GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ I Smell Sheep: March 2012

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Press Release: HAWKEN and Archaia Get Graphic Together


Note: The following is a press release from Archaia Comics. Thanks goes to Mel Caylo, Marketing Manager, for sharing this information with us. 

Graphic Novel Will Explore the Rich World Behind the Eagerly Anticipated, Free-To-Play Mech Game

SEATTLE, WA (EMERALD CITY COMICON/March 31, 2012) – Meteor Entertainment and Eisner Award-winning publisher Archaia Entertainment have teamed up to produce and publish a hardcover graphic novel for HAWKENMeteor’s upcoming First-Person-Shooter (FPS).  HAWKEN is already generating major online buzz as a fan-favored underdog within the gaming community. Produced by Adhesive Games, an independent game studio based in Pasadena, HAWKEN has been praised for groundbreaking gameplay and visuals that rival most AAA console titles. HAWKEN is the first title from indie publisher Meteor Entertainment.

Meteor is holding a panel at Emerald City Comic Con in their hometown of Seattle, WA on Saturday, March 31st from 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM in Room TCC 102 in the Washington State Convention Center. Representatives from both Meteor and Archaia will share more details about their publishing partnership and hint at some big announcements for Archaia’s next appearance in Chicago, IL at C2E2, in Chicago April 13-15, 2012.

HAWKEN is the story of a post-apocalyptic, human-colonized planet that has been industrialized to the point of collapse. This crumbling world is the setting for a hunt for vital resources and a brutal battle for survival. Writing the graphic novel for Archaia is Jeremy Barlow, whose recent work on the Mass Effect 3 comic books made him an easy choice for another high-profile games-to-comics translation. In addition to Barlow’s script, Archaia is assembling a team of popular artists, including Moritat (Elephantmen, Transmetropolitan), Stefano Gaudiano (Daredevil, Amazing Spiderman), and Khang Le (Flight), with more names to be announced at C2E2.
Eisner Award-nominated Flight writer/artist and Adhesive Games co-founder Khang Le crafted HAWKEN’s vast mythology, which was later extrapolated alongside DJ2 Entertainment, a new LA-based production company that specializes in transmedia brand development.  “It’s amazing to look around and see so many trusted friends behind HAWKEN. With 1.2 million views on YouTube and 250,000+ users already registered for our 12/12/12 beta release, it’s hard to believe how far we’ve come,” said Le. “Just goes to show that, with a great team behind you, anything is possible.”

The graphic novel is set to release in March 2013 following the 12-12-12 beta release of HAWKEN the game. While the game showcases the visually stunning and high action FPS experience, the graphic novel will expose the world’s vast mythology and explore the key characters and events motivating the war in-game. Reading the graphic novel is designed to not only serve as a narrative counterpart to the game, but also enrich the gaming experience with secret clues and codes that unlock special features in-game. “We wanted to do something special in publishing, but we needed a partner with enough artistic integrity and proven quality to pull it off,” said Mark Long, game veteran and CEO of Meteor Entertainment.

The Meteor-Archaia partnership was facilitated by Joe LeFavi of Quixotic Transmedia, who spearheads business development for Archaia’sBlack Label division, a unique development pipeline designed to work alongside entertainment brands eager to launch and expand into publishing. “What excited us most about Hawken was their determination to revitalize, if not redefine, how people see and appreciate mechs,” said LeFavi, who will serve as executive editor and Archaia’s transmedia producer on the book. “Boasting influences from Blade Runner andTekkonkinkreet to Nausicaä and Ghost in the ShellHawken is a breathtaking portrait of a war-torn world where greed is good, war is life, and survival is for the few with the most ammo. To find such a gritty and grounded vision of our future was inspiring. Sure, the game is gorgeous and really fun, but Meteor isn’t simply creating a great game. They’re creating an entire universe fans can enjoy and explore for years to come.”


About ArchaiaArchaia is a multi-award-winning graphic novel publisher with more than 50 renowned publishing brands, including such domestic and international hits as Mouse Guard, Return of the Dapper Men, Gunnerkrigg Court, Awakening, The Killer, Days Missing, Tumor, Syndrome, Artesia, The Engineer, and an entire line of The Jim Henson Company graphic novels. Archaia has built an unparalleled reputation for producing meaningful content that perpetually transforms minds, building one of the industry’s most visually stunning and eclectic slates of graphic novels. Archaia was named Graphic Novel Publisher of the Year according to Ain’t it Cool News, Graphic Policy and Comic Related, and was honored with nine 2011 Eisner Awards nominations. Archaia has also successfully emerged as a prolific storyteller in all facets of the entertainment industry, extending their popular brands into film, television, gaming, and branded digital media.

