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Viewing: Blog Posts from All 1562 Blogs, since 12/19/2007 [Help]
Results 37,176 - 37,200 of 164,529
37176. Interview: Cynthia Watson, author of WIND

"I did not know exactly when the war between Dante and Lix began, but I now understand that, like it or not, Kevan and I were their prisoners."

Eighteen-year-old Flynn Flood is a Boston college student whose world falls apart when her beloved father dies of the "Irish Cancer" alcoholism—and her once-vibrant mother, descends into a paralyzing depression. After a seemingly accidental encounter, help arrives in the form of earthy-looking Dante, an international student from Italy. Dante seems perfect, but when Flynn finds herself descending into a rabbit hole of frightening, inexplicable mystical occurrences, she quickly deduces that Dante is no ordinary boyfriend. 

In the meantime, Flynn's sixteen-year-old sister, Kevan, suddenly sheds her sweet, little girl chrysalis, and becomes a dark, brooding butterfly, transforming from Hanna Montana to Marilyn Manson, (with an attitude to match). Flynn soon finds that being a "mom" isn't as easy as it looks. But, when Kevan falls for Dante's "eternal" adversary, Flynn will have to start making choices that weigh her newly found love for the heavenly Dante against her loyalty to her kid sister. Together, Flynn and Dante must ensure that Kevan's first love is not her last!

A coming-of-age tale with humor and unexpected violence, WIND explores the complex bonds of sisterhood, romantic longing, and the possibility of the existence of an unseen world all around us!

I felt sympathetic towards the main character, Flynn. Her alcoholic father passes away, her mother suffers from the depression that goes along with grief, and her sister transforms into a dark, moody Goth. When Flynn meets Dante, a delicious romance ensues amid angel warfare. Dante is not an ordinary young man and Flynn’s sister, Kevan, enters the dark side in more ways than her outer appearance suggests. This was a suspenseful read and my favorite part was the dark, haunting atmosphere.

I'm glad I had a chance to read

31 Comments on Interview: Cynthia Watson, author of WIND, last added: 11/22/2011
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37177. A Visit to the Vatican by Margot Justes

I booked a tour to the Vatican, for my next visit I will buy tickets ahead of time and go on my own. Spend time at my leisure and not worry about tour.

We had 10 minutes in the Sistine Chapel, that was just about enough time to walk across the rectangular Chapel, try not to bump anyone in the process and barely see the ceiling, much less the walls.

That being said, the Chapel is stunning. As I looked up at the magnificent ceiling I wondered how Michelangelo could survive such an ordeal, to create those stunning images laying on his back for hours on end. The nine frames on the ceiling tell the story of creation , Adam and Eve and Noah. The altar wall depicts the Last Judgment, filled with fire and brimstone. The Chapel simply takes your breath away.

St. Peter's Basilica is enormous, everything is made from marble, it is magnificent and filled with unbelievable treasures, chief among them is Michelangelo's deeply moving Pieta. Now hidden behind glass and high enough to keep people from getting too close.

My first view of the Pieta was many, many years ago and back then you could get close, within touching range, but an idiot took a hammer to the Pieta and caused quite a bit of damage. Now it is protected from harm and humanity.

Vatican is a living, breathing museum and very little can be seen in five hours, when you take into account the enormous size of the place and the multitude of visitors, and let's not forget the tour group you're with.

What I should have done was stay on my own after the tour ended, but I didn't think of it until after I got back. By the time I got back to the hotel it was almost three in the afternoon, I was tired and hungry- heaven forbid I should miss a meal-so I went up to the terrace restaurant and had a delicious late lunch.

Till next time,
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris

2 Comments on A Visit to the Vatican by Margot Justes, last added: 11/21/2011
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37178. Why can't a Latino get published?

by Rudy Ch. Garcia

As a one-time, special service to La Bloga's published or unpublished aspiring writers, we're offering you this muy de vez en cuando for you to have a professional answer that question of yours you think would help your writing career.

Former Simon & Shuster editor Marcela Landres [see the rest of her bio below] has agreed to answer questions from La Bloga readers about anything having to do with getting their stories, books or novels published.

Maybe your query letters never get answered. Maybe your favorite short story never seems to get anything more than form-rejections. Maybe you're wondering about what's hot in your genre. Whatever you want to ask, esta es la chanza.

Why? Because I'm sure Marcela is usually inundated with MSS, queries, E-mails and probably Twittered hasta quien-sabe-donde, so you might not have ever sent her your question. Plus, helping authors get published is her profession and she does charge for some services. Or maybe you've just never risked asking your question por verbüenza or because it seemed like too much trouble.

We're going to make it easy para ti:

1. Limit your question to no more than 100 words. 100--that's it. [This doesn't include your E-mail address, in case she wants to contact you. We will not post it on La Bloga, but will make it available to her.]

2. No attachments. Period. Punto. Nada.

3. Yes, you can include a writing sample in your question, but the 100-word limit still applies. We'd suggest using your word limit wisely.

4. Yes, you can ask her to check out your blog or website, but we don't guarantee anything. The main purpose of these questions will be to help our audience navigate the mysteries of publishing/writing, not so much publicize your site.

5. You can use initials or a pseudonym for our posting of the questions, or your full name, if you prefer. That's up to you.

6. No, we can't forward longer questions or MSS or queries to her. You can go to her website if you prefer to do that and check her guidelines.

7. We will post the questions and her answers here as soon as she can respond, given her other commitments.

8. Editing of your questions by La Bloga will be minimal. Please spell-check yourself. [Questions outside of the intent of this posting will not be used, but you would be informed of that by La Bloga.]

9. Marcela may not answer every question, especially if it is outside of her field of interest or expertise. [See below and go to her website for more info.]

10. Send your question to rpuntochpuntogarciaATcyboxpuntocom

11. Deadline: Nov. 30, 2011. If we get inundated with questions, and if Marcela is able, we might post earlier than the 30th or turn this into two days of postings.

Come to think of it, maybe some La Bloga contributors have a question . . .

And, quien sabe--if this type of article is of real interest to La Bloga readers, we might look at finding other editors, agents or publishers willing to do the same.

Buena suerte! de RudyG

Marcela Landres's areas of intere

3 Comments on Why can't a Latino get published?, last added: 11/22/2011
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37179. 2011 Cybils: Dry Souls, by Denise Geston

Reader Gut Reaction: A surprisingly hopeful dystopia - not exactly a happy ending, as there are some horrific losses and details not tidily tied up, but a solid debut novel, and the first in a realistic dystopian series.Kira's life has been spent... Read the rest of this post

2 Comments on 2011 Cybils: Dry Souls, by Denise Geston, last added: 11/21/2011
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37180. Creating Banjo Pigs

Will Terry gave his media tech class at Utah Valley University the assignment of creating a banjo pig:

2 Comments on Creating Banjo Pigs, last added: 11/20/2011
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37181. Holiday Gift Guide Day 17 - Gyro Bowl

Holiday Gift Guide Day 17 - Gyro Bowl

For some reason, Kik really likes watching infomercials. They fascinate her. Even if it's something she knows nothing about or doesn't really like - like the meatloaf pan - she's just enthralled.

"That looks really handy. We need to buy one."

Something that she's really wanted to try out for awhile is the gyro bowl.

With it she could eat snacks in the living room and not even spill.

The gyro bowl is "a kid-proof bowl that uses 360-degree technology to keep items inside the plastic sphere. The bowl stays open-side up, no matter which way a child decides to twirl it, throw it or dump it!"

I was curious to see if the gyro bowl worked myself.  Bid is quite messy and anything that said it helped keep things from spilling was definitely worth trying.

She uses the bowl almost every day, and for the most part there have been no spills!  She holds the blue handle and just walks around the house tipping it every which way.  The one time she did make it spill she chucked it across the room and a couple of pretzels fell out. Which is still much less than she used to spill.

Just to see if I could, I tried to make pretzels fall out.  The only way I could accomplish the feat was to hold the orange ring in the center.  That prevented to Gyro Bowl from functioning like a globe and froze the bowl in place.  When I held it by the handle nothing fell out no matter how fast I spun it.

To Buy - The Gyro Bowl is a great gift for kids, or anyone else that's prone to spilling.  It is dishwasher safe and comes with a lid.  Right now if you buy one for just $14.99, you get one free!

To Win - We are giving away a gyro bowl to one of you.  Enter by completing any of the entries on the Rafflecopter form below

*Note - Javascript must be enabled to view the Rafflecopter Form.  If you are not on the giveaway form, you may have to click read more to enter.

You need javascript enabled to see this giveaway.

I received a product to review from the above company or their PR Agency. Opinions expressed in this post are strictly my own - I was not influenced in any way. I received no monetary compensation for this post. By entering this giveaway you agree to my giveaway/disclosure guidelines

1 Comments on Holiday Gift Guide Day 17 - Gyro Bowl, last added: 11/20/2011
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37182. Caught looking

If you're at the CTN Animation Expo in Burbank, please stop by the main stage today for my sketching demo at noon, and come hear my talk "Imaginative Realism" at 6:00.
A week ago I was in a pizza place in Baltimore, and I saw two young women at the table near me looking at pictures on their iPhone.

Perfect, I thought. They’re preoccupied. They won’t notice me sketching them.

I deployed the Moleskine watercolor book and did a very quick pencil lay-in with a #2 pencil. Then I pulled out two Niji brush pens, one with black ink and one with water, letting everything blur together wet-into-wet. 

Halfway through, one of them looked up, a little alarmed that I was gazing so intently.

This question has come up before: What do you do now? Pretend you weren’t looking? Fold up your book? Stare at something else? That would only make them feel weirder.

Instead, I plucked up the nerve and I marched right over to their table and said, “I hope you don’t mind. I’m trying to learn to sketch, and I was drawing your picture.” I showed them the half-finished drawing, and even though it looked pretty unpromising, they were immediately interested and glad to cooperate. I told them they didn’t have to hold still or pose or anything--just go back to whatever they were doing.

When I finished, I showed them the results and they got a big kick out of it, and they wanted to put it on their Facebook page. Once I told them what I was doing, the awkwardness disappeared. They were happy to be drawn.

Previously: Portable Portraits

22 Comments on Caught looking, last added: 11/21/2011
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37183. Future Friday #13: Winner

Before I announce the winner, I want to thank all of you who entered any of the thirteen contests in our countdown to The Future of Us. Carolyn Mackler and I enjoyed reading every one of your comments. You've given us great suggestions for things to read and watch and listen to, made us laugh a lot, and brought tears to our eyes much more often than we expected.

Thank you so much for sharing with us.

And now...

Congratulations to Sabrina for being randomly selected to win the thirteenth and final round of Future Friday giveaways! To claim your goodies, send your mailing address to EmmaNelson4Ever@aol.com. If you don't know who Emma Nelson is, you will when you start reading The Future of Us!

Heading into Thanksgiving, Sabrina is thankful for "all of the writing I've been able to do (and have published) this past year and all of the wonderful people I've been able to meet and network with."

For those of you didn't win, you'll get your chance to find out who Emma Nelson is (as well as her next door neighbor, Josh Templeton) when our book is released this Monday, November 21st!

Carolyn and I barely knew each other when we began working on this book, but we became great friends during the process. It was the best writing experience either of us have ever had, and we can't wait for you to read the story that came out of that experience.

When you do read it, please let us know what you think!

6 Comments on Future Friday #13: Winner, last added: 11/19/2011
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37184. Character Trait Entry: Ruthless

Having no pity; merciless; without compassion

Growing up in a loveless home; a society or environment where only hardened individuals survive (like prison or criminal/mafia hierarchy, repression during a dictatorship, etc) ; belief that emotion equals weakness; suffering a deep betrayal during an impressionable time which leads to a shutting down of feelings and lack of trust; adapting to survive a life altering event (famine; war; abuse; disease or plague; homelessness); a sociopath diagnosis

Characters in Literature: 
 Rumpelstiltskin (Brothers Grimm); Michael Corleone (The Godfather); Uncles Balder & Grim (Troll Fell)

Ruthless characters are exceptional leaders and are fiercely loyal to those they love. They protect those they are responsible to and see that their needs are cared for. They are not afraid of what must be done, and they can act decisively under pressure without being bogged down by emotions. Ruthless individuals stay focused on the big picture and are goal driven. Logical, shrewd and opportunistic, they execute decisions regardless of ethics or morals if they deem it is in their best interest to do so, and so rarely face dilemmas that can stymy others. A ruthless nature means always watching for weakness and being prepared to take advantage of opportunity. Ruthless people are often highly accountable because they see their actions as being right for the situation and so are willing to stand behind decisions.

Ruthless people, by nature, create collateral damage. Their lack of an emotional barometer means their actions often hurt others. Decision-making and execution of plans often include a steam-rolling approach, and the people around them either get out of the way or become victims. It is difficult to trust a ruthless person for fear they may 'turn' in favor of a more appealing opportunity or partnership. Ruthless people are users who will not hesitate to cast aside someone after they cease to be useful. At best, the people closest to an openly ruthless person tend to be wary, and at worse, a bed of hatred and resentment can create fertile ground for undermining and subversion. Ruthless people do not inspire others (unless they themselves are ruthless) and they lead through fear.

Common Portrayals:

Third world country dictators, criminals, prostitutes,  junkies, psychopaths, CEOs, stock market tycoons, soldiers in prisoner of war camps, rapists, serial killers; drug cartels; fringe religious movements; terrorists; slave & sex traders

Cliches to Avoid: 

The Hitler-esque military leader; the vampire killer bent on eradicating a species; the ruthless & beautiful female assassin; the guillotine-happy ruler or king; the stereotypical cardboard 'power at all costs' villain

Twists on the Traditional Ruthless:  

  •  Ruthless individuals are almost always cunning and intelligent. If a character with this trait did not have smarts to fall back on, how would they compensate?
  • Because ruthlessness and success go hand-in-hand, a archetype triangle is often created: rich, powerful & influential. Cast that cliche aside! Give us a ruthless grandmother, a cunning soccer mom or a shrewd bus driver.
  • Ruthless is most frequently presented as a negative. Challenge yourself to create a character who uses this trait for the greater good.
14 Comments on Character Trait Entry: Ruthless, last added: 11/21/2011
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37185. The Power of Freewriting

photo by healingdream @ freedigitalphotos.net
I am teaching a creative writing class once a week through my local recreation department. At the end of each class, I give my students a writing prompt for homework so they have something new to share at the next class. Some of the students come to class the next week and say, “I didn’t have any time to write.”

My first thought is, “If you want to write, you’ll make time to write.”

My second thought is, “I can completely relate.” I’ve been saying “I don’t have any time to write” as the deadline for the final copy of my 200+ page dissertation fast approaches, and I barely have a 100 page first draft.

Am I this far behind because I honestly didn’t have time to write?

As I prodded further into my students’ reading and writing habits over the past week, one of the students, who said she didn’t have time to write, admitted that she did sit down to write, but didn’t write anything good, so she stopped.

My first thought is, “All first drafts are crappy. Just get over it.”

My second thought is, “So that’s why I'm so far behind on my dissertation.”

It’s not that I don’t have time to write it, even if I do have three jobs, two grad classes, and a less-than-one-year-old puppy dividing my time. It’s not that I don’t want to write it. I really, really do want to write it.

But every time I think about writing it, I tell myself, “It’s not very good.”

Of course it’s not very good! It’s only a first draft! This is where revisions come in handy.

But it’s hard to take solace in the power of revisions when you’re struggling to get the initial thoughts down. Believe me, I know. And after I’ve put off writing anything for days at a time, it’s even harder to start writing again. Just like going to the gym – if I put it off for too many days in a row, I'm less likely to want to go again because I know how much it will hurt.

So for the past few days, I’ve been giving myself a warm-up before doing a full-on exercise with my dissertation. I’ve opened up my journal – yes, the one sitting in my drawer neglected for the past five months – and did some freewriting, wrote down anything that popped into my head. This warmed up my arm physically, and it warmed up my brain, and then it was much less painful to type out a few more pages of my dissertation.

I never knew freewriting could wield such power. Did you?

By: Anne Greenawalt
37186. A Song for Summer by Eva Ibbotson

The choice for the third week of the German Literature Month challenge was to pick an Austrian or Swiss writer to read. So I chose A Song for Summer by Eva Ibbotson.  Most people think that Eva Ibbotson is a British novelist and she was.  But she is also an Austrian novelist, and though she left Vienna in the early 1930s because of Hitler and the Nazis, her love for Austria is almost always evident in her novels.

A Song for Summer is no exception.  Londoner Ellen Carr has been raised by her mother and two aunts, all intellectuals and suffragettes, who desired Ellen to follow in their footsteps.  But Ellen’s heart lies outside academics; she is much more attracted to the domestic sciences.  So, after graduating from the Lucy Hatton School of Cookery and Household Management, Ellen takes a job as matron in a rather unconventional boarding school in Halllendorf, Austria.

The school is completely at sixes and sevens, but within a week Ellen has set it to rights.  And because this is an Ibbotson story, all the characters, teachers and students, are extraordinarily eccentric, who succumb to Ellen’s ministrations without sacrificing any of their personality.  And Ellen finds that she herself is attracted to the quiet, mysterious gardener, Marek Tarnowsky.  

But Marek, it turns out, had more than one secret.  For one, he is a resistance worker.  He and his friend Professor Steiner drive around in Steiner’s van to various countries rescuing Jews and smuggling them to safety, doing this under the guise of collecting folk songs from these places.  Marek has been searching for another old friend, Isaac Meierwitz, a Jewish music conductor who had been put into a concentration camp and had managed to escape.  When a rescue is finally attempted, it ends in two gunshots.  Each man believes the other has been shot.  Meierwitz wanders for hours looking for Steiner’s van, but ultimately, after days of walking and hiding, he makes his way to the school, finding succor there – Ellen hides him in plain sight by pretending he is her new chef apprentice.
Marek’s other secret is that he is a world famous composer, pursued by an aging, jealous, possessive soprano, Brigitta Seefeld, with whom he had once had an affair.  But Marek has now decided to live in America, causing heartbreak in both Ellen and Brigitta.  If the road to true love is rocky, for Ellen Carr the road is strewn with boulders and Nazis. 
Whenever I read an Ibbotson novel I feel as though I have entered not a fantasy world, b

7 Comments on A Song for Summer by Eva Ibbotson, last added: 11/23/2011
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37187. Illustrator Saturday – Micah Chamber-Goldberg

Micah Chambers-Goldberg, known for his unique ability to manifest whimsical imagination and fantastical imagery, is a versatile and accomplished artist in Animation, Illustration, Film, and Fine Art.

While Micah conveys the wondrous beauty within the ridiculous and supernatural, he maintains an authenticity in all forms of his artistic expression. His work is at once fresh and absorbing. His most recent film project is Who Stole the Mona Lisa?, an animated short, commissioned by Astral Artists which premiered at the Kimmel Center for The Philadelphia International Festival Of The Arts. Peter Dobrin of The Philadelphia Inquirer called the program “…A Triumph”. This comes on the heels of Things That Go Bump in the Night, a live-action/stop-motion animated music video for Tommy Space and the Alchemists. He has also completed illustrations for the children’s book, The Princess and the Peanut (published release in 2011).

Micah, who currently resides in Los Angeles, received his BFA from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. During his time at UARTS, Micah not only interned at Dreamworks Feauture Animation Studios but also completed his thesis film, Brain Juice, which took “Best in Show” and was well received in film festivals all over the world. Upon Micah’s relocation to Los Angeles, he spent several years painting live, on-stage, for Def Poetry Jam poets and musicians, as well as illustrating published children’s books such as Stone Soup and Even Superheroes Get Diabetes. He also designed toys and showroom environments for JAKKS Pacific, the third largest toy company in the U.S. Most recently, Micah wrote and directed an award-winning live-action short film, The Lifter Upper, which has traveled the film festival circuit and attracted much attention and critical acclaim.

Now, as a renowned filmmaker, animator, illustrator, and fine artist, Micah Chambers-Goldberg continues to inspire his audience to see life in a broader spectrum of color and possibility.

“Things That Go Bump In The Night”
Music Video
Stop-Motion and Live Action mix

1. I listened to the song 20 times.
2. I storyboarded out a concept in Photoshop
3. I used a video editing program to lay out the boards with the music into an animatic to see how it would work
4. I hired crew and we shot the band in front of a green screen playing instruments and doing a few specific actions. This was a one day shoot.

5. I made sets of paper mache painted with flat house paint so the lighting wouldn’t glare

6. I made monsters

Made 2 wire armatures or skeletons at the size of the figure
Sculpted a monster onto one armature out of oil based clay
 Cast that in plaster with
 Took out the clay figure
 Brushed in liquid latex

7 Comments on Illustrator Saturday – Micah Chamber-Goldberg, last added: 11/19/2011
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37188. There are, for me, just two ways to write:

1) within a fever fury

2) within the long, tidal pull of the story that takes years to find itself, wants to find itself, will.

All this past week, this morning, today, I am grateful for the story that found itself over the course of so many years—that did not give up on itself, or on me.

3 Comments on There are, for me, just two ways to write:, last added: 11/19/2011
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37189. SkADaMo Day 15, 16 and 17

Matilda Funkhauser’s vanity was beginning to get quite a foothold on her.


So here is yet another attempt to make up for lost time with SkADaMo. Three days = three sketches.

It’s a bit of a a variation on a theme I did for my 2009 Advent Calendar.

It pays to recycle, eh?

Also, lagged a day on PiBoIdMo, but caught up today. Whew!

3 Comments on SkADaMo Day 15, 16 and 17, last added: 11/20/2011
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37190. Snow Day!

Komako Sakai...

Marie-Louise Gay...

Sebastian Braun...

2 Comments on Snow Day!, last added: 11/21/2011

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37191. Baby Can Bounce: the Cover is Sorted

Sarah, my designer at Egmont, has finished the cover design for my new book. The stripy text I prepared and scanned is all done and in place, the baby croc has his pants on (!) the new strap-line is in place (although that still might change: we're not sure if it's too educational sounding) and the colour is... 

...yep: yellow. 

This is quite funny. Though I was the one who stuck out for yellow originally, when the guys at Egmont wanted lilac (because I thought it would work better with the green croc), I changed my mind when I saw the lilac mocked up. Typical then, that the consensus at Egmont should now change to liking the yellow. It's especially ironic, given that I had to change the cover of Baby Goes Baaaaa!, which I conceived as yellow from the start, to a duck-egg blue. Hey ho. 

If you want to read about how the cover was designed from my scratch, take a look at my initial sketches.

1 Comments on Baby Can Bounce: the Cover is Sorted, last added: 11/19/2011
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37192. Library Loot: Third Trip in November

New Loot:

Until the Dawn's Light by Aharon Appelfeld; translated from the Hebrew by Jeffrey M. Green
I Am Half Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley
The Time Thief by Linda Buckley-Archer
All Men of Genius by Lev AC Rosen
The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma; translated by Nick Caistor

Leftover Loot:

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
Johnny Swanson by Eleanor Updale
The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
Here There Be Dragons by James A. Owen
Bed-knob and broomstick by Mary Norton
The Borrowers by Mary Norton
Death of a Cad by M.C. Beaton
Love Poems and Sonnets of William Shakespeare
Tom Trueheart and the Land of Dark Stories by Ian Beck
The Great Good Thing by Roderick Townley
The Year of Miss Agnes by Kirkpatrick Hill
The Silmarillion by J.R.R Tolkien
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher
Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher
September by Rosamunde Pilcher
 Busman's Honeymoon by Dorothy L. Sayers
The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Mary Poppins Opens the Door by P.L. Travers
Mary Poppins in the Park by P.L. Travers
Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens
A Christmas Carol and Other Stories by Charles Dickens
Here Lies Linc by Delia Ray

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire and Marg that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.    

© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

4 Comments on Library Loot: Third Trip in November, last added: 11/21/2011
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37193. Publishers Weekly Best of Children's Books 2011

Publishers Weekly has released its Best Children's Books of the Year list.

I agree with many of the books on the list: Monster Calls, Beauty Queens, Inside Out and Back Again, Dead End In Norvelt and Between Shades of Gray.

There are a few I haven't read (for example, Legend doesn't release for two more weeks) and a few others that I didn't think were that strong.

But, there was one obvious omission from the list: Okay for Now. Hmmm......

What did you think? What other titles do you think should or should not have been on the list?

1 Comments on Publishers Weekly Best of Children's Books 2011, last added: 11/19/2011
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It's a peaceful Saturday. I did some novel writing on the train, and the end is in sight, it really is... I'll do some more in a minute.
Most of the day I spent playing with a borrowed ipad. I haven't really liked them so far, but it seems like it's the platform of choice at the moment for interactive literature and art, so I ought to get one to keep track of things. Personally, I'd much prefer an android tablet, but all the big cutting edge apps are still for the ipad.

So far...

  • I worked out how to synch my Scrivener data over to it, so I could actually work on my novel without lugging my work computer around. That's excellent.
  • It's easy to locally save reference pictures off the web. Yay! That'll be incredibly useful, since my laptop takes too much space on my drawing desk, and is unwieldy.
  • I'm not very excited by any of the art apps I've seen so far, but then I haven't seen many because I don't want to buy them on this borrowed pad.
  • I really don't fancy drawing or painting on the thing.
  • Surprisingly the first really exciting thing I stumbled across was a typewriter app. It was wonderful to use, reminded me of my first novel writing attempts... I'll be enjoying sending people typewritten email jpgs. Heh.
  • The keyboard is awful. But then a bluetooth keyboard will work with it. Fair enough.
I'm almost convinced of the usefulness. I'll be completely convinced once I start making my own apps.
Apparently one of Tove Jansson's classic picture books is being turned into a tablet app. I'm generally against turning existing novelty books into apps (what's the point exactly) but I'm looking forward to seeing what they'll do.

3 Comments on , last added: 11/20/2011
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37195. Illustration Friday: Vanity

Happy weekend everyone. I have a few book related updates: first of all, if any of you pick up the 2012 Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market, you'll find an interview with yours truly on page 167. This year's format is really great -- it's become so much more than just a listing of publishers. Also, Scholastic books just released their Spring 2012 preview. Check out the picture book interviews for a quick sneak peek of Zoe Gets Ready, due out in May. Thanks for stopping by!

11 Comments on Illustration Friday: Vanity, last added: 11/22/2011
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37196. Board Books

My new board books arrived, here are images from three of the books.

8 Comments on Board Books, last added: 11/21/2011
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37197. Holiday Gift Guide Day 17 - Bacon Skillet Jam - You had me at Bacon

Holiday Gift Guide Day 17 - Bacon Skillet Jam

I happen to subscribe to the school of thought that believes that everything is better with bacon. So, when my wife mentioned Bacon Skillet Jam, I knew I wanted to try it. When I got the jam I wasn't sure just how I should eat it, so, I tried it a few ways.

First off, it smells kind of like a smoky barbeque sauce. I decided to try just dipping some chips. It was pretty good, but I thought it might be better if I cooked with it. I used it to make a glaze for some cooked carrots and it was great. It added a rich smoky bacon flavor. I think it would also be good as a flavoring for meat and potatoes.

Bacon Skillet Jam is made when they take "...niman ranch bacon and render it down along with onions, balsamic and other spices . It cooks for several hours until it is a perfect blend of smoky, tangy, savory and slightly sweet….basically spreadable bacony goodness! USDA approved."

To Buy - If you're a bacon lover like me, bacon skillet jam is definitely something you should try. For more info you can contact eat@skilletstreetfood.com.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

5 Comments on Holiday Gift Guide Day 17 - Bacon Skillet Jam - You had me at Bacon, last added: 11/22/2011
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37198. bad writing advice

WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW: How many times has this been written and rewritten, told and retold? The problem with the advice is inexperienced writers will think it means they have to write about their childhoods and what they had for dinner last week or their husband’s or wife’s new job. A writer who only writes about his or her life not only will most likely not have much to write about (sorry but most lives just aren’t that interesting) but more importantly he or she will make all the wrong decisions. They’ll be trying to stick to the truth of what happened and they will not allow the story to be told the way it needs to be told to be interesting and vivid.

I was in a graduate workshop once, and there was a retired policeman in the class. He wrote a story about policemen. Everyone in that workshop said the story didn’t ring true. The policeman said, “But it’s a true story.” He was arguing that it must ring true because it was true. But it doesn’t matter if something “happened” to a reader. A reader needs to be convinced on the page. The cop author picked the wrong details and didn’t show what he needed to show because he was wed to what actually happened.

Of course writers use their past to show emotional truths. They use events sometimes or things that happened to them. They definitely use ways they have felt in certain situations to create vivid emotions in scenes. BUT few writers (always exceptions) stick to a literal retelling in their fiction. It’s too confining.

A better way to think about what you should write about is “don’t write about what you cannot know”. But here’s the thing: you can know most things with research, which is pretty much just an Internet connection away. So that opens up what you can write about. More importantly, you can imagine most things so that really opens up what you can write about. You need to open up to allow yourself to imagine an original story and fresh situations.

2 Comments on bad writing advice, last added: 11/19/2011
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37199. A natural position

"Never paint a portrait as though the person were posing. A natural position can only be kept for a few seconds, it is like a flash of lightning. You must just put down a few large marks for the chosen position of head, hands, feet, etc., and keep fitting the sitter into them."

Quote from Charles Lasar, Practical Hints for Art Students, (Duffield & Company, New York, 1923
Drawing by John Singer Sargent.

4 Comments on A natural position, last added: 11/21/2011
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Translation: "I refuse to read anymore"*

Helloooooo everyone!

I’ve been away for a while as I started an Urban Design Masters Degree program at AUB! - insert super huge smile here – and I needed some time to get used to managing work, site, university, readings, assignments, etc…can you believe that I’ve not drawn anything in almost 2 months?! -insert a here. I hope to be posting and blogging soon…in the meantime I just wanted to say Hellooo! Miss u! Miss my blog! Miss Blogging! …

1 Comments on READINGS, last added: 11/20/2011
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