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1. Eat Fat, Get Thin

Eat Fat, Get Thin. Why The Fat We Eat Is the Key to Sustained Weight Loss and Vibrant Health. Mark Hyman. Little, Brown. 400 pages. [Source: Library]

I almost wish that Eat Fat, Get Thin had been divided into two books. One book presenting the historical overview, the scientific research, and the essential philosophy behind the concept of eating fat to lose weight. The other book presenting his 21 day weight-loss plan. The first book which I imagine consisting of Part I and Part II (How Did We Get Into This Big, Fat Mess? and Separating Fat From Fiction), I would have given three stars. The second book which I imagine consisting of Part III and Part IV (The Eat Fat, Get Thin Plan and Eat Fat, Get Thin Cooking and Recipes), I would have given one star--or perhaps two--if I'm generous.

The premise of this one is simple. Fat has been demonized. It has been made the 'bad guy' by scientists, doctors, nutritionists, the government, the media, the food industry. But, Hyman argues, fat isn't all bad. Not all "fat" is created equal. Good fat far from being the 'bad guy' is the hero. Good fat is the hero we need as a country to rescue us from the obesity crisis. (So what is good fat? Think avocados, almonds, walnuts, olive oil, coconut oil, flax and chia seeds, olives, grass-fed beef, etc.) Diets high in good fat will help you lose weight, but, there is a catch. You have to give up eating a diet high in carbs and sugars. And you can never go back. Of course, I can't imagine *wanting* to go back. But still. That's one of those things you should know before spending time with this book.

The opening chapters are very readable. I think his writing becomes more complicated and complex in the second part. He returns to being readable in the third part, but, unfortunately he's switched from being an authentic-sounding doctor, to being an infomercial salesman.

I felt each page was saturated in a sales pitch. And also that there was a lot of 'product placement' going on as well. With every turn of the page, I heard a loud ka-ching, ka-ching. For example, buy this $70 spoonk acupressure mat; buy these $200 sheets that "ground" you to the earth's energy; buy these $50 light bulbs, etc. And that's not even mentioning the hundreds of dollars per month you'd be spending to buy all his "must-have" supplements. (Only PGX Fiber will do.) And then there's the cost of food. If he got paid a penny for every time he tells you to only buy organic, he'd be very, very rich. And he urges you to only buy organic, grass-fed, free-range, super-special meat. (You know, the stuff that costs you--at the very, very least $7 a pound but closer to $10 a pound.) Since his "diet" has you eliminating all beans and legumes--a cheaper source of protein to be sure--your only other option is organic, free-range, omega-enriched eggs. And these aren't as "cheap" as regular eggs.

I agree that it is best for your health, for your weight to give up refined/processed foods high in carbs, high in sugar, high in preservatives and additives. I agree that good fat is great for you. And if you can afford to strictly follow his plan down to every, single little detail, then perhaps you really will lose weight--a good amount of weight even...

But the book is new. Even if his 1000 participant trial run was on his plan a year ago, I don't think there's enough "evidence" that his plan is guaranteed to lead to "sustained weight loss." It simply hasn't been long enough to see if anyone who uses his 21-day plan is able to keep the weight off for five years or more! (Which is what 'sustained' weight loss is all about. 95% of the weight lost on "diets" and "plans" is not sustainable.) It would be interesting to see how 'successful' the plan is five years from now. (Though I have a small feeling that if participants gained the weight back, it would be seen as being their own fault for not following the plan 'well' enough.)

So what else should you know?

  • That the 21 day plan is the minimum, that, "the plan" is for however long it takes you to lose the weight you want to lose, need to lose. So your "21-day plan" might last a year or more.
  • While on the 21 day plan, the restricted food list is very, very, very long.
  • No processed food, no exceptions.
  • No dairy.
  • No alcohol.
  • Maximum of 2 cups per day--tea or coffee--unsweetened. He recommends adding coconut oil to coffee for your breakfast.
  • No (refined) vegetable oils. (Think: canola, corn, soy, sunflower, etc.)
  • No grains, no exceptions. (I could totally see why giving up gluten would be advisable. But this includes healthy grains like quinoa, steel-cut oats, brown rice.)
  • No beans, no exceptions.
  • Nothing sweet (not just sugar, not just high fructose corn syrup, but all artificial sweeteners (including stevia) and all natural sweeteners (agave, honey, maple syrup).
  • Also you're only allowed small allotments of fruit (half a cup per day). But *only* lemons, limes, kiwi, and watermelon. I may have forgotten the whole list. But it did not include peaches, pears, apples, grapes, strawberries, bananas, oranges, cherries, plums, pineapples, you know, the things you think of when you think FRUIT.
  • Small portions of "starchy" veggies (1/2 cup to 1 cup at a time, but, only 4 times a week) This includes beets, celeriac, parsnips, pumpkin, rutabaga, sweet potatoes, turnips, winter squash.
  • When you're ready to go off 'the diet plan' he has you transition to a "Pegan" diet that is a combination Paleo and Vegan. Some things are permanently gone forever and ever from your diet. Other things get added back into your diet in small increments, small portions, occasionally. You can add some dairy back in, for example, "locally sourced cheese from grass-fed, heirloom cows."
  • Dietary fat speeds up your metabolism, reduces your hunger, and stimulates fat burning. (16)
  • Dietary fat helps you reduce your overall calorie intake, not increase it. (17)
  • Dietary fat, and saturated fat specifically, does not cause heart disease. (17)
  • Dietary saturated fat raises the good kind of LDL and raises HDL (the "good cholesterol"). (17)
  • Dietary fat improves brain function and mood and helps prevent dementia. (17)
  • Food is not just a source of energy or calories. Food is information. It contains instructions that affect every biological function of your body. It is the stuff that controls everything. Food affects the expression of your genes and influences your hormones, brain chemistry, immune system, gut flora, and metabolism at every level. It works fast, in real time with every bite. This is the groundbreaking science of nutrigenomics. (56)

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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2. Flogometer for Anne—are you compelled to turn the page?

