Archive for things I love

Tin Star RPG Game!

Hello! As you all know, TIN STAR is out (hope you’ve picked up your copy )

I love Tula Bane’s world and I thought it might be fun to play in it! So my brother and I have created a tabletop RPG True 20 game based on the book Tin Star! Grab yourself a 20 sided die order a pizza and invite a bunch of friends over! You can play a bunch of aliens who land on the Yertina Feray and interact with the characters from the book!

DOWNLOAD THE TIN STAR GAME HERE *note. you should download both files the quick start rules and the adventure.

Get it on Scribd: Tin Star QuickStart Rules
Tin Star: A Simple Favor Adventure Module

I got the idea to create a game when visiting my good friend Chris Prams, publisher of Green Ronin Games! They created the True 20 system, which is an open license system. Check out their True 20 games here!

I hope you will enjoy playing! If you have any questions or any trouble downloading the game you can email me and my brother at tinstargame (at) gmail (dot) com or tweet us @tinstargame

Have fun!

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the next big thing

My friend Jenn Fujikawa tagged me in this meme where you talk about a project you’ve been working on. She got it from our friend, the fabulous Sarah Kuhn and Amber Benson. I decided to answer questions about my newest book Odd Duck!

A little something about Jenn. She’s a cook, a nerdy girl, a sassy mom, a designer. You should totally check out her recipie blog. If you’ve ever wanted to make things like wookie cookies or princess leia cupcakes, her blog is the place to go. Right now she’s got a mochi book out. YUM.

Here are the medusa cupcakes she made for my book launch.
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The Next Big Thing: Odd Duck!

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Where did the idea come from for the book?
I think everyone I know is a little bit odd.

What genre does your book fall under?
It’s a hybrid graphic novel picture book for kids of all ages. (6 – 106) It’s written by me and illustrated by the fabulous Sara Varon.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie 
rendition?
It’d be voice actors! Because I would want an animated movie. I think I’d choose my old pal Reno Wilson to voice Chad and Jennifer Hale, from my fave video game Mass Effect, to voice Theodora. To round it out, let’s say Dave Foley, Sean Cullen and Jane Lynch for Gabe, Max and Velma.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Theodora is a normal duck, following her daily habits. Chad is a bit of a strange egg, chaotic and creative. But which of them is really the odd duck? (that’s from the Junior Library Guild page where it is a spring pick!)

When will this book be published?
It’s out on First Second in May 2013. You can pre-order it now. amazon barnes and noble powells indiebound

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I originally wrote it as an easy reader. So it was all text. Then Sara Varon came on board and we decided to throw out the words and make it pictures. Sara broke down the text and then we worked together on the pacing and fleshing out what needed to be fleshed out. All in all it took about three years.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Any book where there are two mismatched best buds.
Ernie and Bert. Wallace and Gromit. Bink and Gollie. Elephant and Piggie.
Oscar and Felix.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
Many years ago I was sitting at a dinner with author/artist Peter Reynolds. We started talking about the odd ducks we knew. I got an image of a duck swimming with a tea cup on her head. That’s when I came up with Theodora. I made everyone laugh at dinner with stories of Theodora. And what better way to ruffle her feathers then to have a new duck move in next door. . I loved the idea of Chad being loud and colorful and messy. I wanted to write a book about being okay with yourself being weird.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
What I like a lot about this book is that it really is for all ages. It works on three levels. Kids who can’t read can follow the pictures, which are adorable. Kids who can read can get more details about the story, not only in the regular text but in the asides that are in the pictures. And then I think that adults can enjoy it because because we as adults know exactly what it’s like to be a Theodora or a Chad.

Here are the other super talented people that Jenn tagged: Genevieve Tsai, Kristin Weber , Leslie Levings, Bonnie Burton

As for who I’m tagging to go next, I wanted to highlight some fantastic female writers/creators/artists that I adore and also call friends.

Jillian Lauren, Liza Palmer and Sherri L. Smith

Jillian Lauren is a sassy lady who writes non-fiction and fiction. She wrote the memoir, My Life as a Harem and the novel Pretty. She also performs. She just did a one woman show at the Edinburgh Fest! She keeps a great blog about motherhood, which I adore.

Liza Palmer has written five books. She’s emmy nominated. She’s best selling. She’s sassy, funny, plays board games and is always a good time. She wrote More Like Her, A Field Guide to Burying your Parents, Seeing me Naked, Conversations with the Fat Girl and her most recent, Nowhere but You. Chuck her books into your bag and read them everywhere.

Sherri L Smith is an award winning YA author. She wrote one of my fave historical fiction YA books, Flygirl, which won the California Gold Medal. She’s worked in comic books, has helped organize special effects, makes cool jewelery and is an all around great gal to go to a comic book convention with. Her new book Orleans is an amazing dystopian YA set in a post hurrican New Orleans. So. Good. She blogs over at the Middle Hundred.

And I’m going to back tag Sarah Kuhn and Amber Benson

New York Comic Con Schedule

I’ll be at the NY Comic Con this weekend. Here are my panels. Please come and say hello!

Saturday, October 13 1:30-2:30pm
HOCUS POCUS: MAGIC & MONSTERS IN SCI FI AND FANTASY. , followed by a signing by all participating authors. With: Andrea Cremer, Cecil Castellucci, Jacqueline Carey, Jocelynn Drake, Kim Harrison, Max Gladstone, Richard Kadrey, Victoria Schwab.

Sunday, Oct. 14, 4:00 – 5:00PM
Getting Graphic with Girls: Empowering Girls and Addressing Issues through Paneled Pictures, with Cecil Castellucci, Colleen Venable, and Lucy Knisley (Room 1A01)

Come and say HI!!!

Letters for Kids

I think it’s long been known that I love mail.  I love writing letters and receiving them.  Therefore, I think you will understand when I announce with such happiness that I am the Children’s Correspondence Coordinator for the Rumpus’ new Letters For Kids!

Basically, you can subscribe your kid (or yourself) to receive two letters a month from middle grade authors.  So far up on dock, we’ve got letters coming to you from people like Natalie Standiford, Lemony Snicket, Adam Rex, Rebecca Stead and more to be announced.  Think of it as a way to introduce your wee ones to the joy of receiving mail.  It’s $4.50 a month.  You can sign up your classroom or library, too!  And you can even write back!

TCAF / Toronto Comic Arts Festival

Hello all!

I’m going to be at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) this weekend. It’s at the Toronto Public Library at 789 Yonge Street and it’s free! I’ll be at the Librarian and Educator day on Friday for the author luncheon. Then I’m tabling with Nate Powell, the illustrator of my new novel The Year of the Beasts! We’ll be on the second floor so come on by and say hello. I’ll have books for sale.

My panel is on Sunday, May 6, 2012 | The Pilot 22 Cumberland Ave.

2:00 – 3:15 – Making Comics: The Process
Creators discuss how they make comics: what’s the process of writing and drawing that they go through to create individual creative projects? When a comic varies from only writing to nonfiction journalism to fantasy, how does the process change? With Mike Dawson, Adam Warren, Cecil Castellucci, and Kagan McLeod. Moderator: Tina Coleman

The American Cinematheque / celebrates Robert Downey Jr

My fine friends. Many of you know that I am a cinephile. And many of you know that I have had a long and wonderful relationship with the American Cinematheque. I’ve volunteered there, I’ve worked there, I even had my character Egg, from Boy Proof, have an internship there. Every year the American Cinematheque has a gala fundraiser where they give an award and celebrate an actor. This year it’s Robert Downey, Jr. (swoon!)

One thing that you can do to help the Cinematheque is to watch the Ustream of the red carpet at 6:30 PM (PDT) The Cinematheque earns a revenue share for every viewer who watches live.


Streaming by Ustream

in progress : literary diaspora

As some of you, but surely not all of you, may know, I have been conducting my very first conceptual art project which I call The Literary Diaspora You can follow along @litdiaspora on the twitter or on the litdiaspora on the tumblr I hope you will.

What is the Literary Diaspora? It’s a playful game of narratives. Think of it like a strange exquisite corpse, where I send a blank postcard and a word or phrase to visual artists and ask them to send back a piece of work inspired by it. Then I print 10 copies of that image and I send one of those cards to an author and ask them for a microfiction, or a poem, or tiny philosophical thought. The other cards I slip into that authors book in bookstores. Not just in LA! Everything is done through the post. Mail! Lovely mail!

A diaspora is a scattering or a dispersion.

I am curious to see what will come back to me. And it’s been great fun to see what’s been returned.

Some pretty amazing people have participated. Visual Artists who have returned cards include Becky Cloonan, Chip Zdarsky, Darina Karpov, Jen Wang, Julia Denos, Ken Garduno, Rachel Perry Welty, and Sara Varon to name a few.

Authors who have returned text include: Blake Nelson, Cory Doctorow, Emma Straub, Marie Mutsuki Mockett, Marisa Silver, Natalie Standiford, and Patrick deWitt to name a few

There is always more arriving.  I hope you will follow along!

And if you are at the West Hollywood Book Fair, on Oct. 2,  you may just find a card in a book you buy.

Returned art by Gabriela Salazar / word given “dreaming”

Returned text by Steve Almond on the card “Relaxed Shoe” by Joe Infurnari

star wars essay – my life long love / hate affair

So excited to share with you all an essay that I wrote about my life long love-hate affair with Star Wars! It’s up on the fabulous io9 today. Please enjoy!

my star wars indie rock song “nerdy girl” by nerdy girl

Me and some of my fave peeps on the Ep 1 line ’99

*edited to add photo of amidala tattoo*

another year, another comic con

It was just a quick dip this year. A little skip in and skip out to the nerd prom. I headed down on Thursday at the crack of dawn and took the train down to San Diego. I ran into my one of my swell agents on the ride down so a good time was had gabbing away.

On the way to the convention center I saw this Dr Who Exterminator dress. Love!

My first stop was the DC booth. I’m a Roaring Brook /:01 girl now, but my instinct this year was to go to DC and check in. Mostly because I had a meeting with my Plain Janes editor the divine Shelly Bond. Also because I am still trying to cook up something DC. Keep all fingers crossed.

Then I skipped over to Top Shelf where I hung out with the fabulous Nate Powell. Nate’s new book Any Empire is fantastic. You should go get it now. And I think many of you know that Nate is drawing my new hybrid prose/ graphic novel The Year of the Beasts. (Roaring Brook Spring 2012) He had just handed in a chapter and so I just threw him love love love of the art art art.

Me and Nate Powell!

A quick wander around the floor and then it was time for my panel on Teen Comics. It was Me, Hope Larson, Gene Luen Yang and Nate Powell and it was moderated exquisitely by Scott Westerfeld.


(picture nicked from Melissa Wiley)

I could have talked for about this subject (What is YA graphic novel!) for a million more hours with these smart cats. Really brilliant things said. Go buy all of their books if you haven’t yet. As a special treat Scholastic gave me a box of ARCs of First Day On Earth to hand out. It’s exciting to have a new book making its way in the world.

Then it was time for the soirees. I went to Scholastic’s party for Jeff Smith’s Bone (Congrats on 20 years!). I got to hang out with Raina Telemeiger (congrats on your Eisner, Raina!) and Lisa Yee!

Then I ended the night at the CBLDF party. Support them. It’s important.

The next day it was a nice breakfast with people like Marc Bernardin and Josh Fialkov. Then some more wandering around. Buying a Gama-go t-shirt. Buying an original piece of art from Ken Garduno (like I do every year.)

Running into a female Chewbacca.

Buying a choker from Sherri L Smith at the Tired Girl collective

eating Just Jenn Yoda cookies.

Heading over to the Javi Grillo Marxuach Ramiel signing

falling in love with this awesome Spoonful of Star Wars art project 100 figures 100 paintings

and then paling around with the lovely Becky Cloonan. (You should pick up her new mini comic WOLVES.)

Then it was back to Los Angeles. This year, a short but sweet show. See you next year Comic Con.

LaunchPad 2011 (aka Space Science Camp)

Most of you know that I really love outer space. Almost all of my books have some kind of observational astronomy in it. My newest book, First Day on Earth, (coming out in November 2011) is a Sci Fi(ish) book. And my current work in progress, The Tin Star, is a two book series that takes place on a space station around an extra solar planet. So, you know, finding out that there was a workshop to teach writers about space science… well… I could not apply fast enough.

And so last week I went to LaunchPad 2011 (aka space science camp.) It was the most fun and brain breaking thing ever.

LaunchPad is the brainchild of astronomer and sci fi writer Dr. Mike Brotherton (Spider Star and Star Dragon) It’s been funded by NASA and the NSF and its goal is to teach writers (of sci fi) space science so that the science is correct in your fiction. (I know, right? AMAZING!)

It takes place at the University of Wyoming in Laramie. (by the way, we all know Laramie has a bad rap. But it’s a sweet cute place. Totally adorable. For example, i saw a pair of victorian boots that I am coveting and also the cowboy saloon and dancehall which we got to sneak into and look at its amazingness – including saddle seat bar stools and a buffalo that snorts smoke. I was sad the saloon was closed for summer.)

Cowboy Saloon and Dancehall. I know you are two-stepping in your mind right now.

We were there for one week. Every day we had a lecture on space science. For a space dork like me it was amazing. I learned so much.

My fave things were the lecture on Dust.

Learning about Stars. Learning about space medicine. Dark Matter. Spectrograph lab.

I even liked cosmology. (although it nearly broke me.)

We had two observing nights. I so desperately wanted to see M51 because there is a supernova in it right now. But we couldn’t see it from where we were. A stupid streetlamp was in the way and the weather was not cooperating. But we saw clusters (open and globular) Saturn. M82 galaxy. The Ring Nebula. I admit, many of these things looked like smudges. But they were very. cool. smudges.

We also went to WIRO (Wyoming InfraRed Observatory)

It was way up high on Mount Jen… Gorgeous. There was a lightning storm that surrounded us below. We could see bolts in the sky.

Lovely grad students Rana and Jessie let the few of us stay later help to open the telescope door and engage the telescope.

Dani opening the observatory doors.

Me in front of WIRO (pic by Liz)

The late night WIRO crew – Chris Rowe, Dani Wolff, Me!, Liz Gorinsky, Shelly Li (Todd Van der Mark took the pic)

I enjoyed the fine company of all of my fellow classmates. And I know that my reading list got huge. I think you should probably go read them all, too. Liz Gorinksy, Greg Fishbone, Mike Albo, KC Ball, Shelly Li, Todd Vandermark, Christopher Rowe, Stan Schmidt, Jennifer Willis, Danielle Wolff, Henry Strattman, Deborah J Ross , Shariann Lewitt, An Owomoyela , Pembroke Sinclair, Eric James Stone

And if you write Sci Fi, or long to, you should totally apply to LaunchPad next year. (And if you are science organization, (hint hint NASA and NSF) you should continue to support them.)

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