Comic Con-versation with Louie Joyce

Louie Joyce is an Australian illustrator and comics creator.

After spending his childhood dreaming of becoming an astronaut, superhero, futuristic bikie punk, enchanted mermaid or something cool like that, Louie realised he'd been dreaming a little too long and most that stuff was impossible anyway. Luckily he can draw pretty well so he's able to experience all those things and more by putting pencil to paper.

Can you tell us about your journey as a comic artist/ creator? 
I think I've always dreamed of becoming a comic book artist. My Dad collects comics, a really great diverse range of them too, so I was exposed to all this different stuff as a kid and I just completely fell in love with the medium. The fact that all these amazing stories and worlds could essentially be created with pencil and paper was mind blowing! I've been drawing as long as I can remember and used to copy from my favourite comics and animated movies. I started trying to create my own comics or adapt movies I loved into comics, I created mini comics and would go to zine fairs to trade and sell with other artists. As I got older I always kept drawing to some degree, but it feel by the wayside for a time. Eventually after working in Graphic Design for awhile my passion for drawing reignited. I knew that was what I wanted to be doing, I wanted to be an illustrator. I studied illustration at the Enmore Design Centre, during which time the quality of my work progressed and I started focusing on creating comics. Now I work as a professional illustrator and comics creator, it's not the dream job I imagined as a kid, but I'm incredibly lucky to be doing something I love every day.

Your  work focuses strongly on narratives and experimenting with different techniques of graphic storytelling.Can you elaborate? 
I'm always trying to convey a story or narrative with my work. I think it makes for the most interesting images, the ones you come back to. With comics I like to experiment with different approaches to layout, style and format. I tailor my comics for reading on digital or traditional platforms, playing to their individual storytelling strengths (For example my comic 'A Life in the City' which was originally printed as a handmade concertina booklet, as well and online continuous scroller comic). There's so many possibilities in how you tell a story and it's inspiring and exciting to experiment with different ways to do it.

Do you have a favourite character or piece you have worked on? 
My self published books MISHMASH & HODGEPODGE are probably my favourite. MISHMASH collects short comics that I've illustrated, some collaborating with other writers and others that I've written myself, while HODGEPODGE collects drawings, sketches, process work and more. They form nice companion books and i try to get a new issue out each year. I have complete creative control and they feel like a pure expression of my work which is nice.

What's next?
Right now I'm working on a sci-fi series with Neville Howard called Sugar & Space, which I'm having an absolute blast drawing! I also recently finished a one shot with Alex Chung called Astral. It's about a relationship between two star-crossed lovers, literally! It will be available from my online store and at events/cons very soon. Other than that I'm working on a few new short comics for my book MISHMASH, and developing a longer form story which I hope to make some good headway on soon.

Do you have any advice for aspiring comic artists that you wish someone had told you?
Draw what you love, what you're passionate about. Whatever you're working on, find what excites you and focus on that. Comics especially take an immense amount of work and time to create and it can be incredibly challenging. But if you're excited about what you're drawing your passion will drive you forward and it will show in your work. Always be learning and challenging yourself, but make it fun too!

Find out more at Louie Joyce's Website and Facebook pages. 

This event is part of Comic Con-versation 2016. Comic Con-versation is an annual week long festival celebrating the best of local comic culture with events, talks, workshops, panel sessions, readings and exhibitions across Sydney libraries.

You can check out all the amazing upcoming ‪#‎ccv16 events and activities here

Shh quiet reads....

Quiet reads... introspective, character driven, with a focus on feelings and emotions. Understated. No great surprises,  no car chases, no unexpected twists and turns and no unbearable suspense.

Grief is a thing with feathers by Max Porter
Once upon a time there was a crow, a fairly famous Crow, who wanted nothing more than to care for a pair of motherless children.

In a London flat, two young boys face the unbearable sadness of their mother's sudden death. Their father, a Ted Hughes scholar and scruffy romantic, imagines a future of well-meaning visitors and emptiness.
In this moment of despair they are visited by Crow - antagonist, trickster, healer, babysitter. This self-described sentimental bird is attracted to the grieving family and threatens to stay until they no longer need him. As weeks turn to months and physical pain of loss gives way to memories, this little unit of three begin to heal.

The remains of the day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Stevens, the long-serving butler of Darlington Hall, embarks on a leisurely holiday that will take him deep into the countryside, but also into his own past. Reflecting on his years of service, he must re-examine his life in the face of changing Britain, and question whether his dignity and properness have come at a greater cost to himself.

Between a wolf and a dog by Georgia Blain
 "Outside, the rain continues unceasing; silver sheets sluicing down, the trees and shrubs soaking and bedraggled, the earth sodden, puddles overflowing, torrents coursing onwards, as the darkness slowly softens with the dawn." Ester is a family therapist with an appointment book that catalogues the anxieties of the middle class: loneliness, relationships, death. She spends her days helping others find happiness, but her own family relationships are tense and frayed. Estranged from both her sister, April, and her ex-husband, Lawrence, Ester wants to fall in love again. Meanwhile, April is struggling through her own directionless life; Lawrence's reckless past decisions are catching up with him; and Ester and April's mother, Hilary, is about to make a choice that will profoundly affect them all. Taking place largely over one rainy day in Sydney, and rendered with the evocative and powerful prose Blain is known for, Between a Wolf and a Dog is a celebration of the best in all of us - our capacity to live in the face of ordinary sorrows, and to draw strength from the transformative power of art. Ultimately, it is a joyous tribute to the beauty of being alive.

Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift
A luminous, intensely moving tale that begins with a secret lovers’ assignation in the spring of 1924, then unfolds to reveal the whole of a remarkable life. 
            Twenty-two-year-old Jane Fairchild has worked as a maid at an English country house since she was sixteen. For almost all of those years she has been the clandestine lover to Paul Sheringham, young heir of a neighboring house. The two now meet on an unseasonably warm March day—Mothering Sunday—a day that will change Jane’s life forever. 
            As the narrative moves back and forth from 1924 to the end of the century, what we know and understand about Jane—about the way she loves, thinks, feels, sees, remembers—expands with every vividly captured moment. 

The woman upstairs by Claire Messud
Nora Eldridge is a reliable, but unremarkable, friend and neighbor, always on the fringe of other people’s achievements. But the arrival of the Shahid family—dashing Skandar, a Lebanese scholar, glamorous Sirena, an Italian artist, and their son, Reza—draws her into a complex and exciting new world. Nora’s happiness pushes her beyond her boundaries, until Sirena’s careless ambition leads to a shattering betrayal. Told with urgency, intimacy, and piercing emotion, this New York Times bestselling novel is the riveting confession of a woman awakened, transformed, and abandoned by a desire for a world beyond her own.

Our magic hour by Jennifer Down
Audrey, Katy and Adam have been friends since high school—a decade of sneaky cigarettes, drunken misadventures on Melbourne backstreets, heart-to-hearts, in-jokes.
But now Katy has gone. And without her, Audrey is thrown off balance: everything she thought she knew, everything she believed was true, is bent out of shape.
Audrey’s family—her neurotic mother, her wayward teenage brother, her uptight suburban sister—are likely to fall apart. Her boyfriend, Nick, tries to hold their relationship together. And Audrey, caught in the middle, needs to find a reason to keep going when everything around her suddenly seems wrong.
Evocative and exquisitely written, Our Magic Hour is a story of love, loss and discovery. Jennifer Down’s remarkable debut novel captures that moment when being young and invincible gives way to being open and vulnerable, when one terrible act changes a life forever.

Stoner by John Williams
William Stoner enters the University of Missouri at nineteen to study agriculture. A seminar on English literature changes his life, and he never returns to work on his father's farm. Stoner becomes a teacher. He marries the wrong woman. His life is quiet, and after his death his colleagues remember him rarely.
Yet with truthfulness, compassion and intense power, this novel uncovers a story of universal value. Stoner tells of the conflicts, defeats and victories of the human race that pass unrecorded by history, and reclaims the significance of an individual life. A reading experience like no other, itself a paean to the power of literature, it is a novel to be savoured.

A time being is someone who lives in time, and that means you, and me, and every one of us who is, or was, or ever will be." In Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao has decided there's only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates' bullying. But before she ends it all, Nao first plans to document the life of her great grandmother, a Buddhist nun who's lived more than a century. A diary is Nao's only solace--and will touch lives in ways she can scarcely imagine. Across the Pacific, we meet Ruth, a novelist living on a remote island who discovers a collection of artifacts washed ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox--possibly debris from the devastating 2011 tsunami. As the mystery of its contents unfolds, Ruth is pulled into the past, into Nao's drama and her unknown fate, and forward into her own future. Full of Ozeki's signature humor and deeply engaged with the relationship between writer and reader, past and present, fact and fiction, quantum physics, history, and myth, A Tale for the Time Being is a brilliantly inventive, beguiling story of our shared humanity and the search for home

 In the quiet by Eliza Henry- Jones 
A moving, sweet and uplifting novel of love, grief and the heartache of letting go, from a wonderful new Australian author. Cate Carlton has recently died, yet she is able to linger on, watching her three young children and her husband as they come to terms with their life without her on their rural horse property. As the months pass and her children grow, they cope in different ways, drawn closer and pulled apart by their shared loss. And all Cate can do is watch on helplessly, seeing their grief, how much they miss her and how - heartbreakingly - they begin to heal. Gradually unfolding to reveal Cate's life, her marriage, and the unhappy secret she shared with one of her children, In the Quiet is compelling, simple, tender, true - heartbreaking and uplifting in 
equal measure.

 Crome yellow by Aldous Huxley
Denis Stone, a naive young poet, is invited to stay at Crome, a country house renowned for its gatherings of 'bright young things'. His hosts, Henry Wimbush and his exotic wife Priscilla, are joined by a party of colourful guests whose intrigues and opinions ensure Denis's stay is a memorable one. First published in 1921, Crome Yellow was Aldous Huxley's much-acclaimed debut novel.

Comic Con-versation with Shane W. Smith!

Shane W. Smith is the creator of seven full-length graphic novels, and a number of shorter pieces. His latest work is the graphic novel Undad, which was shortlisted in the Australian Shadows Awards and tells the tale of a vegetarian family man who unexpectedly turns undead.  His oddest achievement is getting a comic published in a refereed academic journal.

Could you describe your journey as an artist/creator ?

I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. Ever since I could hold a pencil, I’ve been writing stories. I got my first rejection letter when I was seven and accumulated something like a dozen more for my first novel.
I guess it probably all started when my parents encouraged a deep love of books when I was little, and that’s never left me. I learned everything I ever needed to know from fiction - it’s the prism through which I understand the world. To me, it seems natural that writing stories would help me to understand myself and grow as a person.

This crazy obsession has been all-consuming for my whole life, and it's the only life goal I've ever set for myself. My leisure time was spent writing stories and drawing pictures, often at the expense of a social life. I’ve always taken it pretty seriously and been devoted to it as a vocation. But ever since I got married and had kids and landed a full-time job and basically became extremely busy, I’ve descended into a kind of desperate mania about my writing. It’s no longer an option to use leisure time to write, because by and large, leisure time doesn’t really exist anymore in meaningful quantities.

Why did you choose to use the format of a graphic novel?

I went through a bit of a Joss Whedon fanboy stage in 2004-2005 that led me to pick up Fray, the first comic I’d read since I was a little boy. There was something about the way it flowed, the way it read, that made me feel like perhaps this was something I could branch out into.

And since then, I've come to appreciate the immense, immeasurable power of the graphic novel.
One of the most interesting things about using images in conjunction with text is the effect that it has upon a reader’s brain. One thing that cropped up consistently in the research for my Honours year is that people tend to trust words more if they’re accompanied by pictures, symbols or pictographs. There’s something about an image that is inherently authoritative. Like it taps directly into that part of our brain that says “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

Comics can tell stories that no other medium can. And because of that, they offer a unique perspective on the world, a brand new window we can peek through to glimpse our humanity, or a fresh twist on a lesson that we can take with us back into the real world.

Could you tell us about the three art works included in the exhibition Another Dimension: Comic Art beyond 2D? 

1. "Oops" is an original piece produced for this exhibit. I'm not generally a fan of making light of violence, but I find nonchalance like this charming in any context. It - like all my artwork - is entirely digital.

2. "Executioner" is a print of some concept art I produced a couple of years ago. The project never really got off the ground, but I was really pleased with how the art turned out. This dude is a god called Ranye, and he's capable of wiping people from existence if they displease him. Not someone you want to cross.

3. "The Game" is a fun page of artwork from one of my books, The Game. There aren't too many pages in my books that present a self-contained vignette as neatly as this one does. Plus, this exchange amuses me. It's one of the very few conversations in the book that wasn't rewritten several times during the book's production.

Can you tell us about your work in progress, All The Kings Men?

I'd love to! All The King's Men is an anthology of science-fiction prose and comic short stories, featuring two dozen brilliant writers from around the world. I'm dazzled by the amount of amazing talent this book attracted.

The book itself is an ode to the disenfranchised, the people on the periphery, the people that it seems too easy to either demonise or forget about these days. Just ordinary people struggling to make sense of their lives and dreams in a galaxy torn apart by civil war. Each of them is fleeing something different, but they've all come to the same place. When their ship is marooned in deep space, they pass the time by sharing stories. Things that have happened to them, events they've witnessed, rumours they've heard. An uncertain future lies ahead, and they have nothing to rely on except each other...

We're hoping to launch the book at the end of the year, and might (hopefully) be taking it on the road for a few events.

What does the W in your name stand for?

My grandfather is the artist in the family, and has painted several gorgeous landscapes. His name, my middle name, is William. It seemed particularly apropos to include my creative genesis in my pen-name; while it does break up the humdrum between Shane and Smith and bring a little cadence to the proceedings, it's also a familial tribute.

Find out more about Shane W. Smith on Facebook and check out his website!

Readalikes....Me before you by JoJo Moyes

The movie adaptation of Me before you by Jo Jo Moyes is out now! If you enjoyed this book, here are some readalikes!

If you liked....
Me before you

Why not try.... 
Hover mouse over  the book covers to find out more..

The promise of Stardust
                                All the bright places
Walking on Trampolines

After you
Things I want my daughters
 to know

Circadian Novels...Books that take place over a day.

Today, 16 June, is Bloomsday! This day is a literary celebration commemorating the life of Irish writer James Joyce and his famous novel Ulysses, which takes place over only one day, June 16, 1904. Here are some other circadian novels...

Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
Clarissa Dalloway, elegant and vivacious, is preparing for a party and remembering those she once loved. In another part of London, Septimus Warren Smith is shell-shocked and on the brink of madness. Smith's day interweaves with that of Clarissa and her friends, their lives converging as the party reaches its glittering climax.
Past, present and future are brought together one momentous June day in 1923.

 This book inspired The Hours by Michael Cunningham, another book set over one day. 

 Saturday by Ian Mc Ewan
Saturday is a novel set within a single day -- 15 February 2003. Henry Perowne is a contented man - a successful neurosurgeon, happily married to a newspaper lawyer, and enjoying good relations with his children, who are young adults.
What troubles him is the state of the world - the impending war against Iraq, and a general darkening and gathering pessimism since the New York and Washington attacks two years before.
 On this particular Saturday morning, Perowne makes his way to his usual squash game with his anaesthetist, trying to avoid the hundreds of thousand of marchers filling the streets of London, protesting against the war. A minor accident in his car brings him into a confrontation with a small-time thug called Baxter. To Perowne's professional eye, something appears to be profoundly wrong with this young man. Baxter, in his turn, believes the surgeon has humiliated him, and visits the opulent Perowne home that evening, during a family reunion - with savage consequences that will lead Henry Perowne to deploy all his skills to keep this doomed figure alive.

After dark / Haruki Murakami ; translated from the Japanese by Jay Rubin
The midnight hour approaches in almost empty all-night diner. Mari sips her coffee and glances up from a book as a young man, a musician, intrudes on her solitude. Both have missed the last train home. They realize they've been acquainted through Eri, Mari's beautiful sister. The musician soon leaves with a promise to return before dawn.

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
An intense and exhilarating 24 hours in the lives of four teenagers on the verge: of adulthood, of HSC, of finding out just who they are, and who they want to be.
Lucy is in love with Shadow, a mysterious graffiti artist.
Ed thought he was in love with Lucy, until she broke his nose.
Dylan loves Daisy, but throwing eggs at her probably wasn't the best way to show it.
Jazz and Leo are slowly encircling each other.

One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich / By Alexander Solz Henitsyn ; Translated [From The Russian] By Ralph Parker
This brutal, shattering glimpse of the fate of millions of Russians under Stalin shook Russia and shocked the world when it first appeared.
Discover the importance of a piece of bread or an extra bowl of soup, the incredible luxury of a book, the ingenious possibilities of a nail, a piece of string or a single match in a world where survival is all. Here safety, warmth and food are the first objectives. Reading this book, you enter a world of incarceration, brutality, hard manual labour and freezing cold – and participate in the struggle of men to survive both the terrible rigours of nature and the inhumanity of the system that defines their conditions of life.

The Weight of Silence Heather Gudenkauf
Seven-year-old Calli Clark is sweet, gentle, a dreamer who suffers from selective mutism brought on by a tragedy that pulled her deep into silence as a toddler. Petra Gregory is Calli’s best friend, her soul mate and her voice. But neither Petra nor Calli has been heard from since their disappearance was discovered.
Now these families are tied by the question of what happened to their children. And the answer is trapped in the silence of unspoken family secrets.

This is Shyness / Leanne Hall
A guy who howls. A girl on a mission to forget.
In the suburb of Shyness, where the sun doesn’t rise and the border crackles with a strange energy, Wolfboy meets a stranger at the Diabetic Hotel. She tells him her name is Wildgirl, and she dares him to be her guide through the endless night.
But then they are mugged by the sugar-crazed Kidds. And what plays out is moving, reckless…dangerous. There are things that can only be said in the dark. And one long night is time enough to change your life.
Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry

 Embers / Sandor Marai ; translated by Carol Brown Janeway
As darkness settles on a forgotten castle at the foot of the Carpathian mountains, two men sit down to a final meal together. They have not seen one another in forty-one years. At their last meeting, in the company of a beautiful woman, an unspoken act of betrayal left all three lives shattered – and each of them alone. Tonight, as wine stirs the blood, it is time to talk of old passions and that last, fateful meeting.

A Christmas Carol /Charles Dickens 
Go on a ghostly journey with Ebenezer Scrooge . . .
Scrooge is a mean old man with no friends or family to love him - he's just so miserable and bitter! One freezing cold Christmas eve, three ghosts pay Scrooge a visit and an eerie night-time journey begins. The Christmas spirits are here to show Scrooge the error of his nasty ways. By visiting his past, present and future, will Scrooge learn to love Christmas and the others around him?

 The Almost Moon /Alice Sebold
For years Helen Knightly has given her life to others: to her haunted mother, to her enigmatic father, to her husband and now grown children. When she finally crosses a terrible boundary, her life comes rushing in at her in a way she never could have imagined. Unfolding over the next twenty-four hours, this searing, fast-paced novel explores the complex ties between mothers and daughters, wives and lovers, the meaning of devotion, and the line between love and hate.

 Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep /Philip K.Dick
World War Terminus had left the Earth devastated. Through its ruins, bounty hunter Rick Deckard stalked, in search of the renegade replicants who were his prey.When he wasn't 'retiring' them with his laser weapon, he dreamed of owning a live animal - the ultimate status symbol in a world all but bereft of animal life

Comic Con-versation with Rob Feldman!

Rob Feldman is an Australian cartoonist and comic artist specialising in a wide range of styles and formats from single panel to quirky narrative comic strips and beyond.

Describe your journey as an artist/creator – especially in regard to making comics?

      I have been drawing comics, cartoons , drawings for as long as I can remember. I clearly can't remember very far. Though I have done newspaper , magazine , and commission work in the past, my very favourite work is where it's my baby from conception to realisation and this means doing both the writing and the drawing .( Who said 'Control Freak?' )  I contributed a weekly cartoon / comic page for a regional ( overseas ) newspaper / magazine back in the day. I had a few stories running at the same time, and I didn't know week to week where each story was going. That experience does inform my methods - if you can call them methods , I don't storyboard, write scripts per se. It is quite a random ' sock-drawer' approach to comic making.  With the sequential comics I've done, I've gotten my characters and settings, then off I go meandering off in some general direction , with countless side-tracks and additions along the way. DO NOT USE THIS METHOD IN YOUR COMIC CREATIONS. I mean, you can if you want to. What it lacks in orderliness it makes up for in enthusiasm.

Can you tell us how your comic character Elvis Shintaro samurai detective, came into being?

I did the whole 8 pages of Elvis Shintaro as a nod to wonderful Japanese pop culture and specifically their astonishingly astonishing comics. It's a spoof-ish nod to them, and I basically took actual Japanese letters and mixed them up in complete meaninglessness. It was fun, as the non-Japanese reader ( of whom I am one ) can follow the pictures but PRETEND we're reading Japanese. Elvis Shintaro was done as a pilot comic sample.

Tell us about  your book Cartoons, Comics, and Cows in Cars...
Cartoons, Comics and Cows in Cars isn't technically a Graphic Novel , as much as a collection of many of my disconnected, random and diverse comics and cartoons brought together in the one book by the use of surreal segues. This all thanks to the inimitable ( so don't even try to imitate him )  Nat Karmichael of Comicoz who gave me carte blanche ( French for 'a blank carte' ) to do whatever I wanted to in the book.

 What's next?
 I've just finished a kids' book /comic / story called , appropriately, Fast Freddy's Big Race. I say 'appropriately ' as the comic / book is actually about Fast Freddy who goes in a Big Race.    Next will be the sequel to Fast Freddy's Big Race OR another book / comic possibly entitled Buster Kaboo and the something something ( still working on the title )  Can't wait. But must.

 Find out more about Rob Feldman at his website and on Facebook!

Fiction... all dressed up!

The dress thief/ Natalie Meg Evans
Alix Gower has a dream: to join the ranks of Coco Chanel to become a designer in the high-stakes world of Parisian haute couture. But Alix also has a secret: she supports her family by stealing designs to create bootlegs for the foreign market. A hidden sketchbook and two minutes inside Hermes is all she needs to create a perfect replica, to be whisked off to production in New York. Then Alix is given her big break - a chance to finally realize her dream in one of the most prominent Parisian fashion houses - but at the price of copying the breakthrough Spring Collection. Knowing this could be her only opportunity, Alix accepts the arrangement. But when a mystery from her past resurfaces and a chance meeting has her falling into the arms of a handsome English war reporter, Alix learns that the slightest misstep - or misplaced trust - could be all it takes for her life to begin falling apart at the seams.

 My life in black and white/ Kim Izzo
Clara Bishop feels life has served her up far too many slaps and not nearly enough kisses - especially when she is suddenly jilted by her philandering husband. But, thanks to a suitcase of vintage clothing inherited from her grandmother, a former film noir actress, Clara discovers that the clothes really do make the woman. Dressed to kill, she adopts a new femme fatale persona: confident, sexy and set on revenge. As her quest unfolds, Clara's life is transported into a living, breathing film noir from the fifties when she finds an unfinished film script. Soon she discovers not only the secrets of her grandmother's past, but the chance to write her own ending too.

The  Dress shop of dreams: a novel / Menna van Praag
Etta Sparks's cozy dress shop, tucked away at the end of a winding Cambridge road, is a magical place - anyone who steps inside the little blue door to glimpse the glorious silks and jewel-hued velvets can see they are someplace special. But only Etta knows the dresses she sells are actually magic - a few stitches from her needle and each gown imbues the wearer with the confidence to achieve whatever they set their mind too. The only two people the dresses don't seem to work on are Etta, still nursing a heart broken 40 years ago, and her granddaughter Cora, who dedicated her life to science after her brilliant inventor parents died in a mysterious fire and doesn't have time for things like magic or love. Determined to help Cora find happiness, Etta sews her magic stitch onto the shirt of Walter, the shy young man who works at the bookstore next door and has been in love with Cora for years. When she does, Etta sets in motion a surprising series of events, uncovering a lifetime of secrets that will change her granddaughter's mind about love -- and maybe even bring back something Etta thought she had lost forever.

Glaciers/ Alexis M. Smith  (audiobook).
Isabel is a single, twenty something thrift-store shopper and collector of remnants, things cast off or left behind by others. Glaciers follows Isabel through a day in her life in which work with damaged books in the basement of a library, unrequited love for the former soldier who fixes her computer, and dreams of the perfect vintage dress move over a backdrop of deteriorating urban architecture and the imminent loss of the glaciers she knew as a young girl in Alaska...

The dressmaker of Dachau/  Mary Chamberlain
Spanning the intense years of war, The Dressmaker of Dachau is a dramatic tale of love, conflict, betrayal and survival. It is the compelling story of one young woman's resolve to endure and of the choices she must make at every turn - choices which will contain truths she must confront. London, spring 1939. Eighteen-year-old Ada Vaughan, a beautiful and ambitious seamstress, has just started work for a modiste in Dover Street. A career in couture is hers for the taking ? she has the skill and the drive ? if only she can break free from the dreariness of family life in Lambeth.A chance meeting with the enigmatic Stanislaus von Lieben catapults Ada into a world of glamour and romance. When he suggests a trip to Paris, Ada is blind to all the warnings of war on the continent: this is her chance for a new start. Anticipation turns to despair when war is declared and the two are trapped in France. After the Nazis invade, Stanislaus abandons her. Ada is taken prisoner and forced to survive the only way she knows how: by being a dressmaker. It is a decision which will haunt her during the war and its devastating aftermath.

The wedding dress/ Rachel Hauk
Four brides. One dress. A tale of faith, redemption, and timeless love. Charlotte owns a chic Birmingham bridal boutique. Dressing brides for their big day is her gift--and her passion. But with her own wedding day approaching, why can't she find the perfect dress--or feel certain she should marry Tim? Then Charlotte purchases a vintage dress in a battered trunk at an estate sale. It looks brand-new, shimmering with pearls and satin, hand-stitched and timeless in its design. But where did it come from? Who wore it? Who welded the lock shut and tucked the dog tags in that little sachet? Who left it in the basement for a ten-year-old girl? And what about the mysterious man in the purple vest who insists the dress had been "redeemed"? Charlotte's search for the gown's history--and its new bride--begins as a distraction from her sputtering love life. But it takes on a life of its own as she comes to know the women who have worn the dress. Emily from 1912. Mary Grace from 1939. Hillary from 1968. Each with her own story of promise, pain, and destiny. And each with something unique to share. For woven within the threads of the beautiful hundred-year-old gown is the truth about Charlotte's heritage, the power of courage and faith, and the beauty of finding true love.

