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1. SDCC ’15: Art of Comic-Con, Sergio Aragones, and Announcement from Mayor Faulconer

Covers of Souvenir Guides arranged into an artpiece

Covers of Souvenir Guides arranged into an artpiece

By Nick Eskey

It’s one week and counting until the geek fest known as San Diego Comic-Con, a celebration of popular culture in television, comics, movies, cartoons and more, begins. Once known as “San Diego’s Golden State Comic-Con” which took place in the basement of U.S. Grant Hotel’s basement, the then three-day event has become the juggernaut that we all know today.

Goals and Ethics

Much of Comic-Con is self-contained within the convention center. In recent years however, festivities related and unrelated to the C.C.I. have spread outward into downtown. There will be many offsite parties and exhibits coinciding with everything.

The Art of Comic-Con is right now on display at the Downtown San Diego Library. Situated on the 9th floor, it encompasses artwork spanning the life of the convention. The room is a history of artistry that have either been used for Comic-Con, or featured in their accompanying souvenir guides. Upon entering the space, a collage of artwork used for the Comic-Con guides covers a wall and spills to the floor. As the convention grew, so did the scope of the guides. It gives a glimpse into how things have changed for the convention. Simpler artwork and font begin to evolve, becoming edgier and commanding attention.


Logos throughout the years

The exhibit officially kicked off on June 20th with a reception featuring legendary cartoonist Sergio Aragones. In his usual fashion, he was more than willing to sign for autographs and pose for pictures.

Sergio Aragones, looking friendly as always

Sergio Aragones, looking friendly as always

Going clockwise, more art is displayed. A timeline shows how the logos changed through the years, featuring much of the whimsical toucan. Posters used for hyping big movies and shows that were coming out that particular year are on display, flanking the logo used for Comic-Con today made in Lego bricks. At the end of the opposite wall, a giant mural made in 2009 by Sergio himself to celebrate 40 years of the convention commands the space. And to the right of that, framed in glass is some of the original artwork used for the convention guides. One of my absolute favorites is Dave McKean’s rendition of Morpheus (“Sandman”) used for 2013.

Dave McKean's Sandman cover for 2013's Souvenir Book

Dave McKean’s Sandman cover for 2013’s Souvenir Book

In the center of the room however is probably the most exciting stuff. In class cabinets, over 60 artists are featured; the likes of Sergio Aragones, William Rotsler, Joyce Farmer, and more have their work on display. Work celebrating the rise and existence of Comic-Con. After all, San Diego Comic-Con came into being with the purpose of celebrating the artistry of those that entertain us with their work.

Art of Comic-Con

Looking at glass

Artists on display

Yesterday, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer used this room as a platform for an announcement. He stated that Comic-Con’s stay has been extended into 2018. Not only that, the mayor assured that there are plans to expand the convention center.
It only makes sense that he’ll do what he can to keep the convention here. It brings millions of direct and indirect money to the city, and with the possibility that the Chargers football team will be relocating, we want to keep it here even more.

Art on display

Next week as many will be engaged at the convention, we should all keep our ears peeled. It’ll be very likely that the details of Comic-Con’s future and the conventions development will be talked about more in depth. When it comes down to it though, it’s not the money or the tourism that we care about, is it? As fans of various genres, we want to keep the convention here so we may continue to celebrate our love of geekdom as one community.

So if you have the time, I highly encourage you to check out The Art of Comic-Con, if at least to remind yourself what it’s all really about.




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2. How to make it seem like a lot of time has gone by

Question: My character fell into a coma. How do I make it seem in the next 5 chapters that a lot of time has gone by? Answer: I would suggest you brainstorm

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3. That petrol emotion

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4. Small Press Expo Featured On Kickstarter

The organizers behind the St. Louis Small Press Expo have hope to raise $2,500.00 on Kickstarter. Over 60 vendors and small presses will participate in this event. We’ve embedded a video about the project above.

Here’s more from the Kickstarter page: “The St. Louis Small Press Expo (SPEx) celebrates all these publishers (and more) by connecting them together, and to the public. It hosts a yearly – daring, sparkly, diverse, badass, free-entry – DIY bookfair. In 2014, the event featured 44 publishers and had over 400 guests.”

