Friday, January 30, 2015

Interview with Sheila Kelly Welch

Sheila and Roo. Sheila is the non-furry one.
I have Writer and Illustrator Sheila Kelly Welch on my blog today. Sheila is a great animal lover and this certainly shows up in her work. The personality that the animals have in all her drawings are fantastic. When you can look at a picture and guess what a person or animal is thinking, then you know the artist is excellent. Look at Sheila's illustrations and see if you can't guess what the characters are thinking!

Sheila has had many books published that she's both written and illustrated. She has also added grace to the pages of many other author's books by illustrating their words. Two of Sheila's most recent books are: "Mess Up Molly" published by MeeGenius in 2013 and "Big Cat and Kitten" also published by MeeGenius in 2014. Be sure to check them out, but after you read the interview!

_______



Dani: Which is better: Writing or drawing?

Sheila: Okay, define “better.” If “better” means “more fun,” I’d choose drawing. If “better” means “which I am better at doing,” I think it would be a tie. Although my first published work was a short story, if I were forced to make a choice, I would describe myself as an artist.

"Mess Up Molly" cover
published by MeeGenius in 2013



Dani: Are wishes actually horses?

Sheila: Well, I guess when your wishes are for a horse (or horses) then wishes are horses–especially if those wishes come true.

The first horse I knew was a wished-for, old strawberry roan named Tony that was given to my sister by friends of our family. She had gone to the county fair with them and thought she would win a pony that was being given away. When her wish didn’t come true, the friends felt badly and gave her Tony. My sister wrote entertaining stories called “Tony Tales” about his early life as a colt living in the Wild West.





Dani: Finish the following thoughts:


Interior illustration from "Mess Up Molly"
1. Horses are...

. . . and were a part of my life. After my sister was given Tony, my brother got his own horse named Flash. As Flash and I grew older, he became my hand-me-down horse. Later, my husband and I owned other horses, and last year, I helped our adult daughter adopt a mustang named Sage. Unlike Tony, whose tales were totally fiction, Sage actually did live her first year with a herd of wild horses roaming the range in Nevada.

And, of course, horses and other animals are often featured in my stories and books.


2. My first memory...

I can’t be sure which of these would be my first memory, so I’ll give a sampling of several early recollections.


Sheila Kelly Welch at 3 leaning on a walk-behind tractor
3. I recall . . .

. . . petting my cat Nicka who was a blue (gray) Persian with a sweet disposition who purred so loudly and persistently, he kept me awake at night.

. . . walking in my brother’s foot prints as he plowed the ground with a walk-behind tractor and plow. My brother is ten years older than I, so I had to jump to make each step.

. . . listening as my father read the newspaper “funnies” to me on the fuzzy chair in the corner by the window.


4. I still play...

. . . make believe. Isn’t that what writing fiction is all about?



Illustration from "Big Cat and Kitten"
published by MeeGenius in 2014
Dani: What's special about your work?

Sheila: My work – both writing and art – is intended for a wide audience. I’ve written stories for pre-school through adult readers. My art work ranges from illustrations for picture books to paintings that hang on living room walls.



Dani: What is your ultimate goal in life?

Sheila: World peace. And if I can’t manage to accomplish that . . . well, I’d like to be able to draw and communicate until my last minutes of life.

****************************************


Follow Sheila

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

What's Up Wednesday! January 28


Another wierd week for me. It's pretty much the norm now. Last week I looked at a house for rent with my In-Laws and yesterday we signed the lease, so we're moving! It's only a couple blocks away from where I live now, but there is lots of extra space. I'm also getting my own art studio, so there is so much to do! This was the good news that I couldn't mention yet. We have the whole month to move and will be in before March 1st.

It's kind of funny because I started throwing out things at the beginning of the year. I threw out some old awards and things we weren't using. Went through some of my old stories and recycled a ton of essays from high school and college. I'm sure my opinion on In School Suspension could change the world as it stands today, but I don't think I'm passionate enough now to incite that kind of change. ^_^

Interview Schedule:
January 30th - Sheila Kelly Welch 
February 6th - Rachel Elizabeth Cole
February 13th - Tatum Flynn

WHAT I'M READING
Read a whole bunch of fiction stories today so I could give feedback to the authors. Lots of good stories. Hopefully my comments will make them stronger. 

WHAT I'M WRITING/DRAWING
Last week was pretty bad. Barely had time to do a quick drawing for the 52 week Illustration group on Facebook. I think there are too many ideas in my head, and I just couldn't get most of it on paper. I'm hoping tomorrow is better. 

Every Day Possible
Dummy and coloring book work.

Wed 01/28 
What's Up Wednesday! Post... DONE like dinner. 

Thursday 01/29-  Dummy work. Hopefully finishing up a dummy today!

Friday 01/30- Interview with Sheila Kelly Welch,

Saturday 01/31- Finishing up things I didn't get done earlier in the week.

Sunday  02/01 - Inspecting the new place and getting the keys!

Monday  02/02 - Cleaning, packing, the whole shebang!

Tuesday  02/03 - Hanging out with some good friends and their kids.

Wednesday  02/04 - What's Up Wednesday! 

WHAT WORKS FOR ME
Idea of moving... that's working for me right now.

WHAT ELSE IS NEW

Toddler Minding 
Had a blast at David's party. His cake wasn't super pretty, but it was very yummy!

Ect.
Still getting some exercise. Need to step it up now!

*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, January 26, 2015

Finally Some Artwork!

I am almost positive that I never got around to showing you this artwork! I was posting them on Facebook a few days ago and realized that I never posted them here. What's that all about? Anyway here they are. These are two of my favorite paintings that I did for VCON back in October. I'm going to start thinking about VCON early this year, so I'm not swamped that month. The theme is "Time Travel" so it's going to be fun and tough to come up with images this year! I hope you like the illustrations!





Friday, January 23, 2015

Interview With Writer Auri Lynn

Today on my blog I have the magical Auri Lynn! Auri weaves her magic into young adult fantasy books (in other words she uses her magic for both good and evil!). Auri has her roots in nature being an Environmental Educator.

Right now Auri is working on her first book "The Wakening". You can read a sample from the book here. It's always exciting for me to read about a new fantasy series coming out. Is this the next big series? Hopefully, we'll wait and see!

-----

Dani: Why young adult fantasy?

I love to read young adult fantasy. I remember the teen years as such a magical time with a blurred line between dreams and reality. When I started writing The Wakening it naturally came out from the point of view of a 16 year old girl named Lera.



Dani: What magic do you believe in?

I believe everyone has some form of magic within. I once had a friend who saw letters as colors, so in his mind there was a color pattern for each person he met. I also know people who perceive what others are feeling physically or emotionally in a special way. I find it fascinating and love that moment when you realize someone's magic.


Dani: Finish the following thoughts:

1. I hate... waiting. I am always late, so I don't have a lot of experience waiting. :)

2. Dreams are... a place to break the rules we believe exist in reality.

3. The first time... you alter fate it hurts. In the words of the Rolling Stones (Wild Horses), "Fate has been broken, tears must be cried."


Dani: What's special about your work?

Being an environmental educator and working in natural resource management is amazing. Every day is different and there are always special moments like finding an orphaned fawn, working with wild birds, and zip lining through the trees. Plus it is so fulfilling to help parents and children learn through unstructured time in nature.


Dani: What is your ultimate goal in life? 

To spend as much time with my family as possible, to connect children to nature, and to live the life that was meant for me.


-------

Follow Auri:




Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheWakeningBook

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What's Up Wednesday! January 21

It has been the weirdest week. Things seem to be flying by. I completely forgot to post this until 11:42. Silly me! I have but minutes to finish this today. Looks like I need to start finding some more people to interview!


Interview Schedule:
January 23rd - Auri Lynn 
January 30th - Sheila Kelly Welch 
February 6th - Rachel Elizabeth Cole
February 13th - Tatum Flynn

WHAT I'M READING
Kid's books mostly. David's Potty Book For Boys is a favorite. PatricK McDonnell's Wag is another!

WHAT I'M WRITING/DRAWING
Finished up the portrait last week no problem... okay BIG PROBLEM. Somehow I ended up with non-waterproof ink in my ink pen. I use watercolors, so when I went to add them the ink went everywhere. Had to start over, but still got it done in time!

Every Day Possible
Dummy and coloring book work.

Wed 01/22 
What's Up Wednesday Post. Done just barely. Hopefully cleaning up my art area before bedtime.

Thursday 01/23-  Working on some dummy work. Hoping for good news that I can't mention yet.

Friday 01/24- Interview with Auri Lynn. Making a cake!

Saturday 01/25- David's Birthday Party is today!

Sunday  01/26 - Enjoying the day... hopefully.

Monday  01/27 - Doing some cleaning... might even be some serious business cleaning.

