Categories
Books Young Adult

Touchdown by Yael Levy

touchdown

 

 

“Touchdown” by Yael Levy is a paranormal romance that is not your typical paranormal romance. Why you ask? Well, mostly because it doesn’t start out like paranormal.  I’ll admit I was well into the book before I realized it was going on!  The book reads like a lovely and light romance; however, with a twist.

New York socialite Goldie Fischer seems to have it all: wealth, beauty, and a fiancé to die for. Until she’s murdered on her wedding night by a jealous witch and instantaneously loses everything. Angry and seeking revenge, Goldie becomes a dybbuk– her soul possesses the body of Southern football hero Clay Harper and she refuses to join the light until the wrongs are rectified.

Only Clay has issues of his own and doesn’t take kindly to a petulant New Yorker in his head, interfering in his already messed up life. When Goldie promises to leave if Clay helps her break up the wedding between her fiancé and the witch who killed her, Clay reluctantly agrees. Only neither of them are prepared for the chain of events that follow.

Through the journey of two disparate people on a quest to make things right, Touchdown is a funny yet heartbreaking look about what it takes to truly know another soul and what it means to love.

Did you find the twist yet?  The heroine of our story is Jewish.  You know how I’m always saying how wonderful it would be if popular literature included people of other cultures and ethnicities?

Yeah that.

Where else are you going to get to use the word schmatta in a sentence? The author, Yael Levy, gives us a chance to brush up on our Yiddish while enjoying a love story.  I was happy to review her first book: Brooklyn Love, in 2012.  My review is here.  If you know nothing about Orthodox Jews, check it out.  Don’t be a shmendrik, learn about other cultures, nosh on new foods, and schmooze with new friends.

I bet you didn’t know you knew so much Yiddish, did’ya?

Isn’t it great to expand your horizons with literature from other cultures?  Who knew they were just like you?

I knew.

I’m proud to be the star  part of JKS Communications Tour!

Touchdowntour

Categories
2015 Diversity Reading Challenge Children

A Sweet Book for Dads to Read at Bedtime: Elizabeth’s Constellation Quilt by Olivia Fu

Elizabeth is a young mouse who wants to be a sailor like her father. Her father tells her a sailor must use the stars to find his way, but to Elizabeth, all stars look the same. Then her mother makes her a constellation quilt. When her father is lost at sea, Elizabeth is the one who sails to rescue him, armed with her quilt and her new knowledge of the stars.

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I thought it might be fun to talk to the author/illustrator about the book, so here’s an interview with Olivia Fu.

Q: How did you come up with the characters? How did you come up with the name?

The characters in Elizabeth’s Constellation Quilt were inspired by my own family, but the relationships aren’t a direct reflection of mine. It is more of a fantastic creation of what the relationships could be, in this whimsical world. Elizabeth is my oldest sister’s name, and I dedicate the book to her because she has always been a strong force in my family. She is in many ways like Elizabeth in the book, strong willed, self-determining, and adventurous.

On the process of illustrating the book

The process happened very quickly. This is my first published children’s book, so I’m still working on my process. There is no exact formula quite yet but there is structure. I start out by writing the manuscript. This means scribbling notes on postets, sketch books, and in the margins of my agenda. Eventually, these notes get woven together into a coherent story.

I want to mention that I my editor, Barney, had given me some really helpful information before I began illustrating this book. He had sent me a blog by Mem Fox, where she provides advice for writers. She says when you write, you need to be in a COMPLETELY silent room. It is like creating music and you need to be able to hear the words in your head. I really latched onto this idea when creating the illustrations for this book. When I read the manuscript, it was in a completely silent room. The initial pictures just sort of came to me. I am more likely to get a successful picture the first time, if I have razor focus in a room where not even the buzz of a fly will distract me.

I am creating the images in my head, as though I’m recalling them in a film I’ve already created. Certain lines in the story naturally fit together. These become one page or a spread. Certain parts of the story start to separate, need a pause here and there, or need a page of no words for the story to escalate or de-escalate. Then I make ROUGH thumbnail sketches. When it comes time to make the finals, I need TONS of source images. I am the kind of artist that needs to look at something.

Q: Do you have pets?

I have a fish named Kitty. I had wanted a cat, but I am not allowed to have cats in my apartment, hence the name Kitty. I am very attached to Kitty and he is surprisingly needy and responsive. He has the personality of a very flirty corgi. Growing up, I also had a fish named, Phoebe, who lived for a long time, about 5 years. There are four kids in the family including me, so for my parents that was enough lives to take care of.

Q: What’s your favorite color?

At the moment green, but my favorite color changes all the time. It used to be blue, then red, then purple, now green.

Q: What kind of art do you do – media and subjects?  

I’ve always been a painter and I have the most experience with it, but it is important to me to choose the media that best tells the story. Elizabeth’s Constellation Quilt is a story about a close father daughter relationship and it has ups and downs. It’s a rich story, which required a rich medium, so I chose paint.

I’ve done a lot of advocacy based artwork in mural painting, covering topics like traffic safety, immigration, and the history of Riverbank State Park and Water Treatment Plant. Before that I did large scale painting about current and historical events that are important to me, like the Rape of Nanking, and the creation of the atomic bomb.

Now I am focusing on children’s books about family relationships, unlikely friendships, and finding meaning in the world. The thing that ties my artwork together, is that I like to tell stories. Sometimes there is a clear message, and sometimes I just want to provide a different perspective. Stories provide just the right amount of structure and flexibility in my creative process. I enjoy creating the characters, the world they inhabit, and the events they will overcome and draw meaning out of. Creating a character is like getting to know a new person and discovering a new perspective. I escape into my stories.

Q: Where are your parents from/background?

My dad is from Hong Kong and my mom is from Taiwan. They met in graduate school in West Virginia. I’m really close to my parents.

Q: Why did you get into art?

This is going to sound cliché, but I just need to create things. It is how I communicate myself and it has taken me a long time to realize home important it is to me.

Q: What age did you start drawing?

I started drawing when I was 5 years old. My mom signed me up for an after school art class that I attended every Friday, from age 5 to 18. My teacher’s name was Mrs. Camozzi and she was one of the most patient and kind teachers I’ve ever had. She gave me a lot of freedom.

Q: Is it hard to be an artist/teacher?

Most definitely. Both being an artist and a teacher take a lot out of me emotionally. I hold myself to a high standard. I feel very responsible for how I influence young people, both as a teacher and as a artist/writer. It is also a lot to juggle mentally. When I plan a lesson, I have to think of things in a very structured organized way. When I make illustrations, although I have my own system for that, I have to let go of some control and be able to trust my instincts.

Q: Where do you live?

I live in Harlem New York, but I plan on moving back to California very soon.

Q: What things do you like to do outside of art/writing/teaching?

That is a very good question. At the moment my career does somewhat take over my life, but when I do have free time, I see friends and family, eat good food, go to museums, watch many animated movies, and try to keep myself out of trouble. Like Elizabeth I am a risk taker and deep down am always seeking adventure.

I love how the little girl goes to rescue her father. It’s so sweet! Perfect book for Dads and their little ones, don’t ya think? This book can totally count toward your Diversity Reading Challenge, as it’s written by an author of color.

Enjoy it’s cuteness!

Categories
Blogging from A to Z Challenge Books

#AtoZ Challenge Letter D for Dixie Wants an Allergy by #ToriCorn @toricornbooks @SamiJoLien

#atozchallenge letter D

    It’s the A to Z Challenge and letter D! Let’s see what we’ve got today:

Dixie Wants an Allergy Tour Badge

Now I know what you’re thinking, this prolly isn’t a middle grade title. It’s not. But seeing as it’s SPRING and I suffer from allergies, I thought it to be an appropriate title.

PLUS

CUTE.

So here’s the story: little Dixie is the only child in her class who doesn’t have an allergy.  The other children need identifiable bracelets to show that they are special.  In a class full of allergies, Dixie feels left out and ordinary.  So she wishes for an allergy.  You know what they say; be careful what you wish for?

dixie wants an allergy.jpg

 

You guessed it! She gets an allergy. As an allergy sufferer I can tell you they’re not fun. Unless your idea of fun is sneezing like a big goober and feeling like a globbery mess.

The other problem? Dixie needs to stop wishing for things and just be satisfied with who she is, right?

Right, cuz I think you’re pretty awesome just as you are!

And speaking of awesome, tomorrow is letter E!

Categories
Books Young Adult

Yael Levy – Touchdown

touchdown

 

 

Touchdown by Yael Levy is a paranormal romance that is not your typical paranormal romance.

Why, you ask? Well, mostly because it doesn’t start out like paranormal.  I’ll admit I was well into the book before I realized it was going on!  The book reads like a lovely and light romance; however, with a twist.

New York socialite Goldie Fischer seems to have it all: wealth, beauty, and a fiancé to die for. Until she’s murdered on her wedding night by a jealous witch and instantaneously loses everything. Angry and seeking revenge, Goldie becomes a dybbuk– her soul possesses the body of Southern football hero Clay Harper and she refuses to join the light until the wrongs are rectified.

Only Clay has issues of his own and doesn’t take kindly to a petulant New Yorker in his head, interfering in his already messed up life. When Goldie promises to leave if Clay helps her break up the wedding between her fiancé and the witch who killed her, Clay reluctantly agrees. Only neither of them are prepared for the chain of events that follow.

Through the journey of two disparate people on a quest to make things right, Touchdown is a funny yet heartbreaking look about what it takes to truly know another soul and what it means to love.

Did you find the twist yet?  The heroine of our story is Jewish.  You know how I’m always saying how wonderful it would be if popular literature included people of other cultures and ethnicities?

Yeah that.

Where else are you going to get to use the word schmatta in a sentence? The author, Yael Levy, gives us a chance to brush up on our Yiddish while enjoying a love story.  I was happy to review her first book: Brooklyn Love, in 2012.  My review is here.  If you know nothing about Orthodox Jews, check it out.  Don’t be a shmendrik, learn about other cultures, nosh on new foods, and schmooze with new friends.

I bet you didn’t know you knew so much Yiddish, did’ya?

Isn’t it great to expand your horizons with literature from other cultures?  Who knew they were just like you?

I knew.

I’m proud to be the star  part of JKS Communications Tour!

Touchdowntour

Categories
Books

Hotlight Spotlight: China Grove Literary Journal

ChinaGrove

 

If you liked The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (even if it took me a looong time to finish and no matter I whined the whole way through) you’ll love China Grove.  Here’s what’s up:

Edited by R. Scott Anderson MD and Lucius M. “Luke” Lampton MD, the first issue features an exclusive interview with National Book Award winner Ellen Gilchrist and a new short story from her latest book “Acts of God.” Also inside readers will find a previously unseen letter from Mark Twain about an unpublished work called “The Great Republic’s Peanut Stand,” a love letter from Pulitzer Prize winner Eudora Welty to crime-fiction writer Kenneth Millar (Ross Macdonald) with an insight into the entire collection of Welty-Millar correspondence unsealed for the first time just this year, and of course original submissions from fresh writers across the country.

Lampton grew up in the thick of southern literature. He lived among the likes of Willie Morris, Shelby Foote, Walker Percy, and Welty herself. He publishes a community newspaper called The Magnolia Gazette. As an author of monthly columns, screenplays and three books, Anderson experienced first hand the up-hill battle new writers have in getting attention for their work. So with their combined knowledge and interests, “China Grove” was born.

“Our goal is to give talented newcomers a chance to be published next to legends, and to see the history of what it is they’ve chosen to pursue as a vocation,” Anderson said.

Going forward, the lit-loving doctors plan to publish two issues in 2014 and go quarterly in subsequent years. They accept unpublished short fiction, poetry and essays for consideration. Every issue will feature a cornerstone interview with a famous Mississippi author. Among their next targets is Gulfport’s Natasha Trethewey, the current United States Poet Laureate.

The journal will also award two new literary prizes: The Gilchrist Prize in Short Fiction given biannually starting Fall 2014 with a monetary gift of $2,000, and The China Grove Prize in Poetry starting in 2015.

Submissions should be sent in through the “China Grove” website. The deadline for the February 2014 issue is October 1, 2013, and for the August 2014 issue is April 1, 2014. Single copy issues in print or online are $18. Subscriptions are $45 for the first three issues.

 

Ok, so its not medically related but who doesn’t love rich Southern historical literature? I’m thinking the gentility of To Kill a Mockingbird meets the southern accent of Forrest Gump.  I dunno.

If   you’re a writer of short stories, see for yourself. Maybe you’ll win?

Good Luck, y’all!