If you want to try one, School Library Journal is currently collecting them to post on April 1st for National Poetry Month.
Here's the link to enter your spine poem: http://100scopenotes.com/2014/03/07/b
- Current Mood: cheerful
2. Next week, I am going to talk to the creator of Zombies, Run! about the episode(s) I am writing.
3. I have a book due in about two months. I have to write so much in between now and then that I get sort of sick thinking about it.
4. Yesterday I did a Skype visit with a middle school in Omaha. Earlier I had been given the choice between doing it at 9 or 11 my time. I chose 11, but I guess they thought I chose 11 their time. Carrying a cup of coffee, I wandered into the spare bedroom around 9:10, planning to see if we still had Skype on an old computer. Only when I opened it up, there the kids were, waiting for me. Luckily, I was at least dressed. I actually managed to pull it off. I think.
5. I spent part of today scanning in sections of a 120-year-old family photo. The little girl was my grandmother. The guy with the crazy mustache was my great-grandfather, and he was very protective of his youngest child. Ten years or so after this photo was taken, he would be charged with murder for gunning down grandma's boyfriend. For kissing her. He only served two years. Presumably because of this traumatic incident, Grandma didn't get married until she was in her 30s.
Suzanne Vega - Gypsy from Ryan B. on Vimeo.
She’s everyone’s favorite Romanov. In fact, she’s usually the only Romanov people know by name. If you’ve been reading the other posts in this blog tour, you already know that the animated Anastasia movie is basically all lies. Why?
Because she’s the one who supposedly escaped and survived the executions.
Before I go on, I have to tell you something— this blog post is going to get kind of dark. So, to help, I’m going to put some photos of kittens here and there. If things are getting too dark for you, look at the kittens, okay?
Okay. Here we go.
Who was Anastasia?
Anastasia was the youngest of the Romanov sisters— her brother, Alexei, was the youngest over all. She was a pretty delightful and mischievous kid— one of the family doctors said she “held the record for punishable deeds in the family”. She played outdoors, liked acting, and was especially close to the other younger sister, Maria, who she shared a room with. When she grew older, she would visit the Red Cross hospital and play checkers with wounded soldiers and occasionally write poetry. Simply put, she was pretty cool. I think you would have liked her.
(Anastasia and her siblings)
What happened to her?
The entire Romanov family was executed in Ekaterinberg by a group of Reds who’d had them under various forms of house arrest for over a year. The execution was brutal— I won’t go into detail, but know that I cried over it several times while researching TSARINA. Actually, if I think about it too hard, I still cry over it.
Why do so many people think she survived the execution?
When the bodies of the Romanov family were excavated in 1991, they’d been exposed to the elements so long they were skeletonized. Through DNA and skeletal analysis, they were able to sort out who the Tsar and Tsarina were, as well as the handful of servants that had been executed with them. They also were able to identify Olga and Tatiana, the oldest two Romanov sisters, and then a third skeleton, which they believed to be Maria.
And then they were out of skeletons. Anastasia and Alexei weren’t there.
Actually, it could have been Maria and Alexei that were missing— the Russian scientists said that Anastasia was that third found skeleton, and it was Maria who was unaccounted for, while the American scientists working the case said it the third found skeleton was Maria and Anastasia was the missing daughter. Maria and Anastasia were similar in size and, obviously, would have the same mitochondria DNA since they had the same parents, so it was impossible to tell for sure. For the sake of this post, let’s assume Anastasia was the missing daughter.
So, doesn’t that mean it’s possible she and Alexei survived?
It never was particularly likely, seeing as how the soldiers who were there that night insisted that everyone was killed. I mean, why kill the servants and the dogs (seriously— they killed the family’s dogs) if you’re just going to let a legitimate heir to the throne survive?
But, the whole matter was put to bed in 2007, when two final skeletons were found in the forest near Ekaterinberg. These skeletons were in really bad shape. While the other skeletons had been burned and buried, these had been cut up, smashed, and appeared to have acid damage. The theory is that the Reds didn’t want anyone to know that the royal family was dead— at least not right away— so they wanted to do a really, really good job of hiding the bodies. Because Anastasia and Alexei were the smallest…
(you’re going to need a kitten for this)
…the Reds used their bodies to test out various disposal techniques— like dissolving them in acid, burning them, throwing them down a well, etc. When that didn’t work, they decided it was easiest to just bury the rest of the family and leave Anastasia and Alexei’s bodies elsewhere. They were hoping that anyone who found the bodies would assume these were just regular-old-graves, since the number of bodies wouldn’t match the number of missing Romanovs.
I heard some lady says she’s the real Anastasia.
Yeah, that lady is lying. Or maybe she’s just confused. I don’t know. Over the years, dozens of people have claimed to be Anastasia. Some have even claimed to be Maria, Tatiana, or Olga, and a few men have insisted that they’re Alexei. I would love it if that were true, but it’s not. DNA proves that the entire Romanov family is accounted for, now. Even if we can’t be totally sure whether it was Maria or Anastasia temporarily lost with Alexei, we now have seven bodies to match with seven family members.
Where is Anastasia now?
Before Anastasia and Alexei’s bodies were found, Russia held a state funeral for the other Romanovs, and interred them in the St. Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg. You can see video from the funeral services here:
When Anastasia and Alexei were found, their bodies were interred alongside the rest of their family. They’re all together now in the St. Catherine chapel of the Cathedral.
Here is something that I think you should remember though: The most interesting thing about Anastasia isn’t the theory that she might have survived. The most interesting thing about Anastasia is that, really, she wasn’t that interesting. She was just like you, or me, or any other teenager. She happened to be royalty, sure, but she also loved her siblings, was a bad speller, ate too much chocolate, and had a purple bedroom with butterflies on the walls.
So, instead of remembering what didn’t happen— her escape— maybe we can remember the things that did happen, and the Romanov family as they really were: People.
People with kittens, in fact:
Mirrored from JacksonPearce.com.
A peek inside Hot Rod Hamster Monster Truck Mania at Scholastic's Story Hour Website.
A couple weeks ago, I received a Groupon deal for a monster truck show about an hour from my house. I thought that kids will probably ask me if I've ever been to one, and I haven't. I got the details for the book from watching YouTube videos and from websites. So I decided to go! I bought two tickets, hoping I could talk someone else into coming with me.
My editor agreed to come! So a week from today, we'll be at this monster truck show! I'm hoping to get some fun photos for my school visits!
- Current Mood: excited
Authors are encouraged nowadays to talk about their books, do interviews, even provide little "extras" (lost chapters, related short stories, etc.). And an author of Rowling's stature is going to have many, many people interested in the world she created. I think that such discussions are like book-club discussions. They add to the pleasure of reading; they enable us to see where else the ideas on the page can take us. But ultimately, we do have to come back to what is on the page. Outside discussions are tangents that have come from that universal starting point; they're not part of the source material. Even if those outside discussions include the author.
Do I think the author should have more weight in those outside discussions? Yes ... and no. I have sat in classrooms and book clubs and heard some readers interpret scenes in my books in ways I never intended. I don't call them "wrong." If they're interested, I tell them what I actually intended, and what the scene means to me, but I have to accept that texts are open to interpretation. Novels deal in symbolism, after all, and they don't spell out "the moral of the story" at the end.
Some authors like to second-guess themselves, or they will discuss how they might have written a book differently, if they'd written it later in life. And we all have pieces of books that lie on the cutting-room floor: the alternate ending, the deleted chapters, the character we took out. But readers don't have access to all of those thoughts, those lost pieces. They only have access to the books we publish. And at a certain point, I like to turn readers' questions back onto them and ask, "Well, where do you think that character goes after the end of the book?" or, "Why do you think he acted that way in that scene?"
2. I went in to help with writing today and ended up working with math review, instead. It was scary, though, to see a couple of the students missing every single problem -- mostly because they didn't read the question thoroughly enough. :( I feel for D's teacher. It's so hard to help kids learn when they struggle to meet you even partway.
3. Busy day tomorrow -- and hopefully, I'll remember everything we need to do this afternoon to prepare. *sigh*
4. I think everyone should get a gift of one free day -- one day where all their responsibilities will somehow be met by someone else, and each person can just be for 24 hours. That's actually a scary thought -- too much like thinking about how you'd spend Lotto money if you won...it becomes addictive. :)
Any fun plans for your weekend?
Here’s my selection of interesting (and sometimes amusing) posts about writing from the last week:
Networking Doesn’t Mean Being An A**hole (Jonathan Wood)
The Top 10 Reasons I May Have Rejected Your Short Story (Susan DeFreitas) Jon’s Pick of the week
Kill Your Darlings—How 'Game of Thrones' Can Change Your Writing (Richard Thomas)
A Most Audible Alarm: ACX Chops Royalties (Porter Anderson)
Open Mode (Anna Elliott)
What's Changed and What's Stayed the Same (Rachelle Gardner)
If Writers Wrote Every Scene Like A Sex Scene... (Jane Leback)
Gone (Donald Maass)
The Advance: How Much Can I Expect? (Wendy Lawton) www.booksandsuch.com/blog/the-advance-ho
You don't have to write every day (Nathan Bransford)
A New Approach for Plotters, Pantsers, and Everyone in Between (JamesScott Bell)
6 Worst Ways to Get Your Novel Published (J Lincoln Fenn)
If you found these useful, you may also like my personal selection of the most interesting blog posts from 2013, and last week’s list.
If you have a particular favorite among these, please let the author know (and me too, if you have time). Also, if you've a link to a great post that isn't here, feel free to share.
And in really fun and ridiculously exciting news (to me, anyway), Kat, Incorrigible just made it through Round 1 of the epic YA/MG Book Battle - and the judge said amazing things about it! I was SO happy to see that. :)
Oh! And I've written 4,000 words of the Kat novella ("Courting Magic") so far this week. Considering what a slow first-drafter I usually am, that feels pretty magical to me - but it's just so much fun to race ahead with this story, after waiting so many years to tell it! I feel slightly guilty about how much fun it is, actually. But - needless to say - not guilty enough to stop! ;)
Some of them are outright conspiracy theory books; some of them are books that summon up a lot of not-quite-relevant research to advance some theory that seems very unlikely; some of them are reasonably legit-ish books about US government collaboration with Nazis and fascists and that sort of thing, which, well, clearly the US government has done a lot of questionable and secret stuff even if it doesn't always match up with what conspiracy theorists say.
Problem is, because these books end up missing so often, they're the books that end up being "library use only" or "no copies available."
Which looks a lot like a conspiracy to keep these books hidden from people. If you're the sort of person who believes that sort of thing.
So when I have to tell people that a particular book is not available, I do tend to get the OH REALLY I WONDER WHY reaction.
(The same is true, incidentally, of those Kevin Trudeau "cures your doctor doesn't want you to know about" books that were briefly popular before everyone realized he was just lying. Some people didn't get the memo.)
This entry is also posted at http://owlectomy.dreamwidth.org/337269.h