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Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
I have a decorated can in my Sunday School class (that we call our "I Can") to encourage my girls that with Christ, we can do all things. It's been a great way to encourage positive attitudes with my girls as well as myself (I mean, if I'm teaching this lesson, I need to be working on it myself too in my daily life!). I currently use our "I Can" for our SS offering so that it has a purpose to sit out on the table every week. However, when I first introduced this lesson to the girls, we made clothespin flower clips to put on the can. Now I use their flowers clips as a way to hang up their artwork on the wall. So, I thought you might enjoy a quick tutorial on how to make flower clothespin clips. They are really simple and my own daughter has already made tons of them....so fun!
You will need:
Beads (must have a wide hole)
Hot Glue gun/glue
Purple and Green Pipe Cleaners
Step One: Line up 3 purple and 1 green pipe cleaner. Slip 1-2 beads on and push them to the middle
Step Two: spread out the purple pipe cleaners and pull the green pipe cleaners down
Step Three: Start rolling the end of a purple pipe cleaner towards the middle until you reach the bead
Step Four: Roll up all the rest of the purple pipe cleaners the same way that you did on step three
Step Five: Curl the green pipe cleaners around a pencil
Step Six: Measure a clothespin on a piece of felt and cut the shape out with pinking scissors (make it a little bigger than the clothespin)
Step Seven: Hot glue the felt to the clothespin
Step Eight: Hot glue the pipe cleaner flower on to the clothespin. Make sure and glue it to the non-pinching end.
To encourage creativity: set out a variety of colored felt, pipe cleaners and beads and let your kids have fun making their own unique flowers! Let me know if you give this a try :) Blessings, Jenni
One of my favorite graphic novels this year was the awfully ambitious (and awfully good) The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents . . . MacBeth. Any book that uses that much ketchup in its plotting has my instant love. So when the folks at First Second asked if I wanted to present the cover reveal for the next book in the Stratford Zoo series, you can bet I said yep.
Good readers will remember which play was alluded to on the last page of the last book. And here she is!
Author Ian Lendler puts it this way:
“When I travel to schools and ask if anyone has heard of Shakespeare, about half the students will raise their hands. They sort of vaguely know that he’s famous for some reason. But when I ask if anyone has heard of Romeo and Juliet, without fail, every hand in the room is raised. Everyone knows this story.
It has worked its way so deeply into world culture (not just Western culture, mind you), that it is easily the most adapted play in Shakespeare’s canon. Off the top of my head, the Romeo and Juliet story has been set in the world of Miami mafias, kung-fu street cops, a military school, ninjas, immigrants in the Bronx, L.A. high schools, alley cats, and garden gnomes. And why?
Because if you can’t root for two crazy kids in the throes of crazy love then your heart is made of stone. I fully confess that while I was writing this book, I found myself rooting for this cocky rooster and plucky bear to beat the odds. Unfortunately, Shakespeare had different plans for them.”
Artist Zack Giallongo concurs:
“I think what I love most about this book is the physical contrast between Romeo and Juliet. One is a small, wiry, brightly-colored bird. The other is a large, solid, earth-tone mammal. And yet, both are equally appealing, not only to one another, but to the readers. It’s clear, though, that despite the physical disparity, both have the same desires, the same wants, and the same problems. Both have parents that are louts, both have aggressive (and pompous) agents in the form of Tibbs and Mercutio, and both feel misunderstood. And isn’t that what we all feel from time to time? I hope that I got these feelings that Ian wrote into the book across with my drawings, and that we can understand one another, even if we’re a bear and a rooster.”
Looking forward to it, guys! Keep up the good work. Fingers crossed you do Tempest next. I’d love to see the animal that gets to play Caliban.
"The University of Amsterdam will present a major retrospective exhibition" on Tirza-author Arnon Grunberg 31 October through 1 February, as described here.
It apparently has the (sad, German) title: "Ich will doch nur, dass ihr mich liebt".....
Impressive that they can mount a retrospective for such a young author.
But there's certainly enough material to deal with: it's hard to believe that he's only been publishing for twenty years (he's accumulated a huge body of work).
He's also featured in the current issue of De Boekenwereld -- none of the contents freely accessible online, but that cover certainly seems to be in keeping with the theme .....
Read the rest of this post
We have been looking at new releases from Blend Fabrics this week and today we have a beautiful new Riding Hood collection by Josephine Kimberling due for release this November. Jospehine describes it as "A fresh take on a fairytale favourite" with woodland creatures, bright folky florals, and knitted granny squares creating a backdrop for the characters. You can see whole collection in two
Brent Taylor is a literary agent at TriadaUS Literary Agency, Inc. Prior to joining Uwe Stender's team in 2014, Brent completed a handful of internships in publishing, most recently at The Bent Agency. For more information on what he represents and how to submit to him, visit his Publishers Marketplace page, the TriadaUS website, or find him on Twitter.
