Welcome to our web site. For more information about Stephie's art, please also check out artbystephie.com.
For Matt's writing projects, please go to storiesbymatt.net. Enjoy your visit here!

06/26/16: There's something that Kisu has always done that I don't understand. She would walk across a lawn, and for no apparent reason, she will turn her head and dive shoulder-first to the ground, winding up on her back, where she wiggles back and forth in the grass with her legs in the air. I've seen other dogs do as well, and I understand the rolling around on her back, but the diving part escapes me. I've always wondered what triggers it. Is there a certain spot of the lawn that looks more comfortable?
     Now that Kisu's getting older, she's not as spry as when she was younger, so our walks are much shorter. Sometimes we just go once around the house then back in. But she did something today that I'd not seen before. I was taking the garbage out, so I took her with. We walked into the yard, and she paused, then turned her head and did her shoulder dive into the lawn. Then she just lay there. She didn't wiggle. She didn't flip over. She didn't even seem to fuss to get a comfortable spot. She just lay there.
     I saw this and waited a minute for her to get up. When she didn't, I figured she would be good where she was, so I dropped the leash and walked around the garage to put the trash in the can. When I got back, she was still in the exact same position I left her. I got a little worried, so I bent over her, and saw that she was laying there with her eyes open, breathing lightly. She didn't look like she was in any distress. She just wasn't moving.
     I figured she was comfortable, and I really didn't have much to do, so I sat down next to her. I sat and watched her for around ten minutes. She didn't move the whole time. I finally got up and picked up the leash, and when I did she got up as if nothing was wrong. And maybe nothing was. It was just odd.

06/12/16: Last weekend, we hauled out the new tent and set Stephie up at the Graue Mill Fine Art Festival. This weekend, I packed a bunch of my books and flyers in a plastic tote and drove downtown to the Printer's Row Lit Fest. This was the first time I had done this show (we had attended one many years ago) and I have to say it was great fun.
     I'd never really considered going to one of these as an author, mostly because of the cost of getting a table, but I got an e-mail from the Illinois Woman's Press Association, offering a share of a table for much less than an individual table would cost. Stephie and I discussed it and she convinced me to do it. I booked a place under the group's tent, found parking through Spothero and stocked up on books and handouts.
     The weekend was a big success in my mind. I didn't sell as many books as I'd liked, but I sold more than I'd hoped to. I handed out all of the flyers for the two e-book-only novellas, and most of the flyers advertising my novels, and I spoke to a bunch of people.
     My favorite story was from Saturday afternoon. I was set up across from a Mexican restaurant that had outdoor seating. I was just finishing my pitch to a group of people when a man and woman came over and told me they were sitting there sipping their margaritas, listening to my spiel. I apologized for disrupting their meal, but they said they were entertained by me. The woman said, "I told my husband: There's a guy who loves what he does." We chatted for a bit and they bought two books!
     That was exactly the type of response I was going for. I remember several times at recent Windy City Pulp and Paper Conventions when I stopped to talk to one of the authors at their table and wound up buying a book from them, simply because they were so enthusiastic about their works. I'm glad I was able to do the same.

06/05/16: We had problems with our canopy at the last few art shows that Stephie did last year, so even though I'm still looking for a job, we decided to put a little money into the art business and get a professional tent. This year's Graue Mill show was the first event with the new tent, and it's a beauty. Although the new one has the same footprint as the old one, the new one is taller, squarer, and has four walls, so that at the end of the day on Saturday, we just removed all the art and zipped it up! That made it so much easier to set up for Sunday business.
     She also bought mesh side walls which allows her to hang artwork on the sides. With her old standing panels in the back, it makes for a much better display, as you can see in the picture here. My contribution, beyond the physical labor, was to give Stephie a template in Microsoft Publisher (because she's comfortable with that program) which included squares to simulate the two side walls and the back panel, and scaled images of all her artwork. She used it to decide which picture should go where. Then we just printed the layout and used it as a plan to hand the artwork.
     After all these years, I think we're finally getting pretty good at this!

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