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1. Nick Offerman to Star in A Confederacy of Dunces Play

Nick Offerman, a star on NBC’s comedy Parks and Recreation, has signed on to star in the stage adaptation of John Kennedy Toole’s novel A Confederacy of Dunces.

Offerman will play Ignatius J Reilly, the lazy 30-year-old that lives with his mother. The Guardian has more:

Offerman heralded the chance to play him, saying in a statement: \"I am simply tumescent at the prospect of assaying the beloved character of Ignatius J Reilly with our team of magnificent and weird artistic champions. It seems only fitting that I should follow seven seasons of Ron Swanson’s beef with the pudding of Toole’s corpulent fop.\"

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2. Attention All Independent Comic Fans And Overseas Publishers!

 I am told that I "underplay" Black Tower Comics & Books.  According to a good few, based in Europe, BTC&Bis Europe's largest Independent black & white comics publisher.  They'd know, of course, but I'll stick to the claim of being the UKs largest Independent publisher.

All Black Tower comic albums (that is A4 format) are in black & white.  Once you've had black and white you won't go back to colour, baby.

BTCG has specialised in presenting original material covering super heroes, crime, adventure, sci fi, horror as well as illustrated prose -not to mention ground breaking books on "world mysteries" and wildlife.  Oh, and even a huge book of interviews with comic creators and publishers.

All the books are, naturally, available for overseas licence -but we cannot translate work: that will be up to any licensed publisher.

What follows is a brief glimpse at some books but you can visit the online store to see more details and books at:

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/hoopercomicsuk




To contact me please check out "About" at the top of the page -thanks!

 ****************************************************************************

Black Tower Comics began in 1984 as a Small Press publisher of A5 (US -Digest size) titles such as Adventure,Presents,Windows and Hanley's Garage.  Then came the news, reviews, previews and interviews publication backed up by the mart and mail order service -Zine Zone (later Zine Zone International).

In 2009, with the innovation in publishing of Print On Demand (POD), Black Tower jumped in head first!

One of the first titles to see print in the new comic album format (A4) was The Bat Triumphant! This saw the complete story, begun in Black Tower Adventure vol. 1.  William A. Ward's long lost 1940s character once again saw print as he fought a host of  enemies in an attempt to reclaim his homeland.


THE BAT TRIUMPHANT!

And while The Bat may have fought fist and nail to reclaim his homeland, another 1940s Ward creation, Krakos the Egyptian, seemed far from willing to claim a new Egyptian Empire as promised to him by the Gods.  Tackling a number of foes and even encountering the Many-Eyed One, Krakos turned his back on the gods and the final panel of Krakos -Sands Of Terror, delivered a true twist!

Krakos -Sands Of Terror!


Of course, the flag-ship title had to return!  And so Black Tower Adventure -eventually reaching new heights when the legendary Ben Dilworth jumped on board!  Volume 2 consisted of  ten issues. Just look at these covers....

Black Tower Adventure 1Black Tower Adventure 2BLACK TOWER ADVENTURE 3Black Tower Adventure 4Black Tower Adventure 5Black Tower Adventure 6ADVENTURE 7Black Tower Adventure 8BLACK TOWER ADVENTURE 9Black Tower Adventure 10

And, with something like 40 years worth of files and investigation reports could all that much delving into UFOs, lake and sea creatures and many other mysteries not result in a book or two...or three? Some Things Strange & Sinister, Some More Things Strange & Sinister as well as Pursuing The Strange and Weird: A Naturalist's Viewpoint set a precedence. 

Whereas for decades those involved in "UFOlogy", "Cryptozoology" and "Forteana" declared many mysteries, that photographs were lost "to history" and so on, these three books swiped away the false claims.  Alleged lost photographs -found.  'Mysteries' solved by doing actual research work and reading the sources -something others had never done.
Some Things Strange & SinisterSome More Things Strange & SinisterPursuing The Strange & Weird:A Naturalists Viewpoint

And, of course, mention natural history and Black Tower Books broke new ground with that in The Red Paper: Canids.


The Red Paper: CANIDS

But not all the prose books covered mysteries and wildlife.  There were the comic creator interviews, too!

To celebrate, at the time of publication, over 25 years of interviewing comic creators -writers, artists and publishers- this 365 pages book was produced.   Interviewees included Yishan Li, Marv Wolfman, Dave Ryan, John Cooper, Mike Western, Donna Barr, Roberta Gregory, Sonia Leong, Emma Vieceli, Pekka A. Manninen, Alan Class, Karen Rubins, Kate Glasheen, Ron Fortier, Jon Haward, Franco Francavilla, Rick Geary, Tania Del Rio, The Etherington Brothers, Olivier Cadic (Cinebook the 9th Art), Holly Golightly and MANY others.  Profusely illustrated with art and photographs!
The Hooper Interviews

And if there is one thing "Herr Professor" loves it is discovering and presenting long lost UK Golden Age (1939-1951) comic strips and characters from publishers such as Gerald Swan, Foldes, Denis M. Reader, Cartoon Art Productions and others.

Scanned and restored as best as can be considering the poor print quality of the rationing years -especially red, orange, yellow, blue and purple ink printing!

Ace Hart The Atomic Man!  The Tornado!  TNT Tom!  Dene Vernon!  Acromaid!  Cat-Girl! Bring 'Em Back Hank! Robert Lovett:Back From The Dead and so many other action heroes and humour strip characters -William A. Ward, Jock McCaill and a host of known and unknown creators contribute -either in single volume " Black Tower Gold" albums or all six collected into the 400+ pager -The Ultimate British Golden Age Collection!












The Ultimate British Comics Gold CollectionBlack Tower British Gold Collection 1Black Tower British Gold Collection 2Black Tower British Gold Collection 3UK GOLD COLLECTION 4Black Tower Gold 5:Back From The Deadblack tower gold 6

Another great love is Centaur Comics from the United States.  Right at the very start of the American Golden Age of Comics Centaur had creators who were ahead of the others!  Before Plastic Man there was Plymo!  Before The Human Bomb there was TNT Todd!  Before Green Arrow and waaaaaaay before Hawkeye there was the mysterious red hooded archer called The Arrow!  And, to just break your comic mind world there was even a Black Panther -decades before Kirby came up with his character of the same name.

The Eye Sees All.  The Owl. The Iron Skull.  Amazing Man. The King of Darkness.  The Invisible Terror. The Blue Lady. The Shark. Mini Midget & Kitty.  Mighty Man. Super Anne.  The company may have been short-lived but it's characters -oh boy!

The two volume Centaur Heroes Collection has been compiled into one sweet 140 page comic collection!
The Ultimate Centaur Collection 2011

Horror. Ghost stories.  The twist-in-the tale.  Did you think that a publisher who is a big horror comic/film fan would ignore these?  

Nope.  Each year since 2010, BTCG has published a Tales Of Terror anthology album and 2014s included some fun and spooky lost Swan Comic strips.  I mean how can you go wrong -even Ben Dilworth is in these!

 Tower Tales Of TerrorTales Of Terror 2TALES OF TERROR IIITales Of Terror 4

The Church Of England has it's own basher of dark forces in the Reverend Merriwether -"God's Demon0-Thumper" as the press billed him.  From an ancient Egyptian demon to a village of the damned and Varney the Vampyre, werwolves and a final confrontation with Satan himself -Merriwether pulls no punches and offers no compromise.  And in those last few seconds between life and death, Merriwether's mind recalls past cases -thanks to Ben Dilworththe Tall Man of Osaka.

Merriwether: God's Demon Thumper and Merriwether: The Test Of Satan are available as individual comic albums or in one swanky book The Collected Merriwether: God's Demon Thumper.

 Merriwether:God's Demon-ThumperMerriwether:The Test Of SatanMerriwether: Gods Demon Thumper

Oh, did I forget to mention Dene Vernon -British comics' first investigator of the supernatural and strange mysteries?  I did? Unbelievable since Gavin Stuart Ross drew the 1948 based Dene Vernon: The Thing Below!

 Dene Vernon:The Thing Below


 And did you know Ross also drew the two adventures of Victorian mystery man Chung Ling Soo? Chung Ling Soo: The Curse Of The Jade Dragon and Chung Ling Soo: The Case Of The Thames Serpent were two cracking tales of magic, adventure, murder and deception -still available as single comic albums or collected together to form The Adventures Of Chung Ling Soo!

Chung Ling Soo 1Chung Ling Soo Man Of Mystery





THE CASE BOOK OF CHUNG LING SOO

Ben Dilworth is no slouch either!  Chung Ling Soo's police "counter-foil" isnone other than old London "Jack" (police man) Inspector Wilberforce and when Dilworth says "Here's a Wilberforce one-off: PUBLISH IT!" you do not argue!

Wilberforce



And did you know you can be a Gold Master of Japanese Haiku?  Well, neither did I -but guess what?  Ben Dilworth is such a master and his Osaka Brutal features his Haiku in English!

 Osaka Brutal

Old saleman that he is, Dilworth just keeps on going.  He produced Aesop's Fables -a darker version of the childrens tales and then went on to write two well illustrated prose albums looking at spirits and demons -Dilworth's Japanese Yokai and Dilworth's Western YokaiOsaka and the Yokai books were combined with Aesop's Fables into the one volume The Collected Ben R. Dilworth -though the single volumes are also still available.

The Collected Ben R. DilworthDilworth's Japanese YokaiDILWORTH WESTERN YOKAIDilworths Aesop's Fablesllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll

Horror comics yes but also some nice illustrated prose from Dilworth in...Dilworth's Horror & Ghost Stories but for the connoisseur those stories were collected together with the Phantom Detective comic strips into The Complete Phantom Detective! (cover currently being "re-mastered"!)
Dilworth's Horror & Ghost Stories



And could anyone forget the sensational Iron Warrior Versus Big Bong:When Giants Fought? But add to that the various Iron Warrior strips from Adventure and you get The Iron Warrior Collection -When Giants Fought!  In the 1940s, William A. Ward's creation was to be the most graphically violent comic strip seen until the 1970s.  That is some legacy. It continues....with a touch of fun!

The Iron Warrior Vs Big BongTHE IRON WARRIOR COLLECTION

In case you are wondering, yes, obviously there are super heroes.  Mix in ancient pantheons of gods, giant robot, alien invasion, Lovecraftian dark ones and so much more that the book runs to over 320 pages then you have part 1 of Terry Hooper-Scharf's Invasion Earth Trilogy" or as it is titled Return Of The Gods: Twilight Of The Super Heroes!  And epic ending with the words: "Dr Morg has killed us all" -and if you have never read the mind altering counter actuality that is The Dr Morg Trilogy you may be saying "What? Who-?" 

And part 2 of the trilogy The Cross Earths Caper ought to get you in the mood for 2015s big 31st Anniversary third part of the trilogy The Green Skies.


 The Return Of The Gods:Twilight of the Super HeroesTHE CROSS EARTHS CAPERJourney Of The ID:The Dr Morg Trilogy

If you pass the ESTC (Epileptic Seizure Test Cover) on Dr Morg well, you are fit and healthy enough to read it and to check out all the Black Tower Comics and Books at the online store -see why we are the UKs largest publisher of  Independent Comics!
 


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3. Cover Unveiled For Aziz Ansari Book

Modern Romance Cover

Aziz Ansari revealed the cover for his forthcoming book, Modern Romance: An Investigation. We’ve embedded the full image above—what do you think?

Penguin Press will release the comedian’s nonfiction title on June 16th. Ansari became inspired to work on this project when he was drafting stand-up comedy jokes about dating.

In an interview with TIME.com, Ansari explains that this is “a sociology book that has my sense of humor, but it also has some academic heft to it. I wrote it with this sociologist, Eric Klinenberg, and he helped me design this huge research project that we did. We interviewed hundreds of people all across the world — we went to Tokyo and Paris and Wichita to really get a wide scope. We also interviewed all sorts of academics.”

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4. Books

So, I have seven books under contract. That is super cool and I am ridiculously lucky. I know it.

But I still feel like I'm not working hard enough. It's sort of like I spend so much time thinking, "Wow. I can't believe this is my job" and I worry that it will go away super soon because that's how everyone says publishing is.

So, instead of enjoying the fact that I have actually, miraculously:

1. Gotten books published and been paid for it
2. Have more books under contract

I waste my time worrying that I won't get to do it much longer.

This is silly, I know. I should just be grateful, I know. Somehow though, my brain refuses to just enjoy the ride. 

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5. Prodigal Son Leads iBooks Bestsellers List

Prodigal Son by Danielle Steel has joined the iBooks bestsellers list this week at No. 10.

Apple has released its top selling books list for paid books from iBooks in the U.S. for week ending March 2, 2015. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins is No. 1 and E L James Fifty Shades Darker is No. 1 and Fifty Shades of Grey is No 3.

We’ve included Apple’s entire list after the jump.

iBooks US Bestseller List – Paid Books 3/2/15

1. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins – 9780698185395 – (Penguin Publishing Group) 2. Fifty Shades Darker by E L James – 9781612130590 – (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group) 3. Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James – 9781612130293 – (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group) 4. Fifty Shades Freed by E L James – 9781612130613 – (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group) 5. American Sniper by Chris Kyle, Jim DeFelice & Scott Mcewen – 9780062190963 – (William Morrow) 6. Still Alice by Lisa Genova – 9781439157039 – (Pocket Books) 7. Fifty Shades Trilogy Bundle by E L James – 9780345803573 – (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group) 8. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah – 9781466850606 – (St. Martin’s Press) 9. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – 9780307588388 – (Crown Publishing Group) 10. Prodigal Son by Danielle Steel – 9780804179621 – (Random House Publishing Group) 11. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – 9781476746609 – (Scribner) 12. A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler – 9781101874288 – (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group) 13. Private Vegas by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro – 9780316211147 – (Little, Brown and Company) 14. Motive by Jonathan Kellerman – 9780345541383 – (Random House Publishing Group) 15. The DUFF by Kody Keplinger – 9780316123242 – (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers) 16. Falling For My Best Friend’s Brother by Helen Cooper & J. S. Cooper – 9781502215000 – (J. S. Cooper) 17. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – 9780062368683 – (Harper) 18. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty – 9780698138636 – (Penguin Publishing Group) 19. Indestructible by Angela Graham – 9781311074379 – (Angela Graham)

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6. The Case of the Cursed Dodo

The Case of the Cursed Dodo: A Jungle Noir (Endangered Files #1) Jake G. Panda. 2014. Wooly Family Studios. 180 pages. [Source: Review copy]

More jungle noir, please! More, more, more! So yes, it's safe to assume that I loved "watching" Jake G. Panda in The Case of the Cursed Dodo. The book is written in movie/script format. Which could just have easily failed as succeeded, but, in this case worked quite well.

What did I love about The Case of the Cursed Dodo? Well, I loved, loved, loved the writing. More specifically the descriptions. Practically perfect in every way. I'll just share a few favorite bits:
That's Gloria. A dizzy grizzly who runs the front desk of this bunkhouse. She's a one of kind dame.
"Thanks, Gloria," Jake says, taking the letters. She gives him a big wink.
"Anytime, Honey."
I wish she wouldn't call me that. It makes me feel all sticky. Besides, if there's one thing I ain't, it's sweet. (13)
and
Ernie's the hotel driver. A thick-skinned pachyderm with a chip on his shoulder. He lost his tusks in a hunting accident. And he's not the kinda guy to quickly forget. But I had a soft spot for the big fella. He had a lead foot and worked for peanuts. (21)
So the premise if you haven't guessed it is that the hero is a detective. Jake G. Panda is "in the protection racket. I'm the Last Resort's house dick. The hotel snoop. The resident fuzz. It's my job to keep the guests safe and outta harm's way" (9). The first case involves a missing hare (Professor Harry), a mysterious long-buried suitcase, and a 'cursed dodo.' Plenty of action and humor. Just a treat to read.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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7. What I Read in February


February was absolutely amazing, in terms of reading and pleasure.  We had some amazingly gorgeous days that we spent outside in t-shirts and flip flops and we had several snow days that kept us inside where it's nice and warm.



I did a lot of this:

And even got to take a weekend trip to Cottontown, Tennessee to see my very best friends and to do absolutely nothing but play tons of board games and read books and talk.



In terms of books, here's what I read:

Decompression by Julie Zeh
Pointe by Brandy Colbert
Texts from Jane Eyre by Mallory Ortberg
Strong Female Protagonist by Brennan Lee Mulligan and Molly Ostertag
The Book of Strange New Things by Michael Faber
Skim by Mariko Tamaki
Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Calahan
Welcome to Braggsville by T. Geronimo Johnson
Alone Forever by Liz Prince
I Am Not A Slut by Leora Tanenbaum
The Bishop's Wife by Mette Ivie Harrison
Reveille by George David Clark
The Most Dangerous Animal of All by Gary L. Stewart
The Ancient Path by John Michael Talbot
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Total books read in February: 15
Pages read in February: 4225

What did you read?


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8. The 2015 Hugo Awards: My Hugo Ballot, Publishing and Fan Categories

With only a week left to the nominating deadline, let's continue swiftly to the publishing and fan categories.  As I did last year, I'm going to be skipping the best editor categories, because I don't feel that I have enough of a sense of what each editor does to know which one of them deserves an award.  I also don't listen to podcasts, so I'll be leaving the best fancast category blank as well.

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9. BOBBEE BEE: DUKE VS CAROLINA

As basketball lovers get ready for the second-round of the hated CIVIL WAR between Duke versus UNC, this time at The Dean Dome in Chapel-Hill on Saturday, we, at Black Athlete Sports Network, decided to poke some fun at both school in the week of Here Comes the Hater. Enjoy!!
 
NORTH CAROLINA-(BASN)-1. What was Dean Smith's greatest decision?
 
Recruiting Rasheed Wallace!!!! Yes Indeed.

 
 
2. Was Dean Smith your "white" daddy?
 
No, my daddy was Black. Plus, I am a free Black man, off the plantation




3. If you got a basketball scholarship from UNC, what would be your major?

African-American Studies....of course. Now, that was dumb question.

 

4. What advice to you have for Duke's Tyrus Jones?

Don't go pro!!! Stay in college and develop you game. Don't end up like Austin Rivers.

5. If you could ask Dean Smith one question, what would it be?

Why didn't UNC hire coach Larry Brown after you retired instead of Matt Doherty?
 
 
6. Do you know who J.P. Tokoto is?
 
Of course. He is a sumo wrestler from Japan. Everybody knows that....
 
7. Give me one reason Carolina can't win the NCAA Championship this season?
 
OK. They are too light skin to win.
 
 
8. Do you believe in the scripture that says, "The Meek shall inherit the earth?
 
Yes. But, UNC's center Kennedy Meeks is too dam Meek!!! Toughen up Boy!!!

 
 9. Did you hear the news that NC State's Trevor Lacey got arrested last week?


Yes. But, in my opinion, the only reason the cops arrested him, was because, the Wolfpack beat Carolina the other night. It's a conspiracy theory. But, I sticking with it.
 
10. Do you know who Sub-Zero is?
 
Yes. It is former Duke standout Austin Rivers. And, he has been frozen in time, since he hit that game-winning 3-pointer against Carolina three years ago.


11. Do you like Duke?

No!!! But, I must admit, I like point guard Quinn Cook!!! First, I love his uncombed afro. Plus, I love his level of intensity!!!
 
12. Which player on UNC's basketball team his the greatest potential?
 
Justin Jackson. Why? Because, he remains me of former Kentucky basketball star, Tay-shawn Prince. You feel me....


Eric D. Graham is a graduate of Winston-Salem State University, where he earned a B.A. in Mass Communication with a concentration in Radio and Television and a minor in History, with an emphasis in African-American Studies, is currently the Managing Editor of BASN, where his thought-provoking articles appear on a daily basis. To contact him e-mail at lbiass34@yahoo.com

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10. Writers' Conferences

Are writers' conferences useful, and how do you get the most out of them?

http://annerallen.blogspot.com/2013/08/why-go-to-writers-conference-10.html

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11. Welcome to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Hyperion, 2014

My students EAT UP Laurie Faria Stolarz books!  SO glad she wrote a new one!  Dark, creepy, mysterious, on-the-edge of your seat reading!



If you can't access Youtube, try this link:

Schooltube:
http://www.schooltube.com/video/3617582e0df348f09b0a/Welcome%20to%20the%20Dark%20House

Google Drive: 
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B-wHb5Nsjhy0d1NfdUZpZHplMTA&authuser=0

Enjoy!!  I know I did!!

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12. Happy National Reading Month!

Lifelong love of reading graphic FINALMarch is National Reading Month, and the educators and programs leaders we serve hope their kids will develop a love of reading that lasts a lifetime.

93 percent of respondents in a recent First Book survey* hope their kids will gain a lifelong love of reading from the books they access through First Book.

*n = 977

The post Happy National Reading Month! appeared first on First Book Blog.

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13. Coconuts' Art Give Away!

Dear friends and backers,

This is Coco posting.  We are getting very closed to our goal ... I want to support Alina with her project, so I make 15 little cards with my paws as special THANK YOU gift to you!!  If you haven't pledged yet, it's not too late to join the fun now!!   If you already pledge and would like to receive my card.  You could chip in a buck or two to have my card adding into your reward package.
I only make 15 of these cards ... so these would be first come first served.  Starting now!!  Woof!!! Woof!!

Join the pledge now at or you can click the link under Alina's profile for quick access:

Thank you!  Woof! Woof!!

Sincerely,

Coconuts

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14. Krzysztof Iwanski

Krzysztof Iwanski

Highly expressive and inventive work from Polish designer Krzysztof Iwanski.

Krzysztof Iwanski

Krzysztof Iwanski

Krzysztof Iwanski

Krzysztof Iwanski

 

Krzysztof Iwanski

 

——————–

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Andy J Miller
Andrew Neyer
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15. Writing Tips From Famous Authors: INFOGRAPHIC

writing methodsHave you ever wanted to ask for advice from a great author? The team at BestEssayTips.com has created an infographic with “Timeless Original Writing Techniques of Famous Writers.”

The image features tips from The Shining author Stephen King, The Old Man And The Sea author Ernest Hemingway, and A Wrinkle in Time author Madeleine L’Engle. We’ve embedded the full infographic below for you to explore further—what do you think?

Writing Techniques of Famous Writers

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16. Floyd Cooper Talks with Roger

floyd cooper twr

Talks with Roger is a sponsored supplement to our free monthly e-newsletter, Notes from the Horn Book. To receive Notes, sign up here.


floyd cooper

In the midst of a classic Boston snowpocalypse, it was pure pleasure to talk to Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award winner Floyd Cooper [in 2009 for The Blacker the Berry, written by Joyce Carol Thomas; Amistad/HarperCollins] about his new picture book celebrating a jubilant summer’s day: Juneteenth for Mazie, published this month by Capstone.

Roger Sutton: You grew up in Oklahoma, right?

Floyd Cooper: Yes, born and raised. Around Tulsa, Oklahoma. Spent summers in Muskogee, Oklahoma. And Bixby, Mounds, Oklahoma, where my paternal grandfather had some land. He’s one-hundred-percent Creek Indian, and he had this allotment of land that was given to some of the Indians there. We would go and work some of the farms my folks had, to supply produce to the markets and things like that. It was a typical Midwestern kind of a lifestyle.

RS: Do you find that childhood making its way into your books?

FC: Yes. I’m trying to get more and more of it in there. I was just back there last week, actually, and I got to see some sights that awoke in me things I had forgotten about.

RS: Was Juneteenth something you celebrated as a kid?

FC: Well, we didn’t really celebrate it per se, but it was talked about by my older relatives. I never really understood it fully until much later.

RS: But you’d go to a barbecue and enjoy it even if you didn’t completely know what it was for, just like in Juneteenth for Mazie. Her grandfather tells her about the barbecue and that there are going to be treats and soda there, because that’s how kids connect with traditions.

FC: That’s right. They’re just there for the goodies. But those are the ways into their memory bank. Everything is attached to those fun parts. If we’re lucky we have older folks who talk to us and make sure we at least know some of the traditions. There was a lot of that with my family. I knew my great-grandparents.

RS: Wow.

FC: They still lived on the farm they built. They moved up from Texas in a covered wagon, and they built this house of stone there in Haskell, Oklahoma. They were quite old, and they’d share stories. In fact, Uncle Mose, the character in Juneteenth, is my great-great-grandfather. He was from a plantation in Georgia. He was an ex-slave. There was a photograph of him hanging in one of the rooms at the farm that we weren’t allowed to go into. As kids we had our limits. I couldn’t quite make out the features, so it’s always been a mystery to me what he actually looked like. I’m on a search for that picture now. Maybe it’s something that will turn up in one of my books. Those things, they really do come into fine focus as you get older. There’s always that regret that you didn’t know then what you know now.

RS: Right.

FC: As a child, I would have quizzed my great-grandparents a lot more, gotten even more stories.

RS: How do you connect your own children to those stories?

cooper_juneteenth for mazieFC: Telling the stories helps keep them in my memory. It’s funny how that works. The act of giving can also, in a sense, be a gift to you. You gain more insight and awareness as you pass the stories on. One of the beauties of the oral tradition is that it helps both the giver and the listener.

RS: Today if the slaves were freed, the news would be instantaneous. There’s no way the people of Texas wouldn’t hear it.

FC: That’s right. It would be all over Twitter. And that’s probably why it took two years for the news to actually reach Galveston. It traveled slowly, but it was deliberate, as much was in those days. With the culture of the black community, even before social media, there has always been this sort of a connection. It spanned geographic regions. It crossed social borders. I don’t know if you remember, in the days when they actually named dances, like you had the Twist? This was before your time.

RS: Do the Hustle!

FC: The Hustle and those dances. They were known instantaneously across the country by everybody. I don’t know how word got around. That’s just an example. Different things — the way of speaking, the slang, the verbiage, all of that was passed on. I can’t put my finger on how that happened. How would someone in Cincinnati, Ohio, know how someone in Oakland, California, would talk and act and walk, you know? It’s just amazing, that connection. I’m sure it’s like that with all cultures, there’s a sort of thread or a link that runs through, and it persists even with acclimation, with the sort of melting pot in which we all exist. Those ties — those cultural ties — remain true to that particular culture.

RS: To take the example of dances — you’d have DJs on the radio playing songs and saying, “Here’s the new Twist record.” And the DJ would listen to other DJs, so the record spreads, and of course the record company’s going around selling the record to the DJs, but then that doesn’t work unless the kids get into it. So Sally in Philly calls her cousin Sadie in Oklahoma —

FC: That’s right. It’s like a smoke signal, or like a drumbeat. Something very primordial. We find a way. And now we have social media.

RS: How do you think that will change things in terms of helping cultures to flourish?

FC: I think we’ll evolve into the medium, if we aren’t there already. It came on pretty quickly and caught us off-guard. I still know people who do not use Facebook. But I think we will evolve and take better advantage of it, and it will evolve along with us. Hopefully the internet will still be there, cleaned up and with the vision that we want it to be, as opposed to —

RS: The cesspool that it is today?

FC: Yes. I believe it’s going to get to where it’s supposed to be, but that’s just how I am, I guess. I’m a hopeful guy.

RS: And how do you see books surviving?

FC: It was put best by Stephen Roxburgh, an editor friend of mine. He was giving a talk about media, and he said books are just a bucket for words and thoughts and stories. The bucket can change, but the stories and the words, the expressions, the things that are in the bucket — that won’t change. You’ll always need that. So you have an electronic device that supplants a book, it’s just a bucket for these things. In that sense, it’s not that important as far as affecting the actual things that are in the bucket. We still need people to create for the bucket, whatever form it is. If it’s paper, or a bright light and a little flat tablet, we’ll still need content. That need that we have, as humans, to tell our stories and to hear stories will remain a constant through whatever technological change happens. We’ll carry that deep into the universe with us as we expand out further.

RS: Do you find yourself using digital tools more, as an illustrator?

FC: No, I still work traditionally for the most part. I have done some things just to experiment, but I still prefer the light in front of the painting, as opposed to coming from behind.

RS: It’s a big difference, isn’t it?

FC: Oh, it’s huge. Tremendously.

RS: I remember watching you demonstrate how you created a picture many years ago, in Hattiesburg.

FC: Oh, yes. So you saw that?

RS: Uh-huh.

FC: Okay. All right. Are you painting that way now?

RS: Who, me?

FC: Yes, did you go home and try it?

RS: No, I did not.

FC: Are you artistic?

RS: Hell, no.

FC: You’re very convinced. No hesitation there. That’s absolute, huh? Okay.

RS: But I love to look at pictures. You need people like me.

FC: Absolutely. You’re the linchpin of the whole thing. Without you, it’ll all fall apart.

RS: Gotta have readers.

FC: That’s right. And viewers, absolutely.

RS: You’ve had a remarkably consistent style over the years. Ever want to bust out and try something else?

FC: I do, and I have attempted to do that a number of times, but there are constructs in place that help to hold you in place. People who buy the art — they want the comfort, I guess, of knowing what they’re going to get, so they tend to want what they’ve seen you do, as opposed to taking a chance and trying something new. But I am expanding on my own. I’ve been experimenting with a lot of different media. Hopefully I’ll be in the position to just be able to produce that someday, and not have any other issues at hand like paying bills.

RS: Right.

FC: Social media, that will help me to have a platform, to just post something and see what happens. It may be something out of left field. I use melted chalks and some other mediums and a different palette. It’s a lot of fun, to balance what I do for books with what I play with in my down time.

RS: You know, one way you broke out years ago has always struck me — do you remember Laura Charlotte? [written by Kathryn O. Galbraith; Philomel, 1990] A book about a white child, illustrated by an African American illustrator.

FC: Yes, and I remember your statement about that. In fact, I still use it.

RS: What did I say?

FC: You said — I’m paraphrasing here — Ezra Jack Keats had done Snowy Day with Peter, and Floyd Cooper has sort of turned that around with Laura Charlotte.

RS: It really was something that was rare. Do you feel boxed in?

FC: Sometimes you do. Basically what we try to do, as artists and writers, we seek humanity first. That has no pigeonhole.

RS: Right.

FC: Publishers tend to hesitate when it comes to experimentation. But there are people who do allow it to happen. I’ve done some interesting books with Stephen Roxburgh. He’s quite a visionary. He told us maybe seven, eight years ago that the cell phone was going to be the center of the electronic universe. Everything was coming down to the cell phone and a cloud. And we didn’t know what the hell he was talking about. But it certainly has come to pass.

RS: I just walked by someone in the hall who was asking a security guard if he’d seen her wallet, and I thought, “Which would bother me more, to lose my wallet, or to lose my cell phone?” You’d think wallet, but I don’t know.

FC: I misplaced my cell phone in Nebraska once, and I couldn’t sleep a wink. I found it later, but it scared me to death, and I began to realize just how connected we are to that device. It’s like another hand. It’s scary, at the same time, to be so dependent on something.

RS: Do you read books on yours?

FC: I don’t read entire books. I’ll read the blurbs, and then I’ll get the book. I still like the book. I’d rather have the actual book and a little lamp.

RS: You know, your publisher wanted to make sure I saw the latest edition of Juneteenth for Mazie, because I only had the ARC and there were changes made to the finished book.

FC: They should ban ARCs. I’m setting a bonfire to my copies. Have you written any books yourself? I’m going to turn the interview on you.

RS: I wrote a nonfiction book for teenagers a long time ago. And then I’ve written mostly books for adults about children’s books.

FC: Is that first book still out? I’d like to see it.

RS: It’s out of print. It’s called Hearing Us Out: Voices from the Gay and Lesbian Community, and it was published by Little, Brown.

FC: What year was that?

RS: It was 1994, before I worked at The Horn Book.

FC: Wow. That’s ahead of the curve. Everything is so different now in the gay and lesbian community.

RS: Yes. The book would be completely dated. A kid would read it today and think I was talking about Martians. Because the world for gay people is completely different. Do you think that our latest diversity push — #WeNeedDiverseBooks — is going to open things up for you?

FC: I am not sure. I think there will definitely be ancillary benefits from anything in that arena, because it’s just coming down to having an impact, even secondhand, on what I do. But as far as affecting me personally, I’ll just continue to do what I do. I try to get involved in some of those things — We Need Diverse Books. But I haven’t had time to be as attentive to it as I should. I probably need to get a little bit more involved, pushing for that.

RS: Isn’t that more my job than your job, though?

FC: There you go. That’s it.

RS: Your job is to make the books.


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17. Sponsor // Kapra Font Family

Kapra Font

This week we’re excited to bring you Kapra, a font family inspired Polish magazines from the 1960s. Included with the set are eight variants and a huge collection of glyphs. See the complete collection here.

 

 

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18. Publishing Jobs: Oxford University Press, St. Martin’s

This week, Oxford University Press is hiring a development editor, while St. Martin’s Press needs a marketing manager. HarperCollins is seeking a social media manager, and Penguin Random House is on the hunt for a senior designer for Grosset & Dunlap. Get the scoop on these openings and more below, and find additional just-posted gigs on Mediabistro.

Find more great publishing jobs on the GalleyCat job board. Looking to hire? Tap into our network of talented GalleyCat pros and post a risk-free job listing. For real-time openings and employment news, follow @MBJobPost.

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19. world book day 2015: biggest book show on earth!

Today World Book Day UK hosted my co-author Philip Reeve and me along with a stupendous line-up of book people. Do we look excited?



It's been a ten-city, ten-day tour, and we were the London stop.



I never thought I'd be on stage with the amazing Jacqueline Wilson, Michael Rosen, Francesca Simon, Holly Smale and Steven Butler!



The venue was a big surprise. I'd never visited Walthamstow Assembly Hall before, and it felt like the big People's Palaces I'd seen during my student days in Moscow. Heavy, grand, and a bit imposing. But cool!




Check out the words above this doorway: FELLOWSHIP IS LIFE AND THE LACK OF FELLOWSHIP IS DEATH. ...WHOAAAA.



I guess it's the Fellowship of the Rings, check out the ceiling pattern. Here's what the hall looked like before the school coaches rolled in. (That's Reeve ahead, carrying my red Sea Monkey bag and his ukulele.)



And here's our presenter, magnificent ringmaster Steven Butler, who grew out his twirly moustache just for the occasion. You might know him as the guy who writes the Dennis the Menace books. He's been ringmaster for the whole tour, and he's still on his feet. Wow!



Steven memorized 'three unknown facts' about each of the speakers, which was rather impressive. My facts were:
1. When Sarah was born, her parents thought she was a sea monkey.
2. When she escaped from the zoo, they were sure of it.
3. She now draws sea monkeys in an attempt to distance herself from these silly creatures.

Philip's facts:
1. Philip wrote his first book when he was five, and it was called When Spike and Spook went to the Moon.
2. Philip is actually a highly advanced android named Wilf.
3. Philip hates being called Wilf; please never call him that.



Here we are, just before going on stage.



And we did our thing, drawing a Sea Monkey, singing some songs, reading from Oliver and the Seawigs, demonstrating the Power of Science with the Nom-o-Tron from Cakes in Space. (I told the kid that if they wanted to learn how to draw their own Sea Monkey, they could find out on my website.)



I love meeting other authors at festivals and things, but I hardly ever get to sit and watch their talks; I either have to leave or we're on at the same time. So it was great to get the chance to watch Holly Smale, writer of the Geek Girl books, in action!



Holly got almost as much fanfare as Jacqueline Wilson, who entered to screams that rock stars would envy.



Jacqueline's famous not only for her books, but also for the chunky rings she always wears. So Steven decided he had to give her a run for her money on that front. Check out all the BLING!



We got to hear Michael Rosen tell stories:



And Francesca Simon talk about Horrid Henry (and Perfect Peter):



Holly accidentally left her phone on-stage, so Steven took a big selfie.



I thought, with that many other amazing authors present, we'd have a great time but probably not sell a lot of books. But I was WRONG! Oxford University Press brought a big table full of books and sold every single one, and kids were sad not to get even more! The kids were going absolutely mad buying everyone's books and getting them signed, it was awesome. And even kids who didn't get our books brought Holly Smale's World Book Day edition of Geek Girl up for me to sign. So I drew geeky Sea Monkeys, which was fun.



Huge thanks to the colourful Kirsten Grant and her team, who organised the tour, Steve who did our tech, Steven for being a wonderful ringmaster, Newham Bookshop for organising books, our lovely OUP publicists Harriet Bayly & Camille Davis, and the local libraries for the use of the venue. And, of course, to all the schools who came along, and to my fellow authors, who made the day such fun. I'm excited to see which book characters people are going to dress up as on Thursday, World Book Day!

WORLD BOOK DAY DRESSING UP:
If you dress up as a character in one of my books with Philip or any of the other books, please please send along a photo, I'd love to see! Here are a few ideas from past years, if you're looking for some inspiration:

From There's a Shark in the Bath:

From Oliver and the Seawigs:

From Jampires (you can print a free mask from here!)


Princess Spaghetti from You Can't Eat a Princess! and You Can't Scare a Princess! (tiara-making tips here):

And you can download and print a free GOBLIN mask from Reeve's GOBLINS books!


Reeve and I would love love LOVE to see some Cakes in Space costumes! Astra, Pilbeam the robot, Poglites, killer cakes....DO IT DO IT DO IT!

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20. Écoutez!

 
Things I'm listening to while working on book edits. Got Spotify? You can listen here.

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21. David OReilly’s New Tumblr Showcases Advances in Hyper-Real CGI

Computer graphics have evolved more than you think.

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22. Coconuts' Kickstarter Up-date:

Dear friends and backers,

This is Coco posting.  We are getting very closed to our goal ... I want to support Alina with her project, so I make 15 little cards with my paws as special THANK YOU gift to you!!  If you haven't pledged yet, it's not too late to join the fun now!!   If you already pledge and would like to receive my card.  You could chip in a buck or two to have my card adding into your reward package.
I only make 15 of these cards ... so these would be first come first served.  Starting now!!  Woof!!! Woof!!

Join the pledge now at or you can click the link under Alina's profile for quick access:

Thank you!  Woof! Woof!!

Sincerely,

Coconuts


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23. Jay Quercia

Jay Quercia

Brooklyn-based illustrator and designer Jay Quercia recently gave his website a fresh makeover. With the update comes an impressive lineup of work that showcases his depth and versatility.

 

 

 

Jay Quercia

 

Jay Quercia

Jay Quercia

Jay Quercia

Jay Quercia

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24. Wanted!


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25. BOBBEE BEE: THE MAKING OF A HIP-HOP CLASSIC!!


Ladies and Gentlemen, let the countdown begin for the release of the most anticipated Hip-Hop album in 2015, entitled Pocket Full of Ghetto Poems by Eric D.Graham. 

With several songs already released on Sound Cloud and Facebook, the Carolina-born (MC) confidently claims he has produced a Hip-Hip classic, which will super cede all expectations, which, eventually, will be discussed for years to come by Hip-Hop connoisseurs. 

As a result, as the final touches are being placed on the album, along with additional mix downs by Supreme DJ NYBORN, the songs have been selected for the “potential” ground-breaking project. 

“At first, I thought to myself, this album could be a Carolina Classic….,” stated Graham, who is a graduated of Winston-Salem State with a B.A. in Mass Communication with a concentration in Radio and Television, with a minor in History, with an emphasis on African-American Studies. 

“But, after, listening to the album, it might be a Hip-Hop classic. Seriously!!” 

With that said, here is the final song list for the album: Pocket Full of Ghetto Poems:

1. Saturday Night Surprise
2. Jesus Christ the Kid is Nice
3. Money & the Power
4. Wanted Man

5. CI-DOUBLE A
6. Dope Boy Fresh

7. Personality is Borderline

8. Revolutionary Suicide

9. Illuminati
10. Angels from the Sky
11. This is Real Hip-Hop
12. Too Many MC’s
13. True Master
14. Revolutionary Ideas
15. Look Mama We Made It
16 Magnolia Memories
17. Rock Me Tonight
18. I Hate You So Much
19. BLACK WOMAN SINGS THE BLUES
20. MY LAST BLACK LOVE LETTER
21. Mister Officer

22. Bang-Bang!!! Boo-Boo!!

23. Bulletproof
24. Farrakhan/Dr.Khallid
25. Hex on Me
26. No Happy Endings
27. Breathe & Let It Go
For more details about the album Pocket Full of Ghetto Poems contact Eric D.Graham at lbiass34@yahoo.com

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