2019 February Curiositales Magazine with Amy Ewing and Shelley Sackier

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Interview with Amy Ewing of The Cerulean

Recipes from The Cerulean and The Antidote

Interview with Shelley Sackier of The Antidote










These tropes are overdone and need to go!

Check out these 3 amazing Bookstagram creators.

Lizzy Clement shows off some of her favorite literary cospays.



CONTENTS 11 Editor’s Letter

A note from the editor.

13 Contributors

Learn more about this month’s writers, photographers, and crafters. 14 Giving Back Learn more about this month’s charity. 16 It’s Good to be Bad Amy Ewing of The Cerulean

26 Seeking Contributors

Like what you’re reading? Join our team! 28 Fiction Food Recipes inspired by The Cerulean and The Antidote. 34 Do You Believe in Magic Shelley Sackier of The Antidote.

42 Shelley Sackier | Share Your Shelf Shelley’s tour of bookish items. 46 Romantic Cliches byMartina Krausová

52 Seen and Heard

The lastest in the bookish community.

58 Bookstagram Creators

Check out these awesome readers.



82 Literary Cosplay



Cosplayer Lizzy Clements shows off her bookish side. 96 February New Releases

98 Around the World






Letter From The Editor

“Love is love. There are a lot of different types of love in this book and all of them, I think, are important.” That’s what Amy Ewing had to say in closing our conversation about her latest novel, The Cerulean. A wonderful reminder for a month when a lot of us get preoccupied with love- or the lack of it- in our lives. One thing that I appreciate the most about the bookish community is the love and passion that I see every single day. Love for characters, love for the authors who create these fabulous fictional worlds for us, and love for the friends and fellow readers who we can share discourse with about the books we read. So this month, I’d like to challenge you to show your love for the other people in our community. Perhaps tag an author in a post or a review, comment on someone’s post who has made your day a little bit brighter. Happy Reading, Gillian St. Clair Editor-In-Chief CURIOSITALES

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EDITORIAL EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Gillian St. Clair CONTRIBUTORS Kelsey Bjork, Elle Jauffret, Juliet White, Martina Krausova, Lizzy Clements


ONLINE Curiositales is a digital monthly magazine. We also engage readers with a free newsletter. For your regular dose of all things bookish, subscribe at www.curiositales.com

COPYRIGHT Copyright 2019 by Curiositales Magazine. All rights reserved. This magazine or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in review.




Martina KrausovĂĄ Essay, Romantic Cliches in YA Literature

Even though I’m not a teen anymore, I enjoy YA books the most. I run a bookstagram account and a blog, both dedicated to show off my love of books.

Lizzy Clements Photo Essay, Literary Cosplays

A preschool/EFL teacher living in Seattle after finishing degrees in graphic design and theater in her home state of Missouri. She has been building cosplay for about a year-and-a-half, but has been designing and performing for many more years!

Elle Jauffret Food Writer Elle Jauffret writes from personal experience about the culinary arts, mysteries, and France.

You can find her at ellejauffret.com or @ElleJauffret on Twitter and Instagram.


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GIVING BACK February 2019 | Issue 08

Every month we feature an organization that’s working to make change within the reading community around the world. When we each commit to change, the growth is immeasurable. Check out this month’s feature, and, if their mission statement is in alignment with your own beliefs, follow them online and help out however you are able.



About Literacy for Life Literacy for Life provides valuable services to the greater Williamsburg community in so many meaningful ways. As an independent 501(c)3 organization, Literacy for Life has been working for nearly 40 years to provide literacy services to help community members function more effectively. It is the only organization in the area that provides individualized, one-to-one and small group tutoring for adults in reading, writing and math skills as well as instruction in English for speakers of other languages. The program also supports learners pursuing high school completion through the General Educational Development (GED) Test. Literacy for Life’s offsite program provides classes taught by professional instructors with tutor support at area businesses, nonprofit agencies, and public schools. Literacy for Life has helped people with numerous individual goals, including studying for and passing the U.S. citizenship exam, obtaining a better job, learning to manage family finances, passing a driver’s license test, effectively communicating with medical professionals, and helping a child with homework. History In 1975, the president and faculty members of the College of William & Mary as well as concerned citizens recognized the urgent need for an adult literacy program to develop reading and writing skills for College employees. Originally called the Adult Skills Program, Literacy for Life was born, and four years later, it became a United Way agency and opened the program to adult learners in the surrounding community. Rita Varnes Welsh, a graduate student in the School of Education, became the program’s first director, a position she held until her untimely death in 1981. In 2008, Literacy for Life expanded its services by offering offsite classes in partnership with local businesses and area nonprofit agencies. Today, the program serves approximately 600 community members each year, enabling them to help achieve their goals and fully participate in the community and society. Mission Statement Literacy for Life improves lives by teaching adults literacy skills required for self-sufficiency, better health, and meaningful participation in society. CURIOSITALES

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I love getting in the villains’ heads.

