Monday, April 13, 2009

Life Artists 2: How to Turn Your Town into a Surreal Wonderland

That first post on Guerrilla Art-in-the-Round (as Lisa dubbed it) was so popular that I've been collecting links ever since for a second go-round.


*Cartoonify your life with a Sharpie and some pingpong balls, courtesy of  Want to see this Muppetification on a grand scale? Check out FilthyLuker's DeviantArt gallery.

*Zoomdoggle strikes again with their Fun-O-Meter, a spiritual successor to the late, lamented Gumball Poetry. For fifty cents, you get a fun idea, a toy, and a quarter. Can't beat that in this town!

*The Toy Society started as an Australian street art project, but now "spreads the love throughout the streets of the world. Nothing to it really just a bunch of handmade toys looking for a nice home. "

*Got a steady hand and some chalk? Create your own choose-your-own adventure story on the streets of your neighborhood, just like the Mission Stencil Story

*LexofGreen is the one of the heir apparents of the glamourbombing community. Her fae (read: devious and quirky) sense of humor shines through her work. Seen here are her watchful trees, but I also love the havoc she wreaks with balloons and toy dinosaurs

*Fellow NYC denizens: you are lucky enough to have three guerilla art-ing collectives in your midst. Improv Everywhere is the one with the elaborate pranks, Flux Factory does the strange and thoughtful installations, and Newmindspace is all about having childlike fun on a giant scale.

All fired up, but want something to keep you company when curling up in bed after a long day of chalking? Here are a few guerilla-arty titles

13littleblue 13 Little Blue Envelopes is too much fun to give a lot of the plot away, but when its heroine discovers a series of letters from her beloved late aunt, she sets off on a whirlwind tour of Europe to do good in others' lives and make the world a more whimsical place--as well experience some crazy adventures of her own! It's very Amelie-esque for the teen set, and I love it.



disreputable The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks is smart, funny, and cleverly full of inspiration for girls displeased with the social status quo. When Frankie's barred from her boarding school's boys-only secret society, she takes inspiration from the Cacophony Society and turns the Basset Hounds onto their heads, raising awareness about the inequalities present on their prestigious campus. Sound boring? Not when the Library Lady, a hound made of produce, and a kidnapped guppy make their appearance!


                                                                                                                                   lovestarLove, Stargirl is the superior follow-up to the infamous title about a magical girl who transforms a school, then leaves under mysterious circumstances after human nature kicks in. The sequel proves that Stargirl is no Manic Pixie Dream Girl, but a very human teen with hope and heart and plans to bring her community together in unique ways




Queen Geek Social Club The Queen Geek Social Club is rather on the light side for LSL,  but its heroines--who start a social group for misfits and plot screwball schemes with the help of a fussy but kind-hearted house robot--are charming enough to warrant  a check-out from your local library. I could do without Shelby's love interest in this volume and the sequels--he's a whiny, possessive drip--but the musical numbers, Feed the Models campaign, and ping-pong proms will keep you entertained.

Kathy Cano-Murillo's Novel!

Most of you know the Crafty Chica for embellishing every surface she can get her glitter-loving hands on, as well as her tender and funny family stories. Now she's combined the two in her new novel, Waking Up In the Land of Glitter, due in March 2010.


Struggling domestic-goddess-in-training Ofy is determined to turn heads at this year's International CraftOlympics. To do that, she'll need the help of her best friend, Star. Considering herself a serious artist, Star is hesitant, but finally agrees to help as a way to end her own creative slump. Truthfully she thinks Ofy is a little loca about the whole craft thing - and about her idol: Local TV personality, Crafty Chloe. Star doesn't trust the bottle-blonde, even after she becomes part of their crafting team. As the competition heats up, Star will learn Chloe's dirty  little secret, why crafting means so much to Ofy, and that beauty, art, and creativity can take many more forms than a canvas hanging in a gallery.

Sounds just like my kind of novel! Bonus fact: this book started out as Kathy Cano-Murillo's Nanowrimo novel--so don't let anyone tell you they're ALL worthless.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Amazon Fail: A Quick Update

Via awesome reader/blogging buddy Lisa Chellman:

If you follow Neil Gaiman on Twitter, you already know this, but for the rest of us: has made the sickening and, apparently, homophobic maneuver of hiding sales ranks for a slew of books with LGBTQ content. These sales ranks are tied in with whether/how books appear on sales lists and come up in searches on Amazon. In other words, we've got an issue of visibility and accessibility as well as (un)equal treatment here.

Read the whole post here.

Read more at Alterdestiny, reported by former Mag intern/political/comics journalist dynamo Sarah J.

Up-to-the-minute updates are found at Twitter keyword #amazonfail

I will be boycotting and its affiliates until they explain themselves, at the very least. All book links will lead to Powell's, Booksense, or WorldCat as appropriate.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Real Change of Face

Hey Awesome Readers!

You've probably noticed it's gone a bit quiet round here--I've had a crazy month. (In one word? Girls. In several? Girls and grad school.)  I still love LSL and have absolutely no plans to leave it (Working on a couple of reviews as we speak, as it happens). However, I needed something fresh. That, my loves, is my No Longer Secret Other Blog:

girls. books. food. art. love.

All the wonderful, whimsical, weird content you love here in bite-size pieces throughout the day. Content's a little less sweet and a little more twentysomething over there--think The Sassy Minx (<3!) as opposed to Pink World. If you're so inclined, you can wade through the archives--I put up almost 200 photos, links, and videos in the past month.

Speaking of, don't get a Tumblr. It will eat your life.

By the by, new Francesca Lia Block interview over at my other new favorite blog, Deer Women. It's all about her new books. I also just fired off a quick email to the lady herself to see if I can find out a bit about that dating guide. (If you know me at all, you know exactly what the question was...)

Friday, April 3, 2009

Author Interview: Sara M. Harvey

Now, you can go ahead and call me biased, but I think Sara M. Harvey, author of A Year and A Day and the brand new The Convent of the Pure, is awesome. She's a costume-crafting, mind-molding, tale-telling weaver of wonders, and I'm not just saying that cause we've been buddies ever since A Year and a Day was short stories on an Angelfire website. Sara has generously granted me an interview (LSL's first!), and I hope you enjoy it!

1. The Convent of the Pure is both familiar territory and a surprising departure from your body of writing. What inspired this particular mix in your latest novel?

I really love angel myths, and readers of my previous book, A Year and a Day, saw the lighter side of angels. The Convent of the Pure mixed in some of the old myths with a dark, Steampunk bent. I was drawing from my magic-reality, urban-fantasy well but tilting it towards a horror market. And as much as I have always loved to read horror, this is my first time attempting to write it. The crux of this plot came from a dream I had- I always keep a dream diary and write down the gems my sleeping brain comes up with.  Sometimes I feel like that's cheating, but it is still my brain and my ideas, just done while sleeping (one of my favorite pastimes!). 

Biblical myth, historical fiction, horror, with a good dose of a weird dream, and a touch of female-female love story just seemed perfectly natural to me. ^_^

2. Lots of writers are talking about the advantage of a small, dedicated publisher in current economic climes. Tell us about your experience with Apex Book Company.

conventcover2small My experience with Apex has been nothing short of wonderful! I really feel like I am part of the family, we take care of one another. I don't have the same nationwide distribution that I did with my previous mass-market publisher, but I feel that I MATTER to the company.  The people there care about me specifically and I have been allowed a lot of creative freedom in how my book looks, feels, and is marketed. And with the smaller scale of production, I get to have a hand in cover art, back blurb copy, etc.  And small publishers can really feel niches in the book world, allowing for more specialized writing to reach its target audience.  And with digital print-on-demand technology there is no difference between a small publisher and the big houses, especially when the small publisher is Jason Sizemore who is committed to having a book that is  top quality- inside and out.

3. Steampunk, as a genre, is well known for its comics and movies, but not so much written works. What steampunk-flavored lit would you recommend?

My obsession with Steampunk started at a very young age with the classics, H.G. Wells and Jules Verne.  There has been a rise in Steampunky literature in the past few years from Circlet Press's Steampunk erotica anthologies (Like a Wisp of Steam and Like Clockwork) to YA fiction (His Dark Materials- The Golden Compass trilogy and to some extent, A Series of Unfortunate Events) to mainstream stuff (The Court of Air) to fantasy (Palimpsest).

A quick search of of items under the tag "Steampunk" reveals a wide variety of music, literature, films, and graphic novels- there seems to be a little flavor of Steampunk for every taste!

4. You're a Renaissance woman--a ghost tour guide, a college professor, a costume historian and designer. Do your other pursuits ever flavor your writing, and vice versa?

Everything is a tapestry for me. The theatre background led to the costuming and the teaching and the touring. And the history thing, oh, that flavors everything. It is one defining thread through my life- I love things that are old, I hunger for nostalgia.That love of history is where the ghost stories come in- it is history directly interacting with the here and now!  I love to read and write historical fiction for a variety of reasons, but the clothing is a lot of it for me.  I just adore describing costumes! It rally adds so much to the character- the colors they choose, the textures, how free or restrictive the clothes are, etc.  It is just the same for theatrical costume design as well. Clothing says a lot about our personalities and reveals a lot of secrets that most people don't even realize.  I love to use this to my advantage!

5.What is your advice for other writers that consider genre merely a set of nice suggestions to be politely ignored?

As someone who floats free on the genre sea, I can tell you that ayad your fans will love you for your complexity and your uniqueness, but larger publishers will make you want to cry because you don't fit neatly into pre-determined categories. But that is another place where small publishers really help to fill in the gaps for readers and for writers- they allow for a lot more grey areas between genres that most readers really desire. And the bigger publishers are starting to come around and pick up books that cross a lot of genres and eschew boundaries.  But fairly warned be ye says I, it is not an easy road, but ultimately one that is, for me, the most rewarding.  I have got to be me and if I can't hit the broad side of a genre barn, but my readership continues to increase, well that just tells me that I am not doing anything wrong and maybe it's the world that needs to change!

But then again, I am the instigating type.


Intrigued? I knew you would be. Catch her all over the WWW, at her Official Website, her blog Charmed and Dangerous, and over on Livejournal and Twitter. If that hasn't sold you, we'll have to have words--preferably words about her 10 Days of Amanda Palmer interview over at Apex's blog.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Change of Face

Awesome readers, it's time for you to know of my secret plans for LSL.

It's been a great two years reviewing the best and brightest of YA literate, genre fiction, and life guides for the Francesca Lia Block fan, but sometimes one feels a change in the wind and must follow accordingly.

From now on, it's chick lit and chick lit only. The more preposterous, fluffy, and catty, the better. I'm just not interested in stories about art and magic and blazing your own trail--too taxing! Too idealistic! I'd rather live vicariously through my reading material, with shopping and wooing handsome men, thank you very much. So expect to see a lot more of this:


in the future. Thank you and goodnight.



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