Interview - Kazu Kibuishi, editor of the Flight series

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Born in the 80's by Juno Day.

Today is a special treat because the extremely talented and busy Kazu Kibuishi took time out of his schedule for a short interview with us. :)

[ME]1. How did the idea for Flight come about? Did you ever imagine it to be a series?

[KK]My original vision was to create a monthly magazine called FLIGHT that would feature comics exclusively. Like an all-ages Heavy Metal. So yes, I did imagine it to be a series, but not really a series of books as a regularly published periodical.

2. The concept of flight seems to be very important to this series, especially in the first book. Why flight in particular?

Flight was never a theme. It has always simply been a title. If an artist chose to pursue the flight theme, it was their choice, since the stories in the book are basically ideas that the creators have always wanted to explore but never had the chance to publish. Incidentally, artists love to write and draw about flying.

3. I also noticed a small running theme with dogs in the first one. Was that a joke, or a requirement to get in? :)

I never noticed that! I'll have to look back and check it out.

4. When designing a graphic short story, what are the most important things to keep in mind? How is it different than creating a graphic novel like say, Amulet?

Drawing a short comic story and drawing a graphic novel are not really all that different. In fact, I see each short comic story as being like a song, and creating a volume of Amulet is like producing an album, while creating Flight is like producing a compilation of similar-sounding songs, like a mix tape.

5. The first Flight was a compilation with some talented friends, is it still the same? How do you decide what pieces go in now?

Yep. Still the same. We're generally a group of friends with like-minded goals and dreams.

6. So what now? What does the future of Flight hold and hold for you in general?

We shall see. I have some plans, but the Flight project generally shapes itself while I simply act as its steward and guide. For now, it appears we'll be finished with the inaugural series on volume 8, while much of my editing focus will shift to Explorer. It's likely I will continue Flight, but I will need to change the format in order to make it work. I'm hoping, however, that my dream of making Flight into its own publishing imprint comes true. I would rather help guide a collection of graphic novels to the shelves than to print a collection of short stories. I think the artists are ready.

Thank you so much for this chance. I keep reading and hearing how busy you are. It's staggering all you are doing. But really, this series is a treasure and absolute favorite of mine.

No problem! Thanks for the interview!

Review - Flight, edited by Kazu Kibuishi

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Crossing Open Water by Preston Reed.

Sometimes something comes along that is so stunning that it takes your breath away. That, in a word, is Flight.

Flight, edited by Kazu Kibuishi
Published: April 10, 2007
Publisher: Villard
Pages: 208
Current Amazon Rank: #124,349

First Line:

This quiet stillness
broken by a thundering storm
the roar of the engine
drowns everything out.

My Take: If you took a collection of short stories and mashed them into a graphic novel format, you would have Flight. But it is so much more than that simple description. Visually, it is something to be reckoned with. These artists really show what the graphic novel form can be. They stretch the boundaries of their art form and truly show that it is indeed art.

Most of these stories in this first volume are based around the idea of flight, not just physical flight, but also of imagination and possibility. In fact one of my favorite stories in here is called "The Maiden and the River Spirit" and is a hilarious commentary on Aesop's fables. There are 24 stories, and all are a delight to read. The best news of all is that it is a semi-ongoing series, and each volume continues to get better and better. An absolute treasure for any personal collection, this is one book I would definitely recommend.

The Final Word: Beautiful, imaginative and stunning, this series is incredibly fun and a perfect dose if you want something wonderful to read, but don't always have the time. It is also a wonderful introduction to graphic novels for those who want to get into it, but don't know where to begin.

And as a post script, many wonderful thanks to Charlotte from The Book on the Hill for her "The Illustrator" drawings! I won a contest over there, so you are all very lucky to have a custom illustration to accompany my next five reviews! Thanks Charlotte!

Research Rocks.

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Bring It On by Steven Curtis Chapman.

I love being a writer. Not only do we get to talk to some of the coolest cats in the neighborhood, we get to create and live in these amazing worlds for extended periods of time. And one of the best parts of all this is?


Now don't look at me funny (I know you are. I see you over there. Yes, you).

This is not your coma school-induced kind of research you may be thinking of. Research can be exciting. It can be thrilling. It can even be a tad bit dangerous.

What could I possibly be talking about that could make me giddy at the thought of studying, and doing research? (two very dangerous words, right there). Well, take for example waves and particles and the properties of light. That sounds about as boring as it gets. Oh contraire my friends. That will play an integral part in one of my stories and I need to know how light works. And really, if you think about it, there are light waves you can't see? How cool and weird is that?! Ah the possibilities...

But there are other things I would love to learn. I call them my "just in cases." Tell me, what do these two video clips have in common? (besides being hilarious and amazing?).

That's right. Fencing. Let me say that again because it makes me so happy. I get to learn fencing. My first lesson is tonight!


What an incredible adventure! And of course, you will be privy to all of my secret capers during this escapade. :) (I might even be able to make a video if I can get a friend to come along somehow...).

So now I get to learn how to make my fight scenes even more visceral and real (I've heard it is all in the wrist. I've also heard the footwork is a beast - which is why I love the fact Jack mentions it in Pirates). :) The funny thing is, I don't have any sword fights in my books yet (knife fights, yes. Sword fights? No). I may have to remedy that... So off to another adventure! This ones promises to be most thrilling. I told you research could be exciting.

Feature Fun Friday - Magic Under Glass Book Trailer

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Ocean Wide by The Afters.

With all the bad press hullabaloo going on because of this book's cover, I thought it high time to give debut author Jaclyn Dolamore some good press. So here is her book trailer for Magic Under Glass, where a woman falls in love with a fairy gentleman trapped in an automaton and she must try to save him, and their entire world. Cool stuff. Check it out below!

It's FINISHED!!!!!

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): All the Right Moves by OneRepublic.


*dances around wildly*

I have. Just. FINISHED the first draft of my newest manuscript! Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah baby. I am rocking this out like it's 1985. (This is my tradition by the way for every time I finish a first draft. I literally run around the house wildly, screaming and squealing and all around dancing it out (scared my family to death when I did it for the first time). It has become a time honored tradition, a holy ritual, a rite of passage. This is time #3 that I have been able to do it). So that song above? No accident. I do have all the right moves.

I feel kinda like this.

Or even this guy

Am I going to *ahem* myself to calm down to proper decorum? Heck NO!!!!


*runs around dancing and screaming*

Oh happy day! Things are going myyyyy waaayyy... (that's singing, by the way)...

Hmmm... how to give a hint without giving the story away? Okay, I've got it. Here are two clues, two songs that captured my story from very early on and have stuck with me through the whole writing process. The first gives the setting it is going to take place in (good for you if you know it), the second gives an insight into what the story is like (the word "princess" is the only one that does not apply). Happy guessing! And now, I'm off to squeal and dance some more.


*cranks up the music*

*dances off into the (figurative) sunset*

Linky Love - interviews, conferences, and star wars weather, oh my.

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Be Human by Yoko Kanno [Ghost in the Shell soundtrack]. This song is so cool.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if authors were paired up with their pet personae? Here is a very funny and rather adorable consideration for a few.

You can find out more what is coming out of the talented author of Sabriel (and many others) in Tor's interview with Garth Nix. In it you find out all kinds of coolness about Lord Sunday and upcoming books, including another installment from The Old Kingdom AND a semi-sequel to Abhorsen! Can I say WOOT!!!!!

Today is Edgar Allen Poe's birthday. Every year there is a mysterious visitor who comes to his grave leaving a half filled bottle of cognac and three roses, but today he did not show for the first time in 60 years.

We've had a Kissing Day Blog-fest, an Almost/No Kissing Blog-fest, and now, there is about to be a Fight Day Blog-fest! Come join in the rumpus (literally). Whether it is posting a excerpt from a favorite novel or writing an original piece of your own, join in the fun. (I personally would love to see more novel examples. The Hunger Games is immediately coming to mind). It's all going down Feb 1st.

Ever wondered what the your current weather is like reflected in the Star Wars universe? Well, now you can know with the Star Wars Weather Forecast. Mine has been looking like Hoth for about a month now, but last night I got one for Bespin. Yay fog!

Tiffany Trent, the wonderful author of the Hallowmere books is doing something very cool. She is calling out to see if there is an interest in a Virtual MG/YA SFF Conference. All the details are on her post. I, for one, am in.

And the absolutely fabulous Nathan Hale, illustrator of Rapunzel's Revenge and Calamity Jack has put up LEGO versions of the characters, complete with diorama. Check it out.

Monday's Muse, 7th edition.

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Let Love In by The Goo Goo Dolls.

This was originally an idea from Au Courant started in March, an idea she has graciously let me run with.

The idea is to introduce you to unknown, forgotten, or overlooked fiction that has been lost from regular radar. I am WriterGirl. I am in the business of saving lives, one book at a time.

What I do is go to amazon, narrow it down to a YA field and type in a random word, any word that comes to mind. I then take a sampling of some I have never heard of before, or only vaguely heard of (and hopefully you as well). No infringement is intended for any description I take for the books. It's purely for promotional reasons. I will try and cover as many genres as possible that are fitting for the random word. Simple but it really uncovers some incredible gems. I will be doing this every other Monday. If there are any words you want to prompt me with, go ahead and fire away.

Today's random word:

Obernewtyn by Isobelle Carmody.

In the tradition of Andre Norton and Marion Zimmer Bradley, Carmody embarks on a promising new series featuring telepathy, empathy and other psychic talents. On an Earth nearly wiped out by radiation and chemicals that have whitened the sky and poisoned the land, surviving humans have built a semi-agrarian culture. Though their own religious leaders, the Herders, have paranormal powers, they persecute the mutated Misfits, whose psychic abilities they view as a form of subversion. Thus, Elspeth Gordie, an orphan, conceals her exceptional abilities (prophetic visions, the ability to communicate with animals) from the other workers around her. Nonetheless, she is discovered and taken to the legendary Obernewtyn, an isolated town reputedly full of horrors. But instead of the tortures she expects, Elspeth finds friends and learns of the harmful experiments performed elsewhere upon talented Misfits and of the destructive powers that may have survived the Age of Chaos that ruined Earth. Though most of Carmody's characters are clearly bad or good, she avoids blatant stereotyping by imbuing many with conflicting interests. She also presents the Herders' primitive culture in considerable and vivid detail, from Elspeth's arduous ride through the Western Mountains to a farmer's daily life of toil and gossip. Despite their abilities, the Misfits are at the mercy of their superstitious culture and those who run ObernewtynAa plight that generates convincing plot turns. This is the first novel by Carmody, an Australian children's writer, to appear in the States. Readers will look forward to more. - Publishers Weekly.

Blacklisted by Gena Showalter

Alien hunting can get a girl killed. It can also get her a date.

High school senior Camille Robins and her best friend are determined to snag the attention of their crushes before graduation next month. Armed with red-hot outfits and killer hair, they sneak into the hottest nightclub in town -- which caters to the rich and famous, both human and alien. They end up following Erik (who is human) and Silver (who isn't) through a guarded door and are soon separated and under attack...and not the good kind. Bad boy Erik spares Camille's life, but the two are soon being chased by gun-toting Alien Investigation and Removal agents. Camille's more confused than ever because Erik's finally showing real interest in her, but the agents are accusing him of dealing Onadyn -- a drug that ruins human lives. Suddenly, with the heat of his kiss lingering on her lips, Camille has to decide whose side she's on...and whether she's willing to put her life on the line to save Erik's.

H.I.V.E.: The Higher Institute of Villainous Education by Mark Walden.

H.I.V.E. is operated on a volcanic island in a distant ocean by G.L.O.V.E., a shadowy organization of worldwide wickedness. And, as 13-year-old master of mischief Otto Malpense soon discovers, here the slickest of young tricksters, thieves, and hackers have been brought against their will to be trained as the next generation of supervillains. Otto and his friends refuse to be held prisoner at the institution and develop a scheme to escape from the island, but they must defeat the all-seeing computer system, a seemingly undefeatable assassin in black, and a giant carnivorous plant to succeed. Warner's first novel is a real page-turner; those who love superhero stories will eat it up and not want to put it down. Sequels are virtually guaranteed.—Walter Minkel, New York Public Library

Of Nightingales That Weep by Katherine Patterson

The daughter of a samurai never weeps. But Takiko, whose warrior father was killed in battle, finds this a hard rule, especially when her mother remarries a strange and ugly country potter. To get away from her miserable home, Takiko eagerly accepts a position at the imperial Japanese court. There, her beauty and nightingale voice captivate the handsome young warrior, Hideo -- who also turns out to be an enemy spy. As war breaks out, Takiko flees the court and is forced to choose between loyalty to her people and her love for Hideo. She painfully learns that whatever choice she makes, she cannot run away from her samurai honor.

The Teacher's Funeral : A Comedy in Three Parts by Richard Peck

"If your teacher has to die, August isn't a bad time of year for it," begins Richard Peck's latest novel. C'mon back to rural Indiana in 1904 and join 15-year-old Russell, whose summer ends with the unexpected death of old Miss Myrt Arbuckle. Russell and his younger brother are thrilled because just maybe the school board will decide to stop its foolishness and tear down the one-room schoolhouse. Surely it doesn't pay to hire a new teacher for the six students who attend. But to his utter horror, one is hired and it's none other than his extremely bossy older sister, even though she still has a year left of high school herself. Tansy takes to teaching with vigor and manages to circumvent all of the high jinx and calamities that threaten to undermine her authority, such as an accidental fire in the privy and a puff adder in her desk drawer. Peck expertly evokes humor and colloquial speech and mores with such sentences as "The water wasn't crotch-deep on a dwarf at that point," and "She had a snout on her long enough to drink water down a crawdad hole." Even readers who are blasé about current technological advances will be as excited as Russell is when he sees the steel Case Agitator threshing machine down from Wisconsin on its once-yearly exhibit, or the Overland Automobile Company's Bullet No. 2 racing car that can travel a mile in an unheard-of 43 seconds. Another gem from Peck–and a fabulous lead-in to titles such as Olive Burns's Cold Sassy Tree --Susan Riley, Mount Kisco Public Library, NY

Ringside, 1925 by Jen Bryant

Ringside - 1925 by Jen Bryant is one of the most unique and original novels for young people I have had the pleasure of reading from quite some time now. The author, Ms. Bryant, has used the same methods that Edgar Lee Masters used at the turn of the last century, in completing his work, Spoon River Anthology. Where Masters told the story of a town through a series of poems taken from the epitaphs of various members of the village, Bryant in this case, has told the story of the famous Scopes Monkey Trial, Dayton, Tennessee, 1925, through the voices of various citizens of Dayton, reporters, and most importantly, the young people who were members of J.T. Scopes' Biology Class.
The entire novel is done in free verse! The author goes from character to charter and back again, telling the story of the trial and the impressions and impact it had upon those who were there, those who witnessed the actual events as they unfolded. --D. Blakenship.

Capt. Hook: The Adventures of a Notorious Youth by J. V. Hart

Hart wrote the screenplay for the 1991 film Hook and in this sprawling novel, he imagines the notorious villain's troubled youth. When he enters England's storied Eton school as a teen, James (the future Hook) has never known his mother and has only met his aristocratic father a few times. He channels his loneliness and rage into superior scholarship, plotting wild "devices of revenge" against sadistic classmates. At last, he escapes to the high seas, but he unwittingly boards a slave ship that reveals horrifying brutality and family secrets. Hart's novel is much more challenging and dense than Peter and the Starcatchers (2004), Ridley Pearson's and Dave Barry's spin on the Peter Pan story. The elevated language, slow pacing, and lengthy specifics of swordplay and Etonian culture may deter some readers; others may be startled by the bloody torture, both at school and at sea. Still, some determined, sophisticated readers will be pulled in by the magical, tall-tale details; James' triumph over bullies; the exciting adventures; and the thought-provoking portrait of a villain who is capable of both murder and great sympathy.--Gillian Engberg

The Named by Marianne Curley.

Sixteen-year-old Ethan Roberts has more to worry about than his lackluster grades. As one of the Named, he is charged with secretly protecting history from the Order of Chaos--an evil group that seeks to alter the past to achieve ultimate power in the present. Ethan is given orders to train his first apprentice, 15-year-old Isabel Becket, in a few short weeks as his growing nightmares soon make it apparent that trouble is brewing on a cosmic scale. The two are helped by Arkarain--Ethan's violet-eyed, blue-haired, 600-year-old mentor--and their secret powers. Isabel is a healer. Ethan is a master of illusion. Their stories evolve in rotating chapters, each told in a similar first-person point of view that makes chapter transitions disorienting at times. But The Named is at its strongest when school and parents fade. Its imagined settings are a pleasure, from the booby-trapped catacombs that house the Prophecy that was written before time to the Citadel--a way-station to the past--with its wildly decorated rooms. Ethan and Isabel's missions to Medieval England and colonial America are also a thrill, indicating that the adventures detailed in this book are just the beginning for this duo. --D.J. Morel

Star-Crossed by Linda Collison.

Patricia Kelley has been raised a proper British lady--but she's become a stowaway. Her father is dead, and her future in peril. To claim the estate that is rightfully hers, she must travel across the seas to Barbados, hidden in the belly of merchant ship.

It is a daring escapade, and the plan works--for a time. But before she knows it, Patricia's secret is revealed, and she is torn between two worlds. During the day, she wears petticoats, inhabits the dignified realm of ship's officers, and trains as a surgeon's mate with the gentle Aeneas MacPherson; at night she dons pants and climbs the rigging in the rough company of sailors. And it is there, alongside boson's mate John Dalton, that she feels stunningly alive.

In this mesmerizing novel of daring, adventure, tragedy, and romance, Patricia must cross the threshold between night and day, lady and surgeon, and even woman and man. She must be bold in ways beyond her wildest dreams and take risks she never imagined possible. And she must fight for her life--and her love.

Feature Fun Friday - Potter Puppet Pals "The Vortex"

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Discombobulate by Hans Zimmer [Sherlock Holmes soundtrack].

If you haven't seen Neil Cicierga's Potter Puppet Pals, you've been missing out on some funny wizardry. Real puppets, real Harry Potter characters, and a whole lot of stifled laughter. Have a great weekend everyone! Don't get into too much trouble. :)

And now a word from our sponsers...

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Never Going Back To OK by The Afters.

*pant pant*

Sorry, no time to talk now. Must finish first draft of new novel. It's so close. So, no time to blog. Here are some baby tigers so you won't even miss me. :)

Aren't they cute? Oh, and I have a poem up on Shannon Messenger's Lisa Schroeder Week. So that completely counts for a post, right? Okay *looks around* gotta go now.

*sprints off*


Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): You Lift Me Up by Rachael Lampa.

I'm so nervous. Really, shaking hands and everything. What if you don't like me? What if I sound weird? Oh well, too late now. Here is my first video log ever. And now the big reveal. Just what did I make in honor of The Hunger Games? Why, Katniss' favorite meal at the Capital, of course. Lamb and Plum Stew. :)

And the recipe!

Lamb and Plum Stew

1/2 large onion, cut
1 Tb olive oil
1 lb lamb, cubed (stew meat or neck meat) -
it all depends if you want to cut around bones or not. Neck meat is cheaper, but more time consuming.
2 tsp red wine vinegar

2 C water
1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
10-13 dried pitted plums (prunes)
3-4 large carrots, sliced
1/4 (more) onion, cut
*3-4 potatoes, cubed (with or without skin)
*1 stalk celery - optional
1/2 large red bell pepper, cut
salt - to taste
pepper - to taste
rosemary - 1 Tb
*(cinnamon) - optional, to taste
(I'd recommend 1/4 tsp if you want to try it)

Plum Gravy:

Juices from the stew
Additional water (as needed)
Flour (1/4 C to start is usually a good place)
Salt and pepper - to taste
1/4-1/2 C prune juice (start with 1/4 C. Be careful not to make it too sweet. Lots of tasting is involved in this step).

Pour the olive oil and cut onions into a saucepan. Turn on the heat to med-low and stir around until they are soft and translucent (caramelizing). Turn the heat to med-high. Add the meat and red wine vinegar. Brown the sides of the meat quickly. Do not allow it to cook all the way through. This is called searing the meat. It will help seal in the juices. Put into a crock pot.

Add the water (to help keep it moist and makes for more juices for the gravy), brown sugar, dried plums, rosemary, salt and pepper. Keep it on low for 4-5 hours. Have fun waiting. Learn to knit or something. :)

Three hours before you are ready to eat, add the carrots, potatoes, the remainder of the 1/4 of an onion, red bell peppers, and celery (optional). Also add the cinnamon if you are going to at this time (optional).

When you are ready to eat, it is time to make the gravy. In a small pot, start heating the prune juice. This is to boil of some of the water and to condense the flavor. In another pot, suck up all of the juices from the stew (yummy). Add flour in small amounts, by the teaspoon, and whisk like crazy. Try to make it smooth and keep it from clumping. Depending on how much stew juices you have, you may have to add water to help supplement it, or to thin it out if the gravy has become too thick. Add salt and pepper. Add the now-boiling prune juice. Taste and tweak until it is the desirable mixture of sweet and savory. Pour back in with the meat. Stir and serve. You can also pour it over a bed of "wild rice" if you so desire (that part is in the book if you want to be really authentic).**

Congratulations! You just made The Hunger Games Lamb and Plum Stew!

You will notice a common phrase ringing throughout this. To taste. That is because this really is a personal exploration. You get to decide what you will like best. From the infamous words of Barbossa the pirate. "These are more guidelines, that actual rules." :)

Hoped you liked it!

*not in the original video. You need the potatoes though.

**rice needs to be cooked 20 minutes before you are ready to eat if you are taking this option.

Tomorrow is the big unveil!

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Breathe by Bliss.

The recipe is invented and footage of me is about to be available to the world. *shudder* Now all that needs to happen is for me to edit it, dress it up, and make it presentable. Can't have a recipe unveiling looking like a slob, now can we? Tomorrow it all comes together!

*tosses confetti*

But for those of you who cannot wait to see what the BIG REVEAL is, I'll give you a hint. It's on page 113 of the US edition. But don't tell anyone I told you. Remember, mum's the word. But this is only for those who cannot wait another 24 hours, of course.

I can't wait to show it to you. Hopefully it isn't as bad as I'm thinking it is (the video of me, not the recipe). Now, back to editing!

Book recipe invention time!

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): All the Right Moves by OneRepublic.

You have spoken. I will indeed be doing a vlog. There is enough leftover Christmas chocolate to sustain me, I think. And you have also spoken on which book I will be designing a recipe for. The clear winner:


I'm gonna have to debate about the Katniss costume though. ;) So now I have to get cracking! *dashes off* (though I think I have the perfect idea).

New code-names!

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Inama Nushif by Brian Tyler [Children of Dune soundtrack].

Okay, you guys seriously have me freaked out. I can hear your chants for "VLOG!" over here. It's truly scary, like hide-under-my-bed scary, but there's no room under there because of my Mac box. No reprieve. So I'm scarfing chocolate while doing every scrap of research I can in preparation for this recipe unveiling.

Because not only do I have to invent a completely new recipe (which I haven't done in years), but I also have to make a vlog about it! What was I thinking?! I don't know anything about being in front of the camera. There is a reason why I was always in the pit orchestra and never on stage in school. There's a reason why I like EDITING videos, not being in front of them! Hyperventilating. Need more chocolate. *scarfs*

I'm a behind-the-scenes girl. This is so scary. I need your help. Comments are always appreciated. And will someone please promise to try and make the recipe I reveal, no matter what it is? (I promise it will be good, don't worry). That will ease my fears bigtime. Also, I count myself exempt from any blog warring for quite a while (I'm looking at you Shannon. I saw that evil chanting you did yesterday).

So, since my nerves are absolutely on the fritz, you are going to get an explanation of something I've been wanting to reveal for a while. *rubs hands together gleefully*

While I love putting myself out there, I try and keep my family as low-key as possible. This has resulted in some rather convoluted descriptions when trying to explain certain stories. This is because all of my siblings are girls (Little Big Sister, Little Sister, Little Little Sister - you get the idea). So - I have names! I totally give all credit for this idea to Vivian as she does something similar with her daughters.

I have three sisters. I am the oldest (love it!). I have a twin. That's the basics you need to know. So bum Bum BUM! I now can reveal their super-secret code names! (It's only appropriate since I am an undercover superhero, right?). :)

In descending order from age:

Me: uh... me. :)

Twin: Twin (Sorry, I have a hard time thinking of her as anything else after all this time). Maybe something brilliant will come later. Anyone got any good twin names? (Castor and Pollux are boys, so no. I don't think she wants to be called either).

Little Sister: the Wunderkind. - She doesn't see it, but she is amazing. She thinks she is just average, but really, she is brilliant in everything she does. Love her to death and she's beautiful to boot.

Little Little Sister: the Snake Charmer. She loves snakes, what can I say? She's loved them from a way-too early age. Her biggest dream is to own a ball python. I run away, and she runs toward them.

So there you go. My new code-names for my family. Hopefully it will be easier and more fun for everyone. Now there is only the video to worry about. *gulp* Um... where's my chocolate?...

Me making a fool of myself for you

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Separate Ways by Journey.

Over the weekend I reached 100 subscribers! Woot! *dances*

So I had this brilliant (or mildly insane, you pick) idea. Every time I reach a benchmark in subscribers/followers I will do something megacool.

Get this.

I will... invent a recipe for a book of your choosing.

Okay, that may not sound like much, but I am actually quite an accomplished cook... chef... person. Not only did I start cooking at age six (by myself. Unsupervised. I'm not kidding), I was inventing recipes less than a year later (some were terrible. Banana cookies anyone?), but I have also taken two year of professional cooking classes, meant to segue into top cooking schools. I was really considering becoming a chef before I decided to pursue other deep loves of mine. So I'm not entirely a novice at this (though I haven't done this in quite a while, so hilarity at my expense very well could ensue).

So you want to see something Katniss might have eaten in the Seam? Or how about the Capital? A recipe based on the world of Narnia? It's up to you. Fun, right? It's supposed to be. And now the only question is - do I make a video of it? (Yikes! I can't believe I just said that!)

I'm only leaving this poll up for two days so I can get cracking on a recipe. If I can, I'm going to try and unveil it for my 200th post. Remember, I'm gonna have to test this a couple of times to make sure it is good. So this won't necessarily be a cheap venture either. However, I think it will be a really fun way to celebrate with all of my friends, both old and new on here. What do you think? Is this an idea you could get used to? Me making a fool of myself for you?

Onto the book choices!

The Hunger Games/Catching Fire
The Chronicles of Narnia
Poison Study
Eon: Dragoneye Reborn

(And now I'm really just hoping you all just happened to glaze over that comment about me making a video, you know, with me in it. Like, in person).

Monday's Muse, 6th edition.

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Isabella by Mediaeval Baebes.

This was originally an idea from Au Courant started in March, an idea she has graciously let me run with.

The idea is to introduce you to unknown, forgotten, or overlooked fiction that has been lost from regular radar. I am WriterGirl. I am in the business of saving lives, one book at a time.

What I do is go to amazon, narrow it down to a YA field and type in a random word, any word that comes to mind. I then take a sampling of some I have never heard of before, or only vaguely heard of (and hopefully you as well). No infringement is intended for any description I take for the books. It's purely for promotional reasons. I will try and cover as many genres as possible that are fitting for the random word. Simple but it really uncovers some incredible gems. I will be doing this every other Monday. If there are any words you want to prompt me with, go ahead and fire away.

Today's random word:

East by Edith Pattou.

Rose has always felt out of place in her family. So when an enormous white bear mysteriously shows up and asks her to come away with him, she readily agrees. The bear takes Rose to a distant castle, where each night she is confronted with a mystery. In solving that mystery, she finds love, discovers her purpose, and realizes her travels have only just begun.

As fresh and original as only the best fantasy can be, East is a novel retelling of the classic tale "East of the Sun and West of the Moon," told in the tradition of Robin McKinley and Gail Carson Levine.

The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare.

When his father returns East to collect the rest of the family, 13-year-old Matt is left alone to guard his family's newly built homestead. One day, Matt is brutally stung when he robs a bee tree for honey. He returns to consciousness to discover that his many stings have been treated by an old Native American and his grandson. Matt offers his only book as thanks, but the old man instead asks Matt to teach his grandson Attean to read. Both boys are suspicious, but Attean comes each day for his lesson. In the mornings, Matt tries to entice Attean with tales from Robinson Crusoe, while in the afternoons, Attean teaches Matt about wilderness survival and Native American culture. The boys become friends in spite of themselves, and their inevitable parting is a moving tribute to the ability of shared experience to overcome prejudice. The Sign of the Beaver was a Newbery Honor Book; author Elizabeth Speare has also won the Newbery Medal twice, for The Witch of Blackbird Pond and The Bronze Bow.

Locked Inside by Nancy Werlin.

Sixteen-year-old Marnie Skyedottir is totally addicted to the computer game Paliopolis, where in the guise of the Sorceress Llewellyne she competes avidly with the clever but pesky Elf to escape from labyrinths and dungeons and evade the blind Rubble-Eater. Paliopolis feels safe to Marnie--not like real life, where she is flunking out at her exclusive boarding school, her famous mother Skye is dead, and her guardian Max stubbornly refuses to let her have the millions she will inherit at 21.

Skye, a mysterious former gospel singer who came from nowhere to become the beloved founder of a near-religion, has taught her daughter to fear intimacy. When the Elf, who turns out to be a senior at a nearby school, manages to figure out who Marnie really is and where she lives, she recoils. But later, when a crazed chemistry teacher acts on her delusion that she, too, is Skye's daughter and imprisons Marnie in a cellar room, the Elf's concern for her brings him crashing into the situation in a bungled rescue attempt. Now, locked securely away in a windowless basement, they face a very different problem from the virtual dungeons of Paliopolis. There the Sorceress and the Elf had a cloak of invisibility, truth glasses, and a spellbook to help them outwit their enemy, but here they have only a blanket, a half-empty bottle of seltzer, and a sand bucket... and the Elf has a gunshot wound in his leg. --Patty Campbell.

Afrika by Colleen Craig.

Growing up in Canada with her white South African mother, Kim van der Merwe does not know who her father is. Now, at 13, she goes to Cape Town for the first time, shortly after independence in the mid-1990s, because her mother, a journalist, is going to report on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Visiting and meeting her family for the first time, she decides that her mission will be to discover her father's identity. When Kim becomes involved in a friendship with the family who works for the van der Merwes', especially Themba, whose father was murdered by the police during apartheid, her life becomes more closely entwined with South Africa's political and social realities. As she gets closer to the answer she seeks, her mother becomes more and more unhinged by the horrors she hears about in her work. The climax packs a powerful emotional punch as the author dovetails Kim's personal odyssey with the pain, contradictions, and hopes of the country as it carries its devastating history into the future. The realities of the society are carefully and skillfully portrayed, so that Kim's story is truly the emotional heart of the book, and not a vehicle for ideas. Kim herself is a believable and likable character, and her relationship with Themba is tender and realistic. The author does not sugarcoat the realities of South Africa, or the details of torture that are revealed at the Truth Commission. Not just another multicultural title, by any means, this novel will really grab readers who appreciate realistic fiction about young people searching for their place in the world.—Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City.

Wishing Moon by Michael O. Tunnell.

Aminah is an orphan living on the streets of Al-Kal'as. When she appeals to the princess for help, the black-hearted wife of Aladdin throws an old lamp at her head. The lamp holds an obstreperous jinni who informs Aminah that she can make three wishes after each full moon. With the jinni's magic, Aminah regains security and comfort, and she even assembles a makeshift family. Still, Aminah cannot achieve true happiness until she has improved the lives of the people she left behind. Meanwhile, the power-hungry princess hunts down Aminah and the lamp. Will Aminah's good deeds lead to her demise? This fanciful yarn about what happens to the lamp after Aladdin will enchant readers who relish action, adventure, fantasy, and humor.

Feature Fun Friday - New Year, New Books

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): The Middle by Jimmy Eat World.

Hello again and welcome to the new year and brand spanking new decade. And what better way to kick off the new year than showcasing all of the new releases coming out? Edited and spit-shined, this is a great compilation and it only goes through March. And it has a pretty groovy soundtrack to boot. You may want to full screen this one so that you can read all the pretty buzz going on about these. Do you hear the humming? Have a great weekend everyone and may this decade be as filled with promise as the last. Live long and prosper.