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1. I love the smell of crayons in the morning

It's so cool to have a whole wall of whiteboard in my tiny studio. 
It's a great way to add notes to self on, but also to draw on! 
Here's what's on the whiteboard today. 

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2. HarperCollins & Shazam Team on Content Distribution

HarperCollins Publishers has teamed up with Shazam as the exclusive book partner of its new visual recognition tool.

Shazam’s new feature allows users to wave their mobile device over any HarperCollins book or piece of promotional content with the Shazam camera logo on it in order to access exclusive content. Doing so will lead the user to a site with features including: author interviews, videos and playlists. Once on the site, users can buy books and share content to their social networks.

The device must have a camera and access to the Internet for it to work.

 

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3. Writing a Poem

This is what I need to write –
A pencil and a pad
And someplace where the background noise
Won’t drive me friggin’ mad.

Of course I need a topic
Which will get my brain in gear
Or else from my surroundings,
Inspiration may appear.

The first line leaps like lightning
From the pencil to the page.
The rest proceeds more slowly
As the thoughts and rhymes engage.

But the ending, ah the ending
Is the toughest nut to crack,
The point where many chuck it all
And let the words go slack.

So oftentimes I’ll read my poem
Again and yet again
Until I find a way to end
And then I’ll say – amen!

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4. Dany Laferrière enters the Academy

       Dany Laferrière (Why Must a Black Writer Write About Sex ? etc.) has now taken his place (fauteuil 2) among the immortels of the French Academy -- "le premier Haïtien et le premier Québécois" to do so; see also, for example, the report, Writer Dany Laferrière inducted into the Académie française. (They make him wear a silly jacket, but he does get to play with a sword.)
       At the official site they now have his induction speech (in French, of course).

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5. Spotlight and Giveaway: Dearest Rogue by Elizabeth Hoyt

This morning I have an excerpt and giveaway for Dearest Rogue by Elizabeth Hoyt. Enjoy!

DEAREST ROGUE by Elizabeth Hoyt (May 26, 2015; Grand Central Publishing Mass Market)

HE CAN GUARD HER
Lady Phoebe Batten is pretty, vivacious, and yearning for a social life befitting the sister of a powerful duke. But because she is almost completely blind, her overprotective brother insists that she have an armed bodyguard by her side at all times-the very irritating Captain Trevillion.
FROM EVERY DANGER
Captain James Trevillion is proud, brooding, and cursed with a leg injury from his service in the King’s dragoons. Yet he can still shoot and ride like the devil, so watching over the distracting Lady Phoebe should be no problem at all-until she’s targeted by kidnappers.

 

BUT PASSION ITSELF
Caught in a deadly web of deceit, James must risk life and limb to save his charge from the lowest of cads-one who would force Lady Phoebe into a loveless marriage. But while they’re confined to close quarters for her safekeeping, Phoebe begins to see the tender man beneath the soldier’s hard exterior . . . and the possibility of a life-and love-she never imagined possible.


Buy Links:

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B&N

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BAM

Kobo


About the author:

Elizabeth Hoyt is the New York Times bestselling author of over seventeen lush historical romances including the Maiden Lane series. Publishers Weeklyhas called her writing “mesmerizing.” She also pens deliciously fun contemporary romances under the name Julia Harper. Elizabeth lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with three untrained dogs, a garden in constant need of weeding, and the long-suffering Mr. Hoyt.
The winters in Minnesota have been known to be long and cold and Elizabeth is always thrilled to receive reader mail. You can write to her at: P.O. Box 19495, Minneapolis, MN  55419 or email her at:Elizabeth@ElizabethHoyt.com.


Social Media Links:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

EXCERPT:

He cleared his throat. “Malcolm MacLeish is young and handsome—”

“A fat lot of good that does me, since I can’t see him.”

“— a gentleman of high spirits and quick wit and seemingly smitten with you as well.”

There was a silence.

“Smitten,” Phoebe said at last. “Smit-ten. The word sounds like a skin disease if you think about it too much.”

“He smiles every time he sees you,” he murmured quietly. Was he jealous?

“I smile every time I smell cherry pie.”

“You’re being ridiculous,” Trevillion said disapprovingly. “I don’t see why you’ve rejected him out of hand.”

“You sound like a querulous old aunt, scolding children for running through the house.”

“I am older than you,” he replied stiffly, “as I’ve pointed out on numerous occasions.”

A terrible thought struck her. “Are you shoving me at Mr. MacLeish because I kissed you?”

“I—”

“It was my very first kiss, you ought to know,” she said very rapidly, because sometimes it was just better to say the embarrassing thing and get it over with. “I’m sure I’ll improve with practice. In fact, I’m sure of it. Almost everything improves with practice, don’t you think? And

really, if I had a just a bit of help from your end next time—”

“I am not kissing you,” he said with the awful finality of a judge pronouncing a death sentence.

“Why not?”

“You know very well why not.”

