YA Megamix Summer III: Season of the Witch

The school year is already over for some people, so, it’s basically summer…of course some of those people are now done with their undergraduate degrees or graduate degrees, so in their case summer means “life anxiety season,” unless they already have jobs. Good luck to those about to go over the precipice of the shocking lack of opportunity, it’s not fun.

Anyway, I’m continuing my tradition of the last couple of years and “reviewing” only older YA books and including one hour long mixtapes I’ve compiled to go with them. This year’s YA Megamix Summer shall be known as the “Season of the Witch” because I will not be reviewing a single book that has a witch in it – just like the Halloween franchise entry – and it’s the third Halloween-associated movie and this is the third summer I’ve done this, and I am in the process of finishing my “John Carpenter’s Guinea Pigs” painting series so I can bring all of it to Chicago in August.

To kick off the Season of the Witch, I’m going to post a mixtape of songs that have been carrying themes and revision-staples for my Squirrelpocalypse Trilogy. Somehow, these never ended up being chapter titles.

Mixtape:
1. Stormy High – Black Mountain
2. Ah! Leah! – Electric Six
3. Ash of the Mind – Agents of Oblivion
4. My Apocalypse – Zebras
5. Homemade – Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster
6. My Dreams – Gun Club
7. You Don’t Own Me – Masquer
8. Queeny Gloom Doom – Zebras
9. Restarter – Torche
10. Hold My Hand – UNKLE
11. Down in the Park – Foo Fighters
12. Filled With Fire – Zebras
13. Skogsdotter – Finntroll
14. Holiday in Cambodia – Dead Kennedys

Also, this is Finny. It may not be clear in this picture, but he is a madman. Not a witch.

Also, this is Finny. It may not be clear in this picture, but he is a madman. Not a witch.

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Filed under Books, Dawn of the Interns, Day of the Robots, Night of the Squirrels, Writing, YA Megamix Summer

And yet, Leviathan is still my favorite Mastodon album

49. Fathom – Cherie Priest

I’ve been intrigued by Priest’s work since I saw the cover of Boneshaker while shelving in Mississippi. I’m not particularly interested in steampunk – I respect it and appreciate it but it’s not my thing-, so I haven’t read Boneshaker yet and ever since I found out that she’d also decided to write her take on the Lizzie Borden story (Maplecroft) I thought maybe that would be a better starting place for someone of my tastes, which generally lead towards murder faster than steampunk… Anyway, I couldn’t get into Maplecroft, so I had to find another starting point. Fathom is the one I found while at the Madison Public Library. I hadn’t heard or read anything about it and I had recently finished Kraken by China Mieville when I picked it up, so, I figured maybe another sea monstery story would be all right. Well, this was not actually a good starting point either. There is a murder toward the beginning, and yet I wasn’t entirely on board with the trajectory of the two cousins turned immortals helping opposite sides of a world ending scheme. I think Priest had a lot of intriguing ideas but they didn’t coalesce as much as they needed to in the final product. And I couldn’t find my ground in it and had no one to relate to or root for. I wish I could have, because I’m going to get through Maplecroft at some point and all I have right now is some suspicion that relating to Lizzie Borden over a girl-turned-statue trying to stop the world ending is not going to be good either. Maybe there will be someone else in Maplecroft to ground the story, it does have a little reality in its origin, whereas if Fathom has some, I’m currently unaware of where it came from. Perhaps the depths.

Murderface and Duncan know that guinea pigs' hierarchical issues would be cause enough for some immortal sea monster fights. It's a good thing they don't have access to the sea.

Murderface and Duncan know that guinea pigs’ hierarchical issues would be cause enough for some immortal sea monster fights. It’s a good thing they don’t have access to the sea.

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Aqua Teen Hap and Leonard

68. Mucho Mojo – Joe R. Lansdale

Remember when Meatwad pulled the Danger Cart and Shake kept saying “Aqua Teen Hunger Force assemble!” so they could solve mysteries? I do because I watched the first episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force last night. That level of pretty much amateur mystery solving is essentially what Hap and Leonard are up to in this second novel in their oeuvre. Leonard’s Uncle Chester dies, leaving Leonard his house, along with its shitty neighbors and a skeleton in a box that leads them to some unpleasant places and more of Lansdale’s corral of weirdos and creeps.

The events of Mucho Mojo are foreshadowed in pieces during the Hap and Leonard series that recently ended on the Sundance channel and I SUPER hope there’s a second season so I can watch James Purefoy and Michael K. Williams deal with that skeleton. I haven’t read Savage Season yet, and so it was fun watching a story about my favorite imaginary East Texans that I didn’t already know and both actors did an excellent job bringing the most important aspect of the Hap and Leonard books – their ride or die friendship – to life.

Peregrine and Ozma, they're still working on their mystery solving friendship. It would help if Pere wasn't so nippy.

Peregrine and Ozma, they’re still working on their mystery solving friendship. It would help if Pere wasn’t so nippy.

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Did I ever tell you my favorite color was blue?

In the Mouth of Madness is one John Carpenter movie I won’t guinea pig-ify- because it is just too close to home sometimes. As a writer, who has written while watching In the Mouth of Madness, and who writes horror things that could be considered ridiculous under certain circumstances, and who decided that it would be a good idea to finish her Squirrelpocalypse Trilogy before Wizard World Madison started, I can relate to the “Did I ever tell you my favorite color was blue?” scene from both Sam Neill and Jurgen Prochnow’s perspectives. When I finished Night of the Squirrels, I yelled the same way Sam Neill does. And I wanted some Cheetos, if you read it, you’ll be able to tell that I wanted some Cheetos.  I did not have any Cheetos and it was late enough at night that I decided not to go out for some. Such a dilemma.

Anyway, Night of the Squirrels is up and ready for purchasing via the usual ebook retailers, I’m waiting for distribution to finish to a few retailers, and it’s currently easiest to find via my Amazon Author Page (Who knew that title would be so hard to search for? Me. I am a librarian, so I know some searching, but, still, that’s why I also decided to use “Squirrelpocalypse” repeatedly and I should have used it when I printed the first cover…damn the permanence of printmaking!)

It's all three covers together at last!

It’s all three covers together at last! So squirrely.

 

Of course, I’ve also done some paintings and prints related to my series (I have a few sets of all three book covers, several of the Day of the Robots cover, and several of the Night of the Squirrels cover – all in multiple colors) for Wizard World, today is the last day, so…  Merchandising, where the real money from the novel is made!

 

 

I've always been inspired by the WPA posters. Not only because if I was alive during that time period, I would have been angling for a printing job, I'm also just super fond of the typography. This one recreates a scene from Night of the Squirrels. The travel poster, McWikken style.

I’ve always been inspired by the WPA posters. Not only because if I was alive during that time period, I would have been angling for a printing job, I’m also just super fond of the typography. This one recreates a scene from Night of the Squirrels. The travel poster, McWikken style.

 

Another WPA inspired one (oh, and although I am a printmaker, both of my WPA inspired works are paintings), this time in honor of Babette and Louis. Shiny purple!

Another WPA inspired one (oh, and although I am a printmaker, both of my WPA inspired works are paintings), this time in honor of Babette and Louis. Shiny purple!

 

They call her Regan Brite. This one is a silkscreen also available in glow in the dark green. This print was so involved that I barely came away with any to sell - and so I made some postcards of this version. A few.

They call her Regan Brite. This one is a silkscreen also available in glow in the dark green. This print was so involved that I barely came away with any to sell – and so I made some postcards of this version. A few.

 

Will you endure the placement of this link with me, one last time? my profile on the Wizard World site

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Filed under Books, Dawn of the Interns, Day of the Robots, Night of the Squirrels, Writing

In which Peregrine becomes a bad babysitter.

Today is the first day of Wizard World Madison ( my profile on the Wizard World site ). There are only two days left to see my half-smiling face behind a table, unless I’m not there because I escaped to track down the Phantasm t-shirt I regretted not buying last year or I’m jumping through a wall of Funko Pop boxes like the Kool-Aid Man out of sheer joy.

Last, but certainly not least, in my “John Carpenter’s Guinea Pigs” series is Pigoween (Halloween, such a difference a “pig” makes). This one has my favorite title card painting and features my Wisconsin-pig ladies Merricat, Ozma, and Peregrine – and Peregrine’s comically-sized phone. Also Michael Myers. Stalking babysitters has never been so cute.

The Pigoween title card. Lady pigs Merricat, Ozma, and Peregrine walkin' down some foliage-lined street.

The Pigoween title card. Lady pigs Merricat, Ozma, and Peregrine walkin’ down some foliage-lined street.

 

Merricat, suddenly cardigan-less, being stared at by Michael Myers.

Merricat, suddenly cardigan-less, being stared at by Michael Myers.

 

Peregrine is On. The. Phone.

Peregrine is On. The. Phone.

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Consider the Dangers.

My little man.

My little man.

Danger Crumples was the most important guinea pig I’ll ever have. I love all my pigs, they’re all so completely special to me, but Danger Crumples always stood out. He was very clearly the star.  As far as I’m concerned, he always will be. There’s no denying his charisma- I can’t think of anyone who saw him in person that didn’t want to pet him or didn’t try to get his attention. He’s pretty unforgettable.

On January 22nd, he passed away after a relatively swift decline. I stayed with him the entire time, making sure my best friend and the most consistently inspiring of all my muses knew how important and loved he was and still is. I also had him cremated so that he has to come with me wherever I move for the rest of time. He’d already lived in three states with me and taken every transition remarkably well, so, now he’s stuck in his bamboo box with a fly nameplate.

I was working on drawings of him for paintings and prints to bring to Wizard World Madison when he passed. As usual, he took some major roles – the tenth Doctor, the eleventh Doctor, the captain of the Elizabeth Dane-ger in Pigs in the Fog, an infected expedition member in The Pig – so he’s The Pig aka The Thing, anyway, YA author Christopher Pike, 1990s YA book cover model for said Christopher Pike takeover, and a little bit of the role of his not-real twin spirit- Hello Kitty. It’s very hard for me to draw and paint my pigs after they pass, so I left the painting of the Dangers until practically the last minute of my painting “schedule” and ended up painting seven Dangers at once. That was hard.

The seven Dangers.

The seven Dangers.

 

The Danger Who original paintings and Hello Danger.

The Danger Who original paintings and Hello Danger.

 

The Christopher Pike-Danger Crumples takeover. Danger Crumples Is Pigture Perfect.

The Christopher Pike-Danger Crumples takeover. Danger Crumples Is Pigture Perfect.

 

Being both the author and cover star made it seem appropriate to make the titles a bit more literal - Danger Crumples...In a Car with a Skeleton.

Being both the author and cover star made it seem appropriate to make the titles a bit more literal – Danger Crumples…In a Car with a Skeleton.

 

The biggest one - where Danger Crumples is joined by friends Ozymandias and Horace - Pigs in a Graveyard

The biggest one – where Danger Crumples is joined by friends Ozymandias and Horace – Pigs in a Graveyard.

 

( my profile on the Wizard World site )

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Gotta have you on my wall, ’cause-

I love skulls. And bones. At one point I was tempted to call this blog Guinea Pigs, Books, and Skulls because those are the three things that I’m interested in artistically, but at that point I didn’t think I was going to feature my paintings on this blog- Ha.

The four paintings below are going to be available for sale at Wizard World Madison April 8-9-10 ( my profile on the Wizard World site ).

The star painting, I also have prints of my Bye Bye, Li'l Sebastian design.

The star painting of the most important mini-horse skull. I also have prints of my Bye Bye, Li’l Sebastian design.

 

My signature piece, Guinea Pigs are for Life. Now one person can also have a guinea pig skull painting (I kept the first one I did) and about six people can have guinea pig skull prints. Sometimes I don't have very many available because printing is not always a sure thing when you do it all by hand.

My signature image, Guinea Pigs are for Life. Now one person can also have a guinea pig skull painting (I kept the first one I did) and about six people can have guinea pig skull prints – sometimes I don’t have very many available because printing is not always a sure thing when you do it all by hand.

 

This is what a Columbian Ground Squirrel's skull looks like...when I paint it.

This is what a Columbian Ground Squirrel’s skull looks like…when I paint it.

 

The skull of the other mammal I'm regularly associated with, the squirrel. I made its teeth less scary in this painting than the teeth featured in Night of the Squirrels.

The skull of the other mammal I’m regularly associated with, the squirrel. I made its teeth less scary in this painting than the teeth featured in Night of the Squirrels.

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Filed under Dawn of the Interns, Day of the Robots, Night of the Squirrels

Are guinea pig parody paintings better than movie remakes?

My answer would be: probably. I would certainly enjoy a remake of The Fog starring guinea pigs, which is why I made The Fog the second target of my “John Carpenter’s Guinea Pigs” series of paintings, available at Wizard World Madison April 8-9-10 ( my profile on the Wizard World site ).

Once nice thing about Carpenter's often short titles - they really leave themselves open for guinea pig parody. Also, Danger Crumples would have been an excellent pirate captain.

Once nice thing about Carpenter’s often short titles – they really leave themselves open for guinea pig parody. Also, Danger Crumples would have been an excellent pirate captain.

 

Horace and Ozma face a leper pirate inside their awkwardly spaced truck.

Horace and Ozma face a leper pirate inside their awkwardly spaced truck.

 

When I chose Merricat to replace Adrienne Barbeau's DJ character Stevie Wayne, I knew that she wasn't going to be playing jazz records in between warnings about the fog... She's got Zebras' The City of Sun, one of my favorite records from last year by the best band from(ish) Madison in my favorite of all my John Carpenter's Guinea Pigs paintings. Not priced to move.

When I chose Merricat to replace Adrienne Barbeau’s DJ character Stevie Wayne, I knew that she wasn’t going to be playing jazz records in between warnings about the fog… She’s got Zebras’ The City of Sun, one of my favorite records from last year by the best band from(ish) Madison in my favorite of all my John Carpenter’s Guinea Pigs paintings. Not priced to move.

 

Despite the obvious futility, I always try to photograph the pigs featured in my paintings next to the paintings (unfortunately, neither Merricat nor Danger Crumples were available by the time I finished these). Horace and Ozma are not interested in my work. Of course they aren't. They don't even know I menaced them with leper pirates.

Despite the obvious futility, I always try to photograph the pigs featured in my paintings next to the paintings (unfortunately, neither Merricat nor Danger Crumples were available by the time I finished these). Horace and Ozma are not interested in my work. Of course they aren’t. They don’t even know I menaced them with leper pirates.

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Tea towel-palooza

So, this one time, in order to make things to sell at Wizard World Madison – my profile on the Wizard World site – I decided that I should do a massive amount of screen printing in one day and I deemed that day “Tea Towelpalooza,” the results of this lunacy are displayed below. I will be bringing all the successful prints I finished that day to Wizard World Madison on April 8-9-10, and as I am a big fan of unusual kitchen things (especially novelty tea towels, ever since I didn’t buy a Nick Cave tea towel the first time I ever saw one at a show in Manchester in 2005 – Never again will I refrain from buying a Nick Cave tea towel! No more regrets!), thirtyish of those successful prints are on tea towels.

This is the end of having available space in my living room until the prints dried.

This is the end of having available space in my living room until the prints dried.

 

That's right, it's Parks and Rec fan art tea towels. I do love a skull or a mini-horse, and this has both; so, Bye bye, Li'l Sebastian, you're 5000 candles in the wind and this is my tribute.

That’s right, it’s Parks and Rec fan art tea towels. I do love a skull or a mini-horse, and this design I created has both; so, Bye bye, Li’l Sebastian, you’re 5000 candles in the wind and this is my tribute.

 

I hand painted in the red side of every pair of 3-D glasses. It was meticulous. I will never do it again. David Tennant is a major super awesome guest at Wizard World Madison, so I hope he likes my guinea pig parody of his turn as Doctor Who.

I hand painted in the red side of every pair of 3-D glasses. It was meticulous. I will never do it again. David Tennant is a major super awesome guest at Wizard World Madison, so I hope he enjoys my guinea pig parody of his turn as Doctor Who.

And here's Danger Crumples in red as Matt Smith's 11th Doctor. Putting a fez on Danger was impossible to resist. He also has a bow tie.

And here’s Danger Crumples in red and blue as Matt Smith’s 11th Doctor. Putting a fez on Danger was impossible to resist. He also has a bow tie.

 

The dissolving of the Danger Whos. I will only print these images once - some of them went badly and I had to re-paint my screen filler and print them again, but, there's still a serious level of singularity in that these hand pulled prints and tea towels are going to be available at Wizard World Madison first and it may be the only time my hand pulled, hand packaged versions of them will be available.

The dissolving of the Danger Whos. I will only print these images once – some of them went badly and I had to re-paint my screen filler and print them again, but, there’s still a serious level of singularity in that these hand pulled prints and tea towels are going to be available at Wizard World Madison first and it may be the only time my hand pulled, hand packaged versions of them will be available. Also, I know it’s weird to see my human kitchen. I’m a person who displays a still packaged coffee cup for squirrels. I’m not going to open it and make them coffee, I barely know how to make coffee.

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This is my design.

As I have been preparing mercilessly for my Artist Alley table at the Madison iteration of Wizard World ( my profile on the Wizard World site ), I haven’t been posting as much and now I’m posting without very many words…unusual for me. Anyway, the guinea pigs are making their public debuts in a couple of series I’ve painted and I’ve done some prints, and the end of my Squirrelpocalypse Trilogy will be coming out soon, and I’m going to share some painting pictures and some dear god what did I do to my living room printing pictures throughout the month of April, and let’s face it, probably also May because my hands and brain are tired. First up, The Thing-part of my John Carpenter’s Guinea Pigs series. All these paintings will be available at Wizard World Madison – April 8-9-10 at the Alliant Energy Center.

 

Danger Crumples has always been from another world, his role in my guinea pig version of The Thing just confirms it.

Danger Crumples has always been from another world, his role in my guinea pig version of The Thing just confirms it.

 

Peregrine gets to be Kurt Russell by virtue of having the middle name "Plissken." Here she is wearing the wrong jacket for the MacReady character adorably.

Peregrine gets to be Kurt Russell by virtue of having the middle name “Plissken.” Here she is wearing the wrong jacket for the MacReady character adorably.

 

And here's Peregrine as MacReady with the head monster, which ended up looking a mite Trumpish, not sure how I feel about that. I blame yellow ochre.

And here’s Peregrine as MacReady with the head monster, which ended up looking a mite Trumpish, not sure how I feel about that. I blame yellow ochre.

 

Blood test! Horace, Ozma, and an unhappy Danger Crumples await the sizzle noise in their sweaters.

Blood test! Horace, Ozma, and an unhappy Danger Crumples await the sizzle noise in their sweaters.

 

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Filed under Dawn of the Interns, Day of the Robots, Night of the Squirrels