffiti 'Kiara Rulz' on the cover recognizes the earlier title and Kiara’s generally fruitless efforts to be 'cool' and in control. And, of course, the pink thought bubble became a blue thought bubble. That was a good move because it turns out that boys do enjoy reading Rogue. It’s rare to have boys pick up a novel with a girl protagonist—The Hunger Games is a notable exception—so I’m thrilled that Rogue is in that company. At the same time, Kiara, like Katniss, doesn’t take on traditional gender roles, and every other character is a boy. Like many girls with Asperger’s syndrome, myself included, Kiara’s first real friends turn out to be boys rather than girls.
"The gender-neutral cover captures perfectly my main character, her tendency to get in trouble even though she wants to be good, her sense of being an outsider, and her superhero obsession as she struggles to find her own special power. It’s also an lively cover that hints at the outdoors setting and the action and suspense that should keep the pages turning."
Thanks, Lyn! I love the idea that seventh graders weighed in here and got a voice at the table! Can't wait to read it!
In a few days, summer will officially be here. Time for vacations, reunions, camps, fun with cousins and friends. But don’t forget to encourage the kids in your life to read.
First Book created this eye-opening graphic that shows the effects of the summer slide, the loss of reading skills that can happen when kids don’t read during the summer break from school. Reading is Fundamental, which has a Multicultural Literacy Campaign, discusses the slide too and offers tips to beat it. Check them out here.
There are so many wonderful books kids can explore. To get you started, here are 10 cool picture books written and/or illustrated by African-Americans that celebrate the spirit of summer. Click on each book cover for summaries and other helpful details.
Hot Day on Abbott Avenue by Karen English, illustrated by Javaka Steptoe.
Juneteenth Jamboree by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Yvonne Buchanan
Around Our Way on Neighbors’ Day by Tameka Fryer Brown illustrated by Charlotte Riley-Webb. Check out the trailer here.
Summer Sun Risin’ by W. Nikola-Lisa, illustrated by Don Tate
Summer in the City by Kathleen Wainwright, illustrated by Nancy Devard. Check out the trailer here.
Seaside Dream by Janet Costa Bates, illustrated by Lambert Davis
One Hot Summer Day, written and illustrated by Nina Crews
Bigmama’s, written and illustrated by Donald Crews
We Had a Picnic This Sunday Past, by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Diane Greenseid
A Beach Tail by Karen Lynn Williams, illustrated by Floyd Cooper
This will be a shorter post than usual, guys. I had emergency eye surgery the day after I wrote my last post, and I am still essentially working with one and a half functioning eyes.
We've been talking about what the blogosphere holds for the writer. You already know the answer to that....a lot. You can spend all time trolling the Internet just reading writer's blogs, advice columns or sites that will help you do this, that or the other better. Unless I have a specific problem, I don't spend a lot of time cruising the virtual highway. I just don't have time.
If I am online, it is to find out what is being published and what is worth reading. There was a time when I read everything that came out, good, bad or indifferent...but again...I don't have the time any more. (I should also add that as a librarian, reading everything that came in was part of my job.) Another part of the job was reading the review sources....Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Horn Book, etc. All of these are available online for free, in condensed forms.
However, I have been relying on these sources since my library school days, and I have learned that not every book makes it to the "the Bigs" of the review world. That's when I discovered bloggers-who-review. Some bloggers drop a review or two into their posts from time to time. I like lots of reviews, all in one place. (Again...that time-saving thing.)
Once a month I check my two favorite sources, Richie's Picks and Good Reads. Good Reads has recently become affiliated with Amazon in some fashion which seems to annoy my fellow readers. I am not going to get into a political debate over book reviewing. I scan through Good Reads not so much for the quality of the reviews, but mainly to see what people are reading. If there are a thousand plus reviews or likes of a book I've never even heard of, I check Amazon for the review. That is, I check Amazon if it is an adult book. If it is a children's book, I click on over to Richie's Picks
Richie Partington doesn't so much review books as to write short essays about them. He includes lengthy passages from the book (so you can get a taste of the writer's style) , compares them to other books (not necessarily books of the same genre or author...just books that ring a bell in Richie's head.) He keeps a year's worth of "recent" reviews online, but has an archive of his "Richie's Best of the Year" going all the way back to 2005. Richie's selections are eclectic. He reviews whatever floats his boat (I am still waiting to have one of my books in Richie's Picks). What I like about this blog is that Richie gives you more than enough information for you to decide whether this book is worth your time or not. Like I say, so many books, so little time. That's why Richie is my reading guru.
Don't forget to enter our latest book giveaway for our own Jill Esbaum's book.See Jill's post for information. This is one of your last chances, since the deadline is June 18th.
Posted by Mary Ann Rodman
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No, I'm not pregnant.
(It seems that every single time I say that I have Big News, people immediately jump to that conclusion. So I figured I'd cut you all off at the pass this time.)
The news is:
Earlier today, I was offered the position of Head Librarian at my town's public library, and I accepted.
I can't even express how happy I am about it: it's a library that the town's residents LITERALLY built themselves, and so the community is really actively invested in it, and I'm so excited and pleased that they are trusting me with it.
SO VAIR VAIR EXCITED AND PLEASED.
Anyway, starting in early August, that's what I'll be up to in my library-life.
First item on the agenda? Building them a website.
Going forward? We shall see what we shall see, but I'm sure it will be awesomesauce unchained.
(I might sound somewhat blasé about it (for me), but I am SO. EXCITED. And, as Josh, Amber, my sister, Amanda, and a few others can attest, I've been so revved about the application/interview process, etc., that I've been a tad difficult to be around. So thanks to everyone for A) putting up with me and B) being so amazingly supportive. YAY!)