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1. How We Feel About Amazon

Jason LowIn this post, Publisher Jason Low shares his feelings on the Amazon vs. Hachette battle, the future of publishing, and the view from here as a small publisher.

Since the great Amazon-Hachette feud of 2014 started this summer, many people have asked where we stand. It is no secret that we do business with Amazon—almost every publisher does. At the same time, what I see from Amazon, and where I see the book industry heading as a result, worries me.

To me, Amazon is a different animal. It is unlike any other corporation out there because of the way it treats the bottom line. The problem is, Amazon’s bottom line is growth, not profits. In sacrificing profits they have made a conscious decision to sell books at unsustainable prices, undercutting any and all competitors who are still operating under the profit model, which is everyone.

The consequences of this are twofold. First, it puts other companies out of business, straight and simple. We have seen the continual decrease in the number of independent and even chain bookstores over the last several years as Amazon increases its market share.

Second, selling books cheaply exacts a considerable price from the entire publishing industry. Books still require substantial capital to create, print, and ship. While the cost of doing business goes up, any price increases to help offset these costs are compromised by a major player who is not concerned with making money. Publishers are being squeezed for all they are worth, in a business that already operates with a great deal of risk and razor-thin margins.

Before Amazon, publishers and distributors had a symbiotic relationship. The distributors needed the books to sell and publishers relied on distributors to sell the books. Amazon is looking to upend this entire system.

Here is where I see the publishing industry in the next couple of years: Amazon will control the majority of retail bookselling. Currently, Amazon has 65% of all online book orders, which includes print and digital. As a result, they will have a say as to what gets published and will dictate book pricing. Can you tell me another industry where a distributor has this kind of control over content creators?

The Amazon-Hachette battle is a pivotal moment in our industry. If you are not familiar with this issue you should bring yourselves up to speed because this concerns everyone who cares about books. You should consider carefully the impact that rock bottom prices and free shipping will have on the publishing ecosystem in the near and long term. Here are a few good articles to start, which offer arguments on both sides:

As Publishers Fight Amazon, Books Vanish (NY Times)

Plot Thickens as 900 Writers Battle Amazon (NY Times)

Amazon vs. Hachette: What Would Orwell Think? (New Yorker)

In Defense of Amazon: An Author’s Dissent (Salon)

My Week as an Amazon Insider (The Guardian)

In Defense of Amazon (The New Republic)

Agree? Disagree? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Filed under: Publishing 101 Tagged: Amazon, ebooks, Jason Low

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2. Good Things Come in Threes: three great tech tools!

There are tons and tons and TONS of websites out there so look at and use, but it can become very overwhelming. I have gone there and it seems like the first day of school is those times my mind and list grow and become frenetic. So, after I've sifted through everything, here are three of my favorite sites this year:

 1. Photosnyth: https://photosynth.net/Using your phone and the Photosynth app, take multiple pictures to create a 360 image. After saving it, go to the website to edit, publish and save. Think of the many things you can use with this app, including a tour of the facilities, posting where you are (famous places are great!), as a virtual field trip for those who couldn't go or to take a class with you.

2. Easel.ly: http://www.easel.ly/ I've always loved Piktochart, but sometimes it can get a little cumbersome.  I also love Smore, but it can be too elementary.  Easely is the perfect balance of the two!  It's definitely more of an infographic than a poster, but has the ease of use without all the bells and whistles you may need to know with Piktochart.  Easy to teach, it creates great infographics students and educators can share!

3.Duolingo: https://www.duolingo.com/ Want to learn a new language without having to spend a lot of money on a program? Why not try this site? You choose the amount of time you'd like to spend with Duolingo and the further you go, the more difficult it becomes. Contains 8 different languages. There's an app for that too

Okay, I'm stopping with the ones I've used (for now) and love!  Try one or all of them out - I recommend them for K-12. 

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3. Its Fall!

