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There's a few small items left on the to-do list, but I wanted to stick my head in to say Happy Thanksgiving! And speaking of giving thanks, thank you to everyone who reads these rambles throughout the year. The internet seems so phenomenally vast at times and art making can be a bit of a solitary undertaking, so your comments and quips really do mean an awful lot.
Enjoy your holiday, safe travels and I'll catch you after I've managed to meet my yearly quota for mashed potato consumption.
We will spend Thanksgiving with my brother and his family, my father, my sister, and her eldest. I wanted to bring some of my mother along, and so I am making her brownies. Here she is, on the page as it appears in her book of handwritten, hand-clipped recipes. Many of them stained. Some of them missing temperature instructions (she had everything in her head). Everything delicious.
Wishing you all a beautiful time of family, friends, reflections.
I'm thankful to be home today and squeeze in a little writing time. Of course extra time means extra thinking...
How do horror books sell? Depends on how many zombies a book has... Kidding, but seriously, I'm playing with genre on my WIP. Or I should say, playing in another genre. We'll see how it pans out. I've put Reunion on hold for a book which had to be written, a thriller (what?!?) called Badlands. The first line:
Ryan enjoyed a breakfast of yogurt, granola, and fresh fruit before he returned to his room and found his son missing.
Yeah, one of those kidnapping stories. There's going to be copious sex and violence, too. Maybe even an explosion. That is, if Ryan can't stop the explosion from happening. Hmmmm...
Or rather, the Threadless edition. Yes, I love Threadless for its artistic, clever, funny, and sometimes literary selections. tomorrow they start a $10 sale, which I noticed features an old favorite:
Pair this shirt with a poetry book for teens or adults. There are some other bookish shirts available, that are a far better choice than a generic READ t-shirt that you might otherwise blindly choose. I don't know which go on sale tomorrow, but check out Storytellers:
Ms. Butler and the kids at Nayaug Elementary went all out to prep for my visit to their school. They downloaded a lot of the activities from my website and put together some fun ideas of their own. They even wore bagheads to my presentation and took them off to reveal they all had crazy hair! Check out these pictures from the great visit:
And I loved this nod to Ralph:
You can download free activities from my website, too! They're organized in two categories:
Mark Millar has staked a place out for himself as both a franchise comics creator, able to sell books on his name alone, and someone who isn’t afraid to hold a renegade opinion — and he is prepared to defend his answer with his own logic, which may or may not conform to what is generally considered common sense. Thus this long piece in which he says day and date digital is not a good thing for comics, suggesting that a theatrical to DVD type model makes more sense — print being the theatrical release, digital being the DVD. Digital readers “aren’t as hardcore as the first group, but they’re a great place to recoup any money lost in the initial phase. Digital comics are like TV rights to me in that they’re the tertiary phase of all this. These are for the most casual, mainstream readers or viewers and much cheaper than the primary or secondary waves. They’re a great way of pulling people in for the next product coming out in theatres or in comic stores, but absolutely not the bedrock of your business.”
Part of his hesitance is because retailers really don’t like digital, and he’d rather partner with them for print. However, there is SOME room for digital:
“I think digital could be a useful tool, but I’m increasingly concerned for friends in retail that they’re going to get shafted here,” the wrier explained. “I really think day and date release is a disastrous idea and makes no economic sense at all to comics as a business. It’s potentially ruinous for comic stores, and in the long term it’s not going to do publishers any favors either. I see the attraction on a very superficial level.”
…”This decision I took not to release ‘Kick-Ass 2′ or ‘Superior’ or ‘Nemesis’ or any of my upcoming books digitally every month isn’t based on nostalgia. Yeah, I’ve hung around comic stores since I was 13, but this isn’t just because it affects the bread and butter of a huge number of friends (though that’s a pretty damn good reason). I just think it’s bad for the industry as a whole and since the Kick-Ass books in particular sell very, very well I hope it draws attention to the problem and encourages other creators to do the same. Speaking purely in business terms why would we want to marginalise or eliminate our greatest asset for the past thirty or forty years?”
Millar’s digital reluctance is particularly noteworthy given that WANTED topped the digital charts last year, and CIVIL WAR is Marvel’s best selling digital comic. Presumably he’s gotten the sales figures and seen the royalties. He knows the digital dental floss pipeline isn’t sufficient to maintain his Chivas Regal lifestyle.
Problem is, digital might be a direct path to a Night Train lifestyle right now, but that won’t be the case when everyone gets a tablet. We’ve already noted that comics apps are the highest grossing apps on tablets — to the point that Amazon and B&N really want to get in on the action. Who knows if some of those casual readers might convert to strong regula
Our story continues in the Appalachian Wilderness in the magical realm of Ghost Horse Hollow...
Farmer Jake MacKennon is an expert bowman, tracker, and knife fighter. You will meet him in this installment of THE HOLLY KING.
Black Bottom pecked at a crumb and tilted his beak to the sky. The rooster had been eagerly awaiting the mare’s late afternoon neigh, for the dangers of dusk were at hand. Already the sun was slanting through the wire fence that surrounded his scratching yard, spattering the ground with purple, hexagonal shadows. Black Bottom paused in mid-strut to admire his home.
The chicken coop was nicely decorated with wooden nest boxes and a tin feeding trough. Fresh water trickled into a clay basin from an overflowing rain barrel. There were three windows facing east, north, and south. All were neatly trimmed with rosy, buttermilk paint from an old-fashioned recipe. Black Bottom did not wish to look westward, where the Moonlight Fairies played inside a murky graveyard. It was altogether too frightening! Besides, a window to the west would have disturbed his laying hens, and they were very particular about their nesting.
The rooster dunked his red comb into the sparkling basin and turned his head sideways to better view himself in the surface of the water. With his jade and ebony tail feathers fluttering softly behind him and his bright yellow toes extended with pride, Black Bottom was indeed a magnificent bird. The hens admired him greatly. After all, not every barnyard fowl had been accidently dusted with Sprinkle-Up Spray, while still in the lowly egg stage. The magic powder had lead to the hatching of an exceptionally large rooster with an enormous ego. To everyone’s dismay, Sprinkle-Up Spray had also blessed Black Bottom with the gift of gab. As the rooster matured, he discovered that he loved to crow and chatter; unfortunately, Black Bottom never knew when to stop talking.
All the hens were finally accounted for, even Speckled Fluffy, who was always the last of the rooster’s feathered beauties to retire for the evening. Mrs. Clack Klutz, a rather nearsighted chicken, had already stumbled in. Black Bottom heard her bonk into the nest boxes, followed by several loud squawks. With a disapproving shake of his comb, the rooster flung water droplets across the pebble-strewn yard. There were wild dogs running loose in the misty hills and lonely meadows! It was best for his hen harem to huddle safely together before sundown. Black Bottom crowed mightily and looked around for his farmer.
“Where is the Plow Man?” the rooster clucked to a nearby barn swallow.
“I just spotted him two pine ridges away down near the Blue Hole,” the swallow replied with a tuck and flutter of her wing. “He was looking for something in the creek. Intent, he was.”
“Humph! Fairy nonsense, no doubt,” Black Bottom grumbled aloud. He strode back into the chicken coup, knowing full well that the master of Ghost Horse Hollow would not be able to tend to the rooster’s needs for some time.
We are blessed…. even with the hard times, personally, industry wide, nationally and worldwide. And having a day to gather with those we truly care about and share this thanks is lovely. But it is EVERY day that we feel that thankfulness and joy of life. In that spirit, I wish to thank my wonderful CAT GROUP of artists, and they would like to thank everyone in the industry who appreciates what we all do. May you have a lovely warm day……………….. THANK YOU!
Christine W. Hartmann is a researcher in the Veterans Health Administration and an assistant professor at Boston University. She received her PhD at the Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research. She has published numerous articles on healthcare quality improvement, focusing particularly on long-term care. To learn more about Ms. Hartmann and her work, please visit her website at www.chartmannbooks.com.
INTERVIEW: If you were stranded on a desert island, what 3 things would you want with you? Unlimited paper, unlimited pencils, and a huge dictionary (my terrible spelling would drive me crazy without spell check).
If you could have any superpower, what would you choose? Flying!
Night owl, or early bird? An early bird who doesn’t drink coffee.
Please tell us, in one sentence only, why we should read your book. It’s about things that affect all of us: how we fear losing what we love most, and how we survive when we do.
Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects? I’m in the process of writing a book about glaucoma from the patient’s perspective, which Vanderbilt University Press will publish.
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. Hearing that my father’s relatives have gotten together in Germany to have a little “book club” to read through my book together and discuss family history.
What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen? James Herriot’s series of books about being a country vet in Yorkshire, England.
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? Those cottages on stilts above the baby blue sea in Bora Bora seem awfully appealing…
What's the craziest writing idea you've had? Wanting to write historical fiction, because I can never remember much about history. Maybe that’s why this is still just an idea?
What's the best advice anyone has ever given you? When I finally admitted to my husband—who has published 8 books and counting—that I too wanted to write a book, I said I felt overwhelmed by the enormity of the project. He told me, “Don’t think about writing a whole book at once. Make an outline of all the chapters, and then just think about writing one chapter at a time.” One chapter at a time I could do.
Favorite Food? Blueberries.
What do you do in your free time? Write. I have a full-time job, so I have to do my writing in my free time.
What's your favorite season/weather? When I was a kid, I loved fall, because my birthday is in the fall. Lately, spring appeals to me most, with the scent of promise always lingering in the air and the tantalizing increase in daylight hours.
What TV show/movie/book do you watch/read that you'd be embarrassed to admit? I watch the movie Love Actually at least once a year, and I cry just as hard every time.
Every month, AppData releases a list of the top-grossing apps for the iPad, and once again comics apps lead the pack for the book category. Predictably, comiXology is at the top, but it’s followed closely by DC, Marvel, and The Walking Dead. The chart represents purchases made THROUGH an app, not sales of an app itself — all of the above are free to download the app.
Tuesday November 22, 2011
1. Comics Comics
2. DC Comics DC Comics
3. Marvel Comics Marvel Comics
4. Peek-a-Zoo – by Duck Duck Moose Peek-a-Zoo – by Duck Duck Moose
5. Jesus Calling by Sarah Young Jesus Calling by Sarah Young
6. Princess Dress-Up: My Sticker Book Princess Dress-Up: My Sticker Book
7. Bible+ Bible+
8. The Walking Dead The Walking Dead
9. Cars 2 World Grand Prix Read and Race Cars 2 World Grand Prix Read and Race
10. NIV Bible NIV Bible
In addition to the widely heralded fact that comiXology is consistently the top grossing app OVERALL every Wednesday, it also fares pretty well on the general chart, coming in at #38 behind such things as Pages, Easter Bunny Oversleepm and the unstoppable force that is Pet Tap Hotel.
It’s not entirely clear how AppData goes about compiling this data — it’s not like Apple hands out numbers all over the place. There is more info in the form of rather stark charts at the app page for comiXology and all the other apps in the chart but we’re not sure what they are saying.
However real this metric is, it does back up the fact that there’s a pretty good audience of people who like to read comics on tablets — no wonder Amazon and B&N were eager to have comics apps front and center on the new Kindle Fire and Nook.
Warning: I will do my best not to swear in this review, but I just want to let you know that since I will be referring to, well, body parts, vices, and other things readers may find offensive; I am letting you know so you can turn back now. Go look at some bunnies or something.
Still with me? Ok, go:
Andrew Smith knows how to break your heart. He'll do it too. He'll kick the shit out of it. (Sorry, I know, f***! I'll try to tone it down.)
Stick is the story of Stark McClellan, an oddly-named, too-tall, one-eared boy of 13. Called Stick, he (along with his older brother Bosten) tries to make the best of his bleak life in suburban Washington. His family is as cold and abusive as the weather. The only bright spot in his life is his best friend, Emily, who seems to always understand how Stick thinks and feels, and his brother, whom he loves despite the occasional dumbass things he does. The boys get into trouble when they each try to deal with bullies who target Stick and his deformity. Eventually, they visit California and their great-aunt Dahlia, but this respite from their horrible home life can only be temporary. Sooner or later, the boys will have to face danger, within and without their home.
Stick tells the truth in so many ways. Not only is Stark McClellan one of the most sympathetic and likable characters I have read about this year (or ever), but he also seems to be the most realistic boy I've ever read about. Sure, he's missing a piece, but Smith convinces you that it's not important, even though it's a big deal to Stick himself. Stick is a REAL BOY. Real Boys have penises (well, one each, generally). Real Boys have erections. Real Boys have thoughts, fears, and feelings. They fall in love, they get really scared, and sometimes, they persevere. So, unfortunately for people who object to reading about "bad things", or who are uncomfortable letting their children be exposed to this type of reference in text, they'll be missing out on a Real Boy with a huge heart, who will steal yours away, then bring it back, apologetic. Stick is, above all, a good boy.
I don't think that Smith has written a book about issues. Sure, the novel tackles such difficult topics such as gender identity, drugs, alcoholism, homophobia, bullying, child abuse, sexual abuse, violent crime, divorce, mental illness, and suicide. It tackles adolescent sexual awakening from both sides of the bed, so to speak. But at it's heart, it's just about this kid. And while Stick is way more than the sum of his parts, the parts that are missing from him matter much less than the parts that are there. They matter even less than his frequent and embarrassingly uncontrollab
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I have discussed my love for all thing Beverly Cleary many times before. (check out the pilgrimage my sons and I took in Portland one year). But, I just want to again stress how much I loved her books when I was growing up! So many things went into making me a reader, and these books had a huge part in it. These were the first books I remember being excited about a new one coming out. And I loved how the books kept up with the times.
I was also a little sister and was called a pest many a times by my older sister. Another reason I connected so strongly with these books.
I love books–and I need them. I’m an incest and ritual abuse survivor, and a big part of the way I survived my child- and teen-hood was by reading (and writing). I’m not sure I could have survived without books. Books became my escape from the abuse, and glimpses into worlds I didn’t know, where parents could be kind and loving and “normal.” I also needed writing to survive–it gave me an outlet, and helped me listen to my own self. My abusers frequently threatened to kill me if I talked, so writing (and art) became my voice, my way of speaking out. Writing has always felt natural to me, and used to feel more natural than talking aloud.
I write YA books–both edgy realistic and edgy fantasy. I put a lot of myself and my trauma experiences into my books–though I make sure to only put a fragment of my abuse into the books, since I don’t want to overwhelm my readers. I write the books I needed as a teen, books that didn’t exist. It’s so important to me to break silence, to write about painful issues that aren’t talked about much and that there’s (often) a lot of shame about–things I’ve been through–like self-harm, sexual abuse, and being queer in SCARS, and like ritual abuse/cults, torture, and oppression in (the upcoming) HUNTED. I want to help people who’ve been through similar experiences to know that they’re not alone, that there’s hope, and that things can get better–and to encourage people who haven’t been through those experiences to have greater compassion for those who have. And I know I’m succeeding. A year and a half after SCARS came out, I’m still getting reader letters every week, telling me that Scars helped them feel less alone, helped them to stop cutting, get into therapy, talk about being queer or self-harm or their abuse for the first time to others, or help them know that things will get better. And I get letters from others telling me that they understand more, now, or judge less. It’s wonderful!
I usually write my first drafts of novels pretty quickly (though I’ve gotten slower since I need to spend so much of my time doing book promotion to make sure my books reach others, and also since I got a concussion a year and a half ago). It used to take me about 2 months to write a first draft; now it takes longer. I write quickly because that’s the way I work, it feels right for me–but it also helps the words flow. In writing quickly, I can (mostly) avoid the internal editor or criticizer, and just get the words out. I don’t think editing belongs in a first draft–at least, it doesn’t for me. But once I’ve got a draft, I then edit and re-edit my manuscripts until they’re working for me, until they feel publishable. I do many kinds of edits–edits where I’m looking at the story as a whole, ed
About the Book: Juliette is dangerous. Her touch can kill. The Reestablishment locked her up for murder and she's been in isolation and hasn't spoken to anyone for 264 days. Until The Reestablishment decides they want to use Juliette and her powers. She could be the ultimate weapon. But there are murmurings of war, of rebellion. Juliette must decide just where her loyalties lie-be a weapon or be a warrior.
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says:Shatter Me is an exciting debut that will be a great book to booktalk to fans of romantic adventure stories. The book keeps getting compared to the X-Men and it's easy to see why-Juliette has special powers and she's viewed as a strange being (much like a mutant). While there is a dystopian setting, but the dystopian aspects are very light. There are lots of questions left unanswered about the dystopian world Juliette lives in, The Reestablishment, and how the world got to where it is. (Maybe these will be answered in books two and three as this is the start to a trilogy). So if you have hardcore dystopian fans, they may be disappointed in the lighter dystopian setting.
If you have romance fans, on the other hand, give this book to them now. Juliette and Adam have a steamy romance that is sure to please fans of epic romances. Juliette and Adam share a past, but there's still a bit of insta-love. There's also a lot of concentration on the romance aspect (I think there were just as many adventure scenes as there were make out scenes!) so make sure you have readers that want a book heavy in the romance and lighter on the dystopian. Not that I disliked this, (I like romance in my stories) but I wasn't expecting it to be such a heavy part of the story.
Even though there is a lot of romance, the book is still action packed and there are several memorable scenes that are just the right blend of action, adventure and creepy dystopia. Juliette and Adam were engaging enough to keep me reading-I liked learning about Juliette's powers and her story. I also found the strikeouts throughout the book that supposedly tell Juliette's inner thoughts to be an interesting plot device and I liked getting that extra peek into what Juliette was really thinking.
The character that was the real standout to me and what made me really enjoy the book was Warner. Warner is the "evil bad guy" to the story and man is he a creep! I thought of him as a cross between Lucius Malfoy and President Snow, so you can imagine what a crazy bad guy he is! We don't know much about Warner, but he made my skin crawl and he was so creeptastic that I loved it. (That doesn't make me weird, right?) I want to read more just because I want to know what he'll do next and how exactly Juliette plans to take him down.
The end of the book is very much a set up for the sequel, so readers will be left hanging with lots of questions. Shatter Me is a page turner that is sure to leave readers wanting more.
Book Pairings: The Quantum Prophecy by Michael Carroll, Hourglass by Myra McEntire
Full Disclosure: Reviewed from finished copy sent by publicist
Critter's mega-talented creator, Ian Sands, has his first humorous middle grade book coming out on December 10th.
If you're in the state of NC . . . .“How to Milk a DinoCow” will be released December 10, 2011. The publisher and the Halle Cultural Arts Center, located on Salem Street in downtown Apex, NC will be co-hosting the launch event which is open to the public. The event will take place from 3-5PM. But you canpre-order it here
When we were kids, every Thanksgiving Day my mother would give each of us a bag of walnuts, a nutcracker and a bowl and place us in front of the television to shell the nuts and watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. We thought we were helping out somehow, even though walnuts never appeared in any of the dishes served that day. Later, I discovered it was my mother's scheme to keep up out of her way and prevent any sibling squabbling. And it worked, and, to this day, every Thanksgiving I have an urge to watch the parade and shell walnuts.
The parade was always memorizing, punctuated with commercials for toys, games and dolls we were urged to want for Christmas. I don’t think I have ever not watched the parade, or at least had it on while I did other things. There has already been news coverage of this year’s parade, and it got me thinking about its history.
Felix the Cat 1927
The parade began in 1924, going from 110th Street in Harlem to Macy’s Herald Square on 34th Street. a total of 6 miles. At first, it was just people dressed up in various costumes, animals from the Central Park Zoo and gaily decorated floats, but in 1927 Felix the Cat made his appearance as the first balloon. In 1928, the parade’s balloons were released into the air, until they deflated. They had name tags sewn in them, so the finder could return it to Macy’s. This scheme didn't work very well, though.
By 1939, the first year of the war in Europe, the parade was shortened, beginning at 106th Street in Harlem. That year, there were several balloons, including a crowd pleasing 50 foot Santa Clause and a very large Uncle Sam, who had to be re-pumped a little during the parade. Over one million men, women and mostly children lined the parade route, watching Macy's employees dressed up in costumes, the balloons and the 26 floats. And for the very first time, the parade was televised on NBC from a camera mounted on the Museum of Natural History.
In the land of Noachian, there were women who sowed and reaped and women who counted the harvest and bartered with the priests in the temple.
When famine threatened the land, the leaders of the women who counted the harvest kneeled before Judith and Ruth, the chief women of those who sowed and reaped.
The leaders beseeched Judith and Ruth. “Look, look,” these women said as they held out their soft hands. “Our hands are soft and our backs are weak. We cannot work in the fields. The women who sow and reap must not allow us to starve. Consider. If we become too weak, who would count the harvest and barter with the priests to obtain the best price for your wheat? If you will give us one third of your wheat, we promise that in addition to counting your harvest and bartering with the priests, we will also sing and dance for you.”
Judith and Ruth agreed because they knew that the women who worked in the fields were afraid to barter before the priests in the temples and they loved to listen to beautiful music and watch graceful dancers while they rested from their labors in the fields.
The famine began to pass and the women who counted the harvest, bartered in the temple and sang and danced for the sowers and reapers, conspired to deceive the workers.
"Turn it off," Mrs. McGowan said. "I've heard enough." She shook her head hard and slapped herself across the face. "Look, doctor, when I asked you for something to cure my insomnia, I was thinking a prescription for mild sleeping pills, not a coma-inducing audio book."
Opening: Jane Little.....Continuation: Evil Editor
Got Great Giveaways is a weekly feature hosted here on I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. This feature will be posted each week on Wednesday.
I love book giveaways. Enter enough book giveaways and you are going to win them. Just be sure to follow the giveaway entry rules so you have a valid entry and don't get disqualified.
To win a giveaway you've got to be able to find it and enter it. Thus I created Got Great Giveaways! If you are hosting a giveaway on your blog or come across a great giveaway you want to share please link it up here.
Got Great Giveaways? Book Giveaway Link Up Rules: Giveaways must be book related (books, gift cards to stores that sell books, swag, etc.) Please do not link up to Blog Hop Giveaways that are hosted on this site. Link directly to your giveaway post. Please include as much info as possible such as the genre, book title & ending date of your giveaway, shipping info, etc.
Example: Young Adult - In The Forests of Night by Kersten Hamilton ends 12/28 (US)
You are welcome to grab the code for this linky and add it to your site, just be sure to mention it is for book related giveaways only so it doesn't get spammed with unrelated giveaways. BOOK & BOOK RELATED GIVEAWAYS ONLY - others will be deleted.
Contemporary Russian portraitist Igor Kazarin developed his drybrush technique while doing street portraits. The technique is speedier than pencil or opaque oil. A photo-real portrait is possible in a matter of an hour or two.
Kazarin typically works from photo reference, apparently projecting the outlines for the lay-in. But he has used the same methods while working from observation on the street, often under very challenging outdoor public settings.
Kazarin often covers the surface area-by-area (also called “windowshading”), going immediately for finished effect. This takes a strong sense of value organization and a lot of experience.
If the paint is thin enough, it allows scratching with a scalpel, soft-blurring with a brush, and even lifting out with an kneaded eraser. That’s how he pulls out the highlights in the hair.