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It’s Thanksgiving! (Or, it is for those of us in America.) Here we see the Turkeys who survived have much to be thankful for and are dancing with joy.
I’m told that some of my depressed turkeys from the last few days have made people feel guilty about consuming a bird during the holiday. But I hope my pen and ink sketches haven’t put any serious doubts in anyone’s mind. And I hope you’re having a wonderous holiday whatever you do or eat.
The Alpha and the Omega. That’s what Cole calls it.
At least, that’s how I feel. Me and ol’ Mossimo Cole. We love our beans, man.
Do you know Moss? Tall, good looking dude, lots of tattoos, lots of scars, usually wearing this beat-up old fedora he got off of his grandfather. Lives next door to me. Right down the street there. Chicks dig Moss Cole. He’s one of those tall, dark, and soulful types. What Cole loves? Jazz and a fine ristretto pull.
I know. What the hell is a ristretto? Basically, a ristretto is the first half of an espresso. When you squeeze that water through the tightly-packed grounds of coffee bean dust, forcing it at temperature and pressure to work it’s way down through the earthy mantle of a fine grind, and flood out in a big muddy, a veritable Mississippi of shape and colour. The darkest, smokiest, velvet-smooth, dark chocolate magnificence. Coffee contains over a thousand aromatic compounds, and the best and boldest of them are at their peak when you use that first pull.
You dump that into a demitasse and suck it back, brother that’s a straight ristretto. Drop some water in like an Americano, and we’re talking a Long Black. Moss likes those two ristretto shots split with a lovely cloud of foamed milk. Silk and satin, that’s what he calls it. Baby, that’s Flat White right there.
You better believed you’ve never had a coffee so rich, so flavourful, so damned exquisite.
I used to be a three or four latte-a-day man, licking the caramel scorch-ring off the bottom of a truck-stop pot of joe, if I was having an especially bad morning. Moss showed me the light. He showed me the way. That lady friend of his, the redhead with the stems like polished marble? Rosie. That was her name. Hot stuff, sweet fancy Moses. Cup of coffee like bountiful naked angels pouring pure sunshine and rainbows straight down your gullet. Haven’t seen her around lately though. Ol’ Moss has been a little down and out. Looks like he’s been run up one side and down the other with one of those riding mowers. Maybe I’d best check in on him. Been hearing a lot of Chet Baker and not much Satchmo coming out of his place next door.
First things first, I’m feeling a mite slow ‘n’low myself, better shuffle on down to the corner, down to the hipster coffee bar. They got a new girl there, Australian. Mossy says they invented the flat white. She says that too. Says her name’s Pie-Pah, but the tag says Piper. Doesn’t matter what they call her when she can pull a cup of joe like that, I tell ya.
I’ve got a nice crisp ten-spot with her name on it. Pie-Pah. Of course, ten bucks won’t buy me two large (one now and one for later) plus one for Moss, and leave her with a tip. So I guess Mossy’s on his own. Unless he wants to spot me a cup later. Yeah, he’ll be good for it. He usually is. Right?
Nah. Better not chance it. I’m gonna need that fix later. Alpha and Omega. One now, one for later.
I ain’t gonna argue with the Coffee Gods.
Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Axel!
Axel Howerton is the genre-hopping, punch-drunk author of the horror novella Living Dead at Zigfreidt & Roy, and the darkly funny detective novel Hot Sinatra, which was a finalist for the 2014 Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel. His newest novel Furr,available now from Tyche Books is a "modern gothic werewolf story that's part crime novel and part urban fantasy". Axel is the editor of the anthologies Death by Drive-In, Tall Tales of the Weird West and AB Negative. His work has appeared in places like Big Pulp, Fires on the Plain, Steampunk Originals, Night Shade, Dark Eclipse, Sleuth Magazine, and "The Big Lebowski" compendium Lebowski 101, as well as the anthologies A Career Guide to Your Job in Hell and Let It Snow.
When he's not on-duty as a hometown anti-hero, Axel spends most of his time roaming the untamed prairies of Alberta with his two brilliant young sons and a wife that is way out of his league.
Hot Sinatra is a darkly funny detective novel featuring more coffee, music, romance and action than you can shake a dark chocolate Pirouline at. Available now in paperback, audiobook and ebook. $0.99 ebook sale December 5 – 9!
The final installment of The Hunger Games films (Mockingjay: Part Two) is about to be released. Amidst the acres of coverage about Jennifer Lawrence, the on-screen violence (is it appropriate for twelve year-olds?) and an apparently patchy and unconvincing ending, it is worth pausing to consider the apocalyptic nature of the franchise.
