I have done some reworking on the novel, and on the cover as well.
I digitally painted it in Painter and Photoshop.
Additionally I tweeked the subtitle: A Paranormal Romance Mystery
You can buy a copy of the novel at any ebook distributor.
Here is my today’s sketch. Of Howleen Wolf and Twyla from MONSTER HIGH: THIRTEEN WISHES.
I’ve been watching all the different EVER AFTER HIGH and MONSTER HIGH movies, and I like each of them for different reasons.
MONSTER HIGH THIRTEEN WISHES is to me perhaps one of the best of them.
It does what all these movies are required to do, first off introducing the latest version of the dolls, as well as the new ones for that season, put our characters into an adventure, and stress the theme of “All are welcome at Monster High, Freaky Flaws and All.”
In my opinion Thirteen Wishes goes a few steps further than most of the others do. Because it delves far more into the characters than the other movies do.
The basic theme here is about feeling alone and ignored, and what you do to have friends, be popular, and be accepted. Which is shown through Howleen Wolf and how she is tempted by the genie magic. While her friend Twyla doesn’t mind living in the shadows.
Even the new character of Gigi is shown hurting because she’s lonely, which results in the creation of the threat endangering everyone. That of Wisp.
It is further shown in Cleo when everyone forgets who she is, but even though she tries to pull herself back up the popularity rankings by her own wrappings, what really works best for her is that Duce feels for her even though he doesn’t recognize her. Their relationship will stand no matter what, (foreshadowing Boo York Boo York).
The third part of this Lagoona Blue and Gill’s relationship. How she struggles to be accepted by his family but can’t manage it, but of some very blatant racist themes that only magic can over come. She is soon happy, but at a cost. Happy to be part of his family she begins to exhibit the same racists thoughts as Gill’s parents. There is also an allusion to drug addition when she can’t get enough of the fresh water her new life demands. She’ll even give up what she enjoys for it.
Another theme that stands out, as shown in my illustration above. Is that your best friend will stick by you even when you’ve made the dumbest of actions in order to save you. As Twyla does for her Beast Friend Forever Howleen.
As stated, all the other Monster High films are good in their own way, but this film stands out above the rest because of its character depth and themes.
Thirteen Wishes was also the first to establish a link between Monster High and Ever After High.
Late night rambling over.
Years ago, my wife and I had the opportunity to write several episodes of the Japanese animated series MIDNIGHT HORROR SCHOOL, created by Naomi Iwata
The show was a relative success in Japan and many other countries around the world, unfortunately they were able find a market to sell the show to here in the U.S.A. So we were never able see our episodes broadcast in English.
I would have really been nice to show them to people, especially to help promote our animation careers for other series.
Maybe it’s not too late.
Hikky and his school friends are objects that human students loose during the school day. Such as a pencil that falls off your desk. At night the school becomes magical and all these lost objects become alive and go to their own school. There they learn to do amazing things and to one day graduate and become one of the Wonders of The World.
It was a fun series to work on. It got me my first animation writing credit and membership into the Animation Writers Caucus of the Writers Guild of America West.
Today I was sitting in the lobby of a television studio’s office building, drinking my Starbucks iced tea, and reading about a live action movie that was being made from an animated TV series from the self-same studio.
I thought that there was a young actor from one of the other TV shows this studio has produced would have been perfect for one of the leads of this movie if he was a bit younger. (Turns out I wasn’t the only one who had this thought.)
While this was going through my head an even younger boy sat across the lobby from me, he had a couple script pages of ‘sides’ and he was practicing his lines. He was preparing to audition for something. He was putting himself completely in to the role, ignoring all the people walking around him.
It was fascinating to watch.
I don’t know if he was there to audition for the young teenage lead of the movie mentioned above, but looking at him, watching him perform, I knew he would be perfect for the role.
I love living in the Burbank area and witnessing things like this. Going to pay attention to the casting of this film.
If you know anything, “Call me, Beep me.”
What’s the sitch?
Kevin Paul Shaw Broden
Four Names of Professional Creativity
This evening my wife, author Shannon Muir, and I will be attending the 2017 Animation Writers Caucus Annual Meeting and Award Presentation at the offices of the Writers Guild of America in Los Angeles. Events like these have always been special to us because at first it was a chance to meet our creative and literary heroes we have looked up to, then becoming fellow animation writers, and in some special cases becoming close friends.
At these annual meetings we honor a writer who has truly added to the animation industry as a writer and creator. This year our presentation must also be a memorial as the award is being given posthumously to writer extraordinaire and friend Len Wein.The outside world knows him best as the creator of Wolverine and Swamp Thing, but he is so much more especially to a little boy who had to sit for hours in a hospital lobby while his grandparents were being taken care of upstairs.
The hospital chaplain took pity on the little boy who had nothing to do on those old vinyl couches than his homework and so gave me two comic books, Superman and The Flash. They were great, and that gift meant a lot to me, but it wasn’t until I wandered into the hospital gift shop that my life was changed forever.
Along side the magazines the small shop had a few very small comic books for sell. One of which, with the JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA logo on the top and text at the bottom that read “33 Super-Stars in One Epic Adventure!” with dozens of those heroes jumping of the front and back cover, had my full attention. I convinced my mother to give me the 95 cents to purchase this copy of DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #11.
Opening those four-color pages I found myself tumbling into a wonderful world of super heroes. Yes, I knew of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman from television and cartoons, but there were so many many more. Here I learned not only about the Justice League but also the Justice Society of America, and that there was an Infinite number of parallel earths where more heroes resided.
I was definitely hooked and the DC Universe was my playground from then on.
This digest turned out to be a reprint of JUSTICE LEAGE OF AMERICA #100, 101, and 102, about our heroes on a quest to find seven more heroes lost to the ages.
This great story, that put a boy on a quest to discover all the heroes of the golden age of comics, was written by the great comic book author Len Wein. I would soon be reading many more.
(An interested side note is that Len also edited the Blue Ribbon Digest that it was reprinted in.)
I was not the only one influenced by this comic; fellow comic book writer Gail Simone also marks this story as what began her path into comics.
I learned just the other day that Len himself fell in love with comics as a child while he was in the hospital as well. Though for him it was for medical treatment, but he has stated that those comics and super heroes got him through it.
Now that little boy who sat quietly in the hospital lobby wants to pay his respect to the man who sent towards a career as a comic book and animation writer. I honor you Len for all the stories you have brought to the world, and for being a friend.
Kevin Paul Shaw BrodenFour Names of Professional Creativity
This month of August (2017) I am doing a series of sketched based on the career of Comic Book legend Jack Kirby’s career.
I started off with the Blue Beetle because that was the first masked hero that Kirby illustrated. It appeared in a news paper comic strip.
My second illustration is of Sandman and Sandy the Golden Boy.
Ol’ Wesley Dodds tosses away his trench coat, fedora, and gas mask for the bright tights that all the latest heroes were wearing. He also picked up a young Side Kick. Sandy’s shirt changed a little from issue to issue, but here he looks striking like Captain America’s partner Bucky.
Speaking of Cap, the third sketch is of Captain America and based on the cover art of Captain America #1 in 1940.
I hope to continue drawing more Kirby characters through out the month. (I did continue to draw Kirby characters through out August 2017, see my portfolio.)
Hope you enjoy.
This is the cover art for my latest short story:
MURDER ON THE COSPLAY EXPRESS
A Kent Bronwyn Mystery
If you have ever been to the San Diego Comic Con, this story is for you.
If you have ever ridden the Amtrak Surfliner train to San Diego for Comic Con, this story is for you.
If you are a Cosplayer, or have ever warn a costume at Comic Con, then this story is for you.
Available on the Kindle:
and on Smashwords for other ebook formats:
The other evening I was watching an episode of SUPERGIRL
In this episode SUPERGIRL discovers that Jimmy Olson is the Guardian who has been fighting crime in the streets of her city, and even catching those that escape her.
<End of SPOILER>
Looking at the design of The Guardian’s shield made me think of the creation of the original character.
Jack Kirby created The Guardian in his Newsboy Legion series. In the 1970s he, and they, were part of the Cadmus Project in Kirby’s Fourth World books, but back in the 1940s he was Jim Harper and basically the guardian of these street kids.
As a police officer he did a good job, but felt it necessary to put on a mask to protect these kids all the more. He also carried a golden shield.
It is that shield that is important. Even though he was forced to put on the mask, Jim Harper saw himself as a police officer first, and even his shield was designed to look like a policeman’s shield, his badge. In later incarnations of The Guardian this part him is lost. Many masked vigilantes are forced not only to fight the bad guys, but also the police. For Jim Harper, The Guardian’s role is something much more. He had to be a hero to the Newsboy Legion and the people on the street, but also to his fellow police officers.
Years before Jim Harper put on the golden helmet of The Guardian, policewoman Peggy Allen saw flaws in the regular justiciable system and so put on a costume and became the WOMAN IN RED.
The idea that these police officers saw a necessity to step out of their uniforms to wear masks in order to fight crime spurs a lot of thought and potential stories.
I’d love to tell a story about that original version of The Guardian.
Post Script – The Golden Guardian which I posted for Jack Kirby’s 100th birthday.
Jack Kirby – The Golden Guardian
Earlier in the year I sketched an image of the Golden Age super hero The Guardian in my blog about the character and his use in the TV series Supergirl.
This Silver Age version of the character called The Golden Guardian Kirby incorporated into his Fourth World New Gods story line in the pages of Jimmy Olsen. As part of the Cadmus project this Guardian is what many later versions would be based on. Whether it was in later comics, in the animated series Young Justice, or in Supergirl.
Continuing to celebrate Jack Kirby’s 100th Birthday.
Kevin Paul Shaw Broden
Four Names of Professional Creativity
As a little child I usually attended Sunday School while my parents went to church and their own adult classes. For our group of kids we were taught through colorful Bible stories in ways that were understandable for little ones. Hearing about the animals on ‘Noah’s Arc’ comes to mind.
As fun as those stories were, they were the simple beginnings of my understanding of the Bible. This period of my young church life I look back on as the ‘Jesus loves me’ time; for we sang that song over and over. I was only starting to know what that truly meant.
My first Bible lesson that struck deep with true meaning probably came to me one Sunday while I was sitting on a pew with my family in church. I was probably no older than 7 years of age.
Our pastor was giving a sermon on Mathew 7:3-5/Luke 6:41-42
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
The visual image of a plank (or ‘beam’ as used in the King James version) was something my young mind and vivid imagination could see.
Every child by that age has gotten dust or dirt in their eyes and knows just how uncomfortable that is. So to imagine what it must be to have this massive plank of wood stuck in ones eye is a horrifying thought. Then to think trying to get a dust out of another’s eye with this thing stuck in my own is equally horrifying.
This imagery embedded itself into my mind.
It was my earliest lesson in not to judge others and it has stayed with me ever since.
It seems like an easy lesson to learn; don’t make such a deal out of pointing out the flaw in someone else’s life and act like you are the only one who can fix them, while completely ignoring the major problem within your own life. Yet we do it all the time.
Though I try not to judge others, I would be an equal hypocrite if I said I never judge other people. It’s far too easy to do so. But I try very hard not to. I have to stop and realize that I could end up going through the same thing they are and if others point out my faults with such an attitude, would only make my situation worse.
If you can help me, great, but don’t treat me as a flawed and only you can help me. I won’t do the same thing to you.
However, in an attempt to not judge people, sometimes I imagine my plank is much larger than it truly is, or imagine it is there even when it is not. It can be too easy make your own flaws greater than they actually are. So in your attempt to not judge others too harshly, don’t judge yourself too harshly either.
The author of REVENGE OF THE MASKED GHOST has released his latest short story:
Johnny Graves is a hired killer for the mob.
For the right money, he’ll kill anyone for his bosses.
Tonight he’s been given a new mark, but this time his orders are to keep the man alive at all costs.
An ebook for Only 99 cents.
Pick it up at any ebook dealer:
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Both Cecilia and Kramer watched as the detective pointed out what he described.
“Coroner puts time of death between eleven and midnight last night. As you saw, there was a scuffle in the hallway, which led into here. Perhaps Granger was attempting to escape his attacker. There doesn’t appear to be any weapons in the room or elsewhere in the house for him to defend himself with though. The desk phone was in place and we’ve already checked that no phone calls were made during that time, so no help was on the way. We still don’t know what he was intending by coming in here. He was trapping himself.”
He then turned and indicated the doorway and the stain of the floor.
“Granger was just a few feet inside when he was struck on the back of the head by a blunt object. We believe it was a brass sculpture we found near the body. The lab boys have it now and we’re testing it for prints. Though it is likely a burglary gone wrong, and Granger surprised the thief, there are also indications that this may have been a crime of passion.”
“Crime of passion?” Kramer asked.
“Yes. Grabbing something close at hand could have been the thief’s attempt to take out who had discovered him. But Granger’s head was pretty much smashed in, multiple times. Caving his skull into his brain.”
“Oh, God,” Cecilia turned away into the hallway, feeling sick, and leaned against a cupboard, full of Waterford Crystal. What am I doing here, she thought as she saw her reflection in the glass.
“You know,” Lambert was now talking to the lawyer, giving Cecilia a moment to recover from what she had seen and forget what her mind had imagined, “for a guy whose worth billions, the security here is rather lax. Though nothing appears to have been stolen, this room alone could mount up a pretty penny for any burglar. Yet there is no alarm system and he never has a security guard at the gatehouse.”
“From what I know of Mr. Granger, he didn’t feel the extra security was necessary,” Kramer cautiously suggested.
“You said the guy was eccentric, but in this city security is a necessity.”
Cecilia felt somewhat better and joined them once more, while trying to avoid looking at the bloody stain something else caught her eye in the study.
A massive painting hung high above the fireplace mantle. It was a portrait of who she surmised to be Granger himself. There was something odd about the image; the man looked ancient and childlike, with a large muscular frame. His hair was white, and wrinkles of age cut across his face, and yet there was also a youthful excitement in those eyes and mischievousness in the smile that was barely there. It did make Cecilia think of her father, just enough of a family resemblance. Maybe that was just wishful thinking on her part; it had been ten years since she had last looked upon her father’s face.
The oddness of the painting only continued. Granger was seated in the same red leather wing back chair that sat behind the desk in this very room, but Cecilia noticed a hand on his left shoulder. A woman’s youthful and slender hand attached to an arm that vanished into the darkness behind the chair. In a near black, dark red background, she could just make out a silhouette of a figure, yet there was no definition. If it weren’t for the hand, the figure would never have been noticed. Had this mystery woman been painted over?
Cecilia’s eyes were drawn down from the hand through the painting to the mantel where several photos and other knickknacks sat. She’d have to get closer to be certain; but one of those photos was of a small boy. Could that be my father? At the other side of the mantel was an ornately carved glass case and inside hung on a chain was a golden pocket watch. The sun light from the window sparkled off the gold creating an almost magical glow.
Cecilia felt drawn into the room, but the thought of the blood on the floor and what had happened there broke the dream like feeling. Turning away she faced detective Lambert once more, she blushed as she realized he had been watching her the entire time.
“Sounds like you’re pretty confident this was a breaking and entering case that went wrong,” Cecilia said as she recovered. “Yet you still consider me as a suspect. Your prime suspect even.”
“There were no signs of a break in. Someone may have surprised him when he got home last night. We’re following up on all potential leads, and the inheritance still keeps you at the top right now.”
“Well, not to do your job, Detective, but do I really look like I’m strong enough to smash someone’s head in?”
She stepped back to let him have a look at her frame, and found that she liked him looking. The pants and blouse she had thrown on this morning for work didn’t fit very well, but she hoped it hid the extra pounds she felt had gathered around her hips. She suddenly stopped, and realized how weird it was to think about her weight and clothes when she was the suspect of a murder.
“In the heat of passion,” he responded after giving her the once over, and maybe the twice and third over, “anyone is capable of the most violent acts.”
Cecilia watched him looking and tried not to judge what he was thinking.
“And a ‘crime of passion’ is quite often the act of a woman,” she stated.
“Not every time, but it is frequently the case,” Lambert replied.
“Let me see if I’ve got this straight,” she began, pushing aside her own feeling, and looked for clues in his response. “You think Mr. Granger, my apparent grandfather, had already made contact with me. And that a young woman desperate for cash would be quite thrilled to discover she could inherit all this.” She waved her arms about to indicate the opulence of the mansion. “All her troubles, bills, loans, and lousy job would be behind her. The only thing that stood in her way was old man Granger himself.”
Lambert seemed quite amused and wasn’t going to stop her little performance.
“So this desperate girl travels all the way out here, maybe to ask ‘Daddy Warbucks’ for a loan, but when he tells her ‘no’ she grabs whatever is convenient and starts taking the inheritance out of his skull. How am I doing?”
“Ah… you just summed up the case against you. I think your lawyer here would suggest you not say anything more.”
Cecilia looked from the detective to Kramer who was standing off to the side watching the entire show. He nodded in agreement.
“Thank you,” she smiled at Lambert, “I’m a writer. Sold a detective story last month. I see myself more as a fantasy writer, but I grew up reading mysteries so wanted to give it a try. Didn’t think it was great, to my amazement they bought it so I’m not complaining. As to your case, I’m not all that concerned; I never met or knew who Granger was. If I’m not wrong, you’re already looking elsewhere. Otherwise we would be having this discussion in an interrogation room at the police station and the trip out here wouldn’t have been necessary. I suppose you were gauging my reaction to being here.”
“I wouldn’t act so cocky around the next homicide detective you come in contact with.”
“I’m hoping you’re the only homicide detective I come in contact with.”
Amazon Kindle: http://amzn.to/v5f7v2