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Matt Archer: Blade's Edge
When Matt Archer was fourteen, he discovered monsters are real. As if that wasn’t enough to go on for a few decades, Matt also found out that he’d been chosen to hunt those monsters--with a sentient, supernatural knife. Now fifteen, Matt has spent the last year working with a clandestine military unit, trying to rid the world of monsters, demons and other vicious creatures, all while keeping it a secret from nearly everyone he knows back home in Billings.
Including his mom.
Add in a new girlfriend, family secrets, sibling drama and enough homework to sink an aircraft carrier, and Matt’s life has become more complicated than he ever imagined. Worse, the knife has developed some very definite opinions about Matt’s personal life and it interferes in his business whenever it wants. More and more, Matt’s coming to realize that sharing brain-space with a spirit kind of sucks.
When stories of decimated towns and hordes of zombies start pouring into the Pentagon from Afghanistan, Matt knows he’ll be called up soon. Between the new mission and the knife’s increasing control over his mind, Matt wonders if he’ll survive long enough to take his driver’s exam.Review Quotes for Matt Archer: Blade’s Edge
“Blade's Edge is an exciting continuation of the Matt Archer series. Kendra Highley did not fall victim to the sophomore funk. She has written an emotional and power story about Matt's horrific journey to rid the world of monsters.” –Kinx’s Book Nook (Amazon)
“I enjoyed Matt Archer: Monster Hunter to the point I was picking it up every time I had spare moments (which are few in my home), but MA: Blade's Edge has blown me away! Ms. Highley has crafted a story that comes to life with vivid images, exciting adventures, and thrilling mishaps that add a touch of humor (driving test, anyone?)” –Kelly C. (Amazon)
“"Matt Archer Blade's Edge" more than delivers what a reader wants from a sequel. The tension and action are taken up a level, as are the mysteries and plot developments.
Best of all, you feel the time passing from book to book and see the characters really grow and change.” –Picky Reviewer (Amazon)
“The Matt Archer books are the best young adult books I've read since I was a young adult! Think Supernatural for a younger audience, but better. I'll be ordering paper copies for my Favorites shelf. Not to be missed!” Sarah G. (Amazon)
Buy Links for Blade’s Edge:Matt Archer: Monster Hunter
Fourteen-year-old Matt Archer spends his days studying Algebra, hanging out with his best friend and crushing on the Goddess of Greenhill High, Ella Mitchell. To be honest, he thinks his life is pretty lame until he discovers something terrifying on a weekend camping trip at the local state park.
Monsters are real. And living in his backyard.
But that's not the half of it. After Matt is forced to kill a strange creature to save his uncle, he finds out that the weird knife he took from his uncle's bag has a secret, one that will change Matt's life. The knife was designed with one purpose: to hunt monsters. And it's chosen Matt as its wielder.
Now Matt's part of a world he didn't know existed, working with a covert military unit dedicated to eliminating walking nightmares. Faced with a prophecy about a looming dark war, Matt soon realizes his upcoming Algebra test is the least of his worries.
His new double life leaves Matt wondering which is tougher: hunting monsters or asking Ella Mitchell for a date?
Review quotes for Matt Archer: Monster Hunter:
“Terrific page turner; I stayed up half the night reading it, and now I can't wait for the next installment.” --Amelia Anne (Goodreads)
“The action is quick-paced, abundant and so much fun!!! I can't get over just how awesome of a read this book is; I can't wait for more!!!” --Danielle S. (Goodreads)
“I can't remember the last time I had this much fun reading a book. The eponymous narrator is a very likable and believable hero, the world is rich and detailed….
It has been a long time since I was a teenager, but I'm pretty sure that this book would appeal to an audience of all ages.” -- Misha B. (Goodreads)
“The action doesn't stop. Seriously! I was up until after 1am because I couldn't put it down!” --Riamachia (Amazon)
“It's funny - I thought I was too old for YA stories, and then I realised that I was just looking for the right kind of stories to hold my interest. This is one of those. If you're looking for vampires or angels or similar things that tend to make up YA novels at the moment, you won't find that here - you will, however, find something a bit more awesome.” –Sweartoad (Amazon)
Buy Links for Matt Archer: Monster Hunter:Author Kendra C. Highley
Kendra C. Highley lives in north Texas with her husband and two children. She also serves as staff to two self-important and high-powered cats. This, according to the cats, is her most important job. She believes chocolate is a basic human right, running a 10k is harder than it sounds, and that everyone should learn to drive a stick-shift. She loves monsters, vacations, baking and listening to bad electronica.Book Blast Giveaway
$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com
and sponsored by the authors. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.a Rafflecopter giveaway
The Brit Zone continues, sort of, with a new announcement from Titan Comics. This week Titan unveiled a new co-publishing deal between themselves and Atomeka, which will put out ‘Monster Massacre’. This anthology will feature stories all about – you guessed it – monsters. On top of stories from creators like D’Israeli, Ian Edginton, Ron Marz, and Dave Wilkins, the book will also include a Joe Simon/Jack Kirby story, ‘The Greatest Horror of Them All’, taken from Black Cat Mystery.
