Sunday, September 30, 2007

Manga rankings

I'm not entirely sure what this post actually means in the scheme of things, but the upshot is that someone out there thinks that Babymouse: Skater Girl is ranked at about 60 in the top 100 Manga titles. Read the link for the explanation. It's complicated. But, yay! Someone thinks we're doing well.

Computer-generated art

Betsy over at Fuse recently said:

I used to think that employing a computer to handle all your illustrating needs in a picture book was a risky proposition. Then we entered into 2007 and suddenly there were books like Bow-Wow Bugs a Bug and The Wizard using computers in radically different ways. Finally I got a glimpse of "Mrs. Marlowe's Mice", and now I think that it is safe to say that I've been won over to this style of artistic expression.

So I just wanted to point out that Babymouse is fully computer-generated. Yes, I do preliminary sketches on paper, but all the final art is done in Photoshop. So beware—a book near you could be computer-generated, and you might not know it!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Winner of the best Halloween costume goes to…

... Manic Library. At least for now. (There must be pictures taken, people!)

Skater Girl recommendation at Tandem

The Tandem Insights blog just posted a lovely recommendation of Babymouse: Skater Girl.

[ASIDE: Remember that whole Amazon-rankings-crack thing I mentioned before? Well, Skater Girl is currently at 6,056. Bad, bad, bad You're like a car wreck; I can't look away!]

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Stumptown Comics Fest

Don't know if I'll be able to make it to this or not this weekend: the Stumptown Comics Fest. There's a bucketload of people exhibiting, most of whom I don't know at all. (Little secret: I'm the most poorly read writer/illustrator/cartoonist on the planet. I'm just too busy working to keep up with all of my compatriots.) But, looks like there's plenty to do, plenty of folks to see, including Carol Lay, whose "Story Minute" I used to read and enjoy every week in New York Press when I lived in the Big Apple.

Jenni at National Book Festival (DC) this weekend

MotherReader had a post that reminded me that Jenni is going to be at the National Book Festival this weekend in Washington, DC, meeting with the public and the First Lady, among other luminaries.


Just saw the entry, Babymouse author to appear at book festival over at Blog@Newsarama, which also mentions the Washington Post article I linked to below, as well as an additional Washington Post piece called, "Meet the Authors." It gives some more concrete info. about where she'll be at the Book Festival:

She will be among some 70 authors featured Saturday at the National Book Festival, a free event on the Mall between Seventh and 14th streets. The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Holm will talk about her books and answer questions at the Teens & Children Pavilion from 10:40 to 11:10 a.m. She will sign books from noon until 1 p.m.

Jenni in the Washington Post

The Washington Post interviewed Jenni about Middle School is Worse than Meatloaf, and writing in general. Yowza! That's a nice place to have a story show up!

It does, however, highlight our never-ending struggles in getting our names spelled right. You wouldn't think we'd have much trouble. I mean, we're not Jon Scieszka or Uma Krishnaswami. So, while the Post got "Holm" correct this time (a gargantuan task, believe me—no one believes us that there is not an "s" or an "e" or an "es" on the end), they misspelled my sister's non-standard nickname "Jenni." Oh, well. Can't win ’em all. (Even the Author Name Pronunciation Guide can't help us here.)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Amazon Blog Mention

Another quick post...

Amazon has blogs, now? I guess I had heard tales of them, but never actually seen them until today. Blogger/Author Sue Corbett included the Babymouse series among her
Book Club titles for Emergent Readers. So these books were actually tested this past summer on real, live 2nd- and 3rd-graders. Nice.

Quick Mention

Quick mention of Babymouse's popularity at the Donnell by Betsy Bird, via an interview in the monthly The Edge of the Forest.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Puppy Love Already?

Just saw that Teri already has a review of Babymouse: Puppy Love. I didn't even know that Random House was sending out ARCs! Actually, looking at the Amazon page again ... I didn't even realize that it was coming out December 26! I guess I should know these things. Oh, and I guess I should get back to work on Babymouse #9...

Monday, September 24, 2007

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Hole in the Wall

A great link from Adam Koford's blog (Apelad):

John Ralston's The Hole in the Wall.

More cats. (I don't even like cats all that much ... but they seem to be good fodder for comic strips.) A really nice palette of autumnal colors (although the seasons seem to progress during the story). My favorite one of the bunch:

Our two adventurers are accosted by a giant, floating cat head. It spits them out. Then it just sort of wanders off into the sky, and they shrug.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Meatloaf reviewed at Fuse

Betsy has officially reviewed Middle School Is Worse Than Meatloaf: A Year Told Through Stuff over at A Fuse #8 Production. She also mentioned the book in her earlier piece, "Breaking Out of the Mold (and Suffering As a Result)," at ForeWord Magazine. In both, she brings up the quandary in which we authorial types find ourselves when we make books that don't quite fit neatly in a single category. Even if the book itself is a great work, you're asking a lot of the publishing co.'s sales staff, the bookstores, etc., to come up with an easy way to shelve and sell these uncategorizable things. (Heck—everyone's still trying to figure out the best way to sell graphic novels.) And, as she mentions, you're in big trouble come Awards season. Many things to ponder...

Oh, and by the way, when I saw this sentence begin:

Fortunately, "Middle School is Worse Than Meatloaf" makes it clear that no matter how lousy things are, there's always a chance that things will eventually get better.

... I immediately assumed that it would end with, "...there's always a chance that they can get even worse." But that's just the cynic in me.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Babymouse's Multilingual Fans

Just saw a lovely review of Babymouse: Queen of the World! over on a blog called, "Musings on libraries and madness." The blogger, TeenBibliotecaria (nee Violeta Garza), is "a multi-lingual twentysomething aspiring librarian" who is finishing up her MLS in Pittsburgh (my wife's hometown). I love the photo—it's got a "I'm gonna make it after aaaaaaaaaalllllll!" sort of feel.

Anyway, glad she's entering the fray. The country needs more children's/teens' librarians—especially multilingual ones.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Blogging secrets, and a taste of the old country

I'm going to let you all in on a little secret. I have no time. I have no time to pore over dozens of child-lit blogs every day and keep abreast of the goings-on of my industry. I'm usually far too busy being a cog in that industry to spend much time on self-reflection. So all I really read every day is A Fuse #8 Production.

What I do do, however, is make Google do my reading for me. I use Google News Alerts to comb the intertubes for mentions of Babymouse, my name, Graphic Novels, Cartoons, and Comics. This gets me a number of results every day:

  • Stories about stand-up comics
  • Listings of new comic books and graphic novels available this month in X comic book store
  • Every fresh European-/Iranian-/Opus-related Islamic cartoon controversy
  • Press releases and stories about the Cartoon Network—in India! Virtually nothing about the Cartoon Network in the USA.
  • Irate newspaper readers writing letters to complain about a disrespectful editorial cartoon (and as a former editorial cartoonist, let me point out that those angry letters are the only reason that newspapers still put cartoons on their Op-Ed pages; without the cartoons, letters to the editor would nearly dry up)
  • A software widget called "BabyMouse" that disables your computer's right-mouse-clicks for when you're web-surfing with your toddler

It also, occasionally, gives me actual news about the outside world, and any bloggers who happen to utter Babymouse's name. (We're listening...!)

Thus, I find out about Laura Lutz's Pinot and Prose, which Fuse had mentioned but I had, in my lack of free time, glossed over. Now, Laura's gone and said the magic word, and appeared in my mailbox thanks to Google.

So I take a look at Pinot and Prose, mildly intrigued since my wife and I are foodies (my wife's a winemaker; she works in the Willamette Valley, AKA Pinot Capital of the World), and see this delightful bit that makes me long for the old country (i.e., Astoria, Queens):

When I looked up the café, though, I was bummed to find out that it was located on the Upper West Side. And those of you familiar with the NYC area will know what a pain in the arse it is to get from Queens to the UWS.

Ah, yes. Life in Queens. Known to Manhattanites as Outer Mongolia. I was always astonished that our fellow New Yorkers would take an hour subway ride out to Park Slope, or spend 45 minutes trying to get from the Upper East Side to the Upper West Side during rush hour, but never even think of taking a 10-minute subway ride to Astoria. I wonder what neighborhood Laura's in?

For you Queens expats, let me share a delightful recipe with you: via the Food Network, a recipe by Cat Cora (yes, the Iron Chef) for Avgolemeno, or chicken soup with egg-lemon sauce. It's nearly a dead-ringer for the killer chicken soup we used to get at Uncle George's on Broadway. My only alterations: add some carrots, and let it chill overnight. It was much more Astoria-ish on Day 2.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Possibly the dumbest thing I've heard in a long time

I certainly spent my fair share of time at the arcade and in front of the old Atari 2600 as a youth. (I still have the family Atari in my possesion, something which causes great acrimony between me and my sister—or maybe it's just her husband, who's a video-game designer...) But, even with my 1980s video game street cred, I think the following is a horribly dumb idea:

Joust is going to be made into a graphic novel and a movie.

That's right. A video game about knights jousting on the back of flying ostriches over a pit of molten lava is somehow a story. Personally, I'm holding out for the Yars' Revenge movie. (They already created a comic book to accompany the game, so that base is covered.)