Interview with Katie L Carroll, Author of Elixir Bound

Katie L  Carroll is the author of Elixir Bound, a recently released YA fantasy.  Katie L Carroll dropped by the virtual offices to introduce herself and chat about her book. Check out what she has to say.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Katie Carroll] Mother, writer, editor, collector of signed books.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Elixir Bound?

[Katie Carroll] Katora Kase is next in line to take over as guardian to a secret and powerful healing Elixir. Now she must journey into the wilds of Faway Forest to find the ingredient that gives the Elixir its potency. Even though she has her sister and brother, an old family friend, and the handsome son of a mapmaker as companions, she feels alone.

For it is her decision alone whether or not to bind herself to the Elixir to serve and protect it until it chooses a new guardian. The forest hosts many dangers, including wicked beings who will stop at nothing to gain power, but the biggest danger Katora may face is whether or not to open up her heart to love.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Katie Carroll] This story all started when my younger sister, Kylene, passed away unexpectedly at the age of 16. In her short life, she inspired so many people to be readers by sharing the Harry Potter books with them. I wanted to give her a fantasy adventure. The story actually turned out to be more about me than her, but it was my way of mourning my sister. I’m working on a second story in the same world as Elixir Bound, and I think this one is going to be more about Kylene!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Katora?

[Katie Carroll] Stubborn, independent, brave.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are three things Katora would never have in her pocket?

[Katie Carroll] Tissues (because she would never admit to crying), lipstick (make-up isn’t practical for a farmer), or a cell phone (there are no cell phones in Katora’s world!).

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Katora had a theme song, what would it be?

[Katie Carroll] Regina Spektor’s song “Hero.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOQ3R3MNcv8

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Katie Carroll] My greatest creative influences are writers Lois Lowry, J.K. Rowling, Laurie Halse Anderson, John Green, Melina Marchetta, Donna Gephart, David Almond, Kristin Cashore, Tamora Pierce…there’s too many to name all the authors that have influenced me. I’m sure I’ve left out some big ones here. Musically I’m inspired by Our Lady Peace, Fuel, Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson, and lots of classic rock bands. My favorite artist is Vincent Van Gogh.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Katie Carroll] Really the number one thing I need is my brain…I do a lot of writing in my head before I even sit down with my laptop, which I guess would be the number two thing I need. Number three would definitely be time!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Katie Carroll] I would have to say The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson. I feel like that book took thoughts right from my head and put them into words better than I ever could.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Katie Carroll] My mom used to read to us when we were little. I can remember having such a sense of awe listening to the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Katie Carroll] I love hanging out with my 1-year-old son and my husband. I also play a little soccer, take walks to the beach, and read, read, read.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Katie Carroll] Readers can visit my website and blog at www.katielcarroll.com. I’m also on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/katie.carroll.12139 and Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/KatieLCarroll.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

You can order Elixir Bound from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the widget below.

Interview with Tammy Falkner, Author of A Lady and Her Magic and Giveaway!

Tammy Falkner is the author of A Lady and Her Magic, a new release from Sourcebooks.  Tammy stopped by the virtual offices to introduce herself, and she brought a copy of her book for one of you to win!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Tammy Falkner] Sports mom (the one with the cow bell), wife of almost 20 years, hopeless romantic

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about A Lady and Her Magic?

[Tammy Falkner] Sophia Thorne is a faerie on a mission. She’s been sent to help the daughter of the Duke of Robinsworth. But there’s magic at play that draws the two of them together again and again. He’s not of her world, and she can’t stay in his. So, what’s a faerie to do when the Unpardonable Errors keep her away from the one she loves? Luckily, the reclusive Ashley is stronger than she ever dreamed, and he takes matters into his own hands in trying to win her heart.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Tammy Falkner] I like magic and paranormal. I have always wanted to write about faeries, and decided to stick them in the middle of Regency England and find out what happened! I had a lot of fun with them in this time period.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Sophia?

[Tammy Falkner] Fearless, faithful, and determined.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are three things Ashley would never have in his pocket?

[Tammy Falkner] One thing Ashley would never carry in his pocket is faerie dust. It has been known to combust in untrained hands. Regency men didn’t travel with pockets full of things like other eras, so I can’t think of much else. He WOULD have a handkerchief. And maybe a miniature of his daughter, Anne.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Sophia’s single most prized possession?

[Tammy Falkner] Her faerie dust.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Tammy Falkner] Most definitely my parents. My dad and I sit at the dinner table and talk about faeries and how much trouble I can get them into. And my mom chimes in occasionally to tell us when something is really not working. I also get a lot from my kids. They can get into some of the most astonishing scrapes.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Tammy Falkner] Quiet, Diet Dr. Pepper, and a dog at my feet. I usually have a cat behind my head, too, but I can ignore that.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Tammy Falkner] Scandal Wears Satin by Loretta Chase

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Tammy Falkner] The “Only” series by Elizabeth Lowell.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Tammy Falkner] I am the quintessential sports mom. I am at all the games, all the matches and I sit on the bleachers and embarrass my children. That’s what they’re for, right? We also take the family out on the boat a lot and do some skiing and tubing.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Tammy Falkner] On Facebook, Twitter @tfalkner, and on my website: www.tammyfalkner.com

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

GIVEAWAY TIME!

For your chance to win a copy of A Lady and Her Magic, fill out the widget below.  You can earn extra entries by following!  US addresses only, please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Didn’t win? You can purchase A Lady and Her Magic from your favorite bookseller, or by clicking the widget below.

A LADY AND HER MAGIC BY TAMMY FALKNER – IN STORES SEPTEMBER 2012

Rules Are Made to be Disobeyed…

Sophia Thorne is new to the Regency’s glittering high society, which resembles her magical homeland only insofar as both places are filled with ridiculous rules. Which means no matter where she goes, she’s bound for trouble…

And Scandals Are Meant to be Shocking…

The Duke of Robinsworth has flaunted and shocked society for years. In a moment of fateful mischief, Robinsworth encounters the enchanting and distinctly scandalous Sophia. Between her streak of magical mischief and his penchant for scandal, they’re about to take rule-breaking to a whole new level…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

As half of the Lydia Dare writing team, Tammy Falkner has co-written ten books, including A Certain Wolfish Charm and In the Heat of the Bite. A huge fan of Regency England, her new series explores the theory that the fae can walk between the glittering world of the ton and their own land. Tammy lives on a farm in rural North Carolina with her husband and a house full of boys, a few dogs, and a cat or two. For more information, please visit http://www.tammyfalkner.com and follow her on Twitter, @TFalkner.

Interview with Candace Havens, Author of Take It Like a Vamp and Giveaway!

 

Candace Havens is the author of Take It Like A Vamp, a new release under Entangled Publishing’s Covet line.  Candace stopped by the virtual offices for a chat, and she brought along a present! One of you can win a digital copy of Take It Like A Vamp!  Find out how after the interview.

[Manga Maniac Café] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Candace Havens] I’m awesome and freaky busy. That’s how my assistant describes me. :)

[Manga Maniac Café] Can you tell us a little about Take it Like a Vamp?

[Candace Havens] Nick and Casey are neighbors in a hi-rise condo development that he owns. They’re best friends, who are secretly in love/hots with each other. That friendship develops into something more. There are supernatural councils, nasty witches and a lot of other fun stuff involved that make things tough on the couple. It’s light, fun and I hope it makes you laugh out loud.

[Manga Maniac Café] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Candace Havens] My publisher mentioned she needed a vampire book. I told her I don’t write vampires. She said she’d love a friends to lovers story and pow! The whole story was in my head and I started telling her about it. I wrote it in four days.

[Manga Maniac Café] What three words best describe Casey?

[Candace Havens]  Loyal, friendly and curvy.

[Manga Maniac Café] What are three things Nick would never have in his bedroom?

[Candace Havens] Evil witches, bad wine and anyone who wasn’t Casey.

[Manga Maniac Café] If Nick had a theme song, what would it be?

[Candace Havens] In Love With A Girl, by Gavin Degraw

[Manga Maniac Café] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Candace Havens] Hmmm. That’s tough. I think books in general and other authors. From Nancy Drew when I was a kid, to Jodi Thomas, one of my early mentors. I’ve been really lucky that way.

[Manga Maniac Café] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Candace Havens] Big bottle of water. Tunes. And my dogs, Harley and Gizmo. I know that’s four, but the dogs are kind of a pair even though one is a Great Dane and the other is a Japanese Chin/Maltese.

[Manga Maniac Café] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Candace Havens] Gosh, I’ve been really lucky with my picks. I guess the last one is Seducing Cinderella by Gina Maxwell. Love her hero in that one.

[Manga Maniac Café] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Candace Havens] Nancy Drew.

[Manga Maniac Café] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Candace Havens]  I covet sleep, but it never happens. I’m always writing. I do write about TV and Film, so that’s fun. Some day, I’d like to take a vacation to Paris where I don’t have to worry about anything except where I want to eat, shop or go next.

[Manga Maniac Café]  How can readers connect with you?

[Candace Havens] I am everywhere. (smile) My website is www.candacehavens.com I’m @candacehavens on Twitter and Candace Havens Author on Facebook. I’m also on Google plus, tumblr, myspace and probably social media sites I’ve forgotten. I’d love to hear from you guys, and thanks so much for letting me hang out.

[Manga Maniac Café] Thank you!

GIVEAWAY TIME!!

Fill out the widget for a chance to win a digital copy of Take It Like A Vamp.  Earn extra entries for following.  Open Internationally!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Didn’t win? You can order Take It Like A Vamp from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the widget below.

About Candace Havens:

Bestselling author Candace Havens has written six novels for Berkley including, Charmed & Dangerous,Charmed & Ready, Charmed & Deadly, Like A Charm, The Demon King and I and Dragons Prefer Blondes. Her books for the Blaze line at Harlequin include Take Me If You Dare, She Who Dares, Wins, Truth and Dare, and The Model Marine. She is also in the anthology Spirited, and the proceeds go to help literacy. In addition to Take It Like A Vamp, she has the steampunk novels Iron Demon (Oct. 2012) and Iron Blood (April 2013) from the Maisy Clark series debuting with Entangled Publishing.

Her books have received nominations for the RITA’s, Holt Medallion and Write Touch Reader Awards. Model Marine is a National Readers Choice Finalist. She is the author of the biography Joss Whedon: The Genius Behind Buffy and a contributor to several anthologies. She is also one of the nation’s leading entertainment journalists and has interviewed countless celebrities including Tom Hanks, Nicolas Cage, Tom Cruise, George Clooney and many more.

Her entertainment columns can be read in more than 600 newspapers across the country. Candace also runs a free online writing workshop for more than 2000 writers, and teaches comprehensive writing class. She does film reviews with the Dorsey Gang on New Country 96.3, and is the President of the Television Critics Association.

Author Website: http://www.candacehavens.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CandaceHavens

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/116617.Candace_Havens

Review: Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

 

Title: Spell Bound

Author: Rachel Hawkins

Publisher:  Disney Hyperion

Also available in digital:

Spell Bound (Digital)

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Hailed as “impossible to put down,” the Hex Hall series has both critics and teens cheering. With a winning combination of romance, action, magic and humor, this third volume will leave readers enchanted.
Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium.  Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident.

Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride—can she get her powers back before it’s too late?

Review:

I have been waiting with a great deal of anticipation for the final book in Rachel Hawkins’ Hex Hall series.  I found the first book rather predicable, but Demonglass kept me on the edge of my seat.  I hated the cliffhanger ending! How could you do that to me?  I was finally onboard with Sophie and her acidic personality, and then – WHAM!  We ran into a brick wall of “See you later!”  Ugh!

Anyway, a copy finally came in at the library, so I hustled over to pick it up.  On my lunch break.  Even though I couldn’t read it until after work.  I dove into the book as soon as I arrived home, and after that uncomfortable few moments of trying like heck to remember what happened in the previous book, and who all of the characters were, I was in!  There is such a loss of momentum when you have to wait for over a year to read the next book in a series, and most of the time, they don’t work as well for me.  When I am in the reading zone provided by a book, I am also in a particular frame of mind at that place in time.  Sometimes I don’t get it back.  Sometimes I no longer click with the protagonist.  Sometimes I discover, with dismay, that I don’t even like the protagonist anymore.  While she hasn’t changed in the year and a half since we last met, I have.  I am a different person, and there have been times when I have outgrown a series or cast of characters, and I am always bummed when that happens.

Don’t worry, though! That didn’t happen with Spell Bound.  While some of the plot points didn’t work for me, I still enjoyed Sophie’s occasionally grating personality.  Her coping mechanism is to get sarcastic, and I actually liked when she was blasting out snarky comments, or better yet, making unfiltered inner commentary about whatever person happened to be pissing her off.  I didn’t like the back and forth between Archer and her fiancée, Cal, but heck, I usually never like all of the romantic triangles cluttering up YA PNR these days.  It is the one trope that drives me batty, and the one that I find the least interesting.  The resolution to this one was a cop-out, with Sophie not making a decision so much as having it made for her.  I don’t want to reveal any spoilers, so I’ll just say UGH!  Sophie gets off guilt free, and I didn’t like that.  I felt that it belittled her emotional conflict and her feelings for both guys was also trivialized. 

