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Usually a novelization of a play retains a fair amount of the original structure. The author of the novel may add in new locations and stuff, but you can still tell that, say, one particular group of chapters used to be the second act and originally took place entirely on someone’s front porch, or that one lengthy bit of narration used to be a monologue, or something. The Strange Woman, adapted by Mary McNeil Fenollosa (writing as Sidney McCall) from a play by William Hurlbut, puzzled me because I couldn’t see the underlying structure of the play, and none of it seemed like it had come from a play — until more than halfway through the book, when John Hemingway returns from Paris with his fiancée. Or his sort of fiancée.
Now that I’ve read a couple of reviews of the play, though, everything makes sense. The last third or so of the book, the section full of unpleasant people and awkward situations that made me wonder why I had liked anyone or been invested in the book up to that point — that was the bulk of the play. The first half or so, in which John Hemingway goes to Paris and is desperately lonely until he meets and begins a relationship with American-born Inez de Pierrefond is apparently original to the book.
John is a nice but occasionally super depressed architect studying at the École des Beaux-Arts. Inez is from Louisiana, and is about as French as one can get while still being an American, and is technically a widow, although she left her horrible and possibly German husband before he died. They meet in a treehouse, which is kind of great. Their relationship is pretty interesting. There’s a lot of very trite bits, but John is pretty convincingly torn between his attraction for Inez and his morals. He’s also pretty convincingly a massive dork. And Inez is pretty awesome, and eventually wins him over to her way of thinking, including the idea that marriage is a prison.
That one, obviously, isn’t going to go over well in John’s hometown of Delphi, OH. And John’s transformation when they get back there makes sense, although it’s kind of disappointing. And I guess that’s how I feel about everything else that happens in Delphi, too. I keep wanting to say that everyone is out of character, but I can’t put my finger on any specific way in which that’s true. And it’s not terrible, but after the Paris section, which I was really enjoying, it’s disappointing.
Now that I know roughly what was in the play, I keep falling into the trap of thinking of the Delphi section as Hurlbut’s work and the Paris section as Fenollosa’s, which isn’t fair because Fenollosa wrote the whole book. Also, not having read the play, I don’t want to make assumptions. I guess I’ll have to try one of Fenollosa’s other books at some point, to see how she does on her own.
I'm sorry if you are all bored with looking at these, but I wanted to include them while I had the full set. These are the final eleven books in the series. You can see the first twenty in two previous posts here
Some of my favourite Little Grey Rabbit books are in this selection. Can you guess which ones they are?
No. 21 Little Grey Rabbit's Paint-Box. First published in 1958, this copy a first thus edition published in 1970. Hare found a sketch book filled with pictures and took it home to show Grey Rabbit. Then Wise Owl gave Grey rabbit a paint box and soon the animals were painting pictures for themselves.
No. 22 Grey Rabbit finds a shoe. First published in 1960, this copy a reprint published in 1962. Little Grey Rabbit finds a shoe in the meadow near her woodland home. A tiny red shoe that would only fit an elf or a fairy...
No.23 Grey Rabbit and the circus. This a 1st edition published in 1961. One morning Squirrel, Hare and Little Grey Rabbit see what looks like a striped toadstool in their field. On closer inspection, they realise it's a stripy tent - the circus has arrived!
No. 24 Grey Rabbit's May Day. This a 1st edition published in 1963. Little Grey Rabbit is busy preparing for May Day, there's going to be a procession, songs and dancing around the May Tree.
No. 25 Hare goes shopping. This a 1st edition published in 1965. Moldy Warp tells Hare about a bright red, roaring, snorting kind of house on wheels (a red bus) and now Hare wants to go for a ride.
No. 26 Little Grey Rabbit's pancake day. This a 1st edition published in 1967. Hare finds an old frying pan and Grey Rabbit, Squirrel and Hare decided to give a pancake party. When all the pancakes are finished Hare finds another use for the pan…
No. 27 Little Grey Rabbit goes to the North Pole. This a 1st edition published in 1970. Hare has always wanted to visit the North Pole, and so he persuades Little Grey Rabbit and Squirrel to join him on a Polar expedition.
No. 28 Fuzzypeg's brother. This a 1st edition published in 1971. There is great excitement in the Hedgehog family at the arrival of Little Urchin, and Fuzzypeg is very proud of his new baby brother. Mr Hedgehog makes him a hammock of rushes as a day-bed, and Little Grey Rabbit and all her friends come to visit the new baby..... Scarce and pretty Little Grey Rabbit book.
No. 29 Little Grey Rabbit's spring-cleaning party. This a 1st edition published in 1972. When Grey Rabbit discovers a cobweb in the corner of her neat little house, she decides its time to do some spring cleaning. She enlists the help of Squirrel and Hare, but they soon receive some surprises when they discover various creatures have made their homes in unexpected places. Tommy Dormouse is hiding up the chimney; there is a bat behind a picture, a ladybird behind the curtain and daddy-long-legs on the ceiling.
No. 30 Little Grey Rabbit and the snow-baby. This a 1st edition published in 1973. It’s Christmas time, and the ground is covered in deep drifts of snow. Little Grey Rabbit and her friends decide to make a snow-rabbit, and as a finishing touch Hare finds a big snowball for the snow-rabbit to hold in its paws. Suddenly, out of the snowball tumbles a tiny white rabbit.... Super copy of very scarce Little Grey Rabbit book.
No. 31 Hare and the rainbow. This is a 1st edition published in 1975. Have you ever wondered what's at the end of the rainbow? Well wonder no more; join Little Grey Rabbit and her friends as they journey to rainbows end.View or purchase these and other books at March House Books. Browsers are very welcome and there is no obligation to buy. Virtual cups of tea available on request!
Two illustrators were involved in the making of these little books. Margaret Tempest illustrated the first 26 books and Katherine Wigglesworth the last 5.
My favourites? The ones illustrated by Katherine Wigglesworth. Do you have a favourite?
So I was planning to try a new kind of post last Friday. And then Friday came and went. How does this happen? So right now, let’s just pretend it is Friday. Or… Read More
By: Jerry Beck,
Blog: Cartoon Brew
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, Cecile Starr
, Donald Crafton
, Frank Thomas
, Giannalberto Bendazzi
, Graham Webb
, Leonard Maltin
, Michael Barrier
, Ollie Johnston
, Robert Russett
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What are the essential reference books that anyone with an interest in animation history should have on their bookshelf? It’s a question I’ve rarely seen discussed and would be curious to hear readers’ feedback. I’m not asking about the best written books about the art form, but rather the books that offer valuable information to those pursuing serious study of the history of 20th century animation.
I whittled down my ‘desert island’ list of animation reference books to just seven titles. There are, in fact, dozens of other excellent books, journals and articles related to specific filmmakers, studios, techniques and styles. I could have easily added another dozen titles to the list and still come up short. However, these are the seven books that I find myself returning to time and time again, and I think they provide a solid overview of 20th century animation for any intrepid researcher/historian/fan of the art form. Please share your favorite reference books in the comments.
1.) Before Mickey: The Animated Film 1898-1928
(1982, revised in 1993) by Donald Crafton — Walt Disney was an important figure in the development of animation, but so were Raoul Barré, James Stuart Blackton, John R. Bray, Emile Cohl, Winsor McCay, Otto Messmer, Lotte Reiniger, and Paul Terry. This book covers all of them, and is essential grounding in the early history of animation.
2.) Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons
(1980, revised in 1987) by Leonard Maltin — Capsule histories of Golden Age theatrical animation studios, still unsurpassed as a primer on that era.
3.) Hollywood Cartoons: American Animation in Its Golden Age
(1999, paperback in 2003) by Michael Barrier — The yang to Maltin’s yin. A highly opinionated and meticulously researched take on Golden Age American animation. The book will be best appreciated if you have some existing knowledge of classic animation.
4.) The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation
(1981) by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston — Everything that could have already been said about this book has been said. Suffice to say, if you can own just one book about Disney animation, this is it. The development of the studio’s approach to character animation has never been more clearly documented.
5.) Cartoons: One Hundred Years of Cinema Animation
(1994) by Giannalberto Bendazzi — From Argentina to Zaire, this is the most thorough survey of global animation. I refer to this book frequently, and more often than not, I’ll find the name I’m looking for. A long-awaited updated edition is due out later this year, which I plan to purchase the moment it’s released.
6.) Experimental Animation: An Illustrated Anthology
(1976, reprinted in 1988 as Experimental Animation: Origins of a New Art
) by Robert Russett and Cecile Starr — Many of the innovative techniques we see in commercials and music videos nowadays were done decades ago by the likes of Walter Ruttmann, Viking Eggeling, Hans Richter, Oskar Fischinger, Len Lye, and Norman McLaren. This book is still the best source of information about these important abstract and experimental animators of the twentieth century.
7.) The Animated Film Encyclopedia: A Complete Guide to American Shorts, Features, and Sequences, 1900-1999
(second edition released in 2011) by Graham Webb — Expensive but useful. This is a pure reference work and not something intended to be read, but with over 7,000 entries, it is the most complete listing of credits for Golden Age theatrical shorts, with plenty of credits not even found on IMDB.
to the following three books: Design in Motion
(1962), Film & TV Graphics
(1967), and Film + TV Graphics 2
(1976) — These books are short on text, but filled with great images from animation produced between the late-1950s and mid-1970s. This vital, and poorly undocumented, period in animation history coincided with the growth and expansion of international and independent animation, which is fully flourishing today. Many important names and films are represented in these books, and I find myself often referencing them.
By: Lizza Aiken,
One of the very worst things you can hear as a child coming home to find that your room has been ‘Spring Cleaned’ must be: “Oh you didn’t want that did you? I thought you’d finished with it.’ This was clearly a memory from Joan Aiken’s own childhood, and she turned it into one of [...]
Fresh picks from our favorite publishers! Here’s the latest books to hit our shelves.
Nobrow 8: Hysteria
Published by Nobrow
128 pages / 12.1″x8.6″
Forty-five artists have risen above (or maybe plunged even deeper into) their hysterical minds to produce double page illustrations or four-page-long comics. Jim Rugg, Emmanuelle Walker, Sam Bosma, Marta Monteiro, David Lucas, Kenard Pak, Bob Flynn, Keith Negley, Carmen Segovia, Gwendal Le Bec, Robin Davey, Andrea Kalfas, William Grill, Luke Pearson, Dustin Harbin, José Domingo, Matteo Farinella and Dilraj Mann are just some of the illustrious names who have let their hysterical drawings loose on Nobrow 8’s pages.
Just like Nobrow 6 and Nobrow 7, Nobrow 8 is in actual fact two magazines rolled into one and sealed with a double cover.
Pre-order a copy at Amazon or buy directly from Nobrow
Topsy Turvy World by Atak
Published by Flying Eye Books
30 pages / 11.6″ x 9.6″
A fantastical illustrated book where mice chase cats, penguins live in the jungle, cars fly and aeroplanes float!
It’s a time-honoured children’s game – catching out the grown-ups when they’re telling lies. Atak’s just given it a new twist, using lots of classic tall tales, and adding a few new ones as well. By seeing what’s obviously wrong, kids will learn what’s really right.
Pre-order a copy at Amazon or buy directly from Flying Eye Books
Draw Your Own Alphabets: Thirty Fonts to Scribble, Sketch, and Make Your Own
By Tony Seddon / Published by Princeton Architectural Press
160 pages / 10″ x 7.5″
Draw Your Own Alphabets is a fun, hands-on workbook that teaches how to create funky hand-lettered fonts sure to jump off the page, poster, or screen. Presenting thirty complete alphabets, custom-drawn in a variety of styles by various young designers and illustrators, this do-it-yourself guide demonstrates how to adapt the letters and make them your own.
Pick up copy at Amazon, PA Press or your local book shop.
Pap! by Mick Marston
Designed and published by Dust
52 pages / Limited Edition of 200
The words in this book are the result of Mick’s desire to put his images to work. An image was selected at random and sent to a collection of friends, writers, students and colleagues who were asked to write something with the image in mind – a reversal of the usual illustration process if you like.
Pick up a copy here.
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All right, now that the homeschooling-teens blog is up and running, Bonny Glen can get back into its groove. I’m in another minor reading slump—brought on not by lack of interesting choices (heavens no) but quite the opposite: my usual combination of option paralysis and a busy life.
What I’m reading right now, when I’m able to read:
Too Much Happiness, a collection of short stories by Alice Munro—a gift from one of my favorite people, who loves Munro’s work and was surprised I’d missed her along the way. I’ve been savoring the stories slowly these past many weeks, not wanting to get to the end—though I know there is much more Munro waiting for me when I do.
“When Dickens Met Dostoevsky”: I mentioned on Facebook that I’ve been chipping away at this long TLS article for two weeks, but don’t let my slow pace suggest the material is plodding. Quite the opposite: this is one of the most fascinating things I’ve read all year. It recounts the gradual untangling of a mystery surrounding a letter, quoted in several recent publications, purportedly written by Dostoevsky and describing in great detail a conversation he had with Dickens in 1862. The letter, it turns out, is a hoax. Who concocted it, and how it came to be accepted as authentic by respected scholars, is as gripping as any detective novel I’ve ever read.
If you missed my April bookletter, you can view it on the web here and subscribe to the May edition at this link.
We’ve raised over $1,000 on the IndieGogo campaign! Also, my article was posted about the Lilly Badilly Literacy Project on Wandering Educators. You can read it here.
If you want to learn more about literacy rates in your state and county, visit the National Center for Education Statistics website.
By: Jerry Beck,
Blog: Cartoon Brew
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, Chris Wedge
, Dean DeBlois
, Directing for Animation
, Directing for Animation: Everything You Didn't Learn in Art School
, Eric Goldberg
, Focal Press
, Jennifer Yuh Nelson
, John Musker
, Nick Park
, Pete Docter
, Tim Miller
, Tony Bancroft
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Animation veteran Tony Bancroft (co-director of Mulan) has an interesting sound book in the works. It’s called Directing for Animation: Everything You Didn’t Learn in Art School.
The 246-page book will explore the directing process from start to finish, mixing personal stories and experiences with insights from top mainstream directors including Dean DeBlois, Pete Docter, Eric Goldberg, Tim Miller, John Musker, Jennifer Yuh Nelson, Nick Park and Chris Wedge. The book, which will be published in June, will retail for $34.95, and is currently available as a pre-order on Amazon for $21.68.
By: Tracy Bartley,
Blog: First Book
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Authors & Illustrators
, Books & Reading
, First Book Partners
, Guest Blog Posts
, Stories For All Project
, tony medina
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Our guest blogger today is author Tony Medina, whose book “DeShawn Days”, from Lee & Low Books, is part of First Book’s Stories For All Project.
“As a child in the Throgs Neck Housing Projects in the Bronx, I did not grow up with books. The only person I saw reading was my grandmother, who occasionally read mass-market paperback fiction and her Bible that was as big as a phone book. If the Bible fell from the top of the dresser where she kept it, it could take your kneecap off and crush your foot in the process! The only time I recall being exposed to children’s books was at school when the teacher took us to the school library and the librarian allowed us to take out Curious George books.
