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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

I hope you collect lots of sweets this Halloween - even if it's kisses from your favorite ghoulie. Remember I have lots of free Halloween coloring pages - CLICK HERE.
     And click here to read some interesting Halloween factoids. For instance, did you know that the original jack-o'-lanterns were made from turnips?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Coloring Page Tuesday - Scaredy pumpkin and GIVEAWAY!

Sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and/or click here to view more coloring pages!
     Happy Halloween!
     Costumes, candy, and spooky tales. What do you like best about Halloween?
     CLICK HERE to find more Halloween images to color. And share your Holiday creations in my gallery so I can put them in my upcoming newsletters!
     GIVEAWAY!
     DON'T FORGET - I have a trick-or-treat LULA'S BREW GIVEAWAY going on. Today is the last day to try to win. CLICK HERE to sign up!

     Share your Holiday creations using my images in my gallery so I can put them in my upcoming newsletters! I'm especially looking for Thanksgiving and Christmas creations. Kids' art is welcome - they don't have to be cards!
     Click the image to open a .jpg to print and color. Post it to a blog, then share it in my GALLERY!
     Click here to view the entire Coloring Page Tuesday collection.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Book Signing at Little Shop of Stories


Yesterday I capped off my LULA'S BREW book signing tour at Little Shop of Stories. There was a great crowd of kids and their grown-ups, all dressed up for Halloween (the kids that is). I wish you could see them all in the photo above.
     I handed out coloring pages and spider rings, while Little Shop handed out candy. Truly, you can't see the crowd, but I hope my smile gives you a hint how many there were. Including author and illustrator buds Michael Austin and his wife Kim, and Lynn Cullen. Even though I didn't get to spend much time with them, it means so much when fellow creators lend you support at events like this. We stick together.
     Afterwards, there was a parade through downtown, which is where all the kiddies and their parents headed. But it was so windy and cold, Stan and I opted for a snack at The Square Pub. Lo and behold, the parade came to us, ending up in the plaza right in view of our window table.
     Even more amazing... the skeleton puppeteers and brass band all headed for the Square Pub too. So these were our dining buddies...



     I especially liked the pirate one.
     As the crowd gathered in the plaza, somebody asked "What's going on?" Somebody else said, "It's just Decatur." Which is exactly why we love living where we do. You never know when there will be an impromptu dance performance, music, odd costumes, etc, at any time of year!
     Best of all, we have Little Shop of Stories, which I am proud to say is MY local indie children's bookstore. They have been so supportive of me, my career, especially handling pre-orders of LULA'S BREW (thanks Krista!). I couldn't be more grateful!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Book Signings at Hall's and Avid

Saturday I had the great pleasure of being the guest at TWO fabulous bookstores. For both, I dressed up like Lula in LULA'S BREW - striped stockings and all! (And can I tell you how fun it is to wear a cape? No wonder kids love to do it.)
     I started the day as part of the author read-a-thon at Myra Mead's Hall Book Exchange in Gainesville, Georgia:

     Myra has been a great supporter of me and my books, so I relish the chance to give her love back. Especially considering her's is the only bookstore in that area. She is a true cheerleader of literacy and a love of reading!
     Next, hubbie and I drove to our alma-mater, the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia, to visit Janet Geddis and her one-year-old adorable Avid Bookshop. This sweet little shop truly does harken back to "You've Got Mail" and all the wonderfulness that a bookshop can be. I mean, how can you lose with an entrance like this:

There are even antique ironing boards with fresh cut flowers in vases and stools for relaxing outside:

Inside, I had a dedicated young crowd of loyal bookstore fans turn out for my reading of LULA'S BREW.

     Today I'm off to Little Shop of Stories. More soon...

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Children's Sales SOAR...


...in the First Half of 2012, Says AAP, as reported in THIS ARTICLE by Publishers Weekly. We often hear that picture books are cyclic, as are mid-grade and young-adult (although with all the new adult readers reading YA, that may be changing). The recession (heck, really since 9/11) either helped cause or coincided with a slump in picture books, so it's nice to see these numbers. My favorite genre is making a comeback!!!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Le grand éléphant

This amazing elephant was created by Francois Delaroziére and Pierre Orefice for Machines de l'ile á Nantes in France. I saw a photo of it on Pinterest months ago and saved it. Well, here the thing is in motion! You steam punk fans are going to loves it! Not the greatest thing to listen to, but positively amazing as a sculpture:

As the website says:
He lives in the central street of the Nefs. When the majestic animal goes out for its walk, it is like architecture in motion departing a steel cathedral. The 49 passengers on board embark on an amazing journey on the Ile de Nantes. Each time the pachyderm goes out, it is a unique spectacle for everyone to enjoy.
Thanks to The Kid Should See This for the heads up.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

LULA'S BREW - the official GIVEAWAY!!!

