Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Blog Tour: The Creation of Compass South
By Hope Larson and Rebecca Mock

Tour organized by First Second Books
See full schedule HERE

 I love getting to look behind the scenes, which is perfect because this blog tour is all about how a book gets made. Most specifically, how author and illustrator Hope Larson and Rebecca Mock created their new middle-grade adventure graphic novel Compass South.

Today, Rebecca Mock is stopping by to talk about character and setting design.

Welcome to Love is not a triangle!


Character / Setting Designs
By Rebecca Mock

Before I even started developing, we had already roughly designed the 4 main characters, Cleo & Alex, and the other two brothers, Silas and Edwin--though my style of drawing them has changed dramatically from their first designs.

This was the first drawing I sent to Hope--we ended up including this in the Book pitch, along with the first 12 pages of the book and an outline of the plot.

And this is the design for Cleo and Luther from the first chapter. Beside it is the first page of Compass South I ever drew, as part of the 12-page pitch sample--drawn in December 2012. I wouldn't start drawing the rest until August 2013.

While Hope was finalizing the script and before I started on official artwork, I took a few months to immerse myself in research and development. Hope had already contributed a great deal to the imagery of the entire book--she collected dozens of reference photos specific to each scene for me to work from. I needed to familiarize myself with the imagery of the mid-1800’s in general, as well as many specific places, fashions and items. 

Hope also sent me reference books & comics to help inspire me. A few in particular that I referenced constantly throughout research & sketching were Miss Don't Touch Me by Kerascout, Isaac the Pirate by Christophe Blain and a book called Seamanship: In The Age of Sail by John Harland. I looked to these books to help me solve the visual puzzles Hope was creating in her script. How did Kerascout show a space, introduce a character, build tension? A couple other books that I used a lot were Blacksad by Juan Diaz Sanchez and Juanjo Guarnido,  and The American-Built Clipper Ship by William L Crothers. Hope also suggested thinking about manga-style action scenes like those in Lone Wolf & Cub. 

I love Blacksad. I love it.

William L. Crothers saved my neck a dozen times with his super-clear and accurate ship illustrations. (I can’t claim to be nearly as accurate as his diagrams, though).

Isaac The Pirate by Cristophe Blain

I sketched everything on copy paper so I could shuffle and rearrange it all when I needed to. 

I researched each scene and minor character. This story moved at fast pace, with many exotic locations and a wealth of characters. I have a thick stack of these reference sketches, many of which ended up tacked to my wall. I sent all my sketches to Hope, and she would send feedback. 

Here are the first drawings of one of my favorite side characters, The Mate. We wanted him to have a high, wrinkly forehead and gnarly face, but to also be dashing. Here also is The Captain and the “sea dog”:

Thanks for stopping by and for giving us this peek into how you created your graphic novel! 

About the Book: 

Compass South
by Hope Larson &
Illustrated by Rebecca Mock
Published: June 28, 2016 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Book Description: It's  1860 in New York City.  When twelve-year-old twins Alexander and  Cleopatra's father disappears, they join the Black Hook Gang and are  caught by the police pulling off a heist.  They agree to reveal the  identity of the gang in exchange for tickets to New Orleans.  But once  there, Alex is tricked into working on a ship that is heading for San  Francisco via Cape Horn.  Cleo stows away on a steamer to New Granada,  where she hopes to catch a train to San Francisco to find her brother.   Neither Alex nor Cleo realizes the real danger they are in--they  are being followed by pirates who think they hold the key to treasure.  How they outwit the pirates and find each other makes for a fast-paced,  breathtaking adventure.


About the Authors: 

Hope Larson adapted and illustrated A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel, for which she won an Eisner Award. She is also the author and illustrator of Salamander DreamGray HorsesChiggers, and Mercury. She lives in Los Angeles. hopelarson.com

Rebecca Mock is an illustrator and comics artist. Her work has appeared  in various publications, including theNew York Times and the New Yorker.  She is co-organizer of the Hana Doki Kira anthology. Compass South is  her first book. rebeccamock.com

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Blog Tour: Burn by Paula Weston

Blog tour organized by Tundra Books
See the full schedule HERE

Burn is the final installment in the Rephaim series that began with Shadows. It's been a rush of a journey, and I still cannot believe it's over! 

Check out my thoughts on the first three books in the series, ShadowsHaze & Shimmer.

NOTE: If you have not started this series yet, this review contains spoilers for the previous installments (including the book description). I recommend you start with my thoughts on Shadows. 
by Paula Weston
Read: June 24 - 26, 2016
Published: June 24, 2015 by Text Publishing
Source: Paperback purchase 
Category: Angels, Demons, YA/NA
Series: Rephaim 4/4
Suddenly, Gaby remembers everything.
For a year she believe she was a backpacker chilling out in Pandanus Beach. Working at the library. Getting over the accident that killed her twin brother.

Then Rafa came to find her and Gaby discovered her true identity as Gabe: one of the Rephaim. Over a hundred years old. Half angel, half human, all demon-smiting badass and hopelessly attracted to the infuriating Rafa.

Now she knows who faked her memories, and how—and why it's all hurtling towards a massive showdown between the forces of heaven and hell.

More importantly, she remembers why she's spent the last ten years wanting to seriously damage Rafa.
Aaaaahhhhh. Let's take a moment and admire all four of the Rephaim series books together and the long journey we've taken to get to the last installment. I can't believe we're at the finale already. I've been desperate for this time to come, and also dreading it, because it means everything is over now *sobs*. But, really, look how gorgeous those covers are. You definitely want all four of books for their covers alone, and thankfully, the story found within these pages is completely addicting too. 

My favorite aspect of this series has always been the characters and their relationships with each other, and that stands through the final installment as well. I've fallen in love with Gaby, Jude, Rafa and everyone else, and I've become completely invested in their lives. Especially Gaby's search to discover who she is and where she fits in her world. I've been consumed right along with Gaby as she's sought to reconcile her past self as Gabe with present self, and it is in Burn that answers finally come to her and to us. Who was she before? Why did she leave the Sanctuary 11 years ago? And what happened a year ago with Jude that led to her memory loss and disappearance? It's all in here, and answered in a clear and satisfying way, including a fair bit of flashback. Some of the past moments were difficult to relive, and I ached right along with Gaby as I relived them with her. But it was such a relief to finally know everything, and very rewarding to see how far the characters have grown and changed since then. 

But it is not just the past that Gaby and friends have to contend with in this installment. A demon war is coming to the shores of Gaby's idyllic beach town. And the Rephaim are still trying to locate the Fallen. This story is intense in places, balancing out the emotional, relational aspects with danger and high energy battle scenes, and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to find out what would happen next and how it all would go down in the end.  

Burn wraps up the series well, in a way that is satisfying but also leaves room for more stories. Although I want to give these characters some peace for a while, I'd love to see them again one day. And if not, I can imagine the adventures they'll have ahead. The entire Rephaim series comes highly recommended from me. I dare you not to become addicted from the very beginning of Shadows to the end of Burn.
Love Triangle Factor: None in the series (But these two have a messy past that is finally explained in this book).
Cliffhanger Scale: Series end
About Paula Weston
I'm the author of the Rephaim series.

I'm also an avid reader and blogger, a huge fan of Australian literature and fantasy/paranormal stories, a closet comic reader and TV addict...and I'm borderline obsessed with the Foo Fighters.
Find the author: Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Giveaway 1: Finished copies of Shimmer and Burn by Paula Weston

Giveaway 2: A finished Copy of Burn by Paula Weston

Giveaway is for US & Canada residents only (Sorry, other international readers!)
You must be at least 13 years old to enter
See my policies HERE 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

BLOG TOUR: Goldfish by Nat Luurtsema
Would You Rather Character Interview

Tour organized by Fierce Reads
Go HERE for the full schedule 

I had such a great time reading Goldfish by Nat Luurtsema!
This book was hilarious and over the top, and I couldn't stop reading it. I especially loved Lou's voice. (See my full thoughts HERE)

Today, I'm excited to have a visit from Louise Brown and her Aquarium Boys 


Welcome, Lou, Gabe, Roman and Pete! I hope you're as excited as I am to be playing a round of Would You Rather. Feel free to elaborate – even the guys (I know that’s hard for you)!

1) Would you rather never play OR play but always lose?

Lou – Never – losing is so hard, it’s like lemons on a paper cut.
Gabe – I don’t mind, I’m used to there being things I can’t do, I’m cool with it.
Roman – Never play, I don’t want to look stupid.
Pete – Never play, I don’t want to mess up my hair for nothing.

2) Would you rather have a rewind button OR a pause button in your life?

Lou – Rewind, to swim faster at the time trials!
Gabe – Pause the times when I’m well, because I’m ill so often.
Roman – Rewind to before I made a prat out of myself in front of thousands of people.
Pete – Same as Roman.

3) Would you rather give out bad advice OR receive bad advice?

Lou – I’m always on the receiving end of bad advice from my dad, I’m experienced at smiling and nodding an zoning him out.
Gabe – Receive! I'd feel awful if I gave bad advice and ruined someone’s life!
Roman – I don’t need anyone’s advice, I’d give it.
Pete – People who need advice are well whiny. BORING.

4) Would you rather always have to say everything on your mind OR never speak again?

Lou – I always DO say everything on my mind. I’m used to the awkwardness now.
Gabe – Never speak again, I suppose, if I can write instead?
Roman – I'd go with never speak again, and be the strong silent type.
Pete – I shouldn’t say exactly what I’m thinking. It’s 90% boobs.

5) Would you rather live in a house made entirely of glass you couldn’t cover OR a house that had no windows at all? (This sounds a lot like a metaphor for performance pools…)

Lou – Yes! A house of glass! Those performance pools are beautiful, even if I humiliate myself in them.
Gabe – If it’s made entirely of glass won’t everyone see me go to the toilet?
Roman – Same question as Gabe.
Pete – Same question as Gabe. I think the three of us will go for the windowless house thanks, and Lou can show everyone her bum if she wants to.

Thanks for stopping by guys! And good luck in your future endeavors. You all certainly entertained me.


About the Book: 

by Nat Luurtsema
Published: June 7, 2016 by Feiwel & Friends

Book Description: Lou Brown is one of the fastest swimmers in the county. She’s not boasting, she really is. So things are looking pretty rosy the day of the Olympic time-trials. With her best mate Hannah by her side, Lou lines up by the edge of the pool, snaps her goggles on and bends into her dive… 

Everything rests on this race. It’s Lou’s thing.

… or it was. She comes dead last and to top it all off Hannah sails through leaving a totally broken Lou behind.

Starting again is never easy, particularly when you’re the odd-one out in a family of insanely beautiful people and a school full of social groups way too intimidating to join. Where do you go from here? Finding a new thing turns out to be the biggest challenge Lou’s ever faced and opens up a whole new world of underwater somersaults, crazy talent shows, bitchy girls and a great big load of awkward boy chat. 

Lou Brown guides us through the utter humiliation of failure with honesty, sass and a keen sense of the ridiculous. This girl will not be beaten.

Find the Book: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Indiebound
See my thoughts on Goldfish HERE

About the Author: 

Nat Luurtsema is a BAFTA-nominated screenwriter, a BAFTA Rocliffe alumni, stand-up comic, author, actor and a third of sketch group Jigsaw.

She has just finished directing WYRDOES, a comedy feminist ‘Macbeth’, with backing from Film London, Film4 and the British Arts Council. It will be a part of the Shakespeare Lives worldwide tour, which will play to an audience of 500 million.

Nat plays Tallulah Bankhead in FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS, directed by Stephen Frears.

Nat is developing two feature films and adapting the novel Spilt Milk Black Coffee by Helen Cross, for Mighty Atom Entertainment.

Nat’s latest book is a Young Adult novel – GIRL OUT OF WATER – to be published June 2016 in the UK, Germany, France and Italy. It will simultaneously publish as GOLDFISH in USA.

Find the Author: Twitter | Website | Goodreads



Giveaway is for US residents only (Sorry, international readers!)
You must be at least 13 years old to enter
See my policies HERE

Win a finished copy of Goldfish

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