More Cool Book Art!

Offbeat Earth has a great collection of book creations (like the ones I've included here) called "Don't like reading? Read on..." And they have lots more you've got to go see. They're all very different and very, very cool.
Thanks to PW's "More Amazing Stuff Made of Books" for the heads up.

Gift a Stranger

Gift a Stranger - what a cool idea. You just send some joy into the world. Click Here to see a video on how it works.
I wonder who ends up feeling better? The person who receives a gift or the one who sends it? :)
Thanks to Swiss Miss for the link.

A Take Dark and Grimm Book Trailer

Here is yet another awesome book trailer for A TALE DARK AND GRIMM. Moody, yet funny, perfectly targeted to it's market... I may have to start a new label - book trailers. Gotta luv em.

Thanks to Betsy Bird of Fuse #8 for the heads up!

My OTHER blog

I have an announcement to make. I have another blog, which I've kept secret until now - well, until my interview on Illustration Island. I've been posting about the things that have inspired me while I write my novel. It's about my writing process and things that make my wheels turn. Maybe you'd like to visit?
It's called "Love My Muse."

My interview on Escape from Illustration Island!

Thomas James started Escape from Illustration Island a few years ago, and it has become a premier resource for illustrators just starting out (and some of us who have been in it a while). I was honored to be a guest recently for an Illustration Island podcast: Episode #68. And boy was it thorough! I got a little philosophical in some of my answers, but hopefully shared some information that will be of value to budding illustrators. If you listen, I hope you'll let me know what you think!

Coloring Page Tuesday - I Wonder...

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     Have you ever been so immersed in a book that the lines between reality and fantasy seem to blur? The writer has brought things that don't exist, so well, that it has to make you wonder? Ahhhh, the possibilities...
     Click here to view the entire Coloring Page Tuesday collection.
     Click the image to open a .jpg to print and color. Send your colored image (less than 1mb) to and I'll post it to my blog! Click here to find more coloring pages.

     Learn about my Cinderella story picture book, The Prince's Diary, click the cover.

Please follow my copyright policy when you use my images! And share your creation on the Coloring Page Tuesday facebook page!

e is for book

I receive a lot of requests for information on how I created my App, Lula's Brew. I usually refer people to my article "My 1st Picture Book App" - although that is really just the beginning of the story. So, recently I joined a group of traditionally published children's book authors and illustrators on a collaboration to explore the new territory of eBooks. It's called e is for book and I have a feeling a lot of you are going to find it incredibly valuable.
     Our mission statement is:
We are a group of published children’s authors and illustrators who are interested in or are already creating digital books for kids. The premise of our name is that a book is a book regardless of the format. With the option of interactivity within some formats, new creative possibilities are open to us. Our already-published books range from pre-school to Young Adult, so there should be something for almost everyone.
We also include a list of topics from 'reviews' to 'what is an ebook and what do we want it to be'?
     Hope you'll check it out!

Thinking about blogging? Here are some tips...

A few of my writer friends have come to me recently asking how to blog. I know it can be daunting at first and there are so many questions! What do I blog about!? How often should I post? How will I get people to read my blog?
     I'm hoping this post will answer some of those questions...

     What to blog about. That's the fun part - you talk about your passions. Start with two things in your life: writing and... cooking; illustrating and... lizards; crafting and... hang gliding. You get the idea. You may be doing one thing a lot of other people are doing, but I bet you're doing two things that make a pretty unusual pairing that only you can talk about. How do they feed into each other? How can one influence the other making for a voice all your own?
     Justine Musk recently did a great post on what the core of a blog should be at "Tribal Writer": "How to find a niche to dominate (& battle your way through the blogosphere)". She made some great points on figuring out your passions and tying them into your voice/your blog like nobody else can.
     Things not to blog about... Your health, your family's health, your children, the three dating taboos - politics, religion, and old boyfriends (unless these things tie in with your overarching subject matter somehow). Actually, you can do all of these things, but don't expect a following. Blogging can be a personal diary, or it can be reaching out to new horizons. They are not the same thing. Do not confuse the two.
     Of course, as with all hard and fast rules, there are some highly successful blogs out there that break these rules completely - but even they still tend to stay on theme. Just know, if you're going to have a blog about writing, people really don't want to hear about your kid who just threw up on the couch, or your herniated ulcer. And I think that's something that holds people back from blogging, anyhow. They think 'I don't want everybody to know all about my life'! Okay. So, don't share!
     Despite posting every day, I am a very private person and there's a ton of personal stuff I don't share on my blog. That's not what it's about. My blog is about coloring pages, this crazy business, and all the weird and wonderful things I stumble across that make me smile. (You too, I hope.)
     How often to blog? For beginners, I suggest once a week. Pick a day, any day, and blog on that day each week. Because part of gaining a following is by writing consistently. If you're still stumped on what to write about on that day, participate in one of the many online sites like Illustration Friday, Poetry Friday, or any number of similar groups.
     For most people, I think two or three posts a week are absolutely fine - forever if you like. It's only those crazy obsessive types (like me) who post every day. And it's an obligation, granted a fun one, but it's not for everybody.
     And here's a trick - under "Post options" Blogger lets you write a blog post and set it to 'go live' on a different date or time. Just click the button that says "Scheduled At," set your date and time, then hit "Publish Post." (This is not the same thing as "Saved as Draft" which you can also do while you're still working on a post.) It will then show up as "scheduled" in your "edit posts" list.
     I will often set up a week's worth of blog posts on a Saturday or Sunday then watch them go live right along with all of you! (And here you guys thought I awoke all pithy and brilliant each morning at 8:00am... maybe I shouldn't have told you my secret...)
     When not to blog? When you don't want to. Trust me, if you're being dragged into blogging kicking and screaming, it will be obvious and nobody will want to read. Blogging is supposed to be FUN first and foremost. If you hate it, don't do it. There are other ways to reach out, say through facebook or twitter.
     How to earn readers: It takes TIME to build an audience. Readership will not happen overnight. I've been blogging (via several attempts) since 2004, you do the math! That means that while you're starting out, you have lots of time to mess up like crazy. Because you can always go back and edit or delete a post - even your biggest mess-ups don't have to hang around. That should take some pressure off, yah?
     Still scared? Don't be! The thing about blogging is, it's addictive. Pretty soon the world will start appearing to you as potential blog topics. You'll think 'I can't wait to share that with my readers.' Or you'll want to blog about something so you know where to find it again - it becomes your own archive of groovy stuff. Or you'll be really excited for Thursday to roll around because that's the day the video about... whatever goes live.
     Or you'll write articles like these that, with luck, somebody else will find useful. And maybe, just maybe, they'll come back for more.

UPDATE! Here is a great article on how to properly add images to your blog at Build Your Own Website: The Trouble With Pictures. Thanks to Notes from the Slushpile!

Don Kenn on Post-it Notes

Don draws beautiful, yet creepy art on post-it notes. His illustrations would be amazing full size, but when you consider the small area he works on, they become even more amazing. Truly worth checking out his collection at Don Kenn Gallery. There are also some really nice pieces of Don's work at Escape Into Life.
Thanks to Fuse #8 for the link.
Ooo, I just found an animation he did too!

Said the Shark - True Love from Kim Oxlund on Vimeo.

Music video for Said the Shark's True Love from Silly Killings. Story and animation by John Kenn Mortensen.

Thanks to S.J. Petruccio!

No Name-Calling Week

No Name-Calling Week is January 24 - 28th, and it's a great idea. Get ideas for your school or classroom at the official website - click the logo above.

12 Bookstore Cats

Miss Cellania's Files of mental_floss has a great post on bookstore cats. Need I say more? Go Check them out!
Thanks to Shelf Awareness for the fuzzy alert.

Coloring Page Tuesday - Winter Swan

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      I'm going pretty on you this week. With the snow storm that hit Atlanta (Georgia, USA) last week (click here to see photos), I was seeing a lot more white than usual. We couldn't go anywhere, so I had the luxury of enjoying some serious quiet and creative time. It made me a bit meditative and calm - much like this Winter Swan.
     Click here to view the entire Coloring Page Tuesday collection.
     Click the image to open a .jpg to print and color. Send your colored image (less than 1mb) to and I'll post it to my blog! Click here to find more coloring pages.

