30 July, 2014

Getting the Words Out (7)

A weekly post about writing and life in general

You may have noticed the lack of anything going on over here. Don't worry! It's a good thing. 

First, Thuy and I (and a few hundred thousand other people) went to Comic-Con in San Diego. It remains to be seen whether I will actually blog about all that. Stranger things have happened.

Second, we're moving! Yes, after 5 years on Blogger we will be moving to Squarespace. No need to update all your feeds etc. just yet. Soon, though! Everything at readnowsleeplater.com will actually remain the same; our new site will still be under the same name but look and feel very different.

Third, I have a bunch of web projects that I'm working on and will, hopefully, have up and running soon so I can tell you about them. But they are taking up all my time and energy at the moment so... I'd better hop to it!

If you really want to know what I've been reading and working on lately, head on over to my Instagram feed.

In the meantime, we have a couple of blog tour posts coming soon before we head over to the new blog. Stay tuned for those...

Anyone waiting for raffle prizes, hang in there. I am aiming to get to the post office on Saturday.

16 July, 2014

Schneider Family Book Award 10th Anniversary Blog Tour & Giveaway

The Schneider Family Book Awards honor an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences. We are happy to celebrate the 10th anniversary of this award with some great blog posts and a giveaway!

For our post, we're featuring an activity for this year's winning picture book, A Splash of Red.

For more information about the Schneider Family Book Award: webpage | list of winners

Check out all of the links of the Schneider Family Book Award 10th Anniversary Blog Tour & Giveaway:

July 6, 2014 Nerdy Book Club

July 6, 2014 Kid Lit Frenzy

July 7, 2014 Nonfiction Detectives

July 9, 2014 Teach Mentor Texts

July 10, 2014 There’s a Book For That

July 11, 2014 Kathie Comments

July 12, 2014 Disability in Kidlit

July 14, 2014 Librarian in Cute Shoes

July 15, 2014 The Late Bloomer’s Book Blog

July 16, 2014 Read, Write, and Reflect

July 17, 2014 Read Now Sleep Later

July 18, 2014 Unleashing Readers

July 19, 2014 Great Kid Books

July 20, 2014 Maria’s Mélange

A Splash of Red: The Life & Art of Horace Pippin
Written by Jen Bryant
Illustrated by Melissa Sweet

About the book

As a child in the late 1800s, Horace Pippin loved to draw: He loved the feel of the charcoal as it slid across the floor. He loved looking at something in the room and making it come alive again in front of him. He drew pictures for his sisters, his classmates, his co-workers. Even during W.W.I, Horace filled his notebooks with drawings from the trenches . . . until he was shot. 

Upon his return home, Horace couldn't lift his right arm, and couldn't make any art. Slowly, with lots of practice, he regained use of his arm, until once again, he was able to paint--and paint, and paint! Soon, people—including the famous painter N. C. Wyeth—started noticing Horace's art, and before long, his paintings were displayed in galleries & museums across the country.

About the activity

I love to paint, and I love Horace Pippin's art. People will give you all kinds of excuses for how they are "bad" at art. Not Horace Pippin. If you read the book, you'll learn that not only did he make beautiful artwork despite injury to his dominant arm, he also made art without being able to afford fancy materials and supplies. I based this activity on both of those things. 

  • Some paint and a palette (or other mark-making media)
  • A brush or brushes
  • A container of water
  • Paper or cardboard (or other surface that will accept your media)
  • A subject -- something you want to paint

For my project, I just picked supplies that I already have at home. I do actually have real watercolors and watercolor paper, but you can use any paints and painting surfaces you want. You don't even have to use paint, if you have pencils, pens, crayons, or other mark-making media. You also don't need special equipment--Horace Pippin didn't! As you can see, my palette was a paper plate. My container used to hold spaghetti sauce, but it's now filled with clean water. My brush is no big deal -- it's a well-worn watercolor brush*. You can use your fingers, or paper towels, or bits of sponges. Just make sure to clean up after yourself!

*If you are using a brush, make sure you take it out of the water right after you rinse it. Soaking it and leaving it standing in a jar of water will only damage the bristles! Rest your brush on the palette/paper plate/paper towel so the bristles don't get bent or pulled out.

Choose a subject:

For my subject, I picked some leaves and flowers from the garden. Make sure it's ok with your parent or whoever owns the subject matter you are taking! I also had this little wooden frog, though I ended up not adding it to the final composition. Oh, and my cats are in all of these photos, because they added an extra layer of difficulty to the project. I haven't painted them (yet). You might have some fruit, or a pair of shoes, or something else that interests you. Horace Pippin painted everyday things and sometimes things he imagined, too. So if you can't find any physical objects you want to paint, that's ok! Just dream something up.

Choose sides:

This is how I would normally set everything up, because I am left-handed. But for the purposes of this exercise, we are going to paint with our off-hands. Yes! Horace used his good hand to support his other hand, but especially if you have two good arms, it's actually quite difficult to stop your dominant hand from functioning normally. In this exercise, you switch hands, and you can use your dominant hand to stabilize your off-hand.


Here I am, trying to draw the stem and leaves of this jasmine sprig with my right hand. There is also a zinnia blossom, and of course, my assistant, John Carter. As you can see, I didn't have a lot of control over the shapes I was making, but I made them anyway. Watercolor is pretty forgiving like that. I was very tempted to switch to my dominant hand, but I managed to remember not to hand over the brush whenever I reached for it with my left hand.

Here is my finished practice painting. As you can see, using my right hand I couldn't really control my movements. That frog, for example, looks nothing like the real thing! It looks more like a rock. The point of the practice is to experiment. I tried different ways of holding and moving the brush, different ways of mixing the paint, all without using my dominant hand. The other point of this practice is to help you let go of your expectations that your artwork will be perfect.


For this exercise, you want to

  • use your non-dominant hand
  • express yourself
  • have fun

Don't worry about making your painting perfect or for how much you will sell your masterpiece--Horace Pippin's first paintings were priced at $5 and no one really wanted to buy them.

Go for it!

Here, I tried to make the zinnia petals by bouncing the rush rapidly off the paper.

It's ok if your paint spatters.

It's also ok if your cat tries to grab your paintbrush and makes you paint a big swoosh where you were trying to just paint a leaf or stem.

I tried to give my off-hand more control by stabilizing it with my other hand. It didn't really help.

Here is my finished painting. I showed a lot more than what I actually had in front of me. And there were quite a few abstract shapes as a result of the cats "helping" me paint.

Switch back:

I also tried painting with my dominant hand afterwards. What do you think? I like the off-hand one better, don't you?

I hope this off-hand painting exercise will give you more ideas about what disability means, and what it doesn't mean. What if you could only paint with your foot, or with the paintbrush in your mouth? Could you still express yourself creatively? Can you create something meaningful or beautiful? What other means could you use instead of painting?

- - -

To celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Schneider Family Book Award, we are providing readers with an opportunity to win a set of all three 2014 Schneider Family Book Award Winners. Participants must be 13 years or older and have a US or Canadian mailing address.

Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter the giveaway. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

14 July, 2014

The Mortal Instruments T-Shirt Giveaway (US - Ends 7/31)

Hi, everyone. I am back with another random giveaway. It's part of my quest to give away all of the great prizes I've been hoarding for you guys. I think I just have one more t-shirt giveaway and then it's on to books. Today I am giving away a new Mortal Instruments t-shirt. I got this at Comic-Con last year and it's a promo tie-in for the film. It's a women's size XL.  It's kind of in that baby doll style so it's sized pretty small. But it's an XL and I think it should fit a good range of sizes. This giveaway is for US residents only and ends on July 31, 2014. Good luck!

Giveaway Rules:
  1. Open to US residents only.
  2. We are not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged items. 
  3. One set of entries per household please. 
  4. If you are under 13, please get a parent or guardian's permission to enter, as you will be sharing personal info such as an email address. 
  5. Winner will be chosen randomly via Rafflecopter widget a day or two after the contest ends. 
  6. Winner will have 48 hours to respond to to the email, otherwise we will pick a new winner. 
  7. If you have any questions, feel free to email us. You can review our full contest policy here
  8. PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE ANY PERSONAL INFO IN THE COMMENTS. Sorry for the caps but we always get people leaving their email in the comments. Rafflecopter will collect all that without having personal info in the comments for all the world (and spambots) to find. Thanks!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

06 July, 2014

July Events

Hello, summer! It's hard to believe that half the year is already behind us but summer is here and it's going strong. Lots of really cool events this July, including signings by Maggie Stiefvater and the Fierce Reads Tour. Alethea and I (Thuy) will be at Comic-Con in San Diego as well. If you see us, say hi, cause we'd love to meet you.

Saturday July 4, 2014 5pm
Ed Brubaker
reads and signs Velvet

Skylight Books
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
event page

Friday July 11, 2014 7pm
Mary E Pearson 
Kiss of Deception launch party
7051 Clairemont Mesa Blvd
Ste 302
San Diego, California 92111-1040
Wednesday July 9, 2014 7pm
Bernie Su
Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet
3rd Street Promenade
1201 3rd Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401
event page

Tuesday July 15, 2014 4pm
LAPL Teen Author Reading Series
Katie Alender, Allen Zadoff, Mark Kruger, Stewart Lewis, Kathy McCullough

LAPL - Fairfax Branch
161 S. Gardner Street
Los Angeles, CA 90036
event page

Saturday July 19, 2014 7pm
LA Sizzles
Cecil Castellucci, Catherina Linka, Livia Blackbourne, Amy Talkington
Once Upon a Time Bookstore
2207 Honolulu Ave
Montrose, California 91020

Saturday July 19, 2014 2pm
Chris Colfer
The Land of Stories: A Grimm Warning

Barnes & Noble The Grove
The Grove at Farmers Market
189 The Grove Drive Suite K 30
Los Angeles, CA 90036
event page

Wednesday July 23, 2014 7pm
Fierce Reads Summer Tour
Ann Aguirre, Anna Banks, Leigh Bardugo and Marissa Meyer 
We are honored to welcome the Fierce Reads Summer Blockbuster Tour featuring Ann Aguirre (Horde), Anna Banks (Of Neptune), Leigh Bardugo (Ruin and Rising) and Marissa Meyer (Cress). Anthony Breznican (Brutal Youth) will be moderating this discussion!
Wednesday July 23, 2014 7:00 PM

The Grove at Farmers Market
189 The Grove Drive Suite K 30
Los Angeles, CA 90036
event page

Thursday July 24, 2014 7pm
Deborah Harkness
The Book of Life 
Barnes & Noble The Grove
The Grove at Farmers Market
189 The Grove Drive Suite K 30
Los Angeles, CA 90036, 323-525-0270
event page

Special Instructions
This event is wristbanded. Please check back soon for complete event guidelines.

July 24 - 27, 2014
San Diego Comic-Con
San Diego Convention Center
event page

Monday July 28, 2014 7pm
Maggie Stiefvater

Barnes & Noble The Grove
The Grove at Farmers Market
189 The Grove Drive Suite K 30
Los Angeles, CA 90036
event page

Special Instructions
This is a wristbanded signing. Please check back soon for complete event details.

Monday July 28, 2014 7pm
Deborah Harkness
The Book of Life 

Vroman's Bookstore
695 E. Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, California 91101

Tuesday July 29, 2014
Maggie Stiefvater 
Once Upon a Time Bookstore
2207 Honolulu Ave
Montrose, California 91020

03 July, 2014

Minion Blog Tour - Guest Post by John David Anderson - Giveaway (US ends 7/11)

Welcome to the Minion Blog Tour! [Insert your best evil laugh here.]

Today we have a guest post by author John David Anderson on his top 10 favorite minions. Read about the new book, which is the sequel to last year's Sidekicked, as well as enter to win a signed copy of the book. (US only, ends 7/11). You can also check out the cool trailer! Finally, make sure you visit all the other blog tour stops as they open up for more cool content and chances to win!

About the book:

John David Anderson returns to the world of superheroes he created in Sidekicked with an entirely new cast of characters in Minion, a funny and emotional companion to his first breakout tween novel—perfect for superhero fans who also love the work of bestselling authors Rick Riordan, Louis Sachar, and Frank Cottrell Boyce.

Michael Morn might be a villain, but he's really not a bad guy. When you live in New Liberty, known across the country as the City without a Super, there are only two kinds of people, after all: those who turn to crime and those who suffer. Michael and his adoptive father spend their days building boxes—special devices with mysterious abilities—which they sell to the mob at a price. They provide for each other, they look out for each other, and they'd never betray each other.

But then a Super comes to town, and Michael's world is thrown into disarray. The Comet could destroy everything Michael and his dad have built, the safe and secure life they've made for themselves. And now Michael and his father face a choice: to hold tight to their life or to let it unravel.

Take it away, Dave!

The Top Ten Minions

Guest Post by John David Anderson

Hey there, Read Now, Sleep Later fans. Alethea was kind enough to let me come crash her blog and share with you my personal list of top ten minions in celebration of the launch of my new novel COMPLETELY INCOINCIDENTLY titled Minion. Of course, our culture is swarming with bodacious villains, and it would be so simple to conjure up a list of ten baddies that I think have influenced my own writing, but coming up with ten minions whose work I admire is much more challenging. If you don’t see your favorite on the list (like those little banana-loving guys, or Henchmen 21 and 24), it’s not because they aren’t cool…it’s just because these lists always only go up to ten. So here goes.

10. Grover Dill: Technically a crummy little toady, Grover Dill exemplifies the need we have to attach ourselves to people we think are stronger than us. As Scott Farkus’s minion, Grover looks like some kind of strong arm thug for the little people mafia.

9. Oddjob: He wears a hat that can cut through steel and he can crush a golf ball in his hand. Plus he makes an excellent chauffeur and golf caddy. Did I mention the hat cuts through steel?

8. Lock, Shock, and Barrel: Minions can be delightfully mischievous, and these three have a playful exuberance that sugarcoats their ax-wielding, Mr. Bogeyman-feeding quest to pretty much kill Christmas.

7. Bellatrix Lestrange: The only female on the list (minions are a male-dominated group, it seems), she’s also, arguably, the most insane. If Voldemort is the pure evil ice-cream, Bellatrix is the crazy cookie crumble topping.

6. Kronk: He speaks squirrel. And, to be honest, he is the only thing I even remember about this movie. Small brain. Big heart. Excellent cook.

5. Waylan Smithers: Perhaps no minion is as loyal to his master as Smithers is to Mr. Burns. Though his conscience may occasionally get in the way, his devotion to the old man certainly borders on the obsessive.

4. Minion: A good evil sidekick is loyal, but he’s also willing to speak his mind (unlike nameless thugs who don’t even get speaking parts). Minion provides the extra heart and soul to Megamind’s often erratic, over-exuberant, Mick Jagger-esque villainy.

3. Count Rugen: The Princess Bride may ostensibly be about the power of twu wuv to conquer death, but for me it’s Inigo Montoya’s quest for the six-fingered man that ultimately gives the story its emotional climax. While Prince Humperdink is a schemer and a sleaze bucket, Rugen represents pure sadism at work. After all, “No one withstands... The Machine.”

2. The Witch King: he rides a dragon-type-thing. He has a cool spiked ball and chain swingy dealy. He grimaces menacingly without even having a face. And he can be killed by no man. When your main supervillain is basically just a big eyeball at the top of a tower, you need a hardcore right hand Nazgul to do your dirty work. Probably the coolest looking minion on my list.

1. Darth Vader: Probably at the top of several villain lists (and a hero in his own right), there is no question that, as the Emperor’s apprentice, Vader represents the most notorious and most iconic minion on the list. (Though he does kill his master in the end, which kind of negates his minion privileges.) Yes I liked him better before I met him as a teenager, but I would never say that to his face. My number one right-hand Sith Lord.

So there you have it. Of course the best minions, like many of the best villains they serve, are morally complex. Some even straddle the line between wannabe villain and antihero, causing us to root for them, even when they break the rules. Perhaps that just makes them antiheroes. Maybe that’s a top ten list for another day.

And if you didn’t see your name on the list, you might look into finding a new criminal mastermind to serve.

About the author:

John David Anderson writes novels for young people and then, occasionally, gets them published. Besides Minion, he is the author of Sidekicked and Standard Hero Behavior. He lives with his patient wife and brilliant twins in Indianapolis, Indiana, right next to a State park and a Walmart. He enjoys hiking, reading, chocolate, spending time with his family, playing the piano, chocolate, making board games, chocolate, not putting away his laundry, watching movies, and chocolate. 

Those aren't his real teeth.

Find Dave on Twitter, Facebook and his website, www.johndavidanderson.org.

Giveaway Rules:

  1. Open to the US only.
  2. We are not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged items.
  3. One set of entries per household please.
  4. If you are under 13, please get a parent or guardian's permission to enter, as you will be sharing personal info such as an email address.
  5. Winner will be chosen randomly via Rafflecopter widget a day or two after the contest ends.
  6. Winner will have 48 hours to respond to to the email, otherwise we will pick a new winner.
  7. If you have any questions, feel free to email us. You can review our full contest policy here.
  8. PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE ANY PERSONAL INFO IN THE COMMENTS. Sorry for the caps but we always get people leaving their email in the comments. Rafflecopter will collect all that without having personal info in the comments for all the world (and spambots) to find. Thanks, and good luck!

Walden Pond Press

Blog Tour Schedule

June 23 Maria’s Melange
June 24 The Library Fanatic
June 25 The Next Best Book
June 26 Jean Book Nerd
June 27 Book Egg
June 28 Word Spelunking Book Blog

June 30 Ms. Yingling Reads
July 1 The Book Monsters
July 2 The Book Monsters
July 3 Read Now, Sleep Later

July 6 The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia
July 7 The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia
July 8 Candace’s Book Blog
July 9 Middle Grade Mafioso
July10 Librarian’s Quest
July 11 Unleashing Readers
July 12 Mindjacked

July 14 This Kid Reviews Books
July 16 Charlotte’s Library
July 17 Literacy Toolbox
July 18 Small Review

more reviews

KidLitFrenzy Member of the Nerdy Book Club YA Book Council Elegantly Bound Books