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Hey kids,

I’ve been teasing about an awesome new secret project over the weekend and, while it’s not a new book, it is still pretty frickin’ sweet.

When I’m not sitting at home writing, I work at a library as a Customer Service Specialist to pay the bills. Every year, we have what’s called the Summer Reading Club, a program designed to encourage kids to keep reading over the summer through various fun programs, contests, and prizes. And, every year, we have a theme to tie the whole thing together.

This year’s theme is called “Get A Clue. Read.”, embracing the mystery/detective genre. Our branch has decided to turn classic nursery rhymes into mysteries. Where are Little Bo Peep’s lost sheep? Can you find the little kitten’s lost mittens? My project is called “The Case of the Cracked Egg: Who pushed Humpty Dumpty off the Wall?

Now I was kind of bad.

The library has a pretty strict policy about not working on work outside of work. We were supposed to create our displays at work, most of the other librarians using cut paper and found objects in theirs. And I was totally prepared to do this.

But then I didn’t.

As I was driving to my parents place in Cleveland, Friday night, I started thinking about how I didn’t have the time this week – or proper materials – to make my precise vision, which originally involved paper mache. The ideas just started flowing. I knew exactly how to create my display and – better yet – I had a three-day Memorial Day weekend and full access to my dad’s tools to create it with.

I took a trip to the local art store Saturday morning and, for a little over five dollars, I got all of the supplies needed for the project phases.

Phase One: I blew up a balloon and covered it in a Plaster of Paris molding cheese cloth, about four layers.

Phase Two: I coated the balloon in plaster and, once it had dried, sanded it down, painted it white, and cracked the egg in half, make other surface cracks with a utility knife. I also cut a small wooden ball in half and painted it bright yellow.

Phase Three: I coated a sheet of wax paper with several layers of hot glue. Then, I put the yellow ball half on top of the lake of now-dried hot glue and coated that with more hot glue. Then, I placed the cracked plaster egg on top of the hot glue lake and poured even more hot glue inside and all around it.

(Although I took several pictures of the process, my camera decided to go crazy and erase everything on my memory card so now all I have to show you is the finished product.)

The entire thing ended up looking like this:

The overall project was pretty fun to do and, at some point in the future, when I am not nearly as busy with my writing as I am, I would love to start creating on more art and sculpture work again.

Anyway, I’m taking the sculpture into work today. Hopefully, it goes over well and my boss doesn’t yell at me for working on work outside of work.

Wish me luck and, if you’re in the neighborhood, stop on by the Martin Luther King Branch and see The Case of the Cracked Egg for yourself!

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Hey kids,

So I meant to post this a few weeks ago but I forgot, I’m lazy, I was abducted by Colombians, excuses excuses excuses.

Anyway, here are the journal entries from my recent trip to Toronto Comic Arts Festival. Enjoy.

08MAY2009
Left Columbus at 4:30 this morning with my friends Michael, Abby, and Cortlin. Only got maybe an hour and a half to two hours of sleep last night, but I was still awake for the entire drive. Cortlin — who slept like ALL DAY yesterday — drove most of the way and then Abby took over once we reached Buffalo, NY. Breakfast at Panera in Erie, PA (Bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich w/ OJ.).

Got into Toronto — and over to Dave’s place — around 12:30-1:00 this afternoon. We hung out there for a while and then walked around downtown for a few hours – My legs are KILLING me! – and stopped at a Vietnamese restaurant for lunch (Wasn’t hungry. Skipped lunch. Just drank water. A lot of water.).

Thought the convention started today. Found out it didn’t when we got there. Went for Vietnamese for lunch. Bought tickets for Star Trek but returned them twenty minutes later when we got a phone call from my old roommate — Kev — saying that he, his wife Jody, and their baby, Connor, were going to be getting into town tonight and wanted to see it with us tomorrow. Walked around downtown by myself for a while and people-watched while Michael, David, and Cortlin did their thing. iPods are amazing.

Went back to Dave’s place for a while. Went over the book for a bit.

We went to this Mexican restaurant close to Dave’s place for dinner (Chicken quesadilla, rice, and a side salad w/Sprite.). The food here is so amazing!

Currently at Dave’s. Abby’s sleeping and Michael, David, and Cortlin are over at Dave’s neighbor’s place.

They’re going to head into town this evening for bar-hopping and dancing. I’m so tired right now I think I’m going to stay at Dave’s place and pass out. Not that I’m really into bar-hopping and dancing anyway…

Tomorrow we go hang out with comic pros and pitch our book. Hoping to trade our 8-page preview for free sketches and whatnot from the pros. Hee hee hee. Also, hoping that — you know — we sell our book and whatnot. Then, Star Trek tomorrow night.

Convention: Day 2 on Sunday. More of the same. Hoping to leave Toronto by 4-ish and get back to Columbus by midnight. I really want to sleep in and wake up in my own bed on Monday.

09MAY2009
Ugh.

Didn’t sleep that well last night. Rolled out my sleeping bag on Dave’s office floor. The floor was waaay to hard to sleep on, so I moved to his nice comfy chair which, as it turned out, wasn’t that comfy to sleep in. Dozed off here and there for a bit, but I doubt I got more than an hour or two total.

Everyone else got up around nine or ten o’clock. After showers and whatnot, David, Michael, Abby, and Cortlin left to go get breakfast. Not hungry, I stayed behind to send out a few email, and write in my journal a bit.

When everyone got back from breakfast, around noon-ish, we walked down to the subway station and hopped a train downtown.

We arrived at the Toronto Reference Library sometime around one. Dave, Michael, and I walked around a bit, taking in the scene. We talked with Steve Rolston and Faith Erin Hicks for a while, while Cortlin ogled Tara MacPhearson.

Then, Dave and I talked with Oni Press and Top Shelf Productions. I gave a copy of our Punch-Up ashcans to Oni, who told us that they wouldn’t be able to get back to us until con season was over, sometime in the fall. Top Shelf told us that they couldn’t accept any sort of submission until the book was close to completion, they wanted to see how the book ended.

After a while, we split up and went our separate ways; Dave, Michael, Abby, and Cortlin went out to lunch and I went on to talk with some of my favorite artists and pass out our ashcans.

I talked with Cameron Stewart for a while, about Grant Morrison and their book, Seaguy, and Ramon Perez about his webcomics, Butternut Squash and Kukuburi. I also met Jamie McKelvie, Ray Fawkes, Stuart Immonen, and. I found Jim Rugg and Nate Powell’s tables and chatted with them for a while. I had met each of them before and they both – surprisingly — remembered me and my work.

I eventually bumped into Kev, Jody, and Connor. We walked around a bit and then found a quiet corner to settle in and catch up.

Kev spied Bryan Lee O’Malley in a back hallway so we went to go stalk him. He was talking to a small group of Anime-loving teenage Asian girls, who were fawning over his every word. Not wanting to look like we were with a group of teenage fangirls, we hung back until some other dude approached him for an autograph. Then, we said “Eff it.” and went in for the kill.

O’Malley was a pretty cool guy. He talked with us for a while about his books and our book. We got autographs and took pictures. Dave caught up with us and we chatted some more.

We left O’Malley and started to make our way towards the exit. We stopped for a moment so Kev and Jody could buy a book for Logan and then left the festival.

We ended up talking the subway across town to the movie theater and saw Star Trek.

Wow!! OMFG!! It was such a good movie!!

And that’s all I’ll say about that.

After the movie, we hung around the theater for a while and geeked out. We put heel to pavement and walked over to Ryerson University, where Dave works. Then, we took a trolley car across town and walked around the arts district, stopping at a few galleries and bookstores.

We walked for what felt like forever before we finally stopped in at a little Chinese diner. They advertised “breakfast all-day” but, somehow, the idea of a cook at a Chinese restaurant cooking greasy spoon breakfasts didn’t seem safe. I ordered the chicken friend rice.

Apparently, stereotypes be damned. Everyone who ordered the breakfast or American food had a pretty decent meal. Those of us who ordered off of the Chinese side of the menu didn’t.

It was after eight o’clock when we left the diner. We caught a couple of trolley cars to the subway, where we left Kev and Jody to go to their hotel and the rest of us took a train back to Dave’s place.

There, Abby passed out on Dave’s bed as soon as we walked in the door and everyone else took a quick nap before they got up again, changed – some of them *cough*Cortlin*coughcough* a few times – and left for the clubs again.

As I write this, I’m sitting in Dave’s office, at his computer, watching the streets, listening to the sound of the city… and Abby sleeping. I can hear her snoring from two – TWO! – rooms over.

I’m thinking about taking the only futon in the apartment tonight, since I haven’t slept in two nights and could use a somewhat comfortable bed for the night, and letting Michael and Cortlin share the floor.

I’m feeling kind of like a bastard like that.

10MAY2009
For the third night in a row, I slept like… something that doesn’t sleep very well.

Sorry. I’m sleep deprived and not feeling very clever.

So, um, that futon was amazingly horrible to sleep on. It was lumpy and lopsided and I’m pretty sure there was a screw sticking out of it that poked me in my back no matter where I positioned myself.

Now, not only am I sleep deprived, I’m also sore and cranky.

Today was kind of a lazy day. Everyone slept in – you know, except me – and hung out at Dave’s once they woke. Michael told me an amazing story about how he, Dave and Cortlin went out to a bar and had an awesome time until Cortlin heard of a supposedly even more awesome party and forced Michael and David to leave the bar. Turns out that the party was a dud and, by they time they got there, they realized that they wouldn’t be able to make it back to the bar before it closed so they went home. Dave confirmed this story by grumbling about how he had to pay for two very expensive cab rides to and from the “awesome” party.

And that’s the story of how Cortlin ruined Toronto.

Anyway, Michael, Dave, Abby, and Cortlin decided that they didn’t want to go back to the festival and went out to meet Kev and Jody for breakfast instead. I stayed behind to pack my bags, a little disappointed that we weren’t going to be going back to the festival; I was so busy trying to get our book into the people’s hands that I had only bought two books while I was there: Ramon Perez’s Butternut Squash and Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim 2008 Color Special.

They came back to the apartment a little while later, with Kev and Jody, and we just hung out for a while and talked until Kev and Jody left to go back home. Abby and Michael left to go back to the arts district to do a little shopping before we left. Cortlin slept and Dave and I talked for a bit before I left to walk around Dave’s neighborhood for a while.

Michael and Abby got back around six o’clock – two hours after we were supposed to leave – and we left Dave’s place about half an hour later.

For some reason, Canada thought it would be an awesome idea to shut down all the freeways leading out of Toronto, so we were stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the main roads for close to an hour and a half.

We arrived at the border around nine o’clock and, as we had predicted, the border guard getting back into the states was so much more of a dick than the border guard getting into Canada.

See for yourself:

CANADIAN BORDER GUARD
Hey there. How you doin’, eh?

ABBY
Pretty good. Yourself?

CANADIAN BORDER GUARD
Welcome to Canada. Have some Canadian bacon.

Versus:

AMERICAN BORDER GUARD
So how do you all know each other?

ABBY
We’re all friends.

AMERICAN BORDER GUARD
Friends don’t grow on trees, ma’am.

That’s a direct quote, by the way.

We started to run out of gas so Cortlin tried to ask the GPS god how to get to a gas station. Abby just asked the toll booth guy. After we filled up the gas station on the amazing Hybrid that Abby’s awesome landlady lent us, we stopped at Burger King for dinner (Chicken sandwich, fries, w/ a Sprite.).

Instead of listening to Cortlin ramble on about whatever it is that goes on in Corlin’s head, I heeded Michael’s advice and plugged into my iPod.

We arrived back in Columbus a few hours later and I was dropped off at my apartment at three-thirty in the morning, exactly three days after I was picked up.

It’s four o’clock in the morning as I write this. I just got in, called my dad – who wakes up at three in the morning everyday for work – to let him know we got home OK, and finished writing this journal entry.

I’m going to bed now. I can’t wait to go to sleep in my own bed again.

‘Night.

So, yeah, that was my trip. I ended up sleeping from four in the morning until noon, the day we got back, then I ran some quick errands and, at six, o’clock I decided to take a two-hour nap that turned into a thirteen-hour nap.

And, more recently, Dave and I – a little disappointed by the lack of positive response to our ashcans – have decided to cancel our trip to Charlotte, NC next month for Heroes Con. Instead, we’re going to hold off on attending any more conventions until September/October when the book is a little closer to completion.

Well, as I write this, it’s twelve-thirty in the morning the day after Memorial Day and I have to go to work in the morning, so I’m going to wrap this up.

Keep your eyes here for further updates and all kinds of other eye candy and, as always, remember:

Friends don’t grow on trees.

Hey Kids,

I know I’ve been teasing you over the past few days with the who “T-minus however many days” thing.

Well, here’s the deal: as of right now, we are two days away from the Toronto Comic Arts Festival.

What does that mean for you? Probably not much.

What does it mean for me? Quite a bit, actually.

Tomorrow morning, my good friends Abby, Michael, and Cortlin will be leaving Columbus, OH for Toronto, Ontario, CA to visit our friend – and Punch-Up artist – Amazing David Brame and attend the Toronto Comic Arts Festival.

This is cool for so many reasons.

First of all, there are going to be so many of amazing comic book writers and artists at TCAF, including: Bryan Lee O’MAlley (Scott Pilgrim), Paul Pope (100%), Becky Cloonan (Demo), Adrian Tomine (Shortcomings), Derek Kirk Kim (Same Difference And Other Stories), Faith Erin Hicks (Zombie Calling), Stuart Immonen (Nextwave), Ramon Perez (Butternut Squash), Steve Rolston (One Bad Day), Cameron Stewart (Seaguy), Nate Powell (Swallow Me Whole), and Jim Rugg (Street Angel). I LOVE each and every one of these people and am completely envious of their abilities to tell good stories. I actually met Nate Powell at this year’s Small Press & Alternative Comics Expo and sat literally right next door to Jim Rugg at last year’s S.P.A.C.E. These guys are two of the nicest guys in the comics community; I can’t wait to meet the other ten!

Second, there will be several comic book publishing companies attending TCAF, as well, including: Adhouse Books, First Second, Drawn & Quarterly, Oni Press, and Top Shelf. We have finally reached the critical point in the Punch-Up timeline where we’re ready to pitch the book for publication. I don’t expect much to happen with Adhouse, First Second, or Drawn & Quarterly. They are all fine companies — companies whose books I enjoy greatly – I just don’t think Punch-Up necessarily fits within their respected catalogs. I think our best chances lay with Oni Press and Top Shelf, Oni specifically. Oni Press is probably my favorite comic book publishing company. I love just about every book that they print and I think the Punch-Up would fit perfectly within their comics library.

We’ll pitch to these companies this weekend — and give away FREE Punch-Up Ashcans — but it doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re in, if they like us. If they like us, that’s great, but it also means we’ll have to then send in a formal proposal, which could be rejected. A ‘yes’ this weekend is only half of the battle. We’ll still need a ‘yes’ two or three months down the road, once they review the formal proposal.

But, instead of sitting around waiting for an answer, we’ll also be traveling down to Charlotte, NC, the third weekend in June, to pitch Punch-Up to several other publishing companies at Heroes Con. One way or another, this book is getting published.

The third reason this weekend will be so cool is that, while we’re in Toronto, we’re going to go see Star Trek!

But, you know, mostly because of the whole pitching our book thing.

We’re going to get Punch-Up published at warp speed!

Don’t listen to the naysayers; they think we dinnae have the powah to do it!

But, I assure you, we will make it so!

Because the force is wi– Wait. That’s Star Wars.

Anyway.

Wish us luck.


(Hopefully) Future Published Author,
Frank Cvetkovic


PS — My next blog post will be my 50th. Let’s hope I have some good news to share in celebration of the big 5-0.