Archive for February, 2010

Thank goodness @IrisBlasi sent me this book. 

I’m devouring Flawless, Union Square Press’ sparkling new non-fiction title. Within the pages, authors Scott Andrew Selby and Greg Campbell (Blood Diamonds) detail the events surrounding the greatest diamond heist in history.

Half a billion dollars in gems boosted from an impenetrable underground vault within Antwerp’s locked down diamond district?

Oh yeah, Scarlet Whisper is all over this one.

What kind of Librarian/Rock Star/International Jewel Thief would I be if I didn’t do my homework on this dazzling book?

A rich veneer of history overlays the narrative. With focus and clarity, Flawless examines not only the oft politicized roots of diamond industry but also the origins of the gems themselves. As the world’s most liquid commodity, for centuries these  jewels have been mined and funneled into the pockets of tycoons and tyrants alike. 

Millions of dollars worth of carats are passed from hand to hand…and it all happens in Belgium, baby.  Antwerp rose to prominence over a century to become the center of world diamond trade. The book thoroughly explores the dichotomy between Antwerp’s moneyed diamond district and the surrounding tourist infested streets before transporting the reader to the backrooms and back alleys of Turin, Italy, a haven for mystics and thieves.

While the locales are in intriguing enough by themselves, the criminal masterminds responsible for the heist hijack the reader’s attention. Leonardo Notarbartolo and his gang of thieves are anything but the usual suspects; the “School of Turin” makes Danny Ocean’s crew look like small time crooks.

Flawless outshines most of the historical capers I’ve seen on the shelves. You’ll want to snag a copy. The execution of the premise is THAT good. Even though the loot has never been recovered, you’ll enjoy slipping into the shadows to follow the footsteps of the suspects.

Hungry for more? Then try these luscious lemon bars. While they aren’t sprinkled with diamond dust, the recipe is worth stealing.

Binge!

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COURAGE

Posted: February 15, 2010 in Uncategorized

Middle Grade author Ingrid Law visited my library a few weeks ago.

What an awesome lady.

Our lovely Barnes & Noble Rep., Me, Ingrid Law

In her presentation, she spoke to my kids about her “writing toolbox.”  Of course, inside her box of tricks, she keeps conventional tools such as characterization, plot,  setting, etc.

Ingrid reminded us about the most important tool, courage. It took courage for her to write despite nagging self-doubt. It took courage to put her work out there. It took courage to keep writing in the face of many rejections.

Because she maintained a courageous outlook, she was able to write and champion a book which would someday become a Boston Globe-Horn Book and Newbery Honor Award winner.

That book is Savvy.

You should read it. In fact, I want to send you a signed copy. In the comments, tell me why you think courage belongs in the author’s toolbox. The most insightful, moving, funny, fabulous answer wins. I’ll send the autographed copy of Savvy anywhere in the US or Canada. I’ll announce the winner next week on February 23rd.

Hungry for more? If you’re like me, you’ll need a cup of courage. My favorite is this easy Hot Spiced Chai recipe.

Binge!

Are you ready to see a Rock-tastic face melting performance?

Then I suggest you iTunes  a Kings of Leon video.

Are you ready to watch Scarlet Whisper make a fool of herself?

Then look no further. I am here to amuse you. And make your ears bleed.

You’ve heard Eye of the Tiger. Now listen to EYE OF THE AGENT!

Eye of The Agent
 
Risin’ up, back in the slush,
Took my crits and I revised.
Went to workshop, and I rewrote this mush
Just a hack and her will to survive. 

So many times, it happened so fast,
An auto-reject from Bransford
Don’t lose your grip on your work in progress,
You must write just keep it alive 

It’s the eye of the agent, it’s the thrill of the slush
Risin’ up to the challenge of the query,
And the last known survivor gets a partial request,
And he’s watchin’ us all in the eye of the agent. 

Page to page, stuck in the inbox,
Hangin’ tough, keep on scribblin’
Full rejections with a scrap of feedback,
Help us kill, find the will to revise. 

It’s the eye of the agent, it’s thrill of the slush,
Risin’ up to the challenge of the query,
And the last known survivor gets a partial request
And he’s watchin’ us all in the eye of the agent. 

Risin’ up, straight to the pile,
Killed my gerunds and my adverbs.
Got some tension, now I’m not gonna stop,
Just hack and her will to survive 

The eye of the agent… 

Still Hungry?

Make like Elvis and grab a hunk o’ Molten Chocolate Lava Cake

Molten Chocolate Lava Cake

2 sticks butter

8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, or cut up  bars

5 large eggs

1/2 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

4 teaspoons flour

8 extra-large paper muffin cups (or use greased ramekins).

Melt butter and chocolate on very low heat; remove from heat. Beat eggs, sugar and salt with a hand mixer in a medium bowl until sugar dissolves. Beat egg mixture into chocolate until smooth. Combine with flour.   Heat oven to 450 degrees. Line a standard-size muffin tin (1/2 cup capacity or use ramekins) with 8 extra-large muffin papers. Spray muffin papers with cooking spray. Divide batter among muffin cups. Bake until cakes puff but center is not set, 8 to 10 minutes. Pull papers away from cakes or lift out cakes before serving.
Binge!