Rory Makes an Appearance in Microcrafts, Quirk’s Latest Craft Book

When my coworkers Margaret McGuire and Katie Hatz asked me to bring my bunny into work, I of course said yes. I mean really, how often does one get to do something like that? Then again, I do work at Quirk Books. Knowing this wild and wacky place, chances are I’ll be bringing my chinchilla in next month.

But I digress.

Margaret and Katie stole my bun away for an afternoon in the early Spring for a photoshoot for Microcrafts, Quirk’s latest crafting title by that aforementioned dynamic duo and Alicia Kachmar. I had the wonderful opportunity to work with Alicia and Margaret on their last craft book venture, Witch Craft, and loved every minute of it. Rory posed for a number of photos, several of which made it into the book.

You can scope out the images below. I do wish I had trimmed her nails before the photoshoot, but oh well. She still looks adorbs.

Microcrafts drops on October 4th. Go pre-order a copy on Amazon. Rory’s royalties are being paid in carrots.  Read more

Owning Real Art: Some Lovely Paintings From Philadelphia’s Britt Miller

I’m pretty fortunate to have a circle of incredibly talented, creative friends. Writers, musicians, podcasters, chefs and, of course, artists. My pal Britt Miller falls into the final category, with her absolutely gorgeous paintings.

I make it a point to write about her whenever I can on Geekadelphia, but I’m not the only one who praises the hell out of her work. One of her paintings was recently featured on the boxes of Teuscher’s chocolates, another hangs on the set of CBS3′s Talk Philly… she’s all over the place, from Liberty Place in Center City to the Race Street Cafe in Old City, and is a staple of the Philadelphia First Friday scene.

Alas though, this redheaded vixen is leaving Philadelphia to attend graduate school abroad for a while. This bittersweet news comes with some nice perks though. 1. Making plans to visit her in Paris sometime in the Fall and 2. Buying some of her paintings on the cheap.

Britt frequently sasses me about the various pieces of ‘art’ hanging up in my apartment. And by ‘art’ I mean ‘screenprints purchased on clearance at Urban Outfitters.’ What with all the talented people in the city (her included), why didn’t I have some original works hanging up? Being broke / paying student loans is probably the main issue. But thanks to Britt’s fire sale I’ve finally got some original pieces, like the floral one pictured above (and here on Flickr), hanging in my place.

If you’re unfamiliar with her work, please visit her website. She’s awesome.

Tim & Melissa’s Engagement Party [Photos]

Not quite sure why it’s taken me so long to write a little something about this. I guess between redesigning the blog and getting the Geek Awards wrapped up, a few things slipped under the radar. I did manage to upload these to Flickr and Facebook with the quickness, but meh. Those are just pictures and little captions. Where were the real words to accompany the pictures that show off, what was, a really lovely day for two of my favorite people?

Tim (who many of you know as my better half on Geekadelphia) and Melissa’s engagement brunch took place at a lovely little Filipino restaurant nestled in a rather fancy area in Brooklyn. I’d never seen estates in New York. Blew my mind. The place was called The Purple Yam, and oh my God, it was delicious. Owned by Tim’s cousins, the venue did not disappoint, even as it filled with dozens upon dozens of people in the sweltering non-air conditioned heat of NYC. Awesome interior, exotic food, and simple decorations made the whole thing quite lovely.

Speaking of food though, don’t even get me started on the cake. Created by a friend of Melissa’s family, this epic cake had hand-blown sugar bubbles (THIS IS A THING), a bottle that looked like glass (but was made of sugar!), and edible photos of Tim and Melissa.

YOU COULD EAT TIM’S FACE.

None of us did, but I was assured that it would have been delicious.  Read more

Top Five Things I’ve Learned About Working with Book Bloggers

So I’ve been at Quirk Books for a little over a year now. When I began, I had a ton of experience working in social media, communicating with bloggers, and working AS a blogger, but had little working knowledge of pitching blogs, PR, marketing, etc. As for my experience in publishing… well, it was limited to a magazine that doesn’t exist anymore.

Needless to say, it has been quite the learning process, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have a team that believed in me, helped me grow, and was patient in teaching me the ways of book-life. And luckily, the book blogging community is an incredibly welcoming (and understanding) one.

So, here are the top five things I’ve learned working with book bloggers. Maybe it’ll help you, dear reader, when you’re pitching books online. Hope it does!

1. WRITING A PITCH? BE CREATIVE: Let’s be real. Fact of the matter is, book bloggers get pitches every day. Some of them get dozens of pitches a day. Big publishers, small presses, self published authors… whatever, we’re all haggling the hell out of them to cover our books. Nothing is more boring than a bland press release attached to an email, or a pitch that just states the facts.

Make your pitch letters as interesting as the books you are promoting.

Get creative. Be funny and friendly. Make some jokes. Poke fun at yourself.  And most importantly, take the time to send a personal email now and again, not just a mass BCC’d email blast (though those are necessary now and again, I know). You’ll get a response, and bloggers will look forward to your future emails later down the line. Trust me. Read more

Book Lover’s Day: Some of My Favorite Books That You’ve Probably Never Read, But Really Should

From the cover of The Frog King by Adam Davies

So according to a handful of blogs on the Internet (which means it must be true) tomorrow is Book Lover’s Day. I love the hell out of books, and when people ask me about my favorites, there are a select few that pop up on my list that no one seems to know about. Whether its just because they’re older titles and they’ve since faded from the public eye (The Frog King came out in ’02, Straight Man in ’98), or because they came from a small press (No Touch Monkey is from Seal), these are some of my tragically lesser known favorites, that you should absolutely pick up.

The Frog King by Adam Davies (Riverhead, 2002): Mark my words. When the film adaptation of this book finally comes out, everyone will be using the word ‘protemplorate’. Just remember, my pal Glen and I were saying it before you realized it was cool. The story is your standard “young guy confused and trying to figure out his future / love life in a big city” sort of tale, with a publishing industry twist. The protagonist is a low level worker at a publishing house, sleeps around to work his way up in the world, hilarity ensues. Easily one of the funniest books I’ve ever read, and I frequently sing its praise when folks ask me about my favorite books. Other awesome titles by this criminally underrated author include Mine All Mine (which I just read this year) and Goodbye Lemon.

Indecision by Benjamin Kunkel (Random House, 2006): When I was super broke and interning in New York City, I spotted this book sitting in a dollar bin at The Strand. I distinctly remember buying this book based solely on the cleverly designed cover, a number of smiling thumbprints. A riotous romantic comedy about a guy who pops a pill that eliminates his problems with indecision, leading him to hunt down his lost love in South America, its a must read for anyone who is a hopeless romantic with a case of wanderlust. Yes yes, it’s a bestseller. But I’ve yet to meet anyone else who has read it. Read more