About Meteor EntertainmentBased in Seattle, Meteor Entertainment is a newly formed video game publisher focused on building out a top tier roster of talent to successfully publish F2P games globally, with an emphasis on compelling content and setting the standard for customer service and community engagement.  Meteor’s 12/12/12 launch of HAWKEN, created by Adhesive Games, will be its first tentpole title. To learn more about Meteor Entertainment visit www.meteor-ent.com <http://www.meteor-ent.com>  and be sure to check out www.playhawken.com.

About DJ2 Entertainment
Based in Santa Monica, California, DJ2 is an independent, multi-platform production company that develops and produces content for theatrical, television, mobile and videogame platforms. DJ2 is also a full service management company representing a roster of top writers, actors, directors, artists and creatives. Leveraging decades of experience and outstanding industry relationships with film and TV studios, comic publihers, talent agencies, game developers and game publishers, DJ2  provides a one stop shop for project development, career guidance and management.  www.dj2.co/

About Quixotic TransmediaQuixotic is an entertainment consultancy that specializes in transmedia brand development, formulating innovative strategies and turnkey creative solutions that inspire brands to unearth their cross-platform potential. As the business of storytelling continues to evolve, Quixotic Transmedia is committed to serve as a trusted guide for brands eager to develop, produce, and promote their ideas across multiple forms of media. Here we provide a friendly and informed perspective on the transmedia space, enabling our clients to overcome the bewildering learning curve and seize the many opportunities of this ever-evolving marketplace. Our unique process is designed to educate brands on how to produce rich content incorporating media both new and old, utilize emerging technologies and social media as dynamic storytelling and marketing tools, and open an array of accessible entry points that engage fans on multiple levels. In support of this mission, Quixotic has fostered a vast network of quality vendors in every facet of the industry, ensuring that clients make the right friends and align their brands with industry pioneers capable of bringing their ideas to life. Learn more about how you can change the way that you share stories with the world at www.quixotictransmedia.com.

Sheep Comic Review: Creepy #8

By: Jeff Parker, Doug Moench, Rick Geary, Colleen Coover, Kelly Jones, Richard Corben
Type: Comics
Genres: Classic, Horror
Publisher: Dark Horse
Pub. Date: April 04, 2012
Details: Full color, 48 pages

Uncle Creepy has unearthed another malicious mag's worth of terror! Waiting in these pages are brand-new stories from Jeff Parker (Thunderbolts, Hulk), Colleen Coover (X-Men: First Class), Rick Geary (A Treasury of Victorian Murder), Doug Moench (Batman), and Kelly Jones (Criminal Macabre) all wrapped up in a cover from horror master Richard Corben (Hellboy, classic Creepy and Eerie)!
* Cover by Richard Corben!
* Featuring a classic reprint from Bruce Jones and Bernie Wrightson!

This was my first time reading an issue of Creepy and I really enjoyed the variety of stories and art work. Uncle Creepy is our host and he introduces us to five old school horror stories, but Jenifer was by far my favorite with a great “ew!” factor. The weakest of the bunch was the two-page Loathsome Lore, but it wasn’t really a story, more of a listing of rock musicians and what gave them their famous horror reputation. Overall an entertaining assortment of horror candy.

Contents:
Nineteen - Jeff Parker, Colleen Coover
A man learns his new-found salvation from guilt is actually anything but… I liked the broad stroke artwork and minimal details.

The Lurking Fate That Came to Lovercraft Part 1- Doug Moench, and Kelly Jones
There is a thin line between genius and madness and you are better off keeping that to yourself. The artwork was a little busy, but set the mood well.

The Mausoleum- Rick Geary
Sad tale of why the living and dead shouldn’t fall in love. The artwork is very crisp and clean like Sunday comics.

Loathsome Lore- Dan Braun and Kyle Baker
This was just panels of famous musicians with a description of why they are considered horror rock. The artwork is messy looking.

Jenifer - Bruce Jones and Bernie Wrightson
No good deed goes unpunished; watch the cycle of horror as a hideous creature moves from one poor soul to the next. The artwork is a mix of detailed drawings for the normal things in the story and a heavily shaded style for the horror scenes giving it a fantastic overall creep factor.

4 Creepy Sheep




SharonS (edited by BAK)

Pre-order and see previews: here

Friday, March 30, 2012

Crista McHugh 'A Soul for Trouble' review + giveaway

***Make sure to read the full review and enter for your chance to win a paperback or ebook copy of A Soul for Trouble.***

A Soul for Trouble by Crista McHugh
Expected publication: April 3rd 2012 by Create Space
ISBN13: 978146815874

Synopsis:
When you are a witch named Trouble, Chaos follows. Arden Lesstymine (know to everyone as Trouble) likes attention as much as the next girl, but this is getting ridiculous. When an insane stranger is murdered at the inn where she works, Trouble becomes the next Soulbearer for the disembodied god of chaos. Loku. Yes, it comes with the ability to channel the god’s limitless power, but at the cost of her sanity-literally. Now she has a sexy but cynical knight claiming to be her protector, a prince trying to seduce her to his cause (and his bed), and a snarky chaos god who offers a play-by-play commentary on it all, whether she wants to hear it or not. To make matter worse, a necromancer wants to capture the soul of Loku for his own dark purposes, and the only way he can get it is by killing her first.

When you are the only blonde-haired, blue-eyed person in town you know you are going to draw attention to yourself, not always good attention, but attention none the less. Add the ability to use magic into the mix and you know why you have the nickname Trouble. Arden works for her uncle at his inn, not by choice but by honor to the family, unfortunately Arden gets to serve the riff-raff at the inn that no one else wants to deal with. Who knew helping one old man would change her life forever? Shortly after helping an insane old man he is killed and Arden becomes the new Soulbearer of the chaos god Loku. This information is given to Arden after she woken outside the village by Devarius Tel’brien, Knight of Gravaria (Dev for short). Dev informs Arden that he is the sworn protector of the Soulbearer.

While Dev is trying to get Arden to Gravaria to give her the proper magical training, they have a few run-ins with the Necromancer. Arden chooses to ignore Dev and fight back, which is not a good thing to so, since using magic is punishable by death. Instead Arden ends up saving the Third prince Kell, who wishes to save Arden. Kell tries his hardest to woo Arden into his bed, which doesn’t go exactly as he planned. Arden blows off almost every attempt Kell makes at her. During all of this Dev starts to show signs of jealousy, but he keeps shrugging off his feelings for Arden since he is her sworn protector.

I had a lot of fun reading this book, the characters are likable in their own ways but at times I wanted to reach in and smack Arden around a few times. I’ve wanted to yell at Dev for being such a stubborn jerk and Kell I wanted to give a good swift kick in the rear for just being Kell. Loku if it was possible I’d want to hang out with and talk to for a while, since he reminds me of a certain spirit that lives in a skull that hangs out with a wizard from Chicago. If you are looking for a fantasy book with a little romance, I suggest giving this one a chance and adding it to your library. I’m already looking forward to the next book A Soul for Chaos to come out at the end of the year. It will be interesting to see how life fairs for Arden and Dev once they are in Gravaria.

4.5/5
~DD~

***GIVEAWAY***
Crista was kind enough to offer up one print or ebook copy of her latest hit novel to a lucky commenter below. This giveaway is open to EVERYONE so make sure to list the following in the comments below:

1. Your Email Address
2. A theme for Crista's book is order vs chaos. Do you like the predictable, or a little spontaneity from time to time?
3. Do you follow the blog? If so get double entries!

Make sure to sign up for Crista's newsletter HERE for more chances to win signed books, $50 B&N gift card or a custom hand-stamped bracelet! Contest for our giveaway here ends April 6th at midnight, good luck.

3 Star Rating Event - authors and publishers speak out



This is day two of the 3 star rating event (you can find day one post here) and we have authors Dani Harper and Sean Cummings and editors/publishers Amanda (Strange Chemistry), Patrick (Sea Lion Books) and Dominique (Musa Publishing).
They have some interesting things to say and give some insight to the other side of the reviewing coin .




