Minecraft – Creeper – Halloween Costume

By the way, don’t forget to check out my books for the 9 to 13 year olds out there! Click the covers for more information.

Gasparilla's Treasure Cover The Forgotten Secret Cover The Protector of Peace CoverThat Pet Finder Kid Cover

So after being Minecraft Steve, Corey decided he wanted to be a Creeper from the game Minecraft.  If you’re not familiar with Minecraft, then you probably don’t need to be reading this blog post :-)

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OK. Easy peasy… here we go!

We found a 12×12 box and drew the grid lines at 1.5 inches apart so we could cut the eyes and mouth. Notice, we had to leave a little “Notch” (Old-school Minecraft humor) between the eyes and the nose so it would hold together. We also left some of the box below the mouth, again to keep the box from ripping apart.

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Next, we found a big ole’ box for the body, cut it to fit 12 year old Corey, and taped it all together. Then, time for a hole in the top for Corey to stick his head through.

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Now it was time to rip the shoulder pads out of our Minecraft Steve costume from last Halloween and spay glue them where the box would rest on Corey’s shoulders . We used some green craft paint to paint a base coat on the body and head. Once that dried, we drew out the grid lines at about 1.5 inches. You can see that we cut along some of the grid lines on the side of the body to give Corey the ability to use his arms to snag some candy.

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Next it was time to give it the pixelated look. We had our green base paint, some white, and some black. We mixed the black or white with the green until it looked pretty good. We also used some straight up white, and straight up black for some highlights.

My lovely wife had the great idea to cut some kitchen sponges to 1.5 inch squares (we just used scissors). We dipped the kitchen sponge into the paint and started filling squares… very randomly. You can look at how “un-careful” we were by looking at the detail photos of the next section. The sponge texture didn’t bother us a bit.

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Next, we didn’t want anyone to see Corey in there, so we got a piece of screen at the Home Depot. I can’t remember exactly what it was, but we found a small sheet for pretty cheap. I’m sure an associate can help you find a small piece. We duct taped it to the inside of the head to cover the holes. Also, notice how rough and random the paint can be.

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Next, we cut a slope into the edge of the head so the Creeper would be looking slightly down. We “Notched” the side about one square from the front of the box and tapered it back to meet the corner of the back of the box. We did this on both sides.

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Now, you can’t have arm holes distracting from the overall Creeper appearance, so we poked a little hole in the arm flap, and put a little string loop so Corey could pull the arm flap flush when he didn’t need his hands. We did one on each side.

 

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If I recall, Corey wore black sweat pants so his legs would basically disappear. In the picture below, you can see the tilt of the head, and the arm flap retracted.

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And there you have it. After Halloween, we ended up having to put this out on the street with the trash, but we were very happy to see a mom stop with her young son. He put it on and ran around in our street, so it went to a good home :-)

Also, don’t forget to check out Corey’s Minecraft Steve costume, and check out my cool books for 9 to 13 year olds.

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I hope your costume turns out AWESOME!!!!

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Free Ebook Readers!

Are you interested in turning your IPad, Android Tablet, smart phone, or computer into a Kindle eBook reader for free?  If you said yes, you are in luck, and on your way to tons of downloadable books for the Kindle.  And the reader is absolutely FREE!  All you need is an Amazon account, and a compatible device (there are a lot of compatible devices).

The Amazon Kindle eBook Store has nearly every eBook you could ever want, and they generally cost way less than their paperback counterpart.  In fact, you can find a large number of books free of charge on a daily basis (today, “The Holy Bible” was the number one free book).  Why would anyone give you their book for free?  Well, they want you to fall in love with their work, tell all your friends, and go buy their other books.

If you can’t find your favorite book for free, most ebooks range from as little as $0.99 up to $19.99.  For instance, “The Hunger Games” for about $5.00, or “Harry Potter” for about $8.00.  No driving to the store or waiting for shipping.  It’s instantly downloadable.

You will also open yourself up to a new world of independent authors such as myself.  You can check out my books, Gasparilla’s Treasure, The Forgotten Secret, and That Pet Finder Kid on your free Kindle reader for $4.99.

OK, so how do you get this free Kindle reader?  It’s really quite simple.  Follow THIS LINK to the Kindle reader download page.  There you will find all the versions of the reader, including the one for your device.  Click on your device, and it will take you to the download page.  Click on the large “Download Now” button, and the rest should be easy.

I hope this opens a whole new option for finding the books you love!

