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Viewing: Blog Posts from All 1562 Blogs, since 12/19/2007 [Help]
Results 37,176 - 37,200 of 164,723
37176. LAURA ASHLEY - special preview

last week i attended the laura ashley press show in london's covent garden where they were showcasing new designs for their spring summer 2012 collection. as soon i walked in i was immediately drawn to this fabulous mid century modern range called "off the wall". the two main prints were the floral 'serena' and the geometric 'wallace' and this was run across items such as bedlinen, mugs,

6 Comments on LAURA ASHLEY - special preview, last added: 11/24/2011
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37177. “Love loves difficult things”:Peter Sís’ Conference of the Birds

(Click to enlarge)

If you’re a regular reader here at 7-Imp, you’re most likely a devoted follower of children’s picture books and contemporary illustration. This also means you likely know the work of author/illustrator Peter Sís — and probably know it well. Today, I feature his first book aimed at adult readers. Fans of Sís may not be surprised to read it’s a feast for one’s eyes, elegantly illustrated and beautifully rendered.

And it’s bold. And that’s because in this October release from Penguin Press, The Conference of the Birds, Sís takes an ancient Persian poem, approximately 4,500 lines long, and extracts its very essence—in this beautifully-designed book (o! the very paper it’s printed on!) with Sís’ signature illustrations, geometrically beguiling and full of symbolism—in a manner that is accessible for modern readers. (Note the timeliness of the “upheaval” spread below.)

The poem, written by Persian Farid Ud-Din Attar in 1177 (Sís notes he was first inspired by this 1984 translation from Dick Davis), tells the story of a gathering of the birds of the world, who have no king and who set out on a quest—as suggested by the hoopoe, the wisest of them all—to find the legendary Simorgh. (more…)

14 Comments on “Love loves difficult things”:Peter Sís’ Conference of the Birds, last added: 11/23/2011
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37178. Honoring Work

Nonfiction is about honoring and reflecting the truth in the world. It asks us to look with fresh eyes at what is around us, at the underpinnings of our lives whether that be in geology, geography, or history. Nonfiction is important and far reaching. Usually, I remember that. But not first thing this morning.

This morning I read an email by a fiction writer friend about an extraordinary fan letter she had received. Moved and amazed by the letter, I thought to myself: I bet those kinds of letters are elicited more often by fiction. Then I experienced the “twinge.” Yes, it was that mosquito-like, momentary, should-I-write-a-novel-instead pinch that plagues nonfiction writers.

This in my mind, I drove to the farmer’s market. A young woman at one of the farm stands stopped me. She had told me, months ago, how much she loved Rah, Rah, Radishes: a Vegetable Chant, and how special it was to her because she picks some of the vegetables that come to market.

Today she told me that her father, after heart attack and stroke, was in the hospital. He had a hard time remembering. But he enjoyed looking through Rah, Rah, Radishes, again and again. I asked if he was a farmer. No, she said, he just likes looking through the book. He doesn’t remember many things. But every time someone comes in the room, he shows them the book photos and he proudly tells them: This is what my daughter does.

I thanked her, teary-eyed, daughter-to-daughter, for sharing her story. Once again, nonfiction surprises. It seems like a good time, near Thanksgiving, to think about how words, photos, art can shine a light on unheralded essentials in our lives.

37179. Holiday Gift Guide Day 20 - Mr. Poppers Penguins DVD & IceCube Tray GiveawayGiveaway

Top 5 Ice Cold Recipes

Enter to Win Your Very Own Copy of the DVD out on December 6

Mr. Popper sure had his hands full with all those penguins – too bad he didn’t have a handy guide for making fun, ice-cold treats for them! Here, you will find a recipe guide for making slushies and popsicles, and other fantastic ideas on how to turn ice into edible and refreshing desserts that the kids will love! You will get an ice-cold kick out of how easy and fun these recipes are to make for all ages.

Jim Carrey (A Christmas Carol) stars in MR. POPPER’S PENGUINS, available on Blu-ray, DVD and digital download December 6th. The whole family will be full of laughs watching Mr. Popper, a driven businessman, inherit six adorable and mischievous penguins. As Mr. Popper quickly gets attached to his winged roommates, his life quickly unravels: the deal he’s long been working on with a formidable socialite, Mrs. Van Gundy (Angela Lansbury), is derailed and Popper almost lands in jail. While Popper’s penguins turn his swank New York apartment into a snowy winter wonderland - they teach him valuable lessons about family – human and otherwise!

1) Popsicles

Popsicles are the classic go-to frozen treat for kids and grownups alike! Try making fruit popsicles – all you need is popsicle molds (or disposable cups and popsicle sticks), fresh fruit chunks (try strawberries, pineapples, kiwis, mangoes, or a mix of whatever fruits you like), sugar, light corn syrup, lemon juice, and vanilla yogurt. Blend everything but the yogurt for two to three minutes, then add in the yogurt until the mixture is smooth. Then, pour the mixture into your popsicle molds, insert your sticks, and freeze for at least four hours. Enjoy at your leisure!

2) Chocolate Snow Ice Cream

If you live somewhere where it snows, Chocolate Snow Ice Cream is really simple to make, and lots of fun! All you need is a big bowl of clean snow (you can leave a bowl outside to collect the snow), one can of sweetened condensed milk, and chocolate syrup or cocoa powder (to taste). You could also use strawberry syrup instead. Since the sweetened condensed milk is so thick, it helps hold the melting snow together and adds a lot of sweetness to your ice cream. Once you have all of your ingredients gathered, all you have to do is mix them up in a big bowl and enjoy!

3) Slushies
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37180. SkADaMo Day 18

I have no explanation and sometimes no control over what pops in to my head. While some folks concern themselves with profundity I myself wallow in porcine silliness.


Happy to report that SkADaMo and PiBoIdMo are both alive and well.

3 Comments on SkADaMo Day 18, last added: 11/22/2011
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37181. Memoir

Drawing From Memory
by Allen Say
Scholastic Press, 2011
review copy provided by the publisher

"Drawing is never a practice. To draw is to see and discover."

"Painting is a kind of writing, and writing is a kind of painting--they are both about seeing."

DRAWING FROM MEMORY is the amazing story of the earliest years of Allen Say's journey as an artist. It is the story of his relationship with his master, the man who become more than an art teacher to him -- the man who became his spiritual father.

Liberally illustrated with sketches and photographs, this is a book to read and re-read.

We have been working to understand the word "influence" in my fourth grade classroom. Students are asked to identify the influence of the setting of a story. In order to understand that, we are studying lots of ways influence happens. This would be a great book (along with a selection of other books illustrated by Say) to explore the influence of a teacher, of a setting, of friends, of family...

The House Baba Built: An Artist's Childhood in China
by Ed Young
Little, Brown and Company, 2011

This is a fantastic book to compare/contrast to Allen Say's -- a life framed by an early love of art, by family, by war... Whereas Say's book is a tribute to his teacher, Young's is a tribute to his Baba and to the house that unified his family. Say's book is INFLUENCED by his early training as a cartoonist, and reads more like a graphic novel, with clean lines and a crisp white background. Young's is painterly, with thick pages, collages of paint and chalk and photographs, and lots of gatefolds to open and explore. Again, it would be fascinating to read this book along with a collection of others Young has illustrated to explore how these early years made him into the artist he is today.

2 Comments on Memoir, last added: 11/22/2011
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37182. SkADaMo Day 19

Got shopping, chopping, sauteing, cooking and baking on the brain.

9 Comments on SkADaMo Day 19, last added: 11/24/2011
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37183. Love Beyond Sanity by Rebecca Royce: Guest Blog & Giveaway {Goddess Fish Promotions}

Once again I have Rebecca Royce, author of The Outsiders series, on the blog for a guest post about what she thinks is important in building a romance story and the characters in it. Also there is an excerpt and giveaway below. Enjoy!

I think the most important characteristics in building a romance story and the characters within the story has to be chemistry. C. H. E.M.I.S.T.R.Y. I say it like that because I cannot stress it enough.

In a very simple way, it makes sense. Who wants to read about people who are boring with each other? If the storyline doesn’t have chemistry, then it doesn’t explode off the page and you lose the readers interest.

For me, this chemistry starts at moment one when I name the characters. Their names have to sound good together. Maybe this sounds insane, but if their names don’t flow well than I can’t proceed with the story until they do. I have to build a spark between them before I even know who they are.

After that, you have to be sure the conflict is going to ignite both the plot and the romance. In Love Beyond Sanity, the second book in the Outsider series, the fire comes externally and internally. Jason has abandoned Charma even before the story begins. They have a very wide chasm between them that they might not be able to cross.

Add to this the fact that they are being hunted by not one but two demons out for their blood and you have external chemistry to add to the mix, which is, to me, the most pivotal part of creating a romance story that, I hope, readers will want to come back to again and again.

Thanks for stopping by Rebecca!!

Publisher: Silver Publishing (October 1, 2011)
Series: The Outsider's #2 (Click for more info about The Outsiders, Book 1)
Rebecca Royce's Website | Blog
Eighteen years earlier, Charma lost her destined soul mate. Convinced he must be dead, she kept her fears to herself so as not to destroy the morale of the Outsiders who already live with a shaky prophecy as their only guide.

Dr. Jason Randall is a man used to getting what he wants. There has never been a problem he couldn't out think or a situation he wasn't capable of handling.

Now they are both hunted by not one but two demons as they lead the slowly forming group of Outsiders out of the darkness and back into the light. The two strong souls will have to decide if prophecy alone is enough reason to stay together through insane odds...or if love is their true fate.

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37184. I am going to get these books confused next summer

covers of Dark Companion and Dark Destiny

Filed under: Uncategorized

9 Comments on I am going to get these books confused next summer, last added: 11/24/2011
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when reading my own poetry
or the poetry of others

I am filled with the enormity of
the significance and insignificance
of my own life
and the lives of others

2 Comments on , last added: 11/24/2011
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37186. Is it possible to stay in touch without a phone or Facebook?

201111220327 Is it possible to stay in touch without a phone or Facebook? This weekend I suffered the technocrat’s greatest nightmare and dunked my iPhone. It’s currently sitting in a bag of rice and soon I will find out if my life is over or not. In the meantime, for someone who is attached at the metacarpal to her iPhone, this past weekend was very interesting.

For instance, I had to find my way to someplace I’d never been. Instead of relying on GPS when I got out the subway, before leaving the house I had to look it up on a map and print it out. And then pull out a paper and look at the map when I arrived. It was like a Geico caveman commercial.

The daily routine of life was much different as well. While ordering a Vietnamese coffee I found myself reflexively reaching for my pocket. Even though it takes less than two minutes to get a Vietnamese coffee, I would normally pull out my phone and look at my twitter or gmail “to kill time”. I’ve pretty sure my time was long ago stuffed and mounted over the mantlepiece. Is twiddling really necessary?

My socializing was rocketed back to 1997. It’s amazing how much we use our gadgets to isolate in a crowd. Unable to whip out my phone google whatever was passing through my mind, I found I had to actually sit and talk to people. Weird! How on earth did we survive those primitive times?

Thing is, I don’t actually use my phone as a phone very much. The problem of ordering some sushi for dinner was solved with Skype and my iPad. I tried to retrieve my messages from another phone but realized I’d never bothered to learn the architecture for doing so. Oops.

Don’t get me wrong. I want my phone back. But a little lesson in non-digital life was a bit refreshing. In fact I found I had way MORE time. So much so that I decided to take the evening to clean up my RSS feeds. A bloated thing of 600+ feeds, I found countless dead or misdirected feeds, and long ago ghosts of an internet that was. Where have you gone, Chesterfest blog? I was kind of saddened that so many art blogs that I once loved to visit have been moved to Twitter or Tumblr. Even more have moved over to Facebook, much to my sorrow. I consider Facebook the AT&T of the digital era, a giant corporation has no real interest in helping its customers — it only wants to keep customers.

For instance, once you get sucked in there is no way to get sucked back out. Sure I’d like a nice discrete feed of all my actual friends and family. Unfortunately I did not have the foresight to start this five years ago, so now I have a bloated 2000+ friends, some of whom are not people I actually know. There is also no easy way to create a feed of an individual page — once there was, but Facebook keeps fiddling with the settings.

While cleaning up the feeds, I found this post by media expert Anil Dash called Facebook is gaslighting the web. We can fix it in which he points out several alarming things. As of today you can no longer import your own content to Facebook Page notes. You must do so manually — right, like I’m going to physically make a FB note every time I make a blog post. Because, as FB puts it:

We want you to connect with your fans in the most ef

9 Comments on Is it possible to stay in touch without a phone or Facebook?, last added: 11/23/2011
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37187. Post CTN - THANK YOU!

Just a quick hello and thank you to all the folks I had the pleasure of meeting at CTN! It's events like CTN that help connect and reconnect us to the thing we all love, art and animation!!! Keep creating and keep going forward!! in a few days, hopefully before Thanksgiving, I'll post a blogroll of all those wonderful folks I had the chance to see.

In the meantime, here is a photo and sketch of me done by the incredible James Gurney!!!

This photo is a collective sketch we did with my good friends Leonardo Olea, Francisco Herrera, Florian Satzinger, Greg Baldwin and Dave Guertin of CreatureBox, and Jose Lopez at our post dinner. The greatest guys ever!!!

8 Comments on Post CTN - THANK YOU!, last added: 11/23/2011
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37188. Just call me Gadget

I have several nicknames.

One of them is Gadget.

Because I love gadgets.

My philosophy is: why do it yourself when you can buy a gadget to do it for you? (Although I could have lived without that battery-powered shower scrubber my parents gave me for Christmas one year.)

Quite a few years ago, I bought a Brookstone "Atomic" clock. It would automatically reset for Daylight Savings Time. The problem is that the government conspired against me and changed the dates of Daylight Savings Time.

There was NO way to reset that dang clock.

I lived with it for a while but then it started randomly springing forward and falling back on weekdays. Not good when you have to go to work.

So I bought a NEW Brookstone clock.

This one not only changes for Daylight Savings Time, but it sets itself when you plug it in!

1 Comments on Just call me Gadget, last added: 11/22/2011
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37189. White Bean Chili

This would be my less-meatarian version of Foster’s Market’s Chicken Chili with Navy Beans. Yeah, I just left out the chicken and used more beans. Rocket science.

I know you thought I was Johnny One Note with Mr. Mark Bittman. I know, I talk about him ALL. THE. TIME. But I do have other cookbook crushes.

Foster’s Market recipes are not what I’d call weeknight friendly (too many ingredients) but nearly every single one has been a must-repeat. Especially the soups, salads, and cakes. I believe there are a few Foster’s Market books out now, but this is from the first, The Foster’s Market Cookbook.

A few notes on this recipe:

#1 It has a nice kick, but the kids thought it was too spicy, so they wouldn’t touch it past the first bite. I might crank down the spice next time. If I feel like sharing. 

#2:  As with the other Foster’s Market bean soups, I’ve found that, while excellent, the spices and flavorings can get a little overwhelming. I think I’d lessen amounts on all the spices, the salt, and especially the Worcestershire.

#3. My beans took way, way longer to cook than the recipe calls for.

#4. Obviously, if you want to be strict vegetarian/ vegan, you would use veggie broth for this soup instead of the chicken broth it calls for and sub veggie Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce.

I may have to less-meatify some more Foster’s Market recipes, since they are all so good. What’s the vegetarian answer to chicken salad, ’cause it’s got some awesome versions?

2 Comments on White Bean Chili, last added: 11/23/2011
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37190. Discipline: the need to write and the craft of writing

These days, writers are supposed to be a brazen brand; masters of mobile and internet wizardry; and magicians of marketing. And they have to create "products" too.

It's easy for the time required for the craft of writing to be squeezed, and this has led me to consider the nature of 'discipline'. See where I'm coming from?

When I grew up, "discipline" was kind of a dirty word. It's also a frequent topic of questions in interviews, as in that awful one: "It must take a lot of self-discipline to write a novel/be a writer".

Well, no, we tend to answer patiently... self-discipline is not an issue. If you have the Calling to be a writer, actually you can't help it. In fact, you go crazy if you DON'T get the time to write.

For example, when unable to write for prolonged periods, I am prone to the feeling that I will start scraping the wallpaper off with my fingernails or yelling something deeply regrettable at my loved one if I can't get back to it very soon.

Yes, others might call it a form of mental illness, but, as anyone will know who has read biographies of many top entrepreneurs (like Steve Jobs), scientists or artists, this kind of obsessive-compulsive behaviour is a pre-requisite for success in many fields.

However nice a person you are, you have to demand the time to write, and this is not to be considered weird. Other people have no choice but to clock in nine to five, 46 weeks of the year. You have to claim that time for yourself.

What's almost pathological is the frustration I feel at having to spend hours doing all the self-marketing, twittering, email-answering, bill-paying, phone-call returning, website-updating, meeting-attending, computer-fixing, filing, tidying and a hundred-and-one other things – and it seems to be getting worse - before I can get a tiny window of time to do the one thing which I, however strangely, feel I was put on this planet to do.

Now, I'm one of the lucky people who make most of their living from writing. Lucky, but underpaid. I have to do several different kinds of writing to survive rather than just write fiction (my favourite form), and I feel that I've worked hard to be in this place.

For the past year, my work pattern has changed, involving a new discipline, and this has had an interesting effect on my writing.

Every weekday morning, I have to write an article, as soon as possible and usually within two hours, of about 700-1000 words, and post it on a web site.

This is an enforced discipline, but one that pays off well in terms of developing the discipline of the craft.

Typically, I have no idea before I start what the subject will be, and have to research it as I write it.

This type of journalism, for a specialist, largely business, audience, demands many qualities apart from accuracy and readability.

In particular, there is an instinct for what people want to read that no one else is providing, which can only come from knowing the field intimately.

There is also the kind of fluency that comes from being able to trust oneself that the process of writing at speed will result in something that isn't completely unintelligible and is of great interest to my readers.

This is a very different process from writing a novel, partly because it operates on a totally different timescale. It is topical, and so consumed, like a meal, within hours of preparation, after which it is likely to be forgotten; although one hopes that it will have greater influence, just as a top chef's creation may be talked about for long after it has disappeared.

The self-editing process is therefore different. When writing a novel, one can leave a draft for a few weeks so that, when re-reading it, one may see it afresh and notice errors and omissions that were obscured by the afterglow of creation.

Since adopting this new work pattern, and because I cannot expect my editor to s

3 Comments on Discipline: the need to write and the craft of writing, last added: 11/23/2011
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37191. Cat’s Eye Nebula

Readers of the blog know that I sometimes go slightly off-topic to share my geek love for all things space. I love this particular image in particular, The Cat’s Eye Nebula:

Three thousand light years away from Earth, this nebula is 10,000 times as bright as the sun and is the result of a star that lost its outer envelope around 1000 years ago. There are 11 rings of gas make up the formation, which is expanding at a constant rate of 10 milliarcseconds a year.

In the Universe, even destruction is a thing of beauty.

In the US, we are winding down (hopefully) for the long Thanksgiving holiday. Hope that everyone has a fantastic time with family and friends — and eating of course! :)

** Next Tuesday, I’ll be announcing the winner of my Kindle Giveaway. There is still time to enter to win a brand new Kindle 4 plus a $20 Amazon gift card. The giveaway closes at midnight on Monday, November 28th so go ahead and enter — just leave a comment and tell me about your favorite books — simple and easy! **

5 Comments on Cat’s Eye Nebula, last added: 11/22/2011
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37192. Charles de Gaulle - Praha - Arlanda - 8 Hours

Just came back from France (I will try to post some photos of the event tomorrow. I had a wonderful time in Clermont-Ferrand (did not see that much of the city though, the days where packed. Unfortunately the books I brought with me sold out on the first day, but if you want a signed copy I still have some copies over at my Etsy Shop. The flight home was rather convoluted as I flew over Prague (and had a five hour wait there), but it made it possible for me to finally give a better estimate how long time each spread takes to do (that was the most common question on the conference). This image clocked in under just eight hours.

4 Comments on Charles de Gaulle - Praha - Arlanda - 8 Hours, last added: 11/23/2011
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37193. Writing "like me"

You know that feeling you get when you read an amazing book by an amazing writer and you think: DANG--I wish I could write like that!!!!!!!

Yeah... I have that feeling all the time.

But I do my best to shake it off, because I don't actually think it's a healthy feeling to have as a writer.

Sure, I can admire someone else's writing. I can be awed by the way they string sentences together, or impressed by their solid world building, or laugh myself silly at their wonderful use of humor--or even be inspired to push myself in new directions. But I can't let the feeling go any further than that, where I actually let myself WISH I could write like them. Because I can only write like me.

And sure, I can (and should) grow and learn and improve my craft in many many ways with every word I write. But I will still always write in MY voice and tell stories MY way.

Which is actually why I always fall SUPER behind on reading when I'm drafting, because I often can't read when I'm trying to crank out a rough draft. I read all the pretty, revised-and-edited-a-million-times words by authors who write very differently than me and think: MY DRAFT SUCKS BECAUSE IT IS NOTHING LIKE THIS!

So this week (and weekend) I'm going to get some serious reading done. I've met all my deadlines--and I'm about to dive into writing book two (AHHHH!!!), which will mean I won't be reading as much. So I'm taking the time now to crank through as much of my TBR pile as I can. And I've got some AWESOME ones in there guys. It's going to be a good, GOOD week!

16 Comments on Writing "like me", last added: 11/24/2011
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37194. Great Expectations at the SCBWI Conference 2011

This past weekend we slushpilers five congregated with other devotees to the children's book craft at the Great Expectations conference of  SCBWI in the British Isles. It's a generous and friendly  conference. Over the years a sense of community has grown, and for many in attendance, this was a chance to hook up with friends made over SCBWI's social platforms - the Ning, Twitter and Facebook

12 Comments on Great Expectations at the SCBWI Conference 2011, last added: 11/23/2011
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37195. Do come and join us for the launch of Nancy Bentley this Saturday

Three years ago I first heard the story of Nancy Bentley, the first Australian female sailor. A former naval officer told the story to a group of children at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

Nancy Bentley was born on October 6, 1914. She was the third eldest child of seven children, born to Frank and Beatrice Bentley.

Nancy and her siblings were raised in Smith O'Brien's cottage in the small ex-penal Colony of Port Arthur.

Six-year-old Nancy was bitten by a snake as she played on the shores of Port Arthur. With no medical help nearby her father rowed her out to the HMAS Sydney. Before Nancy could be treated and allowed to stay on the ship protocol had to be adhered to. The captain quickly  inducted Nancy into the Royal Australian Navy. 

After hearing the story Tracey Hawkins made contact with Nancy’s grandson and began writing the story of Nancy Bentley for children. Set in 1920 in Port Arthur, Tasmania, this story features beautiful illustrations by Jacqui Grantford reflecting the time and place.

1 Comments on Do come and join us for the launch of Nancy Bentley this Saturday, last added: 11/24/2011
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37196. The Inheritance Cycle, by Christopher Paolini (ages 10 - 15)

Two of our students came in two weeks ago so, so, so excited because Inheritance had just been published. I loved feeling this excitement, and so sat down with them today to ask them all about Christopher Paolini's Inheritance series.

Book 4 in the Inheritance Cycle
by Christopher Paolini
NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2011
ages 10 - 15
available from your local library, your favorite bookstore, or on Amazon
Luca and Sebastiaan began reading Eragon in 3rd grade, drawn in by this complex fantasy. They share the feeling that Eragon is THE BEST BOOK EVER. Here are some of their thoughts about Eragon:
"It's so well written. You can tell he (Paolini) took his time with it."
"It has a lot of details, and a lot of action."
"I love the way he tells the story. You have no idea what's going to happen next."
"I really like the use of the ancient language to cast spells. You can read the spells at the back, to know what they mean. But you really want to remember them as you're reading, so you try to memorize them."
Luca and Sebastiaan's excitement is spreading in the school. Another friend also loves fantasies, and he's trying out Eragon for the first time today. Luca and Sebastiaan recommend this series to friends who are strong readers, who love fantasy and action in their stories. "You have to be a really strong reader because there are so many details," they explain to me. They like reading this series quickly, so they can absorb all the details and get to the action.

Their favorite parts? Oh, it's so hard to pick, but here are just a few:
  • in the volcano with the tunnels inside of the mountain
  • the creativity in the landscape and the description of the dragons
  • Eragon's connection with his dragon Saphira - you can tell they really care about each other
  • the life cycles of all the creatures, not just the dragons
You can get a sense of the drama from this book trailer:

I think my students will really enjoy this video of Christopher Paolini reflecting on his experiences writing the Inheritance Cycle:

If your child loves fantasies like Harry Potter or Percy Jackson, but is ready for a complex series - try out the Inheritance Cycle. Here are the books in order:
  1. Eragon
  2. Eldest
  3. 1 Comments on The Inheritance Cycle, by Christopher Paolini (ages 10 - 15), last added: 11/22/2011
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37197. NO BROW!

Getting a new NOBROW issue is brilliant...
Getting a reversible one that's half full of beautiful comics is even better...

Seeing one of my own illustrations in it is the best.

Here it is again, flat:

This is the first time I supplied an artwork with separate colour layers, and I'm happy it worked. I want to make more pictures like that, and hopefully have some printed up for sale.

1 Comments on NO BROW!, last added: 11/22/2011
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37198. ...

I usually have no fears about showing my work to others, but I'll admit it... I'm a little nervous about sharing this! It's something new for me, and new can be scary.

(click for larger view)

My goal is to do little practice strips each week. About, yes, roller derby- because I am obsessed.

5 Comments on ..., last added: 11/24/2011
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37199. Book Review: The Last Musketeer, by Stuart Gibbs (Harper Collins, 2011)

Recommended for ages 8-12.

As a Three Musketeers fan since I was twelve years old, I was of course excited to read this new time travel story, in which a 21st century boy travels back to France of the early 17th century, befriending the future musketeers, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis.  Author Stuart Gibbs' fast paced, action-packed tale may well appeal to today's tweens, but I couldn't help but be disappointed in the way he interprets Dumas' classic story for the 21st century.

The story starts off strong, with a terrific first sentence that will grab any young reader:  "Clinging to the prison wall, Greg Rich realized how much he hated time travel."  On a trip to Paris with his family to sell the family's treasured heirlooms to the Louvre, Greg and his parents are pulled through a time warp, winding up in 1615.  When his parents are falsely imprisoned for trying to kill the young Louis XIII, Greg must rescue them--by meeting up with three teenagers like himself, Aramis, a young cleric, Athos, a soldier from the lower social classes, and Porthos, a foppish rich young nobleman who's the life of the party.  Greg himself becomes known as D'Artagnan (in the original a fish-out-of-water himself, as a bumbling, hot-headed young man from the distant province of Gascony.  Mix in a nefarious brother of Cardinal Richelieu (the Cardinal being a central character in Dumas' novel), and a young Milady de Winter (the original villainess in the Three Musketeers), some tropes of fantasy fiction (a stone that grants eternal life), and voila!  a 21st century musketeer rehash.

Gibbs does a good job with the whole fish-out-of-water time travel tropes, with Greg disgusted by the smells of Paris, the privies, and the fleas, among others.  The book of matches in his pocket make the 17th century characters he meet think he's a magician, as does his ability to swim.  There's plenty of action, as Greg and his new-found friends swashbuckle their way to saving Greg's parents.  At the end, they don't go back to the 21st century, which makes me think that Gibbs has a sequel up his sleeve.

While I can't help but appreciate any author that brings Dumas' characters to the attention of 21st century kids, I couldn't get over several changes to the original story that drove me crazy.  First of all, the author keeps referring to Greg being in medieval Paris.  While the streets of Paris might have been similar to the way they were in the Middle Ages, 1615 is definitely not considered the Middle Ages, and I wonder how such a glaring error could have escaped the Harper editors, not to mention the professor of French history who Gibbs thanks in his acknowledgment for vetting the manuscript.  Second, and what bothered me more as a fan of the original novel, which I couldn't help wondering if Gibbs had actually read, he changed many key elements of the musketeers' personalities.  For example, Athos, or the Conte de la Fere in the original, was a member of the nobility, not a common soldier, as Gibbs makes him out to be.  Appearing as a young girl, the character of Milady de Winter doesn't make sense with that name, since she is supposed to have married an English lord after having been married to Athos as a young girl.  Also, it's not very believable that 14-year old boys would be made guards of the king!  Any young person who reads this and goes on to read the original Dumas is going to discoverer the many inconsistencies, which I just don't think were necessary.   And by turning t

1 Comments on Book Review: The Last Musketeer, by Stuart Gibbs (Harper Collins, 2011), last added: 11/22/2011
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37200. Interview with Award Winning Author Meg McKinlay

Meg McKinlay is a Fremantle-based author. Her publications include picture books, illustrated chapter books, and novels for upper primary, all published by Walker Books Australia. In a past life, she was an academic, teaching subjects ranging from Australian Literature and Creative Writing to Japanese. Basically, she just enjoys pottering about with words.

When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

Would it be odd to say that I'm still not sure? I started writing for children because I was reading books to my daughter and had a story idea, rather than because I had decided I wanted to be a writer. Once I had one idea, I kept getting others, and the only way to quiet 'the voices' was to write them down. I guess I'll keep writing until I run out, which doesn't look like happening any time soon! I should add that I've always been a collector of fragments, jotting down interesting sentences and observations about bits and pieces. I never really saw those as the beginnings of anything though, not parts of 'story' as such, so wasn't really thinking they might make a writer of me one day.

What was your road to publication like?

A near miss on my very first submission (a picture book manuscript), which gave me a false sense of how the industry works ie "Write story, send it off to one publisher, who writes back with an editoria

8 Comments on Interview with Award Winning Author Meg McKinlay, last added: 11/24/2011
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