Hey everyone-- issue #7 of Astonishing Adventures magazine is finally online!
Have some crazy fun with the wonderful stories from writers like Mike Hughes, Christine Pope, Katherine Tomlinson, Sidney Harrison, Roger Alford, Brian Trent, Sarah Vaughn (aka Savivi), Kat Parrish, Michael Patrick Sullivan, G. Wells Taylor, and Cormac Brown.
Soak in the amazing images by artists like Larry Nadolsky, G. Wells Taylor, Sarah Vaughn, Susan Schader and also from yours truly!
Astonishing Adventures social network: astonishingadventuresmagazine.…
Astonishing Adventures Magazine Issue 7 Print Version: ISBN 1448687330, $10.00 www.amazon.com/Astonishing-Adv…
To read online or download at Issuu: issuu.com/astonishing/docs/aam…
To download if the Issuu link does not work: tiny.cc/ai2st
- Listening to: NPR
Thanks for all the favs, watches and comments, everyone! I've been away for months because I was sucked into a vortex of busyness. I'm still not entirely emerged yet... but I was able to update my website, with new work on the portfolio page (and a new splash page too)!
When I have the chance, I'll be uploading some of it here.
Now, I'm off to the SCBWI (Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators) summer conference in Century City!
- Listening to: KCRW
I did a number of illustrations for "Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches' Guide to Romance Novels" by Sarah Wendell and Candy Tan, and they were just interviewed on NPR's "All Things Considered." You can hear their interview here. www.npr.org/templates/story/st… You can also see my illustration on NPR.org!
Here's Mavis, the stereotypical romance novel reader, as described by Sarah and Candy:
"Beyond Heaving Bosoms" is available to buy now. www.smartbitchestrashybooks.co… It's a hilarious book with lots of great illustrations, by me and Carol Main. Check it out!
(I cross-posted this to my blog, which I'm finally doing something with, huzzah! www.joannerenaud.com/blog/)
- Listening to: KCRW
EDIT: Apparently the death of the Boba Fett fanclub page was an April Fool's prank. Wow, that was a good one! So, Cyan's Song can be read here: www.bobafettfanclub.com/multim…
Has it ever happened that you go looking for a story, that is, say- on your fanfiction.net favorites- only to find that it has completely vanished? And then you go searching for hours to find this particular story, only to find that it has disappeared into the cyber-aether, and the author has left no trace of herself either? That happened to me tonight. It was kind of an odd feeling, realizing that I had no idea what happened to a story that I enjoyed over summer vacation way back in '02.
However, I at last found this story, rather accidentally. The story in question- Cyan's Song, by Tasha Amos, or "miss tori"- used to be housed at the Boba Fett fanfiction archives, a site which has just died. RIP, Boba Fett! But at least I could use the Internet Archives to go through the old site, which you can't do with fanfiction.net, most annoyingly. It's also housed at the Jedifiction site, and you can read it here. www.jedifiction.com/archive/0/… I'm glad I found it, because when I read it, it brought back a lot of memories.
Was '02 really that long ago? I vividly remember sitting around the old Ellensburg apartment of my friend S., leaning against her leather ottoman, reading "Cyan's Song" on my Vaio. I was still attending Art Center, although at the time I was on break, and I was just discovering fanfiction for the first time. I have so many fond memories of this story. It's fun and fast-paced, but it also is rather purple, especially when describing the overwhelming beauty of the bounty hunter heroine, Cyan Starling. But, like any good romance novel, it's compulsively readable despite the occasional lapse into silliness, and I am certainly very interested in seeing what else the author has done. (I certainly never imagined Boba Fett as a sex symbol before I read this story!) Fanfiction.net was quite a smaller site seven years ago- even though it seemed pretty big to me at the time- and this story was very popular. It had a ton of reviews, and even a sequel. I wonder why the author pulled it down. In a way, it actually makes me a little sad.
At times like this, I realize the internet isn't quite as durable as it seems...
- Listening to: I Have a Dream- ABBA
- Reading: Cyan's Song- Tasha Amos
EDIT: This magazine is now for sale on Amazon, for a mere $9! Make sure to get it, it's filled with beautiful art and lots of exciting stories- including a steampunk story and a vampire story I illustrated, and my own toga porn article.
Here it is, my first magazine cover!
Doesn't it look pretty? Inside I have a magazine article about toga porn- all about trashy swords n' sandals paperback covers from the '50s, '60s and '70s- and four black and white illustrations, which I will be uploading soon here to my gallery. Check it out for free here- astonishingadventuresmagazine.… - and soon all this pulpy goodness will be available to own through Amazon!
- Listening to: Bigmouth- Underworld
- Reading: The Stepford Wives- Ira Levin
- Watching: Lost on Mars (US version)
- Eating: red beans & rice
I decided to do Christmas cards this year, and put them in my CafePress store! www.cafepress.com/joannerenaud Come and celebrate a gentler time with a dashing couple straight from the pages of a Jane Austen or a Georgette Heyer novel. They're on sale individually, and in packs of 10 and 20. Send them to your Regency loving friends and family for the holidays!
A friend of mine even wrote some doggerel, inspired by this piece:
When King George the Three
Trimmed his Christmas tree
While George the Fourth did all the work
When Jane Austen wrote with style and wit
Observing how love can come to any twit
If only he knew how to use a fork...
My deadline for Astonishing Adventures magazine has been extended again, and yet again- now it's on the 31st, so I expect to spend my Halloween painting and writing. Plus I have jobs to do for Glencoe (a branch of McGraw Hill), which is cool- work is always nice.
A girl still has to relax, though, and when I'm having a bit of downtime, I like to read through my favorite comics/graphic novels. My two favorite print series are Bill Willingham's "Fables" and Eric Shanower's "Age of Bronze" (with an honorable mention to Kurt Busiek's "Astro City"). I'm also a big fan of Guy Delisle and Jean Dufaux (although the latter is really hard to find in English).
However, recently I've been getting into online comics. My two favorites are "The Dreamer" by , and "Girl Genius" from Foglio Studios. www.girlgeniusonline.com/index…, what online comics/graphic novels do you guys like to read? Anything you'd like to recommend? I'd love to hear your thoughts!
- Reading: Age of Bronze: Betrayal
- Drinking: Airborne, because my throat itches
So, I have a big deadline coming up for "Astonishing Adventures" Issue #5. Lots of work to do: I have an article about toga porn to write, a cover with gladiators to paint, and four black and white illustrations to draw for two stories. One's a steampunk story, and the other involves vampires. W00t!
Here's a link to the previous issue, #4- I did 4 black and white interior illustrations for that as well. Go and check it out!
- Reading: Hoofbeats: Lara and the Gray Mare- Kathleen Duey
- Watching: Law and Order
- Drinking: water
I'm happy to see that "Honey Cake," by Joan Betty Stuchner, published by Random House, is finally out in stores. www.amazon.com/Honey-Cake-Step… did the cover illustration, and the book designer did an amazing job. It looks even more beautiful in real life!
Also, I've just been interviewed for the Gourmet Food Garden blog, to describe my most memorable meal. www.gourmetfoodgarden.com/&nbs… James Galway has also been interviewed here, so I'm in good company!
- Listening to: Paris- Friendly Fires
- Reading: The Royal Griffin: Frederick, Prince of Wales
- Eating: an apple fritter
- Drinking: a soy vanilla latte
Hey everyone! Katie Schwartz, blogger, essayist, and author of "Emotionally Pantsed," just interviewed me on her blog. She truly is the awesomest chick ever. Read it and get the dish on what Chris Sarandon thought of my drawing of him from "The Princess Bride"!
- Listening to: "Free to Be, You and Me"- Marlo Thomas
So, I was winding down after the gigantic schmoozefest that was Comic-Con, when I realized that the SCBWI (Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators) summer conference was starting on Friday. Two consecutive weekends of professional conferences/conventions... oh boy! I girded my loins, gathered my remaining samples, and bolted off to the Hyatt Regency in Century City, ready to remind the children's publishing world of my existence.
Generally, I think I did a pretty good job of that, and a number of people provided some really good leads for me. I met a few new friends, and renewed my friendship with several folks (including the amazing Bruce Coville, who, during the big "Red" masquerade party, high five'd me when I told him about the "Honey Cake" cover for Random House). www.randomhouse.com/catalog/di… In a way, I guess I've sort of arrived on the publishing scene already, though it's hard to remember that sometimes while I'm slaving away over my desk or opening bills. Today I met Adam Rex (illustrator of "The Dirty Cowboy" and "Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich") looked at my portfolio, and told me I was on my way. We talked shop for the most part. (i.e. "Hey, what about Wizards of the Coast?" or, "Man, that contract was strange.") I'm sure such a conversation would be pretty boring to anyone who's not an illustrator, but I thought it was very cool.
What was especially cool that when he autographed "Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich," he happily drew Cthulu when I asked him to. I was buying it for my roomie B., who is a ginormous Lovecraft fan. After he drew the tentacles, A. added the bat wings, saying that he needed to make it appropriately "non-Euclidean." When he finished, he eyed it appreciatively and said it was his best Cthulu ever.
BEHOLD THE INDESCRIBABLE HORROR!
I so need to get a Cthulu plushie now.
- Listening to: "Mycroft"- Mocean Worker
- Drinking: a screwdriver
Comic-con went well. It was INCREDIBLY hectic, but here are a few highlights:
-After recovering from the Traffic Jam from Hell, on Friday morning I stopped by the booth of "The Chosen One" (a hilarious animated movie which is a must-see for any Futurama fan), because I saw the name "Chris Sarandon" beckoning me like a... giant beckoning thing. I started chatting with the guys at the booth about Chris (they talked about how great it was to work with him, and I tried not to respond with fangirlish squeeing), and I decided to show them my Prince Humperdinck pic. They were delighted, and took a photo of it to send to Chris. I was thrilled! I was right in that Humperdinck would be my patron saint. How cool is that?
-I met an old friend M. who is now an art director at Wizards of the Coast, and who invited me to lunch with some other art directors. They looked at my portfolio, and offered me some good suggestions how to break into the fantasy market. Expect some more fantasy art here soon- but first I need to go back and sit in on some figure drawing classes at Art Center to freshen my memory.
-Art Goddess Rebecca Guay actually remembered me from last year's con! I sat at her feet (literally- the booths were cramped) and she gave me more advice viz. the fantasy market. She also introduced me to Donato Giancola. I exclaimed, "I love your paintings, they're so glowy!" He's a very nice guy- very professional and gentlemanly. I also met Christian Azzarello, who is a fellow Art Center alum. I actually could guess that by looking at the style of his paintings, which made him laugh.
-Last but not least, I ran into Felicia Day, aka Penny from "Dr Horrible's Sing Along Blog." I was standing at the Oni Press booth, having taken off my backpack after hiking around and showing a bunch of my stuff to the small press publishers, when I saw this cute redhead standing next to me, browsing through comics. "My," I thought to myself, "she looks like Felicia Day!" I contemplated introducing myself to her, but decided against it. What if I was wrong, and she wasn't Felicia Day? I'd look silly.
However, the Oni Press people save me from looking dorky by asking her themselves. She started pulling out a headshot- and deciding I might as well be a dork for once, I walked around the gathering crowd and stood next to her again. She asked if anyone had a Sharpie- and lo and behold, I had one! (I usually carry a small arsenal of art supplies with me when I travel.) She signed the headshot for them, and gave me one too because I had the Sharpie. I gave her a promo for my illustrations in Astonishing Adventures, and she thanked me. How awesome is that?
Anyway, it all went really well. It was alternately exciting and tiresome, and in the end, flat out exhausting. Now, I have the SCBWI summer conference this weekend. More networking and schmoozing... whee!
- Watching: "Law and Order"
- Eating: chicken cup noodle with Tabasco
- Drinking: Mike's hard lemonade
Yes, I am. It took me and my friends eight hours to drive from Los Angeles to San Diego because the traffic was so mind-blowingly horrible (a big rig crashed and closed down the freeway in San Diego this morning). It was hell!
But we are safe and sound now at our hotel. I have eaten and showered, and I am feeling much better now.
Prince Humperdinck is hanging on the room mirror. I have decided he will be my patron saint of Comic-Con this year.
Check out my new store at CafePress! www.cafepress.com/joannerenaud… stuff will be coming soon. Let me know what you think.
This year, I'll be promoting the illustrations I did Astonishing Adventures Magazine. More on that soon.
- Watching: "Deadliest Catch"
- Eating: digesting excellent lamb biryani
For the hell of it, after I was solicited by a certain "Luke Gosling" via email, I went to Portfolios .co.uk and registered a portfolio. You can see it here. www.portfoliosuk.co.uk/?i=2151…
Does anyone know anything about this site? I wasn't that impressed by their interface. There's no way to entitle your pictures, and the whole "Qualifications/Skills" and "Work experience" section seemed overly text-heavy. Also, I was amused by one of their attempts to derail you into spending $60 on a subscription- you can only type in your personal site in the contact info section if you buy the subscription. Little did they count on my ability to type in html tags!
Anyway, I'll use their free portfolio for a while and see if it comes to anything...
- Listening to: NPR
- Reading: "Time Storm"- Gordon Dickson
- Eating: Goldfish
Yes, I did- and I did it by myself! I uploaded seven new pics and for the past few days I've been fussing around with code. It's kind of liberating to be able to do this by myself, although I was only able to do this with the help of a tutorial written by , my resident web geek. Anyway, if you guys could stop by and let me know what you think of the update, I would appreciate it!
I was looking at the site stats, and apparently over the past few months, I've had visitors from Pakistan, Slovenia, Turkey, Russia and Peru. Interesting... I guess it's too bad I don't have a guestbook...
On a side note, I picked up a PDF of Stephanie Meyer's "Twilight" yesterday and started reading it, to see what the fuss was about. I gotta say, after a few chapters I decided that coding html was way more interesting.
However, I persisted in finishing it, and wrote this review here. suburbanbeatnik.livejournal.co… all those who hate the book- and there seems to be a lot of you out there- I think you'd enjoy reading my take on it.
- Listening to: LCD Soundsystem
Here are a few books I'm reading now, or have read recently:
"The Sociopath Next Door"- Martha Stout
This is a short and very well-written book about garden-variety sociopaths- that is, the ordinary ones who live next door, as opposed to the ubiquitous serial killers you see on TV. Highly recommended- and you probably know a couple sociopaths yourself. Pretty freaky stuff.
"Atticus of Rome"- Barry Denenberg
This is probably the worst children's book I've ever read. I wrote an extensive review of it here suburbanbeatnik.livejournal.co… invite you all to read it and marvel at its pure, unadulterated awfulness.
"Cicero: A Biography"- Elizabeth Rawson
After struggling through Anthony Everitt's unbearably tedious bio of Cicero, I decided to try this older bio, recommended by other Amazon reviewers. It's really much better. It's not the best bio I ever read- it can't compare to John Guy, Claire Tomalin or Antonia Fraser when she's not on autopilot- but it's a decent, readable overview of C-Ro's life and times.
"Clodia: A Sourcebook"- Julia Dyson Hejduk
This is a pretty interesting book, about the famous (or infamous) Clodia Metelli, poetic muse, politico, and alleged poisoner, the "Lesbia" of Catullus and the "Ox-Eyes" of Cicero. This is basically all the compilation of sources about her, with additional commentary, but it's surprising that it's never been done before, because she was either the Madame de Pompadour or the Madame de Montespan of her era, depending on whom you ask.
I like Ms. Hejduk's writing, but the only false note so far is a footnote on page 157 in which she says, apropos of nothing, "Unlike many fictional works involving Clodia, [Steven] Saylor's 'The Venus Throw' is quite accurate in its treatment of Clodia, Caelius, Cicero and other historical figures." Now, I used to like Saylor's writing when I was a kid, but it hasn't really held up well after 15 years (as opposed to Gillian Bradshaw). Saylor's writing is portentous and clunky, while Cicero comes across as a prosy, humorless twerp, and Clodia is a one-dimensional femme fatale. I'd bet anything that Saylor and Hejduk are buddies...
- Watching: "In Plain Sight"
(This was originally posted in my Livejournal.)
I had a crappy day yesterday. It started on Monday: minutes after I submitted my resume for a children's art teaching position, I was called up by S.W. from a company called "KidsArt Fine Art Classes" requesting an interview. I was thrilled, and went to the interview; then it started to get a bit weird. Saying she wanted to "get to know me," S.W. began asking all sorts of questions, like (I'm paraphrasing here) "What was a decision you made that you feel most altered the life of the person you made the decision for?" At one point, she asked where my parents were; when I said they were deceased, she started asking, how did they die? When did they die? What did I do, and who took care of me? Like a fool, I answered- I was trying to be charming and candid- although part of me wondered why she was being so intrusive. Other than this weirdness, I thought it went well; at the end, she asked me to come back to observe a class. I said I'd love to, and she replied after I attended the class, we would take things from there. I thought that was a good sign, so I went away pleased.
But, lo and behold! When I arrived home, there was an email in my inbox from this same woman, S.W., telling me that there was no need to come to the class, and that they would look elsewhere for a teacher. It was phrased as sweetly as possible, but it was basically a big kiss off. Considering that this was written only half an hour after an interview crammed with the most personal questions possible, I was insulted. What a mind fuck! How crass and unprofessional is that? Was she such a coward that she couldn't tell me to my face that I wasn't what she was looking for? And this woman and her husband run the company! I spent yesterday seething, while a few friends told me I was better off not working for these people, if they were going to treat someone who wasn't even working for them yet that badly.
Now it's back to the drawing board, in terms of looking for work. However, I wanted to share this lovely experience with you all. Isn't life in Los Angeles wonderful?
On the bright side, my previous entry, "Toga pr0n" has been linked by the amazing Smart Bitches of the Smart Bitches, Trashy Books blog. I love you, Sarah and Candy! (Side note: I am currently working on an illustration job for them, for their upcoming book from Simon & Schuster.) I keep telling myself there are awesome people out there, even though of course there's lots of flakes and assholes. But there's such a thing as karma, right?
- Listening to: my fan
- Reading: "The Sand-Reckoner"- Gillian Bradshaw
Just to let you guys know, my website- www.joannerenaud.com - was updated again a few weeks ago. Some of the "new" work you've seen before, as it debuted here, but some of it is work I've done for various publishers.
Speaking of publishers, the cover I did last year for Random House is now available for pre-order on their website. www.randomhouse.com/catalog/di… I'm not credited, but then I'm only a cover artist. ) I was pretty excited when I saw my art, though! Hopefully I'll get more work once it comes out...
- Listening to: KCRW
- Reading: "Shardik"- Richard Adams
The rules are:
1. Post these rules
2. Each person tagged must post 8 random facts about themselves
3. Tags should write a journal/blog of these facts
4. At the end of the post 8 more persons are tagged and named
5. Go to their page and leave a comment telling them they're tagged
1. I hate books written in present tense (i.e. "Al Capone does my shirts").
2. My father had two half-brothers he didn't know about until he was 55.
3. I love collecting 1930s vintage dresses.
4. My family are descended from slave-owning plantation owners in what is now Haiti.
5. I used to have a huge crush on Nero... yes, the dead crazy Roman emperor.
6. I currently have a crush on half of the cast of AMC's "Mad Men."
7. I once saw The Flaming Stars in concert, and for years confused them with the Flaming Lips. I am so ashamed.
8. I am invited to attend two movie premieres over the next month... hopefully I'll be able to attend at least one of 'em.
- Listening to: Beastie Boys "The Mix-Up"
- Reading: "Al Capone does my shirts," until I thre
- Drinking: coffee
Would any of you guys be interested in buying prints in my new Cafepress store? (You can find it here- www.cafepress.com/joannerenaud - but there's nothing in there right now.) Is there any art, on here or in my website, that you'd like to see on a print or a poster?
- Reading: The Dead Kingdom- Geraldine Harris
- Watching: Law and Order: SVU (again)