On this Thanksgiving day, I'd like to give thanks to all the dedicated teachers out there who give their time to inspiring students in art schools. One of those teachers is SCAD Atlanta instructor Rick Lovell. On his blog, he says:
"Two classes worked on the Scroobious Pip project this fall quarter. The project was inspired by two different things; James Gurney's video demo called "How I Paint Dinosaurs", and a silly poem by Edward Lear called "The Scroobious Pip," a nonsense story about an animal that is a little of everything."
Scroobius Pip maquette by Sally Geng
"The students created their version of the Scroobious Pip in polymer clay; it begins with a wire armature, is bulked out with aluminum foil, is covered in Super Sculpey, sculpted, baked and finally painted."
Scroobius Pip illustration by Sally Geng
"The maquette is lit and photographed and is used as a model for a finished illustration that tells a bit of a story about each Pip."
"So, what happens now?" asked the rat as we met in the back garden.
"It's inevitable, isn't it?" I responded with a shrug of my weary shoulders: "One of us has the go!"
The rat turned slightly and I'm sure I saw the corners of its mouth crease slightly, as though trying not to smile: "Well, I'll be sorry to see you go" he said.
And with that the rat scuttled off into the overgrown brambles.
Just another Thursday morning for me.
As I pack everything up I did ask myself "what happens now?" and I have been thinking about this. The online store for Black Tower Books and Comics is like a eunuch in a harem of sex starved women. Impotent. Closing it down takes too much effort and to be honest I have no idea how to close it, nor do I have the inclination to bother and find out. It just stays there. All floppy.
As I don't sleep much, to try to dull my night-time thinking and make it "manageable" I thought about 2016. The last of the "you never won a table -could you mention the event?" messages has come through. Every single UK event will be attended by...the same creators and publishers as the ones in 2015, 2014 and so on back to...whenever. So the response to the request to publicise the event was "in the last four years I have never 'won' a table at your event but the same people as every other year have so until you respect me and stop lying the response will always be: NO."
With the deaths and so on this year the idea of trying to get a table at European events doesn't seem likely.
But that leaves me with not many options. Honestly, translating books into German and selling them in Germany -apart from Subzero not a single person in Germany has ever expressed interest so I'm not going to knock myself out.
The idea of approaching European publishers and getting books published by them? Well, the French publishers have been quite rude in some responses but I'm never sure whether that is just down to poor English? Certainly, the French publish so much that they can pick and choose and dictate conditions so the idea is to look for a decent publisher.
I am looking at certain projects so have not given up -it's just the UK that is dead to me.
I was asked about the US? Well, there are so many small publishers there you literally trip over them. Also, 99.9% of them DO NOT pay. I need to eat and pay bills.
So don't panic...you were not panicking, were you??
Either these comics go or I do.
Now, the rat is looking at me and has furniture to move in....and he looks annoyed.
Music, the universal language of Christmas, is packaged in Greg Page's new CD, "Here Comes Christmas!" Filled with traditional and original songs for the whole family, this is a must have for the upcoming holiday season.
by Greg Page
The original "Yellow Wiggle"
His first children's/family album since his departure from the Wiggles, with whom he performed for nearly 17 years,
Unwrapping the CD...
This fun CD will kick start your season and get you in the Christmas spirit for sure. It opens with three originals songs, "presented with panache, substance, and personality." The holiday package is stuffed with 22 songs in all, perfect, for the whole family to enjoy. It also features four bonus tracks from Greg's new children's DVD, "Butterscotch's Playground."
The CD was arranged and produced by Chicago-based Alec Miller, who harnessed Greg's passion for both old and new renditions of Christmas songs. "The resulting collection enfolds children and adults alike in the warmth of Yuletide music and the holiday spirit."
Greg has always wanted to pay homage to the old-school style of musical arrangements. The settings for many of the songs found their roots in orchestral arrangements made famous by Bing Crosby, Perry Como, and Dean Martin.
According to Greg...
"Those 'old-school' musical arrangements are really important for a child's development of both musical perspective and understanding,with harmony, rhythm, and tone colour being explored to their fullest. And for people of all ages, they're simply wonderful to listen to."
About Greg Page...
