international workshops

I am so excited to help reveal the cover of Amy Rose Capetta’s Echo After Echo, a theater-centric f/f YA love story coming this October from Candlewick Press! (And not just because the cover is gorgeous!) Before you see the beauty, here are a few words from author Amy Rose Capetta!

*****

This book came out of two things: being a lifelong theater kid*, and falling in love. I spent a solid fifteen years of my life going from show to show, green room to backstage to onstage, always living for the next cast list, or waiting for the incandescent moment when my work as a playwright was put on its feet. This story started with a beautiful theater, and a girl who loved it. A voice keep dropping words into my ear when I was supposed to be writing something else. The reason I kept coming back, even though I was afraid this story would never find a readership outside of my own head? I was going through a time of serious uncertainty in my own life, and I needed to write a queer love story to give myself hope. It felt like epic love was never allowed for two girls, unless it was tragic. And while it turns out a theater is a ridiculously convenient setting for a mystery, I think the real reason I returned to it for this novel is that I learned to use my voice in the theater, just like the main character, Zara. It’s where I trained to become someone who infuses stories with honesty and truth. And this truth I had—this glowing certainty that tragic endings could be changed and new stories written—drove me to write Echo After Echo. Zara and Eli’s love story was a life-changing experience for me. Now it’s the most important time: when the lights dim, and the audience gets to see what happens.

*A few highlights of my theater life: being in a Shakespeare troupe for four years, performing a monologue on roller blades in front of Kurt Vonnegut (true story), writing a play set entirely in a supermarket, and being a lowly intern at a workshop of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first musical!

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Debuting on the New York stage, Zara is unprepared—or Eli, the girl who makes the world glow; for Leopold, the director who wants perfection; and for death in the theater.

Zara Evans has come to the Aurelia Theater, home to the visionary director Leopold Henneman, to play her dream role in Echo and Ariston, the Greek tragedy that taught her everything she knows about love. When the director asks Zara to promise that she will have no outside commitments, no distractions, it’s easy to say yes. But it’s hard not to be distracted when there’s a death at the theater—and then another—especially when Zara doesn’t know if they’re accidents, or murder, or a curse that always comes in threes. It’s hard not to be distracted when assistant lighting director Eli Vasquez, a girl made of tattoos and abrupt laughs and every form of light, looks at Zara. It’s hard not to fall in love. In heart-achingly beautiful prose, Amy Rose Capetta has spun a mystery and a love story into an impossible, inevitable whole—and cast lantern light on two girls, finding each other on a stage set for tragedy.

********

Amy Rose Capetta studied theater at the Stella Adler Studio as a teenager before spending four years in a Shakespeare troupe. Echo After Echo is her first book with Candlewick Press. Amy Rose Capetta lives in Michigan with her partner and their son. You can find her on Twitter at: @AmyRoseCapetta and on Facebook: /AmyRoseCapetta

Gakunju Kaigwa (Kenyan, born 1958), bust, circa 1998

Gakunju Kaigwa is an established Kenyan sculptor who has become known for his masterful handling of material, eloquently working in wood, glass, steel, bronze, granite and marble.

Kaigwa graduated from Kenyatta University, Nairobi with a BEd in Fine Art. He received a scholarship in 1988 to go to Italy to study Art in Carrara, a town world-famous for its high quality marble stone. In 1993 he completed an MFA in Public Art from the University of Dundee. He was then accepted by the Apprenticeship Programme at the Johnson Atelier Technical Institute of Sculpture in New Jersey, where he worked in the foundry and learnt to cast metal.

Working in the USA for several years, and attending numerous international workshops, Kaigwa returned to Kenya in 2003 and took a studio at Kuona Trust Centre for Visual Arts from where he works on public and private commissions.

Whilst in the USA, Kaigwa sourced the piece of marble from which he carved Bust, beautifully expressing human emotion.

2

Here’s how the Nation’s T. rex will be posed in the new fossil hall at the National Museum of Natural History.

