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1. Free ebooks Review: Runes by Ednah Walters



Disclaimer: I received no compensation from the author, publisher, Free Ebooks for an Honest Review, or Netgalley for this honest review.


About the Book

Seventeen-year-old Raine Cooper has enough on her plate dealing with her father’s disappearance, her mother’s erratic behavior and the possibility of her boyfriend relocating. The last thing she needs is Torin St. James—a mysterious new neighbor with a wicked smile and uncanny way of reading her. 

Raine is drawn to Torin’s dark sexiness against her better judgment, until he saves her life with weird marks and she realizes he is different. But by healing her, Torin changes something inside Raine. Now she can’t stop thinking about him. Half the time, she’s not sure whether to fall into his arms or run. 

Scared, she sets out to find out what Torin is. But the closer she gets to the truth the more she uncovers something sinister about him. What Torin is goes back to an ancient mythology and Raine is somehow part of it. Not only is she and her friends in danger, she must choose a side, but the wrong choice will cost Raine her life 

Buy the Book



Book #2

Amazon
Book #2.5

Amazon
Book #3

Amazon


Book #3.5

Amazon
Book #4



Here's what I'm giving it:

Rating: 3.5  stars

Here's why:

This is the first of two reviews that I'm doing for Ebooks For Reviews. Also, I originally received Runes via Netgalley back in 2013.

What I like about this first book is the fact that Norse mythology is used. I'm a huge fan of mythology (no matter the country) and especially of the pantheons that aren't often covered in fiction.

With that being said, I'd like to dive in to some of the good moments of this book. The main character, Rain with an E, is of the sassy breed of heroine that I like to dive into. The way she sparred with Torin St. James (her male counterpart) was refreshing.

She wasn't intimidated by him at all. If anything, her emotional response to him scared her more than his bad boy demeanor.

The secondary characters, Cora & Eirick, were well-fleshed out and were great foils to Raine.

Some of the other characters were not as developed which leads me to one of my peeves about stories. If you're going to use characters, please have them be more than a token drop in the bucket. The "baddies" were not very threatening and then some of them appeared and were going in the blink of the eye.

Also the romantic parts for certain characters felt rushed and awkward. Other than that, this was a good solid read.

Would I recommend this book? Yes, I'm reading the second one as we speak.

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2. New April cover art for Cricket Magazine

I just finished this cover for the magazine. Everyone needs to be outside once spring hits.
Looking forward to it myself.


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3. Some Things Strange & Sinister -Who Needs Sensationalism!

Some Things Strange & Sinister
 
A4 Format
B&W
Paperback
358 pages
Heavily illustrated
Price: £20.00
After more than 30 years as an investigator and more than forty as a naturalist,the author has opened some of the many files he has accumulated dealing with such things as.. 
 
The Terrifying Events At The Lamb Inn, The Ghosts Of All Saints Church, Dead Aquatic Creatures of Canvey Island, captured bigfoot like creatures in India -all exclusively presented for the first time and with new added research previously unseen. 
 
PLUS a vastly expanded section on Spring-heeled Jack! 
 
Photographs, maps, line drawings and up-dated to make 358 pages looking at Things truly Strange and Sinister. 
 
Cryptozoologist,Ghost Hunter,Ufologist or Fortean:this book has something for everyone -including the just plain inquisitive!

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4. At the Drug Store

At the drug store, what to choose?
All those choices do confuse.
Vitamins for gals or men?
Over 50? Pick again!

DayQuil, NyQuil, ZzQuil or
Generic ones made by the store?
Tablets, caplets, maybe gels?
Wonder which one better sells.

Dental floss in mint or plain?
Waxed or unwaxed? What a pain!
Lotions for your winter itch
Look the same, so which is which?

I’m exhausted when I leave
Even though I do believe
Products with a different name,
Though hyped as best, are all the same!

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5. Super Bowl... Downton...Super Bowl...Downton...Super Bowl

Well, it is Super Bowl for 2.5 hours and then DOWNTON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But something BIG has to happen in this episode because things have been too quiet.

Methinks Lord Gillingham is up to something...........can't wait to find out... Read the rest of this post

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6. Anton Chekhov's Selected Stories: A Norton Critical Edition edited by Cathy Popkin


My name is Matthew and I am a Norton Critical Edition addict.

Hardly a term has gone by without my assigning students at least one NCE, both when I was a high school teacher and especially now that I'm teaching college students. (This term, it's The Red Badge of Courage.) I have been known to change syllabi each term just to try out new NCEs with students. I have bought NCEs for myself even of books that I already owned in multiple other editions. I have all four editions of the NCE of Heart of Darkness because the changes between them fascinate me. (I've been meaning to write a blog post or essay of some sort about those changes. I'll get to it one day.)