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The Forgotten Secret

GaspTresCoverDigitalForgSecDigitalCover“The Forgotten Secret” is a sequel to “Gasparilla’s Treasure” by Scott Clements.  I hope you’ve had a chance to read it, but even if you haven’t, here are some of the places and things you can expect to see in the book.  This blog post is a minor spoiler, so if you plan on reading it, you may want to do that first, then come back and check out some of the real world places and things in the book.  Enjoy!

Early on the kids go to the St. Augustine Peer to meet with mysterious adventurer, Juan Gonzalez:

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The kids head to Old Town, Florida to find The City of Hawkeisville shipwreck.  Here’s the old train bridge:

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And here are a couple of videos of “The City of Hawkinsville” shipwreck:

And for more on “The City of Hawkinsville” check out this website: CLICK HERE

Next they’re off to Washington, D.C. and the “National Mall”.  Here are some overheads of the “National Mall”:

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In the map above, you can see exactly where the National Gallery of Art is located.  Here are some pictures of the National Gallery of Art:

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Here’s the Thomas Sully portrait of Andrew Jackson used for the U.S. twenty dollar bill:

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Next are the two Andrew Jackson Birthplace Monuments.  In the second one, you can see the etching of the cabin, which is so important in “The Forgotten Secret”.

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Gonzalez heads to the Andrew Jackson Monument in Washington, D.C., which is in plain sight of The White House.

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And check out some of the security features on our modern twenty dollar bill, including the EURion constellation.

Security Features of the US Twenty Dollar Bill

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And finally they end up at the Bridge of Lions in St. Augustine:

St. Augustine, Florida - Nights of Lights Lion_on_SA_Bridge_of_Lions

I hope you enjoyed “The Forgotten Secret” by Scott Clements.  Check out Scott and all his books at www.HappyBrownDog.com.

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My Cat Harry

Here’s my cat Harry.  I went to take a picture of him and I had the settings wrong… It took a quick series and at the exact same moment Harry decided to see what the camera smelled like :-)

HarryGif

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Book Reviews of Gasparilla’s Treasure by Scott Clements

GaspTresCoverDigitalMy middle grade adventure book Gasparilla’s Treasure by Scott Clements has been out for a little while now, and I thought I’d put a few links to some reviews.  If you want more info on my books for teens and tweens, please check out my website.

First, how about the Amazon reviews. Just click here.

Next, a blog review from NonMom:
For the Harry Potter fans who are without a current adventure to get behind, this novel definitely fits the bill. For the Indiana Jones and yes, dating myself here, Goonies fans too, this book will grab you and take you for a fun ride only lacking the ‘Truffle Shuffle’…(more)

Next, a blog from MamaCravings:
Gasparillia’s Treasure is a teacher’s dream. This book is funny, relatable, and has cover-to-cover adventure. Not only will students be drawn into the story, the brilliant layering of history will inspire students to seek out their own adventures….(more)

From Bewildered Bug:
…managed to tickle that little part of my brain that is fascinated by the realistic mixed with the imaginary. Not to mention that Gasparilla’s Treasure was written spectacularly with an captivating plot, exciting characters and just a touch of intrigue that fascinated me completely…(more)

From The Avalon Journals:
…grab your kids and share in this wonderful adventure. Sure, they might think reading is a bit old-fashioned, but Scott Clements has written such a visual tale they will likely not even notice the lack of a screen….(more)

From Reader’s Favorite:
Trip’s adventure takes the reader on a tour of historic St. Augustine, Florida, as Trip and his friends discover clues in González-Alvarez House, the bell tower of Grace United Methodist Church, Fort Matanzas, the old lighthouse, the Spanish fort, Castillo de San Marcos, and the Fountain of Youth Park….(more)

From Rambling’s of a Semi-Housewife:
This book is definitely worth a read, and we will more than likely read it again….(more)

From Cordelia Dinsmore:
Clements weaves a riveting tale for anyone who loves a good treasure hunt. His characters are all believable and interesting….(more)

From ReadalotRhonda:
This story grabs your attention fast and holds it….(more)

From Anthony M. Briggs, Jr.
About halfway through I felt like I was watching  National Treasure, except being played out with tweens. The historical references, the treasure hunting, the clues… if you enjoyed that movie, you likely won’t be disappointed by this book….(more)

From Jemima Pett:
Scott Clements’ story is pacy and enjoyable.  It paints pictures of young love, secret treasure and the fascinating history of the Florida coast, with no cloying romance or cliched travelogue….(more)

From SWLothian:
Gasparilla’s Treasure is a worthy adventure read for middle-graders…(more)

From Young Adult Critic (to prove they aren’t all good):
…it was a huge disappointment for me. I was expecting some kind of YA epic adventure to find a treasure, but it turned out to be some half-baked middle grade novel that was dumbed-down to appeal to third graders….(more)

 

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Gasparilla’s Treasure Sequel

UPDATE: The sequel is complete :-) It’s titled “The Forgotten Secret” and you can get it here!

