talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (Default)
This week at Green Man Review, the Neil Gaiman special edition is live! It features an essay by Deborah Grabien on her first meeting with Neil; a section full of recommendations on which work in Neil's oeuvre to start with, by greats such as Holly Black, Ellen Datlow, Delia Sherman, Charles de Lint, and Terri Windling; and two reviews by yours truly.

One of those reviews was published on September 9th, 2007: that would be the review of his young adult collection, M Is for Magic. However, my review of the Coraline film is new:

"The better part of a decade ago now, Neil Gaiman wrote a fantastically disturbing novel called Coraline. The titular heroine is a young girl, a smart and clever explorer languishing from the unfortunate condition of boredom. Luckily, this is a condition not fated to last, for her neighbors are oddballs and there's a creepy inverted world on the other side of a mysterious door. There are primordial rats who sing a terrifying song (we were here before you fell / you will be here when we rise) and an Other Mother with shiny black buttons for eyes. There are Lovecraftian horrors lurking in dark spaces between realities, and there are eerily evocative Dave McKean drawings. There's even a talking cat who chooses to use his powers for good.

How exciting it was, with such a novel, to discover that Henry Selick of The Nightmare Before Christmas fame would be doing a Coraline film adaptation! With Gaiman's wicked perfect tale and Selick's imaginative palette, how could anyone possibly be disappointed?

The answer is that we pretty much couldn't be." [Read the rest of this review by following the link.]
talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (Default)
This past Sunday saw the debut of Green Man Review's special edition in honor of Patricia A. McKillip, a woman who has long been gracing the fantasy genre with her absorbing and beautiful novels.

I've been really excited about this edition-- it looks great and I'm not just saying that because I worked on it. Mia Nutick was acting editor for the edition, making sure all our i's were dotted and our t's crossed, along with organizing it both visually and organizationally. She did an awesome job! Robert Hunter contributed an essay-retrospective of McKillip's career, collating links to the many reviews Green Man Review has published of her works.

I was lucky enough to introduce the edition, interview McKillip herself, and offer a review for her latest novel, The Bell at Sealey Head. The interview is remarkable, with McKillip giving such engaging answers! And I hope my review will compel you to pick up The Bell at Sealey Head, a charming novel well worth reading.

Check out the special edition! And let me know what you think, if you do.
talkstowolves: Fairy tales inform us for life.  (fairy tales take me far from here)
My review of The Violet Issue of the Fairy Tale Review is up today at Green Man Review.

The Fairy Tale Review is an awesome venue for the contemporary literary fairy tale. Of The Violet Issue, I say:

"The fairy tale is not dead.

This has been proven by many authors across several genres, especially the mythic art movement until lately spearheaded by the Endicott Studio. And here, once more, the fairy tale is shown to be still a vital and formative part of many people's lives, thanks to Kate Bernheimer (well-known for Mirror Mirror on the Wall, wherein women writers explore their favorite fairy tales in essay form).

Bernheimer, with the assistance of the University of Alabama (where she currently resides, professionally), has initiated a new venue for the exploration of fairy tales old and new. She has founded The Fairy Tale Review, an annual journal currently in its third revolution, forging the way for a new crop of literary fairy tale writers.

Each edition of the Review is named for a color, evoking the Andrew Lang Fairy Books of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Since the third edition is The Violet Issue, the cover is understandably a violet shade. Each edition also sports the same illustration of Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother standing upon the gutted body of the wolf, an image entitled "Born," by Kiki Smith." [Read the rest of the review at this link.]

As always, this review is archived at my website (or soon will be).
talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (Default)
As many have, ever since I saw the Wordle application on [ profile] nineweaving's journal, I have been playing with various texts. Below, you can see one representing my short story, "The Trees of Trellan":

"The Trees of Trellan"
(click for larger version)

Sadly, this short story of piratical and alien lovers has been rejected once again. I have a couple more venues in mind before it goes down for a rewrite, however.

In much better news, I have had a poem accepted for publication in the September issue of Scheherezade's Bequest on Cabinet des Fées! The poem is entitled "My Small Army of Souls" and both the title and text of the poem were inspired by [ profile] elisem's lovely bracelet, "My Small Army of Souls."

I'll also be reviewing Oscar Wilde's fairy tales for that edition, so look forward to it.

Finally, I've been promoted to the status of Master Reviewer at Green Man Review and also started writing blurbs (only for the book reviews) for their biweekly issues.

Mostly good news there, I should say!
talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (Default)
This week, Green Man Review features three reviews by me:

Examining a recent example of successful cyberfunded creativity, I have the following to say about M.C.A. Hogarth's The Aphorisms of Kherishdar:

"It is remarkable to me that M.C.A. Hogarth is not more widely spoken of than she is, for she is writing some of the most imaginative social (and alien) science fiction currently out there. If I were forced to use one word to describe her as an artist and a writer, it would be -- ascending. If I were to use one word to describe her latest offering, The Aphorisms of Kherishdar, it would be -- illuminating." [Read the rest of the review at this link.]

Subterranean Press has been creating some lovely editions of Ray Bradbury's work and, this past February, they decided to publish Bradbury's The Golden Apples of the Sun in its 1953 format:

"It is well-established that Ray Bradbury is one of the finest writers currently working today, and that honor extends beyond the science fiction genre to distinguish him also in fiction, magical realism, fairy tales, and, really, the list goes on. Besides being one of the founding fathers of social science fiction, one could also suggest Bradbury to be a leading explorer in the interstitial arts, being a writer who has always done what creators did best: eschewed borders, ransacked the nooks of the brain and the crannies of the soul, and gave form to what came." [Read the rest of the review at this link.]

Recently nominated for a Nebula, Vera Nazarian also had a novella entitled The Duke in His Castle come out in hardback yesterday. I was privileged enough to receive an ARC and so was able to give you an immediate review:

"For years, I had nibbled at Nazarian's work, first through various Sword and Sorceress anthologies and finally through Salt of the Air last summer. I hadn't ever found the opportunity to sit down to a fuller feast -- until, that is, The Duke in His Castle fell into my grasping hands.

The Duke in His Castle is philosophy couched in a fairy tale couched in a murder mystery tinged with children's games. It's a kaleidoscope of thought and emotion, the howling winds of despair, and the sometimes soft, sometimes fierce flow of life. Not only is it quickly absorbing and a quick read, but it sits up and begs for repeat visits." [Read the rest of the review at this link.]

As always, I have archived all these reviews at my personal website.
talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (Default)
Yesterday, the Special Froud Edition went live at Green Man Review.

It's a fantastic edition, beautifully laid out and composed. Mia Nutick interviewed Brian, Wendy (and Toby!) Froud: the resulting transcriptions are enchanting. We even have a guest interview by Terri Windling that's not to be missed.

On top of that, you'll find links to all the materials by the Frouds we've reviewed over the years-- including some exciting new ones, like World of Faerie and The Art of Wendy Froud.

Check it out! And write in to let us know what you think of the issue.
talkstowolves: I am a wicked fairy apologist, featuring Oona from Labyrinth. (wicked fairy apologist)
My review of The Good Fairies of New York by Martin Millar is now live at Green Man Review! (Click on the first link to read it.)

And, honestly, after you read the review, you should go by it! If not for you, then for someone you know will enjoy it. It should be so!
talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (Default)
This is probably silly to get excited about, but I believe it's the first time that it's happened to me... so allow me to take a moment to crow!

First, Senses Five Press linked to my review on their blog for Paper Cities: An Anthology of Urban Fantasy.

Then, they put an excerpt from my review in their launch post on Paper Cities' release day, among such worthies as Jeff VanderMeer (Publisher's Weekly), Delia Sherman (Interfictions, ed.) and Theodora Goss (also Interfictions, ed.).

And, there's an excerpt from my review posted on the page for the book!

Seriously, yay. It's like this close (holds up thumb and forefinger) to a cover blurb! (Or so I'd like to think. ;))

Hee. Thanks.

P.S. You can read my review here (on my website) or there (on Green Man Review).
talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (Default)
My review of the Senses Five Press anthology, Paper Cities: An Anthology of Urban Fantasy (ed. by Ekaterina Sedia, she of The Secret History of Moscow fame), is live today at Green Man Review.

There's also a fine review of Maria Tartar's Annotated Hans Christian Andersen, which rather just makes me even more keenly aware of the injustice that I don't own that volume yet.

I wanted to review Odd and the Frost Giants (Neil Gaiman's contribution to World Book Day in the UK), but April Gutierrez beat me to it: you can see her review here.

To check out the rest of this edition of Green Man Review, visit the What's New page.

Past Reviews:
Angels in America by Tony Kushner
Imaginings: An Anthology of Visionary Literature ed. by Stefan Rudnicki
The Maps of Tolkien's Middle Earth compiled by John Howe and Brian Sibley
The Shape-Changer's Wife by Sharon Shinn (Won an Excellence in Writing Award from Green Man Review.)
Fitcher's Brides by Gregory Frost
The Stories of Hans Christian Andersen ed. by Diana Crone and Jeffrey Frank
Vampire Hunter D by Hideyuki Kikuchi
Tales of the Golden Corpse by Sandra Benson (Won an Excellence in Writing award.)
Hildur, Queen of the Elves And Other Icelandic Legends by J.M. Bedell
M Is For Magic by Neil Gaiman
The Grass-Cutting Sword by Catherynne M. Valente
Salt of the Air by Vera Nazarian
King Arthur, Touchstone Pictures 2004 (Won an Excellence in Writing award and a Grinch Award from Green Man Review.)
talkstowolves: Books + tea, books + coffee, either way = bliss.  (reading is a simple pleasure)
In today's edition of Green Man Review, my review of The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald is a featured review!

If you're interested in literary fairy tales, please do read it.

(This edition also features reviews of Ekaterina Sedia's The Secret Life of Moscow, Patricia McKillip's Moon-Flash -- lovely volume!-- and Here There Be Dragons-- something I've been meaning to read.)
talkstowolves: Books + tea, books + coffee, either way = bliss.  (reading is a simple pleasure)
My review of Vera Nazarian's Salt of the Air is up in today's edition of Green Man Review. Check it out. (Also, this is quite a packed issue, featuring reviews of [ profile] papersky's Ha'Penny and [ profile] truepenny's Mélusine.)

As we know, I got behind on my writing this weekend. I ended up owing 2,817 words before I even factored in today's wordcount. Here's what I've managed to get done:

For Friday: 122 words.
For Saturday: Nothing.

For Sunday:

Today's Goal:
750 words, and owing 2817 due to previous shortages.
Goal met? Daily goal was met: I wrote 1369 words, leaving me owing 2198.
Reason for stopping: I finished a scene and I need to get some sleep before school in the morning.

Project: Short story, title of "Green Dream."
Status of project: Carin made it to Dunwain, had "tipsy coffee" with another unforeseen minor character, and is now stumbling around the city.
talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (Default)
I have a new review up at Green Man Review covering Neil Gaiman's M is for Magic. I hope you'll all check it out and make sure to read over the rest of the edition!
talkstowolves: Writer by heart, English teacher by trade.  (bad grammar makes me sic)
I had two new reviews published in the latest edition of Green Man Review. If you're interested in reading fairy tales and folktales, check out my thoughts on these two collections:

Tales of the Golden Corpse: Tibetan Folk Tales, as retold by Sandra Benson. (This review won an Excellence in Writing Award. Nice.)
Hildur, Queen of the Elves and Other Icelandic Legends by J.M. Bedell.

* * *

When I was absent this past Wednesday, I left my seniors a story to read: "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings: A Tale for Children" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I wanted to give them something rich enough to chew on, and this bit of magical realism by Marquez definitely fits that bill. I also thought it should be simple enough for them to understand without me being there to explain it to them. After all, it is a story found in my 10th graders' literature book.

Let me belabor this "picking a simple story for them" point a bit more. Originally, I wanted to assign them "A Rose for Emily" by Faulkner. I changed my mind on that one, thinking about giving them "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas" by Ursula K. Le Guin instead. Unfortunately, that story would have been too long for them to get through in a 45 minute class (since I wanted them to answer comp. questions on whatever they read as well). Then I considered "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allen Poe. For that one, I even went so far as to copy it into a document and start proofreading it. I also kept a running tally on the words I thought I'd need to define for them in order to understand the story. When my count reached something around twenty, I glumly concluded there was no way they'd understand this story (likely even with input from me) and I needed to find something simpler tout suite. Thus, Marquez's "A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings."

Well. Andy watched my class for me, and reported back that some of them complained quite volubly about my assignment. And then, when they were doing it, he was bombarded with requests to explain the story. He was also asked what "miraculous" meant and what a "moral" was so they could answer my question "What do you think the moral of the story is?" Most of them couldn't understand the story, and one couldn't even finish reading the three and a half page document.

I really wish I was kidding.

But I'm not.

* * *

I had to confront a parent about her son's plagiarism today. Here's a little background on this particular student: he's an arrogant little shit. He was expelled from our daily program because he would have been killed otherwise. Yet our boss wanted to work with his mother and so we continue to provide him with work to do at home.

On the very first day of classes, I gave all of my students a hand-out on plagiarism. I also made a binder that contained a complete explanation of what plagiarism is, as well as a guide on how to avoid it. I gave a lecture on plagiarism, how it would absolutely not be tolerated in my class, and told them where to find the materials to read up on it (i.e. on their hand-out, in the classroom, on the Internet, etc.).

This particular student liked to smirk that he could get away with plagiarism if he wanted to because he's smart. I always told him he wouldn't be able to do so, that I was one of those teachers who actually bothered to check up on that sort of thing. He always expressed surprise at this. Apparently, he finally decided to test me.

Of course, I caught his ass. He changed a few words around, but he lifted complete ideas and phrases off of at least two essays from 123HelpMe, a "free" and paid essay site. I printed out those two essays, then highlighted the bits in his paper that were plagiarized.

When I showed this to his mother, she tried to talk back to me. She told me that she didn't think that her son was aware that he couldn't do that and swore that she'd watched him write his entire paper and he'd never gone to that 123HelpMe site. I was righteous in my anger. I calmly stated the facts at first, but became more strongly insistent as she kept protesting and telling me it wasn't fair to fail his paper or fail him for the quarter due to his plagiarism.

I told her that he'd received the same information about plagiarism that everyone had. I insisted that he knew it was wrong. I showed her, explicitly, where he'd lifted phrases and sentences and ideas straight from these online essays. I told her that he may not have gotten them from that site in particular, but he surely got them from the Internet. I told her that the point was that this was not his work and that those words and ideas did not originate from his brain.

It got even worse when she asserted that I told her that her son had passed with a C the last time I saw her. She even got a report card from the office stating as much. This is absolute bullshit. I never turned in a grade for that student as: (A) I knew he was failing and (B) I didn't know if we were actually supposed to turn grades in for him like that, given his situation. I felt myself growing infuriated as she insisted that I had stood right there and told her that her son had a C and agreed with some printed report card that I never saw. All I could do was reiterate, strongly, that I had never given him a grade.

My boss is insisting that the grade may have to stand, but that I'm still free to fail him for the semester for his plagiarism. Which I most certainly will be doing.

I have told my students (and some parents) that I don't mess around with plagiarism. I really don't. It's a serious offense. Why, oh why, won't they believe me?

Counts of Plagiarism for the Year: 4

March 2017

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