Tuesday  01/28 - Hanging out with some good friends and their kids.

Wednesday  01/29 - What's Up Wednesday! 

WHAT WORKS FOR ME
Insanity... insanity works for me.

WHAT ELSE IS NEW

Toddler Minding 
Making the cake and doing some last minute prep for David's party!

Ect.
Up to 30 minutes exercise every other day!

*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, January 20, 2015

12 Reasons to Join the 12x12

Registration for the 12 x 12 Challenge is now open for everyone. What is the 12 x 12? It's for those of us who want to write 12 picture books in 12 months! This challenge is also open to illustrators as well, so no one gets left behind!


There are three levels to the 12 x 12. Each level up has stronger rewards. The following reasons are things that are good about the 12 x 12 no matter your level.

1)  If you stick with it, on January 1, 2016 you will have at least 12 fully polished manuscripts to submit.

2)  Best. Prizes. Ever.

3)  Hundreds and hundreds of writers and illustrators rooting for YOU to be published.

4)  Resources and information easily accessible to you.

5)  Private Forums and a Facebook group

6)  Wonderful leaders who are always ready to answer your questions. Yes, our fearless leader Julie Hedlund interacts often with the members of the group!

7)  Access to products, services and events only available to 12 x 12 members.

8)  Ability to join any number of fabulous critique groups.

9)  Have your burning picture book questions answered.

10)  Being able to add the 12x12 as a plus on your submissions

11)  Motivation and inspiration from members. Plus motivation and inspiration from Julie's blog

12) Access to webinars for just a bit more! (Free with Silver or above.)

These are things you get if you just opt into the bronze version. There are so many more things you can get with the higher levels. Look at the membership options here.

http://12x12challenge.com/

You have until February 28th to join!

If you are ready, at the end of 12 months you may consider Gold Level. This gives you the access to submit to 10 agents over the year and bypass the slush pile. Don't have the money? Apply for a scholarship in 2016!

I'm Dani Duck and this is my third year as a Gold Member for the 12 x 12. Sound like something you'd hear at an AA meeting? Maybe, but it's all good things from here. Join the 12 x 12 in 2015. You will thank me later.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Interview With Elizabeth Maginnis

To say that Elizabeth Maginnis is a great lover of animals and the environment is an understatement. I say this because from reading her work I don't see her as just loving these things -- Elizabeth works hard to protect animals and the enviroment. Elizabeth Maginnis works hard to inform others about the impact humans have on the environment. She also creates wonderful stories and articles that help people to fall in love with animals. Her articles can be viewed on her website. Elizabeth's picture book, "There's a Dog on the Dining Room Table" is available now on Amazon.

Dani: If you had a dog on your table, what would you do? 

Elizabeth: I would gently pick him up off the table and place him on the floor while telling him what a silly dog he is, dogs don’t belong on tables, just as I did when I found our dog Barney on our dining room table. He’s the inspiration for my book.


Dani: Which word is the best? 

Elizabeth's "Once in a Lifetime Dog" Barney.
Read about him on Elizabeth's Website!
Elizabeth: Love. It’s the only thing that really matters.


Finish the following thoughts:

1. Stories are... portals to other worlds.

2. I need to... relax! My mind never stops working.

3. Yesterday I... snuggled with my dogs and cats on the couch. It’s one of my favorite things to do.


Dani: What's special about your work? 

Elizabeth: I find the humor in life with pets.


Dani: What is your ultimate goal in life? 

Elizabeth: To influence others to respect Mother Earth and all her children.

_____________

Follow Elizabeth:

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

What's Up Wednesday! January 14 - All the Exclamation Marks!

This past week has been okay. Nothing major done, but things are picking up. Been a bit tired lately, but feeling better today. I'm hoping to get a lot done this week!

Interview Schedule:
January 16th - Elizabeth Maginnis
January 23rd - Auri Lynn 
January 30th - Sheila Kelly Welch 
February 6th - Rachel Elizabeth Cole
February 13th - Tatum Flynn

WHAT I'M READING
Chirp magazine to my son... so many times! It's the train issue for January/February. He loves it so much!

WHAT I'M WRITING/DRAWING
I need to finish up a portrait this week so I can start working on other things!!! The 12x12 has open registration starting today. I'll talk about it tomorrow. Will post some of my illustrations Saturday.

Every Day Possible
Portrait, dummy and coloring book work.

Wed 01/14 
What's Up Wednesday Post. Done! 

Thursday 01/15-  12x12 post. Open Registration starts today! Working on finishing up a portrait.

Friday 12/16- Interview with Elizabeth Maginnis! Portrait work.

Saturday 12/17- Going to Hayden's birthday party (one of David's friends)!

Sunday 12/18 - Planning/making David's Birthday cake.

Monday 12/19 - My house will be perfectly clean this day (in my dreams).

Tuesday 12/20 - Cuddling my kid until he screams and I have to put him back down.

Wednesday 12/21 - What's Up Wednesday! 

WHAT WORKS FOR ME
Cake, chocolate cake!

WHAT ELSE IS NEW

Toddler Minding 
Planning his birthday cake this week!

Ect.
Been working out more lately. Every other day. Did 30 minutes yesterday!

*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, January 10, 2015

ReViMo! Registration Closes Tomorrow!

I've been meaning to post this all week, but I keep forgetting. ReViMo! (Revise More Picture Books Week) starts tomorrow! If you have some picture book manuscripts to revise then you'll want to join this! You need to sign up tomorrow by 10pm CST! I'm sorry for not posting about this sooner. Please sign up, there are a lot of great prizes. Also you'll get your manuscripts in good repair! Join here or click on the picture: http://megmillerwrites.blogspot.ca/p/revimo-2015.html

A Darth Portrait

This is a portrait I did for a friend at the end of last year. It was a gift for her son's birthday. I took the photo with my iPhone and sadly wasn't able to get a good scan before I gave the gift. Always make sure you get a good scan/photo of all your work!

Also for the next 5 days on Facebook I will be posting 3 illustrations/sketches. I'm going to try to keep from posting anything I've posted here. The present illustration excluded, though. I haven't shared that with enough people yet! 


Friday, January 9, 2015

Interview With Bobbie Dacus


Today on my blog I have a fantastic illustrator by the name of Bobbie Dacus! I just love the bright colors that Bobby uses in her illustrations. I don't know what it is about her work that just reminds me so much of all the good parts of my childhood!

Make sure you scroll down past the end of this interview. Bobby has shared her studio with us! I love seeing the creative spaces of other people. How else could I steal their organizational ideas for my own evil gain?

Bobbie is one of the illustrators that contributed to the free Monster Chores Coloring Book  that Jennyann Carthen is now hosting on her website! Bobbie's illustration will teach you the proper monster way of feeding your pets. This is something that is vital for your little monster to know!




Dani: Why Illustration?

Bobbie: I love art.. and anything art related. Years ago, going to the library and finding picture books with my kids led to my supreme interest in picture book illustration. At the time I was a fine artist and made the decision to transition to illustration. I've been in the field of graphic art/design for many years so it seemed to be a natural progression.


Dani: Is corporate graphic design truly evil?

No, not really.. I’m sure there are many aspects where it appears pretty evil. I worked in corporate graphic design for many years. I felt sorta like I didn't fit in but I will say it enabled me, as a single mom, to take care of my kids at the time. Later I worked at a design agency and that was certainly more fun!


Dani: Finish the following thoughts:

1. I hate…

Negative people and braggy people on Facebook.. Ugh..Get a life!


2. Dreams are…

As necessary as food and water.


3. My Favorite…

My favorite vacation is visiting Paris. I want to go back. Sigh. I could drink in the art FOREVER.



Dani: What's special about your work?


Bobbie: I think I use color in a way that expresses who I am and I think that’s special in a way. I think the challenge is to do that consistently when you’re constantly surrounded by trendy colors that other illustrators are using. It’s also a challenge when you’re constantly seeing what’s hot at the moment and is selling.




Dani: What is your ultimate goal in life?

Bobbie: I guess my ultimate goal is to live a good life and be happy. That may sound sappy but when you’re doing what makes you happy everybody wins… especially those around you!



Follow Bobbie: 









Bobbie: Here are a couple of pics of my studio:







Thursday, January 8, 2015

Awesome Blog Goals 2015!

This year I'm going to do all those lovely things that I wanted to do in 2014, but just didn't get around to doing them. I also have some new ideas for this year, so I'm hoping that this year will be awesome both personally and for my blog. I think my goal last year was for 2-3 blog posts a week and I think my average was 2. This year my goal is 4 posts a week.

Blog Goals for 2015:

* Continue What's Up Wednesday! posts. It keeps me on a good schedule.
* Continue weekly interviews. If you want to be interviewed let me know!
* Since I'm an illustrator: Post an illustration once a week. Should be an obvious addition.
* Find bonus things to post every week like book giveaways, guest posts and contest/challenge announcements.

Special Events for 2015:

"Bad" Picture Book Blog Hop: Starting February 9th I will start off the "Bad" Picture Book Blog Hop (name subject to change) on my blog. I have about 7-8 other bloggers who will be posting throughout that week and the next week. We will all be posting old Picture Books that we did as kids in High School or before. It will be hilarious and cute!

Picture Book Dummy Month: This will likely be in August. I know that other people do similar challenges, but I think this is one that's well needed. I still have a lot of planning left to do for this. I believe the goal will be just to get the drawings for a Picture Book Dummy finished (finals I'm not sure about yet). I know quite a few people, so I'll see how many guest posts I can get for the month! I would also be thrilled if I could get some prizes to give out for this. So excited about hosting this event!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

What's Up Wednesday! January 7th (A.K.A David's Birthday)

Today is my son's birthday! He started out the day eating a package of strawberries. That was my fault. I somehow didn't think he'd eat the whole package. Not having much of a party today, but he did have his friend over all day. 

I'm getting my interviews set up now. This is the order so far! I made a mistake and that's why Bobbie's interview is late. I forgot to send her questions of all things! I have all her answers, and apologized, so you will see her interview this Friday!

Interview Schedule:
January 9th - Bobbie Dacus
January 16th - Elizabeth Maginnis
January 23rd - Auri Lynn 
January 30th - Sheila Kelly Welch 
February 6th - Rue Cole

WHAT I'M READING
Anthology Still!

WHAT I'M WRITING/DRAWING
Working on my blog goal post for tomorrow. Want to map out what I'm doing this year. Some fun things coming up this year, so be sure to come back tomorrow! I already posted most of my other art/writing goals here: http://daniduckart.blogspot.ca/2015/01/2015-will-be-awesome.html

I will be working on dummy and portrait work this week. Have a lot to do to catch up after being sick. 

Every Day Possible
2015 Planning and dummy work.

Wed 01/07 
What's Up Wednesday Post. Done! David's Birthday Today!

Thursday 01/08-  Planning blog things for 2015 and doing some artwork!

Friday 12/09- Interview with Bobby Darcus! 

Saturday 12/10- Dummy work and portrait

Sunday 12/11- Hopefully not coughing. 

Monday 12/12- Living the dream... not sure what it is, but I'm going to be living it!

Tuesday 12/13 - Putting my child in a playground cage and letting him wreak havok. 

Wednesday 12/14 - What's Up Wednesday! 

WHAT WORKS FOR ME
WHAT ELSE IS NEW

Toddler Minding 
He's turning 4 today!

Ect.
Starting to feel better. Think my husband is getting sick now. 

*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, January 6, 2015

2015 Will Be Awesome!

I wrote a list of things I'd like to accomplish in 2015 a few days ago and I have yet to post it here! Last year I decided not to do a New Year's resolution. The reason for this is that people make resolutions and give up once they start messing them up. The following is a list of goals I would like to achieve. I try to list more than I can reasonably do in the year, so if I do all these things then I'm doing great!

I'll try to post my blog goals Thursday! These lists are probably not complete. These goals are not in order of importance. I'll probably add to them later.


Publishing

* Send work to the maximum (10) agents for 12x12 and sign with an agent.
* Send out at least 5 non-fiction articles to be published.
* Send out an email art package (or single illustration) to every children's magazine/publisher that accepts e-submissions (at least the ones printed in Children's Writer's and Illustrators Market.)
* By April send out 20 art packages to editors (Book or Magazine) by mail.
* By March find at least 10 alternative places (Not in publishing) that need illustrators.
* Sign a book contract.
* Send out at least 10 illustrations/stories for magazine publication.

Other Art/Writing Goals

* Finish 2 dummys in January.
* Create at least one full dummy a month.
* Get The Pattern Pals webcomic online and update weekly.
* Write at least 2 new stories a month.
* Create new Sci-fi themed paintings (12-20) for VCON this October.
* Keep up with the 52 Week Illustration Challenge.
* Create at least 20 portraits.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Monster Chores Free Coloring Book!


Hi everyone! I wanted to share with you this wonderful collaborative coloring book. Monster Chores is a free downloadable coloring book that Jennyann Carthen organized and is hosting on her website. We have had several illustrators participate in this collaboration. Illustrators Jennyann Carthen (of course), Tori Deaux, Telaina Muir, Bobbie Dacus, Teresa Schaefer, Cecilia Clark, Kim MacPherson, Mary Flynn, Annina Wildermuth, Jennifer Vanderbeek, Leila Nabih, Lezette Markham and yours truly, Dani Duck, worked together to create this book.

In these pages you will see these coloring pages and learn all about what it is to do chores if you are a monster. My page will teach you to dust like a monster. You will also see my awesome InDesign work in play. You can get the book here: http://paintisthickerthanwater.com/projects/monster-chores/

Jennyann will be interviewing everyone for this coloring book. Once a month you will be learning about each person who contributed to the book. My interview won't be until October. I got to choose the month, and what better month than my birth month? None, that's what!

Did I mention this book is free? Why haven't you downloaded it yet? You'll thank me later.


Friday, January 2, 2015

Interview With Julie Murphy



Today on my blog I have a captain of the creepy crawly; a shepherd of those that swim in the sea; an aficionado of things that both run and fly! Who is it that I have on my blog? It's Julie Murphy trained zoologist, zookeeper and nonfiction writer of all things animal.

Julie's most recent book "Environments and Responsibility" just came out in November. She has written too many books to mention! Some of Julie's other recent books include: "Anglerfish", "Whale Sharks" and "Whose Baby Is This?".

It doesn't matter what kind of animal you like, chances are Julie has written a book for you! Even if you like the slimy animals or the ones that scurry across the floor. There is something here for everyone. I hope you all enjoy this interview with Julie Murphy!


Dani: Why non-fiction?

Julie: That’s a trick question because I like writing fiction as well as non fiction. I haven’t had any fiction Picture Books published yet though, despite some very close calls. They say persistence is a key requirement for being a children’s author!

What’s so good about non fiction? Lots! From a writer’s viewpoint, it offers a challenge that’s a bit like completing a huge jigsaw puzzle. First, you need to pick a fun and interesting topic. Then you search for lots of interesting facts about that topic. Next, you sculpt the facts into a form that is even more interesting and that kids in particular will relate to, and you finally need to package it all into an overall story that flows smoothly like a river. Easy! (Not.) But it is lots of fun.

From a reader’s point of view, non fiction is great because it offers an attractive alternative to fiction, which isn't everyone’s first choice. Plus it is a fun and interesting way to learn about the world around us.


Dani: What's the ickiest bug you know?


Julie: Hmmm, that’s tricky because I like most bugs. I have worked with bugs, both when I used to work as a zoologist and as a zookeeper. I think bugs are cool. I have even written a Stick Insect Husbandry Manual for junior school kids. (See photo of me with a Stick Insect.) But the ickiest bug…hmm…well, can I cheat and say a leech, even though it is technically not a bug? I am not very keen on leeches.



Dani: Finish these thoughts:

1. My favorite animal...

Is the Common Wombat. It’s an Aussie like me, stubborn like me, and cute like…well, two out of three ain’t bad! (Here’s a link to a photo from Encyclopedia Britannica Kids - http://kids.britannica.com/comptons/art-55505/Common-wombat)



2. I always drink...

Coffee, and plenty of water.



3. My first story...

Julie: My first story that I can remember was about a girl who was trapped overnight in a museum, and a dinosaur skeleton came to life and became her friend. (This was way before the Night at the Museum movie starring Ben Stiller.) I still have the “book” which, coincidentally, also contains a non fiction section describing different species of dinosaurs. I have included a photo of a page from that book, which demonstrates why I am not an illustrator!


I think it would be great if all parents gave their children the opportunity to make books of their own. The books don’t have to be fancy – just some paper stapled together would do the trick, although there are some impressive bookmaking apps available these days too. There is something special about writing your own story, making it into a book and seeing your name on the front cover. It provides great encouragement to a child’s imagination and literacy skills.




Dani: What's special about your work?

Julie: Well, I think all books are special. They give readers a chance to spend time in someone else’s head, and in other worlds. Books foster imagination, empathy and understanding of diversity.



Dani: What is your ultimate goal in life?

Julie: To help make the world a happier place. Some of my happiest moments as a child were spent with my head in a book.





Follow Julie:

Website: www.juliemurphybooks.com
Twitter: @juliekidsbooks.com
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Julie-Murphy/e/B0032N0TX0/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/157536.Julie_Murphy
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/jmurphy1399/


Next week I will be featuring Bobbie Dacus on my blog! Sorry I did not have her on this week. There was a mix up that was all my fault! She will be here next Friday and it will be spectacular!