UPCOMING & PAST 2014 Excitement in the world of Pop-Culture Spectrum

While much of 2014 has been quite slow and quiet over here at PCS, the upcoming year promises lots of upcoming news, articles and reviews (including of some of the exciting happenings of 2014 so far)


MoCCAFest is coming up on April 5-6th and should be another amazing show. Last year the Society of Illustrators took over and turned this show upside down and re-energized it. This year should be no different especially with lessons from last year learned.


In May I have quite a bit of excitement as I head to Easton, PA for the premiere of season 14 of CHIKARA. This sold out event is the indy wrestling mecca of 2014 and should be the start of excellence. It actually kicks off when the films The Ashes of CHIKARA launches world wide on April 9th, as advertised in many comics recently.


A week later is Book Expo America and the new addition to the event BookCon.  This should be another amazing event and this year some of my favorite celebs will be there.

Upcoming reviews include:
Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith.
Earthward by Bryan Q. Miller and Marcio Takara
i like you: the movie (directed by Fritz Donnelly)
A look at Telltale’s FABLES and The Walking Dead: Season 2
Fountain and SCOPE art fair 2014
and much more!

BEA 13 Haul & Photos: Adult Fiction

It’s been a crazy time here in the home of Pop-Culture Spectrum.  My life just sucked up by things like THE LAST OF US, but also by just Life in general.  I’ve had a lot of personal things to deal with and trying to secure things in my full-time career as a professional actor.  The whole time the stacks of books sat there from BEA unattended.  Although I have been reading The Fantastic Family Whipple by Matthew Ward.  When I could I saw down with these long lists gathering research and trying to concisely or in some cases not so concisely sum of the books.  I have just finally gotten through all the adult books and here they are in alphabetical of the first author listed on the covers along with photos of authors taken at Book Expo America 2013 where apropos.

A Blind Goddess by James R. Benn: The latest in the Billy Boyle series, a series of world war II mysteries starring a Army Detective who as once a cop. In the latest two cases come to him at the same time, one involving a possible serial killer and the other a definitely innocent man.

Outlaw by Ted Dekker: The scifi/mystery/fantasy writer tackles a bit of period adventure with a tale in 60′s and 80′s filled with survival. Ted’s Christian faith comes into play as usual, but one ignores that if not part of the proclivity to enjoy. It is a little hard to do so, but I try.

The Heist by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg: The bestselling mystery writers team up to create a new series of teams up as FBI agent teams with Criminal. Has it been done before sure, but not by these two writers, including one who helped create MONK.

The Hired Man by Aminatta Forna: Unable to describe this one myself I borrow from the Amazon description. A taut, powerful novel of a small town and its dark wartime secrets, unwittingly brought into the light by a family of outsiders.

W is for Wasted by Sue Grafton: The 22nd Kinsey Millhone mystery arrives in September embroiled in pharmaceuticals and conspiracy. I grabbed this for my mother knowing she’d love it as she’s loved previous Grafton.

Death of a Nightingale by Lene Kaaberbøl and Agnette Friis: A part of the Nina Borg series of noir mysteries from the Dutch duo. In this the nurse looks into a case of a woman and young mother from the Ukraine who is a suspect in two murders. The investigation leads into a history all the way back to 30′s Ukraine.

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent: Based on the actual facts behind the execution of Agnes Magnúsdóttir, the last woman executed in Iceland in the 1800s. This is the debut novel for the Australian writer where the book is already a best seller.

Death in Breslaw by Marek Krajewski: 1950′s Noir crime located in Poland, written by a Polish author. Availble now in the US from Mellville House.

The Facades by Eric Lundgren: One of the Buzz Books of the show, I’m not sure how to describe it. Its a novel with weirdness, mystery, love and interestingness. This is Eric’s debut novel and I hope we’ll be hearing more from him in the future.

A Couple of Blaguards by Malachy & Frank McCourt (plus DVD of performance from 90s): This new edition of the two man play that can be performed by any two men was before and yet is also an extension of Frank’s work in Angela’s Ashes and ‘Tis and Malachy’s A Monk Swimming. Along with the not professionally filmed or distributed DVD (truly this is in front of a small audience, filmed with a low end camera, and yet saved from video tape to computer for years and then hand burned by someone recently to give to fans at BEA possibly even Malachy himself) it’s a great addition to ny library and the play would be great to add to yours too. The edition has a new 2013 introduction from Malachy McCourt making it more a book than a play publication like the Samuel French edition.

Author Jason Mott

The Returned by Jason Mott: Harlequins big branch out from publishing romance to carry a story involving mystery and the supernatural as people long thought dead return to Earth, not as Zombies, but in the same bodies they died in at the same age. So people who had a kid 50 years ago or so are now suddenly parents again or an old man now finds himself with a young hot girlfriend. The rights to this were sold really early and an event series will be airing on ABC this FALL called Resurrection starring Omar Epps. Much of this book and the series seems to be an American adaption of a Japanese flick from the 90′s, but no one cares about that really.

Doomed by Chuck Palahniuk: The Not Long Awaited Sequel to his last original novel DAMNED continues the adventures of Madison as she leaves Hell and now finds herself in Limbo. She is now writing letters to her fans or supposed fans through a blog connected to her twitter in some weird magic heaven space. It’s not supposed to make sense. It’s just supposed to be more crazy allegory, proof that Chuck can do myth and faith research and put it down on the page in a readable form.

Choke Point by Ridley Pearson: The second in The Risk Agent series. This time Knox and Chu travel to Amsterdam to take down a sweatshop using young women as labor.

Author Ridley Pearson

White Fire by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child: The latest of the Agent Pendergast tales, this time involving Sir Arthur Conan Doyle AND his creation Sherlock Holmes with murder and cannibalism in the Appalachians.

[LIMIT] by Frank Schätzing: At over 1200 pages, this immense Sci-Fi book from the German author first published in 2009 is also a hard boiled mystery novel, using Sci-Fi the way it was intended, as a backdrop to explore social and political issues, in this case real estate, hotel management, construction deals and more. The book opens with a quote from David Bowie which always a good selling point.

The Good Sister by Wendy Corsi Staub: The description for this horror/thriller sounds like a killer (pun intended). The latest takes place in Catholic girl’s school where it all seems simple, bullying, online chatting dangers…. murder.

The Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig: Mookie Pearl is a supernatural criminal hitman and his life gets flipped upside down when his daughter decides to not just defy him, but go against him. This book has one of the best cover images I’ve seen in awhile as well from Joey Hi-Fi.

Book Expo America 2013: The PCS Experience

My Book Expo America 2013 adventure began on Wednesday, May 29th to attend my first and probably last BEA Bloggers conference. This is not because I didn’t have fun or did not network, but because I went to hopefully gain some education and tips I had not yet previously figured on my own. While I did get a few notes that I found useful in one session, as a whole the education part wasn’t there.

I was luckily enough to at least find a few people whom I made a midpoint of a connection with to keep things entertaining, including Molly over at InsertGeekHere. Lunch was nice enough actually using the $15 coupon we received for food and drink, I actually was left with $2, but unfortunately no cash back. Hearing from Eric Smith from Quirk Books (who has an awesome book called The Geek’s Guide to Dating coming in September) was a definite highlight.

The keynote openers and ending speeches were by Will Schwalbe and Randi Zuckerberg and both those were enjoyable and funny. They weren’t worth the price of admission, but they were fun. After the event there was a reception where we could use a drink ticket, network a bit more and surprise surprise a ton of books. There were a few books that went really fast in the Young Adult Editors speack of the Blogger conference and there were not enough books for all, so this really made up for that. Got a few cook books, a huge sci-fi novel AND the newest from Jeff Hirsch, a book I planned to grab during the regular Expo but luckily I didn’t need to. Jeff also happened to be there, so that was a double plus.

I forgot to mention that I snuck (sic) out from the Blogger conference when both sessions available didn’t excite me (mainly the ethics session) and headed over to check out Sidelines. While there I did make a couple cool discoveries which I’ll be discussing in a side article.

Before heading downtown for events was able to swing by the Editor’s Buzz and was very happy to get a copy of The Facades by Eric Lundgren, a book high on my list to read.

From Javits I went down to Housing Works for the Bookrageous event, but after saying hello to long-time friend poet Guy Lecharles Gonzalez (now of the Library Journal) I headed over to CultureFix where I had only planned to say hello to friends Fritz Donnelly and Amy Van Doran, before finding myself pulled into being part of the event and dancing till late in the evening despite wanting to be at BEA early the next day.

THURSDAY, May 30th
I was successful in this and hence following my best recollection of BOOK EXPO AMERICA 2013:
I started my morning with heading over to get a copy of Cynthia Voight’s newest Mister Max: The Book of Lost Things. From there I went to Autographing for a few things. I ended up only tackling two of them but they were a great two. First was Malachy McCourt for a A Couple of Blaguards, the play he wrote with dearly departed brother, as a bonus they also gave out a DVD of their performance of the play. Then it was over a few tables to my old collegemate David Ezra Stein for his newest children’s story Dinosaur Kisses. Realizing the time I rushed over to Dr. Ruth, but unfortunately they ran out of books, but I still got to talk to her and get the photo. Then it was a time where I knew I’d have to waiting but it was worth it to get the second book in the new Lemony Snicket series and see Daniel handler again. Daniel told me that sometime in 2014 his newest novel (a non Snicket) would be a pirate tale. This highly excites me.

A quick bounce after was over to Nicole Polizzi, some exploring, then over Autographing once again for These Broken Stairs and Ridley Pearson’s second Risk Agent. A little more exploring and then I had a scheduled sit down interview with Vivek Tiwary about his upcoming Dark Horse graphic novel The Fifth Beatle (more to come on that very soon). A lot more walking and exploring followed as well as grabbing books before heading to autographing again for Richard Dawkins and others, and along the way stopping at surprise guest Tim Conway. Back to the floor to explore, then another designated signing, this time with Paul Pope, which I could have skipped as the next day I hit another signing and got a shirt too.

From there though it was for a serious line of length and time killed. I thought the line for Snicket was long, but nothing compared to Chuck Palahniuk and that was still tame to what Grumpy Cat would get or Neil Gaiman would get later in the week, but still. Was very happy to my hands on DOOMED, sequel to DAMNED. I was able to get the new John Rocco children’s book after as well and explore the show more before deciding to head home. Knowing I partied Wednesday and would be partying definitely hard on Friday I wanted one calm evening.

FRIDAY, May 31st
Despite getting home early, I somehow still ended up to the show later I planned, but that was still at around 9:30 with plenty of time for everything on my schedule along with enough show floor exploring that when I finished filled my roll luggage at the end of the day it was quite heavy and it was an adventure bringing it around town and its heaviness and amount of books made me have to have my evening stop short. That was later though.

First up was Matt Phelan’s Blufton and then online to grab a copy of FROG TROUBLE, an awesome book/CD which I will have more to say about for sure. It was then a whirlwind of booths and autographing, back and forth. Obert Skye, Jason Mott of The Returned (debuting as Ressurection on ABC this Fall), Ridley Pearson. Trying to hit as much as I could before my 11:30 interview which I still ended up late to because I was right at the front of the line for Giada Di Laurentiis with steps away and to leave the line at that point would be crazy. If I wasn’t steps away and also two booths from my interview, sure… but… yeah.

That 11:30 was with Dan Harmon, editor at Zest and writer of the upcoming Super Pop! . It was a really fun interview where lots was discussed and next week as part of a scheduled blog tour will be reviewed, have an interview and even a special top 10 list of my own devising thought of at the interview.

