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1. Week in Review 3/29/15

 
Last week's week in review had Jennifer F. Donohue asking about one of my favorite topics: paint!
Did you repaint the office? Did I miss what colors you'd selected? We've got paint chips up in the circulation room of the library, but no consensus yet. One of the orange-y colors was called "Pompeii Clay", which I thought perhaps not in good taste, but I found a nice gray to pair with it (they did not call it "Vesuvius Ashfall"). My coworkers do not agree

we DID repaint the office and the color was my new fave: Montgomery White.
I haven't taken pictures yet cause it's still not completely pulled together. Soon though, soon!

Christina Seine's new notebook has a quote I like very much:
The very first thing I wrote in it was a line I heard today while watching the "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" - (to paraphrase): "Everything is going to work out alright in the end. If it is not alright, then it is not the end yet."

And it turns out that Amy Schaefer, while not liking acronyms much, has a some pretty good ones;
"...but of course, the EFI report was bogged down with the AWT--"
"What does EFI mean?" I asked. I already knew the answer to this question.
"Extremely Frigging Important. Then Charlie--"
"And AWT?"
"Awesome Wonder Team."
"Right. Carry on."

Kate Larkindale makes a good point that applies to people just starting a "new career" as writers:
I've just started a new job, and after 23 years at the finished end of the film production chain, going back to the beginning of it has been like learning a new language.
Publishing vernacular can be rare and strange indeed. Even for people who have been "in books" or a career that was a different kind of writing can be bewildered by all sorts of terms.
I'm reminded of this every time a query writer writes that s/he wants me to "review" a book.

On Monday the discussion turned to the value of a blurb offer in a query letter.

Colin asked:
My question for QOTKU, therefore, is: How does blurbing work? How do publishers know they're going to get good reviews from the people they ask to blurb? Do they ever get blurbers write back saying "Sorry, I hated this book. I can't give you a positive blurb." I would like to think so."

No one knows what kinds of blurbs they're going to get. Generally the unspoken protocol is that if you don't like the book, you say you don't have time now to read for a blurb.  You do NOT trash it.  Well, you can, but it would be very very rude.  And unless it's hilariously funny, a bad blurb would never be used on a book.

That said, I've used some VERY bad reviews in subsequent press releases (earlier in my career) because it was very clear that the reviewer had missed the point of the book completely. 

and bass points out one of the biggest problems with blurbs:
I do recall, however, middle-school-me almost refusing to read The Hunger Games when I borrowed it because Stephenie Meyer had blurbed it and I was in a huge anti-Twilight phase.

Colin asked:
Is it the job of the publisher or the author to ask for blurbs? Are authors required to pursue them, or are they only asked to do this if they happen to have contact with HPNYTBSAs?
The editor and agent and author cooperate jointly on blurbs usually.

Angie Brooksby-Arcangioli asked:
My question is do publishers pay for blurbs? Especially HPNYTBSA?
No. No one pays for blurbs. If you see anyone offering to sell you blurbs, it's a flim flam artist not a real service.

And then Chirstina Seine just blew us all out of the waterwith the Pinterest board for Carkoon.


And until I was doing this week in review I had managed to forget that last Monday was pretty awful here:


1. There is no heat in my office
2. My computer broke
3. I left my cell phone at home

Julie asked how all that happened: the boiler in the building went on the fritz and my computer just died. It was very old so not a complete shocker, but annoying all the same.  This was the desktop in the office that has all the company info, not my laptop that has my day to day stuff on it.

I seriously thought of exiling myself to Carkoon, if only to get warm.
But then I had a better idea: a writing contest. The entries in contest are always great, and make me laugh, and THAT will warm us all up.

So, Tuesday was the Surprise Writing Contest in honor of Colin's birthday.
The prompt words were chosen for their relevance to Colin:
smith: obviously, since this is his name
exile: since his exile to Carkoon, this is where he lives
link: he's become the blog's resident link master, helping everyone do clickable links
seven: well, I thought there were seven kids, but now I hear there are only six?
music: Colin blogs about music (among other topics)

And there were some fabulous entries, We saw the finalist on Thursday, including Colin's own:
(2) Colin Smith 12:20pm

"What ya doing, Dr. Smith?"

I gritted my teeth and turned to see the Robinson boy.

"Fixing the communication
linkin my ship so I can call for help."

"Where's the Robot?"

I moved to hide the disembodied pincer that sat beside my leg. After
seven years' exile with these fools, I was desperate enough to cannibalize that machine to try to fix my ship.

"I'm channeling his
musiccircuits to… uh… enhance the frequency."

"I hope it works. The rescue ship's here and there's only room for the family."

The brat even smiled and waved as he ran off.

Which I loved because it was an homage to Lost In Space from 60's TV, but even if you didn't know that the story worked perfectly. I love that in stories, the multiple layers. Incredibly hard to do in 100 words!

And the winning entry was
4) Lobo 10:50pm

Indus’rial sabotage. Murder. Same ta me (truth b’told). ’Specially after that tex’ile mill job. But we’d already hit two competitors and my sevens game was callin’.

Creep kept squintin' at the building through oily Detroit smog. “He sleeps here with all them T-cars.”

“Model Teas, ya word
smith.” I said. “An’ people say yer the smarty.”

Creep linked up the dynamite plunger, grinning so wide I thought his cheeks would bury his eyeballs. “Whatsa fella’s company again?”

I shrugged. “Stars with an F.”

“Should I start the
music?”

“Nah. Leave ’im. Man sleepin’ with cars pro’ly don’t have much a future.”


I loved this because of the creative use of the prompt words (always something I look for) and that if you knew your history, this is really funny. If you don't know your history it's just a good story. Again, layers. And that's not even mentioning voice, which is hard to nail in a novel, let alone 100 words.

All the entries had a lot going for them, it was a tough choice.
I like what donnaeverhart pointed out in the comments on the contest:

I've been thinking about something for a while. Many times we woodland creatures worry about nitpicky things like someone stealing our stupendous writing idea if we shared too much of it.

