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Visit IndieBound to pre-order your copy today!

 Arriving September 11, 2018 to all good bookstores near you.

Arriving September 11, 2018 to all good bookstores near you.

Support your independent booksellers.  Visit IndieBound to pre-order your copy today!

Eliot imagines sailing wild rivers and discovering giant beasts, right there on his block But he wishes his adventures were real.

Eliot's grandpa, El Capítan, once steered his own ship through dangerous seas, to far-off lands. But he can't do that anymore.

Can Eliot and El Capítan discover a real adventure... together?

Come find out All aboard The Greatest Adventure!

 

As American as Apple Pie

Earlier this year I was invited to speak at the Student Conference for Latinx Affairs (SCOLA) at Texas A&M University.  Specifically, I was invited to speak as a Latino artist, and by the subtitle of this year's conference, as an influential voice, as a representative voice, and this invitation has forced me look inward and reflect on my own Latino heritage.  And in this state of reflection, I thought about the idiom:  As American as apple pie; and I realized something beautifully ironic... 

...unintentionally, this idiom is one of the truest statements of American demographics ever made.  The composition of peoples of this country just as the ingredients that make up an apple pie are immigrants to the New World.  Apples have been cultivated by Asians and Europeans for thousands of years, but they were only introduced to North America during the 17th century.  Wheat, the grain from which we derive our most common form of flour, originates not from America, but from the fertile crescent where it was first domesticated in 9600 BC.  And if you enjoy your apple pie a la mode or with a dollop of whipped cream, I should remind you that no cows ever roamed the plains of this continent until Christopher Columbus introduced the first head of Spanish cattle to Santo Domingo in 1493.  And cinnamon, a key ingredient in the best of apple pies, has been a prized commodity since antiquity, predating even the conception of western democracy, the cornerstone of our nation.  So for those who use this idiom to define what is true and native to America, I would like to suggest a better phrase…

 Photo by Jody Horton

Photo by Jody Horton

Voices of the Wilderness

 Baby Patches 

Baby Patches 

In July 2017 I was afforded the opportunity to participate in the Voices of the Wilderness artist residency with the U.S. Forest Service in a remote area of southeast Alaska known as Pack Creek, Admiralty Island.  During my stay here I came to know of an old female bear named Patches.  Amongst the rangers I stayed with there was some debate as to whether she had passed away or not because she had not been seen for several days.  You see Patches was the oldest known female to frequent the fishing grounds of Pack Creek.  She was estimated to be around 30 years old, which is in the upper end of life expectancy for coastal brown bears.  She also suffered from a twisted, broken back leg, which limited her mobility and a split nose the result of some past altercation.

Two days after my arrival I saw Patches.  She was still alive.  I watched her approach from a distance like a giant hyena.  Her shoulders sloping downwards to her hindquarters due to her broken leg, creating the distinctive silhouette.  She moved with some difficulty, her age and physical condition showing, yet as I observed her interact with the other bears it became apparent she was the boss.  For the rest of that afternoon I watched Patches cause chaos in the tidal flats, intimidating young mothers into dropping their fish with her Terminator-like gait, slow and deliberate.  I thought to myself, there is a story to be told here.  She was not always like this.  Patches was once a cub fresh as the first spring rain.  This painting is dedicated to Patches and the rangers I met during my stay at Pack Creek, Admiralty Island in July 2017.

Apex Predators: The American Alligator

The children's book that probably had the longest lasting impact on me was one that I discovered over two decades ago in my local library in Houston called, Album of Sharks, written by Tom McGowen and illustrated by Rod Ruth.  And it was Ruth's powerful, bold, wonder-inspiring illustrations that left such an indelible mark on my developing psyche that despite not seeing the book for over twenty years, I could remember nearly every illustration.  One of these days I hope to write and illustrate a book with that same power.  This image, my depiction of one of my favorite animals, the American alligator, an animal I have personally seen up close in the wild, is my first attempt at realizing this vision.  I hope you enjoy it.  

Just One Pint

There was just one pint. The bartender and all the other customers had run out the backdoor when the enormous hulking mass approached the window. I alone had stayed. I wanted that pint.  

Breakfast?

"Breakfast?" it seemed to gesture.  Rob rubbed his eyes hoping to erase the image before him, but the smiling figure was still there.  It was shaping up to be a rather strange day, he thought.

My New Neighbor

Stacy gazed out the dining room window as she had done every afternoon that summer when her eyes locked with the unflinching stare of a rotund green mass perched on her neighbor's fence.  It looked like some sort of bird, though she doubted it could fly with its stubby little wings protruding from a body shaped like an under-inflated beach ball.  She wondered how it had managed to perch itself on such a high and precarious post.

No one would believe her.  She had to find her camera —quick.  "Please, please, don't go flying, or whatever, away," she silently urged the clumsy-looking green mass as she stealthily swung her legs over her chair and hurried out of the dining room.