1. Welcome, Brent! Tell me, what are some of your favorite authors/books and why do you love them?
I have so many favorite books, so how about I instead tell you about what I've been reading lately and why I liked it.
HOOK'S REVENGE by Heidi Schulz. I loved the classic middle grade voice in this one, but more importantly, the witty and whimsical punch the all-knowing narrator gave to the story. I am eagerly anticipating the second installment in this series.
SERVANTS OF THE STORM by Delilah S. Dawson. I'm a big fan of all of Delilah's books, because they're incredibly written, but this one in particular struck me with its conventional approach to crafting unconventional relationships among the characters. The friendship in this novel is an interesting one, as well as the protagonist's relationship with her mother, her peers, the villain(s)! On top of all that, the southern gothic setting and the horror elements of the story just sucked me right in.
NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL by Lena Dunham. It's Lena Dunham! Besides that, I'm the biggest sucker for coming-of-age themes and summer-before-college stories, and Lena wove some poignant stories along those lines in this book.
2. Those are some great choices. Let's talk about books-yet-to-be. What is on your wish list?
I represent all across the board (for more info, see my Publishers Marketplace page), but I'm dying for a great middle grade fantasy and young adult contemporary.
3. Are you an editorial agent?
I don't know an agent in this day and age that doesn't work with their authors in some sort of editorial capacity, big or small, before sending the work(s) out. There are of course exceptions to this, and it's dependent on many factors.
If the client is a debut novelist, I most often do at least one round of semi-major revisions and perhaps a few rounds of line edits. Some projects come across your desk and need only very light work, though, so I do believe that it's more important to remain flexible, and willing to tailor your job to the individual needs of the client.
Am I an "editorial" agent? Sometimes. Strategic and instinctive agent? Always.
What in this galaxy is waterphone? You’ve might have not seen one, but if you’ve watched a horror or science fiction movie, chances are you’ve heard the eerie sounds of the waterphone. With Halloween around the corner and a spooky soundtrack required, I toured through Grove Music Online to learn more about the monolithic, acoustic instrument.
1. The waterphone was invented in 1967 and patented in 1975 by Richard A. Waters. It was manufactured individually to order by him (formerly under the company name Multi-Media in Sebastopol, California) so each was unique.
2. The Standard model is a stainless steel bowl resonator containing water. The dome-shaped top opens into a vertical unstopped, cylindrical tube that serves as a handle. Around the edge of the resonator are attached between 25 and 55 nearly vertical bronze rods, which (depending on the model) are tuned in equal or unequal 12-note or microtonal systems.
3. Various sizes have been produced; the earliest (‘Standard’) had a resonator 17.8 cm in diameter. Current models (‘Whaler’, ‘Bass’, and ‘MegaBass’) are constructed from flat, stainless steel pans.
4. The rods can be struck with sticks or Superball mallets or rubbed by a bow or the hands.
5. The movement of water in the resonator produces timbre changes and glissandi.
6. It has been played in a wide variety of musics, including rock and jazz, and featured in the compositions of Tan Dun and Sofia Gubaidulina.
7. It is an important element in the Gravity Adjusters Expansion Band founded by Waters in 1967.
8. It has been featured in many horror and science fiction film and television soundtracks, such as Poltergeist and The Matrix.
What do you think are the factors hampering Nupe literature ?
First, the government's total negligence at all levels, little efforts from traditional institutions, gross negligence by the department of Nigerian languages of our higher institutions to explore other languages other than Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo; not teaching the language in the core language centres in Niger, Kogi, Kwara, and Abuja.
Where kissing is concerned, there is an entire categorization of this most human of impulses that necessitates taking into account setting, relationship health and the emotional context in which the kiss occurs. A relationship’s condition might be predicted and its trajectory timeline plotted by observing and understanding how the couple kiss. For instance, viewed through the lens of a couple’s dynamic, a peck on the cheek can convey cold, hard rejection or simply signify that a loving couple are pressed for time.
A kiss communicates a myriad of meanings, its reception and perception can alter dramatically depending on the couple’s state of mind. A wife suffering from depression may interpret her husband’s kiss entirely differently should her symptoms be alleviated. Similarly, a jealous, insecure lover may receive his girlfriend’s kiss of greeting utterly at odds to how she intends it to be perceived.
So if the mind can translate the meaning of a kiss to fit with its reading of the world, what can a kiss between a couple tell us? Does this intimate act mark out territory and ownership, a hands-off-he’s-mine nod to those around? Perhaps an unspoken negotiation of power between a couple that covers a whole range of feelings and intentions; how does a kiss-and-make-up kiss differ from a flirtatious kiss or an apologetic one? What of a furtive kiss; an adulterous kiss; a hungry kiss; a brutal kiss? How does a first kiss distinguish itself from a final kiss? When the husband complains to his wife that after 15 years of marriage, “we don’t kiss like we used to”, is he yearning for the adolescent ‘snog’ of his youth?
