books, literature, Uncategorized, young adult

Book Review: A Castle in England by Jamie Rhodes

For some time now I have been reviewing books for the Historical Novel Society (an organization filled with probably the MOST enthusiastic history lovers I have ever seen). This children’s graphic novel is my favorite so far.

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A Castle in England by Jamie Rhodes. No Brow, 2017. ISBN 9781910620199; $19.99; Hardback.

For several months in early 2016, researcher and author Jamie Rhodes lived in Scotney Castle in Kent, South-East England. There he walked the grounds, pondered the ruins, and studied the archives for stories illuminating the castle’s centuries-long past. The result is a young adult graphic novel that includes five tales that span the ages from the late 14th century through the early 20th century. Each part is illustrated as a comic by a different graphic artist in their own unique style. Family trees, historical context information, and facts pertaining to Scotney Castle during the associated period accompany each story in order to provide needed information to help the reader more fully understand what he or she has read.

The stories include “The Labourer” (medieval), “The Priest” (Elizabethan), “The Smuggler” (Georgian), “The Widow” (Victorian), and “The Hunter” (Edwardian). Each of them is inspired by actual events that took place in, near, and around the castle.

The tales are engaging and interesting, making each a quick, easy read. Trying to figure out what, exactly, the tale ultimately means is not as easy or quick, though. Because of this, it is necessary for the reader to carefully examine the family tree and historical context information and think about how the tale was presented, and perhaps even read it over again with these details in mind. For that reason, the graphic novel becomes a potent educational tool for young people and adults alike, and not a piece of spoon-fed diversion. Highly recommended.

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guest post, Uncategorized

Pariah Missouri Book 2 : The Promised Land

Please welcome my friend Andy, who has created a guest post for us:

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My name is Andres Salazar.  I’m a storyteller.  Whether it be film, plays, short stories or children’s books, I love telling stories with engaging characters.  My first love is comic books, and that’s where I’ve seen the most success.   I’ve been hunkered down working on the second graphic novel in the series, Pariah Missouri.  Part Huckleberry Finn part Twin Peaks it’s a mash-up of some of my favorite stories and ideas all set in Antebellum 1857 Missouri.  It’s Steampunk without the punk, but a good dose of religion, folk magic, bounty-hunters, slaves and demons.  It’s the A-team with Hiram Buchanan an undercover Pinkerton, Nellie a feisty courtesan, Jean Lafitte a practitioner of vodoo from New Orleans and Toro a Mexican/Comanche bounty-hunter as they ferret out evil.panel hy

Book Two introduces two new characters, Elijah Harris and Jasper Whitmer, both preachers on different sides of the Great Awakening.  Both there to save souls, or are they?

Book One was a Kickstarter last year.  We did very well and I started hitting the convention circuit.  I attended 14 comic book conventions in the last 12 months (That’s a whole another post I can write about those experiences).   I sold over 1,000 copies of Book panel - eliOne and it was selected as the Staff Pick for July’s Preview in Diamond (the national distributor of comic books).  Now we are at it again with a Kickstarter for Book Two.  The book is already 96.3% done.  I am putting some finishing touches on a couple of pages (out of the +100 page story) and re-working a few lines of dialog.  It’s interesting how I wrote the script back in September of 2013 and now re-reading it as I letter in InDesign, there’s some things I want to change and add.  The Kickstarter was selected as a Staff Pick by Kickstarter, so that must mean something, right?

I work with an amazing artist/penciler, JL Pescador, and I color every page of Pariah Missouri in watercolors.  It’s something I’ve wanted to do since the beginning.  I wanted that old-timey feel and keep the color palette down to a minimum.  Even made a Deluxe Hardcover complete with writer-commentary throughout the story, on every page as well as extra pages with additional epilogue, behind-the-scenes art, production sketches and reference pictures.  It’s the blu-ray of the book.  Because of the costs to make the deluxe hardcover, I will not be selling them at stores or through Diamond, it will be strictly a Kickstarter thing (or face to face).panel toro

I just finished the rough script for Book Three.  It should be ready for print in July 2015.  The goal is to finish the story by Book Five, which will be the end for our little town of Pariah, and the beginning of the American Civil War.

FB ad #2I got some new Stretch Goals which will include a radio drama and a card game.  It will be an exciting story for the next 30 days to see how we progress through the campaign.  I will be posting videos and updates often so backers really get a sense of the behind the scenes of what it takes to make a comic book.  Please become a part of our team!

To see the Pariah, Missouri Kickstarter campaign to go: www.pariahmissouri.com

If you go check it out, you can download a preview copy of Book One and Two to see if it’s your poison.