Thursday, December 06, 2012

Telling Stories with Images

I recently saw a few movies that made me think about how it's possible to tell great stories with images, or how significantly images can enhance a story.

Last night I saw Life of Pi.

Full disclosure. I LOVED this book. Loved it. Loved how it made me think about the power of faith and/or how the human mind uses storytelling to cope with not only the unknown (God) but also to cope with traumatic experiences...

And the movie did the same, if maybe in a more heavy handed way. This movie is an interesting one for this topic because, while I think a big part of the appeal of the movie was the images, I also think images were a big part of the appeal of the book. The writer was able to describe things in such a way that we saw them as a reader... I must go back and take another look. It's been nearly a decade since I read the book.

Good news is that I loved the movie, too. The story is framed differently than the book, (I'm pretty sure... **see I haven't read the book in a decade) but the framing worked and added some context and a sense of reality and was a more interesting framing than a boy in a hospital bed talking to Japanese businessmen. Which, if I recall, didn't actually frame the book, just ended it... (And the framing in the movie meant we got some nice shots of Montreal.)

The other two I want to mention are probably a little harder to find: Beasts of the Southern Wild and Samsara.

Beasts of the Southern Wild I actually saw months ago and meant to talk about it then. If you can find this one somewhere, I highly recommend it, and also highly recommend seeing it on a big screen if you can.

It's the story of a little girl named Hushpuppy living in a swamp called the Bathtub. I'm not 100% sure, but I got the impression it's an area that was purposefully left partially flooded and unprotected after Hurricane Katrina. The government tried to move everyone out of the area, but some people refused to move. And still refuse to even when another storm approaches and floods them again.

But it's not really about that. It's about this very little girl (5 or 6?) who's almost living on her own. Her dad is around, but he makes her live in her own dwelling and barely takes care of her and he's not doing too well and often she needs to take care of him. The girl has been learning about prehistoric animals and imagines danger in the form of these great mastodon-sized pigs. And that image/idea comes to a head near the end of the film in an inventive way and shows the great bravery of our young heroine.

Great movie. Try to find it.

And Samsara. This one is purely visual. I'm not sure if there is a word spoken during this movie. It's a series of spectacular images set to music and it's mesmerizing. Wow. Hard to describe. Try to find it in a good movie theatre. And Go. :)

This trailer intrigued me enough to want to go, but it doesn't do the film justice.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Where is Deviants?

Well, that's actually a good question.

If you're heading out to your local big chain book store, or even indie... spoiler alert... the chances of finding Deviants on the shelves are very, very low.

Why is that you ask?

While there can be a lot of reasons that a particular book doesn't end up in stores (small publisher, bad distribution, not a "commercial" enough title or genre, no sales push from publisher...) in my particular case it's none of the above.

Bookstores in the US and Canada banded together to boycott my publisher, Amazon Children's Publishing. The official reason stated by the big US-based chain who started the boycott was that the publisher is only making the e-books available in the kindle format (not Nook, or Kobo, or the more generic e-pub), but I suspect the reasons go deeper than that. But that's not really what this post is about.

This post is supposed to answer the question: Where is Deviants?

Drumroll..... Answer:

To buy the e-book (currently only $3.99!) you can buy it at the kindle store here:  Deviants on Kindle.

If you don't have an account with yet, set one up. It's easy. You will need a credit card but it's probably one of the most secure retail sites out there. Amazon pioneered this online retailing stuff. They're good at it. Very. (One possible reason the other retailers are scared and boycotting the book released by the publisher they own..)

Don't have a kindle? No problem either. There are free kindle apps for your computer, tablet or smart phone.

To buy the hardcover, (prices vary), you can order from most online bookstores.  They will ship them directly to you (possibly for free if you order other things too--or, say, multiple copies. ;) ) or you can have them shipped for pick-up at a local store. Here are a few suggestions:

And if you live in Southern Ontario and/or the Kingston area, the following stores have Deviants in stock. (Many copies at these stores are even signed! *note to self* get up to Yorkdale to sign more of their stock.)

Indigo Yorkdale
Chapters Brampton
Chapters Barrie
Chapters Belleville

Not being on bookshelves makes it harder for me to help readers find my book. Want to help spread the word? If you've read Deviants, please consider posting a review at or or wherever you post reviews. Tell your friends about it. Tell strangers about it. ;) Ask for it at your library. Ask your local bookstore to order it.

This has been a public service announcement from the Where's Deviants Task Force (WDTF).

Monday, December 03, 2012

Well That Was Fun!

The scavenger hunt is over!!

I'll be picking the winner of my bonus giveaway today and the overall winners of the hunt will be announced on December 5th!

Thanks to everyone who participated in the #YASH hunt, and good luck!
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