On Stretch Goals and Goose Buttons

Tuesday March 6, 2018

So if you follow me on any social media, you probably already know that Volume 5 of the Toronto Comics Anthology Osgoode as Gold is currently on Kickstarter. The campaign video even includes a shout-out from co-editor Megan Purdy for the story I wrote, "The Goosefighter", which has art by Austen Payne:

"The Goosefighter" is a Western-inspired tale about a young woman whose day is ruined by a territorial Canada goose on the York University campus. It is one of 27 new Toronto-set short comics that fill the 220 full colour pages of this collection.

Cover by Irma Kniivila
As I write this, the Kickstarter is at just under $6000 raised out of an original $15,000 goal, with the rest of the month to go. I've been rather casually posting about it as a great way to support the Toronto Comix Press and the creators by pre-ordering your physical or PDF copy of the book.

But today - TODAY - they announced the stretch goals. (If you're not familiar with crowdfunding campaigns, stretch goals are an extra incentive to raise above and beyond the original target.) So what are the stretch goals for the Osgoode as Gold campaign? 

If they raise $16,000, the cover text gets a Raised UV Gloss upgrade.

If they raise $17,000, all backers who've pledged $5 or more will get all of the previous anthologies as PDFs.

If they raise $18,000, all physical backers will get an adorable bookmark set.

And if they raise $19,000, all physical backers will receive a set of six character buttons designed by artist Megan Kearney.

Characters from the stories in the book.

These six characters right here:

Bottom row, middle button. Do you see it? DO YOU SEE THE ANGRY GOOSE?

19K people. 19k is the magic number for goose buttons. I believe we can do it. Like that honking V flying overhead during migration, we can go the distance.

Check out the Osgoode as Gold campaign on Kickstarter 

Recommended Reading: Watcher of the Skies

Wednesday February 07, 2018

And it turned out my excitement over the arrival of this anthology from the UK was warranted. Watcher of the Skies: Poems about Space and Aliens is a fantastic poetry collection for kids - playful and insightful and sure to spark the imagination of young writers and explorers alike.

The collection pairs the poems with notes and suggested connections (presumably) supplied by editors Rachel Piercey and Emma Wright, along with related facts by Rachel Cochrane, a PhD student from the University of Edinburgh's Institute for Astronomy. This is a wonderful way to put the book together, as it means the poems can rise to any level of whimsy, with the kid-friendly "footnotes" offering the real-world support. 

Some of my personal favourites include the crop-circle instructional "Art 101 for Aliens" by Rebecca Colby and the story of Galileo as told in "The Starry Messenger" by John Canfield. Robert Schecter's "Compared to What?" and Dom Conlon's "The Way Planets Talk" both compellingly present big ideas while "Up Above" by Mandy Coe is a beautiful hint at where folklore comes from.

Of course it also helped to win this Canadian over when the first of the lively line drawings done by co-editor Emma Wright was an illustration of Astronaut Chris Hadfield performing the title action for "How to Brush your Teeth in Space" by Sohini Basak (I do hope they sent Commander Hadfield a copy).

All of this is to say that I highly recommend this book for kids who have even a hint of space or or sci-fi nerd brewing in their souls, or who just love playful poems. I imagine teachers could make wonderful use of it as well. It's listed as being for ages 8+ and I see no reason to disagree. Some of the vocabulary will certainly challenge some 8 year olds, but what better way to encounter new and exciting words than in an out-of-this-world rhyme?

Full disclosure - The Emma Press has a policy that writers can only submit if they're part of The Emma Press Club, which is made up of anyone who they've previously published OR who has bought a book in the current year. So yes, I ordered this book so that I could submit some writing of my own, but this is a genuine recommendation - in fact this is one of those situations where a rejection won't bother me at all, because I'll still have this fantastic book on my shelf (until my nephew and nieces are old enough to appreciate it, that is.)

I ordered this directly from the Emma Press website and I recommend visiting to check out their other collections for kids and adults alike. But if you prefer, at time of writing the book is also available through Amazon.ca and through Amazon.com (but don't use those options if you want to get in The Club - or at least send an email first and find out how that would work). 

Suggested Servings of Fruit, Part 2

Sunday July 2nd, 2017

I just finished eating a bowl of cherries. I can't remember the last time I bought cherries.

Today's anomaly was 100% because of this:

I've written before about being influenced by children's programming into eating more fruit. Apparently it isn't just kids shows that work on me. Musician and vegan Macka B's "Medical Monday" and "Wha Me Eat Wednesday" videos are currently working as a regular reminder for me that there's a whole world of healthy food out there.

Like so many people, we discovered Macka B when his video about cucumbers (cucumba!) went viral. If you somehow missed it, treat yourself to it and several others below, then treat yourself to some fruit and/or veggies. Also, you can follow Macka B on Faceboook.

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New Video for The Knight's Errand

Wednesday April 19, 2017

Thanks to Brian T. Schultz and the Storybook Land Theatre 2016 company for putting on a fantastic production of The Knight's Errand, hosting me when I came out to South Dakota to see it, and letting me use the footage. :)

Learn more about The Knight's Errand

(The video is also on YouTube, if you prefer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUGhj8m0cIw)

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