Moving on, I love the action in the these books.  Sophie has to always be on her toes, ready to fight for her life.  She also has to be ready to fight for the lives of her friends, and now, her family.  In this supernatural war, there are many casualties.  Sophie is under so much stress to ensure the safety of her loved ones that I’m surprised she didn’t lose all of her hair from the stress.  Worse yet, she didn’t have her powers, because they had been locked away by the villains at the end of the last book!  Her father’s powers had been completely and forcibly ripped from his body.  Sophie was running on empty, and ouch!  it wasn’t easy for her to escape from all of the danger she repeatedly found herself in.  That is one of her traits that I admire most about her character; Sophie has an innate ability to think well under pressure.  While she may lack the common sense to keep her out of danger in the first place, once she’s in it, she is able to stay relatively calm, examine the situation from every angle, and find a way to get her out of trouble without getting killed.  That she is ready to sacrifice her life when the stakes get so high that I would have crumbled into a ball of black despair, is another reason why I enjoyed Sophie, and these books, so much.

All in all, Hex Hall was a fun series, and now that they are all out, I recommend that you give them a try.  Each book was better than the last, and all of the characters, especially Sophie and Elodie, are likeable.

Grade:  B+

Review copy obtained from my local library 

Micro Review: Hearts of Fire by Kira Brady (Novella)

 

Title: Hearts of Fire

Author: Kira Brady

Publisher: Zebra

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

In the prequel to a stunning new paranormal series, one woman’s desire for a forbidden man will spark a centuries-long supernatural conflict–and a love nothing can destroy.

She’s the heiress to Seattle’s most powerful shifter clan. Her destiny is as controlled and certain as moonrise. However, from the moment Alice Corbette encounters the man known as Brand, she will defy all constraint and break every rule to make this dragon-shifter hers. Brand is determined to repay the clan leader he owes his life to. But one taste of Alice’s exquisite spirit will make him question his loyalty–and plunge them both into the middle of a ruthless power play. Their only chance at freedom is a gamble that could risk the future of humans and shifters alike. . .

20,000 Words.

Review:

This teaser novella worked its magic to get me totally invested in the release of Hearts of Darkness, the kickoff to Kira Brady’s Deadglass series.  The world building is fascinating, and the chemistry between Alice and Brand zinged from the pages.  The ending was like hitting a brick wall, though, and left me more than a little frustrated, because I wanted more. NOW!

  The first novel hits stores in August, and it’s at the top of my wish list.

Grade:  B/B-

Review copy provided by publisher

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Cover Shot! Without a Summer by Mary Robinette Kowal

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café. I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share. More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents. There is an allure to a beautiful cover. Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

OMG I love this cover! Shades of Milk and Honey floated right under my radar because I find that cover drab and dull, but this cover is gorgeous!  So pretty!  Without a Summer by Mary Robinette Kowal will be in stores 2013

The magical book that might result if Jane Austen’s Emma were set against the Luddite uprising in the Year Without a Summer

Up-and-coming fantasist Mary Robinette Kowal enchanted fans with award-winning short stories and beloved novels featuring Regency pair Jane and Vincent Ellsworth. In Without a Summer the master glamourists return home, but in a world where magic is real, nothing—even the domestic sphere—is quite what it seems.

Jane and Vincent go to Long Parkmeade to spend time with Jane’s family, but quickly turn restless. The year is unseasonably cold. No one wants to be outside and Mr. Ellsworth is concerned by the harvest, since a bad one may imperil Melody’s dowry. And Melody has concerns of her own, given the inadequate selection of eligible bachelors. When Jane and Vincent receive a commission from a prominent family in London, they decide to take it, and take Melody with them. They hope the change of scenery will do her good and her marriage prospects—and mood—will be brighter in London.

Once there, talk is of nothing but the crop failures caused by the cold and increased unemployment of the coldmongers, which have provoked riots in several cities to the north. With each passing day, it’s more difficult to avoid getting embroiled in the intrigue, none of which really helps Melody’s chances for romance. It’s not long before Jane and Vincent realize that in addition to getting Melody to the church on time, they must take on one small task: solving a crisis of international proportions.