Greg has long been at the top end of children's entertainment and is respectfully regarded as one of the genre's leading performers. He grew up in Northmead, a suburb of Sydney, Australia. He was raised with a keen love of music and studied Early Childhood Education at Sydney's Macquarie University. In 1991 he teamed up with fellow students Anthony Field and Murray Cook to form what would become one of the world's largest children's brands, The Wiggles. In 2006 he retired from the group due to a condition known as orthostatic intolerance, a form of dysautonomia. Now doing well Greg is moving forward and has established The Greg Page Foundation to raise awareness and funds for research into orthostatic intolerance. He has been awarded the Order of Australia, (knighthood) for his services in the arts, in particular to children's entertainment, and a variety of charities. He has received an Australian Record Industry Hall of Fame Award, honorary Doctorates for Macquarie University and Australian Catholic University, and an Australian Record Industry Association Outstanding Achievement Award. He is a seven-time ARIA (Australian Grammy) winner. "Here Comes Christmas!" will be available from iTunes and www.butterscotch.com. His "Butterscotch's Playground " DVD is also available from the same. Please check out Greg at:
www.gregpage.com and www.butterscotchtv.com
About the CD itself...
For all ages. Release date: November 24th, 2015 Run time: 58 minutes
Unwrapping the Track list...
Here Comes Christmas Christmas Bells It's Christmas Santa Clause is Coming to Town Jingle Bells Let it Snow Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Winter Wonderland Little Drummer Boy The Christmas Song Frosty the Snowman Jingle Bell Rock Dominick the Donkey White Christmas Silent Night Silver Bells Feliz Navidad Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas I Saw Three Ships The Twelve Days of Christmas O Come All Ye Faithful We Wish You A Merry Christmas Bonus tracks... (From Gregs Page's Butterscotch Playground) At the Fire Station Everybody Dance Get Down Low and Go, Go, Go Knead it
Sing on and sing always! It's a wrap. Contact me at email@example.com
Tizzy has mixed feelings about this, to say the least. He wonders why the other three stories, Blizzy, the Worrywart Elf; Dizzy, the Stowaway Elf; and Frizzy, the S.A.D. Elf, are not free, too.
He worries that Somebody thinks his story isn't worth anything. We explained that whenever Somebody gives a book away as a gift, that means Somebody thinks it is EXTRA valuable.
We also told him that his story will only be given away as a gift until Monday. After that people will have to pay to buy it again. That made him feel better. We think.
Of course, his story is also on Kindle Select for awhile, so some people will be able to read it for free, but the rest of us Izzies decided not to tell Tizzy that until we know how to explain it better.
Anyway, here is the magic link again. Just in case.
Happy Thanksgiving! Today I thought I'd share a few things that I'm very thankful to have discovered this past year. I do wish I'd done a list in 2014. If I had, "LOST" would definitely be on it and near the top of the list. And also "Call the Midwife" and "Sherlock" and coconut oil and butternut squash. But I didn't.
“I cannot find a cup of tea which is big enough or a book that is long enough.” ~ C.S. Lewis
Topping my list this year, it would have to be tea. So three items on my list are tea-related! The Ginger tea *is* medicinal. But I do happen to love the way it tastes. I drink at least two cups of ginger tea daily. The other two teas are holiday flavors, but I want them to be year-round flavors.
The next grouping on my list would have to be fresh fruit. I "discovered" the joys of fresh fruit this past summer. My obsession started with apples, but, then progressed. Right now what I'm really, really missing is peaches. They haven't been available since October. But apples and grapes are a treat I enjoy daily.
Before I move away from food, I just want to mention how thankful I am to have discovered a gluten-free, egg-free noodle that I want to eat. It's not available at a store in my town unfortunately, but a town or two away has a Whole Food Market which carries it. So I stock up when I can. What is great about it is that it is also corn-free. I have not had success finding a corn pasta that I want to swallow. If you have a favorite gluten-free pasta, I'd love to hear it. 2015 has definitely been the year of "the walk" for me. I started walking in the spring, and am now incredibly more active than in any previous year of my life. One trick is that I rarely if ever, sit down to watch TV. I walk instead. I definitely love my Skechers flip-flops with goga mat. It may not be flip-flop weather outside these days, but, in the house these are still getting a lot of use!!!
I've "discovered" at least two great shows this past year. But topping my list of things I've watched obsessively--in marathon--is Person of Interest. I spent most of the summer watching the first four seasons of the show. I adore this one!!!
The second show that I "discovered" this year is the television show When Calls The Heart. Now, I hated, absolutely hated, the movie. But the tv show? Well, that's a different story. I still haven't caught all of season two. But season one was great. Note: this is not a good show to walk to. Anytime Mountie Jack is on screen, I find myself stopping and just standing and watching. So, I often watched When Calls the Heart while enjoying a cup of tea!
Another new-to-me discovery was the EXTENDED editions of Lord of the Rings. While I had seen the theatre versions a good many times, I'd not watched the extended editions yet. And I love them. I love, love, love them. My summer was very Tolkien-oriented.
