Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year's Eve Eve at AF

Hey, all! I just wanted to say thanks to those I met at Amazing Fantasy's New Year's Eve Eve party tonight. It was great of y'all to listen while I read and wonderfully fun to watch you sing karaoke and work on coloring your pictures. :D

I wasn't sure what to expect reading at AF; I'm more likely to visit the Tinley location, so I didn't know anything about the community that existed at the Frankfort one. But what a friendly and welcoming group I met there -- and Lori and Mike are so dedicated to the store. I had a great time, and I hope that more people head over to AF Books soon!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Merry Christmas! (Plus, reminders about all the stuff that got buried under the gifts)

Hey! Hope you've had a good holiday if you've been celebrating and a good winter if you haven't. I'm a happy camper here -- I received a copy of Ikegami's book on Japanese bookbinding techniques. You know what that means, eh? MORE BOOK MAKING PROJECTS!

And just a couple of reminders: 1) I'll be reading at the Amazing Fantasy Books in Frankfort, IL, this Wednesday the 30th from 4 p.m. until 5 p.m., and 2) "Trolls in the Modern World" is still available for you to read and download for free -- just scroll on down a few posts for the link!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tales from Outer Suburbia

So I put together a book full of short stories about life in the suburbs that was to help me deal with the anger, fear, and frustration I felt with what I saw, especially what I saw in me. Shaun Tan put together a book full of short stories about life in the suburbs that's brimming with hope, honesty, humor, and amazing artwork.

Tan's Tales from Outer Suburbia was up for a World Fantasy award this year for Best Collection. It didn't win -- the other nominees are damn good, too, and I couldn't pick one as the best -- but Tan did win for Best Artist. I think he deserves it. This book is so beautiful, and not just visually; the images and words bring out the best in each other. I really recommend it.

To get this book, I had to go to the children's section of the local library. Sometimes I feel awkward doing that, as if I have no right to go in there without a child of my own. But I remind myself, as I tell you now, that good books that have the "juvenile" label on them will ring just as true to adults. Read Shaun Tan's book, and you will be richly rewarded.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Another reading!

Yay! I get to read again! Wednesday, December 30th, 2009, at Amazing Fantasy Books, 20523 S. La Grange Road, Frankfort, Illinois, 4-5 p.m.

This reading is part of the store's day-long New Year's Eve Eve party. Lori, the store's manager, tells me that I'll be going on before karaoke. Whew, at least I won't be trying to read during karaoke. I cannot compete with "Don't Stop Believin'." Stop on by, listen to stories, and grab a book -- if not mine, then one of the ones that AF will have on super-sale that day!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

"I'll never be your beast of burden..."

...but I will read more of Beasts of Burden when I pick it up from the shop! I know that I'm slow in going through my piles of comics, but I enjoyed what I've read of this four-issue miniseries from Dark Horse, and I keep re-reading the first two issues. Jill Thompson's artwork is beautiful, and Evan Dorkin really seems to understand the feel of old, scary folklore -- even when he has that lore being explored by domestic animals. Who doesn't love a smarmy pug?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"Trolls in the Modern World" -- story available to read and download free!

Sometimes, it's good to write just for the sake of writing. I think that doing so helps to keep a writer cognizant of the rules of grammar and tuned in to that broadcast of strange ideas that seems to reach the headspace of all story lovers.

I have stories that are the results of such writing practice. Some of them really suck, and some of them I actually love quite a bit for various reasons, even if they're imperfect. The sucky ones are going to stay tucked away on my flash drive, but I'd love to share the ones I'm fond of with anyone who comes to the site.

I've posted the first of such stories to Google Docs. It's called "Trolls in the Modern World (It Has Nothing To Do with Message Boards)," and it's a short modern fantasy tale featuring some of my favorite bridge-dwellers from fairytale lore. Anyone who clicks on the link below can read it, and if you have a Google/Gmail account, you can download it, free, free, free. And if you like it, please, pass it along, or send people over to this site! I'd love to share it with as many people as possible.

Click to get reading: "Trolls in the Modern World" And thanks!

Creative Commons License
Trolls in the Modern World (It Has Nothing To Do with Message Boards) by Sheila Johnson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at

Monday, November 9, 2009

It Almost Makes Me Wish I Was Rocking Some Facial Hair

Hey, freelancers! Ever get the feeling that the world just doesn't Get It (tm) -- or get you? Well, my friend Dan Dougherty does, and he's channeled all of that empathy (and frustration) into the comic Beardo, which you can buy in its collected form at . It makes me laugh and cry, all at once.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thank you!

Last night's reading was small, but it went well in my book. Thank you to the people who came, those I already knew as well as those I met, and to Shawn and Woody for letting me hog their shop. :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Reading Tonight!

At Evil Squirrel Comics, 6928 N. Glenwood, starting at 7 p.m.! Be there and be... well, round! (Shawn mentioned something about bringing treats for people, heh.)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Process of Making a Book, pt. 3

Sandwiching the books between heavy objects and leaving them there overnight helps the glue in the binding to set.

See? Old college textbooks do come in handy.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

One of those questions that MUST be answered...!

I had "All the Young Dudes" in my head earlier, and it caused me to wonder: What is a hoople?

A quick Google search informed that "hoople" can be found on Though not many seem to be able to agree on its meaning, the range of the suggested definitions was quite amusing.

This is what I do while my pages are printing.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Process of Making a Book, pt. 2

Most of my friends make big purchases that are exactly what you would expect big purchases to be. They buy televisions, or sound systems, or parts for cars that never quite seem to function well.

My big purchase this year, aside from the gas valve in the furnace, was a hand-binding press.

(Using it does not result in hands being bound together, in case you were wondering.)

There's not much to the idea of a hand-binding press; it's just a way of clamping pages together so that they stay nice and even while you work on putting them together. But, oh, look at that beauty. Aluminum bar to flatten the sheets, a clear, solid acrylic back that allows me to see if anything has shifted before I make the binding permanent -- it is easily the nicest piece of non-computer-related equipment I own. Heck, it might actually be nicer than my computer.

This wonderful press was made by Chet at I hear rumors that the original title of Queen's "I'm in Love with My Car" was actually "I'm in Love with My Fancy Hand-binding Press," inspired by quality tools such as this, but that the record company guys made them change it because it was too niche.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Process of Making a Book, pt. 1

While I was making the very first copies of 'The People He Thought He Knew,' I decided that it would be good to take a few photos during the process, partly because I'm sentimental ("Aw, look at that! It's my first handmade book ever! Now get a picture with you holding it. Now one with it next to the flowers.") and partly because I could imagine myself forgetting what I had done if, by some catch of magic, I had gotten the process right on the first try.

In truth, I ended up not taking pictures of the first attempt. What you see above are the interior pages for the first five copies I made. These constitute the second attempt. When the first batch of pages came out of my printer, I was so excited -- Here it is! It's coming! My baby! My thoughts and words, collected and decently formatted! Then I inspected the pages.

The back side of each sheet of paper had been printed upside-down.

So here's a stack of the correctly printed pages that became the preview copies I brought to the San Diego Comic-Con.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

They say you should stop and smell the roses...

... but what if the roses stop and smell you back?

Just posting something so that the site's not so empty.