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There’s no need to wait until summer to fire up the grill. Amber of SweetAmbs created these awesome Grill Cookies, so you can enjoy burgers, kebabs, and even the brazier itself, which in this case is a delicious Orange Vanilla Spice cookie and not wire, metal, and burning hot coal. The burgers, cheeseburgers, kebabs, grill, and smoldering coals are made of royal icing. It’s an impressive cookie that would make a great post-cookout treat or a wonderful reminder of summer during winter when it’s snowy and cold outside.

Here’s SweetAmbs’ video tutorial for how to make your own Grill Cookies:

Visit the video tutorial website or SweetAmbs’ blog for additional information about this enticing recipe.

[via Foodiggity]

What Goodreads taught me about dealing with criticism.

I used to think there was such a thing as an objectively good book. Which, funnily enough, looked close to exactly like the books I liked. When people talked about how amazing books I thought were “just okay” were, I’d not-so-secretly question their tastes. Had they just not read any actually good books? How could they be so thrilled by something I thought was so banal?

As it happens, it was spending time on Goodreads that led me to reconsider this position.

Amongst authors, Goodreads is often spoken about with trepidation, imagined as a place where disgruntled readers go to talk about everything they hate about the thing you care about most in the world (that being, your book). 

This is ridiculous, of course. As a reader, I don’t relish giving negative reviews. In fact, I try to avoid it, in the event that I meet the author one day, they read what I’ve written, and our relationship is tainted forever. Like most Goodreads users, I use the site to keep track of what I’m reading, and share recommendations with my friends. But that’s how insecure creative folks (that is to say, most creative folks) roll.

So when I discovered that my book now had its very own page on Goodreads, naturally I panicked. And did what every newbie author does: I went to see what people were saying about my book.

Given it won’t be available to buy for another couple of months, they weren’t saying much, so I turned to reading reviews of other books I’d read instead. I read 2-star reviews of books I loved, and 5-star reviews of books I thought were “aggressively mediocre.” (And found the former reviews, perhaps unsurprisingly, more interesting than the latter.) I scrolled through the ratings people I knew had given my favourite books, and scrolled through their own lists of favourites (and was at times startled by our difference of opinion).

And in doing so, I realized something that should be obvious: that opinions are just that, opinions. They’re not a measure of how objectively good or bad a work of art is, but of how deeply the person immersing themselves in it engages with it. And that is an incredibly personal process.

The stories, characters, and ideas that most speak to us aren’t a matter of merit. They are visceral.

All of which is to say, it doesn’t particularly matter if a given individual doesn’t like your work, or even if they just don’t love it as much as we’d all love everyone to love what we create. What matters is not that everyone cares - because that never happens - but that someone out there does.

It’s those people: the instinctive enthusiasts, the people to whom your work reaches out, whose hearts it wrenches, and whose minds it transforms, who matter most. And it’s those people we create for. Everything else is just noise. (Interesting, thought-provoking noise, often enough, but not worth crying into your pillow over. Or driving to the reviewer’s house to confront them, for that matter.)

PS If you like this post, you might also like Schrödinger’s Fat and Friends With Book Deals: AKA the Art of Reviewing People You Know.

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Sketching from the imagination: Sci-fi is out next month. Order it before June 8th and get a free sketchbook thrown in.

Buy it here.

320 pages, 50 artists (including me)…

An inspiring collection of drawings and articles exploring the sketchbooks and artistic practices of 50 talented sci-fi concept artists.

Sketches and drawings are the foundations of great art, where thoughts and concepts first come to life as an image. In Sketching from the Imagination: Sci-fi, 50 talented traditional and digital artists showcase their sketches, share their inspirations, and explain their approaches to drawing sci-fi art. From doodles of robots and aliens, to concept designs for spaceships and speculative life-forms, Sketching from the Imagination: Sci-fi is a visually stunning collection packed with useful tips and creative insights – an invaluable resource that will inspire artists of all abilities.

More amazing stuff from 3dtotal here.

Journey With Eboni & the Lost Queens

Journey With Eboni & the Lost Queens

One of the best emergences to happen in the last few years within the Black community, aside from our growing shamelessness to be who we are, is the growing number of Black businesses, specifically owned and/or created by Black girls/women. From product lines for our hair such as Shea Moisture and Carol’s Daughter, to clothing lines for Black girls that are sizes much bigger than an 8/10 such as…

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"Freedom of Speech"

Give me your
Raw, unfiltered
Truth.
Tell me the words you
Wish to speak.
Do not
Alter them.
Do not
Hinder them.
Share these symbols of your mind.
Not with deceitful intent.
Not with hidden falsities.
Not with ideals to impress.
But to
Communicate
What is real to you.
Do not
Be ashamed.
Do not
Cast judgement.
Do not
Have fear.
For this is
Your truth.
And I
Accept it as that.