The mount was assembled temporarily at the Research Casting International workshop in Toronto for Smithsonian staff to inspect. The Nation’s T. rex (a.ka. Wankel Rex) is poised over a cast of Hatcher, a composite Triceratops that has been on display in one form or another since 1905.

So so so polite <3 Nessie likes you~ So sorry for blaring all that upsetting stuff so I decided to do a little something for the guys too?

Saeki:
It’s been just over a week on this screening premiere tour, but it seemed like forever away from his Honey. With a long sigh, he opened his hotel door with a key card and slumped into the bed. It was just so draining without you. He couldn’t even contact you now. The time zone difference meant you were probably sleeping or about to.  A text buzzed on his phone. A moment of hope flashed and died when he read the message. 7:30 wake up call tomorrow?
Saeki frowned and tossed his phone aside, shuffling into the shower. Freshly cleaned and wrapped in a bathrobe, he laid back on the bed and threw the covers over himself. He pulled the phone close to him and opened it up.
“Ah, that’s better.” He tapped into the photo albums and found a picture hidden in the back of the hundreds of pictures. Your face shyly smiled back at him. “Hello, Honey. Did you know I missed you today?” He grinned at the cat ears and tail you were wearing in the picture. He couldn’t possibly let you find out he had kept that embarrassing photo you had sent him for his birthday. “Good night, Honey.” Saeki chuckled, satisfied, and placed his phone back down on the bedside table.
MC:
You were putting away folded, clean laundry in the closet when you found it. Dangling in Saeki’s sock drawer, half caught in his hasty slamming of the compartment, was the sock.
A lone, pastel purple sock speckled with tiny yellow ducklings.
You giggled at the thought of Saeki pulling his socks out to pack in his rushed preparations for the departure, leaving this one behind in his inattention. You could see his frown in your mind’s eye, and your heart does a happy little squirm in your chest. He was just so adorable when it came to his socks. A slight sigh escaped your lips, and you find yourself staring at his sock. You fold it and put it neatly back into the drawer. Looking up, you steal one of his white shirts from his grand collection, and bury your face in it. It smelled faintly like Saeki under the soft, clean detergent scent.
You put it on.
It was so big and comfy. You shake your arms out a little and the long sleeves flap. You giggle. It felt almost like Saeki was wrapped around you. It wasn’t much, but it did sooth your heart a little, and you press the cuffs to your nose, breathing the faint reminder of your boyfriend, and smile into the fabric.

Takao:
He was rarely out of town like this. A client had offered quite the sum to get him overseas for an important case, and Takao had taken up on the opportunity. It was in no way an easy case, and Takao seemed to find less sleep every night, and greet the mornings with larger and larger amounts of vegetable juice he bought from the closest market. He missed the usual mornings, with the run, the whirr of the juicer, but more importantly, the soft, warm, dear woman who he always woke up to.
After a long day of research and discussion with some other lawyers working upon the case, Takao returned to his hotel with a bought dinner. Opening it, he started on the vegetable croquettes, remarking - with a twinge of disappointment - that they were not hot from the oil as you made them. He reached into his briefcase and pulled out his wallet. He flipped it open to the clear pocket, where a bright picture was carefully cut and placed. His own smiling face gazed back at him from beside yours, backed by the beautiful scenery of the beach. Droplets of seawater gleamed at the ends of your wet locks, and you had on a sweet little smile. Your bikini was blue and simple, but enough to make Takao sputter the first time he saw you in it. That memory flooded to mind now, and he chuckled fondly to himself as he took another bite of the croquettes.
MC:
You opened the mailbox after your shift at Long Island, finding a delightful surprise waiting for you. Takao had sent you a letter!
He always sent letters whenever he had to leave, and you found yourself hoarding a slowly growing collection. You hurried back home to read it.
With all the letters spread out on the coffee table in chronological order, you carefully open the newest one - a plain white envelope with his neat printing and a dim sum themed stamp - and read its contents. This time, he was over in Hong Kong, helping a client, Mr Oh, deal with some legal disputes. You flip through pages and pages of his printing, as neat and tidy as your boyfriend himself, your heart bubbly with adoration. Takao always put so much effort into his letters, and reading them felt like having him close by, pouring heart and soul into words for you.  You slide the letter back in its envelope and open the one before it, setting out to reread all of them.

