Paint the World

Painting an entire favela in Rio de Janeiro

Painting Favela

As some of you know, I’m a huge fan of crowd sourced projects. From graphic novels and games to social change, I love supporting ‘indie’ work.

About once a week Kickstarter sends out an e-mail entitled, “Projects We Love,” highlighting some of the company’s favorite ongoing projects, the latest of which I found fascinating. I’ve been doing a lot of research on Brazil’s favelas, more specifically those around Rio de Janeiro, for a comic book I’m currently writing. Favelas have shown up in recent years as a stage for big budget action (the Call of Duty and Fast and Furious franchises both feature them) but there is a human aspect of these ‘cities’ that we less often see.

Enter Haas and Hahn of the Favela Painting project.

From their Kickstarter page:

Between 2005 and now, the favelas of Rio de Janeiro have provided the inspiration and locations for several public artworks that we painted together with local community members. Each new project being larger than the last, we now we aim to realize our ultimate dream; to plaster and paint an entire hillside favela. With your help we will return to Rio to create this community artwork of unprecedented scale: A monument that will radiate the pride and energy of the people who live in a community that they built with their own hands.

When we first visited the favelas in 2005, the way they are built and how they function socially struck us as very beautiful. At the same time they were generally perceived as grim, dangerous and dysfunctional.

Our project aims to provide an opportunity for people to transform their own neighborhood from a place seen as negative into a place that is able to communicate its creativity, beauty and innovation to the outside world through art.

While painting the houses brings a visual improvement, plastering them helps with controlling moisture, acoustics and temperature. Through training and hiring, jobs are created in places where opportunities are scarce. More people coming to see the artwork will bring new business and employment opportunities for locals.

Visual beautification, job creation and positive attention boost pride and self esteem and help bridge social gaps in a creative and artful manner. The projects create a voice for the inhabitants, influence public opinion and media, and can help to change perception and remove stigma.

Given the upheaval and change within Brazil in preparation for the coming World Cup and Summer Olympics, it’s nice to see a shift in focus and such a drive for improvement at the lowest levels of society. Check out more pictures and see their plans, HERE.

Painting Favela Concept

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Fearless Future – Deadly Warriors

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A very cool mini-comic popped up online yesterday, written by Declan Shalvey and illustrated by Ricardo Lopez Ortiz. Ricardo and I have a little project in the works (more on that later). Until then, have a look-see!

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*Above b/w page image from http://rlopezortiz.com/

NOIR NATION #3 available in print

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NOIR NATION #3 now available in print!

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My short story, “Bringing in the Mexican Dead,” is featured in the latest issue of Noir Nation: International Crime Fiction. I’m proud to have my work alongside such stellar writers as Nik Korpon, Terrence McCauley, Richard Godwin, Graham Wynd, Rob Brunet, and others who I look forward to reading for the first time.

Inspired by true events, “Bringing in the Mexican Dead,” is about two EMTs working in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The setting is a little glimpse of my novella, Federales, which I hope to have out sometime in the near future.

Give Noir Nation a shot – at $3 this beauty is a steal.

Available HERE.

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a book a week 1.6

Post-Bouchercon review time.

A lot of new friends and a few recommendations later, I’m swamped with more books on my plate than ever before. But how can I complain? It only gets better and better. On to the reviews!

Bar Scars

Bar Scars by Nik Korpon

Nik Korpon was one of the usual suspects in the small group I toured with most of the time around the Bouchercon campus. A very cool guy and a fantastic writer. I had a great time talking everything from Baltimore to Pigeon books with him (parents with small children…it happens). So it was cool to see that his short story collection, BAR SCARS, was set in Baltimore.

This collection is DARK. One of my favorite kind of books – that I enjoy even more by putting down after a couple of stories and letting them soak in, rather than reading straight through. My favorite story was “A Sparrow with White Scars,” followed by “His Footsteps are Made of Soot,” and “Haymaker.” Heartbreaking stuff and awesome prose.

Happy to be sharing a ToC with Nik in the newly release NOIR NATION #3.

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Under the Dixie Moon by Ro Cuzon

Ro Cuzon was another cool cat in the small crew I rolled around with at Bouchercon. I was sold the moment another writer deemed UNDER THE DIXIE MOON to be like the television show, THE WIRE, only set in New Orleans. Like some of my favorite books, the setting, New Orleans, plays a huge role in UNDER THE DIXIE MOON – almost a character itself. It took me a few pages to get into the novel, but once I was in tune with Cuzon’s style, I was hooked to the finish. Cuzon weaves a gritty, complex tale with compelling characters that I found myself liking more and more as I got to know them (even those ‘unlikeable’ ones). Solid Noir.

