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Y’all remember Little Golden Books, right? I’m sure most of us (and our parents!) had them in our wee children’s libraries, from The Poky Little Puppy to various Walt Disney titles like Mary Poppins and Bambi, or Winnie the Pooh and Sesame Street stories. And they were built to last – I bet at least some of you still have your childhood copies around somewhere.

The books themselves weren’t the only things built to last – from their origins as beautiful and quality books for very low prices, the Little Golden Books formula is a storytelling medium that has lasted over 70 years – and is still going strong.

starwars-littlegoldenbook-library2To the delight of my Star Wars-loving heart, Little Golden Books and Disney developed and released Little Golden Books for each of the main films last year: you can now get The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith, A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi in Little Golden Book form. And they are a DELIGHT.

Thanks to Entertainment Earth, I have a copy to review AND to give away – so make sure you enter to win at the end of this review! 

Just as you’d expect from Little Golden Books, each book has a sturdy cardboard cover. The copies I have feature some slight chipping near the spine on a few titles, but overall feel very sturdy. The pages are on pleasingly heavy paper, and brightly printed with the charmingly retro illustrations. As is customary with Little Golden Books, the spines are covered with printed golden foil paper – these featuring Star Wars symbols from Darth Vader’s helmet to C3PO’s head to R2-D2. The library comes in a medium-grade card stock slipcover.

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Most of the stories are adapted for the Little Golden Books by Geof Smith (who has several children’s book credits to his name) – with the exception of The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, which are adapted by Courtney Carbone and Christopher Nicholas respectively. (As a point of interest, The Phantom Menace is the only volume featuring women as writer and illustrator; all other volumes were adapted and illustrated by men.) Each volume is illustrated by a different artist, and so the entire series features work by Heather Martinez, Ethen Beavers, Patrick Spaziante, Caleb Meurer, Micky Rose, Chris Kennett, and Ron Cohee. These artists range from freelance illustrators to Disney artists to comic book artists to SpongeBob SquarePants and American Dad! cartoonists.

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These Star Wars titles are more Little Golden Books in form rather than function – these are NOT easy readers that little kids can start on their own. Each book is full of big words and some complicated concepts (e.g., crime lords, bounty hunters). And while the stories are pared down to their bones with the more evil or awful bits left out or glossed over, they’re still complicated narratives. These books are best for parent and child to read together, and the illustrations provide opportunities for learning words (like barge!) and funny moments (e.g., Chewbacca eating what may be a chicken leg in an Ewok trap).

The illustrations are all great quality, and brightly contemporary while still being reminiscent of classic Little Golden Book art. (My favorite overall has to be Ron Cohee’s art in Return of the Jedi, with a nod to Caleb Meurer and Micky Rose having the best ship illustrations in A New Hope).

In all, I call the Star Wars: Little Golden Book Library a worthy addition to the tiny geek’s bookshelf that will provide fun bonding activity for parents and kids. You can order it from Entertainment Earth over this-away, AND I’m giving away my (gently read) copy below!

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I’m giving away the review copy provided to me by Entertainment Earth. This copy has been gently read, with some very mild chipping in a few of the covers (see above about cover quality). Limited to the US and Canada due to postage cost; see below for other disclaimers.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimers: By entering this contest you agree to allow up to 12 weeks for delivery, accept the fate of packages getting lost, stolen or damaged (neither Entertainment Earth nor the host of the contest are responsible for replacement or compensation either in product, credit or currency) and a correct, valid physical address must be provided (wrong address provided, unfortunately no shipment).

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Weekly Round-Up

This week was light on publication, but never fear! I’ve got all sorts of things in the pipeline. If you’d like to receive our biweekly email newsletter featuring contest announcements and other news, fill out the form below! (I take your privacy very seriously, and will never use your email for any other purpose than to send you the newsletter you signed up for.)



For now, though, I’ve got plenty to share that I’ve been reading, creating, and excited about.

Things that I read:

Yvaine Photo Story – inspired by Neil Gaiman’s ‘Stardust’“, being magnificent and jaw-dropping collection of photographs created by the marvelous Lisa Stock.
Witches Allegedly Stole Penises and Kept Them as Pets in the Middle Ages“, being full of accounts as hilarious as they are misogynistic. The box of dicks, and the guy trying to get a bigger member back than the one he lost = howls of laughter.
6 Ways Your Social Justice Activism May Be Ableist“, containing important points on how to keep your activism accessible.

Things that I made:

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I’m very fond of this week’s Whiteboard Weirdness, which features Deadpool (as you can see!). Drawn from various comic references.

Things that I’m excited about: 

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Click the pics if you fancy purchasing any of the above! I get a modest kickback from Amazon if you do.

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And, of course, I’m very keen on the Wine Kickstarter that is ongoing! Back this great micro card game, and tell all your friends!

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The time has come for all good women and men to become wicked creatures of sensual scent and the mythic dark. Persephone is sashaying back to her crown and her love, scattering dried petals and dying leaves behind her with every deliberate step. Hades has opened up his door, and soon it’ll close behind her.

Nothing to fear awaits you in these dark passages, so long as you’re a friend to Furies.

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If any of that resonated with you – and you like perfume oils – you’re a BPAL fan. You just might not know it yet. Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab are great people with a great company, and they’ve been helping us smell amazing for more than a decade. They revel in the beautifully macabre, and also partner up to feed our geeky hearts with perfume oils inspired by Neil Gaiman‘s words and worlds, Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak, Lovecraftian lore, fairy tales, and so much more.

This year, they decided to start a series of contests inspired by the Seven Deadly Sins. “Seduce us in 7!” they cried, and threw open their email box and social media accounts to receive stories of seven words inspired by the designated sin. Their very first sin was LUST, and I had the honor of being the very first winner – that’s my micro story above, beautifully rendered by the BPAL folks. As I put it when I found out:

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It’s been over 6 months, but still? I’M SO EXCITED.

You should also all read the honorable mentions and check out the hashtag on Twitter (though you’d have to scroll back a fair bit for the Lust edition entries). There is some truly beautiful and evocative work there.

And now? I want to tell you about the perfume oil they created.

bpal-sws-lust3As a winner, I received a bottle of the final scent. In the bottle, the pomegranate is strong and lush – to my nose, it almost trips over into cherry. The end of the inhale pulls the smoke into play. On my skin, wet: the smoke emerges first, tickling my nose until the pomegranate rose up behind it. And, at last, on my skin, dry: the two distinct notes I picked out at first fully merge into a complicated and heady interplay that draws the nose closer. A perfect match for my sentence! BPAL’s artistry is stunning, and I’m delighted all over again that my story inspired them.

Since the Lust edition of the contest, they’ve also hosted one for Sloth and then Wrath. There are four more sins to go – make sure you’re following BPAL on Twitter (or Facebook!) so you can participate in the next ones. Even if you’re just reading, you’re in for a real treat.

And don’t forget to enjoy the Autumnal equinox – the Seven Word Story: Lust perfume oil would be a perfect complement to your dying year festivities.

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Weekly Round-Up

So many things to share this week, and I’m excited about all of them! Let’s jump right in.

Things that I wrote:

A review of Roses and Rot by Kat Howard, featured over at the SurLaLune Fairy Tales blog.
A review of the Stranger Things soundtrack, over at Nerdspan.
Great Cats of History, Part 2, over at Front Page Meews.

Things that I read:

Salvador Dali and Walt Disney: A Forgotten Collaboration That Will Leave You Breathless,” being exactly what it says on the tin.
Delightful Ways We Refer to Groups of Animals in English,” being full of great collective nouns.
In Defense of Villainesses” by Sarah Gailey at Tor.com will make you cackle with understanding.

Things that I made:

This be a preview of the banner.

This deliciously creepy wallpaper can be YOURS when you back the Kickstarter for Wine, which I told you about yesterday! Let me know when you’re a backer, and I’ll send you a download link for this wallpaper in a variety of sizes (including those perfect for Twitter and Facebook banners).

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This week’s Whiteboard Weirdness is in honor of Seanan McGuire‘s October Daye urban fantasy series! The 10th book just came out last week, so a rose goblin seemed appropriate. This drawing is inspired by kadharonon’s cute illustration on DeviantArt.

Things that I’m excited about:

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Click the pics if you fancy purchasing any of the above! I get a modest kickback from Amazon if you do.

And, of course, I’m terribly excited about the Wine Kickstarter! Back it here: 

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If you follow me on Twitter, you may have heard me mention a new venture once or twice – Poppy Games, a vibrant and idea-rich game company launched by my brother, Joseph Brannon. He and his creative partners have been developing games collectively for a decade, and are at last ready to share them with the world. He’s got five beautiful and fun card and board games in the pipeline, and he’s just launched a Kickstarter for the first of them: the micro card game Wine.

wine-logoWine is an elegantly simple game, easy to learn, and takes minutes to play. All you have to do is avoid the chalice with the palace… I mean the flagon with the dragon… wait… ahem. Just avoid the glass with the poison in it! Of course, to do that, you have to outwit your friends.

Wine is also a visual treat, with lush art created by Sabrina Abrego. Poppy Games is committed to visual and tactile delight as well as good games. The basic game comes in a linen drawstring bag, and the collector’s edition in a handmade bag with a nice box.

So, what are you waiting for? Do you like games? Go back it! The basic game is only $10 – and, if you back it, come back and let me know. (Or just tweet me @geekdame.) I’ll give you a download link for a deliciously creepy wallpaper I made in honor of the game! You’ll get it in a range of wallpaper sizes, as well as sizes perfect for Facebook or Twitter banners:

This be a preview of the banner.

And don’t forget to share the Kickstarter with your friends! Poppy Games is rich in potential, and y’all can help them realize that.

Full disclosure: I already identified that my brother founded Poppy Games; I am also serving as their Media Relations Consultant.

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Some years back, I discovered a little book called Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner. I immediately drowned in that novel, and wouldn’t have noticed a life preserver if one was thrown at me. The irascible scholar Alec, the graceful swordsman Richard St. Vier, their difficult romance, the deadly and colorful Riverside and the cutthroat yet elegant politics of the greater city completely ensnared my attention. Not to mention the swordplay! Honestly, I was intoxicated. I tasted blood and wanted more.

More, more, more.

Fast forward to last autumn, when I discovered my well-loved Riverside had exploded into serial fiction. With Serial Box, an exciting and clever new publisher, Kushner and a host of other excellent authors – Alaya Dawn Johnson, Malinda Lo, Joel Derfner, and more – had created a 13-story “season” of a new series set in Riverside and the nameless city surrounding it. I was hooked from the word Tremontaine, but I don’t know how anyone could resist once Serial Box executed their coup de grâce: a furious and playful commercial.

Season 1 of Tremontaine lived up to every expectation I had – and exceeded them. The world grew, and Riverside’s diversity with it. Most of the major players are women, including women of color. We met Micah, one of the best characters in the series, who is on the autism spectrum – something that is acknowledged, but NOT presented as a handicap. We have bisexual recognition, queer relationships of many stripes, and villains who pluck our heartstrings as much as do our heroes. Gender and cultural politics are interrogated. Power dynamics constantly shift, political as well as deadly intrigue abound, and swordplay is – of course – represented with heart-pounding vigor. Tremontaine is a feast for the senses and the mind; it’ll also make you crave chocolate like anything.

No, seriously, most of my Tremontaine nights were spent with a steaming cup of cocoa to hand. Pro tip: lay in a supply of hot chocolate.

This year, in anticipation of Season 2, I’m a delighted member of #TemonTEAM – bringing you the good word, as it were, of Our Series of Swords and Sin. Sometimes, this means I get sneak peeks and Serial Box outdid themselves with this week’s. Because. Y’all.

Y’all.

I GOT TO READ THE FIRST EPISODE! Even if you were in the room with me right now, you would not be able to hear me say how excited I am, mostly because your eardrums would be recovering from the high-pitched noises of delight I am helpless to restrain.

Ellen Kushner introduces us once more to the intrigues of Tremontaine with “Convocation,” inviting us into post-summer languor giving way to a new season of sensual deviltry and political jockeying. Duchess Tremontaine, Kaab, and Rafe Fenton are all there – as are new players, complicating the playing board and the world in ever more beautiful and delicious ways. Cleverness is your best friend in this world, and the wisdom to wield it – while the best lover is power and the will to resist (just enough) its many charms. I can’t wait for you all to read this episode; I can’t wait to talk about it in more detail. (WHERE ARE MY VIRAGO GRISELDA FANS AT?!) For now, though, I’ve made you a little something – a visual taste of our Grande Dame of Desperation and Ambition’s Season 2 debut:

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The Duchess Tremontaine’s back! We’re all gonna be in trouble.

(The image above features an altered close-up of a portrait of Empress Maria Feodorovna, painted by Konstantin Makovsky. Words are by Ellen Kushner, from “Convocation,” the first episode of Tremontaine Season 2. I altered the image in Pixlr.)

P.S. I didn’t even mention the GORGEOUS paper-cutout art for each episode created by Kathleen Jennings! That’s on me because, seriously, the art is a remarkable distillation of each episode and a core part of the story that is Tremontaine.

P.P.S. I feel bad for not mentioning the other authors of Season 1 on account of fine-tuned sentence flow. So, here we go: the other excellent authors of Tremontaine Season 1 were Racheline Maltese, Patty Bryant, and Paul Witcover. Oh, and Jaida Jones & Danielle Bennett who snuck in a cat-and-burglar-filled freebie with “Willie Be Nimble.

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Weekly Round-Up

Welcome to the weekly round-up! Mind your tongues and elbows, Ps and Qs, and whatever other things that might stick out or get you in trouble. Oh yeah, and enjoy all these things what I assembled for you.

Things that I wrote:

Pro Tips for the Great Hairstylist Quest, at ISA Professional’s blog.
Great Cats of History, Part 1, at Front Page Meews.

Things that I read:

Tove Jansson’s Rare Vintage Illustrations for Alice in Wonderland” over at Brain Pickings is full of marvels to behold.
Get in the Ring: Vintage Images of Female Bodybuilders and ‘Strong Women’ Showing Off,” being full of lady badasses to admire.
This GREAT post at Over the Effing Rainbow in honor of #TremonTEAM: “Everyone Loves Turnips!: A Micah Heslop Appreciation Post.”

Things that I made:

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I finally achieved a day off this week and spent it catching up on Dragon Age: Inquisition, which made drawing a chibi Varric snuggling with Bianca a natural choice for this week’s Whiteboard Weirdness. For some definitions of natural, anyway. My reference illustration was the adorable “Varric Chibi” by RedPawDesigns at DeviantArt.

Things that I’m excited about: 

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starwars-lifedebtstarwars-reversiblescarf

 

 

 

 

 

Click the pics to purchase if you’re likewise excited about any of the featured items above! I get a modest kickback from Amazon if you do.

 

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Weekly Round-Up

This week, I made things and wrote things! The things I made are available now, but most of the writing will have to wait. Publication schedules are tricksy things!

Things that I wrote:

Make America Groovy Again – Vote Ash Williams for President, over at Nerdspan.
10 of My Favorite Fictional Dogs for National Dog Day, over on Twitter.

Things that I read:

So, You Must Talk to the Woman Who is Wearing Headphones,” being The Washington Post‘s hilarious response to a terrible article.
Gene Wilder Dead: ‘Young Frankenstein’ Star Was 83,” being Variety‘s obituary for Gene Wilder.
Ursula Nordstrom and the Queer History of the Children’s Book,” over at the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Things that I made: 

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It was my mom’s birthday this week, as you can see – so I did this chibi dragon referenced from iiAsianPikachu’s DeviantArt.

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I released a whole line of products featuring my Geek Dame’s Alchemical Delights logo this week! My logo was designed by the excellent Lorraine Schleter, and you can find it adorning spiral notebooks, stickers, travel mugs, refrigerator magnets, and more! Just check out my Zazzle shop and my RedBubble shop.

Things that I’m excited about:

westworldtewsbdarkcrystal-funkokira

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click the pics if you fancy purchasing any of the above! I get a modest kickback from Amazon if you do.

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