Blog Archives

I Still Wish I Could Fly

Kenny Loui Author Interview

There is no Shrimp…and Other Lies My Mother Told Me is a collection of creative stories and alternative truths that you were told as a child by your Mother. What inspired you to share these with the world?

I’m a criminal justice professor and one of the classes that I teach is juvenile justice. Among the topics we discuss in that class are drug delinquency and gangs. While talking about those topics, I ask students to discuss their experiences with D.A.R.E. or other drug prevention programs they experienced in their youth as well as positive influences in their lives—for example, parents, teachers, peers, etc. I also share my own personal experiences related to those topics. One example I like to give is how my mom and Pee-Wee Herman were two positive influences in my life and the major factors in keeping me drug free to this day. Every now and then, I’d find myself sharing stories from my childhood, often times involving mom and dad, in relation to the topic of juvenile justice. So one day I thought to myself: “Wouldn’t it be fun to share these stories with the world?” That was the impetus for creating There is No Shrimp… And Other Lies My Mother Told Me. FYI: The Pee-Wee Herman anti-drug story is featured in the book.

What was the creative process like working with illustrator Yamawe?

I live in the U.S. Yamawe lives in the Philippines. Needless to say, our creative collaboration is very much a long-distance relationship, but one that’s very much a success. In brief, I write the scripts, she does the artwork, we go through rounds of revisions, and then I make the final edits and send the pages off to the printers.

Getting to this point and publishing There is No Shrimp… And Other Lies My Mother Told Me, as well as Life Lessons from a UFO Catcher, was a four-year endeavor. We both have “real” jobs, so it was a challenge juggling full-time jobs and our other commitments in addition to this side project/hobby of ours. I knew early on that I wanted to release these stories about mom as a graphic novel as opposed to just words on pages… although there’s certainly nothing wrong with the latter option, it wasn’t the approach I wanted to take. I consider myself a fairly decent artist—not great, but decent—however, I’m very much old school; a pen and paper are still my tools of choice. Yamawe, who’s well-versed in both traditional and digital media, is an amazing artist and illustrates in a style that I felt was the perfect fit for my stories. I’m just glad that Yamawe decided to come along with me on this creative journey, because I couldn’t have done it without her. She has been such a joy to work with!

What is one of your favorite stories your mom told you, and what one do you wish was actually true?

If you’ve read There is No Shrimp… And Other Lies My Mother Told Me, you definitely know how much of a creative thinker and truth stretcher my mom is. Of all the lies or “alternative truths” my mom told me when I was a kid, my favorite one would have to be the one that the title of the book is based on: That there was no shrimp in my food. When I was younger, I hated shrimp. Not necessarily because they tasted bad, but because they looked like little aliens, like the ones in the Alien movies starring Sigourney Weaver. Those movies terrified me as a kid, and thus, shrimp did as well. Mom, wanting me to eat shrimp, because it was “good for me,” would always sneak tiny bits of shrimp into my food but tell me that there wasn’t any shrimp in the food. Long story short, I love shrimp now, and I have mom to thank for that.

One of the lies that mom told me that I wish was actually true is that if you keep jumping off a bed with a cape on your shoulders that you’ll eventually be able to fly like Superman. To this day, I still wish I could fly.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am currently working on the second volume of Life Lessons from a UFO Catcher: An Autobiographical Manga and a sequel to There is No Shrimp, tentatively titled Dad vs. The World. The first book continues Kenny’s arcade exploits as he continues to liberate plushies trapped in those claw machines. But this time around, his twin sisters, Jinny and Sammy, are tagging along with him on his UFO-catching adventures! The latter book will focus on more of my childhood stories. However, the main character of the book, as you can probably guess from the title, will be my dad… although my mom and her penchant for stretching and manipulating the truth will make cameo appearances in some of the stories. I am delighted to be partnering with Yamawe again for this “second season” of my autobiographical manga. We hope to release the next two books in the Life Lessons series within the next year or two, so stay tuned!

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website


If you’ve read Kenny’s autobiographical manga and webtoon series, Life Lessons from a UFO Catcher, you’ve gained some insight into his quirky adult life and UFO-catching adventures. But have you ever wondered what your favorite UFO catcher was like as a kid? Wonder no more as you flashback to Kenny’s childhood and meet the person who shaped many of his unique perspectives on life… his mom!

Why are shrimp so terrifying? How are babies really made? What is the secret to superhuman flight? Discover the answers to these questions and more in UFO Catcher Ken Presents: There is No Shrimp… And Other Lies My Mother Told Me, a compilation of “alternative facts” a loving mother told her naïve and gullible son.

There is No Shrimp… And Other Lies My Mother Told Me

UFO Catcher Ken Presents: There is no Shrimp…and Other Lies My Mother Told Me by Kenny Loui is an enthralling manga that showcases the comedic journey of a Ph.D. student, Kenny Loui. His mission is to liberate plush animals from arcade games, but things take a drastic turn when he lands in jail after getting into a fight with a cheating opponent. While serving his sentence, Kenny converses with Irene, a cute plushie that materializes out of thin air, about his childhood in San Francisco. Kenny’s childhood is a kaleidoscope of misadventures and misunderstandings, with his mother’s “creative spin” on the truth adding to the chaos. The book takes you on a lighthearted and humorous trip down memory lane, filled with amusing anecdotes and culinary deceptions that will leave you chuckling.

The book is a continuation of Life Lessons from a UFO Catcher Season One and picks up right where it left off. The Stargate reference on the copyright page sets the tone for the exciting and engaging story that follows. The endearing memories of Loui’s mother’s explanations will resonate with readers, as most of us had someone in our lives who spun creative truths. The illustrations by Yamawe are stunning, with each panel bursting with personality, adding a unique touch to the narrative. The story culminates in Other Lies My Mother Told is a perfect conclusion that leaves the reader eagerly anticipating Life Lessons from a UFO Catcher Part Two. Kenny’s lighthearted adventures are infectious and will leave you grinning from ear to ear even after you’ve finished the book.

This highly entertaining manga is a captivating story and has marvelous art. Fans of slice-of-life manga cannot afford to miss There is No Shrimp…and Other Lies My Mother Told Me. It’s a delightful tale of hilarity and hijinks that will brighten your day.

Pages: 102 | ASIN : B0BW2MGW69

Buy Now From Amazon

Life Lessons from a UFO Catcher

Kenny Loui, an individual with a Ph.D. who spends his days at the local arcade, is not your typical hero. Instead, his mission in life is to rescue as many plush animals as possible from the claw machines that keep them captive. Throughout his journey, Kenny shares with the reader many valuable life lessons he has learned along the way. However, when someone threatens the tranquility of the arcade, how will Kenny choose to defend his neighborhood oasis?

Life Lessons from a UFO Catcher by Kenny Loui is a surprising and delightful slice-of-life manga that exceeded my expectations. Initially anticipating a gritty account of UFO chasing and local horror, I was pleasantly surprised to find a charming story about a man’s efforts to rescue plushies while sharing wisdom with others. Each chapter is an “episode” in which Kenny demonstrates the significance of perseverance, kindness, and patience through his fight to liberate the plushies. The art by Yamawe is outstanding, with each panel bursting with life and vibrant color and the cute plushies adding their unique magic to the tale. This manga would make an excellent comedy anime, and I eagerly anticipate the next installment of Kenny’s exciting exploits.

Life Lessons of a UFO Catcher is a whimsical autobiographical story with charming art, sage advice, and an entertaining narrative. It’s an excellent choice for a rainy day read, containing mild language, mild violence, and mild fan service, and is recommended for middle-grade readers and up. This delightful tale of one man’s mission to rescue plushies is perfect for fans of slice-of-life anime and comedic, light-hearted adventures.

Pages: 150 | ASIN : B0B9KD2G4W

Buy Now From Amazon

I Stumbled Onto The History

Alex Grand Author Interview

Journey Into Mexico: The Revenge of Supay follows a young man with the ability to summon the Aztec and Mayan gods who is trying to save Mexico from demons and the old gods. What was the inspiration for your story?

During the time that the idea came to me, I was heavily researched into South American mythology and the pre-Catholic era, meanwhile I stumbled onto the history of Vicente Guerrero, Mexico’s first Afro-American president and his organized execution from rival political forces and the following Mexican revolution. Something started to form as I was putting all that together, and thought how interesting it would be to bring more knowledge of this material to the public, but also weave together a story that resulted in Mexico’s independence from Spain. Surprisingly it all took shape very quickly and I desperately sought an artist. 

How long did it take you to imagine, draft, and write the world your characters live in?

This process took about 6 weeks to finalize where I wanted it all to go.

The art in this book is fantastic. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator Sebastián Guidobono?

Sebastián was fantastic. I sent him the first few pages of script, and he hit it out of the park. I really couldn’t believe it, and wanted him to be the primary visualist of the story. He is incredibly easy to work with, and collaboration with him is a dream. We’re similar age-wise and we had a great time generating the graphic novel together.

What is the next installment in this series that you are working on, and when will it be available?

I’m in the research phase of that, and not quite sure if I want to do a direct extension of the story or fastforward it thirty years and involve Mexican politics during the American civil war. To be determined! 

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

It’s 1830 and Mexico experiences a political divide when their first Afro-Mexican president, Vicente Guerrero is assassinated. Demons begin to enter through dimensional doorways as the fate of Mexico is left at the hands of the young Tijax Tabares, who summons the power of the Aztec and Mayan gods and the protector iEl Fuego! Making his journey through the Mexican countryside, iEl Fuego! faces fearsome mythical creatures while untangling the mystery of Guerrero’s death. He soon learns of a deadly game between the old gods of the Aztec, Mayan, and Incan that will inevitably end in a battle over the future of Mexico. Graphic Novel contains Journey Into Mexico issue’s 1-4.

Journey Into Mexico

Set in the tumultuous 1830s Mexico, Journey into Mexico by Alex Grand is a captivating historical fiction graphic novel woven around the tale of the superhero El Fuego. As political strife and dark forces threaten to undermine peace and sow the seeds of injustice, El Fuego rises to fight for justice and freedom of choice, empowered by the fire gods of life and creation.

The nonstop action in El Fuego’s battles against deadly enemies from Mexican mythology, powerfully illustrated by Sebastian Guidobono, keeps readers on the edge of their seats. As a heroic champion of the people, El Fuego fights for justice and stands tall against the unyielding hordes of evil. Taking inspiration from classic comic book heroes of World War Two, this thrilling adventure is steeped in action with an altruistic and patriotic core. The transformation of Tijax Tabares, the young boy who discovers the power of the old gods, into the hero El Fuego whenever the innocent are threatened adds a powerful quest for truth. The war between gods directly impacts the lives of people on earth, making El Fuego’s journey impactful and highly engaging.

Journey into Mexico is an immensely enjoyable superhero adventure that weaves together the history, mythology, and enchanting culture of Mexico. Cultural representation, excellence in storytelling, and incredible art make this graphic novel a must-have for readers who love superhero adventures, history, and world culture.

Containing fantasy violence, blood, and mild language, this story is suitable for readers 12 and up who cannot get enough heroic action stories. Journey into Mexico takes readers on an exciting venture into the world of heroes and mythology. As El Fuego continues to fight for justice and truth in his beloved Mexico, readers will eagerly await the next installment of his adventures.

Pages: 102 | ASIN: B08WRCBVZV

Buy Now From Amazon

The Best Graphic Novel Possible

Author Interview
Alexander Grand Author Interview

Hashman follows a criminal-turned-psychologist who becomes a central figure in the cannabis legalization scene. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

My best friend, Josh Berman had noticed my recent graphic novel, Journey Into Mexico (2021) and asked how I’d feel if I looked over some interviews, and interviewed the subject, his father to give him a similar treatment. It turned into an obsessive quest to review outside materials, more interviews, newspaper articles and court documents to get the story straight. Josh and I really enjoyed doing the research and developing this world, and working with the artist to create what we felt was the best graphic novel possible. It was also a thrill co-writing this with Josh and learn about the Cannabis culture in which his business is based. 

Joey Berkowitz is an interesting character I enjoyed following. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Well, he’s my best friend’s dad, and what started out as a simple quest to learn more about him as an adult because a long series of questions and answers to get to the bottom of his psychological dilemmas, which became a real pleasure to explore and depict, while staying as close to the truth as the various sources would provide. The main idea was that greed can destroy one’s family, but also exploring the various causes of that greed.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The main theme is that massive need for security that is rooted in a childhood trauma,  can mix with an obsession for vice, and eventually lead to ones own personal destruction. 

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

My next book, Understanding Superhero Comic Books comes out later this year published by McFarland and Co, which describes a narrative history of Superhero Comic books, their secret origins in other media, and various legal, business, and creator decisions that caused them to develop over time into what they are now. 

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Criminal-turned-psychologist Joey Berkowitz has a complicated past, extending through East Coast mobs, the psychedelic 60s, the New York celebrity drug culture, Berkeley Peace movement, the Paris riots, Altamont, Woodstock, laundering money in Southeast Asia, and sitting meditation courses in Tibet. Join Joey as he manages to escape prosecution time and time again by the seat of his pants, ultimately becoming a noteworthy shrink in Seattle where he manages to find himself as a central figure in the worldwide cannabis legalization scene as its most notorious authorizing doc, dispensary financier, and industry stalwart. Will he make it thru? Or will the law finally catch up with him?

Based on a series of interviews with eye witnesses, court reports, and newspaper articles carefully used to construct an authentic and visually visceral ride through the life of a well connected cannabis pioneer.


Hashman by Alex Grand and Josh Berman is a gripping graphic novel depicting the high times of Joey Berkowitz. Despite enduring a childhood of abuse, Berkowitz uses his wits and mediation skills to skirt the law and find his calling, moving from a modest neighborhood in Brooklyn as a young Jewish boy to one of the biggest movers and shakers in the city’s drug scene. Based on a true story, Hashman follows Berkowitz through his accounts of early life in the drug culture through the rebellious 60s, 70s, and so on. The book takes the reader through the gritty reality of historic and life-changing events, including cartel shakeups, mob connections, and the struggle for cannabis legalization.

Hashman is a refreshing, exciting read written by two talented authors, Alex Grand, and Josh Berman. The incredible artwork is created by Charbak Dipta and offers a psychedelic, gonzo style that fits the themes. The story gives a sense that all names have been changed to protect or conceal the actual characters on which the book is based. While the writers claim Hashman is both a work of fiction fused with true elements, most of the events cited throughout the story are historically accurate, which offers the perfect blend for a realistic, gripping tale. All these attributes contribute credibility to the real life of Berkowitz and his wild tales.

I thought the book was highly entertaining and a well-narrated account of the intriguing but dangerous world of the mid to late-twentieth-century drug culture. The legalization efforts in Washington and other historical references throughout the book were fascinating and worked well with the raw visuals and excellent storytelling.

Hashman by Alex Grand and Josh Berman is a fantastic book, and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in graphic novels and the world of cannabis culture.

ASIN B0BS1LXQQL | Pages 128

Buy Now From Amazon

These Outrageous Crimes

Natalie Grand Author Interview

Cult Girls tells the story of Talia and her friends as they struggle with suspicions that their faith is a patriarchal religious cult. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

I was raised a 3rd and 4th generation Jehovah’s Witness and I witnessed numerous friends as children sexually abused and their education and social education suppressed as a result of this high control organization that doesn’t evolve with modern social awareness. As a child I would hear public talks that were directed from the higher organization likening homosexuality to beastality (which animals are not consensual, so that is rape) and terrible labels pinned or certain sexual orientations. Also women have no representation in the church and are being judged and controlled by company appointed men to report personal details of interrogations the elders have in little embarrassing back rooms in front of their friends and family directly after worship. I have had minor friends accused of seducing men older than their father in child sex crimes and were publicly shamed and interrogated as minors, their parents did not report the abuse to authority because of their spiritual positions in the kingdom hall. Also because of the disfellowship arrangements that can be placed on youths, I knew two youths that committed suicide in my area after being announced to the congregation that they are now removed as a Jehovah’s Witness. I was announced as a Jehovah’s Witness as a teenage and it was one of the most horrific things I survived, even your own parents are to change their socialization and cannot be seen with you in public or even allowed to have dinner with you. Later I was married in it and husband’s are assigned as a wife’s boss and that means if he decides if you are allowed to work, go to the gym and what you can wear and you are required to obey him. As a Jehovah’s Witness you are constantly reminded in graphic films, photographs, their publications, high frequency of meetings that Armageddon is any day and that your life might not be spared and your job is to warn others, even in your primary school. College and very strong distrust in of medical doctors in is their published propaganda and culture. Elders have been removed from their appointments because of their daughters going to college, that is basically a bad example of a parent in the church of Jehovah’s Witness in their standard today. There is other odd criminal activities that are allowed in the organization from their leaders such as Voyerism and Child Pornography, neither are a crime to the Jehovah Judicial system and would not remove an elder, per sea, but in the world these outrageous crimes. Many of these issues are lightly addressed in my fun graphic Novel.

What do you feel is a common misconception people have about cults?

People think that a cult won’t affect someone in their house or that teachers and medical professionals need to mind their own business because of the rights of religious freedom. These cults are working hard to target youths. As a full time recruiter of Jehovah’s Witness, I went through a secret society called pioneering within the organization. I even got a secret book. I worked very hard to get my training and acceptance into pioneer ministry school that was only held once a year with higher traveling overseers in it and basically they train you to talk to householders, including children without their parents permission. Basically you can show pictures and scriptures to support that the last days are here and that apcolypse is around that corner and you can teach them to lie and hide what they are learning if their parents were not going to be supportive and that would be acceptable as a Jehovah’s Witness evangelist under their “theocratic warfare” ethic code. Jehovah’s Witnesses have a strong marketing presence now in ports, colleges, public squares, parks where children play and state fairs. As a child I use to bring brochures in my backpack to place with other students and tell them about the firey apocalypse that will happen any day.

Teachers and medical professionals see and know that their student or patient is a Jehovah’s Witness but most have no clue that they are being peddled to market this publishing and film company, being shown violent scenes, hearing that police and secular authorities are part of Satan’s wicked world. So how could these children feel safe to reach out to an authority when these ones are control by Satan and evil. A child is told that “these are God’s people” and children are encouraged to socialize with all ages and are told this is their new spiritual family and supersedes the physical blood line family. They are also told these appointed men that are elders and ministerial serrvants are “appointed by god” they are likened to apostles, some of them even sitting next to God in paradise in the heavenly realm. So children put a layer down of stranger danger and that makes them vulnerable to predators attracted to this organization. None of the leaders carry any professional training on how to handle child or domestic abuse or the prevention of suicide and they certainly are not required to have a criminal check.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

This book is support the idea that our dreams, ideals and intelligence growth should be supported as women as young as a child. Children and woman raised in this religious cult culture are not asked what they want to be and basically giving your life to the church, marriage, your travels and extra time are to be donated to the church. No one can truly be your true friend, because if you are Jehovah’s Witness you are suppose to turn your friends in for speaking against the elders, apostacy (reading other religious books or theories) or doing something as silly as smoking a cigarette or using invitro. Many of these subjects are addressed in the book. Also I had a powerful scene of a flashback of me as a little girl in a scenario of needing a blood transfusion and the father feeling relieaved that he didn’t have the burden of taken care of her daughter because of having to reject the blood transfusion procedure. Thousands and thousands of Jehovah’s Witnesses (including children) have died for the rejection of blood transfusions, but yet they allow their members to eat meat on the bone dishes that have whole blood products in their food consumption.

What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your book?

Many young ladies were raised in a similar environment than this whether it was Jehovah’s Witness or a different cult and they found the humor healing. Other readers have family members including their mother that was raised in this environment and disfellowshipped for having a baby out of wedlock and suffered religious orphanism as a result and pain. This help give their loved ones a glimpse of what that member endured and also to bring awareness to understanding the alternative motive a family member, co-worker or fellow student has in recruiting you to their organization and some of the policies and culture they won’t tell you about or that they will sugar coat. This book has become popular in libraries because cult parents heavily monitor their children’s reading material, even wives have had to read this in the library. I am hoping with content like this and more awareness, lawsuits, journalism, documentary and memoirs these cults will change their policies that treat women differently than men, or are interrogating, shunning, restricting education and not reporting crimes and abuse of their members. We as a society have more power than you think to tear down walls of racism, women inequality, unfair treatment of the gay and lesbian communities and put social pressure on organizations like these.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Website

Cult Girls based on a true story, tells the story of Talia and her friends as they struggle with growing suspicions that their faith is a patriarchal religious cult. It’s a story of tremendous courage and female empowerment as Talia as her friends successfully free themselves told through a feminist lens with cautionary humor. Read this first place BookFest award winning Girls and Women YA Graphic novel.
%d bloggers like this: