Best Witches

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No PPBF today – Susanna is busy narrowing down Halloweensie entries (reading them, I got the ‘itch’ to draw). But I’d like to invite you back tomorrow for the start of SteigFEST – a 14-day picture-book-salute to an author-illustrator I very much admire, William Stieg.  orange_24(1)-1

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‘Halloweensie’: Too Big for His Boots

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Fall in Colorado is almost too gorgeous this year! It may have reached 90* yesterday, which was too much, but it’s back down to the 70’s now. More importantly there has been less wind than usual, so the trees are still glowing. I made myself a leaf crown today, AND I wore it all over town!

Susanna Hill’s 4th Halloweensie Contest rules:  write a 100 word or less (mine weighs in at 88) Halloween story appropriate for children, using the words pumpkinbroomstick, and creak.

Too Big for His Boots

“I want a broomstick,” said the cat.

“And, just like yours, a wide brim hat.

I’ll take a pair of pointy boots,

A nighty owl that glares and hoots,

One pumpkin cut to grin that glows,

Two warts like those that itch your nose,

Three blackened crows with crooked beaks,

A chair that rocks with cricks and creaks,…”

That cat! He carried on, and on,

‘Til Witch stood up and freed a yawn.

She waved her wand then thrice she spat.

POOF!

“It’s not your birthday, silly cat!”

LeafCrown5To read more 2014 Halloweensie Contest entries click HERE

My Books Released! And a Tandem

My books released! Early! As a newbie I am learning (check Amazon for release dates!). Lucky for me I had friends to toast with that evening!

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Click on the image to link to this page on the Bailiwick Press site.

It’s Thanksgiving Day in Canada and Columbus Day in the U.S., so Catherine Johnson and I are using the holidays as prompts for a tandem post (words/doodles). BUT I don’t celebrate Columbus Day, though I do remember the day off from school fondly! Every year we’d pack the family and a few neighborhood kids into the station wagon and head north for leaf peeping, picnicking and cave crawling in Connecticut’s oldest state park: Putnam Memorial in Redding (see image below).

Click on the image for more info on Putnam Memorial State Park

It was the highlight of autumn, my favorite season.

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For more on the new books: Carrie Charley Brown invited me to be her Mystery Guest tomorrow on Carrie On…Together!, and that includes a GIVEAWAY – HERE

Not-So-Accidental-Blog-Tourist-Hop

FrogSleepwalkingWelcome to this wandering tour of blogs by artists – writers, musicians, painters, photographers, and more. Catherine Johnson invited me to hop-along.

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Catherine is a female Dickon (Secret Garden clue for kid-lit lovers), currently swinging a maple stick in a hockey tree –  with a worrisome weakness for fried Kiwi and chips, or was it fishlips? In any case she writes and paints funny stuff – check out her blog and books at catherinemjohnson.wordpress.com

Now to blog-hop questions, and the stuff I am currently working on: portfolio pieces in preparation for the regional SCBWI conference in September; a fish-out-of-water picture book dummy; a ms based on a folk song; a rhyming board book (yeah, me – a rhymer – go figure!), and a slew of others in need of further polish. Also excited about 3 board books I illustrated for Bailiwick Press, due out in October.

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How my work differs from others of its genre: With illustration, I try to harness the energy of an initial sketch; I scrap what isn’t working and start fresh numerous times. Maybe that is why my work is simpler, less detailed, but that doesn’t mean the process is any less complicated (that’s what I tell myself!). I spend a lot of time on the emotional connection in the face or posture of my characters. Humor and imagination are what I hope to convey and promote in both my illustrations and writing.

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Why do I write/create what I do? I am a picture book junkie. The way the words and pictures meld together with the imagination of the readers elevates my spirit. The desire to make them has not always been there, but I have always found creative outlets, and still cannot understand how anyone gets bored.

How does your writing/creating process work? A snippet of a word, a scent in the air, a memory released by the shape of a cloud  – anything, essentially, can spark the process of writing or illustrating. I trust my gut to take me on it’s own journey, then later apply skills to shape, restructure and refine. When I feel good about it I will send a manuscript draft to my AWESOME online and local critique partners (sometimes 27 times – sorry, pals). Doodling every day has improved my drawing skills tremendously – I am truly grateful for the Doodle Day facebook group for the support, encouragement and super silly fun.

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Passing the baton to fellow artist Dani Duck at Dani Duck: Artist ObscureMarried, toddlered and reluctant cat owner. Writes, Illustrates and Moms. Basically awesome. Seldom boring. Avid coffee drinker and chocolate fan …

photoCheck out Dani’s post on Monday, Aug.25th – HERE

Not So Random Tandem and Fish for Supper

Catherine Johnson is writing a poem (HERE), prompt word ‘lighthouse’ (in cahoots with Jody Hedlund’s lighthouse series) and I doodled these images, because sometimes we like to push each other around, I mean, to motivate each other. But my lighthouse just would not come on it’s own. Finally a lighthouse keeper appeared…then a cat. I’m interested to see what will happen next!

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Now for a PPBF selection (yes, I know Susanna’s blog is on vacation, but I can’t help myself – love sharing great picture books!).

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Author/Illustrator: M.B. Goffstein
Publisher: Dial Press, 1976
Ages: 4-8yrs
Themes: humorous stories, grandmothers, retired life
Opening: When my grandmother went fishing, she would get up at five o’clock in the morning, and make herself breakfast,…
Summary/I like this book because: (from my library catalog) “Describes Grandmother’s typical day of fishing.” What? I think that was the shortest off-the-wall summary I’ve found yet! Let me do a little ‘splainin’. I didn’t have a single selection for today in my book bag. I picked this one off the shelf, that one of my kids chose as the elementary school library was getting rid of a slew of too well-loved books, to make room for new ones. I read it again, thought, this is not really a story that would be considered publishable today (no complication, no resolution), but it grabbed me, like a one-liner sticks long after you’ve left the scene. So, I googled, and found that this little smirk won a Caldecott Honor in 1977, and that this author I had not otherwise read (surprising only because I was averaging 100/wk for yrs), is famous – AND has a fabulous quirky website – HERE.

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Resources/activities: check out M.B. Goffsteins’ post: How to Write and Illustrate a Picture Book. Now. HERE

Fish2You can still head over to Susanna’s blog for a wonderful list of titles with resources. She keeps the back door unlocked!

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Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. -Henry David Thoreau