Archive for September, 2013

Legend of Korra Signing

Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra are two of my all time favorite animated shows.  In fact, The Last Airbender series actually inspired me to write my very first middle grade fantasy novel. Sufficed to say I was pretty stoked to meet the amazing team behind these series in person.

My good friend (and book signing buddy) Tiffani and I headed out to Barnes & Noble at the Grove last August 15th, 2013 to listen to a panel with series Creators Michael DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko, Joaquim Dos Santos and Ryo Ki Hun.

legend of korra panel 1

The Legend of Korra Creators: Ryo Ki Hun, Joaquim Dos Santos  Michael DiMartino, and  Bryan Konietzko


The four were on hand to talk about their show and to sign their book called The Legend of Korra: The Art of the Animated Series Book One-Air.

legend of korra art book

Knowing there would be a long line of fans at the event, I dropped by Barnes & Noble at the Grove the night before to purchase the books I wanted signed. However, they wouldn’t give out tickets for the event until the next day.  So I made sure to get to the Grove around 8am ( a full hour before the store opened) so I could be one of the first people in line. When the store finally opened, I just presented my receipt from the night before, got my two tickets and drove 15 minutes to work.

My gamble definitely paid off as there was a huge crowd already gathered  by the time I got to the bookstore at 5:30 PM. Being a Barnes & Noble member, and having gotten one of the early tickets, I was able to reserve two seats at the limited seating area for the event.

legend of korra panel audience

Legend of Korra Panel Audience

I had fun listening to the panel talk about their individual creative processes and the stories of what goes on behind the scenes.

Here are some of the things about Legend of Korra/Avatar the Last Airbender which I learned from the Panel:

legend of korra panel 2

 Ryo Ki Hun, Joaquim Dos Santos  Michael DiMartino, and  Bryan Konietzko


The Legend of Korra: The Art of the Animated Series Book One-Air is the first of four books in the series with Dark Horse Publishing. Each book will feature artwork, notes and behind the scenes info for each season of the series.

* There were only the four of them working as the entire crew when the show started in 2010.

Bryan Konietzko


Bryan Konietzko

* Nickelodeon invited Michael Dante Dimartino and Brian Konietzko  back to work on another animated series that would feature the same world of bending as the Avatar.  Ryu Ki Hun and Joaqim Dos Santos left their jobs in Warner Brothers to help out with the show when they were invited by Michael and Brian.

* The idea behindKorra’s character came was for a snowboarder in the Avatar universe–hence the baggy jeans.

* Brian and Mike have worked together for 11 years.


Michael Dante Dimartino1


 Michael DiMartino


* Joaqim would come up with these interesting concepts and character and give the preliminary drawings to Ryu, who would always turn them into something more wonderful.

* According to Joaqim, Ryu did a lot of weird drawings, including a clown version of Bolin.

*Joaqim likes to add the word “theory” to everything, so they would always talk about things like the ear theory.

* Brian, Joaqim and Ryu would always have a debate about how to draw an ear.



joaqim dos santos1

Joaquim Dos Santos 

* There were 37,000 items in their database which a friend helped them sort out. Only 20% or less of their material actually made it to the book.

* In Legend of Korra book 2, Lin fans might be disappointed as she isn’t heavily featured there. But in Book 3, fans will get to learn more about Lin and her family.

* Book  3 has already been written and is currently being animated.

* Mike and Brian are already working on writing and storyboarding Book 4.

Ryo Ki Hun1

Ryo Ki Hun

* The team wanted more of a 20’s feel for Book 1, so it had more of a noir, sepia tone to its illustrations.

* The Spirit World in Legend of Korra has more color than Book 1.

* Bolin is the Sokka of Legend of Korra. The guy who is funny, and has a lot of girls hanging around him.

* Ideally it should take 10 months to make a season, but realistically it takes about a year.


legend of korra panel 2

* The team works on 10 episodes at a time, so every episode overlaps.

* There is so much overlap in working on the series. Currently they are working on post production on Book 2, they are in the thick of production on Book 3 and in Pre-production on Book 4.  It is a blur of work and like a punch in the face all day long.

* In the long run the whole series is going to take 5 years to produce.


The audience members also got to ask the panel some questions. When asked who their favorite character to draw/work on was, they all gave different answers:

Ryo Ki Hun



* Ryu’s favorite is Milo , whose character was inspired by Brian’s friend’s son. Brian said Milo was supposed to be cute but Ryu insisted the character was supposed to be ugly. They would go back and forth and Brian would try to tweak the final drawings to make Milo look cuter.


joaqim dos santos


* Joaqim’s favorite in Avatar the Last Airbender was Sokka. In Legend of Korra, his favorite is Bolin as his character is funnest to draw.


Michael Dante Dimartino


* Michael’s favorite is Tano, who is the bully that everyone eventually learns to love.


Bryan Konietzko1


* Brian’s favorite character is Naga. Mike and Brian have dogs who are brothers and Naga was one of the original characters from 2002 that they had designed. The first drawing of Naga they ever had was of a polar bear dog standing on two feet. Naga was there even before Appa so Brian was very happy to have been able to use Naga as a character in Legend of Korra.


After entertaining several questions from the audience, the panel began their book signing.

legend of korra panel signing


Legend of Korra Panel Book Signing


The panelists were kind enough to pose for pictures with me and other fans.  I was so thrilled to have my picture taken with some of my favorite creative persons!


me with mike and brian me with joaqim me with ryu

Ryu even personalized my book by drawing a caricature of myself!

I was so thankful Tiffani was there to keep me company and take my pictures with the panelists.

brian and mike with tiffani


Since we were in the seated area, Tiffani and I were one of the first ones who had our book signed. We were out of there by 8:10 PM so we decided to celebrate by grabbing some dinner at Umami Burger.

umami burger


This was definitely one of my favorite book signings ever, more so because it was the last one Tiffani and I would attend together. (She’s moved to Salt Lake City :( )  The two of us made a vow that we would one day get published and have a joint book signing at the Grove.  Here’s to hoping that dream will come true!



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Every Wednesday, I feature a writer and his/her workspace.  My aim is to get to know fellow writers better through their workspace and writing habits, and have them share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome Leigh Talbert Moore, author of several young adult and new adult books.

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Welcome, Leigh!


Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What genre do you love to write? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Do you have a hidden talent?

Leigh Talbert Moore

Author Leigh Talbert Moore

When I was a little girl, I wrote a graphic novel called “Fury Woman.” It was abut a lady scientist who spilled acid on her face and grew giant eyebrows… LOL! Later, I wrote a book with my best friend, who illustrated it, called “Dignity & Detriment.” We used a thesaurus to look up synonyms for “Pride & Prejudice.”

Then I grew up, went to college, taught English a year, worked as a journalist, worked as an editor, worked in PR/marketing, edited a magazine… now I write books for a living. I love love LOVE movies—classics, moderns, indies, big budget. I can’t dance.

On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

I have a desk, but now I write mostly at the dining room table. It’s more comfortable.

2.  Where did you get your desk?  How did you go about arranging your work area?

I inherited my desk from my husband. My daughters always give me little things, and my best friend from D&D days sends me little toys. They accumulate on my desk.

LTM workspace modified

 Leigh’s Workspace

3.  What are some important things on your desk?  Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work?

I pretty much only need a notepad and my laptop when I’m writing. But I have lots of distracting items. My most important things are my pictures of my little girls.

4.  What do you love most about your workspace? Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?

My reading Hello Kitty and my Napoleon Dynamite keychain are two of my favorite things. The keychain has clips from the movie, and sometimes I’ll hit the “Gosh!” button when I’m frustrated.

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 Leigh’s Reading Hello Kitty

5. What’s your writing beverage?  What do you love to drink while you’re writing?


Depending on the time of day, it’s either coffee, water, or maybe a glass of wine. But I try not to drink and write. That just gets messy.

On Writing

1. Who is your favorite author?  Who inspired you to write?

I have three favorite authors—Barbara Kingsolver, Sarah Dessen, and Anne Rice. As for inspiration to write… I don’t know. I guess Stephenie Meyer made me brave enough to try it. (If she could do it…)

2. What’s your typical day as a writer like?  Do you have any writing related rituals or quirks?

I have to get the girls to school, check emails, try my best to stay off Facebook, then I dig in. I don’t really have any quirks. It’s pretty much just Sarah Fine’s BICHOK ritual. (Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard.)


3.  Do you write everyday?  How many hours a day do you spend writing?  What are some of your worst writing distractions?

I try to write every day. But honestly Facebook, my tweeting phone, and email are my worst distractions. I cut them off as much as I can.


4. Why do you write?

Because I love it. Because once I started telling these stories I’d been carrying around in my head, they started growing. And new ones started appearing. And because when I started hearing back from readers, I got totally addicted. There were actually people out there—not my just my family and closest friends—who really loved my stories. Writing is a hard business, but it’s awesome, too.


5. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us?  How about a favorite writing quote?

I guess, I’ll say what I tell everyone. Writing is a hard, hard business. Everyone’s a critic, and readers can be fickle. Be true to your stories, try to be thick-skinned, and just keep swimming!

Thanks so much for having me here today!


 Today also happens to be Leigh’s book birthday!

Adoring Couple Gazing at each Other, by a Lake in a Park


And to celebrate THE TRUTH ABOUT FAKING’s birthday, Leigh is giving away some awesome prizes!

Check out her Rafflecopter link below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thanks  for giving us a glimpse into your writing life, Leigh!

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.




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Labor Day

Happy Labor Day!

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Image from

First of all, you are amazing, wonderful bloggy friends! Thank you so much for coming to visit my blog and for making my Wednesday Writers Workspace guests feel welcome here, despite my cyber-absence.  You have all shown a labor of love!  (See what I did there?)

Okay so I know Labor Day is meant to celebrate workers in the US, but I didn’t know how the holiday got started so I looked it up.

According to WikipediaLabor Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September that celebrates the economic and social contributions of workers. It was first nationally recognized in 1894 to placate unionists following the Pullman Strike. With the decline in union membership, the holiday is generally viewed as a time for barbeques and the end of summer vacations.[1]

Thought I’d throw in a little history lesson there. J Anyway, Labor Day marks the end of summer vacation—which is why today, on Labor Day, I am once more more laboring on my blog!  

You all know I took August off from blogging so I could focus my attention on the many little labors I need to do—including working on my manuscript. Funnily enough, I feel like I haven’t really accomplished much despite my little blog break. L In fact, I haven’t worked on my manuscript AT ALL this whole month!  This probably explains why I’m a bit depressed and slightly insane. We all know writing is a drug for writers and boy, am I experiencing withdrawal symptoms!

So now that summer is officially over, I vow to once more focus on my writing. And I know being around you all (at least in cyber-spirit) will help me keep on track. Yes, I admit. I missed you all this past month, so this month I’m going to make my usual rounds and visit you all again. Thanks for being so patient with me.

All right, it’s back to business for me. But not before I have one last barbecue break. :)

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