Sunday, July 23, 2017

#ArtLitGiveaway



My wife and I, currently working together on our first joint children's book [The Absolutely Amazing Adventures of Ava Appelsawse], have decided to co-host a giveaway contest. My portion of the prize is a copy of my latest novel, Matters of Convenience.  Erin is contributing an 8 x 10 art print from her Etsy shop to the pot. The winner will have five prints to select a favorite from. Narrowing the number of choices down to five was no easy feat since she is rather prolific with pencil, pen and paintbrush.

Our contest is open only to US residents who are at least 18 years old, and it is being held on Twitter. We don't require that you follow either one of us on there, though it would be nice. To enter, all it takes is a retweet of the tweet that will be pinned as of 7/24 on my Twitter page or the one on Erin's. You can do so daily for the duration of the contest. With a contest entry tweet pinned to both of our accounts (@authorofpatches and @gfillustrator), that means you can make two entries per day.

The contest closes at midnight EST on 8/9/17. A winner will be chosen at random and notified later that day. To claim prizes, reply within 48 hours of notification with choice of art print. If not claimed within that time, we'll do another drawing.

Stay tuned for future giveaways to be hosted by Erin and I on facebook and Instagram. For now, our inaugural contest is open only to those fond of expressing themselves in bursts of 140 characters or less.

Good luck. Regularly spare moments to appreciate art. Happy reading.






Monday, May 15, 2017

BUY BOOKS or else BYE BOOKS


































In other book related news...



But I refuse to grow disheartened. I will continue to write from the heart and hope that readers give it a try. I will continue to find and support and promote brilliant writing from a diverse array of authors. Some I will like, some I will love, from time to time there will be a MEH...






...and every so often I will be awed and powerfully reminded of why I fell in love with reading and writing in the first place.




Saturday, May 13, 2017

#WHATTOREADNEXT



I decided to dedicate a post to one of my all time favorite questions. I just finished reading a book (the second of the two novels listed below) which inevitably leads me to ask myself - What Should I Read Next? Up above is a photo of the candidates. I'll eventually get to each of them, God willing. But which one should I tackle first?


1) The General in His Labyrinth - by the one and only  (who happened to write what may be the greatest novel of all time, my beloved Love in the Time of Cholera)

2) The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love - by  (I enjoyed the movie and when it comes to adaptations, I prefer to first read and then watch. But reading this particular book will move me another step along in my quest to read all of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction winners

3) Purity - by  (who I consider to be a bit of a fool and a jerk for the Oprah snub, but the guy sure can write)

4) The Turner House - by   (Since I can never read too many novels by People of Color, particularly Caribbean and African American authors. I've heard good things about this particular one)



I'm having trouble deciding on my own so invite you to leave comments of recommendation. Thanks in advance to anyone kind enough to help me out. See below for reviews of the last two books I read. And if you're on Goodreads you may want to enter my contest there for a chance to win a copy of MATTERS OF CONVENIENCE.





MiddlesexMiddlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Not many perfect books have been written but a handful can make a legitimate claim to the title. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides is the type of novel that would have made me fall helplessly in love with reading if I wasn't already there. The steady handed prose does not try to shock or even take us by surprise, but instead takes readers on a fascinating journey up a family tree, leading us to the end of a narrative branch where we reach its strange fruit.

View all my reviews



The Girl Who Played with Fire (Millennium, #2)The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Stieg Larsson was not a great writer. Not by a long shot. But he had a knack for creating indelible characters. Lisbeth Salander is a fascinating woman whom readers first meet in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. In The Girl Who Played with Fire we learn about her background, gain insight into the events she managed to survive and thus shaped her into a pint sized dynamo with a knack for overcoming astronomical odds. We're introduced to her evil father and comic book style villain of a half brother. There are also a bunch of secondary characters in this book that seemed barely necessary. Since this is the second part of a trilogy, presumably there is wrapping up of subplots and fuller development of background characters in the final installment. And I will probably read the third book since I've come this far. I'll continue to overlook flaws in writing that often seems amateurish in order see the crazy ride that Larsson created through to the end.

View all my reviews




Goodreads Book Giveaway

Matters of Convenience by Roy L. Pickering Jr.

Matters of Convenience

by Roy L. Pickering Jr.

Giveaway ends May 29, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway


Twist ending. I decided to go with a book that wasn't on my list. A work of non-fiction. 

                               The Secret Life of Houdini


Saturday, April 29, 2017

Comic Con



Curiosity led this cat to attendance at my first Comic Con event on this beautiful Spring day (that reached Summer temperature) in 2017. Along with me were my wife and our daughter. The latter is a big fan of graphic novels, the hilarious animated TV show Teen Titans, and all members of Suicide Squad with special affection for Harley Quinn. My wife doesn't go in for superhero stories much, but as a professional illustrator she appreciates the artistry that goes into creating comic books.

As for me, I can't help but marvel at the worlds of Marvel and DC and beyond. Others are far more fanatical about their fandom than I am. My level of enthusiasm is moderate enough to retain dignity, but I have nothing but love for the zealots who go full out. If you're going to be over the top passionate about something, it may as well be something cool. Batman and Superman stories may not receive official stamps of approval from fancy book award committees or Oprah, and they aren't assigned reading material in most English Literature classes, but they are unarguably cool.


A post shared by Roy Pickering (@roylpickering_author) on

A post shared by Roy Pickering (@roylpickering_author) on



I was too busy being dazzled by the bombardment of colorful imagery while squeezing through the bustling crowd to take as many pictures as I wanted, but I did manage to snap a few shots. Check them out below. Maybe I'll run into you at a future convention such as New York Comic Con in October. You're never too old to be a kid at heart. Only a dastardly villain would tell you different. Fortunately superheroes save the day and refuse to let them get away with it.


Her turn in the role bombed at the box office and deservedly so, but Halle Berry wore the hell out of that cat suit and I happily snagged this doll, I mean, this action figure.



There is no cooler set of wheels than the Batmobile, any version of it.






















And there is no motor vehicle more terrifying than Stephen King's CHRISTINE.




This bearded guy knew who to call.





“The reason birds can fly and we can't is simply because they have perfect faith, for to have faith is to have wings.” J.M. Barrie

“If you were born without wings, do nothing to prevent them from growing.” Coco Chanel







Superheroes need coffee breaks too.




I haven't written a comic book...yet. But I did write a novel entitled Matters of Convenience and you can enter the giveaway contest at Goodreads for a chance to win a free copy. Good luck!




Goodreads Book Giveaway

Matters of Convenience by Roy L. Pickering Jr.

Matters of Convenience

by Roy L. Pickering Jr.

Giveaway ends May 29, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway


Price of Kindle edition of MATTERS OF CONVENIENCE to be discounted at Amazon 5/13/17 - 5/20/17. The earlier you jump in, the bigger the savings you get.



Monday, April 3, 2017

Doing it for the 'gram



So I finally got around to joining Instagram. And then hackers, apparently thinking that I'm the DNC or perhaps allegedly directed by mischievous President Obama (America's last legitimate prez), worked their way into my account for who knows what reason. Practice and alleviation of boredom are the lead candidates.




It is my third attempt at an Instagram account that is up now and I'm hoping will prove to be the charm. If you find weight loss programs and/or lingerie clad women posted there, it means that hackers have worked their magic once again, and that will probably send me into photo posting retirement. Unless Instagram proves to be too addictive to quit, and so far that is where all signs are pointing.

A few of the pictures I've put up so far can be found below. To see more, feel free to follow me and chances are good that I'll follow back to liven up my feed.  I've just about exhausted the 'gram worthy photos in my phone's photo gallery, so I'm inspired to venture forth in search of all things photogenic. I'd rather do that than bombard voyeurs with selfies. My plan is to capture exhibitions of the beauty of nature and architecture...and bookish stuff. Not only is literature in its printed form food for the soul, but it's often candy for the eyes as well.












Goodreads Book Giveaway

Matters of Convenience by Roy L. Pickering Jr.

Matters of Convenience

by Roy L. Pickering Jr.

Giveaway ends May 29, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Ava Appelsawse



"The spice jars next in line to be used took up space in the kitchen. A great many more were on shelves in the basement, waiting their turn." ~ from The Absolutely Amazing Adventures of Ava Appelsawse (written by Roy L. Pickering Jr., illustrated by Erin Rogers Pickering)



My darling daughter, who turns 11 this year, reintroduced me to the world of children's books. Since I had already entered the world of book blogging, it made sense to merge the two endeavors. In March of 2009 I posted a collection of mini-reviews of books written for miniature people. I began the post with these words: Having a child means getting to experience the wonderful world of children's literature all over again. I've been pleased to find out over the past few years that not only are the old standards as charming as I remembered, but plenty of great new books for little ones were written while I was busy growing up. Reading to my daughter on a daily basis allows me to revisit tales I fondly recall and discover new ones along with her. 

Fast forward to 2017 and these days I don't do much reading aloud to my daughter since she now reads for herself. And yet the world of children's books continued to call out to me.  My daughter's bookshelves are still filled with the books I read to her in her earliest years. They are a constant reminder in our household of a more innocent time and style of prose.

Several years back I wrote what was intended to be a rhyming board book for toddlers and their exasperated parents. It was inspired by the trying experience of finding the right daycare facility for my daughter. It's not half bad in my opinion, but I'm no Dr. Seuss and was not strongly compelled to bring it to the light of day. Some writing projects are destined to remain tucked in a drawer. I put the story/poem away and any career as a children's book writer I might have was put on indefinite hold.

Instead I threw full energy into completion of my second novel, Matters of Convenience. I somewhat improbably continued to write A Line A Day blog posts on an irregular schedule. My daughter changed from my baby girl to a beautiful young lady. Instead of picking her up at daycare with fingers crossed that it was a good day, I'm now a coach of her middle school basketball team hoping she'll work more on her dribble while being impressed by her post game. Still, the siren's song of children's books could be heard in quiet moments. And so it was that one day I set pen (or was it pencil?) down to paper and started to write what would become THE ABSOLUTELY AMAZING ADVENTURES OF AVA APPELSAWSE.

It's often been suggested to me that I do a follow-up to a novel or short story I've written. I've resisted the urge because they were meant to be standalone tales, even if ending in a way that makes readers want to know more about the characters down the road. For the first time I am now tackling a sequel. The Absolutely Amazing Adventures of Ava Appelsawse was intended from the start to be a series. My wonderfully talented wife Erin Rogers Pickering is currently working on illustrations for the first installment while I have gotten started on book #2. Two and a half chapters of the first draft are done so far. I'm trying to figure out where the rest of the story is going, or else it will need to inform me. Either way works. 

Do you believe that We Need Diverse Books? I do. Do you believe greater emphasis by the publishing industry on promoting books told in Our Own Voices by writers from various backgrounds is important? I do. But lofty causes aside, ultimately my wife and I are two artists you may not have heard of (yet) with stories to tell through words and illustrations that we believe you and your little ones will connect with.

While I'm crafting the Ava Appelsawse sequel, stay tuned for updates on the first book in the series which is scheduled to publish later this year. If you have kids, or know anyone with kids, or perhaps were once a kid yourself, then this is the book for you. And this time I'm not stopping at just one, not that I have a particular number of them in mind. The older I get the more things I realize I do not know...yet. I have no idea how many books and stories intended for various audiences are stored within me. But as a major milestone birthday approaches I am more determined than ever to put as many tales as possible out into the world and see how far they go. I hope you choose to accompany me on the journey.


























"In a slightly crooked house with the address of 123 Oaktree Lane there lived a seven year old girl named Ava Appelsawse."




"It was excellent tomato sauce, possibly the best in the world, for it was made with love."




"Ava decided the hamster was a girl.  It did not disagree and also did not complain about its name, perhaps because this was the most interesting thing about her."