Dalek Week 2013, the Deviant Art celebration of all things Deryn and Alek, is about halfway over (depend ending on one’s timezone), and there are some lovely pieces up.
This work by Thisoneofmarvels is for the “Scotland” theme, and uses the Scottish and Austrian flags as motifs:
Very beautiful! I love how serious Deryn is.
There are many more to see, so head over to the Dalek Week 2013 folder to feast your eyes and leave your praise.
Edited by Christopher Golden, DARK DUETS features an extraordinary lineup of collaborative stories, with the authors of each story collaborating for the very first time. Here are the duos and the titles of their tales:
TRIP TRAP by Sherrilyn Kenyon & Kevin J. Anderson
WELDED by Tom Piccirilli & T.M. Wright
DARK WITNESS by Charlaine Harris & Rachel Caine
REPLACING MAX by Stuart MacBride & Allan Guthrie
T. RHYMER by Gregory Frost & Jonathan Maberry
SHE, DOOMED GIRL by Sarah MacLean & Carrie Ryan
HAND JOB by Chelsea Cain & Lidia Yuknavitch
HOLLOW CHOICES by Robert Jackson Bennett & David Liss
AMUSE-BOUCHE by Amber Benson & Jeffrey J. Mariotte
BRANCHES, CURVING by Tim Lebbon & Michael Marshall Smith
RENASCENCE by Rhodi Hawk and F. Paul Wilson
BLIND LOVE by Kasey Lansdale & Joe R. Lansdale
TRAPPER BOY by Holly Newstein & Rick Hautala
STEWARD OF THE BLOOD by Nate Kenyon & James A. Moore
CALCULATING ROUTE by Michael Koryta & Jeffrey David Greene
SISTERS BEFORE MISTERS by Sarah Rees Brennan, Cassandra Clare, & Holly Black
SINS LIKE SCARLET by Mark Morris & Rio Youers
Dark Duets will be published by Harper Voyager in January 2014.
If you're connected with a bookstore, please pass along that Dark Duets is not canceled. In the words of editor Christopher Golden, "Apparently there is some confusion because it was originally announced as a hardcover and will now be a trade paperback. Distributors are notifying stores that the hardcover is canceled without explaining that it's been replaced by the trade. This could be very detrimental to sales, so any help spreading the word to stores is deeply appreciated." Spread the word, booksellers!
- Current Mood: thankful
- Current Music:Interesting by Maria Mena
I was thrilled when the poem was accepted for publication, and thrilled again when an educational publisher from Canada contacted me and asked my permission to reprint the poem as part of a fourth-grade curriculum for reluctant readers. It will be used in their online curriculum (and the sample I saw for an older grade was splendiferous indeed!), and in text if they opt to print it.
I was happy, of course, to get paid for the poem again, but happier still to think that thousands of Canadian school kids will get to read my poem. (I just hope it isn't a painful experience for them.)
- Current Mood: grateful
- Current Music:Hold Me Closer, Tiny Dancer (brainradio)
Now, for a holiday post. Every year, I talk about my struggle to find Christmassy reading materials. This goes back to something that started accidentally. In my first year to be freelancing, I joked about how I needed to have an office party. At the med school, our office party had been a nice lunch outing. At PR agencies, it was mandatory "fun" in which we had to go out to some place on a Friday or Saturday night, being thanked and "rewarded" by having to give up our free time, which I always hated because those parties were seldom really fun. I decided that I would take an afternoon to put on Christmas music, have hot cocoa and cookies, and read something just for fun, and that would be my office party. I bought a new book just for the occasion. I hadn't planned it this way, but the book turned out to take place at Christmas time. It wasn't marketed as a "Christmas" book. It was just a book that happened to be set against that backdrop. I enjoyed that so much that I set out to try to repeat the experience, only it's very hard to find books like that. I'm not really a fan of romance novels, let alone the (usually trying too hard) designated Christmas romances. I don't want Christmas to be a central theme, just part of the setting. I guess you could say I want something like The Holiday in book form. It could have taken place at any time, but putting it at Christmas added some conflict and atmosphere.
That first book I found was A Promising Man by Elizabeth Young and was about a woman who meets what seems like the perfect man, until she learns that he might be the new boyfriend of her high school nemesis. Does that "don't steal your friends' boyfriends" thing apply to people who tormented you but now stay in touch as frenemies? The heroine and the guy meet when she's out Christmas shopping, then she's planning an "orphans" Christmas in the city with her roommates and other friends, since her parents are going to be out of the country, but then everyone else gets other plans and she ends up going with the guy to his family's dinner. We get London shopping and an English village. Yay!
I've been less successful since then. When I've found books that seem to be set at the right time of year, the authors have the nasty habit of skipping past Christmas entirely. Or there's something else about the book that annoys me.
Some others that have worked:
The Rose Revived by Katie Fforde -- there's an extended sequence in which one of the three heroines helps a guy who inherited his family's farm (and it's practically medieval farmhouse) get ready to host his extended family for Christmas, though the book takes place over a longer span of time.
Life Skills also by Katie Fforde has some pivotal scenes taking place at Christmas (and bonus, at Oxford, so I can easily visualize it), but there are some things that irk me enough that it doesn't entirely work as a Christmas book.
Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos is beautifully atmospheric and seasonal, but has some sad, depressing stuff, too, and it makes me cry, so it takes the proper mood.
Bridget Jones's Diary can also work because it has some pivotal holiday moments.
It's a lot harder to check for seasonality when I have no local bookstores and can't flip through a few pages to see when a book takes place, and the library's selection is rather random.
I do re-read A Christmas Carol and the Christmas section of The Wind in the Willows every so often.
Connie Willis has some good Christmas material in some of her novels. The Christmas portions of Doomsday Book are lovely, but the rest of the book gets pretty grim. There are also some nice Christmas bits in the Blackout/All Clear two-parter, but again, there's a lot of other stuff that doesn't quite fit the mood. Her short story collection, Miracle makes for good seasonal reading. I particularly like the story about Dickens' ghosts getting seasonal jobs at a bookstore.
In 1944, Rose Justice is ferrying Allied fighter planes for the war effort when she is captured and taken to Ravensbruck, a women's concentration camp where she befriends the Polish "Rabbits," allies with a Russian pilot and French spy, bribes German block leaders, and fights to survive for six months. This novel is written in journal entries, so the heartbreaking and cruel events in the second part of the book are easier to take because certain events are foreshadowed. Still, knowing how much is based on true facts and people gives this story a powerful feel that is extremely well researched and written. While it is difficult to believe that the narrator could write such detailed accounts months later and in a journal while malnourished and emotionally wrought, it is an amazing historical novel about survival, and most of all, friendship and hope. The end is tear-jerking. Highly recommended YA. (Hyperion, 2013)
- Wed, 13:45: I spent 41 minutes doing fitbit hip hop abs total body burn 1. 0 calories burned. #LoseIt
- Wed, 14:19: I weighed in and lost 1 lb. #LoseIt
- Wed, 14:28: I spent 30 minutes doing fitbit hula abs & buns. 0 calories burned. #LoseIt
- Wed, 17:25: I spent 35 minutes fitbit walking. 0 calories burned. #LoseIt
- Wed, 17:34: First Drakkina Press post! http://t.co/abyBYGWhvZ
- Wed, 20:36: I earned a Fitbit Adjustment of 1 calories. #LoseIt
- Wed, 23:54: Walked 4.42 miles. http://t.co/bYU7KzayWs
- Thu, 02:57: RT @matokah: I tell ya, the force is strong in the anti-vaccine crowd tonight. No wait. Force is the wrong word. It was stupidity I was loo…
- Thu, 04:09: I'm #reading The Apprentice by Tess Gerritsen http://t.co/MVokwxogNu
I am not the only one who suffers from tunnel vision, of course. One of the people who wishes to reform education, Bill Gates, seems to have some problems with his blinders as well when it comes to technology and his belief that it will cure all ills if only applied correctly. Take, for instance, his insistence on using MOOCs (http://chronicle.com/blogs/onhiring/th
It also, though, demonstrates a tunnel vision of what technology can and cannot accomplish. Anyone who knows me knows that I love gadgets. Smart phones, tablets (yes, I have more than one), iPods, laptops, apps, you name it, I have probably bought it or it is on my list. But the gadgets I have actually play a role in my "career." Career Girl was texting me about the wonders of her mini iPad (she is a PC and Droid person but is slowly seeing the benefits of other devices). She was extolling the virtues of some of her recent experiences with apps for note-taking. I know. I use my tablets for note-taking, for social networking, for writing, for reading, and more. Have them supplanted more "ancient" tools totally? Nope. I use them as tools. And herein is one of my issues with the technology items on the newly designed CCSS assessments which tout technology when, in reality, the technology is not necessary.
Some of the new assessment examples ask kids to drag and drop sentences into a box in sequential or chronological order. How is that technology? Why not number the statements from 1-5? What does drag and drop really measure that cannot be measured by a numbering system? Take a look at apps, too. Some book apps simply have the book on screen. Some have extra bells and whistles. Look at those bells and whistles. Does unscrambling a word really help a kid enjoy and maybe comprehend a text? Games and activities are worksheets on the screen. We do not need one more worksheet, than you very much.
It is time to look at the big picture when it comes to books and reading. There is so much more to reading than the "pillars" of the National Reading Panel's findings (especially since they decided to ignore certain areas of reading in favor of their pillars) or the 4 corners of the text of CCSS, or the one book fits all approach now being promulgated in a risk to teach close reading or another standard or skill. We need to look right, left, up, down, sideways, catty-cornered, and more as we search for the best practices, the best books, the best approaches for our kids.
