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Breaking News! Proof that Dragons are indeed REAL!
Maybe this news prompted you to drop your sandwich or even roll your eyes with disbelief….but I am here to tell you; Dragons are Real! How do I know? I have proof. In fact, I have MORE than proof! As a child I had a Dragon friend for two whole summers in Gotland, Sweden.
I shared this story with Rocco during an interview at the wonderful KitLit TV.
My newest book, Dragons are Real tells this story in vibrant color and I am so honored that I was able to team up with reknown children’s book illustrator, .
Michael Welply was born in London, England ad raised in Winnipeg, Canada. He studied art in Winnipeg and Paris. He has illustrated over 80 books in Europe and in North America ranging from historical work to fantasy and fairy tales. He has two grown children, three grandchildren and currently lives in central France with his wife. It was Michael’s talent and vision that allowed us to accurately (and magically) capture what my brother and I experienced with our dragon friend for two summers.
SO basically what I am trying to tell everyone is that all of the fairy tales, myths and legends that have been told about dragons over the years are WRONG!
Dragons are not only Real, they are different than you’ve ever imagined.
This book isn’t for everyone. It’s only for those BRAVE enough to go looking for dragons in the most usual of places.
Once you find your nearest dragon you’ll need to know a few basic skills.
– Good at finding hidden things, like dragons in disguise ?
– Wanting a best friend who will take you for rides on their back ? OK we missed
an important detail….riding on their backs while flying through the air ?
– Good at telling jokes and riddles ?
– Good at roasting hot dogs and marshmallows in a constant stream of fire. Don’t
worry no fire protective gear needed.
– Willing to be a dance partner ?
– Willing to listen and share poetry, especially rhymes ?
– Are you clever enough to read a Dragon’s secret message? And then of course
be able to send one back your local and friendly dragon ? Just a reminder that
Dragon’s don’t text. They love to send secret messages.
If you’ve said a loud “YES” to even half of the above questions, chances are this book is just right for YOU!
As readers turn the pages and learn the truth about Dragons, they will see that the fiercest beasts in known history can actually be the best of friends. It’s a lesson in finding companionship in the most unusual of places. Dragons are Real is a magical book filled with stunning illustrations and hints that dragon are indeed all around us
Dragons are Real is now available for purchase on both Amazon and Gumroad. We are also offering a special free bonus gift of a Dragons Are Real Inspiration Activity Guide when you purchase your copy of this enchanting picture book.
I also received exceptionally exciting news a few weeks ago and keeping the news of this huge honor has been hard! Here is the email that popped into my inbox that had me doing the Happy Dance for weeks:
I hope you are well. I’m following up to let you know that your review for “Dragons are Real” was selected by our Indie Editors to be featured in Kirkus Reviews 7/1 Issue. Congratulations! Your review will appear as one of about 35 reviews in the Indie section of the 7/1 Kirkus Reviews magazine which is sent out to over 5,200 industry professionals (librarians, publishers, agents, etc.) Less than 10% of our Indie reviews are chosen for this, so it’s a great honor. The digital version of this issue will be available for me to send to you on July 5th, and the print version will be available in a week or so after that.
All the best & congratulations again,
Client Promotions & Advertising Associate
KIRKUS REVIEWS | KIRKUS MEDIA LLC
To everyone who helped make this book not only a huge success, but let the story of Dragons among us be told, THANK YOU!
Here is the fourth excerpt from the television interview I did with Kevin Avard on Gate City Chronicles. Here I tell him about a funny thing that really happened in New England during Lafayette's Farewell Tour.
So I was talking without notes and muddled something: the number of Americans who turned out to see Lafayette during his Farewell Tour of 1824-5 was approximately 3 million. This was about 1/4 of the total population!
If you are unable to watch this video on your mobile device, please go here.
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Imagine a London merchant deliberating whether to send his ten sons to Oxford or to Cambridge. Leafing through the flyers, he learns that, if he sends the boys to Cambridge, they will make “considerable progress in the sciences as well as in virtue, so that their merit will elevate them to honourable occupations for the rest of their lives” — on the other hand, if he sends them to Oxford, “they will become depraved, they will become rascals, and they will pass from mischief to mischief until the law will have to set them in order, and condemn them to various punishments.”
Noble Collection is one of the greatest distributers of official Harry Potter merchandise and movie replicas. Fans have been wishing and hoping for Fantastic Beasts movie merchandise, and that indeed will eventually be the case. Even better, it seems that Fantastic Beasts merchandise and movie replicas will be added to the Noble Collection!
With V.P.'s picked, the candidates Are on the campaign trail, Each hoping that the other's choice Will make some voters bail. But really, no one cares that much If running mates seem weak. For most of them, the limelight Isn't something that they seek. Unless, of course, the President Can't finish out the term. The Second-in-Command may then Make party members squirm. We cast our votes for President And hope we'll never see The Number 2 man in the place He wasn't meant to be.
Present at the event were: Director David Yates, Producer David Heyman, Ezra Miller (Credence), Collin Farrell (Percival Graves), Eddie Redmayne (Newt Scamander), Katherine Waterston (Tina Goldstein), Dan Fogler (Jacob Kowalski) and Alison Sudol (Queenie Goldstein).
In the U.K., fans (and Leaky) were in the Great Hall at Leavesden Studios to take part in the live stream Q&A, where Fantastic Beasts costumes and props were being flaunted – unfortunately only for this exclusive event. Georgia and Gemma represented Leaky in London, so keep posted for more updates on this!
Carianne and Tabitha attended Comic-Con in San Diego on behalf of The Leaky Cauldron, Carianne managed to ask what Eddie, Katherine, Dan and Alison’s favourite parts about the wizarding world are:
Alison answered “Anything is possible, and also that it’s a beautiful world, it’s close enough to our world that it feels real and yet the possibilities and just the wonder of it, on just the tiniest little details how magic is sort of workaday in the world is just constantly inspiring”
Katherine says “I think the idea of a parallel universe is just something I think we can all relate to. Of course children have that sense and we kind of grow up and we are kind of bred out or encouraged to stop thinking that way and stop seeing the beauty and the possibility and the magic around us, and to consider it in this much more literal way that there could be a simultaneous world happening around us that we might not be conscious of, that we might be able to notice if you tune into it or look for it … I love that idea”
Presenter Edith Bowman asked what it was like in San Diego when the brand new trailer was shown to audiences, and Eddie Redmayne jumped straight in with his answer, clearly excited to be at such a huge event:
“You hear so much about Comic-Con, the moment you actually walk on stage, it’s like no sensory experience you can possibly imagine – it’s so overwhelming, but so exciting”
According to Redmayne, there were people dressed as Newt Scamander in the audience!
Ezra Miller’s character has been kept closely under wraps (he does, however, feature in the new Fantastic Beasts poster), so his answer was understandably more discrete:
“I can’t tell you my favourite scene” he says, but said his favourite thing about working on the film was working with Collin Farrell, Eddie Redmayne and Samantha Morton (Mary Lou).
Alison Sudol says she is a “big Harry Potter fan” so is obviously excited to be promoting Fantastic Beasts at such a great event. “You can’t help but feel like a kid” she says, “It is magical, it’s magical to be a part of this world and to have a continuation of the universe that we all fell in love with, but it’s something new, something different”
Dan Fogler is a loyal Comic-Con fan, who says he’s been attending the event for probably the past 15 years, and compares the excitement of attending 2016’s event to 2015:
“Last year I didn’t have much going on … then I got the call from my agent saying you know, ‘Next Comic-Con’s gonna be a lot different’, and they were right.”
Pottermore asked the first time Eddie Redmayne learned to use a wand, which apparently happened in what turned out to be a slightly awkward experience during screen tests for the film:
“I remember David said very kindly ‘Ed, just choose a wand’ and I was like *HUGE GASP*. What was extraordinary was that your inner 9-year-old has waited for this moment all your life, and I picked the thing up, and I got complete stage fright. I had no idea what to do with it – it looked really odd in my hand so in the end I actually went back and looked at some of the Harry Potter films and looked at Dan and Emma and Rupert’s work and thieved an idea or two!”
Alison Sudol echoed this ‘stage fright’, saying that she was also concerned about whether the wand was actually magic, but that after the initial shock is over with “it becomes quite addictive” – apparently she’d found herself actually walking around at home with a wand!
Katherine Waterston said that the muscles involved in wand work were a surprise for her, saying she got a case of ‘wand elbow’.
SnitchSeeker then asked Eddie Redmayne what makes Newt Scamander a true Hufflepuff. Eddie said he’d recently taken the Pottermore sorting test:
“I’d been holding off doing it for an age because I couldn’t believe it would actually work, and I was sorted into Hufflepuff and it was the most exciting moment of my life”
“It’s his heart – he’s a complicated, knotty, at moments spiky character, but he has a wonderful heart and a passion for his creatures, and I suppose it’s those qualities which I associated with a Hufflepuff”
You can view the trailer and the full Q&A in the video on the Fantastic Beasts below, and check out our break-down of the trailer here!
Thank you to Carianne for asking Leaky’s question, and to Alison Sudol and Katherine Waterston for answering it! Many thanks to Tabitha, who joined Carianne and represented Leaky at SDCC 2016, and Gemma and Georgia, who joined the festivities at Leavesden Studios in London on Leaky’s behalf–thank you!!!
I've been busy making a lot of drawings of knitting lately, for various projects.
People are commissioning me to do custom coloring pages to promote their knitting sites and projects, which has been a lot of fun.
Here are two I did for verypink. They are both free downloadable pdfs on the site, to go with a knitting pattern for the cowl, and the boot cuffs. Staci has a youtube channel with videos for these pages and the projects they were done for. Check it out!
This is a snippet of another custom coloring page I just finished for another client that will be for kids to color.
I'm also working on getting some Christmasy things in my Drawings of Knitting shop on etsy. These are both gift tags, which are downloadable pdfs (or jpgs) that you can just print and cut out yourself. You can make as many as you want! I'm moving at kind of a snail's pace at the moment, just trying to do too many things at once, work-wise, but hope to have these in the shop in the next week or so. I have lots of other ideas for cool holiday crafty things (stockings!), and am working on those too. If you have any ideas or suggestions about things you'd like to see in the shop, please let me know.
I really love doing these drawings, but they do take forever. I'm getting a little faster, and am getting smarter about using Photoshop tools to change the colors of things, or cut and paste. But still, most of it is very fussy and fiddly and s-l-o-w.
I'm still working on the next coloring book that will be fair isle designs, and argyle.
Which song do you like better? Blame It On Mexico or Mexicoma? Margaritaville or Red Solo Cup? The idea of these 'battle' posts is that I'll be sharing TWO songs, and you'll help decide which of the two is your favorite.
I'm looking forward to Sharknado: The 4th Awakens; it's scheduled for Sunday, July 31. And I see that the SyFy channel is running a lot of shark movies to get us there. (There are that many?!) A new one, Dam Sharks!, is this Monday night. Hmm. Not much info on the plot yet. The genre is Horror; and the blurb says: Voracious sharks use human bodies to build dams. Uh, why. And if they're so voracious, how come there are any bodies available?
On 23 June 2016 a majority of people in England and Wales voted to Leave the European Union. A majority of Scottish voters opted to Remain and, so too, did a clear majority of voters in Northern Ireland. These results have produced uncertainty about the future direction of relationships across these islands.
Upstairs Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham = Hugh Bonneville Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham = Elizabeth McGovern Lady Mary Crawley = Michelle Dockery Lady Edith Crawley = Laura Carmichael Lady Sybil Crawley = Jessica Brown Findlay Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham = Maggie Smith
Downstairs Mr. (Charles) Carson = Jim Carter Mrs. Hughes = Phyllis Logan Mr. (John) Bates = Brendan Coyle Anna = Joanne Froggatt Gwen = Rose Leslie Thomas Barrow = Rob James-Collier Miss (Sarah) O'Brien = Siobhan Finneran Mrs. Patmore = Lesley Nicol Daisy = Sophie McShera William Mason = Thomas Howes Tom Branson = Allen Leech
Other Households Isobel Crawley = Penelope Wilton Matthew Crawley = Dan Stevens Josephy Molesley = Kevin Doyle Mrs. Bird = Christine Lohr
So, in the spring I was quite happy with the final season of Downton Abbey. I have never rewatched this series, so I thought this summer might be a good time. (Especially now that I've rewatched all of Call the Midwife, and there is a void in shows to binge-watch).
So, this is a rewatch. I am assuming that most people who have any interest in this one, have already seen this season, at least once. I will not purposefully come out and spoil things unnecessarily. But. I will talk freely about this season.
Equal time is spent between the upstairs and the downstairs.
People I loved downstairs = Mr. Bates, Anna, Mrs. Hughes, Mr. Carson. Now by the end of the sixth season, I can easily say that I've come to love more characters.
People I liked downstairs = William, Tom, Gwen, Daisy, Miss Patmore.
People I really DISLIKE downstairs = O'Brien and Thomas. I really LOATHE both characters. Now, O'Brien never, ever, ever redeems herself in my opinion. Thomas, on the other hand, as the series progresses, there are moments where I actually don't hate him.
People I loved upstairs: Dowager Countess and Sybil. I love the Dowager Countess!!!! Of the three sisters, Sybil is the one you'd actually want to know in real life and be friends with.
People I liked upstairs: Lady Cora, Robert Crawley, Lady Edith. Of those three, Lady Edith may be the most controversial for 'liking.' I do like Edith, however. I think Lady Mary has spent years and years and years tormenting her, without her parents ever correcting Lady Mary's behavior. I think she has dealt with a lot, not just from Mary, but from her own parents. There is a conversation in which it is revealed that neither parent thinks that anyone will ever, ever, ever want to marry Edith. Both parents assume that Edith with be the one daughter whom no one marries because no one wants, she will be the one to 'nurse' them in their old age, and, then they joke about how awful that will be to still have her around. I just CRINGED. Still, I think Robert and Cora have their redeemable moments.
People I really DISLIKE upstairs: Lady Mary. Mr. Carson may be the only person in the entire world that Mary is ever kind and respectful to. In every battle with Edith, Lady Mary seems to be the instigator. She also seems to be the one to keep adding fuel to the fire. Lady Mary is rude, hateful, spiteful, inconsiderate. Not just in private, when the two are alone, but in front of the entire family--why does her family think her rudeness is acceptable????--and as if that wasn't bad enough, in front of dinner guests as well. Lady Mary seems to exist to humiliate Lady Edith whenever, wherever possible. Now, that being said, Lady Edith, does not stand back and let Lady Mary say and do whatever without reacting and responding. I think Lady Edith was PROVOKED into doing what she did. I don't think it was inevitable. I think Mary's own actions--in more than one way--led to the gossip that 'ruined' her.
Other characters I loved: Matthew Crawley and his mother, Isobel. I honestly don't know why Matthew falls for Mary. I don't know what he sees in her, and continues to see in her, that keeps him coming around?! Mary's natural inclinations are to hurt and inflict pain at her whim. That being said, do I like Matthew in spite of his liking or loving Mary. Yes, for the most part. I do think Matthew is unnecessarily RUDE at times. For example, even though he's not interested--in that way--in Edith. He didn't have to rebuff her when she was making small talk. It wasn't as if she was saying, MATTHEW, I LOVE YOU TRULY, MADLY; FORGET ABOUT MARY, LET'S RUN AWAY THE TWO OF US, AND LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER. She was just trying to avoid an awkward situation and make the best of it. And he would have none of her small talk. Now, Edith is used to people treating her rudely, as if she is "less than." After all, her own flesh and blood treat her that way day in and day out. I think Matthew's standout moment comes when he rescues Lady Sybil, takes her to his own home, has his mother nurse her, sends for Mary, etc. When Mary seems Matthew as a HERO, that's when Mary decides that she likes Matthew after all. More than a "toy" an actual human being. Now that I think about, Lady Mary reminds me of Scarlett O'Hara.
Isobel. I really love to see her interact with the Dowager Countess. And also with Dr. Carson. She is a genuine person, and one you can't help loving.
Season 1 Highlights:
The family learns about the sinking of the Titanic, learns about the two next-in-line heirs being killed.
Lady Mary is upset not that her 'future husband' is killed but that she might lose what she's come to think of as her rightful inheritance.
Lady Mary invites someone to ride/hunt at Downton Abbey, and, then ignores the guest she invited to flirt with the guest her guest invited.
Lady Mary is NOT responsible for Mr. Kemal Pamuk coming into her bedroom--that would be Thomas who led him to her door and left him, knowing Mr. Pamuk's intentions--but she is at least partially responsible for not doing everything in her power to stop him. She was not exactly forced. She protested at first. Which makes me think that she's only partially responsible. He clearly was not a 'no' means 'no' guy. But she stopped protesting and became welcoming. To her credit, she never claims she was unwilling. Though she very well could have told her mother that he showed up in her room uninvited, and forced his attentions. Her mother might have been more sympathetic.
Lady Mary's secret is voluntarily kept by Anna and her mother. It is held as ammunition by Thomas and O'Brien. Daisy also witnesses something of the aftermath.
The family accepts Matthew as the next heir, but, Mary is contrary and hates him except when she's flirting with him. But she only flirts with him a third of the time. The other times she leaves him confused and hurt.
Miss Patmore has a health crisis.
Daisy has an attack of conscience. And changes her mind about which footman is for her.
Thomas and O'Brien are set on destroying Bates. In many, many episodes, they plot and scheme. Carson seems to stay a step or two ahead of them.
Anna and Mr. Bates fall for each other, though, he likes to keep a little distance between them because his past is problematic.
Tom starts falling in love with Sybil....but she is so busy helping out Gwen that I don't think she's really noticed the swoon-worthiness of Tom just yet.
O'Brien reveals her evilness. And a family mourns as a result.
The family learns that war has been declared. (World War I)
A reader writes to ask if I've seen Bella Bella by Jonathan London, illustrations by Sean London (don't know if there is a relationship between the author and illustrator). Bella Bella came out in February of 2016. Published by West Winds, here's the synopsis:
From best-selling author Jonathan London comes BELLA BELLA, the heart-pounding sequel to DESOLATION CANYON. In this story for young readers, the same cast of characters―thirteen-year-olds Aaron and Lisa and their fathers, and seventeen-year-old Cassidy and his dad―embark on a sea kayaking trip through the Inside Passage that brings them unexpected and even terrifying adventures. Young readers will eagerly follow Aaron’s adventures in this suspenseful page turner, as he learns to navigate a kayak, discovers another side to a bully, shares a first kiss, encounters the desperate world of human trafficking, and challenges an evil smuggler who threatens the entire group.
Nothing in the synopsis to tell you there's Native content, but the art on the top half of the cover tells us there is (see image to the right). I don't know what to call that image. Is it meant to be a totem pole? What do you think it is?
The review at Kirkus tells us that the characters begin their trip at a First Nations village (Bella Bella) and that they hope to learn about First Nations tribes. The Kirkus review included a link to their review of Desolation Canyon, so I took a look at that review. It apparently has Native content, too.
If I get a copy, I'll be back with a review. If you've got a copy, please comment on what you see in it.
This May, our 2016 Clinical Placement Competition came to a close. In partnership with Projects Abroad, we offered one lucky medical student the chance to practice their clinical skills, with £2,000 towards a clinical placement in a country of their choice. We asked entrants to send a photograph with a caption, explaining “What does being a doctor mean to you?”