This contest actually proves what we've been told many times in the writing community; "Only you can write your story."

Think about it. We're given five words, and not one of us ever comes close to having a similar story. We might re-use a word or two in the same way (wordsmith, for example) but beyond that, our stories are as diverse as our fingerprints and voices.

And donnaeverhart also wondered:
.." I've often wondered,(one or two of mine have landed here I think)what it is that makes them not a story for you? I've come to the conclusion it's because in some way, the writer hasn't resolved the MC's situation. I.e. it's left hanging in some way. Am I close?
Mostly it's that "not a story" is more like a scene, not a story with a start, middle, and end. It's hard to describe, but there's almost always what you'd call a punch line, or a twist of some sort that gives it that extra boost to story.

On Wednesday we talked about querying magazines versus querying books,

Janet Rundquist asked:
"There are a lot of places now to publish articles that don't require querying first at all. The danger there is if your writing isn't up to par, you can damage your career pretty easily."

I'm not quite sure what this means. ie: the publication will remember your first sub-par submission and it will prejudice them for future attempts? Or that they might actually publish it and others will see this sub-par quality and make judgments from there? Or...?

If you have a lot of bad writing up on the web, and you query me, I'm going to see it. This is particularly true of non-fiction. A non-fiction query has a concept and a plan. There are a lot of good concepts and plans out there, so the trick is figuring out if this querier can actually write. First stop: the google.  Locate all the pub credits. Read.
The google is merciless though: it coughs up the bad writing as well as the good.

Colin asked:
How is it different with a short story submission to a mag?
Very different. Those rejected stories don't get published, and if you get rejected, it's not likely editors remember your name. It's also expected that writers get better over time, so some very bad work is simply ascribed to "new writer" and that's that.
 It's the rush to publish that will kill you. There are a lot of places to put work out there that have NO editorial oversight. Editorial oversight is your friend when you are a writer. Especially when you think it isn't.

Bjmuntain had some good points on writing non-fiction article as well:
One thing to take away from querying non-fiction magazines: Don't wait until you've finished writing the article to query, unless you want to prove to yourself you can write that article. Non-fiction magazines buy ideas - very unlike fiction magazines - and they'll reject the idea, too. They don't want to see a full article until they commission it, based on your idea. Since you wouldn't sell the same article to two magazines (even similar magazines have different focuses and styles), you'll just be rewriting the article again.

Basically, the difference between fiction and non-fiction magazines is: Fiction magazines buy writing. Non-fiction magazines buy ideas, and they assume you can write the idea. This latter is why it's good to have 'clippings' - articles or other writing you can point to, to tell the magazine 'See? I can write goooood.' Of course, that's where the catch 22 comes in: magazines want you to have previous published pieces, but you can't get those unless a magazine will publish them.

If you feel your non-fiction writing on your chosen topic is professional enough, you could start a blog about it, to get pub credit and followers. I believe it's not difficult to get a blog on io9, and it may attract more readers. Or, if you're able to market your blog, you can do that, too.

And I'm really sure Barbara Poelle hasn't seen her new bio courtesy of brianrschawarz, but I plan to have it engraved on something silver for her:

a woman who was clearly the sole influence in Eve's decision to eat the apple in the garden of Eden in the first place...

And then the comments just fell off into the hilarity I love, which is a good thing because this was the day that I got my new computer and discovered I couldn't get my back ups reinstalled.

Fortunately on Thursday, I was able to get tech support on the phone and several hours later, voila!, success.  Not much work got done, but all in all, we're counting that as a good day.

On Friday, we turned to the topic of very small print runs of a book.

Carolynwith2Ns had a lovely analogy for this kind of thing, and then everyone else just fell off the topic and right into hilarity, starting with Amy Schaefer wishing us happy returns from the future and Colin talking to himself about the reality of Carkoon.

LynnRodz did ask a good question though:
Am I wrong to think "this is the day and age of forever" only applies to free blogs?

Yes. The New York Times is pretty much forever online too, which is ok if you're just publishing blather cause the NYT isn't going to print that, but there are sites without those standards that last a long time.
bjmuntain has an excellent point here:
Once you put something out on the internet - no matter where - you no longer have control over it. Despite security precautions and content protection, it's out of your hands. (You still have copyright, but you don't have control. Neither does the website it was posted on.)

On Saturday, a reader asked if I had ever missed a "big book."

Melissa had an interesting story along those lines:
I heard a Pulitzer-prize winning author speak at a class and tell the story of some good advice she once gave. An editor friend asked her thoughts about a horse book that was going up for auction. This author had a love of horses and dabbled with a few books in the genre.

"Do you think I should bid on it?" the editor asked.

"No, horse books never sell," the author advised.

With this great tip, the editor passed on the chance to bid for Seabiscuit. Amazingly, they're still friends.

This actually underscores my point: that editor was not the right editor for that book. How do I know? She asked for opinions on whether she should buy it. The right editor generally LUSTS for the manuscript, wants to buy it, and the only thing she wants to know is how much she can offer.

Dena Pawling asked
How much extra work are books/authors like that? Previously you mentioned/joked that Little, Brown had an entire branch office dedicated to James Patterson. I'm sure an agent can max out on the number of clients she represents. So if, for example, you represented five Lee Child's, or apparently just one James Patterson, would that be all you could handle? Their royalty statements are probably longer, and I imagine you have to field more calls regarding sales of rights [a nice bit of extra work, I'm sure]. But is a mega-selling book/author 10% more work than your “normal” clients, or 25%, or 100%? Inquiring minds [okay, maybe just mine] want to know.

If you have a mega-best selling author, yup, you staff up for it. Much depends on the kind of work being generated. Film deals, translation deals, permissions, rights. Some of that requires planning and executing. Some of it just requires detailed record keeping and follow up.  The king of work being added determines what kind of staffing up you do.