     Learn about my Cinderella story picture book, The Prince's Diary, click the cover.

Please follow my copyright policy when you use my images! And share your creation on the Coloring Page Tuesday facebook page!

Check out this gorgeous embroidery by Kim Dallaire!

Removing the N-word from Huck Finn

Katie Davis has just hosted one of the most important interviews she's ever done at Brain Burps About Books. She talks to Dr. Alan Gribben, the author of the newly revised Tom Sawyer/Huck Finn edition (from NewSouth Books), in which he changed the N-word to "slave" throughout the text.
     There has been a ton of debate on this topic ever since the news broke. The initial reaction being 'it's wrong' until one learns that one word has kept the books from being taught in our public schools. Millions of kids now have no idea who Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer or Huck Finn even are.
     However you feel about the issue, Katie's interview is the best, most well-rounded discussion yet. Click the logo to go have a listen.
     Although nowhere near as riveting, I was also a guest on Katie's show back in November. You can learn more about it here.

The Genius Files by Dan Gutman

This is one of the best book trailers I've ever seen! Enjoy!

Thanks to Fuse #8 for the link!

I Like Big Books

I love this video by Dowell Middle School students and teachers! It even has out-takes at the end. A school that loves books together... well. It's gotta be a great one!

Thanks to Fuse #8 for the link via Jana Warnell.

Airstream Bookmobile

You knew it was only a matter of time. And what a rockin' awesome bookmobile a 1959 Airstream makes! The Mobilivre was based in Quebec, but stopped operation in 2008. Y'all need to argue for a comeback tour!
     Thanks to Webecoist for the heads up and more great pictures of odd buildings and vehicles that have been transformed into bookstores and libraries! Also thanks to poetic home for the original post and pictures: An Airstream Ingeniously Repurposed into a Library.


As my first interview for 2011, I would like to introduce you to Janeen Mason, author and illustrator of her latest picture book, THE GIFT OF THE MAGPIE. It's coming out right about now, so be looking for it in your local bookstore!

Q. Janeen, when I think of your art, I mostly think of blues, and water and undersea life. What moved you to the sky?
A. Florida has magnificent cloud formations. I've heard them described by our old timers as 'Florida's Mountains', and I've always wanted to paint our skies, our brilliant sunsets.

Q. The strong black and white graphics of the birds lends a beautifully folksie look to the art in GIFT OF THE MAGPIE. What was your inspiration?
A. I'd had a studio in a building built in 1926 with a courtyard behind it. The doors were 10' tall, and there were windows up near the ceilings for cross ventilation. At a certain time of the year flocks of crows would land on the power lines above the courtyard in the back. The crows were so excited, shouting to each other for 30 minutes or so before they all lit off somewhere for the night. So this story began with crows, but one day a friend of mine (a clown - for real) read the mss. and smiled when she finished it, saying "Ahhh. It's like Gift of the Magi.." I thought she said Magpie and suddenly the whole vista opened before me.

Q. GIFT OF THE MAGPIE reads like a classic folk tale. How did you pull that off?
A. Thank you! I didn't realize I'd pulled that off. Have no idea how it happened.

Q. The two magpies also feel so human. Are they modeled after anybody you know?
A. Yes. It's like Mars and Venus, isn't it? When our children were little I took them by train to visit my parents, we had a lovely visit. Unbeknownst to me, my husband bought a car for me while I was away. We hadn't had a second car until then and he was so sure I'd be thrilled. That car was a lot like Max's basketball shoe. I was horrified. It didn't look safe to me! I thought it made a lot more sense to stick with one car until we could afford something with a little more durability, completely overlooking his gesture. Sigh.

Q. You have been sharing your talents with the world for some time now - how many books is this for you now? Will there be any fun events surrounding the release of GIFT OF THE MAGPIE?
A. Gift of the Magpie is my 12th picture book, but only the third one I've written and illustrated. There are two more in the wings behind it.
     On Thursday, January 13th, we're celebrating the release with a publishing party at the Blake Library in Stuart, Florida. On Valentine's Day, February 14, 2011, we'll have another celebration at the Society of the Four Arts in Palm Beach where I'll be conducting 6 2-hour workshops this winter/spring for adults aspiring to write and illustrate children's books.

Thanks Janeen! Here's wishing THE GIFT OF THE MAGPIE much success!

Snowed In!

We are snowed in here in Atlanta! You people up North stop laughing. We get snow like this maybe once every ten years, so we don't invest in salt trucks, or snow shovels. We just hunker down, clear out the stores...

curl up by a fire and eat! I'm lucky my hubbie is a GREAT cook! Tonight's menu: a big pot o' his awesome smoked pablano chili and I'm baking a peach pie (summer peaches which I froze for just such an ocassion - gotta love the contrast with the snow).

     This is how it all started Sunday night...

     Where's Mr. Tumnus when you need him?
     And here's the back yard...

...with Bernie's footprints. He doesn't know what to make of all this white stuff. It's hard to walk in.

     This is the view of our driveway. I know it doesn't look like a lot of snow to many of you, I'm sure, but here's what happens in the South - all that white stuff you're looking at is about to freeze solid (much of it is still frozen from last night) and the temp is supposed to drop tonight. There's a sheen to frozen snow, sort of like sparkly, fairy snow. But you don't want to drive on it - although we did because we're crazy like that! Hence the grocery store shots above! We did have to watch out for walkers who, because there were so few cars, walked in the middle of the street everywhere (the sidewalks are solid ice).

     Tonight it will turn to ice. In fact, tomorrow will probably be more dangerous conditions than yesterday or today. And what was snow, has turned to freezing rain, which is now coating the tree branches. When those come down, power starts going out. Let's cross our fingers that doesn't happen!
     So far it's been an awesome storm. I'm getting some great down time/creative time. Although, for those of you who won prizes here at recently - I can't get to the postie just yet. (And if I could, it's not open!) Soon, soon, I promise!
     Here's for SNOW! Wahoooo! :)

Here are some GREAT photos by Josh D. Weiss of people sledding in Piedmont Park - which has become a big deal the last few days!

Sledding Videos!

Coloring Page Tuesday - Crocodile and friend

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     I love the idea of of big ones and little ones getting along - peace among beasties. It's a good message for the New Year and all year long. Especially on such an odd day as this: 1/11/11! (Should I have posted at 11:11?)
     Click here to view the entire Coloring Page Tuesday collection.
     Click the image to open a .jpg to print and color. Send your colored image (less than 1mb) to and I'll post it to my blog! Click here to find more coloring pages.

Learn about proper parenting language and the power of choice in, Ready for Bed! , Ready for the Day!, and Ready to Play! - click the covers!

Please follow my copyright policy when you use my images! And share your creation on the Coloring Page Tuesday facebook page!

Susan and I on PBS with GCB!

During our book tour for THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS IN GEORGIA, Susan and I were filmed by PBS via the Georgia Center for the Book. Nervous much? Not me - ha! (Actually, I was.) Anyhow, it's now live on the PBS Forum Network site. (Click the image above to go have a looksie.)

Treehotel in Sweden

You know how I love treeforts - really elaborate ones? Well, the Treehotel in Sweden is bringing in some amazing architects to create some truly cool tree forts for you to stay in. There's the Blue Cone by Sandell Sandberg:

And the mirror cube by Than & Videgard Arkitekter:

And of course, The Bird's Nest by InredningsGruppen:

Thanks to Handmade Charlotte via Oh My! Handmade Goodness for the heads up!

'I Am Number Four' trailer

This looks pretty awesome! I read the book, which I enjoyed. Let's see if the movie does it justice! :)

We have TWO winners of my comment challenge!

I received over 50 wonderful comments on my post "Put your 2011 Goals OUT THERE!" So, I've done a drawing for TWO of my books!
     The winners are Lillian Child, Grandma to two 3-year-olds in Omaha, Nebraska, and LadyD, a piano teacher in San Diego, California. For 2011, Lillian wants to live more in the moment and spend more time with family and friends. Lady D wants to see the beauty in each day. Both admirable goals indeed!
     I've contacted them both and once they choose which of my books they'd like to have, I'll sign them and ship them off. Congratulations ladies! And may 2011 be a fantastic year on every level for all of us!

VisoGive - Watch & Give

This is a cool idea. By watching a video, you can help some great causes. Each view gives just a few pennies to a cause or group, but those pennies can add up. And the videos range from messages like "Don't text and Drive" to a Big Cat Rescue fund, clean water for Africa, etc. So, click the logo for Visogive and get watching!

Over 50 Comments! And a comment challenge...

DING! DING! DING! I've received over 50 comments on my post "Put Your 2011 Goals OUT THERE!" so I will be doing a drawing for TWO of my books (winner's choice). Although you still have until tomorrow (the 7th) to share your 2011 goals and be entered in the drawing!!!
     See? I knew you guys were out there. Big fuzzy hugs.

So, still on the topic of blog comments...
     Mother Reader and Lee Wind are once again hosting the Comment Challenge 2011! Click here to read more about it. And sign up HERE.
     The point is to leave five comments a day on different blogs - every day through January 26th. You have to keep track and turn in your numbers. If you reach the goal there are giveaways!! Probably of the bookish nature. Yay!
     It's a great way to expand your online community and learn about some great blogs - so join in!

Kidlit Drink Night, Georgia-style...

Childrens Book authors, illustrators, editors, publishers, etc. get together every few months in New York for what they call Kidlit Drink Night. They've been doing it for years.
     Well, we're finally kicking off our own Southern version on January 8th at The Square Pub in Decatur, Georgia. Visit Laurel Snyder's Blog for more details. Here's hoping this is the first of many! Cheers!

New Online Portfolio

I updated my online portfolio over the holidays. It's got a ton of work in it, some which may be new to you. Also new is my pencil/vignette category as I'm hoping to pick up some vignette work for mid-grade novels in the New Year.
     All you Art Directors out there - please go have a look! Click "art" on my nav bar above or on the image above to go straight to my portfolio. (I typically work directly with publishing houses through my agent. Her information is listed on my portfolio.)
     All you writers out there - no, you don't need to hire an illustrator for your picture book before you send it to publishing houses. Learn more in my article "How Do I Get Published."

Coloring Page Tuesday - Sharing Bears

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     I love creating coloring pages for a New Year - the sky is the limit, the possibilities wide open. So here is my first for 2011 - sharing bears. How do you think a teddy bear and a REAL bear would get along anyhow? I think just splendidly.
     Click here to view the entire Coloring Page Tuesday collection.
     Click the image to open a .jpg to print and color. Send your colored image (less than 1mb) to and I'll post it to my blog! Click here to find more coloring pages.

     Click the covers to learn about my newest picture book, Soap, soap, soap and Soap, soap, soap ~ Jabón, jabón, jabón.

Please follow my copyright policy when you use my images! And share your creation on the Coloring Page Tuesday facebook page!

Oh my gosh. Look at what Taotao (age 5) did with my bears. So happy! Thanks to his mom Leanne for sharing and GOOD JOB Taotao!

All About MoonPie

So if you go to the Moonpie website under "about" and scroll to the 1970's - that's MY drawing on the MoonPie Mardi Gras packaging. (Have you ever caught one from a parade float?) Yup. MoonPie used to be one of our main accounts when I worked at the Wood Group in Chattanooga - part of my fifteen years in graphic design before I became a children's book author/illustrator. Gotta say, I'm still pretty proud of that particular project. :)

Leave a comment! Book Giveaway

We hit 25 comments on my post "Put your 2011 Goals OUT THERE!" So I'll be doing a drawing for at least ONE book giveaway. If we can get up to 50 comments by January 7th, I'll give away TWO books. Go to the topic ON MY BLOG and leave a comment to enter!

Little Boy Conducting Beethoven

This is how passion begins...

Thanks to Your Parenting for the link!

Pantone announced Color of the Year for 2011

"Honeysuckle: a 'dynamic reddish pink' - a.k.a. Pantone 18-2120 TCX.
     Thanks to The Creative Finder for the heads up and where you can go read lots more about this year's color and read quotes like "Honeysuckle emboldens us to face everyday troubles with verve and vigor."
     I love color.