Because of how my Friday schedule landed there was nothing specific other than getting Family Whipple as well as the Anne Burrell signing so a lot of show exploring was done. If I could remember what booths I hit in order, who I spoke to, etc. I would tell you. I know at a point I specifically went to the Macmillian booth to get a BATTLING BOY t-shirt. I also saw Red Green, and Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. of America’s Got Talent fame and I hung out with Gugar of the upcoming book The Creature Department.

After all was said and done I hung out with Torsten Adair for a bit as I backed my luggage and then I made my way slowly over to Columbus Circle with actually some Subway snafus, which was… “fun” with the luggage. I made it though, stopped in at O & Co. and said hello to my short time co-workers. Then I headed upstairs to Landmarc where a very calm and casual affair was had. Plenty of delcious food, excellent guests, including Red Green and a slightly rude Robbie Robertson. I had a really good time, but I also needed to get all the way to the World Financial Center for one of my best friend’s birthdays on a boat. That was… well, the evening ended on top of a roof with a pool and involved nudity and that’s all I’ll say about that. I got home around 4 AM and still planned to go to Expo again the next day for Jim Gaffigan, Representative John Lewis and a few loose ends tied up, including the “What aren’t you packing up?” part of Saturday which is always exciting and fun.

SATURDAY, June 1st
Which is EXACTLY how it went. I got to the show around 10 AM (and don’t ask me how I pulled THAT off even). I walked around for a bit, saw some excellent stuff on the floor I had missed because of how crazy the show is and then got a front row seat for Jim Gaffigan. He was hilarious and fun. There was no moderator, so he interviewed himself, talked a bit and then took questions from the crowd and riffed off of the questions and yes, Yours truly asked a question too. Then there was waiting to get the book signed and say hello to the funny man. It was all worth it.

Eventually I was able to make it over to where John was signing and had a wonderful talk with him and also throughout the show spoke to some great publishers, writers, publicists and more and walked away with so many books. Way more than I thought I would on a Saturday. I wasn’t planning on such a haul. I chose to not even bring my luggage, which was a big mistake. I barely made it home as my bag ripped on the trip back. Still what an experience!

Following this report will be a collection of photos I shot or were taken of me and author/celeb, as well as a listing of every book I got with links and mini info.

Later in the week and months look forward to reviews, interviews and more!

Book Expo America 2012 (The Swag/Haul) as images

 

This is all the non-fiction, memoir, autobio, biography & cookbooks.  Looking forward to America, You Sexy Bitch a ton, as well as Kevin Pollak’s memoir and Damien Echols.  Hoping to use Angelo Sosa’s cookbook a lot.

These are the Young Adult/Teen/Young Reader’s titles.  Not sure what I’ll jump into here first but very excited about Scott Nash’s Blue Jay and James Patterson’s first attempt at combining his adult contemporary with his teen work.

Comics & Graphic Novels.  Excited by everything here.  The “Bible” books were a nice discovery, the AMULET galley was an excellent surprise, the two books here I wanted specifically were DRAMA and THE HYPO.

An assortment of children’s books, graphic novels, cds, and assorted promotional pieces such as totes, stickers, etc.

Children’s Books and Graphic Novels.  Look forward to pouring through Captain McFinn, but everything here is the awesome.

The Adult Fiction.  Currently reading PANORAMA CITY by Antoine Wilson.  MEMOIRS OF IMAGINARY FRIEND might be next, but who can say.  We’ll see where the mood takes me.

So much to read and write about, never enough time, but I’ll make it work!

 

Book Expo America 2012 – Day 3

On my final day of Book Expo America I only had a few things on the official agenda. I truly planned to spend the rest of the day searching, exploring and just leaping into what sounded fascinating. Of the five things in the schedule I was able to accomplish two of them, but I still walked away with an amazing amount of books.

In terms of one of the signings/events, it had been changed to the day before and I never got the notice. In terms of the others the lines for things at the same time were just so long that I had to make personal choices and one thing lost to another.

As before all these ship dates and information is based on the print versions of U.S. Releases and what information could be procured from the galleys/arcs and the internet.

The first signing that I was able to get down was Chip Kidd for his first official graphic novel Batman: Death By Design illustrated by Dave Taylor. Talking to Chip was excellent and this line was way longer than expected. Lots of comic fans at the show I guess. The book is absolutely gorgeous and a must have in my opinion for any Batman or comic lover. It is available now.

The other signing I was able to make it to was for Kirstie Alley. Unfortunately she was only signing postcards and wasn’t doing photos with people, but I was able to get one not bad shot of her. Weight loss wise she looks great. Her book The Art of Men (I Prefer Mine Al Dente) comes out in November.

Now in now particular order are the rest of the books/galleys/arcs I procured on Thursday. In the past I use to wait around till 3PM and see what “garbage” was left behind but since I’d gotten so many books I want to read and review the last two days I decided to leave my luggage at home and procured one of those McGraw-Hill bags and it was full by 2 PM on Thursday that I ended up having to use my portable and my book bag.

The newest America’s Test Kitchen collection is Quick Family Cookbook with at least 500 recipes ranging from dips, to pressure cooker meals to desserts it is a vast volume with instructions and lessons. This is an amazing tome to have. It’ll be available in October.

Hocus Pocus Hotel by Michael Dahl with illustrations by Lisa K. Weber is an awesome children’s book about as the title suggests, a magical hotel. It comes out in August.

Neon Panic by Charles Phillip Martin is a gripping suspense mystery that takes place in 2003 Hong Kong. It is available now.