Engulfed by techno culture, where every text message ends with a ‘X’, couples must carve out space in their busy schedules to merely glimpse one another over the edge of their laptops. There isn’t psychic space for such an old-fashioned concept as a simple kiss. In a time-impoverished, stress-burdened world, we need our kisses to communicate more. Kisses should be able to multi-task. It would be an extravagance in the 21st-century for a kiss not to mean anything.
And there’s the cultural context of kissing to consider. Do you go French, Latin or Eskimo? Add to this each family’s own customs, classifications and codes around how to kiss. For a couple, these differences necessitate accepting the way that your parents embraced may strike your new partner as odd, even perverse. For the northern lass whose family offer to ‘brew up’ instead of a warm embrace, the European preamble of two or three kisses at the breakfast table between her southern softie of a husband and his family, can seem baffling.
The context of a kiss between a couple correlates to the store of positive feeling they have between them; the amount of love in the bank of their relationship. Take 1: a kiss on the way out in the morning can be a reminder of the intimacy that has just been. Take 2: in an acrimonious coupling, this same gesture perhaps signposts a dash for freedom, a “thank God I don’t have to see you for 11 hours”. The kiss on the way back in through the front door can be a chance to reconnect after a day spent operating in different spheres or, less benignly, to assuage and disguise feelings of guilt at not wanting to be back at all.
While on the subject of lip-to-lip contact, the place where a kiss lands expresses meaning. The peck on the forehead may herald a relationship where one partner distances themselves as a parental figure. A forensic ritualized pattern of kisses destined for the cheeks carries a different message to the gentle nip on the earlobe. Lips, cheek, neck, it seems all receptors convey significance to both kisser and ‘kissee’ and could indicate relationship dynamics such as a conservative-rebellious pairing or a babes-in-the-wood coupling.
Like Emperor Tiberius, who banned kissing because he thought it helped spread fungal disease, Bert Bacarach asks, ‘What do you get when you kiss a guy? You get enough germs to catch pneumonia…’ Conceivably the nature of kissing and the unhygienic potential it carries is the ultimate symbol of trust between two lovers and raises the question of whether kissing is a prelude or an end in itself, ergo the long-suffering wife who doesn’t like kissing anymore “because I know what it’ll lead to…”
The twenty-first century has witnessed the proliferation of orthodontistry with its penchant for full mental braces. Modern mouths are habitually adorned with lip and tongue piercings as fetish wear or armour. Is this straying away from what a kiss means or a consideration of how modern mores can begin to create a new language around this oldest of greetings? There is an entire generation maturing whose first kiss was accompanied by the clashing of metal, casting a distinct shadow over their ideas around later couple intimacy.
Throughout history, from Judas to Marilyn Monroe, a kiss has communicated submission, domination, status, sexual desire, affection, friendship, betrayal, sealed a pact of peace or the giving of life. There is public kissing and private kissing. Kissing signposts good or bad manners. It is both a conscious and unconscious coded communication and can betray the instigator’s character; from the inhibited introvert to the narcissistic exhibitionist. The 16th-century theologian Erasmus described kissing as ‘a most attractive custom’. Rodin immortalized doomed, illicit lovers in his marble sculpture, and Chekhov wrote of the transformative power of a mistaken kiss. The history and meaning of the kiss evolves and shifts and yet remains steadfastly the same: a distinctly human, intimate and complex gesture, instantly recognizable despite its infinite variety of uses. I’ve a feeling Sam’s ‘You must remember this, a kiss is just a kiss’ may never sound quite the same again.
Headline image credit: Conquered with a kiss, by .craig. CC-BY-NC-2.0 via Flickr.
THE PERFECT HOLIDAY ROMANCE TO CURL UP BY THE FIRE
BY WINTER’S LIGHT
#1 New York Times Bestselling Author Stephanie Laurens
Returns to Scotland and the Cynster Clan!
Combine romantic Scotland, the boisterous Cynster family, and a wintry storm, and you have the perfect recipe for a wonderful Christmas love story.
When all the members of the Cynster family gather together at Casphairn Manor for merriment and holiday tidings, they bring with them their faithful minders and teachers; including Daniel Crosbie, and Claire Meadows. Having met before, Daniel is determined this visit will allow him to show hesitant Claire that just because she is a widow, does not mean that love doesn’t strike twice.
Assisted by the younger generation of Cynsters, all aspiring matchmakers, together with the help of a wintry storm and unforeseen circumstances, BY WINTER’S LIGHT Claire begins to see Daniel for the worthy partner he would be.