“ L

IT’S GOOD TO BE BAD. Interview by Gillian St. Clair Written by Juliet White

iving in paradise comes at a price. While the City Above the Sky appears to be a utopia, its perfection hinges on a sinister reality. The only way to break the tether tying the city to the planet below is through human sacrifice. Sera Lighthaven understands this, but the situation looks a little different when she learns that she is expected to be that sacrifice. Amy Ewing, author of The Jewel series, returns with The Cerulean, the first novel in an innovative, new duology. On the surface, The Cerulean is a departure from the world of The Jewel—the latter has been described as a cross between The Selection and The Handmaid’s Tale. Although the cruelty of the servitude featured in her previous novels is far removed from the harmonious society of The Cerulean, a common thread CURIOSITALES

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binds the author’s works. “There’s always something beautiful in my books, usually aesthetically. I love contrasting really dark acts and deeds with this really beautiful palette,” Ewing said. Ewing’s focus on the juxtaposition of darkness and light extends back to childhood. “Probably my favorite author was Roald Dahl because he was really influential to me when I was a kid,” said Ewing. “As children, you want something to be dangerous and then you want it to be kind of safe again. I love pushing that limit, especially with fantasy.” Readers can expect Ewing’s antagonists to be multifaceted and riveting. “I do love getting in the villains’ heads,” she confessed. Whether it’s the Duchess in The Jewel, or the High Priestess in The Cerulean, the author imbues her baddies with sufficient depth to remind us why evil is enticing. “No one’s just bad,” she said. “There’s got to be one sympathetic thing that I can find.” Ewing is especially intrigued by characters still traveling along the road to fully-fledged villainy. “I find those to be the most interesting villains; Tom Riddle is more interesting than Voldemort.” Conversely, Ewing struggles the most with perfecting her protagonists. “My main characters are always the hardest for me, because they’re usually like me at first, especially Violet [in The Jewel], which was first person. Violet and Sera’s voices were the hardest to get right because they felt very bland. There are certain characters that just declare themselves, and that’s so easy and fun. The main characters always take a few drafts because 18


My main characters are always the hardest for me, because they’re usually like me at first.

they’re usually a little subtler. “I think it’s fine to start with—I hesitate to use the word stereotype—but a very broad stroke,” Ewing added. “This is the characterization of this person, and then how can I make it nuanced, how can I make it richer and fuller, and not just two dimensional?” Like all fantasy writers, Ewing needs intricate world building to back up her layered characters. The Cerulean features a boundary-busting society, with family units consisting of three female partners. “It felt right to me; it felt right for this particular society,” she stated. “Also, it’s weird polyamory, like they’re not humans; they think and feel differently.” Polyamory isn’t a well-covered theme in YA lit. However, “it wasn’t something that I was consciously doing to make this statement of diversity, or even to push the envelope,” said Ewing. “I wanted to represent a different type of family that was equally as loving as what we see in our society as a traditional nuclear family. That was important to me for personal reasons.” And some

of the scenes that moved Ewing the most were between the mothers. “It’s a beautiful dynamic; their love, in particular, is so strong.” Ewing’s duology differs from her earlier work in its depiction of women. Since Cerulean society doesn’t need men, female roles in the book shifted and expanded, which required Ewing to challenge stereotypes she’d absorbed. “The fact that when I think doctor, I think ‘he,’ naturally, and had to stop myself is really frustrating,” she said. Switching to this world felt refreshing, “especially after having such a harsh female-on-female society in The Jewel to have this incredibly loving, supportive female society in The Cerulean, to be like, ‘look at how women can be.’” Ewing continued, “It’s not all cat fights and scheming—with the exception, I guess, of the high priestess. Gotta have a bad guy in there somewhere!” The premise for The Cerulean grew out of the NYC Teen Author Festival, where

Ewing took part in the festival’s creative panel. Panel participants got a series of writing prompts designed to help them write a short YA story. “So, I picked, ‘Why is the sky blue?’” Ewing explained, “and I created a society where people sacrifice their children to color the sky blue with their blood!” Crafting a new world after writing multiple books in the same setting was exciting. But, like most authors, Ewing battles selfdoubt. “I still think that I’m terrible a lot of the time; I still have that little self-doubt monster that lives on my shoulder and whispers in my ear, ‘You’re not good enough.’ It’s a lot worse now,” Ewing confessed, because “I realize I haven’t released another story. I’ve released three books, but they’ve all been the same story.” “I’m starting to get very scared about The Cerulean because they’re new people, it’s all new worlds. I don’t know how people will react to that. I’m trying to calm that anxiety as much as I can, but it is scary to get reviewed for a new thing. Most of my friends write contemporary, so they’re CURIOSITALES

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Although it’s tempting to rush along the path to publication, Ewing reminded herself, “‘You only get to publish this once.’ Sometimes you can get wrapped up in deadlines. There’s a lot of stress that’s industry stress, but you’re telling a story. You need to make the story the very best you can possibly make it. That’s the important thing here. All the other stuff is just trappings.”

used to this because every single book is a whole different story and I’m like, ‘How do you do it?’” Still, experience has its benefits. “I do think that every first draft I write gets better. I’m much better at failing and I’m much better at accepting failure early on.” Ewing sometimes gives herself a reality check. “Stop trying to think it’s perfect. It’s not perfect, but it’s all going to change. And going into it with that attitude allows me to punch it out really quickly.” Ewing also relies on her editor to help her figure out which ideas are truly worth pursuing. Inevitably, some scenes get cut from a completed book. In The Cerulean, Ewing chose to abandon a central plot point that wasn’t working for her, two drafts into the manuscript, even though it meant a major rewrite. “Once I made that decision, it was almost like seeing the steps of a ladder unfold. I thought, “Oh, that’s where I go. That makes so much more sense and it felt so right. I remember emailing my editor and being like, ‘I finished the draft. I need to cut this, so you’re going to have to wait a week to get it because I need to go back now and change the entire storyline.’” 20


Unlike many authors, Ewing hasn’t always wanted to be a writer. She’s veered down career paths as diverse as nannying and working as a sale rep for a wine distributor. Early on, Ewing decided she wanted to be an actress and ended up studying theater at New York University.

My acting training helped a lot with character development, especially, and I think with storytelling.

“Certainly, my acting training helped a lot with character development, especially, and I think with storytelling,” Ewing said. However, the realities of an actor’s life couldn’t compare to the allure of writing. “I control the entire story and I control

when it gets done. All I need to write a book is my computer and my brain, as opposed to needing to audition for something, or needing a cast, or a director, or a space.” Ewing gained an MFA in Creative Writing for Children from The New School and feels that writing offers her the creativity she craves, while being a better fit for her personality. “I love my job. I feel incredibly lucky that I get to do this. That was very unexpected. I mean, it also happened very quickly. I signed with my agent right when I was graduating from grad school, and two weeks later we sold The Jewel, which now I realize is not how publishing works. Publishing is like molasses in February. You know, it’s so slow. And there was a lot of excitement, but now I’m more understanding of the process and of having to be very patient. A lot of hurry up and wait, where I’ll be waiting for months for notes and then it’s like, ‘Can you get this draft back to me in three weeks?’”

er in the last two days? Have you talked to anyone in real life?’” Also, as a writer, it’s essential to be self-motivated—a skill that can be tough to sustain. The times that Ewing struggles with this are when “I have no idea where the book is going or I just don’t feel like it. But you know, that’s not really an excuse. It is my job.” She added, “This is the thing that I care enough about to really force myself to do.”

It’s nice to have someone understand when I’ve had a really stressful day.

Another perk of Ewing’s job is the flexibility to make her own schedule. One of her passions is travel—along with string cheese, jigsaws, and Jeopardy. Being a writer gives her the freedom to indulge in some globetrotting. At times, she blends writing with travel and takes research trips, as she did for the second Cerulean book. That journey led her to the Aran Islands, off the coast of Ireland, to absorb the colors and get a sense of island life.

Fortunately, Ewing has a close circle of friends that she met in grad school, who are all now published. They act as her beta readers, are familiar with the highs and lows of the process, and help to ease any feelings of isolation. “It’s nice to have someone understand when I’ve had a really stressful day about something entirely in my head. I’m really upset about these two characters, who are not real people.”

On the flipside, Ewing points out, “My social schedule is my only schedule.” She intentionally seeks out human contact because, “otherwise I can just not leave my house! And then it’s like, ‘did you show-

Living in New York also means ready access to the publishing world. Ewing appreciates being able to have a personal, face-to-face relationship with both her agent and editor. “I was a sales rep for a CURIOSITALES

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wine distributor,” she said, “and I was so bad at it because I’m bad at sales. This is why I love my publicist, I love my agent.”

and to engage with readers and reviewers. Everyone in the YA world is very cool—at least the people I’ve interacted with.”

However, Ewing definitely enjoys her book launches. “It’s not like in a play when it’s opening night and you get like a standing ovation. You have to wait for who knows how long to see if anyone even likes it, because no one’s buying it and reading it immediately, or it can take some time to pick up traction. The launch is nice way to say, ‘Look what I accomplished.’ My favorite part is always seeing it in a hard format. I lost my mind when I got the ARCs of The Cerulean. Tears. This is my heart within these pages.”

At the close of the interview, Ewing shared what she hoped readers of The Cerulean would take away from the story. “I do think that one of the themes is finding where you belong and having it be okay if it’s not the place you thought it was supposed to be. And, also, that love is love. There are a lot of different types of love in this book and all of them, I think, are important.”

Ewing’s also a fan of doing interviews. “I’m more of a conversational person and it’s fun to hear what other people think, 22


If you’re ready to be immersed in the City Above the Sky, you can get your hands on The Cerulean, on Amazon or through other vendors here.


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Curiositales Magazine is on the lookout for contributors. If you have an idea geared toward the YA readership, send us an email: contribute@curiositales.com. Our readers are creative and talented and we want to feature you. Send us an email to be considered for an upcoming issue. Short Story Criteria: Around 3,000 words Submit a Word Document

Payment $50 within 30 days of publication. 26




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By Elle Jauffret

THE CERULEAN “She picked morosely at her salad of melon and pomegranate seeds […]. […] Fishermen sold skewers of grilled cod and scallops while fresh octopus cooked under their watchful gaze.”



The Recipes

Grilled Scallop and Cod Skewers (3 servings) 9 scallops (fresh or thawed) and 10oz cod (sliced in 9 pieces)

Melon Pomegranate Salad (3 servings)

Marinate scallops and cod in (1 tsp lime zest + ¼ cup lime juice + 1/3cup olive oil Mix together 2 cups of honeydew melon + ¼ cup fresh cilantro + ½ tsp salt + ½ tsp (cubed small) + ½ cup pomegranate seeds black pepper) for about 1 hour. Thread + 1 cup cress +1 cup of feta (cubed small). scallops and fish onto the skewers. Grill Drizzle dressing on top (3 tbsp lemon on a grill, set on medium-high heat, until juice + 2 tbsp olive oil + 1 tbsp honey + ½ cooked through (they should be brown on tsp salt + ¼ tsp black pepper). both sides—about 3 minutes per side). Serve with rice. CURIOSITALES

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THE ANTIDOTE “[…] rustic fruit and berry pies. […] A seven-day of diet of nothing but brown rice, vegetables and water will cleanse the liver and the kidneys.”