Welcome to our Kickstarter Publishing Project of the Week, a feature exploring how authors and publishers are using the fundraising site to raise money for book projects. If you want to start your own project, check out How To Use Kickstarter to Fund Your Publishing Project.

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5. ‘Maggie’ is No. 1 Athlete Girl Book!

0 Comments on ‘Maggie’ is No. 1 Athlete Girl Book! as of 7/3/2015 10:56:00 AM
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6. Procrastination Tip: The Illusion of Autonomy

I'm back home in Colorado, after a delightful two-day drive along Route 36, which I greatly prefer over I-70. I passed through Springfield, IL (site of the Lincoln home and law office), Hannibal, MO (where I strolled by the Mississippi and helped to whitewash a fence), St. Joseph, MO (jumping-off point for the Pony Express), and many tiny towns across the northern edge of Kansas, where I listened to radio stations announcing hog futures for July and soybean futures for August.

After a weekend of easing myself back into my Colorado life by attending the Juan Miro exhibit at the Denver Art Museum, opening night of Othello in the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, and Singin' in the Rain at the Candlelight Dinner Theater (directed by my church friend Don Berlin), it was time for me to face my long to-do list for July.

I decided to wait until July 1 to tackle the month's tasks. How eager I was at the prospect of waking up extra early on that Wednesday morning ready to leap into a new life of dazzling productivity! And yet, as so often happens, when that morning actually arrived, my keenness to toil was suddenly . . . less keen. I felt more like beginning my new life of dazzling productivity on July 2. Or July 3.

This could not be allowed to happen! So here is what I did.

I made a list of the fifteen main projects I have to do in July, ranging from writing guest blog posts to revising two books, from reading manuscripts for mentees and critique partners to preparing for my work on the Children's Literature Association Phoenix Award Committee. Then I gave this order to myself: every day I have to work for two hours on two of these things - that is to say, one hour on each one - but . . .and this is the key . . . I get to pick which two.

If any of you have raised toddlers, you will remember how important it is to give them the illusion of autonomy. You don't say, "Brush your teeth!" You say, "Would you like to brush your teeth with the red toothbrush or the green one?" You don't say, "You have to wear your jacket!" You say, "Would you like to put on your jacket yourself or would you like Mommy to do it for you?"

Now, for better or worse, I have to be my own mommy, and I've given my balking self not two options, but a full fifteen from which to choose. I can pick anything from the list - anything! - but I have to pick something, in fact, two somethings, ever single day.

On July 1, I picked writing one  blog post, and then writing another. Inspired by this promising start, I actually did a third thing and read a friend's manuscript and sent her comments.

On July 2, I did part of another blog post (clearly I prefer writing blog posts over any other option on my list) and faced the Phoenix Award work (which was huge, as the hardest part of any task, always, is just facing it for the first time).

Today is July 3. I'm writing this blog post, natch, but that doesn't count as one of the possibilities. So I have to do two other things, but I can pick which two. Okay. I'll make more progress on yesterday's blog post (it's an extra challenging one), and then do one more stint of Phoenix work. Or maybe start reviewing possible readings for a course I'm scheduled to teach.

I get to pick! So I will pick! And I will do my two things! And little by little, day by day, the whole list will be crossed off, or at least most of it will be. So I'll go start now. Well, after I brush my teeth with the purple toothbrush.

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7. The Magic Straw Hat - a bookwrap


Author:  Karen Jonice Bricker

Illustrator:  Valerie Bouthyette

Ages:  4-6

Unwrapping some of the illustrations for you...

About the book...

This charming tale is about a special bond between a grandma and her granddaughter, magic, and hope. The author creatively weaves her own family's Irish  history into the narrative as she shares the story of Caitie, a young girl who learns about her great-grandmother's straw hat and the adventures it has experienced.  Caitie learns that her great-grandmother came from Ireland to America and being talented and resourceful she starts selling her pies because it is the one thing she is very good at...baking mouth watering pies. Her signature "prop" was her straw hat and everyone knew who she was because of it.  She was convinced that that hat was magical so it was a constant in her attire.

