Sunday, March 30, 2014

Winter Lovelies

A couple of more winter lovelies for you today. Today's little guys are a Panda and a Snowman.
These are both very small drawings. 2.5" x 3.5"

Friday, March 28, 2014

Interview With Tracey M. Cox

I am happy to have Tracey M. Cox on my blog. I thought for certain that I had done a blog review with her in the past, but it seems that's not the case (I will have to remedy that in the future). I did write a blog post for her blog ages ago and have enjoyed reading her blog since I've discovered it's existence.

Tracey is the author and photographer for the book Arachnabet. I wont hesitate to say you are going to love reading what Tracey has to say even if you don't like spiders. I don't like spiders and I very much enjoyed reading her answers to my questions. Now without further ado here is my interview with Tracey. 

One last thing that I have to mention. I keep spelling Tracey's name wrong. I'm so sorry for that! (Not that she's ever complained. She's awesome like that.

Here is part of Tracey's bio in her own words. To see the whole bio click here
When the boys were little, I told them stories at bedtime. Stories of heroes and villains, giants and bears, and all sorts of other characters, and the adventures they all went on. One night Austin asked if I knew any other stories. I thought really hard and remembered my papa's story of three frogs and how they had to find a new home. When I finished the story Nelson said, "Mom, THAT would make a cool book!" and he fell fast asleep. I thought, "Why not?" 

That January night in 2000 was when I decided to become a children's writer. I haven't looked back since. I have stepped forward by joining organizations, taking classes, doing writing challenges, reading a lot of 'how-to' books, attending conferences, and talking with my fellow children's writers. 

Dani: What is the first book you remember buying?

Tracey: Oh my... I have bought so many I can't remember which one was first. *laughing* I can say that I don't ever remember a time when there weren't books present in my house.

Dani: Talk Radio, Book on CD or Music in the car?

Tracey: Music. I love to sing. My second passion. :)

Dani: What inspired you to write Arachnabet?

Tracey: Would you believe it is because I was looking through a book catalog. I noticed this one publishing house had tons of ABC books, but none on spiders...
And the idea stuck.

Dani: Did Arachnabet have to be about scary spiders?

Tracey: :) The majority of the spiders in the book are not poisonous. I agree about scary spiders though. I do NOT like spiders to the point of hyperventilating not liking them. After nine months of research, I have found that I'm not as scared of them anymore. In fact, some of them are really beautiful! BUT I don't go looking for them. hahaha.

Dani: What can you tell us about Christmas Angels with Guardian Angel and The Children at the Playground?

Tracey: Christmas Angels deals with Volunteerism. It takes the view point of two children... one who is well off and one who isn't. They both learn that the gift of giving is wonderful.
The Children At the Playground is a remix of The Wheels on the Bus and explores the different things to do at the playground and promotes exercising.

Dani: How does doing photos for a picture book differ from illustrations?

Tracey: I think with pictures what you see is more concrete. It shows you things that have happened. Illustrations give your mind more access to the possibilities.

Dani: Please tell us about your involvement in the Books Love & Taters Book Festival.

Tracey: I am the director and owner of Books Love & Taters Book Festival. I live in a small rural community in South Georgia. Our closest book festival is over 3 hours away. :( I saw a need to promote literacy in my community. Our literacy rate is not very good. After several years of planning, I launched the Books Love & Taters Book Festival to coincide with the Georgia Sweet Potato Festival that takes place in my town on the same day. Our little community of 4,000 spikes to close to 10,000 for the weekend. I use the arts & crafts venue (that our local mental & physically challenged facility puts on as their fundraiser) to hold the book festival event. This gives us tons of foot traffic and what better way to showcase authors and their books AND get people excited about literacy.

Dani: What's next for you in your career?

Tracey: I'm taking my doodling to another level. :) Yep, I want to begin illustrating. I also want to be able to support myself fully as an author. So my Author Visits are top on that list too. I don't think I will ever stop challenging myself. :) Learning is fun and it is also growth.

Here are the links:
twitter: @traceymcox

Tracey M. Cox
children's book author

Local Liaison of South Georgia for Southern Breeze Region of SCBWI
Books Love & Taters Book Festival, Director
Shaping Up the Year - Guardian Angel Publishing (June, 2009)
Ribbert's Way Home - Guardian Angel Publishing (October, 2010)
Liddil Gets Her Light - Guardian Angel Publishing (June, 2011)
Just the Thing To Be - Guardian Angel Publishing (December, 2011)
Angels Do That - Guardian Angel Publishing (August, 2012)
Arachnabet - Guardian Angel Publishing (January, 2013)
Cam's Asthma - 4RV Publishing (Sept/Oct, 2015)

Dani: I sincerely apologize for any weird formatting that may have occurred with this post!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Cherie Colyer's Blog

Cherie Colyer writes Young Adult and Middle Grade Fantasy Novels. Many of the interviews and books reviewed on her site also fall into the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre. If you are looking for a great fantasy book you will definitely want to check out Cherie's site. You can visit her blog here:

One fun part about Cherie's blog is that she has a great amount of Cover Reveals. Because of this you get to enjoy a lot of fun art/photography on the covers of these books. If cover art isn't enough for you, then rejoice. There are lots of book trailers on Cherie's blog as well. If you are a writer you might get some ideas for your own book trailer (Bonus)!

There are a lot of Interviews, Cover Reveals and Giveaways on Cherie's blog. When any book is introduced on the site Cherie is sure to include all the important information. There is the basic publishing information including the price of the book, but Cherie doesn't stop there. Almost without fail every book has a synopsis, author bio, where to find it, and a link to Goodreads so you can put the book to your to read list! It's really everything you need to know about a book before picking it up.

Cherie's Giveaways are second to none. If it's swag you are after you will find it on her blog. I was floored with the shear amount of giveaways she had! I counted three giveaways on the first view-able page of her blog! Many of these may be finished by the time you read this. Do not despair! All of these contests ran in the second half of March. I can not guarantee that there will be a ton of giveaways next month, but I can say that if she did a bunch one month, then there almost certainly will be tons in the future!

There is so much to Cherie's blog and I just realized that I'm not sure if I can cover it all in this post! The layout of the blog is fantastic. Yes, blogger blogs are all very similar, but some are very cluttered and others are quite nice. Everything goes nicely together. The fonts, photos, colours, links, ect all go together quite well. It is very organized and I am not shocked at all at the number of followers she has gained. Well deserved indeed.

I can't finish this review without mentioning Cherie's resources! She has a ton of writing resources. Unlike many sites she isn't just focusing on the adult writers. She has a whole section of resources for teen writers! These include a few books and a great amount of online resources for teen writers. Under resources -> writers are some great articles that Cherie has written from her own writing experience. She also has a ton of links of interest to all writers.

I loved exploring Cherie's blog. Fantasy books are my bread and butter. Don't get me wrong, I read all sorts of books, but I have a soft spot for Fantasy stories. I will keep going back in the future to find more books to read! Before I sign off I want to say that Cherie Colyer's new book "Challenging Destiny" is now available on Kindle! You can read more about her book on her website: There is also a lot of information about the book on her blog as well, so check it out!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What's Up Wednesday!

It was a crazy week this week! Wait, no it was a perfectly normal week for me. I can't say anything out of the ordinary happened, but I just feel like I'm busier than usual. I wasn't able to get to my blog review on Tuesday but maybe I can pick that back up tomorrow (toddler willing). I was able to sit in on an Art Class this past Saturday. It was a lot of fun watching the children work and Art was a great instructor. My only hope is that I can be half as good as he is now.

What I'm Reading

I just found my book today, so hopefully I'll have time to read it by next Wednesday.

What I'm Writing/Drawing 

I was able to do some painting today. I think I'm about 90% done with the three paintings I've been working on lately. I think after this I'll take a break and do some spot illustration.

For the 12 x 12 I haven't done as much as I was hoping to. I do have a couple of drafts going this month, so that's good. They are thumbnail sketches and aren't fully formed as ideas yet, but I'll work on that soon enough. I might even be able to say I have a book for this month's draft. Though it will very likely be a wordless picture book.

As of last night I'm up to 15,003 words for my YA novella draft for the Chapter Book Challenge. This is a yearly challenge to write a chapter book. My story is of the superhero sort. I don't think I'm going to have any trouble to get the last 10,000 words of my story done, but I don't know if I'll be happy keeping it as a novella. I will likely break down and write another 25,000 words to make it a proper YA novel. After that's done I'll go from there. Who knows, I may just end up with a graphic novel in the end.

Every Day Possible
-  Portfolio Work
- Writing my YA novel

Wed 03/26
- Post What's Up Wednesday Post - done
- Work on Illustrations - Never done, but progress was made today!

Thursday 03/27
Work on some paintings and preparations for my Art Instructor position.

Friday 03/28

- Interview with Tracey M. Cox!
- Spending time with friends.

Saturday 03/29

- Toddler Birthday Party

Sunday 03/30

More interviews!

Monday 03/31

- Discovering what the Boot Scoot Boogie entails. 

Tuesday 04/01

- Blog review... likely

- Finding things to do with my boy.

Wednesday 04/02

- What's Up Wednesday!

What Inspires Me Right Now

My husband! <- Yes I said this last week but I'm too lazy to change it! Yep, instead of changing it I tell you why I didn't change it. 

What Else I've Been Up To

Toddler Minding 
He's completely insane when he's sick. COMPLETELY INSANE!

Hoping that I can start teaching art soon!

*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, March 25, 2014

Your Regularly Scheduled Blog Review Post

Hi, everyone,

Sorry I will not be able to do your regularly scheduled blog post today. I was very busy today with a play date for my son. This play date lead to a splitting headache because my son was screaming bloody murder in the car. I will try to have this for Thursday. Your regularly scheduled What's Up Wednesday post and Interview are all set for this week.

With deepest sympathy and regrets,

Dani Duck

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Snowball Fight

Quackers and Dooley engaged in a snowball fight. They were both done individually and weren't meant to be together, but I think in some ways I did picture them together. I don't know how cold it is wherever you are reading this blog from, but it's fairly warm here. They must have gone up one of the mountains to get that snow.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Interview With Angie Karcher

Angie Karchar is one of the wonderful wonderful writers I've met recently. I think it was actually because of Meg Miller that I discovered her. We both won wonderful paintings of ourselves (mine is to the upper right of this blog). I don't want to take up too much of your time with my text. I'll let Angie tell you about herself in her own words. Enjoy! 

Meet Angie Karcher
I live in Indiana with my husband and four teens. Yes, I said 4 TEENS…can you imagine? I am blessed with an understanding husband who lets me chase my dream of writing. Married 23 years in July, we have found a great balance of organized chaos!

I love reading on the beach, swinging in a hammock, sitting by a campfire and traveling.

My first book signing at 

Barnes and Noble November 2012
As a family, we have skied in Vermont, steamed lobster in Maine, watched the Macy’s Parade in NYC and the fireworks over The Statue of Liberty, camped on the beach in Destin, Florida, and stayed in a North Carolina cabin with water fed directly from a mountain stream with a 100 foot waterfall.

My favorite beagle, Gracie and miniature dachshund, Lucy are my writing assistants! I write by the light of the moon and sleep during the daytime, like a vampire. They just sleep all the time as they don’t know whether it’s day or night.

I am the author of 2 non-fiction books for kids. WHERE THE RIVER GRINS is a history, resource book for 3rd graders about the city I live in. It is used in all 3rd grade classrooms in Evansville to teach local history. THE LEGENDARY R.A.COWBOY JONES comes out this spring and is a MG biography about a 70 year old jockey who still races horses.

I have a passion for writing humorous poetry, historical fiction and rhyming picture books. I encourage parents and teachers to read rhyme to children frequently as it encourages language development and fosters a love of reading.

I am the creator of RhyPiBoMo, (Rhyming Picture Book Month) a writing challenge for children’s writers to improve their poetry and rhyming skills, in April.

Dani: What is the first book you remember your parents (or other family members) reading to you?

Angie: I remember lots of Dr. Seuss books being read to my brother and me. I’m sure that’s where my love for rhyming came from! We went to the library every week for story time and checked out bags of books. As for a specific book, I think hearing Charlotte’s Web read to me by our school librarian, had the greatest impact on me. It opened up a world of magical, talking animals, heart wrenching sadness and love. I wrote my first book for Young Authors in 3rd grade and it was a mystery about a missing animal.

Dani: Who is your greatest supporter in your own picture book journey?

Angie: Definitely my family! As I mentioned, I work crazy hours as my brain seems to work better at night, so I write from about 8:00pm to 4:00a.m. I take my youngest son to school at 7:00 and then sleep until noon…then repeat. This is a challenge on the weekends as I am always either working or sleeping. I do always make time for them but while we are together, I am usually yawning. I think this work/sleep pattern started when my kids were young and I needed 8 hours of uninterrupted work time. If you can imagine what it’s like having 4 teenagers, try to imagine 4 kiddos under age 6. I barely remember those blurry days!

Dani: Cake or Pie?

Angie: This is an easy answer…I am a cheesecake girl! I took my oldest daughter to New York City last spring and we stayed in this adorable studio apartment in Manhattan. It happened to be right across the street from a Magnolia Bakery. I had New York cheesecake every day we were there. It was life changing!

Dani: Where did you get the idea to do RhyPiBoMo?

Angie: I submitted a rhyming manuscript to a well-respected agent last fall and she liked it but said that she only accepts rhyme from poets. I asked her what criteria she had for someone to be considered a poet. She said “Someone who reads poetry daily, writes poetry daily, studies the craft of poetry writing, and is a member of poetry organizations and critique groups. ” Hmmm…I had been writing children’s poetry and rhyming picture books for years and am a 12 year member of SCBWI but I certainly didn't fit into all those categories. I was also frustrated with the typical response at conferences from the faculty, other writers, and the world in general that if you write in rhyme, you are not a serious writer.

I am a serious writer. I thrive at writing rhyme. It is my passion and I have nearly stopped submitting rhyme altogether because of the advice given. I do realize that editors receive tons of really terrible rhyme and that is the reason for their jolting response. It was time to do something about it! So, while participating in Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo I began to think about a rhyming challenge for writers to help us improve our writing and study the craft of writing poetry/rhyme instead of continuing to feed the editors what they don’t want. April was the perfect month as it is National Poetry Month and although many authors are busy with spring school visits, it was before summertime and all that entails.

So, April it was! I researched to see if there were any other rhyming picture book events and quickly came to see that there is very little for writers of rhyme and poetry at all. RhyPiBoMo (Rhyming Picture Book Month) was the perfect title because it even rhymed in an AABB pattern! I happened to be taking The Hero’s Art Journey Class with Mira Reisberg and Maya Gonzalez, so I held a logo contest within that group of wonderful artists and Gayle Wing O’Donnell won. She created the gorgeous Willy S. on his parchment background and quoted him saying “The Rhyme’s the thing wherein I’ll speak the words and let them sing.” My heart melted. I had a title and I had a logo…I was off to the races!

I created The RhyPiBoMo Facebook group and writers joined by the dozens…I had 100 members in nearly a week. We have suggested lists of rhyming picture books. We have a list of editors who accept rhyme. Dawn Young is busy setting up critique groups now. If you are interested in joining a rhyme/poetry critique group please join the Facebook group ASAP. It is a very supportive community and I hope it will stay active long after April is past.

Dani: What does Rhyming Picture Book Month entail?

Angie: Writers who are interested in improving or learning the craft of writing poetry and rhyming picture books will register to participate in this 35 day event Starting March 30th and ending ion April 3rd. I needed more than 30 days.

First, participants read and agree to the daily activities listed on the pledge. Once they feel that they can meet these requirements, they register for the event by completing the comment form and leaving a comment about the event.

By commenting, this makes them eligible for the daily prizes that will be awarded on Sunday for the previous week. This will allow folks to catch up and comment by Saturday night each week.
For example: If you are out of town Monday – Friday and can’t participate, come home Saturday, get busy reading the posts, the daily lessons, the picture books and writing the poems. When and if you have caught up on each day, then go and comment for those days. This will make you eligible for a prize drawing on Sunday. If you don’t comment daily, you are not eligible.

The goal is to keep people involved and not get behind so much that they give up and quit. I’ve had questions about participation. It is completely on an honor system but basically, if you participate on Tuesday, comment on Tuesday. If you don’t get caught up, don’t worry about it and move on…catch up later.

Dani: Tell us a bit of what you had to do to get this project going.

Angie: I first had to gather a group of wonderful bloggers. I started a wish list. Ruth McNally Barshaw, Tara lazar and Corey Rosen Schwartz helped me make a few connections by introducing me to some of the bloggers through email. It was honestly very easy to find people to sign on. It certainly helped once I had Jane Yolen and Lee Bennett Hopkins to add credibility to my event. The more bloggers I got…the more bloggers I got!

Once the calendar was full, I started writing the daily lessons. I am still finishing those up now and I’m learning so much. I’d say this begins to cover the “Studying my Craft” portion of my checklist to become a poet. Next, I created a blog. Angie Karcher ~ Writing, Storytelling, Poetry and Illustration

Apparently the best way to learn how to blog is to host a huge event for writers! I am a Learn-by-the-seat-of-my-pants-girl so I learned how to use Wordpress, how to network on social media and much, much more. A year ago I think I had about 12 followers on Facebook and I didn’t have a clue what Twitter was.
Oh, and there were prizes to gather and a poetry contest to organize with judges. It has been a huge undertaking but I have enjoyed every minute of meeting amazing authors and many wonderfully supportive folks who also have a passion for children’s rhyme and poetry.

Dani: Can you let us know who some of the planned guests are for this event?

I can actually tell you who all the guest bloggers are…Here is the calendar!

I think from start to finish, it only took me 3 weeks to fill all the bloggers spots and I actually had to turn a few authors away and promise them spots for next year, as they heard about the event and wanted to participate. These guest bloggers are amazingly generous people to donate their time and many of them donated prizes and some even donated critiques. The rhyming community is a tight knit group of writers that I am happy to say have embraced me and RhyPiBoMo warmly.

Dani: What do you hope that people get out of RhyPiBoMo?

Angie: I hope people decide if they are truly a rhymer or not. If you participate in this event and look forward to the next day’s lessons, guest blog posts, poem writing and picture book reading then you are probably, innately, a rhymer! If not, that doesn’t mean that you should give up on the dream of being a rhyming picture book author, just that you will have to work twice as hard if it doesn’t come naturally to you. Like a musical talent or a gifted artist, writing poetry and rhyme is also a gift that is a part of your being. There are many musicians and artists that have studied their craft over a lifetime to the point that they are considered a professional. They had to start somewhere.

My goal is for writers who participate to see how difficult writing quality rhyme truly is and decide if it is something they still want to pursue. I also want to help them learn more about this genre of children’s literature that I’m afraid to say my new friend Lee Bennett Hopkins said is likened to “The step child of the language arts.”

I have a huge focus on poetry during the daily lessons. This is because rhyme is just the teeny-weeny tip of the rhyming picture book ice burg. Most of the good stuff is concealed under the water as poetic styles, techniques and forms. I believe that it is essential to have an understanding of what it is we are doing to do it well…and to be a professional. I’m checking off a few more boxes on my way to being a professional poet. I’m so happy to have this wonderful group of writers join me on my journey!

Check out Angie on the Web:

Twitter account: @Ankar2013



Thursday, March 20, 2014

Anna Todaro's Blog

Okay, I'm going to admit to searching specifically for an illustrator to review for my blog today. I have nothing against writers being one myself, but I feel like I've been giving the writers all the love! Illustrators deserve love too! (<-Possible bumper sticker idea?) This week I'm reviewing Anna Tordaro's blog. You can visit Anna's blog here:

A lot of Anna's work is in acrylics. She uses very soft colours. I'd almost say that her entire portfolio is filled with a pastel pallet, except that she offsets her softer colours with vibrant hues. I also feel there is a bit of a native influence on Anna's paintings. I think it's the strong, defined shapes she has in many of her paintings (especially those with bird wings). Nature also plays a prominent role in her paintings even when the painting is a portrait which further makes me feel there is a bit of a native influence (though I don't see any evidence of this on her blog). She is influenced by folk art, and this is quite evident in her paintings. I don't know if I would categorize Anna's art as folk because her paintings are a bit too ethereal for that. One quality that I love about her acrylic paintings is that they very much feel like watercolour paintings. You can view her artwork here and tell me what you think:

I think I'd be wrong to categorize Anna as just an illustrator, because she is much more than that. From what I've seen of Anna's blog she is just as much of a writer as she is an illustrator. After scanning through a few short posts I began to see a few of Anna's stories/poems. The rhyming poems are quite funny and whimsical. I think of the three I saw I like the Mother Heron story the best. This story is very folk, but also seems a bit Native. I do want to ask Anna herself about this, but I also a firm believer that art speaks louder than words. Sometimes I also find that it ruins the effect knowing too much about a paintings back story!

If you fall in love with Anna's art (which I'm sure you will) there are many ways you can own a bit of her art (without breaking into her house and stealing it... shame on you for even thinking that!). Anna's very first book, "Everyone Hoops but me" is for sale on her website: She also has a Etsy shop filled with wonderful prints and originals of her artwork. You can find that here:  I'm sure there is something there you will need.

I love Anna's art style and her blog is a fun place to explore. I expect to see a lot more of Anna's work in the future. She is in the 12x12 along with me, so I hope to see a picture book from her soon. Fingers crossed that she makes it big!

Come back (late) tomorrow and see my latest interview!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

What's Up Wednesday!

Last week when I said I had an interview set up for Friday I wasn't talking about a job interview for myself. Still, that's what I had Friday morning. Despite what I thought were overwhelming odds that I would not get this job I did indeed succeed. There are many plans to be made before hand, but soon I will be an Art Instructor for children ages 6-10+. I'm very excited and can't wait to get started!

I am a bit behind on a few things and ahead with a few others. I missed my blog review on Tuesday, but I think I should be able to make that up tomorrow. I have a couple of great interviews coming up. Angie Karcher and Tracey M. Cox will both appear on my blog on the next couple of Fridays.

What I'm Reading

I have been so busy that I unfortunately haven't done much reading. 

What I'm Writing/Drawing 

I need to get moving on my portfolio work. Lots left to be done, and I lost a week so I need to get a move on! I'm hoping to do a lot tomorrow.

I'm now up to 7063 words with my YA book I'm writing. I haven't had the time to write since I finished that last little bit, but I'm hoping to continue this soon. 

Every Day Possible
-  Portfolio Work
- Writing my YA novel

Wed 03/19
- Post What's Up Wednesday Post - done
Two sick toddlers driving me crazy, CHECK

Thursday 03/20
Work on some paintings and preparations for my Art Instructor position.

Friday 03/21
- Hopefully having a great day!

Saturday 03/22
- Hopefully sitting in on another Art Instructor's class who is also teaching at the same school as I will be teaching.

Sunday 03/23


Monday 03/24

- Doing the things and the... okay I really don't know

Tuesday 03/25

- Blog review - Don't forget this!

- Finding things to do with my boy.

Wednesday 03/26

- What's Up Wednesday!

What Inspires Me Right Now

My husband! 

What Else I've Been Up To

Toddler Minding 
Hoping my boy will get well soon!

Preparing for my job as an Art Instructor and also deciding on community center classes!

*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.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Present!

Nip has wrapped himself up because he wants to go home with you. He said something about me being a slave driver and not giving him enough brownies. There just isn't enough brownies for both him and my 3 year old!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Interview with Lindsay Bonilla

(At the Ohioana Book Festival in 2011)

Lindsay Bonilla is a storyteller unlike any I've interviewed thus far. Lindsay has written a few picture books, but most of her stories you'll never read. Lindsay tells most of her stories through live performances! She has even written and starred in two movies. Lindsay uses her organization "Make a Difference" to teach children about other cultures and to support a variety of organizations that are there to make our world a better place. I'm proud to be able to bring you my interview with Lindsay Bonilla today!

(Doing an interactive reading of my book
“O Christmas Tree” as the title
character ‘Treena’)
Dani: Tell us how your story telling style is different from other picture book writers.

Lindsay: That's a good question, and to be honest, I'm not sure how to answer it. I don't know if I could characterize my writing as any particular style. I enjoy writing all kinds of things, and each project seems to bring out something different in me. I'm a big fan of C.S. Lewis, so I love writing in allegory – taking deep truths and simplifying them for young readers or else allowing people to hear them with fresh ears. I also love rhyme. I know that PB writers are often discouraged from writing in rhyme, but it's so much fun that I can't resist! I love playing with language, and I also love the way that rhyme gives you a structure to follow. It limits you within a certain framework, yet there are so many creative possibilities within that framework. I also enjoy writing from the point of view of a character within the story. Maybe it's the actor in me, but it's great fun to get inside of someone else's head and see how they would think, speak, etc. So I guess I would say that my style is constantly evolving!

Dani: PB & J or BLT and why?

Lindsay: Definitely PB&J. I've been a vegetarian for the last 17 years, over half of my life, and meat doesn't even appeal to me anymore. Now if you replaced the bacon on the BLT with some kind of cheese, then it would be a much tougher call!

Dani: How do you find that verbal story telling is different than the written word?

(A scene from the live storytelling version of my book
“Lily and the City of Light”)
Lindsay: Verbal storytelling is more fluid and flexible. I may tell the same story a hundred times, but it's never going to come out exactly the same way. There will always be variations in my word choice and my delivery. Many of these will be as a result of the relationship that I build with the audience. I am feeding off of their energy, looking into their eyes and seeing where we are connecting and where I still need to draw them in with my voice, movements, etc.

My listeners hear the story and then they go and tell it to someone else. Inevitably, they are going to change it in the process. They may emphasize one part more than another, forget a detail or replace it with something else, whether intentionally or unintentionally. The story is going to take on a life of its own the more it is shared, especially since most likely the listener isn't going to be able to go back to the teller from whom they heard it to clarify details, etc.

With the written word, you can rely on the text. It's always there to go back and refer to, and chances are the story is not going to undergo too much variation. It's going to stay fixed. For this reason, word choice is extremely important. It's not to say that it's not important in verbal tellings, and I still give it a lot of consideration in this context. However, when I'm writing and I know that it's going to be in a printed format, fixed for “all time,” it becomes that much weightier of a task to find the perfect word choice. And with publishers looking for picture books between only 500-1,000 words these days, you really have to make every word count! There are no word limits when you're doing a verbal telling!

Dani: You've travelled a lot, which location did you enjoy the most?

Posing with the children after a storytelling session
 at a school in Guatemala
Lindsay: I've been to lots of fascinating places, but if I had to pick only one, I would pick Kruger National Park in South Africa. I've been in love with African wildlife since I was little girl, and it was always my dream to go on a safari in Africa. Two years ago, my husband and I realized that dream on a 5-day self-drive safari through Kruger. We got up close with lions, cheetahs, giraffes, hyenas, rhinos and many other amazing creatures in their natural habitat. We even got roared at by a hippo! We'd wake up every morning at 4am and drive around all day to see things, and we never got tired of it! I had purchased some folktale books about African animals in Johannesburg. The books told such stories as “Why the Zebra Has Stripes” etc, and also gave interesting facts about the animals. So I served as our tour guide while my husband drove! The experience was so beautiful that I was actually crying when we left the park. (A close second to Kruger would have to be the Dunes of Merzouga in Morocco. If you ever get the chance to ride a camel into the desert and spend the night there in tents, watching shooting stars, don't let it pass you by! It's incredible!)

Dani: What's it like working and staring in a movie?

With the cast of my first film “Flight to India"
Lindsay: It's exactly that – a lot of WORK! People see movies and don't realize all that goes into it. It looks glamorous, but there are a lot of unglamorous things that actors go through! One of the things with film is that you have to do multiple takes. Maybe the first time you do a take and you get it right, but someone else in the scene makes a mistake. The next time, it's you goofing up. You have to do it over and over again until you get a clean take. And our director liked to have at least two clean takes before we moved on, just in case he'd missed something. We would also shoot the same scene from different angles and different character points of view. In Hollywood, they probably have multiple cameras to do this. But ours was an independent film, so just one camera. That means that one page of the script could easily take hours to shoot, depending on how much action and how many people were in the scene!

We had a lot of child actors in our film as well. All of them were excellent to work with, but as you can imagine, their attention spans are not as long as most adult actors so we had to be creative to keep them engaged and motivated-- and of course, take lots of snack breaks!

Overall though, it was a really gratifying process. Having written the screenplay for the film, acted in it and co-produced it, to see it all come together – from words on a page to actors bringing it to life -- was fantastic. And to know that children are watching it now and going on their own “story adventures” right in their living room is a great feeling. I've had parents tell me how after watching the film their children have used their imaginations to re-tell the story or take a “trip” to another far-off destination, and this makes all the hard work more than worth it! I have two films now and would love to make a whole series, but that is probably something that would have to happen further down the road due to time and funding!

Dani:. You have two more picture books waiting to be published and two films. What other things does the future hold for you?

(At the Plant the Seed to Read Book Festival in 2013)
Lindsay: Well, the biggest thing the future holds for me is that I'm about to become a mom in only a few short weeks! My husband and I are very excited to welcome a little boy into our family. He will join his “older brother,” our rescue dog Blitzen, and we can't wait to meet him.

I know this new addition will significantly change my life and my approach to work as well. I am still planning to write and tell stories professionally (and if all goes well will be back performing at libraries again this summer!) However, I think now I will have even more reason to tell stories and even more stories to tell! At the moment, I've got lots of picture books at various stages of development so perhaps in some of my quieter moments (if there are any of those once baby arrives!), I'll try to continue working on those and getting them submitted to agents.

Also, my fourth book, Lily and the Return to Htrae, the sequel to Lily and the City of Light, should be released in the next few months!

Dani: Do you have any thoughts you'd like to share?

Lindsay: Hmm... I'm very rarely at a loss for words, so. . . as far as writing is concerned, I would have to say that there is a lot of different advice out there. Some people say you have to write every day to consider yourself a writer. (I wish I could!) Others say you need to know the market. (I've still got a ways to go on this one!) But I believe that the most important thing is to be true to yourself and allow your own voice to shine through. Learn as much as you can from others, but be careful about comparing yourself or judging yourself by their standards. If all the advice gets overwhelming, shut it out for awhile and just WRITE! And remember, whatever your goals are for writing, enjoy the journey and don't be so focused on the destination that you miss out on the wonderful fun of discovery and creativity that comes along the way.

A shot for my interactive storytelling company, World of Difference Ltd. 
Lindsay Bonilla's LINKS:



Lindsay also blogs bi-monthly at:

Amazon author page:
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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

What's Up Wednesday: The Wednesday Edition

Little David got sick Sunday, so my mind has been on his stomach bug since then. Also wasn't feeling well the past couple of days, but I didn't catch what he had thank goodness. I do have an interview in line for Friday!

What I'm Reading

Hoping this will be a better week for reading Julius Ceasar Brown and The Green Gas Mystery. I haven't had a good reading day in a long time!

What I'm Writing/Drawing 

I was able to do some painting last week. This week will be harder because of David being sick. I'm hoping to finish these paintings soon!

I got to connect with my 12 x 12 critique group. I'm in a group with Karen Konnerth and Cecilia Clark. They are both writers and illustrators so I'll be able to show them things in both areas. 
I decided to go with a smaller group this year.  It makes everything more personable. Also I'm 
loving my new critique mates so that's going to make things that much better!

The YA novel I've been working on has been difficult. I stopped for a couple of days because of David being
so sick. I'm up to 5,639 words, so I'm not doing horribly bad!

Every Day Possible
-  Portfolio Work
- Writing my YA novel

Wed 03/12
- Post What's Up Wednesday Post - done on Thurdsay
- Being driven to insanity ONE sick toddler  - CHECK

Thursday 03/13
- Hope that my son is feeling better. 

Friday 03/14
- Hopefully having a great day!

Saturday 03/15
- Doing all the things.

Sunday 03/16


Monday 03/17

- Finding Nemo.

Tuesday 03/18

- Blog review - Don't forget this!

- Having fun with David.

Wednesday 03/19

- What's Up Wednesday!

What Inspires Me Right Now

Candy - even though I'm not eating any. Why am I not eating candy right now?

What Else I've Been Up To

Baby Minding 
Sick, sick toddler. Poor little guy!

Still thinking about classes to take at the community center!

*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.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

A Little Angel

I have so many of these Art Cards that I did. I want to be through this bunch by the time summer rolls around... maybe sooner.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Darryl W. Funk Needs Your Help!

I'm having a bit of trouble getting interviews set up. Because of this interviews may not be a weekly thing on Fridays. Hopefully that changes soon! I'll try to have some other content set up for those weeks where I can't post an interview on Fridays.

I just found out that one of the great illustrators from my SCBWI chapter (Canada West) just lost his computer recently. It doesn't matter which area a person works in illustration because now they rely so heavily on computers. If you can please help him out and purchase one of his paintings at Also ask about commissions or prints while you're there!

I love Darryl's artwork because his style has developed from his love of comics. His strong lines and colour are both reminiscent of comics. I grew up on comics. When I was a kid I read X-Men, Fantastic Four, Power Pack, Amethyst and more! I think this has affected my work as well (To the point where I can't not outline in pen).

Like "Where the Wild Things Are"? You'll love this picture:!Wild-Thing-Self-Portrait/zoom/c16xn/image12on He also has some great illustrations of "Frog and Toad" and "Winnie the Pooh"!

I hope you will check out Darryl's work and support his art!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

What's Up Wednesday... if That is Today's Real Name

I'm pretty disappointed in how most of today went. Okay, how most of today went between the time my son was supposed to go to bed and when he actually did go to sleep. I tried to get him to sleep starting at 8:30pm and he managed to hold out until 11:00pm. Pretty much ruined my night!

What I'm Reading
Still reading Julius Caesar Brown and the Green Gas Mystery by Ace Hansen. Having trouble finding time to read. I want to say I made a mistake in my last What's Up Wednesday. I meant it to say that I hadn't read much but I like it so far. The way it was typed was awkward and might make it seem like I didn't like the idea of the book at all (and I so do like it)!

What I'm Writing/Drawing 

I made some progress on my paintings last week. Not as much as I would have liked, but that's always the case. I will be able to work on these paintings tomorrow while Peter is sleeping (working the night shift tonight :( ) and David is playing at a friend's house. I would love to get them done, but I'll take whatever I get.

I decided to join the Chapter Book Challenge this March. You can read about the challenge it in my last post here:  I wasn't sure if I wanted to join. Last year I had written a few pages and quit because I had no time. I still have no time this year but I'm doing better so far. This is the story I will be turning into a YA novel: 

So apparently most YA novels are 50,000 words. I'm up to maybe 4000 words? I should be writing 2,000 words a day, but it's been much less for me (I started a couple days late). If I can get up to 40,000 words I'll be happy as a clam. It's just supposed to be a first draft, so if I can get the main idea across in the words I do write it will make it easier when I go to edit (in the year 2525). The thing that will give me a big boost is being able to type the story directly onto the computer. A lot of my writing is done in my head and on paper, but if I have an idea of where I want to go I can type it up far faster than writing it in my journal. Here's hoping this month's writing goes well.

Every Day Possible
-  Portfolio Work
- Writing my YA novel

Wed 03/05

- Post What's Up Wednesday Post - done on Thurdsay
- Being driven to insanity by two toddlers - CHECK

Thursday 02/06

- Have a wonderful day and hopefully finish my illustrations!

Friday 02/07

- Spending the morning with a friend and toddlers!
- Doing some serious stuff.

Saturday 03/08
-Not doing what I should be doing, but feeling okay about it.

Sunday 03/09

Interviews MUST GET DONE!

Monday 03/10

- Spending the day posing in different positions pondering prolific thoughts with my index finger pressed to my lips.

Tuesday 03/11

- Blog review - Don't forget this!

- Finding a replacement for the dance class!

Wednesday 03/12

- What's Up Wednesday! Post

What Inspires Me Right Now

Wait, I know this one. 

What Else I've Been Up To

Baby Minding 
Two nights in a row he's gone to bed past 11pm!

Thinking about taking a spin or other exercise class at the local Community Center. 

*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.