Grad school doth be no joke

7 10 2014

Just kidding. So, I’m in graduate school now and it’s great. I’m a grad assistant so the college has basically decided to pay me to go to school. I think I’ve officially become a professional student. But we all knew that was gonna happen, right? By contract I had to give up all my other jobs, 3 or 4 of them. I think. I stopped counting a very long time ago. I actually don’t get out of bed before 8am now. WHO KNEW SLEEPING IN WAS A THING? And yes, 8am is sleeping in. I’ve also seen more of my family in the last 6 weeks than I have in the last 8 months and it is glorious. It’s amazing the things I now have time for. family, friends, sleeping, writing, HIKING, and thinking. I have certainly missed just being able to sit and ponder things.

I am now also a member of the Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators. But I may have told you that already. I don’t remember. Anyway, I’m looking forward to getting some of my picture book ideas peer reviewed and hopefully will find an agent for them. There are so many possibilities swimming around and I’m very excited about it all.

Anyway, just wanted to pop in and say hey. If any of you are working on something new, feel free to share in the comments box. I love making new friends and sharing ideas!

~Cheers





Spending Money to Make Money… Eventually, Hopefully

19 08 2014

Welp, I’m $100 (about 75 Euro for my international readers) lighter. I just forked out some dolla billz to become a part of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators or SCBWI for those who know. My professor has been urging me to join for quite some time and I just now managed to scrap together enough play money to join. Hopefully this will help launch me into my publishing career. I have a least a half dozen children’s books written and awaiting illustration (some I will illustrate myself and some I’m ok with other’s working on.) And at least another 2 dozen bouncing around in my head waiting to be written. My newest story involves Slue-foot Sue and it’s turning out to be quite quirky and awesome. Anyway, they gave me this spiffy little badge for spending my money. So here we go, it’s official.

Member badges

 

 





Dunt Dunt Dunt: another one bites the dust

28 03 2014

Praise the Lord and Hallelujah! I just got done with another drafting of Joshua Burnam and the Killer Cereal. Hopefully it’s one of my lasts. The story is coming dangerously close to completion. This week I will be asking some of my trusted Englishly peoples take a look at it and give me some feedback. The majority of plot holes have been filled during this last run though which was probably the biggest overhaul it’s seen yet. It’s taken over a year’s worth of primping and polishing to get it to it’s present state.  I have people constantly asking me how it’s coming and my answer is always the same, still revising.

I feel like I could revise myself into the ground sometimes, but it is a necessary part of the process. I often remind myself that the difference between a writer and a published writer is revision. Someone seeking publishing should spend about 25% of their time writing the story and 75% of the time revising it. And man alive, I use to hate revision. Revision, to me, use to mean that I hadn’t done things perfectly on the first go around (and who really want’s to be told that their writing is crap?) It use to mean that I could potentially cut a paragraph that was awesome and then it would be gone forever.

But as I have become more established in my writer’s ways I have come to realize that there is a certain freedom in revision. It is admitting that: yes, I didn’t get it right on the first try but I can come back to it. And that takes a lot of pressure off preforming such monumental undertakings. Additionally, it is super productive. Knowing that you can revise later on helps you to get what’s in your head out NOW. Sure, maybe it might not work well with the story as it is but you don’t risk losing that great idea because it’s not yet perfect. In food terms: First you gotta get the icing ON the cake before you can smooth it out.

 

Anyway, I just wanted to share the news with you peoples cause you’re awesome and continue to read these posts. Hope your March went well! here’s to a better April!

 

Cheers!





Knives and Children’s Books Definitely Belong together.

18 09 2013

Ok, so maybe they are not knives per say… but they are incredibly sharp, pointy objects that have been known to draw blood (speaking from personal experience here.) I have been working on the illustrations for my halfway super secret children’s book I’ve been working on. My Momma has sworn me to general secrecy about this particular project. So I cannot talk about the name or story-line here on this very open, public space. However, if you’re dying to know more we can gossip about it in private later. You’ll just have to take the oath of secrecy too… and don’t forget I have sharp pointy objects so don’t be planning on breaking your very sacred oath.

You may be wondering why I am playing with blades to begin with. Well these particular illustrations are made with linoleum prints. Which means that for your 32 page illustrated book (this is the industry standard for children’s books) I have to have somewhere in the neighborhood of 32 or more carvings. My art professor says that an experienced lino cutter can finish a cut in about an hour…

yeahhhh

image

“and the wind blew”

I’m obviously not that experienced yet. I have anywhere from three to five hours invested in each carving. That’s not including the time I have to take to rest my cramping hands. So far I have three carvings complete and am in the process of carving out my fourth. This ———————->  Is the illustration for wind that occurs during a huge storm in the story. The story has a Japanese feel to it but I didn’t want to go with a Manga theme. I’ve chosen lino print as my medium to help mimic the broad brush strokes of traditional Asian artwork.

Anyway it’s been a lot of fun so far and I look forward to getting to share additional prints along the way with you.

 

Cheers!





Strappin’ on Dem Serious Boots

3 05 2013

Well I am pleased to announce that graduation is close at hand. I have two classes left to take over the summer and then I’ll be done! (Save me the effort and insert here every recent college graduate’s blah blahing about not know what comes next. ) That being said, things are getting serious. One of my beloved professors has required that I mock up a query letter to an agent to pitch one of my books. No mock ups for me though as I will eventually (and very soon) be sending out query letters for real. I’m mostly done with my edits on my middle grade detective novel and as soon as I get another set of editorial eyes on it, I’m going to pitch it so hard and fast even Babe Ruth would have a hard time hitting it.

Other than that, life is just trucking right along. Went camping with Boss Vines and the Crew a few weekends back. We had the best time ever. It made coming back to school for the last two weeks very difficult. I’m so ready to not have to answer to classroom lecture and grades anymore. Don’t get me wrong I love my professors and they all know that they are not going to be rid of me any time soon. But I’m tired of pouring money out to get that special piece of paper.

So that’s where things stand at the moment. I’m about to start two more children’s books. One centers on a girl’s terror of dustbunnies, the other details a little boy’s search for the origin of thunder and lightning. I look forward to them both. Anyway y’all have a great day and thanks as always for reading!

Cheers!





Dolly Parton Approved this Post…

19 01 2013

Here lately I’ve been on a music binge, not a tiny one either. For the past month I have consumed melodic entities like a sumo wrestler at the all-you-can-eat buffet. It has gotten to the point where I wish I could actually listen to and fully enjoy multiple songs at once (I tried, it didn’t work so well.) A healthy portion of my listening pleasure has sourced from one of the greatest country artist’s of all time: Dolly Parton.

I’ve found that the majority of the population either really loves her or really dislikes her. Some naysayers find her appearance frightening or trashy (NOT my words,) while others acknowledge her as a fantastic business woman but don’t lean towards her country genre.

Then you have the die-hards such as myself. My sister gifted me Dolly’s newest album for Christmas (Thanks Caitlin!) titled Better Days. And I’ve listened to it quite frequently. And by that I mean set on repeat  for a few hours at a time.

I think part of the reason why I love Dolly so much beyond her incredible voice and kind disposition would simply be the depth and beauty of the lyrics both writes and covers. One of my favorites by her is “Mountain Angel.” And for your listening pleasure here’s a link to the song. If you don’t feel like listening  then at least read the lyrics.

Pretty as an angel from the day that she was born 
Skin as fair as Lily’s hair, as golden as the corn 
They knew that she was special from the moment she first cried 
She was a mountain angel certified 
She was her momma’s baby, she was her daddy’s pride 
Good at home, at church and school, at everything she tried 
Everybody’s darlin’ led a charmed and peaceful life 
The perfect mountain angel ’til he arrived 
And ohh, she fell so deeply 
Ooh, she couldn’t stop 
She gave herself to him, milled it completely 
He lifted her so high he let her drop 

She gave up everything for him that mattered in her life 
All the others that had loved her and she vowed to be his wife 
She dreamed of bearing children in an ivy-covered house 
The mountain angel’s sunshine turned to clouds 
The wicked handsome stranger left the way he came 
Broke her heart and broke her mind 
She never was the same 
They say he was the devil 
That had come to steal her soul 
She never loved another it was told 
They say she had a baby 
Some say that it had died 
They it’s just as well 
As it had been the devil’s child 
They say good conquers evil 
But here, evil won the prize 
So the mountain angel took to the wild 