Caitie proudly wears her great-grandmother's hat one afternoon and in so doing she discovers first hand the magic that is locked inside.  She learns valuable lessons about taking care of a cherished family heirloom and being responsible so that it can be protected always.  

Unfortunately, the wind picks up and whisks the coveted hat off of her head and although always in her sight it is always out of her reach.  She tries desperately to recover the treasured chapeau but to no avail.  Feeling down and broken-hearted she returns to her  grandmother to tell her what has transpired.  Will the hat be recovered?  Will the true magic in the hat ever be revealed to Caitie?  How will grandma respond to her news that the beloved hat is indeed gone?  Oh my!

This book will take the reader on a whirl-wind adventure and is a wonderful read-aloud and a compelling read for beginner readers. It highlights the importance of one's family history and the joy of having grandparents around to share that history with.   I especially loved the illustrations. They were soft and tender and very expressive.  I highly recommend this book.

About the author...

Bricker’s talent at storytelling comes from years of practice. Bricker has always been attracted to stories about her Irish heritage, which led her to spend time creating stories for her children and her former elementary school students. “Creating stories out of the ones told in my family for generations was a way for me to teach my own children about who they are. That same love of heritage is what I’m trying to pique in The Magic Straw Hat,” said Bricker. Her penchant for storytelling led her to spend hours each evening telling tales to her children. The Magic Straw Hat is the culmination of all of those stories.
The Magic Straw Hat, currently available on Amazon and through SDP Publishing, will lead readers on a gentle journey of family experiences that are drawn from three generations of strong, sensitive Irish women. Appealing to young children from a variety of backgrounds, The Magic Straw Hat takes the reader on a joyous adventure and shows the importance of family history, culture and the honoring of heritage.

About the illustrator...

All of my creations are hand drawn or painted with passion. This gives my work life and a unique feel in today's computer generated world. 

A friend of mine (Tom and Jerry Artsit) once said that the difference between hand drawing a character and generating a computer character is that digital artwork lacks a soul....

Read on and read always!

It's a wrap.

Contact me at storywrapsblog@gmail.com

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8. Claiming, Misrepresenting, and Ignorance of Cherokee Identity

Some books that we give to young children carry enormous weight. The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage is one example. It is about the Supreme Court's decision in 1967, in which they ruled that people could marry whomever they loved, regardless of race.

Richard Loving was white. The woman he loved.... is misrepresented in The Case for Loving. The author, Selina Alko, echoed misrepresentations of who Jeter was when she wrote that Jeter was "part Cherokee."

Jeter didn't say that she was part Cherokee.

Indeed, her marriage license says "Indian" and when she elaborated elsewhere, she said Rappahannock. I wrote about this at length back in March of 2015.

Yesterday morning (July 2, 2015), I read Betsy Bird's review of Alko's book. This part brought me up short:

A side issue has arisen concerning Mildred’s identification as Native American and whether or not the original case made more of her African-American roots because it would build a stronger case in court. This is a far bigger issue than a picture book could hope to encompass, though I would be interested in a middle grade or young adult nonfiction book on the topic that went into the subject in a little more depth.
Actually, saying that it "brought me up short" doesn't adequately describe what I felt.

First, I knew that Betsy was referencing my post. I took her use of "side issue" as being dismissive of me, and by extension, Arica Coleman (who I cite extensively), and by further extension, Native people who speak up about how we are represented--and misrepresented--in society, and in children's books.  On one hand, I felt angry at Betsy. As a teacher, though, I understand that we're all on a continuum of knowing about subjects that are outside our particular realm of expertise.

Representation, and misrepresentation, of Native identity is important.

Because so many make that (fraudulent) claim, it strikes me as a significant wrong to see, in The Case of Loving, words that say Jeter was Cherokee when she did not say she was. It unwittingly casts her over in that land in which people claim an identity that is not really theirs to claim.

Here's another reason that Betsy's review (posted on July 2, 2015) bothered me. I read it within a specific moment in my work as a Native woman and scholar who is part of a Native community of scholars.

On July 30, 2015 (two days before Betsy's review was posted), The Daily Beast ran a story about Andrea Smith, a key figure to many academics and activist who are committed to social justice, especially for women, and in particular, women of color. The focus of the article is Andrea Smith's identity. For years, she claimed to be Cherokee. She said she was Cherokee. But, she wasn't. She is amongst the millions of people who think that they have Cherokee ancestry. Some do, some don't.

I met Andy several years ago (most people know her as Andy). At the time, she said she was Cherokee. I had no reason not to believe her. I don't remember when I first heard that she might not be Cherokee, but I did learn (not sure when) that she had been asked by the Cherokee Nation to stop claiming that she is Cherokee. I don't know what she personally did after that, and she has not said anything (to my knowledge) since the story appeared in The Daily Beast.

Things being said about Andy, about being Cherokee, and about claims to being Cherokee, reminded me of David Arnold's Mosquitoland. There's so much ignorance about being Cherokee! That ignorance was front and center in Arnold's book. I'm deeply appreciative that he responded to my questions about it, and that he is talking with others about it, too. Those conversations are so important!

I view Andy's failure to address her claim to Cherokee identity as a dismissal of the sovereignty of the Cherokee Nation. It is a dismissal of their nationhood and their right to determine who their citizens are. Andy knows what the stakes are for Native Nations, and for our sovereignty. She knows what she is doing.

Jeter was adamant about who she was. My guess is that she knew what the stakes were, for her personally, and for the Rappahannock who, as of this writing, are not yet federally recognized as a Native Nation.

Betsy doesn't have the knowledge that Andy has. Few people do. Betsy is listening, though, as evidenced by her response to me this morning (see her comment on July 3). I am grateful to her for that response. She has far more readers than I do, and our conversation there will increase what people know, overall.

In that response, Betsy notes that Alko probably didn't have the sources necessary to get it right. Let's say ok to that suggestion, but, let's also expect that the next printing of the book will get that part right, and let's hope that editors in other publishing houses are talking to each other about this particular book and that they won't be releasing books with that error.

That error may not matter to a non-Native child or her parents, but it matters to a Cherokee child and her parents. It matters to a Rappahannock child and her parents. It should matter to all of us, and it will (I say with optimism and perhaps naively, too), because we're having these conversations.

By having them, I hope (again, optimistically and perhaps, naively), that we'll move to a point in time when the majority of the American population will understands what it means to claim a Cherokee (or Native) identity, and a population that ceases to misrepresent Cherokee culture and history. In short, we'll have a population that is no longer ignorant about Cherokee people specifically, and Native people, broadly speaking. Children's books are part of getting us there. They carry a lot of weight.

For now, I'll hit upload on this post, post the link in a comment to Betsy's review, and respond (there) to other things Betsy said. I hope you'll follow along there.


Further readings about Andrea Smith's claim to Cherokee identity:

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9. Cover Unveild For Tim Federle’s First Young Adult Novel

Tim Federle Book (GalleyCat)

A cover has been unveiled for Tim Federle’s young adult novel, The Great American Whatever. We’ve embedded the full image for the jacket design above—what do you think?

Prior to this project, Federle published a picture book (entitled Tommy Can’t Stop!), two middle grade books (Five, Six, Seven, Nate! and Better Nate Than Ever), and two cocktail recipe books (Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist and Hickory Daiquiri Dock: Cocktails with a Nursery Rhyme Twist). Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers has scheduled the publication date for March 29, 2016.

Here’s more from The Huffington Post: “Federle had a mature audience in mind when he began writing the book, originally titled Quinn, Victorious, five years ago, basing the plot on his personal experiences as seen through characters in their mid-20s. The success of the two Nate books, which are geared toward middle-grade readers, inspired him to trim 10 years off Quinn’s age and emphasize the character’s defining, post-adolescent moments instead – including brushes with self-doubt and an early sexual encounter. Still, he hopes the new book, which is shades darker than Nate but no less droll, will resonate with grown-ups as well as young adults.”

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10. Fireworks

Let your colors burst!

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11. Innovation Arts Creates a Graphic Novella For TED Global

ted logoCouldn’t make it to the TED Global conference? The Innovation Arts organization has create a graphic novella to recap the event.

According to the TED blog, the book is entitled Beyond the Edge. It features an infomural on the last page.

Every talk given at this conference was captured by a three-panel comic piece. Some of the subjects that were discussed include addiction, photography, and climate change. Follow this link to download a free digital copy.

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12. Writing Links


Why Failing is Good for Us :: Elana Johnson

24 Things No One Tells You About Book Publishing :: BuzzFeed

Magical Places by Nikki Loftin :: The Nerdy Book Club

Hollins University Establishes Margaret Wise Brown Prize in Children’s Literature :: Tara Lazar

Why We Write in GIF Form :: Nathan Bransford

Writing Life: The Reality :: Kristi Holl’s Writer’s First Aid

The post Writing Links appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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You can now commission me for portraits, as long as you're happy to be an animal in it.

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14. Sargent's Portraits of Artists and Friends

John Singer Sargent, Ambrogio Raffele, 1904
An exhibition of John Singer Sargent's portraits of artists friends has opened at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, and will be on view through October 4.
Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends

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15. Giveaway: Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn (US & Canada Only)

Delicate Monsters

by Stephanie Kuehn

Release Date: June 9, 2015


About the Book

From the Morris-Award winning author of Charm & Strange, comes a twisted and haunting tale about three teens uncovering dark secrets and even darker truths about themselves.

When nearly killing a classmate gets seventeen-year-old Sadie Su kicked out of her third boarding school in four years, she returns to her family's California vineyard estate. Here, she's meant to stay out of trouble. Here, she's meant to do a lot of things. But it's hard. She's bored. And when Sadie's bored, the only thing she likes is trouble.

Emerson Tate's a poor boy living in a rich town, with his widowed mother and strange, haunted little brother. All he wants his senior year is to play basketball and make something happen with the girl of his dreams. That's why Emerson's not happy Sadie's back. An old childhood friend, she knows his worst secrets. The things he longs to forget. The things she won't ever let him.

Haunted is a good word for fifteen-year-old Miles Tate. Miles can see the future, after all. And he knows his vision of tragic violence at his school will come true, because his visions always do. That's what he tells the new girl in town. The one who listens to him. The one who recognizes the darkness in his past.

But can Miles stop the violence? Or has the future already been written? Maybe tragedy is his destiny. Maybe it's all of theirs.

To learn more about this book and see our review, go HERE.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Kuehn-Stephanie---author-photo-bw.jpgAbout the Author

Stephanie Kuehn is the William C. Morris Award-winning author of Charm & Strange. She holds degrees in linguistics and sport psychology, and is currently working toward a doctorate in clinical psychology. She lives in Northern California with her husband, their three children, and a joyful abundance of pets. When she's not writing, she's running. Or reading. Or dreaming.

Learn more Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Tumblr | Pinterest
St. Martin's Griffin Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr



Giveaway Details

One winner will receive a finished copy of the book. US & Canada only.

Entering is simple, just fill out the entry form below. Winners will be announced on this site and in our monthly newsletter (sign up now!) within 30 days after the giveaway ends.

During each giveaway, we ask entrants a question pertaining to the book. Here is the question they'll be answering in the comments below for extra entries: What do you think of the cover & synopsis?

*Click the Rafflecopter link to enter the giveaway*

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17. Dicas de sobrevivência no mar (de lama) que é o Facebook.

Acho que o que vou dizer vai parecer algo incrível para alguns, mas é perfeitamente possível debater online SEM:
– agredir verbalmente o colega;
– usar falácias relacionando coisa alguma com coisa nenhuma;
– usar expressões vagas como "sementes do mal" , "defensores dos manos", "bandido bom é bandido morto", "coxinha", "esquerdopata", "feminazi";
– fazer ameaças, revelando a própria maldade, tipo: "espero que matem alguém de sua família", "espero que lhe estuprem", "torço pra que aconteça com você";
– usar referências de baixa credibilidade como Olavo de Carvalho, revista Veja, pregacões de pastores-vindilhões;
– usar argumentos religiosos como se todo mundo fosse obrigado a seguir a mesma religião (que, aliás, tampouco seguem de fato);
– ser preguiçoso e responder com memes prontos quando não sabe o que dizer;
– GRITAR (tira o dedo do capslock);
Ou sentar o dedo no potássio (kkkkk) – como diria o Leandro Karnal.
Dito isso, podem entrar de cabeça!

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18. Giveaway: Minus Me by Ingelin Rossland (US Only)


by Ingelin Røssland, translated by Deborah Dawkin

Release Date: July 13, 2015



About the Book

During a diving competition Linda discovers that she has a rare heart condition and is told that her only hope of surviving is a heart transplant. Sensitive, introspective, and intelligent, Linda refuses to be coddled, despite her parent’s wishes. Determined to experience everything a 13-year-old girl should, Linda starts to work her way through a list of all the things she and her best friend wish to do: have a first kiss, go to a pop concert, travel without parents . . . But as Linda starts to tick these off, a mysterious emo boy called Njal appears — and always at the most unexpected moments. And he is happy to accompany her on daring escapades, particularly those that her timid best friend refuses to go on. But is Njal good or bad? And why is he the only one that Linda can share her fears with?

Minus Me is a gripping, addictive novel — written with heart-stopping emotional honesty — from one of Norway’s most acclaimed young adult writers.

To learn more about this book and see our review, go HERE.

b2ap3_thumbnail_ingelin.jpgAbout the Author

Born in 1976, Ingelin Røssland is an award-winning and critically acclaimed Norwegian author, actor, and journalist. She debuted as a writer in 1998 with the YA novel If You Will, which received a number of awards and has been translated into several languages. Her fourth book, Handgranateple, was awarded the Røssland Sunnmørsprisen Prize and was listed in the 2008 IBBY Honours List; in 2007 she was awarded the Sigmund Skardbotn scholarship and Guro Sand Valley's Literature Prize. She lives in Stockholm.

Deborah Dawkin was born in London in 1961. She worked in the theatre and in marketing before becoming a literary translator. In 2009 she completed an MA in Social and Cultural History.

Learn more Facebook | Author Twitter | Publisher Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

Giveaway Details

5 winners will each receive a finished copy of the paperback original book. US only.

Entering is simple, just fill out the entry form below. Winners will be announced on this site and in our monthly newsletter (sign up now!) within 30 days after the giveaway ends.

During each giveaway, we ask entrants a question pertaining to the book. Here is the question they'll be answering in the comments below for extra entries: What do you think of the cover & synopsis?

*Click the Rafflecopter link to enter the giveaway*

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We are off for the weekend celebrating Independence Day and hopefully taking some time for relaxing reading. I'll be finishing up Charlaine Harris's Midnight Crossroad and considering what I should read next.

Have a safe and happy holiday!


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20. Giveaway: Made You Up by Francesca Zappia (US & Canada Only)

Made You Up

by Francesca Zappia

Release Date: May 19, 2015



About the Book

Reality, it turns out, is often not what you perceive it to be—sometimes, there really is someone out to get you. Made You Up tells the story of Alex, a high school senior unable to tell the difference between real life and delusion. This is a compelling and provoking literary debut that will appeal to fans of Wes Anderson, Silver Linings Playbook, and Liar.

Alex fights a daily battle to figure out the difference between reality and delusion. Armed with a take-no-prisoners attitude, her camera, a Magic 8-Ball, and her only ally (her little sister), Alex wages a war against her schizophrenia, determined to stay sane long enough to get into college. She’s pretty optimistic about her chances until classes begin, and she runs into Miles. Didn't she imagine him? Before she knows it, Alex is making friends, going to parties, falling in love, and experiencing all the usual rites of passage for teenagers. But Alex is used to being crazy. She’s not prepared for normal.

Funny, provoking, and ultimately moving, this debut novel featuring the quintessential unreliable narrator will have readers turning the pages and trying to figure out what is real and what is made up.