The dress/ Kate Kerrigan
Lily Fitzpatrick loves vintage clothes, made all the more precious because they were once worn and cherished by another woman. Thousands follow her fashion blog and her daily Instagram feed. One day she stumbles upon an extraordinary story. Joy Fitzpatrick not only shares Lily's surname. She was a fashion legend, famed for her beauty and style in 1950s New York. For her 30th birthday, she is said to have commissioned a dress so beautiful that nothing in couture would ever be able to match it. She turned to a young Irish seamstress, called Honor Conlon, to create her sublime vision. THE DRESS interweaves the passionate and surprising stories of three women. Joy and Honor, whose destinies are linked not only by a piece of timeless fashion, but by the ruthless love of one man. And Lily, determined to find out if the legendary dress still exists, and if it does, to bring it back to glorious life.

The secret lives of dresses
Dora has always taken the path of least resistance. She went to the college that offered her a scholarship, is majoring in "vagueness studies," and wears whatever shows the least dirt. She falls into a job at the college coffee shop, and a crush on her flirty boss, Gary.

Just when she's about to test Gary's feelings, Mimi, the grandmother who raised her, suffers a stroke. Dora rushes back home to Forsyth, NC, and finds herself running her grandmother's vintage clothing store. The store has always been a fixture in Dora's life; though she grew up more of a jeans-and-sweatshirt kind of girl, before she even knew how to write, Mimi taught her that a vintage 1920s dress could lift a woman's spirit.

While working there, Dora befriends Mimi's adorable contractor, Conrad. Is he after Dora, or is working from a different blueprint? And why did Mimi start writing down—and giving away—stories of the dresses in her shop?

When Mimi dies, Dora can't get out of town fast enough and cedes control of the store to her money-hungry aunt who wants to turn it into a t-shirt shop for tourists. But ultimately, she returns to Forsyth, willing to battle whatever may stand in the way of her staying there. Dora can trade her boring clothes for vintage glamour, but can she trade her boring life for one she actually wants?

 Shall we dance? / Maggie Alderson
Loulou Landers, London's undisputed Queen of Vintage Fashion, meets a man on the eve of her dreaded forty-ninth birthday. He's kind, he's sensitive, he's divinely handsome and he carries a designer suit like George Clooney. Unfortunately, he's barely half her age, and Loulou's just not ready to 'go cougar'.

Then there is Loulou's 21-year-old daughter, Theo, who won't get a job, won't move out, wears chainstore fashion, and hasn't said a civil word to her mother for years. And she is on the verge of her own spectacularly unsuitable affair.

So how will Loulou cope with a daughter who's off the rails, a man who won't take no for an answer, an ageing process that won't slow down – not to mention a birthday party in a camping ground? Like she always has – with wit, grit and an exemplary sense of style.

That night on Thistle Lane / Carla Neggers
Librarian Phoebe O'Dunn deals in stories, but her passion for history has taught her that happy endings are rare. Her life in Knights Bridge, Massachusetts, is safe and uneventful -- until she discovers the hidden room. Among its secrets is a cache of vintage clothing, including a spectacular gown - perfect for a gala masquerade in Boston. In the guise of a princess, Phoebe is captivated by a handsome swashbuckler who's also adopted a more daring persona. Noah Kendrick's wealth has made him wary, especially of women: everybody wants something.When Noah and Phoebe meet again in Knights Bridge, at first neither recognizes the other. And neither one is sure they can trust the magic of the night they shared - until an unexpected threat prompts them to unmask their truest selves.After all, it takes more than just the right costume to live out your personal fairy tale. It takes heart -- and the courage to be more than you ever dreamed.