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1. A history of the poetry of history

History and poetry hardly seem obvious bed-fellows – a historian is tasked with discovering the truth about the past, whereas, as Aristotle said, ‘a poet’s job is to describe not what has happened, but the kind of thing that might’. But for the Romans, the connections between them were deep: historia . . . proxima poetis (‘history is closest to the poets’), as Quintilian remarked in the first century AD. What did he mean by that?

The post A history of the poetry of history appeared first on OUPblog.

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2. Pink is for Blobfish by Jess Keating

When I preordered Jess Keating's new book, Pink is for Blobfish, I accidentally ordered 2 copies. Lucky thing because the book became immediately popular in the classroom!  Take a look at the book trailer:



I shared the book with my 3rd graders this week.  We have been learning about informational writing and this one invited great conversation about the way Jess Keating chose the animals for the book, titled the book and organized the information. The book is packed with information about pink animals and the photos and layout make the book perfect for middle grade readers. From the cover, it looks like this might be part of a new series--if so, I am extra excited!  This is a fabulous informational book and will hook so many young readers.  You'll definitely want this book for your classroom or library. Not only is it a great book for kids' independent reading, there is so much to share with kids about good informational writing.

I love that Jess Keating is a zoologist turned author.  If you know her fiction series (My Life is a Zoo) you know what a fun writer she is.  Her middle grade series is engaging and accessible for middle grade and early middle school readers.  In both her fiction and nonfiction books, Jess Keating packs in lots of things to think about while giving us a humor break and some new ways to think about things throughout.

Jess Keating recently introduced a Youtube channel called "Animals for Smart People".  It is a great series of informational videos. I am going to share the channel with my students this week and we are going to study this particular video as we think about the choices Jess Keating made about the visuals she included.  These are great sources of information for everyone. And they are perfect mentor texts for our middle grade kids as they learn to write informational text and create informational movies.



On a sidenote, Jess Keating and I are both original members of the #nerdrun team, #TeamSaunter.  I am thinking that Pink is for Blobfish might inspire some great costumes for the 2016 #nerdrun.....

The 2014 #TeamSaunter at #nerdrun! (Jess Keating dressed as Beetle:-)

You can (and should) follow Jess Keating on Twitter (@Jess_Keating) and make sure to visit her website. It is packed with lots of great stuff!

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3. Philosopher of the month: Plato

The OUP Philosophy team have selected Plato (c. 429–c.347 BC) as their February Philosopher of the Month. The best known and most widely studied of all the ancient Greek philosophers, Plato laid the groundwork for Western philosophy and Christian theology. Plato was most likely born in Athens, to Ariston and Perictione, a noble, politically active family.

The post Philosopher of the month: Plato appeared first on OUPblog.

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4. Mentoring: How You Can Give Back to the Profession

ALSC Mentoring Program

Applications are open for the spring 2016 mentoring cohort. Apply by Feb. 26, 2016. Image courtesy of ALSC.

January was National Mentoring Month, but there’s still time to make a difference. The ALSC Mentoring Program is in it’s third year of existence and it’s worth re-visiting what the program is all about.

In 2012, the ALSC Emerging Leaders team put together recommendations for a new mentoring program. The original intention was to pair early career professionals with experienced ALSC members. Since Fall 2013, ALSC has been matching mentors and mentees in an effort to make new connections in the profession and increase awareness of interest and familiarity with ALSC committee service and participation.

Mentors and mentees set their own goals and meet on their own time. Matches do a lot of different activities, including mock interviews, writing blog posts, and performing research.

What Does It Take To Be a Mentor?

One difficulty for the program has been in attracting as many mentors as mentees.  The misconception is that it is easy to be a mentee, but hard to be a mentor. It couldn’t be further from the truth.

To combat this, the ALSC Membership Committee and Managing Children’s Services Committees have come up with three suggestions for why you should be a mentor:

  1. Being a mentor is giving back to the profession
  2. Mentoring requires only a few hours of time per month
  3. It can be as easy as having a 30-min conversation every two weeks

ALSC has also sought to increase communication about what happens in the program. Every year, ALSC hosts two mentoring forums – one in the fall, one in the spring – to bring matches together to talk about goals and obstacles. If you’re curious check out the recorded webcasts of these events to learn more.

Thank You Mentors and Mentees!

Another one of the new practices of the program is to recognize mentors and mentees for their participation. The following mentors and mentees were matched in Spring 2015. We thank them and wish them well in their future endeavors:

Spring 2015 Mentors

  • Jordan Boaz
  • Anne Clark
  • Mary Cook
  • Cheri Crow
  • Carol Edwards
  • Lucia Gonzalez
  • Christie Hamm
  • Carol Hopkins
  • Abby Johnson
  • Kendra Jones
  • Julie Jurgens
  • Rachel Keeler
  • Laura Keonig
  • Marybeth Kozikowski
  • Mollie Lancaster
  • Meghan Malone
  • Angie Manfredi
  • Allison Murphy
  • Brooke Newberry
  • Carol Phillips
  • Marian Rafl
  • Julie Ranelli
  • Angela Reynolds
  • Kristina Reynolds
  • Katie Salo
  • Brooke Sheets
  • Robin Sofge
  • Kelly Von Zee
  • Marc Waldron

Spring 2015 Mentees

  • Emily Aaronson
  • Megan Ashley
  • Carly Bastiansen
  • Emily Bayci
  • Jeannine Birkenfeld
  • Amy Cantley
  • Katie Carter
  • Kathleen Dean
  • Jessica Espejel
  • Joie Formando
  • Haley Frailey
  • Rebecca Greer
  • Pamela Groseclose
  • Emily Heath
  • Ajarie Holman
  • Kimberly Iacucci
  • Amanda Jachec
  • Taylor Johnson
  • Kristen Jones
  • Naara Kean
  • Kari Kunst
  • Samantha Magee
  • Kate Mahoney
  • Kyra Nay
  • Alison O’Brien
  • Renee Perron
  • Jessica Ralli
  • Amy Steinbauer
  • Mary Watring

How You Can Participate

Want to be a mentor or mentee? ALSC is now accepting applications for the Spring 2016 cohort. The deadline to apply is Friday, February 26, 2016.

The post Mentoring: How You Can Give Back to the Profession appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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5. Pixar's Movie Tributes

This is a fun video putting Pixar movies side-by-side with scenes from famous movies they were mimicking or were inspired by. Click the image to watch on YouTube.

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6. One Writer’s Process: Gigi Amateau

Surrounded by deer, foxes, raccoons, and a host of other forest creatures who inhabit the woods near her house, Gigi Amateau lives on a tributary of the James River called Rattlesnake Creek and finds inspiration for many of her stories by looking out the window or taking a walk down to the river. “I cannot imagine living or writing without access to the river,” says Amateau, the author of

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7. ‘Inside Out’ Dominates Annie Awards With 10 Wins – Complete Winners List

At one point during tonight's Annie Awards ceremony, after Pixar had won its umpteenth award, SpongeBob voice actor Tom Kenny asked the audience, "When are we going to start calling these awards The Pixies?"

The post ‘Inside Out’ Dominates Annie Awards With 10 Wins – Complete Winners List appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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8. The I-Wants and the Gimmies, by Taylor Overbey

Crimson Dragon is proud to present Taylor Overbey’s debut book, The I-Wants and the Gimmies. Released in February 2016, this book shows that everyone should think about others regardless of differences.

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9. How can we hold the UN accountable for sexual violence?

Cometh the new year, cometh the fresh round of allegations that United Nations peacekeepers raped or abused some of the most vulnerable people in the world. 2016 has just begun and already reports are surfacing of UN peacekeepers paying to have sex with girls as young as 13 at a displaced persons camp in the Central African Republic.

The post How can we hold the UN accountable for sexual violence? appeared first on OUPblog.

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10. Review: DEADPOOL, a movie only a fan could love

deadpool-gallery-06-gallery-imageWe review The Merc with a Mouth's big screen adventure

2 Comments on Review: DEADPOOL, a movie only a fan could love, last added: 2/7/2016
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11. Valentine Week

Valentine Week एक समय था जब Valentine Day का ही पता नही होता था और अब देखिए  ये रोज डे या चाकलेट डे भी कुछ होता है और अब पता चला … 1.Rose Day – February 7 2. Propose Day – February 8 3. Chocolate Day – February 9 4. Teddy Day – February 10 5. […]

The post Valentine Week appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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12. Lessons from Characters Who Are Writers: Discovering the Writer’s Life

Kids often feel as though that they are the only ones who have ever been stuck for ideas, or been laughed at, or had a story rejected (by a teacher, or friend). No matter where you live, no matter what you write, there is no need to discover every writing problem all on your own. That's where characters in books come in. Why not learn from them?

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13. Themed art - Princess


Some more work from a version of Cinderella I drew for Japanese publisher Hikari no Kuni many years ago. At the time I'd been researching the French Revolution a great deal and had large stock pile of art references of the late 18th Century. The setting is very much the dying days of the Ancien Régime, so sadly Cinders and Prince Charming may not have had long to enjoy their happiness!

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14. Bang, bang — democracy’s dead: Obama and the politics of gun control

It would seem that President Obama has a new prey in his sites. It is, however, a target that he has hunted for some time but never really managed to wound, let alone kill. The focus of Obama’s attention is gun violence and the aim is really to make American communities safer places to live.

The post Bang, bang — democracy’s dead: Obama and the politics of gun control appeared first on OUPblog.

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15. Emma Watson Attend Premiere of “Colonia”

Emma Watson attended the red carpet European premiere of her new film, Colonia. Emma wore a simple, but chic white dress and off-white coat.

Reuters was able to ask Emma a quick question while she attended the premiere. This video can be seen below:

The Daily Mail snapped many photos of Emma and her costars, a few which can be seen below.

 

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Colonia will make its Switzerland and German opening date on February 18, opening in the USA in April. More premiere dates can be seen here at IMDB.

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16. TEDx TALK - getting closer!

Yesterday I attended a TEDx Master Class led once again by the amazing speech coach, Mel Sherwood. A team of volunteers gathered to give feedback to five of the speakers (me included). It was the first time to share my speech with an audience and their feedback was fantastic - a roomful of brilliant minds! (Photo shared with permission by Nel Raymond.)

But first, Mel walked us through a bunch of exercises getting our minds, bodies, and mouths ready to be fully engaged. She's brilliant with her insights and I once again learned so much from her.
     There have been several stages with this preparation for a TEDx Talk. A few weeks ago, I saw the venue for the first time - Edinburgh's Central Hall. It is truly lovely and will hold 700 audience members. 500 tickets have already been sold, and you can buy yours HERE.
     They took my official photo while I was there, although I might need a redo as I recently got new glasses:
(Click here to see the photo with its write-up on the TEDx FB page.)
     What's been especially nice is how supportive my Uni classmates have been. They've been cheering me on, helping with design tips and Michal even gave my talk a listen in preparation for the master class. I am so grateful for all of them!
     So, how'd I do for my practice run? Well, I still need more practice, but overall, I felt good about my talk, "Is Your Stuff Stopping You?" It will be recorded, so if you can't make the journey to Edinburgh, it will be online soon after the date - where it can be viewed by millions of people if it goes viral. No pressure. But really, yeah, I hope it goes viral!!!

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17. Diane Duane, author of GAMES WIZARDS PLAY, on never being afraid that you won’t be original enough

GAMES WIZARDS PLAY is the latest novel in the Young Wizards series, and we're thrilled to have Diane Duane with us to chat about writing.

Diane, what's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

I do love to work away from home when I can, and some of my favorite books have been written that way. I’ve written a Spider-Man novel in a Bavarian country beer hall and an X-Men book in a medieval townhouse in Bruges, and I’ve outlined a Star Trek novel in a flat buried inside the walls of a Scottish castle. My all-time record daily word count (13,000 words and a bit) happened when I was writing in a chocolatier/cafe in the Swiss capital city of Bern, while I was working on the fantasy novel A Wind from the South. …But I also get good results at home, which is probably just as well, as that way I get to see my husband a lot more. (Of course he has his own writing to do too, so when we're not working at home, sometimes we wind up in the same city but different cafes…)

Generally speaking I don’t listen to music when I’m writing, these days, because I find it interferes with me clearly hearing character voices when creating dialogue. I do listen to it, though, when writing action scenes or when I need to get myself into the mood to do a particular kind of emotionally loaded scene.

In terms of ritual, the only one I’ve got is that I do my best to write something every day, whether it’s contracted work or one of the too-many-other-projects presently choking my to-do list. A good day’s writing for me varies widely in terms of word count: it might be as few as a thousand words or as many as ten, but about four thousand would be average — a couple thousand in the morning, a couple thousand in the afternoon/evening. For screen work, since for me that's much harder work than prose, ten pages of screenplay would be a good day. Either way, I alternate between composing at the computer via keyboard, or dictating using Dragon Naturally Speaking (sometimes I do this while out walking).

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

Never be afraid that you won’t be original enough. At one level, it’s simply impossible for you not to be original. You occupy a unique position in spacetime. By definition, no one else can be right where you are, right when you are, with your unique worldview, your outlook, your developmental history, your “tone of mind”, your reading and writing history. But more to the point, our craft is such that you could give two writers exactly the same idea for a novel and turn them loose to write, and their works would still be significantly different and unique. (In fact I’m betting that you could give two writers the same outline for a novel and each work would still be radically different.) …If you’ve honestly done your homework—if you’re clear about what you want to be writing and what effect you mean to produce—your voice, and your writing’s uniqueness, will inevitably show through. Just concentrate on telling your story.

What are you working on now?

The sequel to GWP (still untitled), the fourth and final book in my first fantasy series (The Door Into Starlight), a third book that unfortunately I can’t talk about, and a miniseries screenplay (ditto).

ABOUT THE BOOK

Games Wizards Playby Diane Duane
Hardcover
HMH Books for Young Readers
Released 2/2/2016

Every eleven years, Earth's senior wizards hold the Invitational: an intensive three-week event where the planet's newest, sharpest young wizards show off their best and hottest spells. Wizardly partners Kit Rodriguez and Nita Callahan, and Nita's sister, former wizard-prodigy Dairine Callahan, are drafted in to mentor two brilliant and difficult cases: for Nita and Kit, there’s Penn Shao-Feng, a would-be sun technician with a dangerous new take on managing solar weather; and for Dairine, there's shy young Mehrnaz Farrahi, an Iranian wizard-girl trying to specialize in defusing earthquakes while struggling with a toxic extended wizardly family that demands she perform to their expectations. 

Together they're plunged into a whirlwind of cutthroat competition and ruthless judging. Penn's egotistical attitude toward his mentors complicates matters as the pair tries to negotiate their burgeoning romance. Meanwhile, Dairine struggles to stabilize her hero-worshipping, insecure protégée against the interference of powerful relatives using her to further their own tangled agendas. When both candidates make it through to the finals stage on the dark side of the Moon, they and their mentors are flung into a final conflict that could change the solar system for the better . . . or damage Earth beyond even wizardly repair.

Purchase Games Wizards Play at Amazon
Purchase Games Wizards Play at IndieBound
View Games Wizards Play on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Diane Duane has been a writer of science fiction, fantasy, TV and film for more than thirty years.
Besides the 1980's creation of the Young Wizards fantasy series for which she's best known, the "Middle Kingdoms" epic fantasy series, and numerous stand-alone fantasy or science fiction novels, her career has included extensive work in the Star Trek TM universe, and many scripts for live-action and animated TV series on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as work in comics and computer games. She has spent a fair amount of time on the New York Times Bestseller List, and has picked up various awards and award nominations here and there.

She lives in County Wicklow, in Ireland, with her husband of twenty years, the screenwriter and novelist Peter Morwood.

Her favorite color is blue, her favorite food is a weird kind of Swiss scrambled-potato dish called maluns, she was born in a Year of the Dragon, and her sign is "Runway 24 Left, Hold For Clearance."
---
Have you had a chance to read GAMES WIZARDS PLAY yet? How fun does it sound to write in all these exotic places? Do you make sure to tell your story in your voice? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy reading,

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

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18. PEN America Updates Website for Gala Honoring Rowling

As Leaky reported earlier this year, PEN America released a press statement, saying Rowling was to be honored with the Allen Foundation Literary Service Award at the PEN America Gala this May. The PEN America website has been updated to give details on the event.

JKRowling_2016Gala

There will be two honorees for the Gala–J.K. Rowling and Michael Pietsch. The website describes the two honorees, the reason for the reception of their awards, and the event, saying:

 

On Monday, May 16, New York’s literati will gather at the PEN America Literary Gala at the American Museum of Natural History to honor fierce opponents of censorship around the globe. As violence from Mexico to Russia and China to France this year has forced many to consider compromising democratic values in a shortsighted bargain for security, more and more writers—including honorees J.K. Rowling and Michael Pietsch—have joined PEN in defending freedom of expression and the free flow of ideas.

Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling will receive the 2016 PEN/Allen Foundation Literary Service Award for the extraordinary inspiration her books have provided to generations of readers and writers worldwide. Since her rise from single mother to literary superstar, J.K. Rowling has used her talents and stature as a writer to fight inequality on both a local and global level. Herself the frequent object of censorship in schools and libraries across the globe, as well as online targeting, Rowling has emerged as a vocal proponent of free expression and access to literature and ideas for children, as well as incarcerated people, the learning-disabled, and women and girls worldwide.

 

The Gala will take place Monday May 16, 6:30 PM, at American Museum of Natural History in New York.

If there are any Harry Potter fans out there willing to pay between $12,000-$50,000 for a table, you can make your reservations here. Buying a $25,000 or $50,000 table gets you a private cocktail reception with J.K. Rowling. (Though, adding a $50,000 purchase to ones shopping cart is daunting–even if you just do it for kicks and back out before making payment.)

Screen Shot 2016-02-06 at 11.54.25 PM

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19. Take What Your Stories Give You


Big Believer in Boom Factor

I've written about the martial art of writing. I've done martial arts and I noticed that writing is like it in this way: you have to do a lot of things at once without thinking when you write. You can do this because you've studied each skill separately and because you've practiced a lot. I still think this is true. But I was thinking as I walked Merlin the dog


(which is where I do some of my best thinking, such as it is, which is why one of my best pieces of advice for becoming a writer is that you get a dog and that you walk your dog) that even though I now pre-write more than I used to and plan --as I'm working along but still--a lot more than I used to, I STILL DISCOVER new connections and twists and turns in plot and character and new setting ideas as I go along. I think this is because it's the mix, the way the various elements of writing interact  (language, characters, story, setting, conflict) and the way this creates new  insights and new--the technical term is BOOMS--BOOMS in the manuscript. You have to allow this to happen, throw out all your plans and plotting and whatever when it does. Because these booms--or sometimes just tiny and subtle shifts--help you to take your story to places you couldn't have imagined until you do-

To me, this is why formulas do not solve all writing problems as their proponents sometimes claim. It's a big reason why fiction writing can't be reduced to Step 1, Step 2...there's this constant interaction and it creates NEW. The writer has to react to NEW. If she/he does it well, finds the right moves, the manuscript improves. If not--

Learning skills, practicing skills will help you make those right moves but you have to be open to taking what your story gives you, too.

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20. खबरिया चैनल और खबरों का गिरता स्तर

खबरिया चैनल और खबरों का गिरता स्तर बेहद दुखद और आश्चर्यजनक है कि खबरें लच्छेदार और मसालेदार दिखाने के चक्कर में न्यूज चैनल कैसी कैसी खबरों को प्रमुखता देते हैं अरविंद केजरीवाल को जूते खरीदने के लिए 364 रुपए का डिमांड ड्राफ्ट भेजने की खबर को जिस प्रमुखता से चलाया गया बेहद हैरानी हुई कि […]

The post खबरिया चैनल और खबरों का गिरता स्तर appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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21. More Comic Shops Need To Close Down -And I Am NOT Joking

Remember the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption?  I think 2010 was my last year going into a comic shop, too. 

Anyway, comic shops began to panic because their Marvels and DCs (their Image and that other company) comics were not getting to the UK.  But did the shops try to push back issues or graphic novels that they had so many of because they ordered out of stupidity and greed? 

No.

They panicked.  As far as they were concerned they HAD to have new comics on the shelves because what else could they put on their comic shelves (let's not be too hard on them because a lot of these people are just stupid through greed)?

In the UK Diamond has a monopoly on comic distribution. If you were around in the 1980s and knew a lot of the shop holders back then you will know how they got that monopoly thanks to Titan Distributors.  From 4-5 distributors we went to one.  A monopoly.  But business monopolies in the UK are far from legal.  Here, read: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom_competition_law

But do shop owners complain when, if they did, a new distributor might set up competition and offer them lower prices?  No, because they are scared of Diamond and they don't know much about business other than that they can inflate comic prices to get their money back.

But in 2010 Diamond had a panic. No comics to distribute and there was talk that another distributor (I know who) had access to the latest US comics and was starting to offer them to shops. The shops all acted like scarede kids because "What if Diamond finds out?" -that was said to my face three times by shop owners.

So, Diamond thought "Independent comics -they saved us all before!" Which is what the "Black and White Explosion" of the 1980s did along with US companies recruiting UK creators. "Now's your chance to get on comic shop shelves!" they declared -and comic shops had to bite the bullet.

I asked Diamond how many copies per month of titles they would need?  What the special deal was" and so on.

"We only want the books until we can get our usual stock in" I was told.  As were several other Indie publishers. The deal?  Over 75% of the book cover price -and the publisher paid to get the books to Diamond so....publishers had to give their books for free...now you know why those shelves remained empty until the US imports started arriving.

But Indie publishers who did supply comic shops turned up to find their books no longer on the shelf. Most were dumped into boxes waiting for them to collect and some were turn, badly creased or even had coffee stains (?!) on them.  "We did say we took no responsibility for damages" was a phrase used a lot. Three years later one publisher who was owed £20 (just £20 -$40) gave up trying to get his money.

Back in the 1980s with Preview Comic I lost £50 from the sales of issues 1-5 because Forbidden Planet in London "can't read the signature on the invoice?" and other insulting con-man remarks.  £50 back then was a lot of money and would have meant continued publication.

But comic shop owners are "okay" and "their mates" -what I used to think. Remember I supported one shop and was banned (I still have all the emails) because I purchased an Independent comic they told me for months they could not get so I told the owner I'd track it down online. Two weeks later the owner (I saw him) hid at the top of the shop stairs as one of his staff verbally abused me because I bought the comic they now had (after months of saying it was impossible to get so go online). The temptation was to floor the little fecker being rude but I just said loudly "You hide up there while one of your staff rudely insults someone who has promoted and supported your business since day one?" then I walked out (the boss was very brave later in his email).

Like the guy in the last video posted says, most of the people are shit.  Morons.  Rather than build a strong comic shop industry embracing all genres and publishers like they used to up to the late 1980s, they prefer decline with Marvel, DC, Image or that other company.

Decent, honest shop owners are very rare today and how long have they been trading -most are almost dealing with their comic shops as an extension of their hobby not a real business.

Personally, I think we need less and less comic shops.  More need to go out of business, and they will be, because if they are SCARED of their distributor who cannot survive without them, and will not diversify, they deserve to go. "Where are people going to get their comics then?" If you are really asking that question then YOU need to go, too!

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22. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #469: Featuring Chloe Bonfield

“Jack reached a hill and climbed to the top. No perfect trees were there.He climbed down the other side. Nothing.The perfect tree was really very hard to find.”(Click to enlarge spread)   I’ve got a review here over at BookPage of Chloe Bonfield’s The Perfect Tree (Running Press, January 2016). This is the debut book […]

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23. UK library lending numbers

       The Public Lending Right is the neat system in the UK whereby authors are remunerated (up to a point) each time their books are checked out of a library, and they've now released their most recent statistics as to UK library borrowing.
       In The Guardian PLR chair Tom Holland has a useful overview of Library lending figures: which books were most popular in 2014/15 ? -- including the list of the 100 most borrowed titles.
       Despite being (completely) fiction-dominated, none of the top 100 are under review at the complete review; indeed, few other books by any of the authors to crack the top 100 are.

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24. Will McIntosh, author of BURNING MIDNIGHT, on not boring readers during quiet scenes

We're honored to have Hugo-Award-winning Will McIntosh here to talk about his first YA novel BURNING MIDNIGHT.

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

For me, the hardest scenes to write tend to be the quiet ones, the ones where characters are talking, planning, getting to know each other. They’re essential to the story, but you always risk boring readers. One of the hard scenes to write in Burning Midnight involved an argument between the two main characters, Sully and Hunter. Sully accuses Hunter of being closed off and secretive, and Hunter, furious, reveals the secret that drives her to keep to herself. I had to rewrite it a few times to bring out each character’s emotions in what I hope is a realistic and emotionally powerful manner.

The scene I love, the one I tend to read when I’m doing a public reading, is where Sully and Hunter find a very, very rare sphere in the middle of winter in a very unlikely place. It made me very happy to give my poverty-stricken characters that moment.

What was your inspiration for writing BURNING MIDNIGHT?

When I was twelve, my sister, a cousin, and I stumbled on a 60 year-old dump in the woods. We spent a summer hunting for antique bottles, and built a collection of something like 200 that we displayed on the porch. Those great memories led me to want to create a story about hunting and discovering incredibly valuable things in the wild. 

How long did you work on BURNING MIDNIGHT?

Five months. I write Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with a one hour break for lunch and exercise, so I write relatively fast. I resigned a tenured university position when my family moved to Williamsburg, and now writing is my profession, so I take it very seriously. Fortunately, there are few things I love more than writing. I never get tired of it, so having all those hours each day to write makes me very happy.

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


This is my first Young Adult book, but I’ve published four adult SF books, and this was by far the easiest road to publication one of my books has experienced! I delivered it to my agent, he emailed to say he was sending it out to editors, and we should hear back in four to eight weeks. Two days later, he called to say the editor at Delacorte Press had made a two-book preempt offer. I was thrilled, and we made a deal that same day!

What are you working on now?

My next Young Adult novel. It’s about the lies and deception that are such a big part of modern society. I want to title it The Future Will Be Bull**** Free, but I’m guessing that would stifle sales a bit. For now, that’s all I can say.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Burning Midnightby Will McIntosh
Hardcover 
Delacorte Press 
Released 2/2/2016 

Sully is a sphere dealer at a flea market. It doesn’t pay much—Alex Holliday’s stores have muscled out most of the independent sellers—but it helps him and his mom make the rent. No one knows where the brilliant-colored spheres came from. One day they were just there, hidden all over the earth like huge gemstones. Burn a pair and they make you a little better: an inch taller, skilled at math, better-looking. The rarer the sphere, the greater the improvement—and the more expensive the sphere. 

When Sully meets Hunter, a girl with a natural talent for finding spheres, the two start searching together. One day they find a Gold—a color no one has ever seen. And when Alex Holliday learns what they have, he will go to any lengths, will use all of his wealth and power, to take it from them. 

There’s no question the Gold is priceless, but what does it actually do? None of them is aware of it yet, but the fate of the world rests on this little golden orb. Because all the world fights over the spheres, but no one knows where they come from, what their powers are, or why they’re here. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will McIntosh’s debut novel, Soft Apocalypse, was a finalist for both a Locus award and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award. He is a frequent contributor to Asimov’s, where his story “Bridesicle” won the 2010 Reader’s Award, as well as the 2010 Hugo Award for Best Short Story. His third novel, Love Minus Eighty (based on “Bridesicle”) was published by Orbit books in June, 2013, and was named best Science Fiction novel of the year by the American Library Association. His upcoming novel, Defenders has been optioned by Warner Brothers for a feature film. Will recently moved to Williamsburg, Virginia with his wife Alison and twins Hannah and Miles. He left his position as a psychology professor in Southeast Georgia to write full time, and still teaches as an adjunct, at the College of William and Mary. Will is represented by Seth Fishman at The Gernert Company. Follow him on Twitter @WillMcIntoshSF
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Have you had a chance to read BURNING MIDNIGHT yet? How do you keep the quiet scenes interesting? Do you incorporate childhood memories into your stories? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy reading,

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

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25. Video Sunday: I Have Felt It

Are you aware of the Cozy Classics board book series? How about the felted board book versions of the original Star Wars movies? The other night I had dinner with Cozy Classics creator Holman Wang and we talked about his process. Turns out, the felted characters are needle felted entirely. A lawyer by trade, Holman learned how to felt through YouTube videos. Now what goes around comes around as you watch this oddly soothing time lapse YouTube video of his process. It’s an old video (as the dates at the end attest) but that doesn’t make it any less neat.

And as for the aforementioned Star Wars books, here’s Holman himself talking about his various techniques:

Also at that dinner, someone in attendance mentioned that Larry Wilmore on The Nightly Show had covered A Birthday Cake for George Washington. Come again? Yes, you truly know that a book has left our little orbit when it ends up a discussion topic on a Comedy Central evening show. I wouldn’t exactly call this one workplace appropriate, but I would call it funny. Nice too that while he talks about the book he does not speculate about the creators.

Book trailer time. N.D. Wilson has always created the best book trailers. Remember the one he did for Ashtown Burials? Or Boys of Blur?  Well, the latest premiered on Entertainment Weekly very recently:

OutlawsofTime

Thanks to Aaron Zenz for the link.

So I ask James Kennedy the other day to name his favorite 90-Second Newbery Film Festival co-hosts.  And he rattles off a bunch of names but one that he was particularly impressed by?  Nikki Loftin, author of Nightingale’s Nest.  Don’t believe me?  Then check out this killer opening Nikki and James did together.  That woman has pipes!

Of course, I already had insider knowledge to Nikki’s singing prowess.  Two years ago she created a video for Jules Danielson and myself and . . . well, if you just can’t get through your day without seeing a children’s author belting out classic Rogers & Hammerstein on a roof, then are YOU in luck!

And finally, for our off-topic-but-not-really video, I bring you information from beyond the grave.  We all know Michael Jackson, and many of us know Bob Fosse.  Now see how eerie it is when you put one on top of another.  If The Little Prince movie did nothing else, it gave us this:

 

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