I've been tempted to do this a time or two; at a Wayne Thiebaud exhibit, with a Holbein at the Frick, some stuff at the Met. Didn't try it though.

Its FALL, finally. Now if it would just rain . . .

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4. Learning about Africa: Time lapse: Driving through Freetown’s Ebola Lockdown

As heart-wrenching as it is for me, I have been watching this obsessively as the places are so familiar to me.  Just imagine your city or town so deserted for such a reason.

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5. When the Publishing Industry Looks at Itself in the Mirror, Does It Like What It Sees?

Late last week, Publishers Weekly released its 2014 Salary Survey. While many of the findings were what you would expect—i.e., overwhelmingly white, female employees working longer hours than the year before and with a little more pay—they still manage to leave you feeling, well… a bit disappointed.

Cue Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” and read on.

Let’s start with the (kind of) good news: 85% of respondents are at least somewhat satisfied with their jobs. We’ve also seem to have (modestly) overcome a fear of total sector collapse, with 54% of us reporting we are very or extremely confident in the industry’s future. (more…)

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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6. Death in the Dolomites

Death in the Dolomites
Author: David P. Wagner
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Genre: Mystery
ISBN: 978-1-4642-0270-4
Pages: 236
Price: $24.95

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Rick Montoya is all set to enjoy a week off from his translation business, skiing with his old college chum. But when Luca Albani requests Rick’s assistance investigating the disappearance of an American businessman, Rick immediately agrees. Albani is looking for more than translation help, and Rick finds himself tagging along to visit everyone Albani plans to interrogate. The case quickly turns to murder, when the body is discovered.

Each meeting reveals additional information about the suspect’s and victim’s lives, and Albani and Rick find themselves more and more puzzled. The choice of murder weapon suggests the purpose of the man’s last actions, but who was he with, and why? Someone thinks Rick is getting too close to the truth – will time run out before he can find out who that is?

Death in the Dolomites is the sequel to Cold Tuscan Stone in the Rick Montoya mystery series. Like the first book, this one is also heavy on the Italian ambiance, and fine wines and delicious food are liberally sprinkled throughout the story. The author plays fair with the reader, and all clues are revealed before the final showdown. Another delightful reading – and vicarious dining – experience. I highly recommend this series.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

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7. Need a boost in your writing or editing? Check out Holly Lisle’s books and courses.

If you’re looking for some good writing technique books or online courses, I highly recommend Holly Lisle’s books and courses. I have her Create a Character Clinic, Create a Plot Clinic, and How to Write Page-Turning Scenes, and I’m seriously looking at her How to Revise Your Novel online workshop. Her books and courses are easy to understand and relate to, written in a conversational, approachable style, and full of useful information with an understanding of psychology and emotional depth and layers. She has a fresh way of presenting material, and it’s based on her years of experience writing and editing fiction (she has more than 23 novels published). I think I can always learn to make my writing better, deeper, more powerful…so I’m glad when I find more that helps my work. I hope these’ll help you, too!

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8. Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric

I noticed a few of my concept paintings I did for the Sonic the Hedgehog game was up on the Sonic Wikia page so might as well post it here too.  The game Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric comes out this Novemeber for the Wii U.  I'll post some more paintings after the game is released.

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9. The Smallest Girl

Hardly anyone noticed young Sally McCabe.
She was the smallest girl in the smallest grade.

Shelley and I are big fans of Christian Robinson, so I was delighted to receive a copy of THE SMALLEST GIRL IN THE SMALLEST GRADE illustrated by Mr. Robinson and written by Justin Roberts.

THE SMALLEST GIRL will resonate with anyone who has felt ignored. Day after day tiny Sally McCabe surveys the schoolyard without a single person seeing her. Little do they know that Sally possess special powers—not the standard type of super powers, but the powers of observation and compassion. She goes unnoticed until the day she raises her voice in the lunchroom: "I'm tired of seeing this terrible stuff. Stop hurting each other! This is enough!"

