Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!!!

The Night of All Hallows Eve
by IHN

Twas the night of All Hallow’s Eve, when all through the cemetery
All the creatures were stirring, and all quite merry.
Shrunken heads were hung on tree branches with care,
In hopes that a great demon would soon be there.

The witches were starting to rise out of their beds,
While visions of spells and magic danced in their heads.
The mummy was nestled all snug in his wrap
As he began to awake from his eternal nap.

When out by the crypt there arose such a clatter,
They all hovered over to see what was the matter.
When, what to their demonic eyes should transpire,
But a flying black hearse and a very well dressed vampire.

With a skeleton driver, so lively and quick,
They knew in a moment it must be Vampire Nick.
More rapid than vultures his bats they came,
And he moaned, and wailed, and called them by name!

“Now Dagger! Now, Slasher! Now, Lasher and Scratchen.
On, Blade! On, Spade! On, on Slicer, and Gashen.
To the top of the tombstones! To the top of the cemetery walls!
Now hunt away! Hunt away! Hunt away all!”

Then like those bats that vampire did fly
Like a soaring eagle against a moonlit sky.
So up to the crypt-top he flew
With his undead driver and his bats too.

They landed on the crypt in a furious gale
And you could hear the screeching of each little nail.
As the shrunken heads screamed and turn around
Down the crypt Vampire Nick came with a bound.

He was dressed in black from his cape to his shoes
And on his spiked collar dripped liquid red ooze.
A bundle of oddities flung on his back,
And he looked like a wolf just about to attack

He reached is long fingers into the pocket of his suit
And his hand reappeared holding fresh eye of newt.
The witches were thrilled as they grabbed their brooms.
They chanted spells as they danced on the tombs.

The zombies started to arise from their graves
And the night dwellers emerged from their caves.
A banshee played harp and began her song
As a trio of bridge trolls sang along.

Then he presented the werewolf with a giant bone
And the mummy a purple velvet lined casket of his very own.
The cemetery was filled with eerie laughter and shrills
All the creatures of the night were getting their thrills.

They shrieked and danced and partied away,
The zombies all got new limbs for the ones lost from decay.
All the undead received brand new toys
And one was given a couple of obnoxious teenage boys.

Then Vampire Nick reached into his cape and without a word
Pulled out an extraordinary beautiful raven black bird.
You could hear it call as it flew into the moonlit sky out of sight
“Happy All Hallows Eve, and to all a very frightening night!”


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Trixi Thursday

"For a charm of powerful trouble, like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
Double, double toil and you are in such kitty trouble!"

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard BookAs I posted earlier I got the pleasure of going to a Neil Gaiman reading in Boulder at the first of the month. On his book tour of The Graveyard Book, he read a chapter a stop with the exception of chapter 7, which due to its length had to be spread across two stops. Unfortunately the Boulder stop fell on part 2 of chapter 7. This was unfortunate not because of his reading, which was superb, but that the 2nd part of chapter 7 gives a way the ending. Now that in itself would not have been bad, it was just I was only on chapter 4.

However, even knowing how the book was going to end, it was still a wonderful trip. I loved the storyline of a little boy being raised by ghost in a cemetery and the story of how Mr. Gaiman came up with the idea. When his son was young, there was no place for him to ride his bike where they lived so Mr. Gaiman would take his son to a nearby cemetery to ride his bike. As he watched his son ride his tricycle around the gravestones, he thought what a wonderful place for a boy to be raised. He had enjoyed Kipling’s Jungle Books as a boy, and thus the idea for The Graveyard Book was conceived, and twenty-some years later, was finally born.

In The Graveyard Book, a boy is adopted by a graveyard after his family is killed. I know it may sound cool to be raised by ghosts and a guardian that is neither dead nor alive in an overgrown old graveyard. And of course it would be, but even growing up among the dead there are still many things a live child needs to learn such as fading and how to recognize and escape from Ghoul Gates. Each chapter is a short story about the boy’s adventures as he grows up in the graveyard. In fact, chapter 4, The Witches Headstone, can also be found in Neil Gaiman’s book of short stories, M is for Magic (highly recommended).

Once again Mr. Gaiman amazing me with his imagination and story-telling abilities. My favorite chapter was chapter 3 where we learned about Ghoul Gates. My sister and I come from a long line of cemetery walkers from my mother side and have recently taken back up the tradition. Our eyes will now be pealed wide open to spot the Ghoul Gate. According to Mr. Gaiman all cemeteries have them, and I have a feeling he is an excellent authority on the matter.

What exactly is a Ghoul Gate? I suggest you read chapter 3 in The Graveyard Book to find out ☺ .

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

National Best Books 2008 Award-Winning Finalist

National Best Book Award FinalistWillow May Goes to the Midnight Carnival has been honored again, this time as an Award-Winning Finalist in the Children’s Hardcover Fiction Picture Book category of the National Best Books 2008 Awards. The cast and crew were unable to get together in person as this is an extremely busy time of the year for them, but they are always together in spirit. We were able to catch up with a few of them to get their comments on winning another award for their performances.

The zombies, who you may have spotted a couple of weeks ago, participating in the 2008 Zombie Parade, were thrilled with the news. They spent months training with Europe’s top circus performers for their acrobatic role in Willow May Goes to the Midnight Carnival. They appreciate being recognized for their hard work and dedication.

Willow May Witch
Gabrielle, Luna, and Vivian, the dancing witches who played themselves in the book, were once again quite humbled by another award and promised to turn the odd little fellow back from a toad despite the protest from his armadillo.

Willow May WerewolfThe werewolf band along with the skeleton brothers are nearing the end of their 2008 World Wolf-Bone Tour. They said they would be giving a shout out to all those fans of Willow May Goes to the Midnight Carnival at their next full-moon performance.

Willow May Vampire
Evelynn, the vampire who played the high wire performer, is back in her native country Romania to spend the upcoming holiday with relatives, wanted to send her undying gratitude to the rest of the cast and crew and to USA Book News for this honor.

I too want to thank USA Book News for this recognition and support of small independent publishers and writers. I also want to give a special thanks to All Us All the Time Publishing, the illustrator Pamela McCarville for bring these characters alive, and the editor Valerie Mass.

As I said, the cast of Willow May Goes to the Midnight Carnival is very active this time of year, especially the last day of October, so be on the look out for them, they LOVE to give autographs.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Trixi Thursday

Trixi-BelleI believe her tail must be keeping guard.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fool Moon; Book Two of the Dresden Files, by Jim Butcher

Fool Moon Dresden FilesMy goodness how much can a wizard take? Well obviously quite a bit, as our leading wizard Dresden is beaten, shot, arrested, bitten, kidnapped and beat up some more. In every chapter you are going “ on earth is he going to get himself out of this one?”

In Jim Butcher's second Dresden Files book, Fool Moon, once again Dresden is called upon by the Chicago Police when a spree of brutal murders have taken place when the moon is full. With the crime scenes covered in paw prints and teeth marks on the victims, it really doesn’t take a wizard to figure out who, or should I say what, is doing the killings. However it may be more than one wizard can handle to stop them.

If you like slow-paced stories, this is not one of them. Non-stop action, no seriously, non-stop!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Trixi Thursday

Trixi-BelleShouldn't somebody be loving me?

I'm sorry, perhaps I wasn't clear?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

An Evening with Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman Reading

Though I hate to admit it, I am a bit of a homebody. In the evening I just like to settle in on our comfy couch with a good book and a calico snuggled on the lap. It has to be a pretty rare and special occasion to convince myself to break this routine. Yesterday was one of those rare and special occasions. Yes, I got off the couch (to the calico’s dismay) and spent a wonderful evening in Boulder with Neil Gaiman. Okay, it was actually me and 299 other people who went to see Mr. Gaiman read from his latest book, The Graveyard Book. He was outstanding, though I may be prejudice because he is my all time favorite author, no, I don’t think I am, he was outstanding.

He read the last half of chapter 7 which I won’t go into any details since that chapter gives a lot of the book’s mysteries away. He said the original plan was to read a chapter a stop, which worked out perfectly until he got to chapter 7 which is twice as long as any other chapter in the book. Thus he read the first half in Los Angeles Monday night and the 2nd half last night to us. He received a huge “NO!” when he stopped reading in LA because it just so happens the first part of chapter 7 ends on a rather steep cliffhanger.

Of course he has that lovely British brogue, but he added a Scottish accent for one of the characters that I quite enjoyed. Needless to say he has a wonderful reading voice and had the crowd laughing or at the edge of their seats waiting for the next passage. He said that on this book tour he took along Mr. Prosperity, who he then pointed out the gentlemen filming the reading, and said that the videos were being posted on his blog. Thus if you would like, you can also hear and see Neil read The Grave Yard Book.

After the reading we got a special treat and got to see behind the scene’s footage for the upcoming movie based on his book Coraline, where he magically grows a beard on the set or at least that is what he told us. Henry Selick, who was also the director of Nightmare Before Christmas, directs the movie. Neil said when Nightmare Before Christmas came out he left the theater going “why aren’t there more movies like this.” I totally agree, but sounds like we will get our wish come February 2009 when Coraline the movie hits the theaters.

Before his reading they had note cards out where you could write down a question for him to answer. After getting to see clips from Coraline, he came back on stage with the stack of note cards. He said that we had excellent questions, but horrible handwriting. The previous night in Los Angeles, he thought the questions were on the dull side, but the handwriting was beautifully legible. My husband was tickled because his was the 2nd question that Neil answered on where the inspiration came from for his movie MirrorMask. He said the inspiration and imagery was all Dave McKean, but then followed that up with an amusing story on them creating the movie and Terry Gilliam coming over for tea.

Then he had the usual questions on does he have an audience in mind when he starts a story. He says he writes for him and then let’s the publishers figure out the audience. He followed that up by saying a writer’s job is to explode, and then the publishers come in and pick up the shrapnel, bits and pieces and see if they can make a book out of it. He has no set writing routine, though wishes he did. He did mention that he tries to write where there is no internet because once he goes searching on something, 3 hours later... He broke his finger while coming down a mountain in China, which he thought if you had to break a finger, that was the way to do it because it was such a great story vs. breaking one by slamming it in a door. When asked what his to-read stacks of books were at home, he replied “a wall.” Then his all-time favorite breakfast is a cheese omelet.

He ended the evening reading us a poem he wrote for Tori Amos’s little girl, which is going to be published as a picture book coming out April 2009 called the Blueberry Girl. Beautiful poem for girls, and like Dr. Seuss’s Oh, the Places You'll Go, I have a feeling it will be enjoyed more by us older kids than little ones.

Besides an imaginative and creative storyteller, he is an amusing speaker and I do not regret leaving the safe compounds of my home and comfy couch to spend the evening with him. Despite the protest from the calico.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Trixi...uh, Friday?

Trixi-BelleI just want it to be known that I am not happy about this, not one bit!