Thursday, December 29, 2016

America’s Greatest Literary Magazines (Guest Post)

The USA is the leading country in different spheres of life. American mass media are well known throughout the world. For example, American literary magazines attract attention of people from different countries, because they write about contemporary books, trends in literature, and provide readers with interesting facts about famous writers, poets and literary works. Many American literary magazines have perfect reputation and a wide audience. Here is the list of five best magazines:

1. The New Yorker. It is one of the most popular American literary magazines. It was first published in 1925. Generally, this magazine is focused on the culture of New York. However, The New Yorker is well known in other cities outside of this state. It embraces different spheres of culture, including politics and social sphere. This weekly magazine is famous for its literary reviews, illustrations, and topical cartoons.

2. Tin House. It is relatively new literary magazine. Tin House debuted in 1998. This popular magazine is published in Portland and Brooklyn. It contains different sections related to fictions, essays, interviews with popular literary persons, etc. Overall, this magazine is famous for its interesting and extraordinary fictions that helped Tin House win several literary awards.

3. Ploughshares. It was established in 1971. This popular periodical was initially published in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Nowadays, it is published in Boston. Ploughshares is associated with literary reviews and essays written by famous contemporary writers, including Nobel and Pulitzer prizes winners.

4. The Atlantic. This magazine was one of the first literary magazines in the USA. It was established in 1857 in Boston, Massachusetts. Today, The Atlantic is based in Washington, DC. Previously it was associated only with literary issues. Nowadays journalists of this magazine write about cultural, political, health and social issues. For this reason, The Atlantic has a wide audience even outside of the USA.

By Southern Pacific Transportation Company - Harper's Magazine. Posted by mysticknyght to, Public Domain,
5. Harper’s Magazine. This monthly periodical is specialized in art, cultural, political, and literary issues. It was founded in 1850 in New York. It is the second magazine that is published in the USA today. Harper’s Magazine has published a wide range of literary works by famous writers.

About the author: Melisa Marzett is very talented blogger. Her publications are interesting for a wide audience. She has extraordinary writing skills. She works for: Here you can find more articles by Melisa Marzett. Her words have a real power.

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Saturday, December 24, 2016

Story Time with Erin O'Riordan: CUT Episode 4

Episode 4 finishes us up where we left off in Chapter 5, with Edward and Brigid. Then we follow Brigid home, where she has a confrontation with her mother, Jessamine. In Chapter 7, we meet Brigid's older sister Diana and her potential love interest, Tim Kawaguchi, the police officer-turned-yoga-instructor. (Stick around to find out what's up with that.) 

Friday, December 23, 2016

Story Time with Erin O'Riordan: CUT Episode 3

Note: This episode's going to get a little sexy, so don't listen if you'll be offended by adult content. Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss an episode. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Story Time with Erin O'Riordan: CUT Episode 2

In this episode, we finish Chapter 2 of CUT by Erin O'Riordan and Tit Elingtin, then read all of Chapter 3. 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Story Time with Erin O'Riordan - CUT Episode 1

Hi, I'm Erin O'Riordan, and today I'm going to read you the first episode of CUT by me and Tit Elingtin. Cut is a crime story in the style of Pulp Fiction by Quentin Tarantino or Crash by Paul Haggis. I'm going to read 2 to 3 episodes a week, so make sure you're a subscriber and don't miss an episode.

Please Note: The audio quality of our first Story Time video wasn't great. We uploaded a version with higher-quality audio HERE.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide

I lied.

When I finished Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay, I wrote, "And now I have read all of J.K. Rowling's books, except Very Good Lives." But I forgot about the three ebook collections of short stories that were available on Pottermore.

To remedy this situation, I bought all three from Pottermore. On my new laptop, I've been reading through them with my new IceCream Reader. So far, I've finished Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide.

I found out afterward that it's actually the third of the three. So now I'm reading Heroism, Hardship, and Dangerous Hobbies. It was a chapter on one of my favorites, Remus Lupin.

This is a short ebook of short stories, so it didn't take me very long to read. It was very enjoyable. All of the content came originally from Pottermore. It includes some further information about the Hogwarts Express, Hogwarts, and the magical objects used in the Harry Potter books, plus new insights from J.K. Rowling into why she made the writing choices she did.

After reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts 1 and 2, I still have more questions about the use of Time Turners, so this book won't answer all of your magical questions. However, it was still an entertaining and informative read.

I never cease to be impressed by Ms. Rowling's knowledge of world folklore.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Girl Power! 'Rad Women Worldwide' by Kate Schatz and Miriam Klein Stahl

"Enheduanna, who lived 4,300 years ago, is the world's oldest known author. Yes, before the ancient Greek poet Sappho, before Confucius, even before The Epic of Gilgamesh, there was Enheduanna: a priestess, princess, poet, and teacher who lived, wrote, and ruled as part of the world's most ancient society. Her story is also the story of the beginning of the written word -- and of civilization as we know it!"

So begins Rad Women Worldwide: Artists and Athletes, Pirates and Punks, and Other Revolutionaries Who Shaped History, written by Kate Schatz and illustrated by Miriam Klein Stahl. How awesome is it for me, a writer, that the first known author in history was also a woman?! She's also a Middle Eastern woman, from ancient Mesopotamia, the ancestor-culture of the Jews and Arabs. We already have so much in common!

The women in this illustrated guide come from all over the world, and from a wide variety of time periods, but they're all extraordinary human beings. From the second young woman in the book, Malala Yousafzai, to the last few pages with Emma Goldman and "The Stateless" (refugee women), these women are all inspiring.

This book would make an excellent gift for a young person in middle school or high school, whether they have an interest in reading about history or need to brush up on their history. The short biographies with large, engaging, and colorful illustrations make this book easy to read through.

Kate Schatz's bio on Penguin Random House is empty, except for this picture of Kate Schatz by Kate Schatz.
But you don't have to be a middle-grader to appreciate this book. It would make a wonderful addition to anyone's nonfiction shelf. It would be a nice gift for a teacher, for them to add to their classroom library.


Published by Ten Speed Press
Sep 27, 2016 | 112 Pages | 7 x 9 | Middle Grade (10 and up) | ISBN 9780399578861

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Fantastic Beasts and How I Found Them

My hardcover copy of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling arrived on Friday, November 18th. I didn't start reading it right away, because I wanted to see the film in the theater first. (Beware of spoilers if you keep reading below.) 

It has been many years since I last read J.K. Rowling's 2001 book titled Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, one of the two volumes she wrote for a charity project as Harry Potter's schoolbooks. I really had very little idea of what to expect when I saw the movie on Thanksgiving, other than a prequel to the Harry Potter series set in the 1920s.

The FBAWTFT film is set in 1926, to be exact.

We knew the main character was going to be Newt Scamander. When Harry Potter read Fantastic Beasts at Hogwarts, he knew Newt Scamander as the author of his textbook. We, the readers, had very little information about Newt - other than that he would be played by Eddie Redmayne. I remember Redmayne best as Marius Pontmercy in Les Miserables 

He is absolutely adorable as Newt Scamander. 

Newt is a wizard visiting New York in the '20s. He has a suitcase with a virtual zoo inside, full of magical creatures. He's on his way to Arizona on a creature-related errand when he's distracted by an escapee: a niffler, a sort of platypus-mole that can't stop itself from hoarding shiny objects. 

The real trouble begins when Newt crosses paths with a Muggle - or, as they're known to American wizards - a No-Maj. He's Jacob Kowalski, a WWI vet who works in a canning factory but aspires to opening his own bakery with his grandmother's recipes. Jacob is played by Dan Fogler. I wasn't familiar with him before this film, but he's adorable too.

Jacob's briefcase of sample pastries gets mixed up with Newt's case of beasts, causing the intervention of an American auror (magical law enforcement officer), Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston). When Jacob is bitten by a murtlap and takes ill, Tina decides to take him and Newt home for the night. She shares a room with her sister, Queenie (Alison Sudol). 

Here, I swoon. American witches! JEWISH American witches! 

American witches and wizards have, rather than a Ministry of Magic, the MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America). MACUSA doesn't allow witches and wizards to marry No-Majs, ostensibly so the witches' code of secrecy isn't broken, so they can't be persecuted. But Queenie and Jacob start flirting almost immediately. 

Newt and Tina have even more of a slow build. Newt is more socially awkward than Jacob. He does, however, keep a picture of Leta Lestrange in his creature case. We don't know how Leta is related to Bellatrix Lestrange - but presumably, she is. The actress portraying Leta in Newt's photo is ZoĆ« Kravitz.

This will probably be explored further in the four sequels planned for this film. They're said to be taking us from 1926 all the way up to the end of World War II. Interestingly, Albus Dumbledore defeated Gellert Grindelwald in 1945, according to his chocolate frog card. Young!Albus doesn't appear in the FBAWTFT movie, but he is mentioned. He was Newt's teacher at Hogwarts and single-handedly kept Newt from being expelled over an undisclosed magical creature incident. 

Will Young!Albus appear in the prequel sequels? Fingers crossed for yes.

All of this, plus the amazing creatures, are very good. But wait, there's more! 

No-Majs aren't supposed to know that witches and wizards exist, but some of them suspect. The rough equivalent of Harry Potter's Aunt Petunia is Mary Lou Barebone (Samantha Morton). She heads the New Salemers, a religious group seeking to root out witchcraft in the U.S.A. 

Mary Lou has two adopted daughters (one a child, one an adult) and an adopted son, Credence (an adult). Credence is played by Ezra Miller, whom I may remember from such series as Californication. [SPOILERS] Credence's biological mother was a witch, and Credence is both desperately trying to hide his natural magic from Mary Lou, who violently abuses him, and desperate to join the magical world. This is a recipe for disaster. 

Credence serves as an informant for Percival Graves (Colin Farrell), a high-ranking auror and Tina's boss. Graves is looking for a magical child with legendary powers. Only the "child" isn't a child, but turns out to be Credence himself!

(We can suppose that Credence is in his early 20s. Ezra Miller is 24.) 

And...MAJOR SPOILER HERE...Graves isn't actually Graves, but Grindelwald in disguise.

But oh! The interactions between Credence and Graves are so flirty. It seems Credence is repressing his sexuality as well as his magic. (Not such a stretch for Ezra Miller, who is pansexual.) And, I think, Grindelwald is using Credence's attraction to Graves for Grindelwald's own evil purposes. 

But can I help it if real!Graves and Credence would make an incredibly sexy couple? I mean...

Not my fan art.
I can't get "Gradence" out of my brain. They have pushed my Sherlock obsession almost completely out of my head. 

And that was already starting to replace Destiel. By the way, as of today I can no longer say I've never watched a single episode of Supernatural. While babysitting my twin nephews this morning, I watched a 3-episode DVD with my 12-year-old niece. I learned God (a.k.a. Chuck) has a sister named Amara, a.k.a. The Darkness. Basically, the Supernatural universe is a duality, as in Zoroastrianism. Dean offered to sacrifice himself so God and the universe wouldn't die, and Castiel offered to go with him. That angel really does love that human. (Maybe in a platonic way. But maybe not.) 

I digress. Still, the movie will not leave my brain alone. I was glad to have the screenplay at home waiting for me. It helped me catch some of the bits I missed in the theater. Especially that part where I had to take my niece to use the restroom. The screenplay was beautifully written, and it made me appreciate how well-acted the movie was. 

And now I have read all of J.K. Rowling's books, except Very Good Lives