Exams have started, coinciding with the first cold snap of winter. We are all battling with coughs & sniffles & various other ailments of the sort that had Gerald Durrell’s family emigrate to Corfu. If we were still homeschooling, we’d get up late, catch a lot of sun etc… but alas, it is school, exams, and no choice. So we soldier on. Oldest Daughter is in her matric year, and I’ve never yet seen her work so hard, studying and finishing projects. I’m thoroughly impressed with this dreamy child of mine who is turning into such a competent adult! But any artwork that was commissioned to her will have to wait until the end of June, when the exams are over.
What can I say. Our young musicians graced our stage with such super performances (each on his or her own level), we were so happy… (will be posting some here and here). Now, the little orchestra is moving onto new songs, we’re doing a couple of themes from “Carmen” (I really mean, only the themes, arranged to first-grader level). The whole idea with that ensemble is to get them into the full enjoyment of the music, provide them with that “why I want to play”. It seems to be working (and the cookies for teatime are pretty effective too).
I miss my schools (especially the room at Brooklyn was lovely), but am not regretful that I moved on. It was time, ten years on. The new places for my studio are good, and filling up. Yay!
I was privileged to hear Sinfonia Juventi perform last Saturday. What a treat! The youth orchestra gave a string of “crowd pleasers”, from classical items and Strauss waltzes to the River Kwai march, the Anvil Chorus by Verdi (with a real anvil! and a young girl, the sister of my student, hammering the thing with 2 hammers with the beautiful precision of a talented percussionist). Star Wars theme was served up, to the great delight of my two teens who were there with me. And to the clap-along of the audience, “Raindrops are falling on my head”. It was a fun concert.
Ok here is the part you really want to read about! 🙂
There are a few irons in the fire:
Split Decision by Carmen Capuano is only a proof-edit and a cover short of e-publication. The cover artist will be available only at the end of June; however this gives us time to raise some publicity. Split Decision is YA, though I’d actually like to classify it as YA crime fiction; a girl (Natalie) is faced with a choice of two dates, and decides to… go on both. That is, the author follows this young lady down both possible decisions, and while the one date very fast turns sinister, the other, apparently sweet and halcyon, has its surprises too, things that in an ideal world, a young girl just short of sixteen should never have to encounter. Capuano manages to balance these two contrasting paths with delicate skill, not losing traction in either for even a moment. A manuscript I could not put down, even though it was long past midnight and I was overtired.
Carmen Capuano is also a popular indie author, which makes us very proud to publish her. Her science fiction series, “The Owners”, is regularly attracting attention. Read more here about Carmen.
Pink Wish Ice Cream deals with a sweet, rounded, good-natured Polly Pink Witch teaching some brats to be nice. It is a classic kiddies book with classic morals, the type your mom, grand-mother and aunt would have instilled in you. It’s really simple: Say “please” and “thank you”, and your wish will be granted; be rude and obnoxious and you forfeit your wish. This even applies if you’re a mommy trying to bend the rules a little for the sake of your kid… I’m curious which lessons the other witches will be instilling in potential sequels.
The illustrations are simply delightful. We’re very happy to be introducing these two fresh creative spirits to our readership.
Darx Circle by Leslie Hyla Winton Noble has been waiting far too long, and many of you have been following its development from the very first idea, on Colonialist’s blog. It is darker and far more serious than the light-hearted YA fantasy we are used to from this versatile author. I’m almost tempted not to place it in YA at all but into general fantasy; but it would be doing it an injustice as firstly the protagonists are young teenagers, and secondly it relates closely to the fantasy worlds he created in “Baa Baa Black Belt”, “Regina” and “Forest Circle Quest”. Tyrannical young Tyrentia accompanies the dreamer Hugh and his friend Dengana onto a quest to discover what is going wrong in the Darx realm. Their epic journey, laced with danger and heartbreak, leads them into the dark heart of the realm, and straight into the palaces of the evil forces trying to corrupt the very core of nature. During this journey Tyrentia also undergoes an inner journey, coming to terms with the evil that lies in her own personal past…
We are waiting for a prototype, then a proof-edit, and barring us finding anything urgent, publication.
The Morrigan (Solar Wind 5) by yours truly – is not yet ready. It has been professionally edited; notwithstanding this, I am still going to go through it in the July holidays, because something about it bothers me. I’ll find it, and then the first cycle of Solar Wind can (hopefully) finally receive its final volume – no promise yet as to the time frame! (After all I don’t know yet what it is that I’ll find to fix.)
The Morrigan: The Solar Wind is headed into space, on a helter-skelter trip chasing after a “Morrigan Treasure” that may or may not exist – Dana’s treasure. But things get weird pretty quickly. The limited experience of space the crew has from Captain’s Earth-based Space Base falls far short. A species of “space crawlers” starts colonizing the ship; interstellar phenomena are not what they are supposed to be; and an evil entity with a deity-complex demands blood. The politics aboard the ship get loopy as Dana, Perdita and Captain wrestle for the command. Federi’s mission is to keep himself and Paean sane and the Captain on his toes. The return to Earth fails to shake off the Morrigan, leaving Federi with a riddle to solve.
And then there is Marie Marshall’s gripping YA vampire novel,
From My Cold, Undead Hand. Two generations on, and darkness has fallen (quite literally) over the world. Vampires rule supreme; there seems to be no escape whatsoever. In Kwireboy vs Vampire, the grandson of the brave heroine Chevonne Kusnetsov from the first volume grasps at a lifeline that is thrown to him, and makes his near-lethal way right across the American continent back to Washington, DC, to find out if there is any hope for the survival of humankind.
Drowned in the kind of bathos we have come to expect from Marshall, the ending – no, I’m not going to spoil it! You will have to be patient – barring fires, floods and it being found by a larger house, we’re looking at October.
That’s all for now, enjoy!