Category Archives: Illustrator

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

Well my creative writing took a backseat yet again but I did manage the update my ghost writing project and completed my conference presentation so feel pleased there are both completed.

twesome-loop-002

I am co-hosting the senior residence writing group on Thursday so can escape to the library for a couple of hours before to return to The Twesome Loop. Having found a fantastic cover artist I am thinking of a design for the book cover. It will take some careful thinking to make the cover reflect my characters finding their past selves in an Italian villa, that’s for sure.

I did add more story to my ‘extra’ project – yes I know isn’t four manuscripts enough? Well obviously not because my children’s ‘alien planet’ book has been gaining in word count!

As many of you know I am a multi-genre author and my current WIP’s – are all in various stages of completion. They range from cowgirl romance to thriller to reincarnation romance to speculative fiction, added to that the above kids book. Never a dull moment in my brain, I can tell you.

Do you have multiple manuscripts/ideas formulating or clambering for your attention?

Books:

The Faraday Girls by Monica McInerney

faraday

Loved the characterizations in this book, each sister was so unique, so defined. Here is my Goodreads review:

What a wonderful narrative. Lots of characters interacting, conflicts, sibling rivalry and unexpected twists in the plots.
Monica weaves such a artful tale of four sisters brought up by their father – family traditions, a surprise niece/daughter and global travel.
A book I would re-read for sure.

Now onto a book I have been looking forward to. It has started well.

The Other Life by Ellen Meister

The Other Life

Do you have a recommendation for a alternative life, reincarnation or fantasy?

Do you want to hook up on Goodreads? Follow the link on the side bar to my account.

Writing Tips:

Let go of your inner editor. When you sit down to write a draft, refrain from proofreading until that draft is complete.

Proofread everything at least three times before submitting your work for publication.

Print this one out:

You are a writer so own it and say it out loud: “I am a writer.” Whether it’s a hobby or your profession, if you write, then you have the right to this title.

My Interview at Joseph D Drumheller – The Five Steps to Create a Children’s’ Book…


Link here: https://josephdrumheller.wordpress.com/2016/08/22/five-steps-to-create-a-childrens-book/

The Five Steps to Create a Children’s’ Book  

Rumble's First Scare

  1. The Idea

This may seem like the easiest part of creating a children’s book – right? Not as easy as first appears as it turns out. Your idea has to convert onto the page in a language that your target audience can understand word usage is vital so take note.

  1. What age group are you writing for?
  2. Will you target pre-schoolers or an older age group?
  3. Will the story contain a moral or lesson?

My children’s picture book, Rumble’s First Scare began life as a prompt for Halloween. I did not want to write the usual monster narrative but something more unusual and fun. So I wrote the story from the young monster’s point of view. Younger children love Rumble and monsters are not so scary.

  1. Finding a Publisher

There are numerous avenues to research when it comes to finding a publisher.

  1. You can follow children’s book agents.
  2. Submit your story to contests with a book contract attached.
  3. Attend conferences and find an interested agent/publisher.
  4. Research local or regional publishing houses and submit your story.

I was fortunate to find a publisher locally and this made my publishing experience a more personally tailored one. Dream Write Publishing did an amazing job and I was part of the process all the way through.

  1. Illustrations

The amount of illustrations is dependent on the age of your target group, the younger the age group the more pictures are required and less text.

  1. If you are a talented artist you can illustrate yourself.
  2. Do you know an artist that will collaborate with you on the project?
  3. Does your publisher offer this service?
  4. There are many artists on social media you can approach.

My Rumble character was the culmination of my imagination and crude drawings and a wonderful artist friend, Matthew McClatchie, who made my idea of what Rumble would look like into reality.

  1. Text

Again the amount of text needs to be balanced for the target age group. For example, if the books are for very young children the text needs to be simple and sparse with great pictures, but for independent readers, illustrations can be on the chapter headers only.

  1. Do you want the story in rhyme form?
  2. Choose simple pronounceable names for your characters.
  3. Wrap the text around the pictures or along the bottom of the page.
  4. Keep exposition to a minimum
  1. Extra Pages
  2. The publisher will require your author bio and a photo
  3. You will create a ‘blurb’ – a brief description of the story – for the back of the book.
  4. If you wish you can have a dedication page.
  5. The publisher will allocate an ISBN and the legal disclaimers and permissions for duplication.

Sharing my little book with friends and family was stupendous. The moment any author is handed their first book is overwhelming emotional. It is the closest an adult comes to childish delight. The reality that your words are now published, that many people will read it and your words will outlive you delighting generations to come is a heady feeling.

After your book is published your work is not done. Promotion becomes your master. Be creative and say ‘Yes’ to any and all opportunities that come your way. The more your book is noticed the more sales.

Mandy and Rumble at SC Summerwood

To promote Rumble I created a soft toy of Rumble, which was so much fun. Once I showed my writing group they all announced I should make miniatures for each book, I declined!  Rumble accompanies me to readings and events and is always popular. As I had a good deal of promotion to manage without sewing into the wee hours, I did commissioned Rumble hats, and ordered T-shirts, which are a lot easier to handle.

Bio:

Mandy@

Always creative, I came to writing later in life. A chance visit to a writing group, Writers Foundation of Strathcona County, propelled me into the written word in a way I could never have imagined. I delve into all genres expanding my writing muscles and with several books published; I am certainly making up for ‘lost’ time. As a free flow writer, my stories lead me rather than the other way round, delighting me with plot twists and turns. Writing is my passion, the source of new found fellowship and most of all fun.

shelf

Contact:

I can be reached through my blog at www.mandyevebarnett.com, on my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Mandyevebarnettcom/ and through Twitter @mandyevebarnett

Annual Colouring Contest:

I arrange an annual colouring competition prior to Halloween for Rumble fans. The picture is in .pdf format and downloaded from my publisher’s website – http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca. Once all entries are in I choose the winners. Prizes include Rumble hats, T-shirts, monster orientated toys and games.

My newest book will be launched this fall – Clickety Click   is a YA monster story. Why do I have a propensity for monsters, I have no idea!

Click crop cover

 

Author Interview – Joe McKnight…


Joe McKnight

Please welcome Joe to my blog. He is a great writer, a talented artist as well as author and the President of the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County.

What inspired you to write your first book?

I have always had a love for storytelling. Even when I was young. When I was fourteen I saw a game called Time Soldiers and I basically took it from there. Many rewrites later the final draft looks nothing like the original; even the title – Time’s Hostage – is different.

Time's_Hostage

How did you come up with the title?

I needed a title that wasn’t already owned by a video game so during my last revision, I looked into my story to find a title that worked with the story. I knew I wanted to incorporate time into the title so that’s where I started. Then, because one of the characters is kidnapped and taken through time, I came up with Time’s Hostage.

Is this your first book? How many books have you written (published or un published)

Time’s Hostage was my first; it was published in 2013. Since then I have published two more with a fourth one coming out in fall of 2016. I am currently writing a fifth book and planning a sixth one to be started in November 2016.

Is there a message in your novel that you want your readers to grasp?

Occasionally I throw in a message but mostly I just want the reader to have fun and enjoy the world I have created.

How much of the book is realistic?

I try to immerse my characters into the real world whether that be a world where they travel through time, exist on another planet or live in a world of enhanced humans. I try to create relatable characters no matter what environment put them in.

Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

I don’t base my characters on real people usually but sometimes a steal memories from real life and insert them into my stories.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

I am answering this one for Fly On The Wall as it is my newest one as of Summer 2016. I’m not so sure I would change anything. This book was different than anything I had written previously and that’s how I try to write all my books. Keep them different from each other; try new things. It was a lot of fun for me to write.

Fly on the Wall

Do you have anything specific you want to say to your readers?

Just that I hope everyone who reads my books gets as much, if not more, enjoyment from my stories as I did writing them.

What is your favorite part/chapter of your book/project?

I don’t know that I have a specific favorite part or chapter in my novels. What I really do enjoy is creating completely new worlds. In my novel The Arrival and my newest book, Powerless, due in fall, I got to create worlds far apart from our own – a distant planet and an alternate universe respectively.

What is your favorite theme/genre to write?

Sci-fi has to be my favorite genre. Four of my books are of a science fiction nature. Two of which happen to be time travel, which would be my favorite theme. Although I do try and change it up. Right now I am writing a suspense novel.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

I’m sure there probably is a subject I wouldn’t write about but I haven’t been approached to write anything so I haven’t had the opportunity to weigh out whether or not I felt comfortable in writing it. I basically get inspired to write certain stories that both interest and excite me.

What book are you reading now?

I am reading Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader.

Do you see writing as a career?

I would love to have a career as a writer and to do this full time.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

By then I hope to be working full-time for a local publishing company, still writing, and possibly making the Comic Con circuit.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Research is always challenging. I have dealt with scenes involving medical, law enforcement, science professionals, and time travel. The trick is to make each scene believable and authentic.

Have you ever hated anything you have written?

Of course. If I really hate something I have written and editing cannot fix the issue, I would consider revising or just scrap it altogether.

Which book do you wish you had written?

This might come across as a pure money grubbing answer but I wish I had written the Harry Potter series. I title like that would make my wish as a full-time writer come true.

What is your best marketing tip?

Actually, I’m still working on my marketing. But from what I can tell, social media is a great way to go. Get your name out there. The more people who know who you are and what you’re writing, the better your chances are.

What genre is your next project? What is it about?

My current WIP is a suspense novel. It’s about a woman who has been keeping secrets from her husband, which could end up turning her life upside down when her husband vanishes.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

My newest book, Powerless – due out in fall of 2016 – is about an alternate world where everyone has enhanced abilities but someone is using a serum to rob people of their abilities; sending them to exile on Institutional Island. One man who has had his abilities taken away from him before he had the chance to gain them finds a way to stay on the mainland to protect the city from this threat.

How do we find your books, blog and bio?

You can find my books and bio on the Dream Write Publishing site – www.dreamwritepublishing.ca/j-e-mcknight. I don’t have a blog but you can also see me at various events around Strathcona County. As well, I will be at the Edmonton Comic and Entertainment Expo in September 2016. Booth 1101 – come and meet me.Joe at WITP 2014

Find Joe’s art here:

https://www.facebook.com/Art-by-Joe-23409481552/

wagon by Joe

 

 

Author Interview – Dana Popov and Marc Evans…


Dana PopovMarc Evans

What inspired you to write your first book? 

The first book of the series ‘Ti and the Magical Key’ was part of a project we started in 2007. We is my husband who is originally from Quebec/Canada and I am from Germany.

In 2002 we met in Playa del Carmen – Mexico where we lived for 8 years. The entire area is filled with Mayan history and culture. We wanted to engage the tourists into the culture and the local environment during their stay and believed that a story would be the most entertaining way for children to learn about it. Unfortunately the project back then never took off and we forgot about the story until this year. Our daughter loves books and so I suddenly remembered the story and started writing on it again. Weirdly enough it was really easy.

How did you come up with the title? 

We wanted to change the title from the original project “Key to Paradise” to something new because the project itself was past. The first idea my husband had was ‘Ti and the Magical Key’ and I loved it.

Is this your first book? How many books have you written (published or unpublished)?

Yes, first published book. I always liked to write though. I have a blog in German about food for babies.

Weirdly enough ‘Ti and the Magical Key’ I write in English and then translate it into German. Don’t know why.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Absolutely. Besides being educational on culture and environment it is about empowerment for kids. Believe in yourself!!!

Ti & Magic Key

How much of the book is realistic? 

The story line itself is fiction however all of the environmental information are researched and so are a the places, temples, Mayan gods etc. A lot of little details in the book are true to the believes of the Mayas and educate without the feeling of being educated.

I wanted to ‘un-dust’ the Mayan culture with this book. A lot of existing books or movies are either bloody or feel out of date and do this amazing culture no justice.

Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life? 

The Mayan gods are based on Mayan believes however some of their relations are fiction. The boy and his parents are fiction.

Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?

It is two of the characters. The gods Kukulkan and Itzama because one is the evil one and the other one the good god. It is the ying and the yang.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? 

Probably the format. The second book is a lot longer and more intense than the first book. So it will have a different format than the first book.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? ‘

Dream, Believe and protect our planet.

What do you enjoy most about writing?

That I hopefully inspire children to do more research on culture and environment.

What age did you start writing stories/poems?

My first poem was around the age of 8. It was four lines long and rhymed well.

What is your favorite part/chapter of your book/project?

Seeing the story come alive in the images and the first time I read a new chapter to my husband and he goes: “Wow”

What is your favorite theme/genre to write? 

Writing for children and take them on an imaginary journey.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

Any type of abuse

What book are you reading now?

It is a German book. It is a humorous perspective of a mother on her life. I can relate to it. My daughter is four.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? 

I purposely read in German because I do not want to lose my mother tongue. A lot of the authors are German. Probably nobody you would know.

Do you see writing as a career? 

I never did. But I really want the series ‘Ti and the Magical Key’ to reach children all over the world because I love the message and education in it. This is why we translate the story from English into German, French and Spanish.

Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food?

Unfortunately chocolate 🙂 I wish it would be an apple.

Do you have any odd habits or childhood stories?

I am rolling my eyes a lot when someone tells me a story. My daughter picked that up and we had a meeting at her kindergarden where we got told that rolling eyes is not a nice habit.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

On a balcony overlooking the ocean writing a book.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? 

A lot of research goes into ‘Ti and the Magical Key’. Because a lot of evidence has been destroyed when the Spaniards conquered the Americas you find different opinions on the internet. At some point I have to decide which one to follow without really knowing.

What reward do you give yourself for making a deadline?

More chocolate 🙂

Have you ever hated something you wrote? 

Not that I remember. But then again my brain capacity diminished during pregnancy and never fully recovered. So I can’t answer that with certainty.

What book do you wish you had written?

Harry Potter

What is your best marketing tip?

I am still figuring the marketing out myself. Currently we have a Facebook Fan page, twitter- and Pinterest account as well as a website. We are trying to get the kids involved and are writing personally to our fans to invite them into the ‘VIP Readers Club’ where we share secrets about the next book and adventures.

As well we started a blog on our website ‘Ti travels the world’ where parents from all over the world are sending us pictures of their kids with the book. I really love the blog. The pictures are amazing and are the best reward.

What genre is your next project? What is it about?

I am working on finishing the second book of the series.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

The gods are playing a much bigger role in the second book and we are introducing a girl. In regards to the environment we cover the mangroves and cenotes/sinkholes.

mangroves

How do we find your books, blog and bio?

http://www.amazon.com/Ti-Magical-Key-How-began/dp/1512097934/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1441507796&sr=1-4

http://www.tiandthemagicalkey.com/store/c1/Featured_Products.html

http://www.tiandthemagicalkey.com/blog-ti-travels-the-world

http://www.tiandthemagicalkey.com/buy-book.html

http://www..facebook.com/Tiandthemagicalkey

https://twitter.com/themagicalkey

You can email us at team@tiandthemagicalkey.com

Image Is All – Choosing An Illustrator…


articlesOnce the writing, editing and revisions are complete, we have another choice to make regarding our novel. Do we want or need illustrations within the book or just the cover? This decision can be determined by the genre, such as children’s books but also the type of visuals we want to share with our readers.

Dependent on the age group of your children’s books, you may have numerous pictures with minimal text for younger readers or chapter header or facing page illustrations for older readers. For example, my young readers book, Rumble’s First Scare (http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca/retail/books/rumbles-first-scare) is mainly pictures, while my chapter book for older readers, Ockleberries to the Rescue (preorder here: http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca/) has chapter headers illustrating each particular animal or event within that chapter. I took the decision not to have an illustration drawn of the woodland sprites in the narrative as I would like my young readers to envision the characters themselves. However, I did have the sprites woodland home created for the book cover.

Rumble

When working with an artist it is best to describe in as much detail as possible the visuals you require. This can be done, either in rough sketches, composite collages or by detailed written descriptions. No matter where your chosen artist may reside, you can communicate your vision. For Rumble’s First Scare, I chose an artist, who lived in Australia (although he was in Canada at the start of the project). With a mulitude of emails, we were able to create Rumble, his yucky pets and his underground home. Matthew McClatchie‘s style beautifully created how I ‘saw’ Rumble.

Ockleberries Cover

However, for Ockleberries to the Rescue, I knew I wanted realistic pencil drawings of the animals and that is why I chose J. E. McKnight. His sketches resemble those of Bernie Brown’s type of illustration. Joe was also able to create the book’s cover image by utilizing a computer program. This is in full color and more striking than a  pencil sketch. We have to capture our readers eye in the book store after all.

With both artists, I enjoyed the collaboration in creating the ‘look’ I envisaged for these books.

Of course there are numerous options for cover art and interior illustrations with every book. It is up to the author to decide what ‘look’ they require. For my upcoming western romance, Willow Tree Tears (Fall 2015 launch – excerpt here: https://mandyevebarnett.com/current-project-2/) I am thinking of having the image of a barrel on the chapter headers and scene breakers. This will convey the barrel racing theme in the narrative.

What were your illustration requirements for your book(s)?

Did you hire an artist or illustrate yourself?

How did you decide on the image’s and their style?

 

Holly DeWolf Interview…


Vivacious – definition: lively; animated; gay

Please welcome Holly, an author and an illustrator. Her images are delightful.

hollydewolf

a) What do you enjoy most about writing?

It’s relaxing! It’s also a wonderful way to organize thoughts and push ideas. All this can be used to teach, motivate and share knowledge. Writing really does teach you a lot about yourself and lets you get in tune with where your ideas come from.

b) What age did you start writing stories/poems?

I actually started writing late in my career. I’ve been an illustrator for quite some time but enjoyed mingling text with my work. I decided to take it bit further and put out a book idea in 2008. After being published, I have continued to write articles, blogs and have contributed to several books.

c) Has your genre changed or stayed the same?

It has changed. I initially started writing about creativity, creative business and freelance advice. From there, it has led to me wanting to write children’s books. I illustrated my first children’s book that came out in the Spring so I think this would be a natural transition.

d) What genre are you currently reading?

Right now I am focusing on children’s publishing and young adult books. I still maintain my blogs and perhaps I will write a follow up to my first book.

e) Do you read for pleasure or research or both?

I definitely do both. When it gets busy, I try to read as many articles as I can. I set them in a file to read over the weekend. As far as books, I have been reading books on writing, creativity and of course children’s books to my youngest daughter. Books are a big part of my household.

f) Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?

My kids hands down. They are 24/7 idea generators with more creativity and energy rolled up together that is very inspiring. Working at home is all they have ever known so they are used to me working around them. It can be a delicate balance.

g) Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?

So far it’s a bat. It’s a work in progress but I do love the little guy and the positive ideas I am creating around his character.

h) Where is your favorite writing space?

I like a quiet comfy space but I do like the right music to go along with it. It’s a comfy Ikea chair that works well for me. If it’s winter and I’m cold I’ll write in bed with my bedside table.

i) Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants writer?

My ideas for stories are random. After that, I plan them out. I like to do the my ideas in point form or just snippets of thought. Lately I have been using my voice memo on my smartphone so I do not lose any ideas when I’m busy or out of the studio. Probably looks like I’m talking to myself at the bus stop but I really don’t want those ideas to slip away.

j) What inspires your ideas/stories?

My kids are great for this. Luckily, since I’m an illustrator too there is no end to the ideas. I had to start a notebook to catch it all. Most ideas come from things I read, music lyrics and from writing.

k) Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?

Not yet. I plan on joining The Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers (CANSCAIP) to start with and then go from there with local writing groups.

l) Do you have a book published? If so, what is it called & where can readers purchase 

it?

I wrote the book Breaking Into Freelance Illustration: the guide for artists, designers and illustrators published by How Books. You can find it here: http://www.mydesignshop.com/breaking-into-freelance-illustration

Break Into

I have also contributed to the 2009 Artist’s & Graphic Designer’s Market , 2012 Artist’s & Graphic Designer’s Market , Your Planet Needs You written by Jon Symes and Creatively Self-Employed Written by Kristen Fischer. Also, I’ve contributed articles to How Design & Zero2illo.

m) If you could meet one favorite author, who would it be and why?

Cat's_Eye_book_cover

Margaret Atwood for sure! Her book, Cat’s Eye made a had a huge impression on me. This compassionate retrospective about a women’s life felt familiar especially because it’s about an artist.

n) Where can readers find you and your blog?

My blogs:

Illustration Notes: http:hollydewolf.blogspot.com

Diary Of An Illustrator: http://illustratordiary.blogspot.com

My Little Corner Of The World: http://sweethappyjoyjoy.blogspot.com

My website: http://www.hollydewolf.com

o) Do you have plans or ideas for your next book?

Yes I do. It’s been a work in progress for the past year. I have 2 children’s book I am working on plus a follow up book about illustration/creativity. I’m also working on a young adult book.

The title of the children’s book I illustrated is What’s Going On At The Time Tonight? published by Nimbus Publishing written by Gerald Mercer.

Links:

What's Going
Chapters/Indigo: http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/Whats-Going-On-at-the-Time-Tonight-/9781771080040-item.html?ref=item_page:richrel:rr-carousel-small:json1

Nimbus Publishing: http://www.nimbus.ca/Whats-Going-On-at-the-Time-Tonight–P6631.aspx

Amazon.ca:http://www.amazon.ca/Whats-Going-at-Time-Tonight/dp/1771080043/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1377703265&sr=8-1&keywords=what%27s+going+on+at+the+time+tonight%3F