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New authors routinely hear that they should build their marketing platforms by publishing articles in print magazines. There’s one problem with this advice: it rarely helps authors actually sell books.
There are exceptions to this, and I’ll get to them. But I’ve spoken to publicists and authors, and examined my own book releases, and I’m convinced that print magazine articles rarely convert into book sales or fans who will eventually buy a book. If a platform is supposed to help you sell books, then publishing in print magazines should be a low priority on your “platform building list.”
One award-winning reporter and widely published magazine writer I know noted that she rarely sees growth to her online platform through her magazine or newspaper work. “People just read the articles,” she shared. “They rarely look for the by-line.” One popular print and online magazine columnist shared the same experience with me after her second book failed to hit sales goals.
What should aspiring and experienced authors do to grow their marketing platforms if they aren’t writing for magazines? Are online magazine articles more effective than print magazine articles? And is there any hope for authors with experience writing for magazines?
Invest in what You Can Do
I’m not the best magazine writer around, but I genuinely enjoy blogging and have invested significant time into it. As a result, I’ve been approached by at least five editors from Christian publishing houses based on my blog. These days I aim to write something relatively long, audience-specific, and “evergreen” each week.
While I’ve seen no notable gains in my platform or my book sales from my articles in top print magazines, each blog post provides readers an opportunity to either join my email list (in exchange for two free eBooks) or follow me on social media. Blogging is a slow build, but it is a build that is working toward a viable end.
Authors need not throw themselves into blogging. A personal note each week or every other week through an email newsletter or a niche podcast can prove just as effective. Author Seth Haines has invested a great deal in his Tiny Letters (Tiny Letter is a scaled down version of MailChimp), while bestselling author Tsh Oxenreider reaches her readers through her podcast.
Build an Email List through Short eBooks
Short eBooks are a tried and true way for both commercial and independent authors to build their email lists and to prompt new readers to check out their full-length books. If you swing by NoiseTrade Books, an eBook giveaway site that lets users download eBooks by entering their email addresses and zip codes, you’ll find many bestselling Christian authors sharing books there, including Don Miller and Ally Vesterfelt. I give away several eBooks through NoiseTrade and have more than doubled my email list.
New authors should be especially eager to publish a short eBook in the 10-20,000 word range. It will provide invaluable experience in writing for a specific audience and book marketing before you have a book deal on the line with a publisher that has specific sales goals.
Learn How to Advertise Your Books
If you go the short eBook route, then you may find that publishing a few short or long independent books will help prepare you for a longer-term career with a publisher.
For instance, independent authors and commercial publishers have used price promotions and discounts as ways to spark pre-sales, encourage early reviews, or to revive an older title. Along with these price promotions, there are many services and Twitter accounts that make it easier to share these deals and give them a longer lifespan that could translate into more print sales and a longer period of time on the eBook bestseller lists when your book returns to full price.
Whether you try out Facebook ads, guest posts on high profile blogs, articles for an online news site in your niche, or some other promotion, independently releasing a book or two before querying a publisher will provide some real life book marketing experience so that you have a better idea of what works best for you and your readers.
When I promoted Write without Crushing Your Soul to my email list, I quickly learned that readers were far more receptive to a personal note about the book’s writing process than a simple overview of the book’s content.
Authentically Connect with Readers on Social Media
I entered publishing back when authors were first getting shoved onto Twitter and Facebook. We were told this would help us sell books, and far too many of us found that this wasn’t necessarily always the case.
Rather, social media provides a place for us to authentically connect with our readers, and sometimes the sales will follow if we provide the right kind of book. I’ve found that the authors who connect with readers through hashtag conversations on Twitter or niche groups on Facebook have far more meaningful interactions that are much more likely to result in readers buying a book in the future.
For instance, author Cindy Brandt (now a client of Rachelle’s at Books & Such) created an amazing group called Raising Children Unfundamentalist around her next book project, and the group is already a thriving community. On Twitter, check out the way author Emily Freeman created a conversation around the hashtag #SimplyTuesday.
So… Should Authors Write for Magazines?
While there are many other ways to promote yourself and your work outside of traditional print magazine publishing, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider it. Some authors have built up a loyal following through writing for a particular magazine, especially in a niche market.
Authors with a background in journalism are especially suited for the research, querying, and unique style of writing that magazines require. In addition, a few published articles in relevant magazines can indicate to publishers that you have both the credibility and professionalism to write a book for them.
Most importantly, there’s a big difference between platform building and actively selling books. Many authors gain newsletter subscribers and social media followers through publishing articles for online magazines, but posting an article in an online magazine is not necessarily a sure bet for directly selling books from the article itself. In fact, strategies vary from project to project and from publisher to publisher.
Publicists Remain Divided Over Marketing
Having worked or spoken with several Christian publishers, I’ve found book marketing strategies and tactics vary from one publisher to another. Book marketing is a moving target, and there’s hardly a consensus on the best mix of new and old media marketing.
It’s true that some authors have used timely, shareable magazine or newspaper articles (especially online) to generate book sales. It’s especially helpful that these authors have books that are easy to find in the front of local bookstores or online retail sites!
Print magazine articles can help a few authors sell a few books. They can help most authors demonstrate credibility to an editor. They will not help the majority of authors sell books because far too many magazine readers will enjoy a well-written piece, think “That was nice,” and then go on with the day.
When I learned that Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock's The Smell of Other People's Houses has Native characters in it, the title took on a dark connotation. Central to European and US racism towards Native peoples was their characterization of Native peoples as primitive, dirty, and in need of "civilizing." Thanks to a friend who was at the American Library Association's Midwinter meeting last month, I was able to read an advance reader's copy of it.
Most of Hitchcock's story takes place in Fairbanks in 1970. Here's the synopsis:
In Alaska, 1970, being a teenager here isn’t like being a teenager anywhere else. This deeply moving and authentic debut is for fans of Rainbow Rowell, Louise Erdrich, Sherman Alexie, and Benjamin Alire Saenz. Intertwining stories of love, tragedy, wild luck, and salvation on the edge of America’s Last Frontier introduce a writer of rare talent.
Ruth has a secret that she can’t hide forever. Dora wonders if she can ever truly escape where she comes from, even when good luck strikes. Alyce is trying to reconcile her desire to dance, with the life she’s always known on her family’s fishing boat. Hank and his brothers decide it’s safer to run away than to stay home—until one of them ends up in terrible danger.
Four very different lives are about to become entangled. This unforgettable book is about people who try to save each other—and how sometimes, when they least expect it, they succeed.
The story is told in alternating chapters, by Ruth, Dora, Alyce, and Hank. This review is primarily about Dora.
It starts out with Ruth. Her little sister is named Lily. They live with their grandmother. As the story begins, Ruth and her friend Selma, and Lily and her friend Bunny (Lily and Bunny are 11 years old) are about to sit down to eat together. Bunny gets to talking about fish camp. Lily asks Gran why they don't have a fish camp, and gran says "because we aren't native."
To that, Bunny says (on page 17 of the ARC):
"I'm not native, I'm Athabascan."
Ruth and Selma laugh at her. Lily (Ruth's little sister) responds:
"What's so funny? She is Athabascan," says Lily. "Natives are the people like Dora's mom, the ones who hang out all day at the bar--they're too drunk to even bother fishing."
Remember--Lily is eleven years old, but she apparently holds some rather stereotypical ideas about Native people. Maybe because she's eleven, we're meant to excuse her remark.
Later on that page we learn a little more:
Fish camps are pretty much handed down from family to family, but maybe Gran shouldn't have lumped all Alaska Natives together. It didn't seem to make Bunny very happy. Especially because Bunny and Dumpling actually have the nicest parents in Birch Park.
Are there tensions in Alaska between different Alaska Native groups that would cause Bunny to be upset? Are they specific to alcoholism? Are we to understand that "natives" in Alaska are more likely to be alcoholic than Athabascans? A few pages later, we learn from Dora that most people in Fairbanks "lump all native people together" and that she (Dora) is Eskimo or Inupiat, while Dumpling is Athabascan, or Indian (p. 27-28).
As the synopsis indicates, Dora is one of the main characters in the story. Her escape is from her own home. Her dad, we read, drinks, too. But there's more: her dad sexually abuses her, and her mother knows about it. Near the end of the story, he beats up her mother and threatens to shoot Dora. By then, Dora has been living next door with Bunny and Dumpling's family for awhile.
When Dora wins some money, her mother pesters her for it so she can buy more beer. When her dad gets out of jail for shooting up the bar, he wants her money, too.
There are characters in the story that might be Eskimo or Inupiat (not sure what Dora's preferred term is). George, the old guy who works at Goodwill, knew Dora's great grandparents, but I can't tell if he's Eskimo/Inupiat or not. Nick, the bartender with nice teeth might be, too. Dora's mom dated him for awhile. If these two men are Eskimo/Inupiat, that would be cool, because they're likeable. But--we don't know.
And then there's Dora's mom's friends, Paula and Annette. Paula has a beaded wallet, so maybe she's Eskimo/Inupiat. The three woman are loud and drink together, a lot. Paula seems nice enough but the vibe I get of them is not good. In that scene in which Dora's father threatens to shoot her, Paula and Annette came running out of the house, abandoning Dora's mom.
The contrast between the Bunny and Dumpling's Athabascan family and Dora's Eskimo or Inupiat family, is striking. In the Athabascan home, Dora feels safe and cared for. Dumpling's family may be shown that way so that we'd have more than one image of Native peoples, but I wish that we were given more information about Dora's parents so that we might understand them as more than the stereotypical drunken and violent Indians. Why do they throw pictures across the room, cracking the glass and putting them back on the wall, with that cracked glass? What is the backstory on them? Without it, I think this story confirms troubling stereotypes. I'm also unsettled by the sexual abuse. Sexual abuse of Native women is rampant, and while there's no doubt that incest is part of that, I wish that wasn't part of Dora's story.
I'd also like to know more about Indigenous peoples of Alaska. Hitchcock gestures to complexities in terms used but I'm reading and re-reading those passages trying to make sense of it. Due out in 2016 from Random House, I'm marking this as not recommended.
Turkish Airlines is the official airline for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. As such, it produced the first fairly nifty set of Superbowl commercials this afternoon. Take a look below at these in-universe travel ads for Gotham City and Metropolis, with cameos by Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor respectively.
We’ve been doing a significant amount of reorganization over at the Vault and in the process I stumbled across a folder for which I’ve been searching for years. In it I found the results of a dot matrix printed Duran Duran survey I wrote for a Duranie party hosted sometime during 1985 by my friend Allyson (her survey is the second pictured above - she loves John - and helpfully gave me suggestions for revamping the survey which I must have done at some point). The girls who filled out these surveys were between 13-15 years old, which is fairly obvious when you read them. I cannot believe I said I didn’t like Power Station! (Mine is the first one pictured - I love Simon! I think I was just pissed at John and Andy for temporarily leaving Duran Duran). And that my friend Angela (she’s the one who likes Andy) doesn’t like Arcadia but loves Power Station (probably for the same reasons as me). The nicknames that we chose! That was TOTALLY a thing - choosing special Duranie names to call ourselves and finding Duranie penpals so we could write to other nuts like ourselves from around the world.
The last two scans are the list of Allyson’s Duran vinyl collection as of September 4th, 1985. Impressive! I was hardcore jealous of her albums, especially the 12″ singles.
A few years ago, I co-wrote an article for The Awl with my friends Sarah and Allyson about the Duran Duran party that Allyson hosted in 1984. The article mentioned surveys we’d filled out the night of the party as well as an epic mix that Sarah and ALlyson created one feverish weekend, and other important artifacts considered long-lost. I’M SO GLAD THESE IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS HAVE BEEN UNEARTHED!!!
My survey is the third one down. It says that John is my favorite member, which is strange because it was almost always Nick Nick Nick Nick Nick. The heart is fickle!
Have I mentioned lately how much I love Minneapolis? It is by no means a perfect city and the winters are long and hard, but by golly how many other cities have a community advisory group that works with the city council on things like urban agriculture and food security issues? Homegrown Minneapolis is the name of the group and their latest newsletter included a map of all the vacant city lots that can be leased for community gardening and urban farms. Also in the newsletter is information regarding a proposal to turn a public golf course near my house into a food forest.
What’s a food forest? It is exactly what it sounds like. It is a designed landscape that mimics a natural ecosystem while incorporating food producing plants like nut and fruit trees, shrubs, perennial vegetables and herbs. Annual plants can also be grown in the mix. And of course it is a space that also utilizes native plants to attract pollinators and other beneficial insects, control weeds and build soil fertility.
The site of this proposed food forest is a public golf course near Lake Hiawatha. The golf course is very expensive to maintain not just because it was built on a wetlands and requires millions of gallons of water to be pumped out of it every year. It turns out the amount of water being pumped far exceeds the permit limits and is therefore illegal. A portion of the golf course has also been closed since 2014 when we had so much rain that the “back nine” was flooded and is still so soaked and damaged the park board can’t really afford to fix it. This golf course also drains into Lake Hiawatha which suffers greatly from water quality issues do to run-off into the lake. This golf course covers 140 acres and serves very few people, costing to my mind and many others, more than it is worth.
So a young, brilliant city resident has put up a proposal and taken up the challenge to advocate for repurposing the land. His vision allows for a much reduced golf course, fruit orchards, nut trees, and more. His vision even includes returning wild rice to Lake Hiawatha which, I just learned, used to be called “Rice Lake” because local Native Americans grew and harvested wild rice there before they were forced to move elsewhere.
The food forest would be grown on public land, would be tended by volunteers, and would welcome all from the community to go and harvest food from it. It would solve the water pumping problem and the lake’s water quality issues as well. And it would provide learning opportunities for both adults and school children. Plus it would be far cheaper to maintain than a full golf course not to mention more beautiful and useful.
This is such an incredibly exciting thing and if it goes through, if the Park Board decides to go along with it, it would mean Minneapolis would be home to the largest food forest in the United States. And yeah, you know I’ll find a way to be involved with the project even if it is only volunteering a few hours every month. There is a meeting being held on February 27th. It’s scheduled for four hours in the afternoon which is a big chunk of Saturday time for me, but I might just see if I can make it for at least a portion of the meeting. If not, I am sure there will be other opportunities as the proposal picks up steam.
In my own garden, I have a tray full of paper pots ready for onion seeds next weekend. I must continue working at making pots because at the end of the month I will need to get the peppers and tomatoes started. I love this time of year. While it feels so hectic getting everything started, it is also the most hopeful time of the gardening year because there is still so much possibility. The slugs haven’t eaten the greens yet, the squirrels haven’t dug up or stolen anything, there hasn’t been too much rain or not enough, too much heat or not enough. In my mind’s eye my garden is lush and green and perfect. Reality will kick in soon enough, but until then, everything is still perfect.
In chicken news, the same newsletter that brought word of the food forest proposal also informed me that the city council will be voting on the new chicken ordinance on February 12th! I wasn’t expecting anything from the city council until summer. But perhaps they want to get it all settled before spring when people who want to start keeping chickens will be looking to get underway. Bookman has not yet begun to collect neighbor signatures, it has been too cold and snowy. But now we will wait and see what happens come Friday. Bookman may just be saved the trouble of collecting signatures after all. Fingers crossed!
In cycling news, I am still riding in virtual races on Thursday nights. Each week is different and sometimes I finish first or second and sometimes I finish last. One thing for sure, my fitness has improved immensely. I am also in the final week of a 6-week workout program that has meant hour-long (or more) workouts four to five times of week doing intervals of varying intensities. This too has paid off. On a (virtual) ride after my workout yesterday I decided to see if I could beat my personal sprint records on the two sprint sections of the course and I blew each one away by several seconds! I even managed to ever so briefly hit 4 watts/kg, something I thought I would never manage. I also noticed I now frequently go over 3 w/kg which means that after this week I will start racing in group C instead of D. Technically I should start this week but I want to give myself one more “easy” week before I go to the next group and start coming in last all the time. I will be good incentive to work hard and improve, right?
Also this last week on Wednesday night I participated in my first virtual group ride. It was so much fun! I am part of a group on Zwift called ROL (Ride On Ladies — in Zwift you can give riders a “ride on” thumb’s up, it’s a way to offer support and tell other riders they are doing great or thanking them for a good ride, etc). There is an ROL group ride on Wednesday nights but I had not joined in because it is a fast ride and with the races I’ve been doing Thursday nights I didn’t want to overdo it the night before. Anyway, a slower group ride was introduced this week so I joined that one. We used an app called TeamSpeak which allows us to actually talk to each other while we ride. I rode with a couple people from Seattle and someone from Ohio and I think maybe Texas. Technology is awesome!
Also, there are enough ROL women who are interested in racing that we are going to have our own women’s race on Saturday upcoming. It will be a 30km race and I will have to race in group B which is both exciting and scary. There are not a lot of women on Zwift, I saw somewhere that women are only about 8% of the Zwift population, but among them are some really strong riders and racers. It is exciting to ride with them because it forces me to work harder and they are all supportive and encouraging so even though I feel intimidated, it comes from my own personal worries of not being very good rather than anything anyone else has said or done. Currently there are 24 women who have indicated they will be racing Saturday and 56 who have said maybe. We’ll see what kind of turnout there really is. I just hope I don’t finish last in my group. But hey, if I do, incentive to improve!
Each year, a new writer and new illustrator are celebrated. The 2016 award ceremony will be held April 7 during the Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival at The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. The winners receive a gold medallion as well as an honorarium of $1,000.
“We are proud to present the Ezra Jack Keats Book Award to the best new talents in children’s illustrated literature each year. These are writers and illustrators whose books reflect the spirit of Keats, and at the same time, are refreshingly original,” said Deborah Pope, Executive Director of the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation. “This year is Ezra’s 100th birthday! So we are especially delighted to celebrate him by honoring those whose books, like his, are wonderful to read and look at and reflect our multicultural world.”
“The Keats Archives at the de Grummond Children’s Collection is a happy reminder of the joy that Ezra’s books have brought to readers and the impact they have had on children’s book makers.
"Once again, we see that influence in the work of this year’s EJK Book Award winners. We are confident that they’ll join the long list of illustrious past winners whose books continue to delight and make a difference,” said Ellen Ruffin, Curator of the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection.
Lois Lowry, two-time winner of the Newbery Award for Number the Stars (1990) and The Giver (1994), will present this year’s Ezra Jack Keats Book Awards. Michael Cart, columnist/reviewer for Booklist and a leading expert on young adult literature, will deliver the Keats Lecture.
The 2016 Ezra Jack Keats Book Award winner for new writer is:
In the South before the Civil War, it was illegal to teach slaves to read, but George Moses Horton loved words too much to be stopped. He taught himself to read as a child and grew up to be a published poet, while still a slave.
Writing about slavery for young readers is challenging but important, and Don Tate succeeds brilliantly, in an engaging, age-appropriate and true narrative.
Tate said, “Three years ago, I won an Ezra Jack Keats honor award, one of the proudest moments of my career. I never imagined being considered again… this time [for] the top award. There has always been a special place in my heart for Ezra Jack Keats. When he chose to picture brown children in his books, he chose to acknowledge me. I wasn’t invisible to him.
"As a creator of color in a field that sorely lacks diversity, it can be easy to sometimes feel unseen. This award serves as a reminder to me that I am not invisible and that my work matters.”
The 2016 Ezra Jack Keats Book Award winner for new illustrator is:
Sonya’s dad presents her with three baby chicks to care for, and she does her job well, providing food, shelter and lots of love as they grow into hens. Then one night, Sonya discovers that one of her hens is missing! But as her father explains, the fox stole the hen because he loved his kits and needed to feed them.
The circle of life is gently and exquisitely depicted in Wahl’s rich and colorful watercolor and collage illustrations of a multicultural family’s life on a farm.
Wahl said, “Keats’ work stands out as some of the most impactful of my childhood. I can directly trace the roots of my obsession with pattern, color and my use of collage to my affinity with the lacy baby blanket in Peter’s Chair. Keats inspired me to create stories that are quiet and gentle, yet honor the rich inner lives of children and all of the complexity that allows.
"I am humbled to be associated with Keats’ legacy in being presented with this award, and I am so grateful to the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation and the children’s literature community for this show of support and encouragement.”
The 2016 Ezra Jack Keats Book Award honor winners are:
To be eligible for the 2016 Ezra Jack Keats Book Award, the author and/or illustrator will have no more than three children’s picture books published prior to the year under consideration.
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The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Maylis de Kerangal's highly acclaimed novel, coming out as The Heart (translated by Sam Taylor) in the US -- and as Mend the Living (translated by Jessica Moore) in the UK.
I've mentioned how ... odd I find that the US/UK publishers couldn't agree, if not on the same translator at least on the same title, and I wonder whether this will impact the reception/success of the book.
On the other hand, it would be kind of neat to see the two translations compete for the major translation prizes in their respective territories (say, the Best Translated Book Award and the (new incarnation of the) Man Booker International Prize).
Joe Mclean is an Illustrator from Norwich, who creates illustrations using a combination of hand drawn lines, scanned textures and Adobe Illustrator. His inspirations include traditional printing processes, hand drawn type and graphic illustration. His speciality is editorial illustration and greeting cards. His clients include; Computer Arts, Spindle Magazine and Loud and Quiet to name a few.
We’ve gotten trailers or spots of some kind from each of the superhero movies that are rolling out over the next few months. Here is the new ad for X-Men: Apocalypse, giving us some quick looks at a few of the younger members of the team that are being re-introduced:
So while you could be excused for thinking that it was a cheap ploy to get some airplay on those radio stations — like when Billy Idol did a bunch of versions of “Hot in The City” where he yells the name of a different city in each version. “FRESNO!!”
But while it’s wacky on the surface — the guys in Fishbone intone the radio stations, both real and imaginary, in a plethora of voices ranging from stoned surfer dude to flat-out Mark Mothersbaugh — “? (Modern Industry)” has some points to make about the radio and the role it plays in peoples lives.
These are the voices of modern industry
This is the music that brings us together
These are the buttons that start the emotion
Continue the motion, the motion, the motion…
This is the music behind the machine
These are the voices of modern industry
These are the voices
These are the voices…
So “? (Modern Industry)” kind of gets to have it both ways: the music and voices signify as satire, the words seem sincere. Which is true?
3D Week 22 - THE REVIEW - We review the first two episodes of the new X-FILES season, Episode 5 of SUPERGIRL and Kris reviews SAVAGE LANE by Jason Starr
Our hosts this week: Kris, Devon and Ben
This is the Second installment of the week, the "Reviews" portion of 3D, where we review everything in depth with spoilers and bad jokes - Caution: Here There Be Spoilers!!!
On iTunes: http://
There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight is author Penny Parker Klostermann’s debut picture book. There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight is based on the children’s song “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly.” Penny’s tale follows a dragon who knows nothing of moderation or patience. However, thanks to the handiwork of Penny and illustrator Ben Mantle, the old dragon seems to know comedic timing. He swallows a noble night, a steed who runs at too fast a speed, and many other objects in the land — living or not. Something tells us this dragon is going to learn a lesson, today.
We all know that there was an old lady who swallowed lots of things. Now meet the old dragon who swallows pretty much an entire kingdom Will he ever learn a little moderation? This rollicking rhyme is full to bursting with sight gags, silly characters, and plenty of burps Parents and kids alike will delight in Ben Mantle’s precisely funny illustrations and in Penny Parker Klostermann’s wacky rhymes.
Click here to download the There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight activity guide from Random House.
Click here to download additional activities from Penny Parker Klostermann’s site!
Recently, I've been rereading all my LMB books, which I love as much as ever and it has occurred to me that the story of "Labyrinth", the Miles Vorkosigan novella, has definite connections to the Loathly Lady stories of the Middle Agrs.
In case you're not familiar with these, you'll find them in the story of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnell and even in Chaucer in the Wife Of Bath's Tale. What it boils down to is this: the hero finds himself with a terrifying huge, ugly woman who makes certain demands of him, including marriage, in exchange for something he needs desperately. He grants them to her and in the morning finds himself beside a stunningly beautiful woman - by giving her what she wanted, he has broken a spell. (And when you think of it, even the Disney movie Shrek plays with it, except that the beautiful woman turns into an ogre and happily goes off with her fellow ogre)
But I was thinking of the Child Ballad King Henry, which I first heard plated by Steeleye Span on my favourite album Below The Salt. In it, King Henry(no specific King Henry, just the standard Everyknight with a crown) gets lost hunting and finds his way to a "haunted hall" to spend the night. There, he is confronted with a huge, ugly fanged woman who demands of him food(his horse, hounds and hawks) and drink(wine sewed up in his horse's hide). Then she demands he sleep with her. Trembling, he lies down with her. In the morning, she has turned into the beautiful woman of his dreams, and tells him that his knightly courtesy and giving her all she wanted has impressed her. That's where Steeleye Span leaves it, except for a last chorus/verse about having an open heart and full of charity.
So, we return to the story of Miles Vorkosigan and his own Loathly Lady, who eventually becomes a master sergeant in his fleet. Miles has been contracted to rescue a scientist whose skills will be useful to Barrayar and who has been having second thoughts about his employment on the dreadful planet Jackson's Whole, where pretty much everything is okay as long as it fits in with things capitalist. Including horrible use of genetic engineering for sexual slavery.
The scientist insists that a vital part of his research is embedded in the left leg of a "creature" he'd been working on and won't go without it. Kill the creature and take the material, he tells Miles.
Then Miles finds himself in the basement with an eight foot high being with fangs... and discovers it is female - and human - in fact, a sixteen year old girl - under all the genetic engineering. She has been created for a super soldier program that no longer exists and been abandoned and sold into slavery. Seeing her killing and eating a rat - about all there is to eat in that place - he offers her a ration bar. After the food, she wants water, which she has been without since being locked up. He finds a water pipe and she has her drink. Then she demands that he lie with her to prove he accepts her as human. Miles is at first shocked, but manages to give her what she wanted. making her happy - and inviting her to join his mercenaries, telling her that he had been sent to slay a monster and instead found a hidden princess.
After that, they escape, wiping out the villain's entire gene banks of potential slaves as they go. The Loathly Lady, now called Taura, never becomes beautiful in a regular sense, but she cleans up well, with the help of a female soldier, and becomes beautiful in her own way.
Can you see the resemblance to King Henry? He gives her food, drink and himself, in other words "all her will", which is usually the point of these stories. Sir Gawain and the unnamed knight of the Canterbury Tale both have to find out what women want - which is to get their own way. King Henry doesn't have that problem, but he gives her her own way anyhow.
I wouldn't put it past Lois McMaster Bujold to have had a Loathly Lady story in mind when writing this.
The Chinese New Year is tomorrow !!! The WWW is buzzing with great facts, books and actitivities families can do surrounding China and this wonderful holiday. Let’s dig into Exploring China with Great Kidlit Books. Here are some of my top picks this week:
Free Gift-Multicultural Activities for kids
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The rise of the popularity of e-books will not wipe away the trend of reading printed books.
Similarly, craze for MMS and adult movies will not take away the charm of adult literature.
There is nostalgia in holding a book, browsing through the pages.
People won't get over this habit in a hurry.
The Lie Tree begins with a gloomy, wet boat journey to a gloomy, wet island in the English Channel. Fourteen-year-old Faith Sunderly, our protagonist, is moving with her family to the Isle of Vane, so that her father, the Reverend Erasmus Sunderly, can consult on an archaeological dig. It's the 1860s, and amateur natural scientists like Erasmus are grappling with the new, controversial theory
Litro: Stories Transport You is a site that is new to me. I've read a couple of the works there now and think that maybe a touch more editing could be employed (some spelling issues, or homonym issues, for one thing---and tense changes that shouldn't be there slipping in) but I've liked the works that I've read so far. One of which is Julia LaSalle's "Aerial Acrobatics."
An early line, "He was standing under the “34th Annual Model Airplane Contest” banner...", brought this reader to life as it let me know that LaSalle was taking meto a place I'd not been before--neither in real life, nor in my readings. The story also brought shipyard welding into play--another aspect of life I've never encountered physically or in my readings.
In both instances, LaSalle got just deep enough into the subject for me to feel like I understood what was going on, but not so much that I felt like I was being lectured on the topic. There's a nice little thread throughout the story about the narrator's heart running alongside her narrative, and I found myself really liking the ending: "She watched Mustafa work until she trusted him, watched him until she became a spark herself, flying through the air, first rising then falling, and finally sputtering as her spark-self bounced once on the rubber mat by Mustafa’s foot and extinguished." I'll definitely be looking for more of Julia LaSalle's work in the future and remembering to visit Litro as well.
Marvel Studios is getting in on the “picking your favorite hero hashtag” game, with this new short Super Bowl spot for Captain America: Civil War. It doesn’t debut much new footage, but you do get to see Ant-Man as a part of the gathering of heroes now. Get to hashtagging and you can see […]