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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Cake, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 61
1. It's A Book Birthday! How Do You Celebrate Accomplishments?


Double Vision: The Alias Men releases today! That means cake and lemonade, guys. Pass the plates...

You can buy the book right here. 

I can't believe this is the last book in the trilogy...! It's been such a blast to write Linc's adventures, and I'm pretty sure he's off to have some more, even if they might not happen on the page...

Anyway, this book birthday made me think about accomplishments, and how we celebrate them. I'm not much of a party animal--I celebrate with take-out for dinner (no cooking, which is nice), some form of chocolate for dessert, and maybe a glass of wine.

How about you? How do you celebrate your accomplishments...?

Oh, and if you want to win ALL THREE books in the Double Vision trilogy (signed hardcovers!), head over to the Secret Files of Fairday Morrow blog... Read the rest of this post

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2. cakes in space, the london invasion

Yesterday morning we had our Cakes in Space launch! And there were cake hats! Cakes with eyes! Cakes that were ALIVE....


Photo by Rebecca Portsmouth - rebeccalouise.com

The previous day, my co-author Philip Reeve and I had signed stock for indie bookshops and prepared for the next day's event, but we had no idea what sorts of life forms we'd encounter.



In the morning, my trusty companion, Stuart, and I travelled light years to Marylebone High Street to the space station that is Daunt Books.



And we were met by cakes! Cakes with eyes!


Photo by Rebecca Portsmouth - rebeccalouise.com


These fearsome creatures were carefully herded by cake wranglers from Oxford University Press, including Cecily, Camille Davis and Hattie Bayly.



Sweet wheat-based morsels clamped on to people's heads and wouldn't get off!



But somehow, these people took it in their stride...



...They couldn't seem to understand their peril.



In fact - shock horror - some of the visitors even ENCOURAGED the cakes in their ferocious tendencies.



I sensed these cakes had undue influence on their hosts.


Photo by Deadly Knitshade - whodunnknit.com

Fearless scientists that we are, Reeve and I took to the podium to investigate these strange happenings.


Photo by Rebecca Portsmouth - rebeccalouise.com

Philip demonstrated the wonder of SCIENCE, how in the future in Cakes in Space, people can insert protein sachets into the marvellous NOM-O_TRON and produce the most excellent food you can imagine. In Philip's case, it was a chocolate biscuit.


Photo by Rebecca Portsmouth - rebeccalouise.com

Of course, I had to jump in and try out this science of the future.


Photo by Rebecca Portsmouth - rebeccalouise.com

I could envision MUCH more awesome treats than Philip, so I'd be sure to get something at least a hundred times better.


Photo by Rebecca Portsmouth - rebeccalouise.com

But what was this? A carrot?!! ...Science is not all it's cracked up to be.


Photo by Rebecca Portsmouth - rebeccalouise.com

This little girl was seriously skeptical. I expect she'll grow up and become the sort of scientist who relies on things like DATA and EVIDENCE, which is rather an odd concept.


Photo by Rebecca Portsmouth - rebeccalouise.com

But those cakes were still lurking, so we delved into our carefully researched report and read out useful passages to the audience, warning them about their impending doom.


Photo by Rebecca Portsmouth - rebeccalouise.com

Now, I ought not to give away all the secrets of our research, but I can allude to a strange occurrence during the event, brought on by Visitors from Elsewhere, which left Philip struck to the heart with tragic loss. ...A moment of silence, please.


Photo by Rebecca Portsmouth - rebeccalouise.com

To deal with these dangers in the future, we need TECHNOLOGY, mostly in the form of robots who look rather friendly. I drew a diagram of a Cakes in Space-featured robot named Pilbeam. And so that the schematics of this fine robot would not be forgotten by future generations, I had everyone draw Pilbeam along with me, implanting the robot's makeup directly into their brains.



And the implantation was successful, each diagram slightly altered so that the memory could not be wiped out by a single virus. (Clever, yes?)


Pictures by @LAWsomeTweets and Katie on Martin Hand's Flickr page

To lighten this dark, prophetic mood, Philip and I sang a ballad from the future, dating to just the time before everyone gets artsy-fartsy and starts singing only in binary.



What wonderous things these humans have wrought!



We practiced our Battle Cry of the Future, in case our defensive technology is not enough to ward off the killer cakes.



And still the cakes lurked, preferring the cranial regions.



Don't be deluded by their enticing appearance...



...these cakes have issues.


Photo by Rebecca Portsmouth - rebeccalouise.com

Despite the gloom and doom of the presentation, the front window display at Daunt Books Marylebone looked quite jolly. We suspect they may be in collusion with the killer cakes.



After our signing, Philip and I traveled with Norwegian starship captain Karoline Bakken to another satellite of Daunt.



Despite its rather old-fashioned facade, Daunt Books Highgate IS the future and houses a time machine in its basement.



The staff let us inscribe coded warnings for future generations in their Cakes in Space books but pretended not to know what we were talking about when we asked them about the time machine. So we left them, vowing to return when their secret could be revealed.



As we traveled, Captain Bakken lavished unwarranted affection on our captured cake. Being nice to cakes doesn't help anything, you ought to know. Eat the cake before it eats you, that's our motto.



Next stop: Daunt Books Holland Park.



But what is this? My co-pilot decided to go undercover, to wear CIVVIES, while I remained still properly clad in my fighting uniform. Obviously this is a sign of some overarching PLAN we have, but I can't tell you about it or I'll have to kill you.



Be aware. Be vigilant. Run to your nearest bookshop and snatch up a copy of Cakes in Space so that you, too, can be prepared for alien cake attack. You NEVER KNOW when they might strike. I will leave you with our public service broadcast:

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3. operation cake drop

GREETINGS FROM THE FUTURE! THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT...
THE FUTURE IS CAKE.




On Monday, my Cakes in Space co-author Philip Reeve and I embarked on a barking mad mission to CAKE all our publicists' friends in their media fortresses. And we did it in space suits! Seeing Philip in a space suit cracks me up so much, particularly after he sent me this clip of David the android in the film Prometheus:



...Is that Reeve or what??! Anyway, Philip couldn't actually be there for the first part of the day, since he'd been away from Dartmoor in Manchester for a few days already (for our Grand Seawigs Parade). But publicist Philippa Perry and I had loads of fun running around delivering alien cupcakes, starting with The Telegraph. (Martin Chilton, you are CAKED!)



Then the BBC... CAKED! (Ha ha, the little cake has a pass.)





See all the crowds trying to get a glimpse of the famous killer cake. ...No, not really, they were there to see Australian band 5 Seconds of Summer, but it was pretty funny watching them go absolutely mad when the guys came out the door.



Press Association... CAKED!



The Guardian... CAKED!



Ah, and here's Reeve, just beamed in, along with publicist Liz Scott...



The Times... CAKED!



The Bookseller and We Love This Book magazines... CAKED!



Tom Tivnan was hiding in the back of the office but we managed to cake him all the same.



And then we went on to our Cakes in Space media pre-launch party! More about that soon... Oxford University Press launches Cakes in Space at the beginning of September and we're hugely excited. (Well, I'm excited. Androids only simulate emotion, but Philip's very convincing.)

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4. This Four-Feet-Tall, Seventy-Pound Toothless Sculpture is Actually a Cake

To toast the release of "How to Train Your Dragon 2" at a private studio party, DreamWorks commissioned boutique cake maker Fernanda Abarca, who is also an artist at the company, to create this four-foot tall, seventy-pound statute of Toothless the Dragon.

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5. CAKE Report: Indie comics go to Chicago

by Benjamin Rogers

Once again the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo was a huge success.  CAKE 2014 featured over 120 exhibitors and drew 2,200 attendees over the course of the weekend, a ten percent increase from last year’s show.  Conference organizer Neil Brideau said that CAKE was excited to continue increasing its scope, noting that “this was the first year we’ve had a large international presence.”  He highlighted some artists who travelled a long way to attend the show such as Inés Estrada of Mexico, and Philippa Rice and Luke Pearson of the UK.

Brideau also emphasized that a major part of CAKE’s mission is to support the local comics scene in Chicago.  “We’re working to become a non-profit right now, and we’ve funded some scholarships.  John Porcellino is doing a week-long workshop immediately following CAKE at the Chicago Publishing Resource Center.  We did two half tuition scholarships for that workshop.  Today, we’ve announced the Cupcake Award, which is a grant and a guaranteed half table at next year’s CAKE for someone’s who is working in minicomics and has not been published by a major publisher.  Annie Koyama from Koyama Press is our special guest juror for that award this year.”

CAKE, now in its third year, has made its home at the Center on Halsted.  After an especially crowded show last year, CAKE expanded from a single exhibition hall to a include a second space while simultaneously reducing the number of tables.  The show was much easier to get around than in previous years, but still packed the house later in the afternoon on both days.

The goal of the CAKE organizers is to create a “balanced show, that brings a lot of different styles and experience levels together.”  To achieve this, the CAKE organizers crowdsource feedback on CAKE applicants from the Chicago comics community but also retain curatorial oversight over the final list of exhibitors.  It’s a hybrid approach that attempts to sidestep the gatekeeper problem of a fully curated show while also avoiding the free-for-all of a lottery show.

I asked many of the exhibitors what makes CAKE such a special show, and Chicago’s comics community such a strong one.  Isabella Rotman and Amara Leipzig suggested that the city’s art colleges such as Columbia and School of the Art Institute are incubators for a lot of comics talent.  Lucy Knisley noted that Chicago’s climate was ideal for cartoonists — having 7-8 months of cold weather forces folks inside and encourages the hermit-like conditions that are ideal for comics making, while the welcome arrival of summer allows time for self-promotion and energizing interaction with other artists during the convention season.  Michael DeForge said that it is one of his favorite shows because there is a heavier emphasis on zines and minicomics than there is at other comparable shows.  Many, many exhibitors mentioned the importance of Chicago book, zine, and comic superstore Quimby’s in promoting the work of emerging artist and providing a focal point for the local comics scene.
Now let’s hit the show floor!

2sophie mcmahan you were swell

Sophie McMahan had her latest issue of You Were Swell, her comic that combines loose dream-inspired narrative with 1950s and ’60s pop culture characters (such as the Creature from the Black Lagoon and Elvis).  Sophie was one of many artists who was also showing off non-comics handmade objects — in this case, funky earrings made from Shrinky Dinks of her characters.

3Jack Gross

Jack Gross was among a significant contingent of Minnesota based creators at the show.  Jack debuted Wizard Friends at the show, which she described as a departure from the “moody pencils” of her earlier work.  I asked Jack about her unusually keen backgrounds, which are drawn from real locations in her hometown.  She said she worked hard on that aspect of her comics after an especially tough critique from an art school professor.  That’s the American higher education system working for you, folks.

4dawson walker granville syndrome

Dawson Walker, also lately of Minnesota, showed off his latest work, The Granville Syndrome, which grew out of his thesis project at MCAD.   The Granville Syndrome tells the story of a group of amateur stormchasers and deals with Walker’s own experience of migrating from Alaska to the Midwest.  Walker’s cinematically wide panels are meant to evoke the wide-openess of the Midwest landscape.

5IMG_20140601_191244328_HDR

One of the most physically beautiful objects I saw at the show was a CAKE debut from Rosemary Valero-O’Connell, a twelve page silkscreened mini called Amarinthine.  Featuring a heavy gold metallic paper cover and three-color interiors, every page of this comic is a single panel that captures a moment in the life of a pair of childhood friends as they grow together and grow apart.  This comic was a great example of how the care and craftsmanship of the physical object can add to the emotional impact of the narrative within.

6Mita Mahato

Speaking of handmade books, Mita Mahato of Seattle creates beautiful comics that combine collage and traditional comics.  For Mahato, the physical layering of images relates to the layered quality of her narratives.  Her comics deal with nature, magical realism, and the grieving process.  She is a board member of Seattle’s Short Run comics festival.

7carrie vinarsky fried coolaid

Carrie Vinarsky, who designed the poster, badges and other print materials for this year’s expo, also had some wonderful bespoke objects on display at her table.  Each copy of the limited edition debut Fried Coolaid was individually bedazzled with glitter and googly eyes, and interior pages feature such surprises as a spray-painted page which is different in every copy.

8tucker + rebecca mir grady

At CAKE, comics come in all shapes and sizes, from massive tomes like Raymond Lemstra’s Big Mother 4 (left, with Tucker Stone for scale) to tiny volumes like Rebecca Mir Grady’s She is Restless.  She is Restless volume seven, subtitled “Lost at Sea,” debuted at CAKE.  Each volume contains a single fold-out page that deals with a current event from an environmental perspective.  Previous volumes have been inspired by wildfires and drought conditions in the Southwest and of course, the Polar Vortex.

Leigh Luna was displaying the latest minis collected from her webcomic Clementine Fox.  She told me that Clementine Fox was recently picked up by major humor comics house Andrews McMeel, who are looking to market Luna’s first major publication next year.

9ben passmore and erin k wilson

Ben Passmore and Erin K. Wilson’s table featured the debut of Passmore’s Daygloayhole: The Beast in Me and Wilson’s micro-mini Server.  Wilson talked to me about her graphic novel Snowbird and the Kickstarter that helped her fund and create it.  “I had mixed feelings about the Kickstarter,” said Wilson.  “I don’t know who I thought I was that I was going to write my first graphic novel in three months.”  It ended up taking about two years.  “It was really hard because I had 368 backers, who were for the most part really supportive, like ‘hey, you got this!  We’re just happy that you’re making it!’”  But a vocal minority ended up making things uncomfortable for Wilson.  In order to appease some less patient fans, Wilson began posting every page online as she finished it.  “It’s not how you’re supposed to do it.  You’re supposed to storyboard the whole book, pencil the whole book, ink the whole book, shade the whole book, and release it all at once.  But I did it one page at a time.” Although she was still very happy with the end result, she felt that the pressure from her Kickstarter backers did compromise the process in some ways.

10hellen jo last letter

Hellen Jo, one of the convention’s Special Guests this year, also expressed some trepidation about Kickstarter.  She admitted to having toyed with the idea of leveraging her popularity online to get funding for comics, but ultimately decided “I’m scared of Kickstarter.”  She cited her slow work rate, saying that she wasn’t sure that Kickstarter backers could ever be patient enough for her.  Jo is currently working on the second volume of Jin & Jam, a minicomic whose first volume appeared in 2008.  But Jo has a good reason for working slowly on her comics: for the past year, she’s been working on a series of Girl Gang paintings which were recently collected as a monograph by Youth in Decline.  She also has had full-time gigs doing storyboards for Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe and Regular Show.

Hellen Jo joined Jesse Moynihan and Jo Dery on a panel titled “24 Panels a Second,” moderated by Trubble Clubber Jeremy Tinder.  The panelists started by citing some of their earliest animation influences, which included, Goofy, Garfield, Sailor Moon, Ranma ½, and Wizards by Ralph Bakshi.  All of them mentioned how important their parents were in getting them into cool cartoons early in life.  Although all of them loved animation from a young age, they didn’t consider it as something to pursue.  Said Jesse Moynihan “Watching cartoons doesn’t translate to ‘I can do that.’ … the thing that made me think I could tell stories was comics.”  Self-published comics like Cerebus and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles inspired Moynihan to create his own comics, which only later led to his work as a storyboard artist on Adventure Time.  Hellen Jo’s story was similar – it was the circulation of her comics online that led to her first animation job as a Storyboard Revisionist at Cartoon Network.

What was the biggest hurdle for these creators in transitioning from comics to animation?  For Hellen Jo, it was the pace: “I’ve never drawn so fast in my life.”  Jesse Moynihan cited a cultural difference between comics creators and artists with formal training as animators: “All of the comics people who work on [Adventure Time] are very precious and protective about their work.  The people who come from an animation background are more willing to collaborate and have less ego.”

``kellie strom worse things happen

Jesse Moynihan also took time out to sign Forming II at the Nobrow table.  It’s the second volume of Moynihan’s full color trilogy that combines mythology, science fiction and humor in an epic battle for the soul of humanity.   Also at the Nobrow table were samples of the new concertina book from Kellie Strom, Worse Things Happen at Sea.  This intricately detailed Leporello features beautiful colors created through a chromolithographic process, a near-extinct hand color separation technique that was once used in the production of currency.  Those interested in how Strom achieves the fine level of detail and vibrant coloration of his work will be interested in this process video.

12lane milburn conor stechschulte

The highlight of Fantagraphics’ table this year was the debut of Twelve Gems by Lane Milburn.  The 150-plus page chaotic space opera, which had not been previously serialized, was sold out by 11:30 AM on Sunday.  Fantagraphics’ Jacq Cohen called it Fantagraphics’  book of the year, noting that the book “sold out faster than we could have possibly imagined.  It’s incredible to see Chicago supporting a local artist like Lane.”   Milburn was tabling with Conor Stechschulte, whose graphic novel The Amateurs is also new this summer from Fantagraphics.  The Amateurs tells the story of a pair of butchers who suddenly find that they have completely forgotten how to do their craft.  Stechschulte says it was inspired by a story from Werner Herzog about an unbelievably inept butcher shop he encountered in Quito while filming Fitzcarraldo.

13alan caesar rena rouge

More from the Fantastical Epic Narrative Department: Downfall Arts’ Alan D. Caesar told me all about his ambitious series Rena Rouge.  The series started with volume 37, and Caesar plans to continue the series by alternating volumes that are numbered forwards and backwards, so that eventually, volumes one and 74 will be released simultaneously.  Volume 38 debuted at CAKE, and Caesar had this to say about the project: “ I like worldbuilding.  I want people to feel like they’re entering a world that’s fully realized.”  The comics feature jam-packed interior pages and lush covers created by offset printing colored paper with fluorescent inks — the covers look even better when viewed under a black light.

 14erik nebel welcome

Founded by a group of Columbia College grads, Yeti Press has released eighteen books since starting in 2011.  One of the eye-catching new releases at their table this year was Andrea Bell’s Rose From the Dead, which Bell described as a “dude in distress” tale.  Officially debuting at CAKE was Erik Nebel’s Well Come, the first print edition of his popular tumblr comic.  Well Come tells an interwoven fantasy narrative with many characters, all conveyed without words in a simple, geometric style with bold colors.  Nebel told me about the origins of the vibrant color palette he employs:

“I read this book called Environmentalism in Pop Culture , and she [author Noël Sturgeon] has this point of view she calls Global Ecofeminism.  She analyzes all of the stories of the last 100 years of American pop culture and makes a convincing argument that in all of the stories we tell, we’re creating this false dichotomy.  Pitting things against each other that aren’t even separated, for example men and women.  That’s a societal construct, the idea of gender identity.  The same thing with nature and civilization.  And in advertisements and general imagery, there’s black and white.  Black is associated with nature, white is associated with civilization.  And women, and black, and nature are lumped together, and men, and white and civilization are on the other end.  It sets up this superiority where the lighter colors have this symbolic meaning where they represent something pure, more clean, sophisticated.  Darker colors are natural, wild, ethnic, tribal.  So when I was thinking of the color palette [for Well Come] I started out with human creatures and made them a dark red, and animals I made a light orange, because I wanted to reverse that idea that dark colors are nature and light colors are human.  I wanted to take that whole idea and flip that around.”

15 sam alden

Uncivilized Books’ CAKE presentation featured the first bound volume from the white-hot Sam Alden.  It Never Happened Again includes a pair of stories in Alden’s soft pencil style.  I asked Alden about the many formats and media he experiments with: “The pencil stuff is like my wife…everything else is just a fling.”  Uncivilized publisher Tom K was also very excited to debut Truth is Fragmentary by  Gabrielle Bell.  Part travelogue and part surreal adventure, the book explores the intersections of memory, reality and imagination across three continents.

Canadian boutique publisher Koyama Press has been at CAKE every year of the conference.  According to marketing manager Ed Kanerva, Koyama considers smaller conferences like CAKE as essential to the publisher’s mission of being at the forefront of the graphic arts.  Like many artists at the show, Michael DeForge, who released Very Casual with Koyama last year to great acclaim, still self-publishes zines and minis even after having found a publisher for his work.  DeForge said he “couldn’t imagine” not making minicomics.  Asked if his rapid rise in popularity had affected him or his work, DeForge said it hadn’t and told me “I still spend most of my time in a basement.”

Koyama’s newest release at the show was  Elisha Lim’s  100 Crushes.  Elisha, who is based in Toronto, told me about their roots in the queer comics community and said they broke through when “Alison Bechdel wrote an intro for a comic that I dreamed of doing.”  Koyama and Elisha were connected through a mutual friend, leading to the publication of 100 Crushes.  “Basically it’s all different ways that I’ve met queer people on three different continents.  The first chapter is about butches and having crazy crushes on them…another chapter is going with friends to the men’s changing room in stores and what it’s like to try on men’s clothes…and there’s one at the end that’s not really queer content, it’s about jealousy, and trying to draw what it feels like to feel jealous.”  Elisha said they create comics primarily for the queer community but that their real audience is any “intelligent, or informed” one, and that’s they’ve been blown away by the way their work has been embraced by the comics community at large.

16 eric kostiuk williams hungry bottom

Another Toronto-based artist, Eric Kostiuk Williams, was debuting the first collected volume of his Hungry Bottom comics.  Hungry Bottom combines Williams’ own story of self-actualization in the Toronto queer community with wide-ranging pop-culture reference and sampling.  Like the three individual volumes, the Collected Hungry Bottom features a four-color risograph cover and two-color risograph interiors in an oversize 7”x10” format.

17 gina wynbrandt

Some of the most talked about comics at the show were Gina Wynbrandt’s works inspired by “sexual humiliation” and her status as a True Belieber.  Wynbrandt debuted her minicomic Someone Please Have Sex With Me earlier this Spring at Chicago Zine Fest and her comic “Fish Vagina” was featured in the 2014 CAKE anthology.

Miranda Harmon, who was singled out to me by a CAKE organizer as one of the artists to watch at the show, was tabling at a comics show for the first time ever.  She had previously only brought her comics to SPX as an attendee.  Harmon, a recent graduate of Goucher College, had four debut minis at CAKE:  Journal Comics, More Good Demons (a menagerie of not-so-scary monsters), Peat in the Woods, and Bad Comics.  Regarding the comics collected in Bad Comics: “They’re okay,” said Harmon.

emily hutchings.jpg

 Emily Hutchings was also tabling for the first time.   Trained as a sculptor, Hutchings decided to try her hand at exhibiting this year after her friend Ian McDuffie sold a book of her drawings at his table last year.  Hutching’s offerings included the beautifully assembled Doesn’t Matter, a starkly minimalist collection of illustrated nihilist poems.

19 anna bongiovanni

Anna Bongiovanni debuted a minicomic collecting the Grease Bats strip they draw for Autostraddle.com .  The (Mother Fuckin’) Grease Bats has the tone of a buddy comedy  or sitcom even as it addresses serious issues of identity and acceptance in the queer community.  Also on hand for the show was the awesome educational comic A Cheap and Easy Introduction to They/Them Pronouns.  Bongiovanni created this comic in order to explain and promote the use of gender neutral pronouns for those that choose to use them.  It’s a great tool and as a writer I can say I found the guide really positive and helpful. They made it accessibly priced to make it easier for people to share with friends, family and coworkers, and they plan to release more comics in the Cheap and Easy series including an upcoming pamphlet on consent within the queer community.

20 medical comics

The Comic Nurse, MK Czerwiec, was at the show to inform about the burgeoning world of medical comics.  She told me about the scene: “I started making comics during the AIDS crisis when I was working as a nurse and was so overwhelmed by what I was experiencing and couldn’t figure out how to process it.  I stumbled into making comics, and it turned out to be a really effective way of dealing with what I was seeing as a nurse.  I ended up getting a degree in Medical Humanities, and, this was about ten years later, I wanted to look back critically and ask ‘why did that work?’ what was it about the form that helped me process experiences, and a large question, can comics have a serious role in medicine, in education, and what can they do for our patients and providers?”  Around the same time, Ian Williams was creating the website Graphic Medicine to catalog comics that told of the experience of severe illness for patients and loved ones.  Soon, MK and Williams were arranging a conference based around comics and medicine.  This year that conference will celebrate its fifth anniversary at John Hopkins University in Maryland.  MK herself teaches at Northwestern Medical School using comics in her classrooms.

21 isabella plus amara

Continuing in the practical-comics vein, Isabella Rotman debuted Gatherer, an easily-pocketed illustrated guide to fifteen edible plants which can be commonly found on the East coast and in the Midwest.  Her tablemate Amara Leipzig had a gorgeous new book called The Ruins, which asks, “If a person grew up with no preconceptions, would they choose science or religion?”

Rotman will be one the artists featured in the upcoming anthology Speculative Relationships.  The kickstarted anthology reached its funding goal on Saturday of the convention.  I spoke to editor Tyrell Cannon about the book.  “Anthologies are usually bad,” he said.  One of the problems is a lack of cohesion.  Speculative Relationships has a tight focus: Romance comics with a science fictional setting.  The PDF of the anthology should be ready this month, with print editions headed to backers by the end of July.

22 midwestern cuban comics

Odin Cabal debuted the eighth issue of his self-publishd series Midwestern Cuban Comics, which collects several stories including the multi-part epic “¿O hermano, donde esta usted?”  Cabal’s comics incorporate everything from baseball to MMA to one-night stands to the fairy godmother.  He’s based in Kenosha, Wisconsin, but like many artists at the show, he got his start in comics when Quimby’s began carrying his work.

23 scott and keiler roberts

Scott Roberts, creator of the Star Spangled Angel, took a long break from making comics and returned to the form about four years ago.  I asked him what brought him back: “It was what had exploded, the alternative world was so much different.  It was a combination of art, printing and illustration.  I hadn’t really thought of comics as such a great means of expression before.  I mean I loved it, I loved RAW back in the ‘80s, but I always thought you had to have a publisher.”  Though Roberts said he wouldn’t mind working with a publisher, he said that’s not the goal.  He encourages younger artists to think of making their comics as an ends in and of itself, and not always a jumping off platform to more money and success: “There’s no real money in [comics] anyway.  If there was a lot of money in it, you’d have a lot of different personalities involved.  Some of the young kids go around passing out business cards.  What in the world would I do with that?  Just make some comics, and I’ll look at your comics!”

At the same table, Keiler Roberts had the latest issue of Powdered Milk available.  “It focuses on my daughter who’s three years old, the things she says, domestic moments.  It’s more structured than some of my other work.”  It was the funniest comic I read at the show.

*****

CAKE was an amazing show this year.  The event continues to grow and expand and is quickly gaining recognition as one of the significant alternative comics shows on the crowded summer festival roster.  There were many more brilliant self-published and small press comics than I could ever hope to chronicle here — the only way to see everything is to check out the show.  Hope to see you at CAKE 2015!

[Benjamin Kelly Rogers blogs at disastercouch.com.]

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6. This weekend it’s CAKE!

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The Chicago Alternative Comics Expo takes place this weekend, and the show really seems to have ramped it up to take its place among the big CAFs around the world. You can see all the debuts and info and events above but they sent along the programming, which I present as a sample of what to expect.

Chicago has an important heritage as an indie comics town, and CAKE is a great way to bring it forward.

PROGRAMMNG

Saturday, May 31st
1:30pm-2:30
 
Evolution of The Artist with Anya Davidson, Lizz Hickey, and Inés Estrada, Moderated by Max Morris
In a time of online social media and new methods of self-publishing, the role of the cartoonist has changed shapes and intentions from previous forms. In this panel, CAKE organizer Max Morris asks three Special Guests from the new generation of cartoonists what started them on the path of comics, and where that road is leading them. Inés Estrada is the editor of the comics section of Vice Mexico, manages the Gatosaurio webstore, but she has also worked with publications such as Kuš (Latvia), The Believer (US) and Ediciones Valientes (Spain.) Anya Davidson has published innumerable self-published books, and in 2013 her first graphic novel, School Spirits was published by Picturebox Inc. Lizz Hickey exists as a cartooning force to be reckoned with, with her book Jammers (Hic and Hoc) existing alongside a bevy of side-splitting-mind-melting self-published work. To join the Facebook event and share, click here!
 
This panel and Anya Davidson’s appearance at CAKE are sponsored by Print Ninja

Saturday, May 31st
3pm-4pm

Magikomix, Queer Comics, and Visionary Cartooning

Edie Fake, Eric Kostiuk Williams, Elisha Lim
Moderated by Brian Cremins

In this panel, artists Elisha Lim, Eric Kostiuk Williams, and Speical Guest Edie Fake will read short selections from their work and then discuss their innovations with narrative form. How have magic and the Magical shaped their sensibilities? Elisha Lim—cartoonist, filmmaker, Queer People of Color activist—describes their new Koyama Press collection 100 Crushes as “an excerpt of the most magical undertaking of my life,” one that began when a fortune teller advised them to “go back to doing what you loved as a child.” Edie Fake’s Ignatz Award-winning 2010 graphic novel Gaylord Phoenix is the adventure of a bird man who searches for his true self in an 8-bit universe of flaming creatures who often resemble Pamela Colman Smith’s Tarot card lovelies. And in his ongoing autobiographical series Hungry Bottom Comics, Eric Kostiuk Williams conjures with stories of Goldilocks charming the Three Bears, Jean Genet crooning Rihanna’s “Birthday Cake,” and a young apprentice making a pilgrimage to Beyoncé’s House of Deréon. These visionary cartoonists explore the line between the real and the imagined as they celebrate Queer history and community from Chicago and Singapore to Toronto and Berlin. Writer and comics scholar Brian Cremins will moderate the discussion. To join the Facebook and share, click here!
This panel is sponsored by Quimby’s Bookstore

Sunday, June 1st
12pm-1pm

Seduction of the Innocent with Tony Millionaire, Liz Prince, and Tucker Stone, Moderated by Marnie Galloway

Comics are still for kids?! While the comics medium has grown up in the eyes of the public, of course there are still creators making work for younger audiences. What is the inspiration for creating work for a younger age group, and how will authors stay connected to new generations who will be born in a world of digital entertainment? CAKE organizer and author of In the Sounds and Seas, Marnie Galloway will lead a panel discussion with the multi-faceted Special Guest Tony Millionaire (Sock Monkey), Liz Prince, author of the upcoming memoir for teens, Tomboy, and Tucker Stone representing Special Guest Nobrow Press.
This panel is sponsored by First Aid Comics. Tony Millionaire’s appearance is sponsored by Graham Crackers and Fantagraphics.

Sunday, June 1st
1:30 pm-2:30pm

24 panels a second with Hellen Jo, Jesse Moynihan, and Jo Dery, Moderated by Jeremy Tinder.

Since the days of Winsor McCay and Osamu Tezuka, cartoonists have found time between the gutters to trade page layouts for storyboards and motion lines. Jeremy Tinder, a founding member of Chicago’s Trubble Club and character designer for “Paranormal Roommates” leads a panel discussion on the parellel paths between cartoonist and animator. Joining him on stage is Special Guest Hellen Jo, author of Jin & Jam and storyboard artist for “Steven Universe,” Jesse Moynihan, author of Forming and storyboard artist for “Adventure Time,” and Jo Dery, Chicago artist and assistant professor of graphics and animation at Depaul University. To join the Facebook event and share, click here!
This panel is sponsored by DePaul Animation Program
 

Sunday, June 1st
3pm-4pm

Sequential Story Yelling with Sean Christensen, Otto Splotch, and Sara Drake, Moderated by Lyra Hill

Comics are often compared to film, but rarely to performance. What does it mean for comics to step out of the page and onto the stage? How does one read a drawing out loud? Come explore the budding art of performative comics in a panel discussion led by Lyra Hill, creator and host of the of Chicago’s comics performance event “Brain Frame.” With panelists Sean Christensen, of Portland’s own comics reading series “Gridlords,” Sara Drake, cartoonist and founder of Chicago’s “Pup House” puppet group, and Otto Splotch, author of Quarter Vomit and the graphic novel Stink Helmet, the enigma of performative comics will be center stage. To join the Facebook event and share, click here!
CAKE takes place this weekend May 31st-June 1st, from 11am-6pm, at the Center on Halsted at 3656 N Halsted Ave.The festival will feature over 200 exhibitors ranging from local artists to international publishers, creating the best that alternative comics has to offer! Visit cakechicago.com for more information. We look forward to seeing you this weekend!

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7. I’m 2!

We celebrated another b-day this past weekend and Ocee turned 2. He went around all day saying “Happy Day!” Robots were the theme so I used the robot classroom decor I illustrated for Creative Teaching Press as the party decorations. I even use some of it for the cake.

All the food was robot themed too and we also used out metal robot collection for the table too. I knew those little guys would come in handy one day!

Close up of the cake:

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8. Viking Daddy Bakes a Cake

IT's Finished! I started tonight, along with some cold medicine and tea... (truth be told I had forgotten completely about this over the holidays - like many things I will realize tomorrow) and just felt like doing a viking. I hope it works in the app, and I can't wait to see what everyone else has put in!!
Happy New Year.

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9. Recipes and a Giveaway from HELEN NASH'S NEW KOSHER CUISINE

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10. Video Sunday: “Guys, smell 11 Birthdays”

I think it fitting that I follow up the last Video Sunday bit of teacher enthusiasm with this subsequent sneaky teacher taping.  “We’re just smelling books, Mr. Lewis.”  That would be Mike Lewis and though they acknowledge him at the start, it’s pretty clear they don’t know he’s taping until much later on.  This should give heart to anyone worried about the fate of the paper book.  Big big thanks to Mike Lewis for this video.

So happy Sunday to you, one and all.  It’s not Banned Books Week, or Banned Books Month, or even the Year of the Banned Book, but even still this video was so nicely put together that I figured it deserved to be shown at a time of year that wasn’t designated “banned”. And naturally I liked that so many of the books read here were children’s as well as adult.

Well written too, come to think of it.  It was created by Bookmans, a kind of used bookstore/everything else in Tucson, Mesa, Phoenix, and Flagstaff.  Thanks to Ben Collinsworth for the link.

Now for fun personal stuff.  As you may know I’m writing a book with Jules from Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast.  Certainly finding videos of me on the web is easy enough but finding videos of Jules can be a bit tricky.  Fortunately as part of their We Believe in Picture Books campaign, Candlewick has been soliciting and posting videos from folks of all stripes.  I’m sure you’ve been following the various videos they’ve posted.  Here we find my co-writer in the flesh talking about all things picture bookish:

Then the book trailers cometh.  And this next one for Chronicle Books just sort of cements them as my favorite book trailer publisher.  It’s for this year’s Project Jackalope from the Senior Producer of Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, Emily Ecton.

Not that Candlewick does a bad job.  This one showed during SLJ’s Day of Dialog with slightly different music.  It’s Jon Klassen sequel to I Want My Hat Back called (appropriately enough) This is Not My Hat.  Gorgeous trailer.

And heck, Penguin too.  I mean, tell me this trailer doesn’t make you want to go out and rip the book from the arms of young people so that you can read it yourself.

Not sure if this one counts as a book trailer.  Is it a trailer if they read the whole thing?  Basically, I figure that if you read anything in that magnificent accent you are allowed to read as much of it as you like.  This book’s a pip but I can’t imagine it would be half as interesting to hear from an American mouth.  We just don’t pronounce the word “kennel” correctly, do we?

Thanks to Lisa Abid for the link!

And finally, when the tough can’t find any off-topic videos, the tough go to BB-Blog and plunder what they find there.  It’s a Caketrope (a zoetrope cake) in a Burton style.  Yum!

6 Comments on Video Sunday: “Guys, smell 11 Birthdays”, last added: 9/19/2012
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11. Monty Python Gets Animated In “A Liar’s Autobiography”

Here’s the newly released trailer for A Liar’s Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman, a film that we expect to hear a lot more about as Oscar season approaches. The 82-minute production, directed by Ben Timlett, Bill Jones, and Jeff Simpson, used 14 different studios to create its mixed-media animation sequences: A for Animation, ArthurCox, Beakus, Cake, Made Visual Studio, Mr & Mrs, Not To Scale, Peepshow, Sherbet, Steven Lall, Superfad, Treat Studios, Trunk and Tundra.

Reading the film synopsis, it sounds like the kind of original, totally left field production that is rare in contemporary feature animation:

Comedian, actor, physician, mountaineer, rugby enthusiast, pipe smoker, alcoholic and consummate Englishman — the late Graham Chapman was a man for all seasons. But this member of Monty Python was not one to let his already colourful life prevent him from making up an even wilder one. Published in 1980, Chapman’s outrageously false memoir A Liar’s Autobiography (Volume VI) — credited to Chapman and four others, including Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy author Douglas Adams — was a work of blithe, unashamed and inspired fiction. And it has now inspired this insanely entertaining animated biopic-in 3-D, no less.

Despite being dead for twenty-three years, Chapman himself is the star of the show, thanks to forty-five minutes of newly discovered audio recordings of readings from Liar’s done in Harry Nilsson’s studio. Fifteen different groups of animators bring Chapman’s dubious remembrances to life in a dizzying array of styles. Four-fifths of Chapman’s former Python comrades — John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam — crop up throughout, playing themselves and various other equally dubious characters Chapman encounters on his journeys. Whisking through Chapman’s sadly foreshortened life — he died of cancer in 1989, aged forty-eight — A Liar’s Autobiography recounts his years in medical school, his first meeting with longtime writing partner Cleese at Cambridge, the high days of Pythonage, his coming-out as a gay man (or seventy percent gay, according to a survey he conducted on himself), and, of course, his abduction and transport to the heavens by space aliens at the end of the eighties. Even cancer, it seems, cannot vanquish the truly inveterate liar.

The film will debut this weekend at the Toronto International Film Festival. It will air later this year on EPIX, as well as have a limited 3-D theatrical release in the US through Brainstorm Media. UK and Canada will also have theatrical releases.


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12. Messy Martha

Messy Martha, an educational book I illustrated recently, is now available on Reading A-Z.com,
 an excellent resource for teachers.



Here's a couple more images ...






Toodles!
Hazel

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13. afternoon tea at the connaught

Oh boy oh boy oh boy... if there's one thing I get excited about, it's cake. I'd been looking forward to this outing for weeks.



Writer and project manager Damian Kelleher took tBk mag editor Helen Boyle and me out for Afternoon Tea at the Connaught Hotel to celebrate a successful ad campaign we'd done for Kids Week West End theatre promotion. (Apparently ticket sales broke all sorts of records, including one with Ticketmaster. Cool!)




They had the most AMAZING jam selection. All these interesting combinations - 16 varieties - such as raspberry jam with violet, wild bilberry, rhubarb with mint and something else, some white-wine-based affair... I can't remember, but it was great fun picking out four. Here's the Jam Master (is that what you call this guy?):



I gave my new hat its first outing:



Okay, a few more photos just 'cos it all looked so nice.









And the only drawback to wearing an asymmetrical, front-fitting hat is that when I take it off in the evening, I have a big dent in my forehead. It's pretty awesome, I could insert a chocolate Pocky stick into it to save for later.




Hey, did you see that Garen Ewing just did his take on Grant Wood's American Gothic painting? (See my last post about it.) It's called Evelyn Gothic and celebrates his new American Rainbow Orchid book deal. Congratulations, Garen!

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14. #DESSERTEDREADS: Wicked as They Come + Black Magic Cake

Thanks to an idea from Steph Pellegrin and PJ Hoover, today is all about sweet bites and decadent reads. So without further ado, I give you my #DESSERTEDREADS matchup:

WICKED AS THEY COME by Delilah S. Dawson

Flap copy:

When Tish Everett forces open the ruby locket she finds at an estate sale, she has no idea that a deliciously rakish Bludman has cast a spell just for her. She wakes up in a surreal world, where Criminy Stain, the dashing proprietor of a magical traveling circus, curiously awaits. At Criminy’s electric touch, Tish glimpses a tantalizing future, but she also foresees her ultimate doom. Before she can decide whether to risk her fate with the charming daredevil, the locket disappears, and with it, her only chance to return home. Tish and Criminy battle roaring sea monsters and thundering bludmares, vengeful ghosts and crooked Copers in a treacherous race to recover the necklace from the evil Blud-hating Magistrate. But if they succeed, will Tish forsake her fanged suitor and return to her normal life, or will she take a chance on an unpredictable but dangerous destiny with the Bludman she’s coming to love?

Okay guys, I’m such a picky reader. Nine times out of ten, I pick up a book and toss it aside within the first fifty pages. No high concept premise, no hunky stranger keeps me reading if the writing somehow isn’t there. I’m also a bit idiosyncratic–an author has to push particular emotional buttons to keep me turning pages.

And boy, oh boy, WICKED AS THEY COME  pushed all those buttons and never let up. To say WICKED AS THEY COME resonated with me is an understatement. I read the book in one sitting, grinning all the way.  The moment Tish met Criminy Stain, I was hooked. I didn’t care what happened, as long those kept circling one another.

Tish is everything I want a heroine to be, a gal who inherited a winsome mix of ‘manners and moxie’ from her high-spirited grandmother. No wonder the locket pulled her to Criminy’s world. He cast a spell to summon his soulmate and equal, and she certainly fits the bill.

And ohhhhh, Criminy. Bludman. Gypsy King. Magician. Seductive, Sinful Smart-Aleck Savant. He’s irresistible, yet never forces his suit. For me, that makes Crim the perfect alpha male–the charmer who doesn’t make demands, but lets his best qualities command the moment. Yes, pulls out all the stops to allure Tish, but he leaves the choice to her. As he watches her and waits for her to discover her heart’s true match, the tension builds and builds. I loved every minute of it.

And I love sharing this recipe with you–BLACK MAGIC CAKE is every bit as sweet and sinful.

There are EIGHT MILKY WAY BARS in the batter of this cake. What else do you need to know?????!!!!

4 Comments on #DESSERTEDREADS: Wicked as They Come + Black Magic Cake, last added: 6/23/2012

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15. Monstrous cake animation from Alexandre Dubosc, via Colossal. An...



Monstrous cake animation from Alexandre Dubosc, via Colossal. An homage to Tim Burton.



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16. Seed Cake - sketch for today

Half an hour goes quick. About half way I say that's enough on the outline 
and work on getting the main subject into at least a rudimentary environment. 
I had no idea the little girl was making seed cake until I drew the bird cage and then it was obvious.



Toodles!

Hazel

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17. Robot like cake

Picture of a robot with a cake

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18. Rabbits eating carrot cake. Free picture for you to download and color in.

Here is another picture, this time from my Kindle children's picture book Jake Bakes Cakes for you to download and 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 with crayons or markers, or open it in a paint program on your computer and color it in digitally!





Here is how I colored in the picture!

Picture of rabbits eating carrot cake from my kindle children's picture book

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19. Birthdaybot

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20. Yummy Cakes

Yummy cakes, another jump into Photoshop. 

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21. Birthday Cake

It's been a while since I've posted! Here's something topical, from a non-fiction book on the workings of the human body. This was part of a section illustrating breathing.

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22. the La La machine


Filed under: songs

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23. fabulous princess spaghetti tea party!

Thanks so much to Natasha Worswick on her Bookish Bites blog for the great photos and recipes inspired by my Princess Spaghetti books with Gillian Rogerson!



Both books, You Can't Eat a Princess! (featuring chocolate-loving aliens) and You Can't Scare a Princess! (with skating pirates) have a lot of yummy food in them. Natasha's son, Milo, got right in and made some cupcakes and tarts.



Here's the lovely party food when they'd finished! Apparently Milo sneezed a couple times into the tart mix, so they're not really for sharing.



And they finished with this great craft activity, making Princess Spaghetti's hair out of real pasta!



Thanks so much for all the great ideas, Natasha! If you're throwing a Princess-and-Aliens party or a Princess-and-Pirates party, have a look at my website for party suggestions and activity downloads.

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24. Fusenews: Shelve the books but shelve them slant

  • “I just finished a poem where St. Francis and St. Clare double-date with Thoreau and Evita and it just makes me very happy.”  My mother was the winner of the 2011 Prairie Schooner Book Prize because she is as good as it gets.  No brag.  Just fact.  Prairie Schooner recently interviewed her as well and I recommend looking at it, partly because this my mother we’re talking about and she makes me very proud and partly because it raises the old interview bar, so to speak.  Clearly I need to put more work into my own.
  • Once in a great while my husband’s occupation and my own will intersect.  He is a screenwriter and will alert me to interesting news items on the cinematic side of things.  This week he pointed me to a ScriptShadow piece.  If you are unfamiliar with the site it’s where a fellow going by the name of “Carson Reeves” reads and reviews the scripts that have recently sold in Hollywood and critiques them long before they are turned into films.  Each Friday Carson has something he calls Amateur Friday where folks submit their own screenplays for his review.  Last Friday someone handed in a script called Fifi, A Monkey’s Tale.  Those of you familiar with the story behind Curious George will recognize this as the original title of that manuscript.  The script essentially tells the tale of the Reys’ escape from the Nazis in WWII.  Only to punch it up a bit the screenwriter (and I kinda love this) rewrote history so that Goebbels himself wants Mr. Rey destroyed.  Something you have to see for yourself, I think.
  • Do you like awards?  Do you like children’s books that come from countries other than America?  Well then, folks, have I got great news from you.  After her recent trip to Italy to judge the awards, Jules at 7-Imp let me know that the winners have been announced:

The 2012 Bologna Ragazzi Awards have just been announced! Here are links for interested folks:

Fiction winner and mentions: http://www.bolognachildrensbookfair.com/en/boragazziaward/images_award/fiction;
Nonfiction winner and mentions:http://www.bolognachildrensbookfair.com/en/boragazziaward/images_award/non_fiction;
New Horizons winner and mentions:http://www.bolognachildrensbookfair.com/en/boragazziaward/images_award/new_horizons;
Opera Prima winner and mentions (Opera Prima is for new artists):http://www.bolognachildrensbookfair.com/en/boragazziaward/images_award/opera_prima.

  • I long for the day Save NYC Libraries can be shut down, but until that happy day occurs it’s a hugely useful and well-organized site for fighting mayoral cuts.  Recently the mayor rolled out his old budget again and yep.  You guessed it.  We’re

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25. BIRTHDAY CAKE - a food poem, a cooking poem



BIRTHDAY CAKE

Measuring Spoons
Our advice?
Be precise.

Kitchen Aid
I stand…
I mix, blend,
whip, stir, knead…
at your command.

Cake Pans
We’re fickle.
Three layers stick
whenever we pick.

Violets on the Windowsill
We choose
purple for our blooms.
You make the air go blue
because of what the pans decided to do.

Table
Come sit.
Unwind.
Write a bit.
Find
the humor in all of it.
Be resigned,
start again. Don’t quit.


© Mary Lee Hahn, 2012



Poem #8, National Poetry Month 2012

Cathy, at Merely Day By Day, is joining me in a poem a day this month. Other daily poem writers include Amy at The Poem Farm, Linda at TeacherDance, Donna at Mainely Write, Laura at Writing the World for Kids (daily haiku), Liz at Liz in Ink (daily haiku), Sara at Read Write Believe (daily haiku)...and YOU?

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