To learn more about this book and see our review, go HERE.

b2ap3_thumbnail_fran.jpgAbout the Author

Francesca Zappia lives in Indiana, graduated from the University of Indianapolis with a degree in Computer Science, and still isn't sure exactly how that happened. She spends most of her time writing, reading, drawing, watching anime, and playing way too much Pokémon.

Learn more Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Tumblr | Pinterest


Giveaway Details

One winner will receive one finished hardback copy of the book. US & Canada only.

Entering is simple, just fill out the entry form below. Winners will be announced on this site and in our monthly newsletter (sign up now!) within 30 days after the giveaway ends.

During each giveaway, we ask entrants a question pertaining to the book. Here is the question they'll be answering in the comments below for extra entries: What would you do if you couldn’t tell reality from delusion?

*Click the Rafflecopter link to enter the giveaway*

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21. So You Want an Illustrator for your book....

There are a few times a week that I will get an email or phone call about my rates or availability for children's book illustrations.  Sometimes these come from publishers and sometimes they come from those who wish to self publish.

Each time I need to craft a personal reply to the person and each time I find myself answering the same questions over and over but in different ways.  So here are some things that will help those who are planning to hire an illustrator for their book.

1. If you have a finished, edited, and great manuscript, by all means, submit it to a trade book
   publisher. They will pay you in some form, hire and pay the best printers and help you market
   your book.  You do NOT need any illustrations to submit your manuscript unless you are also the

2. To find out who might be the best publisher for your book, get a copy of the Children's Writer's           and Illustrator's Market.  It is published each year and always available on Amazon.com.
    This volume lists all interested publishers, their contacts, their terms and what they are looking for.
    It also includes international markets, magazines, contests, agents and wonderful articles from             artists and authors as well as publishers and editors.

3. If you have been through the process and months have gone by with rejections or no responses
    and you feel your work is so good that it must be seen, then you may choose to self publish.
    This is a leap of faith.  You will be choosing your illustrator, paying a fair market price for the
    artwork, paying to have the book  printed, paying for design and book layout, paying for  
    distribution, paying for any marketing and doing your own sales wherever you can find a venue.         Your indie bookstore may or may not, host a signing. You may market your books at the outdoor       market places, or at events that you set up. Some schools have book nights where you can sell
    your books.

4. When you hire an illustrator remember that you are hiring a professional. You need to be
    prepared to pay a fair market price. Depending upon the length of time it will take to illustrate
    your book, the amount of research needed, and any unusual requests you may have you will
    pay a rate that could be several thousand dollars or many thousands of dollars.

5. My illustration costs for self publishers are shared with them after I have seen either the
whole finished and properly edited manuscript or at least a detailed outline of the work.
I ask that so I can determine if my skills will match the content of the work, and if I can do my best work for the client.  Because I can also do the layout, create the PDF for the printer and provide full color cover and interior artwork my rates are based on those factors.

6. A contract is issued with payment dates, artwork dates, copyright restrictions for both the author and the illustrator. Work can take from 3 to 6 or 7 months to complete.
Stages of the work are paid for in sections as the work is completed and approved.

7.) Any artwork that has been finished and approved by the author is final. However, if changes are made after the final approval a fee per                                                      hour for any changes will apply.

8.) Getting a trade book publisher to acquire your book is a long process but will be to your best

9.)  Should you decide to self publish your work contact the illustrator of your choice and together           create a contract that is fair for both parties.

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22. Todd S. Purdum Inks Deal For a Rodgers & Hammerstein Biography

Henry-Holt-130Journalist Todd S. Purdum has landed a deal with Henry Holt. Purdum will write a biography profiling musical theater icons Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II.

The publisher has set the release date for Spring 2018. It was chosen to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the opening of their acclaimed Broadway show, Oklahoma!.

Purdum had this statement in the press release: “These are the songs and stories I grew up with, the original cast albums that my parents played till they were worn thin, and I could sing the scores in in my sleep. In watching the joy with which my own children have discovered Rodgers and Hammerstein, and the enormous worldwide commercial and critical success their work still enjoys, I became certain that the fascinating story of their collaboration was ripe for a fresh telling, not only to the Baby Boomers who love The Sound of Music, but to even younger generations who will appreciate the pioneering contributions this team made to one of America’s most important native arts.”

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23. Working with Textures in Adobe Illustrator

Most people point their cameras up when there taking photos. Lately I’ve been pointing mine down. I find the best textures live on or near the ground. I’m sure my neighbors think I’ve lost it when they see me taking pictures of my driveway but I don’t care because I know it’s going to make an excellent texture for my next piece of art.

There are lots of different ways to add visual interest to a digital file.  I’ve been inspired by the some of the unique art I’ve been seeing on Instagram lately. Lots of textures and lots of originality. It seems as though the pendulum has begun to swing in the direction of a more organic look these days. Adding texture is a great way to great way to add visual interest and create a unique signature.  The trick is figuring out how some of it is done and that’s the focus right now.

I’ve worked with adding simple textures in the past but I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface when I look at some of the artists I’ve been following. This month I plan to dig in a little deeper and see if I can come up with some solutions of my own. At the same time I’ll be attempting to solve some of the problems I ran into earlier with my textures. I noticed some of the blending modes I used earlier made my art skew a little darker than I would have liked. I’d also like to see if I can find a way to add more vibrant colors to my textures at the same time.

My early attempts focused mainly on Photoshop but now I’m looking into Illustrator. The technique is slightly more complicated with Illustrator because, as you know, Photoshop offers the ease of using clipping masks where Illustrator does not. The art shown here involves two different textures placed on top of the original art using different blending mode for each. I’m pretty happy with whats going on in this illustration but for my next attempt I’d like to try and push the envelope a little further. Stay tuned for more updates.


chameleon texture art by bob ostrom

This art was created in Adobe Illustrator using two different texture placed on top of the original image each with a different blending mode.


If you’d like to see a demo of the Photoshop techniques I use just check out this video:



The post Working with Textures in Adobe Illustrator appeared first on Bob Ostrom Studio - 919-809-6178.

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24. Dung Beetles

For the last week I keep watching this video about a dung beetle trying to push a turd ball up a blazing hot sand dune. You think Sisyphus had a hard time of it? He has nothing on this uncomplaining scarab.


I’ve considered before the heroic efforts of the tiniest things, and more recently been particularly interested in these industrious recyclers. I am sure an idea is brewing but I don’t know what it is: nonfiction, perhaps, or a picture book, or a novel. “Watership Down with dung beetles!” I ventured yesterday on Facebook, to a rousing lack of enthusiasm.

I guess people think dung beetles are gross because dung, but… well, without them, things would be a lot grosser. They consume some feces and bury more, effectively aerating and fertilizing the land they use. I have come to appreciate nature more, in my middle-ages, and the wonderful integration of the world’s species to function as a whole. Imagine the prairie three hundred years ago: buffalo gobbling up the long hoary grass and leaving these tremendous buffets for the hordes of dung beetles that followed, who repurposed the poop and fed the small birds and prairie dogs, which in turn fed the ferrets and hawks and coyotes…. Without the beetles, none of it is possible. And dung beetles serve a similar role across the globe, in various ecosystems, and are rarely appreciated (though the ancient Egyptians wisely thought they were sacred).

Few people can claim what the dung beetle can, which is that their mere existence makes the world an unarguably better place.  Dung beetles are also the only animal besides humans known to observe the stars, and I think this single idea is what makes them especially fascinating to me. The humblest creature on earth will climb upon its dung ball, orient itself by the milky way, and — I like to believe — make a fervent wish before it continues on its journey.

I think this will fuel a book but I don’t know what it is yet. I hope you will give it, and its heroes, a chance, despite their diet.

Filed under: Miscellaneous Tagged: dung beetles

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25. Poetry Friday: To love thee, year by year by Emily Dickinson

To love thee, year by year,
May less appear
Than sacrifice and cease.
However, Dear,
Forever might be short
I thought, to show,
And so I pieced it with a flower now.

- Emily Dickinson

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

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