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Grammy’s Desk ~ Gem #1

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 ~

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 🙂

June Extra! Cover

June 5th, 2011

Hi All ~

On the Art Side ~ My June Extra! cover is at your local Borders or Barnes & Noble Booksellers, so stop by and pick up a copy.

I was quite pleased with how this piece came out, even though my blacks didn’t print as dark as I’d hoped.  Something happens between my final and the printed piece that I need to ask about next time around.  Nothing major, just not as crisp as I’d like it to be.

I’ll be sending out an emailer with it as soon as I get back from vacationing with the folks next week in the hopes of garnering some new work.  I’d love to get a brand spanking new client this year…

Exciting News ~

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

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 ~

Pay it Forward ~

January 31st, 2011

On the Art Side ~

While today’s post lacks any new art, I do want to give kudos to my illustration idol Steve Brodner, who is being honored with a gold medal this Friday at Society of Illustrators.  Funky and twisted, with a finger on the pulse of today’s news, Steve’s work never fails to inspire.  A visit to Steve’s site will not dissapoint: http://stevebrodner.com/

On the Word Side ~

After making it to round two of the YALITCHAT query contest and months of waiting patiently for the agent/publisher crit of my letter.  I received word today.  I think I expected more than a few sentences, but I’m thrilled that these tremendously overburdened people took the time to participate.  And with the positive remarks I received, I’m going to smile, count my blessings and submit my nicely polished query to round two with a sigh of relief that I didn’t need to start over from scratch.

So after getting that nice bit of news, I happened to stumble upon a tweet that mentioned an exciting contest hosted by author S.R. Johannes, where the winner gets a personal recommendation from her to her agent, Alyssa Henkin at Trident Media!  How cool is that!

So, as part of my entry, I am happy to link to the contest, and talk about someone who’s helped me in my writing life.  There are two very different people who have helped me the most at this early point of my writing life.  One is a NY Times bestselling Author and the other my English Major, work study.

When William Bernhardt came to the University of Scranton last year to accept the Distinguished Author Award, I never expected a bestselling author would take the time to critique the first three chapters of the novel I was working on, let alone give me invaluable advice to follow.  He told me to keep writing, every day.  If this book never gets an agent or sells, that’s okay.  Write another one, a better one.

With Michele Suchecki’s help, I think I did that.  I bounced ideas off her left and right in the outline stage until I ultimately had the bare bones of Lavender’s Blue, my current middle grade manuscript.  She’s my number one beta reader, (for the second time) and tells it like it is.  I value her insight and opinions.  She makes my writing better ~

So, I hope my reader’s see this and Pay it Forward ~  & if I could get some good vibes sent my way for this contest, that’d be cool too!

Back to the Grind ~

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 ~

Good Tidings to All ~

December 23rd, 2010

What a busy year 2010 turned out to be!

On this eve of Christmas Eve, I wanted to take a minute to thank all of my 2010 clients.  While I didn’t add any new clients this year, the fact that I had repeat business from a handful of oldies but goodies kept me quite busy!

I’m looking forward to a challenging and exciting 2011 as I attempt to wrestle me an agent for Lavender’s Blue and add a few new art clients to my portfolio.

Wishing all a prosperous and fulfilling New Year!

Unwinding ~

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 ~

Hot Halloween Costumes ~

November 2nd, 2010

With Halloween only a few days away, I was excited when I received word about a fresh new cover for one of my favorite weeklies, Seven Days in VT.  This illo depicts gubernatorial candidates, Dubie & Shumlin.

I also learned today that my query for Lavender’s Blue made it into the panel judging round where my chances of getting my manuscript read by not only a few of the biggest agents in the game but a publishing giant are one step closer to fruition!