Episode #111: MariNaomi, author and illustrator of DRAGON’S BREATH and KISS AND TELL

Originally posted on The Blood-Jet Writing Hour:

Episode #111! Featuring an interview with MariNaomi, author and illustrator of DRAGON’S BREATH and KISS AND TELL.

Check out MariNaomi’s comic, TURNING JAPANESE, on 2D Cloud’s website here.

A panel from TURNING JAPANESE by MariNaomi

A panel from TURNING JAPANESE by MariNaomi


MariNaomi is the author and illustrator of the award-winning graphic memoir Kiss & Tell: A Romantic Resume, Ages 0 to 22 (Harper Perennial, 2011),Dragon’s Breath and Other True Stories (2D Cloud/Uncivilized Books, 2014), the upcoming bookTurning Japanese (2D Cloud, 2015), and her self-published Estrus Comics (1998 to 2009). Her work has appeared in over fifty anthologies, including I Saw You: Comics Inspired by Real Life Missed Connections, Cheers to Muses: Contemporary Works by Asian American Women, Eisner-nominated No Straight Lines, Ignatz-winner QU33R and Action Girl Comics. Her comics and essays have been featured on The Rumpus, The Weeklings, LA Review of Books, Midnight Breakfast, Truth-out, SFBay.CA, The Comics Journal

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December Newsletter: Home again!


I’m BACK HOME from an exhilarating book tour that took me to the east coast, the SF bay area and the Pacific Northwest. I’m back to spooning my kittens at night, back to playing with my dogs, back to drawing while my elder cat punches her way onto my lap, back to sleeping in my comfy bed with my warm Gary, back to not holding in my farts around mixed company, back to not having to measure out my beauty products each day so that I won’t run out. What a luxury! But what fun I had on tour too, drinking fig-infused brandy with friends in Portland, tabling at conventions in varying states of lucidity, getting to meet internet pals IRL, meeting the fans that sustain me, and trying to convince everyone to buy my book.

But being home doesn’t mean I’ve stopped doing that last part, no way! In fact, if you haven’t read Dragon’s Breath and Other True Stories yet, please consider buying a copy (or copies for all your friends!). At no extra charge, I’m signing/sketching-by-request the books purchased from my website. You won’t be sorry—it’s getting great reviews. Look, I even made it its own web page where you can learn all about it.

Being home doesn’t mean I’ve stopped doing book-tour-like stuff, either. If you’re in California, check out what I’m doing in your neck of the woods for the next couple months.


For a limited time, I’m offering mini-portraits starting at $40-50 + shipping. I’m also selling original artwork for cheap, some of it never before made public. I’m adding new work each day, but I intend to raise prices back to normal after the holidays are over. So act fast if you want a deal!

Also, my publisher 2D Cloud is literally giving away books this holiday season, including one of my favorite anthologies of all time, Little Heart. Little Heart was intended to raise money and awareness for gay marriage in Minnesota. Working with 2D Cloud to create a story for this, and then seeing how beautiful the book turned out, is directly responsible for me falling in love with them and having them as my publisher today. Seriously, FREE BOOKS. To call this a deal would be a huge understatement. Get yours here.

Speaking of 2D Cloud, they’ve recently posted online the eighth chapter of my upcoming graphic memoir, Turning Japanese. The comic, coming out in book form next fall, is about when I attempted to learn about Japanese culture by working at hostess bars in San Jose and Tokyo, back when I was a tender twenty-something hapa raised among white folks. Read it from the beginning here.

In other news, my database projects are still going strong. At last count, here’s the tally:
Cartoonists of Color: 784 total / 57 LGBTQ / 196 non-male / 356 non-mainstream
@COCdatabase on Twitter

LGBTQ Comics Database: 215 total
@LGBTQcomics on Twitter

I think that’s about it for now. Thank you for reading and happy holidays!

Your pal,

Celebrating the Plight

There is an abundance of sadness on the internet about how hard it is to be an artist, a writer, a cartoonist, a woman, queer, a person of color, etc. I understand that people want to express their frustration, but as a person who is all of these things and more, it can get really discouraging.

Yes, I know I’ve chosen a career path that doesn’t end with me luxuriating in a fancy retirement home, surrounded by a menagerie of exotic beasts. I know that the circumstantial elements of my existence will make things even harder for me than they would be had I been born a Kennedy. But there’s nothing I can do about that, is there?

So for a moment, I’d like to celebrate my situation instead of letting it get me down. Please bear with me.

~ I’m grateful for my race, gender, privilege, lack of privilege, and choices, because they’ve brought me to the place I’m at now: doing what I love.
~ I’m grateful for my publisher, for my agent, for my readers and for my friends and family (not necessarily in that order). For the venues that have hosted my events, for the organizations that have supported me so diligently over the years (Radar!).
~ I’m grateful for the tenacity of young me, who kept at it for so long, despite consistent utter obscurity.
~ I’m grateful for the folks who have bought my books and art.
~ I’m grateful for the people who have let me know, via letters, reviews, Goodreads, emails, tweets, Facebook, Tumblr, and in person, that my writing spoke to them.
~ I’m grateful for the people who have shared their work with me, or even their stories, their secrets.

All these things have kept me going through the highs and lows of the past seventeen years of this. SEVENTEEN YEARS! And I am so grateful.

Thank you, that is all.

Books and Authors Podcast

Last month I visited Cary Barbor Zahaby in New York City to talk about my new book, Dragon’s Breath and Other True Stories, on the Books and Authors Podcast. Cary had some excellent questions, and I was surprised and honored to discover I was the first cartoonist guest on her show. It’s a short but sweet listen at 16 1/2 minutes. Listen here.