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Showing posts from February, 2014

An Interview with Randall Spangler of Heaven and Earth Designs

Randall Spangler Designs at Heaven and Earth Designs
MM2: Randal, let's talk about how long you have been designing? What was your first professional design?
I began my professional career in 1977 attending art shows and drawing my first dragons.
MM2: On the average how long does it normally take you to design a piece?
A week to 10 months, depending on the size and complexity of the piece.

MM2: What do you like about bringing your work to life?
I like creating the world full of my favorite things - dragons and books and cats and chocolate chip cookies.
MM2: Your designs are fun and so full life that each detail means something special to make the whole picture. Do you have some advice for someone who wants to design and stitch professionally in cross stitch?
Do artwork that means something to you.  You have to do what comes from you and hopefully other people will connect with it.  You still have to do good composition (design) and use of colors.  You have to know the basics of what make…

An Interview With Cindy Blackburn

Interview: Cindy Blackburn
MM2: Cindy, tell us about your Cue Ball Mystery series?
Former pool shark Jessie Hewitt usually knows where the balls will land and how the game will end. But she keeps getting caught up in the middle of this and that pesky murder investigation. Maybe it’s because her hunky beau Wilson Rye is a homicide investigator? The Cue Balls are cozy mysteries with a lot of humor, a little romance, and far too much champagne. Murder meets menopause. Take a guess which wins.
MM2: Where did you get the idea to write this series?
Jessie just came to me one night, kind of magically. She tells me the stories, I write them down. For instance, I didn’t know she was a pool shark until the first scene in Playing With Poison. She was in a bar, there was a pool table, and I immediately knew all about her past. Magic!
MM2: What advice do you for have writers who want to write a mystery series?
Give it a try! For me, I like writing about my characters. I’d say be sure you have a sleuth…

2013 Nebula Awards nominations

2013 Nebula Nominees Announced
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America are pleased to announce the 2013 Nebula Awards nominees (presented 2014), the nominees for the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation, and the nominees for the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy.Best NovelWe Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Karen Joy Fowler (Marian Wood)
The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman (Morrow; Headline Review)
Fire with Fire, Charles E. Gannon (Baen)
Hild, Nicola Griffith (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
The Red: First Light, Linda Nagata (Mythic Island)
A Stranger in Olondria, Sofia Samatar (Small Beer)
The Golem and the Jinni, Helene Wecker (Harper)
Best Novella ‘‘Wakulla Springs,’’ Andy Duncan & Ellen Klages ( 10/2/13)
‘‘The Weight of the Sunrise,’’ Vylar Kaftan (Asimov’s 2/13)
‘‘Annabel Lee,” Nancy Kress (New Under the Sun, Arc Manor/Phoenix Pick)
‘‘Burning Girls,’’ Veronica…

An Interview with Michele Sayetta of Heaven and Earth Designs

Heaven and Earth Designs
MM2: Michele,  how do you come up with the ideas for your designs?
I have a 35 year history in computer programming and I wanted to come up with a way to provide cross stitch charts of images that were of very high quality.  I worked on development for about a year and then refined the process and we now have a wonderful process that allows us to provide the highest quality cross designs converted from images.
MM2: On the average how long does it take for you to design your cross stitch patterns?
It can range from 2 to 40 hours depending on the size.
MM2: Your art is so beautiful and tells a story. Can you tell us about how important fabric, floss, color and size is for your patterns?
We design for 25ct but have found that a lot of folks prefer 28ct and our designs lend themselves well to all counts, even 14ct without pixilation.  Size is really dependent on the detail of the subject, the more detail the larger the chart.
MM2: Do you have some design advice for someo…

Review: Leopold II: Butcher of the Congo by Tod Olson

Leopold's (Prince of Belgium) own father didn't care much for him.  He main goal in life was to have his own colony - and he chose the Congo.  Hundreds of thousands (at least) died so that he could acquire it..  And it wasn't until a few brave souls brought it to the public, that Belgium took over from him.  Maybe the damage was already too late.  Maybe it could have been worse (though that is hard to imagine).

The history of the Congo has always fascinated me - maybe because it is colonialism at its worst.  This book is part of a series called Wicked History written for younger readers and I think this is history we need to know.

Wicked History Scholastic Series of Books

This book explores not only his brutality, but the journey of HM Stanley at his urging (an account of which is horrifying as well).  Greedy is a good subtitle for the book.

I read this book in one sitting


Submission Is Everything:

Okay as most of you know I have penned four self published books.  My problem is I don't know where to submit to next as I want to steer away from self publishing and go with electronic or regular publisher (small house) but I don't know whether to say anything about the four books? I don't know whether to consider the mystery a first time author category say for Malice Submissions or for any other publisher or contest.
Okay authors on this list tell me what you would do how to handle this topic?

An Update from Pamela

Good Morning,
So I am still stitching on the sampler. Although I only have the pie, the eggs and basket plus the rest of the utensils in the crockery left to stitch. The end is in sight. I will still have more backstitching to do as I go along. I have kept up on the backstitching.
How is life going for all of you? What books are you reading this week? I have to say I am sooo excited for our blog this month. I adore heavenandearthdesigns and we are having at least two of  the designers interviewed on our blog. I am hoping for more than the two designers but these two are my so far my favorite designers.
Then there is Duffy Brown who has a great cozy mystery series and so much more for our blog this month!
Now for today's schedule. of course more cross stitch, light laundry and doing dishes. Tonight I am not sure what I will make for supper.....might be grilled cheese again.
I admit I am feeling a little antsy and stressed today. I think spending a week indoors is the problem but ther…

Review: Teen Titans Vol. 1: It's Our Right to Fight (The New 52)

I love comics.  I love Super Heroes.  I loved The Teen Titans in their various incarnations over the years, so nowhere is another reboot.

Tim Drake, AKA Red Robin, see a pattern of teenagers with metahuman abilities disappearing.  He tries to save some of them and find and stop the organization behind it - N.O.W.H.E.R.E.

It is a nice update to the whole Teen Titans concept, a fresh take with some nods to what has gone before.  Fresh and fun.  And fabulous artwork!


Review: All Things Slip Away by Kathryn Meyer Griffith

Frank Lester was a Chicago cop who almost caught a killer - shot him, but the killer got away. Years alter, he has moved to Spookie, a small town where he grew up, trying to have a quiet retirement. Only the killer has come to Spookie and is after those he cares about.  
The town itself was a great setting.  A town that  capitalizes on its quirkiness.

I liked many elements of this story, especially Abby, Frank's girlfriend. She was an interesting character, who having had rough times, pays it forward and cares deeply.
I got distracted however, by elements re. foster care services etc... that didn't ring true to me. I think that lessened my enjoyment of the story. I actually had a conversation about it with a friend who agreed with me that things didn't make sense.  It's funny what can take you away from a story.
Also, the name, The Mud People Killer, made me smile instead of cringe in fear, the killer did not seem as developed as I would have liked and the motive t…