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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: Haggis and Hash Browns

Happy Labor Day!  I’ve no special post of my own but I know someone who has created the ultimate list of Labor Songs. That would be Professor Phil Nel and at this point I’ve only seen the first of three posts but it is truly fantastic.  For one thing, he includes Moxy Früvous on his round-up, and they were a band I adored back in the days of my youth.  I’d forgotten all about “I Love My Boss” until now.  Go!  Look!  It’s worth your time.

Now I’ve been amiss in not mentioning the speaking engagement I have at the upcoming Kidlitosphere Conference.  I won’t be there in person, but through the magic of technology I’ll be Skyping alongside the hugely talented Mary Ann Scheuer of Great Kid Books and the simply marvelous Paula Wiley of Pink Me.  Our topic?  Mary Ann came up with the notion of covering book app features.  What we like, what we don’t, what to look for, etc.  And if you cannot attend, we may be able to put something on our blogs afterwards.  Stay tuned or read more about the talk here.

New Blog Alert: Speaking of apps, ever wonder why there isn’t a children’s literature blog dedicated to the digital realm?  Turns out, there is and it’s called dot.Momming.  Children’s author and founder of the Hyde Park/South Side Network for SCBWI-Illinois, Kate Hannigan, provides reviews as well as multiple interviews with folks working in the field.  I’m a fan, and not least because an app I helped advise (Hildegard Sings) shows up as number one on her Top Picture Book Apps list.

I like to see good work rewarded.  And Kate Messner’s efforts to bring attention to the libraries devastated after Hurricane Irene certainly qualifies as more than simply “good”.  The fact that School Library Journal highlighted her work in the piece Author Kate Messner Helps to Rebuild Local NY Library Devastated By Hurricane Irene is just icing on the cake.  And much to my astonishment it include a photograph of a Paddington book that I apparently read as a child but had entirely forgotten about until I saw it in the article.  Wow!  It’s been a long time since that happened.

Need a good website for writing exercises?  Have you seen the delightful They Fight Crime?  Try it.  Then try again and again.  My current favorite is, “He’s a globe-trotting drug-addicted hairdresser on the edge. She’s a tortured belly-dancing vampire operating on the wrong side of the law. They fight crime!”  Hours of time wasting fun to be had there.

Every other day an adult author gets it into their head that writing for children is a snap (sometimes with horrific results).  Children’s authors rarely go the other way around.  Now Eoin Colfer has decided to change all that.  A comedic crime thriller called Plugged is hitting bookshelves soon and it is strictly adults only.  Very interesting stuff (I wonder if it involves a belly-dancing vampire).  Any other strictly children’s authors turned adult writers come to mind?  Does Handler count?

So it turns out that this week is Random Acts of Publicity Week.  Is there a book that’s come out this year that you seriously want to get some attention?  Or, similarly, is there a book out there by a friend of yours that needs a leg up?  Then head on over to author Darcy Pattison’s site to find out how you can participate this week and shine a little light on the . . . uh . . . unlit.  So to speak.

This next one’s an older piece from 2009 but I love how grumbly it is.  Clearly the author of The 10 Most Ridiculously Difficult Encyclopedia Brown Mysteries had been sitting on these for years just itching to complain about what are, admittedly, some pretty silly solutions.  My husband would take exception to the first case mentioned, “The Case of the Civil War Sword” since he says he actually got that one as a kid.  Me?  I think I solved the one about the drunk birds once (remember that one?) but that’s about it.

Speaking of lists, look me in the eye and tell me that The Top 10 Most Uninspired Rainbow Magic Fairies isn’t the world’s greatest title?  And she’s right about them too.  Somehow I’d missed Katie the Royal Wedding Fairy.  I think I was happier when I had.

If those Labor Day songs I mentioned earlier aren’t your musical cup of tea, how about two A.A. Milne poems set to music by singer-songwriter Chris T-T?

I love me my children’s television programming when it’s good, but I have to say I was surprised when I heard that the newest incarnation of Scooby-Doo (Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated a.k.a. the one where Velma and Shaggy have a love triangle with Scooby) is actually really good.  Don’t believe me?  The man makes a strong case.

Okay.  This is a new one on me.  Let’s say you’ve a business of some sort.  Just to pick a random one . . ah. . . well, let’s say you had a website about everything related to eye health.  So you have your website and that’s all well and good but it’s hard to make a site like that stand out in today’s economy.  There’s gotta be a way to separate yourself from the crowd.  The solution?  Make a whole section on Children’s Books About Glasses.  And while you have the usual eyeglass fare, don’t forget to throw in some awesome eyeglass wearing heroines like Harriet from Harriet the Spy or Katie from The Girl With the Silver Eyes.  Now that’s a trend I’d like to see more of!  Businesses that acknowledge children’s books.

Speaking of that old Willo Davis Roberts classic, how’s this for World’s Best Cover Update?  I was unaware until now that the floating apple bit had appeared on such a cover before.

Re: Author letters to child fans, a warning to you writers. The bar has just been upped.

From time to time I enjoy reading the adventures of utter and complete strangers.  For example, do the words “monkey nuts” mean anything to you Yanks of fellow Yankish dispositions?  Of course not.  And why not?  Because author Robin Etherington has, insofar as I can tell, been published only sporadically in America.  No matter.  He attends the recent Edinburgh International Book Festival and writes about it accordingly.  It’s fun, though his cheery report on a breakfast of items like “haggis and hash browns” is likely to turn our tender American cereal-eating stomachs.  In fact, he mentions haggis more than once and with such sheer unadulterated love that it’s enough to make you almost wanna try the stuff . . . almost.

It’s hard to resist the lure of 14 Marvelous Modern Libraries.  Particularly when they include sites that involve translucent marble or are named after Dr. Seuss.

Count yourself amongst the lucky, oh authors and illustrators, should you find yourself highlighted on the Happy Birthday Author website.  That is one dedicated site.  Phew!

Daily Image:

Hurting books is wrong . . . unless the results are purdy.  From Kaylen False “I made the Dawn Treader out of pages from my Narnia books that were falling apart from being loved too much.”

Thanks to bookshelves of lesser doom for the link.

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. Now I’m torn:

    He’s a sword-wielding Republican dwarf with a secret. She’s an artistic goth opera singer with the power to see death. They fight crime!


    He’s a world-famous white trash astronaut on a search for his missing sister. She’s a mistrustful Bolivian fairy princess from a different time and place. They fight crime!

    If only the TV producers would visit this site. Thanks, Betsy! 🙂

  2. Thanks, Betsy, for mentioning the Rainbow Fairies post. I have had several kids come in to ask for that dang Kate the Wedding Fairy book. The British Rainbow Magic site desperately needs a North American section as there are many “gems” on there that kids come in begging for, but just ain’t available over here. You think I would have an in with Ms. Meadows as I am a Canadian – and therefore a loyal subject – but no.

  3. I have serious adolescent love for Moxie Fruvous. (Also, go Canada!) In fact, my friends declared “Video Bargainville” to be the official Jonathan Auxier theme song … probably because I was impossible to pick a rental with …

  4. Ha. We must be sharing brainwaves again. I just sent ‘I Love My Boss’ to a co-worker (via Spotify) on Friday.

  5. Just for the record, I HAVE tried haggis and lived to tell about it… Of course, when I tried it, it was drenched in drambuie whiskey sauce which I’m sure didn’t hurt :-). It tasted like sausage, pretty much. Besides… have you ever really seen what’s in a hot dog? I rest my case.

  6. “Every other day an adult author gets it into their head that writing for children is a snap (sometimes with horrific results). Children’s authors rarely go the other way around. Now Eoin Colfer has decided to change all that. A comedic crime thriller called Plugged is hitting bookshelves soon and it is strictly adults only. Very interesting stuff (I wonder if it involves a belly-dancing vampire). Any other strictly children’s authors turned adult writers come to mind? Does Handler count?”

    Shannon Hale. Austenland and The Actor and the Housewife are both adult novels.