Bowl of Brown Rice and Vegetables

Place 1 cup of cooked rice in a bowl and top with vegetables. Serve warm and with diced Cook 2 cups of long-grain brown rice accord- avocado and sauce on the side. ing to package directions (it usually takes Sauce: ¼ cup yogurt +2 tbsp lemon juice + 1 about 40 minutes). tbsp sweet chili sauce In a large skillet, over medium heat, sautée 2 medium onions (chopped finely) in 2 tbsp Apple-Berry Pie olive oil until translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the julienned carrots (10 baby carrots Fit pastry dough (homemade or store-bought) cut in long strips). Cover and cook for 4 min- into one 9-inch pie pan or four 4-inch pie utes. Add the mushrooms (1/2 pound fresh pans. shiitake mushrooms, sliced) and cook, covIn a bowl, place 9 apples (peeled, cored, and ered, for 4 more minutes. Pour everything in cubed) + 1 cup raspberries + 1 cup blueberries. a bowl and set aside. Toss with 4 tbsp lemon juice + ½ cup of sugar. In the same skillet, sautée 1 large zucchini Fill the pie shell(s) with the fruit mix. Sprin(cut in 4 length-wise and thinly sliced) for 2 kle with 1 tbsp orange zest. Cover with the minutes, then cover and cook 3 more minremaining pastry dough. Pierce dough with utes. Pour in bowl and set aside. Repeat this fork 3-4 times at regular intervals. step but with 2 broccoli heads (thinly sliced) Bake in a 375-degreeF-oven until golden instead. brown (about 45 minutes or 30 minutes for smaller pies) CURIOSITALES

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French-born, Californian lawyer by day, writer/home chef by night, Elle Jauffret writes from personal experience about the culinary arts, mysteries, and France. She received the 2016 SDSU Writers’ Conference Choice award and loves creating “fiction food” based on the books she enjoys. You can find her at ellejauffret.com or @ElleJauffret on Twitter and Instagram




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When I was a child, I would have conversations with old aunties and old women relatives who revealed that they were seers, astrologists, witches, and goddesses.

“ People wish they could have magical

DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC? Interview by Gillian St. Clair Written by Kelsey Bjork

powers for all kinds of reasons. Some would want use their powers to make their dreams come true while others would wish for destruction and revenge. Then there are others who would simply want to save the life of a dying friend – this is what Fee wants. Luckily for her, she actually does have the ability to use magic. Unluckily, though, she lives in a world where using her abilities is banned. But, when Fee is unable to resist the magic within herself, she is suddenly thrust into a secret world full of excitement and danger. More often than not, authors put at least CURIOSITALES

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a little of themselves into their work. This can be seen in the characters, plot, or the overall message. It happens in every genre: contemporary, sci-fi, and in the case of The Antidote by Shelley Sackier, fantasy.

said. “I think she was trying to protect me from labeling myself when I was really little. If it turned out that I was like them then great but she didn’t want anyone to categorize me that closely to my youth when I was so impressionable.”

Although this might not be surprising, the fact that Sackier relates to the mystical side of her upcoming novel probably is.

Even though she was shocked by her possible ties to magic, Sackier admitted to recognizing signs of this as she was growing up.

“…It’s a little bit on the weird side.” Sackier let out a small squeal before laughing. “It’s very uncomfortable for me to talk about magic, mostly because I only started to talk about it recently. But I’ve been encouraged to understand that my history with it is interesting and probably relevant to a lot of people who keep their backgrounds a bit hidden.” Many people are taught that magic only exists in fiction, but some of Sackier’s relatives were determined to teach her the exact opposite. “When I was a child, I would have conversations with old aunties and old women relatives who revealed that they were seers, astrologists, witches, and goddesses,” she explained. “When they insisted that I was just like them and simply didn’t know it yet, I just sat there, wide-eyed as could be, totally surprised. I didn’t want to hear any of the things they were telling me.” Some of Sackier’s relatives may have been eager to let her in on her family’s secrets but not everyone felt the same way. “My mom was particularly determined to keep those messages from me,” Sackier 36


“Friends and family thought I had these uncanny, coincidental things that were always happening around me. I could always guess who was on the phone, or what color M&M was in someone’s mouth, or what card someone was holding behind their back – things that would make them say, ‘You’re just too freaky to be coincidental!’ But I would look for ways to explain those sorts of a things.” Sackier might have tried escaping her ties to magic by finding explanations for the coincidences, but she couldn’t escape coming across others like her and her family.

Just don’t do it “regular”.

“Weirdly, I’ve met so many witches in my life,” she said laughing. “Or, rather, self-proclaimed witches and people who work with healing arts. They use different

terms for themselves because they don’t necessarily want to identify as something that could raise eyebrows, I suppose.” Those people were able to give Sackier their insights into her connections with magic. In the end, most of them agreed that she is an empath. Although this did help her, she didn’t quite know how to take this information at first. “It took me years to understand what that meant and, to me, I think it just means that I have a level of sensitivity that is unusually high. I can reflect, absorb, and actually take on the feelings and the stories of absolutely everyone around me in both good and bad ways.” Not surprisingly, this ability has affected her writing process. “Whenever I do research for a historical piece I’m working on I travel to the place I’m researching. Then I’ll stand on the

battlegrounds or go into tiny huts filled with old relics and archeological sites and be amazed at the overwhelming feeling of emotion that I’m washed over with.” Even though Sackier noticed how much her empathy affected her writing a long time ago, she didn’t always appreciate it. “I only started noticing in the last couple of years how it can be used as a positive thing within my writing and not just something to ignore,’ Sackier admitted. Part of the reason she hadn’t fully embraced her abilities until recently is also the same reason she hasn’t spoken about them much either. “I was very embarrassed to speak about these things with anyone who I felt was more…mainstream in their thinking,” she said with a laugh. “But this is my family; this is who we are, and I’ve been trying to


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see where it is that I fit within this classification of wonderfully wonky people in my life.” Sackier’s empathy has also influenced the type of characters she creates. “They are highly emotional individuals, and because of that, they are uber aware of things that are outside the norm. They don’t fit within the community they are born or raised within and they don’t want to fit in, so it’s sort of a battle between society and themselves as to who is the real protagonist that’s going to appear at the end of the book.” Before Sackier discovered her love for the magic of writing novels, she was passionate about the magic of music. “I was born into a family of musicians. In our house, music was basically as important as any other thing that keeps you breathing. In other words, we only practiced on the days that we ate,” she said. “We didn’t do it to become something magnificent in the world of music. We just used it as a vehicle to learn discipline for anything that we wanted to accomplish in life. Practicing that skill every day helps you become familiar with it and makes it a part of your molecular structure – especially for children. If you can start as early as possible with skill development, they won’t remember a time it wasn’t a part of their life. So, it’s an easy way to develop a discipline and to develop a higher level of ability for anything, not just music.” Sackier’s love of music continued into college where she majored in vocal per38


formance and minored in piano. Although she was passionate about honing her skills, she quickly discovered college wasn’t the best place for her to do that. “I had already had a lifetime of classical structured course learning – much more so than a basic public school system – because my education was almost entirely based around music. So, by the time I was in university I realized that I was just relearning things I knew,” she said. On top of that, she was receiving offers to go on the road. “It felt like I was frustratingly spinning my wheels, and I did not want to waste time when I was being given so many opportunities to make, share, and learn about music from other people.” Many people in Sackier’s life were excited for her, but there were some who just didn’t understand the choices she was making. Fortunately, she didn’t let them deter her from doing what is considered

to be outside of the norm.

“That means that my whole life has been about storytelling,” Sackier continued. “I don’t think there’s a more significant way for people to teach life lessons, pass on morality, and inspire one another than through the power of story. I’m always amazed at it.”

“I disappointed a lot of my mentors by saying, ‘I’m leaving to go on the road because I’m being given opportunities to travel with big band swing orchestras. Plus, I really want to use my chops right now rather than learning how to structure my arrangements and do composition in a It’s astonishing how powerful stories can more professional form.’” she said with a be. When an author writes a book, they laugh. are capable of spreading important messages, some of which wouldn’t otherwise “Instead of learning in the traditional get to those who need them most. way, I was given the opportunity to learn on the road from the people who were “Writers are basically mouth pieces for traveling with me. It was the best, best a whole array of viewpoints, and we can choice ever,” Sackier said happily. After a either confirm the general consensus of while, though, she chose to leave the mu- the society that we live in or we can crack sic world which led her to searching for a open a door to where other voices have new passion. been relegated to,” Sackier said, “the disquieting voices, the disagreeable ones, or “I was desperately in need of a creative the divergent ones that are far, far away challenge. But because I had babies, I defrom us.” She believes that children and cided that I would have to do something young adults especially need these kinds more home-based. I’m just not one of of books. those women who can juggle everything all at once and do it competently. I wish I “When we create stories for that age was, but I know my limitations. group, we have the opportunity to spotlight someone different for them to read But because I had learned to master music about. We don’t do this to encourage them and was able to create things that were to copy someone else’s behavior, but rathworthy, I realized that I could apply those er to copy their courage and their choice same concepts to the writing world beto stray off the path and do something cause they both involve storytelling.” different.” Stories like this go as far back as the oral tradition. Some may view musicians and writers as two completely different kinds of artists, “Those old mythological stories that were but they have at least one major thing in told around campfires were used as warncommon. “Music is storytelling, and writ- ings but also as inspiration. They always ing is storytelling. The difference is that involved a hero from long ago who went you have a much broader creative space to through trials and tribulations and the lesfloat around in with writing,” she said. son was that because he made it through, so can you,” Sackier said. “I love Joseph CURIOSITALES

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Campbell, and I’m hugely addicted to the hero’s journey – all of my stories are basically in that format.” Along with the hero’s journey, Sackier also has a love of the YA genre. One of the reasons why is because she believes that young people’s minds are especially receptive.

like them out there that they can connect to is the best and most beautiful gift you can give to them. It’s comforting. It’s finding a clan. It’s finding that they belong and are “normal” people who can live fulfilling lives, too.

When you think about it, ‘different’ brought on the world’s greatest transformations and movements. Those outliers – “They make the greatest philosophers be- the people who choose to think differently cause, to them, anything is possible,” she – have the most interesting, memorable, said with awe. “Absolutely everything is and noteworthy lives. They are the ones open for interpretation, argument, debate, that we want to write about. They are the or thoughtful engagement. They don’t just ones that inspire us to be like them. Not reject things immediately because they ha- to copy their behavior, necessarily, but to ven’t been pressed and formed just yet.” copy their kind of courage,” Sackier exThis makes visiting schools one of her plained. “So, that is why I write YA.” favorite things to do. As Sackier works on becoming more vocal “I try so hard to encourage them to pay about her background and who she is, she more attention to their internal voices and is simultaneously encouraging her young to pay less attention to what everybody readers to unearth that same type of bravelse says and does. Instead, I tell them to ery within themselves – proving that even turn up the volume on what they themif you don’t believe in magic, there is not selves might be thinking and feeling.” denying how magical authors and the stoSackier gave this same type of advice to ries they create are to readers. her own children. Not everyone has ties to magic, but every“I used to say to my kids, ‘Just don’t do one can (and should) go on a magical adit “regular,”’ – and you can put regular venture with Fee in The Antidote! It releasin quotes. We spend so much time tryes on February 5, and links to purchase it ing to mold people into acceptable forms can be found on Goodreads. through schooling and politics and the onslaught of advertising, and because of that, we’re repeatedly getting the message that we should be wary of different. We’re told we should squish quiet the different within ourselves,” she said. “That’s why, when it comes to young people, I think…wow…helping them realize that there are other people who are just 40



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Share Your Shelf

with Shelley Sackier



1. Fairy lights – I have them strewn around my desk for mood lighting, as I firmly believe so much magic writing happens when one is ensconced in a sorcerous glow. *squeal* Fairies! 2. Candles, candles, candles! – I am a huge sucker for flickering flames with fragrance. Again, if I want to write or read, this is the most enchanting way to enjoy that bliss. 3. Infinity scarf – My essential winter writing work clothes and snugglewear for ‘curl up on the couch’ reading hours. I love this scarf as it is ‘fashion meets fair-trade’ handicrafts helping to empower women in Nepal. (My writing desk is surrounded by frosty windows with hefty winter winds. I need this on all the time!) 4. Roget’s Thesaurus (book version) and Roget’s Hyperlinked Thesaurus (online). The one book I would take with me to a desert island. Seriously. I can write my own stories and never grow bored. 5. My super-duper important and highly coveted Word and Phrase Origins book. Currently updated with more than 15,000 words and expressions, it is vital to my writing process and gets hugged every day for its valuable contributions. 6. My ‘in place of a hug’ Neck Wrap. When you can’t have someone standing over and behind you all day massaging you while you’re writing or reading, one must have something warm and soothingly fragrant to keep all those muscles from seizing up. Can’t. Live. Without. 7. The Intellectual Devotional Series - If ever I find myself in a quandary, wondering what to write, stumped for an idea or direction, or in desperate need for a five minute super quick mental break, I open any page in David Kidder’s book series (five, I think). I am left smarter, sated, and almost certainly inspired. 8. Music. To me, it is vital. For writing, for reading, for setting the mood. Words absent of atmospheric music is like food without salt, fire without heat, air without oxygen. Pointless and calamitous. I write and read to Anonymous 4. These women are my muses. 9. SOCKS! - It’s usually the only thing I ask for at Christmas and for my birthday. Okay, and whisky, but that’s it. I need my socks. My feet must be encased in something nearly as fluffy as a pillow—and sturdy because I will always wander outside to ponder for a few minutes in between chapters. *sigh* Socks. 10. Thick Chewy Granola Bars – Did you think I would leave out food? Hella no! I make this recipe from Smitten Kitchen twice a month. It is author crack. You can thank me later. Just send chocolate. CURIOSITALES

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Romantic Cliches in YA Literature by Martina Krausová

This is a situation where a professional therapist is necessary.

Even though most people can’t agree on what’s the target age range for YA literature, what we can agree upon is that teenage romance is a big topic in almost every young adult book you can find in stores. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad thing. We all know teenagers are dating and, in general, girls love to read about love. The problem is, it’s hard to write a romance that’s not one big cliché. I feel like if you can imagine any romantic plot for a book, it’s already been written. 46


To write a good and unique romance, authors have to fight against clichés to make them better, which is not an easy goal but once done, it pays off. Before you can defeat your enemy, you need to get to know your enemy. Here are three of the worst clichés in YA romances that need to stop. Because even though it’s a guilty pleasure for some, it’s mostly annoying and we want them long gone. 1. The Love Triangle The most aggravating thing is when your main character, who is a girl most of the time, is torn between two guys she loves and cannot decide which one to choose. It’s weird that this trope doesn’t appear in many books with a male protagonist. Even though it’s easy to see why this trope is featured in so many novels (it creates dramatic moments for the story, readers can pick a side, it shows us the morals of our character, etc.) it seems like every teenage girl has problems with picking the right boy and is always deciding between two “perfect” guys. The real problem with this concept is that it’s obvious. The guy that doesn’t make the cut usually does something that’s against our protagonist’s morals. For

example, Gale (from The Hunger Games) was responsible for the death of Prim. Katniss couldn’t choose him and instead chose Peeta.

Okay, we all know there’s something wrong with that, don’t we?

2. Bad Boy with a Bad History

The right decision for our MC would be to encourage him to see someone who can help him professionally. Someone he can talk to about his aggression or addiction or whatever past trauma is haunt-ing him. But most novels never present this option. Our main character usually takes the role of a healer and tries to fix him by herself. That never works.

Let’s inspect our “perfect” damaged boy. His dark past usually involves some kind In this type of storyline, one side of the of abuse–often physical. Maybe he even triangle is always “disqualified” for some- uses that as a reason to get drunk and act thing obvious. Our main character doesn’t like a total jerk. Sometimes we even see have a choice at all. Which begs the ques- him using his strength to overpower our tion why did the triangle exist in the first protagonist. I think we all can agree that’s place? not okay.

Talking about boys, there’s nothing more cringe-worthy than this trope. We all know the story- young girl meets perfect guy. But there’s something dark about him.

He’s aggressive. Perhaps he drinks or does drugs or is very secretive about his life. Our main character might even hate For example, look at the plot of Did I Mention him at first... but then she falls in love with I Love You. Eden locks herself with Tyler in a his masculinity and/or tries to save him small room while he’s having a withdrawal. and heal his broken soul. CURIOSITALES

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He’s very aggressive. This isn’t romantic. This is a situation where a professional therapist is necessary. 3. Hate to Love This last trope is used A LOT, even in fantasy novels. I think we all have issues with this one. It’s that part of the story where our main character falls in love with someone she hated from the moment they met. And I’m not talking about slowly getting to know each other like in Beauty and the Beast. I’m talking about the “BOOM” effect. I mostly see this kind of relationship connected to the trope above. It’s easy to hate someone who’s acting like a total jerk (i.e., our bad boy). But how does this lead to love? She hates him so much, then something happens to make her fall deeply in love with him.

But you won’t get that progression in books like the Divergent trilogy with Tris and Four. The way he treats her isn’t nice at all. He’s even harder on her than the others, yet still, Tris basically falls for him overnight even though she hated him at first There are plenty of tropes that drive us nuts when we notice them happening, again and again, these are just a few examples. When a trope becomes a cliche, it’s annoying. The better way to write is to put a unique spin on it. This takes these tropes from cringe-worthy to enjoyable. Do you agree with my picks? Let me know!

The one reason that most authors give is that our protagonist finds out about his “true self” and understands why he is acting out. Or, she finds out about his pastthat which made him the way he is. She tries to help him and maybe even change him to be a better person. Basically, the exact plot of Beauty and the Beast. But hear me out. The problem with this trope is that they [the authors] make the character switch their opinion overnight. In Beauty and the Beast, we can see their progress. We, along with Belle, realize that the Beast isn’t a beast at all. We see he had a bad past. He learned from it and changed. 48


Even though I’m not a teen anymore, I enjoy YA books the most. I run a bookstagram account and a blog, both dedicated to show off my love of books. Thanks to these platforms, I can talk to people about books and find inspiration for the topics of my articles. (@martinakraus).


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Seen and Heard Happenings in the bookish sphere:



Send us your favorite tweets! CURIOSITALES

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Sheelalipi Sahana




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Describe your perfect library? Expansive wooden shelves filled with dusty old hardbound books from the previous century, possibly first editions, waiting to be devoured. Amongst these rows, a couple of reading nooks where one can lounge and read, sequestered from external communication. To help tide them over, a small coffee pot and a fireplace in close proximity. It cannot possibly get cosier than that!

Which fictional character has the best job? Well, I would love to be in Professor McGonagall’s place (from Harry Potter) because I would get to teach which is my calling, and that too transfiguration which is so cool! I’d also be interested in inheriting her sass but I’m guessing that doesn’t come with the job.



What’s the last book that left the biggest impression? I recently read Willa Cather’s My Antonia for class and was taken by how much it read like a bedtime story that my grandparents would have narrated to me as a child. Even though it is set in Nebraska, the oral storytelling structure transcends geographical boundaries and is able to resonate with me in the form of reminiscences about myth-poetic tales from all regions of the world.

Which fictional food do you wish was real? In recent years, I haven’t really come across fictional food but I remember crying out in anguish as a child every time Edmund took a bite of Turkish Delight in The Chronicles of Narnia because it sounded absolutely delicious! I recently purchased a Turkish Delight chocolate at my local supermarket and found out that it didn’t quite live up to my childish expectations!


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Favorite part of starting a new book? My favourite part of reading isn’t even the actual story in itself, but just the act of cracking open the book, learning all the publishing details in the colophon, reading the dedications and epigraphs. They set the tone of the novel and reveal authorial context. Who is your favorite mythical creature? Drawing from Greek mythology, Sphinx stands out purely because of its mighty stature. It is a woman with a lion’s bodyshe is fierce and witty alike! What was the first book you remember reading? Despite my shoddy memory, I am certain that the first book I ever read was Enid Blyton’s The Tales of Toyland. I read it while I was visiting my grandparents and I remember believing Toyland was a real place. I had made my father promise that our next trip would be to Toyland… thankfully by the time we went on holiday again, I’d forgotten all about this promise and moved on to Blyton’s Famous Five series. What book can you read again and again? Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird is a book that I have read over five times already and can read five more times without needing to be asked. It is such an important literary piece that opens up new avenues of interpretation with each reading. Such a powerful book not only allows a reread but also demands it! What tv show or movie adaptation would you love to watch? I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller needs to be translated into a film! While the poetic language of the book can never be achieved, I think the film version would be a cross between Call Me by Your Name and 300 which honestly sounds so epic! 64


I am very fickle when it comes to favourites {quotes}, and quite forgetful. With every book I read, I have a new fancy. This is a the recent one:

“To discover the mode of life or of art whereby my spirit could express itself in unfettered freedom.” – A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce


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Rebecka Wahl




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Which fictional character has the best job? That’s such a hard question to answer because I usually read nonfiction books, or fiction (mostly fantasy) books that have a darker vibe. (Like books about thieves, antiheroes, and heists.) But If I have to choose I guess I’d say Kell Maresh from A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab. He’s able to travel between separate worlds and is charged with the task to deliver messages between them. It would be amazing to see different worlds and communicate between them, so I’d love that.

Describe your perfect library? My perfect library would be a cozy little room with rain constantly tapping on the windows. The scent of leaves and autumn would drift inside, and the room would be lit with candles and starlight. Books would be piled on the floor and along the shelves, and messy sketches and paintings would be littered over a desk. Which fictional food do you wish was real? Lembas from The Lord Of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. It’s just one of those iconic foods I’d love to try.



What’s the last book that left the biggest impression? Last summer I read Methods of Persuasion by Nick Kolenda and it was so interesting! It’s about how the mind is subconsciously affected by the environment, and how easily we are influenced without even realizing it. It made think about how much we’re shaped by the environment and the people we surround ourselves with. And the importance of creating an environment where we can be ourselves.

Favorite part of starting a new book? I love guessing and theorising about what’s going to happen next. It’s one of the reasons I rarely reread books, I just don’t have that excitement anymore. Who is your favorite mythical creature? I absolutely love the Norns from Norse mythology. They are said to spin the threads of fate, and I just think it’s a really cool concept. I also love dragons, mostly because they’re depicted so differently in each book/movie. They’re depicted as evil, good, greedy, and everything in-between. You never know what a dragon is going to be like. Dragons are unreliable, and somehow that makes them interesting. CURIOSITALES

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What was the first book you remember reading? I really can’t remember the title, but one of the first ones I read was about a girl who touched a painting at a museum and was brought back to that time and got to meet that artist. She then kept touching paintings to find her way back and on her way met a bunch of historical artists like Leonardo Da Vinci. I loved it since it was such a magical idea, and it was amazing to read about artists in history as characters.

What book can you read again and again? Ishmael by Daniel Quinn. It’s one of those books that you always find something new in once rereading. It’s about philosophy and human kind, and it such a mind blowing book. What tv show or movie adaptation would you love to watch? A Darker Shade of Magic. I love A Darker Shade of Magic. by V. E. Schwab and I think it would make a great movie with diverse interesting characters.



I haven’t read any of Margaret Atwood’s books, but I love this quote of hers:

“In the end, we all become stories.” CURIOSITALES

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Liza Vasse




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Describe your perfect library. Definately Belle’s library from Beauty and the Beast. Wall-to-wall bookshelves, stunning architecture, ceiling-high windows, and don’t forget: a cozy fireplace to sit by! Which fictional food do you wish was real? Even though you can get real-life butter beer. This drink sounds even better in the movies and books!

What’s the last book that left the biggest impression? The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. I am reading it at the moment, and close to finishing it, but I can already tell it’s going to be my favorite read of 2018. It’s sends a powerful message, and I think it’s a very important book to read. What book can you read again and again? My favorites to reread are Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter.



Who is your favorite mythical creature? I’ve always loved dragons a lot since I was a little kid, and that grew even more since I’ve read The Inheritance Cycle. They’re just so magical, powerful, and a huge mystery. What was the first book you remember reading? If I remember correctly, the Twilight series were my first reads ever.

Which fictional character has the best job? Hagrid, definitely Hagrid. I would love to teach and take care of magical creatures. Favorite part of starting a new book? Exploring a new world, and getting to know more fictional characters to obsess over.


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What tv show or movie adaptation would you love to watch? A Court of Thorns and Roses. Give me one of those adaptions and I can die in peace. I would love to watch it all come alive on screen. And which actors/actresses would portray the characters.



“Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armour yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.� -- George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones CURIOSITALES

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Literary Cosplays:

Photo essay inspired by literature... can you guess the characters? by Lizzy Clements




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About the Model

Lizzy Clements is a preschool/EFL teacher living in Seattle after finishing degrees in graphic design and theater in her home state of Missouri. She has been building cosplay for about a year-and-a-half, but has been designing and performing for many more years! In addition to cosplay, Lizzy enjoys bouldering, writing, and thrift shopping. In the coming year she hopes to continue building cosplays and work on the script for her Batman fan film. Follow her: instagram.com/clementinecosplay ko-fi.com/clementinecos (for small donations of support) Follow the photographers on Instagram: @girl_with_the_blue_hair @hudsonmichaelsphotography @justin.cosplay @gfxsoulstudios @eaglerockets

Pg. 83 Lyanna Stark, A Song of Ice and Fire (aka Game of Thrones) by George RR Martin Pgs. 84-85 Snow White, German fairy tale Pgs. 86-87 inspired by Mrs. Havisham, Great Expectations by Charles Dickens Pgs. 88-90 Esmeralda, Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo CURIOSITALES

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Around the World E

l Ateneo Grand Splendid- opera house or...? Bookstore! This Argentinian bookshop in Buenos Aires indeed once was a theater, built in 1919. It’s been called the World’s Most Beautiful Bookstore, and with the soaring ceilings and magnificent frescos, it’s easy to see why. If you’re an introvert who dreams of theatrics, this is the place for you. Have a cup of coffee whilst reading your favorite novel from center stage. Perhaps the $3 million renovation doesn’t impress you, but the rows upon rows of books surely will. If you visit this architectural treasure, let us know what you think!




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