You, yes YOU can win a free hard cover copy of LULA'S BREW, signed and dedicated to your favorite witchie!!! And the drawing will be ON HALLOWEEN - how's that for a Trick-or-TREAT!?
     I usually host other people's books with interviews and giveaways on Thursdays. Well, this Thursday the giveaway is mine. And I'll share some little known factoids about LULA'S BREW...

     Did you know that LULA'S BREW has been in the works since 2007? Yup, maybe even longer. She was one of my earliest book dummies. The art was created as pencil drawings, which I then colored digitally in Photoshop.
     Art from the dummy won me a Grand Prize in the SmartWriters.com competition! I got a trophy and everything!

     Did you know that LULA'S BREW was an APP before it was a book? Yup, one of the very first children's picture book apps for the iPhone and later for the iPad. I even did the voice for the apps! (And learned that it's a bad idea to eat Indian food before doing a voice recording.)
     I wrote an article about my experiences with Lula for the SCBWI Bulletin (the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators): "My 1st iPhone/iPad Picture Book App." I gave talks at conferences and even did some very high-tech school visits. LULA'S BREW was cutting edge back then.

     Did you know that as an app, LULA'S BREW was downloaded over 10,000 times? Not too shabby, eh? I'm proud - yes indeedy.

     Did you know that LULA'S BREW is available not only in hard cover and paperback, but also for the iPhone, iPad, Kindle, Kindle Fire, Nook, and as a pdf? CLICK HERE for links to them all.

     Did you know that LULA'S BREW is still breaking new ground with Xist Publishing's publishing model? All of Xist's printed books are are produced using print-on-demand resources. (They aren't actually produced until orders are placed.) It cuts down on waste, warehousing, and may be the wave of the future for publishing. This is definitely something to keep an eye on!

     Did you know that one of my best fan emails ever was from a mom whose little girl dressed up as Lula for Halloween? BREAK my heart to little pieces!!! OMG!

     Did you know I have LULA'S BREW coloring pages, a word-find puzzle, computer wallpaper, and the actual recipe for Lula's Brew? Yup - CLICK HERE!

GIVEAWAY
     Must live in the continental US to win. The drawing will be held next Wednesday - on HALLOWEEN!!!! Trick-or-treat!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

How art, technology and design inform creative leaders

This TED talk with John Maeda, President of the Rhode Island School of Design, is worth your time if you're a creative type. Especially the part about type - if you're a type-geek like I am. (Can I say "type" one more time? Type. There, I did it.)

Thanks to SwissMiss for the heads up.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Coloring Page Tuesday - Lula on a broom

Sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and/or click here to view more coloring pages!
     Last chance for Lula!
     "Lula didn't like to fly on a broom or practice magical spells. She wanted to brew up tasty dishes with pleasing aromas and smells.
     Lula dreamed of being a chef in her neighborhood's favorite haunt. She wanted a four star bistro, her very own restaurant."


     You have just over a week to purchase LULA'S BREW in time for Halloween! A great place to do it (and get your copy signed and dedicated) is to catch up with me at one of my upcoming book signings:
     Hall Book Exchange, Gainsville, Georgia (USA), October 27, 2012, 9:00am
     Avid Bookshop, Athens, Georgia, October 27, 2012, 1-2pm - read about it at "Halloween Story Time at Avid Bookshop", Athans, Georgia, in Athens' Macaroni Kid
     Little Shop of Stories, Decatur, Georgia, October 28th, 3:00pm
     Hope to see you there... preferably in costume!
     OCTOBER IS ALL ABOUT LULA'S BREW!
     Signed, dedicated orders of LULA'S BREW are still available for the hard cover edition - although we're down to the wire! Call my local independent children's book store, Little Shop of Stories, at (404) 373-6300 (USA).
     She's also available via Amazon in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle/Kindle Fire!
     CLICK HERE to find more Halloween images to color. And share your Holiday creations in my gallery so I can put them in my upcoming newsletters! I'm especially looking for Thanksgiving and Christmas creations. Kids' art is welcome - they don't have to be cards!
     Click the image to open a .jpg to print and color. Post it to a blog, then share it in my GALLERY!
     Click here to view the entire Coloring Page Tuesday collection.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Chip It! by Sherwin-Williams

LOVE this new tool by Sherwin Williams! Upload an image to Chip It! and it will come up with a matching color palette! How groovy is that?
     Here's the color palette for Lula's Brew - gorgeous!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A face for every age

Filmaker Jeroen Wolf recently filmed 100 people stating their age from 0 to 100. For children's book writers, the younger end is especially interesting. It's also interesting how many people don't look their age - younger or older than their years. Fascinating really. CLICK HERE to read more about the project.

Thanks to The Kid Should See This for the heads up.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Your pet suitcase

I can't imagine there's much room left for clothes, but this suitcase (called the Hop!) would definitely turn a few heads (and sucurity's perhaps). Cuteness aside, I LOVE the idea of being able to track your suitcase from your smart phone. Heck, maybe you could even give it a call when it ends up in the Bahamas without you?

Click here to read more about it.
Thanks to SwissMiss for the heads up.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Debbie Ridpath Ohi's I'M BORED - GIVEAWAY!


There are a lot of people working very hard to get published in children's books. We attend conferences together, are on message boards together, follow each-other's blogs, twitter and facebook pages too. In other words, we talk, we get to know each other. Best of all, we support each other.
     Especially when somebody like Debbi Ridpath Ohi, who has been working for so many years, finally gets her big break. And not just a little break.
     I'M BORED (written by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by Debbie) is launching onto the picture book scene with huge PR, great reviews, and lots of notice. So, I couldn't be more thrilled to have Debbie as a guest today.

Q.     So Debbie, how long exactly have you been working on getting published?
A.     Thanks for the kind intro, Elizabeth! :-)
     I just recently went through my documents to check the answer to this first question, since I wasn't exactly sure. The answer is somewhat complicated by the fact that I haven't been actively pursuing publication full-time but have had to put it aside from time to time because I had to focus on major life events or other types of work.
     I've been trying to get my middle grade novels for young people published since 1995, when I signed with my agent at Curtis Brown. We sent out two of my novels since then but although the second one got pretty close and I was contracted to do a nonfiction book for Writer's Digest Books, no book-length fiction contracts came my way.
     Meanwhile, however, I started selling my short nonfiction to print and online venues. I also provided much of the online content for Inkspot, one of the first websites for writers that I created, as well as my e-mail newsletter for writers, Inklings. At its peak, the latter had nearly 50,000 subscribers. I eventually recruited columnists for the publication, including children's book author Lee Wardlaw (who did the Ask The Children's Book Writer column) and my agent, Ginger Knowlton (Ask The Agent).
     During the whole Inkspot phase, I did very little fiction writing. It's one of the reasons I ended up selling my website, in fact I realized I was spending more and more time managing and doing admin than actual writing. Ironic, really, considering that I originally created it as a resource for children's book writers because I was interested in writing for young people.
     Anyway, that's a much longer answer to your question than you expected, I'm sure. Short answer: I've had success in publishing nonfiction, short fiction and poetry…and now success in illustrating a picture book! I have yet to find success in getting my novels published, but I intend to persevere until it happens.
     Click the image to see it larger.


Q.     The story of how you got 'discovered' at an SCBWI conference is pretty inspirational. Can you share?
A.     Up to 2010, I mainly considered myself a writer.
     In 2010, I submitted my middle grade manuscript to the mss critique program at the SCBWI Summer Conference in LA but it was rejected because I had included some illustrations. My illustrator friend, Beckett Gladney, convinced me to enter the Illustration Portfolio Showcase.
     I resisted because I had no art training and felt I wasn't good enough, but she and my sister said I was wrong. Beckett helped me put together my first portfolio, choosing drawings I had posted to Flickr. Interestingly, the images she selected were not ones I would have chosen; I felt they were too rough, not polished enough.
     To my shock, I ended up winning two awards. One was an Illustration Mentorship Program Award and the other was one of two runners-up for the overall Showcase.
     Through the Mentorship Program, I had the opportunity to meet with the six Mentors that year for career and portfolio advice. We Mentees that year all got along very well and we launched our own website at KidLitArtists.com.
     One of the judges on the overall Showcase award was Justin Chanda, a publisher at Simon & Schuster in charge of three flagship imprints: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, Atheneum and Margaret K. McElderry Books. He asked me if I'd be interested in illustrating Michael Ian Black's newest picture book.
     I said yes. :-)
     To read the full story of what happened click this link: http://kidlitartists.blogspot.ca/2010/09/how-rejection-got-me-book-deal-my.html

Q.     There has been quite the fervor around I'M BORED. What's that been like for you after working so hard to achieve this goal?
A.     It's been overwhelming. Amazing and overwhelming.
     And thank you so much for mentioning the part about me working hard to achieve this goal. Some have referred to me as an overnight success, that I seemed to have come out of nowhere. I find this both amusing and frustrating. Well...at first I was just frustrated. :-)
     So here's my advice to those of you who have been struggling to get noticed in the publishing industry, who feel as if they've been working so hard for so long, with very little payoff. PERSEVERE.
     My "overnight success" took many years, and only came after a lot of hard work and help from other people along the way.

Q.     I love your quirky illustration style which you've honed for years with your fantastic comic strips "Will Write for Chocolate," "Writer Unboxed Comics" and others. Can you tell us more about the strips?
A.     Thanks! I've been creating comic strips ever since I could remember. One of my earliest strips was about a baby named Boppy, drawn when I was around 10 or so. Even though I didn't realize it at the time, my love of comics helped prepare me for working on I'M BORED: learning how to convey expression and story with very few lines.
     I have a lot of webcomics: some are continuing strips while others are one-panel one-offs. Here are a few:
     Will Write For Chocolate - My comic strip about a house full of freelance writers who work in various genres.
     My Life In A Nutshell - My semi-autobiographical comic.
     Waiting For Bilbo - My comic about avid fans waiting in line for The Hobbit movie. Co-written with Shane McEwan, who worked on the Lord Of The Rings movies at Weta Digital.
     Writer Unboxed Comics - I post a writing-related comic on Writer Unboxed on the first Saturday of every month.
     My comics for board gamers - I create these for the BoardGameGeek.com community. My husband and I are both board gamers. :-)
     And I'll be collaborating with my friend Errol Elumir on some NaNoWriMo comics this year! You can see our past comics as well as the new strips starting November: http://nanotoons.net

Q.     I have to admit, I adore the main character's eyebrows from I'M BORED. They go from commas to full on Frida Kahlo! How do you express so much emotion in so few lines?
A.     Heh, love the Frida reference.
     As for the expression of emotion in few lines: I suppose it comes down to figuring out how to essentialize, to capturing the essence. And lots and lots and LOTS of drawing...I mainly did this in my comics.
     I lose patience when it comes to drawing finicky details. My joy comes much more from conveying character and story than in the drawing, at least when it comes to sequential art.
     So...the fewer lines I have to draw, the better....and the more I enjoy the process. If I get too bogged down in getting things technically perfect, then my drawings become static and uninteresting.

Q.     From what I've read, your path to drawing the perfect potato was a struggle. How so?
A.     I love your questions, Elizabeth!
     As for the potato…I knew the challenge was to draw a potato with personality. Here's a comic I created about the process:
     Click the image to see it larger.


Q.     What is your illustration method?
A.     Although I do occasional non-digital sketching, 99% of my work is digital. Main reason: I don't have enough room or the proper ventilation in my basement office cave for much non-digital art materials.

     I never went to art school, so never got proper training in how to use real-life acrylics, oils, watercolor, and so on, nor did I accumulate these types of art materials the way most illustrators do.
     So when I started getting more interested in comics and other fun illustration, I opted for art software like Corel Painter instead, and using a stylus with a Wacom tablet.
     Partway through the I'M BORED process, however, I was horrified to discover that Painter didn't handle CMYK files, so I bought the latest version of Photoshop and learned how to use it with the help of Lynda.com tutorials.
     For each I'M BORED illustration, this was my process:
     - Do a very rough sketch on one layer. This was usually just rough pencilled (digital pencil) shapes.
     - Do the ink line art on another layer. I created a custom Photoshop brush for this, since I like sloppy and uneven lines rather than smooth.
     - Create a layer for each different color. I do this in case I need to make book-wide color changes later on that way I can leave all the layers intact except for that one layer.
     Sometimes I also add shading and textures, usually on yet another layer. Before I modify any layer, I make a copy of it first just in case I screw up.
     Before I uploaded the final to the Simon & Schuster server, I flatten the image into PNG format.


Q.     This is your first book as illustrator - CONGRATULATIONS! And it's led to your first book as author/illustrator! Can you tell us more about that?
A.     Thanks for the congrats! And yes, Simon & Schuster has offered me two more book contracts!! I'm pretty thrilled. Both were blank contracts: one was for the next book project I illustrate for them and the other is a book project that I write and illustrate for them.
     While I eagerly wait to hear whose story I'll be illustrating, I've already started the process of working with my editor (Justin Chanda) on the story I'm writing as well as thumbnail sketches.
     Debbie's creative team: ____, Laurent Linn (awesome Art Director), Justin, and Debbie:


Q.     Finally, do you remember a while back (2009) you drew a comic for me - of me - talking about writing and promoting my then new title, SOAP, SOAP, SOAP ~ JABON, JABON, JABON? (Click here to see it.) It's one of my treasures and I will forever be grateful.
A.     Ha, I do remember! I'm so glad you liked that piece. :-D
     I seem to recall that I also had your cover on display in my Writer's Haven on Second Life for a while, too.
     Congrats on your success with LULA'S BREW, Elizabeth!

Thanks so much for visiting, Debbie!
Here's several shots of I'M BORED spotted "in the wild":


GIVEAWAY!!!
     Must live in the continental US to win. The drawing will be held next Wednesday.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

5 Ways for Writers to Blast Through Self-Doubt

Jon Bard, Creator and Managing Editor of the Children's Book Insider (CBI Clubhouse), has written a most excellent article on how to get past the haters (other people and yourself) when it comes to writing. It's at Write to Done: unmissable articles on writing, and is called 5 Ways for Writers to Blast Through Self-Doubt. I recommend it highly.
     Favorite quote:
"Attain Non-Attachment by Being Prolific. The Buddha was sure on to something. Attachment is truly a dangerous thing. Especially for writers."

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Coloring Page Tuesday - Steam Pumpkin!

Sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and/or click here to view more coloring pages!
     I had to buy a witches hat and cape for my upcoming booksignings for LULA'S BREW (rough job, I know). Hope you can join me at:
     Hall Book Exchange, Gainsville, Georgia (USA), October 27, 2012, 9:00am
     Avid Bookshop, Athens, Georgia, October 27, 2012, 1-2pm - read about it at "Halloween Story Time at Avid Bookshop" in Athens' Macaroni Kid
     Little Shop of Stories, Decatur, Georgia, October 28th, 3:00pm
     Anyhow... while at the party store, I saw a bunch of Steam Punk costume accessories. Steam Punk is so cool and it got me thinking about a steam pumkin! Why not!?

     OCTOBER IS ALL ABOUT
LULA'S BREW!

     Signed, dedicated orders of LULA'S BREW are available for the hard cover edition. Call my local independent children's book store, Little Shop of Stories, at (404) 373-6300 (USA). Or support your own local bookseller. (If they don't have her in stock, please ask.)
     She's also available via Amazon in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle/Kindle Fire!
     Want to help spread the word? CLICK HERE to download sidebar banners, cover shots, blog post banners, a press release, anything you can use to help get the word out.
     THANK YOU!!!

     CLICK HERE to find more Halloween images to color. And share your Holiday creations in my gallery so I can put them in my upcoming newsletters!
     Click the image to open a .jpg to print and color. Post it to a blog, then share it in my GALLERY!
     Click here to view the entire Coloring Page Tuesday collection.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Buried in freelance

I shouldn't complain considering the alternative. But I am in the thick of a freelance project for Zondervan (publishing company) which is using up most of my October free time. So, if I seem to be hibernating - I'm just busy for a bit. The deadline is early November, and I'm right on track as long as I keep my butt in chair (as Jane Yolen likes to say).
     But don't worry - I still have a great new coloring page going up tomorrow and more book giveaways coming soon! So keep checking in.

Friday, October 12, 2012

I'm over at Shelli Johannes Wells' blog today...

Talking about different ways to read and publish in this ever-changing market. CLICK HERE to go visit! :) e

Amazon's new addiction


I know we all have a sore spot for Amazon, but you have to admit they do some pretty groovy things too - especially for authors. Do you know about Author Central? It's a tool where authors can link their books to themselves, set up a profile AUTHOR PAGE (click here for mine), check book sales based on BookScan (although not comprehensive, the alternative is Bowker, which is a very expensive service available only to publishers), etc.
     It's a cool tool, and I've known many authors over the years who get positively obsessed about checking the rankings of their books. I'm at 5,362 today! And some-such. (In the top 100 is worth celebrating.) Some authors (I've heard, I don't know anybody personally who has done this) even tell family members to buy their books all at the same time to push their rankings higher - if only for a moment. It's a full-fledged addiction.
     Well, Amazon has come up with a new tool which is sure to be the new addiction. It's called Author Rank and it shares an author's ranking based on the sales of ALL of their books. When the announcement came in via email, it said that I was at 10,564. I think that's pretty good, although I have no idea what the pool is.
     While I think this is a great feature, this could be a very unhealthy thing - to be able to grade one's popularity by the hour, by the minute! But I'm also certain it will be a big success. Gads!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Jon Klassen's THIS IS NOT MY HAT - HAT GIVEAWAY!


A while back I interviewed Jon Klassen about his instant hit picture book I WANT MY HAT BACK. People loved the minimal text, simple yet sophisticated artwork, and that surprise ending that had everybody talking. Well, he's done it again. Today I interview Jon about his latest, THIS IS NOT MY HAT.

Q.     Jon! You've done it again - you've created a simple, profound and poignant story, where once again the protagonist gets... well, I don't want to spoil it for anybody, but if they read your first book, I WANT MY HAT BACK, they can guess. So what is it with these scandalous endings?
A.     Thank you! The endings don't happen on purpose! Probably my favorite thing I've heard about I Want My Hat Back was when my cousin's young son finished reading it and he was asked what he thought of the ending, and did he think maybe it could've ended on a friendlier note. He said "yeah, maybe, but this is what HAD to happen." I think that's great, and it's the same feeling you get when you're writing something that you like. You set it up, but it gets to the point where you almost feel like you have no choice in how it's going to end.

Q.     The first book had simple images on a light background. THIS IS NOT MY HAT seems completely opposite with simple shapes on a dark ground. What was your thinking behind that?
A.     I liked having the water be black. It implies a lot, visually, I think. It seems very still and quiet, and it seems like it might be deep down in the water. Not ocean deep, but maybe at the bottom of a lake. It also helped me organize things and accentuate details. The characters' eyes are a big part of the story, and also bubbles are important, and the darker the background, the more those two things pop. It wasn't necessarily to contrast with the first book, but I do like that it worked out that way.

Q.     I love your simple shapes. Do you mind sharing your illustration method with my readers?
A.     For both I Want My Hat Back and This Is Not My Hat, the method was the same. I did the separate pieces of the illustration in black Chinese ink on sort of semi-heavy paper, then cut the shapes out and scanned them and added color to them and assembled them digitally. All the smaller features, like eyes and noses and things, are added in later since I'm not so skilled with ink to do things that small.

Q.     What was the inspiration for this story? Was it based on a real-life experience?
A.     If there's anything drawn from real-life experience in either book, it's the idea of indifference, and the different ways it shows up. In I Want My Hat Back, the rabbit is totally indifferent to the thing he did and also to the consequences when they arrive. In this book, the big fish who was wronged is just a big force that plows toward the little fish and doesn't say a word. He just comes for him in a very direct way, like things that catch up with you and make you realize how small your plans were against everything that could go wrong.

Q.     THIS IS NOT MY HAT has a strong message relayed in a crafty way. What's been the reaction from parents? Kids?
A.     So far I haven't gotten a lot of reaction from anyone since the book just came out. I kind of hope they just like the story and don't delve too much into asking "ok what can we take away from this?". Kids already know you shouldn't steal, and this isn't saying you will always get caught - kids know just as well that sometimes you don't. This is just a story about someone who does get caught.

Q.     Finally, are you going to stay with the hat theme on future books? Can you share what you're working on next?
A.     I was kind of surprised to see a hat again in this one! It's a handy device, but I'm going to try not to shoehorn it in if it doesn't fit the story.
     I'm working on another story involving animals, but that's as much as I've nailed down so far. Very specific.

Thanks Jon! Check out this cool book trailer!


GIVEAWAY!!!
     Candlewick is doing a very clever thing with the PR for this book - they're giving away a hat (for adults only, please) along with a signed copy of THIS IS NOT MY HAT!!! I'm told it's very groovy and they sort of go together, don't you think? Must live in the continental US to win. The drawing will be held next Wednesday.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Go visit Jon on the rest of his Blog Book Tour!
Mon, Oct 8: Playing by the Book [UK]
Tues, Oct 9: 100 Scope Notes [US]
Wed, Oct 10: My Best Friends Are Books [AUS]
Thurs, Oct 11: Elizabeth O. Dulemba [US]
Fri, Oct 12: Wahm-Bam [UK]
Mon, Oct 15: Lost in the Library [CAN]
Tues, Oct 16: My Little Bookcase [AUS]
Wed, Oct. 17: A Year of Reading [US]

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

LULA'S BREW giveaways!

Can't buy a copy of LULA'S BREW? Several blogs are hosting giveaways:

• Janice Hardy's The Other Side of the Story, leave a comment on my guest post "From App to Print." Drawing on October 12th. THIS Friday!
Julie Hedlund's blog, leave a comment on my guest post "Never Give Up." Drawing on October 15th.
• Mirand Sherman's Mom's Bookshelf & More, read her review and enter. Drawing on October 19th.
• Shelli Johannes Wells' Market My Words, read my guest post and leave a comment on Friday, October 12th.

OR win a free ebook version (for the Kindle or Kindle Fire) of LULA'S BREW by leaving a review on AMAZON! Email me at elizabeth at dulemba dot com to let me know you did it and I'll hook you up with my publisher for the download code. Only 20 available, so please share your thoughts today!!
ENJOY!

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Coloring Page Tuesday - Lula adds herbs

Sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and/or click here to view more coloring pages!
     Lula is a chef! Or is she a witch? This image is from LULA'S BREW! A witchy good time to be had by foodies and Halloween afficianados! Lula is officially available now!
     Signed, dedicated orders are available for the hard cover edition of LULA'S BREW. Call my local independent children's book store, Little Shop of Stories, at (404) 373-6300 (USA). Or support your own local bookseller. (If they doesn't have her in stock, please ask.)
     She's also available via Amazon in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle/Kindle Fire!
     CLICK HERE to find more Halloween images to color. And share your Halloween creations in my gallery so I can put them in my upcoming newsletters!
     Want to help spread the word? CLICK HERE to download sidebar banners, cover shots, blog post banners, a press release, anything you can use to help get the word out.
     THANK YOU!!!

     Click the image to open a .jpg to print and color. Post it to a blog, then share it in my GALLERY!
     Click here to view the entire Coloring Page Tuesday collection.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Rock Eagle and Columbus Day

Since it's Columbus Day, it seems an appropriate time to celebrate the folks who first discovered America - I don't mean Columbus. Heck, I don't even mean the Cherokee Indians (in my area of the country). I'm talking about people who lived here thousands of years ago, so long ago that the Cherokee didn't even know who they were. But who left their mark nonetheless...
     In Rock Eagle, Georgia, there is an Eagle shaped from piled rocks - the Rock Eagle Effigy Mound. Hubbie and I took a road trip to go see it recently.

     They know very little about the people who created the Eagle, but there are a few effigies around the state like this.
     At Rock Eagle, a tower was built during the CCC era so you can climb up and get a better view. Heck, the tower is something to see in itself - it feels like a mini medieval castle with metal framed windows (no glass), rock walls and log stairs that go up, and up and up!
     Here's Stan taking the photo of the Eagle.
     Add to that, in the North Georgia Mountains where we used to live, there's a fish trap built into the Toccoa river. It's hard to see unless the water is running a little low, but rocks were placed to form a "V" in the river, directing the fish to where they could be caught more easily. I've heard the Cherokee built it, but I've also heard it's been dated back 2 to 3,000 years old. Whichever is accurate, it's amazing that it's still there!
     So! So much for anybody discovering anything. But I suppose some folks like having the day off. Happy Columbus Day!

Saturday, October 06, 2012

The Surprising science of happiness - Dan Gilbert

Inspiration for the day... Here's a great TED talk by Dan Gilbert. The take-away - you can decide your own happiness. Awesome!

Case in point - Amy Purdy: Living beyond limits

Friday, October 05, 2012

Get a FREE ebook version of LULA'S BREW!

Are you a fan of LULA'S BREW, the app? Want a free ebook version (for the Kindle or Kindle Fire) of LULA'S BREW?
I need reviews on Amazon!
Click here to leave a comment for the Kindle/Kindle fire ebook version.
Click here to leave a comment for the hard cover book.
Then email me at elizabeth at dulemba dot com to let me know you did it and I'll hook you up with my publisher for a free ebook version of LULA'S BREW! Only 20 available, so please share your thoughts today!!
Thanks!

Thursday, October 04, 2012

HALLOWEEN FOREST - GIVEAWAY!


Two children's book master creators, Marion Dane Bauer and John Shelly, have come together to create HALLOWEEN FOREST. John is a fellow member of the Picture Book Artists Association and the SCBWI, so we've emailed for years (although with him living in England and Japan, we've never met). I've also never met Marion, but hope to! Meanwhile, I'm thrilled to have them both on my blog today to answer questions...

Q. Congratulations to you both on the beautifully yummy and creepy HALLOWEEN FOREST! Q.    Marion, the writing is described as "unmetered rhyming verse." Can you explain that a little further? Is there a conscious pattern you use when you write this way?
A.    There is no conscious pattern. I could, in fact, call it writing by the seat of my pants. Mostly I'm working at avoiding falling into any set rhythm for too long a time so that the ear comes to expect it and be jarred when I leave it. (I probably don't succeed at that 100% of the time.) And I let the rhymes come as they may, falling naturally, I hope. It's a kind of game for me. I'm playing with the rhyme and letting it play me. What's hard is to keep the fact that I'm rhyming from pulling me into regular patterns either of meter or rhyme, because if I do that the text loses its flow.

Q.    John, when you first read the text, did the images you wanted to create fill your head, or did it take more 'noodling' than that?
A.    This was a great story to work on, I was instantly pulled into it. On the first reading my head was filled with the spooky excitement of the text, so I was immediately caught up in the atmosphere of the verse. I made a number of tiny thumbnail jottings as I read through, a number of which proved the seeds of later full illustrations. When I plan books I tend to start with the overall composition, roughly establishing the look of key images in very small, loose scribbles, then gradually work out details in progressively larger sketches. In the case of Halloween Forest the structure of the spreads came together very quickly in the earliest stages, which were then elaborated with detail and texture.
    The next challenge was how to give full justice to the imaginative images conjured by Marion's text – the mechanics of making a forest of bones and filling it with the creatures described, and also of establishing the look of the central character. One of the great things about pen-and-ink drawing is the wonderful flexibility pen lines can provide. The forest was a question essentially of morphing roots and tree bark into bone-like shapes. After a number of planning sketches established the look of the trees, I just had to populate the scenes. My sketches are always in black and white, usually in pencil, so the tonal balance of the images, dark against light, was a key part of creating the atmosphere.


Q.    Marion, did pictures fill your mind when you wrote the story? How did you react when you saw John's illustrations?
A.    I love writing picture books and have learned to use my text to set up opportunities for the artist to create active, changing illustrations, but I rarely have any concept of what the illustrations are supposed to look like. That's an advantage, I think. I'm never disappointed because the artist's vision is different from mine, because I, quite literally, have no vision. (When most people read a picture book for the first time, they go through looking at the pictures. When I pick up one I haven't seen before, I read the words from beginning to end, then remind myself, "Oh, this is a picture book" and go back and check out the illustrations.) When I writing a picture book text, I am immersed in the words and waiting for the rest to be supplied. When I saw what John had done with my forest of bones, I was thrilled. "Oh, that's what it looks like!" I said. It's such a gift to have an artist commit so much to my small story. The first time I saw the illustrations of Halloween Forest felt, not like Halloween but like Christmas.

Q.    John, The detail in your illustrations is amazing. How long did it take you to draw each spread and what medium did you use?
A.    The final spreads were all drawn with india ink in pen, then coloured with watercolour, all “by hand” (no digital). I invariably work on all the spreads in stages – first all the linework, then all the base washes, then all the backgrounds and so on, so it’s difficult to say exactly how long each individual image would have taken had I drawn one at a time. Also, raising my daughter does tend to cut down my time at the drawing table! For Halloween Forest the colouring was fairly time consuming as I used a lot of layering and back-fill in small areas like tree bark. Its great for developing texture, but naturally takes longer than if I’d just painted the whole tree one tone. On average I’d say a day or two for drawing linework, then between 3-4 days painting, per spread.

Q.    Marion, I love that you used the word 'dismay' so prominently. Do you have a theory behind your word choices and what is or isn't appropriate for kids?
A.    My theory about word choice is the same, whatever I'm writing and for whatever audience. The simplest word is always the best. But the simplest word may, in fact, be dismay. I write early readers as well as picture books, and early readers, even though they are, presumably, for a somewhat older audience are much more limiting to write than picture books. That is, of course, because young children's word comprehension is much greater than their reading comprehension, and usually picture books are being shared with an adult who is doing the reading. As to throwing in an occasional word that might be unfamiliar, we all know that reading--or being read to--expands vocabulary . . . and not just for kids. So I'm always trying to use the word that is both the simplest and the one right word in that context, but I'm not afraid to ask my readers/listeners to stretch.


Q.    John, HALLOWEEN FOREST is a showcase for your talent. Was it a favorite project on which to work?
A.    Oh definitely, without question. It’s quite unusual to find a text that is so close to my inspirations, my points of reference as an illustrator, Halloween Forest rang bells in all my departments, combining humour with naturalism, character, spooky mystery and drama, all of which are key aspects of my art.

Q. Finally, you are both so very far apart - Marion in Minnesota and John in England. How do you plan to promote the book? Have you ever met in person? And what do you think you'll dress up as this Halloween?
A.
Marion:    I do most things--writing and promoting--from my desk here in St. Paul. I used to toodle around the country more than I do these days, and I still do a bit of that, but home grows sweeter with each passing year. What a blessing the Internet is in that regard . . . and people such as you who will help get out the message about a new book. And no, John and I haven't met. I hope we'll get a chance to one day. As to what I'll dress as for Halloween, I'll probably put on my softest, most comfy robe and hang out in front of the fireplace behind a bowl of candy, waiting for the trick-or-treaters to come. (I'm eager to hear John's answer since during the year I lived in England I attended a great celebration of Guy Fawkes Day in our rural village, but I didn't see a single treat-or-treater.)

John:    I’d love to meet Marion, either in the US or of course I’d love to see her in the UK too! It’s somewhat difficult for me to promote the book from the UK, but I’ll be blogging and otherwise active online as much as possible. I’d be very happy to join in any promotions in the US, I do go over to the US whenever I can, perhaps a Halloween trip would be in order – I’d have to board the aircraft in costume of course. Hmmm, what to wear? How about a ghostly pilot outfit? Would they let me through immigration and customs I wonder.....

GIVEAWAY!! Enter in the random drawing for a free copy of HALLOWEEN FOREST. Must live in the continental USA to win. The drawing will be held next Wednesday. a Rafflecopter giveaway

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