News 'n' Views - July 2018

Howdy, howdy! I've got some pretty big news to share but FIRST...

How's your summer going? Mine's been all right--ok that's me being slightly dishonest. It's been pretty stressful and very unsummer-like. Things have been on the stressful side in terms of family and personal stuff that's had my head in a tizzy. Then I went and caught a nasty cold--summer colds are possibly the grossest things to happen to the human body. It's also been rainy and damp all week and I've felt like I've been in a permanent mental fog. So that's been... fun?

BUT I SAID I HAVE GOOD NEWS AND HERE IT IS:

I'll be writing the all-new BETTY & VERONICA series out later this year from Archie Comics! I've had a blast writing Vixens and I'm excited to continue writing for the two iconic characters--this time taking the girls into more uncharted territory--senior year of high school!

The news of the series broke at the New York Times. I know. Kind of a BFD and I'm still kind of in shock about it! You can read the full article about the milestone Archie #700 relaunch here. I also did a follow-up interview with SyFy Wire that you can read here

Here's a look at some promotional art by the amazing Marguerite Sauvage:

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So yeah... I'm pretty excited and I hope you all dig it! And speaking of Betty & Veronica... Betty & Veronica: Vixens Vol. 1 is available in bookstores everywhere now! It collects the first arc/5 issues of Vixens. It's super weird to actually see my name on something in bookstores--but very, very cool.  

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And one more writerly update before I go and down myself in Mucinex--my newest Razorcake article is live! In it I discuss my attempts at managing my anxiety by digital means. One of which is my own personal therapy of writing these articles every other month. They really help put things in perspective for me and I'm always honored when people reach out to tell me that they can connect with them. I'm super thankful to Razorcake for letting me sharing my stories.

That's all I got now! Time to bid you all achoo! ;)

Jamie

HELLLLLOOOOO, INTERNET!

Hello there, boils, ghouls and gender-non-subscribing spirits! I'm back with another installment of "Hey, did you miss me? I promised I'd update regularly then didn't bother to post anything for SIX MONTHS but it's okay cuz I'll get better at it!" You see, it's the fun thing I do where every six months the crippling anxiety and mounting pressure of maintaining an online presence finally gets to me. Then I get the cold sweats looking at my unpublished and unfinished drafts. THEN I start shaming myself for how often I let this happen. Finally I end up writing a blog post, usually to talk about how little I've updated my blog with a promise to change going forward. 

See? Just like I said, FUN.

Well no wallowing in self-pity this time (any more than I already have), let's get into the good stuff:

  • My newest Razorcake article is up now--it's about how big of a crybaby I am! 
  • Betty & Veronica: Vixens #6 is on-sale now, and Vixens #7 will be on sale June 13!
  • Speaking of which, if you're on, affiliated with, or know of an all-female roller derby team that would like to be featured in an upcoming issue of VIXENS (or have their very own variant cover) shoot me a message via the contact page or DM/tweet @ArchieComics on Twitter! 
  • TONIGHT (that's June 1, 2018) from 6:00 - 8:00 PM at the New York Historical Society: QWERTY, Girls Write Now's digital expo is taking place! I'm so honored to be a part of this community and I can't wait for every one to see what this year's digital media making teens have in store for everyone. Speaking of which, check out my incredible mentee Kylie's blog, The Cicada Effect. I'm so constantly inspired by her and in awe of her work and ambition and her blog is a great place to see the mission she's undertaken as a way of bettering her community and the world around her. Listen to them!! 

That's all for now, folks! 'Til next time! (Which will hopefully be in under six months!)

Jamie

September Update: VIXENS, RAZORCAKE and more!

Howdy, howdy, howdy! I haven't given a proper update in quite some time--sorry about that!--but that doesn't mean I haven't been writing. Albeit, I've fallen massively behind on my personal writing endeavors, but it's all good cuz I've got some awesome writerly news to share with you:

I'm going to be writing a brand new COMIC BOOK called BETTY & VERONICA: VIXENS coming to comic shops this November! Archie Comics' iconic BFFs Betty & Veronica get a badass makeover and start an all-female motorcycle gang--think if Betty and Veronica were in a Russ Meyer/Quentin Tarantino/John Waters film, with art by Eva Cabrera, colors by Elaina Unger and letters by Rachel Deering.

I'm super stoked to be working on this and I hope y'all add it to your comic pull lists or just grab a copy at your local comic shop on November 15th.  

Here's the article from The Hollywood Reporter (holy poop!) announcing the title. And here's an interview I did with The Mary Sue about it. 

And I've still been working with Razorcake on my bi-monthly articles, I just didn't get a chance to post the most recent ones up on here. The first is about my penchant (and simultaneous disdain) for clutter, and the most recent one is about our dear leader and how I really, really don't like nuclear war. 

