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This thing is going on with a new publisher called Joe Books, and the credits on Boom! Studio’s long ago (2010) Darkwing Duck series. Yes. The Outhouse has a succinct round-up but as best as I can make out, here’s what happened:
* Sparrow left Boom! after three issues were published. Depending on who you ask, he either left notes for Brill or actually wrote most of the subsequent series, leaving Brill’s name as writer on the credits.
* In the intervening years, Sparrow and Brill engaged in an internet kerfuffle over who actually wrote these books. (Links are in the Outhouse piece, and I’m not gonna look them up.)
* In recent days, a new publisher has emerged, Joe Books, led by Adam Fortier, formerly of Speakeasy and Boom and several other places. While they haven’t been making a lot of pr moves, they did announce a Darkwing Duck omnibus in this month’s Previews…with Sparrow rewriting it to bring it closer in line to his vision, as related by artist James Silvana:
Aaron Sparrow, the editor and driving force of the DW comics has gone back and painstakingly rewritten the book to bring it in step with the classic Disney Afternoon series. I also had the opportunity to revisit the art and make this edition the true Terror That Flaps In The Night. This omnibus also features the stellar work of Darkwing creator Tad Stones, artist Sabrina Alberghetti, writer Ian Brill, colorists Andrew Dalhouse and Lisa Moore, letterer Deron Bennett and cover artist Amy Mebberson.
Currently a reprint collection of the Darkwing Duck comic that we worked on in 2010 and 2011 is being offered in Previews. In the announcement of this collection it said to be “painstakingly rewritten” to “bring it in step with the classic Disney Afternoon series.” We believe that this will not be the book that readers enjoyed when the series was originally published. We do not feel it is right to rewrite comics for a reprint collection. Since we feel this book will not reflect our intentions for the material we wish for our names to be removed from the book, and for our names to not be used in the promotion of the book. We have contacted Joe Books and made this request. This is our only and final comment about the situation.
-Former Darkwing Duck writer Ian Brill and former Darkwing Duck editor Christopher Burns
Could James, the artist on the book, have communicated with his good friend Aaron about each issue and then incorporated some of Aaron’s comments in future issues even though Aaron wasn’t officially involved in the series? Sure. I expect as much as they are very close. But that’s not “writing” or “co-writing.” Ian sat down at his laptop on every script. He broke down the pages and story beats and wrote the dialogue. That’s what writers do. They write!
It’s always disappointing in comics to see someone take credit for another’s hard work. I give Aaron a ton of credit for getting the series going at BOOM! and keeping the Darkwing Duck flame alive for the past three years. But I have real problems with him taking credit for Ian’s work and I think everyone who has written a comic would find it painful to have their former editor re-write their work without asking them about it first. It’s just a really sad, sad situation.
And there you have it.
What no one has come out and said is….IT’S FREAKING DARKWING DUCK, NOT THE WORKS OF SHAKESPEARE!
I poked around and found…passions running high on this topic! Disney fans seem to have taken up the “Sparrow Is The Original Author” campaign on various forums, which is…just like Disney fans. That is all I will say about that. I also understand that many times Disney proper tinkers with licensed work in various formats, and this may be one of those things.
Still…it’s Darkwing Duck! A character I worked on during my Disney years and loved very much. Gosslyn and Launchpad and Negaduck…it was a pretty good world. I’ve never read these new comics, but I’m sure they’re fine whoever wrote them, but my advice to Sparrow (who I don’t know) and Brill (who used to write for me when he was a journalist) is move on and create something of your own!
If you want a REAL Darkwing Duck scandal, read this post by the great Doug Gray on how I, as editor, ruined his marvelous “Darkwing vs. Fluffy Trilogy” stories from 1993! This was one of my favorite stories I got to edit at Disney Adventures, and I don’t remember why I made so many changes but…Doug, I’m sorry. I would do it all differently now.
I haven’t seen much press from Joe Books aside from some stuff on BC. The website is minimal. Piecing all this together it looks like they have the Disney/Pixar comics license for a while, so all I can say is: TALESPIN. IT IS TIME.
4) download art 5) Print Art - on best setting . nice paper is best * Choose Borderless Printing * 6) Fold as in video (there should be 8 panels, with one slit ( use scissors) in the middle) 7) Fold to make a book
fold in half
clip to center as shown
fold both ends in, then fold longwise again.
push both ends toward middle (a kiss!)
make an X, fold so cover is on top.
Voila! Your booklet.
Copyright Becky Kelly Please respect copyright. For personal use only, please do not resale. **let me know what you think!
Nuts to You
by Lynne Rae Perkins; illus. by the author
Intermediate Greenwillow 260 pp.
8/14 978-0-06-009275-7 $16.99
e-book ed. 978-0-06-226220-2 $8.99
Jed the squirrel’s odyssey begins dramatically when he is captured by a hawk and carried far away from his community. Using an “ancient squirrel defensive martial art,” he escapes and so begins his journey home. Meanwhile, his two best friends Chai and TsTs set off to find him. In the course of these two (eventually converging) adventures, our heroes meet some helpful hillbillyish red squirrels, a threatening owl, a hungry bobcat, and a group of humans who are cutting brush and trees for power-line clearance, thus threatening the squirrels’ habitat. The three make it safely home only to face their biggest challenge: convincing their conservative community to relocate before the humans destroy their homes. Part satire, part environmental fable, and all playful, energetic hilarity, this story takes us deep into squirrel culture: their names (“‘Brk’ is pronounced just as it’s spelled, except the r is rolled. It means ‘moustache’ in Croatian but in squirrel, it’s just a name”); their games (Splatwhistle); and their wisdom (“Live for the moment…but bury a lot of nuts”). Perkins uses language like the best toy ever. The storm “howled and pelted, whirled and whined; it spit and sprayed and showered. Its winds were fierce. Its wetness was inescapable.” The book begs to be read aloud, except that you’d miss the wacky digressions, the goofy footnotes, and the black-and-white illustrations with their built-in micro-plots. Another completely original and exceptional package from Perkins.
Enter to win a signed advanced reader copy of Wish Girl by Nikki Loftin (Razorbill, 2015). Author sponsored. Eligibility: North America. From the promotional copy:
...this lyrical novel that will break your heart and lift your spirit.
Peter Stone’s parents and siblings are extroverts, musicians, and yellers—and the louder they get, the less Peter talks, or even moves, until he practically fits his last name. When his family moves to the Texas Hill Country, though, Peter finds a tranquil, natural valley where he can, at last, hear himself think. There, he meets a girl his age: Annie Blythe. Annie tells Peter she’s a “wish girl.” But Annie isn’t just any wish girl; she’s a “Make-A-Wish Girl.” And in two weeks she will begin a dangerous treatment to try and stop her cancer from spreading. Left alone, the disease will kill her. But the treatment may cause serious, lasting damage to her brain. Annie and Peter hatch a plan to escape into the valley, which they begin to think is magical. But the pair soon discovers that the valley—and life—may have other plans for them. And sometimes wishes come true in ways they would never expect.
If you’re like me, you don’t have any siblings, which is a real shame since I really want to get kids into comics. Thankfully, I have enough younger cousins who are easily susceptible to the gift of comics no matter the occasion, so I spoil them rotten at pretty much every turn.
I hope they actually like them.
Either way, here’s a collection of great gifts to get your younger cousins (or siblings or children or whatever – take your pick) this Black Friday consumer-fest in preparation for the upcoming holidays.
Literally one of the most beautiful books I’ve read – whether you’re a fan of Adventure Time’s sometimes heroines, this loving tale of friendship with melt your heart. This is the collected series. Written and Drawn by Natasha Allegri.
Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Promise Library Edition HC - $23.99 (-40%) TFAW
A must read for any fan of the “Avatar: The Last Airbender” series. This hardcover collects the three volumes of Gene Luen Yang’s canonical stories of the events directly after the end of the hit series, Drawn by Gurihiru. There are two more series after this one; “The Search” and “The Rift”.
There is literally nothing like Kaoru Mori‘s series about the life of Amir Halgal, a young woman living during 19th century Silk Road, betrothed to a boy 8 years younger than her. Bride’s Story represents this situations with care, keeping the events historically accurate while making it accessible and entertaining for contemporary audiences. Additionally, Mori’s art is unparalleled with this series, currently 6 volumes in total.
A lighthearted jaunt through the life of Bandette – the first collection of Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover‘s “harmless” crime romp is delightful and exquisitely executed. The second volume to out April 2015.
Batman ’66 Vol. 1 Hardcover – $12.64 (-37%) Amazon
Bringing back the spectacular fun of the classic Batman series, Jeff Parker writes dastardly deeds and timeless heroics with artists Jonathan Case, Ty Templeton, Joe Quinones, Sandy Jarrell, Ruben Procopio, and Colleen Coover. Batman ’66 currently has 2 volumes out, with the 3rd out April 2015.
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind Box Set - $42.00 (-30%) Amazon
Actually the most amazing thing on this list. While most American readers are familiar with Hayao Miyazaki‘s early masterpiece in animated form – it was original a manga – a far deeper and involved story about Nausicaä’s adventures. I literally cannot recommend this enough. The whole series is printed in two gorgeous hardcover books in this set.
Battling Boy Vol. 1 Paperback – $9.68 (-39%) Amazon
A distillation of everything cosmic about Kirby and magical about Miyazaki; Paul Pope‘s entrance into all-ages comics is a fantastic tome for anyone looking for adventure. This is the first of two volumes, with an offshoot series Aurora West having one of two books currently out.
No offense, but if Raina Telgemeier‘s work isn’t on your radar, better move out from under that rock and pick it up. I recently attended an event where she ran a workshop and it was literally swimming with eager children.
Ms. Marvel Paperback Vol. 1 – No Normal – $12.79 (-20%) TFAW
Same as above, if you aren’t aware of what Marvel is doing with the name “Ms. Marvel” you need to check out this book. Meet Kamala Khan, a teenage superheroine who is learning the ropes of how to juggle a like of crime-fighting and being an inconspicuous teenager in a devoutly Islamic household; it’s tremendous and important work. Written by G. Willow Wilson and Drawn by Adrian Alphona, this is an ongoing series.
Star Wars: Ewoks – Shadows of Endor – $3.99 (-50%) TFAW
There literally isn’t a reason to pick up Zack Giallongo‘s wonderful Star Wars book. He has a marvelous style that allows for epic battles and violence while riding the line of accessibility for all readers. Also, c’mon – Ewoks are the cutest. This is currently a standalone book.
Johnny Boo Hardcover Vol. 1 – Best Little Ghost in the World - $4.97 (-50%) TFAW
There are so many books by Vermonter James Kochalka that could (and should) be on this list, but the Johnny Boo series is my favorite. There are currently 6 super-cute volumes out and they’re all really fun.
For me, this was a dream come true. Zac Gorman is well-known online for crafting wholly unique animated comics that distill that feeling of beating a temple in The Legend of Zelda on the first try at 2 in the morning. Since then, he’s been making amazing comics in print. Costume Quest is a property from the immensely wonderful company Double Fine (Psychonauts, Broken Age) and well-deserving of a beautiful comic.
How Toons: Tools Of Mass Construction – $9.74 (-35%) TFAW
That’s right. There’s a comic made to teach kids how to use DIY projects to practice science and explore engineering principles (safely enough). Created by Nick Dragotta, Saul Griffith, Joost Bonsen, and Ingrid Dragotta, How Toons is the perfect gift for that would be physicist or doctor without seeming forced.
Fair warning – there are like 12 volumes of the premier Shōjo manga by Naoko Takeuchi, so in for a penny in for pound. Retranslated and reprinted starting a few years ago, the adventures of Usagi Tsukino, the leader of Sailor Senshi, are an absolute joy to read.
Last but not least, is Kazu Kibiushi‘s early work, Copper. Don’t get me wrong, his work on Amulet, Flight, Daisy Kutter, and more are amazing – especially as a fan of seeing his progression. However, nothing – any I mean nothing – has gotten as close to the tone and feeling that Calvin & Hobbes encapsulated; and we have to celebrate that.
I’ve got some art here at 7-Imp today from Austrian illustrator Lisbeth Zwerger.
First up are Zwerger’s illustrations—originally created in 2009, I believe—from The Pied Piper of Hamelin, an edition of the story retold by Renate Raecke and translated by Anthea Bell. This was just released in September by Michael Neugebauer Publishing, a.k.a. Minedition. The Kirkus review writes: “This strange and unsettling tale is made all the stranger and more unsettling by Zwerger’s spare, isolated figures in their pale interiors and landscapes.” Today feels like a good day to share such a story, as it seems the entirety of the U.S. feels unsettled — given the news, that is, leaving us heavy-hearted.
Also from Minedition is Zwerger’s vision of The Night Before Christmas. This was released last month, a book with a small, cozy trim size and Zwerger’s take on Clement Clark Moore’s famous poem, first published in the 1800s. Zwerger’s illustrations were originally created in 2005. Pictured above are Dasher, Dancer, and part of the rest of St. Nick’s crew. Pictured right is the man himself, trying to cheer us up.
I’m glad, in both cases, that Minedition has released these new editions. I’m always pleased to see Zwerger’s artwork. She’s one of those illustrators who made me want to study children’s literature. In fact, if you’re a fan too, you may be happy to know this has been released. The copy I ordered finally arrived. In the Foreword, Peter Sís writes: “Her art flows and shines.” Yes, what he said.
From The Pied Piper of Hamelin:
“At first only a few rats came, enticed by all the delicious things to eat in the houses of Hamelin, but soon there were more and more of them.”
“One day in the year 1284—so the old legend says—a strange man appeared in Hamelin. He was a striking figure, wearing a parti-colored or ‘pied’ robe such as the townspeople had never seen before.”
“All over town he went, up streets and down alleys, and wherever his music was heard the rats came scurrying out of kitchen and cellars, storerooms and stables, to follow the Pied Piper.”
“The sorrowful parents hurried out of town to search for their lost children. All the mothers and fathers were weeping and wailing. …”
From The Night Before Christmas:
“The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow / Gave a luster of mid-day to objects below …”
“He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot …”
“He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work …”
* * * * * * *
THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS. North American edition published 2014 by Michael Neugebauer Publishing Ltd., Hong Kong. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher.
THE PIED PIPER OF HAMELIN. North American edition published 2014 by Michael Neugebauer Publishing Ltd., Hong Kong. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher.
The combination fan wish fulfillment and classic writer comeback that is Convergence—DC’s two month fill in event slated for next March and April while the company moves—have been announced, via The Nerdist and IGN. Once again it’s old home week with Marv Wolfman writing the Teen titans, Len Wein writing Swamp Thing, and artists including Tim Truman back at DC for one last go round.
This was originally going to be an event that featured a lot of younger creators, and there is one—EGOs artist Gus Storms is drawing the Legion.
BTW this event has gotten less and less attention as the weeks go on. Of course, the timing what with world news, is unfortunate. Also, holiday.
ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN
Writer: Marv Wolfman
Artists: Roberto Viacava and Andy Owens
Superman and Supergirl try to escape the city through the Phantom Zone, but they enter a portion they’ve never seen before and learn that Supergirl is destined to die if they return to their proper time and dimension. True story
BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS
Writer: Marc Andreyko
Artist: Carlos D’Anda
Colorist: Gabe Eltaeb
After a year under the dome, the Outsiders have gone their separate ways, but when OMAC attacks, Batman must find out if they have what it takes to still be a team.
Writer: Dan Abnett
Artist: Federico Dallocchio
Colorist: Veronica Gandini
Trapped in Gotham, Barry Allen has nowhere to run. He fights on, seeking justice as well as a way to save the city. But he faces a Tangent Universe foe that thinks faster than the Flash could ever move.
GREEN LANTERN CORPS
Writer: David Gallaher
Artists: Steve Ellis and Ande Parks
Say the Oath, save the world! If only being the Green Lantern Corps was that easy. Hal has resigned, John is busy, and Guy is pissed. Together for the first time—they’ll save Gotham or die trying.
Writer: Jeff Parker
Artists: Tim Truman and Enrique Alcatena
Colorist: John Kalisz
Hawkman and Hawkgirl put their Shadow War on hold as they face the anthropomorphic might of rat-men and bat-men in the deadly land of Kamandi!
JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA
Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Colorist: Snakebite Cortez
With their heavy hitters sidelined, Elongated Man must lead the much-maligned “Detroit Justice League” against the overwhelming power of the heroes from the Tangent Universe!
NEW TEEN TITANS
Writer: Marv Wolfman
Artists: Nicola Scott and Marc Deering
Colorist: Jeromy Cox
Titans Together! Fighting against the might of the Tangent Universe’s Doom Patrol, we are reminded why this is the greatest Titans team of all.
SUPERBOY AND THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES
Writer: Stuart Moore
Artists: Gus Storms and Mark Farmer
Colorist: John Rauch
While Brainiac 5 struggles to break through the dome, Superboy tries to keep the Legion of Super-Heroes spirits up—but then the Atomic Knights ride into town.
Writer: Len Wein
Artist: Kelley Jones
Colorist: Michelle Madsen
Swamp Thing struggles to survive when the dome cuts off his contact with the Green.
Writer: Larry Hama
Art and Color: Josh Middleton
White-jumpsuit-clad Diana Prince is in the grips of a Domesday cult when her lover Steve Trevor leaps into the fray to save Etta Candy from vampires of Red Rain.
Or maybe this post would be better titled, What to Do Proofread and, if necessary, hire a copyeditor.
I've already been very honest about my shortcomings when it comes to grammar and punctuation so when I come across a query where I can see tons of grammar and punctuation problems I know there are problems.
Your query reflects your manuscript in every way and if its riddled with errors I'm going to be fairly certain your manuscript looks the same. Think of your query as the first page of your manuscript. You wouldn't send the book out until its shiny and perfect. Your query is no different.
This project is based on a Marvel Entertainment prose novel written by Dan Abnett. It features a cast of more than 40 voice actors, original music, and sound effects. Follow this link to listen to a sample snippet.
Here’s more from the press release: “They are not Captain America, Iron Man or Spider-Man, however Rocket Raccoon and the faithful Groot are the baddest heroes in the cosmos, and they’re on the run across the Marvel Universe! During a spaceport brawl, the pair rescues an android Recorder from a pack of alien lizard men. Everyone in the galaxy including the ruthless Kree Empire and the stalwart Nova Corps, seems to want that Recorder for their own power.”
OUP author Diana Walsh Pasulka recently caught up with fellow scholar of religion Jeffrey J. Kripal, to discuss the study of the supernatural and the paranormal within the university.
Diana Walsh Pasulka: You’ve written about the origin of the term paranormal and its link to the British and American Spiritualist movements. You’ve noted that the paranormal is inextricably linked to the idea of the sacred. How do you see the paranormal as different from the idea of the supernatural, which has traditionally been used to describe events that exceed naturalist explanations, like miracles, for instance?
Jeffrey J. Kripal: As a category or coinage, the paranormal is an attempted secularization of the supernatural. I like to translate it as the “super natural.” This is what the original inventors of the term meant, anyway. They meant to suggest that (a) psychical phenomena were quite real but (b) beyond our present scientific modeling and theorizing. The phenomena in question were thus both “normal” but also “beyond” (para-). Someday, these theorists thought, we would be able to incorporate these phenomena into our understanding of the natural world. So, for example, poltergeist phenomena were read not as the work of “angry ghosts” floating around but as expressions of the “ghosts of anger,” that is, they understood these as exteriorized symbolic expressions of pent-up frustration, conflict or angst. This may have been an advance, but it is still deeply offensive to our rationalisms. How, say, an abused or conflicted adolescent can start the curtains on fire or explode a vase at a distance might still be natural, but this is clearly a nature behaving in some most extraordinary or special ways. This is a kind of supernature.
Diana Walsh Pasulka: In your most recent work you’ve called for a renewed examination of the supernatural and paranormal aspects of religion. You’ve also noted the irony that scholars of religion have tended to avoid these subjects even as they are presumably at the heart of most religious traditions. Can you say a bit more about how you would like to see this renewed emphasis develop? For example, is this an interdisciplinary project?
Jeffrey J. Kripal: I find it curious that the study of religion has “taken off the table” precisely those anomalous aspects of human experience that lie behind or within some of the most universally distributed religious ideas–say, strikingly real encounters with dead loved ones who carry some empirical information (say, about the means or mode of their death) that in turn give rise to the belief in a surviving “soul.” We are allowed to treat these beliefs as “discourses” or as power-plays, of course, but never as empirical phenomena in their own right. Then we are told that there is nothing essentially “religious” about religion, that it is all just context and construction, which, of course, is perfectly true, since we just took all of the stuff that is not just context and construction off the table. I find this situation circular, inadequate and, above all, depressing. It is not that it is wrong. It is simply that it is half-right. I think it is time to bring the other half back in and re-enchant reason.
Diana Walsh Pasulka: You’ve stated that popular culture has adopted the paranormal elements that have been well documented in the history of religion and folklore. Do you see popular culture, science fiction and superhero movies, for instance, replacing this aspect of religion? Or, perhaps, complimenting it? Or, does this development indicate something entirely different?
Jeffrey J. Kripal: I think the paranormal has migrated into popular culture and entertainment because it has been effectively exiled from both elite intellectual culture (which is more or less controlled now by scientific or Marxist materialism) and, oddly, the religious traditions themselves. But paranormal phenomena are clearly part of our human nature, part of human history. If we will not talk about them either in our public intellectual and scientific lives or in our public religious lives, where are they supposed to go? They will never go away, by the way, not at least as long as we are here, and for one simple reason: they are expressions of us.
Britain's least known Underground cartoonist returns with this seasonal medley of yoks, bitter satire, and tits!!! In addition to his own fantastic comix, Lee welcomes writers Philip Neill and Rob Filth into the fold for some nasty laffs business! Never mind the bollocks, Lee James Turnock's got a FAT ARSE!!!
Well, we do not have a mainstream comics industry in the UK so it's no surprise that we do not have an Underground Comix industry!
And for those who think "Underground Comix" is just a term covering filthy schoolboy humour...well, it isn't but I'm losing my arguement if we're talking Mr Turnock's work -to a degree.
I do know that it m,ay not be everyone's "cup of tea" but comic books cover all genres. Live with it. There are some quite funny if "smutty" strips in this book and a few "pin up" pages. Lots of nice stipling and cross-hatching and you can see that, back when we did have a comics industry, Turnock would probably have earned a good living -the styles are ones that could be used outside Underground Comix quite easily -and often were. But the art immediately shouts out "LJT" and I'm glad his work is getting printed even if he has to find a publisher outside the UK.
I’m hitting the road for Thanksgiving frolic, so we’re shifting into exciting HOLIDAY mode at the Beat! Oh there will be some news stories, and some GIft Guide suggestions, but also a lot of art and comics recommendations that I’ve been stockpiling for no good reason. Also, Beat contribours will be along with their own gift guide suggestions.
I’m also rounding up Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, so ping me with those.
Also if you have any suggestions for webcomics to read, gifts to buy, or cranberry sauce recipes, feel free to share in the comments!
While putting my thoughts back in to fully bake–just kidding, I’ve ditched that recipe–I wanted to share some of the valuable links people provided in the comments to my last post and on Facebook. And let me say again how grateful I am for your bearing with me. I think a lot about what it means to be a man in children’s books (why, for example, do so many of us talk about book awards like they are sports?) but my post of last Friday was not only half-baked, it was clueless as to what was happening in the kitchen and the nation.
“I’d rather continue to move the dialogue forward in a positive light rather than a negative one. This is a moment when our country can grow and learn and better understand each other. It would be nice to put the energy back where it should be — on the books and what the books are saying and doing – Redeployment is an astounding novel, Glück is nothing short of an amazing poet. I don’t know Osnos’ book yet but I plan to read it. Brown Girl Dreaming is about writing and about the history of this country. But more than that, it’s about what this conversation should be — a coming to understanding across lines of race.”
Please also see relevant Horn Book resources, which Elissa and Katie began curating after we published Christopher Myers’s “Young Dreamers,” one of the most important essays I’ve seen come through this office and for which I will be forever grateful to Christopher for sending it our way.
That’s it for today–I am now off to engage in the annual bloody battle also known as the Fanfare discussion.
2. Brenna Yovanoff: The Replacement, The Space Between, Paper Valentine, and Fiendish. Her stories are modern-day fables reminiscent of the Brothers Grimm. The plots are slight, but her glorious use of language and description makes up for them. Paper Valentine was my least favorite. The other three I could not put down.
I can't wait to see what 2015 will serve up. More yummies please! If you've discovered an exciting new voice, let me know in the comments (no blantant self-promo please - this is a time to pay forward).
Light-bulb moments. Aha moments. Flashes of recognition. Revelations. Call them whatever you like. I like to think of them as clicks.
In the writing life, the best kind of click is that moment something makes you realize exactly what’s been missing from the not-quite-right scene you’ve been working on. Or the instant you put two plot points together and suddenly have a clear view of what’s really beneath your character’s behavior. Or the random tip on plot structure that magically conjures for you a map of how everything in your messy draft might fit together after all.
Clicks. They’re satisfying, exciting, inspiring, invigorating. And they’re the stuff writers live for.
The January 2015 Writer’s Digest—devoted to all things novel writing—releases today, and I’m so excited to finally be able to offer you a preview of what’s inside. We’ve done our best to fill this issue with the types of craft advice and writing techniques that help things click into place. Because whether your own moments of realization are quiet head nods or loud exclamations of triumph, as subtle as the click of a key in a lock or dramatic as a stack of papers launched into the air, we know it’s the bits of advice that resonate that can make all the difference for your novel-in-progress.
First, award-winning novelist David Corbett shares what made his own characters finally click on the page—and how you can paint more effective pictures of the players in your own stories, too. Then, longtime contributor Elizabeth Sims details techniques for mastering one of the most notoriously difficult elements of fiction: dialogue. Bestselling novelist Steven James shows you precisely how to manage the flow of tension and conflict in your story—through multiple plot points, climaxes, subplots and more. Therapist-turned-writer Tracey Barnes Priestley delves into the real reasons “Why So Many Writers Give Up Mid-Novel—and How Not to Be One of Them.” And four bestselling series writers take you behind the scenes with their iconic characters to show you what it is that gives a novel that special something that makes readers want another installment, and another, and another.
We all know that writing a novel isn’t easy. But in those moments that something clicks, suddenly anything seems possible. Here’s to many ahas on the pages—and in the new year—ahead.
1. The eyes of Kaylee's white cat Trouble are different colors--all three of them.
2. Name three things you get with the Kardashians.
3. Natasha Brodski learns the hard way what NOT to declare on her US customs form.
4. Black cat Dagger is assigned the task of training a rookie in the fine art of catjitsu, so that the two of them can guard the extra lives chest from invisible aliens. Trouble arrives when the rookie turns out to be a huge white dog that stinks like . . . a dog.
5. Beau Pontmercy is tracking the legendary Great White Moose across the Canadian wilderness when he sees blue lights and hears an eerie keening. As he loads his trusty flintlock he knows whatever scared off his game is about to find more trouble than they ever expected.
6. White Fur feels a special bond with Leoma, the beautiful Latino who rubs his ears every time she feeds him pellets. When the mean pet store owner steals Leoma's green card, White Fur plots to bring him down. But what can one albino guinea pig do?
7. To save the polar bears and protect their Fall outerwear collection, fashionistas from Unitard IV want to plunge Earth into a new ice age. PETA activitist Acocado Sunshine and supermodel-climatologist Adriana Jaeger have three days to convince the Unitardians that faux is fab... and then save the polar bears.
8. The Tribbles are back, this time with white fur and as big [and nasty] as polar bears. Can the crew of the Enterprise MCMLVII overcome, as Tribbles eat and reproduce and take over an entire planet?
9. Roger parked his pickup in front of Home Depot and pointed to the three strongest-looking candidates. He had no idea they were albino werewolves. Now there are blood trails leading to his yard, neighborhood pets gone missing, and the only way he's going to get his garage finished in time to sell the house is to add another shift of cheap labor. Luckily the Home Depot is now open late, and he's found a few men who seem more than happy to work only at night.
10. Polar Bear Krug thought he had enough to worry about with the ice cap shrinking and fish stocks diminishing but that was before those Northern Lights brought strange little green people and their painful probes. Or was that the result of eating tundra moss?
Dear Evil Editor,
Dagger, a black warrior cat of the Feline Guard Corps, is not a team player. He’s order-obeying [obedience?] challenged and prefers fighting vicious lycis –aliens invisible to humans– single-pawed and without backup. After disobeying Captain Slash’s orders once[yet] again, Dagger is punished in a singular way;[:] he has to train a rookie[the newest recruit] or Slash will take fifteen of his[Dagger's] twenty-seven lives. [Is there a good reason this isn't 5 of his 9 lives?]Losing so many lives without fighting is a humiliation Dagger can’t tolerate, but[Luckily,] for the best fighter in town [, training] a rookie is not a big deal. Except that the rookie isn’t a cat but a huge, white dog named Alka.
That’s a tragedy. How is Dagger supposed to teach the fine art of the catjitsu to a dog, who moreover has a white coat? [I'd move that sentence to the end of the previous paragraph.] On top of that, the Cat Intelligence Agency has evidence that the lycis know where the Lives Chest –the container of the guards’ extra lives- is and want to destroy it. Without those extra lives killing the guards will be easier [to kill], and the lycis will have a free hand on Earth, eating everything that moves and doesn’t speak Lyciese. [Including cars and boats?]
As [Of course] the mission to protect the Chest is assigned to Dagger and his rookie [Alka.] To succeed Dagger has[will somehow have] to overcome his prejudice against dogs –especially [big, goofy, slobbery,] white ones– and train Alka. Buthe’s optimistic. [But hey,] If he can endure a dog’s stench, he can probably do anything.
ALIENS, WHITE FUR AND TROUBLES is a Middle Grade fantasy novel complete at 50.000 words.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Sounds like a winner. I see it as a future graphic novel and a Pixar animated feature.
Most of my suggestions are nitpicks. Ignore those you hate.
Did you consider making Dagger a female? Surely cats are enlightened enough to allow women in the military, which would make Dagger a great role model for girls. Besides, cats are girls and dogs are boys.
I liked it. I did. I really did. But I'm not sure I LOVED it. I do think it met my expectations, however. I expected it to focus on Annith. I expected it to uniquely tell her story, reveal more of who she is, and what makes her strong. And readers definitely get that. How did Annith come to the convict? What was it like for her to spend her entire life at the convent, to not know what life outside was like? What was it like for her to train all those years, to see others come and go? Has she had an easier time of it than Ismae and Sybella? Why is Annith never the one chosen to go on assignment, long-term or short-term assignment? Does not being chosen mean she's too weak or not trustworthy enough in the Abbess' mind? How does she cope with waiting? These questions are all answered in the third book of the trilogy. If you've dared to find Annith boring or obedient in previous books, you'll be challenged.
I did come to like Annith, to appreciate her story. (Sybella's story, I believe, remains my favorite.) And I did like the romance. I don't think I can say one word about the romance. If you haven't read it, then that might make no sense since usually, I don't consider naming a potential love interest a spoiler. But if you have read it, you probably can guess why I'm afraid of spoiling things. I will say I thought it was well done. I wasn't disappointed by it. (I think Sybella and Beast remain my favorite couple, however.)
I also really liked that half the book brings us back into company with Ismae and Duval and Sybella and the Beast. The first half of the book covers almost the same time period as Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph. The last half is more of a sequel, the plot progresses forward. Readers spend time with Duchess Anne and those close to her. What does Brittany's future look like? Will Anne ever have enough military support to hold onto Brittany's independence? Will the French be successful? How many will lose their lives in war to fight for the country they love?
While all three books have teased readers with mythology, with world-building, this one I think does so even more. I solidly like it. I do. I would definitely recommend people finish the series if they've enjoyed the previous books.
Skyping with 115 first-graders at A. Blair McPherson School in Edmonton, Alberta
Although I've used Skype before, I resisted doing Skype classroom visits until recently because I wasn't confident about the technology working properly. Since I first tried Skype, however, broadband services have improved and more schools are starting to do Skype visits with authors and illustrators.
Other reasons I decided to explore visiting schools via Skype:
- I lack the time and finances to visit schools outside of the Toronto area. I also don't drive, which makes transportation more of a hassle and time-consuming.
- I had so much fun talking to young readers during my NAKED! book tour (thanks, Simon & Schuster!) that I want to do more often than I have in the past, but am limited by the reasons mentioned above.
- Although I know it can't replace in-person visits, virtual school visits enable me to use more props in my presentations, a wider range of art supplies, show students around my home office, be able to pull out musical instruments (I have many) on whim.
- I know some schools can't afford a full school visit, so I decided to offer a 15-20 minute quickie visit. Those who want a longer visit can pay my regular fee. I'm also relatively new to school visits, so this also gives schools an idea of what I'm like in person. When I do my next book tour, whether sponsored by one of my publishers or funded on my own, hopefully some of these schools will be interested in having me visit.
What I did before my first Skype visit:
- I researched a TON, searching online for blog posts by children's book authors and illustrators who have done Skype visits, as well as posts by teachers and librarians about Skype visits. I was especially interested in posts by children's book illustrators, since we have the advantage of being able to do drawing demos. :-)
- I talked to my friend Lee Wardlaw, who was also my first children's book writing mentor. Lee has a huge amount of experience presenting at schools and bookstores in person as well as via Skype. Do check out her Presentations page as well as her Secrets To A Successful Skype Visit for educators.
- I worked with teacher-librarian Arlene Lipkewich and A. Blair McPherson for my very first school Skype visit. I started with a Skype test call with Arlene and another teacher, then a Skype call with Mrs. Brooke's second grade class. Arlene gave me useful feedback which I used to tweak my setup and presentation before I Skyped with five classes (115 students) of first-graders the following week. Thanks you, Arlene and A. Blair McPherson!
On this day in 1984, musical aficionados from the worlds of pop and rock came together to record the iconic ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ single for Band Aid. The single has gone down in history as an example of the power of music to help right the wrongs in the world. The song leapt to the number one spot over the Christmas of 1984, selling over a million copies in under a week and totalling sales of three million by the end of that year. The Band Aid super-group featured the cream of eighties pop, including David Bowie, Phil Collins, George Michael, Sting, Cliff Richard and Paul McCartney.
The sales target for the single was £70,000, all of which was to be donated to the African famine relief fund. With support from Radio 1 DJs and a Top of the Pops Christmas Special, sales sky-rocketed and Geldof, feeling the strength of public opinion behind him, went toe-to-toe with the conservative government in an attempt to have tax on the single waived. Margaret Thatcher initially refused the plea, but as public outcry grew, Thatcher caved-in to public demands and the tax on sales worth nearly £9 million was donated back to charity.
Bob Geldof and a host of artists old and new have re-recorded the single to help raise funds to stem the Ebola crisis. Our infographic marks the 30th anniversary of the original recording and illustrates the movers and shakers that made this monumental milestone in pop history possible.
Well, sort of. It’s well known that some used book prices on Amazon are just kind of…loony. Take for instance, Monsters by Ken Dahl, an excellent book about a guy who thinks he has herpes by Ken Dahl, published by Secret Acres but now out of print. (A new edition is planned for next year.) In the meantime, you can get a used copy for a mere $394.94… or brand new for $11,964.08.
Is this real? I doubt it. I know most of these books mentioned below can be found placidly waiting in bargain boxes at cons. Paging Frank Santoro!
Oddly, the book that you’d think would be the most valuable, the huge epic Kramers Ergot 7 goes for a mere $140.00 used and only $112.50 new! The retail price was $125 so this is a bargain. Some people in the comments mention copies going for $1000 back in the day—the print run was destroyed by mold under mysterious circumstances—but obviously now its just another large, beautiful object to keep around the house.
Harper will return for another adventure with the Riverdale gang in Archie issue #665. The company will release this new project in 2015.
Here’s more from the press release: “Harper’s latest venture: writing a romance book about the boys in Riverdale, has everybody trying to figure out the big question: Who is Harper writing about? Will the gang be able to solve the mystery?”