What are some of your favorite discoveries this year??? Do you have a favorite tea?
To celebrate the new BBC Radio Four adaptation of the French writer Émile Zola's, 'Rougon-Macquart' cycle, we have looked at the extraordinary life and work of one of the great nineteenth century novelists.
I'll keep it short. I'm thankful for every blessing in my life - family, friends, health and home.
But also -- for finally finding the the information I needed for my upcoming story. One question haunted me. What color was Henry Ford's plastic car. In the world of black and white photos it looks like the car is white. But it could be a light blue, yellow, green... Who knows? None of the press releases mention it. None of the designers in their oral reminiscences mention it.
Then I finally found an article and -- Eureka -- "cream-colored body.." Thank you to the journalist whose name I can't remember for giving me the detail I needed ('cause the illustrator will definitely ask).
Earlier in the year, Greece faced some unsettling economic troubles. The country voted on a referendum that would decide whether they would pull their membership from the European Union (and thus, the union's currency and economic system). It's a wonder to think that this country, less than a decade ago, was among one of the richer nations.
This is apparently the Korean drama recommendation episode! This week JJ and Kelly tackle the end of NaNoWriMo. Sort of. We hope. Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving! We will be on hiatus next week, but will pick up again in December! Gobble, gobble.
Subscribe to us on iTunes, or use this feed to subscribe through your podcast service of choice! If you like us, please leave a rating or review, as it helps other listeners find the podcast. Thanks in advance!
Remember, whether or not you “win” NaNoWriMo this year, be proud of everything you have accomplished! Success isn’t defined solely by word count, and hopefully you’ve taken away some tools and lessons from the experience.
That’s all for this week! We are returning to our old format, wherein we discuss a publishing topic in depth. Leave your suggestions in the comments or email us or ask us on Tumblr! The next episode will be a year end round-up, but 2016 (Already????) is a blank slate, y’all!
This drama is directed by Yoon Sok Ho, who is my mother’s favorite director because he doesn’t resort to Kong-ji, Pat-ji storylines. ↩
I can't begin to express how blessed I am. In fact the subtitle of this blog is "the very blessed life of a creative artist".
First, I'm really thankful just to be an artist because it saved me. It can be really frustrating at times and I have come home more than once from a show feeling dejected and sad because I had few sales or because someone made a derogatory comment about my work.
Being rejected from inclusion in a show at a gallery can feel particularly stinging because for some reason, artists tend to have this idea that their value as a person and an artist rises and falls on what a gallery or particular juror thinks of you. I've overcome that particular idea a lot, however sometimes you still just kind of feel like, "Why do I do this at all?"
I'm so grateful for my husband, this wonderful man who has always supported me, and put up with my tears and self doubt and coached me into carrying on. He has always supported me literally and figuratively, because I never make much money as an artist, but he's always been my biggest cheering section and puts up with me time after time with the inevitable "I'm going to quit" phone call that would often come in the middle of the day when I was out at an art festival with poor attendance or poor sales. Of course, he's a very talented bass player, so he gets the artist thing.
I'm so grateful for my home and for being able to get up and go out to my adorable little studio that is my own space where I can escape to create whatever comes into my mind.
I'm so grateful for my artist friends. Not only the ones that I see a lot who live near me and I spend time with, but also my online friends whom I've never met in person, but who so freely share their work with me and their ideas and techniques and give support and accolades to myself and to one another.
I'm so grateful for my beautiful daughter, this amazing human being that I was lucky enough to give birth to. I'm grateful to her for the challenges and inspiration that she's given me, for her encouragement for what I've already done and for the way she challenges me to be a better artist, a better human being and to appreciate myself as an artist.
I am also so grateful for the people who support my work through purchases and appreciation, without whom I couldn't continue.
Now this is going to sound weird, but I'm kind of grateful for the hideous childhood that I had, because without it, I wouldn't be the person that I am today. Everyone has obstacles in their life, some more than others. Some people might allow these things to overcome them and prevent them from living their fullest potential or blame negative experiences for their failures. Not saying, that I've never had a pity party of my own from time to time and I have used my work to explore some of the issues surrounding my childhood.
Welcome Cynthia to the 2015-16 Scholastic Kids Council!
I am Cynthia, a girl that has a wonderful family. The first picture I’m going to tell you about is the one of my family and me at Cape Cod, a place we spend a lot of time. There is also another picture of my brother, Bobby and me when we were on a boat heading back from Nantucket Island. The last picture at the Cape is the picture of my cousin, Rose, me, and my brother when we climbed up the lifeguard chair after they left which we do all the time. Speaking of cousins, in the next picture I’m going to talk about, there are all of my cousins on my dad’s side of the family (Rose in on my mom’s side).
But my family doesn’t just consist of people. I have four animals including three cats named KC, Lady, and Snowflake. KC is my shy, little, gray kitty that goes into hiding every time someone comes over. Then there is Lady, my snuggle buddy. Every time I wake up in the morning, she is on my bed. But don’t be too quick to judge because Lady could rip you to shreds if she wanted to. After that comes my dear little Hurricane Sandy cat, Snowflake. She lived under our house for about a week before we got her to come inside. Every chance she gets, she runs outside again so she can eat grass. And last, but not least, Sadie, the friendliest dog you will ever meet. Since she is a middle-sized, crazy, black lab, most people think she’s going to kill them but all she wants to do is drown you in kisses.
I have a picture of a violin and a bass, and I also play the piano and drums, but I also like to read. The book I’m reading right now is Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (for ages 12 and up). Although I like music and reading a lot, my absolute favorite thing to do is draw. As you can see, I drew a picture of two anime characters from a show I watched called Hakouki.
I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about me.
Corbynomics has yet to be unpacked. And when it is, there's danger it will be branded as a return to the bad old days of tax and spend, when the 1983 Labour manifesto was dismissed by pundits as the longest suicide note in history. To avoid this, what Labour needs are some big and positive ideas; ideas that that resonate with the public and which capture that popular mood of radicalism that has put Jeremy Corbyn where he is.
I can’t believe that search Search and Spot, Animals! Is my tenth book. It takes such a long time between completion and publication of a book, that getting the box with your 20 copies is a moment full of excitement and a little angst. What if I don’t like it? Going back to my editorial illustrating days, I always had a hard time looking at my things after they are just published in a publication or wherever it was. I am so hard on myself. So, after a quick glance, I put it away in a drawer in my flat files and when some time had passed and I look at it again, I can be more neutral and less emotional. So it was with sweaty palms that I opened the box Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt. What if the colors were off. What if the bugs were impossible to find, what if….? Of my ten published children’s books, 9 are written by me. I was asked to illustrate Mem Fox's book, Yoo-Hoo, Lady Bug! a couple of years ago. It writing, it was a “search and find book but with Mem’s beautiful” writing. I enjoyed doing that so much that I got the idea to do my own “search and find book”.
One of my teachers in art school once said to me that I have a fear of white space. He was right. If you look at my body of work, the art tends to fill up the space. As a child I was drawing patterns and obsessively filling page after page. I also drew lots of animals, especially horses. I have many, many animal drawings, in my drawers going back to my childhood. So, my “search and find” book was going to be a work of love – patterns and animals! Voila – Search and Spot, Animals! When everything has been approved and agreed on with my publishers team on a book project, it usually takes me about 3 months to do all the final artwork for a children’s book. However, my first 2 children’s books are painted in gouache, and it took me a whole day just to paint half a background or the pattern on a dress. When I got a MAC computer and started working in Photoshop things went much faster. Unless I scan in a drawing made on paper, I have a drawing tablet with a special pen that acts just like a mouse, so I am still drawing, I’m just using a different pen - “Digitally drawn”! Very often I find that things “come to me”, and I get ideas and inspiration as I am working and going to final on a book. That’s why I try keep sketches quite general, so I am not too “locked in” but can allow those ideas to flourish. One of my favorite spreads in the book are the horses. That spread is a perfect example of doing something that I think is beautiful, and getting that extra idea for the text, concept and questions as I am working.
I like the challenge on this spread. Readers are asked to find different colored horses. Some horses have a solid color and some are drawn in just a line. Could lead to some interesting questions for children? I a horse really pink if it’s drawn with a just a pink line? And then there are the dogs! Try and find the photographed French Bulldog!
My goal was to make different kinds of challenges for the reader. In some searches you have to turn the page and find what you are asked to look for on the next spread. In some cases there are some animals shown and you have to find them on the same spread. Then there are searches were you are told in the text what to look for.
And then, there is my favorite thing that I try to do in all my books. One final search that makes the reader go back and search through the whole book again! So much fun! The follow up to “Animals!” is just completed, Search and Spot, Go! It’s full of boats, helicopters, busses, bikes and tractors. So now I’m waiting to open open another package with sweaty palms - test prints (or f&g’s as we say). Oh, BTW, I loved “Animals!” when I opened the box! It accomplished just what I set out to do and I had so much fun doing it!
Check out Laura's groovy studio space with her dog Lola: