Magpie Monday

magpie 2013-09-02Internet-access problems have been resolved and the first week of classes has been put to bed and now the blog is back. As usual, the last couple of weeks have yielded all manner of shiny bits and bobs worthy of sharing. To give fair warning, this semester promises to be plentiful in its work, and I can’t promise absolute regularity in my postings, though I’ll try!

Now, onward for the ocular and cerebral feasting!


I love these miniature scenes by Thomas Doyle, Adrien Broom, and Patrick Jacobs. The vibe is weird and wonderful. Check out the links for more examples of their work. (Via)

Thomas Doyle

Mire (2013) by Thomas Doyle

Check out Zik’s terrarium in a coffee press! That’s some beautiful upcycling. Via.

terrarium by Zik

terrarium by Zik

The colors in harvest-time by Lorraine1234 are so gorgeous I can’t. even. stand. it. Via.

harvest-time by Lorraine1234

harvest-time by Lorraine1234

I love Aki Inomata‘s series Why Not Hand Over a “Shelter” to Hermit Crabs? Her shelters, which she creates with (I think) a 3D printer, “imitate the architecture of various countries.” So cool. At the link is also a “digest” video of the project. Via.

From the Why Not Hand Over a “Shelter” to Hermit Crabs? series by Aki Inomata

From the Why Not Hand Over a “Shelter” to Hermit Crabs? series by Aki Inomata

And I’m running out of room to show miniature art, but check out the great work at these links, too: stuff and its mini-me; the Thorne Miniature rooms (gobsmackingly fantastic); images from Minimize by William Kass; and images from Minorities by Benedicte Lyssand.


Yeah it is. Check out these lovely home libraries, like this modern version I found at Bookshelf Porn (photograph by Paul Raeside). I often see people writing about modern design as minimalist, and bookshelves filled with books aren’t very good minimalist design (a hot topic—discuss amongst yourselves). However, I think this particular library does a good job of keeping the modernist minimalism at the room level but still allows for shelves fool of unruly books at the top. Thoughts?

Photograph by Paul Raeside

No, I do NOT have too many books! on Facebook continues to provide delightful pictures, like this photograph of Belton House in Lincolnshire, England. I could see how a minimalist might like a library such as this one because the similar color of the bindings makes the books “disappear” into the background. Click to embiggen.

The Study at Belton House in Lincolnshire | ©NTPL/Andreas von Einsiedel

The Study at Belton House in Lincolnshire | ©NTPL/Andreas von Einsiedel

And I swooned and then swooned again at this home library in Nashville: holy frijoles, a two-story library, folks! I found information about the home—a “renovated stately 1908 Tudor”—here and the full image here. Click to embiggen. Pass the smelling salts, Virginia, ’cause I’m gonna swoon again! Via.

Why must the rest of the house around you cost over a million dollars?

Why must the rest of the house around you cost over a million dollars?


Mica Angela Hendricks and daughter

Mica Angela Hendricks and daughter

Artist Mica Angela Hendricks collaborates with her 4-year-old daughter to create amazing illustrations. One of their collaborations is above, but do click through the link to see all of the images and to read the story at Colossal. Via.

Now this is what I’m talking about: why can’t the useful, the utilitarian, also be beautiful? Some street art in Karlsruhe, Germany, by Dome. Click to embiggen. Via.

Holding Hand by Dome in Karlsruhe, Germany

Holding Hand by Dome in Karlsruhe, Germany

Grant Snider’s new cartoon for Medium: Georgia’s World: A Journey through the Paintings of Georgia O’Keeffe. I also came across a great response from O’Keeffe to the notion that so many of her paintings are actually the vagina in abstract: “When people read erotic symbols into my painting, they’re really thinking about their own affairs.”

Georgia's World by Grant SniderI’m quite smitten with this image Midori Snyder shared on her blog: Woman Carrying a Bull by Vladimir Fokanov. Snyder likes the image as much as I do and notes “the wonderful cognitive dissonance between the nude female and the impossible weight of the bull carried so easily on her shoulder. She is not alone you know—there are quite a few such images of women with animals hefted on their shoulders.” I need to seek out some of those other images!

Woman Carrying A Bull by Vladimir Fokanov

Woman Carrying A Bull by Vladimir Fokanov

I’m also terribly smitten with this Something Wicked This Way Comes-inspired image by Aurelien Police for the cover of the Bifrost issue dedicated to Ray Bradbury (due out, of course, in October). Click to embiggen. Also, check out Aurelien Police’s cover art for an Edgar Allan Poe French anthology.


