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1001. Pasg Hapus Dalen / A Happy Celtic Easter from Dalen

Dalen is a great Welsh company deserving of support in the UK industry. I had thought they vanished but -thankfully- they are still publishing!

Cylchlythyr Ebrill 2014
April 2014 Newsletter

Tintin Derwyddon Druids Pasg
Pasg Hapus o Straeon Stribed
Tintin mewn Cernyweg – ac yn Gymraeg! – a rhan ola stori
Y Derwyddon yn Gymraeg a Saesneg

Antur Newydd Tintin yn Gymraeg, ac
am y tro cynta erioed
Tintin mewn Cernyweg!
Tintin Y Bad RachubLlong o Amlwch yn achos pryder i Tintin
Y Bad Rachub yw antur Gymraeg newydd Tintin. Mae angen cymorth y gohebydd pengoch ar ei hen gyfaill, yr Emir Ben Kalish o wlad Khemed yn y Dwyrain Canol. Ond yn llechu yn y cysgodion mae hen gydnabod sy'n masnachu mewn caethweision. Gyda pheryglon astrus ar dir a môr, mae Tintin, Milyn a'r Capten Hadog yn camu i sefullfa enbyd ar fwrdd y bad Rachub.
ISBN 9781906587406

Tintin An Ynys DhuAm y tro cynta erioed,
Tintin mewn Cernyweg
Dyw Tintin erioed wedi siarad Cernyweg o'r blaen, ond erbyn hyn mae e wedi bod ar gwrs carlam er mwyn herio chwedl y bwystfil ar An Ynys Dhu. Bydd yr antur hon, sy wedi cael ei chyfieithu gan un o aelodau Gorsedd Cernyw, Mark Trevethan, o ddiddordeb mawr i ddarllenwyr sy'n cael blas ar y Pethe Celtaidd. Mae'r tebygrwydd dwy chwaer-iaith rhwng y Gymraeg a'r Gernyweg, ac mae'n syndod faint o'r fersiwn Gernyweg sy'n rhwydd i'r Cymro ei deall.
ISBN 9781906587437

Y Derwyddon Cystudd y CyfiawnCymal ola achos
Y Derwyddon…
Diweddglo annisgwyl i ymchwil Gwynlan! Mae gwaith diflino Gwynlan i geisio dod o hyd i'r sawl sy'n gyfrifol am gyfres o lofruddiaethau milenig yn yr Eglwys Geltaidd wedi'n tywys ni o fynachlogydd Llydaw, i ryfeddod Côr y Cewri, i lannau Môn ac i bellafoedd Ynysoedd Heledd. Yn rhan ola cyfres iasoer Y Derwyddon: Cystudd y Cyfiawn, mae'r gwaith o geisio canfod pwy laddodd y mynachod yn troi cornel fydd neb yn ei disgwyl wrth i'r trywydd ein cludo ymhellach i oerni'r gogledd a rhyfeddodau Tir Na N'Og.
ISBN 9781906587321

Druids Voyage of discovery…ac yn yr un modd, Druids
Mae rhan ola'r Derwyddon mewn Saesneg hefyd wedi ei chyhoeddi – Druids: Voyage of Discovery. Gyda chwblhau'r stori yn Gymraeg, y peth lleia allen ni neud oedd gorffen y stori yn ein fersiwn Saesneg o'r gyfres hefyd! Mae fformat y gyfres Saesneg ychydig yn wahanol – y maint yn llai, a dwy o'r straeon Cymraeg wedi eu cyrnhoi i mewn i un llyfr – ond mae'r stori a'r arlunwaith yn benigamp ym mha iaith bynnag ddewiswch chi ddarllen!
ISBN 9781906587390

A Celtic flavour to Easter from Dalen!
Brand New Tintin in Cornish
and the conclusion of Druids in English
Dalen has four new titles reaching the bookshelves this Easter, including – for the first time ever – Tintin in Cornish and the much anticipated conclusion of the excellent murder-mystery Druids series.
 Tintin in Cornish
An Ynys Dhu is the Cornish version of the Tintin bestseller L'Ile Noire/The Black Island. For the first time ever, the intrepid reporter speaks the Celtic language of Cornwall on an adventure which takes him to the furthermost parts of Scotland. On a remote, craggy island, Tintin faces up to the legend of the Goedhvil of An Ynys Dhu.
ISBN 9781906587437
Tintin in Welsh
The successful Tintin series in Welsh also continues with the release of Y Bad Rachub, Dafydd Jones' gripping adaptation of Coke en Stock/Red Sea Sharks. This is the tenth Tintin album released in Welsh by Dalen, as our bequiffed hero encounters slavery and piracy on the Red Sea.
ISBN 9781906587086
Druids in English
The excellent Druids series, penned by Thierry Jigourel and Jean-Luc Istin, and fabulously illustrated by Jacques Lamontage, reaches its conclusion in the newly-released Voyage of Discovery. Published over three volumes, Gwynlan's investigation into the murder of some Dark Age monks takes him on a trail to ensure the survival of the Treasures of the Britons. In a dramatic end to the tale, with a surprisingly unexpected twist, Druids: Voyage of Discovery is available here for £9.99 plus postage, or get it from your local bookstore. ISBN 9781906587390
Druids –Y Derwyddon – in Welsh
 You could be really in to the authentic Celtic feel of the Druids series, and fancy investing in the Welsh version of the series. Published in the same large 48 page format as the original French version, Y Derwyddon: Cystudd y Cyfiawn is the concluding part of the series in Welsh.
ISBN 9781906587321

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1002. Cardinal #6 with Video

I felt like I had to do at least one more cardinal.  And since yesterday's cardinal was biking, I thought we should go old-school and have a cardinal flying today. I think this guy is enjoying the last of the warm weather before the snow moved in tomorrow. :(

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1003. Jumping In Feet First: A Guest Post at the Art of Simple


My first blog post ever  talked about my decision to leave the classroom and pursue writing full-time. Now I’m sharing about the experience over at The Art of Simple — how this crazy, counter-cultural choice was exactly right for me. Will you join me today?



The post Jumping In Feet First: A Guest Post at the Art of Simple appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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1004. Diversity in YA: A round-up of links and some thoughts on the silence surrounding the discussion.

At Book Riot:

It’s hard not to wonder why some of the largest voices in the YA world and kid lit world more broadly aren’t speaking up and out in visible ways. They have far less at stake than any author of color (and most women, white or not) would have doing the same thing, in part because their privileged position affords them them their platform. They do not succeed simply because they work harder; they have more advantages. This isn’t just pointed at authors with power. It’s pointed equally toward librarians, toward booksellers, toward major media outlets, and to anyone with a position to say something.

There’s no expectation for anyone to talk about everything. That would be impossible. But in a week where an announcement of an all-male, all-white panel coincides with a wealth of well-written, thought-provoking, and important conversations about diversity and there’s nothing but silence?

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1005. How it feels…

…to get the latest Eric Shanower/Skottie Young Oz graphic novel for your birthday.

Emerald City

She’s been waiting for this one for a long time, in girl-years.

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1006. Clip: The Fault in Our Stars.

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1007. Happy Birthday Emma Watson!

Today Emma Watson is celebrating her 24th birthday! Ms. Watson is currently shooting her first takes of Regression, today, as it is the first day on set. According to Emma's tweet, the first day of shooting is "a very cool birthday present". Please join us in wishing Emma Watson a very happy birthday!

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1008. Jack Prelutsky Recites ‘Today is a Very Boring Day’ Poem On ‘Arthur’

To celebrate National Poetry Month, we found a video featuring Jack Prelutsky’s guest appearance on the animated TV series, Arthur. The video embedded above features him delivering a performance of his poem, “Today is a Very Boring Day.”

Prelutsky, the United States’ first children’s poet laureate, has written more than eighty volumes of poetry. Back in April 2012, we sat for an interview with him and asked him for tips about reading poetry aloud; he feels that “a poem is a living organism, and no two are alike. Most poems (perhaps all poems) are read best when read aloud.” What do you think?

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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1009. KU Addendum

 Kutztown University Children's Literature Conference  The official logo of the Kutztown University Children's Literature Conference.

My KU Addenda ( or "um", I can't remember which) is up on the Lists page.  But here is the link if you need immediate gratification.

And here is the link to the list I handed out at the KU Children's Literature Conference on Saturday.

Thanks.  Stay tuned for more book stuff.

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1010. Return Of The Angry Comic Collector (Age Witheld)

  To be honest I'm stupid. I treat people honestly and fairly and expect them to reciprocate. Last August I posted this item (and it took me AGES to find this post):

Never Ever Let People Near Your Comicx Collection

I have to admit that until I started trying to catalogue (again) the old 1960s comics I had such as Odhams Fantastic and Terrific and, of course, my Alan Class collection I had no idea just how many comics had been...well, stolen by visitors I used to have when my apartment was an open door to comic people.

How bad are the losses?

Well, I now have only issues 11, 12, 13, 45, 60, 67, 76 and 77 from my Fantastics and I was given a large stack at the old Bath mart in the 1980s by David Johnson.

The Terrific comics I just stared at in shock. Only two left -issues 6 and 7.

That is pretty gutting but my own fault since I was so open to visitors.

It was when I came to my Alan Class box that I discovered there were only just over 50 books -and a big space in the box.

I only have

Amazing Stories of Suspense 98, 102, 117, 127, 153, 174, 186, 219, 221 and 233.

Out Of This World 4, 7 and 18!!!

Sinister Tales  54, 75, 100, 106, 108, 117, 144, 184, 208, 214 and 227.

Secrets Of The Unknown  104, 139, 194, 206, 229, 230 and 241

Uncanny Tales  30, 64, 66, 73, 116, 141, 152, 153, 169, 173, 179 and 183

Astounding Stories  8, 76, 81, 93, 94, 122, 130, 141, 144, 171 and 188

Creepy Worlds  133, 138, 141, 159, 165, 204, 205 and 239

If you are a member of my Yahoo Alan Class group and have seen the cover scans I uploaded there years ago when I started the group you will see that I am missing...a lot.

By the gaps between numbers it looks as though people just put their hands in, grabbed a bunch and that was it.

I can actually see now WHY collectors tend not to let others near their books -especially unattended. I'm not the first to have had a collection looted but let it serve as an example to you. 

Can I rebuild the collection?  Not likely since ebay sellers are pushing prices sky-high and well out of my range.

Just utterly winded.

So why repost? Oh, that's simple. You see, as most of you reading these posts will have gathered, since I was a youngster I was a big -BIG- fan of Marvel Comics The Avengers.  My collection started back in the 1960s -though the past decade has seen and end to that love -but not of the old books.
Until I was in my 40s (yes, I know, you see my photo and think "but he looks so much like a young Jude Law!" you teases, you!) I never had a permanent home and nine years into my 'permanent' home the local authority decided it had to be demolished.  So, where-ever I lived was a drop-in point for comickers. They looked and read through my collection....
...but my Avengers collection remained boxed up to preserve their full colour goodness. Only a piece of tape sealing the lid down but good enough (I thought).
Now, last week I decided that I needed to catalogue the issues to try to, eventually, get the issues I needed to fill in my collection. I've read and re-read The Essential Avengers volumes so often I thought I'd treat myself to a full colour read.
What greeted me when I opened the box was devastating to say the least. Having been ill I thought seeing those books might pick me up. It did the opposite.
The early books were never "very fine" or "mint" but good reading copies because I have no pretentions that they were my pension in storage -and let's face it, when I shuffle off this mortal coil the books are going to be dumped or sold on to some dealer shark. 
So what did I find? Lots of ripped covers and huge gaps in the run of books. Someone, or some persons, have quite obviously just put hand/hands in and grabbed whatever. 
The fact that I never checked the 'secured' box is my fault. That I let people near my collection is my fault. I have to be philosophical about this because I am assured tracking down everyone who ever visited my homes, torturing and then exacting a comic book type vengeance on them is not allowed.

It's a lesson learnt a bit late in life. So, I need to replace all the issues up to #118 -BUT the Neal Adams #93 is still there and intact (HA HA YOU THIEVING SCUM YOU MISSED THAT ONE!! ITS HERE ON MY DESK UNDER THE COFFEE MUG AND...................oh.

Joking aside, at least I have a task for my declining years while white hot vengeance burns its way through my raging heart...or maybe I should take some more Gaviscon (the paranormal investigator and comic book professionals friend)?

If you love your comics -treasure them!

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1011. The Phantom of the Maine State Library.

Since I was super-popular in high school*, I spent a lot of time hanging out at the Maine State Library.

I did a lot of browsing and reading and so on, but because of this story—which broke when I was a freshman—I also spent a good amount of time just staring at the ceiling:

In the fall of 1991, employees at the Maine State Library in Augusta wondered if there was a ghost among the aisles.  Odd things, like flashlights, extension cords, and food from the break room refrigerator (mainly pudding cups), were disappearing on a daily basis. At first, security thought the culprits could be some of the workers hired to remove asbestos from the building. But their suspicions changed when, overnight, two refrigerators and a candy machine were nearly cleaned out, and a handwritten note of apology was left behind. As the thefts continued without any signs of a break-in, it became clear that someone was living in the library. 

It's so appealing to the Claudia Kincaid in me.


*AHAHAHAHAHAHA, just kidding.


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1012. Ben Affleck Stars in Gone Girl

Anticipation is steadily growing for the film adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s bestselling thriller, GONE GIRL. The studio has just released the first trailer and it certainly captures the essence of the book. Ben Affleck stars as Nick Dunne, a man who has become a suspect in the disappearance (murder?) of his wife.

Have you read the book? Are you excited about seeing the film?

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1013. Virtual Book Tour Begins Today for Silent Voice by Barry Rudner

This week children’s author Barry Rudner begins a 15-day virtual tour (sponsored by the National Writing for Children Center) for his new book, Silent Voice.

silent voice

Each day I’ll add a new link here to this tour.

Start the tour here:

Day 1 – Monday, April 14, 2014

Licensed psychotherapist Nicole L. Albert talks about Barry and his book at Mayra’s Secret Bookcase

Day 2 – Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Interview on Blog Critics
This interview was also picked up by the Seattle Post Intelligencer.

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1014. Salina Yoon at Unwind Yarn Recap


Hi, everyone! Hope you all had a great weekend. I am still recovering from a bit of a cold and from the LA Times Festival of Books. Today I am coming to you with a recap of a fun event that I was a part of a couple of weeks ago. A couple of weeks ago on April 5, 2014 Bridge to Books was lucky enough to host picture book author an illustrator Salina Yoon at Unwind Yarn in Burbank, CA. The event fell on the weekend of the LA Yarn Crawl  which made for a doubly fun event. There were cake pops, yarn, exclusive Penguin knitting patterns and lots of laugh. (All photos courtesy of our friend Katie Ferguson. Thanks, Katie!)


As part of the festivities we had amazing cake pops made by Alethea's cousion Adri, owner of Maskipops. They were delicious and so cute to boot. Obviously my favorite was Penguin but there were also hearts and yarn balls.



This is an awesome DIY cookie jar that Salina made. She bought the jar but added her own Bear sticker. Adorable!


There was a nice crowd there of both adults and children. After everyone settled in, Salina read from her book Penguin in Love. Penguin is an adorable penguin who knits and has many adventures. In his newest book, he finds a new friend. After reading Penguin in Love, Salina read from her newest book Found (pic above).


After reading time, it was drawing time. Here, Salina is showing the audience how Penguin and Bear are based on really similar shapes.


Then Salina signed lots and lots of books. All in all a very fun day. Big thanks to Unwind Yarn for hosting and to Salina for being a wonderful speaker as always. Also thank you to volunteers Katie, Kimberly, Laura, Cris, Dornel and to Once Upon a Time for being on hand to sell books. If you'd like to see more photos from the event, check out the Flickr set here.

Hope you enjoyed this brief recap. Happy Tuesday!

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1015. Self-publishing vs. Traditional: Some Straight Talk

I'm thrilled to have a guest post from Natalie Whipple, one of my former clients, who is now a "hybrid" author with experience with both traditional and self-publishing. She is the author of Transparent and House of Ivy & Sorrow, which comes out today, and Relax, I'm a Ninja, which will come out in June!

Here's Natalie's post:

There is a lot of talk online about legacy versus indie publishing and which is better. People seem to spend so much time focused on defending one side or the other, that the details of what each path actually entails get skewed or lost entirely.

To me, arguing which is “better” is a lot like fighting over whether basketball, baseball, or football is the superior sport. They are all sports, they all have a fan base, and they all bring enjoyment to the people who choose to participate in them. Is there really a “better”? Well, no. They’re just different. Same with legacy and indie publishing.

Maybe I see it this way because I’ve chosen to venture into both legacy and indie publishing. I’m what people are now calling a “hybrid” author. So since I’ve been on both sides, today I want to give out neutral, practical information on the difference between Legacy and Indie. I’ll leave it up to you guys to decide what you think is more advantageous or preferable or whatever.


Most people think of authors selling their books, but really it’s more about selling your creative rights in legacy publishing. A publisher wants to buy your rights to reproduce your words in a certain form—usually a book form. There are also other rights you can sell, like electronic (ebook), cinematic, audio, and translation. In the legacy model, a writer usually obtains an agent who specializes in selling and drawing up fair contracts for these various rights. You get a percentage of profit, your agent gets a cut, and of course so does the publisher.

In indie publishing, a writer keeps all their rights and uses them as they see fit. You could say an indie sells their books because of that. That means they get almost all the profit to themselves, but also have to do all the work themselves as well. Indies effectively become a small publisher of their own work. If they want to sell in audio book format, they have to hire the voice actor and make it happen (yes, you can do that). If they want to translate their novel into Spanish, they can hire someone to do that. Their rights are in their hands, for better or worse.


As alluded to in the previous section, indie publishing is all about control. The writer is in charge. While most authors hire out editors and designers, it’s still the writer who chooses who to work with and what the final product looks like. The writer controls price, marketing, design, everything.

In legacy, a writer gives up a lot of control when they sell rights. Your publisher will decide your cover, the price of the novel, the marketing scope. They will decide when your book releases and when they want to put it out of print. You can argue, but they don’t have to listen.


Legacy authors receive payment in two ways—advance against royalties, and then royalties if the novel “earns out its advance.” Your contract will contain royalty rates for each book format they purchased rights for. Advances are usually paid in segments upon contract signing, D&A, and publication. If you earn royalties, you may see a check every 6 months, sometimes once quarterly.

Indie writers do not receive advances, but begin to immediately make “royalty” on their work. The royalty received is much higher—usually 60-70% (as opposed to 6-25% legacy depending on format). Online distributers usually pay monthly if a threshold of income is achieved (from $10-100 depending on the place), otherwise it will be held to the next month.

Cost To Author

Legacy publishing has very little upfront cost to an aspiring writer (unless you consider time a cost, which is something to consider). Agents don’t take payments, but receive commission upon selling rights to your work. One you sell a novel, you may be paying for your own travel or marketing materials, but overall the cost can be almost zero if you don’t choose to do those things.

Indie publishing does have an upfront cost. The average for a quality product is around $1500 for a first novel, most of which goes to a freelance editor. Other costs can include interior and cover design, ebook formatting, ISBN purchasing, business license, marketing, purchasing hard copy inventory, etc.


Indie publishing can reach many markets it couldn’t previously, thanks to online marketplaces and reduced cost of production in the digital age. An indie writer can make their book available globally without having to own a lot of costly inventory. Legacy publishing still has a leg up in the bookstore and library area, having deep connections and filters that are easy for store/library buyers to use. Though the stigma on indie is slowly lifting, there is still a trust built between established publishers and store/library buyers.


Legacy publishing, in theory, gives an author a marketing plan they wouldn’t be able to accomplish on their own. At minimum, they submit their novels to trade reviewers, make them available in the publisher’s seasonal catalog, and make them more visible to store/library buyers who then champion those books to customers. At best (if you are very lucky), legacy publishers send authors on tour, get them big ad spaces in movie theaters, have features in well-known magazines, get radio and TV spots, etc.

Indie writers are responsible for their own marketing, and it’s really a matter of how much money and hustling they want to put into it. An indie can get ad space—it’s just very pricey. They can get trade reviews and other visibility. They can plan their own tours. They just have to foot the bill for everything. So it’s about maximizing visibility at a reasonable cost.

I hope this clears up some of the differences with legacy and indie publishing. But more than that, I hope it helps people see that both avenues have their pros and cons and aren’t necessarily against each other. Publishing is a hard business, no matter how you decide to tackle it. But I personally have found things to love in both methods, and I hope more writers begin to see that they have options and they don’t need to be afraid to explore them.

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1016. Pictures that Tell Stories

Gabriel von Max, Monkeys as Critics

Blog reader Sean Oswald asks: "I was exploring some narrative artworks, and I wanted to ask if you would point me towards some resources that would help me learn about narrative art making. I want to know more about story and how it has been used in visual art to communicate ideas. I would also like to learn more about the pictorial mechanics of telling stories and the science behind it."

Sean, I think this is an important question. I wish there was more written about this, and I think it's a fertile field for study. Most of what's been written about the topic by art historians so far has been dismissive and short-sighted, usually by people who don't really create storytelling pictures.

You asked about pictorial mechanics. The best practical resources I've found are these three books:
Famous Artists Course (Get the editions from the 1950s)
Creative Illustration by Andrew Loomis
....and of course it's something I talk about in my own book, Imaginative Realism

To understand the science behind how we look at storytelling pictures, I would love to see a researcher combine eyetracking data with fMRI brain scans in real time to see what's going on in the brain as a person begins to decipher a picture. Do the mirror neurons fire when you see a picture of a person doing a certain action? Can you actually see the brain engage on different levels as the visual processing moves from lower to higher levels?

Thomas Cole Voyage of Life: (Childhood, Youth, Manhood, Old Age), 1842
Here are a few thoughts on the topic. There are some famous series of paintings such as Thomas Cole's "Voyage of Life" that tell stories with a beginning, middle, and end, almost like a painted graphic novel. The Catholic church has told many Bible stories sequentially in stained glass windows and altarpieces.

Norman Rockwell, Breaking Home Ties
But let's consider single-image story-paintings, and let's begin with semantics. People often call them "illustrations." But I don't like I don't really like that term because it's misleading. Some paintings don't illustrate a text—they can stand entirely on their own, just as a play or a movie would do. In that sense, Rockwell's Post covers aren't illustrations, even though they're some of the finest examples of storytelling pictures.

As I mentioned in a post called "Detective Storytelling," I also have difficulty with the term "narrative art" because a true narrative requires the presentation of a series of events, revealed in sequence (First A, then B, then C). In a single picture, unlike a graphic novel or an animated film, all the events are telescoped into a single moment. Previous moments or events are implied by clues, and the subsequent moment can only be suggested. We might better describe this kind of art as a “detective storytelling.” It demands effort from the viewer to find all the clues, and care from the artist to make sure not to clutter the scene with extraneous detail.
‘A Special Pleader’ by Charles Burton Barber
Several books have been written about Victorian Narrative Painting. It's a big subject with a lot of wonderful examples. For example, in this painting by Barber, the dog's characterization shows its conflict of loyalties, and the picture hints at the tantrum the girl threw before she was punished.

Rockwell, Pyle, and N.C. Wyeth talk a lot about the importance of eliminating unnecessary detail, and of choosing the supreme moment to illustrate. Of the three, only Rockwell sat down to write a book about the topic. There are extensive student notes of Pyle's teaching. But they're mostly unpublished, so I'll try to share more on the blog. Also, don't miss the blog by Ian Schoenherr on Howard Pyle. Wyeth's thinking is best revealed in his letters, collected in The Letters of N. C. Wyeth
Ivan Shishkin Wind Fallen Trees, 1888
As a final thought, I believe it's possible for a painting to tell a story without human figures at all, as long as the painting implies a series of events that preceded the moment depicted. Shishkin's forest paintings often describe the story of the forest by presenting evidence of past storms and woodcutters.

Previous Posts:
Detective Storytelling and Before the Judge (Analyzing two academic paintings).

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1017. The Genre-Bending World of Hinterkind (Reviewing the V. 1 TPB, “The Waking World”)

vertigo-hinterkind-tpb-1Vertigo’s new fantasy-ish title Hinterkind recently released its first trade paperback collection, The Waking World.  If you only glanced at the covers, it’s probably not what you’re expecting.  Oh, sure it’s got the mythical monsters you’d expect to see in something like Vertigo’s elder statesman title Fables, but there’s a layer of science fiction, a layer that’s very close to zombie apocalypse and a bit more political intrigue than you might expect.

Writer Ian Edginton and artist Francesco Trifogli have created something that appears to be a bit more than the sum of its otherwise familiar parts.  Honestly, it reminded me the most of Planet of the Apes, but we’ll circle back to that.

Hinterkind is set 15 minutes into the future.  Mother Nature struck back against the humans in the form of a super flu virus.  Some people were naturally immune and they survived, gathering together in small communities in the ruins of the old cities.  What they don’t initially know, is that the creatures of fairy tales have also returned.  Led by the Sidhe (elves if you want to be common about it), the “Hinterkind” as they call themselves are ready for some revenge on the humans who drove them all into hiding those many years ago.  They’d also like to eat them.  Of course the humans are all a bit isolated and may not have quite figured that out yet.

The narrative goes primarily in two directions: the viewpoint of a group of survivors in the ruins of New York City and the viewpoint of the royal class of the Sidhe, who are more or less organizing the Hinterkind.  The human survivors are the world building story as they start to realize there’s a whole lot more going on in their world than they previously thought.  On the Sidhe side, there’s considerable variance of opinion on who should be running things and what should be done with the surviving humans.

There’s also, from both perspectives, events that really read like somebody took Ronald Reagan’s old campaign line about the scariest sentence in the English language being “we’re from the government and we’re hear to help” and really ran with it.

Why did this book remind me of Planet of the Apes?  A couple reasons.  The ruins of the world and the hunted humans which both somewhat jibe with the zombie apocalypse feel.  There’s a sequence in the tpb that can’t help but remind me of Beneath the Planet of the Apes and the politics of what should be done with the humans strongly resonates with the BOOM! sorely under-appreciated Planet of the Apes series a couple years back, which dealt with the political relations between apes and humans before the humans started losing the ability to talk.

Hinterkind is awash with SF/F tropes and there are many different things you could pick apart here as possible influences.  It’s very early in what’s obviously a much longer tale.  The “waking world” title refers to the Hinterkind waking up and returning and the humans slowly waking up to the fact they’re not alone and in a pretty bad spot.  The table is set for the two narratives to take off.  We see the initial skirmishes and conflicts appear.  Where it’s immediately going isn’t entirely clear, nor is it quite certain how quickly the threads will collide.

I liked it well enough.  Hinterkind does well in scope and carving out enough of its own identity.  What to compare it to for recommendations, though.  That’s a hard one because it combines so many things.  The press releases likes to compare it to Game of Thrones, probably based on the Sidhe skulduggery and having a couple different narrative threads.  I can see it, but I’m not sure that’s the most apt, this being post-apocalyptic and having many more magical creatures running around.  Game of Thrones meets Planet of the Apes might be the better Hollywood style tagline.  If you like fall of civilization stores and don’t mind mixing your science fiction and fantasy, that’s probably a good cognitive place to start.

On the other hand, if you don’t want scientists in your fantasy, this will probably cause you angst.

Perhaps the most important thing to say is Hinterkind is not some boiler plate Fables replacement, something you could have thought when it was rolled out.  It is it’s own thing and an enjoyable one if you’re not a purist to one particular sub-genre.

2 Comments on The Genre-Bending World of Hinterkind (Reviewing the V. 1 TPB, “The Waking World”), last added: 4/15/2014
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1018. Desperately seeking stories

As de facto administrative assistant for the office, I’ve been hearing the name “UNICCO” (the facilities management company here at the Simmons College campus) quite a bit as we get settled into our new space. And it makes me think of nothing so much as…

unico Desperately seeking stories

That is, The Fantastic Adventures of Unico, an early anime film about — surprise, surprise — a baby unicorn with the ability to bring happiness to everyone he meets. I remember Unico fondly and vividly from my ’80s childhood, but by the time I was in college I was convinced I had invented it, since no one else I knew had ever heard of it. (Same with The Adventures of Mark Twain, another weirdo ’80s movie.) Happily, internet searching has proved it’s not a figment of my imagination, and maybe I’ll even get around to watching it again.

In libraries, bookstores, and on sites like “Stump the Bookseller,” there’s an abundance of people hoping to be reunited with a half-remembered book from childhood. Often what hazy memories they do have are of the book’s appearance or their emotional experience of it rather than the more prosaic bibliographic information that would help a bookseller or librarian with the literary detective work. And, like me with Unico, they may eventually conclude it never existed.

Are there any stories or books from your childhood you’ve been looking for? Or have you been reunited with any long-lost loves? A few of mine: The Girl with the Silver Eyes by Willo Davis Roberts, The Wednesday Witch by Ruth Chew, and The Wild Swans retold by Amy Ehrlich and illustrated by Susan Jeffers.

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1019. Guest Post & Giveaway: Michele Weber Hurwitz on Musings about Comparisons

By Michele Weber Hurwitz
for Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations

I have a quote taped on the wall above my computer so it's the first thing I see every morning when I sit down to write.

"Comparison is the thief of joy."

That little gem comes from some guy named Theodore Roosevelt.

What a simple, true, and startling piece of advice. The idea that comparison is a thief, and it can steal your joy, take away your happiness.

My mother had a more delicate, loving way of putting it: "Appreciate what you have, Little Miss Smarty Pants."

This, in fact, seems to be my life lesson. I wish I could have told it to my younger self.

In this photo of me at five years old, I must have received a gift (what are those? pants? pajamas?) and so did my friend. I'm the one closer to the door. A picture is worth a thousand words, right? There I was, caught in the moment, looking at what she got, not what I got. Comparing.

And as you can see, I'm not smiling.

In high school, I compared my unruly, crazy curly hair to girls with seemingly carefree, straight locks (oh, their swinging ponytails!). In my early twenties, as I struggled to find a job, I compared myself to friends whose careers were taking off.

And later on, when I went after my dream of writing a book, I compared myself to authors who secured an agent and got published easily and quickly, while I stumbled and made endless mistakes.

Let's not even talk about those early query letters. Or those early manuscripts.

Don't get me wrong. I've had many happy, non-comparing moments. And I'm sure that comparison is somewhat human nature. Heck, I bet even cave women compared their hauls when they gathered herbs and berries.

But since authors live (and write) in a world of superlatives, comparison is all too easy to fall prey to. Scroll through your Facebook news feed or your Twitter timeline or the latest Publishers Weekly. It's all there for us comparison-junkies.

Six-figure deal! Auction! Trilogy sold in 44 countries. Starred reviews. Best-seller. Award-winning, must-read, most unbelievable book ever to be published in the history of time; plus it's being made into a movie! OMG!

While I readily and happily applaud my fellow authors' successes, I know I'm not the only writer out there who sometimes feels daunted. And intimidated. And like maybe it's a better idea to spend the day under the covers.

But then I look up.


I have another quote taped next to that one: "I wish that I had duck feet."

That's the title of a favorite book I had when I was little, an early reader by Theo. LeSieg. It's the humorous and insightful story of a young boy who wishes he had various animal parts, like duck feet, a whale spout, and an elephant trunk. But as he imagines the pros and cons of life with these seemingly fun but ultimately troublesome additions, he decides that he's better off just being himself.

Good choice. That's probably my other life lesson. And perhaps, everyone's.

The ideas of comparison and being yourself are themes that run through both of my middle grade books, Calli Be Gold (Wendy Lamb Books, 2011) and my new release, The Summer I Saved the World...in 65 Days (Wendy Lamb Books, 2014).

In Calli Be Gold, Calli, the youngest child in a super-achieving "golden" family, struggles with the fact that she's a regular kid and isn't talented at sports like her siblings. She finds out what she's good at when she bonds with an awkward second grade boy in a peer helper program at school. In her own quiet way, Calli stands up to her intense, overbearing dad and makes him understand that talent comes in many forms.

In The Summer I Saved the World...in 65 Days, the main character, Nina Ross, questions whether doing good really makes a difference. She gets inspired from her eighth-grade history teacher's parting words and spends a summer doing secret good deeds in her neighborhood and for her family, despite the fact that she knows her best friend won't understand. Nina is confused and somewhat insecure, unsure of her "group" and where she'll fit in to the overwhelming world of high school.

As the good deeds prompt events she wasn't expecting, Nina has to decide whether or not to stay true to her plan and herself.

Creating and getting to know the characters of Calli and Nina has taught me, as an author, to appreciate the satisfaction in small moments.

While glowing reviews and awards are certainly wonderful, I've come to realize that rewards arrive in many forms, and often the best are the most heartfelt, touching, and personal.

Perhaps it's connecting with a child at a school visit, like the boy who admitted he didn't want to read Calli Be Gold because there was a girl on the cover, but now it's one of his favorite books. Or the email I received from a girl who wrote that Calli "inspires me to be open and kind to everyone. She makes me want to be myself." And the boy who was too shy to come up and have me sign his book at a recent event, and sent his friend to my table instead. When I waved to the boy, his surprised, thankful, light-up-the-room smile was absolutely perfect.

It's these moments when I nod silently to myself and think: these are the real superlatives.


Cynsational Giveaway

Enter to win a signed copy of The Summer I Saved the World...in 65 Days by Michele Weber Hurwitz (Wendy Lamb, 2014). Author sponsored. Eligibility: North America.

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1020. Kindle Daily Deal: Strange Chemistry title.

I love this press, and I make a point of buying their stuff whenever it's on sale.


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1021. New York Magazine Finds Thriving Bookstores in NYC

mcjbooksDespite the many challenges that indie bookstores have for staying in business, some stores are managing to thrive despite high rents in New York City.

New York Magazine has put together a list of six bookstores that are doing well and their secret sauce for surviving the recession in an expensive city. Stores on the list include: McNally Jackson, Greenlight Books, PowerHouse Arena, Three Lives, Community Bookstore and BookCourt. Check it out:

A recent ad for Verizon Fios features two laptops competing for bandwidth in what looks like a Bushwick loft that crashed into an Apple store. It’s actually PowerHouse Arena: a 5,000-square-foot “laboratory for creative thought,” exhibition hall, party space, shoot location, and, oh right, bookstore. “We don’t have a lot of giant, traditional diversity,” says owner Daniel Power, referring to the store’s rather limited stock. “We’re just very careful in what we select.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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1022. I Have No Idea What You Mean By "Boob Window" But....

 Over at Tales From The Kryptonian, Subzero has produced a new posting that might be of interest to, uh, gentleman with a keen interest in the uhh, well, photographically captured female stars of movies and TV...and there are boob windows!


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1023. More Zoo drawing sketches from the weekend ...

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1024. Update: The Broken Ones Series

Aro Coversm

Hi, everyone!

Well since I get a lot of messages, comments and emails asking for updates on the series I though I might as well do a post about what’s going on. (I’ll also post this on my website, as this post will probably get buried here sooner)

So, on to the most common questions…

“How many books will there be?”

The series was originally supposed to be 3 books; Broken Aro, Broken Prince and Broken Kei. I really should have known better, but that’s all hindsight. Right now I can say it will be AT LEAST four, possibly five books. Broken Prince finished with the end of the arc about getting him home, however there is still the main story arc involving the Fey and and the prophecy. This originally was supposed to be in book 3, but then I had the issue of having a whole winter between the end of book 2 and 3 to deal with, which now has turned into a story all its own. This is the book I’m currently working on, which as of yet has no title (It will be Broken…something. LOL) Book 4 will begin in the spring and I’m not going to be surprised at all if finishing the tale takes another book as well.

“When will the next book be out?”

Good question! I’d hoped to have it out this spring, but real life has consistently gotten in the way. I know this is frustrating for you all, and is more so for me. I had a plan, I have the story in my head…but getting time to write it has been the issue. That said, I’m almost 3/4 done now and am writing as fast as I can. I’ll keep you updated on when I finish, and how the edits etc are going. (I really recommend you stop by my page on Facebook- I post updates, news, teasers and host a lot of giveaways there!) Another way to stay up to date is my new mailing list- I’ll send out a newsletter when book is almost ready to go!

Princesm“I want to help, what can I do?”

Reviews are always appreciated (especially posted to Amazon) I provide free ebook copies (mobi, pdf, pdf) to reviewers in exchange for an honest review. Sharing links, talking about the books, etc always help! I also am always happy to provide bloggers (or facebook group pages) with ebooks and swag for giveaways. If you’d like to do a feature/spotlight etc on your blog just let me know and I can send you a media kit. The more people see the books out there the more it helps!

I love to hear from all my readers, so feel free to message me on facebook or shoot me an email (jenniferw2mail at gmail.com)

Super big rainbow hugs to you all! Your support has been fantastic and the books certainly wouldn’t be doing as well as they are without you!


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1025. How to Delivery that Gutsy Pitch, - Joan Knows

It is baseball season. The warm springtime and the red clay dirt. What is better than baseball. So how do writers get warmed up and ready to take a few swings; make a hit, maybe a home run and fly around our bases or goals. Joan Edwards knows and her article:
How to Deliver a Short Gutsy Pitch to Entice Editors, Agents and Readers is the perfect way to prepare. Thanks Joan.

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