Friday, November 28, 2014

Interview with Cyndi Marko and a Book Giveaway!

Today on my blog I have the lovely Cyndi Marko! Cyndi is one of the members of my SCBWI (Canada West) region. It's so exciting when I get to interview someone who lives near me!

Cyndi is one serious chick. She's been working hard, boiling her stories that are quickly becoming a hit (let's hope for a TV series). These stories are about a crime fighting chicken duo. When I think of her stories I wonder: Why was this not a thing before?

Cyndi's first book that cracked open the way for her no so foul popularity is KPC #1 Let’s Get Cracking!  This book is now nominated for the Silver Birch Express 2015 award. Click here to see the Nomination! Let's all cross our fingers (or feathers if you don't have fingers) for her! 

As an extra special bonus today, Cyndi has generously donated two of her books for a giveaway. Be sure to enter this giveaway for your chance to win one of these softcover books! Before you do this, please be sure to read this entire interview first. Anyone who breaks the pecking order will be disqualified. Of course I have no way to know if any of you cluckers entered before reading, so there probably wont be any disqualifications.

Edit: I forgot to mention earlier that for the giveaway anyone can enter, but books can only be sent to the US and Canada. I made a note of everyone who entered the contest before this. If one of these people wins (and does not live in the US or Canada) I'll figure something out for them! Also I shortened the giveaway time. It was always meant to run just a week. Sorry about that!

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Dani: Why children’s books?

Cyndi: Writing and illustrating kids’ books is just something I’ve always wanted to do, and I always had a lot of encouragement from my English and Art teachers to pursue writing and art. But I think the biggest reason is because I can be as weird and as silly as I want, and kids will not only be okay with it, they’ll get it. At heart, I’m a big kid. Having to be a grown up seems like punishment in a lot of ways. I don’t wanna do the dishes!

Dani: Why DID the chicken cross the road?

Cyndi: SO funny you should ask that!! That question actually gets answered in KPC book 4, HEROES ON THE SIDE, which is out December 1st. *spoiler alert* To get to the bad guy on the other side.

Finish these thoughts:

1. My books are…

Cyndi: A little bit ridiculous. And I hope lots of fun! I’m usually giggling my pants off when I write or sketch something. So, yeah, I laugh at my own jokes. *hangs head in shame*

2. Readers should know…

Cyndi: Leotard wedgies are a real and constant threat. Be vigilant.

3. My secret is…

Cyndi: Secrets? What secrets? I don’t have any secrets. Why? Do you know something?

Dani: What’s special about your work?

Cyndi: I think my work has a slightly absurd, but a little bit charming, quality. I write/draw what would have made me laugh as a kid. It brings me immense joy to hear about kids running around saying Bok Bok Brains.

Dani: What is your ultimate goal in life?

Cyndi: Three words: World Chicken Domination.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What's Up Wednesday November 26

Crazy, crazy November. I'll be glad when it's over. This is going to be longer than most of my What's Up Wednesday posts because I'm going to announce a winner and also give you my upcoming interview schedule! The winner is annouced at the bottom of this post. Yes I'm evil!

Interview Schedule:
This Friday (11-28) - Cyndi Marko
December 05 - Jennyann Carthen
December 12 - Dianna Dorisi Winget
December 19 - Julie Murphy
December 26 - Day after Christmas so no Interview
January 2nd - Bobby Darcus

If your name is not on this list, and you submitted an interview please let me know ASAP! I will be sending out more interviews soon.

I forgot to mention that I'm reading a bunch of stories for a collaborative fiction anthology. I keep feeling like I'm not reading when I'm not reading a book, but yes, I am reading many stories right now. Also commenting on said stories. I am reading people!

So many things this week! I'm finishing a portrait, finishing my final images (and scanning them in) for my picture book package, sketching up a new dummy (hopefully one final on this at least started!) or two, finishing up a collaborative coloring book, and doing a million other things that would be boring!

Every Day Possible
Working on finished artwork and new dummy work.

Wed 11/26 
What's Up Wednesday Post. Done! Coloring book done tonight.

Thursday 11/27 -  Finishing up my finals and hopefully the portrait work as well. 

Friday 11/28 - Interview with Cyndi Marko. Scanning in finals.

Saturday 11/29 - Birthday Party today!

Sunday 11/30 - Submission for agent due at noon PST. Hopefully in sooner.

Monday 12/01 - I shall promptly die this day. 

Tuesday 11/18 - Working on Unicorn Poo if not done. Also sewing a pegasus

Wednesday 11/19 - What's Up Wednesday!

Drinking coffee until I literally can't see straight. 


Toddler Minding 
Husband off this week so he's watching the kid a lot. Which means I'm doing more work on other things.

Not feeling great this week. Had my first ocular migraine. It didn't hurt, but I couldn't see well for 30 mins!


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*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.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Interview with Illustrator Leila Nabih

I have the wonderful Leila Nabih on my blog today. Leila does adorably fun (mostly) digital illustration! She and I are working with a group of illustrators to put out a free coloring book...which I should be working on right now...

Right now on her webpage Leila has some wonderful Christmas Cards for the holiday season. If you love these cards (and what's not to love?) you just have to click on them to see where you can pick them up!

If you have a Mac or iPad you should pick up Leila's book "Imagine" off of iTunes! Don't click any of those links yet! Read the interview, fall in love with Leila and her work and then (ONLY THEN) you can click on her links to find out more about the fantastic Leila Nabih!

Dani: Why do you illustrate for children?

Leila: I have a billion gazillion stories to tell. I have a bursting imagination that I cannot contain. I don't know if it is a blessing or a curse.... For as long as i can remember, I've wanted to tell magical stories and capture the imagination and minds of children. Consequently, i chose, not only to write these down , but also to illustrate them. This is how and why i decided to quit the corporate world of publishing and focus on my writing and illustration skills. I'm still learning a lot ( it's barely been a year since i started this journey and I already feel like I've made a lot of progress) and i've still got some way to go before I 'make it' in this industry, but I'm determined to make it. Now, what I need to figure out, is the age range I should focus on, my signature style and how to 'officially' set myself up as a freelancer.

2. Who's afraid of the big bad wolf?

Leila: I am..... My big bad wolf being "the fear of not being good enough". How does one know if one is ready to get out there and approach agents and publishers with one's work? Be it in illustration or writing, I'm afraid of putting myself out there. I know I'm the only one standing in my way... I know there is no such thing as 'being ready' ( one can never be ready really...), but I'm just still a bit reticent to get destructive criticism and rejections when i put so much of myself in everything i do. I'm trying to build up confidence through my audience, on my website, on my facebook page, on my blog, through Twitter, by participating in challenges, by responding to interview requests, by collaborating with other artists on special projects, and anything else that comes along... But the big bad wolf is hiding in the shadows, behind a tree, his white teeth glowing in the dark, holding a leash, pulling ever so lightly so i can't cross that life changing moment when i say "this is it".

My latest adventures (despite the big bad wolf) are :

-an interview on the website of Telaina Muir (

-an illustration for a colouring book as part of an artist collaborative project on the theme of monsters that will be published soon

-A new collection of prints and Xmas cards available on my Society6 store (

-a competition to produce a bookmark for the International Book Giving Day 2015 ( Illustration attached)

Dani: Finish these thoughts:
1. My greatest achievement...

My greatest achievement SO FAR (because I plan on achieving a lot of things in the upcoming future) has been to get a Diploma in Children Illustration with Merit from a renown London University.

2. I want to...

I want to be the best i can be. There are so many artists out there, so many people more talented than me. I just want to find my place among those stars.

3. I draw...

I draw because I love it. I draw because its the most satisfying way for me to express myself, say what and how i feel, and tell a story. I draw to find my inner child and stay young at heart.

Dani: What's special about your work?
Leila: I would hope that my work illustrates my world. Cute and cuddly characters, funny and quirky individuals with stories to tell. Animals or children one can identify himself/herself with, through their experiences and their emotions. Illustrations that make you feel fuzzy and fluffy and skip a step and dance.

Dani: What is your ultimate goal in life?

Leila: I would like to write and illustrate books that will be memorable for generations to come. Like Beatrix Potter, or Charles Perrault, or the Brothers Grimm or Dr Seuss.... Very ambitious I know, but what's the use of dreaming if you don't dream big?

You can follow me and my progress here:


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Because I Didn't Get Enough Entries

Because I did not get enough entries for Danielle Girard's "Everything to Lose" I'm extending the deadline until Tuesday Night. You can win a free eBook with this giveaway, so enter now. Maybe I didn't advertise this enough, or maybe it got lost in the post, so I'm posting it again here!

I've given you more ways to enter now, so there should be no excuses. There is even a "Free Entry" so if you don't want to do anything but enter you can. I hope a lot of people enter, because I don't want to stop doing giveaways on my blog. I will stop doing giveaways if no one enters said giveaways.

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I also forgot to post the winners for the Soulless contest, so here's the results! Sorry about that!

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What's Up Wednesday! November 19

November is going fast! I've been busy doing so many things lately that I can't see straight. For some reason I decided to do some unicorn and unicorn poo drawings. It's probably better that you don't ask, but I hope you do! I also have TONS of interviews coming up. I just need to sort through and remember who runs at which time!

Some annoying Transformers book my kid loves. Really bad story and far too old for him.

Doing some portrait work this week. Working on a Unicorn Poo coloring book and finishing some final artwork for a book I have.

Every Day Possible
Working on finished artwork and new dummy work.

Wed 11/19 
What's Up Wednesday Post. Done!

Thursday 11/20 -  Danielle Girard's "Everything to Lose" Giveaway ends today. Also doing some much needed drawing!

Friday 11/21 - Interview with gosh, I forget! I'll get back to you on that one.


Sunday 11/16 - Uncorn Poo

Monday 11/17 - Money, money, money, money, MONEY! (I don't know if that will get me money, but it doesn't hurt to try.)

Tuesday 11/18 - Working on some artwork.

Wednesday 11/19 - What's Up Wednesday!

Unicorns. I don't know why. I don't usually draw unicorns, but whatever.


Toddler Minding 
We woke up screaming, "I DON'T WANT TO GO TO SLEEP!" It was 7am and I told him he could get up. Still we screamed for 10 minutes.

I'm not doing great but I keep working out!

*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.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

I'm Making Ornaments! Also my Etsy shop is OPEN.

I'm making some ornaments for our Christmas tree this year. I've got three of them finished so far. I have a barn owl, a reindeer and Santa Claus! These are not the only ones. I've also got an angel and a snowman I've yet to finish. Those are not the only ones I'm doing for the year, but this is the limit to the ones I've designed so far. I'm thinking about doing a panda bear, an elf, a bunny and maybe even a few other designs.

In case you don't know I also have my Etsy shop up and running again. You can see what I have here: I have a lot of recent artwork up for sale there along with prints. I also have a couple of coloring books (one is a great stocking stuffer).

I do not make any money with this website and hate the idea of having ads. It is difficult to spend unpaid time on my website. If you like my blog please see if there is anything in my shop you like. Be sure to type in the coupon code: artistobscure to receive 10% off your purchase. I'm not planning on removing this code any time soon. So feel free to use it as many times as you'd like. If you have any problems or questions feel free to contact me!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Interview with Deena Lipomi

Deena all prettied up!
I have the wonderful Deena Lipomi on my blog today. She has a wonderful sense of humor and was very fun to interview. After (and only after) you read this interview go and visit her blog for more fun! Have you read her blog? Did you see the library cat shirt donation? So hilarious! Deena has two books "Blackout" and "Deserted" I stole her link for the trailer for "Blackout" which you can view at the bottom of this post. To see the trailer for "Deserted" you have to visit Deena's website (because I can't make everything too easy)!

Dani: How does being a librarian change your writing?

Deena: Because I am so tuned in to the new YA and MG books being sold, published, and released so I can decide if they should be bought by our library, I am perhaps hyper-aware of stories/ideas that are close to my own, which can either be motivating (Must. Write. Faster!) or discouraging ("That author stole my idea!" although we've never met.) This happened to me three times this past year, twice with YA novels and once with an MG. So I don't think it changes my actual writing so much, but instead my motivation to write -- or give up on an idea.

Dani: Who left the gum on the floor?

Deena: I don't know about the floor, but it was a day of disgust when some colleagues and I went into the library on a weekend to rearrange some furniture, and when we turned the (14-year-old) study table on its side to move it -- EWWWW! The underside was COVERED in fossilized gum…AND I'D TOUCHED IT! So I guess the answer to "Who left the gum under the table," the answer is everyone.

Deena in Paris
Dani finish these sentences: 

1. Libraries are…

Deena: a place where everyone is accepted and welcomed…as long as they behave themselves.

2. I love to read…

Deena: young adult novels more than anything. But that is closely followed by middle-grade novels. Which is closely followed by great YA non-fiction. Which is followed by…OK, you get the idea. My TBR pile is about 12 books high right now. 

3. Nobody knows that…

Deena: Rather than finishing this sentence I am going to interrupt with this statement: There is probably nothing that nobody knows about me unless I don't know it myself. However, I will also say that nobody knows that public libraries are not quiet, calm, peaceful places to work unless they've also worked in one.

Dani:  What's special about your work?

Deena: I feel my writing and novels are special because they stem from places of truth. BLACKOUT was the result of a conversation with the mom of a babysitting charge I had in high school who was driving through the Pennsylvania countryside with her brother when they saw a UFO and never spoke of it again. The MG novel my agent is trying to sell is based on an old insane asylum community here in Rochester, NY. I hope the truth of the emotions related to these real places and experiences shine through the pages. 

Dani: What is your ultimate goal in life?

Deena: Wow, what a loaded question! Career wise, I would love to make enough money off of my novels to work as a YA Librarian 20 hours per week and write for 40 hours per week (now it is the opposite). But just as a general life goal, I hope to be a peaceful, loving, friendly person who makes the day brighter for others just by treating everyone well; I'd like to know I helped to dilute the population of not nice people in the world with my good intentions. 


Follow Deena:



Deena's Personal Book Reviews:


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Danielle Girard's Everything to Lose and a Giveaway!

I have lots of information for Danielle Girard's new book "Everything To Lose" on my blog today. This information was once again passed on to me by the lovely Kate Tilton. Read on and learn more about the book. Don't forget to enter the giveaway at the end of the post. You have until the end of next Thursday to enter!

Everything to Lose:
When the daughter of San Francisco socialites Gavin and Sondra Borden is brutally assaulted, Jamie Vail makes it her mission to find the attacker. A seasoned Sex Crimes Inspector with the SFPD, work is what Jamie does best. She isn’t distracted by the fact that her adopted son and the victim go to the same school.
Jamie can almost set aside that the man caught on tape with the victim is a man she’s been wary of for years, her son's biological father. At home, her son is performing poorly in school, becoming more reclusive, and nothing she does can draw him out. Every piece of evidence seems to bring her closer to home.
Desperate to be wrong, Jamie must find Charlotte's attacker before her son lands behind bars, or worse…

Purchase Links:

Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for CHASING DARKNESS
Barry Award for COLD SILENCE

About Danielle Girard:
As one of four children, Danielle Girard grew up in a house where the person with the best story got heard, and it's probably no surprise that fast-paced suspense stories have always been her favorite. Girard's books have won the Barry Award and been selected for the RT Reviewers Choice Award. Two of her novels have been optioned for movies. Visit her website at

Author’s Links:

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What's Up Wednesday -

I've been really busy lately. I catch up on one thing and get behind on another! There are some good things coming for my blog so read on to find out more!

"What Will Fat Cat Sit on?" Hint it's not the Dog.

I'm working on the paintings for my final 3 illustrations for the current book I'm working on. I'm doing a portrait this month. I'm also getting lots of ideas for PiBoIdMo (I've got 30 so far, so I've already won)! Also I'm going to sew some new Christmas ornaments and maybe even sell a few! My Etsy Shop is back up and running here:

Every Day Possible
Working on finished artwork and new dummy work.

Wed 11/12 
What's Up Wednesday Post. Done!

Thursday 11/13 -  Danielle Girard's "Everything to Lose" and a Giveaway! 

Friday 11/14 - Interview with Deena Viviani

Saturday 11/15 - Doing a lot of artwork!

Sunday 11/16 - Not sure yet, but it's always something.

Monday 11/17 - Candy... something about candy.

Tuesday 11/18 - Working on some artwork.

Wednesday 11/19 - What's Up Wednesday!

Christmas. Watching Christmas movies and making Christmas decor!


Toddler Minding 
We screamed today because it wasn't Christmas. It was supposed to be Christmas today and he was supposed to get his Transformer Toys. I'm the most horrible mom ever for not making today Christmas...

Had 4 workouts in the last 7 days. 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.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Soulless Blog Tour

Today on my blog I have something extra special. Today I'm part of Crystal Collier's Soulless Blog Tour! Tomorrow is the last stop, so be sure to enter the giveaway! Yes, there is a giveaway and this is your chance to win AMAZON CHEESE! There's also lots of e books and a signed print copy of Soulless. For those of you who don't want to read anything now I've got a Youtube video of Crystal reading her book. Don't worry, there is a great excerpt below for those of you who are readers today. Read, enjoy and tell me what you think!

Series: Maiden of Time
Author: Crystal Collier
Pages: 263
Pub Date: October 13, 2014
Publisher: Raybourne Publishing
ISBN: 9781629830032

The Soulless are coming.

Alexia manipulated time to save the man of her dreams, and lost her best friend to red-eyed wraiths. Still grieving, she struggles to reconcile her loss with what was gained: her impending marriage. But when her wedding is destroyed by the Soulless—who then steal the only protection her people have—she’s forced to unleash her true power.

And risk losing everything.


Unleashing the dream world, one book at a time 
  Blog | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook | Website

What reviewers are saying:

"5 Stars." - Invincible Love of Reading Book Blog

"I LOVED it! So good. Seriously...exceeded my expectations." -Kristin Smith, advanced reviewer

"Entirely unique and chilling." Gabby @ What’s Beyond Forks

"Unputdownable." T.C. Mckee, BookFish Books


“Here she stands.” The voice sounded as narrowly stretched as his skin, a hiss on the wind. “So nice to finally meet you, Alexia Dumont.”

The tang of a tomb rolled over her. She gagged. The blade’s edge scraped her neck, sharper than she remembered.

“What do you want, Amos?” Kiren’s voice was calm, despite his ridiculous position on the ground.

“They tell me you have chosen a mate.” The skull said over his shoulder while peering closely at her.

“Who tells you this?” Kiren huffed. “And more importantly, you believe them? I thought you were a man of reason.”

The death grin swept away, although he still looked to be grinning through the natural arch of rotted teeth. “Even men of reason possess faults.” He stepped closer, his face inches from Alexia’s, acrid breath stinging her eyes.

She closed them.

“I tend to trust too easily, as you are aware.” The rasp erupted in a fetid breeze across her cheek. “Lucky you do not seem to share that quality.” He turned. “Or do you?”

Kiren’s face revealed nothing, as unmoved as stone. The only indication he’d heard the accusation lay in his defiant glare. Alexia couldn’t decide if she should applaud him for courage, or berate him for looking so dispassionate while a blade raked at her jugular.

A finger of bone lifted to her cheek and trailed down to her neck, uncomfortably warm, spiraling a burning trail toward her heart.

A tremor ran through Kiren’s cheek, his mouth set.


Get your free copy of book 1, MOONLESS, October 13, 20, 27, 31 or Nov 7.

Author Bio:

Crystal Collier is a young adult author who pens dark fantasy, historical, and romance hybrids. She can be found practicing her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, four littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. 

You can find her on her Blog, Facebook, Goodreads, or follow her on Twitter.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

PiBoIdMo Starts Today!

Just a reminder that PiBoIdMo starts today! Click the picture below to go directly to Tara's Blog. It's excellent for all of you working on new ideas for writing and illustration (even if you aren't doing picture books)!

My family had a great time yesterday doing the Halloween thing. We had to pick up a few things for my costume, so we just happened to see The Mystery Machine along the way! 

I unfortunately didn't get a picture of Peter as Superman in his costume, but I got me as Dr. Who along with David as a Transformer.


David's costume was extra special this year. Grandma made it (like she always does). There are lots of Transformer costumes out there that transform, but David's was made out of fabric so he was comfortable all night, and it can easily be put into the wash if it gets too dirty! It was also really cool because if a car came, or you used a flash to take pictures, he would glow!

That's it for my Halloween post. I hope you all enjoyed your Halloween. Also I hope parents remember to cash in on that candy tax. ;)