Monthly Archives: July 2015
So cartoons have been part of my life since the beginning. As a 90’s kids, many of my cohorts liked the shows we grew up with as some where influenced by the animation renaissance thanks to Disney movies and Roger Rabbit. I also felt a lull in programming after 2005 but the new ten’s are really bringing it back. Hey, even Vanessa Fly Trap was made in the end of the 2000’s in my attempt to bring the 90’s inspiration via books/comics but now I’m glad I can get inspired but the depth of running children’s programming too.
Great Book and Interview!
I’d like to welcome B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree Michelle Eastman to talk with me today about her book, The Legend of the Dust Bunnies. Michelle loves kids’ books, especially children’s picture books. She enjoys getting lost in the magic of the words as they flow into the illustrations. She loves picture books so much, that she wrote her own: The Legend of Dust Bunnies, a Fairy’s Tale. Her debut book was recently named a BRAG Medallion Honoree, and it has been a #1 Kindle book on Amazon’s Best Sellers list.
Michelle is also the founder of the literacy initiative, Picture Book Pass it On which encourages people to donate new or gently used books to kids in need. She recently launched a special initiative called MARCHing Books to Kids. Throughout the month of March, she is encouraged people to donate books to the VNS of Iowa Storybook Project. The program provides new…
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For those who don’t know, I enjoy a Cartoon Network show known as Steven Universe.
Actually enjoy is an understatement but instead of fan gushing, let me get straight to the point of my post. A recent episode ” Historical Friction” the main character Steven learns from his friend Jamie why having a character in a play that is perfect and never struggles is ultimately boring. He later goes on to share this with one of his foster mothers, Pearl and how satisfying it is when a character who makes mistakes keeps trying and doesn’t give up until they reach their goal. (Which resonates with her especially since the show had a week of episodes revolving around a story arc where Pearl angered her friend Garnet by lying to spend more time with her.)
Something I took from this was making a list of my personal flaws that could come up via personal reflection and comments from people close to me. It’s tough exposing your hang ups especially on the internet but here they are:
- Unrelentingly push side in argument past point of interest
- Try too hard to yield to other side if other side is close to me
- Prone to procrastination
- Inconsiderate of other side in argument
- Bad at keeping touch with friends I don’t see everyday or long distance
- Rather find personal hobbies or entertainment than seeking a possibly good time with others
- React to criticism of habits/character with excuses or sarcasm, constructive or otherwise
- Reluctance to changing routine despite bouts of longing for participating in things with others
Sometime next week, I will post the opposite, my strengths that I think makes me great. (Something else an episode of this show touches upon).
Fairy are a sapient extraterrestrial species of humanoids, with pointed ears and two pairs of insect wings or bird-like wings growing on their back. From birth and throughout their childhood, they are the size of average bugs until puberty when they have a growth spurt to their adult size in less than a week. In addition, when an adult fairy dies, their bodies rearrange overnight into that of a juvenile fairy, where the previous sense of self is lost and a new one is born. Males are called Sprites and females are called Nymphs.
Quick Species Profile
Average: 2000 years
Max: Biologically Immortal
Average Height: 2’6”-4’4″/76-130 cm-for adults,
1-3 inch/2.5-7.6 cm-children
Average Weight: 40 to 80 lbs
Hair: Black, Brown, Blonde, Green, Red/Orange, White, Pink, Purple
Eyes: Brown, Hazel, Amber, Green, Blue, Gray, Purple
Creature Type: Faye Humanoid
The children are very small in stature, often able to fit in the palm of an adult human or fairy. Often born less then an inch, they average from 1 to 3 inches during childhood.
- Mana & Magnetic Field Generation– From childhood, fairies can create a personal mana field and small magnetic fields from their palms that both get stronger by adulthood. These fields can be used as an invisible cushion off the ground to provide lift for flight. They have significant amounts of naturally occurring magnetite in the lining of their wings, bones of their hands and fingers, and their eye sockets. These allow for navigation by the planet’s magnetic field. They also allow for a fairy to use these fields as a defense mechanism by repulsing the air with magnetic or magic energy into pressurized streams.
- Rejuvenation-Typically when adult fairy begin to age due their body cells being unable to replicate, their bodies surge violently with biological magic. The fairy’s entire body undergoes programmed cell death and gene expression shuffling until it becomes that of a prepubescent pixie, often with a different phenotype. For roughly eight hours, the cells of a Fairy body are repaired, restored and reorganized, resulting in a wholly new physical form. The majority of nervous cells are also rearranged meaning that memories and their sense of self from their previous life cycle are typically lost, meaning a rejuvenate fairy has to live out a new personality and life from scratch. This process is often caused by old age/fatigue, severe illness, or lethal injury in the adult stage of life, as the restorative energy is built up during puberty. It can only happen when the dying body is mostly intact, for example, missing limbs are fine but the head needs to remain attached to the torso.
- Wings– Fairy of all ethnicities and sub-species have four wings that grow from their upper back, where the shoulder blades are located to enable flight. There are those with clear veined wings like dragonflies, those with scaled wings like moths or butterflies, and the rare feathered wings that belong to the Peri subrace. These are wings most important for the flight patterns of pixies. Although the wings are not necessary to get adult fairies into the air, they are the major means of propulsion once levitating off the ground.
- Fairy Dust Production– Fairy dust is a special enchanted substance made from the scales (or feathers) of Fairy wings and shed skin (like dandruff) infused with some of their biological magic. In its raw state, it can cause temporary hallucinations or deep slumber when breathed in or be applied to objects to make them levitate and fly. Fairy dust is often used as a reagent in alchemy, so much that a branch is called fairy dust alchemy.
- Keen Color Vision– Humans have 3 receptive cones in their eyes, allowing them to see red, blue, green and all the colors derived from them. Fairies have 5 receptive cones, meaning they can see two more colors than humans and see a massive spectrum that human brains may be unable to process. For example, fairies have excellent ultraviolet vision.
- Flight– Pixies fly by constantly flapping their wings like that of insects or humming birds to stay aloft. Adult fairies need not flap their wings as often since they can rely on their natural mana field for levitation and propulsion. Instead their wings are more important for steering and speed.
- Magnetoception (magnetic sense)– Biogenic crystals of magnetite, a naturally occurring mineral, can be found in certain parts of their skeletons, generally in the eye sockets, and the bones of the fingers and palms. This allows them to detect the magnetic field of the planet to navigate while flying and generate small fields within their palms. However close by magnetic materials can distort this navigation to point of disorientation.
Berries, nuts, and various grains make up the majority of a typical fairy diet. Then what follows are various vegetables and larger fruits packed with carbohydrates to maintain their the metabolism needed for flight. For protein, most fairies are inclined towards eating various insects, snails, poultry, and seafood except for Peri who are traditionally herders of hooved mammals.
Fairies reproduce sexually via copulation between a adult Sprite (male) and an adult Nymph (female). A nymph will gestate her babies for roughly 4 weeks on average. A pregnant nymph will often crave foods with or direct sources of magnetic minerals like iron, nickel or even lodestone (which they typically avoid otherwise) for their babies.
A Fairy mother will experience sexual pleasure similar to orgasm rather than pain while giving birth. Some of which may have to do with the small size of the babies as they are born basically as helpless embryos, in a marsupial like fashion.
Most often a group from 2 to 6 baby fairies (pixies) are born and they feed off their mother’s milk from her 2 breasts on her chest or 4 small milk ducts that run vertically along both sides of her belly.
Lifespan and Growth
Fairies are effectively biologically immortal due to their rejuvenation ability. As such, they don’t die of natural causes like aging but can be killed by lethal injury, certain toxins, and specific diseases. However, Fairies are the most vulnerable as young sprites when they can easily be crushed or eaten if they are not careful.
Near the end of their bodies natural life, smart and educated fairies will often write “regen wills“, that give their new personality in the newly rejuvenated body an idea of what happened and where to go.
Baby: Babies are born extremely small, essentially as helpless embryos. Because of this, they have to cling to their mother’s very thin body hair and stay near their mother’s nipples or milk ducts for a month.
Pixie (Childhood): During childhood, they are often small enough to fit in an adult fairy’s hands. At this stage, they love mischief the most as they do not have a particular preference towards good or evil and are chiefly concerned with doing as they please and having fun.They play pranks on larger people such as stealing their belongings, throwing things or calling out their names.
Puberty “Growth Spurt”: For pixies, puberty involves their bodies undergoing hormonal changes give the individual the appropriate proportions, muscular and fat distribution and other secondary sex characteristics of the their adult bodies despite still being miniature sized. Once that happens, their metabolisms go into overdrive, enabling them to reach physical maturity in less than a week.
Second childhood: Called so because it is a period of disorientation due to adjusting from the size of a few inches they had for a hundred years or so to a larger permanent size in a matter of days. Also they have to adjust to a new way of flying. In their sprite sizes, they maintained flight by constantly flapping their wings in the air. Now because of their adult sizes, their personal mana field becomes large enough to reliably provide lift off the ground. So instead their wings only flap periodically to maintain flight.
Adulthood: As a full grown sprite or nymph, the Fairy has enough residual mystical energy in their bodies to undergo rejuvenation once their cells be come too old to replicate. Once they do, they will revert to a childhood pixie and go through their life cycle again. If a fairy is a rejuvenate personality, it is possible to regain a few memories from the previous life as they age.
Fairies have been around for a large part of Kaf’s history believed to be the offspring of Wood elves and sprites (the race not the male fairy term), each using size-shifting magic to better live with each other. During the global project designed to colonize the moon Qarin, fairies and High elves made a joint project to use humans who came via portal to determine the livability of the newly transformed lunar surface. This made the fairies one of the higher privilaged races of the Seelie Court. During the Ghul Wars, many fairies were being hunted to obtain their innate ability to revert to their youth but none of the experiments were successful.
With the destruction of near every environment and ecosystem from the many Ghul Wars, the fairies of Kaf couldn’t stand to see the dying planet, wiped out peoples and just the whole world going to crap. Maybe out of an atonement for every faction’s involvement or a chance to save a world from the brink of destruction, fairies everywhere began efforts to restore the environments of Kaf.
A large territory known as the Fairy Kingdom was set up and spread around the great forests to encourage other forest dwelling species to support the growth of forests. Fairies all over learned to commune to nature, understand the natural cycles, the life cycles of local animals and plants in order to properly maintain the ecologically balance of their own habitats. Some fairies moved from the forested areas to understand and restore other biomes of the world like grasslands, wetlands, and semiarid deserts.
It was to the point where other beings thought that Fairies spring forth from nature itself. While not exactly the case many fairies did develop innate affinities to aspects of nature, giving them an important niche to maintain the natural balance. In the era of globalization, the kingdom gradually dissolved as the United Sentient Species came to fill the role. Today many cultural occupations in fairy society revolve around maintenance of an aspect of nature and many ecological activist groups were founded by fairies.
Interesting process, I might have to try it
Alright, confession time: I thought for years that I was a pantser (a writer who doesn’t outline i.e. by the seat of their pants) instead of a sudden plotter. Because really, I’m not that organized in my life, so it just seemed counter-productive to me. But the reality is that I just hadn’t found what worked for me. Now, let me clarify that this depends for me on what I’m writing. If it’s a short story, then I 100% pants that shit and just go for it. But I’ve been trying to buckle down and write a novel for years, and just randomly starting a book ended up going absolutely nowhere. So I also tried excel outlines and written on paper outlines: none of it worked.
That is, until I found the beauty of…
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Many people are looking for outlets to mourn the loss of Satoru Iwata, many turning to writing articles, compilation videos, and fan art. However, if you would like to mourn Iwata-san, feel free to do it in a way he would undoubtedly appreciate: by gaming with him. Using the Mii QR code (below), players will be able to scan with their Nintendo 3DS to add him via Mii Maker. From there, you can play a round of Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS with him, hang out in Tomodachi Life, or hit the green in Mario Golf: World Tour. Here is a list of all Mii compatible Nintendo 3DS software to date.
They looked very much like us in their body shape, proportions and faces. However they did seem a tad short, the tallest in their group was only 4 feet tall, with most of the adults being around 3 and a half feet. Speaking of which, their feet was different as well, an opposable thumb in place of a big toe like that of tree dwelling ape. They all possessed a tail covered in hair sprouting from their lower backs. Of course these traits were perfectly common for the species known as homins. These folk in particular shared frizzy black or brown hair, had either tawny or medium brown complexions, and monolid eyes.
After a quick glance of the group, the male leading the count assured them, “Alright everyone, we made it another night and still no one left behind. We should be proud of ourselves.” He took a quick stroll toward the edge of where they spent the night to get an idea of their location. The wide branch that the group had slept on was so high that he was able to see well across the forest floor and find various other large trees, bushes, and vines.
Again facing his crew he instructed them, “Alright, the amount of animals on the floor is low so we can forage for food lower in the understory than usual. The children and pregnant women should still stay higher, within the forest canopy. Sound good to everybody?” Some indistinct chattering took place between the adults, but only for a moment as they nodded in agreement.
He continued, “Good, before we leave, everybody go the edges of the branch to pee off the side, I need to speak with the grown ups for a minute.” As the kids left to do their business, the adults came together. One of the men asked, “Preecha, when will we be close to water? Our rations finished from last night.” This time an expecting mother responded, “In that case we should find more succulent fruits to eat.” Preecha nodded in agreement, “We should be able to get to a water source before night fall if we continue east. Any questions?” “Ahem”, responded a single voice. “Yes Somachi?”
Somachi was an oddity in the group, younger than the other adults, evident by the childhood chubbiness of his cheeks and belly. Unlike his cohorts his hair was unkempt and he lacked the body paints adorning the grown ups limbs and groins. He continued, “I think I should help with looking for food in the floor and understory with the rest.” Preecha walked up in front of the young man and looked down as he rested his hands on Somachi’s shoulders. “Listen son, I know you’re a man and can forage and hunt with the rest of us adults. But there’s not that many of us left, so we need to protect the children and the women with their own. So I need to ask you, as a man, can I trust you to look after the lives of our people?” After an unflinching nod, his father continued, “Alright now everyone else make sure to urinate and whatever so we can find water and a place to rest.”
Once everyone finished their business, they left their previous rest stop by leaping from their branch and made their way through the jungle according to their roles. The children crouch walked on top of stables branches with the expecting mothers flowing their lead. The grown men and single non pregnant woman swung by their arms from branch to branch, vine to vine swiftly through the jungle. Somachi watched them pass by as he leaped across the treetops just above the kids and their mothers to stay nearby. The children would find sometimes stop to pick a fruit, nut or even pry open some tree bark to find larvae or caterpillars underneath. For the youngest ones, the women nearby would check to see if they were safe to eat or ripe enough to carry. The grown vine swingers could cover more ground and collect much more food in their arms.
After what was likely an hour or two of travel, the entire group stopped at the top of a rather large tree. Here the women with more on the way, Kim and Pakpao, took the various vines they collected and weaved some basket nets. “So Kim, when you get to the corners what do you do about the stray fibers?” asked Pakpao. Kim was more experienced with life in general and basket weaving was her specialty. “I find it easier to simply bite off the longer ones”, she replied. Once they were finished, every adult member of the band came to collect a bag to store their spoils from the forest. The kids gave what they found to their parents collection. Taking the time to a quick head count for good measure, Pakpao noticed something wrong. “Wait, I think there’s one missing.”As the elders overheard this, Kim went about through the group of kids. She looked for a certain child but was unable. “Has any body seen Lawan?” Remembering the name, Somachi quickly stood up a told Kim, “I remember seeing her picking up grubs with a stick a bit before. I’ll be right back to see if she’s there.” He then quickly grabbed on the first branch in front of him and swung back towards where they came. Once he got to the particular trees he remembered, under him he found the girl everybody was looking for. She was poking a termite mound with a sap covered on the forest floor, lower than where the children were allowed to forage. Just as Somachi was going to scold her, he noticed something waiting in the bushes behind her.
Copying its strategy, he slowly climbed down from the branch to the ground and crouched toward her, keeping his eye on the creature doing the same. As soon as he got a glimpse of its true identity, he froze and heart tripled its tempo. His body didn’t want to move, his feet stayed put like they were set in stone.
A green speckled amber raptor twice the size of the girl who saw her as its prey. Lawan, who was proud of herself for finding this sweet spot, had no idea about the predator stalking her. As the dino reared back and pointed up its razor sharp claws on its toes, Somachi’s eyes grew the widest they’ve ever been. In a single moment, he fought his paralysis, jumped for the girl, and rolled the both of them away from the tree trunk in a split second. The raptor missing its target pounced onto the tree and got its toe claws stuck within the bark. Astonished by his luck, Somachi stared at the stuck reptile, until the toddler in arms started to cry out. Somachi tried to comfort saying, “Don’t worry he won’t get you with me around.” Got your stick?,” he asked her. The trembling girl raised her bug covered glazed to show him as she failed to hold back the tears dripping from her face. “Good, hold on to me like you did that stick.” Just then a few growls behind them made Lawan jump into Somachi arms and wrap her tail around his thigh. “Ugh, always come in packs”…he groaned as two more of the carnivorous dinosaurs walked up to them.
“And me without my sling”, he though to himself. “Unless…” with that Somachi raised his free palm towards the beasts before him. Something began to radiate from his hand as if it emanating a thin blue flame with violet highlights. As one of dinos took a single step towards them, the esoteric flare on his hands rolled into his palm to form a thicker looking light blue orb. Somachi pushed it into the beast’s leg, striking a physical blow that caused it back up.
The raptor once stuck in a tree managed to pull its claw from the tree bark in time to block Somachi from behind. Flanked by carnivores from both sides, Somachi gets desperate and tries to generate another energy sphere until one lands right in the freed dinos snout. “Hey, I didn’t make that one.” he looked from all sides of him before staring up above.
In the tree tops was every single adult in the band not counting the pregnant women. The 5 members all had their palms raised, a light with the similar flame. Preecha gave the order, “Consecutive magic bullets! Fire!” and the proceeded to rain down the energy blasts on the predators. In the confusion, Somachi took the opportunity to leap up to the same tree tops while the 4 men and woman continued to pelt the raptors with their blasts until they all made a hasty retreat.
Once they finished their assault, the little girl with her stick ran to the woman who helped with the firing. She hugged her with everything she had and sobbed, “Mommy, I’m so sorry I went down to the ground. I just wanted to give you something no else had.” Lawan’s mother held her close in response, “It’s alright now baby girl, your safe and sound.”
As everyone headed back to their campsite, Preecha held Somachi’s shoulder from behind. Holding his head down, Somachi answered, “I know, I should have kept a better eye on all of the kids.” His father did a quick shrug and responded, “True, but when you released your mistake, you did whatever you could to fix it. That’s what separates the boys from the men. Now come on, let’s met up with the group.” As father and son swung and leaped back home, Somachi though more about what else being a man meant.
How to Create Irresistible Picture Book Characters by Tammi Sauer (plus a giveaway on her book birthday!)
by Tammi Sauer
Psst. Hey, you there. Yes, you. Do you want to wow an editor with your next picture book manuscript? Great!
It only takes one thing. Come up with the next Fancy Nancy, Olivia, or Skippyjon Jones. Editors are wading through their slush and/or agented submissions in the hopes of finding an irresistible, can’t-put-down, character-driven manuscript. They want manuscripts that make them feel something and a great character can do just that.
Examples of strong characters in picture books:
OLIVIA by Ian Falconer
Olivia is a feisty little piglet who has too much energy for her own good.
FANCY NANCY by Jane O’Connor
Nancy is very into fanciness whereas her family is not.
SKIPPYJON JONES by Judy Schachner
Skippyjon Jones is a little kitty with a big imagination.
A PET FOR PETUNIA by Paul Schmid
An exuberant Petunia wants, wants, wants a pet she really shouldn’t have.
DINOSAUR VS. BEDTIME by Bob Shea
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