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I hope to have even more cool stuff to share with you in the near future! Happy September! 

Joyce's Law

June 10th, 2015: I planned on spending my entire day being a nervous wreck. Not only was I about to embark on the biggest trip of my life, but  it was also my first time EVER leaving the United States, and my first time EVER going on an airplane. I was terrified of planes—a trait inherited from family (call it a passing on of paranoia). Intrigued, yes, but terrified. The metal birds that were ingrained in my skull as purveyors of death still seemed so majestic to me—there was something almost soothing about them.  I’d sometimes pretend, especially before falling asleep, that I was a passenger on a plane. I’d imagine myself waking up in another place, having safely landed as if I was never in air at all. This, I told myself, would be all I needed to do to get through the flight without any fear—just sleep comfortably through it and let my dreams carry me away. And with the flight leaving at 10:00 PM, that seemed more than doable. I was finally ready to face everything head-on: I was going to board an airplane, leave the country, and get married in Dublin.

A little backstory: My fiancé, John, and I had been engaged for about a year and half, with absolutely no movements toward our eventual nuptials. Not because we didn’t want to get married—quite the opposite—but because everything even vaguely wedding-related totally freaked us out. Friends gave me piles upon piles of wedding prep books, which would sit on the floor of my room, untouched. We talked about opening up Wedding Planning for Dummies, but we never really wanted to. We wanted to get married, but we wanted something that would be special for the two of us. We also were not the kind of people who plan things in advance; we’re both master procrastinators through and through. Finally, one February night, we came up with a brilliant plan: we’d get married on Bloomsday (June 16th, the day the events of James Joyce’s Ulysses take place), as we were both die-hard Joyce fans and literature enthusiasts—in Dublin. Just the two of us, and two of our dear friends as witnesses. Why not? It seemed almost too perfect—but how on earth could we pull this off in under six months?

People who plan weddings for years are suckers.

Sure, there were a few mini-heart attacks along the way and a number of run-ins with what seemed like the impossible, but positive thinking, determination and an unwillingness to accept “no” as an answer went a long way, and there we were, less than six months later, heading to the airport to make our wildest dream a reality.

Arriving at Newark I realized something: absolutely everything I knew about air travel I learned from Seinfeld. I knew how much to tip the luggage handler (an obsolete piece of information now) and that first-class was a whole different world from coach (true). We made it to the airport and through customs and security freakishly quickly. All that was left to do was wait—which, surprisingly, didn’t freak me out all that much. See, here’s the weird thing about me: I often worry more about the details leading up to a big event than the actual event itself. I’m likely to say no to something just out of fear of how I’ll deal with the stress around it, than fear of the unknown. Having gotten through airport security without any blips along the way made me much calmer. A few Old Fashioneds at the airport bar may have also contributed to that. Either way, I was ready to go and sleep soundly through my first flight.

It’s REALLY difficult to sleep on a plane. Whenever I imagined it as a child, I thought of how comfy Jerry looked with his pillow and blanket, snoozing away next to his new model friend in first-class.  I never imagined myself in Elaine’s position in coach, wedged in between two people, with hardly any leg room, fighting for comfort. It was clear early on that sleep was not going to be an option. Fortunately, the young man sitting next to us was incredibly kind and we ended up chatting for most of the flight. The whole trip was smooth, and we made it safely to Dublin.

Our first night we stopped into a pub around the corner from our hotel. At the bar, a young man named Stephen (how appropriate, given the nature of our visit!) offered to give us a personal tour of Dublin nightlife—and we gladly took him up on the offer. Why not? Our first stop was “The Mezz,” a fun, low-key dive bar, in the tourist-riddled Temple Bar area. Our next few stops were fruitless, but wandering through the city at night more than made up for it.  While the “pub crawl” may have been a bust, Stephen’s kindness, sense of humor and eagerness to show two American tourists a real, local tour of Dublin, peppered with bits of history and politics, were better than any bar.

The next few days were jam-packed with living out our literary dreams. We visited the James Joyce Centre and the Dublin Writer’s Museum. Standing in a recreation of the room Joyce wrote Finnegan’s Wake in, staring at Joyce’s death mask, getting to knock on the actual door from 7 Eccles Street, and touching Joyce’s piano were all positively surreal experiences.  We also visited Ulysses Rare Books where, while we didn’t have €30,000 to spare on the first edition of Ulysses, we splurged on the 1947 hardcover Random House first edition (and a first edition of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slapstick because, why not?).

Our “honeymoon” was nearing an end, though, as our wedding day was quickly approaching.

Murphy’s Law says that everything that can go wrong, will. I only believe that to be somewhat true. Sometimes almost everything will go wrong, save for that one thread of hope that you have to hang onto for dear life to survive. That’s what happened to us—from going down to the wire with our Catholic marriage forms, to cutting it much too close to getting our paperwork ready in the states, to a mistake in booking that almost lost our spot for getting our marriage registration in Dublin the day before we were to be wed, to a missing pair of pants the morning of the wedding—our entire love story was a comedy of errors. An almost tragic, yet comedic, love story—call it Joyce’s Law.

Remember what I said about being nervous about the minor details? Any sense of nervousness was completely washed away when I was walking up that aisle. The church was positively gorgeous—ornately decorated with multi-colored flowers to commemorate the 500th anniversary of St. Teresa of Avila. I was not, for the first time, a nervous wreck—there was no room for it when I realized that not only had we made our dreams come true, but that we were still living them. Everything that came before, saying yes to his proposal, yes to this trip. Everything that came after, the rounds of applause from passersby, Joyceans dressed in their Bloomsday best stopping for photos or to send us their regards, being serenaded and fawned over—it was all like reading a chapter from a book I’d never want to put down. I was never surer of anything in my life—and yes I said yes I will Yes.

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Writing Update!

Happy May, y'all! Here's a quick li'l update about a couple (literally) new and noteworthy writing updates:

1.) My newest Razorcake article is live now - "I Don't Deserve Friends" - I think the title pretty much sums it up!

2.) One of my POEMS is now up at Quail Bell Magazine, titled "Even Mother Nature Marches." Fun fact about me: many times I've proclaimed "I hate poetry." It's mostly because I just feel like I'm terrible at it. I can't help but force myself to rhyme and it often feels more like a shoddy children's nursery rhyme than a great piece of literature. I was so moved to write this poem thanks to the country's current climate, that I didn't really give myself enough time to beat myself up over it before submitting it. Huge thanks to Quail Bell for accepting my submission, posting it, and reminding me once again of how much I really don't hate poetry. 

And here's a bonus plug that has nothing to do with me or my writing: my two buds Drew and Jordan make hilarious online videos and even have their own metal talk show, Two Minutes to Late Night. You've probably seen it floating around the interwebs. They just released their second episode and it's amazing. There's a very special musical cover at the end, so make sure you stay tuned! I don't want to spoil the surprise, but trust me: you'll want to see this. *coughit'sPurpleRaincough* 

 

 

HAPPY SPRING, EVERYBODY! I hope to update again soon! *coughprobablyinanotherthreemonthscough* 

From the Vault: Creative Non-Fiction Prompt 2/6/13–Time Travel

In honor of the 100th anniversary on February 1 of New York City’s famed Grand Central Station, write an essay about a time in your life when you travelled—it could be daily travel, such as the commute to and from a job; seasonal travel, such as heading to a beach community every summer; or a vacation, such as a trip to a foreign country. Focus on what compelled you to go and the transition of leaving one place and arriving in another.

“Come on, where the hell is this bus? You know, years ago, the bus would come a few minutes early and they’d let you sit inside with the air conditioner on if it was hot out like this, not make you wait in the heat like animals.” The blazing sun beat down upon my small face as my grandmother and I waited for the #26 Beeline to take us home. Every day after school an executive decision had to be made: walk 10 minutes and wait in the heat for the bus or walk 10 minutes and wait in the heat for the train? On this day, we opted for the bus. By the time we reached the bus stop, we realized it probably would have been cooler to wait for the train.

With my mother now working a 9-5 job, my grandma and I were left to our own devices to get home. If the weather was nice enough, we’d walk. The walk through the quaint town my grammar school was located in usually stopped being so wonderful when my heavy, rolly backpack started to weigh us down and we’d spend the rest of the trip irritated and praying that someone, anyone, would spot us alongside the road and give us a lift. Sometimes we were just lucky enough for that to happen, but not very often. Our other option was the train. We’d hop on and ride it the one stop home, hopping off right as the ticket-taker got to our car. I never realized that riding one stop rarely required a ticket, so I felt as if we were doing something wrong and dangerous. My grandmother noticed the look of amazement on my face the first time it happened, so she made a game out of it from that point on. “Quick, he’s in the next car; let’s stand by the door so he won’t notice us!” She’d whisper to me. It made the humdrum trip exhilarating, and then quickly back to mundane once we’d leave the magical Grand Central-bound train and get off at the Fleetwood stop, walking through the pigeon-shit piss-scented tunnel into the outside world. Then I’d get a bagel sandwich at Dunkin’ Donuts, which was pretty nice.

It was the last week of fourth grade and it was unseasonably warm for late June. Fortunately, the last week of school also meant it was dress down week, so I had the option of wearing something cooler than the stuffy white collared cotton top and navy blue cotton/polyester blend shorts, cuffed ankle socks and loafers uniform I’d wear any other day. (Most girls opted for the much more flattering light blue skirt, but I found the awkward boy-tailored shorts to be more my style. And in 8th grade when I would ruin them and many a classroom chair with period blood I’ll look back and be content with my clothing decision.) However, my forest green coolots were still not cutting it in the unbearable heat. I closed my eyes and dreamed of going home, changing into my swimsuit, diving into my pool in our backyard, and swimming, the cool, chlorine water covering my entire body.

Then I remembered that I didn’t have a pool. Or a backyard. And that my best option would be to turn on my old, cumbersome AC in my room and take a cold shower or bath—which was never fulfilling NOR did it ever really do the trick of cooling me down. But it was my only option, and so I embraced it, and thinking about it at least helped me cope with our wait. My grandmother was still cursing the bus driver when the bus crawled up to the bus stop, #52: Destination Secor Housing, Bronx, NY. Damn!

The bus was an adventure in and of itself as well. The yellow cord was like a lifeline, forget to pull it and you’re done for, doomed to circle around your town on the bus forever. Or you could pull it at the next stop and have to trek your way back to where you’re supposed to be in the snow, scuffing up the brand new glasses you just got from the eye doctor. Another bus creeped up to the stop, #26: Bronxville RR Station. Score!

The bus driver scurried off the bus frantically with a phone in his hand. “Just one moment, everyone, I need to handle a situation at the bus depot. We’ll be leaving shortly,” he said with a think Island accent as he rushed off into the shade. The bus was parked. And locked. And air conditioned. And we, all of my elderly homeward-bound comrades and myself, were on the outside looking in. I’ll spare you the swears that flew out from my grandmother’s mouth, as this is a family publication.

The daily commute is a thing that brings people together. Office workers who hate each other 90% of the time can commiserate if the ride to work was hellish. No one argues whether or not traffic is bad. But even when gas prices soar and roadwork and rubbernecking gets the best of you, pretty much everyone agrees that public transportation is about as bad as it can get. I’m not one of those people. Getting to zone out in my own world for 45 minutes to an hour, doing nothing but watching the world pass quickly by while simultaneously getting in some of the best people watching ever is one of my favorite things. Getting to see familiar faces everyday and piece together life stories based on where they got on and off provides wonderful material for writing. The only thing I really dislike about it is the waiting. The knowing you’ll have to brave the weather but not knowing HOW long you’ll have to brave it for can be a killer. Despite that, I’m thankful for those public transportation trips of my youth. The years of travelling with my grandmother built up my knowledge and resilience in my later, license-less years. But, I mean, if you’re offering me a ride, sure I’ll take it …

The bus driver returned a few minutes later and let us all onto the comfortable, non-sweltering bus. We were able to finally breathe and enjoy the cool air for the five-minute ride home. Our journey was coming to a close. At my grandma’s signal, I reached my small hand up and yanked the yellow-cord. I beamed when the bell gave out a little “ding” and the stop sign at the front of the bus flashed. As the bus approached the stop I could see our apartment, where my bed and my TV and, most of all, my air conditioner were. Repeats of Arthur called my name. The heat wouldn’t bother me anymore, and victory was so close I could taste it. We exited the bus and slugged our way over to our side of the apartment complex and made our way to the front door. The sun was bearing down on us, my skin felt clammy and I could feel the beads of sweat forming after only being outside again for a few minutes. But we made it, we were there. Home was where my heart and sweaty body longed to be. My grandmother placed the key in the keyhole and … nothing happened. It was the wrong key. She had the wrong keys. We had the wrong keys. There was no getting inside until someone either came out and let us in, or we maneuvered our way in through the basement on the opposite side of the building. Even then, we’d still be stuck in the hallway of our apartment until either my mother or grandfather got home hours later.

Another thing I’ve learned from the travels of my youth is to always remember to bring your keys. Do not lose them, and don’t forget them at home. This is something I’m still working on.

In the end, the summer had its victory over us. And I did the only thing I could to accept our crippling defeat: “Maybe we could go and play in the park?”

The slide never burned more than it did on that day, but dammit, it still felt good.


From the Vault is a series of posts from my personal blog that I've liked enough to share here. This post was originally written on this day four years ago.

This One Time...

when I was in high school I got a computer virus. But not in the anonymous-hacked-you-your-personal-information-is-compromised kind of virus, but the Old Internet kind, where pseudo-porn images would just spam your entire desktop every time you turned your computer on. I got the virus from some website where you could download Dane Cook soundbites to use in place of standard PC noises.

I deserved it. 

December - January Update