Stephanie Laurens returns to her beloved Cynster clan with BY WINTER’S LIGHT. With all six families together for the holidays, she ushers in a new generation of Cynsters.
Combining love, holiday spirit, and a little bit of magic, Laurens once again weaves a tale that shows that true love can withstand anything life—or mother nature—throws at you.
You state that BY WINTER’S LIGHT is an essential volume for the Cynster novels going forward. Why is that?
One of the critical features of a long-running series is readers’ feelings of returning to places and people they know – of seeing heros and heroines they have come to know as individuals go through the challenge of finding love and marrying the right man or woman for them. Knowing at least one of these characters beforehand – understanding what has made them as they are, what their strengths are, and even more importantly what weaknesses they hide – allows greater interest, empathy, and absorption for the reader.
In the case of the Cynster Next Generation, the children of the Bar Cynster couples, readers know who they are, but have seen very little of them. And as we all know, actions speak much louder than words about the caliber of people, of who they really are beneath the outer glamor. In BY WINTER’S LIGHT, readers see Lucilla, Marcus, Sebastian, Michael, Prudence, and Christopher in action, responding to external pressures and threats, and also to each other, and separately readers also learn more about Louisa and her emerging character.
Readers have more recently seen Lucilla and Marcus act in VISCOUNT BRECKENRIDGE TO THE RESCUE, but now they are a decade older, and we – both the readers and me as author – need to see more of the adults they are shaping up to be, which are insights BY WINTER’S LIGHT affords us. Unsurprisingly, the first pair of Cynster Next Generation romances are those of Lucilla and Marcus, and as they are twins, the stories are tightly linked.
Subsequently, working off the base of their characters revealed in this book, we’ll follow Sebastian, Michael, and Louisa through their romances, and later learn about Prudence and Christopher’s romances, too.
So there’s lots more Cynster novels in the pipeline?
Indeed! Lucilla’s book, THE TEMPTING OF THOMAS CARRICK, is already written, and will be released at the end of February, 2015. It will be followed by Marcus’s story, A MATCH FOR MARCUS CYNSTER, in late May, 2015. Further Cynster novels are scheduled for release in 2017.
There’s an obvious tradition that isn’t included – that of a Christmas tree. Why is that missing?
Christmas trees – the erecting and decorating of them – while echoing the decorating of a house with fir and holly, was a German custom. In the early 1800s, the only major house in England that sported a Christmas Tree was the Duchess of Rutland’s household at Belvoir Castle, because the Duchess was German. Only much later, after the marriage of Victoria to Albert, who introduced the custom of Christmas trees to the royal household, did the custom of Christmas trees become more widely adopted in England.
Victoria married Albert in 1840, so in 1837 in Scotland, the custom of a Christmas had not yet arrived.
If there was one thing you could say to readers when they pick up BY WINTER’S LIGHT, what would it be?
Put your feet up, kick back and relax, and enjoy the holidays Cynsters-style!
Excerpt: CHAPTER 1
December 23, 1837Casphairn Manor, the Vale of Casphairn, Scotland
Daniel Crosbie felt as if all his Christmases had come at once. Letting his gaze travel the Great Hall of Casphairn Manor, filled to overflowing with six Cynster families and various associated household members, he allowed himself a moment to savor both his unexpected good fortune and his consequent hope.
About him, the combined households were enjoying the hearty dinner provided to welcome them to the celebration planned for the next ten days—as Daniel understood it, a combination of Christmas, the more ancient Yuletide, and Hogmanay. Seated about the long refectory-like tables on benches rather than chairs, with eyes alight and smiles on their faces, the assembled throng was in ebullient mood. Conversation and laughter abounded; delight and expectation shone in most faces, illuminated by the warm glow of the candlelight cast from massive circular chandeliers depending from thick chains from the high-domed ceiling. The central room about which the manor was built, the Great Hall lived up to its name; the space within its thick walls of pale gray stone was large enough to accommodate the Cynster contingent, all told about sixty strong, as well as the families of the various retainers who worked in and around the manor, which functioned like a small village.
With no family of his own still alive, Daniel had spent his last ten Christmases with the Cynster family for whom he acted as tutor—the family of Mr. Alasdair Cynster and his wife, Phyllida—but this was the first time in that decade that the Cynsters had come north for Christmas. The six Cynster families present—the six families closest to the dukedom of St. Ives, those of Devil, Duke of St. Ives, his brother Richard, and his cousins Vane, Harry, Rupert, and Alasdair—invariably came together at Christmastime. They were often joined by other connected families not present on this occasion; the long journey to the Vale, in the western Lowlands of Scotland, to the home of Richard Cynster and his wife Catriona in a season that had turned icy and cold with snow on the ground much earlier than expected had discouraged all but the most determined.
Out of long-established habit, Daniel glanced at his charges—soon to be erstwhile charges—seated at the next table with their cousins and second cousins. Aidan, now sixteen years old, and Evan, fifteen, had passed out of Daniel’s immediate care when they’d gone up to Eton, yet Daniel still kept an eye on the pair when they were home—an action their parents appreciated and which the boys, at ease with him after all the years, bore with good grace. At that moment, both were talking animatedly with their male cousins in a fashion that instantly, at least in Daniel’s mind, raised the question of what the group was planning. He made a mental note to inquire later. Jason, the youngest son of the family and the last of Daniel’s true charges, was similarly occupied with the group of Cynster offspring nearer his age. Now eleven, later in the coming year, Jason, too, would start his formal schooling—a circumstance which had, for Daniel, raised the uncomfortable question of what he would do then.
Once Jason left for Eton and there were no more boys in Alasdair Cynster’s household in Colyton, in Devon, for Daniel to tutor, what would he do for a living?
The question had plagued him for several months, not least because if he was ever to have a chance at the sort of life he now knew he wanted, and, if at all possible, was determined to claim, he needed to have secure employment—a place, a position, with a steady salary or stipend.
He’d been wracking his brains, trying to think of his options, of what might be possible, when Mr. Cynster—Alasdair—had called him into the library and laid before him a proposal that, in a nutshell, was the answer to all his prayers.
On several occasions over the years, Daniel had assisted Alasdair with his interests in ancient and antique jewelry, with documenting finds and establishing provenances, and also with cataloguing and adding to the collection of rare books Alasdair had inherited from the previous owner of the manor. Alasdair, supported by Phyllida, had suggested that, once Jason had departed with his brothers for Eton, if Daniel was happy to remain in Colyton as a member of their household, they would be delighted to engage him as Alasdair’s personal secretary, an amanuensis to assist with Alasdair’s ever-expanding interests.
The suggested stipend was generous, the conditions all Daniel could have hoped for. Not only would the new position suit him, it would solve all his difficulties.
Most importantly, it cleared the way for him to offer for Claire Meadows’s hand.
He glanced along the board to his right. Clad in a soft woolen gown in a muted shade of blue, Claire—Mrs. Meadows—was sitting on the opposite side of the table, two places down. She was the governess in Rupert Cynster’s household; as Rupert and Alasdair were brothers, Claire and Daniel were often thrown together when the families gathered. It was customary in such circumstances that the attending tutors and governesses banded together, sharing responsibilities and each other’s company, as they were at present. The manor’s governess, Miss Melinda Spotswood, a comfortable matronly sort with a backbone of forged iron, was chatting to Claire. On Melinda’s other side, opposite Daniel, sat Oswald Raven, tutor at the manor; a few years older than Daniel, Raven projected a debonair façade, but he was hardworking and devoted to his charges. Raven was chatting to Mr. Samuel Morris, who was seated alongside Daniel and hailed from Vane Cynster’s household in Kent; the oldest of the group, Morris was slightly rotund and had an unfailingly genial air, yet he was a sound scholar and very capable of exerting a firm hand on his charges’ reins.
All five had met and shared duties on several occasions before; the rapport between them was comfortable and relaxed. Over the coming days, they would, between them, keep an eye on the combined flock of Cynster children—the younger ones, at least. The oldest group, the seventeen-year-olds led by eighteen-year-old Sebastian Cynster, Marquess of Earith and future head of the house, could be relied on to take care of themselves, along with the large group of sixteen- and fifteen-year-old males. But there were six boys thirteen years and under, and seven girls ranging from eight to fourteen years old, and over them the tutors and governesses would need to exert control sufficient to ensure they remained suitably occupied.
There was no telling what the engaging devils would get up to if left unsupervised.
Being governess or tutor to Cynster children was never dull or boring.
Daniel had managed to keep his gaze from Claire for all of ten minutes. Despite the color and vibrancy, the noise and distraction—despite the many handsome and outright stunningly beautiful faces around about—hers was the shining star in his firmament; regardless of where they were, regardless of competing sights and sounds, she effortlessly drew his gaze and transfixed his attention.
She’d done so from the moment he’d first seen her at one of the family’s Summer Celebrations in Cambridgeshire several years ago. They’d subsequently met on and off at various family functions, at weddings in London, at major family birthdays, and at seasonal celebrations like the current one.
With each exposure, his attraction to Claire, his focus on her, had only grown more definite, more acute, until the obvious conclusion had stared him in the face, impossible to resist, much less deny.
Utterly impossible to ignore.
“If the weather holds,” Raven said, commanding Daniel’s attention with his gaze, “and the older crew go riding as they’re planning, then we’ll need to invent some suitable pastimes to keep our charges amused.”
Seated with his back to the table at which the Cynster children were gathered, Raven had turned and asked what the animated talk had been about. Riding out to assess the position and state of the deer herds had been the answer.
Daniel nodded. “If at all possible, let’s get those left to our care out of doors.”
“Indeed,” Melinda said, turning from Claire to join the conversation. “We need to take advantage of any clear days. If it is fine enough tomorrow, I was saying to Claire that the fourteen-year-olds—the girls—might like to gather greenery to decorate the hall.” Melinda gestured to the stone walls hosting various fireplaces and archways, all presently devoid of any seasonal touches. “It’s customary to decorate them on the twenty-fourth, which is tomorrow.”
“I’d heard,” Morris said, “that there’s some tradition about the Yule log that’s followed hereabouts.” He looked to Raven for confirmation.
Raven, his hair as dark as his name would suggest, nodded. “Yes, that’s an inspired idea. Not only is it necessary to collect the right-sized logs, but the logs have to be carved. That should keep the boys amused for hours. I’ll speak to the staff about organizing whatever’s needed.”
Daniel nodded again, and his gaze drifted once more to Claire; she’d been following the conversation, her calm expression indicating her agreement with the suggestions. With her glossy mid-brown hair burnished by the candlelight, with her delicate features and milky-white skin, her lips of pale rose, lush and full, and her large hazel eyes set under finely arched brown brows, she was, to his eyes, the epitome of womanhood.
That she was a widow—had been widowed at a young age—was neither here nor there, yet the experience had, it seemed, imbued her with a certain gravitas, leaving her more reserved, more cautious, and with a more sober and serious demeanor than might be expected of a well-bred lady of twenty-seven summers.
Her station—gentry-born but fallen on hard times—was similar to, or perhaps a touch higher than, Daniel’s; he didn’t really know. Nor did he truly care. They were both as they were here and now, and what happened next … that was up to them.
He’d come to Scotland, to the Vale, determined to put his luck to the test—to seize the opportunity to speak with Claire and plead his case, to learn if she shared his hopes and if she could come to share his dreams.
A gust of laughter and conversation drew his gaze to the high table.
The six Cynster couples were seated about the table on the raised dais along one side of the room, a traditional positioning most likely dating from medieval times. In addition to those twelve—middle-aged, perhaps, yet still vibrantly handsome, articulate, active, and engaged—there were three of the older generation at one end of the board. Helena, Dowager Duchess of St. Ives, mother of Devil and Richard and elder matriarch of the clan, was seated at the end of the table closest to the hearth, and had chosen to summon Algaria, Catriona’s aging mentor, and McArdle, the ancient butler of the manor, now retired, to join her there. The three were much of an age and, judging by their glances and gestures, were busy sharing pithy observations on all others in the hall. Having met the dowager and been the object of her scrutiny on several occasions, Daniel didn’t like to think of how much she, let alone black-eyed Algaria, was seeing.
A comment in a deep voice, followed by laughter, drew Daniel’s gaze back to the twelve Cynsters of the generation that currently ruled. Their children might have been growing apace, might already have been showing signs of the forceful, powerful individuals they had the potential to become, yet the twelve seated about the high table still dominated their world.
Daniel had observed them—those six couples in particular—for the past ten years. All the males had been born to wealth, but what they’d made of it—the lives each had successfully wrought—hadn’t been based solely on inherited advantage. Each of the six possessed a certain strength—a nuanced blend of power, ability, and insight—that Daniel appreciated, admired, and aspired to. It had taken him some time to realize from where that particular strength derived—namely, from the ladies. From their marriages. From the connection—the link that was so deep, so strong, so anchoring—that each of the six males shared with his wife.
Once he’d seen and understood, Daniel had wanted the same for himself.
His gaze shifted again to Claire. Once he’d met her, he’d known whom he wanted to share just such a link with.
Now he stood on the cusp of reaching for it—of chancing his hand and hoping he could persuade her to form such a connection with him.
Whatever gaining her assent required, he would do.
Now Fate in the form of Alasdair Cynster had cleared his path, it was time to screw his courage to the sticking point and act.
Hope, anticipation, and trepidation churned in his gut.
But he was there and so was she, and he was determined to move forward. He knew how he felt about her, and he thought she felt similarly toward him. His first step, plainly, was to determine whether he was correct in believing that—and whether with encouragement, “like” could grow into something more.
About Stephanie Laurens:
#1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens began writing romances as an escape from the dry world of professional science. Her hobby quickly became a career when her first novel was accepted for publication, and with entirely becoming alacrity, she gave up writing about facts in favor of writing fiction.
Laurens’s novels are set in the time period of the British Regency, and her settings range from Scotland to India. Laurens has published fifty works of historical romance, including 29 New York Times bestsellers. All her works are continuously available in print and digital formats in English worldwide, and have been translated into many other languages. An international bestseller, among other accolades Laurens has received the Romance Writers of America prestigious RITA Award for Best Romance Novella 2008, for The Fall of Rogue Gerrard.
Her continuing novels featuring the Cynster family are widely regarded as classics of the genre. Other series include the Bastion Club Novels and the Black Cobra Quartet. For information on upcoming releases and updates on novels yet to come, visit Stephanie’s website.
In The Herald Beaven Tapureta argues that We need literary awards in Zimbabwe.
Of course, the whole writing/publishing infra- and all other structures could use some help in Zimbabwe, but more literary awards, of the sort he proposes, probably wouldn't hurt.
I almost didn't review Rex Wrecks It! by Ben Clanton. I reviewed Tyrannosaurus Wrecks by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, illustrated by Zachary Ohara in April of this year and the world play of "wrecks" and "rex" feels a little done. But . . . well . . . Clanton draws a mean monster, an adorable uni-rabbit and an endearing little robot. And then there are the building blocks. Clanton does amazing
“In protest of their unemployment and its endangerment of the country’s vulnerable cultural resources [and in] reaction to the government’s broken promise to hire 50 workers among the thousands of unemployed cultural heritage professionals, the Association of Culture and Art Workers is taking desperate measures.”
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission rule would “ensure that over-the-top Internet streaming services are given the same treatment as cable companies and satellite television companies. … Broadcasters would be barred from stopping online video providers from carrying their content and that online video providers would be empowered to negotiate fair licensing deals with content providers.”
This morning I have a chance for you to win some books by Maya Rodale! Check out the info about her latest release, What A Wallflower Wants, and then enter the giveaway below!
What a Wallflower Wants By: Maya Rodale
Bad Boys & Wallflowers # 3
Releasing September 30th, 2014
In the third novel in Maya Rodale’s charming Wallflower series, London’s Least Likely to Be Caught in a Compromising Position finds temptation in a devilishly handsome stranger . . .
Miss Prudence Merryweather Payton has a secret.
Everyone knows that she’s the only graduate from her finishing school to remain unwed on her fourth season-but no one knows why. With her romantic illusions shattered after being compromised against her will, Prudence accepts a proposal even though her betrothed is not exactly a knight in shining armor. When he cowardly pushes her out of their stagecoach to divert a highwayman, she vows never to trust another man again.
John Roark, Viscount Castleton, is nobody’s hero.
He’s a blue-eyed charmer with a mysterious past and ambitious plans for his future-that do not include a wife. When he finds himself stranded at a country inn with a captivating young woman, a delicate dance of seduction ensues. He knows he should keep his distance. And he definitely shouldn’t start falling in love with her. When Prudence’s dark past comes back to haunt her, John must protect her-even though he risks revealing his own secrets that could destroy his future.
Maya Rodale began reading romance novels in college at her mother’s insistence and it wasn’t long before she was writing her own. Maya is now the author of multiple Regency historical romances. She lives in New York City with her darling dog and a rogue of her own.
“[Cage] literally represented for me everything cool and removed and sophisticated at a time when I was trying to wend my way into the art world.” The choreographer talks about the genesis of his dance-theater work Story/Time.
At the International Festival of Authors in Toronto, Andrew Wylie “call[ed] Amazon ‘the equivalent of ISIS,’ 50 Shades of Grey ‘one of the most embarrassing moments in Western culture,’ and self-publishing ‘the aesthetic equivalent of telling everyone who sings in the shower they deserve to be in La Scala’.”
Does the MC of a query have to be the MC of a book? The direction my query is heading, I’m learning to build the book around the query, is maybe fifth on the list of characters. The query is going that way because his story is the easiest to clarify in 250 words.
The query MC is in the beginning, middle and end of the book so I could not say I was misleading anyone. The reason I say that is that the story morphs from a floating body into much more and the query MC bypasses some of the leads the cops have to investigate.
I'm not sure why you think you have to "clarify a story" in the query. You don't. You have to tell me what choice the main character faces and what's at stake for him/her with that choice. By default, that means the main character of the book, not the fifth guy on the cast of characters.
What you're proposing here is to query a Harry Potter novel by talking about Ron Weasley.
Let's take this to the next step: I'm reading the query and I am expecting a book about Ron Weasley. All of a sudden, here's this Harry Potter guy with all the page time. I'm confused. Confused is NOT what you want your reader to be, whether it's agent or book buyer or anyone in between.
The first rule of queries is to entice the agent to read on. The second is to tell what the book is about and by definition that's the main character.
I had a very similar situation in a recent query. It was a terrific query, one of the best I've ever seen, but the pages opened with a character who was clearly not the protagonist or the antagonist.
Here's my reply to the query:
This is probably one of the best query letters I've ever gotten.
But the pages start with a person I thought was a secondary character, and you've really buried the hook deep in that fifth paragraph. And it's a pretty subtle hook too.
My taste runs to starting the book where the story begins. From the query it sounds like the story starts when (X happens.)
Of course, other agents may have different opinions and finding out what those are before revising is a smart strategy.
IF you do think I'm right, I'll be glad to hear from you again.
And that's a GREAT query. If you don't get a lot of positive replies, I'll eat my hat.
Coming in December 2014 from Blend Fabrics will be Tea Garden by designer and ceramic maker Molly Hatch. Her debut collection features hand painted porcelain plates, teacups, ornate spoons and teapots in traditional blue and white or with touches of red, green and ivory. As spotted online here.
Stress seems to be everywhere we turn. Much of the daily news is stressful, whether it pertains to the recent Ebola outbreak in western Africa (and its subsequent entry into the United States), beheadings by the radical Islamic group called ISIS, or the economic doldrums that continue to plague much of the developed world. Moreover, we all experience frequent stress in our daily lives. Stress can come from your job, your family, a romantic relationship, personal attacks by way of social media, or, if you’re a student, your school performance. Counselors, psychotherapists, even self-help books and other materials may help us cope with stress, but these sources don’t usually give us very much information about what is actually happening to our brain and our body when we’re stressed.
If we think about it for a moment, it becomes clear that stress is not a recent phenomenon brought about by the features of contemporary western societies. Our hominid ancestors who evolved on the African savanna were surely stressed in the course of meeting their basic biological needs of finding food and water, acquiring shelter, and keeping safe from predators. Moreover, the principal brain and endocrine (i.e. hormonal) systems that underlie the cognitive, behavioral, and physiological responses to stress are found throughout the animal kingdom, indicating that these systems arose much earlier in evolutionary history than the appearance of the first hominids. So just what are these systems and how do they work?
A lot of research has focused on the hormonal systems that are turned on during stress. These responses are easier to access than brain responses, since researchers usually need only to obtain samples of the person’s blood, saliva, or urine to determine whether her endocrine system is showing a normal stress response or perhaps is functioning abnormally due to the effects of previous stress exposure. There are two parts to the endocrine stress response, both involving the adrenal glands. The inner part of the adrenal gland, called the adrenal medulla, rapidly secretes the hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine (also called adrenalin and noradrenalin) in response to a stressor. These hormones help prepare the person for rapid physical action by elevating heart rate and blood pressure, mobilizing sugar from the liver for instant energy, and increasing blood flow to the skeletal muscles. The outer part of the adrenal gland, called the adrenal cortex, is also activated by stressors but a bit more slowly. This part of the gland secretes glucocorticoids such as cortisol, which not only works in conjunction with epinephrine and norepinephrine but also affects inflammation, immune function, and brain activity.
For many years, researchers focused on how stress, especially chronic stress, can damage the adult brain and body. More recently, however, it has become clear that stress may be particularly destructive during development. We now know, for example, that repeated childhood maltreatment and abuse increase the child’s vulnerability to a later onset of clinical depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. But stress can exert deleterious effects even earlier in development, namely during the prenatal period. Although the fetal adrenal glands begin to function before birth, it seems likely that stress is transmitted to the fetus mainly through maternal hormones such as cortisol. The placenta breaks down much of the mother’s cortisol before it reaches the fetus, but some of the hormone manages to get through. One example that shows how prenatal stress can adversely affect offspring development stems from a terrible ice storm that hit Québec Province in Canada in January of 1998. Three million people lost electrical power for up to 40 days, resulting in significant privation. David Laplante and colleagues at Douglas Hospital of McGill University later studied 89 five-and-a-half-year-old children whose mothers had been pregnant with them during the power outage. Children whose mothers endured the greatest hardship as a result of the storm scored noticeably lower in verbal IQ scores and in a vocabulary test than children whose mother experienced low or moderate hardship.
While natural disasters like the Québec ice storm afford researchers the opportunity to investigate some of the deleterious effects of prenatal stress exposure, there are many limitations of such studies because the stress cannot be controlled experimentally and there are additional confounding variables such as differing postnatal experiences among the participants. To overcome some of these limitations and additionally permit a more detailed examination of behavioral, endocrine, and brain function than normally available with human participants, models of stress (including prenatal stress) have been developed for studying nonhuman primates such as rhesus monkeys. Offspring of rhesus monkeys exposed during mid-to-late pregnancy either to repeated mild stress or to pharmacological stimulation of cortisol release show behavioral and brain abnormalities that are still present at least several years later.
The implication of both the human and primate research is clear. We must pay closer attention to the well-being of pregnant women in order to minimize whatever life stresses can be controlled. By so doing, we can help newborn children begin life with better prospects for their future mental and physical health.
During his 15-year tenure, Michael E. Shapiro led a $160 million, three-building expansion, raised $20 million for acquisitions, established an art conservation center, launched partnerships with major European museums, and founded an award for African-American art and artists.