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Viewing: Blog Posts from All 1562 Blogs, dated 11/4/2012 [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 89

the cath kidston preview show was full of lovely spring/summer prints and one of the big themes was strawberries. this set of four lunch boxes and thermos flask in beautiful pastels will surely look great in the sunshine next year.

0 Comments on CATH KIDSTON PRESS SHOW - ss2013 as of 11/5/2012 3:14:00 AM
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2. CATH KIDSTON - press show

one of the fascinating things about the cath kidston press show last week was the 'design hub' area. this was a display put together by the CK print studio showing how the various collections all came together. the gallery was also decoated around the edges with original used cath kidston silk screens.

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3. CATH KIDSTON - ss2013 preview : bags

here are some snapshots of the various new bag print designs that you can expect from cath kidston's spring summer 2013 ranges next year.

0 Comments on CATH KIDSTON - ss2013 preview : bags as of 1/1/1900
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4. A Dog Rumpus Moon Festival

First of all, if you are reading this on Monday, remember to VOTE Tuesday. If you are reading this on Tuesday, VOTE today, and if you are reading this after Monday or Tuesday, I hope you remembered to vote!

This is who I am voting for . . .


CLICK HERE to see the other authors and illustrators who stand behind our President.

Speaking of elections, here's a great illustration Dan Santat did in BOBBY VS. GIRLS (ACCIDENTALLY). In the book, Bobby runs against his best friend Holly for student council rep . . .


Okay. So politics aside, after a thousand-ish weeks on the road, I was home for a couple of weeks. During that time this went on . . .

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However, other stuff happened, too. Like, I signed books at the Moon Festival! It's put on by the South Pasadena Chinese-American Club. (FYI, I am Chinese American and live in South Pasadena.)


There was lots to see and do . . .

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Look! It's our friend Tau Nyeu. Her book, SQUID AND OCTOPUS is sooooooo cute!!!!

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In between book signings, I wrote a letter and drew pictures for RUMPUS- Letters for Kids . . .

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It's the totally cool thing where you sign up and for a small fee your kid(s) or class(es) get a real letter for a children's book author, in something called a MAIL BOX, twice a month. CLICK HERE for more information.

Psst. Over there! Who's that creating those awesome bonsai plants???

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He looks awfully familiar. Could he be the bonsai man in GOOD JOB, KANANI? That's one of the books I wrote for American girl -- and I had to go to Hawaii for fun, er, research . . .

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(That's me and one of my instructors. Yes, I took surf lessons. Had to. Kanani surfs.)

Wait! I think it is the same man from the book, and he looks familiar because -- that's my dad and he was in the book . . .


Oh, and on another bookish note, here's a really great movie for teens and people who used to be teens . . .


And finally, there's this . . .



Wheeeee . . . BOBBY THE BRAVE (SOMETIMES) is now out in paperback!

Disclaimer: No proofreaders were harmed (or even used) in the creation of this blog.

Want to check out Lisa's NEW AND IMPROVED website? Simply CLICK HERE.

Interested in having Lisa speak at your school, library or conference? CLICK HERE for more information.

Lisa Yee
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5. Sunday Sketching -

 Tiny 2-minute heads....

...in the teensy purse Moleskine balanced upon my knee....

1 Comments on Sunday Sketching -, last added: 11/30/2012
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6. House plane

5 Comments on House plane, last added: 12/1/2012
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7. More Books Recently Read

I know my Friday post was about books, but I'm posting about books again because I'm behind in reviews and mini-reviews since I've participated in so many blogfests. Wednesday I'll post for the IWSG, ROW80, and the I'm Thankful for my Readers Bloghop.

SEED - Ania Ahlborn

Jack Winter is driving at night with his wife and daughter when a pair of dark eyes spooks him. The car flips over, but they all survive. Only he and his youngest daughter, Charlie, had seen those empty, eerie eyes.

Something is wrong with Charlie after the accident. She isn’t herself at home or at school. Jack recognizes what’s inside her. A shadow that has been creeping into Charlie’s room possesses her, the same shadow that haunted Jack as a child. Jack didn’t leave that shadow behind in his hometown. He’s now reliving the gruesome events of his childhood.

This book frightened the heck out of me. While reading the middle and end of it at nighttime, I got up to make sure my door was bolted. The shadowy demon with black eyes is one scary creature. I enjoyed this bloody horror novel, but it may not be up everyone’s alley. If you like horror as much as I do, this is the book to read.


I enjoyed DISTRACTION not too long ago, so it was great reading about Justine, Dionne, and Kyra again. The author is skilled in making characters’ emotions and thoughts come to life. This is a prequel, and if there's a sequel in the works I'll definitely read it.


The monster in iFrankenstein was not what I expected. I was thinking it would be a flesh and blood creature or a robot, but this monster is 100% virtual, a chatbot created by Victor Frankenstein. The monster is all-knowing, powerful, and demanding as he gets into people’s business, threatens them, and attempts to control them. The story is told in texts, tweets, websites, and emails. It’s suspenseful and I couldn’t put it down, reading it in one sitting, which wasn't hard to do because of the length. I liked it better than Black’s first monster re-telling, iDrakula. I hope she comes out with more iMonster books.


Molly has the itch to steal. In her possession are small things that she’s picked up over the years. No one suspects her kleptomaniac streak, or if they do they’re not saying anything. Things still seem to be going good, although she’s conflicted with friends and possible boyfriends. While she’s out with one of her crushes, she gets into an accident and passes away.

She’s a spirit waiting to pass to the other side, which will happen after her funeral. With the help of two spirits, one malicious and one beneficial, she tries to make amends and make sense of went wrong when she was alive. Time is running out the closer it gets to the funeral, and one of the spirits is misguiding her in the worst way.

This was an interesting book in that the first half was contemporary, occurring while Molly was alive, and midway it turned paranormal/fantasy. Molly’s an intriguing character, likable despite her kleptomania. This is a great read with both light and serious moments. I received the galley from NetGalley, courtesy of the publisher.

MERCURY RESTS - Robert Kroese

The book begins where the 2nd novel, MERCURY RISES, ends. There have been zany brushes with the apocalypse in this series—obviously, since there have been three books, Mercury, Christine, and Jacob have been doing a good job saving the day, although they are tested again in this novel. In MERCURY RESTS, Lucifer and Tiamat plot to gain power, there are engaging scenes between Mercury and biblical characters, and Christine is as dedicated as ever getting to the bottom of things. Mercury and company are racing to save the planet.

Although I enjoyed the first two books, I thought this was the strongest, but perhaps I’m being sentimental at the end of this trilogy. With a fantastic cast of characters and religious, political, and pop culture references, this was a fun read. The battle of good versus evil is brought to new, bizarre, and hilarious heights.

SUMMER OF THE MARIPOSAS - Guadalupe Garcia McCall

Odilia and her sisters find a dead body in the river by their home. After going through the corpse's pockets and finding his address, they decide to travel from Texas to Mexico to deliver the body to his family believing it’s the right thing to do. That’s when they’re in for an adventure.

Taking their father’s car, without their mother’s permission, they embark on the trip. Before and after depositing the body, they meet witches, demons, chupacabras…all sorts of dangers. The odyssey these five sisters go through is amazing and entertaining. I felt exhausted, in a good way, when I finished this story, as if I had been traveling alongside the girls.

The imagery in this novel is lovely—butterflies and magical realism abound. The author heavily uses Mexican and Aztec folkore, which is quite interesting. While I was reading this I felt I was holding something special in my hands, and I can’t think of any YA book similar to this one. I received the galley from NetGalley, courtesy of the publisher.

25 Comments on More Books Recently Read, last added: 11/30/2012
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8. Han Suyin (1917-2012)

       Not an author you'll find books by under review hereabouts, but one of hers was the inspiration behind the 1955 film, Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing, and she achieved a certain popularity -- though, honestly, I wouldn't have guessed she was still alive: anyway, she isn't any longer: Han Suyin has passed away.
       See, for example, Alison Lake's obituary in The Washington Post.

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9. NSW Premier's Literary Awards shortlists

       After a six-month delay -- during which there was a re-evaluation of the awards themselves, and a change in administration -- they've announced the shortlists for the many NSW Premier's Literary Awards (not, however for the NSW Premier's Translation Prize: that's only a biennial affair, and it's an off year this time around).
       Nothing at the official site, last I checked, but in the Sydney Morning Herald Susan Wyndham reports that Premier's awards line up the big hitters, and lists them all.

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10. Girish Karnad takes on Naipaul

       Authors taking down other authors is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, and so literature live ! must be thrilled that Girish Karnad came out swinging -- even if it was against that softest of all targets, V.S.Naipaul.
       Still, good fun and whatnot: see, for example, Deepanjana Pal's report at DNA India, VS Naipaul is tone deaf: Girish Karnad, or find extensive Excerpts: Girish Karnad takes on V.S. Naipaul in Supriya Nair's report at livemint.

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11. Create a Caption: Puppy Eyes

Today's writing prompt brings a whole new meaning to the expression "puppy eyes." What caption would you give this adorable photo?

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12. Prepping to Write a Novel

NaNo is underway and I've been plugging away at my next novel. If you're mildly interested, I've started storyboarding it over here on Pinterest. I'm so hooked on Pinterest with having pictures relating to my novels. They're great visuals for me to use as I'm writing and adding details to the settings.

One of the things that's helped me write my first drafts quickly is prepping for my novel. I do a lot of my research in advance. This book, just like Gilded, required lots of research to make sure my details were correct.

I also plot out my novels in detail and imagine the story in my head so I know what feel I want the novel to have.

If you're getting ready to prep for your next novel, check out my vlog for ideas:

9 Comments on Prepping to Write a Novel, last added: 11/30/2012
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13. Fizzle and Pop (Author Talks)

By Ruth Symes / Megan Rix

Little Rex and Friends
Some authors love giving talks about their books and have a natural talent for it. Others find the whole thing terrifying. I think I’m in the middle, usually when I accept the invitation I like the idea, on the morning of the day I wonder why on earth I ever said yes, love doing the actual talk once I’ve started it, and am happy once it’s done.

There's thousands of horror stories of poor author's travelling for hours, through torrential rain and snow storms, only to find no one's coming to their event, or worse the event organiser has forgotten they were even coming. This did actually happen to me (minus the weather). I was invited back for a second visit to a bookstore at a shopping centre after the first had gone really well – you'd think you’d be safe on a second visit!!! But when I got there I was told sorry we don’t have you down as visiting us and the staff member who arranged it is not here today… Grrr… The only good thing was that when I went to buy a coffee in Debenhams to console myself I was served by the mother of a little boy who’d been very quiet at the previous event. She told me how once they’d got home (he was three) he went tearing round the house with his new book and proceeded to sing the song we’d sang and remembered all the dance moves and wanted to make a Harriet Dancing butterfly which he’d been too shy to do during the actual event.

Sorry sidetrack thought – but what is it with parents of toddlers being so competitive about who can do the best colouring-in and make the best craft flower and then say their child did it????

I've given talks for all different ages from 6 months old to 86 years young. Usually I love doing talks and events around my picture books – but then who wouldn’t like stamping about and growling with a Little Rex puppet at Narberth Festival or butterfly dancing with Dancing Harriet at Wytchwood and Bath Festivals?

There must be something in this cauldron
This year I took part in ‘Scarefest’ organized by Formby Books to promote my Bella Donna stories and came on stage as an incompetent witch, complete with a broomstick full of fairy lights, who needed the children's help. I was also hobbling about as I’d sprained my ankle the day before.

Wearing a Great Escape t-shirt
My alter ego, Megan Rix, has had more invitations to talk about The Great Escape than I can accept (have to get some writing done after all!) and so Puffin are kindly organizing a promotional tour for my second book in the series ‘Victory Dogs’ from the 29-April - 3 May 2013 with a book signing at my favourite Bedford Watersones on the 4th, hopefully. They’re my favourite because they always welcome my golden retriever, Traffy, along too and make a big fuss of her. If I can take my dog along to an event I’m happy – she’s a Pets As Therapy dog who’s just about to start doing the Read2Dogs school scheme; a total softy who loves being fussed.  

The biggest and best difference between talks given by myself as Megan Rix and myself as Ruth Symes, from my POV, is that as Megan Rix I have Hannah from Puffin to organize things. With Hannah on board Megan Rix’s talks now come with power-point presentations and lovely photos of some of the amazing search and rescue dogs in WW2 that saved hundreds of lives.
Best of all I like having Hannah there (if I can’t have Traffy) because it means I have someone to laugh with when/if something goes wrong.

Talks by Megan can be arranged via  Hannah.McMillan@uk.penguingroup.com 
Megan's website is www.meganrix.com. Her latest book is The Great Escape

Ruth’s website is www.ruthsymes.comRuth’s latest book is Cat Magic reviewed by Ed's Reading Room as 'another magical tale by this fantastic writer.'

Bella in her fairy wings

1 Comments on Fizzle and Pop (Author Talks), last added: 12/2/2012
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14. The Next Big Thing via the Next Big Meme!

by Jo Wyton The week before last, I was tagged by not one but two lovely writers to take part in the Next Big Thing meme. Liz de Jager tagged me on her blog here, and Ruth Eastham did the same on her blog here. Both are brilliant and quite possibly superhuman in their ability to spin a boredom-busting yarn. We don't normally talk about our own writing here on the Slushpile, but in the middle of

11 Comments on The Next Big Thing via the Next Big Meme!, last added: 11/30/2012
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15. Lucky

Mom and I were pretty lucky. Hurricane Sandy took away the power and hot water at our house, and knocked down a couple of trees on our street, but we were fine and our home was not damaged at all.

I had to wear my sweater and stay under my blanket because of no heat, and we had to go to bed early with flashlights because of no light.

Mom said I was a brave little soldier the whole time. (Plus, I think I looked adorable in my sweater.) Many of our friends had a lot worse trouble than we did, and we hope and pray they’re doing fine. 

Through it all, even though we couldn’t write on our blog, or look at anybody else’s blog,  Mom got started on PiBoIdMo, all on her own, right on schedule. There are still mostly numbers on her Iconic Notes page, of course, but the first five numbers are filled in with five brand new ideas. 

So here’s to a wonderful new month filled with ideas and opportunities and productivity and success and no more charging the phone in the car…

and no more gas lines….

and no more scary wind that sounds like a baby screaming.  And no more Hurricane Sandy!

11 Comments on Lucky, last added: 11/5/2012
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16. Candy Bear?

Another little painting... :)

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17. Q&A with S.C. Stephens and Giveaway of THOUGHTLESS

UPDATE 2: The winner has been announced and notified. Thank you all for entering and I will have a brand new contest and review up on Monday!

UPDATE: I cannot thank you all enough for coming to my blog and entering this contest. I want you to know that I have something really special coming up with Shannon again in the next few weeks, so please come back. I will pick a winner this afternoon. -- Laura

I cannot tell you how happy I am to be able to have this contest and have Shannon Stephens answer my silly questions! I first read THOUGHTLESS in July and I was addicted. I keep going back to this book when I'm bored or just need some more Kellen Kyle in my life. Whoever wins this contest, you are in for a treat. This book is brilliant, well written and plotted and will keep your heart a'pumpin'. I thought at times I was going to go into cardiac arrest because of this story. I couldn't stop sweating! So without further ado, I introduce you to Shannon Stephens, the boss of Kellen Kyle. I am such a fangirl of S.C.'s work. 

You can find her website here.

Facebook page here

And as of November 6, you can buy the paperback version of THOUGHTLESS and the sequel EFFORTLESS. In your favorite bookstore!

Hi Shannon!

I am so excited to have you and your fantastic books spotlighted on my blog! I can't say enough about how much I loved the two books and Collision Course! Just phenomenal! So let's get down to the nitty gritty.

First of all, Congratulations on all your successes! You deserve all the good things that are coming your way!

Thank you very much! It’s been a crazy year, but I’m really enjoying it.

1. How did you come up with the idea for Thoughtless? Was it something that percolated in your head for a while or did you just suddenly see an image of your characters?

I was listening to a lot of music and doing a lot of daydreaming, and I started seeing a very clear picture of Kellan. I put him into different scenarios, and eventually came up with the espresso scene. I was fascinated with how the characters ended up in that situation, so I started thinking about the how, why and what. Thoughtless was the result.

2. Do you find that that there is more pressure to write the third book because there are so many people who are waiting for it?

Absolutely there is more pressure! There is a lot of hype and expectation around this book. It’s nerve-wracking to think about. I tried to push all of that aside and just write the best story possible, but it has stressed me out on more than one occasion. I’m happy with the final product though.

3. If you could have dinner with anyone living or dead, who would you choose?

My mom. She passed away when I was pregnant, and I would love for her to meet her granddaughter.

4. Will the D-Bags ever change their name to become mainstream or will they always be the D-Bags?

Nope, they’re staying the D-Bags forever. I love it too much to change it.

5. Does the success of your books ever surprise you? Do you walk around saying "Wow, people actually love my characters!"

Yes! In the beginning it blew my mind that people were even reading the book, but then to see the readers falling in love with the characters…it’s wonderful. I love that people love them just as much as I do.

6. I will always consider you an indie writer, because that is how you started. But are you afraid that being with the big 6 will change that aspect?

No, in my head the two different types of publishing work well together. I don’t think anyone has to be completely one or completely the other. Self-publishing is a great way to get started and put your name out there, traditional publishing is a great way to expand your audience. I’ll probably continue to do both over the years.

7. This past year so many fantastic indie/self-pubbed authors have made a big splash, have you become friends with any of them?

I’ve spoken with quite a few of them and I’ve received a lot of helpful advice—technical, personal and professional. All of the authors I’ve talked with have been so incredible and supportive. I’m awed and amazed to be among such giving, talented people.

8. Do you think Denny deserves his own story? Or maybe Griffin and Anna?

I would love to visit other characters and give them their own stories. I think Anna and Griffin would be really fun to write about. It would be a really crude book though. 

9. If you could never write again, what would you do with yourself?

I would probably go back to bookkeeping, which is what I did up until a couple of months ago.

Thank you so much, Shannon, for answering my questions. 

Thank you for having me!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

6 Comments on Q&A with S.C. Stephens and Giveaway of THOUGHTLESS, last added: 11/30/2012
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18. PiBoIdMo Day 5: Just Keep Running Like James Burks

About two and a half months ago I decided I was going to start running. I had a few reasons for this decision;

  1. I was getting fat.
  2. I didn’t feel great about the way I looked.
  3. I had seen one too many pictures of myself at various author events from weird angles with more than one chin.

So I bought some cheap running shoes and decided to start running when my kids went back to school after summer break. Keep in mind that I’ve never been a runner. Not when I was a kid, not in high school, not ever. I’d see people running down the street and think that they were crazy. Running was never something that wanted to do but I was determined to give it a try.

My kids started school on August 14th and, as planned, I started running. I use the term “running” very loosely here as I was doing more walking than running. I would run as far as I could until my lungs were screaming and my legs were burning and then walk. Run. Walk. Run. Walk. Rinse and repeat. On and on until I had completed thirty minutes. (Around two miles.) At the end of my first run/walk I was pretty sure that I was going to die. My legs were sore and throbbing but I had taken the first step towards a leaner, happier me.

The next day I woke up with sore legs but I still went out running. Run. Walk. Run. Walk. At this point I had no idea that I was supposed to take days off between runs. (This was all new to me.) I was determined to stick to my new goal regardless of the pain. So I hobbled along running and walking for two weeks straight with only the weekends off to rest.

After two weeks of running I reached a point where my legs were super sore. I could barely sleep at night. I knew I needed to take some time off to let my muscles recover. The funny thing is that I didn’t want to take a break. Even with my legs screaming for relief I loved running. I loved being outside listening to the music on my iPod and I felt really great emotionally. I had a deep sense of accomplishment and I was starting to see some results when I got on the scale. But I knew if I wanted to keep running I’d have to take some time off and let my legs recover.

Lucky for my legs I had a six-day book tour of San Francisco the following week. It would be the perfect time for a break.

When I returned from San Francisco I jumped right back into running. My legs felt better but it wasn’t long before they began to hurt again. After some online research and talking to friends who run I came to the conclusion that maybe it was my shoes. So I went to my local running store and twenty minutes later I left with the most expensive pair of shoes that I’d ever bought in my life. The salesman said that they would help absorb some of the impact and give my legs more support. The next day I took the shoes out for a test run and they worked. My legs weren’t near as sore as they had been previously. Success!

At this point I’d been at it for about a month. My legs weren’t hurting quite as bad as before but they were still a little sore. I did a little more research and discovered that it’s a good idea to do some cross training between running workouts. So I dusted the cobwebs off my ten-year-old mountain bike and hit the bike trail. Riding my bike between running workouts made a huge deference. It gave my legs a day between runs to recover and I was still able to get in a good workout every day.

I really had no idea what I was doing when I started this whole running thing. I just figured it out as I went. The important thing for me was to just keep at it. To make myself get out of bed every day and either run or bike. It didn’t matter how fast I went, it only mattered that I was doing it everyday or almost every day. I would after all take the occasional day off to rest or to sleep in. I hadn’t completely lost my mind.

The funny thing is that the more I worked out, the better I felt, and the better I felt the further I pushed myself to go. I went from running short spurts and walking, to running three to five miles at a time without stopping. I started biking 18 miles on my bike and I felt amazing. Now, every day I go out and I challenge myself to go a little further or a little faster. I go to bed at night looking forward to getting up the next morning and running or biking. It’s crazy. It’s been two and half months since I started and I feel happier and less stressed than ever before. Oh, and I’ve lost twelve pounds and counting. No more extra chins.

Some of you reading this may be asking yourself at this point, “What does this have to do with writing picture books?” Good question. Here’s the thing, no matter what you want to do in life it all starts by taking a step. A single step.

That step may be taking a class or starting to draw, or in my case starting to run. It can be anything. You just have to take the step. The more steps you take the easier it will get. Along the way you may step in a puddle or two, or get injured (rejected) and that’s okay. Just take some time off to clean yourself up and recoup.

Then when you’re ready, take another step, and another. After a while your steps will get faster and a lot easier, and before you know it you’ll be running. You’ll be pushing yourself to go further and you will be feeling better. You’ll be happier. Who knows, maybe some day you’ll even run a marathon or two. All you have to do is just keep running.

James Burks started out working as an artist in the animation industry for various studios including Disney, Warner Brothers, and Nickelodeon. Projects he has worked on include the Emperor’s New Groove, Atlantis, Treasure Planet, Home on the Range, Space Jam, the Iron Giant and the television shows Wow Wow Wubbzy, Ni-hao Kai-lan, the Dinosaur Train and Fan Boy and Chum Chum.

He currently spends his days taking care of his two kids, running/biking and writing/illustrating his own books. His first graphic novel for kids, GABBY AND GATOR, published by Yen Press, was a Junior Library Guild selection and a 2012 CTA Read Across America title. He also has a picture book with Carolrhoda entitled BEEP AND BAH, a graphic novel with Scholastic/Graphix called BIRD AND SQUIRREL ON THE RUN, and he just finished illustrating a book for Simon & Schuster called THE MONSTORE written by Tara Lazar which will be out in June 2013.

James is giving away a signed digital print of this friendly witch and best friend. It sure is as sweet as Halloween candy!

Just comment to be entered into the drawing (one comment per person).

A winner will be randomly selected in one week.

Good luck!

11 Comments on PiBoIdMo Day 5: Just Keep Running Like James Burks, last added: 11/5/2012
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19. SkaDaMo – 1st Week

Since I am late to the challenge, I decided I would post this sketch I did today as the 1st week. I have a few others that I did, but this is the only one worthy enough for publication :)   I also started PiBoIdMo last week. One of the story ideas I came up with involved a raccoon who was on the well…plump side. Here is my sketch of him.


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20. Seymour’s Christmas Wish by Jane Matyger

4 Stars Seymour's Christmas Wish Jane Matyger Javier Duarte Mirror Publishing 28 Pages    Ages: 3 + ..................... ...................... Back Cover: Seymour, a tiny, tiny mouse, lives at the North Pole. Each Christmas Eve, he shines Rudolph’s red nose before Santa’s big trip. This year Seymour has a special wish . . . a wish that [...]

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21. Monday Mishmash 11/5/12

Happy Monday! Here's my mishmash of thoughts:

  1. Hurricane Sandy  It's official. I hate Hurricane Sandy. The destruction to NJ was incredible. Here in PA, it wasn't as bad, but my family is mostly in NJ and my husband (who works in NJ) is still off from work.
  2. Halloween  Thankfully, trick or treating was moved to Sunday so my daughter didn't miss out.
  3. Free Monthly Newsletter  My newsletter goes out at 5pm EST today. If you aren't already signed up and would like to receive it, you can sign up here.
  4. Normal week  My daughter and husband were both off all last week because of the hurricane. This week, I'm back to writing and editing like usual.
  5. LOVE ALL SWAG Giveaway  Very soon, I'll be hosting a giveaway for SWAG for my upcoming YA contemporary romance novella, LOVE ALL, releasing January 15, 2013 through Swoon Romance. Here's a picture of the coins I made so you can help Meg choose between Ash and Noah.

That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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Artie’s poem Ceiling to the Stars was published in the November print edition of California Kids! To read the poem online, please click on the illustration below.











Artie’s children’s story The Hummingbird Who Chewed Bubblegum is being published in a book collection by the Oxford University Press in India. More to come.


Use of any of the content on this website without permission is prohibited by federal law

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23. Interview: Kelly Thompson

Kelly Thompson, novelist, columnist, blogger, and reviewer, could talk about women in comics and publishing for days. Deciding that she'd self-publish her first novel, The Girl Who Would Be King, she set up a Kickstarter campaign, aiming to raise $8,000. She not only met that goal, she exceeded it to an amazing degree: the campaign ended with over $26,000! Wowza. Those funds allowed Kelly to not only publish her book, but to also commission some fantastic illustrators and create an upgraded hardback edition that includes full-color illustrations.

Before any of that happened, Kelly was once a young girl enrolled in - rather, she was enthralled by and possibly wishing she was enrolled in - the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning. Comics drew her in and led her to the career path she's on now.

You've contributed to a multitude of blogs, podcasts, and more related to comics, writing, and entertainment. What books and graphic novels are currently on your nightstand or desk?

Oh man...this is a long list because I either tear through a book in a day or two, or I read a bunch at once. Interestingly, tearing through it doesn't necessarily mean I preferred it to a book I read slower...it just depends on my mood and workload. I think on my nightstand right now are: Kelly Link's Pretty Monsters, Susan Palwick's Shelter, Lish McBride's Necromancing The Stone, and I'm slowly re-reading Mary Shelly's Frankenstein, mostly for research purposes (but of course it's awesome). I also I just finished a friend's self-published zombie novella The Last Safe Place on my Kindle, which was very good.

I tend to not keep graphic novels by my nightstand as the light is usually too low to fully appreciate them if read in bed, but I've got Night of 1000 Wolves and Terry Moore's complete Echo on deck. The three best monthly comic books I'm reading (by a good distance!) are Hawkeye by Matt Fraction and David Aja, Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, and Stumptown by Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth.

Any DVDs stacked up with the books?

I've been on a horror movie kick for October - kicked off I think by FINALLY seeing Cabin In The Woods - which was AMAZING. I've also been re-watching 28 Days Later, a favorite of mine and recently saw the new version of Fright Night which was pretty damn good.

I watched Fright Night because David Tennant was in it. He was brilliant, as always. Back to animated stories: What first attracted you to comics as a kid?

I'm actually from that fairly large group that found comics through the 1990's X-Men Animated Series. Not long after seeing (and loving) that cartoon, my brother saw some of those characters on a comic book and brought it home with him. And then I read my first comic book. And then I was in love. Or perhaps more accurately obsessed - I'm sure that's the word my parents would use - and they wouldn't be wrong! I mostly read X-Men comics at first, everything I could get my hands on and then slowly branched out. Superhero comics are what I cut my teeth on, and something I deeply love (obviously, I wrote a whole book about them!) but these days I'd say I split my comic buying pretty evenly between superheroes and more independent non-superhero comics.

What drew you (no pun intended) to pursue a degree in Sequential Art at The Savannah College of Art and Design?

I actually first went to The University of Arizona [first] to study Graphic Design. I went for two years, and I really enjoyed a lot of things about going to a big school like that, but partway into my second year and while taking my first true Graphic Design class I was also kind of secretly taking a night class on comics run by the owner of the local comic shop (Capt. Spiffy's) and it just dawned on me one day that I was just never going to be that great at Graphic Design because while those kids wanted to eat, sleep, and dream Graphic Design, I wanted to eat, sleep, and dream comics. So I looked into the Joe Kubert School and The Savannah College of Art & Design (which at the time - 1996/97) were about the only Sequential Art programs out there. Eventually I went to SCAD because I still wanted to go to a more traditional college, rather than an art school. I got offered a small scholarship, took a year off to go home and earn some money and buy a car and then started up at SCAD in 1997.

Good for you! How did you land your gig at ComicBookResources, writing the column She Has No Head! about women in comics?

Brian Cronin, the fine gentleman that runs CBR's Comics Should Be Good blog, sent me an email one day in 2009 after reading some of the stuff I was writing on my own blog (1979 Semi-Finalist) and said he thought I should come over and do some writing for him. I of course jumped at the opportunity, and since he was letting me decide what I wanted to write about, I figured writing about women and comics was what I was passionate about and so the obvious choice, and thus She Has No Head! was born.

In about March of 2011, CBR needed a fill-in reviewer for their main site while someone was on vacation and they let me give it a shot. I became a regular a month or so down the line. Reviewing comics is sometimes tedious to me, but it has taught me so much - both about what works and doesn't work in comics, and about learning to work with editors, and writing shorter cleaner copy.

Congratulations on your debut novel, The Girl Who Would Be King.

Thank you!

You're welcome. Have you always wanted to write novels?

I have pretty much always wanted to write. I have a very early memory of being perhaps 7 or 8 and writing my own stories about a family of mermaids. But instead of just writing it down I ended up stapling it all together with a colored construction paper cover like a book - and then I cut out a circle from the cover and drew a picture of a mermaid inside. That's right, I was doing "die-cut" covers before I even knew what they were! (smiles) So yeah, I was pretty set on it from an early age. Like anyone, I got really distracted with a lot of other things along the way (including comics - though I don't like to think of them as a distraction of course) but I eventually found my way back, and it never really was far from my mind.

Your novel employs a dual narrative. Which of the two main characters came to mind first, and how quickly did the other follow?

Bonnie Braverman was definitely the initial character. In fact, originally I wanted to write the books as a trilogy with the first being about Bonnie, the second being about Lola LeFever, the other main character, and a third that had both of them. But the first book with Bonnie never really worked without an antagonist - or another protagonist. So eventually I combined it into one giant book. I am really glad it worked out that way! I was very afraid to write Lola - she is - if you want to get down to brass tacks - is a serial killer. And I was nervous about people responding to her. But she ended up being incredibly easy to write. She's a very open and honest character and she just kind of lays herself bare, which is refreshing. She came to me very naturally, and judging by people's reactions to Lola (they love her!) I must assume they're responding to that same thing that I am. Bonnie, though I love her and have spent more time with her, since I began with her, is much harder to write. She's a little more complicated in her way and she's more introspective and even sullen. It makes her tricky.

Artists Stephanie Hans and Meredith McClaren contributed illustrations to the book and its promotional materials. How did you enlist their help?

I had been a huge fan of Stephanie's comic book covers (and artwork in general) for a while. We knew each other a little bit through my blog, and when I had an opportunity to partner up with her for a short story in Renae De Liz's Womanthology I jumped. Working with her was a dream, so naturally when I realized I was going to do this whole "self-publishing thing," I knew I was going to need a badass cover. So I went to Stephanie. I commissioned her to do the cover because she was kind enough to carve out some time for me and then when the Kickstarter went on to such crazy success I was able to pay her to do additional illustrations so we could have a hardback illustrated edition. She was so critical in getting people excited about the book.

Meredith McClaren is another insanely talented artist that I'm working on another project with - a comic/graphic novel called Heart In A Box - and she was just generous enough to donate some artwork to help me with the Kickstarter. She did some of her signature "itties" of Bonnie and Lola and then also did a "Lola Las Vegas" illustration. My super talented artist friend Ross Campbell also donated these beautiful Lola and Bonnie "heads" that have become magnets that EVERYONE wants. Everyone was so generous and wonderful. As the Kickstarter got going I also had some other fantastic artists offer to auction off original work - Fiona Staples, Rebekah Isaacs, Emily Carroll, and Cassandra James - it was just an embarrassment of riches!

Very cool. Frustrated by backlash about SelkieSun's awesome illustration of Batwoman, you created a Tumblr called There's The Door, Spaceman to celebrate, in your own words, "unconventional superheroine art." What have been some of your favorite fanart submissions?

Oh man, so many good ones have come into There's The Door, Spaceman. I guess I'd have to say some of my favorites have been The Jean Grey Phoenix one, just because she looks so unlike how Jean Grey is usually drawn.

Also this Jubilee, just because she looks so...I don't know..."angry joyful" at being a superhero?

But really...they're ALL awesome...that's the whole point, right? :)

Right. If you could hire a comic book character as your agent, who would you select and why?

Ha ha. Great question. Let's see...my first gut reaction is to say someone like Jessica Jones (Alias) because I think we'd get along famously, but Jessica is kind of a f!!!-up, so maybe that's not such a good idea for an agent. Then I think maybe someone who is a bad@$$ that could scare the piss out of people...like Monica Rambeau or Emma Frost...but maybe you just need someone super smart and charming...like Kitty Pryde or Misty Knight, or Barbara Gordon as Oracle. I realize now I'm only suggesting ladies...who would be a good dude agent...hmmm....maybe Dick Grayson (Robin/Nightwing) or Tim Drake (Robin)?

All great candidates! Do you feel as though the marketplace for writers and artists on the East Coast is different from the marketplace on the West Coast? How so?

This is an interesting question. When I lived in LA (from 2000 - 2005+) I felt really frustrated by the market being so much about film and television. It seemed at the time like everyone had a screenplay and nobody cared about books. Interestingly enough, possibly because I was living in LA at the time, TGWWBK started out as a screenplay. It very quickly morphed into a novel however, and I remember feeling very hopeful when I planned to move that NYC would be more "literary." I don't really know if that's true or not though. LA and NY are very different energies, but I have to admit, I love them both.

Who are some of your favorite artists and authors? Any genre, any format.

Woo. Another tough question. I think artists are going to skew mostly to comics and they're a lot of the people I have worked with and follow religiously: Ross Campbell, Stephanie Hans, Meredith McClaren, Fiona Staples, David Aja, Rebekah Isaacs, Ming Doyle, Becky Cloonan, Amy Reeder, Cliff Chiang, J.H. Williams III, Stuart Immonen, Kris Anka, Francesco Francavilla, Phil Noto, Mike Del Mundo, Jock, Emily Carroll...gosh, so many, I should stop before this becomes an unreadable block of text!

I think for authors I am actually a bit more picky but I always love Greg Rucka, Brian Wood, Neil Gaiman, Katherine Dunn, Gillian Flynn, Warren Ellis, Scott Snyder, Lauren Montgomery, and of course Hemingway...so many to choose from.

What's next on your to-do list?

Well, I've got three big projects I need to be doing all at the same time - so that's a challenge. I have a new book (tentatively called Pariahs) that I'm working on for NaNo this year - it's a dystopian book with a matriarchal society at its core, I really love it, but I've struggled with it in the past so I'm hoping to just jam it out in a month and then start in on revisions after a good break from it. I'm working on a light re-write of a book I'm really excited about that I hope I'll be able to sell the traditional way this time! And I'm beginning to flesh out and revise the outline for the sequel to The Girl Who Would Be King. And then of course there are all the columns, podcasts, and reviews, and the big TGWWBK mailing...I need an assistant!

Maybe you could hire Dick Grayson for that job. Thanks for chatting with me!

Thanks so much for having me - you ask fantastic questions! :)

Visit Kelly Thompson at her blog and learn more about her book. Also follow her reviews and musings at LitReactor, Twitter, and She Has No Head!

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24. Book Launch Coming Up Soon

Picture Book

Bernie And Flora by Annemie Berebrouckx, Book Island Ltd
Book Island Ltd are launching their first three titles, including this one, on Sunday 11thNovember at the Raumati South Memorial Hall, Kapiti Coast. Visit their website at www.bookisland.co.nz for more details. Bernie and Flora is the first book in a series called The Adventures of Bernie and Flora, focusing on love and friendship. First published in 2011 in Belgium, and translated by Laura Watkinson, it is a gentle story about “saying it with flowers.” Flora the duck visits her friend Bernie the bear and is shocked to see that all the flowers have gone from his garden. She checks out the neighbours, to no avail. But when she sadly returns home – you guessed it – Bernie is waiting there in a room full of flowers. It’s smart-looking paperback production, with cover folds and illustrated end papers, and the illustrations are fresh and appealing. I enjoyed the strong images with their bright colours and lots of white space. There’s a free colouring-in sheet included, and an interesting page at the end provides information about the language of flowers (daffodils ask, “Please love me too”). The publishers say it’s suitable for 3+, and given the subject matter I imagine it will probably be more popular with girls than with boys.

ISBN 978 0 9876696 1 2 RRP 19.99 Pb
Illustrated Story Book

Sir Mouse to the Rescue by Dirk Nielandt and Marjolein Pottie, Book Island Ltd
This is another one of the titles being launched by Book Island Limited on Sunday 11thNovember. It was also originally published in Belgium and translated by Laura Watkinson. It’s an interesting choice for a new publisher, being aimed at newly-emergent readers – who are often still focused on educational series. It’s a good-looking book, hardback, with quality paper and illustrated end pages. It offers six short interconnected stories about a female mouse who is a knight (Sir Mouse), and a female dragon called Dragon. This unlikely pair are friends – Sir Mouse is the stroppy one and Dragon tends to be more conciliatory. The stories contain more conversation than action, though there’s lots of talk of chopping up and blood – and general waving of swords in the air. The illustrations are intriguing, created using collage and paper-cutting techniques. They look simple, but they reward close study, particularly the monotone paper-cut silhouettes.  Overall I’d say the book is definitely quirky, noticeably different to the usual style of early readers, and probably better enjoyed by girls than boys (because the two main characters are female). The recommended age level is 6+.

ISBN 978 0 9876696 2 9 RRP 24.99 Hb

Reviewed by Lorraine Orman  

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25. NaNoWriMo and 12 Days of Christmas

Facebook Cover
Tis the season to be writing. For my fourth year in a row, I'm participating in NaNoWriMo, and things are going well so far. Here's the project that I'm working on this year. 

Death Seer
After a near death experience in the ocean, Kumi starts seeing people differently. Sometimes they look normal, and other times, he sees them as they will look when they die. When these grim premonitions start to come true, Kumi thinks that he's going crazy. 
It isn't long before others get wind of his strange gift. One day when walking home from school, men in dark suits stuff Kumi into a van. The government has gotten a tip of an assassin plot against a key group of Senators. With Kumi's help, they can tell how they are going to die, and so can work to prevent the awful event before it's too late. 

I'd also like to announce that I've taken the Pinterest plunge. I started by making a board of all of my book covers. You can look at it here: http://pinterest.com/mdybyu/out-of-the-best-books/

On Wednesday, I'm starting a new promotion for "Sing We Now of Christmas", including 12 different prizes, including a copy of the anthology so that I can get it to you before December 1st.  Check back on Wednesday for more details! 

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