AMBER LOVE 16-MAY-2016 News: My debut mystery novel, Cardiac Arrest, is available. Please go to to sponsor the show, the site, and my work. If you’re already a backer, please make sure you’ve adjusted your pledge for the new Per Month setup.

Download on iTunes, Stitcher, or listen here. **Fair warning, the background of New York City gets pretty loud at times.**

a reason to smile

On the show for the first time is a cartoonist that I’ve known since I think my first year getting into cosplay and comics and the convention scene. JAVIER CRUZ WINNIK has come a long way and is here to share the story of his success with his children’s book A REASON TO SMILE.

Javier talked about the growth he’s experienced as an artist over the past ten years. He admits he wasn’t good at drawing female figures and worked at practicing anatomy through fun challenges like Wolverine Wednesday or Woman Woman Wednesday. It was veteran creator Joe Prado who convinced him to do more than fan art and create his own story.


  • Finding joy in something every day.
  • Try new things.
  • Overcome fear.
  • Show compassion.
  • How burdens are not a universal experience and that people handle troubles differently.
  • It’s okay to need and want help or offer to help someone else.

In A REASON TO SMILE, Luiza is a 10-year-old girl from New York City. She uses her imagination to make up stories in her head of all the people that walk passed her in NYC. Javier promises we’ll see more about the imagination and fantasy in future volumes.


Luiza shows great strength and resilience when she realizes not everyone is happy and that most people have troubles.

Javier’s childhood as a military kid in advanced school classes and a lot of moving around helped form his confidence. That didn’t save him from bullying.



Javier talked all about the careful choices he made in designing Luiza’s outfit, particularly the Taino tree frog (coqui) design on her shirt and the sun design of her barrettes. It was vital to Javier to show the Puerto Rican heritage in a positive light rather than the impoverished thieves typically shown in entertainment. He pointed out the vast void of Latino characters in pop culture.

Javier used those designs on stickers and other items for the Kickstarter backer rewards.


The original Kickstarter goal was $8,000 and ended making 137%. He talked about the shift in being an artist showing off their work to being a businessman and asking for money. Even with this success, it wasn’t enough to cover his shipping costs.

The first volume was done by the time he launched the Kickstarter campaign. For the second one, the volume was started, funded, and it’s being completed now.

@thelearningcurv on Instagram


PR con in May
Orlando for MegaCon
White Plains Comic Con
Denver Comic Con
Garden State Comic Fest


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