The Secret Knots 2013-08-19

A new installment of The Strange World of Martin Kardec at Juan Santapau’s The Secret Knots. Click the link or image above.

SWSORA_Cv-copy1Please to enjoy these previews: Star Wars: Jedi Academy by Jeffrey Brown; Wonder Woman #23 by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang; The Hit #1 by Bryce Carlson and Vanesa R. Del Rey; Sex Criminals #1 (SFW) by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky; and Sword of Sorcery, Vol. 1: Amethyst by Christy Marx and Aaron Lopresti.

For a blast from the past, check out this Josie and the Pussycats comic where Valerie Smith takes no guff (some fascinating information collected about Valerie, racial politics, and historical coolness at the link).

At Io9, Rob Bricken answers the question, Who Would Be in a Modern League of Extraordinary Gentlemen? I’ve thought about this very question on occasion. Who would you put on the team?

Step-by-step directions for how to make mini-comics by Chris Schweizer (as he points out, the directions are good for short stories, poems, sketchbooks, or even blank books!). Via.

Greg Ruth takes us through his process for creating the cover art for Fables #135.

A Softer World makes me fall in love with it more and more every week. Recent examples of such love are 1003 and 1004 and 1007. The one that really got me, though, is below—a conundrum I often find myself in (click to see it larger, and click the link in the caption to check out the hovertext!):

A Softer World 1006 by Emily Horne and Joey Comeau

A Softer World 1006 by Emily Horne and Joey Comeau

The New 52 at DC Comics has seen a lot of make-overs (some cool and interesting; many boring and/or kind of terrible), but the make-over of Lobo has been perhaps the most extreme. Here’s the new design of Lobo by Kenneth Rocafort:

New Lobo by Kenneth Rocafort

New Lobo by Kenneth Rocafort

Rocafort also created several other designs for the new Lobo, which you can check out at The Beat. For those of you who have no idea why this transformation is so interesting, check out the image below of the pre-New 52 Lobo by Alex Horley for comparison. I think Lobo has been Twilight-ed.

Old Lobo by Alex Horley

Old Lobo by Alex Horley (via)

For something completely different, check out Lucy Knisley’s wonderful comic A Light that Never Goes Out by clicking that link or the preview below (via).


If you click on no other links this week (of course, I hope you click on all of them), please check out the latest comic from Zen Pencils, 128. Bill Watterson: A Cartoonist’s Advice. You may have already seen this comic because it’s been making the rounds like wildfire, but still. A couple of reasons I love this comic so much: I love Calvin and Hobbes, I love Bill Watterson’s story (Than includes a lengthy prose section after the comic that’s well worth reading), I love that Gavin Aung Than was influenced by Watterson and drew this comic in Watterson’s style, and and and. Just go read it. You’ll be happy afterward.



This alethiometer made by Kat Young, based obviously on Philip Pullman‘s series His Dark Materials, is pretty amazing, so be sure to click the image to see a larger version (via):

Alethiometer by Kat Young

Alethiometer by Kat Young

If you’re Pinteresting and reading this section, check out this list of 15 Fabulous Bookish Pinterest Boards. (I am not on Pinterest; like those who use Twitter, I marvel but I do not comprehend.)

Check out this gallery of the best bookstores in the world. C’est belle, c’est belle! Below is a photograph of Livraria Lello & Irmão in Porto, Portugal, which is really gorgeous—and, in a case of serendipity, Book Riot just did a feature on it as the most beautiful bookstore in the world.

Livraria Lello & Irmão (open since 1906), Porto, Portugal

Livraria Lello & Irmão (open since 1906), Porto, Portugal

Paul Phillips proposed to his girlfriend Erika via a children’s book written by him and illustrated by Yoni Limor. Cuteness ensues.

Children’s Books and Beyond: A New Exhibit Draws Unexpected Connections. Some very cool stuff.

Share Your Shelf shared John Spinks’ photograph of Jonathan Lethem’s library. And do yourself a favor and check out A Writer’s Room in T Magazine, which features the writing rooms of  Lethem, Julian Barnes, Jhumpa Lahiri, Edwidge Danticat, Richard Dawkins, and Jesmyn Ward. Wonderful stuff.

Jonathan Lethem, photographed by John Spinks

Jonathan Lethem, photographed by John Spinks


Lots of good and/or interesting writing advice this week.

At, Tony Cliff shares the only advice a writer needs. And, celebrating what would have been Ray Bradbury’s 93rd birthday, Leah Schnelbach offers Ray Bradbury: The Best Writing Teacher You Could Ever Have.

Charlie Jane Anders asks and answers the question, How can you make the ebook novella boom work for you? Yay, novellas! My heart skips a beat whenever I read that word. She also lays out the 7 most common misconceptions about science-fiction publishing. Editor Lou Anders offers what might be the most shocking misconception about the field, but it’s presented as almost an aside: “the biggest misconception ‘inside the field’ is ‘the size of the readership,’ namely ‘that it’s much larger than it is.'” Zoinks!

Tobias S. Buckell on Rejection and Reinvention.

Well, well: J.D. Salinger will publish five more books (via). Also, enjoy this photo of Salinger from The Impossible Cool, which was captioned with this quotation from J.D.: “Know your true measurements and dress your mind accordingly.”

K.M. Weiland on 10 ways plot structure influences character arc.

Elizabeth Spann Craig on writing and taxes and outlining a story.

From LitReactor: 10 rules for writing new adult fiction, Storyville: Manipulating Your Readers, and Ask the Grammarian: ‘Too’ Many Commas, Sentence Fragments, and Rhetoric.

Greg Ruth takes the pop quiz at the end of the universe.

Erzebet Yellowboy Carr on how we fill our heads with noise. I was quite taken with this essay as I’ve been thinking a lot lately about all the noise in my own head (not voices, just … noise). I even installed AdBlock after reading the post (others had mentioned it to me before, but I kept forgetting about it…). Good stuff to think about for writers and everyone who isn’t a writer.

From The Nerdist podcast in 2012, some true advice to aspiring writers from Neil Gaiman. My favorite part is this: “If you only write when you’re inspired, you may be a fairly decent poet but you will never be a novelist.”

Some other excellent advice from Gaiman:

I tend to give the same advice to writers over and over, because they ask the same questions over and over: I want to be a writer, what should I DO? And the only reply I can ever give them is, you have to write. You have to finish what you write. You have to keep going.


Some reviews and commentary:

Rajan Khanna on Genderbending Genre: The Left Hand of Darkness.

Radio Free Other has thoughts on The Shambling Guide to New York City.

V.E. Schwab on Stardust: Love, Life, and Legacy.

Grace Kelly reads

Grace Kelly reads | Awesome People Reading

Food for the mind & soul, fed through your corneas:

Flax-golden tales by Erin Morgenstern: Over Land or Over Water and A Welcome from the Watchers.

From Warm Up by V.E. Schwab; Work Sets You Free by David Barnett; Lawful Interception by Cory Doctorow; and How the World Became Quiet, the titular short story from Rachel Swirsky’s new collection.

From Daily Science Fiction: Hiking in My Head by Gareth D. Jones; Nova Verba, Mundus Nova by Ken Liu; Seaweed by Mari Ness; In Dreams by Jeremy Erman; Recognition by Bill Glover; The Matchmaker by Sara Puls; An Impossible Matter by Sylvia Anna Hiven; Tomorrow Is Winter by Callie Snow; and A Change of Heart by Rachel Halpern.

seamus-heaney-200x289Sad news for readers everywhere last week when both Elmore Leonard and Seamus Heaney died. I was much more familiar with Heaney and loved his work, but on Facebook Allen Butt shared what might now be my current favorite Heaney poem, Postscript. Book Riot compiled a video gallery of Heaney reading poems. Courtesy of Liz Hand on Facebook, Seamus Heaney Was a Funny Guy by Lawrence Downes. And Laura shared this link on Facebook to a tribute to Heaney on Arena at RTÉ Radio 1, which you can you listen to here.

So You Hate Short Stories by Jacob Tomsky, author of Heads in Beds didn’t start off promising—the first line is “I always hated short stories”—but the piece quickly turns around. Check out Short Story Thursdays (I just signed up).

At Poets & Writers, a look at Poetry of the Wild: “For ten years ecological artist and sculptor Ana Flores has been bringing “Poetry of the Wild”—a project that combines poetry, visual art, and nature in an effort to connect people to the land around them—to locations both public and wild. Each installation features a box or sculpture, built by artists and community members using recycled materials, that contains an original or classic poem as well as a journal for passersby to contribute reflections of their own.” A very cool gallery!

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