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Interview with Laura Powell, Author of Burn Mark

Our special guest today is Laura Powell, the author of Burn Mark.  This new Bloomsbury release features one of my favorite romance tropes – forbidden love!  Let’s see what Laura has to say about her new book.

[Manga Maniac Café] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Laura Powell] I’m half-Welsh, half-American, and live in a London attic. I can read fortunes in tea leaves and Tarot cards, and like to bake cakes and binge-sleep in between books.

[Manga Maniac Café] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for Burn Mark?

[Laura Powell] It struck me that a witches’ coven is quite like the Mafia: they’re both secret criminal organizations, hunted by the law, a source of fear and loathing to many, but seen as quite cool and glamorous by some.

Since modern-day witches would make great gangsters, I thought there would need to be a specialist police force to protect people from black magic – the Inquisition. Once I’d got these two opposing forces, I decided that my heroine, Glory, should come from a famous crime coven, while my hero, Lucas, should belong to an equally famous family of inquisitors. When their worlds collide, sparks fly!

[Manga Maniac Café] What three words best describe Glory?

[Laura Powell] Stroppy, ambitious, brave

[Manga Maniac Café]  What are three things Lucas would never have in his pocket?

[Laura Powell] Any kind of discount voucher, a lock-picking set, lint

[Manga Maniac Café] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Laura Powell] The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood. She’s probably my favourite contemporary novelist. Now that I’ve finished that, I’m on to her post-apocalyptic thriller, The Year of the Flood.

[Manga Maniac Café] Thank you!

You can learn more about Laura by visiting her website.

Check out the trailer!

You can purchase Burn Mark from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the widget below.

[PR] VIZ Media Debuts New Shojo Manga Series JIU JIU

{ED. Wolf shapeshifters? Count me in!}

PRESS RELEASEFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LEAP INTO THE FANTASY AND ROMANTIC INTRIGUE OF A TEENAGE GIRL’S DEEPENING BOND WITH TWO WOLF SHAPESHIFTERS, IN JIU JIU

High School Gets Complicated For A Girl From A Family of Demon Hunters In A New Shojo Series From VIZ Media

San Francisco, CA, June 19, 2012 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest publisher, distributor and licensor of manga and anime in North America, unleashes the demon-hunting romantic fantasy of Touya Tobina’s shojo manga series, JIU JIU, on July 3rd. The new series will be published under the company’s Shojo Beat imprint, is rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens and will carry an MSRP of $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN.

Born into a family of “Hunters,” Takamichi’s destiny is to pursue and slay demons. When her twin brother is killed, she is saved from despair by a pair of Jiu Jiu – shape-shifting familiars – in the form of two wolf pups named Snow and Night. Now Takamichi is in high school and an active Hunter. Snow and Night can’t wait to attend school in their human form to "protect" her. But are they ready to go off leash…?

“JIU JIU is an intriguing new series that offers a strong combination of romantic drama, supernatural action, and humor centering on the deepening bonds between a girl and two wolf shapeshifters,” says Annette Roman, Editor. “Growing up in a family of demon hunters isn’t easy. Things become more complicated when the pair of cute wolf pups grow up into her bodyguards, learn to shift into (hot!) human form, and decide to follow their mistress to school. Don’t miss this new rhapsody of swords, fangs and romance from Shojo Beat this summer!”

Manga creator Touya Tobina is originally from Tokyo. In 2005, her series, Clean Freak Fully Equipped, won the Grand Prize in the 30th Hakusensha Athena Newcomers Awards. Her series Jiu Jiu originally debuted in Japan as a one-shot manga in the shojo magazine, Hana to Yume.

For more information on JIU JIU, or other shojo manga titles from VIZ Media, please visit ShojoBeat.com.

About VIZ Media, LLC

Headquartered in San Francisco, California, VIZ Media distributes, markets and licenses the best anime and manga titles direct from Japan.  Owned by three of Japan’s largest manga and animation companies, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd., VIZ Media has the most extensive library of anime and manga for English speaking audiences in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland and South Africa. With its popular monthly manga anthology SHONEN JUMP magazine and blockbuster properties like NARUTO, BLEACH and INUYASHA, VIZ Media offers cutting-edge action, romance and family friendly properties for anime, manga, science fiction and fantasy fans of all ages.  VIZ Media properties are available as graphic novels, DVDs, animated television series, feature films, downloadable and streaming video and a variety of consumer products.  Learn more about VIZ Media, anime and manga at www.VIZ.com.