Amulet-Book Five: Prince of the Elves by Kazu Kibuishi. I have loved Amulet since day one and this was an excellent thing to get to see long before it goes to final print. It is a truly amazing graphic novel serial which combines fantasy, sci-fi, friendship, conspiracy, steampunk, elves, time travel, anthromorphs and more. Kazu is a stellar artist and I so happy there will be two more volumes for this epic story. Book 5 arrives in September.

Man in the Empty Suit by Sean Ferell is scifi without being directly scifi, the way a Kurt Vonnegut book is never classified as scifi, despite it being so. It involves time travel and mystery and self-discovery and sounds fascinating. It comes out in February 2013! (That’s right 2013… only a book on time travel would have an ARC that far in advance).

The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen is the latest young adult novel from Susin Nielsen, former Canadian television writer/story editor/creator on shows such as Degrassi, Braceface and Robson Arms. Built around a teenager rebuilding his life after life happens (she did write for the show that “goes there” after all) the book arrives in September.

Becoming Holmes by Shane Peacock is the final installment in the young adult mystery series Boy Sherlock Holmes. After six books the sage comes to an end in October.

For The Sender by Alex Woodard is a very fascinating project, it is both a book & a cd inspired by four letters that created 12 songs and a very heartwarming book which I have skimmed enough to get the jist of this non-fiction adventure of creativity and faith. The ARC came with a sample of 5 of the 12 songs which were all amazing, but it was quite extra cool to hear Shawn Mullins singing on one. That Hay House edition comes out in September.

Telegraph Avenue is the newest from Michael Chabon, in what might be his most epic novel yet that starts from the simplest places. Scheduled for September 2012 it promises to explore running Vinyl records stores, big market America, the Black Panthers and even a Birthing Assistant company.

Keep Your Pantheon (and School)-Two Unrelated Plays by David Mamet is a collection of two plays that as it said are unrelated, yet were performed as a dual production for Atlantic Theater Company in 2009. I love Mamet and these two are actually some of Mamet’s most unusual. The publication is available now.

The Prophet by Michael Kortya is a thriller in which murder seperates and then brings back together two brothers. The marketing is very focused on how Kortya has become a favorite writer of King, Koontz, Child, Patterson and other masters of mystery and suspense. It arrives in September according to the ARC, but August according to Michael’s website.

Eating Aliens by Jackson Landers is a memoir adventure based on the hunters experience in taking down and eating invasive animal species such as various iguanas, Asian carp, Nutria and more. It comes in September.

The Care and Feeding of Exotic Pets by Diana Wagman by is a nail-biting intense and suspenseful tale of kidnapping and mystery. It arrives in November.

The Absolutionist by John Boyce is a historical period piece taking place in the UK directly after The Great War (better known as World War One). It explores queer themes, but is a much larger canvas for the atrocities of war and the bonds of friendship. It is available now.

Professor Gargoyle by Charles Gilman is the first in a series called Tales From Lovecraft Middle School, a young reader’s horror which will feature super creepy lenticular covers.

Dark Lord by Jamie Thomson Dirk Lloyd is a dark humor for kids with illustrations by Freya Hartas that takes on the concept that the lead character has forced the writer to create the book. It comes out in October.

Meat Eater-Adventures from The Life of an American Hunter is a memoir from TV host ,food & nature expert, hunter, and chef Steven Rinella. It arrives in September.

Gold is the newest novel by Chris Cleave. It’s a tale of friendship and competitition as two women are headed to the Olympics for cycling. It arrives in July.

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken is a young adult/teen supernatural suspense thriller and possibly Disney/Hyperion’s next big franchise. It arrives in December.

BZRK by Michael Grant is a near future young adult novel about a technological war. It is a fully immersive project with a very dedicated website which expands the universe in amazing ways. It is available now.

Starry River of the Sky is a fantasy novel for young readers written and illustrated by Grace Lin and is a follow-up to her Newbery honored Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. It is based in Chinese folklore and releases in October.

The Dangers of Proximal Alphabets by Kathleen Alcott is a debut novel. It tells the tale of two brothers who suffer from sleep walking and the neighboor who helps them, falls in love, guides them and makes a family. It comes out in September.

SEED by Ania Ahlborn is a horror suspense thriller about a long hidden darkness reemerging for a man who thought he escaped his past. It has come out in ebook format, but officially comes out in print in July.

The First Rule of Ten – A Tenzing Norbu Mystery by Gay Hendricks and Tinker Lindsay is about a Tibetan Buddhist private eye. The first book came out in January and they are hard at work on the next.

Voyage to Kázohina by Sandor Szathmári is a Hungarian modern classic, never before published in English outside of Hungary. It’s a retaking of Gulliver’s Travels first appearing in 1941. This edition shall be available in July.

The Carter Family: Don’t Forget This Song by Frank M. Youngand David Lasky is only sampled in the galley offered by Abrams ComicArts, but you can tell that this story about the early recordings of folk/country music group and how they came to be in graphic novel format. The final edition will include a CD of rare radio recordings. It comes out in October.

Freaks Like Us by Susan Vaught is a teen psychological mystery involving the search for a missing girl and the possible suspect, her best friend who is schizophrenic. It comes out in August.

A few more items were procured including books out since mid 2011, preview sheets, blads, etc. So much stuff I can’t even really understand it all.

I do understand that Book Expo America for all its inherent, natural faults from being what it is, is the most awesome thing going for book, book publishing and pushing and focusing the book market as an event and I love being a small part of it. Although one day I hope like many others to be a larger part of it, be it as an author, PR person or editor.

Book Expo America 2012 – Day 2 (Part 2)

In this post I’ll be listing an assortment of books I procured that weren’t on my schedule for Day 2. There’s a lot of great things here that all seem fun, fascinating, exciting or whatever. I should note that all these are of the American release versions and dates. Some may already be out internationally under different titles and from different publishers and marketing. I am providing websites that I can find on either the author or the book only as reference..

The 500 by Matthew Quirk is political suspense thriller from a debut writer who got his writing grit as a hard bent journalist at The Atlantic. It is available now.

Bootlicker by Steve Piacente is a tale based on guilt, race relations, politics and intrigue.   Available now.

Fathomless by Jackson Pearce is described as a dark and modern reimaging of “The Little Mermaid”, it is geared towards Teen Readers and will be out in September.

Patient One by Leonard Goldberg combines medical suspense with political thriller in what also sounds like an action packed book. It came out in May 2012.

Third Grade Angels is the long awaited prequel to Fourth Grade Rats by Jerry Spinelli with illustrations by Jennifer A. Bell. It will arrive in September.

The Savage Fortress by Sarwat Chadda is an action-adventure based in monsters, myths and Indian (read Asia, not Native American) folklore.

The Diviners by Libba Bray is a supernatural mystery based in 1920′s New York filled magic & murder. It comes in September or November, it’s a bit unclear.

And Still They Bloom by Amy Rovere is a children’s book designed to help with the coping of grief and cancer. It has full paintings by Joel Spector and is published by the American Cancer Society. You can pre-order it here, it comes out at the end of June.

The Good Son: The Life of Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini by Mark Kriegel tells the amazing rise and tragic emotional fall of the now legendary boxer (Warren Zevon even wrote a song about the guy). It arrives in September.

Goosebumps-Wanted: The Haunted Mask is just one of the new horror stories coming from R.L. Stine, this one hits in July.

Confessions of a Murder Suspect is James Patterson‘s first teen mystery series, written with his Women’s Murder Club collaberater Maxine Paetro. It’s scheduled for September.

ZOO is another major James Patterson release also scheduled for September, co-written with Michael Ledwige is a extremely intense thriller with heavier ramifications plot wise than any James Patterson work previous.

The Devil’s Causeway by Tim Westfall is a non-fiction military history book about POWs during the Spanish-American war. It comes out in September.

Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger is a supernatural fantasy for young readers. I comes out in September.

 

Unsaid is a the debut novel of lawyer Neil Abramson, whose focus is on animal rights and protection, which his book also explores as well as the relationship between human and animal. It is available now.

Ghost Buddy: Mind If I Read Your Mind? is the second book in the new series by Henry Winkler and Lin Olver, in which a ghost and a psychic kid become best friends. The latest comes in July.

MP3-The Meaning of a Format by Jonathan Sterne is equally history on sound compression and philosophy on its ramifications on music as a whole. It is mostly academic work, but still fascinating. It will be available in August from Duke University Press.

The Land of Stories: The Wishing Well is a fantasy for young readers written by the popular actor and singer Chris Colfer with illustrations by Brandon Dorman. The book comes out in July.

How Do Dinosaurs Say Merry Christmas? and Say Happy Chanukah? are the latest in the dinosaur picture books by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Mark Teague. They both come out in September.

Bannon & Clare in The Iron Wyrm Affair by Lillith Saintcrow is marketed as a steampunk urban fantasy and the start of a new series. It will be available in August.

Albert of Adelaide by Howard Anderson is a debut novel about a platypus discovering himself in Australia. It isn’t a children’s novel, it’s an antromorphic adult book and sounds awesome. It’ll be available in July.

Traditionally you wouldn’t find me reading some based on the bible or faith-based, but the comics and graphic novels from Kingstone Comics have a special edge. They have many series, but I only opted to check out three which I’ll be exploring further.
The Christ features art by Sergio Cariello, who I loved on Lone Ranger and Crossgen books
The Book of God which takes a scholarly look at the bible was drawn by Javier Saltares, best known for his work on Ghost Rider
The Pilgrim’s Progress is a manga adaptation which is lavishly illustrated.

That brings us to the end of items I procured on Day two of Book Expo America. There’s a chance I missed something or possibly I wrote about in Day One or will hit on my Day Three. Still I hope this gives you suggestions, ideas, thoughts, recommendations and a feeling of the diversity of books one can discover and enjoy both at BEA and in general.

Book Expo America 2012 – Day 2 (Part 1)

As I did with Day One I am going to present things that I was able to “conquer” based upon the schedule I had created for myself and then list and discuss all the wonderful galleys, signings, meetings, etc. that happened outside of this prescribed schedule. My second day at Book Expo America 2012 was another exciting adventure full of celebrities, amazing authors, surprises, long lines, random goodies, and whatchamacallits. With this opening paragraph out of the way, away we go.

I didn’t arrive at the Javits Center at 6 AM like I had on Tuesday to make sure I had guaranteed tickets to Molly Ringwald. I did get there around 7 AM though and actually ended up with two tickets that I wasn’t able to use because the lines for them even with tickets only were beyond reasonable. The only one I am sad about is not meeting Joyce Carol Oates, as she’s long been one of my favorite writers (as surprising as they might seem to those who know me).

The first line I hit after rounding the floor for galley giveaways was for Ridley Pearson’s new adult suspense thriller series, The Risk Agent, out on June 19th. The first book introduces us to the series stars John Knox and Grace Chu and takes place in Shanghai, while it’s Ridley’s YA work that has garnered him the most attention I am really excited to read this more intense ride knowing he did his research.

After I went to get Because Amelia Smiled, the newest from David Ezra Stein. I’ve mentioned in earlier posts that David is an old college mate, but I’ve also become a fan of his art very quickly. This new book is a change for him in style drawn in pencils, crayon and watercolor. Looking quite dreamy and yet compelling. While his stories are definitely geared towards younger readers, the art makes them very universal.

Next up was the infamous Damien Echols. The formerly incarcerated young man whose story was told in the documentaries Paradise Lost 1-3 and whose story caught the attention of such luminary figues as Henry Rollins, Eddie Vedder, Johnny Depp and Marilyn Manson, as he was part of what became known as The West Memphis Three. Now free on an unfortunate Alford plea, which means possibly never seeing true justice or knowing the trutg, he has helped produce a new documentary that premiered at Sundance, West of Memphis, and Simon & Schuster has reprinted his 2005 self published journal with new material, now titled Life After Death which includes a cover by Shepard Fairey who has done WM3 art in the past. I have no personal opinion of his guilt, innocence or elsewise, I just know he has a good story to tell. The book ships in September.

Back to Autographing where I got the second comics biography written by Marc Tyler Nobleman, who previously wrote a children’s style book on the history of Joe Siegel & Joe Shuster, creators of Superman. The new one is about Bill Finger, the co-creator of Batman with Bob Kane and is titled BILL THE BOY WONDER-The Secret Co-Creator of Batman. The first book in what could be a series I feel if Marc follows with say Gardner Fox, who in an analogy that may or not make sense one could say that Bill created the automobile, Gardner made the car actually move. It’s illustrated by one of my personal faves Ty Templeton and is available now.

It was time to get my second Ridley Pearson book of the day in KINGDOM KEEPERS V. It amazes me that despite needing tickets these lines are obscenely long and take forever, but they do. Nonetheless I got my copy of the currently out book and look forward to it.

 

A pop over a couple tables down and I get to meet my second Top Chef of the Expo in the super sexy and handsome Angelo Sosa (alongside Curtis Stone and Jamie Oliver, there’s a small smattering of serious male hotness in chefs, oh and Ainsley Harriot… women there’s bucketloads, but men, a select few). He was signing his cookbook Flavor Exposed, already available, which I’m going to really do my damndest to use some of the recipes some, they’re scrumptious reading and looking, as William Brinson‘s photography in the book is superb.

I really wanted to get over to the Graphic Novels panel on the Uptown stage to hear Noah Van Sciver, Raina Telgemeier and Zack Giallongo, among others discuss their upcoming books. Time ran away from me though. Fortunately I’d been able to get a galley of Raina’s DRAMA eariler from Scholastic and catch up with her to sign it, not that I don’t see her randomly all the time. I also was able to catch Noah Van Sciver earlier in the day. I had stopped by Fantagraphics on Tuesday and had a nice talk with Eric Reynolds and then while walking to a signing, I noticed that someone who gave a Noah like vibe sitting with Eric long before his official signing, so I made my way over and got the galley for his The Hypo – A Graphic Portrait of the Melancholic Young Lincoln, whose final cover is awesome. DRAMA by Raina Telgemeier comes out in September and The Hypo is coming in October.

As my chances at Chris Colfer were null & void I opted to head over to Perseus and get a double signing. First up was the premier  musician Buddy Guy, who’s memoir When I Left Home is currently available, followed by Teresa Guidice of Housewives of New Jersey, Celebrity Apprentice and a few best selling cookbook fames. In terms of Teresa they gave out last year’s Fabulicious! Teresa’s Italian Family Cookbook instead of her recently released Fast & Fit, both are great things to own and learn from though culinary wise. If there’s one thing Guidice does other than be really pretty while making a fool of herself on TV, it’s cook. In terms of Buddy the line moved a little too fast for me to really talk with him about anything, but I admit I don’t really know as much about him as I should.

With some time to kill I decided to check out an education panel on the Hottest Graphic Novels of 2012, I stayed long enough to get some great suggestions and a preview of Chris Ware’s upcoming “Building Stories” from Pantheon in October which will come in a box that looks like a building with comics of varying designs and sizes. Much like some old McSweeney’s were done.

I left early to get back upstairs for the Kevin Pollak signing and got there just in time. Kevin has a memoir titled How I Slept My Way to the Middle, scheduled for November. I was actually a little intimidated (me intimidated?!?) and stammered my words, but was able to get myself together to request for him to do a Christopher Walken sell for the book which he not completely graciously, but in a very Kevin Pollak type way agreed to and you can see that here or hopefully in an embed below along with a photo of the two of us. Make sure to listen to/watch Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show and also Talkin Walkin, both worth it.

Right after Kevin Pollak it was a mad rush across the floor for a super long line to Michael Ian Black and Meghan McCain for their roadtrip humor book America, You Sexy Bitch which comes out on June 12, 2012. Meeting both was a pleasure and this book is one of those on high priority for me. While I don’t really know Meghan, I LOVE Black. From The State, to Wet Hot American Summer to Stella and Reaper, he’s been a huge fave. His previous book written on his own was hilarious, but the American Road Trip with the super hot daughter of John McCain premise tops it I think. Can’t wait to read this.

 

 

 

A few choices were up after this signings, but none of them possible between lines or whatever, so instead I ended up hanging out with the person who was in line behind me for Black and McCain, who just so happened to be the husband of my next doable signing. That husband happens to be writer and columnist, Jim Colucci, who works mostly for CBS’ magazine The Watch (which was a wonderful discovery as I didn’t know the magazine and it is great, just signed up for my free subscription) and his significant other is former Daily Show movie reviewer and current Sirus Radio Host, Frank DeCaro. Frank was promoting his book, Dead Celebrity Cookbook, as well as the followup Christmas in Tinseltown, that arrives in October. He also gave out an apron, which was just totally awesome.

While in line for DeCaro I was able to swing to the table right next door for a book that was on my original schedule but somehow fell off when I rewrote it to be less cluttered, and I’m glad serendipity dropped it in my lap. It is the follow-up to a series I haven’t yet read, but it was written by Brandon Mull, famous for Fablehaven and it’s called The Candy Shop War: Arcade Catastrophe.
My final scheduled signing was Chef Carla Hall, making it the third and final Top Chef of the Expo. You might also know her from her daily weekday appearance on ABC’s The Chew. First off, seriously, the woman is gorgeous in person, Hootie Hoo indeed. Unfortunately she was only signing a recipe card with a singular recipe from his forthcoming in November, Cooking with Love, but what a recipe it is. It’s for her Chicken Pot Pie (with Crust on the Bottom!). It’s a lot of work for a recipe, but god damn does it read scrumptious. I was even able to discuss with Carla how to make it slightly more healthy, which was totally awesome.

The rest of this will be broken into a Part 2 in which I go into the galleys and giveaways, etc. garnered off the schedule, but before I close off I want to talk about the one party I ended up bothering to try out on Wednesday night. It was called Pub Date and it took place at Le Poisson Rouge on Bleeker. I only went to get a chance to meet one of my favorite comic artists of all time, Phil Jimenez, which I got to do! I haven’t stayed on top of DC Comics since deciding to trade wait the New 52 and all Vertigo past SCALPED and The Unwritten, so I really knew nothing of his monthly Fairest, so I spoke to him on that. The party itself was really way too loud for any proper networking though, but I did bump into two old friends. One being Guy Lecharles Gonzalez who I see it all the book and comic shows and the other was Chavisa Woods, who almost feels like it was a lifetime ago that I saw her last.

That interesting surprise and randomness which was just topping to a day full of randomness, surprises and excitement just made this year’s BEA feel totally amazing.

Book Expo America 2012 Day 0

For the Zero Day of Book Expo America 2012 I got to see and enjoy a couple interesting things and following I shall share them with you. The only place on the Expo floor was the gifts and remainders, but there are definitely booths there that are worth seeing.

I discovered an AMAZING pop-up book that features original art pieces made specifically for this book by Alex Ross, Joe Jusko, Leinil Francis Yu and more. The most amazing piece actually has to be Amanda Conner’s Thor vs. Loki. INSANE! The book is published by Jumping Jack Press, a division of Up With Paper and will be in comic stores in July and everywhere else after Labor Day.

Being a gift section the main focus was products and I discovered an awesome optics/eye frame company. I always felt trying to get cool frames at a reasonable price was impossible, but with Scojo it wouldn’t be. Scojo Gels are designed to be reading glasses, but the way they’re made is not like regular reading glasses, so one can pop out the glass and put their prescription in. This isn’t what they recommend, but one can do it.

 

 

 

Next up the Parodies LLC booth caught my eye. Mostly it was for the art which happened to be by one of my favorite back in the day of independent comics rise, George Komninos who self-published the comics, Portrait of a Young Man as a Cartoonist & KIP. He’s focused more on single panel and pop art and working with the writer of Parodies to create funny images.

 

 

 

 

 

The final thing on the show floor to catch my eye was the Buddha Board. It’s a fun little art/play technology that I even made a little video of.

There was one panel in the Monday selection that I thought I’d find interesting, amongst mostly panels focused on booksellers, as I couldn’t afford to do BEA Bloggers and that was on Russian Children’s Literature. At the panel they mentioned and showed off one series/book that really caught my attention and that was MASHA AND THE BEAR. The book I saw was a puzzle book, but it totally sold me on wanting more of this, the cartoon, the book, whatever, translated or at least subbed. Here’s one episode to whet your appetite, which is all in Russian.

The final main event was the BEA Editor’s Buzz. I was only able to get three of the six books discussed as people are carnvourois at BEA, but I was happy to at least get PANORAMA CITY by Antoine Wilson, which I already started reading and am loving.

Super excited for the Expo to officially begin and really losing my mind.

Book Expo America 2012 Pre-Event Highlights & Tips

Book Expo America 2012 is right around the corner. Last year I wrote a focused pre-event article giving tips and advice on how to approach the show using my last two years prior of experience of tackling the Javits. That advice came in handy for myself as well, since my Book Expo America 2011 experience was absolutely amazing. I got so many awesome books, met awesome people, made connections, got amazing photos and plenty material for various articles.

This year I plan the same and I feel it might be good to reiterate some of my tips, rewrite them or maybe even give some new ones before delving into my very long list of highlights for the show.

One of the things people always focus on are sensible walking shoes, something with support, but I’m going to change my assessment on that fact after last year wearing obscenely sensible shoes. They were perfect when I was walking the floor. The minute I had to be standing on a line though, they became less sensible. They’re arched and designed to actually wobble with the groove of your foot, but once you’re just physically standing still with a bag or two of books waiting for the one author whose line is so long you’re not sure where the actual end of the line is you’re wishing you’re in sandals or barefooted or something like that. So what is my suggestion now? I have no idea. Take your feet into account, know what works for you in a situation like that. I’m thinking sandals, but you can’t get away with that easily and be professional. So just do what is going to be comfortable for you, whatever that is. Although barefooted is not a good idea.

The biggest tip I’ve going to do my best to implement is “running” back to bag check when things get too physically heavy and I end up being completely exhausted by shows end. I have events and signings and galley giveaways and just walking around aimlessly all over the show, not to mention Blog World and I might actually forget to get back to bag check, but even if I do, that rolling suitcase not allowed on the show floor will be there for when its time to go home.

So with some tips out of the way, the real fun can begin, my personal highlights and what I look forward to. I am not going to provide times, booth numbers or anything like that. That information is all on the internet, the mobile app and various blogs and news sites. This is just things that people going to Book Expo should be looking for or be excited to hear me talk about and for those not going to Book Expo a way to imagine it all before photos and proper reportage comes their way.

I’m going to start with regular authors instead of celebrities, etc.


Daniel Handler is at Book Expo again, but he’s there as Lemony Snicket this time around. It’s been some years since he’s entered the Unfortunate Universe. Along with the great comics artist SETH, the first in his new series, All The Wrong Questions, will be previewed.


Andrew Gross
who wrote the awesome EYES WIDE OPEN, will present his newest novel 15 SECONDS.R.L. Stine will be there for his newest adult focused novel, RED RAIN.

Children’s illustrator Scott Nash presents his first self penned book The High Skies Adventures of Blue Jay The Pirate.

Michael Connelly who became even more popular than before after theMatthew McConaughey starring film The Lincoln Lawyer will be there for the latest Harry Bosch novel (for those only familiar with the movie, Bosch is Haller’s half brother and an LAPD homicide detective).

William Joyce, author/illustrator and academy award winner will be there promoting the book adaptation of the amazing The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.

Tracy Hickman, co-writer of the epic DragonSword, Deathgate and other fantastic series, will be there with publisher Shadow Mountain for his Tales of the Dragon’s Bard series.

Journalist Alex Stone will be signing his book, Fooling Houdini, one of the lesser known books at the show that really caught my attention.

Walter Mosley, the best selling crime novelist will be there in promotion of his sci-fi novel, a flip book of two novellas.

Ridley Pearson has a new adult suspense series that starts with The Risk Agent.

Children’s book writer/illustrator and coincidentally one of my former college fellow students, David Ezra Stein will be promoting his upcoming Because Amelia Smiled.

One of the greatest children’s writers ever, James Howe, will be there for his upcoming picture book, illustrated by Chris Raschka, Otter and Odder.

That doesn’t cover even remotely everything that I’ll even be into but it should focus you enough.

In terms of celebrities with autobiographies or novels, well it’s a choice list.

Molly Ringwald has written a novel.

Q104.3′s Carol Miller, has a memoir.

Kevin Pollak has also written a memoir. Oh and if you haven’t checked out his newer podcast Talkin’ Walkin, you’re missing out.

Michael Ian Black has new book to promote in America, You Sexy Bitch co-written with Meghan McCain, who I believe shall also be there.

Frank DeCaro, best known for his movie reviews on The Daily Show and Sirius radio program, is promoting a collected recipe collection.

On top of that,  these three chefs of TOP CHEF fame shall be at the event!

Season 6′s Mike Isabella, Season 7′s runner up Angelo Sosa (also of Top Chef All-Stars) and Season 5′s Carla Hall (now of The Chew).

In this listing I have left out a lot. My schedule is filled with galley times, panels, chefs, other major writers, comic artists, celebs and more. It is a full and crazy schedule which I doubt I’ll accomplish as there’s only 60 minutes in an hour and who knows who long some things can take between waiting, talking, getting a photo, a signature and getting to your next location which can be down the aisle or across the room, but it’s all worth it.

Hope you have as much fun as I plan to!

The Unkillable Charlie Hardie

Car chases, attempted murder, mansions on the hill, underground prisons, psychopaths, agents, directors, actors, cops, criminals, lawyers, big whigs, buxom babes, nudity, sex, drugs, death, destruction… sounds like a regular day in Hollywood doesn’t it? At least the Hollywood of the movies, but for Charlie Hardie it’s the most atypical day in usually decidedly chosen humdrum life.
Excitement was the norm for him, till one day and for the last few years he’s done everything in his power to have the most basic, boring life possible. Life doesn’t ever go the way one plans, especially when the man running your life is writer Duane Swiercynski.

This isn’t how the Charlie Hardie trilogy of FUN & GAMES (June 2011), HELL & GONE(October 2011) and POINT & SHOOT (scheduled for 2013) begins, but that’s the crux of the matter. I became a real fan of Duane’s through his work on CABLE Vol.2 , in which Nate Summers and an unnamed child travel through a crazy future. I had been marginally introduced to him prior through his book The Blonde, but it was with Fun & Games that his brand of high octane, high adventure, crazy twists and wilder turns really grabbed me and have turned me into an always and future fan.

As with some of the best of crime noir fiction, the Charlie Hardie series is very visual. As you go through each passage, there is no way to not envision how this book would be translated on to the big screen with any of the current aging action stars of the 80s who are still kicking ass and taking names at the helm. Personally I see Val Kilmer or Russell Crowe when I close my eyes and/or pour through the pages, but I’m not a movie executive or a financier or even someone with the money to buy the rights to take the energy on a script adaptation, no, here I’m just a fan who thinks you should be as well.

Swiercynski takes the choice of an almost fourth person approach here, jumping from the perspective of various characters, including the peripheral. This style is kept up through both books and while jarring at first, it allows a really inventive way of revealing bits and pieces of a much larger whole. As much as this is Charlie’s adventure, there is so much more going on and each clue, hint, tid bit and revelation into this huge architecture Duane has built just expands in such ways that you can pretty much completely understand why he’s taking his time with the third book. Originally this trilogy was going to come hard and fast, June and October of 2011 and then March of 2012. After finishing Hell & Gone and then reading the first openings of Point & Shoot at the end of it, I was salivating at the bit for the final chapter, wondering how after how large, crazy and thrilling the second book was, it could be topped. That’s the idea with a trilogy right? To keep building and building. Not that there’s many trilogy to compare to. In its own way Charlie Hardie’s story and Duane’s concept to do it as three self-contained but completely interconnected books is truly quite original. The only real trilogies I can even think of in literature that may have begun as being conceptually the same is the work of Robertson Davis, all other trilogies have such different histories and origins.

One of the most fascinating things from this fourth person style of different perspectives is you gain an appreciation and interest for everyone involved, even the people who die or the people who just seem like they’re pure evil. It is one of the most amazing aspects of the writing that would definitely get lost in transition from page to screen.

I must say I enjoyed HELL & GONE much more than FUN & GAMES. There’s just so much intrigue, character development and the type of nail biting I personally love. FUN & GAMES for most the most part is escaping the horror, not stopping for one moment to explore, while HELL & GONE is the locked chamber, with no where to run, so you better figure out how to just survive till you can escape. I can only guess that the final book is the insanity where you try to decide to go into the lion’s den.

FUN & GAMES and HELL & GONE were published by Mulholland Books and are availabile at all fine book retailers and in all e-book formats.