I’ve just finished all the illustrations for The Book of Foxes! Since the writing was done already, and I’ve put them together, that means it is FINISHED! At least this draft! Huzzah!

Indulge me while I practice summarizing the story. I’ll reward you with a picture afterward.

The book is the journal of our protagonist, Hoshi, a fourteen-year-old girl whose mother hasn’t been seen for ten years – until today, when Hoshi is waiting for her dad to pick her up from school, and a car pulls up with her mother in it. Only Hoshi soon finds this isn’t her mom, but a shapeshifting tanuki – a trickster spirit – named Kichi, who claims to be her mom’s friend. Hoshi’s mother was kidnapped all those years ago, and now the kidnappers have taken her father, too. These aren’t ransom-demanding criminals: they’re the unpredictable kitsune, trickster fox spirits. When they struck ten years ago, taking Hoshi’s mom as well as Kichi’s tanuki beloved, the kitsune left no trace, but this time, they’ve made mistakes. Which means that Hoshi and Kichi – along with the secretive Alex, a boy with a mission of his own – are coming to the rescue. In a day, Hoshi goes from a regular teen to a girl who rides dragons (as a passenger on Tatsu Air), hides out at the bottom of Lake Michigan (as a guest of its little-known guardian, Mishipeshu), and searches the largest bookstore in America for the one book that could hold the key to beating the kitsune and putting her family back together. That’s a lot to deal with, so Hoshi sorts things out by writing and drawing in her math-notebook-turned-journal.

Right! Picture time. Here’s what the main characters look like in the style of Hoshi’s illustrations.

What I’ve Been Writing Lately . . .

. . . has been partly No Flying No Tights review – the last Pokémon one just went up – and partly the next bit of Looking Like Lani.

Am having an interesting time of it because I keep realizing that I’ve made some assumption that doesn’t actually make sense for the culture in which Lani lives. Basically, most of my fantasy stories take place in the same world, but the others are all on one continent with cultures that do vary, but aren’t nearly as different from one another as they all are from the continent on which this story occurs. So I’ll catch myself picturing, say, an inn, the way it would be on the first continent – which, being based loosely on medieval Britain, feels pretty familiar to me anyway. And then I’ll go, “Wait, this building wouldn’t be made of wood,” or, “They wouldn’t actually put in interior walls here.” It’s kind of fun, actually, to keep rethinking these things.

Otherwise, doing lots of reading and lots of working, and all is going pretty well.

And Another!

Another review on No Flying No Tights, that is! With another listing on MangaBlog!

In other news, reading a popular YA novel and having some doubts as to whether it’s possible to foreshadow the identity of a character who has amnesia without telegraphing said identity. So you have a young man who doesn’t know who he is and has only brief flashes of memory from his childhood? And you also have the oh-so-brief mention of a prince who *mysteriously died as a child*? Nice try.

[If he turns out not to be the prince, I will issue an apology. Also, pigs will take to the skies and the mythical netherworld will experience a cold snap.]


. . . and graphic novels! No Flying No Tights has posted another of my reviews. It’s more Pokémon manga. And it’s not the last of them. (Bwahaha?)

In other news, I’m using GIMP and my* tablet to work on the illustrations for The Book of Foxes. I wish I knew how the illustrators of, say, Diary of a Wimpy Kid or The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian or the Training Your Dragon series handle the technical side of combining drawings with text. I was drawing and scanning the illustrations, but now I’m trying out just drawing them in GIMP. This is nice because it completely eliminates the kind of smudge-and-debris marks you sometimes get with scanning, and it makes it very easy to correct mistakes. So we’ll see how that goes.

My Teen Services Librarian job here in MA is awesome! Since I also handle the library’s publicity, I’m doing a lot of press releases and posters right now, but I have a Year of the Dragon-themed teen program coming up at the end of the month. Woo!

*borrowed from my brother with no intention of ever returning it

Florida and Massachusetts

No Flying No Tights has posted my review for Troublemaker, books one and two, by Janet Evanovich and her daughter. Fun story set in Florida. Where, by coincidence, I currently am, vacationing with my family.

When we get back from vacation, I’m headed north to Massachusetts, where I’ll be starting a fantastic job! I will be the Teen Services Librarian at the Brewster Ladies’ Library. Planning and running teen programs, collection development, and making and distributing promotional material – woo! I’m all kinds of excited.

In the meantime, continuing to work on Looking Like Lani, and life is just generally snazzy.