Tuesday, September 30, 2014

SCBWI Canada West Conference

I think I mentioned that I was going to the SCBWI Canada West conference on the 20th, but I've been so busy that I haven't been able to write anything about the event! I had a lovely time at the event and I got to spend time with many lovely Writers and Illustrators at this conference. I'm just going to share a summary of the conference. Note: I have permission from the pictured pictured below to post their photos here.

Lisa Cinar
My day started with a mad dash to grab art supplies (a task that proved almost impossible). This was my third time attending this conference. One thing that I never imagined was that the illustrator's workshop would actually be a workshop where we had to create. Crazy, right? The two years before the artist talked to us about their art. Lisa Cinar, being the Art Teacher that she is, made us do work. There was lots of coffee provided at this event, so there wasn't any worry there. I loved the presenters in previous years, but I fully enjoyed Lisa's workshop as well. I can't wait to see what we do next year!

After an empowering opening by Denise Jaden and the workshop with Lisa Cinar we went to lunch. I got to meet the lovely Mary Jo Wagner for the first time at this conference! She and I had lunch together (along with many other members of the group) We are both a part of the same SCBWI chapter, but since I haven't attended the writing meetings I hadn't met her yet. I also got to meet some other great new Illustration members as well!

Hazel Hutchins
After Lunch Hazel Hutchins gave a wonderful presentation about picture book energy. Now it's always a tough choice at these events. I had the choice of learning more about PB or MG books. It's not an easy choice. I knew I made the right decision when I attended Hazel's presentation. She was absolutely fantastic to speak with afterwards as well!

Lisa Cinar gave us all a brief picture book history lesson. That hour may have flown by quickly, but in the end my brain was about to explode! I can't believe I learned so much. One fun thing I learned is the length of picture books are the cause of the printing press publishers use. The reason picture books are 24, 32 and 48 (though generally 32) pages is because that's what's easiest for them to print!

We had a nice draw for picture books. I got a copy of "Then It Rained" Written by Crystal J. Stranaghan and Illustrated by Rosa Espadaler. I also got a nifty gift card from Indigo, so a-book-shopping I will be a-going!

Finally Hazel Hutchins wrapped up the the event with a very inspiring message for us all. She basically tied us all together and had us figure our way out. For me and Mary Jo, it proved an impossible task. The take home message from all of this is that no one can make books all on their own. The Writer's and Illustrators of all the books you've read have had (at least some of the following): publishers, agents, other writers, editors and schooling behind their success. Beyond this is family, friends, teachers, acquaintances, fans and anyone else who has helped a Writer or Illustrator become successful. Anyone who supports a Writer or Illustrator in any way is in part a cause of them becoming successful. Why right now you are helping me on my road to success by reading this blog. Bonus points to all those people who comment on any of my posts!

I want to give a special shout out to Ken Kilback and Helena Juhasz for their work with the SCBWI. Helena is the coordinator for the Canada West Illustrators and makes sure we meet up and keep creating. I'm glad we have her because she's very inspiring to us all!

Ken is the Regional advisor to all of Canada West. Ken does a lot of work to set up this event every year. He works very hard and I don't think any of us could give him enough thanks for all he does. Thank you so much Ken!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Doug Solter's "Rivals" Blog Tour!

This post comes later than I expected today, but I'm glad I made it while it's still relevant (ha, ha!). I was asked by the lovely Kate Tilton to be a part of this blog hop. What we are doing is celebrating Doug Solter's release of his new book, "Rivals" (sequel to the book "Skid")! I wont be posting until Wednesday October 8th, but I did want you to be aware of this event. There will be a giveaway linked with this event so be sure to enter that. I have posted the entire blog hop here so you can follow along as you learn about "Rivals" and the man himself, Doug Solter!

Dough Solter's "Rivals" Blog Tour!

September 29th – Guest Post - BC Brown - http://bcbrownbooks.blogspot.com
September 30th – Character Post - Jess Mountifield - http://www.jessmountifield.co.uk/
October 1st – Guest Post - Mandy Anderson - http://twimom101bookblog.blogspot.com/  
October 2nd - Guest Post - Skyler Finn - http://randomofalife.blogspot.com/
October 3rd – Author Interview - Valerie Lawson - http://valerierlawson.wordpress.com/
October 6th – Character Interview – Jessica L. Brooks - http://www.coffeelvnmom.blogspot.com
October 7th – Character Post - Melissa Robles http://thereaderandthechef.blogspot.com
October 8th – Author Interview - Dani Duck - http://daniduckart.blogspot.ca
October 9th – Gif Interview – Kate Tilton – http://katetilton.com/blog
October 10th – Guest Post – Jasmine - http://bookgroupies2.blogspot.com

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

What's Up Wednesday! September 24

Don't have much time tonight so a quick What's Up!

What I'm Reading
I can't remember reading anything new!

What I'm Writing/Drawing 
I'm finishing up some pieces for VCON this week. I've got a good amount besides the ones I'm working on now. The big thing for this week is to get the finished pieces scanned and printed. I have 8 that need printed. Next week I'll have to get them set up for hanging.

Every Day Possible
Work on art for VCON

Wed 09/24
- What's Up Wednesday Post. Done!

Thursday 09/25
- Finishing up art for VCON

Friday 09/26
- Scanning  and editing Artwork

Saturday 09/27
- Hopefully just sending artwork to be printing them out, or having them printed at this time!

Sunday 09/28
- Packaging my artwork and scans for hanging.

Monday 09/29
- I'll need lots of coffee today because it will be a rough weekend!

Tuesday 09/30
- I will not threaten my son with tickles... maybe 

Wednesday 10/01

-  Freaking out about the art show!

What Inspires Me Right Now
ALL THE THINGS. And my Father In Law being so cool. 

What Else I've Been Up To

Toddler Minding 
If I had 10 pounds of bacon he'd eat it all... scary.

I just finished a workout! YAY!!!

*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, September 21, 2014

The Gift - A Non-Fairy Coloring Page

I know, I know, everyone is shocked because I did not do another fairy colouring page. If you see me on the streets I welcome you to lash out at me with your wet noodles. For those of you who can tolerate a non-fairy colouring page: This page is for you!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Jonathan Maberry Interviewed

Jonathan Maberry holding his book while eating
 a presumably real human brain.
If you like creepy stories than Jonathan Maberry is your man. I think he's the first New York Times Best Seller I've had on my blog so I'm honored to have him here! When I was a teenager there was very little (I can't think of a single book) YA horror to read, so I'm thrilled to no end that there are so many people like Jonathan writing these stories now! He also writes a lot for the comic/graphic novel crowd which makes him extra awesome in my book. Since he's so awesome Jonathan is the first person I'm interviewing in this new format!

Jonathan's book "Rot & Ruin" is in development to be made into a film (that's what I call living the dream)! His book "Fall of Night" (book 2 of the In the Dead of Night Series) is now available on Amazon here. "Code Zero: A Joe Ledger Novel" (Sequel to Patient Zero) is available here. I could write a novel on all the things he has available now to read so be sure to check out his website to learn more: http://www.jonathanmaberry.com/


DANI: Why write for a young audience?

JONATHAN MABERRY: I write the novels I would read. When I was a teenager books were intensely important for me. They helped me believe in possibilities, and for a kid growing up in a violent low-income neighborhood and in an abusive household, I had to believe that there was a way out. I read stories about kids overcoming all sorts of challenges, and that cultivated my optimism. And the books were escape hatches from the real world. So, as an adult, I like to write stories about kids who face impossible odds and rise to the challenge of confronting those odds. I also want to write the stories that a kid like me would have read.

DANI: What's in the briefcase?

JONATHAN MABERRY: My office is portable, so in my briefcase I have my laptop(MacBook Pro); my iPod (with ten zillions sons arranged into a couple of hundred playlists);various chargers; my calendars for this year and next; lots of business cards; Sharpies for book signings (black for novels; bronze and silver for signing comic book covers); a folder with notes for whatever my current project is (this usually includes articles torn from science magazines); the latest issue of VARIETY; a power bar (must have some kind of chocolate); packets of Vitamin-C powder; a thing of hand sanitizer; tissues; earbuds; abou a millions mechanical pencils and pens; and a notebook for when I want to go old-school.

Finish these thoughts:

DANI: My favorite show...

JONATHAN MABERRY: The Walking Dead is my favorite, but I have The Blacklist, Game of Thrones, Modern Family and The Newsroom on DVR.

DANI: I obsess over...

JONATHAN MABERRY: Books. I usually have half of dozen of them in various stages of being read. In print, on audio, on my eReader. I must have my books. I don’t ever want to have to reach too far to be able to read something.

DANI: My current book....

JONATHAN MABERRY: Current one reading? I’m working my way through Joe Hill’s LOCKE & KEY graphic novel series. Current one I’m writing is BITS & PIECES, a collection of short stories and novellas set in the world of my ROT & RUIN series. I’m also working on the scripts for issue #11 of V-WARS and issue #5 of ROT & RUIN for IDW comics.

DANI: What's special about your work?

JONATHAN MABERRY: I don’t do cheap shots. When something dramatic happens in one of my novels, there’s always a good reason. That’s as true for action scenes as it is for love scenes and death scenes.

DANI: What is your ultimate goal in life?

JONATHAN MABERRY: To do what I love and for my family and me to be happy. Luckily I’m already in that grove.


Follow Jonathan:

Website & Blog: www.jonathanmaberry.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/jonathanmaberry
Twitter:  www.twitter.com/jonathanmaberry
PROUD Member of The Liars Club: http://liarsclubphilly.com
IMDB http://www.imdb.me/jonathanmaberry

The ROT & RUIN series- Simon & Schuster
ROT & RUIN -now in development for film!
THE JOE LEDGER THRILLERS- now in development by Lone Tree Entertainment!
FALL OF NIGHT -coming soon from St. Martin's Griffin
X-FILES: a series of all-new anthologies coming soon from IDW Publishing
V-WARS: IDW -anthology and comics; now in development for TV

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What's Up Wednesday! September 17th

I have been so busy lately and written only a few posts over the last couple of months. Well it's time to end all this and get everything started again. 

What I'm Reading
I'm in between books right now. I just finished Horde by Ann Aguirre. It's sort of a YA Zombie Apocalypse story. I don't want to say too much as to give away the plot. I loved the characters and there were evil flesh eating monsters so my kind of book.  

What I'm Writing/Drawing 

Now that it's the end of the year I've finally figured out a good way to do interviews. Instead of spending an hour writing and sending out every interview I'm changing things so it takes me less time. How much less? I wrote and sent out 9 fun interviews in under an hour. Some of the questions are slightly insane, but it's all good.

I'm working on a lot of new art pieces for VCON. This has kept me busy all month. It doesn't help that my son decided to wreck on of these pieces with a marker (the most detailed one of course). I'm getting close to finishing all my colour drawings!

I'm also in cahoots with a few other artists to make a free digital colouring book for all my favorite people out there. Who are my favorite people? If you are reading this, then you are among my favorite people!

Every Day Possible
Work on art for VCON

Wed 09/17
- What's Up Wednesday Post. Done!
- Work on all the Artwork for Vcon

Thursday 09/18
- I wont let the 3 year olds get to me!

Friday 09/19
-  My first new fangled interview! It will be a blast!
- VCON artowrk

Saturday 09/20
Attending the SCBWI Canada West Conference. Interested in this? There is still time to register. You just have to email Ken for details, because there is not enough time for regular mail to reach him!

Sunday 09/21
- Playing with a little boy!

Monday 09/22
- Finishing up artwork and maybe even getting everything scanned for prints.

Tuesday 09/23
- Setting my son free in the wild.

Wednesday 09/24

- What's Up Wednesday!

What Inspires Me Right Now
Deadlines and hope that VCON will go well!

What Else I've Been Up To

Toddler Minding 
He's eating me out of house and home!

Feeling better, but still working to get back on track with everything!

*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.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Ritual -- A Coloring Page

Here is another painting I'm working on for my art show. I'm working hard to color them all and hopefully will have some finished paintings to share by the end of the week. I hope you enjoy this coloring page!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Interview With Tara Lazar

THE Tara Lazar
I am so excited! I got to interview THE Tara Lazar. The reason I'm so excited is that I've been following Tara's blog for a while now. I believe someone told me to visit the site for PiBoIdMo. This may be a bit of an exaggeration, but this is how I remember it happening: When I came upon the site "How To Write for Children While Raising Them" a shaft of light came into the room and I could hear a choir singing (something intelligible as they always do). I fell to my knees and cried, because I knew someone out there finally understands me. Of course my memory has gone downhill since I became a mom.

Tara's website is a wonderful resource for children's writers. I don't know how she is able to do it all! Each post has so much writers, illustrators and even readers can learn. She hosts PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month) is a month where each day is spent coming up with a new picture book idea! Her debut Picture Book, "The Monstore" is highly popular right now and so much fun. She has several books coming in 2015 & 2016 including, "I Thought This Was A Bear Book" (which I'll have Tara tell you more about). You can see the rest of the list here.

Dani: How did you get started writing?

Tara: Wow, I don ‘t remember a time I didn't write! I was the strange child in elementary school who cheered when it was time for creative writing. The other kids whispered behind my back. “What’s wrong with HER?” They’re still whispering.

But seriously, I began my journey toward publication when I was pregnant with my second child, about 7-8 years ago. Procreation inspires creation, I guess. I kept seeing notices in my local paper about a group called “Women Who Write” and I finally gave them a call to join a kidlit critique group. Thankfully, those ladies thought I was perfectly normal (although I’m certainly not).

Out Now! Buy it and love it!

Dani: Do you prefer sandals or bare feet?

Tara: Bare feet, definitely. Many people don’t know I suffer from Multiple Sclerosis and my feet are mostly numb. Going shoeless means I can feel the ground and balance better.

But when I do have to wear shoes, I love my Naot sandals. They have a cork footbed and are so comfy.

Dani: Your blog “How to Write for Children While Raising Them” is fantastic. What lead you to create this blog?

Tara: It seemed like a natural thing to do, to document my path to publication. I had already been writing a mommy blog for fun, so I abandoned that one and moved over to “Writing for Kids”. My mommy blog could be controversial at times, and I don’t like argument or confrontation, so I thought it was best to let it go. (Let’s sing: “let it go…let it gooooo!”) I had written a post about how we didn’t accept every birthday party invitation simply because it was interfering with family time. People didn't like that at all, but we didn't like having a party to attend EVERY weekend. Family time is very important to us!

Although my favorite mommy blog post is now on my writing blog. It’s about HPT or “Husband-Perceived Time”. Look it up for a laugh.

Dani: I know you started Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo) to be the Picture Book alternative to National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Why did you choose to devote the month of November to Picture Book Ideas?

Tara: It’s no big secret—I was jealous of all my friends participating in NaNoWriMo. I wanted something especially for picture book writers during November, so we could boast and post just as much. Nanny-nanny-poo-poo.

Dani: What was the hardest thing about getting your first book published?

Coming in 2015!
Tara: Knowing that it’s ready to submit—that it’s a marketable idea executed well. Selling a book isn’t just about writing well. Many people write well. It’s about having a killer idea.

After submitting at least a half dozen other stories, by the time I wrote THE MONSTORE, I was gun-shy. I didn’t know if the idea was good enough. I didn’t want to submit it. Had it not been for author friends who encouraged me, I still might be unpublished.

Dani: What's the story behind The Monstore?

Tara: It began with the portmanteau “monstore”. What a great new word! A shop where you can buy monsters! I had the title in my head for a long time, several months, before I did anything with it. When I met an agent at a conference, I was forced to develop the premise on the fly. So I came up with “a boy wants to return the monster he bought because it doesn’t spook his pesky little sister.” When I finally sat down to write it, several months after that, I needed to throw that boy for a loop. I figured out the manager should tell him “no returns, no exchanges”. The rest of the story fell into place after that epiphany.

Dani: Please tell us about "I Thought This was a Bear Book!"

Tara: It’s an ordinary day in the library until a kid bumps into a bookshelf and causes titles to tumble. An alien gets knocked out of his book—spaceship and all—and crash lands into the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Chaos ensues!

I hope you love this woman now that you know more about her!
Dani: What is your ultimate goal in life?

Tara: I’m currently searching for a new goal. I’m happily married with two great daughters, we live in a terrific neighborhood surrounded by good friends, I have books being published—I pretty much have everything I’ve ever wanted. But my goal as a writer has always been to be some child’s favorite author, and I think I've got that covered now, too. Right, Briana?

I love to make people smile and laugh. Ultimately, I’d like my work to be enjoyed long after I’m gone.

Follow Tara:

Blog and Website: http://taralazar.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/taralazar
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/TaraLaz
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authortara

Buy the Monstore here: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781442420175
Or at other places here: http://taralazar.com/taras-books/

Cool Podcast Interviewing Tara: http://letsmakekidsbooks.com/episode-4-tara-lazar-childrens-book-blogger-author-monstore/

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Another Fairy

I'd like to lie and say this is a completely new piece. I know that I put a version of this up before. This time I will finish the illustration. I added wings and a few details. And now it's finally available for coloring!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Start of Something Spectacular

I am so, so, sorry that I have been neglecting my blog as of late. I have been spending oh so much time working on illustrations for my upcoming art display at VCON. I have several that I've made considerable progress on and this makes me very happy!

My scanner refuses to work without the replacement of a yellow ink cartridge. I believe I may give up on my Epson Stylus NX330. The good thing is I have taken some pictures of the artwork I've worked on lately and can share some progress photos with you over the next few weeks.

I'm setting this up as a colouring page because I've had trouble with some web sites taking my images and not giving me credit. This wont completely stop that behaviour, but it does discourage it a bit. And yes feel free to print and colour this. My illustration was uploaded via my iPhone so unfortunately the quality is less than it would be as a scan.

This is a black and white line drawing of a fairy garden.  Originally I wanted this to be a 5 x 7 piece. All of the fairies did fit in that space, but they were all too close together! I decided instead to space them out. I'm uncertain if I'm going to colour the background for this piece or leave it white.