I’ve been sitting on this news for a while now, and I’m SO EXCITED to be able to tell you…
I have a new coloring book coming out next spring with Sterling Publishing! It’s called The Apocalypse Coloring and Activity Book, and it’s an informative, upbeat guide to surviving many common apocalypse scenarios – with fun activity pages!
What can you expect to find in The Apocalypse Coloring and Activity Book? Well, among other things:
- A bright side to the nuclear apocalypse
- Tips on how best to deal with life in a frozen hellscape, plague-riddled wasteland, and more!
- A quiz to help you assess whether your ally is secretly a killer robot
- Mazes and other fun activities to help pass the time in your bunker
- Finally, an answer to the question “Should I take a selfie with a zombie?” (Spoiler: NO)
And because it’s me, there’s body diversity and stuff, too.
The Apocalypse Coloring and Activity Book, guys. It’s going to be a thing. I’m still kind of in shock that a real publisher actually let me make this. (Shoutout to my editor, Kate Zimmerman, who has been fantastic to work with!)
I can’t wait to share this book with all of you. I hope you like it.
(And never fear, I’m still planning on self-publishing another coloring book before the year is up. If all goes well, The Robot’s Guide to Love should be out before Christmas.)
After a whirlwind week, I am thrilled to announce that I’m now represented by Beth Campbell at BookEnds, LLC. Beth is up for the task of handling everything I want to throw at publishers (coloring books, novels, eventually comics), as well as helping me protect and continue my self-published work. She’s amazing so far, and I’m looking forward to working on ALL THE THINGS with her!
Happy 2015! The past couple of months have been wild.
- Unicorns Are Jerks got mentioned on George Takei’s Facebook in November!
- io9 gave Mer World Problems a shout-out!
- December 2014 coloring book sales were RIDICULOUS (Thanks, George!), which means I can DEFINITELY do this thing full-time for another year! This time last year, I was half-convinced the whole coloring books thing was going to be a short-term fad. I’m glad to say it’s turning out to be at least a medium-term fad! I’ll happily keep making these things as long as you folks keep buying them. Thank you for giving me the best job ever.
- I signed on to illustrate my friend H. Jonathan Goltz’s upcoming project, a delightfully twisted post-apocalyptic picture book about making friends! It’s fantastically creepy-cute, and when it comes out in late 2016 you should definitely check it out.
- I did the cover art for Lyda Morehouse’s upcoming short sci-fi detective story “The Case of the Missing Devil Child,” which I’ll link to when it’s out.
- Unicorns Are Jerks showed up in unexpected places, which spread around Facebook and made it to The Daily Dot with possibly my favorite headline ever: Amazon Glitch Exposes Children to Anti-Unicorn Propoganda.
- I’ve just been welcomed into the Wyrdsmiths, a well-established local SFF writers group I’ve admired for years! They’re an awesome bunch of authors, and I’m beyond psyched to be joining them.
Mermaids might seem to have it all, with their shiny tails and fancy seashell castles, but life under the sea is full of difficulties. This coloring book features 20 examples of the most pressing issues mermaids face, including socially inept sea turtles, barnacle breakouts, interpersonal issues with fish, lack of wifi, and more.
Did I mention I now have a Society6 shop where you can buy prints, t-shirts, and other neat stuff with my art on them?
I’m adding to it whenever the mood strikes, so if there’s a particular piece you’d like to put on your wall or self, feel free to drop me a line and let me know about it.
I’m currently working under two comic anthology deadlines, so I haven’t been around much, but if you’re looking for me, I’ll be at two conventions in the next couple of weeks!
May 17 & 18
Minnesota State Fairgrounds – In the Grandstand
I’ll be tabling both days with my Black Hatters, bringing my usual small mountain of coloring books and little fanart watercolors – plus some prints of Nick Fury in a Flower Crown.
SpringCon is always a blast. It’s only $12 to get in and is packed with over 250 guest creators, so it’s a great place to meet your favorite comic artists and spend a fabulous day amidst your fellow geeks. You can check out SpringCon’s website here.
Madison, Wisconsin – Concourse Hotel
WisCon might just be my favorite convention ever. It’s also the place where Fat Ladies In Spaaaaace was born! If you’re interested in intersections of feminism and sci-fi/fantasy (with a hearty dose of squee), you should take a look at their website. And if you’re gonna be there, you can find me at these panels:
Comics Reading – Sat, 1:00–2:15pm in Conference 2
My companions will be reading their comics aloud, with accompanying projections. I, as the weird cousin of the comic group, will be reading aloud from a coloring book.
Coloring Contest… of DOOM! – Sun, 2:30–3:45 pm Senate B
We’ll bring the coloring supplies, you bring your imagination, and we’ll talk about coloring books while you color! It’s going to be great.
Also, my coloring books will be available in the Art Show all weekend.
Wow, this May is almost as busy as the last! (At least I’m not graduating or moving this time. Though I AM signing a lease next week.)
I’ve been doing SO MANY THINGS in the past few months, and most of them are comics!
First off, I’ve just completed a collaboration with the fantastic Ty and Lee Blauersouth of Studio Interrobang called Lights Out.
Lights Out is a collection of two short horror comics about things beyond the reach of the light. In Ty and Lee’s comic, “8 Minutes,” an astronomer watches the stars disappear from the sky. My comic, “Hello?” follows an amateur spelunker into a cave that’s been closed off for good reason.
We’re all really proud of this collection. Lights Out will be debuting at Anime Detour this weekend, where Studio Interrobang is a featured local comic team. (I’ll post a link here once it’s for sale online.)
Secondly, I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll have a comic appearing in Beyond, an upcoming anthology of queer SFF comics! It’s a sweet little trans superhero romance. Remember these two from a few months back?
Yeah, it’s their story. I fell head over heels for Chevron and Felix while writing the script, and I couldn’t be happier to bring them to Beyond.
And last but emphatically NOT least…holy crap, I’m gonna be in Smut Peddler 2014.
My friend Abby Lark wrote the most adorable little pegging comic you’ve ever seen, and I’m drawing it. We came into this project late as pinch hitters, and being included is, frankly, a totally intimidating honor. I’ve been reading a lot of these creators’ work for YEARS, and based on the comics I’ve read so far, I’m pretty sure this book is going to beat the pants off Smut Peddler 2012.
The Smut Peddler 2014 Kickstarter just launched a few hours ago and is already jogging toward fully funded. Check it out here!
More project news later. I’ve gotta go crawl into my comics drawin’ nest and get some work done.
Hey, Twin Cities locals! I HAVE AN ART SHOW THIS FRIDAY!
Friedman Iverson in Northeast Minneapolis is presenting A Field Guide to the Alternate Universe, a show featuring the work of myself and four other fantastic comic artists. Click the Facebook link there for time and place details.
It’s going to be a blast – free drinks, great company, and of course, awesome art. This will be the first time Dinosaurs With Jobs will be available out in the non-internet wild.
And hey, if you’re still planning on entering my coloring book giveaway, you’ve got three days left!
I got to sketch through a dress rehearsal of Arabella last night, thanks to the ever-fabulous Minnesota Opera Company. I’ve seen a lot of opera through their Social Media Preview events now, and I gotta say, Arabella was probably one of my favorite stories I’ve seen performed.
First performed in 1933, this opera is a comedy about a young woman named Arabella whose financially ruined family needs her to marry into money but who desperately wants to marry for love. She’s very beautiful and has a number of suitors, but none really float her boat. On the other hand, her little sister Zdenka, who dresses as a man so the family won’t have to pay to have two daughters out in society, is secretly head-over-heels for one of Arabella’s longtime suitors, Matteo.
Which brings us to reason #1 that I loved Arabella: Although the story could easily have gone there, the two sisters are not at odds with one another. They love each other deeply and support one another. Ladies supporting each other! I am always down for more of that!
Arabella’s suitors are, by and large…not fantastic prospects.
But then, along comes Mandryka. Mandryka is rich, handsome, and just got back from hunting a bear. Which he might have actually been wearing when he showed up. Reason #2 why I loved Arabella is Mandryka’s coat.
Mandryka comes in talking big about this bear he was hunting and how he basically got a little bit mauled by the bear and spent a his time in recovery with nothing but Arabella’s photo to keep him company. Which strikes me as a little creepy. I mean, dude spent like twelve weeks staring at a photo of a woman he’d never met, lovesick? I once had a stranger at con recognize me by my OK Cupid profile photo, and I made an excuse to flee. But then I suppose I wasn’t looking for a rich husband, and the dude at con wasn’t wearing a bear, so different circumstances.
Side note: It was around this point in the show that the friends I was sitting with and I all fell in love with the bear in Mandryka’s story. During intermission, we talked about how the bear should come back, the bear should show up for the big party in act 2, the bear would woo Arabella and fix everything and the show would now be called Bearabella. I spent the rest of the opera pretending the bear was in the background of every scene, waltzing with pretty girls and making “Oh no you didn’t” faces along with the other suitors. Not gonna lie, the bear is reason #3 why I loved Arabella. He didn’t show up on stage, but the whole bear story was just fantastic.
Anyway, at the party in the second act, Mandryka meets Arabella, they fall in love and get engaged, and then everything goes to hell in typical comedic opera fashion. Mistaken identity! Eavesdropping! Drinking! A woman who appears to be dressed as a lion tamer cracking her whip seductively at party guests! I swear I’m not making that last one up!
And here we come to reason #4 why I loved Arabella – the biggest reason: Arabella is a woman who demands respect and gets it.
When everything is confused and Mandryka accuses Arabella of being unfaithful to him with Matteo, she’s like “NOPE. You don’t get to talk to me like this, and you’d better hope I can forgive you.” When Mandryka is proven wrong, he immediately repents – loudly, repeatedly, with genuine sorrow – and she still takes some time before she can forgive him. Arabella is in charge of the outcome of this story, and she won’t settle for less than a man she loves with all her heart who will treat her with respect. She also stands up for her little sister even when Zdenka screws up big-time, is 100% pure class when she turns down suitors, and basically refuses to take any shit from anyone.
Arabella is my new favorite opera heroine.
For more information on the show or to buy tickets, click here. This one’s definitely worth your time.
National Novel Writing Month is one of those challenges I look longingly at every year, saying “Someday…someday, my love, we’ll be together.” I adore writing challenges. Testing my limits as an writer/artist is one of my favorite past times, as my friends will attest – probably with a lot of sighing and eye-rolling. But I was in school for a long-ass time, so the only time I’ve ever done NaNoWriMo was during a leave of absence in 2009. I won.
When I realized in late October this year that I would actually have time to do NaNoWriMo again, I talked myself into it in about thirty seconds.
And then NaNoWriMo actually started. I wrote up my novel summary, opened the document for it in Scrivener, and uh…NOPE.
This isn’t gonna work for me for three reasons:
- Since I started freelancing, I’ve been falling hard into the trap of tying my self-worth to the projects I’m putting out, and doing a big pass/fail writing challenge like this is only going to make that worse.
- I get incredibly single-minded on projects like this when rushed, to the point of neglecting important human things like sleep, food, and chores, and I still haven’t recovered from the Dinosaurs With Jobs binge. I did 99% of the work for that book in six weeks and then immediately dove into prep for an art show I’m doing in mid-November. My kitchen looks like a tornado full of frat boys hit it. I can’t reach the microwave, and the stovetop is buried. Half my meals in the past few days have been Halloween candy. HUMAN BEINGS WERE NOT MEANT TO LIVE LIKE THIS.
- I didn’t give myself enough prep time to dive into this novel right now. I need way more daydreaming time to get into the story. I often neglect the daydreaming part of my writing process because it doesn’t feel like DOING anything, but it’s kinda vital, since most of my pre-writing happens in my head when I’m slacking off and watching TV.
And y’know, I know I can write a novel in a month – that in itself is not an interesting challenge to me anymore. Hell, last November, when I was working on my graduate thesis, I reworked a 125,000 word novel in 18 days. And I did it without any pep talks, while maintaining a day job, a social life, and two Thanksgivings. (UPHILL IN THE SNOW! BOTH WAYS!) I am capable of that shit. But I still want to do a writing challenge of some sort in November, for Hufflepuff reasons.
Or, I guess, a writer challenge. Because for me, the hard parts of being a writer are not the writing itself. Words are hard but doable. The part I’ve never gotten the hang of is striking a balance between projects and life. So I’m gonna focus on that this November instead.
Here’s my new November writer challenge: I will spend this month learning to better balance my personal and creative life. If I get even a little bit better at this in a sustainable way, I’ll consider it a win.
More specific goals for the month:
- I’ll unfuck my entire damn apartment and start training myself into better laundry and dishwashing habits.
- I’m making a giant to-do list of little self-care assignments and grown-up tasks and will be checking at least one off per day.
- I’ll figure out better ways to work my fannish writing projects into my everyday creative life without them eclipsing or getting eclipsed by my original writing projects. I’m aiming to write, edit, and post two short fanfics I’ve been working on and start another long one I’ve been toying around with. (The art side of my fannish life doesn’t need this sort of focus. Fanart just happens.)
- I’m going to move forward on my thesis novel, actually revising my damn query letter and sending it out again. I’ve been stagnant in this area for months for fear of rejection, and it’s time for that to end.
- I’m still going to write the novel I chose for NaNoWriMo, but I’m aiming for 10,000 words – a solid start that I can build on over time instead of binging.
I’ll do a write-up of how this went when the month is up. Right now, I’m off to face the kitchen mess. If you don’t hear from me on Twitter in two hours, call the coast guard.