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Archive for the ‘Words’ Category

Spring Update ~

Monday, May 27th, 2013

A busy spring = little time to create blog posts…  Here’s what’s happening in all things creative since my last post ~

ART ~ Once again, two of my favorite clients have come to my rescue, providing me with varied and interesting subject matter.  I will have an Extra! Magazine cover coming out in the next few days, so I’ll be able to include it in the next post, but here are three pieces I created for Seven Days (Mar/April/May.)

13_MAR_SD301blog SevenDaysCoverTempalte SevenDaysCoverTempalte

































I am also pleased to announce the Grand Opening of my Etsy store – kbalzART where I am selling limited edition prints as well as original renderings.

WORDS ~ I received the unfortunate news that the agent I was hoping would take me on as a client, passed on my manuscript.  Sigh… Such is life.  So, looks like my summer will consist of sending out queries for HALF-PATCH BLUE, work on edits for THE RAT CHILDREN, and continue writing the first draft of FORT NOX.

Until next time ~


January Pieces ~

Monday, February 18th, 2013

ART ~ My year started out with a few unexpected commissions.  The first was for The Progressive for an article on School Reform.

Flunking School Reform

Flunking School Reform













And the magazine tear-sheet ~













I was thrilled starting out the year with the piece in The Progressive, but then I received an email from one of my favorites, Extra! Magazine to do their Fear and Favor issue.  This year’s topic was the buying force behind the media.  Here is the piece with text:

Extra! Magazine February Cover












& without:

Extra! Magazine February Cover

Extra! Magazine February Cover













WORDS ~ I had an exciting start to the year with my writing as well.  I had a full manuscript request from a top notch agency!  I should get word in the next week or so on if it’s a yay, or a nay.  I’m hoping it’s the former.

I’m also knee deep in edits of a middle grade novel about what happened to the children the Pied Piper led away, and have begun outlining another new story that I hope to start in the next few weeks.  2013 has been productive the first six weeks.  I plan to keep the momentum moving forward.

~ Believe.

Hope & Perseverance

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

WORDS ~ With a week of gray days behind me, I have decided to write a little pick me up.  A ditty of hope and perseverance if you will.

As some of you may know, I was let go by my editorial agent last week.  With a move to a new agency, I just wasn’t on the top of her list to bring along.  It happens.  It wasn’t personal.   Our relationship just hadn’t culminated into that happily-ever-after connection we were hoping for.  Deep down I knew it was coming, but that realization did not make the ultimate rejection any easier to swallow.  I’ve never been thick skinned. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I consider these to be pure and true qualities and over the years have learned to embrace them.   Still, I was not a fun person to be around the last seven days.  (However, reading blog posts like this one, certainly helped! http://www.writersrelief.com/blog/2011/07/famous-author-rejection-letters/)

But, another trait of mine that I hold a bit higher than the others is my won’t stay down for long attitude, a.k.a. perseverance.  I’ve never been a quitter.  A reinventer, yes.  A chameleon starting fresh, yes, but not a quitter.

So, with my now edited manuscript in hand, the search for representation begins anew.  And with the exciting, fresh perspective of the possibilities that are still out there for me, I embrace this opportunity and look forward to what the future holds ~

ART ~ I can always count on Diane Sullivan and Seven Days to keep me working on tongue in cheek projects that keep me entertained and loving what I do from beginning to end.

Here’s the latest Seven Days cover:

Happy 2012!!!

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

So I slacked on my blog posts a bit at the end of 2011.  I really have no excuse, (though I was dragging by the end of the year for sure!)  To make amends, one of my 2012 resolutions was to at least attempt a monthly blog post.  As of today, I am going strong for the year!  Haha!!!

I finished up 2011 with a few more commissions.  One of my favorites, if not the favorite piece I did this past year is the “Media Monopoly Octopus” for the October issue of Extra! Magazine.  Sometimes, a piece really comes together from conception through the final product and this illustration was one of them.

I must have been on a role, because right after this, came another 2011 favorite, this time a piece commissioned for MovieMaker Magazine.  This was the second piece from them this year, and like usual, the theme was a blast and so much fun to work on.  This commission was to accompany an article called, “Look Good in Your Shorts.”

I was thrilled to do a six piece series for Philadelphia Weekly’s Better Than Best issue, though the three day turn around nearly broke me.

I finished out the year with another cover from Extra! on Steve Jobs.

In between creating these pieces, I was also diligently working on Lavender’s Blue chapter revisions under the direction of my agent, Erin Harris.  Erin is helping tweak and mold my novel so that it reaches its fullest potential, and I am grateful for the tremendous amount of time and effort she’s poured into it since May.

The New Year is already starting off at a breakneck pace.  While I wait to receive my next set of revision notes from Erin, Iv’e already begun the February Cover Art for Extra!  (If I stick to my resolution, it will be unveiled in next month’s posting.)  I’m also working on a proposal for what could potentially be my largest illustration job to date.  So, fingers crossed I have good news to announce next month.  I’ll keep you posted.

Best wishes for a healthy & prosperous New Year!!!!

Grammy’s Desk ~ Gem #1

Monday, June 6th, 2011

I recently inherited a desk from my grandmother.  It was her mother’s writing desk and it’s been in the family for the last 80 some odd years.  While the desk itself is a treasure, it’s what’s inside that’s most valuable.

I hope you enjoy these gems as much as I do.

Gem #1 ~ I Am an American, What Every Citizen Should Know

This book was my grandmother’s.  I love how both she and her mother signed each and every book in their possession with their name(s) and the date.  I try to follow their lead on this, but in this day of electronic publications, it’s easier said than done.  The copyright of this book is 1940 by the Whitman Publishing Company.

