Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Interviewing Karen felt like talking to an old friend. She is kind, patient and bright. And just in case any fans out there are reading this, she really wants a tee shirt that says "I'm a writer. I don't cook and I don't clean."
Karen Cushman is the author of seven historical YA novels - many of them award winners - with an eighth due out soon. My daughter Cassidy and I read most of her books when Cassidy was in Middle School, and we both loved each novel. Our favorites were set in Medieval England and were filled with the sights, sounds and smells of everyday people during those extraordinary times. Her female characters are strong, beautifully flawed and transcend their own imperfections as well as societal constraints. The stories are interesting, well-researched and darned good reads.
Karen has two master's degrees, one in Museum Studies, which she also taught at John F. Kennedy University, and the other in human behavior. Her Stanford undergraduate degree is in Greek and English. She grew up writing, but stopped from the time she was in college until she was nearly 50. Although she was a 'late bloomer,' she has wasted no time in winning awards - including a Newbery Honor and Newbery Medal for her first two books.
Read More and View The Video Interview
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Oregon resident Lizzy Shannon is celebrating her Irish heritage in style by releasing A Celtic Yearbook, a guide for everything Irish divided into thirteen chapters corresponding to the thirteen Druidic months.
Shannon’s varied works span live stage plays, science fiction novels, short stories and a children's Japanese picture book to name but a few genres. Within the pages of A Celtic Yearbook, readers can enjoy her unique take on Irish festivals, folklore, recipes, superstitions, traditional remedies and much more.
Born in Belfast but now celebrating her ninth year as a US citizen, in Northern Ireland she learned mostly British history in her early studies and did not initially realize the rich Irish heritage from which she had come.
“It wasn’t until I emigrated to the United States that I found out people loved Ireland,” she told the Sherwood Gazette recently. “I said, ‘why can’t you be Irish and British’? And I am.”
Her own family research has revealed many things; one eureka moment being the discovery that her father’s uncle was a man named Ernest Blythe, a member of the Irish Republican Army who worked closely with Eamon de Valera.
Other parts of her heritage which have made it into the book are diary entries from her late mother, Maureen, including a passage detailing how to properly clean a house, Irish style. There are also home-made how-to-dos, covering pomanders to potato bread to soap-making. On top of all that, the new title contains plenty of folklore tales which have enthralled Shannon down the years, including stories about fairies, leprechauns and the dreaded banshees.
A Celtic Yearbook is released on November 10 and can be purchased on Amazon.com for under $10. For more information visit LizzyShannon.com.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
by Mark Ellis
(Mark was a student of mine, and it was my pleasure to read the stories collected here).
In Ladder Memory, Stories from the Painting Trade, freelance journalist and writer Mark Ellis recalls his 30 year journey from apprentice painter to successful painting contractor. A memoir that will resonate for painters, those in the paint retail marketplace, trade contractors and for anyone who has ever hired a painter or picked up a brush.
In “Mrs. Peltzer’s Husband” a floor epoxy job becomes a look into the life of a woman suffering from emotional abuse. “The Stairwell” takes readers through the hellish painting of a seven-story industrial stairwell with a certifiably motley crew. “Plants I Have Known” humorously catalogues the obstacles to a good paint job created by bushes and trees. “Sam Drucker and the Frogs” recounts the story of a celebrity client and a controversial neighborhood frog abatement project. A useful appendix offers proven painting tips.
These stories scrape the knuckles and get under the fingernails. Ellis brings authenticity and discovery to his exploration of the experiences of a housepainter, and the entrapments, frailties, and indomitable spirits of those living and working in the structures he paints.
This title is also available through Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/dp/159299668X?tag=inkwaterpre07-20.