Happy Halloween!!!

Don't forget, I have lots of Halloween-themed coloring pages at dulemba.com. Click Here! (Or click the pumpkin.)
     I hope you have a ghoulishly gourdful Halloween!

Kayaking with Blue Whales

This is amazing footage. I like to think I would have been as brave to get in the water like that, but I don't know. Still, what an amazing experience!! (I hope Susie is okay.)

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

Giveaway Update...

We just need five more comments for me to do a drawing for Leslie Muir's GIBBUS MOONY WANTS TO BITE YOU! CLICK HERE to leave a comment. (Must include an email address and live in the continental US.)

     We have a winner! It is... (drum roll please)... Denni!!! I've emailed her with the good news.
     Thanks for playing everybody!

Denni - You're email addy isn't working!!! Email me at elizabeth at dulemba dot com ! You have a week to get in touch... :) e

Conferences and Wheelchairs

Two weekends ago I attended our SCBWI Southern Breeze Fall Conference (WIK - Writing and Illustrating for Kids) in Birmingham, Alabama. Thing is, according to my calendar it was supposed to be one week later - after I was well on my way to healing from foot surgery. At some point, the date moved on me and I ended up having to attend the event in full crippled mode.
     There was no canceling. I was one of the speakers - "Technology and the Future of Reading" and I'd paid for a critique. Thank goodness, along with the boot and crutches, I was able to borrow a wheelchair (the conference is held at an enormous high school) and I was surrounded by friends.
     Here I am during my critique with Deborah Kaplan of Penguin.

     My Assistant Illustrator Coordinator and friend Kathleen Bradshaw made the whole thing possible by driving me to Birmingham and back and figuring out how to fold my wheelchair and pack it in her car to get to the various venues. (I know it got heavy.) Susan Rosson Spain, along with being the author of THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS IN GEORGIA, was my assigned Angel, and boy did she get a work-out. (Enormous fuzzy hugs to you both!)
     Although, throughout the weekend everybody was unbelievably nice and helpful, while I seemed to become the latest novelty. (Go as fast as you can! Let's race! Beep, beep!) I had people offering to help push me around (literally) the entire weekend - including the visiting speakers! Melissa Manlove (Chronicle) especially pushed me around quite a bit. (How many people can say they got pushed around by a top editor, huh?) People laughed that with a hook like that, wheelchairs would be popping up at all our future events! And truly, with so many people generously helping and keeping my mood up, everything worked out just fine.
     But I have to say I have new respect for people who have to deal with such disabilities every day of their lives. Things that upright people would never think of can be major issues for someone in a wheelchair. And it's often the behind the scenes parts that are the most challenging.
     For instance, my handicapped room and shower arrangement was set up very well (I still had stitches and wasn't supposed to get my foot wet). And there was a sink that had plenty of room to roll under. However, the mirror above the sink was hung too high. Couldn't use it.
     While most public bathrooms have well-equipped handicapped stalls, they often times have automatically closing doors to the bathrooms, which are extremely hard to get through without help. Great once you're in there... if you can get in the bathroom.
     The hardest part often isn't being in the wheelchair itself (or in a drivers seat, etc.) - it's getting in and out of the wheelchair. Sometimes that is the barrier that keeps you home.
     Rugs are hard. Hardwoods and tiles ROCK.
     And parking? Well, even before the surgery when I was using a cane heavily, there were many things I couldn't do because even the handicapped spaces were just too far away.
     Truly, now that I've had first hand experience with physical challenges, I hope I am forever changed into a person who opens doors, picks things up, reaches high, carries things, whatever is needed to make a truly handicapped person's life a little bit easier. Especially knowing how difficult it is to admit you need help, allow people to help, and ask for help even if nobody is offering.
     Of course, at the conference, I was in a safe zone, surrounded by some of the warmest, most generous people known to mankind - who I am proud to call colleagues and friends. And at home I have a wonderfully supportive husband. I am very lucky.
     Susan Rosson Spain and me.
     You may be getting the idea this particular conference wasn't so much about the conference itself. While I connected with some fabulous publishing people - now agent Rubin Pfeffer, Art Director Deborah Kaplan, Editor Melissa Manlove, Editor Alexandra Cooper (who I met in Nashville), author Lisa Yee, Agent Linda Pratt, and SCBWI Founder Lin Oliver - it really was about spending time with friends. Friends who all share a common goal and just 'get' the struggle we all go through to follow this crazy passion of writing and illustrating for kids. It's invigorating to hang out with people who speak the same language and fight the same fight.
     Thanks to all our wonderful volunteers, including our Regional Advisors Jo Kittinger, Claudia Pearson, and Heather Montgomery (who made a great roomie) - they work so hard to make sure these events go well. Thanks also to Lin Oliver for (perhaps naively) creating was has become a nationally renowned organization and gathering of gentle spirits. Go SCBWI!
     Despite the challenges, I am so incredibly glad that I went.

Thanks to Sarah Campbell and Donna Bowman for letting me share their images.


I know this is making the rounds - and I support that! (Click it to see it larger at the source.)

Coloring Page Tuesday - Witch!

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     Cackle, cackle, cackle! Wtichy witches for Halloween. It's one of my favorite costumes, how about you?
     For more Halloween coloring pages, CLICK HERE!
     Click the image to open a .jpg to print and color. Send your colored image (less than 1mb) to coloringpages@dulemba.com and I'll post it to my blog! Click here to find more coloring pages.

Appy Halloween!!

Have an Appy Halloween including LULA'S BREW!
Like this on facebook! Tweet about this at #AppyHalloween
Oh - and please take a picture of your little ones enjoying LULA'S BREW - I'd love to share it on my blog! Send to: elizabeth at dulemba dot com. Thanks!

On Halloween by Jenny B. Harris

Jenny B. Harris has created some adorable apps through Interactive Touch Books. The latest is ON HALLOWEEN. Here's a peek:

SO cute!! And Jenny's artwork is so perfect for apps like this. To get them, go to Interactive Touch Books and search for ON HALLOWEEN.

Giveaway!! GIBBUS MOONY WANTS TO BITE YOU by Leslie Muir

Today I celebrate the release of GIBBUS MOONY WANTS TO BITE YOU, by my friend Leslie Muir. After years of waiting, she has three books coming out all in the same year (!!!) including BARRY B WARY which we talked about back in May. I asked her about the latest...

Q. How did you come up with the idea for Gibbus Moony? I'm thinking somebody in your family had a biting issue?
A. Well, as is often the case for me, it all started with a name. Gibb's moniker popped into my head while I was staring at a gibbous moon one night. Boring, I know. But a name like Gibbus Moony seemed perfect for a wily little vampire boy. And yes, Gibb's character was also inspired by a very close family member. One of my sons was a biter at age two. He was a sweet, affectionate kid, but he'd get these big surges of energy and unfortunately tended to release that energy with his teeth! It was quite unnerving at times. I'd have to trail him during playdates because I never knew when he'd make his move and chomp a friend. Fortunately, my son grew out of the biting thing and his sweet nature carries on. Oh, the mysteries of toddlerhood!
     But truth be told, I never set out to teach any lessons with Gibb and his biting issues. Remembering that harrowing time with my son simply makes me laugh. So what's a writer to do?

Q. What was your path to publication for GIBBUS MOONY WANTS TO BITE YOU!?
A. I had recently signed with my wonderful agent, Anna Webman, at Curtis Brown, Ltd. She promptly sent GIBBUS MOONY to an editor at Atheneum who loved the story and offered me two-book deal! Good times.

Q. What was your reaction to the fun illustrations by Jen Corace (Little Pea, Little Hoot, and Little Oink)?
A. I immediately fell head-over-heels. I love that even though Gibb and his parents are vampires with fangs and widow's peaks, Jen managed to turn them into this sweet family unit. Grandpa Waxing Moony is the cutest in his little argyle sweater! As well, I think Jen captured Gibb perfectly. She gave him a boatload of pizazz, personality and kid-appeal. And the bright, vivid color palette she used is totally toothsome.

Q. Do you have some fun Halloween stuff going on to help celebrate Gibbus' debut?
A. Yes! As a matter of fact, I'm going to be reading GIBBUS MOONY WANTS TO BITE YOU! on October 30th (3:00 p.m.) at the stupendous independent bookstore, Little Shop of Stories, in Decatur, GA. The reading will take place right before a big Halloween parade and concert in the town square. Apparently there will be gobs of little people dressed in their Halloween best. So if anyone's in the area, throw on a costume and join us!

Thanks Leslie!!!
And yes - Leslie has kindly offered to sign a free copy of GIBBUS MOONY WANTS TO BITE YOU to be mailed to one of my lucky readers!!! As soon as we reach 20 comments below, I'll do a random drawing. Please remember to include a contact email address - continental US only.

Coloring Page Tuesdays - Halloween Bear!

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     What could be more perfect? All my favorite things for Halloween - witchies, pumpkins, and teddy bears!
     For more Halloween coloring pages, CLICK HERE!
     Click the image to open a .jpg to print and color. Send your colored image (less than 1mb) to coloringpages@dulemba.com and I'll post it to my blog! Click here to find more coloring pages.

Top 10 iPad Book Apps for Halloween

LULA'S BREW has made the Top 10 iPad Book Apps for Halloween - by The Digital Media Diet. I am thrilled!!! Click here to read the full review. I hope you'll check it out.

2011 Trailee Awards - Voting is OPEN!

My friend and fellow #KidlitPR tweet chat (1st Wednesday of every month) buddy, Katie Davis, has TWO, count them, TWO book trailers as finalists in this year's School Library Journal Trailee Awards and voting has begun! CLICK HERE to view all the kick butt book trailers in various genres (although you can see Katie's below). Vote for your faves! Voting ends December 16th. (How will I decide?)
Note: I spoke with Katie and if you want to vote for her and can't decide - she prefers people vote for the Little Chicken trailer - it's her latest book.

KINDERGARTEN ROCKS! by Katie Davis from SLJ Trailee Nominees on Vimeo.


LITTLE CHICKEN'S BIG DAY, by Katie Davis from SLJ Trailee Nominees on Vimeo.

#KidlitPR Transcript

Dianne de las Casas, Katie Davis and I host the monthly #KidlitPR tweetchat on the first Wednesday of each month at 6:00 pm EST. I had to bow out because of my surgery this month (and am a week late getting this posted as a result), but Katie posted the transcript on her blog at: http://katiedavis.com/tweetchat-transcript/ . Hope to see you next month!

Coloring Page Tuesday - Skeleton!

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     Halloween is and it makes my bones feel like dancing!
     For more Halloween coloring pages, CLICK HERE!
     Click the image to open a .jpg to print and color. Send your colored image (less than 1mb) to coloringpages@dulemba.com and I'll post it to my blog! Click here to find more coloring pages.

Unconventional Bookstores

Flavorwire recently put out a list of "10 Unconventional Bookstores For Your Browsing Pleasure." Indeed.
     I especially like The Book Barge, which just parks along the canals in the UK (mostly in Staffordshire) and opens its doors. I wonder if they set loose while customers are inside? At 4 miles per hour, how long would you be able to read before you'd be lost?
     The other one that caught my eye is in called "Kid's Republic Picture Book Store" in China. Is it a playground? Is it a bookstore? Is it a place that makes it fun to read? You betcha. (I wish my house looked like this!)
Thanks to PW Daily for the heads up.

Coloring Page Tuesday - Fire Dog

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     October is Fire Prevention Month, although the message is important throughout the year. Be careful with fire or Fire Dog will have to... lick you silly. Hm.
     I'm a little late on fulfilling this coloring page request for Melissa... but I hope it comes in handy!
     (New Halloween images begin next week - although you can dive into the archive now!)
     Click the image to open a .jpg to print and color. Send your colored image (less than 1mb) to coloringpages@dulemba.com and I'll post it to my blog! Click here to find more coloring pages.

Foot Surgery

I don't talk about my health on my blog much, but Tuesday I'm having foot surgery and I could use a little help on this one.
     As some of you may know, I've been dealing with chronic plantar fasciitis for some time now. It's why I created my "Bad Foot Bear" back in March. We've tried everything and there's just no way around it, I'm goin' under the knife.
     How can you help? Well, I'm going to be laid up for a while, then on crutches, and generally feeling frustrated and sorry for myself. I could use some mood lifters. SO!
     Got any good jokes (please keep 'em mostly clean), funny stories, or general goofiness to share? Please post them in the comments below.
     Knowing what a creative group of people you are - I can't wait to see what you come up with. And please let me express my thanks here in advance. I hope to be up and running (literally) again soon!

It's time for LULA'S BREW!!!

It's October and that means Halloween is just around the corner. Download my app LULA'S BREW to get in the spirit!
     Lula's Aunties want her to be a witch like them. But Lula prefers to study cookbooks rather than spellbooks (and hates to fly on a broom). Lula wants to be a famous chef. In desperation, the Aunties insist she try to make one last potion. Lula secretly adds her cooking flair and in true witchy fashion creates a brew that bewitches the entire town, and her Aunties too!
     LULA'S BREW is now available on the iPhone, iTouch, iPad, Nook Color, Kindle, and as a .pdf. Visit the activity page for all options (or click the image below) and to see some cool demo videos.

Rubber Bookshelves

Now THIS is inventive - rubber bookshelves by Luke Hart for The Sculpture House. Would you stop playing long enough to actually read?
Thanks to SwissMiss and BoingBoing for the heads up.