It was as an adult that I really began to appreciate children’s books. I remember being fascinated by the marriage of art and text. The stories and poems were depicted so beautifully and richly that it seemed as if they blended together seamlessly, creating a world by which even adults would be captivated. I knew right then that I wanted to be part of that magic. I thought, if I as a grownup can be taken with the majesty of these portable art galleries and museums, children must truly love them.
Soon after, I began buying children’s books and taking some out from the library. I not only found myself interested in the wonderful stories and poems, I wanted to teach myself how to write them—by reading them. The more I browsed through shelves in bookstores and libraries, the more I noticed that many of the books I came across did not speak to or from the point of view of a kid like me from the projects. I yearned to read about what a child from the ’hood had to say about his life and his world. I remember reading an interview with the African American novelist and Noble Prize-winner Toni Morrison, She said she wrote the books she wanted to read. That nugget of wisdom stayed with me as I made my way to fulfilling my dream of becoming a writer.
By the time I decided to write my own children’s books, a child’s voice began to present itself in my mind. It belonged to a kid named DeShawn Williams, and he was talking about his life growing up in the projects. Not surprisingly, his words seemed to mirror my experiences as a child. Poems in DeShawn’s voice began to take hold of me and I began to write them down. Before I knew it, DeShawn was telling me about the people he loved and lived with: his mother, who was in college; his grandmother, who helped raise him; his uncle, who stood-in for his absent father; his cousin Tiffany, who was like his sister, even though they fought like crazy; and his best friend from school, Johnny Tse, who taught him Karate, which he assumed was from China, but finds out was from Japan. Thus, DeShawn Days, my first book for children, was born.
There was no greater feeling than to see the publication of DeShawn Days, which was initially embraced in manuscript form by my editor and subsequently published by multicultural children’s book publisher, Lee & Low Books. At that time, no books like DeShawn Days were around. The only thing that topped seeing DeShawn Days out in the world was sharing it with children, particularly children who came from a world similar to DeShawn’s. I remember encountering a youngster who had the same name—DeShawn—who was also being raised by his grandmother. This boy exclaimed about me, the author, “How does he know about my life?”
This experience made me realize in a real way, outside of my own literary aspirations, the power of books: how they can matter and make a profound difference in a child’s life, especially when they speak to and from the child’s own experiences and validate his or her life.”
To learn more about our awesome Stories For All Project partner, Lee & Low Books, check out their blog.
The post The Stories for All Project: African American Author Tony Medina on Connecting Multicultural Books with Children of Color appeared first on First Book Blog.
This is an exciting day – the first day of the Lilly Badilly Literacy Project!
Our goal is to raise money to cover the cost of printing 3,000 books and CDs so we can give them to students who cannot afford to buy them. Please check out our IndieGogo campaign and help us spread the word on Facebook, Twitter and by emailing your friends and family.I promise our video will make you laugh!
Thank you for your support!
Halfway through The Mystery, by Samuel Hopkins Adams and Stewart Edward White, I decided that I definitely was not going to review it. But now that I’m done, I kind of feel like I have to. It’s just so weird. At least, it seemed weird do me, but I’m not really in the habit of reading slightly sci-fi pirate-y horror stories, so.
The Mystery has a Frankenstein-esque framing narrative, which takes place aboard a Navy ship, the Wolverine. The ship is sort of wandering around the ocean, blowing up wrecks, when it comes across a schooner called the Laughing Lass. This is odd for two reasons: first, that the Laughing Lass had disappeared two years before with eminent scientist Dr. Schermerhorn, journalist Ralph Slade, and its captain and crew. The second reason is that the ship is entirely uninhabited, beyond the dead bodies of a few rats. That, and there’s food and still-warm ashes from a fire, so the Laughing Lass can’t have been unmanned for long. Then…well, more mysterious stuff happens. And eventually one of a large number of missing people shows up and tells his story, and it’s absorbing and awful.
I usually have trouble with books fueled by impending doom, but not here. Or rather, I was pretty freaked out the entire time I was reading, but not in my usual, irrationally upset about bad things that haven’t happened yet way. Actually, I think I might have been reacting to it the way people are supposed to react to scary books and movies but that I never do. I mean, I’m not going to start reading more scary stuff, because I’m still a wuss, but I’m closer to understanding the appeal than I was a week ago.
I should probably also mention the animal slaughter. There was a lot of it. It was very effectively horrible in the traditional sense of the word, and I can’t believe I managed to get all the way through it. I just — there are a lot of dead seals, okay? A lot.
In conclusion: way to go, Samuel Hopkins Adams. I trusted you, and now I don’t. And I guess it could just be Stewart Edward White at fault, but, not having a whole lot of information on the subject, I’m going to blame them equally.
My old website will be disappearing in the next few days so if you are a previous customer or a new visitor, please add the new site address www.marchhousebooks.co.uk to your bookmarks. Setting up the new site has been a long and arduous task but now that everything appears to be working perfectly it's time to make the switch. I am sad to say good-bye to the old site but when the ability to accept credit and debit card payments was removed the writing was on the wall. I've been busy moving favourite pages from the old site, plus adding lots of new things, so I hope you will find something to enjoy there. If you do visit the site, I would love to hear your thoughts (good or bad).
I’ve been interviewed by Three Hoodies! I've been thinking of selling my Rene Cloke collection and have finally decided the time has come. There are around 300 books plus ceramics, original artwork and other bits and bobs in the collection. Some of the books are early 1st editions others are more recent publications by Award. I will be listing everything on my website over the coming months, but if you are interested in the collection as a whole or would like further information, please contact me by via the email button in the right-hand column. Alternatively, leave a comment with an email address, and I will get back to you.
OK, not strictly true, but I have been interviewed by Roger Lawrence; the author of Three Hoodies Save the World and Kongomato. Roger came up with some excellent questions. See my replies at Three Hoodies Save The World here
Kongomato - After three right wing thugs break into a museum to steal a diamond, they inadvertently release a ten million-year-old monster which proceeds to create havoc in London. As if the Prime Minster doesn't have enough to cope with, he cannot even tell the general public about this threat. With only days before "friendly powers" take the matter into their own hands, only one man can resolve the crisis: a drunken, jobless scientist forcibly assisted by someone he hates and cannot trust.
If you enjoy a good horror story, you should read Kongomato. Roger creates a terror filled yet thoroughly entertaining read. I loved it and can’t wait for the next instalment.
If you would like to view the Rene Cloke books as they are listed please
Today is Earth Day, and I wanted to share with you some links to some amazing children’s books I’ve reviewed that celebrate our great earth and science.
Stronger than Steel – Today I reviewed a book for gifted readers about transgenics that is fascinating. It explains how scientists are experimenting to create orb spider silk, a substance that is stronger than steel and more flexible than nylon.
America’s National Parks: A Pop Up Book – You’ve never seen a pop-up book like this one! It’s the most sophisticated and beautiful 3D book I’ve ever seen, and it celebrates our country’s greatest natural treasures – our National Parks.
Friends of the Earth: A History of American Environmentalism – This outstanding book highlights 11 key people who made notable contributions to America’s environmental movement.
Parnassus on Wheels, by Christopher Morley, is probably everything it should be, but I’m still a little bit more delighted by the premise than by the book itself. The premise is this: Helen and Andrew McGill are siblings who combined their resources to buy a farm. Andrew learned to farm, Helen learned to cook and housekeep, and they did pretty well for themselves until Andrew wrote a bestselling book and began to take his own hype too seriously. He started going off on walking tours and things, leaving Helen to run the farm on her own, and she, not unreasonably, got increasingly frustrated with him. That’s where things stand when Roger Mifflin, itinerant bookseller, shows up in his gypsy caravan/bookstore, wanting to sell it to Andrew.
Helen knows that Andrew is likely to buy it, and, having bought it, even more likely to go off with it leaving her in charge of the farm again, so instead she buys it herself, and sets out with Mifflin to learn the trade. And although Helen is fat — according to her own description — and just shy of forty, and Mifflin is short, bald and redheaded, the story goes on very much as it would if they were, say, the caravaning pair in Diane of the Green Van.
I probably wanted Parnassus on Wheels to be either a little bit lighter or a little bit more serious, and I definitely wanted it to be a lot more leisurely than it was, but basically everything is as it should be, and I’m not in a mood to criticize it for not being perfect. I mean, it’s not my new favorite book, but it should be someone’s. There a sort of sequel, apparently, called The Haunted Bookshop, and I’m very much looking forward to reading it.
Shayne Leighton writes novels, screenplays, and songs. "I just LOVE storytelling because it is the easiest way to experience magic and escape reality," she explains. "I think we all need that escape now and again." She's currently preparing for the release of her next novel and the recording of her debut album. Now it's time to learn more about this young writer:
How old were you when you wrote your first story?
I was in the second grade when I wrote the first short story that I actually liked. It was a story about what it would be like to live inside of a bubble and was originally prompted to the class by our teacher. She told me, after reading it, to never stop writing, and so I think the rest is history!
I began writing seriously when I was about sixteen, tinkering around with different story ideas, until I eventually landed on Of Light and Darkness, an I idea that I loved.
What about your first song?
I wrote my first song when I was fourteen, but it was absolutely terrible, and I wouldn't actually call it a SONG. Ha ha.
You shot your first feature-length film, The Incubus, right after high school. How long did it take to write, and how long to shoot?
When I wrote the screenplay for The Incubus, I didn't have much of a plan about where it was all going to go. I started writing the story early on in my senior year of high school. In the winter, I met Marcie Gorman, the woman who would become the film's executive producer and director. From that point on, I didn't realize how absolutely LUCKY I was going to become. Marcie worked tirelessly alongside myself and the rest of the team for about two and a half years. Production spanned a long time, because we were trying to get the film to be as close to amazing as possible. For a lot of us, it was our first time out on a project that was so huge and such a massive undertaking. But after that nearly three-year time span from production to finish, I'd say we accomplished what we set out to do. We created a good story. We created a family. We brought in thousands of fans online who learned to love it as much as we did, and we had a damn good time doing it. I wouldn't exchange that experience for anything in the world.
Did you write it with the intention to also direct and act in it, or did that occur to you during the casting and pre-production process?
To clarify, when I initially wrote the screenplay, I hadn't the slightest inclination that it was even going to be produced. I stumbled upon Marcie Gorman purely by kismet. When I was sixteen, I wrote, directed, and starred in another independent feature that never saw the light of day. Because of that, something I considered a failure, I always dreamed of the chance to try my hand at directing again. I have been acting since I was very small, so if my screenplay was going to be produced, I sort of figured that was a give-in. Especially at an independent level when we small people can still have our opinions be heard! So, when I found out The Incubus was going to be produced, it was established early on that Marcie and I would helm the project together and that I would act as "Marnie" in the film. As the project evolved, however, I soon came to find that directing was really not my forte, especially while trying to act at the same time) and Marcie took over directing from there. I love to write and act, but directing I think I'll leave for the big guys from now on.
Like Incubus, your YA book series Of Light and Darkness has a paranormal flavor. Have you always liked the fantasy genre?
[I've] always loved fantasy. Ever since I can remember, my mother was reading me fairy tales. When I was fifteen, I fell in love with Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire specifically. I think I will almost always write and create within the fantasy genre. Because reality leaves a lot to the imagination!
What are some of your favorite fantasy books or movies?
My all-time favorite is Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice. I am also a HUGE Potterhead. I think the Harry Potter series is superior and I bow down to Ms. Rowling because I think she was able to speak to so many of us through her books. Readers of all ages. She not only told a good story, but she told a cathartic story that we could all relate to, something we all want to experience: magic in our lives. I only hope to do the same thing she did someday with my stories - have them speak to people just as effectively.
Whose storytelling has influenced your own? Authors, screenwriters, directors, actors...
I think there are three people on the list who have effectively changed the way I write and make films. Those are Anne Rice, J.K. Rowling, and Guillermo del Toro for his film Pan's Labyrinth. They each have a way of creating a story that is both utterly imaginary and impossible; at the same time, the story is poetic and it actually has substance and means something. I can't stand novels and movies that are just a good story but do not contain the sort of poetry and substance that we see in day to day life. Without it, the story falls flat and your magic is suddenly something that nobody can relate to, nor can they believe.
What has been the biggest challenge you've faced when adapting Of Light and Darkness from the original novel form to a screenplay?
For this project, I have opted not to transpose the story myself. It is far too difficult for an author to try and squeeze her 90k word novel into a 90 page screenplay. I think I would find myself crying miserably as I hacked away chunks of my story as I tried to push all of the remaining detail into a script. So we found somebody else to transpose it, and as it is, I think the screenplay came out really great. It is exciting and well-paced at the same time it holds true to the story. The current status is that the film is in development, which means it hasn't been given the "green light" yet. But our plans are to make a series of feature films.
How many books are planned in the series?
Right now, there are seven books planned for the series. However, as I continue to write, my cogs continue turning with ideas of spin-off novels and additions and things - so we'll see what happens!
Congratulations on your record deal with Spectra Records!
Thank you! I am really, really excited about the deal. I think Spectra (already a fabulous label) is really going to be on its way up this year. They have just signed a deal with the UK's talent show Live & Unsigned, and they are working on a few other top-secret but exciting things. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. They've got some great talent on their roster, so I am just honored to be a part of the whole thing. We are beginning writing and production now.
Do you approach songwriting and novel writing in a similar fashion, coming from the story and the words first, or does the melody line come to you before the lyrics?
Songwriting and novel writing are two totally different approaches for me. I don't relate the two much at all. With writing songs, it's almost always different. Sometimes it's the lyrics first and sometimes it's the melody. When I write novels, I hardly ever plot beforehand. I just kind of let the characters take me where they want to take me.
Share a random fact about yourself.
I have a strange obsession for stationery of all kind. Notebooks, pens, paper, journals. It's the best gift anyone could get me. My favorite foods are mushrooms and olives (but not together), and I can speak some conversational Czech: Dejuki a naschledanou! (Thank you and goodbye!)
Visit Shayne's website.
Need a website that's both functional and fun? In addition to my work as a freelance blogger, I am also a freelance webdesigner.
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The Flagrant Years is Samuel Hopkins Adams’ novel of the cosmetics industry. I say “of” rather than “about” because while most of it takes place in a Fifth Avenue beauty parlor, mostly it’s about people. You get the impression that if Consuelo Barrett’s job search had led her to a different industry, the novel would have followed here there. It would be a wrong impression, because Adams clearly knew what he meant to write about, but this is exactly the kind of sleight of hand he’s best at — his ridiculously engaging characters are there to mask the lump of information he’s forcing down your throat and it actually works.
So, Consuelo Barrett. My favorite thing about her is that when she first meets Ipsydoodle Smith — who has just offered to make her a movie star — she tells him her name and he thinks she’s joking, because it’s such a perfect movie star name. Actually, that’s not my favorite thing about her. My favorite thing about her is her. Connie Barrett is one of those fictional heroines who is frank and straightforward and subtly classy, which is both a thing I really enjoy and a thing Adams does really, really well.
Connie is in New York looking for a job, and after running into Ipsy Smith at Coney Island and getting his recommendation to Gerstel Corss, an Upper West Side hairdresser, she finds one. She learns how to give all the “treatments” and is soon a fully-fledged “operator.” And when Gerstel Corss’ salon closes after a woman ends up with green hair, she doesn’t have much trouble joining her friend “Bob” Roberts at Primavera, a salon on Fifth Avenue.
Bob is pretty awesome, too — she comes from a totally different world than Connie does, but you never feel like that’s a bad thing. Yeah, she’s in the book because Connie has to have a friend, but she sometimes almost feels like she isn’t. She gets to have an inner life.
The other three main characters are the men: Ipsydoodle Smith, Rowdy Pontefract, and Waller Daniels. No, Rowdy’s name isn’t really Rowdy, but his manner is, when he’s drunk. Yes, Ipsydoodle’s name is really Ipsydoodle, but it’s his middle name. This is so Samuel Hopkins Adams, in that it’s kind of twee and irritating, but it turns out that Adams’ occasional twee and irritating moments work a lot better in a book that’s occasionally kind of dark. Although, to be fair, it’s still Samuel Hopkins Adams. Even a murder can’t make it particularly dark.
Ipsy Smith enters the story at Coney Island, where he flirts with Connie and sets her on her path towards becoming a cosmetologist. By the time they meet again, they’ve become friends. He’s a bit of a mysterious figure — everyone knows and likes him, but it’s rarely clear what he’s up to. Connie meets Rowdy Pontefract outside Gerstel Corss’ salon. He’s a girl-shy overgrown boy with an alcohol problem, but he overcomes his girl-shyness in order to fall in love with Constance.
Then there’s Waller Daniels, one of those vastly wealthy, notoriously ruthless businessmen you find in books. They’re never quite as ruthless as people think they are, but Daniels almost is. He’s also Rowdy Pontefract’s uncle, and once he gets to know Connie, he’s absolutely in favor of her becoming Rowdy’s mistress, or even marrying him. I love any and all scenes between Connie and Ipsydoodle, but I think my favorite relationship in The Flagrant Years is the one that springs up between Connie and Waller Daniels. My fondness for fictional cranky middle-aged men aside, every interaction between them is just…interesting. Really interesting.
Poking around on the internet for information about Samuel Hopkins Adams, I learned that in the ’20s he published some books under the name Warner Fabian, apparently because they were too scandalous to publish under his own name. And sure, fair enough. But having read The Flagrant Years, I’m a lot more curious about how racy the Warner Fabian novels were, because it’s full of casual sexual relationships and even women talking about their sexuality, and I would have thought that if there were books not fit for Adams’ real name, this would have been one of them.
Anyway, if it’s not clear, I liked this a lot. There are times when Adams’s irrepressible charm is a bit too much for me, and having it tempered with a little bit of tragedy and what I assume Adams thinks is realism makes it just about perfect. I don’t know if he could write a sad or realistic book, but I like what happens when he tries.
My husband, Adam, decided that he's going to add ebook cover design to his growing list of art/business/design ventures in the making. After throwing some ideas around, I started to take him seriously and began to see how realistically viable this would be for us both to take on as a team. We both work jobs as web/print designers, and with our combined skills and areas of interest I think we could totally do this thing.
We are currently in the process of pinning down a name for this emerging ebook cover business and have begun to put together some sample cover designs. Thankfully, there's no shortage of public domain stories ripe for the picking. Adam's been pulling references and inspiration and knocking out the first round of designs. I'm then taking his designs/ideas and bringing them to finish. Our goal is to get at least eight covers mocked up and then build a simple SEO website that can start catching client leads. Over just a couple nights we've created six sample eye-catching ebook covers that I think rather successfully scale down so that they can be read easily on websites like Amazon or in the App Store.
I've requested to be the company Art Director and Adam the designer. He's definitely an idea man and I love tweaking and refining other people's hard work. Haha.
...but seriously. I love it.
The six on the left are the finished versions, those on the right are Adam's first passes.
By: Lizza Aiken,
This marvellous moment of realisation occurs to Mori, the heroine of Jo Walton’s Among Others but could be a life saving discovery for any lonely child – and every child is in danger of loneliness as soon as they start to wonder about the world they have been born into. Joan Aiken was a lonely [...]
If you were not able to rock the drop yesterday due to time, weather, or other such uncontrollable things, don't fret - you can totally drop a book today, this weekend, whenever time allows! When you do, leave us a comment here at the readergirlz blog or on Facebook, and tweet @readergirlz with the hashtag #rockthedrop - and include a picture if you took one!
You can also participate on a larger scale, if you'd like, by donating a bunch of books to the place or cause of your choice. Visit a local shelter, a school, a library, a children's hospital, and ask if they take donations. Once you've gotten the okay, gather up new or gently used books from your friends, family, classmates, and co-workers, add the bookplates, tuck in some bookmarks, then drop the books off!
For example, you could send Ballou High books from their wish list via Powells books! That would be a cool way to tie-in both readergirlz and GuysLitWire. Here's how you can help out Ballou High: It's Time for the Annual Spring Book Fair for Ballou High School Library!
You can also donate books to 826NYC, a non-profit organization that assists young writers between the ages of 6 and 18 as well as the awesome folks who teach them. If you'd like to send them books, here's the address:
Attn: Joan Kim
c/o: readergirlz Rock the Drop
372 Fifth Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215
During yesterday's tweets and texts, we heard about World Book Night, which is happening on April 23rd. Learn more about that, and see if an event is happening in your neck of the woods.
Is this the first time you've heard of Operation Teen Book Drop? Anyone anywhere in the world may participate. It's free, it's fun, and it's global. Want to learn more about it? Click here!
Mary E. Pearson's imaginative Fox trilogy has come to an end. I wasn't ready.
What began in The Adoration of Jenna Fox and continued in The Fox Inheritance concludes in this third volume, aptly titled1 Fox Forever. This final chapter in the story feels like a continuation of book two, which was also told from Locke's POV. When Locke is told he must do a Favor (with a capital F), he is drawn into a movement that is both political and personal. Far away from the people he trusts, working alongside people he doesn't yet know, it would be easy for him to retreat into himself or openly rebel against orders, but as the story develops and he realizes what's really at stake, he becomes determined to see things through.
One of my favorite exchanges of dialogue appears on page 237. Note I've omitted the narrative and descriptors for the sake of clarity; the book is written in the typical prose style - specifically, in first-person, past tense - and not in the script-like manner in which I'm about to present this passage.
Locke: "Do you ever get used to it, Jenna?"
Jenna: "What's that?"
Locke: "Not being who you once were, not being like everyone else?"
Jenna: "Being like everyone else is highly overrated."
Yes, it is, Jenna. Yes, it is.
Another favorite moment comes when Locke is among the lower-class Non-pacts, who are making the most of what they have, combining ingredients to make a meal for everyone, enjoying their life and their community despite their hardships. At one point, Locke observes an unnamed girl:
A younger woman stands near the fire in the middle, telling a story to a few who are close by, her hands expressive, chopping the air with punctuation and passion. - Page 74
As with the volume which preceded it, Fox Forever offers action, intrigue, and even romance while Locke navigates through darkened passages, watches a rooftop, a ladder, and a girl, and encounters old friends, new allies, a variety of bots, low-class citizens fighting for freedom, and corrupt figures bloated by power. The "spy-on-this-person, fall-for-this-person" beat will appeal to fans of Gallagher Girls while retaining the "Fight the Future!" sci-fi / I heart dystopia audience from the previous books.
We held hands. We crossed a line. We made one another braver.(2)
I must admit, I initially wanted Jenna to be a bigger part of the story, but I quickly realized that she didn't have to be: her story was told in the first book. She was used sparingly in Fox Forever; she was there when Locke needed her, and he, in turn, was there when she needed him. Their friendship endured trials that some of their friends (and enemies) could not and did not endure. They were loyal to one another 'til the end.
1) Read the book, get to the final line, and then we'll talk.
2) If you like the TV show Fringe, you will like these books. #CrossTheLine #WeCrossedTheLine
Related posts at Bildungsroman:
Book Review: The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
Book Review: The Fox Inheritance by Mary E. Pearson
He Said, She Said: The Adoration of Jenna Fox and The Fox Inheritance by Mary E. Pearson
Book Review: A Room on Lorelei Street by Mary E. Pearson
Interview: Mary E. Pearson (2008)
Interview: Mary E. Pearson (2011)
Predictably, The Flagrant Years left me wanting to read more Samuel Hopkins Adams. Less predictably, it mostly made me want to reread books of his I’d already read. So I thought I’d take advantage of the impulse and finally review Average Jones, which I’ve now read three times.
Average Jones comes by his nickname fairly — his full name is Adrian Van Reypen Egerton Jones — and he’s the star of a series of linked short stories in which he solves mysteries having to do with advertisements. His career as an advertising expert (or Ad-Visor, as his cards say) begins as a hobby and at the suggestion of his friend Mr. Waldemar, editor of an important newspaper. Waldemar and another friend, Bertram, act as occasional sidekicks, but Jones is the only character who appears in every story.
The mysteries are clever and unusual, although Adams does have a disconcerting fondness for putting dead dogs in his stories. The mysteries mostly take place within the five boroughs, but one takes place in Baltimore and another in Baja California. I’m not sure which story is my favorite, but I know which advertisement is:
WANTED—Ten thousand loathly black beetles, by
A leaseholder who contracted to leave a house in the
same condition as he found it. Ackroyd,
100 W. Sixteenth St. New York
I don’t know what else to say about it — it’s just thoroughly delightful, in an unassuming, cheerful kind of way. It’s a good example of Samuel Hopkins Adams and of humorous mystery stories. If you’ve been wondering where to start with Adams, this might be the place.
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Bats at the Library by Brian Lies Another inky evening’s here- The air is cool and calm and clear. Can it be true? Oh, can it be? Yes! Bat Night at the library! Join the free-for-all fun at the public library with these book-loving bats! Shape shadows on walls, frolic in the water fountain, and …