Category Archives: books
My friend the Vampire Bat used to send really elaborate care packages on Halloween and Valentine’s Day, handmade cards, candy, little seasonally-appropriate presents, the whole megillah. They were pretty special, to be honest, and I loved receiving them, but over the years, reciprocation became difficult. I had a family and work and didn’t always notice when holidays were coming up, let along make time in my schedule to plan for them a month in advance. And I guess I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t show my appreciation properly, and eventually she announced that she wasn’t going to put forth the effort anymore.
So now, sometimes, just to mess with her, I do send her handmade holiday gifts.
These little images—the “Spooky” owl, the “Creepy” spider, and the “BooOooOoo! BooOooOoo” ghosts—are from the packaging of some stickers that came in one of her last Halloween gifts to me, and they were so cute that after I stuck the stickers on things (what did I stick them on? I have no idea) I save the boxes with the intention of using them for some All Hallow’s Eve crafts for my friend. That was years ago, but when I found a random pair of metallic silver skeleton mermaid socks at Target (Target really goes all out with weird sock designs) I realized this was the year.
While playing around with the pieces (too bad I cut them up before this idea came to me) I realized that I could make a tiny card (the Vampire Bat likes tiny things) and then I realized I could make tiny books!
Unfortunately, I had used up all the printer paper printing out draft versions of a new comic book and neither The Man nor I work anyplace where we can reasonably steal printer paper anymore, so I had to use heavy card stock for the paper. It was harder to cut and my notebooks would have fewer pages, which would be hard to turn, but I soldiered on. What you do is you line all your pages up, clamp them together, and then apply liberal amounts of glue on one side. When it glues, the pages are basically bound together. Then you glue a bit of ribbon over that glued edge, to reinforce it. I used ribbon to bind the covers together and shore up the cardboard, and then I glued the paged into the cover. Viola!
For the card, I just used a piece of manilla folder to bind the 2 sides together. Lately, I’ve been trying to use up, rather than hoard, the vast quantities of art/office supplies I have been carrying around the country for 2 decades. The ransom letters and all the other words came out of a single issue of The Smithsonian.
My friend liked the gift (of course!) so now I can share it here.
When I told the Fox that I was gearing up to write volume II of Bonnie Jo Campbell Comics, he told me that after I finished the first one I swore I would never do anything like that again. I literally have no recollection of saying that. It’s probably like having a baby, where your brain blocks out the level of pain you experienced so you’re not too terrified to do it again. I’m not terrified at all. After spending 300 hours drawing 8 pages for Linda Addison, an estimated 56 hours to draw 14 pages sounds like a cakewalk.
It seemed important to keep the style consistent between the 2 books, meaning I’m back to hand-lettering, which is very time consuming, but didn’t take as much time as I remember it taking. At any rate, I realize that even reverting to conventions like drawing most of the lines with a massive weight of 4 pixels and making people’s eyes look like tiny dots in any face that doesn’t take up the whole panel, I can’t revert entirely to the style in which I draw last year, because I learned so much in the process of drawing the first book that no matter what I do, the drawings are going to look better.
Another thing I noticed as I wrote the text was that my brain let go of the idea of summarizing. I’m not telling the story the way I did with “My Dog Roscoe.” I think this is Linda Addison’s influence, because everything she does is about poetry, including her prose. This comic seems to have more poetry to it than the early comics in the last set. It’s about “The Trespasser” but it doesn’t exactly tell you everything that’s in “The Trespasser.” It seeks to communicates the feelings and theme of “The Trespasser.”
To my mind, it’s a story that functions through juxtaposition. There are 2 girls who never meet in person, but who are heavily influenced by the artifacts of each other’s lives, and we’re forced to compare and contrast the characters while they are comparing and contrasting themselves, so that dictated the layout of the comic. This story is really rich in symbols, too, and it was hard to choose which ones to use. In particular, Bonnie Jo spends a lot of time describing the objects moved by the 16-year-old, but I think the portrait of the 13-year-old with her gymnastics trophy surrounded by bronze animals gets at the heart of it. I didn’t realize that bronze figurines of dinosaurs and farm animals were common things to collect, but according to Google Image Search, they must be.
A lot of people think of American Salvage as being a more androcentric book, but this story feels connected to the themes of Mothers, Tell Your Daughters. Don’t worry, we’ll get to the plethora of dudes who don’t understand women soon enough.
My Book Is Not about Dead Trees
Someone thought I wrote a book about dead trees. But it’s not about dead trees. It’s printed on dead trees! Big difference.
That’s right, The Hermit is a paperback now. I certainly hope that the legions of people who told me they really, really, really wanted to read my book but they really, really, really couldn’t read it digitally will buy it. The ebook is $5 and the dead tree version is $15 but my margin is about the same on either one.
Do you want my dead tree book? You can buy it by clicking on this sentence.
I’m terrible at marketing, but, with much difficulty, I did manage to send out an email blast. The Man will do some more specific marketing of the book when we get back from Thanksgiving, but for now, I sent out this broader email, which sort of outlines all the ways a person could help my career simply by clicking links on the internet. It’s great if people buy things, but they can help out even without spending money. This is what I sent:
Let’s face it: I am hilarious. And talented. And deserving.
If you disagree, go ahead and click on something more stimulating.
If you believe that my work does not suck and that the world would be a better/prettier/more exciting place with more Monica, then I hope you don’t mind taking 5 minutes out of your life to give me a little boost, keeping in mind that I’m a person who rarely asks for help and who has never sent a mass email blast, and this probably makes me more uncomfortable than it makes you.
How can you help Monica? The possibilities are myriad and varied.
For example, you could purchase my contemporary fantasy novel, The Hermit, in electronic or in its long-awaited paperback format.
Have you checked out either of my QWERTYvsDvorak sites?
On QWERTYvsDvorak.com you can enjoy out a visual history of my artwork, including the increasing popular Dragon Comics, which are apparently pretty funny, and even funnier if you already know me.
On my RedBubble site, you can buy T-shirts, pillows, tote bags, travel mugs, art prints, cell phone cases, stickers, and numerous other useful and attractive household items featuring my original design.
Click around and you might see something that appeals to you. If you do, all I’m asking is that you share it with your social networks. Like a page on Facebook, or Tweet it on Twitter, add a heart on RedBubble, hurl it into the void on Ello or Google+ or Livejournal, or email it to your grandmother. Of course, if you want to buy a hoodie, notebook, or coffee mug from my shop, I’ll be eternally grateful, but if I’m not selling anything you want or can afford, you can still help. Please take 5 minutes out of your life to help shove my work out into the universe and convince Google that my life has relevance. Every click, upvote, and repost counts.
Of course, if you don’t believe my life has relevance, feel free to delete this email.
Not sure where to start? Here are some of my more popular pages:
Comics (I’ve drawn hundreds!)
Designs (I’ve got dozens! And most designs are available on most products!)
A T-shirt for kids who love My Little Pony and seahorses
Blue morpho butterfly notecards
Golden Barrel Cactus Flower duvet cover
Quick links for the technologically timid:
Click here to buy an electronic version of The Hermit on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Hermit-Monica-Friedman-ebook/dp/B01HAN68L4
Click here to buy a paperback copy of The Hermit: https://www.createspace.com/6729470
Click here to browse my RedBubble design portfolio: https://www.redbubble.com/people/QWERTYvsDVORAK/portfolio
Click here to read my blog:
If you don’t want any stuff, but do want to financially support a working artist, you can donate directly through my Patreon. Patreon is a site where patrons can directly support artists by making small monthly donations. Even as little as a dollar a month is welcome. Donate $15 more and you can receive a small token of my esteem.
Click here to donate directly to my Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/QWERTYvsDvorak
All the sites mentioned here are trusted, secure sites through which you can safely make payments.
If you would like to purchase a copy of my Bonnie Jo Campbell Mothers, Tell Your Daughters you can send $5 and your mailing address to my firstname.lastname@example.org PayPal account.
Perhaps it’s just my biased opinion, but I happen to think that both the real-paper version of my novel, or any of the charming products in my RedBubble shop, would make spectacular Christmas, Hanukkah, birthday, unbirthday, or just because presents for all of your loved ones. Other people buying my work would certainly make a spectacular present for me.
In any case, I wish you a delightful, happy, and whimsical holiday season.
The Hermit and the Coyote, a Cell Phone Case, and Marketing
Some people fail. Some people fail spectacularly. Kaija failed mythically, and now she’s trapped in the part of the fairy tale when the monster appears.
When Kaija couldn’t find contentment in the human world, she checked out, turned in the key, and went off the grid. For fifteen years, she’s lived between worlds, hiding in the desert, holding herself apart from nature just as she has from civilization, but when disaster strikes, she finds that no woman is an island. She is dragged, kicking and screaming, to the realization that no woman is an island.
The Hermit is a novel for adults who still love fairy tales, people searching for transformation and magic, readers open to contemporary fantasies with elements of horror and romance, grown-ups who still wish they could talk to the animals.
Not that Kaija wants to talk to the animals–she’s a hermit, after all, and hermits don’t want to talk to anyone–but she can’t make them stop talking her. She can’t force them to quit sharing their fears about the legendary monster stalking the Sonoran Desert. She can’t run away anymore; she’s run as far as anyone can go. If she wants to maintain her sliver of solitude, she’ll have to shrug off the hermit’s mantle, gather allies from both worlds, and go on the offensive to defeat the true monster.
The paperback version of The Hermit will be available this Thanksgiving, but if you want to read it now, it’s already available in the Kindle store ($4.99 for 426 pages of delicious mythopoetic rampage) for your reading pleasure.
If you just love the cover, you can purchase the image of Kaija and her coyote companion on this cell phone case (and pretty much anything else on which you can emblazon images) in my RedBubble shop.
Confidential to all the people who, according to my stats page, woke up this morning, visited QvD in search of a new comic, and got nothing at all: better 15 hours late without a comic than no update, right? If people love my comics as much as they say they do, I hope they’ll consider laying out $4.99 for my book. It’s like reading my comics, but you create the pictures with your brain, so they’re much better drawn, and the word part lasts a lot longer.