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Blade of Dishonor by Thomas Pluck

Action-packed, pulpy goodness! I met Tom only a couple of times in passing and he’s one of several writers I wish I had more time with. I’d been meaning to buy BLADE OF DISHONOR all weekend and as luck would have it, I won it by answering one of Todd Robinson’s THUGLIT questions correctly at the “Noir at the Bar” panel. BLADE OF DISHONOR was a lot of fun and you can tell the amount of passion and research that Pluck put into it, especially for the WWII storyline. In a way, this book is like getting two stories for the price of one; the story of Butch, the main character’s father, could stand on it’s own as an excellent book, and while I enjoyed Rage Cage Reeve’s storyline, I found myself looking forward to the next installment of WWII action with each passing chapter. Looking forward to more pulp from Pluck.

Drift

Drift by Jon McGoran

DRIFT had been on my ‘to read’ list since it was released and received praise from several of my friends. In another case of “wish I had read it before I met the author” (of which I appear to have a chronic condition), I had the great pleasure of hearing McGoran read at the “Noir at the Bar” panel (a great back and forth between the main character, Doyle Carrick, and his partner) and chatting with him again, later that night.

I found DRIFT (an excellent and very appropriate title, by the way…) to be compelling and entertaining on a number of fronts, not the least of which was centering the mystery around GMOs. McGoran successfully instructed me on a foreign subject matter without slowing the pace of the story and/or dumping paragraphs of information. I loved the small town setting and the suspended/powerless cop vs. Sheriff struggle early on, and the transformation of their relationship. Tightly paced, great characters and a fascinating mystery. I’m looking forward to McGoran’s next book, the sequel to DRIFT, entitled, DEADOUT, coming summer 2014.

NEXT FROM BOUCHERCON: Looking forward to Johnny Shaw‘s BIG MARIA, Joe R. Lansdale‘s THE THICKET, and Ed Kurtz‘s BLEED.

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Shotgun Honey!

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It goes without saying that one of the best moments of Bouchercon 2013 was getting the Shotgun Honey crew together in person for the first time. Jen, Erik and Ron are wonderful people, and I’m more proud than ever to be in their company.

Not only are they wonderful people, but they produce some excellent fiction as well. Check out their latest works (several of which are available online for free) at the links below:

Ron Earl Phillips – “The Last Shot” (5 Broken Winchesters)

Jen Conley“Mary Mulligan” (Grand Central Noir), “Kick” (Literary Orphans), “Howling” (Beat to a Pulp), AND her story, “Finn’s Missing Sister” (NEEDLE) was shortlisted for BEST AMERICAN MYSTERY STORIES 2013!

Erik Arneson“Noose of Trust” (GRIFT), “Oh Well” (Flash Fiction Offensive), “All Alone” (RELOADED)

Going to New York Comic Con?

Going to New York Comic Con? Here are a few tables you should hit!

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My man Errick Nunnally will be hanging around the Spencer Hill Press booth (#1058) on Saturday. His kick ass debut, BLOOD FOR THE SUN, comes out next March. Meet the man behind what is sure to be a long running series and grab a bookmark while you’re at it.

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Ricardo Lopez Ortiz – the man, the myth, the legend – and a hell of an artist. I had the fortune of meeting Ricardo at Boston Comic Con this year and enjoyed his artwork so much that I’ve hired him to bring my comic, EXPATRIATE, to life. While the project is a WIP, Ricardo will have the script for the first issue and a few sketches on hand. Stop by (#AA2) for a look, a chat and save some monies for an illustration – his work is killer (I’ve got a Judge Dredd commission on my shelf to prove it!)

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John Dixon is having the most exciting week of his life. (It’s true, he said so.) But seriously, John is doing some incredible work and I couldn’t be happier for him. On Friday he’ll be signing at the Simon & Schuster booth (#1828) and giving out ARCs of his debut novel, PHOENIX ISLAND, the basis for the upcoming CBS television series INTELLIGENCE, starring Josh Holloway, Marg Helgenberger, and Meghan Ory.

Just make sure you say no if he offers you hot peppers.

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I’ve met Andrew MacLean at Boston Comic Con for a few years now. He formed Brand New Nostalgia (where I found some of my favorite artists) and is Kickstarting the second issue of his terrific comic, HEAD LOPPER. Stop by (#DD5) and check out the first issue as well as some of his other projects.

Noir Nation: International Crime Fiction No. 3

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My short story, “Bringing in the Mexican Dead,” is featured in the latest issue of Noir Nation: International Crime Fiction. I’m proud to have my work alongside such stellar writers as Nik Korpon, Terrence McCauley, Richard Godwin, Graham Wynd, Rob Brunet, and others who I look forward to reading for the first time.

Inspired by true events, “Bringing in the Mexican Dead,” is about two EMTs working in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The setting is a little glimpse of my novella, Federales, which I hope to have out sometime in the near future.

Give Noir Nation a shot – at $3 this beauty is a steal.

Available HERE.