Craig has taken my answer to the question as a personal challenge: 
Nothing you have turned down has gone on to big things. I guess that I'm going to have to prove you wrong. I'm sorry, I still love you and have all of the respect in the world for you but that is just how it has to be.

Craig, the trick here is that you're going to have to query me for the book that DOES become a big success. It doesn't count if you queried me for an earlier novel and I passed then.

Mister Furkles asked: 
With over 100 queries every week, do you even remember the ones you turn down. I imagine you might remember manuscripts, especially if you read to the end. But do you remember rejected queries?
I don't remember the queries I turn down. BUT, I read pages from most of the novels that I think might be a good fit here, so I read a lot of stuff I don't take on.

And just in case you need something to scare you more than querying, DLM gave us this:
Last night, I must've had you on my mind too, because - after running across something about "body horror" when researching agents, I ended up having a dream about having scary cysts removed from my body that turned out to be lima beans.

I honestly didn't realize just how much a part of my mental landscape this community is ...


A few housekeeping notes for y'all.

Next week is Holy Week, and I will NOT be posting original content to the blog Thursday-Sunday. I will be in church, praying for all the people of the world. Yup, we do that and it's actually very interesting to see the order folks get mentioned.  We pray for everyone including atheists this week!
Thursday is The Easter Triduum and the mass of the Lords' Supper.
Friday is the Liturgy of the Lord's Passion at 3pm, followed by Tenebae at 6pm.
This is the only day of the year that I wish I lived in a less secular world.  When exiting the church after the light has gone out of the world, it's jarring to see people just conducing their daily business as normal, laughing, eating ice cream, reading novels!  Fortunately, we DO live in a country where I can go to the church of my choice on a Friday, even if it's not the faith of the majority.
On Saturday, the Great Vigil of Easter starts at 8pm, and of course Sunday is Easter.

No matter what your religious leaning, or non-leaning, we can all celebrate the arrival of spring, and rebirth. I hope it is a lovely time for you, and the start of a great new season.

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2. Picture book roundup - more funny ones!

Here are two new funny additions to add to my earlier post, Picture Book Roundup - new or coming soon!

We were reading these at work the other night.  All you could hear were laughs, chuckles, and "awww"s.


  • Dyckman, Ame. 2015. Wolfie the Bunny. New York: Little Brown.  Illustrated by Zacharia OHora.


This one had all the library staff laughing! Wolfie is the cutest little wolf in a bunny suit, but the star of this story is his sister, Dot. Doesn't anyone else realize that a wolf does not make a good brother for a bunny? Every time I read it, I find something else amusing in the illustrations.  See you at the Carrot Patch Co-op! (Bring your own shopping bag.)



  • Slater, David Michael. 2015. The Boy & the Book. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge. Illustrated by Bob Kolar.

This wordless book about a book and a "rough-and-tumble" little boy will crack you up and then make you say "Awww!" It's sure to become a librarian favorite. You'll love the blue book (but "read" them all!)




Musing for the day: How does one become a wordless picture book author? ;)

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3. PYSANKA {DYED EGGS} By Roz Chast


March 20 – April 18, 2015 at Danese/Corey 

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4. Masterclass


I will hold a master class in Moscow Bratec Lis School in May 2015. For more information about the master class , please visit: http://bit.ly/1xn67SF 
Я проведу мастер-класс в Москве в Bratec Lis School в мае 2015. Подробную информацию о мастер-классе смотрите на сайте - http://bit.ly/1xn67SF

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5. Hopping on Easter

via http://ignitingwriting.com/gmabookclub/hopping-on-easter




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6. How to Create Interactive Timelines

If you're looking for an awesome online report option for biographies or nonfiction texts, you'll love Hstry.co. Hstry is a site where students can create cool looking, interactive timelines with text, images, videos, and embedded quizzes. 

These are really good looking timelines! If you don't believe me, check out this sample on World War I, or this one about the History of Immigration in theUnited States. And your students can create timelines that look just as good.

In my case, however, I didn't want a timeline. My sixth graders had just read nonfiction books of choice, with topics as varied as fashion, venomous animals, and accidental inventions. I needed a venue that would permit them to show off their topic's most interesting facts. So in my case, my students used the site to create linear collages rather than timelines. The video below (which I created and hosted for free at Screencast-O-Matic) walks you through one of those projects.




I spent a good deal of time modeling the process of creating a Hstry timeline in class (and you'll need to do the same), but some students were still somewhat fuzzy on all the steps even after I finished. Plus, three students were absent the day I modeled the how-to. So I created the following video which walks students through the process. Note: do not make a video when all you have for audio production is a dollar store microphone. The project sheet to which the video refers is here if you care to see it.



One downside to this site is that (at present) students cannot publicly share their projects. So in my class we did mini field trips. Students logged in and set up their projects on their screens. I then randomly distributed our class name cards, and students went and visited the Hstry project belonging to the classmate whose name appeared on the card. While visiting, my students provided feedback via a form I created. After two visits, all students were allowed to return to their projects, read the feedback form, and then make corrections as needed. Following these revisions, we conducted two more staged visits, and then students were permitted to visit as they chose or return to their own laptop to improve their work.

Sample Applications for the Classroom:

  • Create a timeline of historical events.
  • Create a biographical timeline.
  • Embed multiple videos, each with its own quiz.
  • Do what my students did, and use it as a linear collage for a nonfiction book.
  • Create your own timeline (as a teacher) to provide students with needed historical context they need before a new unit. 
Notes and Caveats:

  • Again, student timelines are not publicly visibly (yet), and may never be, so plan accordingly.
  • Check-off sheets like the one I created are key to help students manage the content they're adding.
  • Looking for other creative, tech-oriented ways to create book reports? Check out these 23 iPad Alternatives to the Book Report.
  • No, I did not really read the book about chickens, but I did spend summers running a farm at camp, so I know my way around a chicken coop.

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7. I'm accepted in as an iStock contributor!

It is official, I got the word last night, I have been accepted in as an iStock contributor for vector illustration. This achievement took longer than I had anticipated because all vector files must be submitted as .eps version 10 files. What's the problem with that you ask. Well Adobe came out with transparency in color stops inside gradients with CS4 (I think), so if any vector elements contained a gradient with transparency then in the conversion to .eps v. 10 those elements rasterized. Ugh! I love using transparency within gradients, it is a fast, easy way to get soft edges and seamless flowing blends. Believe me I tried everything to stop the rasterization.

Finally I went to my "zig-zag" style of art, which I developed when my client's T-shirt printer could not work with files containing gradients or transparency. That's when "Kiss Me, I'm Irish" was born, followed by this one "Hello Hatchling." Baby Chicken-01Yes, she is very pink, but her brother is coming out of his shell soon and he'll be blue.

      

Related Stories

 

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8. Cinebook The 9th Art: Buck Danny 5 -Thunder over the Cordillera

 
Buck Danny 5:Thunder over the Cordillera
Authors: Francis Bergèse
Age: 10 years and up
Size: 21.7 x 28.7 cm
Number of pages:  48 colour pages
Publication: January 2015
ISBN: 9781849182379
Price: £6.99 inc. VAT
 
 
Managua is on the verge of civil war. Arrested by order of President Sanchez, Buck and his friends have managed to convince the pilots of the Managuean Air Force that their nation’s leader is in the pockets of drug cartels.

With the assistance of the unit they’d come to train, Buck escaped to request assistance from US authorities. Meanwhile, Sonny and Tumb will have to help their rebel allies fight back loyalist forces – and Lady X’s mercenaries…

If things looked a little grim in part one of this story then...."things hot up" even more in this continuation.   Drug cartels, intrigue and some good old aerial action that might not have been out of place in a British weekly war comic like Battle.

Buck Danny is legendary -hopefully these books will see his legend grows to include the UK!

You can read my review of part 1 -"No Fly Zone" here:  http://hoopercomicart.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/cinebook-9th-art-buck-danny-4-no-fly.html
 
 

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9. The Phantom. The Ancient Alien Gods. 2000 AD and The Supernaturals

Hooper's Bumper Review Sunday is over.  Enjoy it?

It's odd but that comment years ago that I was spoilt comic-wise just might be true.  I was putting books away and then decided to sort the shelves out even more.  I picked out at least seven books I could not even remember having.  Then there were the books and comic albums I had forgotten about including The Phantom Comic Album #2 from World Distributors going back to January 1967...

Phantom Comic Album TPB #2-1ST

How can you not love that cover?!

Or how about from 1978 (I think)  The Gods From outer Space: Revolt Of The Titans? Published by Magnet Books.  I think there were only four (I have just the one now that I inherited from my late research colleague Franklyn A. Davin-Wilson after his death in 1983).  There was 1. Descent in the Andes  2. Atlantis, Men and Monsters, 3.  The War of the Chariots and, 4. Revolt of the Titans.
  
http://www.solutionsblog.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/510HOk7WUiL._SL500_.jpg

Man, the memories!

Then I found the 1994 2000 AD Yearbook which, I think, was the one Managing Editor at Fleetway, Gil Page gave me.  Had a lovely fold out cover.  A very nicely designed cover.


Ahh, I got it.  Fleetway had, circa 1987, a comic based on the rather un-sensational Tonka Toy line The Supernaturals -preview comic cover below....
 

When Fleetway was thinking about (for the second time) what was supposed to be successor to that title, The Paranormals (the intro story -24pp?- was printed for the first time in Tales Of Terror 3 from Black Tower),  I had sent a European comic -I think it was a Small Press one- where they had used a fold out cover and I suggested that it might be a good idea.  On a later visit to Fleetway Gil handed me this beauty.

That 1994 Year Book really had a very cool designed cover and art.

After finding these and others I sat down to watch Finding Bigfoot....and fell asleep.  I'm guessing they never did find it.

Meh.  That's life.

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10. Cartoon … Broom story

The post Cartoon … Broom story appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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11. The Sculptor Book Review

Title: The Sculptor Author: Scott McCloud Publisher: First Second Publication Date: February 3, 2015 ISBN-13: 978-1596435735 496 pp. ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley Comic book authority Scott McCloud wrote and illustrated the graphic novel The Sculptor, his first work of fiction in over 20 years. The fact that it's already in development for a film should give you a clue that it's a

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12. Ozark Regional Arts Council, Mountain Home, AR

Ozark Regional Arts Council, Mountain Home, AR

Our April 20, 2015 meeting of the Ozark Regional Arts Council will be considered our Annual Membership Meeting. We welcome all BOD and our individual and organizational members as well our sponsors to attend.

Please RSVP if you plan to attend as we will have drink and light food during this meeting.

As many of you know from attending or coming to our monthly meetings, ORAC sponsors a Women Artist Retreat each year in September. This year we have Lisa Eldridge as our watercolor guest artist/instructor.

Cathy Demko (Hardy, AR) is our scheduled guest artist/instructor in oil. Unfortunately, Cathy is dealing with serious family health issues in Arizona and is unable to come back to Mountain Home for our Retreat this Fall.  Please keep Cathy in your prayers as she is the care taker for both her step mom and husband.

Bill Barksdale, again as many of you know, is our "resident" photographer who informs and  amazes us with his evening presentations and conducts dawn and dusk photography sessions for anyone interested.

At this year's Retreat, Bill will be conducting a more comprehensive photographic workshop (replacing Cathy)  on Friday and Saturday from 9:00am - 4:00pm.  WOMEN who are interested in photography for capturing that perfect photograph or for better photo references for studio painting. Workshop will include off Ranch locations for photographic opportunities and discussions.

Please give my name and number to anyone who you know may be interested in this Photography workshop opportunity for more details.

--
Deborah Lively-  President
Ozark Regional Arts Council,
 a  501(c)3 corporation

172 Robin Drive
Mountain Home, AR 72653
870-425-8291


  

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13. Social Media Etiquette

What not to do when using social media.


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14. Cinebook The 9th Art: Largo Winch 15- Crossing Paths

 
Largo Winch - Crossing Paths

Authors: Francq & Van Hamme
Age: 15 years and up
Size: 18.4 x 25.7 cm
Number of pages: 48 colour pages
ISBN: 9781849182393
Price: £6.99 inc. VAT
Publication: March 2015

Largo is in London for a board meeting with his group’s various CEOs. At the same time, he’s negotiating with a French aeronautics firm for a deal based upon a ground breaking new technology.

But the British capital seems to be the centre of a curious convergence: people with no apparent links to each other gravitate towards Largo and his inner circle. Old lovers, new flames, intelligence agencies, terrorists...

Will the billionaire recognise his true allies amidst such a tangled web?

Alright, I've written it and said it so often you must be sick of it by now but these covers are really great to just sit and look at.  They say "simple is best" and this is a no-nonsense cover...but a great piece of artwork no less.

And the story?  A few times I smirked but I really enjoyed the character interactions and if I need to recommend Largo Winch to you I'm guessing you've never read it?  Like XIII this series is never short of double-crossing and intrigue and, as always, that final page makes you ask "What next?" 

Colour work by Franq and Yoann Guillo is just...."luscious" and the printers Cinebook uses produce the art and colours so clearly...look at that street scene in the first page.

Love it.

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15. Comics, Comics, Comics!

It’s a great time to be a comics fan.

There are loads of amazing ones coming out right now. The Newbery, Caldecott, and Printz committees all recognized graphic novels as honor books this year. People are starting to sit up and pay attention to the world of comics and graphic novels, so I am here with a list for your kids (AND YOU!). Happy reading! And welcome to the comics life.

Lumberjanes is by  Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, and Brooke Allen. It’s published by Boom studies in single-issue format, but the first trade paperback (collecting issues 1-4) is out on April 7th. Y’all, this one is so incredible. Feminist, funny, and constantly focused on friendship, this series is set at a summer camp and shouldn’t be missed.

 

PrinceLess by Jeremy Whitley has been a relatively new find for me and I’m obsessed. Princess Adrienne is tired of sitting around in her tower waiting for a prince to slay her dragon and rescue her. So she and her dragon decide to go do the rescuing themselves. Completely turns sexist and racist tropes on their head, as displayed by this panel:

PRINCELESS_PREVIEW_Page2

 

PrinceLess hasn’t been checked in since we got it. Your kids are gonna love it.

 

The Explorer books (there are three) are comics anthologies edited by Kazu Kibuishi, whom your students already know because they adore amulet. This trilogy asks well-known comic artists like Raina Telgemeier, Emily Carroll, and Faith Erin Hicks, to write comic shorts based on a topic. They’re amazing. There’s something for everyone in this series!

Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson. Kamala Khan is a Pakistani-American teenager in Jersey City who suddenly and quite accidentally becomes empowered with extraordinary gifts. She has to figure out how to handle being a typical Muslim teenager–who’s now a superhero.

Honestly, when I discovered these (there are two so far), I bought them based solely on the tagline: “Yet another troll-fighting 11-year-old Orthodox Jewish girl.” Basically, that’s enough to sell me, but Mirka is fun and amazing and her religion is shown as something that’s part of her life, not something to be overcome or chafed against. Plus, dragons.

This is just a really small cross-section of all of the wonderful comics for kids that are being published right now. I hope you and your kids love them as much as me and mine do!

*
Our cross-poster from YALSA today is Ally Watkins (@aswatki1). Ally is a youth services librarian in Mississippi, and has worked with ages birth-18 for the last 6 years.

 

 

 

 

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16. 3 reasons why making art is good for you!

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“Art washes away from the soul the dusts of everyday life” – Pablo Picasso

 

Believe it or not making art for your own enjoyment actually has its benefits to both your mind and body. We often spend our weeks rushing around focusing on our everyday commitments whether its your job, looking after kids, school or ticking off daily errands, that we never really get the chance to relax.

When you’re overwhelmed with the stresses of a busy lifestyle, actually embracing your creativity can actually reduce anxieties and stresses to clear your mind making you feel better. So art itself is extremely theraputic and to fill you in abit more as to why doodling, colouring or painting should become apart of your weekly schedule here’s 3 reasons why art is good for you!

1. Helps you to slow down - During the week we’re all on the go and so being a little creative whether it’s drawing, colouring, painting or snapping a photo with your camera actually helps you to physically and mentally slow down. Rushing around doesn’t do our bodies internally any good and so making time to do something artistic that you enjoy is healthy to both your body and mind.

2. You embrace a side of yourself you might not usually - Not all of us work a creative job but this doesn’t mean if you’re an accountant for example you can get inky and doodle away! You may even surprise yourself with the things you create and through that feel a sense of achievement in the things you make which builds up your positivity in mind.

3. Self expression and letting out your emotions – Much like music and drama making art in whichever form, helps you to express a side of yourself you might find hard to do otherwise. Like musicians who infuse emotion into the music they write, you can place emotions into the art pieces you make. In turn this helps you to acknowledge your inner feelings and let out things you might not find the words to say which you are can through a brush or ink for example.

Featured illustration is by Oana Befort and you can find out more about her work here.

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17. CBO Recommendation of the Week: Titan Books -Elric Of Melnibone vol. 1

 http://www.nerdly.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Moorcock-Library-Vol1.jpg

Writer  Roy ThomasArtists  Michael T. Gilbert   P. Craig Russell 
Series: The Michael Moorcock Library
US Trade format
Hardback
176 full colour pages
ISBN 9781782762881
Mature readers
 £18.99 UK   $22.99 US  $25.99 Can


Collecting the first volume of the classic adaptation of Michael Moorcock’s bestselling fantasy saga, Elric of Melniboné marks the perfect introduction to the series’ iconic antihero, his fabled blade, Stormbringer, and his harrowing adventures across the Dragon Isle. 

Adapted by former Marvel Comics editor, Roy Thomas, and beautifully rendered by longtime comics illustrator, Michael T. Gilbert, and the multiple Harvey and Eisner award-winning P. Craig Russell, this definitive collection marks an essential read for all fans of sword and sorcery and brings the Moorcock’s epic tales to life with luxuriant imagination.

If you never got to see the PC (Pacific Comics) issues then you are in for a treat here.  Those PC issues are near impossible to find and it isn't surprising.

I opened up this book, recalling the reproduction of art in the comics, and I sat back.  Yes, production in printing is...well, decades ahead of what it was but the colours and artwork are so crisp.  And the artwork really is something beautiful from two Masters of the form!

Roy Thomas, of course, knows what he is doing as an adapter of fantasy books (Conan for one) and scripter  so no surprise that this is a very good read.  

I am not majorly into fantasy but a very good comic book is a very good comic book and if you are into comics in general, but fantasy specifically, then I highly recommend this book -and more are to follow!

My review of the previous Titan book Elric -The Ruby Throne can be found here:


 
imageimageimageimage

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18. Pixar’s Powerful RenderMan Rendering Software is Now Free

Pixar's RenderMan software has been used in the creation of all its film, as well as blockbusters like "The Lego Movie," "Guardians of the Galaxy," and "Interstellar."

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19. Titan Books: Michael Moorcock’s Elric Vol. 2 – Stormbringer

 
 Writers Jean-Luc Cano and   Julien Blondel
Artists  Didier Poli, Jean Bastide, Julien Telo, Robin Recht, Scarlett Smulkowski
Series: Elric
64pp
Genres  Action/Adventure/ Fantasy
Format A4 Hardcover
full colour
ISBN 9781782761259
UK £10.99   USA  $14.99   Can $16.95
On sale; 31st March  


Yyrkoon fled Melniboné with Elric’s beloved Cymoril. Left behind, heartbroken and humiliated, the albino emperor pursues them with the help of Straasha, King of the Sea Elementals.

Finding that Yyrkoon is hiding in the ruins of Dhoz Kham, in the heart of the Young Kingdoms, Elric prepares to challenge his treacherous cousin and rescue Cymoril. But little does he know that this quest will forever change his destiny, as he finds the legendary cursed sword Stormbringer…

Continuing the stunning new comic adaptation of the classic Elric of Melniboné novels by Michael Moorcock! (see review of Elric Of Melnibone for link to The Ruby Throne)

Whoa.  This is pretty feckin' grim.  Great atmospheric artwork and colouring that suits the story.  Never having read Moorcock's Elric books I have no idea how close these adaptions are.  But if they are accurate -and if they are approved by Moorcock I'm guessing they must be- then that fluffy idea I had in my head for a very long time of "just another Elf story" was...not accurate.

The colour work is by Recht, Bastide and Smulkowski and as I wrote -it adds to the atmosphere.  But so many artists on one book!

I think that these two books and the Thomas, Russell and Gilbert volume compliment each other in a way.

They are certainly educating me!

Recommended.

Elric_2_PREVIEWElric_2_PREVIEW2Elric_2_PREVIEW3Elric_2_PREVIEW4

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20. New Adult Fiction - #writetip



There is a new genre emerging..."New Adult" fiction for older teens aka college-aged readers. You never stop growing up, but little in the market seems to address the coming-of-age that also happens between the ages of Nineteen to Twenty-six. Life changes drastically once high school is over, you have college, first jobs, first internships, first adult relationships…

Part of the appeal of NA is that the storylines are about characters who are taking on adult responsibilities for the first time without guidance from their parents. And the storylines generally have a heavy romance element. 

Keep this in mind as you revise your wonderful story, New Adult books are mostly about that specific time in every person's life—the time when the apron strings are cut from your parents, you no longer have a curfew, you're experiencing the world for the very first time, in most cases, with innocent eyes. New Adult is this section of your life where you discover who you want to be, what you want to be, and what type of person you will become. This time defines you. This is the time of firsts, the time where you can't blame your parents for your own bad choices. 


An NA character has to take responsibility for their own choices and live with the consequences. Most storylines are about twenty-something (18 to 26) characters living their own lives without any parents breathing down their necks, and learning to solve things on their own as they would in real life. New Adult fiction focuses on switching gears, from depending on our parents to becoming full-fledged, independent adults.

I am a firm believer that if you’re going to write a certain genre that you should read it, too. So I’m going to recommend that you start devouring NA novels to get a real sense and understanding of the genre before you write one.

Here are some great recommendations: https://www.goodreads.com/genres/new-adult-romance and http://www.goodreads.com/genres/new-adult and https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/new-adult-romance
 

Just as YA is fiction about teens discovering who they are as a person, New Adult (NA) is fiction about building your own life as an actual adult. As older teen readers discover the joy of the Young Adult genres, the New Adult—demand may increase. This, in turn, would give writers the chance to explore the freedom of a slightly older protagonist (over the age of 18 and out of high school, like the brilliant novel, "BEAUTIFUL DISASTER" by the amazing talents of author, Jamie McGuire) while addressing more adult issues that early 20-year-olds must face.

Older protagonists (basically, college students) are surprisingly rare; in a panel on YA literature at Harvard’s 2008 Vericon, City of Bones author talked about pitching her novel, then about twenty-somethings, as adult fiction. After several conversations, Clare realized she had to choose between adults and teens. She went with teens.

Quote from the publisher, St. Martin’s Press: We are actively looking for great, new, cutting edge fiction with protagonists who are slightly older than YA and can appeal to an adult audience. Since twenty-somethings are devouring YA, St. Martin’s Press is seeking fiction similar to YA that can be published and marketed as adult—a sort of an “older YA” or “new adult.” In this category, they are looking for spunky but not stupid, serious but not dull, cutting-edge, supernatural stories.

Quote from Georgia McBride, author (Praefatio) and founder of #YALitChat and publisher at Month9Books: "New Adult is a fabulous idea in theory, and authors seem to be excited about it. But in a world where bookstores shelf by category, to them, it is either  Adult or Young Adult. Some booksellers even call their YA section “teen.” And when you have a character who is over a certain age (19 seems to be the age most consider the start of New Adult), it is received as Adult. In some cases, the designation by publishers causes more confusion than not.
Let’s face it, YA is associated with teens, and at 19, most no longer consider themselves teens. So, it would support the theory of placing these “New Adult” titles in the Adult section. However, with the prevalence of eBook content, it would seem that the powers that be could easily create a New Adult category if they really wanted to...."

There’s also a list on goodreads of New Adult book titles. These books focus on college age characters, late teens to early twenties, transitioning into the adult world.

Some popular authors of the NA category include:
  • Jamie McGuire
  • Jessica Park
  • Tammara Webber
  • Steph Campbell
  • Liz Reinhardt
  • Abbi Glines
  • Colleen Hoover 
  • Sherry Soule
http://www.wattpad.com/story/29486760-irresistible-mistake-new-adult-romantic-suspense


Would you buy New Adult books? 


Does the genre appeal to you? 

Does it sound better than YA (teen novels)? 
 
Or are you happy with YA as it stands?

Do you consider YA to include characters that are over the age of eighteen? 
 
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<!--[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE <![endif]-->

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21. Cinebook The 9th Art: XIII -XIII - The Bait

 
 XIII - The Bait
Authors: Yves Sente & Youri Jigounov
Age: 15 years and up
A4 Comic Album
Size: 18.4 x 25.7 cm
Number of pages: 48 colour pages
ISBN: 9781849182386
Price: £6.99 inc. VAT
Publication: February 2015


XIII is hiding in France at the Préseaus, after a past more nebulous he even believed possible caught up to him again. But the organisation that’s after him hasn’t said its last word, and has considerable means at its disposal.

The organisation lures Jones, on duty in Afghanistan, into a terrible ambush, for the sole purpose of serving as bait for the amnesiac – who immediately rushes to her rescue. Meanwhile, Betty Barnowsky-Préseau is off to Maine to dig into XIII’s past…

And look at that cover.  That is an incredible piece of artwork.  We don't see covers like this with British comics...oh. That's right, we DO NOT have British comics anymore.  Not unless you count the premier publisher of comics in the UK as Cinebook.  And I do.  It's a great cover.

And the intrigue and action continues in the tradition of Vance and Van Hamme and it is a cracking read and the art....well, I wish I could draw like this!  The colour work of  Berengere Marquebreucq adds to the overall look and I hate to keep writing nice things but Cadic's Cinebook The 9th Art makes me:  this is one of the book series that mark the company as the best.

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22. New Adult Fiction Genre - Contemporary Romance - #WriteTip



There is a new genre emerging..."New Adult" fiction for older teens aka college-aged readers. You never stop growing up, but little in the market seems to address the coming-of-age that also happens between the ages of Nineteen to Twenty-six. Life changes drastically once high school is over, you have college, first jobs, first internships, first adult relationships…

Part of the appeal of NA is that the storylines are about characters who are taking on adult responsibilities for the first time without guidance from their parents. And the storylines generally have a heavy romance element. 

Keep this in mind as you revise your wonderful story, New Adult books are mostly about that specific time in every person's life—the time when the apron strings are cut from your parents, you no longer have a curfew, you're experiencing the world for the very first time, in most cases, with innocent eyes. New Adult is this section of your life where you discover who you want to be, what you want to be, and what type of person you will become. This time defines you. This is the time of firsts, the time where you can't blame your parents for your own bad choices. 


An NA character has to take responsibility for their own choices and live with the consequences. Most storylines are about twenty-something (18 to 26) characters living their own lives without any parents breathing down their necks, and learning to solve things on their own as they would in real life. New Adult fiction focuses on switching gears, from depending on our parents to becoming full-fledged, independent adults.

I am a firm believer that if you’re going to write a certain genre that you should read it, too. So I’m going to recommend that you start devouring NA novels to get a real sense and understanding of the genre before you write one.

Here are some great recommendations: https://www.goodreads.com/genres/new-adult-romance and http://www.goodreads.com/genres/new-adult and https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/new-adult-romance
 

Just as YA is fiction about teens discovering who they are as a person, New Adult (NA) is fiction about building your own life as an actual adult. As older teen readers discover the joy of the Young Adult genres, the New Adult—demand may increase. This, in turn, would give writers the chance to explore the freedom of a slightly older protagonist (over the age of 18 and out of high school, like the brilliant novel, "BEAUTIFUL DISASTER" by the amazing talents of author, Jamie McGuire) while addressing more adult issues that early 20-year-olds must face.

Older protagonists (basically, college students) are surprisingly rare; in a panel on YA literature at Harvard’s 2008 Vericon, City of Bones author talked about pitching her novel, then about twenty-somethings, as adult fiction. After several conversations, Clare realized she had to choose between adults and teens. She went with teens.

Quote from the publisher, St. Martin’s Press: We are actively looking for great, new, cutting edge fiction with protagonists who are slightly older than YA and can appeal to an adult audience. Since twenty-somethings are devouring YA, St. Martin’s Press is seeking fiction similar to YA that can be published and marketed as adult—a sort of an “older YA” or “new adult.” In this category, they are looking for spunky but not stupid, serious but not dull, cutting-edge, supernatural stories.

Quote from Georgia McBride, author (Praefatio) and founder of #YALitChat and publisher at Month9Books: "New Adult is a fabulous idea in theory, and authors seem to be excited about it. But in a world where bookstores shelf by category, to them, it is either  Adult or Young Adult. Some booksellers even call their YA section “teen.” And when you have a character who is over a certain age (19 seems to be the age most consider the start of New Adult), it is received as Adult. In some cases, the designation by publishers causes more confusion than not.
Let’s face it, YA is associated with teens, and at 19, most no longer consider themselves teens. So, it would support the theory of placing these “New Adult” titles in the Adult section. However, with the prevalence of eBook content, it would seem that the powers that be could easily create a New Adult category if they really wanted to...."

There’s also a list on goodreads of New Adult book titles. These books focus on college age characters, late teens to early twenties, transitioning into the adult world.

Some popular authors of the NA category include:
  • Jamie McGuire
  • Jessica Park
  • Tammara Webber
  • Steph Campbell
  • Liz Reinhardt
  • Abbi Glines
  • Colleen Hoover 
  • Sherry Soule
http://www.wattpad.com/story/29486760-irresistible-mistake-new-adult-romantic-suspense


Would you buy New Adult books? 
Does the genre appeal to you? 

Does it sound better than YA (teen novels)? 
 
Or are you happy with YA as it stands?

Do you consider YA to include characters that are over the age of eighteen? 
 

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23. BOBBEE BEE: MEDITATE NOT MEDICATE

MEDITATION TECHNIQUES FROM BOBBEE BEE

1. Concentration
Meditative technique that directs the mind to a single focus, such as on the breath or a mantra.
2. Mindfulness
Teaches an evenhanded, accepting awareness of whatever arises in the senses
3. Movement
Heightens awareness of the sensations of movement, such as in walking or Tai Chi

4. Visualization
Generates a mental image, from simple crosses or a single square of color to complex symbols such a sthe elaborate mandalas of Tibetan Buddhism


5. Lovingkindness
Cultivates a positive mood or beneficent outlook through the contemplation of such feelings as compassion for all people


6. Transformation
Seeks solace or the solution to specific problems by turning negative emotions into positive energies.

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24. #tothegirls




From author Courtney Summers:

"I write about girls.

"I write about girls because every girl deserves the opportunity to pick up a book and see herself in its pages.

"I write about girls because girls, and their stories, matter.

"It's my way of letting them know.

"On April 14th, 2015, please join me in telling the girls you know - and the ones you don't - that they are seen, heard and loved. Share advice, be encouraging. Tell us about or thank the girls in your life who have made a difference in yours. Use the hashtag #ToTheGirls along with your personal message of support and encouragement on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram, or the social media platform of your choice."


For more information on how to participate visit summerscourtney.tumblr.com/tothegirls and share the campaign via Thunderclap.

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25. How to Teach Your Child Shapes – Bake a Shape!

For toddlers and preschoolers, the world is full of new things to discover and learn. One thing young children need to learn is the basic shapes – square, circle, rectangle, and so on.

There are many ways to teach children the basic shapes. Here is a method that is fun and tastes good, too.

bake-a-shape

Bake a Shape

1. To start, you will need a can of refrigerated biscuit or sugar cookie dough. This is the easiest way if you want to focus on making shapes instead of mixing up a recipe in the kitchen. However, if you prefer, you can always make your own favorite recipe instead.

2. Roll out the biscuit or cookie dough. Be sure you do this somewhere low enough where you child can easily reach it, so you may want to do it on the table instead of the counter. Another option is to have your child stand on a sturdy stool or chair.

3. Find some cookie cutters that represent the shapes you want your child to learn. Show your child how to cut a shape out of the dough with the cutter. Remember to flour the cookie cutter so the dough comes out easily. If your dough gets stuck in the cookie cutter, you could end up with a frustrated toddler or preschooler.

Another alternative is to make the shapes by hand. Have some examples of the shapes nearby so your child can copy them. This could also be done with letters instead of shapes. Children love to see what their name looks like in print, and they will have a lot of fun creating it themselves.

4. When you have enough shapes made, help your child arrange them on the cookie sheet. You can make the shapes even yummier by spreading them with butter, then sprinkling them with sugar and cinnamon for a delicious cinnamon-tasting treat.

5. Put the shapes in the oven to bake, according to the recipe’s instructions. You can add to the fun by watching the shapes bake in the oven together. Children are fascinated by how cookies and biscuits grow and spread while they’re being baked.

6. When the shapes have baked, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool. When they’re ready to eat, examine the shapes with your child. Ask if he/she remembers what each shape is called. You may want to play a game – if your child can name the shape, he/she can eat it!

When your child begins to learn the various shapes, he will see them everywhere he looks. A fun activity like this one can help him learn to identify them on his own.

Here are some fun board books that also help children learn the basic shapes.

Shapes

Shapes

About the Book
Combining scooped-out die-cuts with raised, shaped elements, two new TouchThinkLearn books offer youngest learners an irresistible opportunity to explore their universe in a hands-on, multisensory way. See the image, trace its shape, say its name: these modes of perception combine in a dynamic way to stimulate understanding of essential concepts. Contemplate a circle by touching the raised surface of an owl hooting at night on one side, and the form of a moon rising on the other. Featuring a format unlike any other, these groundbreaking books translate abstract thought into tangible knowledge.

Grade Level: Preschool and up
Series: Touchthinklearn
Board book: 20 pages
Publisher: Chronicle Books; Brdbk edition (May 27, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1452117276
ISBN-13: 978-1452117270

My Very First Book of Shapes

My Very First Book of Shapes

About the Book
Can you find what is round? What is square? In this timeless new split-pageboard book, children can find the bottom half of a page that matches the top half. Find the right pairs, and you will learn to identify all kinds of shapes. From dome-shaped ladybugs to diamond- shaped kites, this clever board book makes learning fun.

Age Range: 1 – 3 years
Board book: 20 pages
Publisher: Philomel Books; Brdbk edition (May 19, 2005)
ISBN-10: 0399243879
ISBN-13: 978-0399243875

Little Scholastic Shapes

Shapes (Little Scholastic)

About the Book
From Little Scholastic comes this innovative and interactive shapes concept book for babies and toddlers!

Bold and bright, this tactile board book features everyday objects to name and touch. Review basic shapes with this appealing, hands-on format!

Board book: 10 pages
Publisher: Cartwheel Books (July 1, 2007)
ISBN-10: 0439021464
ISBN-13: 978-0439021463

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