“Nooo,” she said slowly, thinking it over. “No, I can’t say that I do, really. I mean I know why you think we oughtn’t kiss again: you’re as old as the Thames, you’re below me in rank, I’m too young and frivolous, and you much too serious, et cetera, et cetera, and et cetera, but frankly I don’t have any reasons not to kiss you.” She stopped for breath and to think and amended her statement. “Unless, of course, you’re either (a) a murderer running from the law or (b) hiding a secret wife. Are you?”

“I . . . what?”

“Are you,” she repeated patiently, “either a murderer running from the law or hiding a secret wife?”

“You know I’m not,” he said with impatience. It was a good thing she was so stubborn, because that tone might have put off many another young girl. “Phoebe—”

“So then there’s no reason at all not to kiss me again.” She folded her hands in her lap and smiled.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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6. Cinebook The 9th Art: Spirou & Fantasio 8 - Tough Luck Vito





Spirou & Fantasio 8 - Tough Luck Vito
Authors: Tome & Janry
Age: 8 years and up
Size: 21.7 x 28.7 cm
Number of pages: 48 colour pages
ISBN: 9781849182485
Price: £6.99 inc. VAT

Publication: April 2015

An old seaplane skims the waves over the Pacific. Onboard are Vito Cortizone, former Don of the New York Mafia forced into early retirement by Spirou and Fantasio; Von Schnabbel, unscrupulous pilot; and a mysterious cargo supposed to turn Cortizone’s fortunes around. But the mafioso is cursed with terrible luck, and the plane ends up at the bottom of an isolated island’s lagoon. When two months later a sailing boat arrives, an unrecognisable Vito sees none other than our two adventurer-reporters come ashore!

I think the first page below shows what I what I meant when I wrote of Papyrus as being cartoony character art but set in a really well drawn world.  Look at those palm trees and that aircraft and last panel -big foot character art!

And wait til you see the aircraft flip in the shark infested water.  Sorry, why do they call this man "Tough Luck Vito"??

It's great story, gags, lovely art and Stephane de Becker's colour work, like many of these European artists, adds more weight to the pages.  Another of those books that I think cover "kids of all ages". Really nice read.

I'm getting old.  I saw Spirous and Fantasio looking around and Vito with a gun behind them and thought "uh-oh!".  It was only on checking the cover a third time -a third time!- that I saw the shark behind Vito.

I need to retire.

 

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7. A Scandalous Insult

I was planning on telling you about the next essay in The Art of Daring but it has turned out to be a hot and windy day and I feel a bit limp. So, I’m just going to tell you about a funny bit in the prologue to the biography of Keats I just began reading the other day.

The biography is the one by Robert Gittings. In the prologue he tells a little story about the first biography of Keats intended to be published not long after his death in 1821, Memoirs and Remains of John Keats. Apparently friends of Keats were angry and scandalized that someone would so hastily and prematurely publish such a book.

Appointed spokesman of the friends tossed out a barbed insult at Taylor of the publishing firm Taylor and Hessey who were planning on printing the abomination. The insult? Are your ready for it? It’s really bad. Ok, Brown called Taylor “a mere bookseller.” I know, right? It doesn’t get any worse than that. The insult worked so well that the book was never published and no one who knew Keats firsthand ever wrote a full-length biography.

I know, it was a different time and a different publishing landscape. No doubt the epithet probably implied Taylor was a money grubbing opportunist or something like that. But to think that being called a bookseller and a mere bookseller at that, was once insulting is at least worth an amusing snort, don’t you think?

These days if “mere bookseller” were to be used as an insult I am afraid it would mean something more along the lines of “you are a stupid idiot because everyone knows print is dead and no one actually reads any more.” Of course we know differently, which would also make this worth a snort of amusement and perhaps a head shake of pity for the poor fool making the insult. And a sigh. I think a good sigh would also be in order.


Filed under: Books, Memoir/Biography Tagged: John Keats, Robert Gittings

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8. End of Year School LIbrary Procedures

Many schools are winding down in the next few weeks. For the school library, that means trying to get all materials returned and then inventoried. Do you have trouble getting your students to return materials? What about teachers? Do you collect their materials too?

Our school system has set procedures for closing up shop for the year. Three weeks from the last school day for students is the last day to check out books. All books are due at the two-week mark. We have normally not had issues with these dates, but two years ago, several students became very upset by this rule. We tried to explain why we had to stop checking out books so early (inventory, etc.), but several took upon themselves to start "stealing" whole manga series! When finally caught with the 20+ books in their backpacks, they said they were just borrowing them until the last day of school. Needless to say, we have kids who LOVE to read but think the rules do not apply to them.

We have also run into the issue of kids not wanting to return books because they may have accumulated our max overdue fine of $5.00.  To encourage kids to return their books, we designate one week near the end of the school year as "Fine Free Week".  Students can return any overdue books for free!  Yes, it would be awesome to have the money that we lose from these fines, but I would rather have the book back even more.

So what about teachers?  Our school system asks that all teachers return materials (books, DVDs, etc.), but many of our teachers argue that they are the only one to use a certain book or DVD, so why not just keep it in their room.  As a former classroom teacher, I understand that, but as a media specialist, I like to know that the materials are accounted for, inventoried, and housed in the media center over the summer.  You would be surprised how many teachers "claim" to have a book or DVD in their room, but it no longer exists because it was lost or stolen.  Returning library materials is now included on our school's teacher summer check-off sheet that is due before leaving for the summer.

Inventory is the biggest part of our end of the year procedures.  Once books are turned in, it usually takes about three days to complete our inventory.  We do use two-three very responsible student helpers for the process.  As with any inventory, it is a tedious process, but we are able to use the results to order missing or damaged materials.  We also use this time to run an end of the year report of our circulation.  Again, this is valuable data that tells us what our students are reading most, what programs are working best, and what goals we need to set for the next year.

In addition to collecting materials and completing inventory, we also use the end of the year to "clean up" our technology.  We delete user profiles and do a disk cleanup on all desktop and laptop computers.  Chromebook profiles are deleted, and iPads are updated.  Schools with maker spaces would want to check all equipment and materials for damage and working order, as well as reorganize for the next year.

I would love to say that closing up a school library was as easy as just dusting off the shelves and locking the doors, but there are many important steps in the process in order to maintain a successful library program.  As tedious as many of these steps can be, they are well worth it when you open in the fall ready to start a new year!

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9. 2015 South Asia Book Award Winners

Looking for a high-quality children's or young adult book published in the U.S.A. that portray South Asia or South Asians living abroad? Check out the South Asia Book Award.  To encourage and commend authors and publishers who produce such books, and to provide librarians and teachers with recommendations for educational use, the South Asia National Outreach Consortium (SANOC) offers a yearly book award to call attention to outstanding works on South Asia. Congratulations to this this year's winners.

2015 South Asia Book Award Winners

Twenty-Two-Cents
Twenty-Two Cents: Muhammad Yunus and the Village Bank by Paula Yoo, illustrated by Jamel Akib (Lee &Low Books Inc., 2014). Twenty-Two Cents smartly chronicles the life and inspiration behind Nobel Peace Prize winner, Muhammad Yunus, and the internationally transformative Grameen Bank’s micro-lending system. Coupled with rich illustrations that vibrantly capture the essence and depth of Yunus’ experiences, this poignant picture book easily lends itself to readers of all ages. Includes an afterword and author’s source notes. (Grades 2-5)
Bombay Blues
Bombay Blues by Tanuja Desai Hidier (PUSH, an imprint of Scholastic Press, 2014). The dense, chaotic, yet lyrical, pulse of daily life in Bombay collides with the dissonant, hip-hop sensibility of affluent, urban Indian youth in this story of Dimple, a young Indian-American woman’s journey of self-discovery. (Grades 10 and up)

 2015 Honor Winners

A Time to Dance
A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman (Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group, 2014). Skillfully told in verse, Veda’s inspirational story reveals an athletic young woman passionate about traditional Indian dance. When she loses a leg in an accident she must fight to determine her identity and future. (Grades 6 and up)
Chandra's Magic Light A Story in Nepal
Chandra’s Magic Light: A Story in Nepal by Theresa Heine; illustrated by Judith Gueyfier (Barefoot Books, 2014). Living in a traditional village in Nepal, young sisters pick and sell flowers at the market to earn money to buy a solar lamp which will help the air quality in their home. Soft complimentary illustrations. Excellent end notes. (Grades K-3)
God Loves Hair
God Loves Hair by Vivek Shraya; illustrated by Juliana Neufeld (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2014). A seemingly unconnected collection of beautifully written vignettes, tells the true story of a young Indian teen trying to find his place in the world. Shraya writes with intense honesty and insight about the cutting pain of not only being of a different race and religion, but also discovering that he is gay. Readers will be amazed by the author’s strength and resilience. (Grades 7 and up)
Secrets of the Sky Caves
Secrets of the Sky Caves: Danger and Discovery on Nepal’s Mustang Cliffs by Sandra K. Athans (Millbrook Press, 2014). The Mustang Cliffs in Nepal have been untouched for thousands of years. Discover how mountain climbers, archaeologists, scientists and historians all learned how to traverse the seemingly inaccessible “Sky Caves.” What secrets will these modern day adventurers discover – keys to an ancient civilization or simply plundered cave dwellings? (Grades 4-6)

2015 Highly Commended Books

A Pair of Twins
A Pair of Twins by Kavitha Mandana; illustrated by Nayantara Surendranath (Karadi Tales, 2014). A vibrantly illustrated and empowering tale of an Indian girl and her “twin,” an elephant born the same day, who bravely break down cultural and gender barriers while taking on roles historically restricted to males. (Grades K-3)
King for a Day
King for a Day by Rukhsana Khan; illustrated by Christiane Krömer (Lee & Low Books Inc., 2014). Despite being confined to a wheelchair, Malik endeavors to capture the most kites during Basant, the spring festival of kites in Lahore, Pakistan, and become “king” of this special day. Includes author’s note. (PreK-Grade 2)
Escape from Tibet
Escape from Tibet: A True Story by Nick Gray with Laura Scandiffio (Annick Press, 2014). Based on a true story, two brothers from Tibet embark on a dangerous journey to India in search of a better life. A thrilling story of courage and adventure, readers will delight in Tenzin and Pasang’s trek to freedom. (Grades 5-8)
Ms. Marvel Vol. 1: No Normal
Ms. Marvel Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson; illustrated by Adrian Alphona (Marvel Worldwide Inc., 2014). Kamala Khan is many things – a teenager, Pakistani-American, Muslim, Fangirl, and the super hero protector of Jersey City! How is she able to balance all these roles and be the perfect daughter to her parents? Can Kamala be the new Ms. Marvel and still honor her heritage? (Grades 5-8)
The Secret Sky

The Secret Sky by Atia Abawi (Philomel Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group, 2014). This classic tale of taboo love illuminates the cultural and political complexities of present-day Afghanistan. Wrought with tension and dreams of a brighter tomorrow, The Secret Sky humanizes a land often only ever heard about in news sound bites. (Grades 8 and up)

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10. Seriously, I COULD Have Bought A House!

 http://x.annihil.us/u/prod/marvel/i/mg/6/50/4f62512656cdb/background.jpg
As a little postscript to my looking at The Avengers titles I was trying to sort out I have to say "What a ***** mess!"

The current -I say "current" as I don't think it's all ended again as of...oh, I see it has.  Anyway, the last volume of Avengers was volume 6 even though people keep calling it volume 5.  See, the 1963 run was volume 1.  Then there was that awful year long volume 2.  But some do not count that run as a volume but it is. 

Volume 3 was when Busiek and Perez brought back the great stories and art....before others took over. And this is where it gets odd because at around #83 they decided to continue numbering from volume 1 so from #83 you get quite quickly to the final issue -#503.

#503 is the end of volume 3.

Volume 4 has 36 issues and then it moves on to volume 5 which goes to #34.  Volume 6 is The Avengers NOW run which is currently/has ended.

New Avengers volume 1runs to #64.  Volume 2 runs to #34 and New Avengers NOW is volume 3. 

Avengers-Invaders, Avengers Ultron Imperative, Avengers Next, Last Hero Standing and Last Planet Standing are part of the "alternative future" Avengers that featured J2, et al.  Those three mini series along with Marvel Adventures The Avengers were probably the most fun style comics in Marvel's last 20+ years.

Oh, there was also -deeep breath:

 Avengers Finale, Avengers Strike-Force, Secret Avengers (vol. 1 -34 issues), Avengers Earth's Mightiest Heroes (vols. 1 and 2), Dark Avengers, Avengers Infinity Gauntlet (4 issues), Avengers Terminatrix Objective, Avengers Unplugged (4 issues), Avengers -Thunderbolts, The Last Avengers Story (2 issues), Avengers Classic, Avengers V X-Men, A v X (mini series), Avengers Domination Factor (4 issues), Avengers v Agents of Atlas, Avengers-Transformers, Young Avengers, Young Avengers Presents.....

This is overkill unlike any previous comics overkill such as with Superman, X-Men or, good grief -even outdoes Batman and Spiderman overkill.

And I never even touched on The Ultimate Avengers.

There are a few "key issues"  as dealers like to call them.  They are issues they can exploit and try to screw every red penny out of one of those new moronic comic geeks.  The rest?  Well, I've now had FOUR people telling me that selling comics by the kilo is what a lot of people do now because they are like 1920s Deutsch Marks -a barrel load got you, if you were lucky, a loaf of bread.  Sell by bulk and the buyer picks the ones he wants and the rest....he doesn't care.  Bin. Burn.

Really, I know all the ins and outs, I've been buying and reading comics for near on 50 years and to sit here and look at these boxes and realised I could have purchased a house if only I had saved and not bought comics!!

Spread the word.  The Comic Bubble is about to burst -SELL YOUR COMICS WHILE YOU CAN!!!

http://multiversitystatic.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/2012/09/Avengers_1_2_3_Covers.jpg

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11. How to quote

Question: I want to know when get information from other sources e.g. internet, different web sites books etc; at the end do I have to mention all the

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12. That yucky voice again?????

The other day I came across a picture that my daughter drew ten years ago. She was just beginning to fall in love with the theater. I was so enchanted with her depiction of herself taking over the stage.


Until I looked closer. In the middle of the cheering crowd, there was one critic, shall we say, who chose to point a finger at the performer.


My heart sank. Here was proof that, despite how many opportunities and awards Sofia had received, despite how happy she was to be performing, she still heard a yucky voice. In fact, she heard it so clearly that she made it part of her picture.

In my first novel, NATURE GIRL, the main character has a continuing struggle with her yucky voice. As Megan hikes the Appalachian Trail, her confidence grows. The voice gradually fades, until Megan realizes with delight that the voice is gone.

I have to confess that that isn't really accurate. Those who have yucky voices, and I am one of them, know that permanently silencing that voice is very very difficult. The past few months, I've been struggling with an impossible novel. My yucky voice has been positively gleeful to have so many opportunities to make me feel bad. But I haven't let it completely take over my life.  I haven't quit. Instead I keep reminding myself of the positive comments I've received. It feels a little vain to reread kind emails and notes. That goes against my Midwestern upbringing. But why should we dwell on the negative? Why let that one voice be louder than the positive?

And so, in that spirit, I made a few alterations to my daughter's drawing. I decided to include what I know the rest of the audience was thinking. I hope she understands.





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13. Book Review: Dark Sparkler by Ambery Tamblyn

From Goodreads:
The lives of more than twenty-five actresses lost before their time—from Marilyn Monroe to Brittany Murphy—explored in haunting, provocative new work by an acclaimed poet and actress.

Amber Tamblyn is both an award-winning film and television actress and an acclaimed poet. As such she is deeply fascinated-and intimately familiar—with the toll exacted from young women whose lives are offered in sacrifice as starlets. The stories of these actresses, both famous and obscure-tragic stories of suicide, murder, obscurity, and other forms of death—inspired this empathic and emotionally charged collection of new poetic work. 

Featuring subjects from Marilyn Monroe and Frances Farmer to Dana Plato and Brittany Murphy—and paired with original artwork commissioned for the book by luminaries including David Lynch, Adrian Tome, Marilyn Manson, and Marcel Dzama—Dark Sparkler is a surprising and provocative collection from a young artist of wide-ranging talent, culminating in an extended, confessional epilogue of astonishing candor and poetic command. 
Writing
I mean, it's poetry.  It's really hard for me to judge the artistic merits of modern poetry because I don't get most of it.  And I have a lot of insecurity relating to the fact that my brother is a complete professional at poetry (no seriously, he's published and teaches it on a college level) and I am terrified of the entire genre, particularly modern blank verse.  I feel like I have no idea what makes something good versus what makes something random strings of words.

In this case, my gut leads me towards mediocre.  I say that as a total and complete non-expert and I'd happily change my opinion if someone explained things to me differently.  But from what I could tell, these are decent but not exceptional poems.  The idea behind them, however, is original and interesting, especially given that the author is a celebrity herself and that the poems deal with fame and its tragic ends.

I do think she did a fine job of conveying her theme - that celebrity doesn't frequently bring happiness, that aging is a death sentence for the careers of women in show business, and that fame can turn on you in a second.  While the theme came across, I didn't find anything particularly memorable about the language she used or the style of her writing.  It wasn't bad, but I also wasn't impressed enough to keep any of these around for future reference.

Entertainment Value
I think the main entertainment value in these was in looking up each actress and reading about her life and tragic end.  There were only a few I had heard of - Brittany Murphy, Marilyn Monroe - and many who I had the joy of reading about for the first time.  While the book could easily be read in under an hour, I spent quite a few hours with it looking up each actress and reading about her life and what became of her in the end.  Many of the poems only make sense if you read them with a knowledge of the subject's life, so it is important to have that background information.

Overall
I have to say that, while I think this is interesting and original, it's not a must-read.  If you're not really into poetry and the idea of fame and celebrity and its fickleness doesn't particularly interest you, this is probably one you can pass on.  That said, it does make for an interesting concept, particularly with the art included.  I read it right before listening to Almost Famous Women, which I'll be reviewing soon and it made for some very interesting comparison.  I think the two pair pretty well together, if you're looking for something similar in theme.

Thanks to Harper Collins for providing me with a copy to review.

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14. Throw Back Thursday

Feeling nostalgic. This was taken in the Fall of 2007. And yes, Kevin is holding a little clicker/timer thingie.

I miss these boys – so young.


Filed under: Throw Back Thursday

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15. Mark Ford Wins Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism

Mark Ford has been awarded the 2015 Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism, which honors the best book-length works of criticism, including biographies, essay collections and critical editions that consider the subject of poetry or poets.

The honor, given by The Poetry Foundation, was for Ford’s work “This Dialogue of One: Essays on Poets from John Donne to Joan Murray” from Eyewear Publishing. The award includes $7,500 in prize money. The prize will be presented at a ceremony at the Poetry Foundation on Monday June 8. The Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize will also be presented at the ceremony.

\"If more literary criticism were like this, more people would read it,\" British journalist John Lanchester has said of Ford’s work.

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16. Love Interest?

Hi! I am a huge fan of your site and I have a question... (I am sixteen, by the way.)(Sorry for the terrible grammar ^^;) I am currently making a story

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17. The Mushroom Gatherers


Something from earlier in the spring, back when green, growing things seemed as farfetched as mushroom gathering maidens.

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18. The Islanders review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of yet another dark, dark tale by Pascal Garnier, The Islanders, UK-available, and due out shortly in the US.

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19. Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Paul Pope

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Paul Pope is one of the indy comics/small press stars to emerge from the 1990’s. Premiering in 1994, his self-published comic THB is the futuristic story of a girl living on Mars with her super-powered, inflatable bodyguard. It’s hard to categorize Paul Pope’s work. I see that THB often gets lumped in with other genre indy comics of that era, like Jeff Smith’s Bone and James A. Owen’s Starchild. I see his work fitting better in the alternative/small press sphere, at least stylistically speaking. Maybe that’s just a testament to the uniqueness of Pope’s work; his fluid line work and stark sense of design.

Paul Pope has been living and working in New York City for most of his career. He’s created comics for many of the major comics publishers, including the multi-Eisner winner Batman 100 for DC Comics.

Recently, Paul Pope created the graphic novel Battling Boy for First Second, with the follow-up titled The Rise of Aurora West.

You can keep up with all things Paul Pope on his website here.

For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com – Andy Yates

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20. A Missed Opportunity in Cynthia DeFelice's FORT

The L.A. Times  released their Summer Reading Guide earlier today. I glanced at the Kids list. I'm thrilled to see Engle's Enchanted Air on it, and Older's Shadowshaper, too. I found much to love in both of those books.

I noticed Fort by Cynthia DeFelice on the list, too. Fort? That's one of the story lines that often trades on stereotypes of American Indians. Does DeFelice do that? I don't know. I haven't read her book. From the synopsis, it doesn't sound like it has anything to do with Native peoples:

In this boys-will-be-boys summer story about friendship and revenge, eleven-year-old Wyatt and his friend Augie aren't looking for a fight. They're having the best summer of their lives hanging out in the fort they built in the woods, fishing and hunting, cooking over a campfire, and sleeping out. But when two older boys mess with the fort--and with another kid who can't fight back--the friends are forced to launch Operation Doom, with unexpected results for all concerned, in this novel about two funny and very real young heroes.


Curious, though, I ran the "look inside" search on Amazon, using "Indian" and found this on page 74:



The set up for that passage is this: the boys are hunting squirrels. They have to be very still. Flies land on one of the boys and he wants to swat at the one that lands on his nose. That's when he thinks about that movie. In the next paragraph, he sees that ants are crawling on him. The third paragraph starts out "It seemed like a long time went by." Finally a squirrel comes by and the story shifts to hunting.

Did that passage about Indians and ants need to be in the story? What does it add? When I read "a movie" in that excerpt above, I started looking for such a movie. I found lots of references to an episode in Sons of Anarchy when the "Wahewa" Indians bury a man up to his neck and let ants crawl all over him. I'm sure there's similar scenes in old western flicks.

But regardless of what movie that scene is in, what does it add to this story?

If I was editing the manuscript, I think I'd have suggested that the author cut that paragraph and the next one. She could go from being still (paragraph before that one with the Indian movie reference) to the one that started out "It seemed like a long time went by."

I titled this post "a missed opportunity" because another option to address that excerpt is that the author could have inserted stupid so that the excerpt reads "I sat as quietly as I could, remembering a stupid movie I saw..." or another sentence at the end, such as "That was a stupid movie. When are movie makers going to stop making movies like that?!"

Lest you be tempted to say "it is one line" -- please think about all the "one lines" about Indians there are in children's books, in movies, in songs, in grocery store items, in video games, on athletic team gear... It adds up! Those one lines introduce inaccurate information and reinforce inaccurate information, too.

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21. BookGrabbr Encourages Readers to Promote Books Online

Hachette, Simon & Schuster, Worthy, Regnery, Beaufort and Dunham Books are among publishers test driving a new social media marketing tool for publishers called BookGrabbr.

The online marketing tool allows publishers to give away eBooks or sections of eBooks in exchange for a social share from consumers. The idea is that by giving consumers book excerpts and requiring them to post about it on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, that they will spread the word about the book with their networks and the book’s will take off virally.

BookGrabbr relaunched its platform at BEA this week in New York with more than 2,000 titles in its library. The tool allows publishers and authors to analyze who is downloading and previewing books to help understand their readership and use this data to inform marketing efforts. The tool also has an automated push function, so that authors posting on their own social media sites can automatically promote the book “grabb” to their networks.

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22. Books from Finland to cease publication

       I'm a big fan of national literary organizations' various efforts to try to spread the word about local literature for foreign markets -- and Books from Finland has long been among the most impressive such efforts.
       How long ?

Books from Finland, which presents Finnish literature in English, has appeared since 1967. Until 2008 the journal appeared four times a year in a paper version, and subsequently as a web publication. Over the decades Books from Finland has featured thousands of Finnish books, different literary genres and contemporary writers as well as classics. Its significance as a showcase for our literature has been important.
       Indeed -- and I've often mentioned and linked to stories there. Most recently, just ... the day before yesterday.
       Alas, now comes word that: "The Finnish Literature Society is to cease publication of the online journal Books from Finland with effect 1 July 2015", as: Books from Finland to take archive form.
       As they note:
The reasons for ceasing publication of Books from Finland are also economic. Government aid to the Finnish literature information centre FILI, which has functioned as the journal's home, has been cut by ten per cent.
       And, yes, FILI remains, and remains a useful resource -- but I'm shocked and disturbed to hear:
The need for the presentation of our literature has changed. Among the ways in which FILI continues to develop its remit is to focus communications on international professionals in the book field, on publishers and on agents.
       Dear god ! What an awful idea ! It's the readers you want to reach -- and something Books from Finland could do so well. 'Professionals' are, in every case, a highly suspect class -- and that goes many times over for this odd field that is publishing; leave them out of it when and where you can. (Be cautious in your trust of amateurs -- or semi-pros, like me -- too, of course, but the 'professionals' ... no, no, no .....)

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23. BEA 2015: More French comics on the way to the US

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The gorgeous Albertine bookstore at the French Embassy.

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I’m in the middle of Book Expo/Book Con hubbub but I wanted to draw beat readers attention to the conference on French-language comics held this past Tuesday as a kickoff for BEA. The invite-only event was organized by BIEF, a French books organization, but agent/translator Ivanka Hahnenberger , and included representatives of 35 US publishers and many French ones as well. There were lots and lots and lots of stats thrown out, and maybe the decks will be made public at some time, but I summed up some of them for the piece:

The event is part of a renewed effort by BIEF to attract more attention to French comics in a growing U.S. market that is changing to be more accepting of content beyond the superhero genre that has dominated it for decades. More such efforts are planned. Castille announced that in the fall of 2015, a coalition of 13 comics publishers from eight countries is launching Europecomics.com, an EU-cofunded online venture aimed at the North American market that will provide information and highlight events around European graphic novels.

Comics—or “bande desinée” as they are known in France—make up a much larger portion of the French publishing market than they do the U.S., about 12.5% of all the books published, compared to about 3% in the U.S. According to statistics from Livres Hebdo (the PW of France) 349 French comic publishers put out 5000 graphic novels in 2014, compared to 1500 graphic novels distributed in the U.S. through Diamond. Sales in France were led by the latest volume of the long-running humor comics series Asterix with 1.634 million copies sold.



Other numbersL currently digital comics make up only 1% of the French market, a fact that Izdeo and Comixology are trying to change…give them time, I’m sure it will happen.


The day was part of an effort to bring more Francophone comics to the US. Given the success of things like Beautiful Darkness, Lulu Anew, Exquisite Corpse, Sardine in Space, Robert Moses and Blue is the Warmest Color — all books from a spectrum of US publishers—it seems this is starting to happen. We may never get the total range of French GNs but we’re getting more of them and the variety is definitely adding to the general golden age of comics we’re now experiencing.

IMG_3541.JPGSchmoozing over wine and cheese.

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This fall europecomics.com will launch, a portal for all things Euro.

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24. Convergence #8 Marks Another Reboot for the DC Universe

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So…while you were away DC Comics just rebooted their Universe. I know, I know, DC does this all the time. The last specific instance being in 2011, when this whole New 52 business first started. However, yesterday’s Convergence #8 revealed the publisher’s ulterior motives for the event.

Spoilers for Convergence #8.

Minor Information Update: 8:30

This might sound completely ridiculous, but it turns out that DC was actually trying to utilize their huge crossover to simply do some maintenance on their current Multiverse policy. So…the Multiverse is now back with new versions of old characters along with the full Multiverse concept, the difference is that all of these worlds have evolved for the aforementioned new characters. The Multiversity Guidebook #1 seems to be more important than ever, as the company is now trying to bring that series into effect with the various worlds introduced inside of it.

Of course, the publisher loves telling event series that are born out of huge sweeping changes to their line. One of the most notable and influential stories being the seminal Crisis on Infinite Earths by George Perez and Marv Wolfman. Since then, the DC has attempted to pay homage to that story time and time again. However, Flashpoint, and the New 52 did mark a time of exploration with them — albeit a tumultuous time in comics that ended up splitting comics fandom in two towards their opinions of DC. In fact, Convergence #8 featured a pair of splash pages highlighting some of the different Earths that were saved by Brainiac in the big event.

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The planets with updated characters from the Multiverse include the Pre-Crisis Universe, the New 52 Universe, a gender swapped Universe, a Bizarro Universe, Earth 2, an Ultra Comics Universe, Captain Carrot’s Universe, a place for the Charlton characters, a world for Kamandi to roam free as the last boy on Earth, and more.

Yet with Divergence now being imminent as the next upcoming DC reboot, the company is really attempting to give comics fandom exactly what they want. The House of Batman and Superman are experimenting with new looks for each character and shedding some light on their older and newer established properties. DC is always stronger when they take advantage of their already established canon. DC is over 75 years young, which is exactly why spinning concepts like Prez with new cultural context is likely going to payoff for the comics creators.

With a Multiverse filled with characters both old and new, comics fans should honestly be excited about what is coming next — even if the event that got us here (Convergence) seemed to be too wrapped up in editorial policy to contain a story that stood it’s own ground as a great comic book.

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25. #701 – The Trapper Twins Go to War (with each other) by Geoff Rodkey

rodkey_tappertwins_pob The Tapper Twins Go to War (with Each Other)

written by Claudia Tapper with Geoff Rodkey
Little, Brown and Company     4/07/2015
978-0-316-29779-0
236 pages     Age 8—12

“This brand-new series by a popular screenwriter is a pitch-perfect, contemporary comedy featuring twelve-year-old fraternal twins, Claudia and Reese, who couldn’t be more different…except in their determination to come out on top in a vicious prank war! But when the competition escalates into an all-out battle that’s fought from the cafeteria of their New York City private school all the way to the fictional universe of an online video game, the twins have to decide if their efforts to destroy each other are worth the price.

“Told as a colorful “oral history” by the twins and their friends, and including photos, screenshots, chat logs, online gaming digital art, and text messages between their clueless parents, The Tapper Twins is a hilariously authentic showcase of what it’s like to be in middle school in our digitally-saturated world.” [publisher]

Review
Claudia and Reese, age 12, twins, are at war, with each other. Who started the war depends on whom you ask, Claudia or Reese. They cannot agree on anything. Claudia decides, after the war is over, to document what happened. She writes using all at her disposal, including photos, interviews, online screenshots, and her mostly-absent parents’ phone text messages. I love her description of her and Reese,

“We are, unfortunately, twins. I am twelve years old. Reese is six.”

Reese interjects whenever he can. Like any war, it starts when one side (Reese), accuses the other side (Claudia), of doing something wrong (farting in the sixth-grade cafeteria), which harms others (a few sixth-grade princess sensibilities, many noses, and Jens—Claudia’s secret crush). Embarrassed and angry at such a terrible accusation—she claims innocence—Claudia is out for revenge. The War has begun. 

TAPPER TWINS GO TO WAR (spread 1)

Claudia tries several ways of embarrassing her brother, but Reese does not embarrass easily. Claudia begins by placing a large, dead, stinky fish in Reese’s backpack, but even after several days, and others complaining of the awful smell, Reese doesn’t notice. When he learns of the fish, he fires back. Then Claudia returns his fire, and back-and-forth, until someone is tragically hurt. The fighting is both online and off for some digital-age humor. Claudia also allows others to comment in her “Officially True History of the War between the Trapper Twins (Claudia and Reese).” These interjections into Claudia’s history of war help the story gel into a humorous middle school tale. Readers meet Claudia’s secret Norwegian crush (Jens), the twins’ Upper East Side private school friends, the snobby Princesses, and the twin’s parents.

TAPPER TWINS GO TO WAR (spread 3)

Rodkey, who wrote the excellent Chronicles of Egg series (reviewed here: bk1, bk2, bk3), knows his readers well and understands how siblings fight. I loved the first book of this new series, which delves into cyberbullying as part of the twins’ fighting. Even though Claudia writes the history, she comes off as the antagonist, rather than the victim she sees herself to be, making it easy to favor Reese. Still, the sibling fighting feels natural, not forced. That the twins are more alike than they believe and never really lose their sibling-love is also true to form. If you have siblings, you just might recognize yourself in either Claudia or Reese.

The Trapper Twins will have readers laughing, happily rolling their eyes, and smiling throughout its witty story. Those who like the Dork series, or the Aldo Zelnick Alphabet Novels (example here), will love The Trapper Twins even more. The Trapper Twins series continues this September with book 2: The Trapper Twins Tear Up New York. The prologue and first chapter are at the back of this book to give you a taste of the next. I cannot wait to continue this series. I love Rodkey’s writing and his wit.

THE TRAPPER TWINS GO TO WAR (WITH EACH OTHER). Text copyright © 2015 by Geoff Rodkey. Illustrations and photographs (except where noted) copyright © 2015 by Geoff Rodkey. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Little, Brown and Company, New York, NY.

Purchase The Trapper Twins Go to War at AmazonBook DepositoryiTunesHachette Book Group.

The Trapper Twins made the New York Times Bestseller List at #14!
Learn more about The Trapper Twins Go to War (with each other) HERE.
Read an Excerpt HERE.

Meet the author, Geoff Rodkey, at his website:  http://geoffrodkey.com/
Meet the illustrator, The Trapper Twins book website:  http://www.tappertwins.com/
Find more middle grade books at the Little, Brown and Company website:  http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/kids/

Little, Brown and Company is part of the Hachette Book Group

Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Review section word count = 413

trapper twins go to war 2015 bk 1 little brown company

 


Filed under: 5stars, Books for Boys, Favorites, Middle Grade, Series Tagged: Brown and Company, Chronicle of Egg, family relationships, Geoff Rodkey, Hachette Book Grou, humor, Little, New York City, private schools, sibling fighting, The Trapper Twins Go to War (with each other), The Trapper Twins Tear Up New York, twins

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