Just a quick post… I’m right in the middle of writing the follow up to Gasparilla’s Treasure.  I’m currently considering the title “The Forgotten Secret”.  I wish this thing would hurry up and finish writing itself, because it’s really great so far and I can’t wait to see how it will come out!

Even though I have the book completely outlined and I know the basics of what happens, but it’s fun to see where the characters take me with the story and their emotions.  Arghhh, it’s just taking me too long to get there!

Here’s a link to a website I used for researching the shipwrecked “City of Hawkinsville” as one of the settings:

http://www.museumsinthesea.com/hawkinsville/tour.htm

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Check out the videos by clicking on the different parts of the boat, then check out the history of The City of Hawkinsville.  I have to admit, I got a little creeped out watching the videos of the sunken ship wreck.

And here’s a picture of the old train bridge in Old Town, Florida.  It’s about 100 yards up river from the ship wreck, and another of the settings in the book.

Historic Railroad Bridge On Nature Coast Trail In Old Town Florida

I hope I can get my final draft of this book finished by the end of December, and then I can get the edit and cover work done in January for a February release!

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Minecraft – Steve – Halloween Costume

By the way, don’t forget to check out my books for the 9 to 13 year olds out there! Click the covers for more information.

Gasparilla's Treasure Cover The Forgotten Secret Cover The Protector of Peace CoverThat Pet Finder Kid Cover

So this year, Corey decided he wanted to be Steve from the game Minecraft.  If you’re not familiar with Minecraft, then you probably don’t need to be reading this blog post :-)

But, if you want to check it out anyway, Steve is the one between the pig and the sheep.

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I’m super happy Corey decided to be Steve this year, because we always make his costumes, and Steve is basically a few boxes… Not too bad.  At the bottom of the post, I’ll put pictures of some of Corey’s homemade costumes of the past, but for now, If you want to make your own Steve Halloween Costume… Here’s Steve!

So we aren’t quite done with the costume yet, but close enough to give you the basic idea.  I wanted to get this post up, so you’ll still have a bit of time to make your own Steve before Halloween.  We started with 2 boxes, that luckily, I had in the garage.  The one for the head was 12 inches by 12 inches by 12 inches… the perfect size.  The box for the body was a bit too thick, so I cut and folded and taped until I had forced the box to be 14 inches wide (shoulders) by 12 inches deep, by 22 inches tall.  This seemed to fit eleven-year-old Corey perfectly :-)

We cut a couple of holes for the arms and head, and then Corey tried it on.  Everything worked great!

Next, I had a long skinny box I was able to cut the “shirt sleeves” out of.  I used both ends of the box for the two sleeves. They measure 6 by 6 by 9.

I held the sleeves up to the body, and traced the arm cut outs from the holes in the body, and cut them out.  Turns out, I needed to cut them all the way to the bottom (see photo):

I used packing tape to tape the sleeve to the body.  You can’t see it in the photo, but I basically just wrapped strips of packing tape around the pieces you can see in the photo, that way the tape wouldn’t be visible.  And now we have sleeves!

Next step was easy. Some teal spray paint from the Home Depot, and some flesh colored spray paint for the head.

OK, the spray paint I got for the head was too light.  You can save yourself a step by getting the right color… but at the time, we were going to paint individual squares of color, and that seemed to match the lightest color.  More on that later… or now…

It was time to paint the head.  We drew 1.5 inch squares  in pencil on the front, forming a grid… Again, thinking we would paint each square to look authentic (that gave us an 8 squares by 8 squares grid).  You can see in the picture below, we tried crayons to do the hair… it became obvious it wasn’t going to work…. We decided we would go with a solid color for the face and hair, but the grid was still useful.  It made it easy to find the eyes, mouth, and hair line.  We marked all of those and cut out the eyes and mouth.  The mouth gives a little more visibility for Corey when he’s in the box.

Next, we looked at a picture of Steve and figured out what the sides should look like.  We got a ruler and marked out his hair line on the side… and then the back…  Then it was time to paint.  It just so happens, we have walls in our house that are the same color as Steve’s face and hair.  We painted the head and used some craft paint to mix up some color for his nose.  I think it’s a bit pink, but Corey was happy :-)

Next, we decided it would be easier to attach the head to the body, rather than trying to attach it to Corey’s head in some way (still refer to the picture above).  We accidentally noticed we liked the head if it was slightly tilted down, so we marked the bottom… of the sides… of the head… with a 1 inch slope from the front to the back (the line went from 1 inch on the front to 0 inch at the back).  Then I made a line about 3 inches back from the front, and notched it out (see the picture above). I notched it right up to the sloping line, and then cut along the sloping line to make a nice tilt forward (obviously, I had to do this to both sides of the head).

Then I taped the sides of the head to the body from the inside (not easy… very frustrating), and taped the back of the head to the body on the outside… the tape is visible, but it’s clear, and oh well…

I know it sounds crazy that I have all this stuff lying around the house, but… I found a piece of foam and cut it in two.  I glued it in the box for shoulder pads.  The picture below is from the inside of the box, looking at the foam next to the arm holes, and head hole.

We also made Steve’s pickaxe, but found one for sale locally and ended up using that one.  For the one we made, we basically found the Minecraft pickaxe image online, made it fit full size in a document, and printed two copies. Then glued it to a piece of cardboard, and cut it out. Cut out the second image and glued it to the cardboard… again, pictures to follow at a later date…

We did his pork chop and steak candy bucket in a similar manner…

So here’s Steve!

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Make sure to check out Corey’s Creeper costume and check out my cool books for kids 9 to 13 years old.

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And for the real Minecraft fans… Corey’s stuffed dog Rex did a video review of Minecraft:

Categories: Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Goings On – That Pet Finder Kid – Middle Grade Book

This week marked the launch of my new middle grade book “That Pet Finder Kid – Catnapped”.  Thank you for all the support from my twitter peeps and my facebook friends for helping me have a great release day!  The book managed to climb to #3268 out of over 8,000,000 books currently in print on Amazon.  Below is the graph…

As an indie (self published) author, launching a book is extremely tough.  You have to work with almost no money for advertising, so you have to rely on your social networks to spread the word.  My peeps did an amazing job, but what now?

Well, I released the book trailer, hoping to drum up some interest.  Check it out below:

 

I certainly was lucky to convince my voice over guy, and cover artist to do a little extra work for me… for a steal.  They did a great job!  I’m currently stumbling through setting up a pay per click add on youtube to try to get more views… We’ll see how that goes.

I’m also finishing up a free giveaway of 3 autographed copies of the paperback on goodreads.  The giveaway ends October 21, so hurry if you want to enter!  You can enter right here if you’re interested:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

That Pet Finder Kid - Catnapped by Scott Clements

That Pet Finder Kid – Catnapped

by Scott Clements

Giveaway ends October 21, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

I’m also running a little “pay per click” add on goodreads to see if I can drum up some interest there.

And next, I think I’m going to put both my books in the KDP selects program and see what happens there.  KDP Selects allows Amazon’s premium subscribers to download free movies and ebooks… also comes with free shipping.  I had pretty good luck when I enrolled Gasparilla’s Treasure in KDP Selects back in March, and it may be time to try it again.

Anyhow, that’s the goings on… Visit me on Twitter HERE, or on Facebook HERE.  And give me a twitter follow or facebook like :-)

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Super Simple – Basic – WordPress Setup

So I have a friend that wants to put her poetry on wordpress, but she, like many others, doesn’t play well with technology.  So I thought I’d put together a step by step on how to set up a BASIC, basic, basic, wordpress blog.  I hope this helps her gets her poetry out there so she can share it with you.

———-These page breaks will let you know you’re in a new section————

Go to http://www.wordpress.com

Click the “login” button

either login using your username and password, or click “sign up” to create a new account.  I’m going to assume we don’t have an account, so I’m proceeding with the “sign up” option.

———-Create Your Account———

Enter your email address.

Make up a username (I think there should be no spaces)

Enter a password.

Choose a “blog address”.  The blog address is the web address people will type in to visit your blog (again, do not use spaces, just run the words together).

Click “Create Blog” at the bottom of the page.

