Review: A Once Crowded Sky

A Once Crowded Sky
a novel

Author: Tom King
Illustrator: Tom Fowler
Publisher: Simon&Schuster
Cover Price: 14.99 CAD

I have had varying degrees of opinions at different stages while reading this book. Never have I felt so bi-polar while reading and at times conflicted on what is happening before mine own eyes! I really wanted to make this point now before the continuing; this was one of the hardest reviews to write but after some convincing (at  Book Camp TO 2012) I’ve decided to go ahead and share my thoughts on this story.

The plot is simple and follows your basic super hero story with a twist of despair.

From the Publisher: 

Read the rest of this entry

Guest Blogging

It’s been a while and I’m going to throw out an apology to readers and fans: I shouldn’t have gone away but sometimes the plate gets a little full. With some shuffling and a few shifts in work time management it looks like I’m getting back in the swing.

And the first thing to greet those who miss hearing my musings? I’ve written a small article for WorkingInPublishing.com titled “Where do you go from here? From intern to Publishing Professional

You can view the article here and don’t forget to check out the rest of the site. They’re a group of industry professional that blog about entering and working in the book publishing industry. The website is an extension of a new series of ebooks they’re planning on releasing soon.

So now that you’ve either read or ignored the link I think a little on guest blogging is the topic of the day.

I didn’t solicit this guest posting, but was very happy to write. WorkingInPublishing has posted a short blog on Ryerson’s Publishing Program  and included my review from last year. A fellow classmate of mine also did a 3-part series on her experiences in Ryerson and they are helpful to have a clearer idea of just what you’re getting yourself into. Now if you did read the guest post you’ll notice it was… in my opinion… bland. What do you write about when ask ‘tell us a bit about your carreer and how you got there in 500 words or less’?

A credit to WorkingInPulishing: they gave me the creative license to write what I wanted to but a failing on my part for not being able to narrow down some harder points in the short word count.

Ultimately the message of the article is true to just about any profession one might tackle: It is what you put into it. The Ryerson program, my job hunting, my internships and ultimately my day job now with Master Point Press are measures of myself and how much effort I’ve put into being a part of this industry. Some are lucky and fall into positions (pointing at this girl with my first internship) but at some point we all have to work hard for what we want. It may not have been the most detailed, thought-provoking or mind-boggling message but it was one I think publishing professionals in particular need to really get early on. I wish I’d been told sooner, to be honest, but I’m happy where I am nonetheless.

But the beauty of a guest blog post, beyond cross publicity and opportunity to expand connections, is the experience to work with other people even if in small measure. You are reaching a greater audience and having a wonderful chance to expand your own opinions and views. So I would like to send a thank you (beyond the few I’ve already done) to the WorkingInPublishing team. Jude Kahn was cheerful and great to deal with and the posting was quick.

All that aside  there is more to look forward to in the near future. A solicited review or two in the mix along with some personal faves and how-to’s down the road.

Cheers.

Those Who Can’t Do Publicize

It’s not true or at least I’m hoping it’s not.

Lately I’ve been dabbling in different types of writing and even some comic book script writing. It’s not as easy as some might thing but I’ve got a secret weapon that’s not so secret.

ComixTribe’s The Proving Grounds

Steven Forbes over at CT has a fantastic weekly post where he rips scripts to shreds in a constructive way! It’s a method of teaching and help he’s offering to the comic book community that I’m really happy he’s doing and not just because he’s edited my script. Steven’s able to find some of the problems met in writing and with the Bolts and Nuts he gives a heads up on how to avoid them.

So take a look at what he says on my script and of course what he’s said on the ones before me and after. He’s a great editor and is here to help.

I’m now off to fix what I’ve done wrong. It’s a start!

Crawling back to the blogverse

As a publicist I have to be able to make and maintain a schedule. Sometimes for myself and sometimes for others. Either way, ignoring a responsibility is not in the job description and so I’m back to blogging everywhere I feel I should. I’m thinking that this is the perfect time to talk about scheduling and keeping commitments you make to not only clients but to yourself as well. But where do we begin?

I think the basic and sometimes the hardest part of the schedule is realizing your limits. Now this isn’t a repeat of the ‘goals’ post but looking at instead the realistic planning that goes into a schedule for yourself and clients. How long do you need for each task? What do you schedule for? How tight can you make it?

The short answer: loosely fill the time with what you know you’ll be able to accomplish and prioritize the most important tasks first.

If you schedule too much in say a day of interviews your client could a) miss an important meeting/interview due to the benign like traffic or b) be too exhausted to perform up to par. Publicity is about being your best and garnering the attention you deserve for doing so. If you are too exhausted from that 25 minute subway ride, that was delayed so you had to run to the interview, to be able to talk you’ve lost your chance and a good opportunity to reach your audience and publicize yourself and your product.

There must always be a contingency plan for the best and worst case scenario because both are likely. It’s sort of like a relay; when you think of scheduling you plan for it all to go well but also for the chance someone drops the proverbial ‘ball’ and you need another plan to pick it back up. I’m trying to think of some good examples but now I’m still on the inexperienced side and don’t have too many juggling experiences to share. But I do have one a former professor enjoyed telling.

She had an author who was new, completely inexperienced with media. The media training began and the schedule  had to be light to afford any surprise situations around the media hits. There was an interview her client had to conduct on a morning television show. Very brief intro about herself and about the book, maybe a 3-5 minute slot and then it would be over. All the media training in the world couldn’t prepare them for the earlier act taking too long and suddenly 3-5 minutes became 2-3 and then 2 minutes or less. The author, who was already jittery, was starting to feel the pressure and nearly cracked on camera. Nearly. My professor was lucky in this case, had she been given the full 5 minutes there might have been a mess to clean up but all in all it worked out well. They had to adjust and the schedule was airy enough to give them room to breathe and have a relaxing drink afterwards to calm both their nerves.

But there’s also your own schedule, and this I have much more experience in. I often try to take on too many ‘tasks’ or ‘activities’. You could probably call them hobbies or chores, but whichever they are I have too many and promise myself too much. In an experiment I’m trying something a little more straight forward and treating myself like a client: What can I actually, physically and mentally get done on my epic ‘to-do-list’? Not what I want, but what the client ‘Lisa’ can do and where I can make room for flops, early arrivals and disasters alike.

I need to rank my tasks by what’s most important to me and then work out how they work into my already existing life schedule. Blogging is a good start. I’m making a weekly schedule to try to keep on top of the blogosphere and produce the content I like in the time frame I think is reasonable. In the mix I need to devote considerable time to my new clients at ComixTribe and remember to have fun with family and friends. If I don’t, what’s the point?

This is the beginning of an organizing attempt for this new 26-year-old (My birthday was this weekend and with it I remembered how to have a good time). Here’s to hoping I can keep up this new schedule and continue to please my most important and demanding client; myself.

Do you have any scheduling tips? Geared for publicity or not I’d love to hear them.

 

You In on the SCAM? Release: Joe Mulvey’s SCAM #1

Now to share the love and highlight some work: Press release made in conjunction with ComixTribe Staff. And of course remember to check out SCAM #1: In Stores and online January 25th, 2012.

God I love this job.

—-

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 11, 2012 — New York, NY — The first printing of SCAM #1, the comic book debut of writer/artist Joe Mulvey, will hit the shelves of select comic retailers on January 25, 2012.

SCAM is “X-Men meets Oceans 11″ and involves a team of super-powered grifters on the biggest con of their lives…taking down a Vegas casino and getting revenge on a former teammate who double-crossed them.

SCAM #1 is the double-sized first installment of a five-issue mini-series, and marks the latest release from creator-owned publisher ComixTribe (The Red Ten, The Standard.)

 Release Date January 25th, 2012


The first printing of SCAM #1 will be only 777 copies, and available in just 21 Comic Shops.  Physical retail copies of the books will be EXCLUSIVE to only those 21 stores for 30 days, before ComixTribe open up wider distribution for the second printing and future issues.

 CONFIRMED RETAILERS

Third Eye Comics – (Pitt Boss Retailer! Exclusive Store Variant Available!)
Double Midnight Comics – Manchester, NH
Friendly Neighborhood Comics (SCAM Tour Destination!) Bellingham, MA
Larry’s Wonderful World of Comics (SCAM Tour Destination!) – Lowell, MA
Happy Harbor – Edmonton, Alberta, CA
Alpha Comics – Calgary, Alberta, CA
Jetpack Comics – Rochester, NH
Casablanca Comics – Portland, ME & Windham, ME
Comics Den – Queens, NY
Collectors Paradise  – (Pitt Boss Retailer! Exclusive Store Variant Available!) Winnetka and Pasadena, CA

Retailers: Interested in Joining the SCAM 21?

ComixTribe has a limited number of spots left for retailers interested in becoming one of only 21 retailers carrying SCAM #1 in January.  These spots will be filled first-come, first-serve, so if you are a progressive retailer looking to support quality creator-owned books and want exclusivity for 30 days, contact tyler.james@comixtribe.com (or DM @tylerjamescomic at Twitter) immediately.

Readers: Don’t Miss Out On SCAM #1 First Printing!

Want to make sure you get a copy of SCAM #1? Readers have three options available to purchase:

1.) Pre-order now from any of the retailers listed above to reserve your copy and pick-up January 25, 2012.

2.)  If your retailer is not carrying SCAM #1,
Pre-Order Online Today!

3.) Buy it digitally on January 25, from digital distribution partners, including Graphic.ly, DriveThruComics, MyDigitalComics, and Wowio.

Book Tour

New England Comics Retailers Alliance (NECRA) store tour
Saturday February 4th, 2012 @ 11:oo am –  Friendly Neighborhood Comics in Bellingham, MA
Saturday February 4th, 2012 @ 3:oo pm – Larry’s Wonderful World of Comics in Lowell, MA


     Story & Art – Joe Mulvey
     Digital Inks – John Ercek and Jules Rivera
     Colors - Andrew Crossley
    Letters - AndWorld Design
     Cover - JoeMulvey and Andrew Crossley
     Editor - Tyler James and Steven Forbes
     Publisher: ComixTribe
     Format: 44 pages, Full color
     Rarting: Teen + Up
     Price: $3.99
©2012 Joe Mulvey

Special Variant Availabe: 
SCAM #1 
Artist Edition Sketch Cover, featuring an original cover sketch by Joe Mulvey. These are limited to 100, signed, numbered. Note: Additional Artist Edition covers can be purchased for $24.99.

Joe Mulvey is a freelance graphic artist from NYC, trying to spread his love of comics and take over the world one panel at a time. Visit him at joemulveyart.com, or follow him on Twitter @joemulv

“Joe is one of the good guys,” says ComixTribe publisher Tyler James. “He’s been doing some incredible comic book advocacy work this year, most notably with his “What Do You Really Know About Comics” column at Comics Bulletin.com. He’s helping to grow the comic market one reader at a time and I’m thrilled to be helping him get SCAM out.”

ComixTribe is a publisher of creator-owned comics, including EPIC, Tears of the Dragon, The Red Ten, The Standard, SCAM, and Runners.  In addition to being a publishing imprint, ComixTribe is also an online community, with the mission statement: Creators helping creators make better comics. ComixTribe also sponsors the annual 30 Characters Challenge, an online art event where participants challenge themselves to create 30 brand new characters in just 30 days, one for every day of November. Visit ComixTribe.com, @ComixTribe on Twitter and on Facebook .

For Publicity and Public Relations Solicits:
Review Copy Requests, Interviews and more please contact

Lisa-Marie Wilson
Lisa-Marie.Wilson@comixtribe.com

Never gone, just preoccupied

I’ve been gone a long while. I should have posted weeks ago but this month has been hectic. Christmas, family, car accident, New Years, moving downtown and a second job.

Officially I am the new Publicity and Public Relations Manager for ComixTribe.

Neat, huh?

I’ve been working on a few things this new year with them that will all be revealed in the next few coming weeks. It’s been a great deal of exciting coupled with my new found ‘time management skills’. In all honestly I’m still trying to find them.

But I’m pleased and excited. New work, new tasks. The day job keeps me busy and so does the night but I am enjoying myself on all sides. Even despite the fact that moving in has been a frightful mess of time consuming unpacking I’m liking the turn my life has taken.

On ComixTribe.com, our publisher Tyler James made a great post about making and setting goals for the year.

Setting Your #MakeComics Goals for 2012

I’ve read through it and for a girl who loves lists I find myself hesitant to make goals right now. The beginning of this year has been hectic and although I like the progress and the turn my life has taken I do not enjoy the pace. A little too much in such a short time does not make for a happy camper.

So keeping some of Tyler’s suggestions in mind I want to add a criteria of my own: think long and hard about these goals before you  set them. I’m easily discouraged by negative reactions when stressed. Any other day and you couldn’t stop me but in the hustle and bustle sanity always comes first. Remember that when making your goals.

With that said and done I have a special surprise for you tomorrow morning. Watch, wait and learn!

As always Cheer and happy reading.

I hope to bring you a nice new set of reviews shortly : ComixTribe Title Features!

Multitasking During the Holidays

I have decided this year to give myself the gift of MADNESS. Not just because I love myself, but because I felt the need to gift something I truly needed in my life this time of year.

</Sarcasm>

I’m moving January 2nd. Excited by the prospect of making my own delicious food and not living in a basement anymore, this is something to look forward to. And I am, very very excited.

But this was a bad idea.

Christmas Holiday season is that wonderful time of year when us procrastinations suffer for our yearlong pastime of not taking care of shit. This of course leads to a multitasking nightmare that, each year, I’ve progressively become better at managing.

2011 though has smacked me in the face with awesome.

1)   Making a cookbook from scratch at my day job, while still conducting my other duties

2)   Christmas Gift shopping (which is done) but sacrificed my NaNoWriMo for

3)   New freelancing opportunity of fantastic that will be elaborated on soon. It is perfect, and although the key word in this freelancing activity is ‘free’ I’m going to love every time consuming minute of it.

4)   I will be going to four Christmas Dinners; the 17th, 24th, 25th, 26th, 27th.  Wait, scratch that, FIVE Christmas dinners. I will say this (and not as bitterly as you might assume) Divorce =’s LOTS of turkey during the holidays.

5)   Oh, and you know. Moving.

Ultimately I plan to have a mental breakdown on the 25th in the morning after all my presents are unwrapped and then realize I haven’t packed a thing and now must re-wrap all said unwrapping to prepare for the move.

So, for those who’ve done the same and have decided they want to challenge of maintaining sanity this holiday season here are my ‘Multitasking Tips’ to share with loved ones.

Don’t go to lots of holiday dinners: They won’t miss you. They’ll be too busy eating all that food you ate the last three nights so there’s nothing you’re missing. Turkey comas are great, but remembering the holidays is a nice treat, you should try it.

Use your vacation time before the end of the year. 2012 you might be pissed but 2011 you will love the sleeping in and the cuddling with stuffed animals you swore you’d get rid of when you were 12. And, if you’re a work alcoholic, do your other job while vacationing from your main one!

Give cards, not gifts.  They come in bulk, easily wrapped and is a perfect space for money. Because that’s all that will fit in there and for those distant cousins who you never really have anything to say to: it’s all they really want.

Don’t take on more jobs unless you just really can’t turn them down. And then, when you accept them forget how wonderful sleep is. Believe you are a vampire (sans sparkles) that needs no nutrition or sleep. Stay out of the sun too; you’ll probably burn up if you’ve been hunkering inside on your computer all day for the last month.

Stay away from malls.
Stay away from mall parking
Stay away from mall Santa
All of these things ARE holiday vampires that will suck and consume not just your soul but your precious multitasking time. Not done your shopping? Refer to the Cards cop-out. The only shop you need: Bank Machine.

Have that extra drink and decide you are not the DD tonight. If you need my tips, first I say you should seek real help, and second I know you are stressed. I don’t condone alcoholism, but I do think we need relaxants from time to time. Alcohol happens to be an effective and quick working one readily available at most holiday functions.

Ultimately try not to burn out. If that means putting some things on hold until the New Year, do that. You can’t always multitask everything: you can try, but it won’t end well.

My little holiday gift to you.

Cheers and Happy Hunting.

I’m sorry NaNoWriMo

The date: December 2nd 2011.

The task: Complete a 50,000 word novel in the month of november.

Status: 16,000 words complete.

Summary: 

FAIL!

I’m sad (but not ashamed) to say I failed to meet my NaNoWriMo goal this past month. I was doing quite well, had exceeded my daily word target until about the 12th when my life started becoming hectic.

  • I’m making a book from scratch for my job
  • My job is a job and takes up a great deal of my time and though
  • Friend came up from the states for a visit resulting in drinking and ignoring ‘To-Do’ list.
  • Christmas shopping was necessary this November because…
  • I am moving January 2nd
  • Became distracted with comic script writing…

Most of that is primarily awesome, if not al, so I’m not too ashamed about not meeting the deadline. My friend Tricia did and despite my distractions and her writing a freaking novel, she found the time to encourage me and keep it all going. I appreciated it, always will and I felt like I had lacked in the support department.

 

BUT all is well. It’s not the end of the world, as I had thought on November 20th when I was several thousand words behind. It was a goal and not every goal MUST be reached. The story idea is solid and I think I’ll keep going with it. Who knows, I might pick it back up next November, and try to add another 50,000 words to  my 16k total.

 

So now, I ask, how did everyone’s NaNoWriMo go? Finished? Never tried it?

Off the NaNoWriMo Wagon!

And I’ve done it.

I fell off the proverbial wagon; I am only at 15k words for NaNoWriMo and it’s Nov 17th.

It’s not the end of the world, I’m fully aware, but I’m a little disappointed in myself for doing so because I’m pretty sure I won’t make the 50k deadly in 2.5 weeks.

It all started when the boyfriend and I decided we should move. This of course meant all my obsessive attention that I lavished upon my novel went to ViewIt.ca, MyHood.ca and Ikea. And my lists (did I mention my obsessive compulsive list making?) It’s a shame, as I was doing so well and this idea I have is fun. Everyone I tell about it gets a little giggle and it’s so refreshing to write something a little off the wall compared to contemporary styles. From day-to-day I try to throw some more in but my head and heart are firmly distracted by this new shiny task set before me.

Then, I was given an amazing, special, stupendously wonderful opportunity at work.

To design, photograph, assemble and partly author a cookbook!

It’s for work and more details will come when it’s actually posted online bu by this time next month it’ll be finished, because I’ve focused on this project most of the time. I just need more recipe’s from a few people and it’ll be ready for all the photography, which I’ll be doing mostly by myself! I’m really excited and pumped that I get this chance, it will look amazing in a portfolio and is teaching me soo much about production. It won’t be perfect, not by any standard, but I’ll like it all the same.

So stay tuned and excited. Only a month to go. I am sorry NaNoWriMo, but at least it’s sort of the same thing! I will be making a ‘book’ in a month from scratch. Just not the way you mean me to!

Cheers and happy writing/reading.

Managing People: Never Easy

I’m not a manager in terms of title but on a day-to-day basis at my job I am in charge of up to 10 freelancers. It’s a wonderful aspect of the job, I get to talk to them about the projects (proofreading and .html epub ‘fixing’), most of them are or were in the publishing program so we have a great deal in common and we’re all in the same boat: trying to get into the industry.

The opportunity is fantastic, and although the pay isn’t amazing most of the freelancers express a sincere excitement to the process and we always encourage teaching and expanding their knowledge in any way we can.

I like managing them, keeping in touch and answering questions. Why just yesterday I created a lengthy walk-through on how to create a TOC and meta TOC in Sigil for our epub’s and quit a few thanked me for the walk-through and have already started including it in their work. It’s is probably one of the best introductions to a management position I could imagine.

But with the sweet comes the sour. And when you manage people you have to manage the problems. It would be unprofessional and disrespectful to relay any specific issues but this morning I had to tell an employee to find new work. It was not fun and I did not like it in the least. But when managing people you have to do just that: manage them, and if they are unmanageable or not meeting the goals required it is best for you and them that it’s said and dealt with.

I at first went online looking up standard policy as in this profession there is a high turnover rate, most freelancers leaving us instead of the other way around. Standard policy was cold and cruel so I started approaching it my way, which was not clear, and probably misleading in some way. So I turned to my mother, who despite not being a ‘manager’ manages people everyday.

She helped. Helped me understand people don’t always need the traditional helping hand, that although kind I also need to be clear, firm and unwavering in my decision and that I should prepare for a bad reaction no matter how kind, clear, understanding and friendly I may be.

The message is delivered and I still don’t know how I feel. I’m not comfortable with the uncomfortable, and I expect the worst in all cases. But I did my job and that is why I am in this position.

I don’t have any real advice if you’re looking for it. I don’t know if I’ve been fair really, and even if I think I have the employee may not. All I do know is that managing people has it’s up and downs, and someone has to look out for everyone even if it means they are the ones to say the hard things.

-Lisa

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