- Current Location:home!
- Current Mood:blinded
The isolation sphere in the center of the room looked like an oversized snowglobe. The room’s outer walls were two feet thick, built of steel and concrete to protect the rest of R&D from potential accidents. A good thing, too. Mrs. Claus brushed her fingers over the gashes by the door. Emma had been so excited by the potential for robotic reindeer…
Reluctantly, she turned her full attention to the fragments in the center of the transparent sphere. Every last splinter had been carefully retrieved and returned, laid out on the sterile white floor.
The team had also brought back the body of Yukon Cornelius.
Bumble hadn’t returned to the Pole, and the retrieval team hadn’t spotted him. At his age, and without teeth, he would have a hard time living in the wild, but she couldn’t risk sending her people out to try to bring him home. Not yet.
She was stalling. Forcing herself to project an air of calm, she turned toward Rudolph. “We’re ready. If you wouldn’t mind?”
Rudolph’s hooves clopped on the tile floor as he positioned his head in a specially designed metal hood secured to the outside of the sphere. When he spoke, his voice was muffled and tinny. “Ready.”
The hood was another of Emma’s designs. A sequence of lenses inside captured and amplified the light of his nose, sending a beam of piercing red light into the heart of the sphere. Hermie and Emma worked the knobs on the control panel. Inside the hood, a small mirror brought the beam directly onto the largest of the fragments.
The broken crystal acted as a prism, shattering Rudolph’s magical light into a rainbow … if you stripped that rainbow of every color save blue and violet.
Mrs. Claus waited for Emma’s spectrographic analysis of the crystal’s magic, though she already knew what Cornelius had found. “This was a weapon of the Snow Queen.”
They were similar to Mrs. Claus’ enchanted glass orbs, only far more potent. During the war, the Snow Queen had seeded the North Pole with her crystal snowflakes, hiding them beneath the drifts where they were all but undetectable, even to Santa’s magic. Feckless and Pacer, two of Santa’s original reindeer, had died after stepping on her buried traps.
They had been the lucky ones. While some of the Snow Queen’s crystals simply exploded, others cursed all within range. Illusion turned friend to foe, releasing its victims only after they had slain their closest allies, and forcing them to carry that guilt forever. Another variety froze the heart, leaving you with the memory of love, but stealing the emotion.
“I thought you killed the Snow Queen,” said Hermie.
“I did.” Years later, and she still relived that battle in her dreams. She pushed the images aside, forced the remembered screams back into the darkness of her mind. “She is gone. Whoever this is, they’re not the Snow Queen. But they may be looking for her arsenal.”
Time after time they had swept the Pole, searching for slumbering traps from that war. Each time she hoped they had found the last. Each time she was proven wrong.
“Could the Snow Queen’s magic control Frosty?” asked Emma.
“Oh, yes,” Mrs. Claus said softly. “Frosty, and so much more.” She turned and strode from the isolation room.
Rudolph pulled free of the hood and trotted after her. “Where are you going?”
“To the Snow Queen’s grave.” Frosty’s master would have to go there eventually. Even dead, much of the Snow Queen’s power remained trapped in her eternally frozen flesh.
“Excuse me,” Hermie said awkwardly. “We’ve all read about the war with the Snow Queen, but nobody knows who she really was. The elves who lived through it, they get this faraway expression and say they never saw her up close, or they can’t recall what she looked like.”
“They chose to forget,” Mrs. Claus said wearily. “We all did. Even Santa. You probably will too, when this is over.”
They walked the rest of the way in silence, through the paper mill and the wood-finishing factory, the greenhouse where elves harvested corn and grain for the reindeer, and finally to the guarded marble stairs spiraling deep into the heart of the North Pole.
The sounds of the Pole faded as they entered the mausoleum.
Gold plaques were mounted to walls of white ice. Many were older than Mrs. Claus. Most of Santa’s original reindeer were memorialized here, as were those elves who had died throughout the centuries. In the center of the far wall, holly and mistletoe bordered four large plaques. She tried not to think about the empty space below those plaques.
“I don’t understand,” whispered Emma.
Mrs. Claus touched the lower right plaque.
Rudolph’s nose painted the ice red. Hermie’s breath caught. Emma made no sound, but tears began to drip down her cheeks as she realized why they were here. She squeezed Hermie’s hand.
Santa Claus had been given the Mantle of Immortality, allowing him to serve for all eternity. His wife—his first wife—had been long-lived, but not even the magic of the Pole could preserve her life forever. Santa had grieved for each of his four prior wives, as he would one day grieve for her. But he was a being of infinite love, one ill-suited for living alone. And passion could blind even the greatest of men.
“The Snow Queen…” Mrs. Claus traced the icy words engraved in gold.
Rest in Peace
“The heart of the jewel burns lustrous and fair
And its soul full of music breaks the air
When the song of angels is sung.”
– Phillips Brooks
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.