The message of the book is front and center. Roberts's rhyme adds some bounce, and Robinson's simple colorful shapes and faces add humor and a sophisticated sense of style.

Hardcover40 pages
Published September 2014 by Putnam Juvenile 
0399257438 (ISBN13: 9780399257438)

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10. Book Review: The Undertaking by Audrey Magee

From Goodreads:
In a desperate bid to escape the trenches of the Eastern front, Peter Faber, an ordinary German soldier, marries Katharina Spinell, a woman he has never met, in a marriage of convenience that promises ‘honeymoon’ leave for him and a pension for her should he die in the war. With ten days’ leave secured, Peter visits his new wife in Berlin and both are surprised by the passion that develops between them.

When Peter returns to the horror of the front, it is only the dream of Katharina that sustains him as he approaches Stalingrad. Back in Berlin, Katharina, goaded on by her desperate and delusional parents, ruthlessly works her way into Nazi high society, wedding herself, her young husband, and her unborn child to the regime. But when the tide of war turns and Berlin falls, Peter and Katharina find their simple dream of family cast in tragic light and increasingly hard to hold on to.

Reminiscent of Bernard Schlink’s The Reader, this is an unforgettable novel of marriage, ambition, and the brutality of war, which heralds the arrival of a breathtaking new voice in international fiction.
The writing here is absolutely stunning.  I first heard about this last month in Library Journal and was thrilled to find it available on NetGalley.  It's just beautifully done.  I'm blown away by how the author uses such sparse language to convey the deepest emotions.  It was on the Women's Prize for Fiction shortlist alongside Americanah, Burial Rites, and The Goldfinch, along with several others (the winner was A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing).  The Undertaking rightfully earns its place there in my opinion.  I'll be dwelling on this one for a while.

Entertainment Value
I absolutely devoured this one in two sittings.  It's not long (approximately 300 pages) and it's made up of lots of short, terse dialogue.  There's plenty of action and the story and characters are enthralling.  I couldn't put it down.  That said, it is by no means an easy read.   It's set in World War II Germany and Russia and we get unrelenting and brutal violence on all sides.

As much as we want to root for our main characters, we're continually reminded of their heartlessness when dealing with Jews and Russians.  Then, as the tide of war turns, we see them face the brutality they enacted on others in unflinching detail.  We aren't spared any amount of suffering, from starvation to violence, to rape.  It's hard to get through, and readers don't have hope of a happy ending to pull them through, since we know how things end for the Germans.

While the story itself is wonderful, it's our German characters who completely captivated me.  They're both monsters and average citizens.  We forget for a moment who they are and hope that they will find success and happiness, only to be shocked by their casual disdain for human life around them.

And if you're hoping for redemption, it's not to be found.  What will stay in my mind is the way that our characters, as much as we liked them, don't have a redemptive moment.  They only feel guilt when they are themselves treated as they have treated others.  And we're left to wonder whether or not their guilt is genuine or based only on their sorrow for their own suffering.

This is bleak in so many ways.  The writing itself, blunt and sparse, echoes the cold and desolate setting of the Russian front.  And our characters themselves resemble both the style of the novel and the setting.  They are alternately cold and hostile and warm and human in ways that will challenge the reader's own empathy.  I hope that some of you will read this and discuss it with me, because it's one that I need to talk about.  It's beautifully done and will appeal to those who enjoy literary and historical fiction.

It gets my wholehearted endorsement, with the caveat that it is brutal.  It's not for those who are put off by cursing or violence and it does contain unflinching scenes of rape.  It depicts the realities of war in a way that I found haunting but beautiful and a reflection of humanity that I am anxious to discuss with other readers.

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11. Interview with Golden Baobab Prize Longlist Author Ricky Ansong

Originally posted on Creative Writing Ghana:

This week, we will publish short interviews with some of the Ghanaian authors on the Golden Baobab Prize longlist released a few weeks ago. It is our hope that this introduces the authors to you. As this is only the longlist, we are not looking to pose probing questions, but rather intend the questions to be quite cursory in their outlook.

Today, we start with Ricky Ansong, a young Ghanaian writer and author of Koryor and the Sea. We (CWG) started by asking Ricky how he heard about the prize and why he decided to send in his entry.

Ricky Ansong

Ricky Ansong

Ricky Ansong (RA): I heard about the Prize through Twitter. I decided to enter this category because I love writing for children and I wanted validation from Golden Baobab. I wanted to know if what I wrote for children was good enough.

CWG: How did you receive the news about the longlist, where were you and how did you feel?

RA:I received the news about the longlist through an email. I was then at the Vodafone Café at Cantoments. I felt like my heart would explode. I had to take a walk around the compound to calm my racing heart.

CWG: Is this your first time making a Longlist? What are writing at the moment?

RA: Yes, this is my first time making a longlist. I am working on a young adult novel currently.

CWG: In the past prizes, very…

View original 28 more words

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12. Plot is a Lot Like Sex: Beginnings Hook Readers/Audiences. Endings Create Fans

Recently, I tweeted one of my favorite bits of plot advice:
Beginnings hook readers. Endings create fans.

A writer tweeted back: Sounds a lot like sex. hehe.

This isn't the first time a writer has likened plot advice I give to sex.

The 4th Energetic Marker and crowning glory of the entire book, the Climax often elicits a comment or two about the parallels in the act of sex and ultimate release of energy to the climax of a story.

When such parallels are drawn, I simply smile in appreciation of how the Universal Story shows itself everywhere…

Today I write!
For plot help:
Read my Plot Whisperer books for writers

Watch Plot Video Workshops Series:
Facebook group ask questions that come up in either series and share your progress.

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13. Harga Dan Spesifikasi Nikon DF

Nikon DF menawarkan kamera DSLR dengan desain klasik. Kamera terbaru dari Nikon tersebut menyuguhkan ragam kontrol manual untuk berbagai pengaturan seperti kendali shutter speed, bukaan diafragma, ISO serta fitur eksposur.

harga nikon df
Nikon DF : google images
Dengan banderol sekira Rp 33 juta, pengguna bisa mendapatkan perangkat pengabadi gambar yang menampilkan perpaduan antara kecanggihan teknologi dan desain menawan.
Bila dilihat dari sisi harga, jelas kamera ini bukan sembarang untuk pengguna pemula, melainkan untuk mereka yang hobi bahkan profesi.


Dari sisi desain, sekilas Nikon DF tidak berbeda dengan kamera DSLR pada umumnya. Akan tetapi, kamera bergaya klasik yang menghadirkan warna hitam ini menampilkan beberapa knop mekanik yang bisa diatur sesuai kebutuhan pengguna.

Kamera ini memiliki dimensi 143.5 x 110 x 66.5 mm. Nikon DF dengan berat 765 (termasuk baterai) juga menampilkan LCD 3,2 inci yang terletak di bawah jendela bidik. Khusus untuk knop pengaturan eksposur, posisinya terletak menindih knop pengaturan ISO. Selain itu, terdapat juga tombol Live View (LV) yang terletak di bagian bawah atau sisi kanan layar.

Pengaturan kamera seperti kecepatan rana, bukaan diafragma dan ISO dapat diakses cukup mudah melalui knop yang dapat diputar. Nikon menyediakan tombol pembuka di bagian atas knop untuk melepas kunci, agar jari pengguna dapat memutar dan menempatkan pengaturan sesuai kebutuhan.


Untuk modus kamera, produk buatan perusahaan asal Jepang ini menyediakan empat pilihan seperti Programmed Auto (P), prioritas Shutter auto (S); prioritas bukaan rana otomatis (A) dan manual (M). Sayangnya, tidak terdapat built-in flash atau lampu kilat pada kamera premium ini.

Di bagian Menu, pengguna bisa mengatur White Balance mulai dari auto, direct sunlight, flash, cloudy dan lain-lain. Ada pula fitur HDR yang memastikan kualitas warna dari hasil jepretan foto tampak jelas seperti aslinya. Selain hadirnya fitur auto image rotation, pengguna juga dapat melihat hasil tangkapan foto melalui tombol Slide show yang terletak di samping tombol delete.

Bagian knop pengaturan kecepatan rana terdapat di bagian atas kanan, persis di sebelah kiri knop untuk menyalakan atau mematikan kamera. Pengaturan kecepatan rana ini bisa diatur mulai dari yang terendah hingga pengguna dapat menjepret foto dalam modus Bulb hingga maksimal di 1/4000 detik.

Nikon menyediakan pengaturan ISO secara manual melalui knop yang terletak di bagian atas kiri. ISO ini bisa diatur mulai dari 100 hingga 12800. Nikon bahkan menyediakan konfigurasi pengaturan ISO yang lebih tinggi di tingkat H1 dan H4.

Terdapat layar kecil di sisi atas kanan. Layar kecil ini menampilkan pengaturan shutter speed, bukaan diafragma serta baterai perangkat. Baterai Nikon DF dapat dilepas atau removable yang berada di bagian bawah kamera, bersebelahan dengan slot SD Card.

Kamera memiliki beberapa port seperti HDMI mini-pin Type C, Hi-Speed USB dan fitur Wireless remote controllers. Nikon menyematkan kemampuan kekuatan tembak 16.2MP dengan image processor EXPEED 3.

Fitur lainnya selain layar LCD 921k, terdapat sistem Autofokus (AF) 39 titik dan memiliki modus kamera burst rate 5,5 FPS (CH atau continuous high speed). Kamera buatan Nikon ini juga bisa menyimpan file melalui storage mobile atau kartu memori (SD Card).

Keunggulan dan Kekurangan

Dari sisi pengaturan manual, Nikon DF sudah menyediakan keleluasaan bagi fotografer untuk mengatur program pada kamera seperti ISO, shutter speed, diafragma dan lain-lain melalui knop yang tersedia. Kekuatan kamera juga terletak pada kemampuan menemukan titik fokus objek yang cepat saat sistem AF diaktifkan.

Bagi mereka pengguna pemula, menggunakan Nikon DF masih harus 'meraba' dan menemukan kenyamanan dari pengaturan knop yang tersedia. Tidak mudah menggunakan kamera ini untuk mereka yang senang membidik objek bergerak.

Pengaturan knop yang kaya tersebut, yang dapat diakses mudah dengan jari, maka banyak pilihan untuk menciptakan hasil foto mengesankan. Pengguna tidak perlu khawatir kamera menghasilkan foto yang terbakar atau banyak cahaya yang masuk atau justru gelap. Sebab, di jendela bidik terdapat indikator keseimbangan cahaya yang memastikan hasil foto tetap terlihat prima atau tidak terlalu gelap maupun terlalu terang.

Ketidaktersediaan fitur video mungkin menjadi masalah bagi mereka yang ingin merekam momen berharga. Akan tetapi, fitur tembakan burst hingga 5 fps per detik memungkinkan Anda untuk mendapatkan foto terbaik dalam banyak pilihan.

Terasa panas bila Anda terus-menerus menjepret gambar, terutama dibagian layar LCD. Pengisian baterai One EN-EL14a Rechargeable Li-ion hingga penuh bisa dilakukan dengan memakan waktu sekira satu hingga dua jam.

Sumber : okezone

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14. SCBWI Carolina’s Annual Event

Getting to Charlotte

Note to self…Charlotte North Carolina  is not 2 1/2 hours from Cary North Carolina its actually closer to 3 and the best time to figure that out is not 3 hours before you are due at an event. Luckily the sun was shining down on me and Siri guided me to my destination, arriving at a crisp 1:55. Just in time to walk in, grab a faculty badge and sit down at my table to review portfolios. And so it went through almost the entire weekend from one event to another until the late hours of the night. I had no idea what a jam packed weekend I was in for. 