The cover is far too rude for me to post on The Beat, so instead here’s a page or two of interiors.
Put together by writer/artist Dave Elliott, the anthology’s full list of credits are:
Joe Simon/Jack Kirby, Andy Kuhn, Dave Dorman, Mark A Nelson, Ron Marz /Tom Raney, Dave Elliott/Alex Horley,Vito Delsante/Javier Aranda, Dave Wilkins/Dave Elliott, Jerry Paris/Arthur Suydam/Dave Elliott, Ian Edginton/D’Israeli, Alex Horley and Steve White.
A little bereft of female creators perhaps, but that’s a fine line-up. There are ten stories collected in total, along with two art galleries.
The anthology will be released in September, and be day-and-date digital.
I was contacted by TBWA/RAAD
to design and illustrate characters to appear
on a series of advertisements for Cartoon Network's Animation Academy.
The characters are in three separate groups (humans, monsters and superheroes)
and all are in unfinished states, bored and waiting to be completed by animators at the school.
Character development and exploration below the ads.
Blog: Kid Lit Reviews
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Join the Party! Jeff Gunhus is wrapping up a 3 week tour with a Twitter Party on Friday, December 21 from 6 pm to 8 pm EST Use the hashtag #JackTemplar to join the party. Missed the tour? Check out the entire tour schedule for great reviews, guest posts, and interviews!…………………………………………. MONSTER HUNTERS ~~AND ~~ [...]
Bill Fick is a personal favorite artist of mine, and a good guy and good friend to boot. Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies sat down with him to talk about the monsters in his work. Bonus: watch Bill carve a big gooey linoleum-block head.
(via Controlling the Monster)
Mousington has forgiven me for hiding his jam.
So, what to do to celebrate? Fishblanket has been giving me rides around the walled garden in a wheelbarrow. I have had a large slice of chocolate cake.
And now I am going to give away another free Kindle ebook for kids on amazon. I say "for kids", but really anyone can download it. Why not? It's free!
I generally don't read "grown-up" books myself. They are usually boring.
Here is the book I am giving away, it is a Silly Monsters counting book. It is scheduled to go free on Amazon on Friday 27th July and Saturday 28th July.
Join the freevolution!
|Silly Monsters 1,2,3|
And here are some pictures from the book:
|Three Silly Monsters in a tree|
|Six Silly Monsters on a train|
CLICK HERE TO VIEW SAMPLE ON AMAZON.COMCLICK HERE TO VIEW SAMPLE ON AMAZON.CO.UK
It's been a while since I've done a picture book roundup. Here are three - one funny, one fun, one sweet. Enjoy!Vere, Ed. 2012. Bedtime for Monsters. New York: Henry Holt.
Do you ever WONDER if somewhere, not too far away, there might be ... MONSTERS?
This book may be reminiscent of "Going on a Bear Hunt," but you won't be going anywhere; a monster may be coming to hunt you!
And as he crosses the gloopy, schloopy swamp
GLOOP GLOOP SCHLOOP
do you think he's imagining just HOW GOOD
you'll taste all covered in ketchup?
Bright and fresh and silly! I love it.Baker, Keith. 2012. 1-2-3 Peas. New York: Beach Lane.
A follow-up to the popular LMNO Peas
, I like this one even better. The digitally rendered and definitely adorable peas count their way to 100 in rhyming fashion.
Eleven to nineteen - skip, skip, skip!
Twenty peas cutting - snip, snip, snip!
While it can be read quickly for fun, it's worth savoring to find and enjoy each delightfully quirky pea (can you find the one singing in the shower?) and note the great details. How do peas travel when in a rush? In a Spea-dy Bus, of course.
More peas, please!Kraegel, Kenneth. 2012. King Arthur's Very Great Grandson. Somerville, MA: Candlewick.
I want swordplay! A struggle! A battle to the uttermost, and if you will not have ado with me, tell me who will!
So says brave and diminutive Henry, who sets off for adventure astride his trusty donkey, Knuckles. He encounters a Dragon, a Cyclops, a Griffin, and a Leviathan. They are no match for him at swordplay, but at chess? Perhaps. Simple pen and watercolor illustrations are a bright and cheery mix of naive and cartoon styles of painting; pairing perfectly with this story of five utterly guileless characters destined to become friends. Enchanting!
I just noticed that each of these was illustrated by the author, or authored by the illustrator. Whichever way you slice it, great talent.
Dracola! Special-edition, glow in the dark, blood-red Halloween label for RC Cola UK.
At Asda stores throughout England. Or order online HERE.
Check out this video of Mrs. Bright’s second grade class in Alpharetta, GA. The students chose I Need My Monster (written by Amanda Noll, illustrated by Howard McWilliam) for their Book Parade!
The costumes are amazing! Way to go!
By: Brimful Curiosities,
Blog: Brimful Curiosities
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If you've read books together with a preschooler or early elementary aged child I imagine you've seen Mercer Mayer's popular Little Critter books. But if you are like us, you might not be familiar with another of Mercer Mayer's fabulously cute characters -- Little Monster.
Little Monster has pointy ears and teeth, wings and a spiky tail. He's a not-to-scary, overall-wearing, dragon kind of monster that spends his days doing the ordinary things all children do: going to school, spending time with his family and trying to stay out of trouble. The Little Monster series books were first published in the late 1970s, and the bestselling books continue to be popular with young kids today. However, many of the books are now long out-of-print. FastPencil
is helping to bring back the Little Monster books for a new generation to read. The company has released a fantastic Mercer Mayer Classic Collectible four-book series. The books feature Mayer's “Little Monster” character. My family recently had the chance to read one of the books in the series: Mercer Mayer's Little Monster Home School and Work Book
Though it's printed with different formatting, Mercer Mayer's Little Monster Home, School and Work Book
is actually a compilation of three of Mayer's original picture books: Little Monster at Home, Little Monster at School
and Little Monster at Work.
As collections tend to be, this hardcover book is larger-sized, 92 pages long in all. Each of the stories are treated like separate chapters within the book and a table of content in front indicates page numbers. The book is also available as an e-book download (we received the hardcover copy version to review).
Young kids can easily identify with Little Monster -- after all, even though he's dragon-like, he acts like a normal kid, not a monster! The illustrations in the book are very similar to those in the Little Critter series, packed full of imaginative, action-filled scenes and interesting characters.
My kids especially appreciate how Mayer includes little humorous scenarios within the illustrations including aliens at the airport and a spider inching down from a bathroom sink right in front of a monster cat. In fact, the illustrations are so fun to look at, you'll want to spend a little extra time pouring over the pages while reading to make sure you don't miss anything in the book. Both my kids found the book engaging and enjoyable. It's a good read aloud for preschoolers and also is challenging and interesting enough for early readers. I'd recommend it for ages preschool-2nd grade.
Little Monster gives a tour of his house in Little Monster at Home.
He starts with the cellar, a rather unusual choice. (Who starts a home tour with the cellar? - I guess monsters do!) Mayer provides readers with a fun glimpse into the life of the Little Monster family. They take baths and do the laundry just like the rest of us. Little Monster's pet Kerploppus sleeps on the couch, "even though he is not supposed to." The book also details what the family does around the house during the various seasons. I adore the winter illustrations. Little Monster mentions Christmas and likes his house best in wintertime because "it's so very snuggly and warm
In Little Monster at School
, a student named Yally doesn't seem to like school much at all. He gets frustrated easily and wants to be the best at everything. Little Monster shows how to be a good friend and helps brings out the best in Yally by boosting Yally's self-confidence with some well-deserved praise. [In related news, earlier this year Wanderful, Inc. released a Little Monster at School iPad storybook app
My son's favorite section of the book is the Little Monster at Work
part. The busy illustrations and focus on vocabulary building in this Little Monster story remind me of Richard Scarry's What Do People Do All Day
. Little Monster follows his grandfather to various places and learns about different occupations. Together they visit a road construction site, car shop, T.V. station, circus, newspaper business, medical center, campsite, marina, the moon, a diner, home construction site, airport, farmer's market, the Olympics, craft fair, town square, and also learn about jobs in science. There's not much explanation in the text as to what the various jobs entail, but the illustrations offer unlimited discussion possibilities.
Little Monster Home School and Work Book by Mercer Mayer. FastPencil Premiere (October 2012); ISBN 9781607469452; 92 pages
Book Source: Review copy provided by publisher
Other books in the Mercer Mayer Classic Collectible series include: Little Monster Word Book with Mother Goose
; Little Monster Fun and Learn Book
and Professor Wormbog In Search for the Zipperump-a-Zoo Related Linkshttp://www.mercermayer.com/http://www.littlecritter.com
Tool Flashcards and Tool Box Educational Activity
The book ends with a question from Little Monster, "Did you see anything in my book that you would like to be?
" I asked my son what he wanted to be when he grows up and he replied, "a fixer." That's not entirely surprising considering both of his grandfathers are retired mechanics. We talked about the different tools mechanics use, and I asked him to identify a few common tools. He knew a few but it became quickly apparent that his basic tool vocabulary is lacking.
We were on a vocabulary kick after reading the word heavy "At Work" section of Mayer's book, so I decided to further the educational lessons and make some tool flashcards and a paper tool box envelope to hold the flashcards for my son. Now he knows correct tool terminology and can call the tools by their proper names (both grandpas will be so proud). We've played with the cards in a variety of ways including putting the tools in alphabetical order. I'm considering printing out a second set so we can play Go Fish--tool style. Hand Tools Activities and Worksheets for KidsTool Coloring Pages and Writing Practice - Twisty NoodleHandy Manny Toolbox Printable - Family.comT is for Toolbelt Craft - Brilliant Beginnings PreschoolMatching Tools Printable (Pre-K - 1st) - TeacherVisionTools Printouts - EnchantedLearning.com Webelos Craftsman Activity Badge Worksheets - Boy Scout TrailFelt Tools and Toolbox Templates - Serving Pink LemonadeI am an Amazon affiliate and may receive a very small commission for products purchased through my Amazon links. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)
Blog: Kid Lit Reviews
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4 Star The Templar Chronicles, Book 1: Jack Templar Monster Hunter Jeff Gunhus 184 Pages Ages 8 to 12 …………………….. Back Cover: If you have this book in your hands, I assume you are already a monster hunter or in training to become one. I hope my story helps you in the many fights ahead. However, [...]
By: Heidi MacDonald
Blog: PW -The Beat
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Weird tales and comics naturally go together. From the days of pulp stories with enthralling illustrations, through EC’s Wertham-harried evocation of the fantastic and grotesque, to the heydays of Vertigo and Darkhorse, readers want to see an artist’s interpretation of the strange and bizarre. And the most exciting weird comics bring visual elements to the narrative that the reader could never have predicted or expected. Stephen Bissette has spent a great deal of his life contributing to shock and wonder for readers, and through his work teaching at the Center for Cartoon Studies, making sure that tradition continues.
As mythology and urban legends attest, some of the greatest frisson when it comes to monster stories comes from attaching them to a particular landscape, the spookier and more remote, the better. Bissette and friend Joseph A. Citro started constructing geographical maps of Vermont’s own ghost tales, and then monster tales, which culminated in the publication THE VERMONT MONSTER GUIDE from University Press of New England. It features “fiends, winged weirdos, terrestrial terrors, and water whatzits”. If the cover seems playful, be prepared for a number of surprises lurking within its covers ready to pounce. Firstly, the table of contents arranges the Vermont-native beasties according to their elemental homes like a creepy medieval grimoire, giving the impression that the state is not safe by land, mountain, or sea, and add to that the chilling category “town”. Town?! But that’s only the first indication of the genuinely spooky stuff Citro and Bissette have catalogued. Then there are the names. They are disarmingly simple, and have that ring of folksy authenticity that makes a particular mark on the imagination: there’s “Pigman”, “Human-Faced Calf” and “Serpent of Dead Creek”. Shudder.
Maybe it’s the fact that these creatures are not easily identifiable within wider horror tradition. They have their own unique dwelling place in remote and rural imagination. The “Hopping Horror”, for instance, has a very specific haunt along “Route 7”, and is simply described as a “naked, hopping, man-like critter”. Honestly, that would be enough to freak me out on a dark autumn night, but Bissette’s illustrations conjure far more than your own imagination is likely to construct on its own. A personal favorite of mine is the “Man-Eating Stone”, which Citro explains is a rock which “becomes less solid, and like a living thing, swallows the unfortunate trespasser”. Bissette builds fear from the ground up by working with the familiar. The stone surface subtly shifts into glowering eyes and sprouts a tortured human arm reaching skyward in the wilderness. Bissette’s “stomach dwelling snakes” are not for the faint of heart, to say the least. I had to know more about this project that made me uneasy about road-trips from several states away, so I asked Bissette a couple of questions.
HM-S: What was the genesis of this book?
SB: I’ve been friends with the author, Joe Citro, for a couple of decades or more now. Joe is one of my best friends on planet Earth, that’s all there is to it. Sometime in the 1990s, we decided to “get into some foolishness,” as Joe calls it, and we self-produced and self-published the first version of a cartoon map of Vermont entitled VERMONT’S HAUNTS. I drew up a template map, Joe tagged where peculiar events had happened, and I illustrated the key “weird” sightings and events around the state, what would fit of them, and Joe wrote captions for them. We did pretty well with that, and every so many years we get a hankering to “get into some mischief” and work up another project. THE VERMONT GHOST GUIDE was one of those, which was published in 2000 and is still in print and selling well in and around our home state. THE VERMONT MONSTER GUIDE was our sequel/companion to that book. I pitched the book to our GHOST GUIDE publisher, University Press of New England, and got the best deal I could for Joe and I, and we got to work.
HM-S: Is there still a strong monster storytelling element up in Vermont?
SB: I wouldn’t have said or thought so, but since doing the book, I’ve been approached by more than one person or couple claiming to have seen “things” around Vermont. So I reckon there is.
HM-S: What did you most enjoy about illustrating the book?
SB: It was just a pleasure to draw, period. It was great working with the art director and team at UPNE, but nothing was as much fun as just drawing the creatures. It was a path to getting my own drawing chops back up to speed after a lengthy period in which I really didn’t do much drawing, save for my work in the classroom at the Center for Cartoon Studies.
As unexpectedly frightening as THE VERMONT MONSTER GUIDE is, it works on the basis of a kind of subtlety that blends the urban legend with the uncanny. Bissette’s imagination runs wild on a very personal new project, an old-fashioned ‘zine called MONSTER PIE, created alongside Center for Cartoon Studies graduate Denis St. John. The indie monster ‘zine is a no-holds-barred freefall into the play of the darker side of the imagination, featuring illustration, short comics, and informative discussions about the horror genre. It’s inspiration lies in monster movies that both Bissette and St. John grew up with, and expresses with gusto their mutual enthusiasm for stretching the boundaries of horror illustration. Glancing through its pages proves the point that horror actually crosses genre boundaries regularly, from the folk-tale, to the sci-fi, to gothic tradition. A healthy does of mixing brings you the ingeniously “baked”, MONSTER PIE.
It packs a particular punch for this very reason: I’ve seen few mainstream or indie works that truly made me feel unsure of what lay beyond the next page. There’s a certain exhilaration in going off the map in this way, and as a ‘zine, it doesn’t have to follow the constraints of sequential narrative in doing so. That feature may, in fact, make it more spine-chilling than even THE VERMONT MONSTER GUIDE. You’ll find features of pulp sci-fi, literary horror tradition, and monster films that should be recognizable, but they are combined in sensory-twisting combinations and in widely differing art styles that both Bissette and St. John adopt. Bissette was kind enough to comment on MONSTER PIE and on his close collaboration with St. John. It still doesn’t explain how the two manage to bring the nether-reaches of the imagination to the page in such a fluid manner, but it does bring some new angles to the question.
HM-S: How did you and Dennis St. John get together on such a unique project?
SB: We would throw together these little monster minicomics for movie events—when we screened a double-bill of THE KILLER SHREWS (1959) and NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968) for the Main Street Museum in White River Junction, VT a few summers ago, Denis, Tim Stout, and I did this little “Killer Shrew/Zombie Survival Guide” minicomic. This past summer, Denis and I did the same for a 35mm Saturday Fright Special (a Keene, NH-based cable-access horror host TV series) theatrical showing of the Chiodo Brothers’ KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE. We threw together, in a few days, a sick little book of ersatz parody poetry and monstrous clown sketches, and that was fun.
Cartoonists in Denis’s circle, including me, also contributed “pin-up” portraits of Denis’s characters in his serialized graphic novel AMELIA to his own comics zine MONSTERS & GIRLS over the past couple of years. AMELIA was Denis’s first expansive graphic novel, taking five years to complete, and major commitment, and he just finished it in the spring of 2012. He wasn’t sure what he wanted to tackle next, but he needed a breather, without stopping the flow of ink and drawings. That prompted me to suggest we just do our own free-form monster zine, mixing art, articles, and a smattering of comics in light enough combination to keep it from ever being anything but fun. No heavy lifting or content: just fun stuff. Denis was up for that.
This past Halloween, the Spooktacular folks screened a gorgeous 35mm print of the original British TALES FROM THE CRYPT (1972), based on the EC horror comics, so we got ambitious and did two zines for that event, and one of them was MONSTER PIE.
Denis goes way back with this stuff: he was part of a collective in his home state of Indiana called Atomic Age Cinema, another “horror host” live-monster-introduction-and-stage-act accompanying revivals of vintage public-domain horror, sf, and fantasy films. I met Denis when he was among my students at CCS, and we shared a lot of common interests. Denis graduated from CCS some years ago, and has made a commitment to the CCS community by sticking around, and we’re now colleagues and friends. So, MONSTER PIE is our way of keeping our hand in just drawing what we love to draw—movie monsters—for the sheer pleasure of it. I was the one who pushed to include zine features like the monster movie review and the archival monster movie article in each issue, and we’re going to keep doing MONSTER PIE until it’s not fun anymore, or our brushes give out.
HM-S: What can an old-fashioned ‘zine bring to readers today, as suffused as we are with digital content, corporate comics, and media-hyped magazines?
SB: Zine culture was part and parcel of my experience growing up; some of my first published artwork appeared in 1970s genre movie fanzines like CRYPT OF TERROR, JAPANESE FANTASY FILM JOURNAL, and Ted Rypel’s OUTER LIMITS fanzine, and I contributed a fair amount to comics zines of the late 1970s and early 1980s, too. Zine culture was also central to Denis’s generation, via other kinds of comics and media zines; CCS’s first Fellow who became a fellow instructor, Robyn Chapman, rekindled my own enthusiasm for zines of all kinds with her sheer passion for zines. Robyn’s love for zines was absolute and genuine, and fueled the whole CCS zine culture in many ways. CCS is a zine and comic factory in its own right, its incredible what comes out of the basement production lab on a monthly basis.
Zines just don’t go away. I’m started experimenting with ebooks, which I’ll be into in a major way in 2013 and 2014—I see that as an extension and mutation of zines, in a more expansive way. But there’s a tactile experience on both ends of the equation—the zine maker, and the zine reader—that digital media can’t supplant. I don’t get that from blogs or ebooks or online zines. There’s something about holding a zine in your hands, spending time with the physical object, that’s irreplaceable.
There’s also a purity and playfulness to zines that I love. However much work one pours into it, it IS play. The fact that there are no gatekeepers, save the access to a photocopier and enough money to print a few copies, remains a central attraction, too—and Denis and I have an entire production lab at our fingertips at CCS. We don’t need permission, we just need to be able to pay for the printing. Given all the gatekeepers corporate and mass culture erects and maintains between inspiration and publication, zines remain the personal steamroller over all of that—you think of it, you make it, you publish it, it’s in your hands. That’s still a real kick, in 2012.
A gargantuan “thank you” from The Beat goes out to Stephen Bissette for his insider view of monster-creating. Both THE VERMONT MONSTER GUIDE and MONSTER PIE are certainly a “kick” even in 2012, and for fans of the messy roots of horror tradition, they are two mileposts to look out for, particularly if you find yourself wandering in remote Vermont. After reading these, I don’t think I’ll venture up there without an armored vehicle. Just saying.
Hannah Means-Shannon writes and blogs about comics for TRIP CITY and Sequart.org and is currently working on books about Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore for Sequart. She is @hannahmenzies on Twitter and hannahmenziesblog on WordPress
By: sketched out
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I’ve been working with Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” with an online group since the beginning of the year. It’s been a wonderful, insightful journey so far.
One of the things you become aware of through the weekly readings, exercises and tasks, is the nasty, critical voice, nattering constantly inside your head.
The Censor continually does you the great service of letting you know how much your work sucks, how wrong everything you do is, and what a hack you are, just to name a few.
Ms. Cameron suggests one of the many techniques for dealing with this annoying denizen of your psyche, is to draw a cartoon version, in an effort to expose it and take away some of The Censor’s power.
So, to that end… meet my big, fat censor! Booooo! Hisssss! Oh, shut your pie hole Mr. Smartypants Censor.
I’m thinking, with any luck and continued work he will eventually lose some of his size and girth. I’ll keep you posted.
My desk is a bounty. And a mess. And nearly impossible to work at with all my plastic plates full of paint, bits of cut gouache-painted cold-press, colored pencils, water cups, etc.
I'm still working on a spread for my dummy. I packed it up last weekend to bring to a critique group. Halfway through that ordeal I realized I needed to call UNCLE. I will be collaging this piece digitally. I had been layering gouache using glue dots and other archival sticky bits. But the scale of this was just not working. Paper was warping. The idea of registering all the moving parts together was just overwhelming. And then there's that messy desk to consider. And the curious 3 year old boy who was no longer allowed near that corner of the house.
I was happier once I cried UNCLE. I'll just paint and pencil my bits, scan them and use the digital magic button (what, you don't know where that is?) to make it all look layered.
Stay tuned for next week's rant where I cry UNCLE with my digital magic button...
Snuggle up in a warm bed with Mr. and Mrs. Bear as a thunderstorm passes by...Also try:
When the Wind Bears go Dancing
Bear feels scared
Dark, Dark Night
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4 Stars CONGRATULATIONS on your acceptance to Scary School! The drawbridge lowers at 7:30 a.m. and classes begin at 8:00. Your homeroom teacher, Ms. Fang, will provide you with textbooks, garlic, and goblin repellent. If you are late, you will have to report to detention with a hungry T.rex, so please be on time and [...]
I am scheduling a free kindle eBook giveaway of Silly Monsters ABC for this Friday and Saturday, 27th and 28th of April.
Here is a selection of quotes from the reviews on amazon.com:"This is among the very best of the children's books for Kindle that I have seen."
"BRILLIANT kids ABC book! . . . VERY creative text - I could read this book a million times over and never get tired of it."
"Cute little book. Very creative monsters. The descriptive words are sure to expand your child's vocabulary. My son enjoyed it."
"It is very well formatted for Kindle, both black and white and color (much better than the average Kindle picture book). "
"I've read quite a few of Gerald Hawksley's picture books and like the others this one is a lot of fun to read. ... Simply a book that is lot of fun, even as a fun read for adults who already know their alphabet."
You can sample the first few pages by using my Silly Monster Online eReading Device below.(Unless you are browsing with IE6, in which case it won't work.)
And here is a picture of a hairy hipparoo from the book for you to color in!
Go to the download page and right-click or ctrl-click (Mac) to save to your computer. Then you can either color it in wi
Written by Amanda Noll, illustrated by Howard McWilliam
Join us in congratulating author Amanda Noll and illustrator Howard McWilliam: I Need My Monster just won the California Young Reader Medal Primary Division, 2011-2012!
The California Young Reader Medal program is sponsored by four major literacy groups in the state: The California Reading Association, the California Association of Teachers of English, the California School Library Association, and the California Library Association. Last year approximately half a million votes were cast for all five categories combined.
Congratulations to the winners in the other categories:
Intermediate – Violet Raines Almost Got Struck by Lightning by Danette Haworth. Walker Childrens
Middle School – Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Young Adult – Graceling by Kristen Cashore. Harcourt Children’s Books
Picture Book for Older Reader – Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Levine. Scholastic Press
By: Brimful Curiosities,
Blog: Brimful Curiosities
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Mornings would be so much brighter if every box of cereal contained a book to read! That's why I always look forward to the Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories® program every year. The Spoonful of Stories program recently celebrated its 10 year anniversary with the distribution of more than six million children books! This year's books could be found free inside specially marked Cheerios boxes starting in March 2012. However, if your area is anything like ours, the boxes flew off the shelves! But don't worry if you missed all the new stories this year -- read on for a giveaway you won't want to miss.
Several great Simon & Schuster small-sized paperback books were offered this year in the Cheerios boxes. The selection featured six picture book titles, written in both English and Spanish and appropriate for ages three to eight:
● Noodle & Lou by Liz Garton Scanlon and illustrated by Arthur Howard
● Hello Baby! by Mem Fox and illustrated by Steve Jenkins
● If I Were a Jungle Animal by Amanda Ellery and illustrated by Tom Ellery
● Peeny Butter Fudge by Toni and Slade Morrison and illustrated by Joe Cepeda
● Mostly Monsterly by Tammi Sauer and illustrated by Scott Magoon
● Can I Just Take a Nap? by Ron Rauss and illustrated by Rob Shepperson
In addition to providing books in the cereal boxes, Cheerios made a $300,000 donation to First Book, a literacy focused non-profit, and also gave 5000 children's books to 10 First Book local volunteer chapters nationwide.
I applaud Cheerios for promoting literacy through this wonderful book distribution program. If only they could continue the program year round, and work together with other publishers, to get more free books in the hands of children!
One of the best things about the books is that they are bilingual! (And, due to the small paperback size (7" x 5-1/4"), they are also very portable and easy to stash inside a bag for trips.) My kids and I have been reading a few of the Spoonful of Stories titles this week to brush up on our Spanish just in time for Cinco de Mayo.
Both my kids really enjoy reading Tammi Sauer's Mostly Monsterly (Mayormente Monstruosa)
. The book stars a mostly monsterly little girl monster named Bernadette (though for a monster she's not really all that
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Interview with Nicola L. Robinson, illustrator turned author and the trials, tribulations and triumphs of a change of hats!
First off, HEARTY CONGRATULATIONS on the release of “The Monster Machine” with Pavilion Books – a sort of mad inventor meets Granny’s knitted nightmares joy of a book!
Have you always had a strong visual sense of story?
Yes I have, I’ve always loved drawing (like all illustrators I should imagine!) but particularly loved drawing pictures with something happening in them, be it a big thing chasing a small thing or any kind of interaction between my creations. As a child I’d name the characters and make up stories around them..
I grew up and went to university and did a degree in Fine Art, which was fantastic, but I realised my work was more illustration and less ‘Fine Art’. I have always looked for the story in the picture, and love adding narrative details to things, be it a little mouse hiding behind a teapot or something more sinister watching through a crack in the curtain... I am a visual thinker, but at this point I didn’t consider writing the actual words down to go with the illustrations.
What were your favourite storybook images as a child and how did they influence you as an illustrator and the style you adopted as ‘you’?
I didn’t have many traditional picture books, I did however pour over photos of crocodiles and snakes from a really old book on ‘The Animal Kingdom’. One of my favourite storybooks was a book of Greek Myths which had a lot of colour plates inside of the various mythological beasts and some nice black and white ink illustrations, fairly traditional in style. My favourites were always the ones I could imagine myself being in, something with some perspective, or one where you can see inside an open door or window. I also loved the Hobbit by JRR Tolkien, with Smaug the dragon. I have drawn many dragons since then and continue to do so today.
I have always loved the traditional fairytale illustrators like Arthur Rackham and others like Aubrey Beardsley and more recently Edward Gorey. Black and white ink illustrations in particular have always appealed to me, as has the sinister so I expect I have absorbed a little of their influence into my current working style. I certainly hope so!
Do you have a favourite among your previous illustrative projects? Would you tell us something of the creative process involved in bringing the images to light?
My favourites change all the time, but I am still very attached to a detailed illustration from last year titled ‘Downtown’
It started off like so many drawings as a few scribbles on the page, I could see a cityscape of sorts in my head… I often write lists of words and ideas to include in a piece, little descriptions like ‘Dark alleys’ and ‘Iron Bridges’ just as little word pictures, alongside thumbnails which I find very helpful.
1 The Rough idea is drawn
From here it gets its structure and is drawn out. If I’m going to be working in colour I usually stretch some paper at this point before transferring the idea to it.
I work up the details in pencil…
On National Read Across America Day, March 2, I Skyped with Mrs. Mozer’s third grade class—which is sure to become an annual tradition, this being the 2nd year in a row.
After sharing Dr. Seuss’s “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” with the class, we joked about my upcoming book, THE MONSTORE, and I asked them to pretend they were going shopping. “If you could buy a monster at The Monstore, what would it look like? What special monsterly talent would it have?”
Their answers are amazing. I wish I could actually buy their imaginative creations! They hear all secrets, they complete homework, they give gifts, and they shoot cupcakes. They’re as cuddly as a cloud, wiggly as Jell-o, and black as magic. And just like THE MONSTORE story, some of their monsters are used for sibling annoyance.
Thanks again to Mrs. Mozer’s entire 3rd grade class for the special day and the cool monsters!
Now onto to monster parade, part uno! The second installment will post tomorrow.
Enjoy, and be sure to leave a comment for the students of 3-M!
Since I’m a horror writer, at least a member of the association, you might think I have something to say about monsters. But these monsters, the ones I want to talk about, are metaphoric.
Plenty of monsters have walked through my life. The cancer which took my father, the self-doubt which played havoc with my twenty-something brain when my first fiancée left me stranded in Lawrence with only a handful of acquaintances and an apartment with no water… Aimee’s illness and death.
I’ve always thought it took bravery and courage to slay monsters. I’ve heard those words a lot since the article was published. Brave and courageous are not adjectives I’d ever use for myself—I’m just slaying the monsters the only way I know how.
Here’s the first trick: you have to look at the monster. You can’t turn away, or run, or hide. It may seem like I’m speaking of courage, but really—really—the monster weakens with your gaze on it. The courage only needs to come one time, the first time, and each subsequent time a monster rears its shaggy head, it’s not as big as the first. It’s not as scary. Just look at it. Acknowledge it. Accept it for what it is: cancer… mental illness... death.
I’m not a grief counselor or an expert, but I’m an expert on me. What I know, what I know as well as my own name, is Aimee’s illness—all of the ups and downs over the last eight years—was a monster. It was a monster full of teeth with black eyes full of malice. Opening up in the article, sharing our story, helped drive a big ol’ metaphoric sword into that monster’s gullet.
I cut my monster-slaying teeth as a boy, watching my father slowly deteriorate while cancer and radiation treatment nibbled away. It was a hard lesson for an elementary school kid, but I’ve become the man I am because I stared it down and learned how weak it really was. The monster didn’t own me.
Here’s the other trick, the one which makes looking at the monster the first time easier: you have to have hope. Understand this special kind of hope, a kind of hope born of love and patience. I knew my father wasn’t going to “get better.” But hope—hope for my life, and the lesson I learned about mortality—shaped me as a boy.
Life is short. Live it. Realize that the monsters don’t own us.
The day I asked Aimee to marry me, I thought I heard my father’s voice. “Just do it, boy.” I’ve never shared that with anyone. “Just do it, boy.” I don’t know why it came out as a Nike ad, but…
That’s how you slay the monsters. Just do it.
Life is short. Live it.
Every heroic tale takes a trip through the underworld (at least metaphorically). There, the hero gains what he/she needs to slay the monsters/accomplish his/her task. My weapon of choice? Hope.
Life is short. Live it with hope and love and patience. Just do it.
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Awhile back I watched a great documentary about Dragons on the History Channel. It was different because it explored the scientific and historical findings that lead through civilizations. From Mesopotamia, Babylon, Egypt, Carthage, Scandinavia, China and Japan through the Middle Ages, across the ocean into Mexico with the Olmecs and Aztecs who performed human sacrifice to appease their dragon deity to Native North Americans and present day, the basic concept of the dragon has endured throughout millennia.
The first evidence of dragons appeared in Mesopotamia 6000 years ago when the first written records were made. In this myth a good dragon, Marduk, slays the evil dragon, Tiamat, and uses the carcass to create all of the elements necessary for creation of the world. The question is why a dragon? Where did this concept originate? Why not a bear or wolf? Continue reading