Dani Harper
FB-website-blog-twitter
I confess, that my initial reaction to a 3-star rating is not a happy one. My inner critic cackles in my brain, “There, you see? I told you that you can’t write worth a darn – they didn’t like it!” But after applying some emergency chocolate, I get in touch with my more sensible side. The side that checks out what a 3-star rating means to that particular blogger. It’s a perfectly good rating on many sites! It makes me recall some teachers I used to have in public school. Mrs. Joiner was generous with A’s. Mrs. Sydenham seldom EVER gave out A’s. It meant different things to each of them. So I consider the source first.
The second thing I consider is personal taste. We are all individuals. What one person raves about, the next person may completely hate. I have several friends who recommend books to me. Often I really like the book too. But sometimes I wonder what on earth my friend possibly saw in it. Different tastes. Bloggers have different tastes too.
The third thing I do when I get a 3-star rating is read the review very carefully. What is the reviewer saying and is it possible that they’re right? Could I have improved the pacing? Did I put in too much backstory? Maybe yes, maybe no. But I definitely think about what the reviewer is saying in case I can learn something that will help a future book be that much better. And I appreciate that the blogger took the time and made the effort to review my work -- it's a job I'm not sure I could do.
I think my only concern about a 3-star rating is what it means to a possible new reader. Do they think my story is sub-par because it’s not a 4 or a 5? Do they pay much attention to ratings at all? I don’t know the answer to that one. All I can do is try to improve my craft and make each book the best it can be.



"I'm not overly concerned about three star reviews because the review process is entirely subjective - I've got 5 star reviews of my books and 1 star reviews. Big deal. That said, refusing to offer ARC's to bloggers who give out three star reviews is publishers trying to game the rating system, particularly if that review is on a book buying website like the one that starts with the letter A. I understand that a lot of this has to do with how a book places in comparison with other titles and it's probable there's a business reason for doing it, but it's dumb, dumb, dumb. The only people really talking about books these days are book bloggers - they're passionate about books and they're an integral part of book promotion. Publishers need to remember that bloggers do what they do because of that passion - they could easily stop - or worse, organize via social media to decry the policy... no wait, that's happening right now, isn't it?"



Amanda at Strange Chemistry
editor
website-twitter
Strange Chemistry is a global imprint dedicated to the best in modern young adult science fiction, fantasy and everything in between.
My name is Amanda and I am the editor of Strange Chemistry, the YA imprint of Angry Robot Books. Before taking on this job I used to review books on a personal blog. In my opinion, a 3 star review is letting a reader know that a book is straight down the line - it has good points, but isn't magificent. It has bad points, but isn't worth avoiding. I can see that some people would find a 3 star review rather negative, but for me this is where a novel starts out from when a reader turns the first page. The extra stars have to be earned by a certain quality of writing or plot; the novel can lose stars if it becomes derivative or lacks that writing quality. I can safely say that no blogger would be ostracised for giving a Strange Chemistry novel a 3 star review - in all honesty I will just be grateful that people are talking about the books and caring enough to review them!


Patrick at Sea Lion Books
FB-website-twitter
Sea Lion Books is a publishing house dedicated to bringing readers new stories by some of the biggest names in publishing and entertainment, while re-imagining some of their classic works in visual format.
“Personally, when a blogger rates one of our titles with a 3 star, to me it means they believe it’s a very good book, but it simply isn’t their cup of tea. There’s a high probability they will not want to read the second book of that series. As a publisher, I’ll always kindly offer the second book in the series to them in the hopes they might discover it was their cup of tea after all. In conclusion, a 3 is a good and respectable rating.”


Dominique at Musa Publishing
Director of Promotions
At Musa Publishing the story comes first. First, foremost and always Musa Publishing is focused upon the satisfaction of the reader, the growth and success of the writer, and the quality of the product.

"It amazing how quickly a 3 star rating has received a bad rap. To me a 3 star means that the reviewer liked it, they enjoyed the story and felt like they didn't waste their time reading it. Perhaps the three star is because there were technical errors that distracted the reviewer or perhaps the story just didn't resonate with that one person. Every book can't be on the scale of Pride and Prejudice for every person. For that matter P and P for me is a 5 it's what I hope one day to achieve but many people don't love the book and would give it a three. Does that make my love of the book any less? No. Am I curious to read why it got a three? Heck ya. I tend to read the three reviews more then the others. And I tend to believe reviews more on places like Amazon where it isn't all 5 star reviews, because it tells me people who don't know the author left some reviews too.

Am I hoping to get the big 4 or 5 reviews of course I am, but I am happy when a three comes in. What I think a lot of people don't get is the huge chasm between a 2.5 and a 3. To me I find a 3 closer in review to a 5 then I do its neighbor the 2.5. In a three the reviewer is saying look I enjoyed the book and I would recommend it to people who like the genre. That is a win in my book."