And ooh, she couldn’t take it 
Years passed and she had long since lost her mind 
She waited for him as her beauty faded 
Her parents died from grief before their time 

She tried to gather pieces of her life, they wouldn’t fit 
Beside the tiny grave deep in the woods is where she’d sit 
Talking to the child, herself, to him, who knew for sure 
Possessed they say by satan’s insane lure 
High a’top the mountain, for years they say she’s seen 
Looking down upon the town where she had once been queen 
She’d sneak around the playground, watch the little children play 
They’d see the crazy lady then run away 
They say she roamed these hills for years, wearing not a stitch 
The lovely mountain angel now thought to be a witch 
She made those wailing mournful sounds 
That you could hear for miles 
Long after she laid down upon her baby’s grave and died 

And ooh, her ghost is callin’ 
She’s waiting for the ones that she adored 
Through spring and summer, fall when snow is fallin’ 
Her spirit roams these hills forever more 
The mountain angel’s voices ever more

If you’ve been following this blog long enough, then you know that it is my ultimate goal to write and illustrate children’s books. What some of you may or may not know though is that Dolly is a huge supporter of children’s literacy and  works hard to foster kid’s interest in reading through her program called Imagination Library. I met Dolly once (ok so maybe it was in a dream that didn’t make it any less cool) and she asked me about my authorship dreams. She heartily agreed with my efforts and was very encouraging. And yes even though it was in a dream it was awesome to wake up with the feeling that one of my heroes validated my pursuits. I’m certain that if we were to meet in real life and the same scenario occurred she would react much the same way. Although if we were to meet, I’m not sure I would have the ability for much talking as I would probably just stand there stupefied, nervous, excited and in awe. 😀

Anyway give Dolly a try, there is nothing better than some backwoods picking and a gorgeous voice to boot. You just might find yourself liking it. Don’t say I didn’t warn you (but you can thank me later!)

As always thanks for reading!

Cheers!





Appalling Literature or a Children’s Book?

7 09 2012

So in my many jobs that I have held I find myself again working with children. Which with my sights set on being a children’s author this is pretty well okie dokie by me. What I’m not fine with is having an adorable little tyke trot up to me and deposit a book in my lap. The issue isn’t in that they want me to read the book, I absolutely love verbal storytelling. My problem comes in that of all the books they had to pick this one…

Oh sure it was all cute and nice to begin with. The illustrations are well done and the story line is relatable and engaging. I began to read this book aloud when I came to THIS…

2653372070_ORIG.jpeg

The bully character in this book is named Micky Badazz… yup that’s right Badazz….Now this book is marketed as an appropriate book to read to your lovely innocent four year old. Alright, ok, since when is it acceptable to include thinly veiled adult language in a book that is geared for children barley older than toddlers? In my opinion it’s never ok to do this. As a matter of fact I find it down right appalling, contemptible and find the author to be in bad taste. For shame on you Damon Burnard! I was so irked by his blatant disregard for his audience that I immediately started flipping through the book to find out what other hazardous material I would have to watch out for. The name appeared two or three more times but that was it. Poor little tyke looked up at me while I was skimming the rest of the story and proceeded to inform me that “I can’t hear it when you’re not reading the story.” Sorry bub… just keeping your best interests at heart.

It is because of ridiculous junk like this that my mission to be a children’s author is impressed even more upon me. If there is one thing I cannot stand its people who find it amusing to callous the innocent to mature things. Sure you might think that I’m over reacting. Its only one word right? Well what happens after that one word? I’ll tell you what happens… the next thing you know it will be larger more life altering issues, not just creating filthy vocabularies… no it will be sex, drugs, money, power, greed… once the misuse these things is made acceptable it leads to the break down of social structure and to moral decay. Look what’s already being presented to your teenagers on TV…. Look what’s starting to creep its way into your 4 year old’s books…..








%d bloggers like this: