*Have I forgotten someone or accidentally added someone else in? Mr. Mustard, Lem, Lou, Edwin, Ewan, Oliver.
With my book, GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie coming out in July, I started thinking about what kind of snacks and food to have at a book launch. Well, launches. I hope to have several at different locations in Illinois and Wisconsin.
A natural seemed to be the brain cupcakes and.... well, how about some zombie cakes? I found an, er,
gruesome "delightful" selection of possible cakes.... see links at GirlZombieAuthors (Warning! Some are nightmare worthy!)
I like the cupcake idea... have to find the brain mold, (I wonder if Hobby Lobby has one? have to check... Found one at Amazon, probably cost more to ship it. ha!) but here's the recipe.
*** So-- what have you served or what would you serve at your book launch party? What worked - what didn't?
Set against the backdrop of the Battle of Actium, in the city of Alexandria, Star struggles with her guardian duties as her feelings for the newly named pharaoh of Egypt grow deeper. Not only is Caesarian her duty, he’s the son of Cleopatra, and he’s human. All of which makes their love forbidden.
But when a conspiracy linked to Caesar creeps its way into Alexandria, Star must choose between helping her fellow Kythan free themselves of their servitude, and protecting her charge—the last pharaoh—while Egypt burns around her.
YA-Mature: sexual content, drinking, drugs, violence, death, and other mature content intended for readers 17 and older.
Cover design: Stephanie Mooney
Name: Kendal Muse
Genre: YA Magical Realism
Marley Pace has resigned herself to life in Blackrock. It’ll mean spending her senior year in self-imposed homeschool exile, but she doesn’t mind. After the way her summer ended, she figures she deserves it.
All she wants is to prove she can stay out of trouble. Living in a sleepy Florida beach town should make that easy, but then she discovers the Preserve, an eroded stretch of beach hidden behind dense woods and a chain-link fence. She barely steps inside before the Sinclairs, Blackrock’s most troubled family, warn her to stay away.
Normally, an order that direct would only pique her interest, but this time she couldn’t agree more. Besides hating the ocean, there’s something about that place, a feeling that crawls up her arms and legs, and she has no intention of going back—until she finds the box hidden in her attic.
Her own past is tied to the Preserve in ways she never could’ve imagined, and Marley wants answers. If she can’t get them from her mother, she’ll get them from the Preserve, even if it means getting caught between the Sinclair version of a rock and a hard place.
Paul, the oldest and a notorious hothead, wants her to stay away from the Preserve and his family, or else. But his sister doesn’t seem to agree. Samantha is the Sinclair everyone whispers about, the subject of all the worst family rumors, and what she wants, more than anything, is Marley’s help.
The first time I saw Samantha Sinclair, I was using the pay phone at the Blackrock Corner Market. I shouldn’t have known who she was—we’d only been in town a few weeks—but the way people were watching her, it was obvious.
I was standing in the back getting my usual stares and whispers, the same ones I got any time I dared use their relic of a pay phone, though by now I was used to it. What I wasn’t used to was the way every gaze shifted when she walked in.
My cousin had been telling me stories about the Sinclairs for years. They were supposed to be a three-piece-set, rarely seen out of each other’s company, but today her brother and sister weren’t with her. Alone, she looked like any other surfer on their way home. There was a window next to the pay phone, and I’d watched her park out front, a surfboard fastened to the top of her little blue Nissan. She could’ve been anyone, but she wasn’t.
People had a way of staring at you when they’d spent time talking about you behind your back, and it was no different with Samantha. I knew that look because I’d gotten it plenty myself, but there was a little something extra in hers. Apparently, the stares were worse when people also thought you might be crazy.
I hung up before Calvin’s machine could answer; these days I had it down to a science.
Name: Keely Dunn
Title: The Only One
Genre: YA Contemporary
When 15 year-old Shae Mackenna loses her mother to cancer, she also loses her school, her friends and her ice hockey team in just one summer. Forced to move away and live with her father in a small town, she must either fight for a spot on an all-boys' team or give up on the game she loves. Can Shae convince the doubters that she really belongs on the ice?
Shae Mackenna inhaled deeply as she walked down the cinder-block hallway, skate blades cushioned by the rubber carpeting underfoot. The stench of rancid hockey equipment almost overwhelmed the tang of frozen brinewater. She was home.
She let out her breath as she arrived at the players’ bench, stepping towards the closed gate blocking her from the ice. Shae waited to make eye contact with any of the men out on the ice. After she rapped her stick over the boards, one finally looked her way.
“Hey,” she called out through her helmet cage. “Can I play?”
The nearest players glided to a stop in front of her, open-mouthed, red-faced and puffing. They looked at each other, each waiting for the other guy to answer her question.
“I said: Can I play?” Shae asked again, drawing out each word enough to be clear but not so slowly as to insult them. She puffed out her chest a bit, looking several of the guys straight in the eye. It was a minor detail that ice level was a few inches lower than the bench area; right now, she needed every inch she could get.
“Look, no offence, sweetheart…” started one of the chubbier, shorter players. Shae had to stop from rolling her eyes. Calling her sweetheart was only something her dad could get away with. It wasn’t cool from a total stranger, especially some out-of-shape plug.
“What’s the big deal?” she asked, keeping her tone casual. “Give me five minutes. If I can’t hack it, I’ll leave.”
Name: Mari Clark
Title: THE SNAKE AND THE DARKNESS
Genre: Young Adult (Action/Adventure)
Artistic, seventeen-year-old Liliana Perez would rather paint the jungle than explore it.
Still, she is willing to trek deep into the cloudforest of Peru—facing rain, hail, sleet, monsoon-like winds, superstitious campesinos, haunted mountain passes, vampire bats (the real kind) and vipers—to find her father and convince him to return to civilization. After all, since her father is responsible for cyberattacks causing blackouts and power grid failures, he is half the reason her world has gone dark. The other half: Francisco, the love-of-her-life fellow adventurer, is contemplating a future without her—as a Catholic priest.
Along with Francisco’s military-schooled brother, Lili’s difficult cousin, and a trio of strangers, Lili and Francisco reach her father’s jungle hideout to discover Lili’s father, a petroleum engineer, excavating a natural resource from the ground—and it’s not oil. Even worse, her father participates in ancient shamanistic rituals that blur the line between fantasy and reality and he blames a global conspiracy for the blackouts. Most important of all, the unexpected resource he unearths will bring unwelcome physical and spiritual consequences for Lili, Francisco, the other young explorers, and possibly the world.
Before it’s too late, Lili and Francisco must confront the darkness that has gripped her father in order to have a future filled with light.
For what seems like the millionth time this morning, the gears grind, the bus tilts, I jam my knees into the seatback in front of me to brace myself, and the kid across the aisle squeaks how incredible it is—“¡Qué incredible!”—to roller-coaster around another curve.
Incredible? More like un-freaking-believable.
Earlier, the little boy overheard me telling his Ashaninkan mother that I thought the view was incredible. She asked my opinion about this carnival ride of a bus trip, and I wanted to say something nice. Problem is the kid keeps repeating it: incredible. His new favorite word.
Bug-bitten and exhausted, I take out my cellphone and scroll down to read my cousin Martin’s email: Let’s hope morons in government haven’t closed airport again. If so no prob to take bus.
Lili, u speak Spanish. Will fit right in.
No worries traveling alone. Trust me, Lili. Lots of backpacker types wandering around Peru. Try to look like tour-or-ist and u will be fine.
Yeah, Martin, sure. Lots of backpacker types. But not like me. Hey, that’s great. You guys are going to the Sacred Valley to see Inca ruins. Me? I’m going to an isolated jungle in northern Peru to search for my missing father who may have done something really bad. Uh, did I mention that criminals like to hide out in this jungle?
And Martin’s joke comparing tourists to terrorists is getting a little old.
The rugrat across the aisles squeals again. He’s watching me. Because his big brown eyes remind me of Francisco, I smile and blow un besito at him.
First, I need to announce the winner of the prize package of a paperback of Hattie Big Sky and an arc of Hattie Ever After! According to random.org, the winner is:
Name: Larissa Hardesty
Genre: YA Thriller
Seventeen-year-old Bree Miller never expected her passion for yoga would save her life. But when she's kidnapped by a man in a mask who talks about obedience and punishment, her training is the only thing keeping her sane.
When Brian Sander's girlfriend Bree goes missing, he refuses to believe what the police are saying about her being a runaway. He knows she's in trouble, and decides to take things into his own hands, forming his own search group. He'll stop at nothing to find her.
As the stress and frustration of Bree’s disappearance push Brian to his limit, Bree fights her own battle against a madman who wants all of her—even if by force.
Alternating between Bree's and Brian's point of view, MEDITATION is a 45,000 word YA Thriller.
The chill in the air and the fog graying out the world make me wish I’d grabbed a jacket, but I don’t want to go back inside to get one. Not while Mom is in there wanting to talk about my feelings. As if she really cares.
Thinking warm thoughts, I step onto the sidewalk and glance around the neighborhood. It’s quiet on my street this early. I close my eyes and take in the stillness, listening to the soft sounds of morning. A sound that doesn’t fit breaks the peace, and I open my eyes. A Buick with blacked-out windows is parked two houses down. It’s so beat up and faded, I can’t even tell what color it is. Black? Gray? Dark blue? Regardless, it’s out of place here. I know it doesn’t belong to any of the neighbors.
A ribbon of steam trickles from the rear, and I wonder who is inside. Are they watching me?
Without warning, the car pulls forward, heading down the street. Thankfully in the opposite direction I am going.
Way to let your imagination run away with you, Bree. I release the breath I didn’t know I was holding, and try to shake off the lingering sense of unease. The heavy air presses on me as I walk, and I take deep, cleansing breaths. They help, and the peace of my familiar yoga practice falls over me. The sense of calm carries me most of the way to school.
Name: Laurie Litwin
Genre: YA Contemporary
Seventeen-year old Taylor is supposed to be the homecoming queen, not the girl who shows up drunk at school and barfs on the vice principal. She’s spent three years climbing the social ladder at her prestigious private high school, snagging the hottie tennis star boyfriend, and landing the head cheerleader spot, all while maintaining a perfect GPA. So what if she needs a few drinks to cope with the pressure of maintaining her Miss Perfect image.
But that was before the hottie dumped her and she walked in on her dad banging a blonde bimbo. Not only is she without Blake, but her family is falling apart. And nothing terrifies Taylor more than being alone and unloved.
Suddenly, a couple of harmless drinks a week become a few dozen. Several benders later, Taylor is showing up at school drunk, tanking exams, getting into drunken fistfights at house parties, and sabotaging the chance at a relationship with the intriguing college guy in her advanced calc class.
One frigid December night, drunk and pissed off after an argument with her arch-frenemy, she gets behind the wheel of a car and slams into a tree – and the truth. She’s doesn’t know how to survive without alcohol and she'd rather die than give it up.
There’s no bullshit in math.
Numbers aren’t flawed. They don't lie. There's a solution for every problem. One solution. And there's only one way to get it. Two plus two never equals five.
Also, numbers can be perfect. For example, the number six. And the number twenty-eight. This is what I strive for every day. To be like the number six.
I’ve worked my ass off to get where I am. Everything is falling into place, and just in time for Senior year.
Captain of the Varsity Cheer squad. Check.
Hottie tennis star boyfriend. Check.
All honors and AP. Check.
My parents should be proud. I’ve done everything they’ve asked the last three years. Now maybe they’ll back off. Let me enjoy being a senior without all of the pressure.
I pull into the driveway, glad to have the first week of senior year behind me. The house looks empty, but that’s not a surprise. My parents are never home. The place is like a freaking museum. Cold, quiet, sterile. Everything inside immaculate and perfectly placed.
Grabbing my purse and advanced calculus book off of the passenger seat, I head up the walkway and let myself in the front door, kicking the door closed behind me. Like an itch that needs scratched, a subtle tugging in my gut propels me to the kitchen. Without thinking, I grab my favorite glass from the glass-fronted cabinet. It’s a tasting glass from the Cupcake Winery. It has a pink cupcake etched on it.
Name: Matthew Stern
Title: LIAR'S CHAIR
Genre: YA Mystery
At Howard Otis Blanchard Academy, the swankiest private school in Seattle, Hammett Frye is the guy that can get you things. Need answers to the test? He’s got ‘em. A grade or two changed? Easy. Some beer for a kick-ass rager? No problem. All for a price, of course. So when geeky Marvin Willow asks Ham for some help keeping a football player the size of a bus off his back, it’s business as usual. Until Marvin is found dead at a party, hanged from a tree.
The police say suicide, and as much as Ham wants to believe it, he can’t. He may not have known Marvin well, but he knows people. Marvin wasn't the kind of guy to do that, and if he didn't kill himself, that means someone else did it. Ham was supposed to be watching out for Marvin, and he just can't let that slide.
Ham starts to look into Marvin's death, annoying pretty much everyone in the process. Marvin's sister Macy, the school principal, the cops. All of them want Ham to drop it. But as he digs deeper, he finds that Marvin pulled the thread of something nasty happening at the school. Something a lot worse than just a little underage drinking or cheating. As Ham keeps digging, and the people against him get bolder in their attempts to get him to stop, it becomes clear that Ham's chances of finishing the semester alive are slimmer than his chances of passing Chemistry.
I did it the way dealers do it. The taste is free. After that, you pay.
Not that I was a dealer. After Peter Kyle OD'd last year, I let everybody know that dealing in school was over. I didn't care about pot. Who the hell did nowadays? It was the hard stuff that would be met with a rain of destruction that would make Vesuvius look like a failed science experiment.
I could get away with statements like that.
Chem class. Last period of the day. Last day of the week. It was one of those days that grabbed you and threatened to drag you outside whether you wanted it or not. Kids sat out on the grounds chilling in what was likely the last nice weather we'd see for the rest of the year. Some were already heading toward the parking lot, escaping early. Those of us who were unlucky enough to have class last period just had to suck it up.
We had about five minutes left until class started. There were ten-minute breaks between classes. It was, according to the school handbook, "To permit students to socialize, network, and engage in lively discussions on a wide range of topics." Mostly, people just talked or tapped away on their phones. Texting, tweeting, or updating statuses. Anything but studying. And the discussion was certainly on a wide range of subjects. From who was banging who, to Hannah Stark's kick-ass rager last weekend.
I missed my old cat, so I turned a sketch of her into an animated gif.
How to share this gif on your blog:
1. Copy the gif to your computer (make sure the file ends ".gif" and not ".jpg")
2. Upload the file to an image hosting site such as Photobucket
3. From the "Image links" dropdown, copy the HTML code.
4. Paste that code into your blog's composing window.
How to create animated gifs from your drawings:
1. Redraw parts of the pose, such as head turns.
2. In Photoshop, isolate parts of the drawing as independent pieces.
3. Create a Photoshop file with each element on a separate layer.
4. By switching on and off visible layers, create frames of animation.
5. Upload frames into online gif-creator such as "imgflip.com" and adjust settings
6. Upload file to Photobucket, etc. as above.
(Video link) Video: "Animated Gifs: The Birth of a Medium" from PBS Off-Book.
Another video: "Short History of the Gif"
Thanks, Ben Valentine
This entry was removed from the contest, because the author recently accepted representation from an agent. Congrats and best wishes, Lori!
Name: Lori A. Goldstein
Title: BECOMING JINN
Genre: YA Contemporary Fantasy
Wishing doesn’t make it so, Azra does. For the first fifteen years of her life, Azra has happily followed the rules and pretended to be a normal human girl. But the morning of her sixteenth birthday, her dormant powers as a genie are awakened, and the rules change. Azra now serves the Afrit, the powerful rulers of her Jinn world. She’ll go where she’s told, perform on command, and do it all without question. Since defying the Afrit is a one-way ticket to Jinn jail, she’ll follow the rules — sort of.
Bitter about living a life controlled by others, she rebels in the only way she can. She tosses the Jinn handbook aside and wings it. When she sloppily grants a wish for the boy across the street, he not only becomes Azra’s best friend but the only human to know her true identity.
But Azra’s genie mistakes begin to mount, along with the consequences, as she uncovers a secret about the father she’s never met, the source of her curiously strong magic, and why the Afrit have been watching her so closely. If Azra doesn’t embrace her life as a genie, the Afrit will take her away from everyone she loves. And if they find out she outed the Jinn world to a human, her sentence will be jail, but his just might be death. As Azra uncovers the darker world of becoming Jinn, she realizes when genies and wishes are involved, there’s always a trick.
1st 250:A chisel, a hammer, a wrench. A sander, a drill, a power saw. A laser, a heat gun, a flaming torch. Nothing cuts through the bangle. Nothing I conjure even makes a scratch.
I had to try, just to be sure. But the silver bangle encircling my wrist can’t be removed. It was smart of my mother to secure it in the middle of the night while I was asleep, unable to protest.
Though my Jinn ancestry means magic has always been inside me, the rules don’t allow me to begin drawing upon it until the day I turn sixteen. The day I receive my silver bangle. The day I officially become a genie. Today.
I slam my newly acquired accessory against my bedroom closet, leaving a rounded indent on the wood door. The pristine, gleaming metal mocks me. For the rest of my life, I’ll go where I’m told, perform on command, and do it all without question.
Barefooted, I can’t kick the pile of tools without impaling myself. I settle for shoving the saw and catch a reflection of myself in the blade. Right, how could I forget? I race to my bathroom and fling open the door. At the mirror, I inspect all the ways my body has been altered while my mind was unable to resist.
Always lanky, my form is now a study in angles. My cheekbones protrude like a shelf, the bones on my hips jut out, and my elbows are sharp like a sword.
There I was, out and about at the 2013 Colorado Chapter IRA Heroes in Literacy Conference in Denver, sharing with teachers proven ways to seed and feed their Young Authors, when a workshop presenter shared a proven way with me I knew I’d quickly share with you.
Please meet Deanna Duray’s Little School Third Graders, digital citizens with the handle Fervent Learners!
Their classroom was one of seven (out of 127 applicants!) in Jefferson County, Colorado to receive on January 14th an iPad 1:1 Grant from the local Karl Friedman Family Foundation.
Name: Dana Edwards
Title: Harold – The Kid Who Ruined My Life and Saved the Day
Genre: MG, contemporary
Twelve-year-old Jake and Harold have been neighbors since kindergarten and if you ask Jake, that’s seven years too many. Who cares if Harold’s a genius when it comes to baseball trivia and Algebra? Jake is D-O-N-E! Harold’s “special” and he has a knack for ruining Jake’s social life. But when Jake gets an opportunity to play shortstop for the undefeated Comets, he’ll get a chance to ditch Harold and Jake’s second place team—unless he discovers winning isn’t everything.
On the first day of sixth grade, I cracked open the front door and looked outside. The bus stop was empty. So far, so good. I’d figured Harold’s mom would drive him this year like she did when he was in kindergarten. Harold had trouble when it came to new things. Well, that was one of his problems.
I walked toward the stop and from behind I heard, “Hey Jake! Wait up! It’s 8:03. Bus Number 6 will be here at 8:07.”
I walked faster and called over my shoulder, “Thanks for the update, Harold. I didn’t know I was so early. Tomorrow, I’ll sleep in a whole 4 minutes.”
Harold caught up with me and said, “I woke up at 6:33, but Mom said I couldn’t come out until I saw you.”
Great. Where is that bus?
“Hey, Jake, have you ever heard of Harvey Haddix?” he asked while he rummaged through his book bag.
I knew what he was looking for. Each year before school started, Harold added one green composition notebook to his school supply list and in that notebook he kept track of the times he beat me at anything—Texas Hold’em, NCAA 12, checkers. He’d write down the date, the game, and the score. He also wrote down baseball stats.
“Yeah, Harold, I know all about Harvey.”
I didn’t have a clue, but I thought just this once Harold wouldn’t go into his never-ending monologue about one more Major League ballplayer I’d never heard of.
Every year kids across the nation get to vote for their favorite picture book via the Bank Street School's Irma Black Awards. I love a program that allows actual picture book readers to have their voices heard. This year it looks like two of the four nominees are THE DUCKLING GETS A COOKIE!? and GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE DINOSAURS. I'm flattered to have so much of my work represented.Add a Comment
When I was a teenager, my mom used to like popping out from around corners and scaring me. I had to be super careful when I came home and the house was dark; just getting from the front door to my room was an adventure because at some point along the way, I knew she was going to get me. Sounds mean, but I actually loved it. And I still love that element of surprise in the stories I read—when I think it's headed one direction and then, WHAM! Surprise! Something happens that I totally didn't see coming, but when I look back, all the clues are there.
This kind of misdirection is magical, but like any good trick, it's hard to pull off. There's not a lot of information out there about how to effectively mislead the reader in a way that doesn't make them hate you forever, but Michaelbrent's here today with some great advice on the topic. So listen and learn, people. Listen and learn...
|photo credit: Paul-W via photopin cc|
|Optimism Search and Recovery??|
(Photo by EPO: Wikimedia)
Name: Rebecca Harwell
Genre: YA science fiction
Breaking into a high security space station and getting out with anything but cuffs on your wrists is impossible for most 26th century thieves, but Jez Starwisp isn't your average criminal. Raised on a backwards colony where the most advanced tech was a butter churn, she knows her way around lock picks and other archaic tools that top of the line security isn't designed to handle. Together with her annoying android partner, Jez sets out to make a name for herself as the greatest thief in the Stymphalian solar system.
Her next target: Stymphalian Station Beta and a priceless statue belonging to an important delegate. Everything goes according to plan, until the delegate enters the vault as she's robbing it. Before he can raise an alarm, a security guard walks in and shoots the delegate, leaving Jez alive and well to take the blame. With a murder charge on her head, half the solar system is after her (not quite the infamy she wanted), and Jez is staring at the very real possibility of being sent to the inescapable prison planet for life. Along with the help of a bitter adversary, unscrupulous space pirates, and some old-fashioned skill, Jez has to clear her name, stop a murderer, and, oh, save a planet.
The Stymphalian system asked for a hero. They got a thief.
That stupid android wasn’t listening to me again.
I covered my ears against the wailing siren and bent over the hatch. Below, the ladder disappeared into the darkness of the engine bay, punctuated by flashing red emergency lights. I squinted and called down, “Hapi? Just want to let you know I picked our mark for the job at Stymphalian Beta. When we get to the station, we’re stealing the statue.”
The ship shuddered, sending me flying across the tiny bridge and into a rusty metal wall. My breath escaped in a puff. I rubbed my elbow where it’d cracked against the steel. Underneath my tangled legs, the Disharmony’s engines sputtered. My teeth buzzed from the vibrations, and my pulse thundered in my ears.
“I’m a little busy now, Jez. Perhaps we can discuss this later.” Hapi’s voice drifted up from the bottom level of the ship. I crawled back to the hatch. The android’s subtle blue glow stood out against the dark. With inhuman speed, he rushed between engine panels, fiddling around where steam hissed up into the bay.
I gripped the edge of the ladder as another jolt rocked the Disharmony and forced myself to calm down. My gut twisted at the thought of possible engine failure, but that oversized blue computer didn’t need a frightened human to add to his list of things to deal with.
Not to mention he’d never let me live it down.
Jason Lee Norman. Americas. Wufniks Press, Kindle edition, 2012. In Goodreads terms, I give this 5/5 stars. . . . . . . . . One day, a guy from Canada decided to visit every country in the Americas, in North-to-South order, and write a travelogue about it. Then he changed his mind and decided [...]Display Comments Add a Comment
Name: Kate Michael
Title: A SONG IN WINTER
Genre: YA Fantasy
When tragedy strikes, 17-year-old Genna retreats deeper into the cocoon of silence she’s maintained since childhood–until Coll, her otherworldly guardian, appears and reveals what she is: one chosen by the gods, destined to become the Immortal Season, Winter. Hunted by a sorceress who has loosed an ancient evil, Genna must now harness her gifts of Song and Air to defend both herself, and the Winter Lands that stand poised on the knife-edge of war. But power always demands a price. Immersed in a dangerous, glittering realm of myth and legend, Genna must make a choice: her destiny, or her mortal life. If she returns home, she’ll lose the one she’s come to love. If she accepts her birthright, she’ll lose the only family she has left, and possibly her soul as well.
On the day of my birth, the Winter Solstice, I did not cry, as most newborn infants do when thrust into an unknown world devoid of the warmth and safety of their mother's womb.
Only a few notes to be sure, but they were pure, and held the breath of magic.
My mother, who knew nothing of the worlds that shadowed our own, merely smiled and cradled me to her, calling me her little songbird. Little could she have known her words prophetic, or that she would not live to see them fulfilled.
She gave me the name Genevieve, from her favorite operetta and the legendary heroine for which it was written. My sister Natalia, born ten years before me on Christmas Eve, was likewise named for musical inspiration, hers aptly chosen from the Cantica Natalia.
My sister and I both inherited our mother’s raven locks and pale skin, but where Natalia’s eyes were hazel, like our mother’s, mine shone grey, like a winter sky before snowfall. Our mother’s love and talent for music passed naturally to us as well, though for me it was somewhat different.
I did not know it then, but I had been marked by the gods as surely as the stars mark the heavens.
Oddly enough, few knew I could sing. My mother often said that her daughters’ talents far surpassed her own and Natalia would happily sing when asked, her clear contralto silencing everyone in the room.
I have LOADS to blog about this weekend - my first eBooks! Exeter's animation festival! - but I promised myself I'd get a whole picture book spread painted today, so I'll have to blog about those later. But I thought I'd post a few drawings and photos from my interplanetary trip. This is how I looked on my spaceship about 9:30 last night.
Yesterday morning, I did some exploration of the martian terrain. (Funny, I thought Mars would be much hotter.)
And aliens! I met aliens! These two are named Alfie and Iggie.
I spotted strange liquid formations on the planet's surface:
And found it was inhabited, and not just by aliens, but by two eccentric explorers from Earth, named Sarah and Philip Reeve.
Here's Sarah, back at the comfy space station.
I made an alien comic with their hatchling, Sam:
And we left a coded message to beam back to Gary, my studio shipmate:
Back on Planet Earth now, but just before landing, I caught one last glimpse of the alien landscape: