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<<May 2015>>
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Viewing: Blog Posts from All 1552 Blogs, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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"No, seriously, this is the LAST post-apocalyptic dystopian book I'm going to review." I say that frequently, don't I? And yet, I keep finding stories that, for me, at least, add to the sub-genre. Few are the novels which move past the end-of-days... Read the rest of this post

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2. Things I Wish I'd Known- Cancer and Kids: a bookwrap

Some books you never want to review, yet these books may be the very ones someone is longing to discover because they are in so much pain, with no answers.  Today's book I am unwrapping has vital information they may need just to get through today.  If someone you love - a spouse, an extended family member, or even your very own precious child, has been diagnosed with cancer where do you go to ask questions or even know what questions to ask?  Today's book may be just what you need for such a time as this.  By reading through it you may be granted those answers you are seeking thus easing the pain, and hopelessness you are now feeling.



This book "Things I Wish I'd Known - Cancer And Kids" by Deborah J. Cornwall is small in stature but big in information.  The book gives you guidance from experts and testimonies from real live people who have survived the trauma and heartbreak of helping a child deal with cancer.  This book includes chapters on: straight up addressing the fact that cancer is present, how the child (and family) moves forward coping with that knowledge on a daily basis, and the impact emotionally it will have on everyone involved.  

The author gives advice about how to deal with issues when the child is the patient and how to minister to a child when his/her parent or sibling succumbs to this dreaded disease. She also bravely confronts the prospect of death and dying and the process of grief that will surely follow.  

The book is written from a standpoint of education and of love.  It is reader-friendly and includes resources for future reference. It is an excellence resource in itself and I know parents, pediatric professionals, family counsellors and social workers will find it very helpful to them.  I highly recommend, "Things I Wish I'd Known - Cancer And Kids." 

Deborah J. Cornwall is a breast cancer survivor and advocate on behalf of cancer patients and their caregivers. She has been associated with the American Cancer Society and its Cancer Action Network as a volunteer leader since 1994, performing a variety of local, regional, and national roles and serving as a media spokesperson before audiences ranging from 16 to 30,000. In May 2013, the New England Division and National American Cancer Society Boards of Directors unanimously awarded her the St. George National Award recognizing her many significant personal and professional contributions to the fight against cancer. In 2014 she received the Lorin Lavidor Caregiver Award from the New England Coalition for Cancer Survivorship.

Her passion to write her first book (Things I Wish I'd Known: Cancer Caregivers Speak Out) was ignited by her interaction with cancer patients and caregivers at the Society's AstraZeneca Hope Lodge Center in Boston. Both within her own community and at the Society's AstraZeneca Hope Lodge, she came in contact with people whose cancer survival and caregiving stories were much more trying than her own diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer in 2001. 

Generous with their stories, the 95 interviewed caregivers (who came from 19 states and represented 117 patients with over 40 different cancer diagnoses) felt a strong desire to be heard and to share the lessons they had learned (often the hard way). She realized she could use her proven interviewing and writing skills to help them do that. These ingredients hatched a dream that made Things I Wish I'd Known a reality.

Her second book,Things I Wish I'd Known: Cancer and Kids, draws on that foundation by offering guidance to adults on how to help them understand the impact of cancer on their and their families' lives and how to engage children in the caregiving process in age-appropriate ways. Its writing was inspired by the experiences of personal friends in confronting these most sensitive communications challenges.

Professionally Cornwall consults with boards of directors and CEOs on leadership, CEO succession, governance, and change issues as Managing Director of The Corlund Group LLC.

Another book by the author:

Read on and read always!

It's a wrap.

Contact me at :  storywrapsblog@gmail.com

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3. Happy Book Birthday to HOW TO READ A STORY by Kate Messner

Step One: Find a story. (A good one.)
Step Two: Find a reading buddy. (Someone nice.)
Step Three: Find a reading spot. (Couches are cozy.)
Now: Begin.

Storytellers Kate Messner and Mark Siegel chronicle the process of becoming a reader: from pulling a book off the shelf and finding someone with whom to share a story, to reading aloud, predicting what will happen, and--finally--coming to The End. This picture book playfully and movingly illustrates the idea that the reader who discovers the love of reading finds, at the end, the beginning.

 Ask for HOW TO READ A STORY from your library, or get your own copy at your local independent bookstore, or Oblong, or Bookstore Plus, or anywhere fine books are sold! 

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4. Part 2 of the Creative Juice Podcast

Because practice makes perfect, part 2 of the podcast I did with Margot and Jeb on practice!


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5. New Voice: Danica Davidson on Escape from the Overworld

By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Danica Davidson is the first-time author of Escape from the Overworld (Skyhorse, 2015). From the promotional copy:

Eleven-year-old Stevie, who comes from a long line of Steves, doesn't feel as if he fits in the Minecraft world. His father is great at building and fighting off zombies, but Stevie struggles in these areas. 

One day, when Stevie is alone in the field trying to build something new that will impress his dad, he discovers a portal into a new world.

Stevie steps out of a computer screen and into the room of eleven-year-old Maison, a sixth-grade girl who loves to build and create, but who is bullied and made an outcast by her classmates for not indulging in activities deemed "cool." Stevie is shocked by how different this world is, and Maison takes him under her wing and teaches him all about her world. The two become friends, and Maison brings Stevie to school with her.

Stevie is horrified to see there are zombies in the school He realizes that when he opened the portal, this allowed zombies to also enter the new world. More and more creatures are slipping out by the second, wreaking havoc on a world that has no idea how to handle zombies, creepers, giant spiders, and the like. Stevie and Maison must put their heads together and use their combined talents in order to push the zombies back into Minecraft, where they belong. 

As Stevie and Maison's worlds become more combined, their adventure becomes even more frightening than they could have imagined.

When and where do you write? Why does that time and space work for you?

I’ve always loved writing — I still have stories I dictated to my parents when I was three, or little notebooks I wrote in when I was so small I had to follow my mom around and ask her how to spell each word.

This continued on throughout the years, with me starting to write multiple novels in middle school. I like to write in a private area, usually with music playing. The music varies depending on the type of scene or book I’m writing.

For my book Escape from the Overworld, I got the contract before I’d written the book and the publisher wanted a quick turnaround of about six weeks.

There was definitely a moment of, “Six weeks – what have I gotten myself into?” But then I made myself plan.

Working as a journalist has taught me that you sit down and you write your project; if breaking news is happening, your editor is not going to care if the Muse isn’t inspiring you that day.

I’d turned in a synopsis for the book, which is what led to the contract, so I spent the next week figuring out in my head the details of the scenes. The main characters are eleven, so I reread some writings I did at eleven to help me get back in the voice. The week after that, I made myself write at least 2,000 words at day on the manuscript before taking any breaks. I wrote more on the weekend or if the words were flowing extra well that day.

In one week, I had my rough draft of about 20,000 words. I gave it to some friends to help me edit (warning them it was called a rough draft for a reason), and waited till I got their edits back before I returned to the manuscript. Once I got their thoughts, I started my revisions and I made my deadline.

There were a number of things that were important to me while writing. I know some people might be quick to dismiss it as, “Oh, it’s just a Minecraft book,” but I wanted it to be more than that.

Since I notice a lot of Minecraft books (or even just adventure books in general) are male-dominated, I made sure my protagonists are male and female and on equal footing. I take on issues like bullying and the fears of going to a new school. I made the shop class teacher female, because I know many people would unconsciously picture a shop class teacher as being male. Both the main characters are from single-parent households, since I wanted to show that’s normal for many kids and nothing to be ashamed of.

Learn more!

As a result of my bullying and girl-power angles, the book has been included in an anti-bullying, girl-empowerment program called Saving Our Cinderellas that aims to inspire young girls of color in cities around the country. I want the book to be fun — I end almost every chapter with a cliffhanger for a reason — but I also hope it can inspire young readers and touch them emotionally as well. It's my goal to write all different types of books for all different ages.

As someone with a full-time day job, how do you manage to also carve out time to write and build a publishing career? What advice do you have for other writers trying to do the same?

This is kind of a trick question for me, because writing is my full-time day job, but it’s journalism.

Hear me out.

My fantasy was to publish novels and become a professional writer that way, but as many writers know, that’s easier said than done. When I was in high school, I had to start earning my own money because of financial and family issues. Like many a naive young writer, I submitted stories to "The New Yorker" and other such prestigious places. And like many a naive young writer, I have some fabulous rejection letters from the "The New Yorker" and other such prestigious places.

I realized that wasn’t going to work, so I started out smaller, writing for local newspapers. Once you’ve published things professionally, other places will take you more seriously. I would take samples of my published work and send them to bigger and bigger places.

My interest in anime and manga had me writing about the subject for local papers, and then I used that to get me in Anime Insider, which led to Booklist, Publishers Weekly, CNN, The Onion, Los Angeles Times and other places. (I know this sounds really quick, but I can tell you it actually took years, and I got many rejections in the meantime.)

I even found opportunities to write the English adaptation of Japanese graphic novels for the publishing company Digital Manga Publishing.

At first I was working other part-time jobs to supplement my income, but within a few years I became a full-time writer. Every single day I wrote articles and sent out more submissions.

I began to be known as an expert on manga and graphic novels, and this led me to writing for MTV, which at the time had me reporting on superhero comics being made into movies. I love writing for MTV News, and now I cover social justice issues for them, which means I write about things like philanthropy, activism and advocacy with causes that matter to young people. I was part of a small group of MTV writers to receive a Webby Honor for Best Youth Writing.

All of this helped me hone my craft, get my name out there, and pay the bills.

When I got my agent not long ago, he was very impressed to see a twenty-something who’d sold more than a couple thousand articles to big-name places.

Then while he was shopping around a YA series of mine, Skyhorse Publishing approached me, wanting a manga art guide. Of course I was thrilled and grateful! Next they asked me if I could write some sort of Minecraft book, which led me to pitch Escape from the Overworld. The manga book will be out soon, and I just finished my rough draft for my sequel to Escape from the Overworld, which has the planned title Attack on the Overworld.

I still haven’t been in "The New Yorker," but that’s okay.

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Today I'm at Teresa Cypher's wonderful blog, Dreamers, Lovers, and Star Voyagers, doing a guest post about persistence in her "Tuesday Two Cents' Worth" column.

Teresa's blog has a variety of features, including her Weekend Writing Warriors hop, where writers share 8 sentences of something they've written, published or unpublished. She also provides a great list of writer resources in the margin.

To hop on over and look around, click HERE.


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7. The Stories for All Project: 60,000 New Books to Increase Diversity, Promote Inclusivity

When children see their lives reflected in the books they read they become more enthusiastic readers. Their educational outcomes improve. They succeed in school and in life.

But few books actSFAP Pie Chart Infographicually reflect the cultures and circumstances of the kids First Book serves, all of whom live in low-income households and many of whom are of minority backgrounds. In fact, a mere 11 percent of 3,500 children’s books reviewed by Cooperative Children’s Book Center this year are about people of color.

This is the reason we created the Stories for All ProjectTM – the only market-driven solution to increase diverse voices and promote inclusivity in children’s literature.

Today, we’re proud to share our latest news with you: With support from Target, KPMG and Jet Blue Airways, First Book is making 60,000 copies of outstanding children’s titles featuring diverse characters and storylines available for the first time ever in affordable trade paperback format, to fuel learning and educational equity.

We chose these titles fromStories for All group photo hundreds submitted by publishers with input from the 175,000 educators and program leaders we serve. By aggregating the demand and purchasing power of this educator community, we have become the first organization to create a viable and vibrant market for books that reflect race, ability, sexual orientation and family structure in our ever-diversifying world.

Each of our selections contributes unique perspectives underrepresented in children’s literature while remaining relatable to all readers. As part of this current effort, First Book is thrilled to make available two titles by new picture book authors:

  • “Niño Wrestles the World” written and illustrated by Yuyi Morales
  • “And Tango Makes Three” written by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell and illustrated by Henry Cole
  • “Tiger in My Soup” written by Kashmira Sheth and illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler
  • “Boats for Papa” written and illustrated by new author/illustrator Jessixa Bagley
  • “Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah,” written by first-time children’s author Laurie Ann Thompson and illustrated by Sean Qualls,
  • “Knock Knock: My Dad’s Dream for Me,” written by Daniel Beaty and illustrated by Bryan Collier

Copies of all six titles will be available through the First Book Marketplace.  The first three titles are also available for the first time in paperback format on Target.com and at Target stores nationwide.

Every day, in communities around the country and around the world, we see the critical need to further our human understanding and embrace the gifts and experience each of us brings. The Stories for All Project and promotes understanding, empathy and inclusivity with stories that can help all children see and celebrate their differences and similarities.

The post The Stories for All Project: 60,000 New Books to Increase Diversity, Promote Inclusivity appeared first on First Book Blog.

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8. House of Hawthorne review

Since the release of Hemingway's Girl, I've been a huge fan of Erika Robuck and her ability to take a historical figure and weave their life into a fictional story, resulting in a wave of interest in that person that might not have previously existed. It's a special talent, my friends and I'm on the train of love for these books. 

After finishing one of Robuck's books, I've found myself researching Ernest Hemingway, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Zelda Fitzgerald and now Nathaniel Hawthorne and his wife Sophia. To take a fiction novel to the level that Robuck does - making me want to read more about these real people and the lives they led - is fantastic and unlike any other reading experience I've had before. 

When I first opened the beautiful deckled-edge pages of The House of Hawthorne (the edges always deserve comment) I knew I was in for a treat. I had no prior knowledge of Nathaniel Hawthorne's life and I had never heard of his wife, Sophia. I'm in the minority of adults who has not had to read The Scarlett Letter at some point in my life and so, though I knew of Hawthorne, I did not have any info going in. And let me tell you, his adult life was a bit rough. 

Overall, this is the love story of Nathaniel and Sophia. Their incredibly intense romance was fascinating to read about and the atmosphere Robuck created surrounding their relationship was complicated and beautiful. I could feel the passion and pain of the characters as I read the words and really just wanted to see their story have a happy ending. Life in the mid-19th century was difficult, to say the least.  

I was completely transported to the time period and setting and after finishing the last page, found myself looking up information about Nathaniel Hawthorne. Well done, Erika Robuck. Another winner!

Review copy provided by publisher. 

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9. Book & Me | Comic #2

Book & Me #2 by Charise Mericle Harper

Previous | Next (May 6)


The post Book & Me | Comic #2 appeared first on The Horn Book.

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10. Article-I Love you

6 April को एक खबर पढी कि चंडीगढ के हाईकोट जज जस्टिस एम. जियापाल (60 साल)  ने एक बच्ची को सुखना लेख , चंडीगढ में डूबने से बचाया. बचपन मे मैनें भी एक बच्ची को डूबने से बचाया था इसलिए ऐसी खबरों मे मेरी विशेष रुचि रहती है पर जैसे जैसे मैं खबर पढती गई मेरा ध्यान किसी और बात पर केंदित हो  गया . असल में, खबर के अंत मे लिखा था कि जैसे ही जज साहब की पत्नी को यह  सूचना मिली वो भागी भागी सुखना लेख पहुंची. उनको सूचना ये मिली थी कि वो डूब गए हैं.  वहां अपने पति को ठीक देख कर वो उनसे लिपट गई जज साहब ने बताया कि वो लम्हा उनकी जिंदगी का यादगार लम्हा था. ऐसा अहसास उन्हे पहले कभी नही हुआ.

उसे पढ कर मैं जिस विषय पर लिखने वाली थी उससे ध्यान हट गया और जाकर ठहर गया पति पत्नी के अनमोल रिश्तें पर. जब भी हम प्यार Love  शब्द का इस्तेमाल करते हैं हमेशा  हमारे जहन में boy friend, girl friend या दफ्तर का कर्मचारी या boss के साथ सैकेटरी के   सम्बंध की बात ही आती है और पति पत्नी के प्यार का कभी जिक्र भी नही होता जबकि सबसे केयरिंग सबसे स्पेशल यही रिश्ता होता है.  खासकर उम्र के ऐसे पडाव पर आने के बाद जब दोनों को एक दूसरे के सहारे की जरुरत होती है.

हमारे समाज में पति पत्नी पर बहुत चुटकले बनाए जाते हैं पति पत्नी का मजाक उडाते हैं पर साथ ही साथ यह भी कहते हैं कि भई हम तो जोरु के गुलाम है. पर पति पत्नी के प्यार पर कभी बात नही की जाती जबकि अपने जीवन को सुखद बनाने के लिए आपसी प्यार ही होता है. एक जानकार से जब मैं  इस बारे में बात कर रही थी तो उन्होने बताया कि पति पत्नी के प्यार का  क्या इजहार करना वो तो understood यानि स्वाभाविक ही होता है… बेशक, स्वाभाविक है पर प्यार की उष्मा बनाए रखने के लिए जताना भी बहुत जरुरी होता है.

कभी बीमारी में सेवा करना ,कभी चाय बना कर लाना, कभी सालगिरह पर खूबसूरत उपहार देना या कभी कोई सरप्राईज देना… रिश्तें की महक को और बढा देता है. इसमे दोनों की भूमिका बराबर की होनी चाहिए. पति कभी आफिस से लेट हो तो बजाय मुंह बनाने के उनकी थकावट उतारने की कोशिश होनी चाहिए  और अगर गलती से खाना जल गया तो बर्तन पटकने के पति को ”’ कोई बात नही … हो जाता है कई बार कह कर बात सम्भाल लेनी चाहिए और सबसे जरुरी बात अपने रिश्तें को समय दें ज्याद धरेलू कार्य या दफ्तर में इतने ही न उलझ जाए कि आप एक दूसरे से दूर होते जाएं.cartoon - love u -monica

शादी के बाद आरम्भ के आठ दस महीने बहुत नाजुक होते हैं क्योकि एक दूसरे को जानना समझना बहुत जरुरी  होता है और दोनों को ही थोदा थोडा झुकना चाहिए अहम को दर किनारे कर देना चाहिए. पर अपना प्यार जरुर प्रकट करना चाहिए.

I love you… बहुत प्यारा शब्द है और पति पत्नी के प्यार को , दाम्पत्य जीवन को  मिठास  से भर देता है ….

The post Article-I Love you appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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11. Happy Children's Book Week!

This week we kick off Children’s Book Week, May 4-10. It’s the 96th anniversary of the annual celebration of books for young children, a week to enjoy your favorite books, authors, and illustrators!

Established in 1919, Children's Book Week is the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country. Every year,  events are held nationwide at schools, libraries, bookstores, homes wherever young readers and books connect!

 Visit the link below to see fun activities or local events in your area!


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12. Kicking off Children’s Book Week with a Celebration!

Kali_187Children’s Book Week is always an exciting time to share our books with kids, our authors travel to events in their community, and we post fun activities and announce book giveaways right here. This year is extra special for us, not only are six new titles hitting shelves this week, but we have another reason to celebrate, Kali’s Story: An Orphaned Polar Bear Rescue is a winner in the Children’s Choice Book Awards.

The announcement came late last night and we are still amazed that the only nonfiction nominee from our little office won the popular vote. Don’t get me wrong the bear as well as the book is adorable; and Jennifer Keats Curtis and John Gomes could not have captured his personality and the journey from a den in Northern Alaska to his friend at the Buffalo Zoo any better. So today we are overjoyed with the win and it is a day of celebration and would like to express our gratitude to all the little readers and voters in this year’s awards!

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Join us in the celebration with polar bear paw cupcakes! https://www.pinterest.com/ArbordaleKids/polar-bears/

If you want to learn more about Kali’s Story visit the book homepage http://www.arbordalepublishing.com/bookpage.php?id=Kali

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13. BilBOlbul Newsletter 5 maggio 2015

È online su www.coopforwords.it il bando della tredicesima edizione di "Coop for words" riservata a scrittori e fumettisti dai 18 ai 35 anni, che dovranno inviare i loro elaborati - inediti e in lingua italiana - entro il 15 giugno, tramite l’apposito form presente sul sito.
Tanti i premi in palio: borse di studio e opportunità professionali, la possibilità di partecipare ad Ad alta voce e la pubblicazione di un’antologia. I 5 vincitori assoluti verranno premiati durante l’Expo di Milano e potranno partecipare gratuitamente ai corsi della Bottega Finzioni, esporre a BilBOlbul 2016 e ricevere una borsa di studio offerta da GVC.
Per la sezione fumetto si richiede la creazione di due tavole immaginate come prefazione di un’opera letteraria contemporanea (dal Novecento ai giorni nostri) a scelta, mettendone in evidenza o l’atmosfera, o una tematica, o le emozioni che suscita nel lettore.

La categoria di "Graphic Novel", sta acquisendo una sempre crescente centralità, anche in Italia.
Ma che cos’è il graphic novel, sulla scena italiana e nel mondo? Ha davvero senso definirlo come un "oggetto" diverso dai classici fumetti? E soprattutto, qual è il suo posto in un panorama in continuo mutamento in cui le arti si mescolano e si affermano nuove forme di narrazione sempre più ibride e trans-mediali inaugurando nuovi modi di leggere, interpretare e valutare la narrazione?
Per rispondere a queste e altre domande si incontreranno a Bologna giovedì 7 e venerdì 8 maggio, alcuni tra i più importanti autori e studiosi del fumetto: da Igort a Doug Headline a Davide Toffolo, e poi Davide Reviati, Otto Gabos, Sara Colaone, Onofrio Catacchio, Sualzo, i giovani autori del neonato sito di informazione Graphic News.

Il convegno è promosso dall’Università e dall’Accademia di Belle Arti di Bologna insieme alla francese Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense.


Primavera/Estate è un ciclo di cinque incontri con protagonisti maestri del fumetto e dell’illustrazione di fama internazionale, organizzato in collaborazione con Accademia di Belle Arti di Bologna, Scuola di Lettere e Beni Culturali - Università di Bologna e Gruppo Hera.
Il prossimo appuntamento sarà un’incursione nel mondo dell’illustrazione con Nadia Budde. Mercoledì 13 maggio, alle ore 17.00, presso l’Accademia di Belle Arti di Bologna, l’affermata illustratrice tedesca, vincitrice di premi quali l’Oldenburger Kinder- und Jugendbuchpreis, il Troisdorfer Bilderbuchpreis e il Bologna Ragazzi Award, presenterà il proprio lavoro: un universo fatto di creaturine, esseri umani, bestie e insetti, corpi, zampe, facce, smorfie.
In collaborazione con Goethe-Institut Italien.
Per la prima volta il Gruppo Hera apre le porte di casa al disegno. In collaborazione con BilBOlbul, Hera invita Nadia Budde per un laboratorio sperimentale rivolto ai figli dei dipendenti. L’iniziativa rientra nell’ambito dei progetti di welfare aziendale del Gruppo e si svolgerà presso il Learning Center HerAcademy.
I prossimi incontri saranno con Dylan Horrocks, Quint Buchholz e Stefano Alghisi.
Vai su www.bilbolbul.net per tutti i dettagli!

Dal 6 maggio al 21 giugno torna "Tra le Nuvole", festival itinerante di fumetto e illustrazione organizzato da MalEdizioni.
Un evento culturale diffuso sul territorio, un’entità in movimento in grado di toccare paesi e città della provincia bresciana, che dia modo al pubblico di conoscere un mondo ricco e variegato come quello del fumetto. Il festival, partner di BilBOlbul, si svolge, come da tradizione, all’interno delle biblioteche della provincia bresciana, veri e propri avamposti culturali con un forte legame con il territorio.

Anche grazie al tuo contributo potremo portare avanti le nostre attività.
Nella tua dichiarazione dei redditi, scrivi il nostro codice fiscale: 92047890378
Grazie per il sostegno!
BilBOlbul Festival internazionale di fumetto fa parte della
Rete dei Festival del Contemporaneo di Bologna
Future Film Festival: 5 > 10 maggio 2015 - futurefilmfestival.org :: Angelica- Festival Internazionale di musica: 2 > 31 maggio 2015 - aaa-angelica.com :: Biografilm: 5 > 15 giugno 2015 - biografilm.it :: Gender Bender: 31 ottobre > 8 novembre 2015 - www.genderbender.it :: BilBOlBul: 19 > 22 novembre 2015 - bilbolbul.net :: Live Arts Week: liveartsweek.it

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14. My Thoughts: The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

 4 yummy soft snickerdoodles!

Cover Love:  Yes.  It looks romantic, but also friendly.  No kissing, just two people hanging out.

Why I Wanted to Read This:
I like this author for contemporary teenage romances!
Here's the synopsis from GoodReads:
When Gia Montgomery's boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she'd been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend— two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley.

The problem is that days after prom, it's not the real Bradley she's thinking about, but the stand-in. The one whose name she doesn't even know. But tracking him down doesn't mean they're done faking a relationship. Gia owes him a favor and his sister intends to see that he collects: his ex-girlfriend's graduation party — three hours, zero commitment, a few white lies.

Just when Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into a real one, Bradley comes waltzing back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy her friendships and her new-found relationship.

Romance?: Of course!

My Thoughts:
My first impression of Gia was not that favorable.  She seemed bossy and shallow right from the start.  She calms down a few pages in, but the way she is with her friends gave me pause.  These are seniors in high school, they have history.  She and Claire have been best friends for 10 years and she and Laney for five.  Does she really think they don't trust her or love her enough that they will believe anything Jules tells them?  Their whole friendship seemed like middle school girls rather than seniors. They were just really immature for high school seniors!

Unfortunately, they didn't improve as a group, but Gia made a lot of progress!  Sometimes the moment where you are ready to change just comes upon you and for Gia that moment was prom.

One thing that bothers me is that we never did find out why Jules was so awful to Gia.  And there was never the Gia/Jules showdown I longer for, but by the end, Gia had grown and matured enough that it wasn't necessary for her, just for me :).

Oddly enough, while Gia and the "Fill-In" have an attraction, the best part of this is Gia's growing friendship with his litter sister Bec.  It's through Bec's eyes that Gia sees how awful she has been and how she needs to change.  And she has won Bec's loyalty, it makes her feel more worthy of maybe a relationship with the "Fill-In" but also stronger to be without her friends.

Gia's family is kind of ugh.  Her brother is a butt head who does something that, while I didn't think it was awful, did warrant an apology that he provides a little too late and insincerely in my opinion.  And her parents are so sugar coating with everything.   There just wasn't a lot real there.

I adored the "Fill-In."  He had his own issues and was willing to give Gia the benefit of the doubt for a lot of things.  They start off having a nice friendship, which I greatly enjoyed.  It wasn't a jump right into a relationship, it was getting to know each other.

To Sum Up:  Very good story.  Would be good to hand to those girls who think that their friend's opnions are all that matters (I see a few of those in my middle school).

ARC requested and received from HarperCollins.  Thanks so much!!

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15. Did Age of Ultron kick off the Age of Superhero Fatigue?


While the second biggest opening weekend in domestic cinema history doesn’t seem like painfully coming up short, Avengers Age of Ultron failing to beat The Avengers for opening weekend gross seems to have shocked many people. Personally I blame Floyd Mayweather, as he should be blamed and punished for all the world’s ills, but Vulture’s Kyle Buchanon has a more in-depth examination of possible causes, including: the fight; the downbeat marketing campaign; the been there done that phenomenon; the mixed critical and fan reaction; and…maybe the superhero movie fatigue we’ve all been expecting:

I have no doubt that comic-book movies will continue to make bank, including the looming, two-part Avengers: Infinity War — I just think they’ll be hard-pressed to reach the massive totals that superhero movies made when this shtick all felt a little fresher. The peril to the shared cinematic universe is that they can get awfully packed with stray story lines as time goes on, and all the comic-book minutiae that Age of Ultron expects you to know will be doubled and quadrupled in the years to come, keeping the casual moviegoer at arm’s length. Geeks may cheer as the Avengers add more recruits, but as the Marvel universe grows more populated, the domestic box office for this top-heavy franchise may have topped out.

I’m not sure that adding more and more Marvel characters is the reason for this fatigue—most everyone thought the new Vision was the funnest thing in the movie—but there’s no escaping the fact that the movie was kind of…a marketing plan in search of a story. Even the biggest boosters are now saying that whaddya expect, it was just a great set-up for Avengers: Infinity War….meaning we sat through two and half hours of elements that are just priming the pump for two more movies in three years time that will probably end up setting us up for Avengers: The Clone Saga, and…where does it end?

I’ll admit, one of my favorite things in the movie was the whole Andy Serkis/Klaw segment because unlike many people Andy Serkis does a mean Afrikaner accent, and his whole schtick was over the top and…fun. But let’s get real. Was there ANY STORY REASON for that whole segment other than setting up the Black Panther movie? And setting up the also unnecessary Hulkbuster battle?

The other day I joked to someone that superhero movie fatigue will set in for real whenever they release a Wonder Woman movie…or a Black Panther movie. But I think as entertaining as it was, the noisy, shapeless Age of Ultron may be where the cracks first appeared.

But then again, it WAS the second biggest opening ever even though half the population had to take Sunday off to watch a boxing match.

Even if the public doesn’t have Superhero Movie Fatigue, it’s pretty clear that Joss Whedon does. His three-year contract with Disney is reportedly up in June, and in interviews he hasn’t worked very hard to hide that he’s burnt on all that universe running.


[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/203458029″ params=”color=ff5500″ width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

In a just released podcast with Empire magazine, Whedon opens up about many things, including variant scenes, whether you-know-who may have lived, and how much he had to fight to retains the scenes down on Hawkeye’s farm. Vulture has a transcript of some of the best bits:

Whedon explained to Empire that Thor’s cave scene caused a weird sort of chain-reaction drama. Initially, Whedon wanted Thor’s interaction with Erik Selvig to be much more fleshed out, with “Thor getting answers, but he doesn’t have to ask the questions. He’s the guy giving the answers. And [Chris Hemsworth] gets to do something exciting as an actor. And he’s got his fucking shirt off, so everybody wins.” But Marvel execs wanted Whedon to whittle this scene down because it didn’t play well with test audiences. “The dreams were not an executive favorite, either. The dreams, the farmhouse, these were the things I fought to keep.” Although Whedon talks about some of his filmmaking haggling in Avengers diplomatically, he admitted that when it came down to keeping his favorite scenes, things got unpleasant and he had to pick his battles. For instance: “They pointed a gun to the farm’s head. They said, ‘Give us the cave, or we’ll take out the farm.'” Yikes.

This level of filmmaking by committee is of course standard for the MCU and it comes as no surprise, but even though Whedon wanted to make the film MORE crowded by teasing Captain Marvel and Spidey (but contracts weren’t signed) we are getting a little bit into Spider-Man 3 territory here with characters being shoehorned in whether necessary to the director’s ideas or not. And that eventually makes flat, listless movies which fans reject.

Just to cap everything, Whedon quit twitter yesterday, which, given his uneasy relationship with the internet and social media, isn’t really a surprise. There were definitely a lot of ugly comments on Avengers, but Whedon, like all famous people with more than a million followers, gets abuse and dumbass fronting all the time, so it’s not clear if this was the trigger for the removal. A previous EW interview suggests that he was ready to quit months ago::

EW: You’ve quit?

WHEDON: I joined six months ago to specifically try to drive business to Much Ado About Nothing because I figured Much Ado needs all the help it can get. The moment I joined, oh my God, what a responsibility, this is enormous work—very fun, but it really started to take up a huge amount of my head space. I’m making a movie, I got a responsibility, this job doesn’t pay very well. It’s a fascinating medium, it’s a fascinating social phenomenon. People are like, ‘It’s like a drug.’ Yeah, and it’s like a job. It’s just another art form. Until I have a script I truly believe in or a tweet that’s really remarkable, I can just walk away and get back to the storytelling I need to do.

As the exhausted, gaffe strewn media tour for Age of Ultron showed, making these movies is exhausting, Whedon has seemed exhausted for a while, and he deserves a break.

Of course, that didn’t stop GGaters from painting Whedon as the victim of crazy feminists who drove him away by calling him a hypocrite. Or some actual feminists being disappointed with some of the aspects of the Black Widow character in the film. Because there is nothing in the world that can’t become part of GGate,

Joss Whedon may have the right idea after all.

9 Comments on Did Age of Ultron kick off the Age of Superhero Fatigue?, last added: 5/5/2015
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16. Syfy to Adapt Lev Grossman’s The Magicians

The Magicians CoverSyfy plans to create a dramatic TV series based on Lev Grossman’s Magicians trilogy. No air date has been announced yet.

Here’s more from Deadline.com: “Based upon Grossman’s books— the first of which was published in 2009 — The Magicians stars Jason Ralph (A Most Violent Year) as Quentin Coldwater, a brilliant grad student who enrolls in Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy, a secret upstate New York university specializing in magic. He and his twentysomething friends soon discover that the magical fantasy world they read about as children is all too real — and poses a grave danger to humanity.”

Other members of the cast include Stella Maeve, Hale Appleman, Arjun Gupta, and Summer Bishil. The first season will consist of 12 episodes. (via The Hollywood Reporter)

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17. What's New in YA


Are you wondering what's new in YA today? Check out these wonderful new releases!




When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin-one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world. As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin-and his world-forever.


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!




Surfing is sixteen-year-old Iris's world, and when the ultra-talented Zeke walks into her life, it soon becomes her passion. Over one amazing summer, as she is drawn into his sphere, she experiences love, new friendships, but also loss, with an intensity she never dreamed of. But is Zeke all he seems? What hides beneath his glamorous and mysterious past? When Iris decides to try for her own surfing success, just as her ex-boyfriend comes back into her life, she will test her talent, and her feelings for Zeke, to the limit...


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!




When Rachelle was fifteen, she was good—apprenticed to her aunt and in training to protect her village from dark magic. But she was also reckless— straying from the forest path in search of a way to free her world from the threat of eternal darkness. After an illicit meeting goes dreadfully wrong, Rachelle is forced to make a terrible choice that binds her to the very evil she had hoped to defeat. Three years later, Rachelle has given her life to serving the realm, fighting deadly creatures in an effort to atone. When the king orders her to guard his son Armand—the man she hates most—Rachelle forces Armand to help her find the legendary sword that might save their world. As the two become unexpected allies, they uncover far-reaching conspiracies, hidden magic, and a love that may be their undoing. In a palace built on unbelievable wealth and dangerous secrets, can Rachelle discover the truth and stop the fall of endless night? Inspired by the classic fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood, Crimson Bound is an exhilarating tale of darkness, love, and redemption.


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!




Perfect for fans of If I Stay or Imaginary Girls, Dust to Dust is the mysterious, thoughtful, and poignant sequel to Melissa Walker's haunting and heartbreaking novel Ashes to Ashes.

When Callie McPhee miraculously recovers from a tragic accident that should have taken her life, she thought her connection to the ghost world would be severed forever. And that she would never see Thatcher—the ghost she fell in love with in the hereafter—again. But when she receives unexpected signs from Thatcher, she's led down a dark road toward the angry souls who once tried to steal her soul's energy for another chance at life. Now Callie must prevent the real world and the spirit world from colliding, and that could mean saying good-bye to people she'd never imagined she'd lose.


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!




Lois Lane is starting a new life in Metropolis. An Army brat, Lois has lived all over--and seen all kinds of things. (Some of them defy explanation, like the near-disaster she witnessed in Kansas in the middle of one night.) But now her family is putting down roots in the big city, and Lois is determined to fit in. Stay quiet. Fly straight. As soon as she steps into her new high school, though, she can see it won't be that easy. A group known as the Warheads is making life miserable for another girl at school. They're messing with her mind, somehow, via the high-tech immersive videogame they all play. Not cool. Armed with her wit and her new snazzy job as a reporter, Lois has her sights set on solving this mystery. But sometimes it's all a bit much. Thank goodness for her maybe-more-than-a friend, a guy she knows only by his screenname, SmallvilleGuy . . .


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!

**This made its debut last week Friday, May 1st!




A romantic comedy about high school, heartbreak, and having all the answers. What if the secrets of dating and love were revealed in one simple formula? That’s the tantalizing proposition high school senior Shane Chambliss offers the hopeless and hapless guys who come to him for relationship advice. After the girl of his dreams breaks his heart, Shane devises a mysterious formula called the Galgorithm and establishes himself as the resident dating guru at Kingsview High School. But his attempts to master the art of romance go outrageously awry. As Shane tries to navigate the ensuing drama, he must follow his heart, abandon all the rules, and ignore his own advice in a quest for true love. What he discovers, no formula could ever predict...


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!




Bestselling author Julie Cross teams up with Ford model Mark Perini to pen a poignant and gritty YA novel about love and the dark side of modeling and the fashion industry.

Eve had it all-emphasis on had. She was a rising star with a modeling contract destined to catapult her to celebrity...until the devastating night when she walked away from everything, everyone in her life. Eve's worked hard to put her troubled past behind her, and photography's given her a fresh start. She just never thought her dream internship would force her back into the industry that broke her trust and her heart. Alex is a regular, good guy from Nebraska, but as an up-and-coming model, he's learning that appearances are everything. The fake relationship Alex's agent concocted for Alex and his underage costar? That'll land them both the hot jobs. But Alex hadn't counted on falling for Eve, the girl behind the camera. With careers and love on the line, Eve and Alex are about to prove you may want what you can't have-but sometimes it's worth the risk.


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!




In the majestic halls of a crystal palace lies a secret that could destroy an entire kingdom… Bryn Aven refuses to give up on her dream of serving the kingdom she loves. It's a dream that brings her to a whole new realm…the glittering palace of the Skojare. The Skojare people need protection from the same brutal enemy that's been threatening the Kanin, and Bryn is there to help. Being half Skojare herself, it's also a chance for her to learn more about her lost heritage. Her boss Ridley Dresden is overseeing the mission, but as their undeniable attraction heats up, their relationship is about to reach a whole new level--one neither of them is prepared for. As they delve deeper into the Skojare world, they begin to unravel a long-hidden secret. The dark truth about her own beloved Kanin kingdom is about to come to light, and it'll change her place in it forever…and threaten everyone she loves.


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!




Lola Carlyle is lonely, out of sorts, and in for a boring summer. So when her best friend, Sydney, calls to rave about her stay at a posh Malibu rehab and reveals that the love of Lola's life, Wade Miller, is being admitted, she knows what she has to do. Never mind that her worst addiction is decaf cappuccino; Lola is going to rehab. Lola arrives at Sunrise Rehab intent solely on finding Wade, saving him from himself, and-naturally-making him fall in love with her...only to discover she's actually expected to be an addict. And get treatment. And talk about her issues with her parents, and with herself. Plus she has insane roommates, and an irritatingly attractive mentor, Adam, who's determined to thwart her at every turn. Oh, and Sydney? She's gone. Turns out, once her pride, her defenses, and her best friend are stripped away, Lola realizes she's actually got a lot to overcome...if she can open her heart long enough to let it happen.


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!





In Marla Klein and Ivy Wilde’s world, teens are the gatekeepers of culture. A top fashion label employs sixteen-year-old Marla to dictate hot new clothing trends, while Ivy, a teen pop star, popularizes the garments that Marla approves. Both girls are pawns in a calculated but seductive system of corporate control, and both begin to question their world’s aggressive levels of consumption. Will their new “eco-chic” trend subversively resist and overturn the industry that controls every part of their lives? Smart, provocative, and entertaining, this thrilling page-turner for teens questions the cult like mentality of fame and fashion. Are you in or are you out?


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!





Nica struggles to decipher the nefarious forces ruling her small town in this electrifying sequel to Overpowered, which VOYA says “offers all the conspiracy and intrigue of the best dystopian fiction.” After the mysterious pulses changed Nica Ashley’s life forever, she was sure things could only get worse when Dana Fox returned. Her reappearance after having gone missing for months surely means not only that Nica will lose her friendship with Jackson, but also that something more ominous is simmering under the surface of quiet Barrington. When another pulse occurs, Nica discovers that she can be invisible at any time. She tries to talk to her friends about how bizarre things have become, but they all seem to have no idea what she is talking about. Nica soon realizes that Dana has a strange control over the whole town, including her undercover, government-agent father. Now on her own, Nica must stop BarTech from using her and her friends as weapons. But can she figure out their ultimate plan before it is too late?


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!





Sydney has always felt invisible. She's grown accustomed to her brother, Peyton, being the focus of the family’s attention and, lately, concern. Peyton is handsome and charismatic, but seems bent on self-destruction. Now, after a drunk-driving accident that crippled a boy, Peyton’s serving some serious jail time, and Sydney is on her own, questioning her place in the family and the world. Then she meets the Chatham family. Drawn into their warm, chaotic circle, Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance for the first time. There’s effervescent Layla, who constantly falls for the wrong guy, Rosie, who’s had her own fall from grace, and Mrs. Chatham, who even though ailing is the heart of the family. But it’s with older brother Mac—quiet, watchful, and protective—that Sydney finally feels seen, really seen, at last. Saint Anything is Sarah Dessen’s deepest and most psychologically probing novel yet, telling an engrossing story of a girl discovering friendship, love, and herself.


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!





The hilarious new YA from acclaimed author Tina Connolly.

Camellia's adopted mother wants Cam to grow up to be just like her. Problem is, Mom's a seriously wicked witch. Cam's used to stopping the witch's crazy schemes for world domination. But when the witch summons a demon, he gets loose--and into Devon, the cute new boy at school. Suddenly Cam's got bigger problems than passing Algebra. Her friends are getting zombiefied. Their dragon is tired of hiding in the RV garage. For being a shy boy-band boy, Devon is sure kissing a bunch of girls. And a phoenix hidden in the school is going to explode on the night of the Halloween Dance. To stop the demon before he destroys Devon's soul, Cam might have to try a spell of her own. But if she's willing to work spells like the witch...will that mean she's wicked too?


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!





What is Normal? For Trevor normal was fast guitar licks, catching game-winning passes and partying all night. Until a car accident leaves Trevor with no band, no teammates and no chance of graduating. It's kinda hard to ace your finals when you've been in a coma. The last thing he needs is stuck-up Everly Jenkins as his new tutor--those beautiful blue eyes catching every last flaw. For Everly normal was a perfect family around the dinner table, playing piano at Sunday service and sunning by the pool. Until she discovers her whole life is a lie. Now the perfect pastor's daughter is hiding a life-changing secret, one that is slowly tearing her family apart. And spending the summer with notorious flirt Trevor Lewis means her darkest secret could be exposed.


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!





When Gia Montgomery's boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she decides to do the unthinkable…convince the cute guy waiting to pick up his sister to pretend to be her boyfriend for the night. The task is simple: two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. The problem is that days after prom, she can't stop thinking about her fill-in boyfriend. But can Gia turn her fake boyfriend into a real one without exposing her lie and possibly destroying her friendships and her newfound relationship? Smartly observed and wonderfully romantic, Kasie West's talent shines in this tale of one girl's unexpected quest to find love…and possibly herself.


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!





Kiera Cass's #1 New York Times bestselling Selection series has enchanted readers from the very first page. In this fourth romantic novel, follow Illéa's royal family into a whole new Selection—and find out what happens after happily ever after.

Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won Prince Maxon's heart. Now the time has come for Princess Eadlyn to hold a Selection of her own. Eadlyn doesn't expect her Selection to be anything like her parents' fairy-tale love story...but as the competition begins, she may discover that finding her own happily ever after isn't as impossible as she's always thought. A new generation of swoonworthy characters and captivating romance awaits in the fourth book of the Selection series!


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!





He can summon demons. But can he win a war? Fletcher is working as a blacksmith's apprentice when he discovers he has the rare ability to summon demons from another world. Chased from his village for a crime he did not commit, Fletcher must travel with his demon, Ignatius, to an academy for adepts, where the gifted are taught the art of summoning. Along with nobles and commoners, Fletcher endures grueling lessons that will prepare him to serve as a Battlemage in the Empire's war against the savage Orcs. But sinister forces infect new friendships and rivalries grow. With no one but Ignatius by his side, Fletcher must decide where his loyalties lie. The fate of the Empire is in his hands.


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!





Will it be a summer of fresh starts or second chances? For Lucy, the Jersey Shore isn't just the perfect summer escape, it's home. As a local girl, she knows not to get attached to the tourists. They breeze in during Memorial Day weekend, crowding her costal town and stealing moonlit kisses, only to pack up their beach umbrellas and empty promises on Labor Day. Still, she can't help but crush on charming Connor Malloy. His family spends every summer next door, and she longs for their friendship to turn into something deeper. Then Superstorm Sandy sweeps up the coast, bringing Lucy and Connor together for a few intense hours. Except nothing is the same in the wake of the storm, and Lucy is left to pick up the pieces of her broken heart and her broken home. Time may heal all wounds, but with Memorial Day approaching and Connor returning, Lucy's summer is sure to be filled with fireworks.


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!




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18. A Few Words On German Comickers


It is a bit weird but every time a post involves Germany and specifically German comics there are a high number of German comickers viewing the item.  But when I post something on Germany's first super heroes, D-Gruppe, the views from Germany increase even more.

Now what I do not understand is why, if German super heroes are such a big draw to these people, they are not buying the D-Gruppe mini series, 2012 Annual or the Complete D-Gruppe which contains all of it??

Not a copy of D-Gruppe has sold.  But I'm not alone here.

When I was active on German comic forums I used to post in German and English.  I got more very rude responses "Your German is bad!" (in, actually, very poor German so the rude ones were not that well educated) or "What business is it of your what's been published in Germany -go back to your 2000 AD!".  I think these were what my aunt in Germany would have called "arschlochs"!

I then me with the "We DO NOT have super hero comics in Germany!" I guess they were referring to home grown super heroes as opposed to all the Marvel, DC, Archie and UK (Robot Archie, The Spider) comics reprinted there?

Dorn Der Morgenstern was the follow on from the RPG (role playing game) inspired comic series Helden.  Randalf Paker was the creator/writer/artist of both series and his work was gorgeous but both titles failed to get sales to keep it going. Unbelievable.

Wind Konig was more a small press effort but vanished -there is a list of these books and sample pages in the second link below.

Background on the group, etc,:http://hoopercomicart.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/germanys-first-super-hero-team-d-gruppe.html

And on German super heroes after  D-Gruppe (and boosting an ego I do not have):http://hoopercomicart.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/return-of-german-super-heroes-and-my.html

So WHY are comickers not buying?  With Dorn they had a high quality, full colour comic and New Arden was full colour -though I know nothing of the background to this comic or the publishers or why it ceased publication.

Is it because they only want to see the characters from Marvel and DC which, let's be honest, has never treated "minority countries" like Germany or the UK with much thought or respect character-wise. Oh, and I was talking to a DC representative at one of the old UK Comic Art Conventions in the 1980s and we talked about characters for Europe and it was he who referred to "minority countries"!!

Oddly, Jerry Ordway was very nice to talk to.  He did say that "a lot of Americans think the UK and Europe are all cobbled streets, gas lamps and castles"!  But added "A lot of Americans couldn't tell you the name of the state next door to theirs -they can be quite insular."

Archie Goodwin, bless him, was THE nicest person I've spoken to who worked in comics and he had the opinion that countries like Germany would start producing their own DC and Marvel style comics "in a few years".

Back to German comic forums -I get distracted easily.

The other big problem I had was with the "arty" crowd who believed that the only comics that should be allowed were art-house based. Social relevance. "Entertainment"? "Super Heroes"?? "Schneiden wir den Scheiß jetzt heraus!" ("let's cut that shit out right now!").  "Superhelden sind für kleine kinder oder Menschen, die in der nähe sind analphabeten!" ("Super heroes are for little kids or people who are near illiterate!") as one nice person put it.  

In fact, my time on German comic forums was negative apart from, I think I've got this right, "Darkjedi" who supplied me with a lot of scans of German comics and I'll be eternally grateful for that!

Yet, despite all the arty crowd say  -in the UK the arty comics people "who knew" were telling me for years that France and Germany, Europe in general, never had super hero comics.  That says far more about their limited knowledge and yet people still regard them as the 'experts' on European comics!--I still see You Tube videos of German and Austrian comic conventions where comickers are there and buying...super hero comics!  And cos-play is kicking in even in France, where French creators told me it was frowned upon (I guess that "comics are a serious art form" attitude). 

So, if a good idea and story and characters based in Germany are not doing the trick....the language?  I point to the number of US ("Americanised English") super hero comics selling there.  "They aint in colour!"  Well, looking at Dorn and New Arden which were great colour comics -especially Dorn- that can't be the answer.

For me, personally, D-Gruppe was never the same after Ben Dilworth quit. "Die Rache der Eis-Königin" (The Revenge of The Ice Queen") the first legitimate D-Gruppe story, is one I still like looking at and if the guy I was dealing with at Bastei Verlag had not had the carpet swept from under him by the new bosses, it would have seen print.

Incidentally, the person I was dealing with in 1991 was Werner Geismar, Editor-in-Chief at Bastei.  I just found the old letters!

To me it is a mystery why there is so much interest in D-Gruppe but no sales.  Ideally, I'd be in Germany at comic events selling books but lords know what tables cost at European comic events!

So until some German publisher decides D-Gruppe is a good idea for the German market I'll just carry on drawing them in The Green Skies (at this very moment....well, not while typing) and wondering whether the ultimate fate of group leader Kopfmannand his team that vanished in Return of the Gods will ever be revealed?

Vielleicht sollte Ich mich auf den kopf mit kopien der D-Gruppe bücher zu schlagen?

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19. Pages from the past...

Opening the pages from my past we find old magazine spreads...

and old book plans and dreams...

and even a self portrait of me at age 8 1/2.  I added the Pierrot costume, which seems just about right for this serious little fellow.

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20. More Lost Art Found -Hong Kong Super Heroes

Well, I've managed to -painfully- draw a good few pages for The Green Skies over the weekend and am just working on the expanded German section.  So I want to get back to that.

However, John Schiltz -I posted some of his D-Gruppe pages a few days ago- has come up with a surprise.

Anyone remember me writing that Ben Dilworth and I had once drawn a couple Hong Kong super hero pages?  I don't think it was actually a full story just messing about one weekend while he was in Bristol. I've not seen those pages for years. Lost.

But no longer lost!

Mr Schiltz has found the two pages and I've given them a quick touch-up (ooh!) so, for Mr Dilworth -here you go!

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21. New Items Donated to Auction by Evil Minion Success Stories

Kiersten White is donating a signed hardcover copy of her recently published YA historical novel, Illusions of Fate.

Jenna Black is donating all four books in her Guardians of the Night paranormal romance series.

To bid, see the post below.

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22. New Adult Fiction Genre - Contemporary Romance - #WriteTip

There is a new genre emerging..."New Adult" fiction for older teens aka college-aged readers. You never stop growing up, but little in the market seems to address the coming-of-age that also happens between the ages of Nineteen to Twenty-six. Life changes drastically once high school is over, you have college, first jobs, first internships, first adult relationships…

Part of the appeal of NA is that the storylines are about characters who are taking on adult responsibilities for the first time without guidance from their parents. And the storylines generally have a heavy romance element. 

Keep this in mind as you revise your wonderful story, New Adult books are mostly about that specific time in every person's life—the time when the apron strings are cut from your parents, you no longer have a curfew, you're experiencing the world for the very first time, in most cases, with innocent eyes. New Adult is this section of your life where you discover who you want to be, what you want to be, and what type of person you will become. This time defines you. This is the time of firsts, the time where you can't blame your parents for your own bad choices. 

An NA character has to take responsibility for their own choices and live with the consequences. Most storylines are about twenty-something (18 to 26) characters living their own lives without any parents breathing down their necks, and learning to solve things on their own as they would in real life. New Adult fiction focuses on switching gears, from depending on our parents to becoming full-fledged, independent adults.

I am a firm believer that if you’re going to write a certain genre that you should read it, too. So I’m going to recommend that you start devouring NA novels to get a real sense and understanding of the genre before you write one.

Here are some great recommendations: https://www.goodreads.com/genres/new-adult-romance and http://www.goodreads.com/genres/new-adult and https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/new-adult-romance

Just as YA is fiction about teens discovering who they are as a person, New Adult (NA) is fiction about building your own life as an actual adult. As older teen readers discover the joy of the Young Adult genres, the New Adult—demand may increase. This, in turn, would give writers the chance to explore the freedom of a slightly older protagonist (over the age of 18 and out of high school, like the brilliant novel, "BEAUTIFUL DISASTER" by the amazing talents of author, Jamie McGuire) while addressing more adult issues that early 20-year-olds must face.

Older protagonists (basically, college students) are surprisingly rare; in a panel on YA literature at Harvard’s 2008 Vericon, City of Bones author talked about pitching her novel, then about twenty-somethings, as adult fiction. After several conversations, Clare realized she had to choose between adults and teens. She went with teens.

Quote from the publisher, St. Martin’s Press: We are actively looking for great, new, cutting edge fiction with protagonists who are slightly older than YA and can appeal to an adult audience. Since twenty-somethings are devouring YA, St. Martin’s Press is seeking fiction similar to YA that can be published and marketed as adult—a sort of an “older YA” or “new adult.” In this category, they are looking for spunky but not stupid, serious but not dull, cutting-edge, supernatural stories.

Quote from Georgia McBride, author (Praefatio) and founder of #YALitChat and publisher at Month9Books: "New Adult is a fabulous idea in theory, and authors seem to be excited about it. But in a world where bookstores shelf by category, to them, it is either  Adult or Young Adult. Some booksellers even call their YA section “teen.” And when you have a character who is over a certain age (19 seems to be the age most consider the start of New Adult), it is received as Adult. In some cases, the designation by publishers causes more confusion than not.
Let’s face it, YA is associated with teens, and at 19, most no longer consider themselves teens. So, it would support the theory of placing these “New Adult” titles in the Adult section. However, with the prevalence of eBook content, it would seem that the powers that be could easily create a New Adult category if they really wanted to...."

There’s also a list on goodreads of New Adult book titles. These books focus on college age characters, late teens to early twenties, transitioning into the adult world.

Some popular authors of the NA category include:
  • Jamie McGuire
  • Jessica Park
  • Tammara Webber
  • Steph Campbell
  • Liz Reinhardt
  • Abbi Glines
  • Colleen Hoover 
  • Sherry Soule

Would you buy New Adult books? 
Does the genre appeal to you? 

Does it sound better than YA (teen novels)? 
Or are you happy with YA as it stands?

Do you consider YA to include characters that are over the age of eighteen? 

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23. Children’s Book Week: James Kochalka’s five favorite kids comics

It’s the 96th Annual Children’s Book Week, and this year’s theme is COMICS. This is a great team up because, as I’ve noted many times in my life, kids like reading comics. To help celebrate, our pals at First Second have reached out to some of their authors to get their picks for favorite kids comics, and kicking things off we have the one and only James Kochalka, whose many kids books include “The Glorkian Warrior Eats Adventure Pie” “Johnny Boo Book 1: The Best Little Ghost In The World and “Johnny Boo Meets Dragon Puncher” . Take it away, James:


Teen Dog by Jake Lawrence

It’s laugh out loud funny story of a Fonzi-like teenage dog and his human friends, the and the art is gorgeous and super crisp and clear.  My boys (age 7 and 11) and I eagerly devoured each of the eight issues.  But what’s next?!  Jake, I’m sure whatever you do next is going to totally rock.


Petite Poilu by Pierre Bailly and Céline Fraipont
These haven’t been published yet in the USA, but they’re wordless books so they’re great for importing even if you don’t know French.  I discovered it when I was a guest at Angouleme a few years back.  Petite Poilu translates as Little Hairy.  It’s about a little boy creature who has surreal adventures.  There are 16 volumes out so far, with the 17th due out in June, and they’re all staggeringly good.  It kind of reminds me a little bit of Jim Woodring’s Frank, if the Frank stories were happier.


Bone by Jeff Smith
No other epic adventure comic even comes close.  In fact it’s the only epic adventure I hold in as high esteem as I hold The Lord of the Rings.  Everything else is just a pretender by comparison.


Leave it To PET! by Kenji Sonishi
This is the funniest comic I have ever read.  It’s about a boy who recycles a can and the can comes back as a robot.  Throughout the series they meet dozens of other robots made of recycled stuff.  Everybody acts just completely off-the-hook insane.  It’s total bonkers fun.


Flash Gordon by Alex Raymond
I love the way storytelling is so different in ongoing weekly serials than it is in a modern graphic novel.  To read them all together in a row gives you a totally new idea of what a story can be.  It’s a seemingly archaic form, but it has a lot to teach us about narrative.  Flash Gordon is great, and it’s what I’m reading right now to the boys, but there are other great ones.  The collections of Popeye dailies are probably even better, actually.

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24. Illustrator Shadra Strickland Takes Us Behind the Art of Sunday Shopping

shadra stricklandSunday Shopping, our new spring title released this month, is a whimsical and fun-filled story of a young girl and her grandmother who use their big imaginations to go “shopping” through the Sunday paper. We asked illustrator Shadra Strickland to take us behind the scenes for creating the art work used in Sunday Shopping.

Making the Art for Sunday Shopping

Making the art for Sunday Shopping was almost like making two different books. The two art styles were distinctly different. The illustrations of Evie and grandma in bed were painted in watercolor, much like the paintings I made for Bird. The second set of images were made with a combination of line drawings, acrylic paintings, and assembled digitally.

The most challenging part of making the art for Sunday Shopping, was making sure that all of Evie and grandma’s “bought” items were consistent in all of the small paintings. I had to draw the same small bits of paper in every scene as the wall of items grew and grew.

sunday shopping illustrations_1

Once the watercolors were done, I drew all of the Evie, grandma, and cat characters on pieces of Bristol board. They were all painted in the same week to make sure that the clothes and skin tones were consistent. Even then, some colors had to be adjusted after I scanned them into the computer.

sunday shopping illustrations_2


sunday shopping illustrations_3

Once the characters were all done, I made drawings of the imaginary world with a wax pencil (also known as a China Marker). I drew on sheets of smooth plastic like drawing vellum. Those drawings were then scanned into the computer.

sunday shopping illustrations_4

Next, I painted different pieces of newspaper in different colors based on all of the elements I needed in the book. Some colors were adjusted digitally, but not many. Most of the paper was used as it was painted.

sunday shopping illustrations_5After everything was scanned in, I began to “cut” shapes out in photoshop and compose them within the line drawings.

sunday shopping illustrations_6

The last step was digital retouching. I had to go back into a few faces and digitally paint over some faces to make sure that skin tone was consistent throughout.

sunday shopping illustrations_7

My wonderful editor checked all of the art for consistency, and after a few passes back and forth, we made sure all of the elements were lined up throughout.

Once all of the art was assembled, I worked closely with our designer to discuss page color and type design for the book. My favorite thing about making books with Lee and Low is how truly collaborative the process is!

You can learn more about Shadra Strickland and her creative process on her website.

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25. Cover Revealed for Afterlife With Archie #8 Comic

Afterlife with Archie No. 8 Cover (GalleyCat)

Archie Comics has unveiled the “Here’s Juggy” variant cover for Afterlife With Archie #8. According to the press release, artist Francesco Francavilla designed this piece.

We’ve embedded the full image above—what do you think? The Archie Horror imprint has set the release date for May 6th.

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