Submissions Welcome. If you’d like a fresh look at your opening chapter or prologue, please email your submission to me re the directions at the bottom of this post.

The Flogometer challenge: can you craft a first page that compels me to turn to the next page? Caveat: Please keep in mind that this is entirely subjective.

Note: all the Flogometer posts are here.

What's a first page in publishingland? In a properly formatted novel manuscript (double-spaced, 1-inch margins, 12-point type, etc.) there should be about 16 or 17 lines on the first page (first pages of chapters/prologues start about 1/3 of the way down the page). Directions for submissions are below—they include a request to post the rest of the chapter, but that’s optional.

A word about the line-editing in these posts: it’s “one-pass” editing, and I don’t try to address everything, which is why I appreciate the comments from the FtQ tribe. In a paid edit, I go through each manuscript three times.

Mastering front 100WshadowBefore you rip into today’s submission, consider this checklist of first-page ingredients from my book, Mastering the Craft of Compelling Storytelling. While it's not a requirement that all of these elements must be on the first page, they can be, and I think you have the best chance of hooking a reader if they are.

Download a free PDF copy here.

Were I you, I'd examine my first page in the light of this list before submitting to the Flogometer. I use it on my own work.

A First-page Checklist

  • It begins engaging the reader with the character
  • Something is happening. On a first page, this does NOT include a character musing about whatever.
  • The character desires something.
  • The character does something.
  • There’s enough of a setting to orient the reader as to where things are happening.
  • It happens in the NOW of the story.
  • Backstory? What backstory? We’re in the NOW of the story.
  • Set-up? What set-up? We’re in the NOW of the story.
  • What happens raises a story question.

Caveat: a strong first-person voice with the right content can raise powerful story questions and create page turns without doing all of the above. A recent submission worked wonderfully well and didn't deal with five of the things in the checklist.

Also, if you think about it, the same checklist should apply to the page where you introduce an antagonist.

Anne sends a revised opening for a story now titled Mountain Man. The original version is here. The rest of the chapter follows the break.

Monday morning, Elizabeth Logan looked in the powder room mirror to check her hair and makeup. She applied more lip gloss. She could never have too much lip gloss. Her eyes looked fine. So did her hair.

She walked through the narrow hallway to her office in the Washington D.C. 1860’s row house, which was the Logan Foundation’s place of business. Her charitable foundation, founded and lovingly nurtured solely by her. She perched on the padded window seat under the bay window and anxiously watched the street traffic. She felt sick to her stomach.

There was nothing she could do now but wait. In a few minutes someone from the FBI would be ringing the bell. Yes, government person, she was guilty. Her reason for embezzling her charity’s donations? She needed the money. It appeared that her husband, Declan, was searching for wife number three. Eventually, he was going to leave her. High and dry. And when that happened, Elizabeth Logan would become an actual charity case.

It started four years ago when her salon colorist persuaded her to add highlights and low lights to her blonde hair. It had been a definite improvement. However, her husband’s tastes ran toward attractive, scantily dressed women with ‘trashy blonde’ hair. She’d looked like that once. After she’d changed her hair, she tried to convince him that wealthy women in their mid-thirties shouldn’t look like twenty-five year old sluts. Declan’s answer had been, “Then I guess it’s (snip)

Were you compelled to turn the page?

This opening is interesting in that it introduces a sympathetic character who is an admitted criminal, and there’s jeopardy ahead in the arrival of an FBI agent. I think there’s enough of a story question to turn the page, but I hesitated when the story slipped into backstory mode. I think the flashback isn’t needed at this point—it’s important that her husband is going to leave her, but the history of when she began to believe that isn’t really needed. A lot of this chapter is devoted to setup—look for ways to shorten those parts and to increase the tension and jeopardy for her. Notes:

 Monday morning, Elizabeth Logan looked in the powder room mirror to check her hair and makeup. She applied more lip gloss. She could never have too much lip gloss. Her eyes looked fine. So did her hair.

She walked through the narrow hallway to her office in the Washington D.C. 1860’s row house, which was the Logan Foundation’s place of business. Her charitable foundation, founded and lovingly nurtured solely by her. She perched on the padded window seat under the bay window and anxiously watched the street traffic. She felt sick to her stomach.

There was nothing she could do now but wait. In a few minutes someone from the FBI would be ringing the bell. Yes, government person, she was guilty. Her reason for embezzling her charity’s donations? She needed the money. It appeared that her Her husband, Declan, was searching for wife number three. Eventually, he was going to leave her. High and dry. And when that happened, Elizabeth Logan would become an actual charity case. I’d avoid clichés such as “high and dry.”

It had started four years ago when her salon colorist persuaded her to add highlights and low lights to her blonde hair. It had been a definite improvement. However, her husband’s tastes ran toward attractive, scantily dressed women with ‘trashy blonde’ hair. She’d looked like that once. After she’d changed her hair, she tried to convince him that wealthy women in their mid-thirties shouldn’t look like twenty-five year old sluts. Declan’s answer had been, “Then I guess it’s (snip) The beginning of this paragraph signals a flashback, not a good idea on the first page where I believe we need to be in the “now” of the story. The flashback is brief and it does characterize her husband as a creep, but it wasn’t really needed.

