Sunday, April 14, 2013

Nancy Drew Clue Crew Graphic Novel Contest


Ashley, Mystery Player and Lea. E-mail your address to:

Nancy Drew sleuths in Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew #2 Secret Sand Sleuths now in print by Papercutz.

In this story, for Nancy and her pals it's a night at the museum! A beautiful sand mandala at the modern art museum is ruined. Fortunately, Nancy and the Crew are on the scene, and while they might not understand all the artwork, they know they like to solve a mystery! Following a mysterious hum, they get lost in the vast museum, and may end up facing more than they can handle.

This book comes in both paperback and hardcover versions and there is a proof out there with a blurb on the cover that it's not for resale but for sleuthing only which is cool!

This new Clue Crew graphic novel series is illustrated by Stan Goldberg. It begins with a quote from Nancy, "Interesting is what my Dad calls art when he really think it stinks." These are very cute graphic novels that are a nice companion to the regular Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew book series by Simon & Schuster.

I've got a giveaway too with this preview - it's a cool Papercutz catalog that has some neat stuff in it on the Clue Crew--good paper ephemera for Nancy Drew collectors! I'll be giving away some of these in a drawing to those who comment. Be sure to comment with your name. 

Here's your mission for your comment if you choose to accept it--name your top 5 classic Nancy Drew books you'd like to see Papercutz turn into a graphic novel! Post entries by Sun. April 28 to be entered.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Nancy Drew Clue Crew Graphic Novel Step-By-Step

Papercutz shares with us a step-by-step for putting together Clue Crew #3!


This is Sarah Kinney's script for this page. In this scene, the girls are trying to decide which class pet to bring home and pet-sit while school is out. Sarah gives Stan some "acting" guidance for the characters as well as scene descriptions and dialogue. It's important for him to know how everyone is feeling and what they're thinking since he's actually telling the story in pictures rather than just illustrating it. Sarah spends a lot of time describing the note flying out the window as that's a main clue in the mystery.

Page Three

Panel 1: Just outside their closed classroom door, annoyed George scolds sheepish Bess. Nancy is catching up with them, as she looks at the back of Principal Newman walking farther down the hall.

Oh, Bess! Finally a chance to get Rizzo all to
ourselves, and you’re going all rat hater on us?

I don’t hate Rizzo!

Panel 2: Close on Bess who scrunches her nose and shivers in disgust.

I just can’t stand to touch him… or look at him… or
think about him…>jjrrrvv<

Panel 3: Slightly harried Mrs. Ramirez joins the girls, holding a key to the door.
Nancy looks at her, concerned.

Sorry I’m late getting back from lunch. I was
arranging a ski trip this weekend. Hate to waste
fresh snow!

You’re not late. We’re back early to pick a pet to sit
for. But, we’re not in total agreement.

Panel 4: Looking through a half open window, past a long, large aquarium tank on the shelf, we see the classroom door starting to open. This tank is larger than any we’ve seen, and we cannot see what it contains. A folded note on the shelf beside the tank is caught by a cross breeze from the opening door. We only see Mrs. Ramirez’ name handwritten on it. Balloon from off-panel Nancy behind opening door.


George wants Rizzo, but Bess is… well, not as
thrilled about a sleepover with the rat.

Page three continued

Panel 5: As the door opens wide, the note is aloft and starts to fly out the window. The girls enter, looking back up at Mrs. Ramirez coming in behind them. Mrs. Ramirez takes the key from the lock as she opens the door. No one notices the large tank, or the flying note beside it.


Well, since it’s your turn to pick, Nancy. You have
to be the tiebreaker and do what you think is right.

>Sigh< But, like my dad always says; the right
thing to do isn’t always the easy thing.


Stan's pencils are really tight and almost look like the final art. He's been doing this for a while! There's a lot of action and meaning in George's facial expressions (she really wanted the rat!) and Mrs. Ramirez calms things down just by showing up. The note at the bottom of the page is from Papercutz Editor-In-Chief Jim Salicrup. It looked like the paper already blew out the window in Panel 4, so he thought Stan should show it floating outside the window in Panel 5. There's a photo of this page on Stan's drawing board, as well!


Once Stan got approval on the pencils, he went over it with an ink brush to clean it up and make it ready for print production. When you compare it to the pencils, you can see that he made some decisions about line thickness, to emphasize the important features of certain characters and de-emphasize background elements. In Panel 1, Nancy now has a much more defined outline than she did in the pencils. Colorist Laurie Smith and Letterer Todd Orzechowski then take the inked art and add color and word balloons on the computer.


Friday, April 12, 2013

Real Life "Nancy Drews"

Series book collector Tim of Booksleuth's Series Book Collection Blog sent these screen captures from a recent story about a girl who caught a thief red handed at her school - and the thief was a teacher! She hid in a locker and filmed their dastardly deeds.

What Would Nancy Drew Do? I think this teen knew just how to use her wits. The story featured some vintage Nancy Drew books.


Saturday, April 06, 2013

Nancy Drew Fabric Contest Winners

Our Contest Winners:

Grand Prize: Pam Hancock, Nancy Drew Lamp

Layer Cake, 1 yard white endpapers fabric, key chain watch

1st Runner Up: Marcy Mahle, Nancy Drew Doll & Outfits

Charm pack and coin purse

2nd Runner Up: Julie of Concept Quilts, Nancy Drew Quilt

Charm Pack

Here were the results:
Prizes will be sent out in about a week. I will be doing another fabric contest 1st week of July, so put your  thinking caps on again and send me entries! One entry per person.


Thursday, April 04, 2013

Nancy Drew Diaries Reviewed & Giveaway

UPDATE: Winners will be posted once I receive the prices - I can do the drawing now, but there's not much fun in not knowing what you win ;-) Prizes include Diaries books and other things. Hopefully we'll get the drawing done by middle of this next week...Stay tuned!


Judah Ben-Hur
Creative Cutie

Courtesy of Simon & Schuster, you will receive both diaries books, a notebook (1 of pictured) and some neat pins:


Nancy Drew has a new series to sleuth around in, the Nancy Drew Diaries series. This series debuted this past February with two titles, Curse of the Arctic Star and Strangers on a Train. It's never easy restarting an old favorite of fans young and old, but this series has an interesting premise--Nancy writing in her diary at the beginning and end of each case and now has an illustrator for the covers, Erin McGuire. Gone is the clip art and photographic covers of the recent Girl Detective series. They're still being written in first person perspective. The titles are a bit more mysterious and the cover art a bit darker which is always a plus in my book.

How do they fare with this long time fan? I'm going to review the first two books in this posting and then do a little activity for all you Nancy fans that might inspire those with a hand in this series! I'll also be giving away some Nancy Drew books, notebooks, and pins! To be entered into the drawing, here's your mission if you choose to accept it--please leave comments on this post with your name and follow the directions below.

Rather than your own comments about the series, I want you to think outside the box and complete the following 5 spooky titles with your imagination--something you'd like to see in future Nancy Drew Diaries titles. Deadline to enter: Sat. April 14, 2013. You get 1 entry for doing just that. Even better, complete the titles and then give me 1 brief paragraph synopsis (100 words or less) of a mystery that fits one of your titles, and you get 10 entries into the drawing.

The Secret of the _______    ________.

The Mysterious _________ of _________ Hall.

The Hidden _________.

The Phantom of _________    __________.

Nancy's _________   __________.

PLEASE KEEP IN MIND: Comments are Moderated, so they will not show up until approved.

Thoughts on Nancy Drew Diaries & Where is Nancy Drew?

Book #1 - Curse of the Arctic Star

Synopsis:      In this mystery, Nancy and her friends Bess and George go on a cruise to Alaska to investigate strange things happening on the ship. They arrive with Bess's new boyfriend and pretend they're contest winners. One part of the mystery seems to be solved at the end of this mystery but it continues in a two-parter with book two, Strangers on a Train in which Nancy solves the whole case.

Book # 2 - Strangers on a Train

Synopsis:     Nancy Drew continues her Alaskan cruise in part two of this mystery. She's solved one mystery but is it really completely solved? She realizes quickly that there's more going on that she thought and finds herself still on the case to uncover who is behind more threats and old threats that never did get resolved. She even stumbles upon another mystery involving smuggled animal bones. In the end, she solves the case and presumably she and her pals can finally just enjoy a mystery free vacation--until the next mystery, that is! 

Target Age:     8 to 12

A Few Clues About Nancy Drew Diaries...

Nancy has always been a popular character--for over 80 years now--in part due to a simple formula. She's a mystery magnet, who loves to solve a mystery no matter how baffling or how many threats she gets to stay off a case. She's bold, independent, and loyal.She could use her wits and skills of deduction to solve any mystery and tackle any predicament she found herself in. She's a role model and kids have looked up to her and wanted to be like her. The more flawed she is, like in the recent Girl Detective series (which may be more realistic), the less attractive she really is and the less we want to be like her. In the real world, we're all human, so we're all already flawed, we don't need a repeat version of ourselves necessarily. We read these books for entertainment and fun and we end up inspired along the way. We need someone to aspire to be and someone to motivate us and lead by example. That's the Nancy of generations of mystery readers. That's the Nancy who has inspired countless detectives and lawyers to take up the reigns and fight for justice and right wrongs in their own lives and careers. That's the Nancy who inspired a child to break free from a car trunk during a kidnapping and escape after she pondered, What Would Nancy Drew Do? That's the Nancy who inspired first Ladies like Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton; Supreme Court Justices like Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Where is this Nancy today? I don't feel like she existed the longer the Girl Detective series continued on. Does she exist in Nancy Drew Diaries? That's the real mysterious question that everyone including her publishers should be asking themselves...

My answer? Yes and no.

I liked the first two books. I'd like to see more. I'd like to see where it goes. As a researcher and consultant of the series who has gotten to know fans of all ages over the years and who has enjoyed all kinds of styles of Nancy Drew from her various series and spin-offs, I think my opinion is a pretty well rounded opinion on this series. Keeping in mind this is written for today's tweens, I think the writing style is conversational and flows well. There is some humor and good relationships between the girls in these mysteries--I could picture a group of today's girls having some of these conversations, so that part is done well. I enjoyed the setting and thought it was described well in the book, you could feel as if you were cruising right along with everyone and getting a tour of the ship. The mystery was OK, but somewhat generic, though the two-part cliffhanger should keep kids eager to read book two to see how it all turns out.

Though Nancy Drew sailed through and solved her mystery as always, I feel like she can do better. Like, if I was her "sleuth coach," I might suggest she hang out in a few dark alleys or check out a few abandoned mansions, maybe go on a treasure hunt or an old archaeology dig, or maybe check out that old haunted house in neighboring "Spooky Town" -- anything to bring a little more excitement to her life and in ours as the reader following along with her and her chums on their adventures. A little more spooky for me, with a side of dastardly villains please!

The new "Diaries" theme is very girlie--more likely a style that flatters Nancy's friend Bess more than Nancy and George. It's not too far fetched to think Nancy might write in a diary, however if she's 18 like she's usually been or some such similar age since they're not in school anymore, I think she'd be more into journaling. A diary is something little girls keep, so perhaps the 8 to 12 set reading the mystery may not think of it in terms like that and that may be what appeals more to that age set--the term diary over the term journaling. In fact, if this series is as modern as we would assume it to be--they are texting in these books after all--then Nancy would even more likely be keeping a Blog which is like a journal or diary, but online. A Blog recounting her mysteries or crime solving tips and expertise. Or she might even have some fans or perhaps her computer savvy pal George keeping a Blog about her exploits.

Being that Nancy Drew is a super detective, I feel a little bit like the diary concept isn't quite fitting--it's like a step in the right direction from the previous Girl Detective series, but just not quite there yet. We've previously seen a Nancy Drew Files series in the 1980s/1990s for the older teen set, in which the books began with Nancy's case file with a summary of the case, clues, suspects and everything laid out. That better fits a detective series than a diary. Maybe it's a case of semantics--perhaps renaming it a sleuthing journal or sleuth notebook would make more sense. "Nancy Drew Case Notes," "Nancy Drew Case Files," "Nancy Drew Sleuth Files," or perhaps "Nancy Drew's Dossier." Surely today's kids are not so dumbed down that they don't recognize what a "sleuth" is or what a "dossier" is?

The formula is still there - we have Nancy as a motherless sleuth with an attorney father, she's well known for her detective abilities and solving cases, she has two foil friends that are opposites like oil and water, a boyfriend who sometimes helps with the case and a housekeeper who is a motherly figure and a good cook. She's always stumbling upon a mystery and she always solves her case and gets the culprit in the end. But it's not so much the formula anymore, it's how she gets from beginning to end that really makes the case for Nancy Drew--and whether she's still that Mystery Solve-IT-Girl that's become a Pop Culture phenomenon. Does she still have it? It, being her sleuthing Mojo, or whatever you call it. That special something that kept us turning the pages time and time again to journey along on one thrilling adventure after another, even sneaking just one more chapter, and then another, and another...after bedtime under the covers with a flashlight.

Nancy Drew Diaries attempts to keep the series modern, but also lets Nancy rely on her deductive reasoning, sleuthing skills and her wits more than just technology which for Nancy Drew mystery buffs is a plus. There are those classic villain foibles from the classic Nancy Drew mysteries--threatening notes, physical threats and sabotage. Nancy Drew Diaries is almost there, but misses just a bit of what I'd like to call more Gothic suspense and mystery. There needs to be more drama and suspense, and the mystery should be a bit more mysterious to really compel Nancy from the beginning of her journey throughout the mystery of gathering clues and then attempting to solve it in the end. The reader should feel like they can't put down the book until they've dissected every last word and feverishly sprinted to the final psychological moment when everything comes together and the mystery is solved, the culprit revealed and then like Nancy, we are wistful for another mystery to solve, hoping the thrill ride continues. That was classic Nancy. That's what made Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayer come alive as a child. That's what inspired me. Diaries Nancy needs a jolt. She needs a gentle (or not so gentle) shove toward her former self and I hope she finds her way, one secret passageway and spooky old attic at at time...


Monday, April 01, 2013

Nancy Drew Fabric Contest Poll through 4/5/13


I've gotten rid of the Blogger poll--it was not working properly, either one of them. So, I've created a Poll Host poll which I've added to the blog on the top right. I'm going to keep this poll going until 4/5 as planned, so please vote if you haven't and re-vote if you voted in the previous defunct polls. 

To recap, here are the 9 entries to vote for:

Entry #1 - Julie's Quilt
Entry #2 - Gina's Jacket

Entry #3 - Marcy's Doll & Outfits

Entry #4 - Lea's Travel Bag
Entry #5 - Leone's Purse

Entry #6 - Joan's Bag

Entry #7 - Karen's Chair

Entry #8 - Pam's Lamp

Entry #9 - Dede's Wall Hanging