Children's & Fantasy/Sci-Fi Books

1 Comment

My Awesome Adventure at San Diego Comic-Con 2015

I had a fabulous time at San Diego Comic-Con this year. Below are the authors and entertainers I was thrilled to see or meet. In chronological order:


Ron Perlman – He’s not that fuzzy in real life, but the lighting wasn’t good. Perhaps best known for his movie role of Hellboy and his TV role of the original Beauty and the Beast (with Linda Hamilton).


William Shatner – James Tiberius Kirk, captain of the USS Enterprise, and demigod to all nerds. He read to us from an autobiography of Capt. Kirk. He’s a very funny guy. “Rock climbing and horseback riding” became a euphemism for sex. And he mercilessly teased the book author about the latter’s quoting of Wellington, “Nothing except a battle lost can be half as melancholy as a battle won.”


Naomi Novik – New York Times bestselling author of HIS MAJESTY’S DRAGON – fantasy set in the time of Napoleon. The French and British have air forces comprised of human crews riding dragons!


Julie Kagawa – New York Times bestselling author of the IRON FEY and BLOOD OF EDEN fantasy series.


Kevin Andrew Murphy – He has written gamebooks for Steve Jackson Games and White Wolf. He is one of the contributors to the WILD CARDS book series edited by George R. R. Martin.


Junior Wonder Woman – I have no idea who this cutie is, but she makes a darling Wonder Woman.


Susan Dennard – She is the fantasy author of the SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY series as well as the forthcoming WITCHLAND series.


Raymond Feist – New York Times, bestselling fantasy author of MAGICIAN, SILVERHORN, A DARKNESS AT SETHANON, and the RIFTWAR series.


Richard Kadrey – New York Times bestselling author of the SANDMAN SLIM urban fantasy series.


Brandon Mull – New York Times bestselling fantasy author of the FABLEHAVEN and BEYONDERS series.


Charlie Jane Anders – She has contributed to a number of anthologies and magazines, as well as the i09 website.


Seanan McGuire – John Campbell Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of the OCTOBER DAYE urban fantasy series.


Daenerys Targaryen – The Unburnt, Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and of the First Men, Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons. Now THAT’S a good way to end my first day at Comic-Con.


Bernie Sanders – A parody shotgun-toting Bernie Sanders billboard. “Feel the Bern!”


Mad Max Musician – sorry for the blurriness, but this speaker-toting musician was great.


End of the Line – Is seems like this would be a somewhat depressing job…



Alexandra Bracken – New York Times bestselling author of Brightly Woven


Jason Hough – New York Times bestselling author of The Darwin Elevator series and all-around nice guy.


Young Cosplayers – This poor mom has her hands full with a rambunctious and an exhausted little cosplayer


Wonder Woman – Forget the magical lasso, this life size Wonder Woman statue shows off the new, badass version of the classic heroine, complete with sword and shield.


Mad Max Cosplayers – “Shiny!” These Mad Max cosplayers are awesome. “Live. Die. Live again!”


Eric Shanower – the talented graphic novelist, adding some original artwork for a fan


Science Fiction Fantasy Family Feud Panel – An incredibly star-studded and hilarious trivia game panel, with authors Brandon Sanderson (The Stormlight Archive series), Patrick Rothfuss (the Kingkiller Chronicles series), Ernie Cline (Armada), Naomi Novik (Uprooted), Chuck Wendig (Zer0es), Leigh Bardugo (The Grisha Trilogy), and Austin Grossman (Crooked).


Chuck Wendig – the hilarious, prolific, and blasphemous author of Zer0es and host of terribleminds.com


Cece Bell – the sweet author/illustrator of El Deafo


Ugly Doll – the only thing funnier than Star Trek themed Ugly Dolls is a dead redshirt Star Trek themed Ugly Doll


Thor, Loki, and Lady Thor – one of the most stunningly accurate cosplays I’ve ever seen. They even look like the actors.


Weta Workshops – replica suits of fantasy armor from the mad geniuses who made props for The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies.


Dan Santat – the Caldecott-winning and over-caffeinated author/illustrator of Beekle.


Fantasy Literature panel – The best part of my Comic-Con adventure was moderating a panel with the NY Times bestselling fantasy authors (l to r): Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn), Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Boys), Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures), Jonathan Maberry (Rot and Ruin), and Zac Brewer (Chronicles of Vladimir Tod).


Margaery Tyrell – And, we end my second day of Comic-Con with a picture of a Maergery Tyrell (Game of Thrones) cosplayer.


Mass Effect – some nice ensemble cosplay


The Incredibles – some great family cosplay from one of my favorite animated movies. “No capes!” I asked the boy if those were his real muscles, and he said they were not. Gotta’ admire his self-awareness.


Curious George – and the Man with the Yellow Hat. Right before I took this picture, “George” gently pushed over a nearby baby.


Goodbye Comic-Con 2015 – see you again next year!

1 Comment

Interview with “My Little Pony” comic illustrator Sara Richard

Sara Richard is an illustrator from New Hampshire. I had the pleasure of meeting her at San Diego Comic-Con. Currently she’s working on covers for IDW’s “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” series, and soon to be Powerpuff Girls. She also illustrated a five-page story in IDW’s Womanthology. She has illustrated the Eisner Award-nominated “Kitty & Dino”. All her work is handpainted in acrylic paint. Her interests are hang gliding, Dr. Who, dinosaurs, ghost hunting and Art Deco /Art Nouveau.


For what age audience do you illustrate?

“Kitty & Dino” is targeted at young and first-time readers, but is fun for everyone who likes cats and dinosaurs, or just likes a cute, simple story!

Henry: Doesn’t everyone love the combination of cats and dinosaurs?

Tell us about your latest book.

“Kitty & Dino”, published by Yen Press, is about what happens when a little boy brings home a dinosaur egg and the family cat raises the baby dinosaur that emerges from the egg! At first the cat doesn’t like the burden placed on her, but the two unlikely friends grow very close and have fun adventures!

Henry: Great concept. It’s like “Flap Your Wings” meets Jurassic Park!

What aspect of illustrating do you find most challenging?

Trying to keep the characters consistent in size is the hardest for me. But also trying to figure out what the writer has imagined in their mind and translating it to paper!

What is a powerful lesson you’ve learned from being an illustrator?

Be flexible when working with clients. Personally though, listen to critiques of your work, but don’t take them as personal insults. It’s just business sometimes!

Henry: As a writer, I have learned to separate critiques of my work from my ego. Critiques help you be a better writer or illustrator, so in the end, constructive feedback only improves your craft.

What has been a memorable experience that you never would have had if you had not been an illustrator?

Going to the Eisner Award when “Kitty & Dino” was nominated for Best Publication for Young Readers.

Henry: That is pretty AWESOME!

What advice would you give to aspiring artists?

Like I said above about the critiques. Don’t take them personally. I find this is a big problem for emerging artists. A critique, especially a harsh, one can hurt feelings. Just treat it like work, and not anything personal. Also, draw every day!

Henry: The writers I interview say the equivalent thing. Write-write-write. And read-read-read.

Do you have any favorite quotes?

“Teach the world to move to your sound, hop around and twirl around, and put a little mustard on it” – Electric Six. It’s such a fun idea, and what I want most is to have fun sharing my art.

Do you have any strange rituals that you observe when you create?

I usually make tea.

Henry: Sara, you are ca-raaa-zy!

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

Definitely flying. I hang glide and that helps fill that wish. But yeah, flying. Or being able to turn into animals, which I guess being able to be a bird would also fill that need to fly!

Henry: That is a fantastic choice! It’s my first request for turning into animals. You’d gain all their superpowers: breathe underwater, fly, chameleon camouflage, repulse unwanted advances (thanks skunk!), regrow teeth (thanks shark!), spit accurately (thanks Archerfish!), swallow a capybara whole (thanks Anaconda).

If you could have three authors/artists over for dinner, who would it be?

Margaret MacDonald Mackintosh for one. She’s one of my favorite artists. Plus she would have an awesome Scottish accent to listen to. I would love to talk to Neil Gaiman too. Finally Erte. He was a fabulous costume designer and did a lot of wonderful Art Deco fashion design.

Henry: Per wikipedia: “Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh (1864–1933) was a Scottish artist whose design work became one of the defining features of the “Glasgow Style” during the 1890s. Together with her husband, her sister, and Herbert MacNair, she was one of the most influential members of the loose collective of the Glasgow School known as “The Four”. She exhibited with Mackintosh at the 1900 Vienna Secession, where she was arguably an influence on the Secessionists Gustav Klimt and Josef Hoffmann.”

“Romain de Tirtoff (1892 – 1990) was a Russian-born French artist and designer known by the pseudonym Erté, the French pronunciation of his initials, R.T. He was a diversely talented 20th-century artist and designer who flourished in an array of fields, including fashion, jewelry, graphic arts, costume and set design for film, theatre, and opera, and interior decor.”

And shame on you, if you don’t know who Neil Gaiman is.

What is your favorite creature that exists only in literature?

I like werewolves. My favorite characters are usually werewolves, as strange as that is.

Henry: Which flavor of werewolf? Howl at the moon and eat you, or bare-torsoed six-pack toting?

What do you like to do when you’re not drawing?

Definitely hang gliding, or doing any outdoor activity. I like Karaoke, watching Dr Who and Buffy and other fun shows and movies, and also ghost hunting when I can.

Henry: “If there’s something strange in your neighborhood. Who ya gonna call? Sara Richard!”

What would you like it to say on your tombstone?

Eaten by a T-Rex, or Out to lunch BRB.

Where can readers find your work?

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or even your local comic store. My online portfolio can be seen at http://www.SaraRichard.com.

This interview is also posted on the San Diego Children’s Books Examiner.

Leave a comment

Panel on Scifi & Fantasy Kid’s Books at San Diego ComicFest

The San Diego Comic Fest has a focus on comics, science fiction, and movies. It will run Oct 4-6, 2013. San Diego Comic Fest will take place at the Town and Country Resort and Convention Center, 500 Hotel Circle North, San Diego, CA 92108.


I will be moderating a panel “SFF for Kids – With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility”. Why should kids have to wait until they’re old enough to read Tolkien or Asimov to enjoy the worlds of science fiction and fantasy? This panel will comprise a mix of authors/illustrators who’ve created any form of juvenile speculative fiction (book, comic, graphic novel, or animation).

My panel will be held from 10-11 am on Sun. Oct. 6. My panelists and I will be signing books from 11am to noon adjacent to the Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore booth. The panelists scheduled are:

PJ Haarsmahttp://pjhaarsma.com – Author of The Softwire sci-fi series and online game.

Haarsma HaarsmaSoftwire
“I began writing science fiction late in life. Thirty-eight felt late for me, but I had reached a point where I would try anything. It was very hard to get up in the morning and do what I was doing back then. I ran a small production company, I produced a movie and now I was directing corporate spots for clients like Hewlett Packard and Nokia. I had been shooting stills or film for advertising clients for fifteen years and I was spent. I began reading quite a bit then, trying to spark some creativity into my work again. This is when I began journaling. Next I started writing little stories, mostly about growing up. And then one morning the character JT appeared on my page.

At first The Softwire was just a bunch of little ideas inspired by an incident that happened in my youth. I’d always been a science nut, I have a degree from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, so I began attaching little tidbits of science to some of the ideas. My wife Marisa encouraged me to keep going and ten months later I finished the first draft of my first novel.

A lot about The Softwire comes from my own experiences growing up. No, I never traveled on a seed-ship to Orbis but I did feel like I was a slave working in my parents ceramic factory as a teenager. During the summers, I would slug 50lbs+ molds around while standing in a room with kilns firing at 1400 degrees. It wasn’t fun, and at the time I really resented my parents for it. I felt used and not in control of what I wanted. Probably like a lot of other kids my age then but hey, what did I know, I was fourteen.”

Eric Shanowerhttp://www.hungrytigerpress.com – Author of Age of Bronze and Little Adventures in Oz.

Eric Shanower is an award-winning and New York Times bestselling cartoonist, author, and illustrator. His work has been widely published–from Marvel Comics to Random House, from Nickelodeon Magazine to BBC television.

His current comics project, Age of Bronze, tells the complete story of the Trojan War in all its dramatic detail. Every version from Homer’s Iliad on down will be newly integrated in comics form when Age of Bronze is finished. It’s also set in the correct period–the 13th century BCE. Age of Bronze has been published by Image Comics since 1998, garnering two Eisner Awards, a Gran Guinigi, and a slew of nominations. The second volume, Sacrifice, was selected as one of the Best Books of 2004 by the editors of Publishers Weekly. In addition to English, Age of Bronze is published in Spanish, French, Polish, Italian, Croatian, and Indonesian.

Dani & Eytan Kollinhttp://www.theunincorporated.com – Authors of The Unincorporated Man sci-fi series.

Kollin KollinMan
Author siblings Dani and Eytan Kollin’s debut novel, The Unincorporated Man was designated a SciFi Essential and went on to win the 2010 Prometheus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel of the year. Their second and third novels, The Unincorporated War and The Unincorporated Woman were also nominated for the same award (the 2012 winner will be announced in July). Their fourth novel, The Unincorporated Future releases August 21st, 2012 and can be pre-ordered on Amazon.

Shelley Moore Thomashttp://www.shelleymoorethomas.blogspot.com – Author of the Trinket and Good Knight fantasy series.

When I was little, I was one of those kids that had messy handwriting. Really, really messy. As a matter of fact, it is only marginally better now, but I have learned how to decipher it most of the time. Ironically, even though putting pencil to paper neatly was torture, I loved writing. I was the kind of kid who wrote poems as gifts to people……the kind of kid who read fairy tales and adventures stories…..the kind of kid who still remembers writing her first book report ever, on The Story of Ferdinand the Bull.

I had great parents: a mom who loved reading and a dad who loved trains. My sister and brother were always up to something, and believe it or not, I was not always the one who instigated things. (They are quite respectable these days, you know). Some of my favorite memories include long road trips from New Mexico to Oklahoma, sweating in a car with no air conditioning while my dad stopped in each town so he could take a picture of the train depot to add to his collection. Good times, good times.

Remarkably, I grew up. I became a teacher (what better excuse to read tons of kids stories every day?) I got married to a wonderful prince and had three charming and lovely princesses. Oh, wait, I forgot the whole part about how I became the queen of stories….

Somewhere along the way, I discovered that I was born from an ancient royal line of velvet wearing, crown sporting, bedazzled storytellers who use puppets to make their stories come alive. Yes, it was quite a shock, if I do say so myself. But I made peace with my destiny.

Writing and storytelling seem to go hand and hand. So, when I am not dressed as the most royal thing this side of the Mississippi, I am working on my next book!

This article is also posted on the San Diego Children’s Book Examiner.