Your thoughts?

For what it’s worth.


Submitting to the Flogometer:

Email the following in an attachment (.doc, .docx, or .rtf preferred, no PDFs):

  1. your title
  2. your complete 1st chapter or prologue plus 1st chapter
  3. Please include in your email permission to post it on FtQ.
  4. Note: I’m adding a copyright notice for the writer at the end of the post. I’ll use just the first name unless I’m told I can use the full name.
  5. Also, please tell me if it’s okay to post the rest of the chapter so people can turn the page.
  6. And, optionally, include your permission to use it as an example in a book on writing craft if that's okay.
  7. If you’re in a hurry, I’ve done “private floggings,” $50 for a first chapter.
  8. If you rewrite while you wait for your turn, it’s okay with me to update the submission.

Were I you, I'd examine my first page in the light of the first-page checklist before submitting to the Flogometer.

Flogging the Quill © 2016 Ray Rhamey, prologue and chapter © 2016 by Kathleen



. . . about time I traded you in.” Afterwards he’d laughed and hugged her and told her she looked great. She’d never felt secure after that.

 It was cold in the office. It made her nipples hard. She thought about stepping out on the small front porch to warm up. Although it was the first week in June, it had to be close to eighty degrees outside. Instead she got up and went into the small conference room next to her office. She rubbed both arms to make the goosebumps go away and re-adjusted her short-sleeved mohair sweater across her chest.

She’d just turned on the lights in the conference room when the doorbell rang. She glanced at her vintage Lady Rolex. Ten o’clock precisely. She should have known. Government people, always on time, always following the rules. What kind of terrible news did they bring? Should she open the door and present her wrists for the inevitable handcuffs? No. That wasn’t her style. She always fought hard before admitting defeat.

She looked through the door peephole and her jaw dropped. Male. Mid-thirties, several inches over six feet tall, slim build, dressed in a perfectly fitted navy blue suit. He had longish dark brown hair and a few days beard growth that was the fashion these days.  She couldn’t see the color of his eyes because he was looking down as he pulled a black wallet from his inside coat pocket. His eyelashes were annoyingly thick and long. Such a waste on a man. She opened the door halfway. Large soulful brown eyes gazed down at her from a serious face.

“Elizabeth Logan?”

“Government person?”

He opened an identification wallet that showed his picture and a gold badge. “FBI Special Agent Thomas Clay Atkins, District of Columbia White Collar Division.”

Elizabeth spent another few moments verifying his credentials, hoping it would make him nervous. She always liked to have the upper hand in encounters with people. Not that she was a ball-buster, she just wanted to be taken seriously from the get-go. She’d spent her childhood as a non-entity who wore her siblings’ hand-me-down clothes, and played with their broken, cast-off toys. She vowed she wouldn’t go unnoticed as an adult. Finally she stepped back and opened the door all the way. “Come in. Let’s talk in the conference room.”


Elizabeth Logan’s pale pink fluffy sweater immediately distracted Thomas Clay—TC to his friends. He felt the urge to touch that fluffiness with his index finger. Her high-heeled sandals tapped rapidly on the hardwood floor as she led him to the second doorway on the left. Her backside filled her tight white slacks beautifully. No panty line. Not a good way to start, he warned himself.  He hadn’t done well the first time he saw her either.

Last Saturday night the Logan Foundation held a charity gala at the Capitol Hotel. He’d walked into the Roosevelt Ballroom at the end of the evening to get a look at Elizabeth Logan in her natural surroundings.

He’d joined the hundred or so guests gathered around a staircase that led up to a balcony-level lounge. A woman clothed in a glittery blue cocktail dress stood on a step high enough to position her above the crowd. The DJ introduced her and then handed her his microphone.

Elizabeth Logan had been stunning. Impeccably dressed—obviously—but beyond that, she radiated an unusual charm. He was instantly drawn to her. Even her voice captivated him. It was pitched low for such a petite woman. He heard a hint of a southern upbringing. She drew out certain words and softened her vowels. After her short speech, he’d noticed how she enjoyed the clearly evident affection of her guests.

Now he sat inches away from her. They studied each other for a long moment. He didn’t know what she was thinking during that time, but he spent it acting like a school boy. Her eyes—hazel with flecks of gold. Nose—long, thin, with a cute bump at the bridge. Lips—wetly pink from some kind of lipstick. And he detected a slight lavender scent. Probably her shampoo. His heart skipped a few beats. Elizabeth began fiddling with the pen and yellow pad laying in front of her. She cleared her throat with emphasis. Obviously, she was waiting for him to begin.

Say something, you fool. He opened a blue folder and removed some paperwork. “Gerald Flanagan contacted us last March regarding a discrepancy between the amount he and his wife donated last year versus the amount stated in the Logan Foundation’s annual contribution letter. He said he asked you to send him a corrected letter so he could finish his income taxes.”

Elizabeth thought a minute and nodded, “Yes, I remember talking to Mr. Flanagan and couldn’t find the amount he said he donated in our records. The amount stated in our letter was the amount recorded in our books. I told him I was sorry but I had to report what we received.”

“I have a copy of Mr. Flanagan’s cancelled check and a copy of the Foundation’s letter.” TC handed Elizabeth the copy of the front and back of Mr. Flanagan’s check. “Do you recognize the endorsement on his check? It isn’t the Foundation’s name or bank account number.”

She looked at the paper and handed it back to him.

“If you could explain that endorsement, maybe we can clear this whole thing up today without putting you through an audit,” TC said.

Elizabeth wrote Gerald Flanagan’s name on her pad and slowly underlined it three times. “I told Mr. Flanagan that sometimes when we receive a lot of checks at one time, they might go through a holding company account, and then be transferred to the Foundation’s bank account. That’s why the endorsement is different on his check. As for the amount discrepancy, I think I suggested that maybe there could have been an error on the bank’s part when deposits were posted and transferred. That’s something I’m not privy to.”

She leaned back in her chair and crossed her arms. “At the time, Declan and I were getting ready to go out of town for a month. I told Mr. Flanagan I’d given him all the information I had and if he couldn’t get things resolved, I would look into it further when we got back.”

“Out of town for a month. Sounds nice. Where did you go?” TC asked.

“We went to our house in Telluride with a group of friends. It’s an annual thing.”

“I’ve never skied in Colorado. I hear it’s fantastic.” TC gushed.

Elizabeth gave him an irritated look like she had no desire to talk about her personal life. He had no idea why he’d even asked. It just popped out.

 He smiled crookedly, “Sorry, not on subject. Please continue.”

“Well, I forgot about it and never heard from Mr. Flanagan again. I thought he’d resolved it on his end with his bank.”

 TC shook his head, “No. Mr. Flanagan filed for a six month extension on his tax return to give you time to clear this up. When he didn’t hear from you, he called us.” He added, “More likely the problem is between you and your bank. You might want to contact them.”

There. He’d given Mrs. Logan all the facts. He relaxed in his chair and stretched his legs under the table. He gazed at her, waiting for her response. Her face was pinched with tension, or anger…or something. It felt wrong to accuse this seemingly nice lady of misappropriating funds. But he knew looks could be deceiving. Incidents like this happened all the time. It only took one person to blow the whistle to get the ball rolling. When the auditors started digging, they’d probably find more inaccurate contribution letters. He studied the range of emotions that crossed her face.


Elizabeth’s head spun. An audit? By the FBI? She hadn’t expected that. What had she gotten herself into? It appeared Agent Ring around the White Collar had it all figured out. Her method of skimming donor money hadn’t been clever enough. Although Agent Atkins was the bearer of bad news, the whole time he talked, she was strangely soothed by his voice. If he ever whispered sweet words into her ear, she could see herself falling helplessly into his arms.

She felt a frown beginning so she raised her eyebrows and forced a tiny smile. She could wring Gerald Flanagan’s neck. The little twerp. Rich people didn’t prepare their own taxes. Her scheme had worked fine for more than three years, after Declan mentioned it might be time for a new wife. If they divorced, the damned pre-nuptial agreement gave her nothing but her personal property. So, bit by bit, she’d accumulated a nest egg, preparing for the inevitable. The Foundation would never miss it and it was her salvation.

She took a deep breath and laid one hand on top of the other on her lap in an attempt to appear calm. She remembered one of her husband’s drunken lectures on getting out of a tight spot. “No matter how bad things get, it’s always possible to rearrange the facts so you look good. Never admit mistakes or reveal how you run your business. People may try to bring you down, but if you say as little as possible, the odds are in your favor they’ll never be able to prove anything. It’s all smoke and mirrors sweetheart.” She hadn’t really understood him until now.

She chewed on the inside of her lip. This audit would ruin everything. Agent Atkins was smart. He hadn’t fallen for her ‘It must be the bank’s fault’ explanation. That line had stalled Gerald Flanagan for a while. But company records didn’t lie. No smoke and mirrors there unless you’d been cooking the books from the beginning. She hadn’t started the Foundation with the intent to steal. Time passed, she fell into a routine and forgot what she was doing was wrong.

All she could do at this point was let the auditors do their job. Whatever they found, she’d deal with on a case by case basis. As far as Mr. Flanagan, she’d offer to resolve the misunderstanding by returning the difference. It was only fifteen thousand dollars. The foundation could well afford it.

Elizabeth glanced at Agent Atkins. He was staring at her. She felt like he was examining her soul. If she met his gaze, she feared he would see her guilt. His eyes were watchful, but kind, and a little bit sad. For a fleeting moment she considered telling him the truth.

 TC broke into Elizabeth’s thoughts, “Look, I’m not trying to destroy your Foundation. You should be proud of your philanthropy. I researched your organization. You’ve come a long way in less than ten years. And all that during the recession as well.”

Elizabeth’s face brightened. “Yes, we’ve done a lot of good work and don’t plan to stop. I can’t imagine what might have happened with Mr. Flanagan, however I assure you I will get to the bottom of this.”

TC grabbed his pen, “Great. What’s your business manager’s name? I’d like to set the audit schedule.”

Elizabeth straightened up in her chair, flicked her hair behind one shoulder, and stuck out her chest hoping that her nipples still showed. Game on government person. May the best man win. She peeked up at him coquettishly. “Well, I guess that would be me.”

TC looked confused. “No business manager? But this is such a large organization…”

“I believe in keeping administration costs low. It’s not rocket science to deposit checks. If I get a lot in at one time, my accountant takes care of them.”

“Is that where the holding company, LF Heritage, comes in?” TC asked.

Elizabeth pretended to appear bewildered. “You would have to ask the accountant. I’m not sure what all they do.” She clicked open her pen and held it over her pad of paper. “You just tell me what you need, and when, and I’ll arrange to provide it.”


TC was glad the meeting was over. Mrs. Logan had taken lots of notes. They agreed upon the daily schedule and the records needed. Two auditors would work in the Foundation’s conference room beginning next Monday at one o’clock. He told her the entire process should take about two weeks, if there were no problems.

He laid his business card on top of her pad. “My stomach is rolling. How about I take you to lunch?” As soon as he said it, he wished he hadn’t. The invitation came out so easily. He never asked anyone he investigated to a meal. Not even to go have drinks. It wasn’t an agency rule—or maybe it was—he couldn’t think straight right now. He thought it was his own rule because he never wanted anything to influence his investigations. Not that he’d ever worked with such an attractive Person of Interest before. He had no idea why he wanted to get to know Elizabeth Logan better. On top of that, she was married and he wasn’t on the market either.


“Lunch?” Elizabeth looked at her watch. “Oh, I didn’t realize it was so late. Sorry, I don’t eat lunch, only a good breakfast and dinner.” She ran her tongue slowly back and forth along the inside of her upper lip, still considering his request. “Anyway, it probably wouldn’t be a good idea. It could jeopardize your audit and besides, my husband might object to me being seen in public with such an attractive man.”

Elizabeth slid TC’s business card under the top page of her pad. Her fund-raising events were finished until October. Declan wouldn’t be home much and she’d be lonely. A little flirting couldn’t hurt. The lunch invitation looked like Secret Agent Man might be open to some fun. Maybe for the next few months, she could trade a forty-nine year old cheater for a thirty-something hunk. She wouldn’t let anything happen, of course, but it might help her forget that her marriage was on the rocks and her security fund was about to go up in smoke. God forbid there be any talk about going to jail.

She extended her hand to shake TC’s hand and seal the deal. “Let the games begin, she challenged with a smile. “Till next Monday then.”

TC’s hand engulfed hers. It was warm and firm. Her whole body shivered at his touch. Yes, if she played her cards right, this could definitely be an interesting summer.

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3. Review: Mabrook! A World of Muslim Weddings by Na’ima B. Robert and Shirin Adl

Mabrook! A World of Muslim Weddings,written by Na'ima B Robert, illustrated by Shirin Adl (Janetta Otter-Barry Books, Frances Lincoln, 2016)

Mabrook! A World of Muslim Weddings
written by Na’ima B Robert, illustrated by Shirin Adl
(Janetta Otter-Barry … Continue reading ...

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4. Netflix Orders 'Marvel's The Punisher' to Series Jon Bernthal reprises his role as Frank Castle!

It's official from Marvel Comics itself.

Read on.

Netflix Orders 'Marvel's The Punisher' to Series
Netflix has ordered a full first season of “Marvel’s The Punisher,” continuing their unprecedented collaboration with Marvel Television.

Jon Bernthal will reprise his role as Frank Castle, introduced to fans earlier this year in the second season of the Netflix original series “Marvel’s Daredevil,” with Steve Lightfoot (“Hannibal”) serving as Executive Producer and Showrunner in addition to writing the series’ first two episodes.

“We want to thank the fans who are clamoring for more of Jon’s stunning and powerful performance as Frank Castle from ‘Marvel’s Daredevil,'” said Executive Producer/Head of Marvel Television, Jeph Loeb, “Now combined with Showrunner Steve Lightfoot’s compelling writing, we’re thrilled to bring 'Marvel’s The Punisher' to Netflix.”

“Jon hooked our global audience with his performance as Frank Castle from the moment he stepped on screen in 'Marvel’s Daredevil,' and we are looking forward to seeing more of him in this role under the vision of Steve Lightfoot,” said Cindy Holland, Netflix Vice President of Original Content.

“For me, the complexity and unpredictability of Frank Castle make him an incredibly compelling character and I couldn’t be more excited to dive into his world,” said Executive Producer and Showrunner, Steve Lightfoot. “After watching Jon’s performance in ‘Marvel’s Daredevil’ I could not be more excited to be working with him to further develop and progress the story of this anti-hero in a show of his own.”

“Marvel’s The Punisher” marks the sixth series ordered thus far as part of the groundbreaking collaboration between Marvel Television and Netflix including the upcoming “Marvel’s Luke Cage,” “Marvel’s Iron Fist,” “Marvel’s The Defenders” and the Peabody Award-winning “Marvel’s Jessica Jones.”

“Marvel’s The Punisher” is produced by Marvel Television in association with ABC Studios for Netflix.
For more information on "Marvel's The Punisher," and the other exciting new Marvel Television series coming to Netflix, stay tuned to Marvel.com.

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5. Working at Starbucks today.

Working at Starbucks today.

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6. Featured Review: The Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell

About this book: In this smart and enthralling debut in the spirit of The Weird Sisters and Special Topics in Calamity Physics, the only remaining descendant of the Brontë family embarks on a modern-day literary scavenger hunt to find the family's long-rumored secret estate, using clues her eccentric father left behind....

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7. What Type of Writer Are You? Part 2

#writingfiction, #writingtips, #fiction, #critiquegroup, #genre, #novel, #storybuildingblocks, #screenplay, @Diana_Hurwitz,

In addition to a writer's preferred method of approaching the task of writing, there is a spectrum they fall on when it comes to the types of feedback they prefer.

Dick belongs to the Sensing tribe. He wants the facts and only the facts. He isn’t interested in Jane’s theories or flights of fancy. He keeps it real. He bases his opinions on what he thinks he knows to be true and dismisses anything that counters it. Critiquing Dick's work is challenging because he has already made up his mind about it. He listens (or pretends to listen) then says, “Yes, but.” At the extreme end, Dick can be so fixed in his position, he isn’t willing to change things that aren’t working.

Dick is good at pointing out factual inconsistencies in your plot. His critique is practical. He may get lost in correcting grammar and lose sight of the heart of the piece. He isn’t open to experimentation and thinks writers should stick to what has already been done, whether it is poetry or novels. Sometimes his advice is relevant. Sometimes his advice wastes your time.

Jane belongs to the Intuitive tribe. She doesn’t care how you come up with the idea. She is only interested in whether the idea is intriguing. She loves stepping outside the box. She loves experimental work. Her critiques focus on the possibilities. She makes suggestions that ask you to expand or deepen your idea. Sometimes they work. Sometimes they don’t.

Jane isn't attached to her own opinion, so she is willing to change anything. She struggles when she receives conflicting advice. Asking her to revise her work can send her into a terminal loop of self-doubt or cause her to stall.  At the extreme end, she can get so lost in exploring possibilities she never finishes.

There are far more Dicks than Janes in the writing world. There is a 70/30 split in the general population. They face off in workshops, classrooms, and critique groups. Agents or editors paired with their opposites guarantees conflict, misunderstandings, and hurt feelings.

Dick thinks Jane is undisciplined, unorganized, and erratic. He dismisses her advice as unrealistic and impractical. He resents her creative suggestions for how he could fix his plot. Sometimes Jane has a point. He should open his mind a little and consider the merit of the advice before dismissing it. Jane can offer a global perspective when Dick gets too lost in the details. She can help him avoid major plausibility plot holes. She can explain the emotional context.

Jane thinks Dick is plodding, boring, and too rigid. She dismisses his advice as short-sighted and simplistic. She should listen occasionally because Dick can help her fix speed bumps and cause and effect plot holes. His nitpicking can force her to make her work tighter when she has strayed too far from the point or added too much filler.

These opposites can help each other shore up their weak side. They may wish to strangle each other at times, but by working together they encourage each other be the best they can be.

Next week, we will continue to explore writer temperaments.

For more tips on how to craft believable characters, pick up a copy of Story Building Blocks II: Crafting Believable Conflict available in paperback and E-book, and Story Building Blocks: Build A Cast Workbook, also available in paperback and E-book.

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8. Chung Ling Soo -"Childrens Crusade"

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9. Interesting blog posts about writing – w/e April 29th, 2016

Here’s my selection of interesting (and sometimes amusing) posts about writing from the last weekabout writing from the last week:

Writing Suspenseful Fiction: Reveal Answers Slowly (Jane K. Cleland)

Best Use of Story Flashbacks (Mary Keeley)

Getting Your Novel to the Finish Line (Janice Hardy)

9 Ways to Rock Your Query Letter (Maria Vicente)

Give your manuscript a running start (Joe Moore)

5 Ways to Smash Through and Finally Start Writing (Jerry Jenkins)

What I’d Like To Say To Young Writers, Part Two (Chuck Wendig)

How to Weave a Message Without Pummeling Your Readers (James Scott Bell)

An Ambivert Walks Into A Writing Conference... (Carla Lopez Lee)

Life isn’t Fair—A Classic Problem (Kathryn Craft)

The Five Modes of A Writer’s Life (James Scott Bell)

If you found these useful, you may also like my personal selection of the most interesting blog posts from 2015, and last week’s list.

If you have a particular favorite among these, please let the author know (and me too, if you have time).  Also, if you've a link to a great post that isn't here, feel free to share.

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10. May 9 in LA: ‘Beauty and the Beast’ in 70mm With Cast and Crew Discussion

This 25th anniversary screening is sold out, but we've got a tip on how you can attend this special event.

The post May 9 in LA: ‘Beauty and the Beast’ in 70mm With Cast and Crew Discussion appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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11. Finish It May

My brain has been occupied with many, many things.  I have found it hard to focus on much of anything so my reading has fallen by the wayside.  I have a lot of books that I have started but not finished so my goal for May is to finish books I have started.  Here are four that I need to finish in May.  I would like to go into summer with a clean slate because I have a lot of books I want to read this summer!

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12. Mouse 1 and Mouse 2

Mouse One and Mouse Two... New Critters on #ZonkeyStreet

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13. Ratfink Raccoon

Polychromos pencil and digital.

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14. Welcome Ian Failes and Brian Gabriel to Cartoon Brew’s Editorial Team

We're announcing two new contributors who will expand Cartoon Brew's coverage of vfx/tech and legal issues.

The post Welcome Ian Failes and Brian Gabriel to Cartoon Brew’s Editorial Team appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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15. Our 2016 Fall Books catalog has arrived!


Our 2016 Fall Books catalog has arrived—at 427+ pages, it’s our biggest yet. Click here to download a PDF and read up on its 759 titles, or visit Edelweiss for up-to-the minute, detailed bibliographic information for each book. Phew!

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16. 11/100. #100daysofOILCRAYON #the100dayproject #oilpastels...

11/100. #100daysofOILCRAYON #the100dayproject #oilpastels #lisafirke

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17. ऑडियो – लघु कहानी- थकावट- मोनिका गुप्ता

  Audio of a short story by Monica Gupta ऑडियो – लघु कहानी- थकावट- मोनिका गुप्ता परिवार और नारी की दशा को दिखाती मेरी लिखी लघु कथा थकावट जरुर सुनिए और बताईए कि थकावट कहानी कैसी लगी ??  

The post ऑडियो – लघु कहानी- थकावट- मोनिका गुप्ता appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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18. Cinebook the 9th art: Newsletter 100- April 2016

Dear Reader,
Welcome to our 100th newsletter! One hundred! That's a nice, round number, isn't it?
We open this month's selection with Virus, volume 10 of our Spirou & Fantasio series. This Tome and Janry story is a fantastic romp through the world of bacteriological research - and also Antarctica! Make sure you've got all your shots, and bring your winter jackets.
Warm clothing optional when going after The Daltons' Stash. The four calamitous bandits are in Arizona, breaking out of prison, breaking into prison... Some crazy story about a pile of money buried under a rock, and a judge that's far too nice. Lucky Luke is going to have his work cut out for him sorting it all out!
Then there's Alone, and it's the end of a cycle for the Campton kids. As they deal with the consequences of what happened in the previous volume, they venture into the red zone, the forbidden area marked by the red cairns. They'll find some answers, and also more questions, as one secret is finally revealed. Do not miss this episode!
April with Cinebook - here's to a hundred more!

Alone 5
Gazzotti & Vehlmann
Eye of the Maelstrom
It's a sad day for the Campton kids: they've just discovered Dodzi's lifeless body at the foot of a building, shot once in the chest. Convinced that whoever killed him must have come from the red zone - the no man's land marked out by the monkeys' cairns - Leila and Ivan decide to send an expedition there... Read more

Lucky Luke 58
The Daltons' Stash
Transferred to a new penitentiary, the Daltons are put in a cell with Fennimore Buttercup, a counterfeiter who soon begins to regret having such noisy cellmates. To get rid of the annoying brothers, he sends them on the trail of his - made-up - stash... Read more

Spirou & Fantasio 10
Janry & Tome
Fantasio, chasing a scoop, slips through a cordon sanitaire surrounding a cargo ship fresh from Antarctica. He's hoping to investigate some disturbing rumours about the base where the ship comes from. But a seriously ill man has escaped the quarantine and begs for assistance... Read more

The Last Templar 1
The Encoder
Lucky Luke 59
Bride of Lucky Luke
Valerian 12
The Wrath of Hypsis

North-American readers, to locate a comic book shop near you that stocks or can order these titles and many more, us this handy Read more  

Or, if you're a retailer yourself, please go to: Read more
Namibia 4
Episode 4
The Last Templar 1
The Encoder
The Last Templar 2
The Knight in the Crypt
The Marquis of Anaon 5
The Chamber of Cheops

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19. Fans of "Unfortunate Events"! Your new Count Olaf!

Good Morning, Lemony Snicket Fans!

Hope you've had your breakfast.

Back in 2014, it was announced that Netflix would be adapting your favorite tales of woe into a television series. Years ago, the first three books were brought to the big screen with Jim Carrey as the evil Count Olaf. Since that time, many had expressed their displeasure with the movie. Not because it had an unhappy ending -- we expected that much -- but many felt that Carrey, though talented, missed the mark on what makes the Count so frightening. In short, Jim was just too goofy.

Jim Carrey as Count Olaf

Other complaints were with the film itself. The length. The tone. It just didn't feel right.

The news of a reboot was quite welcome. And then, it was announced that Neil Patrick Harris would be taking up the role of The Count. 
Can this face haunt our dreams?

Well, I was skeptical at first, until I caught some pictures of Harris on set? Look below, if you dare.  I believe he looks quite menacing!

Yes. Yes it can.

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20. Finery

The trees are sporting finery
I've not seen in a year,
In just the nick of time before
The month of May is here.

They aren't fully decked out yet;
Accoutrements await,
But slowly they're preparing
As if going on a date.

Their branches draped in color now,
They preen and bide their time
'Til filled with fruit and flowers
They'll be fully in their prime.

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21. Smoke

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22. 2016 ALSC Election Results

Many thanks to all of the candidates who ran for division office this year. We appreciate their willingness to put their names forward for the division. Here are the results from the 2016 ALSC elections:

Vice President/President-Elect

Nina Lindsay, Oakland Public Library, Oakland, CA

Board of Directors

Karen MacPherson, Takoma Park Maryland Library, Takoma Park, MD

New to ALSC Board of Directors

Amy Koester, Skokie Public Library, Skokie, IL

Fiscal Officer

Paula Holmes, Upper St. Clair Library Board, Upper St Clair, PA

Newbery 2018 Committee

Angie Manfredi, Los Alamos County Library System, Los Alamos, NM
Sujei Lugo, Boston Public Library, Jamaica Plain, MA
Thaddeus Andracki, University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, Chicago, IL
Janice Del Negro, Dominican University GSLIS, River Forest, IL
Catharine Potter, Falmouth Elementary School, Falmouth, ME
Carol Goldman, Queens Library, Forest Hills, NY
Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, CA
Susan Giffard, Ethical Culture School, New York, NY

Caldecott 2018 Committee

Sylvia Vardell, Texas Woman’s University, Denton, TX
Dean Schneider, Ensworth School, Nashville, TN
Katie Salo, Melrose Park, IL Jeanne McDermott, Amagansett Free Library, Amagansett, NY
Naphtali Faris, Mid-Continent Public Library, Independence, MO
Michelle Young, Lihue Public Library, Lihue, HI
Sarah Hinkle, West Linn Public Library, West Linn, OR
Heather McNeil, Deschutes Public Library, Bend, OR

Sibert 2018 Committee

Madeline Bryant, Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, CA
Mary Michell, Skokie Public Library, Skokie, IL
Debra Marshall, Wilson Elementary School, Coppell, TX
Adrienne Gillespie, Stoller Middle School, Portland, OR
Danielle Forest, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS

Wilder 2018 Committee

Viki Ash, San Antonio Public Library, San Antonio, TX
Susan Faust, Katherine Burke School, San Francisco, CA
Merri Lindgren, Cooperative Children’s Book Center / Univ of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI

Visit the ALA 2016 Election page.

The post 2016 ALSC Election Results appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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23. The "OS" Question!

Sorry, I didn't mean to cause confusion with my post mentioning OS (Operating Systems). So this ought to explain it!

Pageviews by Browsers

2196 (41%)
1691 (31%)
532 (9%)
289 (5%)
Internet Explorer
280 (5%)
137 (2%)
118 (2%)
33 (<1%)
33 (<1%)
33 (<1%)
Image displaying most popular browsers

Pageviews by Operating Systems

3562 (68%)
569 (10%)
333 (6%)
294 (5%)
241 (4%)
112 (2%)
50 (<1%)
16 (<1%)
iPod touch
2 (<1%)
Android 5.1.1
1 (<1%)

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24. Cynsational News & Giveaways

Jane Addams Award Winner
By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Congratulations to the winners and honorees of the Bank Street Awards, Green Earth Book Award, Edgar Awards (for mysteries) and Jane Addams (Peace) Children's Book Awards! Note: Cynsations would normally feature more coverage than a link on each, but we're cruising toward summer hiatus and the schedule is packed. Click for more information!

Adding an Emotional Stance by Mary Kole from Kidlit.com. Peek: "Don’t just settle for describing something or someone. It’s in how you describe them that the reader will be able to read the narrator’s attitude and emotion toward them. It’s all about context, folks!"

Children's Literature and the Censorship Conversation by Matia Burnett from Publishers Weekly. Peek: "While challenges to books can often result in increased sales, the authors and editors on the panel agreed that it’s certainly not the expectation or the intent of the author that a book will be deemed objectionable."

Hannah Gomez & Allie Jane Bruce on Jewishness & Whiteness from Reading While White. Peek: " You are more educated in Judaism than I, and you’ve spent much more of your life practicing Judaism than I have. And yet, I’ll bet if we stood next to each other and asked 10 people 'which of us is Jewish?' 9 of them would point to me."

How to Weave a Message Without Pummeling Your Readers by James Scott Bell from Writer Unboxed. Peek: "The engine of a story is characters in crisis exercising strength of will. True character is revealed only in a high-stakes struggle." See also Why Authors Should Use Instagram by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke.

Recruiting Diversity: A CBC Panel by Matia Burnett from Publishers Weekly. Peek: "Assuming that talented, diverse employees are recruited into publishing industry jobs, fostering a welcoming environment for individuals of different backgrounds is the next step."

How to Share Your Protagonist's Deepest Feelings With Readers by Angela Ackerman from Writers Helping Writers. Peek: "...readers have probably never been terrorized by a serial killer, vampire or demon in their own lives, but they know what it is to feel terror."

Author Interview: Elaine Scott from Book Q&As with Deborah Kalb. Peek: "People rush to post their pictures of super moons, crescent moons, lunar eclipses, etc. on social media. It's still perceived as something beautiful and a tad mysterious."

Luck and Talent by Kell Andrews from Project Mayhem. Peek: "I queried the right agent at the right time – or maybe the wrong one, because that book never sold and that agent – a respectable one with a respectable agency – left the business."

LGBTQ Books for Middle Grade Readers by Kelly Jensen from BookRiot. Peek: "It’s less about the physicality during those years than it is about the mental grappling with forming one’s identity."

Children's Editor Dick Jackson Turns Author by Sue Corbett from Publishers Weekly. Peek: "Selling eight picture books in a short span would be a phenomenal accomplishment for any writer, but Jackson’s feat is even more astonishing, because for the past six years he has been expending considerable effort just to stay healthy."

Why Host an African American Read In? by Angie Manfredi from Reading While White. Peek: "No one assumes only White people will want to read Shakespeare or, say, Emily Dickinson. We are taught those works are universal, they are for everyone. But too often, racism tells us that books by Native people or POC are only for the members of those groups."

On Writer's Block from Marion Dane Bauer. Peek: "The problem with speaking of writer’s block is that by giving it a name—and who is more prone to naming than writers?—we give it an authority it doesn’t deserve."

Author Interview: Trent Reedy & The Last Full Measure by Robin Herrera from VCFA Launch Pad. Peek: "One advantage I had with the Divided We Fall trilogy is that I knew it was a big story that would take three books. This allowed me to pay attention to the overall three-book structure, which I think would be different from writing a fully self contained story in one book and then later writing that book’s sequel."

Cynsational Screening Room

This Week at Cynsations

Cynsational Giveaways

The winners of What Does It Mean to Be an Entrepreneur? by Rana DiOrio and Emma D. Dryden, illustrated by Ken Min (Little Pickle, 2016), signed by Emma were Pat in California, Ann in South Carolina, and Suzanne in California.

More Personally

Nose, meet grindstone! This week I focused on event preparation, finishing up my critiques for the Austin SCBWI Writers and Illustrators Working Conference and getting organized for my class and presentations at the Asian Festival of Children's Content in Singapore.

That said, the SCBWI Bologna interview series is now available in its entirety. It's especially recommended to illustrators and those who love picture book art, but also, everyone who considers themselves (or wants to be) part of the international conversation of children's literature and publishing.

Especially to my fellow U.S. readers, it's too tempting to think in an insular manner. But the tradition and future of books for young readers are both anchored in the world market.

Speaking of which, look for an interview with me and my AFCC fellow YA Fantasy workshop leader Gabriela Lee in the May issue of Singapore's Child magazine.

Personal Links


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25. Author Chat with Wendy Spinale, Plus Giveaway!

YABC: What surprised you most while writing your latest book? Wendy Spinale: I think the thing that surprises me most whenever I write any story is that I may start a story thinking the characters are one way, but as I go along they develop into something entirely different. For example,...

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