I’m designing/co-editing Spellbound, Volume II: Modern Magic

Boston Comics Roundtable, Comics, Projects, Spellbound, Volume II

Legalize Magic by Oliver Tacke // cc 2.0

Not content with one project of a literary bent, I’ve somehow found myself roped into working on an anthology with the Boston Comics Roundtable, the Boston-area indie comics creator group.

Spellbound II is “Modern Magic.” Where tech meets hex, touch screen Ouija boards exist, and the WiFi fairy is the godmother we all need.

My role will be selecting the comics with my co-editors, and designing/laying out the book itself. I’m very excited to be part of this project. The BCR releases excellent anthologies. The aim is to have the book in hand by early June, just in time for the convention season.


Dimensions: Trim 7” x 8.5”, image safe area 6.5” x 8” — no bleeds
Color: Black & White or Grey scale
Page count: 1 – 6 pages

Submission information:

Please send a complete script and at least the first page in tight pencils to spellbound.anthology@gmail.com.

Important dates:

3/3 – Script deadline.

3/31 – Final art deadline. Expect us to bug for updates before this deadline.

The International Quest for the Best Haircut

American Adventures, Edinburgh Expeditions, Florentine Scribblings

I have short hair.

As it, I couldn’t dream of pulling it back in a pony. A pixie cut, with long fringe (Anne Hathaway stole my hair cut. And I wear it better).

Which is great. I love having short hair, it sets me apart (especially in the US). It’s stylish, different and far more ‘me.’ However, having short hair means that I can’t fall into the ‘I can get a hair cut anywhere’ camp. Too boxy a cut and I look like a soccer mom. Too short, and it just looks awful (as anyone who has seen my undergraduate graduation day photos can attest to. My hairdresser thought that ‘can you fix my fringe’ meant ‘cut them away completely’).

In my various stints as a temporary expat, I’ve found the need to get a good haircut. And when you are completely unfamiliar with an area (and in some cases, with the language) you need recommendations.

My first international hair cut was courtesy of an Italian man named Fabio. He spoke enough English to cut hair, and I knew enough Italian to end up with something cool. There was, of course, a little bit of confusion.

“Can I have something cute? Feminine? But short,” I said (in Italian).

Fabio looked at me, confused. “But Italian men like women with long hair.”

“But I prefer having short hair.”

Bear in mind that at this point, my hair was just below my chin and rather shapeless. There was no way that I was going to have long, flowing tresses without years of growing my hair, or expensive extensions.

Fabio blinked. “So, you want…sex appeal for women?”

Si,” I replied, not processing that he had just asked if I wanted to appeal to women. Fabio’s inquiries into my alleged preferences didn’t matter, and I ended up with the best hair cut I had had to that date.

The result? A cool, choppy, assymetric look. I was hooked. And had to go over two years without something similar.

The next awesome international haircut I got was in Edinburgh. I had been to another salon and just wasn’t happy with the look (it grew out into a bob, which just doesn’t suit me), so I went to Hot Head salon. A lovely pink-haired Scottish lady named Sabrina cut my hair–and it was awesome. She consistently did a great job (particularly when I switched to my current ‘do, a Frankie Saturday inspired Pixie cut). I joked that I would have to return to Scotland every six weeks so I could get my hair cut.

Sadly, trips to Scotland every 6 weeks are not doable at this stage of my life, so I had to find a new hair salon. A tentative call to a new salon yielded a same-day haircut, with a lady named Jackie.

As soon as I stepped into the salon and saw her purple hair, I knew we’d get on well. Result? I guess I don’t need to go abroad for one of the best hair cuts I’ve had.

Losing my zeds.

The Rogue Zed

I fought, I really did. One year of living in the UK, and I managed to maintain my z’s. Organization had one. Realize had one. Hell, ‘z’ was even called ‘zee’ rather than ‘zed.’

Two and a half weeks of working as a copywriter/editor in Glasgow will change one’s spelling.

The ‘u’ in ‘humour’ and ‘behaviour’ and ‘colour’ were easy, I had used them since moving over here and had, in an experimental turn in high school, managed to tick off several of my teachers who pleaded with me to spell like an American. I eventually acquiesced when my creative writing teacher got annoyed with my use of ‘whilst.’

Since coming over to the UK, I’ve embraced the previously taboo spelling. I assimilated ‘whilst’ into my vocabulary. Pants became trousers immediately (and well, undies remained undies or became pants or knickers). Favourite pub discussions became discussing language differences with my British friends and sometimes in the company of another American, one who wasn’t trying to assimilate as much as I.

Theater became theatre. Center became centre. Rotaries turned to roundabouts. Wrench became spanner. As a joke my mum sent me a British-American dictionary, which I haven’t really opened because I’ve committed a lot of the differences to memory..

I held onto my precious ‘z’s. That is, until my boss was reading what I had edited and pointed out, ‘There’s a zed there.’

‘Oops,’ I replied and promptly changed it.

‘There’s a rogue zed there,’ he said a few minutes later. ‘And another one.’

Since then, I’ve become hyper aware of zeds. And calling them zeds. I’ve renounced the ‘zee’…oh blast.

Edinburgh Summer, you are such a tease.

Edinburgh Expeditions

I’ve always been the sort of person to prefer cold weather to hot. As my fellow New Hampshirites complain about the snow, the wind, and the negative temperatures, I laugh and damn the summer. I would rather be cold than too warm–putting on another jumper, hobo gloves and wrapping up in a blanket with a cuppa and a good book is my idea of the perfect relaxing winter’s day.

Notice that I said “winter.”

Edinburgh’s summers are apparently very short. Like, a week in May. Absolutely gorgeous weather, then nothing but rain and cold. I’ve been very happy that I haven’t packed away my jumpers, and that I didn’t listen to my mother and continue to wear my winter boots.

Yesterday, the first day of summer, was cold. I wore jeans, sheepskin lined slippers, drank hot tea, reorganized my workspace. Which, believe you me, was a lot more work than I initially anticipated.

I return from my digression. I’ve never been one to complain about the cold–until now. I don’t want weather to be too warm, but I would like to wear my dresses. And maybe, just maybe, my sandals. And my new sunglasses. So my reasons for disliking the cold are vain.

It isn’t just that. It’s the rain that keeps you from wanting to venture out, that keeps me from going to the library (as in this weather, I’d rather be cold in my own home, where I can get as much tea as my heart desires, thanks very much). Even trips to the neighborhood Tesco become daunting affairs. “I ventured out to do the laundry, that’s enough,” I said.

Though, I’m pretty fortunate compared to New England. Temperatures in the high 90s to low 100s? No thank you. I’d rather freeze.

Outlining. More like guidelining.

The Twirl and Swirl of Letters

I am a proclaimed pantser. No plot, no problem is my motto. But I think I may have just been converted to this newfangled thing called an ‘outline.’

Lately I’ve been trying my hand at outlining a story. I sat down, merrily plugging in the acts and plot points, figuring out what was to happen when. After a couple of hours of work, I was satisfied. I hit print, so I’d have a copy of the outline for my writing by hand.

You should see my outline. Its covered in scribbles, Xs and notes. Reworkings of events. But its been incredibly helpful, keeping me on target. I’m the sort of person who doesn’t write out one crappy draft (NaNoWriMo excepted). If the beginning doesn’t work, I’ll rewrite it until it does. I think I wrote the opening scene six or seven times, and realized that it would work better if I cut it the first four pages entirely, jumping straight into the action. Once I figured this out, I could move forward. The same has worked for later scenes, reworking until it fits.

I worried that outlining would take the spontaneity out of writing. It hasn’t. If anything, I’ve found that its encouraged the unexpected, in terms of conversation, and character development. Because I know where I am going, I can take my time getting there.

I am going to need a machete to clear out the unessential stuff, but I won’t know what’s essential until I’m done. For now, I’m enjoying the ride, map in hand.

Not actually the plot of the story.