Words to Live By

Putting crayons in the dryer is an ineffective way of dying fabrics.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Ready. Set. Write! Week 7

So I'm not doing so great with the iron. Apparently doing cardio is too much for me with the iron (sharp stabbing pains). Not that I'm going to stop trying. It's also made me very tired all week, so I haven't gotten much done. 


My goals for last week:

Continue to work on dummies and layout illustrations.
Work on new spot illustrations.
Send out interview questions. 

I didn't really work on any of these this week. My day off was spent mostly in correspondence to other writers/illustrators. I got to do a cover reveal this week so that was fun! Another interview came back to me this week, so I have interviews for the next two weeks. I also got word that my bio/writer's journey is going to be published on August 5 on Julie Hedlund's blog.

I was able to take my dummy to my SCBWI Illustrator's meeting and get good feedback there. I'm thinking about attending the writer's meeting next week. I may just bring a different manuscript to this meeting.


Continue to work on dummies and layout illustrations.
Write some articles for the SCBWI Bulletin.
Work on new black and white spot illustrations.
Send out interview questions. 

My goals aren't changing too much this week. I am going to try to write some articles for the Bulletin this week. I have been meaning to do so for a long time. I have ideas for several articles and I need to get them written down!


Just so very tired!


Iron and a crazy kid.


Even though I'm getting changes suggested to me I think it's almost ready.

This year, your RSW hosts are Alison MillerKaty UppermanErin Funk, and Jamie Morrow. Please visit their blogs to help continue great events such as this!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Cover Reveal - NINE BY NIGHT

A thanks to Jesi Lea Ryan who was so nice to share this cover reveal with us!


Cover Reveal - NINE BY NIGHT

Another fabulous cover by Damonza! What do you think?



"From vampires to empaths, to the grim reaper himself, this bundle will keep you on the edge of your seat. I dare you to try and put it down!" SHANNON MAYER - author of THE RYLEE ADAMSON NOVELS and THE NEVERMORE TRILOGY

Nine books. Nine bestselling authors. Nine heroines that take names—and chances—while confronting dark foes, whether by force of arms or magic, that threaten their entire world.
Over two-thousand pages of epic reading await! Let the adventures begin.

From NYT and USA Today Bestselling Author, SM REINE, WITCH HUNT –– Shaman on the run. Isobel Stonecrow speaks with the dead...for the right price. She brings closure to the bereaved and heals broken hearts. But when she resurrects someone for the wrong client, she ends up on the OPA's most wanted list.

From NYT and USA Today Bestselling author, CJ ELLISSON, DEATH’S SERVANT –– Jonathan Winchester has clashed with his werewolf alpha one too many times. He returns to Virginia to find work and meets a young waitress, Raine. As their relationship progresses, Jon's embroiled in more intrigue than he bargained for and a danger bigger than he can handle.

From bestselling author, LINDSAY BUROKER, TORRENT –– When Delia chose to major in archaeology, she imagined herself as the female Indiana Jones of the Southwest. She didn't imagine herself stumbling across decapitated bodies in old mine shafts or learning that monsters are real…

From bestselling author, ANTHEA SHARP, SPARK –– What if a high-tech game was a gateway to the treacherous Realm of Faerie? Superstar gamer Spark Jaxley's life might look easy, but she's part of an elite few who guard a shocking secret; the Realm of Faerie exists, and its dark magic is desperate for a foothold in the mortal world.

From bestselling authors BOONE BRUX and CJ ELLISSON, DEATH TIMES TWO –– The V V Inn has a ghost problem. New grim reaper, Lisa Carron, accepts the job. She quickly learns the hotel is full of the dearly departed—and she’s working for vampires. Throw in Asa, a young vamp hot enough to melt the Arctic ice, and Lisa realizes she’s way out of her element.

From bestselling author, JC ANDRIJESKI, ROOK: ALLIE’S WAR EPISODES 1-4 –– Like most humans, Allie distanced herself from Seers, a race of human-like beings discovered on Earth. Yanked out of her life by the mysterious Revik, Allie finds out her blood may not be as “human” as she thought, the world is nothing like it appears to be...and she has more in common with Seers than she ever wanted to believe.

From bestselling author, ANNIE BELLET, JUSTICE CALLING –– Gamer. Nerd. Sorceress. Jade Crow lives a quiet life running her comic book and game store in Wylde, Idaho. After twenty-five years fleeing from a powerful sorcerer who wants to eat her heart and take her powers, quiet suits her just fine. Surrounded by friends who are even less human than she is, Jade figures she's finally safe. As long as she doesn't use her magic…

From bestselling author, JESI LEA RYAN, ARCADIA’S GIFT –– Teenager Arcadia (Cady) Day’s family tragedy unleashes a hidden power. After experiencing what can only be called a psychic episode, her home life crumbles. As her emotional control slips away, Cady begins to suspect that her first psychic episode was just the beginning…

From Urban Fantasy author, KARA LEGEND, WILD NIGHT ROAD –– One innocent hex sets off a chain reaction of trouble among the shifters of the Kinraven that threatens war between werewolves, seraphim and witches. Lilith Darke will do anything to be free of her seraphim master. All hell breaks loose when rival packs face off only to discover a new, deadly threat that will take all their magick to survive.

NINE BY NIGHT releases 8/03/2014 on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and other e-book retailers.

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Nine By Night

Friday, July 18, 2014

Interview With Marcia Strykowski

Marcia Strykowski is a writer of Teen Fiction novels. Her first novel "Call Me Amy" was published in 2013. This book focuses on the life of Amy a teenager who finds a wounded young seal pup and the relationships that form surrounding this pup. Marcia's second novel "Amy's Choice" is the continuation of Amy's story. "Amy's Choice" deals with the strong decisions she must make in regards to the relationships she has made (both new and old).

Her website is reminiscent of a lovely day at the beach. Everything about her website and blog shows her natural affinity for the ocean. I can almost hear the waves splashing up against the side of my house as I do this interview. I know I haven't done justice in describing Marcia's books so I'll allow her to tell you more!


Dani: When you were a kid what was your dream job?

Marcia: Hmm, a tough question right off the bat. :) But I’m glad for it, because it’s made me remember how interested I was in puppetry when I was a kid. For years, I thought it would be awesome to be part of a puppet troupe, from making the puppets to performing. Now that I reminisce, I still think it would be great fun.

Dani: Red or blue?

Marcia: I guess I’ll choose red. I’ve always loved bright fire-engine red, although in the last few years, I’m partial to a variety of blue shades, too (as shown by my very blue website).

Dani: What inspired you to write your Amy books?

Marcia: The setting for Call Me Amy and Amy’s Choice developed from strong memories of my grandparents’ home on the coast of Maine. Amy started out as a short story, but kept evolving until eventually it became two ‘tween’ novels. Once I got started, I felt motivated to tell Amy’s story and how she finds the courage to speak up and believe in herself.

Dani: How did you do the research for “Call me Amy” and “Amy's Choice”?

Marcia: I did a lot of online checking to make sure everything was true to the setting and time period. I also used one of those novelty-type calendars that displays important events, music, TV shows, etc. of 1973. Between the two books, I attended a seal release where, after much nurturing, the recovered seal pups are returned to the ocean—my favorite kind of research! The photograph shows the first seal heading down to the water.

Dani: Which of these two books was hardest to write?

Marcia: Book one, Call Me Amy, took forever to write, partly because I kept putting it down and partly because I wasn’t sure where I was going with it, at first. Book two, Amy’s Choice, pretty much wrote itself in less than a year.

Dani: Are your future books going to focus on Amy, or do you have something new in mind?

Marcia: I am working on something new for the same age group. My third novel will have a completely different setting and characters. It will feature a boy with a unique pastime who lives in a big city.


Follow Marcia:

Website: http://marciastrykowski.com/
Call Me Amy: http://marciastrykowski.com/call-me-amy/
Amy's Choice: http://marciastrykowski.com/amys-choice/

Monday, July 14, 2014

Ready, Set, Write! Week 6

I got a surprise on Friday. The Dr. told me I had low iron. I've been weak lately but I didn't think it was that bad! I also ended up going to the ER Sunday because of a nasty combination of taking iron pills, having a sinus headache and overheating (I thought it was something more than this). 

Because of my current exhaustion levels I've decided to do only one update post a week (no What's Up Wednesday! for the summer). I'm also going to still do a weekly drawing, but I think I'm going to have to use that to show process drawings as well as full drawings. Okay, let's get on with the show!


My goals for last week:

Continue to work on dummies and layout illustrations.
Work on new spot illustrations.
Send out interview questions. 

Finish up this contest entry.

I just realized that I didn't finish last week's goals for last week... or at least I didn't finish my sentence. All I posted was: "I did work on some greeting cards this week for a contest. yo" I rarely use the term "yo" but maybe it's an inner voice trying to tell me something!

I finished scanning my dummy and sent it out to my group. I wasn't able to work on any layout illustrations or spot illustrations. I was able to come up with some questions even though I didn't send out any new interview questions. I was going to do three contest entries, but I only ended up with one. One is still achieving something!


Continue to work on dummies and layout illustrations.
Work on new spot illustrations.
Send out interview questions. 

My goals this week are going to stay the same as last week minus the contest entry that's already done!


"I did work on some greeting cards this week for a contest. yo" 


Having low iron and just feeling exhausted!


I scanned, sent out and got some feedback on my first dummy!

This year, your RSW hosts are Alison MillerKaty UppermanErin Funk, and Jamie Morrow. Please visit their blogs to help continue great events such as this!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Wendy Lynn Decker

I've invited the wonderful Wendy Lynn Decker to my blog today to talk about her new novel "Sweet Tea" which has been enchanting both the young and young at heart. She is currently on tour for "Sweet Tea" through July 18th. You can see her last two stops and and read more about Wendy on her website here: http://www.wendylynndeckerauthor.com/ Wendy also wrote the novel "The Bedazzling Bowl". You can buy the first edition of this book on Amazon . The second edition of "The Bedazzling Bowl" will be available on Amazon soon!

Get yourself a cold glass of sweet tea, sit outside in the shade, and enjoy this interview with Wendy.


Dani: If you didn't become a writer, what would you be?

Wendy: I would be a tour guide in some place awesome like Hawaii. Or I would be a singer on a cruise ship...but not a singing tour guide! Haha (Dani: I personally think a singing tour guide would be awesome.)

Dani: Name one opportunity you wish you had as a child?

Wendy: I wish I had the opportunity to have a loving father. My father left my family when I was five, and I have always wondered what life would have been like if he were a good guy, and he stayed.

Dani: “The Bedazzling Bowl” came out a few years ago, what's this book about?

The Bedazzling Bowl is a middle grade novella that is based on a bible verse and a little girl who's name is Aly M. Bellisher. It's a funny, sweet and enlightening book for that age group (7-11) which tells a story of how sometimes you don't learn lessons the conventional way, you need to experience them through life's journey.

Dani: What's one thing people should know about “Sweet Tea” before reading?

Wendy: Sweet Tea is a story about relationships between friends, family members as well as strangers whom all have a purpose to one another. Also, it's not an all out depressing story. I love the trailer, but I think the background sounds might give that impression. The story does have a serious theme and gripping moments, but I weave a lot of dark humor throughout. (Sorry, that is more than one thing.) :-)

Dani: Tell us about the trailer for “Sweet Tea”. Did you make it yourself or did you have help?

Wendy: I hired Tim Eddy, (Nifty Production) from Austrailia to do the book trailer. I had seen other trailers he had done for authors, and I thought he was really talented at his craft. I sent him a synopsis of my story and he sent me a first draft. After a few tweaks back and forth through email, he understood the feel I wanted for the story, and I allowed him to have fun with his own creative input. My favorite part is the bird landing on the book. I told him I wanted that; but in my mind I pictured a real bird landing on the book! When I saw the way he created the cardinal and how he had it not only land on the book, but the cardinal became a part of the book cover as it was designed, I was blown away!

Dani:  As I am writing this you are in the middle of your book tour. What things have you learned while on tour?

Wendy: I have learned many things on my book tour. First, I have learned to read slower. :-) I also learned that many people are glad to know that my book is clean in the sense there is no foul language or graphic sex scenes (though the story touches on these topics). People I have met have told me they want to read more positive stories. My book has a theme of mental illness and some tough situations are dealt with, but it also has a theme of hope running throughout.

Also, since I am a panster and not a plotter, I had to learn to prepare a basic format to guide myself while doing an author visit. I've also learned to always be prepared to adapt to changes. Recently, I went to a beautiful facility. They had everything set up for me (I usually bring my own microphone and small PA). This time, everything, including a PA, table and mic was set up. The room looked lovely. Then suddenly, the electricity went out after only about six people had shown up. I still went on, but the situation was more intimate, and I enjoyed it very much. I also got asked back for another visit, which actually works out to my benefit now that some of the residents bought the book and can tell the others!

Dani: You write a YA Novel and it's beloved by senior citizens – how did you manage that?

Wendy: I am a singer. I sing for many different venues, but primarily, I travel around the state entertaining at senior facilities. I often go to the same places every other month or so, and the residents have gotten to know me. When I told them I was a writer, and I had just come out with a new book they asked what it was about. Of course, I proceeded to give them a synopsis. They were all ears! They really liked the book's premise and asked if I would do a reading at the facility. I figured why not? They already like what I told them about the story, and I even told them it was geared to the YA audience.

Well, after I did the first author visit, my singing manager began booking me author visits in addition to my singing shows. Word spread and other Activity Directors began calling us and asking me to come to their facilities. During my visits, I also do a bit of NJ author trivia, and I talk about writing and I share some personal information with the audience as well as do a Q&A, and then I do a reading. Like I mentioned, the story is about a family, not just a teen girl, and I think the seniors enjoy all the elements of the story and it may touch upon issues they have faced in their own lives as well.


Follow Wendy:

You can pick up a paperback copy of "The Bedazzling Bowl" here or the Kindle version here.
"Sweet Tea" paperback is here or you can pick up the Kindle version here.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

What's Up Wednesday!

I was not able to get to the interview with Wendy Decker last week. It's probably for the best, because both the US and Canada had holidays last week. I will be running that interview this week!

What I'm Reading
I got my Kindle in the mail so I've downloaded a bunch of books. I haven't gotten very far in any books yet. I've started Ksenia Anske's "Siren Suicides: I Choose to Die" and Amy Good's "ROOTED". Both books have promising starts! Hopefully I can read more this week. 

What I'm Writing/Drawing 

My website is up and running now! It's not quite as pretty as I'd like it to be, but it does it job for now. You can visit it here: http://www.daniduck.com/

I have been working this week on some images for a Strathmore greeting card contest. The artwork is due friday and I don't have anything done yet. I'm hoping I can get at least one good image to submit!

Every Day Possible
Work on spot illustrations and dummy creation.

Wed 06/25
- What's Up Wednesday Post. Done!

Thursday 06/26
- 2 insane toddlers + 1 pool + 1 slide = 1 crazy day!

Friday 06/27
- Interview with  Wendy Decker (today for sure)! Soon to come is Marcia Strykowski and Cynthia Henzel.
- 2nd Dummy and Illustration work.

Saturday 06/28
2nd Dummy and Illustration work.

Sunday 06/29
- A bit of Football or a bit of Soccer (depending where you live).


Monday 06/30
- Maybe the magic fairy will come and let me rest for a day!

Tuesday 07/01

- Insanity and Chaos.

Wednesday 07/02

- What's Up Wednesday!

What Inspires Me Right Now
Funny 3 year olds named David.

What Else I've Been Up To

Toddler Minding 
He's just so silly!

Working out is not so good, but I'm trying!

*What's up Wednesday is part of Jamie Morrow's summer writing intensive: "Ready. Set. WRITE!" There are other host blogs including: Erin L. FunkAlison MillerKaty Upperman, and Elodie Nowodazkij.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Mermaid Blowing Bubbles

My fairy creature of the day is a mermaid I did in painter. Just a fun quick drawing. I don't know painter that well so I'm getting use to what it can handle. I hope you like my mermaid!