I would like to thank our guests for giving taking the time to give us their views. And thanks to Bitten By Paranormal Romance for organizing things. Be sure to check out what different authors and publishers said on the other blogs participating in this event.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

3 Sheep Rating Event- bloggers speak out


Laurie and WildAboutBones over at Bitten by Paranormal Romance have organized an event to discuss what a 3 star (or Sheep) rating means to us as reviewers and readers. Tomorrow you will hear from some authors, editors and publishers about their feelings on the subject. The 3 rating has gotten a bad rep and we wanted to see why.


Katie, Kalpar and I share our views today and we would like to hear from you guys. As a reader, what do you think when you see a book with 3 stars? Are you less likely to check it out? What qualifies as a 3 star book to you?


Katie: What does a 3 sheep rating mean to me? Well, it means a few things. First of which is that I liked the book. For me this is a VERY good thing as I have been known to be a harsh critic. So at the 3 Sheep level the story has a sound plot, interesting characters, agreeable dialog and hopefully a solid base that can continue to grow in future books. It also means that there was something missing. Maybe it was poor editing or beta reading, possibly the ending took an odd turn or made no sense. Could be any number of number of small issues that added up. But at 3 Sheep ultimately the story itself is above average and while it will have a few issues I either personally didn't like or need to be address, fundamentally it was good and worth a read.


The Kalpar: To be honest I stopped doing sheep ratings because I had a hard time rating a book on a scale of one to five as to how good it was. I've started just giving a yes or no for the stuff I review if my two readers should look into it. If I really like it I'll let you know but as of right now the only things I will admit to saying deserve five sheep are Thud! and Night Watch by Terry Pratchett and Tales From the Bully Pulpit. If you were to, for example, threaten me with physical violence if I don't provide a straight answer. (*cough* Katie *cough*) Well a three star rating from me is a book that is either one of two things. Either it was simply okay and had no real issues with it but was otherwise unmemorable, or it was a memorable book that I enjoyed but had significant issues such as grammar and punctuation or plot inconsistency. We good here? Okay I'm going to go punch more Nazis.

SharonS: As a reviewer, a 3 Sheep book is one that was a good read. The characters and plot were pleasant and easy to understand, but for some reason I didn't feel deeply connected to the characters or the author's voice didn't capture me. If there are editing issues and plot discrepancies then I will go below a 3 rating. On the flip side, if the characters work their way into my heart and the author's voice sings to me, but there are technical issues, I will give a 3 rating.
As a reader, if I see a 3 rating on a book it won't deter me from checking it out. I will read the review and see why it was given that rating. But ratings are subjective. A 3 for me can be a 4 or 5 for someone else and vice-verse.


Well, there are the opinions of three of our Flock reviewers. We want to know what you think! Authors and publishers hopefully will be reading your comments so here is a chance to be heard. Come back tomorrow to hear from some authors and publishers/editors about their thoughts. You can check out the other blogs participating in this event below.



Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sheep Book Review: Perfect Blood by Kim Harrison

Perfect Blood (The Hollows #10)
by Kim Harrison

Ritually murdered corpses are appearing across Cincinnati, terrifying amalgams of human and other. Pulled in to help investigate by the I.S. and the FIB, former witch turned day-walking demon Rachel Morgan soon realizes a horrifying truth: a human hate group is trying to create its own demons to destroy all Inderlanders, and to do so, it needs her blood.
She’s faced vampires, witches, werewolves, demons, and more, but humanity itself might be her toughest challenge yet.

Disclaimer: 
This is a biased review; I gave it 5 Sheep before it came out. You know the next book in this series? Yeah, it is getting 5 Sheep too. Why? Because The Hollows series was the first urban fantasy I read and at this point it is so near and dear to my heart it can do no wrong. You have been warned.

This is book #10, and if you have read books 1-9 you will be reading Perfect Blood regardless of reviews. If you haven’t read any of the previous books, you shouldn't be starting with this one.  I recommend you go buy the first book Dead Witch Walking. So I am pretty much just preaching to the choir here, but that is okay c'ause I love to share my love of Rachel Morgan and her world.

Perfect Blood introduces us to a new threat Rachel hasn’t met before. A hate group called HAPA (Humans Against Paranormals Association) has decided to fight fire with fire, or in this case magic with magic, to wipe out the paranormal community. These are some truly bad zealots who see Inderlanders as nothing more than animals to be experimented upon and disposed.  We also discover there is a new special-ops organization whose allegiance is still unknown and I expect to see more of them in the next book.

There is a big debate over Rachel’s love life. She has been matched up throughout the series with several people, but all her relationships pretty much end in disaster. Harrison can still bring tears to my eyes when Rachel remembers Kisten, but I am team Trent and this book made me very happy. There is no romance between them in this book, but they are building a new relationship based on trust. We see a new side to Trent and I like where his story might go. Thank goodness Al is back, I love that jerk of a demon. He adds humor and makes life interesting for Rachel. Ivy and Jenks seem to moving forward with their lives and Rachel is forced to deal with what that might mean for her.

I have no idea where Rachel’s story is going. We only have a few more books left before it is all over, and when it is I will be sad, but I am going to enjoy the ride while I can and convince new readers to give this series a try.

5 Perfect Sheep




SharonS (edited by BAK)

Kim Harrison

The Hollows Series

Sheep Comic Review: Princeless Issue #1 + Give Away

Written by: Jeremy Whitley
Art: M. Goodwin
“Mr. Froggy” art: D.E. Belton

2012 Glyph Awards—honoring the best in comics’ portrayal of African-Americans were announced today, with Princeless receiving five out of a possible seven nominations.
The 2012 Glyph Awards take place on May 18th during the East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention, located in Philadelphia.




Still waiting for your prince to come?  Tired of spending night after night locked in a secluded tower?  Ready for your own adventure?  So are we.

Princeless is the story of Princess Adrienne, one princess who’s tired of waiting to be rescued.  Join Adrienne and her guardian dragon, Sparky, as they begin their own quest in an all-ages action adventure designed specifically for those who are tired of waiting to be rescued… and who are ready to save themselves.

What a freakingly fun comic. Princess Adrienne is the princess you want your young daughter to like. She is smart independent and so not waiting for a prince to rescue her. Her parents stuck her in a tower guarded by Sparky the dragon so a prince can prove himself worthy of her and eventually the crown by slaying the dragon and climbing up the tower to rescue her, as if!

People of all ages can enjoy this humorous spunky story. The illustrations are reminiscent of old school cartoons (like ScoobyDoo) and fit tone of the story well.  The writing is intelligent and engaging making it a page turner.  Another thing that sets this fairy tale apart from most is in a world dominated by fair skinned, fair haired princesses; Adrienne is the opposite with her dark hair and skin.

This issue ends with Princess Adrienne riding off on her dragon to save her other sisters trapped in towers of their own. There is a 4 page short comic called “Mr. Froggy” at the end of this issue. It is about Prince Charming’s Charm School for Future Kings. While princesses are put in towers, all the young princes have to go learn how to rescue princesses and fight dragons. Prince Wilcome doesn’t want to go; he wants play in the mud. Can he become the perfect prince?

4.5 “Don’t let the dragon hit you on the way out” Sheep




GIVE AWAY
I would like to thank the author, Jeremy Whitley, for giving me a signed copy of Princeless #1 to give away plus I will add some cool sheep swag!

1.Leave a way to contact you
2.Tell me what you would name your dragon...
*double entries for followers

Firetower Studios is an independent venture begun by Writer Jeremy Whitley and Illustrators Jason Strutz and Charlie Harper. Firetower Studios was created on a Thursday in 2009 at the Southpoint Mall Food Court in Durham, NC. Firetower is committed to producing intelligent, thought provoking, and quality comics as well as books, art, and other fine products.

Currently Firetower is producing two ongoing series: Jeremy and Jason’s “The Order of Dagonet” and Jeremy’s “Princeless” in association with Action Lab Entertainment.  Also, they produce five webcomics:  Jeremy and Jason’s “Faerie Sisters”, Jeremy and Alicia’s “Hot Interracial Marriage”, Charlie’s “Crazy Normal”, Jeremy and Rich’s “Werewolf D.A.”, and Jeremy and Charlie’s “Ennui of the Dead”.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sheep Comic Review: Valkyrie Squadron

Valkyrie Squadron
Book 1: Anomaly
Created by: Jules Rivera

The Story:
Valkyrie Squadron follows a crew of four young women part of an alliance with all of humanity to fight a war against the autodrones (robots) in space. The drones have been attacking innocent colonists for reasons unknown to the Alliance. The story opens on the Valkyries during a routine rescue mission that takes a very strange turn. As the mystery unfolds behind the mission’s bizarre twist, more and more clues to the whereabouts of the missing colonists will come to light. The tide of the war has changed. Which way will it go?

Valkyrie Squadron 4 is made up of:
Lt. Priscilla Vega is the squad leader for Valkyrie Squad 4.
Tech Officer Adia UkpoAdia is the technology officer of Valkyrie Squadron 4.
Ensign Casey AndersCasey is the main gunner of Valkyrie Squadron 4.
Lt. Junior Class Jocelyn GomezJocelyn is the pilot of Valkyrie Squadron 4.

The squad is sent out on a rescue mission to answer a distress call from Valhalla Station, another civilian colony under attack by the autodrones. When they arrive at the colony they are attacked right away by the autodrones, and after out-gunning and out-running a few of the autodrones they find the lone survivor who tells them her name is Eve. After Eve is rescued the squad makes a run for the ship, but the team is surrounded by the autodrones, when Eve covers her ears and just screams "STOP!!" The autodrones stop dead in their tracks and the squad is able to get away.

Upon their return to the space station Valhalla Actual, a call is made to Commander Duri. She is informed that there is one survivor from the rescue mission but it seems that a survivor was not "in the plans" and the mission status is re-classified to a Black Diamond status, which means it has now become a Top Secret, Need to Know Basis. Priss is required to hand-deliver the ship's data to the Contractor's Bay, while this is going on Eve is in the Medic unit being looked over. Eve has been given doctor's orders to get some rest, but that night Eve is rudely woken up by what seems to be a nightmare. In reality it is more than that, she is face to face with holograms of the autodrones, with the line, "You are the one we call Eve, Hello."
The last page leaves you with more questions than there are answers and it shows Commander Duri talking to a drone that goes by the name Zero Scarab.

I was able to get my hands on a copy of Book 1 to read over, and I have to say that I am highly impressed. It's not very often that you come across a comic/web-comic that is based on an all female team, add in the fact that it was written and drawn by one person who I give a lot of credit to. I found it interesting that at the end of the comic Jules was nice enough to explain how the page process is done, she includes a page from the comic so you can see step by step.

The rest of the series can be found at www.valkyriesquadron.com and it is updated every Tuesday and Thursday.

I'm going to give Valykre Squadron a 3.5/5 This is a good start up indie comic series I think you should check out.

~DD~

Sheep Comic Review: Criminal Macabre: Die, die, My Darling!

Criminal Macabre: Die, Die, My Darling (one-shot)
Writer: Steve Niles
Colorist: Michelle Madsen
Cover Artist: Fiona Staples
Genre: Horror, Crime, Action/Adventure
Publication Date: April 04, 2012
Format: FC, 32 pages
Price: $3.50
UPC: 7 61568 21185 6 00111

Monster hunters Cal and Mo'loch are hired by a giant stranger and his fetal sibling to make a final stand in the war between good and evil.
* A perfect introduction for new readers!

"Steve Niles has beaten up his main man, broken him down and now stands on the precipice of reinventing him with a conflict on the horizon that portends to be nothing short of epic." —Newsaramal

Cal McDonald saw his first dead body when he was eight years old—setting the tone for the rest of his life. A pill-popping, alcoholic degenerate, teamed up with his ghoul associate Mo’Lock, Cal spirals around the sin-infested streets of Los Angeles in his possessed Chevy Nova against a growing horde of monsters.
Losing one friend after another to his cases, Cal is slowly being pushed over the edge. A looming war between man and monster is coming, and Cal and his army of the undead are ready to blast every single werewolf, demon, occultist, and vampire back to hell!

I absolutely loved this comic. Our protagonist Cal is a cynical, pill-popping, foul-mouthed, alcoholic private detective who has attracted supernatural creatures that the rest of the world doesn’t even know exists since he was a kid. His partner and best friend is a very polite and dry humored Ghoul named Mo. The stories have a pulp-noir feel and the dialogue between characters is hilarious; snarky witticism at its best. Cal is like a male version of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, only way more screwed-up and vulgar .

In this issue Cal has experienced a life-altering event and his ghoul friend Mo is quite pleased with the irony of it. How is that for vague <G>? Sorry, I don’t want to give any spoilers for folks. Anyway, Cal and Mo are bonding (i.e. beating each other up) when a guy with his fetal twin sister in his belly shows up. They tell Cal he needs to eliminate an evil creature to help win the oncoming war, but Cal finds that there are some lines he isn’t even willing to cross.

This is a must-read for anyone who enjoys urban fantasy with a dash of horror and snarky dialogue. Grab it when it comes out April 4th!

5 “What the hell?!” Sheep





SharonS. (edited by BAK)

Dark Horse Comics
Buy digital editions of Criminal Macabre here
check out previews for Criminal Macabre here

Monday, March 26, 2012

Patricia Briggs Signing

Can you guess Patrica's theme music?



By: Sharon Stogner
Co-Creator & Media Relations


On March 15 Patricia Briggs did a signing at Barnes & Noble in Charlotte, NC. Lucky for me it is only a 90 minute drive. I don’t know much about Briggs since Fair Game was her first book I've read (I will be rectifying this mistake as soon as possible by the way). There were only about 20 of us there, which meant we had time to play around after the signing. Fortunately what happens in B&N, stays in B&N ;) Patty is such a warm and funny person and she likes to talk…a lot <G>. She talked about the Mercy Thompson series, the Alpha &Omega universe and upcoming projects. Since everyone else asked all the basic stuff I threw in some of our fun interview questions from here on the blog. Rather than transcribe the whole talk (I did mention she liked to talk, right?) I will just post the highlights of what she said:

A Bram Book: Bran is not in a happy place right now and Briggs likes people to walk away from her books with a good feeling, and unless Bran takes a left turn at Albuquerque we won’t be seeing his book. But a short story is another matter. She is working on some short stories in the Mercy Universe. Especially Warren (do I have this right?). She said he isn’t bothered by killing people at all and Mercy doesn’t know this.

I asked if we would see more of Alistair, the powerful Fae from Fair Game (cause I have a thing for Fae). She is contracted for 4 books. Three in the Mercy series and one in the A&O universe. There are so many characters she wants to give a book too and since Charles and Ann are in a happy place right now (happy people don’t make good books) she will leave them alone for a while. She also mentions that Fair Game is a great starting point for people and Mercy fans need to read it because the twist at the end of Fair Game changes things in the Mercy universe too.

Jesse: Adam doesn’t want her to be a werewolf or part of their world because he doesn’t like being one, but Jesse might feel differently. Which means conflict (she smiles here). She doesn’t know exactly what will happen, but Jesse’s future will be adventurous.

How did she pick Mercy’s career: in 2005 Patty was asked to write an Urban Fantasy with a heroine connected to the supernatural world and she should have a complicated love life with a vamp or werewolf. At the time it UF with vamps and werewolves was still new. She picked weres because at the time vamps were popular. Then she decided the heroine had to be underpowered so she could have conflict. Her reasoning was…I am from Montana…underpowered…coyote…coyotes are popular in Native American myths so Mercy should be N.A. too. As far as a job for Mercy, she wanted it to be something she knew about and since bagel bagger didn’t sound so great she went with mechanic. She and her husband owned VWs and were always fixing them on their own. (By the way, she says NEVER get a EuroVan) There was a mechanic in their Montana town, Buck, that sold them parts at cost and told them how to fix their cars when they couldn’t afford to have him do it. He became Zee in her Mercy books.

Other favorite authors: She told Jim Butcher that he almost ruined her marriage because her husband likes his books better than hers. She doesn’t know why Lynn Viehl isn’t a NY Times bestselling author. She loves her books. She mentioned Meljean Brook's steampunk series, Ann Bishop and Ilona Andrews as well as lots more.

I asked her what theme music she would like playing whenever she entered a room. She picked the theme to Jaws <G>

Memorial Day weekend she will be attending the only Con in Montana and George R.R. Martin will be there.

Last year was the single most disastrous year she has ever had. She and her husband spent 9 months in her 30 X 10 foot writing trailer along with the dog, 4 cats, 2 snakes, and a bird (this is why there is only one book this year) They were having an addition put on the house that was to take two weeks. But they found black mold, and had to take the roof off and replace. Everything had to be taken out and stored in the front yard in moving containers.

The Mercy books are kind of a microcosm of the werewolf world. They are in a small town and events that take place don’t have an impact on the rest of the world. The Alpha & Omega series is where the big things happen that affect the werewolf world. Charles is the enforcer for Bran and is in contact with all the packs. A&O was where Briggs wanted to tell the backstory of how the werewolves came out to humans. She also wanted to write a serial killer novel set in Boston. The twist at the end of Fair Game was something she wanted to happen in the Mercy universe and this turned out to be the perfect place for it.

I also asked her what fictional character she would like to have her back during the zombie apocalypse. She said Superman or Harry Dresden.
they smacked my hand when I tried to give Patty bunny ears

That was the gist of the Q&A, she signed all the books you wanted her too and spent lots of time talking with each person and taking pictures. A small group of us stayed a while after to chat. Including author Tess Hilaire (Deliver Me From Darkness) and fellow blogger Ana from HerdingCats, Burning Soup. I tried to capture Patty so I could give her away on the blog, but she got away….
next time I bring rope!