Looking for Graphic Novelist

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Are you a cartoonist? An aspiring graphic novelist? Are you familiar with Jeff Smith’s BONE? What about The Walking Dead graphic novels? Do you think you have their talent?

Graphic novels seem to be the way of the future and the direction printed stories are heading. Not that they’ll ever replace the good old fashioned book, but the industry has made ample room for graphic novelizations.

That said, I’ve been working on revising my first book The Man in the Box, the story about a family man who becomes increasingly addicted to revisiting his imaginary childhood world by means of a box to the detriment of his wife and kids.

The story features dark underwater scenes, dinosaurs, half-dead people, a cowboy and his horse, and many other fantastical elements. If you feel you can live up to the likes of Jeff Smith and Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard, and even Walt Kelly, feel free to submit some sample pictures of your work. Send them to Author.andrewtoy@gmail.com. Hopefully we’ll be in touch soon!

My Adventures at Starbucks

I need to be grounded from Starbucks.

For the last decade and a half I’ve only ordered frappuccinos, which are basically just really fancy milkshakes. Be it summer or winter, I’d get a frappuccino because I really really hate hot beverages.

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A couple of weeks ago Starbucks ran this deal where if you buy one macchiato, you get a second one free. (If you don’t know, macchiatos are those fancy iced-coffee drinks that look like someone went way overboard with the cream.

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I always thought they looked kind of good. But when I learned that that’s not cream at the bottom, but VANILLA, I told Sarabeth we HAVE to try them!

We bought one and got one for free, and now, a couple of weeks later, I’ve had about 9 of them. I’m friggin’ addicted to this crap now, even at $5 a pop! And now Sarabeth feels like she can go to Starbucks with me because suddenly I’m a grown-up drinking grown-up drinks instead of milkshake-wannabe’s. Except that when I order my macchiato I ask them to “double the vanilla,” because there’s no such thing as enough vanilla.

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Well, in the past couple of weeks, I’ve ticked off quite a few Starbucks employees. (Be warned: after my confession you’re going to see me as a total jackass, but promise me you won’t say you wouldn’t do the same thing if you were cursed with my ineptitude for remembering key details.)

You see, when I was hooked of frappuccinos, I only had to decide on a flavor. Like, double-chocolate chip (which drove Sarabeth nuts because I chewed each individual chocolate chip with my front teeth like a crazed chipmunk), vanilla (cream-based, of course), mocha (which is basically a coffee-flavored milkshake), or any flavor of the season.

But with macchiatos I have to choose a flavor, remember to ask for extra vanilla, AND choose hot or cold, and apparently the default is hot. There’s no such thing as a hot frappuccino, otherwise it would just be a …ccino, and that just sounds racist for some reason.

Almost every time I’ve ordered a macchiato I’ve forgotten to ask for an ICED macciato. When they hand me the hot beverage with the cardboard coaster snug up around it, I know they see the look in my eyes and they’re already taking it back before I say, “I’m sorry, I meant to ask for an ICED macciato.”

They’re forced to fake a smile and say, “Certainly,” because those awesome Starbucks employees are trained that customers should always get what they want even if they’re complete jackasses like me. And then I sit in the car awkwardly while the line of cars grows behind me and I pretend to be texting someone on my phone even though under my breath I’m cursing myself for being such a jackass.

Why not just take the hot macchiato? Well, that would be like eating cow turd when you really wanted chocolate syrup. Big difference.

So my immediate life goal is to always remember to ask for ICED macchiatos so I don’t continue being that guy I never want to come across. That, or I should just start ordering macciatos with no coffee. Because let’s face it, vanilla is good cold or hot.

We’ve Adopted James!

Last week we officially became the proud parents of our foster son James (it’s his middle name). We’ve had him in our home for two years. In those two years the courts stalled and paperwork was filled out and lost (by the state, not by us), and James was assigned more social workers than we could count. I think it reached close to eight or nine.

It’s been a wild two years.

My favorite part of our entire adoption day was when the judge asked Sarabeth and me if we understood fully that in the eyes of the state, the country, and everyone else in the world, James is considered fully and entirely our son just as though he had been born to us.

I love that.

But unfortunately we live in a society that, generally speaking, frowns upon adoption. Sure, for many people it sounds lovely and poetic, but if legs are given to the idea, then people freak out for varying reasons:

“He’s going to wonder who his parents are.”

“She’s going to be a trouble-maker.”

And my favorite one to hate: “He’s not the same skin color.”

For being a country that prides itself on being the melting pot of the world, we sure are averse to interracial marriage, breeding, and adoption. But that’s a topic for another time. (Let me just say that racism would be long dead if we weren’t so preoccupied with  keeping black black and white white. Just saying.)

But even though people applaud adoption on the outside, there is a ton of animosity stirring even within the best-intentioned people. There are those that claim adoption can be harmful for children because they’ll grow up with more questions than answers.

Well, that may be true, but I wasn’t adopted and I still have questions about my past, but I don’t let it rule my life. We all have questions about our upbringing and our lives. Questions are just a part of life. As parents we’ll teach our kids to ask questions about themselves and the world, but we’ll also encourage them not to be driven by them.

To people who say that foster kids are trouble makers, I’m sorry but you need to jump off a cliff or chew on some dynamite sticks. We’ve all known terrible trouble-makers in our lives, and chances are, they weren’t adopted or in foster care. Some people are just wired that way, or they weren’t raised strict enough. But our two kids (from the foster care system) are the best behaved kids you’ll ever meet.

And of course they can be trouble-makers! They’re kids! As parents, we choose what they can and cannot get away with. My rule as a parent is simple: Do anything you want; just don’t hurt anyone else. My only exception to that is I won’t let them touch the stove.

Even governments and world leaders are against adoption. Just look at Russia closing the doors. China’s requirements are pretty hefty. The individual American states themselves jump through every imaginable hoop to reunify children with their parents before allowing a good family to adopt them, even (or I should say especially) when that puts the child at great danger to his/her life.

But this is supposed to be a happy post. In the darkness, light prevails every now and then. The state of Kentucky allowed my wife and me to become the official parents of James. I don’t call that good because we got what we wanted. I call that good because this little boy was given a home where he will be loved and cared for forever, no matter what. And even better, he’s not in the hands of an alcoholic, or a drug user, and he won’t be abused or neglected, and Sarabeth and I will move any mountain we can to make sure they are provided with every opportunity possible for them to be anything they want to be, whether that’s a trash picker, an opera singer, or a CEO.

Welcome home, buddy. Our home isn’t perfect, but you’ll always belong and we’ll keep you as safe as possible.

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Looking for a New Podcast Series? Look No Further…

Endever Publishing is making strides in the industry. So much so that we’ve launched a brand new podcast series, so head on over to the site and take a look!

EndeverPublishing.com

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Make This Your Next Book

An amazing book writing by an amazing author. Check out what she has to say to you! For more information Click here!

Book Lovers, Writers, It’s Finally Here!

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It’s been months in the making. Our lovely and talented marketing leader, Jaime Dill not only convinced us to give her a job at Endever Publishing Studios, but also that Endever needed a home. So, I’m proud to announce…

ENDEVERPUBLISHING.COM

…The one stop home to Endever’s increasingly growing library!

This is our launch week, so keep stopping by for added material every day this week. On our website you’ll find a blog, a podcast, our library of books, bios on our present and upcoming authors and their books, Endever merchandise, and more!

Check out our site and please share it with your friends and readers. And keep stopping by this week for added material!

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The Oscars Formula Cracked!

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Want good odds on winning your Oscar bets next year and going forward? Then read on:

Every year it’s the same thing. I tell my wife, “Hey, the Oscars are on.”

“Want to watch?”

“Sure.”

“What time does it start?” she asks.

“Seven.”

I have to pull up the channel guide online to find what channel ABC is on.

At 7:07 I say, “Damn. It doesn’t actually start at 7. They’re showing off their ugly dresses for the next hour.”

So for the next 90 minutes we point and laugh at everyone who looks like they’re dress up to be in Suzanne Collins’ fictitious Capitol.

If we make it through the opening number (Chris Rock sucked, Kimmel was okay; please bring back Billy or Neil!) I then end up just following the show on Twitter and Facebook seeing what everyone else says about it. (If you want to follow a hilarious and agreeable commentator, check out @JonAcuff.)

Then I look through all the past winners and losers. And last night I came to a rather mathematical solution on how the Oscars work. Granted, it’s not foolproof, but I think it’s just enough to help us all predict the winners from here on out.

Fact: No super hero movie is ever to be nominated for Best Picture. And I think most people agree that this unspoken rule cheated The Dark Knight out of a possible win.

Secondly, no matter what other category the films nominated for Best Picture are, there is a hierarchy that can almost always guarantee a correct prediction.

If a war movie is nominated, it can most assuredly take the Oscar home over its contenders. Unless any of its competitors is a movie about the arts or deals with racism. (In 2008 The Hurt Locker won because its competitors did not deal with racism or was not about the arts.)

So: If a war movie is pitted against a movie about art, the art movie will win. If an art movie is pitted against a film about racism, the racism movie will win. Don’t believe me? I’ll show you:

89th: Hacksaw Ridge < La La Land < Moonlight

88th: Bridge of Spies < Spotlight (there were no movies nominated about race this year)

87th: American Sniper < Birdman (again, no movies nominated about race)

86th: 12 Years a Slave (There were no films about art or war nominated this year)

Now this theory is not at all airtight. Argo won over Lincoln and Django Unchained, and the year before that The Artist beat The Help (which also beat War Horse), so there are exceptions. Or it could be argued that this is a relatively new pattern the Academy is setting, though no one can forget (or forgive) Shakespeare in Love robbing Saving Private Ryan in 1998 (again: war > art).

So what do you think of my theory? Have there been other patterns in the past? Perhaps each decade or generation follows a list of new rules? Are all best picture winners just based off of the social temperature of the time? Do movies that really deserve best picture wins get overlooked every year? What constitutes a movie being worthy of the honor? And why can’t they bring back Billy Crystal or Neil Patrick Harris to host the awards indefinitely?

Share your thoughts below!