What is JacketFlap

  • JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans.
    Join now (it's free).

Sort Blog Posts

Sort Posts by:

  • in

Suggest a Blog

Enter a Blog's Feed URL below and click Submit:

Most Commented Posts

In the past 7 days

Recent Posts

(from the Writer category)

Recent Comments

JacketFlap Sponsors

Spread the word about books.
Put this Widget on your blog!
  • Powered by JacketFlap.com

Are you a book Publisher?
Learn about Widgets now!

Advertise on JacketFlap

MyJacketFlap Blogs

  • Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.

Writer Category Blogs

Blog Posts by Date

Click days in this calendar to see posts by day or month
new posts in all blogs
Viewing: Blog Posts from the Writer category, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 7,951 - 7,975 of 236,827
7951. Daniel Kraus, author of THE DEATH AND LIFE OF ZEBULON FINCH, on removing the last sentence

THE DEATH AND LIFE OF ZEBULON FINCH, VOLUME ONE: AT THE EDGE OF EMPIRE is not only a mouthful, it's also the latest novel from Daniel Kraus, who we're excited to have with us.

Daniel, what scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?

Well, there's a scene near the end of Volume One that everyone is going to assume was the most painful to write, but they'll be wrong. The difficult scenes to write are not necessarily the "difficult" scenes, they're the ones that I've been thinking about for the past twenty years. When you think about a scene that long and suddenly one morning there you are, about to write it, it can be nerve-wracking. How do you know you're really up to it? Will it be all you've hoped? It's a lot of self-created pressure.

How long or hard was your road to publication? How many books did you write before this one, and how many never got published?

I'm one of the lucky ones. My first book sold relatively quickly and I haven't had any periods where I was without a publisher (yet). That said, I have written one novel that I've chosen not to publish. My readers like the darkness of my content, but with the unpublished book, I wonder if I went too far. I need some time to think about it -- another decade, maybe. But my guess is that it won't come out until after I'm dead, and then everyone can wonder "What was wrong with that guy?"

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?

I don't hold a lot of stock in "believe in yourself!" advice -- it feels empty. The piece of advice I've settled on is concrete and specific. Look at the last sentence of one of your chapters. You probably put it there because it has a zinger, or a punch, or something to compel the turning of the page. But imagine if you got rid of it. To me, I'm constantly surprised by how much stronger and less gimmicky closing paragraphs become after I've removed that sentence.


The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Volume One: At the Edge of Empireby Daniel Kraus
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Released 10/27/2015

May 7, 1896. Dusk. A swaggering seventeen-year-old gangster named Zebulon Finch is gunned down on the shores of Lake Michigan. But after mere minutes in the void, he is mysteriously resurrected. His second life will be nothing like his first. 

Zebulon's new existence begins as a sideshow attraction in a traveling medicine show. From there, he will be poked and prodded by a scientist obsessed with mastering the secrets of death. He will fight in the trenches of World War I. He will run from his nightmares—and from poverty—in Depression-era New York City. And he will become the companion of the most beautiful woman in Hollywood.

 Love, hate, hope, and horror—Zebulon finds them. But will he ever find redemption?

Ambitious and heartbreaking, The Death & Life of Zebulon Finch, Volume 1: At the Edge of Empire is the epic saga of what it means to be human in a world so often lacking in humanity.

Purchase The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Volume One: At the Edge of Empire at Amazon
Purchase The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Volume One: At the Edge of Empire at IndieBound
View The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Volume One: At the Edge of Empire on Goodreads


Photo of Daniel KrausDaniel Kraus is a Chicago-based writer, editor, and filmmaker. His debut novel, THE MONSTER VARIATIONS, was selected to New York Public Library's "100 Best Stuff for Teens." Fangoria called his Bram Stoker-finalist, Odyssey Award-winning second novel, ROTTERS, "a new horror classic." SCOWLER was a Library Guild selection and also the winner of the Odyssey Award.

Upcoming novels include TROLLHUNTERS (2015), co-written with Oscar-winning filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, and THE DEATH & LIFE OF ZEBULON FINCH, VOLUMES 1 & 2 (2015, 2016).

Have you had a chance to read THE DEATH AND LIFE OF ZEBULON FINCH, VOLUME ONE: AT THE EDGE OF EMPIRE yet? Do you ever write stuff so dark you're not sure you want people to read it? Have you tried removing the last sentence from each chapter to see if it's stronger?

Happy reading,

Jocelyn, Shelly, Martina, Erin, Lisa, Susan, Sam, Lindsey, Sandra, Kristin, and Anisaa

0 Comments on Daniel Kraus, author of THE DEATH AND LIFE OF ZEBULON FINCH, on removing the last sentence as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
7952. Spotlight and Giveaway: His Kind of Trouble by Terri L Austin

Protagonist Monica Campbell takes a break from the action in His Kind Of Trouble to share her Top 5 Tips for Releasing Your Inner Wild Child. 

Releasing Your Inner Wild Child

My name is Monica Campbell and I’m a reformed wild child. Growing up in Vegas, trouble was easy to find and hard to resist. But these days, I’m a responsible job-holding, tax-paying, tooth-flossing citizen. I don’t dance on tables or sneak off to dive bars. I even had that unfortunate tattoo permanently removed. I’ve changed my ways for good. Most importantly, I’ve sworn off bad boys. I’ve had my fair share of them, believe me, and men who look like trouble usually are. Now I only date serious men with life goals and steady paychecks.

But then Calum Hughes roared into town with his hot British accent and even hotter body. We shared a moment five years ago, a moment I’ve never gotten over. So what’s a girl to do? I’ve tried to steer clear of him, but he’s …amazing. Wait, did I say amazing? I meant persistent. The man won’t leave me alone. Why does he have to be so charming? I can’t quite figure him out, and trust me, I don’t want to. I’m on the wagon where bad boys are concerned, and that especially includes Cal.

As long as I stay out of his orbit, I can focus on my work and not his lopsided grin or his rock hard abs. But he doesn’t play fair. The more I try to avoid him, the more he comes around, asking me to go play and tempting me to return to my wild child ways. That’s not going to happen, do you hear me? I’m over men like Cal. Been there. Done that. And I had that fugly tat to prove it. I’m not reverting back to bad habits.

Yet every time he kisses me or speaks with that deep, scratchy voice, I want to lose myself in him. He makes me miss the uninhibited side of myself. I thought I’d closed that chapter of my life for real this time, but Cal…, maybe I could let a little bit of my wild side poke through. That wouldn’t be so bad, right? After all, it’s not like Cal’s sticking around for good. He never stays in one place for long. He’s a professional drifter.

The question is, can I give in just a tiny bit, and still keep my heart intact? They say there’s a first time for everything.

Monica’s Tips for Releasing Your Inner Wild Child (Without Getting Arrested)

1. Wear sexy lingerie. You never know when that bad boy might decide to peek under your blouse, and you do not want to be caught in white cotton.

2. Know when to give into temptation. Sometimes, when a man looks that delicious, you can sin all night and make a fresh start in the morning. Kind of like a diet. A sex diet.

3. Drive your man’s car as fast as possible—he won’t like it. Don’t let this dissuade you. After all, it’s not your Mustang on the line, now is it?

4. Get over that fear of public sex. You don’t have to be a complete exhibitionist, but the thrill of almost getting caught adds to the fun.

5. Go ahead and dance on the table. Wild Child motto: no regrets!

6. Be careful with your heart. When you start having feelings, it gets real. So don’t, I repeat, don’t fall in love, no matter how tempting he is. Trust me on this one.  


Book Information

Title: His Kind of Trouble

Author: Terri L. Austin

Release Date: November 3, 2015

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Genre: Contemporary Romance


Monica Campbell may have a history as a wild child, but she’s changed her ways. She’s respectable, responsible-and, most importantly, she’s sworn off bad boys. That is, until Callum Hughes roars back into her life with his sexy British accent and killer smile.

Cal remembers every steamy moment he shared with Monica, but he barely recognizes the straight-laced woman she’s become. Determined to lure Monica into letting go of her inhibitions, Cal will use every trick he knows to fire her blood and tempt her body…reminding her
just how good it can feel to be bad-and his.

Buy Links

Amazon:  http://amzn.to/1NnjTf9

Barnes and Noble:  http://bit.ly/1jO819s

iBooks:  http://apple.co/1VDQfqp

Author Biography

As a girl, Terri L. Austin thought she’d outgrow dreaming up stories and creating imaginary friends. Instead, she’s made a career of it. Now she writes steamy contemporary romance and mysteries. She met her own Prince Charming and together they live in Independence, Missouri.

Social Networking Links

Website: http://www.terrilaustin.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAustin

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TerriLAustin

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5782231.Terri_L_Austin

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Add a Comment
7953. Tough Guys + an interview with Keith Negley


by Keith Negley (Flying Eye Books, 2015)

Heads up, email subscribers: my blog took a bit of a tumble so I’m reposting what was lost in the shuffle. Apologies, and thank you for reading!

The kind folks at Flying Eye sent over a preview of this book, thinking it was right up my alley.

It’s right up my alley.

The theme: yes. The design: yes. The snappy, bold, in-your-face look at tough guys plus the snappy, bold, in-your-face look at feelings: yes.

I chatted with Keith Negley, and learned a lot about this debut effort. I hope there’s more from him, and I hope you enjoy this peek into the brain of a picture book creator.

toughguys-4 toughguys-7

Hi Keith! Can you talk about where this story came from? And what the process was like for its creation?

It all started when my son Parker who was 6 at the time stole a soccer ball from a friend during soccer practice and his friend got upset and they fought over it. Parker was angry at first, but then felt embarrassed and ashamed because he knew he did something wrong. I could tell he was struggling with how to handle all these new emotions that were happening to him at the same time. He walked away from the group and sat down to be by himself because he didn’t want anyone to see him cry. Later that night, I explained to him that it was totally natural to cry and that everybody does it. I told him sometimes even I cried, and he looked up at me and asked, “grown ups cry too?

It blew his mind that even adults cried because he thought it was something only kids did. I wished I had a book I could read to him that let him know that frustration and crying is a natural thing not to be ashamed of. The next day the idea for the book popped into my head.

You’ve done a lot of editorial illustration, but this is your first children’s book. Can you tell us the how and why you got into books?

I always liked the idea of making picture books for children, but it wasn’t until I became a parent and started reading a ton of picture books to my son did I realize there was a lack of the kind of books we enjoyed. Honestly the books I’ve been working on were born out of necessity because I wanted to read them and no one else had made them yet.

Your tumblr tag line is spectacular: part man, part negative space. Can you explain where that came from and why it represents you so well?

Ha, I find tragedy to be the greatest muse. The subjects I enjoy working with the most are the ones that break my heart. It’s cathartic somehow, and I feel like I really get to put a piece of me into the work. What ends up happening is I have a portfolio of rather depressing subject matter. But I’m always striving to create beautiful images with it. That juxtaposition is challenging and rewarding for me.

Add to that I tend to utilize negative space as a compositional tool fairly often and so I thought it tied the content in with the image making nature of the blog.

toughguys-9Who are some of your story heroes?

I’ve been a huge fan of Lane Smith for years and years. Jon Scieszka is another one. Ezra Jack Keats. Jack Kent’s Socks For Supper is one of my all time favorites as a kid and it still holds up today.

What do you remember about picture books from your childhood?

I remember my mom reading them to me and how she would make different voices for all the characters. I try to do that for Parker but he’s not into it at all unfortunately.


What is your favorite piece of art hanging in your home or studio?

Not sure if this counts, but I like to make music in my spare time and I’m a huge nerd for vintage synthesizers. I currently have a 1979 Korg 770 sitting in my studio and just looking at it makes me very happy. I consider them works of art.

What’s next for you?

Trying to schedule some reading events for the fall/winter and I’m in the middle of working on my second book for Flying Eye which should be out in time for Father’s Day next year!


Thank you, Keith! And vintage synthesizers totally count as works of art.

PS: Congratulations to the winner of the The Story of Diva and Flea giveaway, Ashley! And thanks to Flying Eye for the images used in this post.


Add a Comment
7954. My First NaNoWriMo

National Novel Writing Month begins on the 1st of November every year. I’ve been a supporter since I first heard of it way back when and in 2009 Scott and me turned our blogs over to a month-long series of NaNo writing tips which start here.1

Despite being aware of it for more than a decade this will be the first time I’ve formally done NaNoWriMo myself. I figured I’d give it a go because I was asked to do a NaNo pep talk, also Scott’s doing it this year, as well as many other friends, and I’ve met some of the people who run NaNoWriMo, like Rebecca Stern, and they all seem lovely.

But mostly I’m doing it because I already have the first 17k words of a new novel. I thought it would be fun to spend the next month writing it in the company of thousands of others all over the world.

I doubt I’ll hit the 1,667 per day you need to write 50k words in a month. The most I’ve written in a day over the last few years is about 3k and that was followed by a few days of not writing at all. Mostly I manage around 300-400 words a day. My personal goal is 10k words for the month. We’ll see.

Good luck to all you Wrimos! Take frequent breaks! Stretch! Drink lots of water! Don’t forget to eat and go for walks! May you all write like the wind.

  1. I first wished Wrimos luck back in November 2006.

0 Comments on My First NaNoWriMo as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
7955. J.C. Carleson, author of PLACEBO JUNKIES, on connecting the dots between a known beginning and end

We're thrilled to have J.C. Carleson here to share more about her latest novel PLACEBO JUNKIES.

J.C., how long did you work on PLACEBO JUNKIES?

I spent a year writing it, but much of the last few months was tinkering on a fairly small scale to make sure that there was internal consistency and logic – there was much swapping around of chapters and elements, which was a first for me. I knew all along where I wanted to start and how I wanted Audie’s story to end, but it took me an excruciatingly long (and angst-ridden) time to figure out how I was going to connect the dots.

Read more »

0 Comments on J.C. Carleson, author of PLACEBO JUNKIES, on connecting the dots between a known beginning and end as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
7956. हैप्पी हैलोवीन

halloween party by monica gupta

halloween party by monica gupta

हैप्पी हैलोवीन

Happy Halloween में लोग मास्क पहन कर जाते हैं और उस भूतिया त्योहार को मनाते हैं तो कुछ लोगो की इस त्योहार के बारे में अलग ही राय है

31 अक्तूबर की शाम को शुरू हुआ हैलोवीन अपने दोस्तों-रिश्तेदारों के साथ पांच दिन तक चलता है. 5 नवंबर को बड़े पैमाने पर आतिशबाजी के साथ हेलोवीन का त्योहार संपन्न होता है. लोग जगह-जगह अलाव जलाते हैं और भूतिया ड्रेस पहन कर घूमते हैं. अपने घरों की खिड़कियों पर वे कंकाल टांगते हैं. घर में लाइट्स से डरावना माहौल बनाया जाता है.

हैलोवीन डे के सबसे खास परंपरा में शामिल है नक्काशीदार कद्दू में लालटेन जलाना. इसके पीछे एक बेहद रोचक कहानी है. आयरलैंड में जन्मे कंजूस शराबी जैक ने अपने एक शैतान दोस्त को घर में ड्रिंक करने के लिए बुलाया, लेकिन वो पैसे खर्च करना नहीं चाहता था. उसने अपने दोस्त को ड्रिंक के बदले घर में लगा कद्दू देने के लिए राजी किया. लेकिन ड्रिंक करने के बाद वह अपनी बात से मुकर गया. इसके बदले उसके दोस्त ने उसे कद्दू की डरावनी लालटेन बनाकर जैक के घर के बाहर पेड़ पर टांग दिया, जिस पर उसके मुंह की नक्काशी थी और जलते हुए कोयले डाल थे. तब से दूसरे लोगों के लिए सबक के तौर पर इस दिन जैक-ओ-लालटेन का चलन शुरू हो गया. यह उनके पूर्वजों की आत्माओं को रास्ता दिखाने और बुरी आत्माओं से रक्षा करने का प्रतीक है.


राय कुछ भी हो  हैप्पी हैलोवीनलोवीन पर्व की शुभकामनाएं तो बनती ही हैं

The post हैप्पी हैलोवीन appeared first on Monica Gupta.

Add a Comment
7957. “Chris Barton pulls no punches when writing about the White resistance to change.”

As a friend pointed out to me, K.T. Horning literally wrote the book on reviewing children’s literature. So her review of The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch for the Reading While White blog would have meant a lot to me no matter what. But I especially appreciate Horning’s recognition of the honesty and authenticity […]

0 Comments on “Chris Barton pulls no punches when writing about the White resistance to change.” as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
7958. The Five People You Meet on the Internet

I think I broke my Facebook. I deleted all of my past posts and now nobody sees the new ones… do doubt due to algorithms that make it impossible to appear in the “feeds” of others unless you have a critical mass of past likes. Kind of like publishing, I guess. You have to be a big deal to be a big deal.

But do I want to trust my public persona to algorithms anyway?  Deep down inside, even in the age of Kardashians, I kind of think that a fame based on being shoved in people’s faces is not the same as having, for lack of better word, a reputation. Some desperate, lonely part of me wants people to seek me out, to find me on the bookshelf, to enter my URL, at the very least to “subscribe” to my posts via email.

So maybe this is for the best. To the five people who see this post because they chose to see it, I thank you for stopping by.

Filed under: Miscellaneous

Add a Comment
7959. Alexander Yates, author of THE WINTER PLACE, on getting to know characters through their grief

We're delighted to have Alexander Yates join us to share more about his latest novel THE WINTER PLACE.

Alexander, what scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?

At the opening of The Winter Place, my two young characters are orphaned (not a spoiler—it happens early), and I found that the chapters immediately following that traumatic event were very difficult to write. Part of me was tempted to skip ahead by a month or two, to a point when some of the shock might have worn off for them. But it was important to me as a writer (and to the plot) that I stick with the characters in that moment. Grief is such an intense and personal experience, and I thought that if I didn’t get to know who my characters were at the depths of their grief, then I’d never understand them at all.

And it wasn’t just the grief—capturing their shock, too, was a real challenge. Sometimes people can become dissociated in the moments immediately following a tragedy. I wanted to capture that feeling of dislocation, without making these kids look like sociopaths who didn’t care that their father had just died.

Read more »

0 Comments on Alexander Yates, author of THE WINTER PLACE, on getting to know characters through their grief as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
7960. jampires at gosh comics

Today was Jampires painting day! My co-writer/co-illustrator David O'Connell and I had fun mucking about with Posca pens in the front window of Gosh Comics in Soho.

Painting on windows is strange, the opposite to painting on paper, because the first colours you apply to the glass are the ones that show in front. So I kept running around to the front of the window to check we were doing all right. The other thing about painting on windows is that you have people watching you! Which is actually quite fun, because you can wave at each other and see them heading off with their freshly signed Jampires books. I love this photo of Lily with her new book, tweeted by Charlotte Hacking:

Ta-dah! All finished! We're keeping our fingers crossed that Gosh will leave it up for Christmas as well as Halloween. You can knit a Jampire to go along with your book if you want to download the free pattern (along with lots of other activities) at jampires.com.

Maybe they will; Neill Cameron's lovely Pirates of Pangaea painting is still in the window!

Dave and I signed a lot of stock, so you can still get copies of the Jampires picture book and mini comic, Dave's Monster & Chips series, and my Dinosaur Police, There's a Shark in the Bath, Morris the Mankiest Monster and You Can't Eat a Princess!. We also met a nice Scottish chappie named Mark Millar who also makes comics and film stuff, and ladies in nice costumes like to pose for photos with him.

I'm off to Norway for a week packed full of school visits and a festival, so I'll have more news soon (but I might be a bit slow getting back to e-mails and things).

Add a Comment
7961. Tip: Write first, edit LATER.

This is something I've been struggling with for years. My tendency is to try editing as I write and while this works for some writers, I know, I find that it bogs me down to a snail's pace.

What I'm trying for my new middle grade novel: to do a lot of in-depth prep and thinking about the structure ahead of time, hammer out a VERY rough first draft, and THEN revise.

0 Comments on Tip: Write first, edit LATER. as of 11/1/2015 7:57:00 AM
Add a Comment
7962. The Five People You Meet on the Internet

I think I broke my Facebook. I deleted all of my past posts and now nobody sees the new ones… do doubt due to algorithms that make it impossible to appear in the “feeds” of others unless you have a critical mass of past likes. Kind of like publishing, I guess. You have to be a big deal to be a big deal.

But do I want to trust my public persona to algorithms anyway?  Deep down inside, even in the age of Kardashians, I kind of think that a fame based on being shoved in people’s faces is not the same as having, for lack of better word, a reputation. Some desperate, lonely part of me wants people to seek me out, to find me on the bookshelf, to enter my URL, at the very least to “subscribe” to my posts via email.

So maybe this is for the best. To the five people who see this post because they chose to see it, I thank you for stopping by.

Filed under: Miscellaneous

Add a Comment
7963. My tweets

Add a Comment
7964. A Confluence of Events

This weekend there's a confluence
Of separate events,
Each of which might make a person
Just a bit uptight or tense.

Halloween's the main attraction - 
Better fill those candy banks 
For those seeking treats in costumes
And the tricksters playing pranks.

Then at CitiField, there's baseball - 
A World Series with the Mets.
If they tie it with the Royals,
That's as crazy as it gets.

Next, at two a.m., the clocks change
So we move them back to one;
For the revelers or spirits
There's some extra time for fun.

Last, the Marathon's on Sunday -
Runners gathering en masse,
With the locals out to cheer them,
Shouting praises as they pass.

If we all survive the weekend,
And we will, make no mistake,
Monday morning, dawning brightly,
Will be just a piece  of cake!

0 Comments on A Confluence of Events as of 10/31/2015 5:17:00 PM
Add a Comment
7965. November - Myths and Dark Deeds, books, movies, kids, and dogs

      US Fall 2012 159

In Days Gone By...
Oral tales, songs, and poems reflected the lives of the people. They were stories and songs of wonder and dreams. 

00018They were told and discussed around the hearth, the marketplace,the spinning room, and in the taverns --wherever people gathered.
They helped people to cope with the wars, hunger, poverty and religious conflicts that characterized their lives.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, Giambattista Basile, a Neopolitan  soldier, courtier and writer (1575-1632), collected and rewrote, in the language of ordinary people, 50 tales of wonder. 
They were called the Tale of Tales or the Pentamerone.
Tale_of_Tales_Poster_Italia_midNow, for the first time, several of these tales have been adopted into a landmark film, the Tale of Tales.
I have seen the film and found it uncompromising in reflecting the sensibility of the original tales. However, like the original tales, they are far from the simplified, romanticized, linear simplicity of Disney films.This, in turn, may be affecting the as yet incomplete distribution of Tale of Tales.
I found that the two reviews excerpted below offer insightful personal reactions to the film. They both came from viewings at the Cannes Film Festival.
Unnerving Even For Adults

TaleOfTalesMatteoGarrone3"Drawing on the rich and until-now unexplored vein of Neapolitan fairy tales written by Giambattista Basile in the early 17th century, Tale of Tales combines the wildly imaginative world of kings, queens and ogres with the kind of lush production values for which Italian cinema was once famous. The result is a dreamy, fresh take on the kind of dark and gory yarns that have come down to us from the Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault, only here they're pleasingly new and unfamiliar. Starring Salma Hayek as a childless queen who is willing to do anything – absolutely anything – to conceive...

These fairy tales are certainly not aimed at children, though they will light the fire of many teens. Apart from a few moments of artistic eros — the first a shot of two court ladies consumed with passion for each other in a carriage; the second a post-orgy scene laced with naked, Felliniesque bodies — there is an underlying horror that is unnerving even for adults."  

 From the review by Deborah Young in the Hollywood Reporter. 
Gloriously Mad
"Matteo Garrone’s Tale of Tales is fabulous in every sense: a freaky portmanteau film based
TheTaleOfTales.2jpgon the folk myths collected and published by the 16th-century Neapolitan poet and scholar Giambattista Basile ... It is gloriously mad, rigorously imagined, visually wonderful: erotic, hilarious and internally consistent. The sort of film, in fact, which is the whole point of Cannes. It immerses you in a complete created world..."
From the review by Peter Bradshaw in the 








Bawdier and Crueler


TaleOfTales "The tales were probably intended to be read aloud in the 'courtly conversations' that were an elite pastime of this period...Lo conto (the tales) contains the earliest literary versions of many celebrated fairy-tale types -- Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, and others -- that later appeared in Perrault's and the Grimm's collections. But Basile's tales are often bawdier and crueler than their more canonical counterparts." -- 
Nancy Canepa,The Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales. 

 Here is a link to the Trailer: Tale Of Tales 

Here is a link to the 1894 translation by John Edward Taylor of the Tale of Tales (The Pentamerone) with illustrations by John Cruickshank. 

Except for the detail from a Bruegel painting, at top, all of the above images are from the Tale of Tales. 

The Sun, Moon and Talia...the original story of Sleeping Beauty.
Here is an excerpt from Basile's story of what later became a very different story, by both Perrault and the Brothers Grimm (Briar Rose). Written for adults in the early 17th century, it's a long way from Disney.
BurneJonesSleepingBeauty"So he (a young king) climbed in and wandered the palace from room to room, but he found
nothing and no one. At last he came to a large, beautiful drawing room, where he found an enchanting girl who seemed to be sleeping. He called to her, but she would not wake. As he looked at her, and tried to wake her, she seemed so incredibly lovely to him that he could not help desiring her, and he began to grow hot with lust. He gathered her in his arms and carried her to a bed, where he made love to her. Leaving her on the bed, he left the palace and returned to his own city, where pressing business for a long time made him think no more about the incident.

Briar_rose_Walter-Crane1But Talia, who was not dead, but merely unconscious, had become pregnant, and after nine months she gave birth to twins, as beautiful a boy and girl as ever were born. Kindly fairies attended the birth, and put the babies to suck at their mother’s breast. One day, one of the infants, not being able to find the nipple, began to suck at his mother’s finger. He sucked with such force that he drew out the splinter of flax, and Talia awoke, just as if from a long sleep. When she saw the babies, she did not know what had happened or how they had come to her, but she embraced them with love, and nursed them until they were satisfied. She named the infants Sun and Moon. The kindly fairies continued to attend her, providing her with food and drink, which appeared as if delivered by unseen servants..."

Here is a link to read it all: Sun, Moon and Talia

The top illustration is by Edward Burne-Jones. The lower illustration is by Walter Crane. 


The Oral Tradition

BeautytheBeastCrane..."The tales came to the tellers from other tellers, or they read tales, digested them, and made them their own. Indeed, we always make tales our own and then send them off to other tellers with the hope that they will continue to disseminate their stories..." - Jack Zipes, The Forgotten Tales of the Brothers Grimm,  in the The Public Domain Review

 The illustration of Beauty and the Beast is by Walter Crane.


 Inside Those Secret Forests, Caves, and Seas...

"These were the 'last echoes of pagan myths...A world of magic is opened up before us, one which still exists among us in secret forests, in underground caves, and in the deepest sea, and it is still visible to children...(Fairy tales) have existed among the people for several centuries.' And what we find inside those secret forests, caves and seas...(are) fairy tales full of families, full of parents who bequeath a sense of self to children, full of ancestors and heirs whose lives play out, in little, the life of a nation from its childhood to maturity."

-- Wilhelm Grimm quoted by Seth Lerer in his book, Children's Literature, A Reader's History from Aesop to Harry Potter. 

Illustration from Pekka Halonen's painting, Pioneers In Karelia


The TN Safety Spotters 

The TN Safety Spotters, dogs from Memphis, TN, are Deaf Therapy Dogs who travel the Mid-South with owner, trainer, and handler, Paricia Bell. All the Spotters are rescued dogs.

TN SZafetySpotters"TN Safety Spotter’s goal is to significantly reduce the number of dog bite injuries and fire deaths in children using deaf therapy dogs as educational tools and teaching aides in Fire Safety and Dog Bite Prevention programs...

"The Spotters visit schools, libraries, hospitals, Fire Stations, camps and special events"...they are an excellent example of a dedicated dog lover finding multiple ways to help children and adults through their therapy dogs. The fact that the latest scientific research shows 30% of Dalmatians are born deaf has not deterred Patricia Bell nor her dogs 


Who were the Snow Valley Heroes?

Did they really save Christmas? The question has been asked by children and adults for many years. And there have been many who tried to answer these questions.

Northern lights-397KBThe confusion and uncertainty is because the Snow Valley Heroes came from the Planet Of The Dogs long, long ago.This is the true story of how the dogs saved Christmas, told for the first time in many years.

"Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, represents the age-old struggle between good and evil, and the fight to save the Spirit of Christmas–told in a format children can comprehend.  My 10-year-old son was excited to see a new Planet of the Dogs book arrive in our mailbox..I give this Christmas treasure a rating of five stars."  -- Charyl Miller Pingleton, The Uncommon Review

For sample chapters, please visit our website: Planet Of The Dogs 



We have free reader copies of the Planet Of The Dogs series  for therapy dog organizations, individual therapy dog owners, librarians and teachers...simply send us an email at planetofthedogs@gmail.com and we will send you the books.  

Our books are available through your favorite independent bookstore, Barnes & Noble, SnowForest2Amazon, Powell's and many more.

Planet Of The Dogs is now available in digital format at

Barnes and NobleAmazonKoboOysterInkteraScribdTolino   

Librians, teachers, bookstores...You can also order Planet Of The Dogs, Castle In The Mist, and Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, through Ingram with a full professional discount. 

To read sample chapters of the series, visit Planet Of The Dogs. -

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


The Skies Have Clouded Over

Game-of-Thrones-Kayak-Easter-Eggs"Disquiet about fairytales has become rather more widespread...Dislike of shallow promises and easy solutions in times of war, eco-disaster and other horrors have grounded fairytales; the escapist stories have become lenses through which difficult truths are inspected. Children around the world continue to grow up with the magic of fairytales in books, and to relish the multiple ways they are adapted, updated and put on to stage and screen. But the “realisation of imagined wonder”, which JRR Tolkien saw as the aim of the genre, isn’t always bright and shiny any more; its skies have clouded over..."

From: How Fairy Tales Grew Up by Marina Warner in the Guardian

The picture is from the TV show Game Of Thrones


Dark Dystopia 

DestructionFinalA Global Event HungerGames:Mockingjay2 is opening on November 18-20 worldwide after a premiere in Paris on November 9th. The first three Hunger Games films have grossed nearly two billion dollars. The films came from the Hunger Games book series by Suzanne Collins; over fifty million books have been sold.

This is another huge crossover phenomenon.

The Hunger Games films have also become an example of what Marina Warner refers to when she writes, "the escapist stories have become lenses through which difficult truths are inspected.

Mockingjay2 will see Katniss Everdeen on a quest to unite and liberate the citizens of war-torn Panem and destroy the evil President Snow. Hi-tech danger, mortality and moral choices are all part of the challenge.

Here is a link to the trailer for   Mockingjay2  


Pan Has Crashed

The disappointing reviews discouraged me from seeing Pan. Here is an except of the NY Times review by AO Scott (whom I respect), and a review/analysis from the entertainment world by Brent Lang in Variety.

PAN Poster2015"Peter Pan, who flew through the air in a costume, was in many ways a prototype of the modern superhero. He has certainly been a lucrative entertainment franchise for a very long time, with durable merchandising potential, from feathered hats to peanut butter. All of which may help to explain the otherwise baffling existence of “Pan,” a hectic and labored attempt to supply the boy who never grew up with an origin story.

 The dominant emotion in 'Pan' is the desperation of the filmmakers, who frantically try to pander to a young audience they don’t seem to respect, understand or trust."  AO ScottNYTIMES; "



Peterpanprogramme_hultonarchivePan” was supposed to provide a fresh spin on the oft-told tale of the boy who could fly, but the pricey epic remained earthbound last weekend, opening to an anemic $15.3 million.

That disastrous start guarantees it will rank alongside other costly misses like “Jupiter Ascending” and “Tomorrowland” as one of the year’s biggest box office disasters. With an $150 million price tag, Warner Bros. could lose tens of millions on a film it hoped would kick off a new fantasy franchise.

When the dust settles and studio executives comb through the wreckage for clues about what doomed the adventure film, it appears that it will suffer from two fatal and seemingly contradictory flaws. “Pan” was both overly formulaic and too wild a deviation from J.M. Barrie’s beloved children’s classic to succeed." ,  Variety 


The Hollywood Movie Meeting - How Movies Get Made

The following transcript was taken from a meeting of executives of a major Hollywood film company. The meeting is already in progress...

Executive #1: Should we produce this film?

Executive #2: Well, here's a Synopsis: It opens when the mother dies and the bereaved father, a merchant, remarries. His lovely daughter now has a cruel stepmother with two ugly daughters and they all abuse the girl. Her only friends are birds and a magic tree. That's act one. Now in act two...

Executive #3: What happens to the father? He just stands around while they abuse the kid?

Executive #2: He has to travel for his work. He's away a lot.

Executive #2: Act two better be good after that start.

Executive #1: I wanna hear Act two. I heard Disney made a lot of money with this.

Executive #2: In Act two we meet a handsome Prince who is planning a big party.

Executive #3: Why are we even talking about this if Disney already made it?

Executive #1: Maybe, we can  make some changes.

Executive#3: Changes? What kind of changes?

Executive #1: Maybe we can we change it to Christmas? We need a new flick for Christmas and at least this is based on a winner from the past. And we'll change the name...call it Cindy's Happy Holiday!

Executive #3: That's a helluva idea. What's next?

To Be Continued... 


How to Change the World in 30 Seconds 
A Web Warrior's Guide to Animal Advocacy Online by C A Wulff 

Arielchange world3edAlthough you may want to help animals, you may not have any idea where to begin. Or maybe you think that you don’t have enough time to make a difference. This guide will offer practical steps to get started using dog advocacy as the focus and will explain how just thirty seconds a day on the Internet can not only make a difference, but can also change the world.
Here is a review..."Combining case histories with practical tips on how to use the Internet to advocate for dogs, Wulff's book is an inspiring, informative and highly useful volume that anyone who thinks dogs are worth fighting for should have on their shelf."
John Woestendiek, author of 'Dog, Inc.' and the website ohmidog!

Read sample chapters of How to Change the World in Thirty Seconds: Amazon
An Outstanding Program: Therapy Reading Dogs for At-Risk Students!
BowwowlogoADA"Austin Dog Alliance Bow Wow Reading Dogs are non-judgmental certified therapy dogs who listen to at-risk students reading aloud.  The dog's handler has been educated on how to help at-risk readers learn to read. Many of our Bow Wow Reading dog volunteers are retired teachers or principals.
Here are the requirements for BowWow therapy reading dog handlers:
  • BowWowADA2Must enjoy children; Love to read!; Have a willingness to get to know the children, understand their challenges and remember small things about them; Have compassion for and sensitivity to the hesitant and reticent child; Patience with over-active children; Possess patience with repetitive reading of the same book; Have the ability to discern age with reading abilities and related activities; Are flexible and have the ability to 'go with the flow'; Are a retired teacher or principal or have attended a seminar on how to help at-risk readers."

Read more about this wonderful therapy reading dog program at Bow Wow Reading Dogs:

Texas Textbooks: McGraw-Hill changes slaves to immigration workers in High School textbook

McGrawHillEducationHOUSTON — "Coby Burren, 15, a freshman at a suburban high school south of here, was reading the textbook in his geography class last week when a map of the United States caught his attention. On Page 126, a caption in a section about immigration referred to Africans brought to American plantations between the 1500s and 1800s as 'workers' rather than slaves. 

He reached for his cellphone and sent a photograph of the caption to his mother, Roni Dean-Burren, along with a text message: 'we was real hard workers, wasn’t we'..."

Read it all in the article by  and  NY Times Motherlode


Beasts of No Nation 

The post that follows is about a book and a film outside the usual purview of this blog.
I have included it because of the subject matter, a young boy caught in the savage chaos of the real world today, and because it relates to the world of war, fear, and painful uncertainty of the past. Oral tales, that live on today as tales of wonder, originated in a hard world where ruthless power reigned and cruelty, superstition and hard times dominated daily life for most people.
BeastsBoyAnd so, I have posted below about a book, Beasts of No Nationby Uzodinma Iweala, and a movie made from the book, that tells the story of A Boy Soldier's Heart Of DarknessThis is the title of Simon Baker's book review of Beasts of No Nation by Uzodinma Iweala. Here is an excerpt: 

"In a young child's life, few games can equal hide-and-seek: the excitement of crouching in a secret place as the pleasure of remaining at large vies with the thrill of possible discovery. The problem comes when a game like this turns serious -- when, say, the people you're hiding from want not just to find you but to hack you to pieces." 

Here is a link to read all of the NY Times Book Review by Simon Baker

The Movie Wants Us To Look At That Moment Square In The Face

"The movie holds on to a fair chunk of the book’s first-person narration, which is critical, because it establishes Agu as a character with his own thoughts and ethics rather than merely a shellshocked onlooker. There comes a moment when the boy has to cross the line
BeastsofNoNationfrom theory to action — from training to murder — and 'Beasts of No Nation' wants us to look that moment square in the face. It is awful, it has happened and is happening still, and for once you aren’t able to turn the page or switch to another channel. And then the movie invites us to wonder what happens to the child who is now a murderer. 'It is the worst sin, but it is the right sin to be doing,' Agu tells himself, but that lie doesn’t last. Before long, he is begging the sun to stop shining on this world."

It took courage and great commitment by the brilliant young American director Cary Fukunaga to make this film. Netflix has released the film simultaneously in theaters and on the Internet. Over 3 million viewers in North America have seen Beasts of No Nation since its release on October 16.

Here is a link to Ty Burr's review in the Boston Globe.

Here is a link to the t
railer for the movie: Beasts of No Nation  

 The Amazing Sesame Street
KJ Dell'Antonia, in a very informative NY Times Motherlode article, wrote about a very special new Sesame Street initiative  -- Julia, an autistic little girl. Here are excerpts:

Autismstorybookcover"Sesame Street got so many things right with its new character, Julia, an orange-haired girl with autism whose eyes never quite meet the reader’s. Introduced in a digital storybook available online and in print, Julia is described as an old friend of Elmo’s. When Elmo’s muppet friend Abby meets Julia, she is confused, and she has questions. Julia doesn’t talk to her right away, does that mean Julia doesn’t like her? Why does Julia get so upset over loud noises?

And then there are the things Abby doesn’t comment on — Julia knows every word to a lot of songs. She spins the wheels of toy cars over and over and over again, and flaps her arms when she is excited. She is a recognizably different (and recognizably autistic) without being overwhelmingly so… children with autism can find themselves in her, and children learning about the condition can start here.

Sesame Workshop based Julia on years of research, says Jeanette Betancourt, Sesame Workshop’s vice president of outreach and educational practices. “We wanted to demonstrate some of the characteristics of autism in a positive way,” she says. The choice of gender was also deliberate. “We wanted to break down some of the myths and misconceptions around autism. It’s not only impacting boys, but girls as well...”

 Here is a link to read all of this insightful article on Motherlode 
Here is a Sesame Street link to their many programs devoted to autistic and/or special needs children. 

Sunbearsquad-logoHow to be a volunteer animal rescue transport driver...

"Over-filled animal control facilities or pounds euthanize an estimated 4 million dogs and cats each year...

Each weekend in America, an army of volunteer rescue transport drivers deliver dogs and cats to safety in an organized relay of vehicles. Hard-working volunteer transport coordinators plan the logistics, organize the four-legged passengers, and provide support by phone continuously during the entire one- or two-day operation. Drivers sign up for relay "legs" via e-mail. They meet the previous leg drivers at an appointed time, transfer the lucky dogs and cats to their vehicles, and drive to the next relay meeting spot where the process is repeated until the destination is reached..."

