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Long Time no Post!

If you don't know already, I've got two new sites up for my web comics...
http://razher.com
http://confessionsofashapeshifter.com

Plus I'm on a cool new site for writers and artists called inkwell.
It's a new and growing supportive community where creators can market their sites and they can get members for their blogs. Here's the link: http://inkwell.ning.com/

Anyway, that's just a little bit of what I've been up to!

New pages up!

I just uploaded new webcomic pages to Razher and Confessions of a Shapeshifter. Go check them out!
http://confessionsofashapeshifter.com (mature audiences only)
http://razher.com (YA)



Lalimah "Lala" Shabazz, the black Valkyrie





Thomas Ioki, the Wizard


This is one of my favorites:

Last Day for Kidlit contest entries!

Today is the last day for submissions for Agent Mary Kole's FIRST PARAGRAPH
contest, open to writers of YA and Middle Grade novels. Mary says on her blog that she's rec'd over 400 entries already.

Make sure yours are included! (you can enter more than once, but it should be your best work if you do)

Here's the link: http://kidlit.com/kidlit-contest/

Confessions of A Shapeshifter!

I'll be posting the first graphic novel pages of Confessions of a Shapeshifter today.
Here's a sneak peak of Lalimah Shabazz facing off against a Gorgon (with the help of the Wizard, Thomas Ioki.



(Click drawing for larger view)


Here's a link to the site: http://confessionsofashapeshifter.com/

And the "Shifters" themselves:




I'll have the new Razher (Teen Werewolf webcomic) pages up today also!
http://razher.com

So, What R U?

I've been asked that in my life. Didn't bother me, as I enjoyed most of the conversations. Sometimes people just need to know.

Yes, I'm, one of those multi-talented, sing, write artsy fartsy types.
So, in light of the whole frenzy about the Bloomsbury covers, I figured I'd make this about me, so as not to offend anymore sensitive, timid types.

See, if this was about oh, domestic violence or breast cancer or any number of issues people would feel like if they didn't speak up about they'd have the whole freakin' world against them "OMG how could you not join in against Domestic Violence?"

There'd be no "am I a bad person?" blog posts (note to self, never ask that question. You may get someone who says, yeah you are, and you're also acting like an idiot. Because when you post something like that of course people who know and like you are going to join your pity party)

So, I'll just say it. I really don't care if I am perceived as bad for saying this:

What Am I?

I'm every woman and man.

So when I draw a character, or write about a character and I have to defend that character, hell, I'll do it.

No little white girl will ever have to see one of my creations and say, why did you make the valley girl the bad guy? Aren't there enough of us already in fiction?

I'll stand with her and say I'm proud to be the bad guy. And that if she can follow the story along far enough, you'll see I've added a twist. The Valley girl will probably turn out to be multi-faceted and not a bad person after all, but one who just needs love.

One of my characters is a Russian Prince. Of Roma descent, and yes I know the problems Romas are having over in Italy. So what I'm saying is, I won't try to avoid or not educate myself on a character's ethnicity or religion or nationality. I won't add a bi-sexual or gay character and if you need my support, say, well, I'm a christian and maybe your ball rolled in another yard by mistake. If I wrote the character, damn it I own it. And I'll own up to it.

I gotta go now. But I'll add more later...
This is from the author of Magic Under Glass and it should put an end to that part of the controversy (not that she was a part of it, it was Bloomsbury's cover decision that was messed up, so sez I)


Magic Under Glass Cover
"I know some people are waiting for me to say something on the issue of my cover. I have thought long and hard about my thoughtful response, but the more I consider it, the more I think...

My writing is my voice. My stories are about accepting your fellow man or woman, about how love is the most powerful force in the universe. I do truly understand why some people are upset by my cover. However, Nimira is from a fictional land which is not meant to be a parallel to a specific country in our world. Her culture has elements, such as costume and music, that might be drawn from Eastern European, Asian and Roma cultures, and I love that readers are interpreting her look in different ways.

I definitely don't want to tell people how to feel. I have no problem with anyone getting impassioned about a cause. But a writer is the only thing I've wanted to be all my life, it's an outlet for a girl who is often timid to express her soul. If you want to know how I feel about acceptance, love, and diversity, it is in my books. I'm glad the story has spoken to many readers. I believe that young readers crave books with ALL kinds of heroes, and the surest way we can satisfy that need is to support books that make heroes out of diverse characters. I do hope that you'll give Nimira and her story a chance, and that you'll love her as much as I do."

****

Leave her be.
She's not THE ONE.
Yeah, I said it. Maybe you were looking for another Justine Larbalastier, or even the teen book activist Ari. But the author who wrote the above statement is just a writer doing what she loves. Which is writing. She didn't sign on to be a voice for a cause.

It's ironic though, because due to the controversy, that's how I'd learned about her. And before her statement, I was going to rush out to buy her book. Now, I'm more like mehhh...

I was going to buy it because I didn't want her harmed with all the controversy. And I'd even checked out her website, getting all excited because she sketches her characters like I do (I saw her early version of Nimira, and let's just say boy am I glad I went with a no boycott vote early on)and I really thought her book trailer was good.

Now, with her, "but the more I consider it, the more I think..."

As I read her whole measured, wonderfully PR polished statement, and after checking out her blog messages...I've even posted a couple of times. I guess if I were into politricks, I'd be considered an independent, because I've made the rounds, checked out other blogs, read pro and con. Posted on a few. And as you can see from this site, I'm no blogger.

Anyway, using the author as the definitive statement on this (half of this anyway, because I know some people are still mad about the LIAR cover) since that's part of it.

The more I consider it, the more I think...

"Maybe your ball rolled into the wrong yard"

???? Yeah, that was my first thought when I saw it posted in the author's comments section. That and another post about people having an "agenda" geessh, plus a few other posts that made me go hmmm, better not park it here.

Crazy week this week. Let's move on, shall we?

World of Hurt

If you're not already checking out an awesome webcomic called "World of Hurt Online" then please do!

Artist and writer Jay Potts has crafted an oh so smooth but deadly anti-hero named Isaiah "Pastor" Hurt, a tough, mysterious, stylish and streetwise "fixer". Pastor can handle any problem, for a price.



It's all 1970s all the time in this comic. Go on with your bad self Pastor!

http://worldofhurtonline.com/

The comic updates every Wednesday, and Jay's comic is the reason I changed from here to Comicpress. I'm so glad I did because it makes keeping my comics in order much easier. Remember, Confessions of a Shape Shifter re-launches this weekend!! And its for a mature audience:)

Bloomsbury, WTF is wrong with you?

My mom, god love her, likes to get right to the heart of the matter.
So I have no doubt that's exactly what she'd say to whomever at Bloomsbury, the one or ones okaying the decision to put this photoshopped corset girl on the cover of Magic Under Glass.




Lest you be confused, here's an artist's depiction of the protag (from checking out the author's sketches on FLICKR, I wonder if this is her work?), from the OFFICIAL TRAILER - sanctioned by Bloomsbury, notice the difference?



You've no doubt heard about the controversy before. LIAR anyone? Oops, seems like Bloomsbury's done it again by putting an obviously white model on a book whose protag is dark brown. I'm still buying the book so as not to punish the author. But this is the second time, the second book we at least know about. So it bears repeating (no, I won't wail when lord when) just this,
"Bloomsbury, WTF is wrong with you?"


Here's a link to what a teen book blogger has to say about the matter:

http://blackteensread2.blogspot.com/2010/01/open-letter-to-bloomsbury-kids-usa.html


More links about this issue:

http://blackeyedsusans.blogspot.com/
http://www.therejectionist.com/2010/01/jesus-god-in-heaven-knock-it-off.html
http://dearauthor.com/wordpress/2010/01/19/is-bloomsbury-hanging-out-the-whites-only-sign/
http://www.salon.com/mwt/broadsheet/feature/2010/01/19/cover_whitewashing/index.html

First Pages of Razher up!!

Here's the official site: http://razher.com/





You'll have to read the webcomic to find out about Razher being "Uncaged"



A Newbie

I'm pretty new at this whole create a webcomic thing. But I figure I'll use Raher's webcomic to sharpen my skills as I work on the historical epic (1860s samurai falls for slave). Anyway, here's a test comic (really raw here, not the final, just placing things and seeing how she'll look)

Reach out and touch...by cell phone

Razher, the teen she-wolf



I've been working towards a phone app for my YA characters.
Got some new sketches that I hope to color tonight (edited to add, I did as I promised, the color versions are below also), but I think I love Havoc's the best.

Havoc the Teen Gargoyle poses


Havoc in blk and white (after I cleaned it up a bit in Photoshop. I hate re-inking, so I just darkened my pencil lines)



And here's the final result in color:



Mac1 Teen Vampire


Mac1 in blk and white:


Mac1 in color:


Mac2 Teen Vampire


Andre1 Teen Werewolf


Andre in color:


Andre2 Teen Werewolf


Andre2 in color:

TWO SITES with one goal in mind

What have I been up to?
Well, I bought my domain names RAZHER and CONFESSIONS OF A SHAPESHIFTER. And I'm hosting them on Wordpress. So what's next? Well, I've got to finish coloring my pages and then post them to get the ball rolling.

I've got two sites with one goal in mind. To increase diversity in paranormal romance, whether it be in YA or Adult.

Oh, and to tide you over, here's a couple of side stills of HAVOC, the Chinese Gargoyle (while he's YA, he's not under 18):







WHAT AGENTS ARE LOOKING FOR NOW

I just love when an agent gets specific about their wants, or what they aren’t currently looking for. Here’s two agents who go into detail about what they’re looking for, which helps when you’re trying to figure out who to send your query to. I’ll update my page with new agents whenever I see them.

What Jill Corcoran’s looking for, as of Dec 2009:
The Herman Literary Agency

http://www.jillcorcoran.blogspot.com/

1. Young Adult realistic romance with authentic dialog that makes me yearn to be the main character.

2. Paranormal MG or YA that keeps me at the edge of my seat and has a fantastic payoff at the end.

3. MG that captures the reality of Middle School with an intriguing plot plus authentic emotion. 7th and 8th grade =hormonal roller coaster where kids strive to be independent yet are still such babes in the woods.

4. Laugh-out-loud, fast paced Chapter Books, MG and YA.

5. Books that organically combine illustration with prose--MG and YA

6. Characters that reflect the popular kids, not just the loners, geeks, etc....I was asked on FB, 'If main characters are popular, healthy, athletic, gets straight A's, gets all the girls, has a perfect family, etc., where's the story?

The story is: who the world perceives we are, how we think about ourselves, and who we really are is usually not the same. I just read The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart. I loved the part where the mc realizes that the boys she thought were confident and had it all were actually self-conscious and insecure about 'issues' the mc never considered.

Some new favorites not on my original list: Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree/Fell in Love by Lauren Tarshis, The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart, Forever by Judy Blume, When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, What is Goodbye? by Nickki Grimes.

For now: no high fantasy.




Elana Roth from Caren Johnson Literary Agency:
http://www.johnsonliterary.com/blog?currentPage=2

What Elana Roth’s looking for as of Nov 2009:
1. Middle-grade novels. I have been reading a ton of awesome MG novels lately. When You Reach Me is perfect. I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President (which I guess some people are calling YA, but the kid is in 7th grade, so dammit, I'm calling it MG) is cracking me up. So send me something with a strong hook and a great voice, and make it good. Think big.
2. Non-paranormal YA. I've had so many "I see ghosts" books cross my desk, that even if you are reinventing the hook, I can't see it anymore. I don't mind fantasy, or sci-fi elements, but bear in mind, I like my YA reality-based with a splash of those things. Go read CANDOR if you really want to get a sense of my taste. So give me a twisty YA, give me a voice I haven't heard before, a vision of the future I haven't seen yet, a POV that hasn't been touched on (I'm still waiting for the YA version of the movie SAVED! to cross my desk).
3. Conference invitations. I am sorely lacking in 2010. What happened? Invite me to your regions! I'm funny, I swear. Even if I'll yell at you for pitching me in the bathroom. You deserve that.
To submit to her, email elana [at] johnsonliterary [dot] com
Please note, on the blog site she says No Vampires

THIS...



HA ha...I sometimes have that expression even if the guy's human.

Are You Really Ready, Really?

I'm seeing this around the web and on different sites, and I'm asking myself the same question, so this applies to me too. The thing is, so many writers believe they're ready. If you truly think you are, then good for you. But there may be a few things you'll want to review before submitting that manuscript.

Have you cleared up all the typos and polished your prose until it shines?

Is your first page, or even your first paragraph a grabber and a keeper, and is it your best introduction to the world you've created?

Does your book flow, making the reader want to continue on with each chapter (lets be honest here) because they just have to know what happens next. And you're certain your middle doesn't let the reader down and the ending is satisfying.

It's like hearing a new song for the first time. If the melody appeals to you, you'll keep listening. If not, you change the station. Sure, all this is subjective. But if what you've written is really good, that song stays on your mind, and you may want to hear it again, or even download it (legally download it) so pretend this is your book. The first page works, then another page gets read, and if all goes well, you're on your way.

One last thing.

PLEASE tell me your secret, cos I just gotta know.

Short and sweet, gut check time. Are you really ready? Really?

I answered my own question, because I deleted a posting on my blog that had two lead in's for one of my novels. But truly, it wasn't ready and I realized that once I posted. I knew it deep down, and I had to make a decision. It's not three hundred pages down the drain. It's three hundred pages of perfecting my craft. I'll go back to it, but right now, I had to ask myself if this was the work I really wanted published. And honestly, it wasn't. Sure, it hurts, but you know what? I'll survive.

Has it been a Year?

Wow. I guess it has been a year since I started this blog, but if I remember correctly, I signed up but didn't post anything until this summer. Gotta change that, so I'll be posting more of my writing and completed comic pages (after this weekend, gotta get some rest)

Four days off. Four. Days. Off. :)

Progress, Part II

Worked in Photoshop this weekend while editing some of my novels. Here's more sketches that I colored using the program:




I think I like this version of Julian better.




This is a more detailed sketch of Razher, but I don't like the brown I used. Gonna go back and fix that. See what I mean about my pencil work? I left her eyes alone because I don't want to lose the softness of her gaze. Pencil is my strongest medium, but if I feel more comfortable once I gain a better grip on digital coloring, I might go back and work on her eyes.




Rahzer's man Machiavelli Faust. I think I'll stick with this flesh tone and hair color for him.




Razher punch pose (this is one heroine who doesn't need saving)



These are my boys from the other site. Just couldn't resist posting them here. Thomas, Scott and Bo (Wizard, Gorgon and Lycan)



One of my favorite Razher poses

In progress and making progress...

Still learning my way around Photoshop, but at least now I'm choosing the coloring for all the characters. I've found what works and what doesn't for me. While I have a drawing tablet, it still doesn't give me the feel and stroke touch like pencil and paper. And when I draw directly on the tablet, I'm not able to give the facial emotions I can with pencil. I prefer drawing and then scanning in my work (got a new scanner YEA!) then adjusting the levels, btu I still like leaving some of my pencil strokes in, so that's gonna be my style. I think every artist who works in digital early on has these reservations about their work when drawing with a tablet, but I do like digital coloring, and all the possibilities it provides.

Here's a sample of what I've been working on;

A few versions of Mac (hair color, trench coats still yet to be settled on)











Another Site

Hello all,

Changes abound. I've got another site up, specifically for an adult graphic novel. The pages of RAZHER are more teen oriented, so I decided to avoid confusion it was best to separate the YA and middlegrade works (different genres and comics) from the Adult (scifi, graphic novels, historic novels)

If you get a chance, check out the other site at:

http://confessionsofashapeshifter.wordpress.com

The link is also in the side bar. Remember, from this date forward this site will be for middlegrade and Young adult works. Thanks for stopping by!
YEAH YEAH I do realize I was supposed to have Razher up, but hey, I work for a living ya know?

Anyway, in honor of the first paragraph of my steam punk Apocalyptic bad az book, I give you my close but no cigar first paragraph.


And here is my almost making it to the finals entry:

A woman is a weapon. Her hair shall be braided or long flowing, not only as an enticement for males, but to use as a noose for strangulation and thick enough to conceal poisonous thorns. She should possess a soft, willing mouth to coerce a kiss, while housing an object sharpened to inflict the utmost pain. Breasts can and must cradle a dagger, fingernails need fortification with metal tips dipped in toad venom. The only tears that dare flow are those of elation at our victories, verily, for females to rule Second Earth unchallenged, remember this doctrine well my sisters; the tyranny of man must be defeated by the treachery of woman.

ON TO ZUDA COMICS!!
RAZHER goes live (pages in progress, I hope to have them up shortly)
Check out her weekly webisodes.

Why? Because she kicks Zombie and Ghoul azz, she's bi-racial, she's on the run, she rooms with a hot vampire and a gorgeous Gargoyle. And she does all this while trying to earn her high school diploma. Plus, how many half Māori, half African American heroines in the paranormal genre are there?




Two early sketches of Razher:





Get Thee to ZUDA!

While I don't have my site up exactly the way I want it, I've found some amazing artists over at Zuda (www.zuda.com). Here's another find, a fantastic graphic novel called Tessyleia 2.0, from a talented man by the name of Marc Bostel (the link below isn't active because the contest unfortunately ends on Wednesday):




You can still check out Marc's amazing Blog:

http://tessyleiasjunkyard.blogspot.com/

I'm just getting started in 3D rendering, but Marc has skills!
And I'm telling you, ZUDA has some of the best, if not THE BEST graphic novels/comics on the Web. They're free to view, so get thee to ZUDA!

Illustrating an Epic

Okay, here's the first sketches of my V army. Can't have an epic unless there's an epic battle, and ever since I was a kid I've always loved fantastic mythological battle scenes, that's why Lord of the Rings will always be my number one fav (until such a time as it is dethroned, with hopefully mine)

One thing that LOTR didn't have until the final movie was a female warrior. With my urban fantasy, of course the females get major fighting time, as they're fearsome on both sides.
Can't spill too much more about my book, but the graphic novel is what's taking up much of my time. Just know the vampires get their collective behinds kicked, and part of the beauty of my world building is how the vamps manage to rise again against such a seemingly all powerful opponent. My beautiful boy Julian is in it, as well as Andre the Were for the shift to today's times.



Brief sketch of V soldier with a WTF look on his face






Sketch of a close up of a V soldier and his helmet.




My hero. A bunch of these guys(and gals, though I've yet to decide how much flesh the gals will show)take down the V soldiers back in the day -way, way way back when.

Beautiful Boy

This is Julian, my steam punk Vampire.




Sorry about all the smudges but I'm a leftie. Julian's nice to look at but he's ruthless. This kid has quite a dark side, and there's no trying to live like a human stuff for him. Where he resides, humans fear to tread. With Julian, he'll either bang ya or fang ya.