Kyoichi:
He had worked hard for this chance. Along with a couple of other seniors in his department, he was introduced to the president, and was accompanying him to a foreign conference. After a long yet friendly meeting and discussion in the morning, tonight was a night of manners. Kyoichi felt excited at this major milestone in his career, and wondered if he looked suitable as a representative from Japan. He knew fancy well, but this was a whole new level of international extravagance. He noticed applause sounding in the large hall, and quickly joined in. The president was taking his seat, along with his daughter and her husband. Kyoichi looked at the man. He looked a little nervous at the dinner too. Kyoichi had heard he was once her bodyguard. The two men’s eyes locked for a moment, as if sharing their mutual anxiety at the formal dinner, and both looked away.
Kyoichi stuck his hand in his suit pocket. His finger moved slowly, smoothing over the soft fluff. His own kitty strap sat in there, a soft, reassuring presence that reminded him of you. He took a deep breath. You should be so proud of him. He had to make you proud of him. Letting out the air slowly, he stroked the kitty strap a few more times and pulled his hand from his pocket. He was going to make you so proud. Kyoichi sat up straighter in his chair and gave a cordial smile.
MC:
You were curled up on the couch with your after dinner chocolate, sadly watching the marshmallows bob in the warm liquid. You missed Kyoichi. It always tasted better with him beside you, drinking from his mug and putting his arm around your shoulders. You set it down before taking a sip.
Your loneliness wasn’t nearly as bad as when you first started dating. Kyoichi’s erratic schedule was something you more or less got accustomed to now, and you knew he finally got a great chance at an international conference with the president. You were so happy for him, so proud of his achievement, so glad he had been recognized, so lonely without him.
You suddenly get up and go grab your keys from the bowl by the door. The kitty strap dangled from it. You give it a quick little kiss and rub the fluff against your cheek.
Can you sense this, Kyoichi? I’m so happy for you. I miss you.
You sit back down on the couch with the kitty strap and stroke it with a finger. Taking your mug back up, you sip the hot chocolate. Maybe it was just you, but it tasted that much sweeter.

Yamato:
It was only the end of the first week. There was still a week left and he was already out. He had been recommended and selected to be given a chance at an international physics teacher workshop, an extremely reputed event hosted by a top university. You had made him a batch of 200 mochi at his request for him to bring on his trip, and somehow he had eaten them all.
“I bet pouty didn’t actually put in two hundred.” He muttered as he tore open a store bought package of strawberry daifukus, the best he could get out here in a foreign supermarket. “She’s always saying how they’re not that good for me.” He stuffed one in his mouth. “Hell, what is this? Is this even legal to sell?” He chewed scornfully. “Even pouty makes them much better than this. They got the texture all wrong.”
Yamato finished off the package muttering in frustration, and moved on to his dinner of basic udon he had threw together on the hotel stove. Every day was simply too tiring for him to cook.
A good hour after dinner, he goes to find a change of clothes before his shower. Pulling various zippers in his suitcase, he finds something you had packed for him. It was a medium sized box labeled ‘emergencies’. Yamato pulls it open.
“Oh pouty, do you even know how much more I love you right now?” He grins down at the handmade mochi.
MC:
“Good job today.” You say cheerfully to Roomba as it lets out the little tune to alert you that it was complete its round. “It’s so clean! Here, have a little reward!” You plug it in to recharge. In Yamato’s absence, the apartment felt so empty you found your only companion to be the Roomba in the corner. You had befriended it, talking to it like you once saw Yamato do. You giggle a little at yourself. It was so strange thinking it, but you could swear that Roomba liked you. No technical difficulties at all like you had feared. You take one of the extra mochi you had made and start nibbling on it.
Has Yamato started eating his packed mochi yet? 
You giggle to yourself. If you knew your boyfriend at all, he would probably be finished and whining for more. Yamato’s frowning, pouting face comes up in your mind and you smile. You wonder how long it would take him to find his emergency package, and feel a rush of pride for yourself at including one for him.

Ren:
It strange to be away from you. He was so absolutely addicted - no - attached to your presence by his side. You had made plans to bring him to visit your family back in Kyushu, but Daniel had shown up a few days ago and mentioned urgencies back in the kingdom that Ren had to immediately tend to. With a promise that he’ll visit your parents another time, the two of you took planes in different directions.
In the room he had grown up in, Ren opens his suitcase and unpacks a sizeable teddy bear. He put it on the centre of the large bed and stares at it.
“…”
He pets its head. It was soft and fluffy despite being crammed into his luggage.
“…”
He pulls it over and wraps his arms around it. It smelled like home back in Japan, and like something sweeter and better. It smelled a little like the scent of your soap, the scent that clung delicately to your skin and clothes.
“Mmm.”
Ren loved this scent. He could always discern it from the various blossoms in the house. It was your scent, as unique, as wonderful, as gentle and lovable as the woman he missed so much. Ren loved this scent.
MC:
You got home before Ren did, and found the house to feel airier and emptier than usual. He had set up watering systems for his beloved plants before he left, and you went ahead and took out the plastic bulbs. You took it upon yourself to water the plants in his absence. Bringing the can out to the balcony, you start with pouring some into the pot of morning glories in the corner. It was almost about to bloom. You watch the water seep through the soil and wonder if Ren was going to be home in time to see it. The two of you had planted this one together. You touch a bud lightly with your fingertip and recall how you had accidentally smudged dirt on his cheek. He looked absolutely bewildered and adorable. Sliding along the balcony, you water the smaller plants on the rack, a beautiful assortment of pastel colours Ren had decided on to surprise you. You remember sitting on a stool, watching him repot the flowers under the setting evening sun. It was a sweet and fond memory, and you find yourself grinning uncontrollably. All these plants reminded you of Ren, and your heart swelled with contentment as you relived the memories of each one.

Akito:
He was back in Kyushu alone this time. You had been caught up with work at Long Island due to the rush of customers for Kunihiko’s newly invented cocktail. Akito lay on his childhood bed, staring up at the messy pattern of glow in the dark star scars on his ceiling. It was a layout you had helped him arrange back in the day, and he chuckled at the poorly distributed placement. Rolling over, he pulled out his wallet from his carry on backpack. Flipping it open, he pulls out a handmade trifold booklet. It was a trio of small, taped together photos. Akito unfolded it and gazed at them with a widening smile. One was of his first kiss with you, taken by the friend he had secretly set up to take a picture. You hardly seemed to change since then, your face still beet red and flustered whenever he kissed you now. The second was a photo booth picture the two of you had taken together. You had sharpied red devil horns around his head and he had laughed and drew in your angel wings with silver. The last one… Akito laughed out loud at his inclusion of the last one in his collection. You in the kitchen, wearing his shirt over your underwear, topped off with an apron. He had taken the photo after one of your nights together, and as he gazed at it now, he sighed with contentment at the newlywed feel to the entire scene.
MC:
It was so boring without him. You worked hard at Long Island and came home to the empty apartment, missing him dearly. After dinner, you put on a movie and found yourself unable to concentrate. Going over to the side shelf, you took down a snow-globe. Well, it was almost a snow-globe. Turning it on, the room fills with delightful music - a selection by Akito to be your relationship anthem - and the decoration lights up with a rosy glow. You shake it up and watch the pink petals swirl inside the glass, dancing around chibi figures of you and your boyfriend. It was a gift from him on your six month anniversary, and you gaze at it adoringly. The sweet lyrics teased your heart, drawing a blush to your cheeks just as Akito would with his words.
Chibi Akito stood proudly under the rain of petals, hugging chibi you with a wide grin on his face. You absolutely couldn’t wait until you saw the real Akito again.

Yuta:
He was on a tour around Japan. It’s only been a few days when he started missing everything about you. Your smile, your voice, your scent, the comfort of your body when he came home exhausted, the way you combed his hair gently… Yuta slumped into the hotel bed and rolled himself into the blankets. He missed you so much. Rain pattered outside.
The blanket sushi stuck out a hand and felt around the bedside table, grabbing his phone and pulling it down to him. Yuta opened up his voice recording app and pressed the first recording on the list. He cranked it up above the sound of the rain. Your voice softly filled his ears, and he smiles. He had recorded this when the two of you went out to karaoke, and the cute duet was always a nice touch to fall asleep to. Yuta’s heart warmed at the sound of your voice, singing him to sleep. His own was just a compliment to yours, a minor thing compared to the radiance of your voice to him. Yuta listened to the song end, satisfied with the reminder of your presence, and started to drift off to sleep with the sound of the precipitation.
MC:
It was raining today. You gaze out the window and see the rainstorm pound on the trees. Your chopsticks pause over your rice. Hopefully Yuta was doing alright, and the storm wasn’t causing his performances any problems. Thinking of Yuta, you turn to see the teru teru bozu hanging along the back porch door. There seemed to be one missing. You hurry over to it and find it lying on the ground, the old string having snapped. You give it a cut of replacement string and go back outside, feeling your hair buffeted by the strong winds of the storm. Determinedly, you tiptoe and try to hang it back up. You had made these alongside Yuta, and they were such a dear symbol of your love that you refused to let a single one down. When you finally got it tied up, you were soaked through by the slanted downpour. Heading back inside, you change and start towelling your hair dry, coming back to the door to watch the small cloth dolls swing on their strings. The one you had put back up was turned around by the wind, and its smiling face, painted on by Yuta, smiled at you with an adorable expression that reminded you of your dear boyfriend.

Kunihiko:
He sat at the bar that evening, taking the chance to get a good look of foreign bars and their atmosphere. It was much different from the one he ran, but it was a nice change of scenery he appreciated in the moment. There was only one thing about this business trip that bothered him. His eyes flickered to the empty seat beside him.
You weren’t there with him. He ordered your usual drink and waited. The bartender passed him a cocktail and he took it, gazing down at it with fondness. It was a common one he usually made for you, nothing compared to the cocktail he had created and dedicated to you of course, yet it was a nice reminder of the woman he loved so dearly. He stirred the light pink liquid and watched the cherry swirl around, bobbing with the motion.
“It’s a very interesting choice of drink that you have, sir.” The bartender, seeing no other customers, attempts a bit of small talk. He was young, 23 or so, with a wide smile.
“It’s what I make for my girlfriend.” Kunihiko said as he took a sip from the glass. Under the dim lights, the pale pink looked like the soft blush on your cheeks that he saw so often and loved so much. “I won’t get to see her for another week, and this is probably the best way to keep her on my mind for the night.”
MC:
You sat at home with a shaker cup and some liquor you had taken from Long Island when you closed up the bar that night. Pouring measured amounts in, you tried to make one of those drinks Kunihiko always preferred.
“AH!”
You didn’t hold the shaker together properly and some flies out and splashes onto your face and shirt. Sputtering a little, you give an amused chuckle at your clumsiness, wondering what Kunihiko would say if he saw you now. He would probably laugh and take the shaker from you to teach you. It would be a nice time learning from him, you imagine, and your heart gets excited at the idea.
With a giggle, you note to yourself that you had to ask him how to do this when he came home. You pour out the contents into a glass and stare at the pale blue liquor. Well… that didn’t look quite right. With a laugh, you take out your phone and snap a picture, emailing it to Kunihiko.


Thanks for the read!