Here is a link to read the rest of this informative Sunbear Squad article: Rescue.

And here is a link to sample pages of Deb Eades book: Every Rescued Dog Has a Tale: Stories from the Dog Rescue Railroad.
"The more one gets to know of men, the more one values dogs."
Alphonse Toussenel

Add a Comment
7966. Tag Crowd

Make a tag cloud from your text to see what words you're overusing.


0 Comments on Tag Crowd as of 10/31/2015 5:39:00 PM
Add a Comment
7967. launching an unusually unusual memoir workshop series

In 2016 I'll be rolling out a traveling memoir workshop series—a multi-day immersive event that will focus not just on finding the kind of truth I explore in Handling the Truth: On the Writing of Memoir, but on pinning it effectively to the page. We'll be conducting these workshops against the backdrop of especially beautiful places and using a surprising range of tools and readings to get to the heart of our stories.

If you are interested in learning more, please let me know with a comment here.

0 Comments on launching an unusually unusual memoir workshop series as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
7968. Left On My Doormat!

Look what I got! 

It was left for me on my doormat by a wonderful postie who knew I wouldn't want to wait a week and go to the PO on Saturday morning (I live upstairs opposite a nice neighbour, so quite safe). Well, if he/she didn't know, it was still considerate. 

Christmas Press have done some great stuff since they started; this time last year it was the anthology Once Upon A Christmas, in which I had a story. This year it's a lavish hardcover book with cute dragons in it. Gorgeous, isn't it? 

I will read and report. 

0 Comments on Left On My Doormat! as of 10/31/2015 8:25:00 PM
Add a Comment
7969. This Month for Writers - October 2015

Now that Halloween has passed, we've found ourselves in November and at the beginning of the NaNoWriMo marathon. For those participating - good luck! We hope you exceed your writing goals - even if that goal is simply to write more words than you had yesterday.

This month, our attention was captured by sneak peeks into writers' lives, many discussions of diversity, and treating our writing careers like start up businesses. Read on!

Read more »

0 Comments on This Month for Writers - October 2015 as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
7970. Happy Halloween!


Have a happy and save Halloween! 

0 Comments on Happy Halloween! as of 10/31/2015 8:19:00 PM
Add a Comment
7971. The Last Day of October: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

As you maybe get dressed up for a party tonight, remember it's the last day of the month we've raised awareness for breast cancer. Hopefully, we've celebrated those who were blessed to recover and remembered those who have passed from the disease.

This was always my intent with the publication of Loose Threads thirteen years ago. I caught the characters in my life, particularly my grandmother, Margie Garber, and her walk with the disease.

I'm thankful that today a book can continue to reach the right readers through e-books and print-on-demand.

Here's to compassion and assistance for those in treatment right now, readergirlz. May books be used as comforts on their journeys, and may they renew those who love and support them.

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

Add a Comment
7972. Martina Boone, author of PERSUASION, on rewarding yourself at every step of the process

We're especially overjoyed to have Martina Boone here today. As the founder and manager of Adventures in YA Publishing, she's a regular face around these parts, but it's extra special to have her on the other side of the interview desk to chat about PERSUASION, the second book in her Heirs of Watson Island series.

Martina, what was your inspiration for writing PERSUASION?

Since it’s the second book in the series, the biggest inspiration was a deadline and a contract, but I already had the story and characters arcs in mind. I knew what needed to happen in the story, and how that was going to advance the overall plot of the trilogy. I also knew that I needed to explore Cassie’s individual story and reveal the reason she is how she is. But where the story took off for me is when I discovered Obadiah. He really wrote himself, and because I never knew in Persuasion whether he was a good guy or a bad one, hero or villain, he kept me eager to write. Another thing that really fueled the story for me was the kidnapping of the school girls in Nigeria by Boko Haram. This really helped inform the research into women’s rights, into slavery—both past and present—and the rape culture. I call the books in this series popcorn with vitamins. You can enjoy them as a gothic romance, but there is also a layer of history and issues that are important to me that resulted in the eight page learning guide that goes with the book. (You can find that on my website.)

Read more »

0 Comments on Martina Boone, author of PERSUASION, on rewarding yourself at every step of the process as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
7973. Who

Hallo, who's there?
Hallo, who?
Hallowhoot, and have a happy hoot!



Little Owl Lost - Chris Haughton
A Book of Sleep - Il Sung Na
Little Owl's Night - Divya Srinivasan
Peek-a-Who  by Nina Laden
Owl Moon - Jane Yolen, John Schoenherr
Owl Babies - Martin Waddell, Patrick Benson
Owl at Home - Arnold Lobel

0 Comments on Who as of 10/31/2015 8:01:00 PM
Add a Comment
7974. Judy Schachner introduces Dewey Bob

Judy is a dear friend, and having seen some of her inspiration and processes, I'm so excited for her newest (and sure to be as beloved as Skippyjon Jones) character - Dewey Bob. Click the image to watch the video on YouTube.

0 Comments on Judy Schachner introduces Dewey Bob as of 11/1/2015 6:31:00 AM
Add a Comment
7975. Better Read than Dead: {Review} Cutting Edge by Robert W. Walker

Better Read than Dead: {Review} Cutting Edge by Robert W. Walker: Title: Cutting Edge Author: Robert W. Walker Genre: Criminal Suspense Series: Lucas Stonecoat #1 Synopsis: Robert W. Walker,... Read the rest of this post

0 Comments on Better Read than Dead: {Review} Cutting Edge by Robert W. Walker as of 10/31/2015 9:18:00 PM
Add a Comment

View Next 25 Posts