Anton Chekhov is my favorite writer, a writer whose work I've been reading and thinking about for all of my adult life. The Norton Critical Editions of Chekhov's stories and plays published in the late 1970s remained unchanged until Laurence Senelick's Selected Plays came out in 2004, and then, finally, last year Cathy Popkin's Selected Stories. Senelick's collection is good, and probably all that the average reader needs, though I'm more partial to Senelick's true masterpiece, the Complete Plays, which is awe-inspiring.

Popkin's Selected Stories is something more again, and easily the best single-volume collection of Chekhov in English. This is the place to start if you've never read Chekhov, and it's a great resource even for seasoned Chekhovians. I'll go further than that, actually: Because of the critical apparatus, this is a great resource for anyone interested in fiction, translation, and/or writing; and it is one of the most interesting Norton Critical Editions I know, almost as impressive as my favorite NCEs, Things Fall Apart and The English Bible.

Popkin made the interesting and valuable choice to not only include stories from multiple translators (including new commissions), but to foreground the act of translation by including helpful descriptions of each translator's approach and methodology, as well as short passages from multiple stories in numerous translations for comparison:

sample of the Comparison Passages section

Further, Popkin frequently offers a perspective on the translation of an individual story in the first footnote for it, and sometimes in subsequent footnotes that point out particular choices the translator made.

The foregrounding of translation allows Popkin to bring in essays in the critical section that focus on Chekhov as a stylist, something Ralph Matlaw, editor of the previous edition, specifically avoided because he thought it made no sense to talk about "since the subtleties of Chekhov's style are lost in translation." Popkin's contention is that this no longer needs to be true, if it ever was.

What we have here, then, is not only a book of Chekhov stories plus some biographical and critical material, but a book about aesthetics and writing. One of the critical disputes that Popkin highlights, both in her introduction and in her selection of essays, is a longstanding one between critics who believe every detail in the stories has a particular purpose and function, and critics who believe that Chekhov's art (and philosophy) resides in the very extraneousness and randomness of some of his details. There is, as Popkin notes, no solution to this question, and plenty of readers (I'm one of them) believe that in a certain way both interpretations can be correct — but the value here is that Popkin is able to make the critical dispute one that is not only about Chekhov, but about writing, realism, and the reader's experience of the text. Attentive readers of this Selected Stories will thus not only gain knowledge of Chekhov's work, but will also participate in the exploration of aesthetics: the aesthetics of the stories as well as the aesthetics of translation.

Inevitably, I have one complaint and a few quibbles. The complaint is that the physical book is terribly bound — the binding of my copy broke when I opened it, and continued to break whenever I opened to anything in the middle of the book. No pages have yet fallen out, but they could soon. This is unusual for a Norton book — The English Bible is huge and only one year older than Selected Stories and its bindings (2 big volumes) are very strong; my copy of the 1979 NCE of Chekhov's stories, purchased at the earliest 15 years ago, seems unbreakable. I hope the problem with this new book is an anomaly.

My quibbles are purely those of anyone who has their own particular favorites among Chekhoviana. I detest Ronald Hingley's imperialist atrocities of translations, and though I know they're necessary for this volume because they offer such stark contrast to other translations, why why why did Popkin have to include Hingley's translation of perhaps my favorite Chekhov story, "Gusev"?! At least she could have included somebody — anybody! — else's translation alongside it. (Indeed, I think it would have been helpful for the book to choose one complete story to offer in multiple translations. "Gusev" is probably too long, but Chekhov wrote a number of quite short stories that have been translated numerous times.)

The selection of stories in this edition is almost completely superior to Matlaw's, but it's unfortunate to lose the 1886 story "Dreams", which seems to me a perfect encapsulation of Chekhov's style between his early humorous sketches and his later, longer stories ... but it's easily available elsewhere.

One significant improvement Popkin makes over Matlaw's previous edition is the inclusion of some of Chekhov's longer stories, most significantly "Ward No. 6" and "In the Ravine", two of his most important works. The book is already almost 700 pages, so obviously novellas such as "My Life" and "The Steppe" — hugely important, original, difficult, complex, breathtaking works — wouldn't fit without bumping out a lot of other worthwhile material, but still I pine. Perhaps Selected Stories will be successful enough that Norton will consider a Critical Edition called Chekhov's Novellas...

Finally, it might have been nice to include something on the adaptation of Chekhov's stories to theatre, film, and television — though of course his plays are more frequently adapted, some of the better adaptations are of the short stories, and there's been at least a little bit of critical attention to that. Adaptation is another form of translation, and it would have been interesting to consider that further within the frame that Popkin set up.

But really, these are the inevitable, unimportant quibbles of the sort that any anthology causes in a reader familiar with the territory. Popkin's edition of the Selected Stories is a book to celebrate and savor, and it gets so many things right that it is churlish to complain about any of it. Even the cover is a smart, appropriate choice: a painting by Chekhov's friend Isaac Levitan.

This book is clearly the result of lots of love for Chekhov, and as such I can only love it back.

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7. this morning's mail

Story connects us in ways we will never know. This just in: here is a letter passed on to me from a friend who gave REVOLUTION to her 72-year-old aunt in Texas. It now becomes a primary source document for future researchers. Just as important, it serves to show how a heart becomes awake and aware in the world. I was the storyteller for Mary, and now Mary is the storyteller for me. This is how it works. I am grateful. xo Debbie
============
January 23
Oh, Sally,

Thank you so much for making me aware of Revolution. It has unleashed a torrent of conflicting emotions and memories in me, none of which were completely forgotten, but largely dormant.

On one hand, it reads like a barn burner, and I do not want to put it down. I love the way she worked photographs, gospel and folk song lyrics, and headlines as page dividers creating a sense of the onslaught of information which occurred that summer. (It does remind me of your saying fiction can sometimes convey events better than dry history. But she does include a lot of what to me is not dry history.)

On the other hand, because of the flood of memories and the poignant strength of the emotions they evoke in me, I can only read it in segments, sometimes as much as a chapter, but usually less. Than I have to meditate on what is happening in me, in the story, and in our country now.

Since it was published by Scholastic Press, I guess it is geared to middle schoolers. My only sorrow is that many adults who would benefit from tumbling into its pages will not find out what they are missing....

For myself, I read the book on about five levels. Four come from memories: the first as a middle schooler, one in high school, one the summer after graduation from college (1963), and one in 1964 when I was at the Democratic Convention in Atlantic City. The fifth is that of an aging Democrat who worked the phones for Obama in 2008, delighted in our long-term success.

The student at Gilmer Junior High got in the car with your grandfather, heard the news about Brown vs Topeka on NBC news (and later CBS) and asked Grampy, "Does that mean I will be going to school with colored kids?"

In high school, I heard Larry Pittmon and others threaten to get baseball bats and beat up N----rs who tried to come to Gilmer High. An elderly Black had died, and the relatives who went to California and elsewhere had come to town in their finest to attend the funeral. This was at the same time that the Airborne and the National Guard were confronting each other at Central High School, Little Rock. In our ignorance of how groups like COFO would operate, rumor had it that the fancy dressed black people were members of the NAACP planning to integrate the school.

The summer of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, I had attended a workshop by the National Conference of Christians and Jews and then stayed in Dallas to learn typing at a business school. Having no TV of my own, I went to the apartment complex recreation building to watch the march. That night I joined one of the Black members of my class with her boy friend in the Hall Street Ghetto in Dallas for supper. We talked for hours about what that huge crowd meant for the future of Blacks in America.


The next summer, after my rookie year as a Dallas public school teacher, I had a job with the State Department in July and August, 1964. Mother and Daddy honored my experiences in college in a sit-in on the SMU campus and in that workshop the year before by letting me write the editorial response of The Gilmer Mirror to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (the Public Accomodations Act).

Then I traveled to DC in late June, went to the White House as a guest of Lady Bird and Lyndon the night of my 23rd birthday, and went to work in the Personnel Department of the State Department.
The deputy director of the division I was in was a Black man. A fellow deacon of his church, the assistant superintendent of the DC schools, was shot down that summer as he drove back from his reserve duty at Ft. Bragg. He was a reserve Colonel in the US Army who was chased down after buying gas by hooligans in a pickup and shot. I can still see him that Monday morning when I came to work telling the Personnel Services Division chief, an older (55-60) white woman of the shooting.

Unlike the volunteers at Freedom Summer who sweltered in Mississippi, I got to go to the cool serenity of the Washington National Cathedral and hear a mixed choir of over 250 voices sing in thanksgiving of the passage of the Civil Rights Act.

I read the headlines in the Washington Post about their efforts as I went to Capitol Hill to see the War on Poverty legislation accepted in the US Senate after the House had approved their portion.
Then in August, I joined Nana in New York City, attended Hello Dolly with Carol Channing (my adventuresome summer like Sunny wonders about) and to the New York World's Fair. From there we took the train to Atlantic City.

Selling pennants and buttons to raise funds for the Democratic Party as a Young Person for LBJ, I met youths from Philadelphia, MS who were there with representatives of the Freedom Democratic Party of Mississippi. When they learned my mother was a delegate, they lobbied me to ask her to vote for their group to be seated.

I told Nana about them, but LBJ was trying to court Mississippi votes, and did not want to ruffle more feathers until after the election. She of course did what LBJ wanted.

It would be four years later when I had promised Nana I would take the first job I was offered that I went to work for the Dallas OIC. You know what an impact that had on me. I was tempted by the Peace Corps, but Nana would never have let me go to an undeveloped country. I always think the Lord had a hand in the fact that OIC gave me my first job offer after grad school.

Well, enough meditation for now. I still have half the book to read, and I am mentally compiling a list of people to make aware of it. I definitely will see to it our Intermediate and Junior High Schools as well as the Upshur County Library have copies.

If you with to share these reflections with your friend, the author, you are welcome to do so. I am so proud you made me aware of it. Thank you so very much.
Love, Mary

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8. The Book Brief: The Very Best New Release Books in February

Each month we bring you the best new release books in our Book Brief. Get FREE shipping when you use the promo code bookbrief Fiction Books Useful by Debra Oswald I was really reminded of The Rosie Project while I was reading this very entertaining novel. It has all the humour and poignancy of that […]

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9. Fiction Competition: The Nelligan Prize for Short Fiction

The Nelligan Prize for Short Fiction is offered annually for a previously unpublished short story of no more than 50 pages. The winning short story will be published in the 2015 fall/winter issue of Colorado Review; the writer receives a $2,000 honorarium.  

The Nelligan Prize was established in 2004 in memory of Liza Nelligan, a writer, editor, and friend of many in Colorado State University’s English Department, where she received her master’s degree in literature in 1992. By giving an award to the author of an outstanding short story each year, we hope to honor Nelligan’s life, her passion for writing, and her love of fiction.
Previous winners of the Nelligan Prize include Amira Pierce’s “Anything Good is a Secret,” (selected by Kent Nelson); Edward Hamlin’s “Night in Erg Chebbi,” (selected by Jim Shepard); and Matthew Shaer’s “Ghosts,” (selected by Jane Hamilton).


General Guidelines for the 2015 Nelligan Prize for Short Fiction:

$2,000 will be awarded for the best short story, which will be published in the fall/winter 2015 issue of Colorado Review.

 
This year’s final judge is Lauren Groff; friends and students (current & former) of the judge are not eligible to compete, nor are Colorado State University employees, students, or alumni.


Entry fee is $15 per story (add $2 for online submissions); there is no limit on the number of entries you may submit.


Stories must be previously unpublished.


There are no theme restrictions, but stories must be under 50 pages.


Deadline is the postmark of March 14, 2015.

 
Winner will be announced by July 2015.


All submissions will be considered for publication.


You do not need to be a Colorado or US resident to enter.


To submit online:

The story title and your name, address, phone number, and e-mail address should be entered in the cover letter field, separate from your story. Be sure your name is not anywhere in the story itself (for example, in the header or footer).


The fee to enter online is $17 ($2 goes to the good people at Submittable; in most cases, it will be less expensive to enter online than by mail).
On or before March 14, 2015, submit here.


To submit via regular mail:

Include two cover sheets: on the first, print your name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, and the story title; on the second, print only the story title. Your name should not appear anywhere else on the manuscript.


Enclose a check for $15 for each story. Checks should be made out to Colorado Review. You may submit multiple stories in the same envelope, and the check can be made out for the total.
Provide SASE for contest results.


Manuscripts will not be returned. Please do not enclose extra postage for return of manuscript.
Entries must be clearly addressed to:

Nelligan Prize
Colorado Review
9105 Campus Delivery
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523-9105


For complete guidelines, visit our website.

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10. Melodrama

There's a fine line between having depth to your story and it being melodramatic.

http://kidlit.com/2014/12/01/the-melodrama-dilemma/

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11. The Red Paper -Canids

The research took almost 40 years on some aspects (starting in 1977) and if there is one book I have to hold up and momentarily get an ego over it is this one. Wolves, foxes -including arctic foxes- Jackals and coyotes in the UK. Many exotics just released to hunt or simply dumped/escapees.

 The history of foxes in the UK and how they were about to become extinct (there may be no such thing as a true "British fox" now) but were imported in their thousands each year "for sport" -even I sat dumbfounded when I made certain discoveries such as stabling foxes, what "bagging a fox" REALLY meant and more.

One naturalist of 60 years read it and called it "The most explosive book on British wildlife ever" and yet, not a single copy has ever sold.

And my old colleagues at the British Naturalist Association....I like to call them "the opposition" now.


 The Red Paper:CANINES vol.1
THE RED PAPER
A4 format
 Paperback,
202 Pages
Many illustrations and photographs
Price: £20.00
Up-dated 2011 edition includes section on sarcoptic mange in foxes and treatment plus a list of wildlife sanctuaries and rescue centres in the UK. By the 1700s the British fox was on the verge of extinction and about to follow the bear and wolf having been hunted for sport for centuries. The answer was to import thousands of foxes per year for sport. But foxes kept dying out so jackals were tried. Some were caught, some escaped. Even wolves and coyote were released for hunting. 
 
The summation of decades of work (1977-2011 and still ongoing) and research reveals the damnable lie of "pest control" hunting but also reveals the cruelty the animals were subject to and how private menageries as well as travelling shows helped provide the British and Irish countryside with some incredible events. 
 
The Girt Dog of Ennerdale is also dealt with in detail

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12. Rabbit Rabbit: Woodland Valentines for February

Rabbit Rabbit February, digital serigraph © 2015 by Lisa Firke.

Rabbit Rabbit February, digital serigraph © 2015 by Lisa Firke.

Rabbit Rabbit everyone. After several weeks of very hands-on (and sticky) paper mache work in the studio, I turned my hand to some digital graphics in advance of Valentine's day.

Woodland Rabbits Valentine's Print
Woodland Rabbits Valentine's Print Woodland Rabbit Valentine's Cards
Woodland Rabbit Valentine's Cards Fabled Valentines Clipart Set
Fabled Valentines Clipart Set The Poster and the Card
The Poster and the Card

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13. Cabin Fever

It’s still winter and it’s still cold and no matter what the groundhog says tomorrow it will be months yet before I can do any gardening outdoors. This week the forecast is promising a few nights will slip below zero (-18C). In spite of that, the worst of winter is behind me but the hardest part is still ahead. This is the time I begin to get a bit of cabin fever. And while Bookman and I have a Valentine’s date planned that includes a trip to the conservatory, it is only temporary relief.

So I’ve been gazing at gardening books and gardening catalogs and doing garden planning like a thirsty person in the desert. Grocery shopping Friday night, our natural food co-op had the seed rack out already and I immediately spied a package of cosmic purple carrot seeds. Since I forgot to order carrot seeds with all my other seeds I grabbed a pack. I’m still hoping to find atomic red carrots somewhere but if not, the purple alone will do.

And then I got an email from the urban farm supply store saying it’s time to order chicks if you want any. And I couldn’t help but look at the varieties they had on offer. Such beautiful birds! They offer a class on backyard chicken basics and you get to pet chickens too. The class is next weekend and I came this close to signing up just to pet the chickens. Plus, Bookman said I should totally do it. He figures if I took the class and learned all about it I will either a) no longer want chickens or b) want chickens enough that I will be able to convince him that he wants some too. But I decided to wait until next year to take the class. We have far too many other plans for this year in the garden to be able to find the time and energy to proceed with chickens if we decide to go there. Something to look forward to for next winter!

I spent a good amount of time studying up on season extending gardening techniques and mini hoop houses. Bookman also came up with an idea of making a temporary unheated greenhouse that we could walk into from the backdoor of the house. That is an exciting prospect. It has a few complications we will have to work out if we decide to do it next winter, but just the thought of it has me jittery with excitement. The mini hoop houses though will be easy. The hardest part will be timing planting the things we will grow in them because once daytime temperatures drop below freezing, the plants inside will stop growing. Which means the size of the lettuce and spinach and whatever else will be in there at the time will be what we have to work with all winter until it warms up enough for things to start growing again. In a hoop house, that will be much earlier than in the ground, but here in Minnesota I’m still looking at four months at least. I’m not sure I can grow enough lettuce plants to last four months, but even if they only last two or three that’s something.

I’ve got the seed starting for my tomatoes and peppers all worked out including the timing. Bookman and I will be making our seed pots from newspaper, a cool thing because we just plant the paper pots in the ground in spring and paper composts right there. We’ll need quite a few pots, haven’t worked out just how many yet. I’ve been saving up newspaper from work so we’ve got plenty of that ready to go. The pots are quick and easy to make and I want to make them now just for something to do but it’s far too soon. The seeds won’t be started until mid-March and I have no place to keep a pile of paper pots safe for a month and half.

But February is a short month and it will fly by, right?

It was a good weekend for reading. I finished two books and am very close to finishing a third. I am very happy to have books to write about for the coming week. I also got an email from Library Journal to let me know a new book is on the way for me to read for review. This one is a gardening book called First Ladies of Gardening: Designers, Dreamers, and Divas. Doesn’t that sound like fun? I have two books to pick up from the library that have been in my hold queue for a time, the hold queue to which I have not been adding anything no matter how hard it’s been (yay me!). I can tell you my library list has gotten really long though! The books I will be picking up are Texts from Jane Eyre by Mallory Ortberg and Pico Iyer’s The Art of Stillness.

Now off to enjoy what remains of the weekend.


Filed under: Books

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14. Call for Plays and Screenplays: JustA Theater & Production Company

JustA Theater & Production Company is a new Los Angeles-based company dedicated to fostering and employing diverse and emerging writers and actors.

We are seeking original work for our inaugural 2015 season: three staged play productions and two short films.

We would like to reach out to students in your prestigious program for play and short screenplay submissions. Our starting stipend for writers is $150.

Here are our submission guidelines:

Characters should primarily range between the ages of 15 and 30.

At least two characters must be women.

Diverse themes and characters are encouraged.

We welcome scripts of varied genres. Feel free to submit plays with elements of absurdism or magic-realism, as well as plays rooted in realism.

Staged plays should not exceed 115 pages total.

Screenplays should not exceed 15 pages.

Please submit the first 15 pages of your piece to:

infoATjustatheaterDOTcom (Change AT to @ and DOT to . )
.
For more information, visit our website.

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15. Calling All Teachers! Join the Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge!

Calling all teachers and students! Join us for the March Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge!

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16. Caldecott Award live

logo_YMAThe ALA Youth Media Awards will be announced tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. CT in Chicago (that’s 9 a.m. for Martha and me). Here is a link to the live webcast.

Watching online is not quite the same as being in that huge ballroom full of book-loving early risers, fizzing with anticipation and hoping their favorite new books are about to be named. With luck, the microphone will pick up some of the reactions in the audience.

Robin will be right there in the room for the announcements. Martha and I will be in our own homes surrounded by the March book review section because we’re expecting ANOTHER foot or more of snow tonight and tomorrow.

Wherever you are, we will post the winners on this blog ASAP so we can all react to the announcements together.

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17. Fisher Mitchell’s One Book, One School Program

Cooper and Packrat  had the distinct honor of being the book chosen for Fisher Mitchell’s One Book, One School Project 2015.  Two hundred and sixty hardcover copies of Mystery of Pine Lake was distributed through the school, thanks to a generous grant from the Tabitha and Stephen King Foundation, and support from the Bath Elementary Schools PTA.

DSC04738

260 copies!  Whoa!

Joan Newkirk (my contact at Fisher Mitchell), and the rest of the teachers and librarians, had many wonderful activities planned to go along with the event.  Dress like a loon day, dress like your favorite character day, two breakfasts with read-alouds from the book, my two-day visit and a Pot Luck evening event, just to name a few.

And look at this bulletin board!

DSC04729

A poem by Mary Oliver – The Loon on Oak-Head Pond

 

I was very disappointed when after waiting months, my first day to visit was snowed out – but the second day was still a go!

2015-01-29 09.07.34

When I arrived, I was given a fabulous space in the library and told to “make it my own for the day”.  Heaven!

As I waited patiently for students to arrive, several students and teachers poked their heads in the library to ask, “Are you Tamra Wight?” When I said yes, they’d grin and continue on their way.  A few brought their books in to have me sign.

There were four sessions in all, spanning grades 3 and 4. We talked about ideas, the inspiration behind Cooper and Packrat, and how my photography is my way of researching and documenting wildlife notes.  But mostly we talked about descriptive language and how important it is.

Playing What's in Packrat's Coat?: Descriptive Language Game

Playing What’s in Packrat’s Coat?: Descriptive Language Game

The students had wonderful comments, connections and questions.  One young lady, when asked where ideas come from, responded, “Your heart.”

She stole mine, with that answer.

Next Thursday, I’ll return to meet the fifth graders.  The snow better stay away!

We managed to squeeze in the Pot Luck Dinner and Author Presentation that same evening before the big Friday storm. Rather than go home between the classroom presentations and the Pot Luck, Cindy Lord and Mona Pease agreed to meet me for latte’s and chai at Cafe Creme.

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The drinks were warm, and the conversation light.  I just love these two ladies and their readiness to keep me company, in spite of my last minute wanna-meet-up, shout out . Not only did they brave the cold to come see me, they returned to the school to watch my little presentation and take a few photos of it.

The line for the pot luck was long!  So many wonderful families came!  One young man told me it was “an amazing turn out. You never know how these things will go.”

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While everyone ate, it was time for me to read from Cooper and Packrat.  Since many of the students had already begun the book, I chose Chapter 10:  a chapter about meeting and greeting around the campfire, old friends and new, coming together.  It felt appropriate, considering the meeting and greeting that was happening at the Pot Luck.

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Being introduced by Principal Berkowitz

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My little thank you speech

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Reading Chapter 10

My favorite part, of course, was talking to parents, teachers, PTA members and of course the students themselves.

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I signed many books, and I will get the rest next Thursday for sure.

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Some students snuck a peek at Mystery of the Eagle’s Nest, while they had a chance.

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This young lady, had a hard time giving it back to me.  She left happy though, when I told her the library had gained an extra copy for loaning that day.

And the frosting on the cake, in an already amazing day, was having this cool cake presented for desert.

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None of the students would allow the servers to cut into Cooper and Packrat’s faces . . . so one Mom took Cooper home, and I took Packrat.

So glad those two are well loved!

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18. Sunday Funnies #20: Gasoline Alley - 1921 to 1942

It's Super Bowl Sunday - a good day for blogging, making my Super Bowl Sunday chili and watching…Downton Abbey.  But this morning has also been a good time to straighten up my book shelves, which hasn't been done in a long, long time.  As I was working, I came across two little books published by Whitman - they really are little, only 3 5/8" X 4 1/2".  One is called Skeezix Goes to War (1943) and it's based on daily comic strips that ran in the newspapers in 1942-1943.

I probably bought it because Gasoline Alley has been one of my favorite comic strips ever since I first started reading them, but it has been around for a lot longer than my lifetime.  It officially began November 24, 1918 in the Sunday funnies of the Chicago Tribune, in a feature called The Rectangle, written and drawn by Frank King:

Chicago Tribune November 24, 1918 - Gasoline Alley int he bottom panel
But almost a year later, as it became more popular, Gasoline Alley became it's own a daily strip on August 25, 1919.  It was was originally about a group of friends interested in cars, and appeared in the Automobile section of the Chicago Tribune.  Beginning on December 22, 1919, however, Gasoline Alley started to focus on a character named Walt Wallet, a rather rotund bachelor who had served in World War I but the center of interest of the strip was still tinkering with cars.

It was an appealing comic strip, and began to gain in popularity, but not with women.  The Chicago Tribune wasn't happy about that and told King to do something that would make Gasoline Alley appeal to women. So, on February 14, 1921, Walt Wallet is awakened by his doorbell ringing in the middle of the night:
Gasoline Alley February 14, 1921
Walt discovers a week old abandoned baby on his doorstep, who he eventually calls Skeezix and adopts, though Skeezix always refers to him as Uncle Walt.  Now that Skeezix was introduced into the strip, Gasoline Alley began to focus less on things automotive and more on things domestic, becoming a really family-orientd comic strip appealing to everyone now, not just men.

What set Gasoline Alley apart from most comic strips from the beginning is that the characters not only develop unique personalities, but they also grow up and grow old, giving it a real-to-life feeling.  In 1926, when Skeezix is 5 years old, Walt marries his girlfriend Phyliss Blossom.  Later, in 1928, they have a child nicknamed named Corky, and 1935, they adopt another orphan, Judy.  Meanwhile, readers are watching Skeezix grow up:

Gasoline Alley November 4, 1928 Skeezix around age 7
After graduating from high school in 1939, Skeezix gets a job, and continues going out with high school girlfriend Nina Clock.  But on December 7, 1941, the United States is attacked and enters World War II.  The now 20 year old Skeezix knows it only a matter of time until he is drafted, so on January 16, 1942, he enlists in the army, but not before asking Nina to marry him:  

Gasoline Alley December 24, 1941
Gasoline Alley January 16, 1942

To be continued: Skeezix Goes to War

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19. Touching Video Documents Last Days of PDI/DreamWorks

Here's a bittersweet goodbye to PDI/DreamWorks, the legendary Northern California computer animation studio whose closure was announced last month by its owner DreamWorks Animation.

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20. Groundhog Day




Every year on February 2nd we celebrate Groundhog Day.  On this day Americans await for the groundhog to emerge from his burrow to predict how much winter is left for the year. If it's cloudy and he doesn't see his shadow, then spring will come early, but if it's sunny and he does see his shadow then we will have six more weeks of winter.  


The first and largest Groundhog Day takes place in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania where Phil the Punxsutawney Groundhog has been predicting the weather since 1886. The day is celebrated with large crowds, music and food as they wait for Phil to make his debut.


To learn more about Groundhog day visit us in the children's room!







posted by Josephine 






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21. Some More Things Strange & Sinister


Some More Things Strange & Sinister


Terry Hooper-Scharf
Paperback,
A4
327 Pages 
Heavily illustrated
Price: £20.00
Follow-up to the hugely successful Some Things Strange & Sinister.


For those interested in Ufology, cryptozoology, hominology, unusual natural history, ghosts and mysteries in general.

The secret history of gorillas in the UK -before they were officially  'discovered'. The history of  the Wild men of Europe, the UK and US: something that in the 1800s become very "pop culture"  Very pop culture and totally forgotten today!

Hominology. Sasquatch and Bigfoot -is there evidence for their existence?  No sitting on the fence here -the Patterson-Gimlin film is looked at as well as other evidence.  The Author's conclusions? You might be surprised.

Giant snakes. Amazons. The Giant serpent of Carthage. The Girt Dog of Ennerdale -another big cult 'creature' amongst paranormal and cryptozoological circles. The Beast of Gevaudan -what was it and were there really descendents of the creature in the 19th century -one of which was actually brought to London? 

 Believe it or not more than one incident of historical crocodiles cases in the UK.  In fact, far more than even the Author had thought .

And, after more than a century of claims by 'researchers' that it no longer exists: The Silent City of Alaska and the near legendary 'lost' photograph taken of it.

 This and much more. Updated with extra pages and photographs. 

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22. Pursuing The Strange & Weird:A Naturalists Viewpoint



Pursuing The Strange & Weird:A Naturalists Viewpoint



Terry Hooper-Scharf
Paperback, 
A4
249 Pages
Highly illustrated
Price: £15.00
2013 UP DATE -From Dead Aquatic (Humanoid) Creatures, the giant squid and yet undiscovered sea creatures; submarine and ships crews encountering true leviathans.

There is a fully expanded section which also refers to the so-called ‘Ningen’ sightings and video footage. 
Extinct animals at sea that have been re-discovered. The subject of Sasquatch and other mystery Hominids around the world is dealt with including a look at the “Sasquatch-killer”, Justin Smeja.

Dr. Bryan Sykes and his DNA test results for TVs The Bigfoot Files as well as the controversial Erickson Project and Dr. Melba Ketchum’s Even more controversial Sasquatch DNA test results.

Also included are two early French UFO entity cases that still baffle. Ghosts, strange creatures and the Star-Child hoax. All dealt with by the naturalist and pursuer of the strange and weird

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23. Writing Competition: riverSedge

riverSedge is a journal of art and literature with an understanding of its place in the nation in south Texas on the border . Its name reflects our specific river edge with an openness to publish writers who use English, Tex-Mex, and Spanish and also the edges shared by all the best contemporary writing and art. 

Submit here.

General Submissions/Contest Guidelines


Deadline to Submit is 3/1/15

$5 submission fee in all genres (except book reviews)

3 prizes of $300 will be awarded in poetry, prose, and art. All entries are eligible for contest prizes. Dramatic scripts and graphic literature will be judged as prose.


Multiple submissions are welcome in all genres. Each submission should be submitted as a separate entry. In other words, do not send two or more entries as one document.


Previously unpublished work only. Self-published work (in print and/or on the web) is not eligible.


Simultaneous submissions are welcome, but please notify us of acceptance elsewhere as soon as possible.


Submissions in English, Spanish and anything in between are welcome.


Current staff, faculty, and students affiliated with UT-Pan American, UT-Brownsville, or South Texas College are not eligible to submit original work to riverSedge.

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24. Best Books of January 2015

January 2015: 36 books and scripts read

Short Story Spotlight
An Optical Illusion by Eimear Ryan

Non-Fiction Pick
Yes Please by Amy Poehler

The Play's the Thing
I and You by Lauren Gunderson

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25. Preoccupied.

Illustration from the Profile Picture Project 
by Patrick Girouard

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