Pages 4-5 contain the rights and privileges of an American Citizen.

I wish they’d give this out to elementary school students.  It’s contains so many pearls of wisdom.  I wish my daughter and her classmates would learn to recite “I have the right to try to improve my lot through various means,” and not feel entitled to it.  I wish my son and his classmates would be required to memorize, “It is my duty to obey my country’s laws,” if only as a reminder.

Flipping through this book made me nostalgic for a time I’ve only read about, but wish in some ways we could once again use as a touchstone.

I Made a Map ~

Sunday, June 5th, 2011

On the Word Side ~ I made a map!

I can’t remember ever making a map before, but had I known it was this much fun I would have created one long before now!  For my beta’s who’ve read LAVENDER’S BLUE, here’s a bit of visual aid.  Hope you like it 🙂

Exciting News ~

Friday, May 20th, 2011

Good Times ~

I’ve been holding off on sharing my news until I was able to post a piece of art along side it.  But since my latest cover piece for Extra! Magazine, hasn’t hit the news stand yet, I’m sharing an oldie, but goodie.

This piece was actually done for the band Schmedly, way back in the day.  The original has a funky swirled paper background, but for logo purposes, I’ve cut it for a crisp, clean look.  Ahh, it brings back memories of some very fun times.  <sigh>

But, onto my news…

I’ve been signed by literary agent Erin Harris from the venerable Irene Skolnick Literary Agency in NYC!  It hasn’t been an easy feat the last two years, carving out chunks of time between my full time library gig, mothering two rambunctious kids, freelancing illustrations, and my volunteer work with DGR Soccer and NEBTR, but I did none the less. And boy am I glad I did!  I enjoy writing immensely.  It gives me pause and draws me back to my childhood days of making things up in my head.  Who doesn’t like that?

I still have a lot of work ahead of me, but I’m up for the challenge and am looking forward to the days ahead…full of art, full of words, full of life.

Productive Snow Day

Monday, March 7th, 2011

An unexpected snow day gave me the opportunity to catch up on all things art and word related.

After spending the last three weeks on agent research, I’ve begun submitting to my list.  This past of being a writer can be crushing and it’s sometimes hard to keep a hopeful outlook in check.  Whether it’s writer’s groups criticisms or five minute rejections, I constantly need to remind myself that it’s part of the game.  And if I want to be a player, I have to take the shots just like everyone else.

So with a plastered smile and gritted teeth I press ‘send’ and hope for the best.

It’s been a quiet start to my year with anything art related.  I’ve begun work on a “Spring Thaw” related piece to use as a mailer ad try to garner up some work.  Today was spent pulling reference and tossing ideas around on the best way to approach this piece.  I’m looking forward to seeing it completed.

I also spent today touching up my B/W Lavender’s Blue chapter heading illustrations which seem to be stuck on Chapter 3.

So with lots still to accomplish and dinner to make, I bid you a happy, snowy afternoon.  Enjoy ~

Back to the Grind ~

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

I feel excited.  Something’s brewing.  I can’t really explain it other than it’s a pleasant sort of tickle deep in the gut.

I began querying agents for Lavender’s Blue yesterday which might be the reason or maybe the tranquil snowy evening just beyond my window.  Whatever the cause, my creative juices sprung a leak.  Now I wait.  Fingers crossed, that now’s my time.  I’ve put in my dues, worked hard, sweated (and later carved out,) many words.  I know the rejections are coming, they’re part of the game, so I’m braced for them but I’m going to pretend they’re not.  At least for now.

So on this beautiful white washed night, I will remain in bliss.  Content and hopeful, that 2011 is the one I’ve waited for.

Good night ~

Unwinding ~

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

What a whirlwind these last couple of weeks have been!  I haven’t had a moment to breath, which is good I suppose.  The day job has been hopping with many projects and committees and all that fun stuff, leaving me exhausted most nights to really put my heart and sould into my creative projects.  I guess I must really love um though, ’cause I do it anyway.

I’ve really been trying hard to finish up some sketches for Lavender’s Blue on top of final edits before the YALITCHAT query contest winners are announced.  I managed to whittle it down about 30K words to fit in the middle grade genre where it fits much better than in young adult as I had originally intended.  One Sunday afternoon perusing the stacks at my local Borders convinced me that I made the right choice.

I need this novel to be perfect and am content to wait until January to start querying agents.  First impressions account for everything in this biz, so until it’s shiny and pretty it’s not going anywhere.  Some of my beta’s are trickling in and the feedback is encouraging.  What I really need to do however, is reach out and get some unbiased opinions.  I think I’ll put some feelers out to see if I can’t hook one tomorrow.

On the art front, I’m putting the final touches on another piece for Extra! Magazine that’s due in the morning.  It’s been an interesting to watch how my work has evolved this year to an entirely digital canvas.  My Wacom is my best friend in this regard.  I need to upgrade at home.  If you knew me back in college as I fumbles to find the ‘on’ button, (thanks Chris & Kyle!)  you’d be amazed at how far I’ve come.

The Flower Mound piece above was recently commissioned by Fort Worth Weekly and another favorite client.  I feel so blessed that in this year of working on my novel, my go to guys in the art world really came through for me.  I didn’t put much out in the way of self-promotion, so it’s good to know I’m dependable and consistent enough to garner some repeat business and I’m grateful.

I leave you with many thanks and good vibes for a brand new year ~