———-Check Your Email——-

Now you have to check your email to confirm your registration.  In the email that wordpress sends you, there should be a button that says “activate blog”.  Click that.

For some reason, once I clicked the “activate blog” from the email, it took forever for the wordpress page to load.  After a couple of minutes, I closed it and tried again. This time it came up.

———–Now We Make a Test Blog Post————

Once it loads, click the “New Post” tab near the top left of the screen.

Then click in the “title” area to enter a title, maybe just enter “This Is My Title” for the title to get started.

Then click in the blank/typing area below the title, and type the blog post.  Maybe start with “This is my first amazing blog post” just to see if it works.

Now click the “Publish Post” box.

————A New Webpage Opens————-

Now click the box labeled “view post”. For me, it was a blue box, near the top on the right.

———— Your Blog Post Should Open————–

Notice the website address is [yourusername].wordpress.com with some other junk behind it.

Your Username should be staring you in the face!

Then you should see your title “This is my title”

And you should see your blog post “This is my first amazing blog post”

Your blog is working!

———- Now let’s move on —————

Near the top, left of the screen, you should see a “W” in a circle, and right next to it, your username.

Park your mouse over your username and a list should appear.

Click “Dashboard”

——— A new window should open ———-

This is your dashboard.  This is where I go to do everything.  Make a “bookmark” so you can visit this page often.  Making a bookmark is not a wordpress thing, just make a bookmark like you would for any webpage you like to visit often.

For my friend who wants to put her poetry out there, here’s the easy way to do it, once you are on your dashboard.

Look for the section called “Quickpress”

In the “title” area, enter the title of your poem.

In the “content” area, enter your poem.

Click “publish”

———-Notice there is now a yellow box in the “Quickpress” section ———

If you want to view your post, click “view post” in the new yellow section, or go ahead and enter your next poem.

———If you want to see all your posts—————

On the left side of the “dashboard” screen, there is a button labeled “Posts”. Click on that.

————–You should see all your recent blog posts listed————-

Here you can click on posts to edit them, or click on them and then click view to see them on your blog page.

————If you want to see all your blogs in the order you posted them———-

From your “Dashboard”, click the “Dashboard” button at the top left side of the screen.

Click the “My Blogs” text that appears under the “Dashboard” button.

In the screen that appears, click the text under “address”.  It should be “[your username].wordpress.com”.  Also note, this address is your blog.  You can give it to your friends.

————–Well Done———-

Well, hopefully that’s enough to get you started with a super simple blog!  Comment with questions :-)

Categories: Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Looking For a Pet?

I have described my dog Zoe as an angel sent from heaven to bring joy into my life. She is so precious to me.

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I was in my early to mid twenties when I got Zoe. My wife and I decided we wanted a chocolate lab, so we found a reputable breeder. Before we knew it, we had an eight week old puppy, and she has enriched my life every day since.

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So now, I find myself at forty years old questioning my choice to get a dog from a breeder. There are rescue groups for every breed of dog, and animal shelters are packed with pets in need of homes. As I ponder this, I blame my decision on my own ignorance. I simply did not know how many animals are killed every day. Every pet bought from a puppy store or breeder, equals a pet from a rescue or shelter that must be killed. I had never considered that before getting Zoe. All of my cats are rescues, and they are perfect fits into our family.

I would never trade the experiences I’ve had with Zoe, but I now know I made a bad choice.  I was uninformed. So let’s spread the word and make sure people are informed!

I won’t go into numbers of pets killed every year, but the numbers are staggering. And you would be surprised how many of those are owner surrenders, where the pet became too inconvenient for the owner. Pets are a lot of work, and require a lot of time and money. If you go on a trip, someone needs to take care of your pet. If you work all day and leave your dog at home, he will likely get bored and chew something up.

If you can’t take care of a pet, don’t get one! If you are ready for that commitment, you are in for years of love and warmth from the best friend you can imagine. Just don’t make the same mistake I made. SAVE A LIFE! Rescue a pet in need of a home.

There are generally adoptions at the local pet supermarket every weekend (for me it’s Petsmart), plus rescue groups and animal shelters in every county. There are no shortage of places with tons of animals in need of rescue. If you’re looking for a place to start, check out Best Friends Animal Society; a great group with global reach. But I’m sure you can find a place right around your corner with a friend that will be perfect for you.

A final note. Thank you to my sister Enger who is a hero in the pet saving world :-)  Love you sis!

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