The Last Lumenian by S.G. Blaise

 

Story Summary:

She is a rebel. Lilla is fighting for the refugees’s freedom from oppression. The king, her father, lost touch with reality ever since Lilla’s mother died. Now everyone else is paying the price.

The arrival of Callum, a powerful Teryn general, complicates Lilla’s life. His presence leads to conflicted feelings and friction with Arrov, a handsome pilot and fellow rebel.

Her life is not what she imagined it to be. Not by far. Meddling gods, love interests and sudden magical abilities have no room in Lilla’s world, but that has become her new reality. No matter how hard she pushes them away, it’s too late. They all seek to control her anyway.

Now the Era War between two ruling archgods forces Lilla to act: accept who she really is magic and all; find true love; fulfill her destiny by defeating the Archgod of Chaos and Destruction before He finds her. The Last Lumenian.

Amazon Link – https://amzn.to/3gUBBcA

 

Kirkus Review:

A rebellious princess discovers magical abilities that help her take on a powerful enemy in this debut fantasy. As the king’s daughter, 17-year-old Ma’hana Lilla of the planet Uhna is expected to obey. But Lilla strongly disagrees with her father’s policies, which keep refugees imprisoned in squalid camps even though Uhna is immensely wealthy thanks to mastering technology that’s combined with elemental magic. Lilla joins the rebellion, but events become complicated when Callum a’ruun, a general with the Teryn Praelium, arrives with a delegation. They’re seeking assistance from the 19 worlds of the Pax Septum Coalition, which Uhna leads. Although the Archgoddess of the Eternal Light and Order prevailed last time in the era wars, the Archgod of Chaos and Destruction is again gathering an army of corrupt fiends and servants. Besides politics, Lilla struggles with panic disorder, grief over her mother’s early death, and alarm over the control her new, young stepmother wields over the king. Callum is both irritating and attractive, complicating Lilla’s relationship with Arrov, a pilot who’s joined the rebellion. But all these local and personal difficulties pale beside the undeniable call of Lilla’s true nature, her untapped magical abilities, and her essential role in combating the Archgod. In her novel, Blaise deftly blends Lilla’s approachable, young present-tense voice with sophisticated worldbuilding, seen even in minor details. For example, guards still wear cutlasses because Uhna was founded by pirates, and Lilla’s island home is reflected in her favorite expletive: “Buckets of fishguts!” The plot’s many disparate ingredients—romance, war, politics, magic, technology, family tensions, theology, psychology—meld in a deliciously hearty bouillabaisse, helped by intelligent exposition, surprising revelations, believable conflicts, and strong character development. Everything builds to an exciting, dramatic, and satisfying conclusion. A terrifically entertaining, complex, and original fantasy.

https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/s-g-blaise/the-last-lumenian/

 

AWARDS:

2020 New York Book Festival
Winner: Romance
Honorable Mention: Science Fiction

2020 San Francisco Book Festival

Winner: Science Fiction

2020 Annual Best Book Awards

Winner: Best Cover for Fiction

2020 New England Book Festival

Winner: Science Fiction

2021 Independent Press Award

Distinguished Favorite: Fantasy

 

Author Info:

S.G. was born in a faraway land of castles, monarchies and fallen dictatorships. Hollywood movies were forbidden under the Soviet oppression during her childhood, but her dad smuggled them in anyway, risking his life so that his children could experience the magic and hope inherent in those stories. She watched rebellions unfold in real time. Journeyed across the Atlantic Ocean for love. She ended up in sunny California, where she is living her dream – writing stories and annoying family members.

Twitter – @SGBlaiseAuthor

Facebook – https://facebook.com/thelastlumenian

Instagram – @sgblaiseofficial

Interview with Ballet Orphans Author Terez Mertes Rose

Terez Mertes Rose is the author of the Ballet Theatre Chronicles and A Dancer’s Guide to Africa. A former Peace Corps volunteer and ballet dancer, her writing has appeared in numerous publications, including the Crab Orchard Review, Women Who Eat (Seal Press), A Woman’s Europe (Travelers’ Tales), Literary Mama and the Philadelphia Inquirer. She reviews dance performances for Bachtrack.com and blogs about ballet and classical music at The Classical Girl. She makes her home in the Santa Cruz Mountains with her husband and son.

 

1. Which books/authors inspired your work?
Long answer: I own a few hundred books adorning multiple bookshelves in my house, some in my possession since my teens, some published in the past month. Each one has informed and enhanced my writing, either the author’s voice or their storytelling skills, or both. It would be really hard to choose which one had the most influence.

Short answer: Adrienne Sharp’s gorgeous ballet fiction. Stephen Manes’ When Snowflakes Dance and Swear. Anything by Curtis Sittenfeld.

2. What’s one thing that you learned while writing your book?
I learned a lot about the early days of Silicon Valley. It’s crazy fascinating.

3. After this book, are you writing anything new? Where are you in the process?
I am working on a Book 4 of the Ballet Theatre Chronicles (Ballet Orphans is a series prequel and Book 3). I’ve gotten the basic story down and have written for months without judgment, so now it’s a big bloated mess with a lot of sloppy writing. This is where the real work begins for me. I couldn’t be happier. I prefer crafting and rewriting over the tricky creation of something out of nothing.

4. Describe your writing routine. Do you outline? Edit as you go?
I get up at 4:30am and start writing as soon as possible. Mornings are my best time. I try not to focus too much on outline in the beginning of the process because that kills the muse. But as soon as things gel, I do develop a chapter-by-chapter outline, just a sentence or two for each chapter. This gives me both structure and freedom. I edit some as I go, but I try not to “put on the editor’s cap” like I do in the final draft. It kills the muse, for me, to get too nitty-gritty editorial too early.

5. What do you do when you’re not writing?
Read, read, read. Attend to my household’s and family’s needs. And I’m an exercise junkie, and I love walking out in nature, so that’s a chunk of my day too. It pairs nicely with the isolationist stress and sedentary nature of writing. It also gives me time to daydream. (A fiction writer’s best friend!)

6. How do you combat/cure writer’s block?
I give myself permission to write really bad stuff. We’re talking really bad. But keeping the fingers moving is crucial to me. Occasionally my writing block (which has a lot to do with my mood, my spirits) is so debilitating, even that feels like a challenge. On those occasional days, maybe once a month, I give myself a break, find a book I love escaping into, and make it a “return to the bed and just read” day. Or I journal. I’m a nonfiction writer and blogger as well as a novelist, so, in general, there are plenty of different directions I can steer myself.

7. What advice would you give an aspiring writer who doesn’t know where to start?
Just write. Stop talking about doing it, and just do it. Journaling. Plucking a subject out of the air and goofing around. Telling a story. A poem. Do it daily. Keep your goals small. Start with 20 minutes a day, every day. Use a timer. The fun thing about becoming a writer is that, provided you write daily, you’re a writer. Every time you write, you’re a writer. If it bores you to write daily, well, reconsider whether you want to be a writer. Writing sounds glamorous from a distance. It’s actually more like shoveling dirt. The pay for your effort, financially, is peanuts. A writer writes because they can’t not write. It’s equal parts a blessing and a curse.

8. What was the most challenging thing about writing your book?
Making it not sound like the other two books in the series, and yet, not too different. They are all three set in the professional ballet world, which is quite specific. It’s hard to come up with new ways of saying much of the same thing.

9. Are you part of any writer’s groups or guilds? Which one(s)?
I’ve kept my presence in groups small after the early learning years, because it can become a convenient distraction, to talk/write about writing instead of going into a cave and doing the work. At this time, I’m part of an online writers’ group called Backspace. A group of us have remained connected, via discussion forums, for something like 20 years. It’s been an invaluable support.

10. Do you have a social media presence? Where can people find you online?
My blog, The Classical Girl (www.theclassicalgirl.com), is my biggest social media contribution, where I’ve written over 230 essays that have garnered over a million page views. I’m as committed to that as I am my fiction. That’s where readers can find me, and find a variety of articles, essays, and dance reviews. They can also reach me via Facebook (as The Classical Girl) and Twitter (@classicalgrrl).

11. Talk about your main character. What are they like and what inspired their personality?
April is a great character; I like her a lot. She’s got a good head on her shoulders and isn’t as flamboyant as some of my other narrators. She actually showed up in the first two books of the series, years back, so I couldn’t make up something out-of-character when it came her turn to narrate. She loses both parents by the time she turns 26, and left home at age 15 to train for a dance career, so she keenly feels the loss of family, which, in turn, makes her reflective, compassionate, in search of personal closeness. And a damned good dancer.

12. How does your main character change throughout the story?
She becomes less self-centered about her determination to make it to the top as a ballet professional. Still grieving the death of her parents and feeling alone in the world, she opens herself to new possibilities, new friendships, which play an enormous part in how she changes through the story. She grows wiser, tougher in some ways, and softer in others.

13. If you weren’t an author, where do you think you’d be? What would you be doing?
I am so enamored with the ballet world, through my writing, and it’s a love that hasn’t died. So, if I were much younger, I’d go nose around and see if I could involve myself in dance administration, or it’s equivalent in the world of classical music. I love being in those worlds, in any capacity. Then again, I was a Peace Corps Volunteer back in the late 1980s and the need to serve in a socially relevant fashion is still there, too. My career could have gone the way of the social services. The nice thing about being a writer is that pondering the path not taken is great fodder for writing fiction.

14. What is the most satisfying thing about being an author?
I love that I can believe wholeheartedly in the product I’m creating. I like working alone, and I like working on deep, involved projects. When I’m in the middle of creating a novel, I’m so content, and the rest of the world just falls away. I’ve never felt that kind of contentment in any other job. At the same time, it challenges me, a lot, in ways I’ve never found in other jobs.

15. How do you think your book can help people? What do you hope people will take away/learn from your book?

They get to learn about the “behind the curtains” world of ballet. It eternally fascinates me, and I’m always on the lookout for books that do this. There are so few. Readers frequently comment how much they enjoyed this glimpse of something they knew nothing about. The novel I wrote prior, A Dancer’s Guide to Africa, is one I wish everyone would read. It’s set in provincial Africa, the “real” Africa and not the one in the movies, loosely mirroring my two-year experiences as a teacher there, and it educates readers, in a fun, engrossing way, on what it’s like to live in a dramatically different culture.

16. What made you choose the time/place in which your book was set?
I knew which year it had to be—1989 and 1990—because the chronology of the series was already set, from the other books. Likewise, the story is set in San Francisco, the same as the others, out of necessity.

17. What are reviewers/family/friends/other authors saying about your book?
I was happy that Kirkus Reviews called Ballet Orphans, “A stimulating and entertaining tale in which passion and art intermingle.” And I liked the endorsement from author Kelly Mustian (The Girls in the Stilt House), who said that I usher readers “behind the scenes of the gritty and glamorous world of ballet and captivates us with a story that is ultimately about universal themes of loss, hope, belonging, and what makes a family.” While I’m grateful that friends and family love the book and the series, it’s endorsements from ballet professionals and administrators that mean the world to me, like Lauren Jonas, artistic director of Diablo Ballet, who said, “I could identify with [April’s] struggles and achievements and I rooted for her along the way. A recommended read for all, dancer and non-dancer alike.”

18. What type of person do you think would most enjoy your book?
I’d say females, age 18-60, but I’ve been surprised to find plenty of male readers engaging in the series. Then again, plenty of males are interested in the dance world. So, I’d say, any reader who is curious about the performing arts world and what really goes on behind the scenes. Readers who love ballet will love this book. Book club readers who want a smart, fun, intelligent, warmly romantic read without the cutesy nature of chick lit. Romance readers. Women’s fiction readers.

19. How do you organize your book collection, if at all?
I don’t. The books on my various bookshelves tend to be a disorganized mess. I don’t care. They are all lovely books. I try to limit their presence to bookshelves, but they start to stack up and spill out into their own piles, and to make space on the bookshelf once again, I have to weed out the ones I won’t read again. I hate doing that. It’s like trying to weed out old friends. You’ll miss them if you let them go.

You can buy Ballet Orphans from Amazon here – https://amzn.to/2RknEMd

Cowell ‘crossing fingers’ for Dragon 3 Oscar win

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Cowell is the author of the How To Train Your Dragon novel series

One intriguing subplot at this year’s Oscars can be found in the animated feature film category, where the third How To Train Your Dragon film is up against Toy Story 4.

There’s previous here, as it was Toy Story 3 that stopped the first How To Train Your Dragon winning this award in 2011.

How To Train Your Dragon 2 also lost out in 2015 (to Big Hero 6), so this is the final opportunity for DreamWorks’ fire-breathing franchise to take home an Oscar.

Set in and around a Viking land called Berk, the series tells of a young warrior called Hiccup and his adventures with his loyal dragon Toothless.

One person who’ll definitely be rooting for How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is Cressida Cowell, the British author (and Children’s Laureate) whose books inspired the series.

“I so want them to get it, I can’t tell you how much,” she told BBC News last month. “I’m crossing my fingers, I’m crossing my toes… I’m crossing absolutely everything.

“I could not be prouder of these movies and I really want them to get the Oscar they so deserve.”

Authors aren’t always pleased by adaptations of their books. Yet Cowell said she had found the process “really enjoyable”.

“I’ve loved the whole thing,” she declared. “It has been really fascinating to have an insight into a world I wasn’t really intending to end up in.”

Another bonus is the number of new young readers the films’ success has brought her way.

“Often people see the films as a sort of rival,” she said. “But I’m passionate about getting books in the hands of all children and the films have been wonderful for doing that.”

Two Netflix titles, Klaus and I Lost My Body, are also nominated this year, as is stop-motion animation Missing Link.

If the latter film doesn’t win, it will be the fifth time that Laika – the studio previously nominated for Coraline, ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls and 2016’s Kubo and the Two Strings – goes home empty-handed.

Image copyright Netflix
Image caption Klaus tells an alternative version of the Santa Claus origin story

Missing Link was crowned best animated film at the Golden Globes in January, while Klaus – an alternative version of the Santa Claus origin story – won the equivalent prize at the Bafta Film Awards last weekend.

Those films are generally considered to be the front runners in a category that has only been part of the Academy Awards since 2002.

Director Chris Butler was nominated, alongside fellow Brit Sam Fell, when ParaNorman was shortlisted for the animated film Oscar in 2013.

The Liverpool native describes Missing Link as “a kaleidoscopic travelogue” in which a 19th Century English explorer goes in search of a fabled Sasquatch creature.

“I started writing this 15 or so years ago, and the idea was to have a stop motion version of Indiana Jones,” he told the BBC last year.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionOscar-nominated film writer and director Chris Butler’s top tips

Hugh Jackman provides the voice for the heroic Sir Lionel Frost, while Zach Galifianakis voices the Yeti he discovers in America’s Pacific Northwest.

“Stop motion has a grand tradition of animated ape-men going all the way back to King Kong [1933], so I thought he was the perfect fit for this medium,” Butler continued.

Missing Link was not a box office success when it came out last April, barely recouping a quarter of its reported $100m (£77m) budget.

Toy Story 4, in contrast, made more than $1.07bn (£821m) worldwide, narrowly exceeding the $1.06bn (£813mn) that Toy Story 3 grossed in 2010.

The 92nd Academy Awards will be held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles on 9 February.

Follow us on Facebook, or on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts. If you have a story suggestion email [email protected].

Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-51358376

Chrissy Stocktons New Journal Is The Only Breakup Guide Youll Ever Need

Over the many years I have been following Chrissy Stockton, her writing has done the rare magic of consistently opening my mind to new ways of thinking and guiding me at times when I couldn’t figure out which way was forward.

Chrissy’s work is where poetry merges with reality.

Whether it’s esoteric or very practical, her words are a light, a safe place, and an awakening all at once. (“100 Reasons Why Losing Him Is Not A Loss” was not only an article that healed me after many a breakup, but a link I have sent to countless friends dealing with their own losses over the years.) Chrissy isn’t just a writer I admire, she’s also one of my best friends. We talk almost every day. Over the years, I’ve seen her practice what she (doesn’t preach) but shares with anyone who wants to listen, and can tell you firsthand she is authentically and so truly connected to what it means to be alive through the questions and answers, the peaks and the pits.

I was elated to find out that she had distilled all of her wisdom and (often hard-earned) knowledge into a compact journal where you could not only learn, but engage, draw out your emotions, reconcile your thoughts, and move forward.

I asked her a few questions about the book, her own experiences, and what she wishes she could have known when she was young.

1. I love this book because it’s a guide that doesn’t yet exist for one of the most common experiences in the world. Before you wrote it, what resources did you use to get over heartbreaks of your own?

An unhealthy way I walked myself through this was by obsessively Googling and reading relationship articles and Ask Reddit threads about relationships and breakups. I definitely wanted to get people out of doing that and into a more safe and introspective space. I grew up with the idea of “daily devotionals” (a religious practice of reading/journaling everyday) so I thought a workbook with an idea about healing and journaling space for every day would be the best. It’s not the one and only way to get through a breakup, but I think it’s an approach that’s fundamentally healthy and if you are doing healthy things that work through your emotions, it’s impossible not to make progress.

I have to say that all the articles I read compulsively didn’t even quench the thirst I had in searching for them. The best advice for moving on I’ve gotten was actually reading a Brené Brown book that isn’t about relationships where she talks about responding to that kind of manic feeling by taking a few breaths and asking myself to “zoom out.” When I think about the grand scheme of my life and my values, it’s a lot easier to see a rejection along the way as a necessary component of a bigger story whereas before I’d been in the headspace that the failed relationship was the whole story — and this was the end of everything.

2. You talk about how there are “two arrows,” the first that hurts us, and then the one we hurt ourselves with. It seems like this is the bulk of getting over a breakup. How do we learn to stop kicking ourselves when we’re down?

I view it all as a process rather than something that is hit or miss. If you make a goal to stop being hard on yourself but you’re still hard on yourself — to me, that’s not a failure, that’s the first phase of learning not to be hard on yourself because at least now you are consciously failing. Knowing you are bad at something is a step up from not knowing you are bad at something. Mastery comes later.

There’s no rush for this type of stuff even though it can feel like an emergency in the moment. You just have to accept that it’s going to take time and that most of the progress is going to be made while you aren’t paying attention. It’s like bulking up — you go to the gym and do the work but the magic happens while you’re resting and recovering. I think learning not to hurt yourself with the second arrow is part of self-mastery, which is a lifelong process of slowly working on yourself over time.

3. It’s interesting that people tend to assume a breakup is an assessment of worthiness when it’s just a matter of being matched or mismatched. The worst people in the world find love. Why do you think we treat it like a competitive sport?

Most people’s biggest fear is feeling unworthy of being in community with others. It’s a very understandable human fear and most people can feel a difference in their bodies just reading about it. We tense up. We don’t want to be picked last. Additionally, our brains are wired so that fear has a huge impact on our thoughts. This was at one point useful for survival. But we don’t have to worry about tigers jumping out of the trees anymore, so fear thoughts interrupting our everyday thoughts is more harmful than helpful. When we’re dealing with rejection, the fear voice keeps making us aware that we are close to danger. We’ve kind of evolved to be neurotic and obsessive even though it’s so ridiculously obvious that rejection is normal, common, and necessary.

When you really consider how fragile we all are and all the land mines and timing issues and misunderstandings we have to navigate in dating it makes perfect sense why it feels so hard.

4. Modern dating culture makes it seem embarrassing to get attached, when it would probably be far more strange to have an intimate relationship and not get attached to it at all. Do you think that this blame game part of what holds people back from healing?

This is something I have really struggled with in the past. I wish everyone knew how much gaslighting there is out there that has conditioned us to associate normal and appropriate human feelings with being “crazy.” Humans aren’t robots. We have emotions and we love and in most other time periods this was considered a beautiful thing. I feel more sane when I compare the way I feel about people to what I read in literature or hear in the lyrics of songs vs. what I read on the internet. These are legacy art objects that different generations have related to and venerated, so when I relate to them, I understand that removed from trends, all the feelings I have are just the same thing that’s happening to everyone else whether we admit to them or not.

5. What are the most life-changing lessons you took away from your worst breakups?

The hardest thing in the world is to learn not to take it personally. We know that people’s behavior towards us is just them projecting their own shit out into the world but it just feels so personal. It could just be the wrong time, or we could just have the wrong color hair. There’s so much luck and circumstance that goes into attraction and getting a relationship off the ground. But it always just feels like if we would have said the right thing or worn the right outfit the story would have ended differently. Learning not to take it personally takes a lot of practice.

6. If you could tell your younger self anything, what would you want her to know?

You are alive just to be you. That’s enough. I struggle with people pleasing, especially with dating. So I have to remind myself that my purpose isn’t to be beautiful or to receive the attraction of a certain person. I’m the protagonist of my life and sometimes I just need to get off my phone and go outside.

7. If someone just split with their ex today, what would you tell them to do tonight?

Physiologically, you are not capable of sustaining an intense feeling of distress for a long period of time. It will ebb and flow. You won’t be able to avoid pain, but you can lean learn to ride the waves.

Related

Read more: https://thoughtcatalog.com/brianna-wiest/2020/01/chrissy-stocktons-new-journal-is-the-only-breakup-guide-youll-ever-need

5 Massive Plot Holes From ‘You’ Season Two | Betches

Some say that the best holiday gift was spending time with family. I, however, forwent family time this holiday season to lock myself in my childhood room and binge the second season of You because Netflix’s impeccable timing is truly the best gift of all. If you didn’t watch, just stop reading now because there will be many a spoiler. Season two is exactly like season one except it takes place in L.A. and is slightly better because more people die in this one, and because the names in this season are even dumber than Guinevere Beck, if you can believe it. 

I’m not going to summarize the second season, nor am I going to review it, but I will offer five of my favorite inconsistencies because even though Joe Goldberg is my favorite Jewish murderer, he f*cked up a lot. Buckle up, because we’re about to take a drive through the biggest plot holes of You season two.

1. Henderson’s “Suicide”

Similar to that of Jeffery Epstein, Henderson’s death was a very obvious murder that the cops stupidly believed was a suicide. If watching 22 seasons of Law & Order: SVU has taught me anything, it’s that suicides are pretty easy to differentiate from homicides, so I’m confused how anyone with working vision could walk into Hendy’s sex dungeon and just be like, “Yep, suicide for sure.” To set the scene, Henderson is laying face down in a pool of his own blood with rope marks on both wrists and a f*ckton of GHB in his system. I’m no detective, but that doesn’t seem like a suicide to me, L.A.P.D.! Of course, he died in a sex dungeon, so the rope marks could have just been some kind of BDSM thing, but the GHB? Generally, if you want to enjoy the sex you’re about to have, you don’t roofie yourself right beforehand. 

Obviously, it is later revealed that, surprise, his death actually wasn’t a suicide, and the police decide that the most obvious target on whom to pin the murder is a 15-year-old girl, because of course. All the cops had to do was visit the scene of the crime to realize that her fingerprints, hair, fibers, etc. are nowhere to be found to conclude that she was never down there. Of course, she could have been wearing gloves, but since she can barely read a book, if she was down there, she’d likely leave some evidence.

And lastly, if every 7/11 has a security camera on its slushy machines, wouldn’t it make sense for a hugely famous comedian in L.A. to have a few cameras on his multi-million dollar home to avoid things like break-ins and murders? All I gotta say is f*ck the police. Case closed, people. 

2. The Whole LSD Incident

I can derail this plot line in one single sentence: LSD does not cause memory loss. Period. There are plenty of drugs that do, though, so I’m confused why the sh*tty writers chose this specific drug for Joe’s epic blackout during which he’s convinced that he murdered hot neighbor Delilah. Also, why was Forty (why???) able to recall every detail of his night and Joe can’t remember a damn thing? They took the same drug, right?

Also, question for Forty: if you’re trying to have a really productive night, drugging your writing partner with a hallucinogen just doesn’t sound like it’d be a good idea. I can barely write a 1,000-word Betches story on iced coffee, so I can’t imagine having to bang out an entire script on f*cking acid. Forty also never really explains why he thought slipping the brains of the partnership a hallucinogen was a good call, so I’m doubly confused. It seems like it would have made more sense for them to rent a WeWork room and bang out a few pages before calling it a day. 

3. The Au Pair’s “Suicide”

Ah, another very obvious murder staged as a suicide. If the police were to believe this was a suicide and not a troubled teen committing her first of many murders, they’d likely want the knife that the au pair supposedly used to confirm. However, had they done that, they would have found baby Love’s fingerprints all over it and filed a cute little manslaughter charge against her. 

The Quinn family, who are supposed to be super loaded yet their only real asset is *checks notes* a health food store (sounds like MLM but okay), covers up the murder like it ain’t no thang. When I was in high school, I could barely manage to cover up skipping track practice to hang out with my boyfriend, let alone killing my babysitter in cold blood (and in broad daylight) and framing my brother for it. If Love wanted to kill the nanny and make it look like a suicide, why not just take a note from Henderson’s book and slip her a little too much GHB? Not that I spend my days thinking about how to kill the people I hate without going to jail for it, but drugs seem like the most obvious route to take.

4. The Cage

I know this is really specific, but how in the actual f*ck did Joe manage to bring the fiberglass soundproof cage with him from New York to L.A.? I once left a West Elm sofa in Atlanta because I couldn’t figure out how to get it from there to New York without spending more than the sofa was worth, but you’re telling me that a bookstore clerk moved a small building across the country? Bitch, please. Also, did he just steal it from the bookstore in New York or have a new one made? I know this seems like a really niche detail, but since most of the scenes take place in the storage unit, I have a lot of questions re: its cross-country journey. 

Another issue I have with the cage is what it’s used for. I feel like this is a little much for old books, no? Like, the Declaration of Independence has a protective case, but not its own freaking house. Why do rare books from what seems like a run-of-the-mill bookstore get their own bulletproof mansion? It honestly seems like this cage was built for people to get murdered in, which is totally fine by me, but let’s stop pretending it’s saving old books from ruin and call a spade a spade, mmkay?

5. Love and Forty

The absurd names aren’t really a plot hole, but they are on this list because I need an explanation. In my opinion, you can’t name two of the main characters Love and Forty without some sort of reasoning behind them. All I know is that they are tennis terms, but since there is only one tennis scene in this show, I’m really f*cking confused—especially because the tennis scene was reminiscent of the one from Bridesmaids in that they all suck ass at tennis. It would be one thing if all of the characters had ridiculous names (they’re in L.A., after all), but I just feel like you can’t have some characters with names like Joe, Ellie and Candice and then have a few more named Love and Forty. WTF, Netflix? Aside from the fact that the twins’ names are weird af, I also don’t understand why one twin is named zero, essentially, and the other is named after the score just before match point. I’m seriously confused. Were Deuce and Fifteen taken by another teen thriller? 

Did I miss any massive plot holes? Let me know in the comments! XOXO Gossip Girl

Images: Netflix Media Center; Giphy (5)

Read more: https://betches.com/?p=75644

Karen Wasylowski Questions for SB Hilarion I AM Manifesto

1. Which books/authors inspired your work?

  • I’m a big fan of 13th century poet and mystic Rumi, and I’m constantly blown away by his quotes and how much they ring true to our lives.

2. What’s one (3, 5) thing(s) that you learned while writing your book?

  • The beauty and power of words and how much of an impact internalizing certain words and their meanings can have on one’s view of life and circumstances, and actions. I’m not making a profound statement but I was really pulled in by certain words during the journey, and I actually discovered certain things about myself as well.

3. After this book, are you writing anything new? Where are you in the process?

  • I’m writing now my third book, Hao and Sabine Buy the World’s Currencies. I’m more than half-way through writing it, and I hope to release it later in 2020.

4. Describe your writing routine. Do you outline? Edit as you go?

  • During the weekday, I research and write at night. I spend time with my kids, then go down for a nap between 7:30 and 8pm. I wake up between 9:30 and 10 pm and then I proceed to work until about 1:30 am. On the weekend, I would work until 3 / 4 am.
  • I outline, yes, and for my works with illustrations, I initially sketch in black pen before I draw with ebony graphite lead pencil. I edit as I go along, usually midway each chapter.

5. What do you do when you’re not writing?

  • I read a lot of articles on science especially on space, the environment, world cultures, and for fun a lot of Nordic noir books. For vacations, my family and I enjoy traveling to countries, visiting as much archeological cultural sites and museums as we can, and eating only local cuisine to complete the experience.

6. How do you combat/cure writer’s block?

  • I first take it as a sign from my body that it needs a mental and physical break. After a few days of not writing, I then start either researching and illustrating something related to my book as both bring out my creativity.

7. What advice would you give an aspiring writer who doesn’t know where to start?

  • Meditate (which I’m not good at), and listen to chakra / mantra music.

8. What was the most challenging thing about writing your book?

  • Trying to find as many inspirational words that were in A all the way to Z, then trying not to duplicate (too many) words with similar meanings in the same month.

9. Are you part of any writer’s groups or guilds? Which one(s)?

  • Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators

10. Do you have a social media presence? Where can people find you online?

  • I have a website: www.sbhilarion.com; and I’m on Facebook @sbhilarion, but unfortunately I’m not a big social media user.

11. Talk about your main character. What are they like and what inspired their personality?

  • Brother-sister young siblings Hao Finley Lee and Sabine Yi Lee. They are avid knowledge seekers with a keen interest in math, science, languages and food. They’re multi-racial characters. My two children are the inspirations.

12. How does your main character change throughout the story?

  • My books are narrative nonfiction. Therefore, it’s not so much that my main characters change, but that as they learn new things, you see how such impact them (or not).

13. If you weren’t an author, where do you think you’d be? What would you be doing?

  • I actually am an attorney (day, night and weekend—sad face).

14. What is the most satisfying thing about being an author?

  • Honestly, all the knowledge that I’m learning and I am trying to share with children globally.

15. How do you think your book (F)/story (NF) can help people? What do you hope people will take away/learn from your book?

  • To encourage kids to believe in themselves, to trust their instincts, to be empathetic, not to be entitled or to place high value on narcissistic qualities.

16. What made you choose the time/place in which your book was set?

  • I AM Manifesto actually is the second book that I wrote. However, it’s the first that I published in 2018 solely because that was the year of the ten-year anniversary of the passing of my first son.

17. What is/are reviewers/family/friends/other authors saying about your book?

  • I AM Manifesto has received great editorial reviews, ranging from 4 – 5 stars. Two in particular that I really liked were from the Seattle Book Review and Readers’ Favorite, respectively: “I enjoyed this book, and it is one that I believe will help parents build connections with their kids and encourage positive thinking alike.” & “Let me begin by being very frank: I AM Manifesto by SB Hilarion is the most unusual and unique book for children that I have ever reviewed…. I AM Manifesto is a means of getting into the practice of giving yourself encouragement and positive reinforcement daily…a worthwhile habit not just for children but for adults as well.”

18. What type of person do you think would most enjoy your book?

  • In no particular order:
    • Parents who want to instill certain values in their children;
    • Parents who just want their kids to know SAT-type vocabulary words (LOL!);
    • Kids and adults who are bullied, physically and emotionally abused, or have low self-esteem; and
    • Kids who are philomaths – love learning and are seeking knowledge.

19. How do you organize your book collection, if at all?

  • I don’t actually.

20. If you could invite your favorite fictional hero/heroine over to your house for dinner, who would it be and what would you talk about?

  • Hermione from Harry Potter: everything about the wizard world!
  • Together, Jo Nesbo’s Harry Hole and Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander: everything going on in today’s world and our individual purpose and journey!

21. What’s the best book, other than yours, that no one has ever heard of?

  • I honestly don’t know which to choose.

22. What’s a book you own that people would be most surprised to see on your shelf?

  • I’m an open book. My book collection reflects my personal beliefs and interests, which those who know me would already know.

23. Which author, living or dead, would you most like to meet? What would you hope to learn from them?

  • JK Rowling, William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Jo Nesbø; 18th and 19th century mystical writers, and of course Rumi.
  • How to write nonfiction in an engaging and page-turning manner that it reads like a novel.

This Is The January Tarot Horoscope For Each Zodiac Sign

2020, a new beginning and a year where we will be tested. The Capricorn Stellium pushes us to reach our higher purpose, to go beyond our limits and to grow up. The childish mentality will not help you move forward. Time to drop those self-defeating thoughts and to focus on the big prize. This is your year to define who you are and who you will become. Take control of the next chapter of your lives and get ready to create a masterpiece.

Aries – 2020 strikes you with a bang making you wonder about your spot in the world. Mars enters Sagittarius early in the month on January 3rd, that will give you some much needed success when it comes to academics or anything pertaining to higher thinking. Venus, the planet of love will have you going from social butterfly to hermit in a blink of an eye. It will allow for you to bring about peace. Your general focus will be working hard and hustling, thanks to the major Capricorn Stellium. Your card for the month of January is the Seven of Wands which compliments your need to compete and thrive during these times. There will be many people who will test you and put you through the ringer. Stay calm, stay strong and remember to think long and hard before taking any action. This is your time to behave like your sister sign, Libra. When Mars moves into fellow fire sign Sagittarius, it will help you think outside the box and will aid in your successes as it sparks that drive you have craved for some time.

Taurus – Mars moving into the sign of Sagittarius might bring some intense times that will be highly beneficial. You will wield control and exude more magnetism when you are surrounded by people. With the Saturn and Pluto Conjunction, causing some friction in your expression and ideology, this Mars transit can help spice things up with someone you are in love with or interested in. Venus moving into the sign of Pisces will benefit your connections with new people. Creative types will surround you and they will bring about new inspiration. If you lacked the will to create, now is the time to keep at it. Saturn will help you work diligently. It is slow and the rewards seem to not be anywhere, but Saturn requires your patience. As the bull, you understand the importance of not rushing. Your card for the month is the Empress. Your creativity will be sparked during these transits, so trust in what you have to offer to the world. The only one holding you back is you.

Gemini – The highlight for next month will be when Venus shifts in the sign of Pisces. It will be your time in the spotlight, and you will shine and thrive during this month. This is the much-needed recognition you have been craving for. All of your hard work will come with gifts that will boost your morale. Jupiter in the sign of Capricorn will bring you with much needed stability and a new outlook on life as you finally begin to pull yourself out of the darkness of the Saturn and Pluto influence. This will be a month of hope and renewal for you. Mars in Sagittarius will make you more in tune with your needs. Vocalizing what is best for you in partnerships. With Mercury in fellow air sign, Aquarius, there will be insight and much to learn for you this month. Learn from books, learn from mentors and apply this knowledge to create better plans for the road ahead. Your card for the month of January is the Four of Pentacles. Try find new methods to expound on your financial stability.

Cancer – When Venus shifts into fellow water sign, Pisces, you will experience a change in mood. There will be more optimism on your behalf. The joyful outlook will be expanded by Jupiter in Capricorn, making you want to believe in love once again. The Saturn and Pluto Conjunction might bring a dose of reality to your partnerships and your current situation. Those in relationships will either sink or swim during this transit, as you begin to value your worth. This will either enforce the bond or you will come to terms that changes need to be made. Mercury moving into Aquarius next month might make your words sharper and you might feel more intuitive. The Devil in Reverse is your card for the month. You have acknowledged your struggle, the pain and the misfortunes that have happened this year. Now is the time for you to release this and not to cling onto the past. Much more awaits once you let go and stop thinking about the failures and what has not happened for you.

Leo – The month of January brings you some surprises. With the Saturn and Pluto Conjunction in the sign of Capricorn, you will be fighting for what you want in school or work. You have learned a lot of self-discipline during the Saturn transit. Things have not been easy and some of you might have had some health troubles in the last couple of years. It will be a month where you might feel generous thanks to Venus in the sign of Pisces, making you humbler and more excited for love. Intimate relationships will be intensified with this transit as you become more possessive and needy with your partner. Those who are single might enjoy having lots of fun meeting new people when Mars enters fellow fire sign Sagittarius. It will be a moment of lots of reflection and exhilaration that will make things more bearable for you. With Jupiter in Capricorn, you can feel the pressures and burdens lifting and there will be a more joyous atmosphere with peers. Justice in Reverse is the card for you this month. Try not to be shady this month, especially to those who have wronged you. Keep doing you and let the haters stay bitter.

Virgo – The last two years might have felt like a drain for you and a pain. The Saturn and Pluto conjunction it will probably hit a little hard for you, but that does not mean you should lose faith or optimism. The tides are turning for you, Virgo. Jupiter entering the sign of Capricorn brings you with much needed fun into your life. The Lovers is the card for the month of January, and this is very fitting considering that Venus enters your sister sign, Pisces. This is a wonderful time to renew the love for your partner or appreciate your friends. To those who are single, January brings about a new era in your love life, so get ready for some excitement that is to come. However, with Mars entering the sign of Sagittarius it will bring some friction when it comes to dealing with family. Keep the anger levels low, try to relax and meditate because this month will only bring you lots of love and excitement. Focus on bringing peace and harmony to your life because it can only bring better things.

Libra – It might feel like an extremely karmic year for you as you have endured and fought tooth and nail for your spot in the sun. Saturn and Pluto Conjunctions has caused some troubles in the home front, but you are getting out of that dark spot with Jupiter in the sign of Capricorn offering you with a much-needed reprieve. Your card for the month is the Six of Swords Reversed showing that you refuse to change your mindset, and this is the time to let go of what is hurting you and accept the transformations that are to come. With Venus entering the sign of Pisces, you will be focusing more on improving at work or in school. Perfection is everything for you and no one can stop you. Mercury in the sign of Aquarius helps you feel awakened, as you have an easy time putting thoughts in order and even connecting with your creative side. Mars in Sagittarius helps you with attaining more clarity when it comes to your thought process. Everyone might view you as cold and reclusive, but this will be your way to fight through the darkness that you will pull yourself out.

Scorpio – There have been some blockages for you with Saturn in the sign of Capricorn. Communicating with peers and siblings might have been complicated for you and Pluto added to unnecessary tension. With Jupiter in the sign of Capricorn, you might feel freer to express yourself more. Blockages might be clearing, and any karmic debts might be forgiven. This is a month of reconciliation and with Venus entering fellow water sign, Pisces, you will be more generous, caring and people will notice your compassionate side. It will be a joyous month for you as you are more in tune with yourself and the environment you are currently in. The only advise would be to watch your spending habits as Mars shifts into Sagittarius, making you much more impulsive with the purse. Your card for the month of January is the King of Cups. You are in your element, emotionally in control and a tactician.

Sagittarius – The month of January feels like the beginning of a new journey to self-discovery for you. The Saturn and Pluto conjunction might spark some depressive moments, as you ponder over financial security and your own worth. This will pass as Jupiter in the sign of Capricorn bringing everyone a little more optimism for their troubles. With Mars entering your sign on the 3rd, you will finally feel awakened. This is the boost that you have wanted for a while, as it brings you in touch with that fire energy. It will be a very productive month for you and as Venus shifts into Pisces, you will experience some much needed relaxation in the home front. This will be bringing a calming energy, but it might be occasionally challenged with Mars in your sign. Find the balance in your relationships and learn to pick your battles. For those who are single, this applies to relationships with friends and family as well. The card of the month for you is Temperance. Remember to practice the balance (mentioned in my previous sentences) because it will help with growth.

Capricorn – It is all about you this time of year. 2020 starts with a bang since most of the signs are in Capricorn. You have endured and survived the last few years, but now things start to heat up and you will most likely be up for the ride. When Venus enters the sign of Pisces, you will be more in tune with the world around you. It might even make you feel a little sensitive and contemplative, as you reminisce of lost connections and try to even rekindle past romances. The Sun and Pluto Conjunction might intensify everything revolving your persona. It will be a fight or flight transit as you either hone your power, accept the changes or cower away in fear. However, all might feel suffocating but Jupiter in your sign reminds you to keep at it. Brighter days are ahead. Your card for the month is the Three of Pentacles. Seek help from those around you when you need it. Collaborative effort might bring you luck and success. Timing is everything.

Aquarius – The Saturn and Pluto Conjunction in Capricorn feels like the pregame for the Saturn in Aquarius transit. This is a taste of what you will be feeling in the next two and a half years. You might feel tired and drained but with Jupiter in Capricorn, this will be the much-needed transit you have been dreaming of…literally. Jupiter will clear away all of the negative thoughts that you have carried. You will see things in a new light and might feel a little more optimistic. With Mars entering the sign of Sagittarius, it will prove to be beneficial for you as you interact with those eternal optimists. Surrounding yourself with people that will help you find a new method of thinking will prove perfect for you. A shift in your mindset is necessary because it will help you thrive in the years to come. Venus in the sign of Pisces will help give you a little self-love and care. It will feel therapeutic to spend some money on you but do not get too carried away. The card for the month is the Five of Swords Reversed which is telling you to forgive but not forget. If you ended something on bad terms because you were at fault, making peace with that person will be in your best interest.

Pisces – January brings you into much calmer waters as Venus enters your sign on January 13th. Being more appealing, feeling more at ease with past choices and practicing self-forgiveness will be tied to this transit. Connecting with people in the last couple of years has not been easy with Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn. The conjunction on January 12th allows for much reflection as you analyze your current state of independence and how much stronger you have become because of the transit. Mercury entering Aquarius ties dreams to reality as you weave a path through them to gain answers, but you should not stress it. With Mars in the sign of Sagittarius, there is a prominence that will be associated with you in the next few months. It may have been a time where you were low key, but now you come in full force, showing everyone that you are still a competitor and someone that has evolved after facing challenges. Your card for the month of January is the Two of Swords. Make those choices that you have been putting off, learn to be more assertive even if this frightens you. You have the tools needed to make the best decision that will allow for you to grow even more.

Related

Read more: https://thoughtcatalog.com/a-t-nunez/2020/01/this-is-the-january-tarot-horoscope-for-each-zodiac-sign

Teacher Gives Anatomy Lesson In A Full-Body Suit That Maps Out The Human Body In Sharp Detail

Do you remember that one teacher? The one who cared? The one who always tried? Verónica Duque is that teacher. Recently, the 43-year-old decided to engage her students on a higher level and gave a class on anatomy in a full-body suit that mapped out the human body in great detail.

“I’ve been teaching for 15 years now,” Verónica told Bored Panda. “I teach natural and social science, art, as well as English and Spanish.”

Currently, Verónica teaches the third grade and is constantly looking for ideas on how to make the lessons more interesting. “I was surfing the internet when an ad of an AliExpress swimsuit popped up. Knowing how hard it is for kids this young to visualize the disposition of internal organs, I thought it was worth it giving it a try.”

Image credits: mikemoratinos

Image credits: mikemoratinos

Image credits: mikemoratinos

After her husband Michael tweeted some pics from the lesson, Verónica instantly went viral. Generating over 65K likes and 14k comments, the tweet has made her a symbol of creativity and dedication. However, she isn’t done yet. Verónica has plenty of ways to surprise her students.

“I decided long ago to use disguises for history lessons,” she said. “I’m also using cardboard crowns for my students to learn grammatical categories such as nouns, adjectives, and verbs. Different grammar kingdoms, so to say.”

“I’d like society to stop considering teachers to be lazy bureaucratic public servants. We’re certainly not.”

Image credits: mikemoratinos

Looking at Verónica in her suit, quite a few internet commenters mentioned Slim Goodbody.

Slim Goodbody is a costumed character created by John Burstein, and has been championing children’s health for over forty years. Currently, his productions are watched by millions of children on Discovery Education. His live show shows tour theaters around the US, reaching thousands of children every year. Also, Slim published fifty children’s books, and his work has been honored with awards from Parent’s Choice, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, and the World Health Organization.

People really respect Verónica’s dedication

Read more: http://www.boredpanda.com/teacher-dresses-up-human-body-anatomy-lesson/

Goodbye Homeboy by Steve Mariotti

Book Summary:

One sunny afternoon in 1982, a young businessman experienced a terrifying mugging in New York City that shook him to his core.

Tortured by nightmares about the teens who roughed him up, Steve Mariotti sought counseling. When his therapist suggested that he face his fears, Mariotti closed his small import-export business and became a teacher at the city’s most notorious public school–Boys and Girls High in Bed-Stuy.

Although his nightmares promptly ceased, Mariotti’s out-of-control students rapidly drove him to despair.

One day, Mariotti stepped out of the classroom so his students wouldn’t see him cry. In a desperate move to save his job, he took off his watch and marched back in with an impromptu sales pitch for it. To his astonishment, his students were riveted. He was able to successfully lead a math lesson for the first time.

Mariotti realized his students felt trapped in soul-crushing poverty. They saw zero connection between school and improving their lives. Whenever Mariotti connected their lessons to entrepreneurship, though, even his most disruptive students got excited about learning.

School administrators disapproved of Mariotti discussing money in the classroom, however. He was repeatedly fired before receiving one last-ditch assignment: an offsite program for special-ed students expelled from the public schools for violent crimes.

The success Mariotti had with these forgotten children—including coverage in the Daily News, The New York Times, and World News Tonight—inspired him to found the nonprofit Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship to bring entrepreneurship education to low-income youth.

By turns tragic and hilarious, Goodbye Homeboy shares Mariotti’s flaws and missteps as he connects deeply with his troubled students, and woos the most influential people in the world into helping them–saving himself in the process.

Today, Mariotti is widely recognized as the world’s leading advocate for entrepreneurship education. More than one million young people from Chicago to China have graduated from NFTE programs, and NFTE counts Sean Combs, Chelsea Clinton, Diana Davis Spencer, and many more business, entertainment, and community leaders among its staunchest supporters.

As Goodbye Homeboy powerfully illustrates, a spark of hope really can empower us to overcome life’s greatest hardships.

Amazon Link – https://amzn.to/2T2ibbH

Reviews:

“I’m so inspired to finally read the inspiring, intense, and hilarious story behind the organization that helped me so much as a high schooler. NFTE taught me entrepreneurship skills that I still use to this day, as the CEO of a company that employs thousands and is transforming the real-estate industry.”

—Robert Reffkin, founder and CEO of Compass

“So many personal stories today are described as ‘inspiring,’ but Goodbye Homeboy is the rare true story that genuinely transcends the word. Steve Mariotti’s memoir conveys the heart, soul, and determination that has catalyzed the lives of so many young people.”

—Ray Chambers, World Health Organization Ambassador for Global Strategy

 

About the Author:

Steve Mariotti is the founder and former CEO of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), and an advocate for entrepreneurs worldwide. His previous books include the Young Entrepreneur’s Guide to Starting and Running a Business and An Entrepreneur’s Manifesto, which makes a convincing case for the power of entrepreneurship education to combat poverty, terrorism and totalitarianism. Mariotti is also the author of award-winning junior, high-school and college textbooks on entrepreneurship and small business management. He is a popular Huffington Post blogger.

In 1982, Mariotti left a successful business career to become a public high-school teacher in tough New York City neighborhoods like East New York, Bed-Study, and Fort Apache in the South Bronx. Frustrated at first by his rowdy classrooms, Mariotti discovered he could motivate even his most challenging students by teaching them how to run a small business. This experience inspired him to create NFTE in 1987 to bring entrepreneurship education to low-income youth, and empower them to create pathways out of poverty. Today, NFTE is widely considered the leading provider of entrepreneurship education to low-income youth worldwide.

Debra Devi is an award-winning author, journalist and musician based in Jersey City NJ. She has co-authored numerous books with Steve Mariotti, including The Young Entrepreneur’s Guide to Starting a Business, How to Start and Operate a Small Business, winner of the Golden Lamp Award for excellence in educational publishing, and An Entrepreneur’s Manifesto. Devi’s book The Language of the Blues: From Alcorub to Zuzu (foreword by Dr. John) received the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award. As a journalist, Devi has written for Investor’s Daily, American Banker, Crain’s New York, The Village Voice, RollingStone.com, Guitar World and more. An accomplished guitarist and singer, Devi performs internationally and received a proclamation from Jersey City for her contribution to the arts.