Archive for September, 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen… a starred review of WINTER TOWN!

Posted on Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Here’s WINTER TOWN’s first starred review from Kirkus!

Winter Town
By Stephen Emond
December/ Ages 12 & Up/ $17.99
ISBN: 978-0-316-13332-6

Two childhood friends struggle to preserve their relationship as it evolves into a romance amid a host of pressures in this remarkable illustrated work of contemporary fiction.
After her parents break up, her mother moves rebellious Lucy from New England to Atlanta. She returns just once a year to see her dad at Christmas, and it is during one such trip during her senior year of high school that this story begins. Beginning the novel as a third-person narrator is her best friend, Evan. The studious, dutiful only child in his tight-knit family, he is uncomfortable with changes in her appearance and demeanor, and their visit starts out shakily. At the halfway mark, the point of view switches, and Lucy quickly reveals the heartbreaking reasons behind her transformation. While the employ of the dual narrative is a current trend in teen fiction, it serves this particular tale—which so eloquently depicts how impossible it is to truly get inside the head of another—extraordinarily well. Interspersed throughout are both realistic illustrations and drawings of a comic strip being created by Evan and Lucy; these black-and-white, almost chibi-style panels form an effective parallel with the plot and appeal mightily on their own.
Compelling, honest and true—this musing about art and self-discovery, replete with pitch-perfect dialogue, will have wide appeal.

Love it!




Inkling

Posted on Friday, September 23rd, 2011

This is a cool little product… Wacom makes the pen tablets lots of digital/computer artists use to draw right into the computer. You get used to it, drawing on plastic in front of you and seeing the cursor move on the screen, but it’s definitely different from drawing right on paper.


 
Basically the Inkling records your pen moving on any normal piece of paper, and makes a digital file of your drawing movements. It’s really a cool idea. It’s cool but not super necessary – it’s basically like drawing something on paper and scanning it into the computer. The biggest difference is that it’s a vector image you end up with – you can scale a vector image up and down to any size and it stays nice and crisp and clean – and you can edit a vector image as well.

It would be fun to capture any doodles I make, but I guess it’s not that difficult to scan them, either. Maybe I just like new gadgets. I want one of these and I want a cintiq tablet so I can draw right on the screen. Wants, not needs. All you really NEED for art is a pen and a piece of paper.




Spotified

Posted on Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

I joined this spotify thing. I posted a WINTER TOWN playlist and a writing music playlist if you wanna hear the kind of stuff I listen to while writing!

Follow me on Spotify




Iphone dump!

Posted on Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Here’s some random pictures off my phone, offered without comment.




Where’s My Lemons??

Posted on Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

WHAT HAPPENED TO LEMONS??? The few of you that followed my autobio comic LEMONS last year may have noticed the lack of updates! Kinda sucks because I really liked doing it, it was cool looking back and seeing all the interesting things I’d been up to, and a fun way to keep a journal. I originally started doing it to be “visible” in the long stretches between book releases. I figured people could read HAPPYFACE and then stop by my page and get to know me and say hello.

That said, the obvious answer as to why I stopped is I got too busy. I’ve had a tendency to work on two projects at any given time – when I was working on HAPPYFACE, I was also working on the EMO BOY movie. When I was writing WINTER TOWN, I was doing LEMONS as well. And now I am working on my third book, and working on the iPhone game – those two projects basically take up any creative time I can muster.

Every now and again I do something really fun or have some interesting life moments and think “AHHH this would be a perfect LEMONS comic!” But alas, for now they have to take their chances with my abysmal memory. Maybe eventually I’ll muster up enough time to bring it back, but for now it’s not meant to be. Of course you can still find me here, facebook, twitter, and always feel free to send me an email. Just give me notice if you’re stopping by the apartment.




Writing Spots

Posted on Sunday, September 18th, 2011

Some random ramblings…

I’m blogging and answering emails at a Barnes and Noble cafe… I need a new writing spot! This is where I came when I lived a heck of a lot closer – instead of driving 10 minutes I’m driving a good half hour now to get here. It’s quiet, familiar, and I feel comfortable here so it is worth the travel, but it’d be nice to find something closer. There’s a nearby Borders I used to write at but of course they are closing now.
I tried going to a nearby cafe that’s open til 10, but it was PACKED on a Sunday night, it’s like a haven for loud teenagers – not going to work. Library is pretty close too, but the hours aren’t convenient. I’ve thought about checking out a Panera that’s about 10 minutes away.

I used to have a small little apartment that had all my distractions, but otherwise was pretty secluded and quiet. My new apartment is bigger but it still has my distractions and it’s on a busy road, so it’s louder, and the energy just isn’t quite right – I find I’m much more productive outside of my home.

Anyone else care to share their writing places?




MORE BOOKS

Posted on Friday, September 16th, 2011

Sad about Borders closing… I wrote a good chunk of WINTER TOWN at a Borders downing a bunch of pumpkin spice lattes last fall. They were open latest, giving me that extra hour of writing time. I’ve been on a book-buying spree lately, combing the Borders’ carcasses for 70% off gems. Of course sometimes I’d think of something to look for, not find it, and decide yes, now I must pay full-price for it. Here’s a few of my captures:

I was talking to a friend of mine who buys as many books as I do and reads about as slow as I do – I always feel like SOME DAY, not sure when but certainly before I die, SOME DAY everyone I know will leave me, I’ll be 100% alone, and there’s a chance this is an apocalypse situation – there may be a loss of movies and TV – and this is when I’m really going to read ALL THOSE BOOKS. And everyone is going to be miserable and whining and knocking on my door because I was smart enough to stock up on a full library. I’ll be just fine in the apocalypse! I’ll have my books.

It’s kinda like that Twilight Zone episode, where the world ends and that guy finally gets to just read and not be bothered by anyone, and his glasses break. Luckily I am near-sighted.




BOOKS

Posted on Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

Some books I have read recently:

Some books on my to-read next list:




Catching Up

Posted on Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

I’ve spent most of the year working on an iPhone game. After I finished WINTER TOWN this winter, I floundered around from project to project for a bit. I’m always trying to do something BIGGER and crazy when I finish something and I always crash into a wall with it. That’s basically what happened.

I have a friend that’s a programmer who really wanted to make an iPhone game, and he asked me if I had any ideas for a game. I didn’t really but I tried to come up with a few ideas. This led to me doing a little art to see what he could put together. Literally a day later, he had a very rough version of a game in place – there was the little guy I drew, the background I made, and he was moving around on it. It was really cool.

Before I knew it, I was writing out scenarios and creating characters and drawing frame after frame of animation, layers of backgrounds, and it was growing and growing before my eyes – FAST. The game began to take shape, the same way a book does as you write, and it revealed itself to be something even bigger and more ambitious than I intended. The game is something that is personal to me in a lot of ways, it works with a lot of my strengths and interests, it’s different. Another of our friends revealed himself to be in insanely gifted game-music composer. In the span of a few months the game went from an interesting diversion to something with a huge amount of potential.

My friend Sal (the programmer) suggested we write some companies to see if we could get some advice on how to market this thing. We contact CHILLINGO, who published the first ANGRY BIRDS game as well as countless other chart-toppers (Cut The Rope, Contre Jour, etc). A simple conversation quickly turned into a publishing deal. It’s been about a half a year and this thing just keeps growing. It’s exciting.

Talks with Chillingo showed us how much more the game could still be, and a few more layers were added, new gameplay elements, clarity. I’m about a third of the way to what we want to have ready for launch.

It’s been a half a year of game diversion and I started really missing writing. The game-making and the drawing and animating are all fun but I do miss the intimacy of writing, there’s a level of self-expression that’s unparalleled in writing and when I’m not doing it, I feel closed off, I get frustrated. I had an idea that was gestating in my head for a while, then I had another, and another. Then I got depressed, and I wanted to just bleed it all out, I wanted to write a book a day but I had all this game stuff to do.

I finally took my three main ideas to my editor Connie, and we agreed one of the ideas had a lot of potential and was right up my alley. I’m trying to juggle the two projects now, the game and the third book. It’s all exciting.

I love making things.




I’m Back!

Posted on Monday, September 5th, 2011

Ack, not good, Steve! This is some horrible blog neglect. I just know they’re going to take it away from me.

I’ll try and be a little better – I don’t know why I have such issues with updating this thing, even when I have stuff to talk about, it always feels like a low priority, which it isn’t. I need a helper gnome to crawl into my brain and type out the goings-on for me.

I’m quiet here, but I post the occasional news update or book-related matters on my Facebook author page. I post some ridiculousness and absurdities on my personal page if you feel like bothering with that. I post less frequently on my twitter, though I have a tendency to post pseudo-meta “I am updating my twitter, why don’t I have anything to tweet?” nonsense.

I’d like to say I save all my communicating for in-person but truthfully I’m even worse with human interaction. I feel like I think about stuff. My brain does *something* all day.

*shrugs*

I’ll see if I can post here semi-regularly, anyway! I’ve been inspired by reading Sara Zarr’s blog, she’s been posting some wonderful entries lately, she’s like an interesting-article factory. < -- (this is a great metaphor) WINTER TOWN is mere months away, so of course I’m excited for that. I got a look at the full hardcover cover design it’s just insanely awesome. I can’t wait to see it on shelves. A little nervous about reviews, HAPPYFACE set the bar pretty high there, but it is what it is, we’ll see how it goes. We have two blurbs for the cover, one by the always-awesome bestselling author Sarah Ockler (Twenty Boy Summer, Fixing Delilah) who says “Winter Town is this season’s perfect curl-up-under-the-blankets-and-read book. Evan and Lucy are angsty, infuriating, and absolutely endearing. I dare you not to fall in love with them.”

We also got a blurb from Michael Buckley (NERDS, The Sisters Grimm) who said “Emond’s prose and illustrations perfectly capture the exhilarating and maddening nature of young love. It made me want to run out and get a tattoo for my grandma!”

Just a couple months away! Excitement!!