It was super cool getting to meet everyone, after months of preparation, and to finally put some names to faces. Our breakout session came late in Friday. It seemed like the hour went by too quickly and we just barely had a chance to scratch the surface. Luckily Deb, Vanessa and I had a handout that went into much more detail than we were able to cover. I believe the pdf version will be available online soon for members to download. 

The WIN Group

We were finally able to announce our new WIN group which will be available to members soon. WIN of course stands for working illustrators network. If you are an illustrator and a member (or are considering becoming a member) of SCBWI than this group is for you. I will be writing more about the group in the weeks to come so stay tuned for some really great stuff you are not going to want to miss this.

I’ve got some crazy deadlines to catch up on this week so here are just a few more quick thoughts on the event before I sign off.

  • Met some great new friends
  • The accommodations were excellent 
  • Everyone was super friendly and super helpful 
  • The days were filled with activity starting at 7:30am and continuing until 10pm (and a little bit later for the the crew of friendly illustrators I had traded laughs with at the hotel bar)
  • I am looking into starting a new art group here in the Raleigh area for those who are interested. (More on that at a later date)
  • The Tom Carvell impression still kills at parties and events
  • I’m very happy and thankful for being invited to participate as a faculty member this year and hope to see everyone again next year.
  • Thank you so much to everyone who went out of their way to make me feel welcome and help me navigate my first ever SCBWI event.

Oh one more quick reminder. My adobe Illustrator class starts this week at Wake Tech so if you are interested in learning this program hop on over to the wake tech website and do what all the super cool. kids are doing sign up for my class. You only have one more day so hurry!!!!

photo scbwi carolinas event 1 photo scbwi carolinas event 4 photo scbwi carolinas event 5 photo scbwi carolinas event 3 photo scbwi carolinas event 2

The post SCBWI Carolina’s Annual Event appeared first on Bob Ostrom Studio - 919-809-6178.

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15. Fountain Pens for Better Penmanship

It’s not uncommon to hear people say their handwriting has gone to pot because of computers, who needs to use a pen anymore? Write a letter? Email is faster and I don’t have to look all over for a stamp. But according to a Wall Street Journal article, your choice of pen can also hurt your script (via Letter Writers Alliance).

This is the first time I have heard pens blamed, but the argument makes a good point. Rollerballs are apparently the worst choice of pen if you are trying to write neatly. The ink flows too fast. I can agree to this. I don’t like rollerballs, my handwriting gets pretty scrawly with them. However, if you are taking notes and need to write fast, well, they are ideal. The trouble comes when you try to read those notes later. There are few things more embarrassing than being unable to read your own writing.

Ballpoints are bad for your writing too, says the article. They require too much pressure to get the ink to flow. That’s the truth! My hand gets tired fast when using a ballpoint. I always thought it was me, but now I can blame the pen!

Why I loved this article was because the conclusion is that the best kind of pen to write with is a fountain pen. Thank you Wall Street Journal for validating my fountain pen obsession! Now I don’t feel bad about owning eight fountain pens and always lusting after more. Now, could you do something to ease my guilt about how many bottles of fountain pen ink I seem to require?

The article makes some fountain pen suggestions for those who have never used one before. They are good suggestions. Lamy makes an excellent pen, though instead of starting with a Studio or an Al-Star, Safari is a good choice. They are lightweight, come in a variety of nib sizes and lots of fun colors. They have a sporty look and are durable. They are also inexpensive for a good pen.

If you want a pen that has a flexible nib for more line variation and don’t want to spend a wad of cash, I can heartily recommend the American made Noodler’s Ahab. Yes that Ahab. The pen clip is even designed to look kind of like a whale. These are really lightweight pens that won’t tire your hand. You can write for hours! And if you are really geeky, you can take the entire pen apart and clean every single of piece of it. The first time I did that I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to put it all back together again, but really, there aren’t that many parts to a pen. I don’t know why I find it so much fun to take my pen apart and reassemble it, but it is.

However, does a fountain pen make my handwriting nicer? I don’t know. I can still manage a good illegible scrawl with one. I can say though, that it does enhance the experience of writing. A beautiful pen, my choice of ink color, and some nice paper, what a pleasure!

Filed under: Writing

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16. Joy And Celebration: The Launch of WHEELS OF CHANGE!

Yesterday was a monumental and long awaited day for me: The Official Launch of my debut novel WHEELS OF CHANGE. I held the festivities at the local BARNES & NOBLE on the campus of Rowan University, in Glassboro NJ. It was a thrill to see so many people from all phases of my life turn out to show their support and help me celebrate.  Here are some photos of the day:   photo 2


The "Arrival Survival" Team from B&N set everything up for a successful day.

The “Arrival Survival” Team from B&N set everything up for a successful day.

Friends make everything better...

Friends make everything better…



Having my daughter and husband at the event made it extra special.

Having my daughter and husband at the event made it extra special.







Teachers LOVE books...thank goodness! I LOVE teachers!

Teachers LOVE books…thank goodness! I LOVE teachers!

bs8bs29bs 23bs 15Many smiles brightened the day, many hugs were given and taken, many books were happily signed, many words of congratulations were heard.  It was a wonderful way to send my book out into the world.  Thanks to everyone who made the event possible.  You are ALL wonderful and I will be eternally grateful for your generosity, enthusiasm and love.


bs4 bs13bs25bs6bs14It Was truly a “most Excellent Adventure” and a Five Star Day!      bs24bs21bs26bs37bs45bs38bs20

The first stack of books...came and went.

The first stack of books…came and went.

8 Comments on Joy And Celebration: The Launch of WHEELS OF CHANGE!, last added: 9/23/2014
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17. This Changes Everything

A landmark achievement by Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything is essential reading on the ways climate change creates opportunities for us to reexamine our entire free market system — and will hopefully provoke us into lasting, significant action. Books mentioned in this post This Changes Everything: Capitalism... Naomi Klein Sale Hardcover $21.00

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18. Digital Painting | Misty



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19. Special Edition - RAVEN'S EVE

Raven's Eve - 2005
RAVEN'S EVE was painted in 2005. It is one of the last pieces in my 'dark' period, where I painted many vampires, gothic heroes, and my palette consisted of many reds, blacks, blues, and more blacks.

Grab this Special Edition print on my Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/listing/204576124/halloween-wolf-art-print-full-moon

She will be available until my birthday on November 19, 2014.

RAVEN is a character I designed in high school, who followed me all the way out of college. She was created after viewing the movie "The Crow", and was my way to express the depression and loneliness I was feeling at the time. Most teens do. Since her beginning she has come a long way.

Raven lost everything very young, including her soul. She spent years searching for purpose, looking for a way to fill the void within her heart, but finds no relief. She is immortal, but not fully vampire. She was human, but now there isn't a word for what she is. Raven has been a hired assassin...as her void and depression allow her to null out the emotions, and she has fought for justice as well. She is neither good or evil. 

This character is no longer needed in my life. I found the missing piece I was searching for, and it was and is Jesus. Love. When I painted this piece I was starting to transition from a practicing witch to a practicing follower of Christ. Surprisingly, it wasn't that big of a leap for me, as my story led perfectly into His.

The piece RAVEN'S EVE symbolizes her strength and confidence in who she is at the time she was painted. The wolves symbolizing gentleness, wisdom, and maybe some purity. The daggers...well....we all sin every day and they represent that. But also death, death to the old self...the self that has already been dead for so long.

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20. I visited a children’s book conference in the North of...

I visited a children’s book conference in the North of Michigan this past weekend and spent most of it sketching and listening. I’m not going to review the conference, but I’ve posted a few of the sketches I did (mostly of speakers but some audience members). You can also see the layout of my portfolio things which were on display during the weekend.

I really should mention though, that I did really enjoy painting in a butterfly garden (the watercolour & ink above) and getting to know a few really awesome people. 

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21. "I never had a plan. At least, not one that was longer than two hours."

“I never had a plan. At least, not one that was longer than two hours.” - Erik... Read the rest of this post

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22. The Summer Wind by Mary Alice Monroe



The Summer Wind is the second book in Monroe’s Lowcountry Summer trilogy, following the New York Times bestselling The Summer Girls. This series is a poignant and heartwarming story of three half-sisters and their grandmother, who is determined to help them rediscover their southern roots and family bonds.

It’s midsummer and Eudora, nicknamed Dora, is staying at Sea Breeze, the family’s ancestral home on Sullivan’s Island. For years, Dora has played the role of the perfect wife and mother in a loveless marriage. Now her husband filed for divorce, her child is diagnosed with autism, and her house is on the market. Dora’s facade collapses under the weight of her grief and she suffers “broken heart syndrome.” Mamaw and the girls rally around Dora—but it’s up to Dora to heal herself as she spends the summer prowling the beach, discovering the secrets of the island and her heart. This is a summer of discovery for all the women of Sea Breeze. Carson returns from Florida to face life-changing decisions, Lucille confronts a health scare, and an unexpected visitor has Harper reconsidering her life’s direction.

When tropical storm winds batter the island, the women must band together and weather the tempest—both the one outside their windows and the raging sea of emotions within each of them. They must learn again what it means to be a sister. It is up to Mamaw to keep the light burning at Sea Breeze to guide the girls through the lies, the threats, and the rocky waters of indecision to home.

A great novel to help you keep those fleeting summer feelings alive and well as we approach fall and winter. Monroe easily transports her readers to a summer-state-of-mind. She also tackles very real, very poignant life issues. You will find yourself learning and growing through Dora’s journey. I could not put this one down!

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23. I’m just trying to post some color for a change. A quick...

I’m just trying to post some color for a change. A quick glance at my imagery, one might be tempted to conclude that I hate color. Which is not true. I am merely at odds with it.

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24. Bookfinds: A Wedding in Provence by Ellen Sussman


Ellen Sussman, nationally bestselling author of French Lessons, delivers a feast for the senses in A Wedding in Provence—a moving novel of love, forgiveness, and trust, set among the beaches and vineyards of southern France.

When Olivia and Brody drive up to their friend’s idyllic inn—nestled in a valley in the Mediterranean town of Cassis—they know they’ve chosen the perfect spot for their wedding. The ceremony will be held in the lush garden, and the reception will be a small party of only their closest family and friends. But when Olivia’s and Brody’s guests check in, their peaceful wedding weekend is quickly thrown off balance.

The first to arrive is Nell, Olivia’s oldest daughter from her first marriage. Impulsive and reckless, she invites a complete stranger to be her guest at the wedding—an enigmatic man who is both alluring and a bit dangerous. The next is Carly, Olivia’s youngest daughter, the responsible and pragmatic one. Away from her demanding job and a strained relationship, she feels an urgent need to cut loose—and for once do something brash and unpredictable. Then there is Jake, Brody’s playboy best man, and Fanny, Brody’s mother, who is coping with the fallout of her own marriage. And in the middle of it all is Olivia, navigating the dramas, joys, and pitfalls of planning a wedding and starting a new life.

A delicious, escapist, and utterly enchanting novel, A Wedding in Provence captures the complex and enduring bonds of family, and our boundless faith in love.


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25. Hypothetical Creature, painting entitled...

Hypothetical Creature, painting entitled ‘Crustaceofleur’

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